Tag Archives: Scholastic

Guest Post – Tender – The Book That Made Me Cry by Eve Ainsworth

 


Today I am thrilled to be sharing a fantastic guest post from one of my favourite UKYA authors, Eve Ainsworth.

Tender was released on the 1st March 2018 and is Eve’s fourth YA and is another thought provoking read which Eve does so brilliantly.

Today Eve tells us a little about Tender – the book that made her cry….


Touching on mental health, family, friendship and the pressures that teenage carers face, as author Cat Clarke says, TENDER is “a compassionate, compelling and unflinching novel”.

Marty and Daisy spend their lives pretending. Marty pretends his mum’s grip on reality isn’t slipping by the day. Daisy pretends her parents aren’t exhausting themselves while they look after her incurably ill brother. They both pretend they’re fine. But the thing about pretending is, at some point, it has to stop. And then what?


Tender – The Book That Made Me Cry

I’m often asked why I decide to write the book that I do, or why I chose to explore a particular theme. It’s never a ‘light bulb’ moment where I wake up one morning and think ‘That’s it! That is the book I must write next.” But it’s more of an organic, gradual thing that grows slowly in my mind. Usually the seed begins with a character. A character is born in my imagination and through them, through their background and experiences, the themes will develop.

Even while I was writing Damage, I had this other voice fighting for my attention. It was a boy and it was strong. I made some notes. I quickly worked out that this male voice was a bit of a mash up of someone I used to know and a person that I would like to know. He was loud and argumentative, but he was warm too. And he had challenges. I realised that this boy was someone who put other people before himself.

From this, the idea of young carers developed.

I had worked with young carers before and they had inspired me, mainly because of their stoic and selfless attitudes. These were the young people that often struggled without complaint. They could have huge pressures at home, but they didn’t talk about it much. To them, this was their normality and the need to keep their family ‘going’ and not be a further burden was their priority.

Once I knew I was going to write about young carers I met up with one of my ex-students. She had been an excellent pupil, never been in trouble, never really got herself noticed by senior staff. But when we met, she told me more honestly about how day-to-day school life had been a struggle and how she seemed to be ‘managing’, but inside she was often anxious and worried. Her saviour, her positive outlet had been Young Carers’ sessions where she could meet other teenagers in a similar situation to hers – where she could be free from pressure, be silly, have fun. Be young!

Around the same time I was talking to a close friend. We had had children at the same time. But sadly for my friend, her youngest son had been diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy from a young age. Through my friend, I not only learnt to understand the pressures she was under – but also the pressures her entire family were under as they constantly cared and worried about this young boy. Through this, the character of Daisy was born. Daisy is a caring, resilient girl – but she is being torn apart by the worry caused by her brother’s ill health.

Quickly Daisy and Marty became my main characters, both telling their versions of what ‘caring’ can mean and how this impacts on their lives. They meet each other and this has a huge influence on how they move forward.

Tender was a book that made me cry over and over. It covers such emotional subjects that I had to take occasional short breaks. It hits home that what I’m writing is something that people are actually experiencing in real life. It can be hard going, but whatever happens these characters, these people, keep fighting on.

The developing romance between Daisy and Marty was also something new for me – but I was keen to have an uplifting and positive theme in the book too and I ended up loving these two so much – I found it quite hard to let them go.

 Tender is a book about resilience and hope. It’s about loving and fighting for the people you care for, but also that its important to find time to love yourself.

You can buy a copy of Tender here or from your local bookshop!


About Eve Ainsworth

Eve Ainsworth is a writer of Adult and YA fiction. She also loves tea (lots of it), 80’s music and most things relating to David Bowie.

Seven Days, Eve’s Young Adult debut, was published by Scholastic Uk in Feb 2015. Crush followed in 2016. Eve’s latest YA novel, Damage was published in March 2017. All of her novels explore real life, contemporary issues that are relevant to teens.

Eve has also self published The Blog of Maisy Malone, which is an adult comedy novel that has received pleasing reviews on Amazon.

Eve has had short stories published in magazines such as Writers’ Forum and Prima.

You can find out more about Eve on her website –  www.eveainsworth.com

Or follow her on Twitter @EveAinsworth


A huge thank you to Eve for a fab guest post and asking me to host!

Have you read Tender?  What did you think?  What are your favourite part?  Have you read any of Eve’s other books?  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Spotlight – Baker Street Academy by Sam Hearn

 


Grab your super sleuth hats as I am hugely excited to be spotlighting the amazing Baker Street Academy by Sam Hearn in todays post!

Baker Street Academy was released on the 2nd August 2018 published by Scholastic and includes journal entries, letters, newspaper clippings and a detective dossier. It captures the fun and frustrations of school, and promotes friendship and teamwork.

So today I am spotlighting the book and I also have a fab giveaway…..


About The Book

Welcome to Baker Street Academy, where there’s always a mystery to be solved! Told through Watson’s diary, a top-secret detective dossier and energetic comic-strip illustrations, this introduction to Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic characters will have every young super-sleuth hooked! Luckily Sherlock Holmes is on the case, with his friends John Watson and Martha Hudson. No crime is too big, no villain too cunning – especially if it’s James Moriarty. This time, Sherlock and the gang are up against a centuries old curse…

The books include journal entries, letters, newspaper clippings and a detective dossier. It captures the fun and frustrations of school, and promotes friendship and teamwork.

This introduction to Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic characters will have every young super-sleuth hooked!

You can buy a copy of Baker Street Academy here or from your local bookshop!


About Sam Hearn

Sam Hearn has illustrated numerous books for children, including the Harvey Drew, Abominators and the Awesome Animals series. This is the first fiction series that he has written and illustrated


Giveaway

With thanks to the lovelies at Scholastic I have 5 copies of Baker Street Academy to giveaway to 5 lucky winners!

You can enter via my twitter here!

Bonus points for any super sleuth photos!

UK Only

Ends 16th August 2018

Good Luck!


A huge thank you to Emily at Scholastic for asking me to host and for the fab giveaway!

Have you read Baker Street Academy?  What did you think?  What are your favourite part?  Are you a budding detective?  Share your best detective pictures!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – What’s At The Heart Of Brightstorm by Vashti Hardy


Today I am super excited to have the brilliant Vashti Hardy on Tales to celebrate the release of her debut novel, Brightstorm!

Brightstorm was released on the 1st March 2018 published by Scholastic and is set to be a thrilling adventure!

Today Vashti talks about what’s at the heart of Brightstorm in this fab guest post…


Twins Arthur and Maudie receive word in Lontown that their famous explorer father died in a failed attempt to reach South Polaris. Not only that, but he has been accused of trying to steal fuel from his competitors before he died! The twins don’t believe the news, and they answer an ad to help crew a new exploration attempt in the hope of learning the truth and salvaging their family’s reputation. As the winged ship Aurora sets sail, the twins must keep their wits about them and prove themselves worthy of the rest of the crew. But will Arthur and Maudie find the answers they seek?


What’s At The Heart Of Brightstorm (the character wants vs needs)

At the heart of every story are the things a character thinks they need and want, and the thing they actually need which they are unaware of, otherwise known as the lie and the truth. The story will have a tension between these things and the character arc and theme both centre on the inner conflict between this lie and truth.

When Arthur Brightstorm learns of the death of his father, he feels he’s lost the future, because of the way he’d seen things working out in life for the three of them – Ernest, Arthur and twin Maudie destined to sail sky-ships together as a family with Arthur navigating as second in command. This is exacerbated by the fact that Maudie’s future still seems so certain to him – he can see the gap that she fills in the world as her talents mean she is destined to be a great engineer, but for himself, Arthur can only see the gap left by his father’s death. What Arthur has to learn however, or his ‘truth’, is that his future is not lost it is just different, and he now needs to learn to ‘sail his own ship’. As Harriet tells him:

‘Control is an illusion. We never know what life will throw at us. You are the master of your destiny, Arthur, and you can still do those things. Your father is still with you inside.’

So whilst Arthur chases what he wants (the truth of what happened to his father), he also finds his inner truth even though he wasn’t looking for it; what he really needed was to learn that he still had a future, albeit a different one, but he had to go on the journey to see that he could continue to achieve this dreams in a world without his father. And by going on that journey he also finds something unexpected – a new unlikely family in the crew of the Aurora.

If you’re writing a story and are a bit stuck, try thinking about what your characters wants and needs are. Think about the tension between them and hopefully you’ll be well on your way to unlocking that all important story heart!

You can buy a copy of Brightstorm here or from your local bookshop!


About Vashti Hardy

Vashti Hardy is a copywriter who lives near Brighton with her family. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Chichester University and previously studied on the Creative Writing Certificate at Sussex University. Very active on Twitter, she is an alumna of and mentor at the Golden Egg Academy.

You can find out more about Vashti on her website – www.vashtihardy.com

Or why not follow her on twitter – @vashti_hardy 


Blog Tour

You can catch up with the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!


A huge huge thank you to Vashti for such a superb guest post and to Olivia for asking me to host and be part of this fab blog tour!

Have you read any of Brightstorm?  What did you think?  What was your favourite part?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Spotlight – Twister by Juliette Forrest


Today I am thrilled to be shining the spotlight on a whirlwind of a debut novel, Twister by Juliette Forrest!

Twister was released on the 1st February published by Scholastic and is set to be full of twists and turns to keep your head in a spin.

The lovely people at Scholastic have given me some giveaway copies so I thought I would shine the spotlight on this brilliant book in celebration….


Twister’s father has gone missing and as she’s searching for him she stumbles across a witch living in the woods. She is given a magical necklace that holds the souls of living things and can turn the wearer into a wolf, or a rushing river, or a rainstorm. But there’s a dark foe on the hunt for this necklace, a baddie who wears a coat crawling with creatures and who might have something to do with her father’s sudden disappearance…

You can buy a copy of Twister here or from your local bookshop!


About Juliette Forrest

I blame Rutger Hauer. In 1987 he starred in the Guinness commercials. They made such an impression I scribbled the dialogue all over my school folders. That’s when it struck me I no longer wanted to become an opera singer – I wanted to go to London and learn how to write adverts.

Here I am, a few years down the line, still doing what I love. I’m a freelancer now; I’m just as happy on my laptop in a client’s office as I am working from home. And talking about home, I live in Glasgow with a court jester of a Cypriot rescue dog called Vince.

You can find out more about Juliette on her website – www.julietteforrest.com

Or why not follow her on twitter – @jools_forrest


Giveaway

With thanks to the lovely people at Scholastic I have 3 x copies of Twister to giveaway to 3 lucky winners.

You can enter via my twitter here

UK Only

Ends 5th March 2018

Good Luck!


A huge thank you to Lorraine at Scholastic for sending me this fab book and for asking me to host this fab giveaway!

Have you read Twister?  What did you think?  What was your favourite part?  If you have not read it yet have we tempted you to go and grab a copy?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

PHBC – Beach Party by R L Stine


Do you remember the Point Horror Book Series from the 90’s? The Point Horror Series was a series of young adult point horror books and was launched in 1991 by Scholastic always with the Point Horror banner on the spine and on the top of every point horror book. There were a number of authors that wrote these books for Scholastic: R L Stine, Diane Hoh, Caroline B Cooney, Sinclair Smith to name but a few.

Are the Point Horror books we loved as a teenager still our favourites on the re-read? Are you new to Point Horror? Has our opinion changed? Are they still as good? Do they stand up to modern day YA Horror? Or are they a whole load of cray cray?

Lets find out…

#pointhorrorbookclub

Join in the discussion with this months pick….

Beach Party by R L Stine

Don’t forget to use the #pointhorrorbookclub on twitter so I can see your thoughts or tweet me using @chelleytoy

For links to #pointhorrorbookclub posts old and new, Point Horror guest posts and interviews with Point Horror authors please click here

Vote for the next #PointHorrorBookClub read at the bottom of this post!


** Please note that as this is a discussion there will be spoilers**


The Tagline

Some come to party.  Some come to die.

Okay ….so…What’s It All About?

Karen lives in sunny LA and her best friend since they were 9, Ann-Marie, is coming all the way from New York to stay.  Karen ditches all parents and takes Ann-Marie to stay in an apartment by the beach for the month!

Oh wow!  Sun, sea and relaxation right?

Well…..no not quite, but there’s lots of dangerous snorkelling, polluted sea water which is as green as pea soup (*heaves*), creepy phone calls and messages, jellyfish and contaminated sun cream!

Sounds kosha to me to be honest…..

Let’s move on shall we!

I missed out a mention to the secret beach party’s, sunbathing, hot men, lots of snogging and some murder!

Murder?!  But you are destroying the dream!

Yes!  Murder my dear friends….murder.  This is Point Horror after all!  And when Karen gets involved with Jerry someone is not happy about it…..not happy at all!

The Girl

Karen Mandell with her straight black hair, oval face, dark skin that always looked like she had a tan, black eyebrows and shocking blue eyes which were so wide and so blue completely won me over at the start with her quick witted since of humour and sarcasm making me feel like she was going to be pretty kick ass.  And she was great….all with the exception of her attraction to danger which she always seemed oblivious too…. lets going snorkelling Karen even though I hate your guts, jump on my motorbike Karen even though you don’t know me and I might be a murderer …. you get the idea.

Mentionable nod to the fact that I was cheering Karen on for throwing THE BEST insults at Vince and his gang of friends who were circling her and Ann-Marie at the start of the book…..she was so close to kicking his botty before Jerry came swooping in to save the day *rolls eyes*

Karen liked driving fast in her navy blue mustang convertible that her Daddy bought her following his divorce from her Mummy and with her crystal from her ex boyfriend Mike (more on him later) around her neck she had a strange tendency to compare everyone to not only famous people of the 90’s (when this book was written), but also animals.

And Karen gets bonus points for not one but two holiday romances!  She snogged two boys!  Although after the snog she had with Jerry I wouldn’t be going back for more!  What a kiss from hell!  Ugh!

She was actually an okay Point Horror girl to be fair.

The Love Interest

Ugh goody two shoes Jerry….or should I say Todd? #PlotTwist Too soon?  *puts plot twist back into the book*  With his preppy looks, straight dark hair, light eyes, perfect straight nose, broad chest, powerful looking arms and a passion for the smell of coconut….he apparently looked like Tom Cruise!

Jerry got on my nerves just a little.  I mean he cheats on his girlfriend Renee and effectively kills her as Todd, but he was just too ugh for me and omg that kiss with Karen sounded excruciatingly painful that I was cringing!  Tom Cruise lookalike or not….I think I will pass.

And I can’t move on without mentioning the quickest ending of all Point Horror’s when we find out that Jerry’s brother Todd died a year before and Jerry, who felt so guilty as he couldn’t help Todd, took on a split personality of his brother Todd who just happened to be evil and a murderer.  How convenient!  The ending of this book was a complete blur following this revelation that we seemed to only have what felt like one paragraph to explain and digest everything.  It actually made me feel a little mad if I’m honest.

The Gang

Best friend Ann-Marie who had been friends with Karen since she was 9 and visiting Karen in LA from New York was not your typical Point Horror best friend.  She was the total opposite to Karen in everyway….thin, looked like a fashion model, straight blonde hair, fashionably short with high cheek bones, pale creamy skin and emerald eyes she had all the makings of a Point Horror best friend but too be honest she didn’t do much at all except get with Karen’s ex Mike and make tea.  Every time Karen was in danger or an “accident” had happened to Karen she was no where to be seen and yes she was our classic Point Horror red herring, but there still would have been a story without her.

Renee, Jerry’s girlfriend, who with her high pitched voice like a little mouse, oval face, big dark brown eyes, frizzy brown hair,  parents in Bel-Air (yes I did sing Fresh Prince), strange sense of humour and passion for Carrie Fisher’s gold bikini was a little possessive over her boyfriend Jerry, but to be fair he basically cheated on her with Karen in front of her face….or at least whilst she was standing in the shadows.  She loved him that much….that he killed her!  Yes!  She didn’t see that plot twist coming when she signed up for this Point Horror!  Poor Renee.  I was actually starting to like her a little too.

Bad boy Vince got Karen all hot under the collar with his bad boy looks and yes I knew exactly where she was coming from with this!  Tall and lanky, dimples in his cheeks, eight ball tattoo on his wrist, short blond spiked hair, a leather and denim combi and diamond stud earrings and to top all of this off …. a motorcycle!  Bad ass or what?!  And then Karen goes and compares him to Sting *bursts balloon with a slow screech*

*looks at picture of young Sting*

*blows balloon back up quickly*

Anyway enough of that….he kept the mystery going all the way through apart from being a complete and utter ugh at the beginning with his gang!  And he gets the girl!  What more can we ask for?!  Oh a proper ending….just putting it out there!

Then we had Mike, Karen’s ex, who just so happens to be in the same place at the same time as Karen.  With his straight brown hair, big broad shoulders, muscular arms, wide neck, round brown eyes and square forehead he seemed okay and I loved the fact him and Ann-Marie have a secret thing which of course Karen finds hilarious (she was the only one).  He looked like Jim Belushi according to Karen…..

Wow Karen has very different tastes in men!

Little mention goes to Marty who I would have liked to have seen more of as he seemed funny. With his curly brown hair, round puffs of cheeks, black eyes, round face, horse scratchy voice and skateboard ….. me and Marty could have been friends but he was whipped away from me!

And let’s not forget Stephanie….you know who I mean right?!

*looks at notes*

*Reads Marty’s girlfriend and long blonde hair*

*moves on swiftly*

Fashion Faux Pas

Ohhh lots of good old 90’s fashion in this one!  I spotted blue sleeveless t-shirts, lots of spandex bicycle shorts, tie dyed jean cut-offs and lots of Day-Glo!

Go 90’s!

Dialogue Disasters

Not so much dialogue disasters as in lines that made me chuckle a little….

“It was bright yellow, burning hot on the outside and frozen solid on the inside”

“Must have been lasagne”

“How did it taste?”

“Fabulous!”

Karen and Ann-Marie are auditioning for the next GBBO hosts!  Someone give them a job!

“Like gag me with a spoon”

Say what Ann-Marie?!  She’s from New York don’t you know!

“She was like a zombie for months.  She’d sit around playing her old Beatles records and cry”

Sounds like a standard Saturday night for me to be honest!

“And your Dad?”

“He’s driving a red corvette and he’s blow drying his hair”

“Weird”

Is it?  Is it really?

“But Karen do you really think this is a good idea?”

“Of course it is – what could happen?”

That old classic Point Horror line!  Your in a Point Horror girls….what do you expect?!

“He looks like a squirrel.  A fat squirrel storing up nuts for the winter”

Harsh Karen!  Harsh!

“That’s Kenny, Alisha, Normy and Seth”  Karen said hi to them forgetting their names immediately

Ah!  The names of the one page Point Horror characters….bless their little cotton socks!

“One kiss and your brain has turned to oatmeal”

To be fair after that kiss with Jerry Karen I don’t blame you!

“She looks like a really scary Jack O Lantern”

It’s the lighting okay?!  We can’t all be blessed with Point Horror standards you know!

Body Count

Oh this one had an actual murder!  And yes I do worry about how excited I got about this ….plus she kind of deserved it!

There was also one off page death from the past, but we all know it’s what happens in the Point Horror story that counts!

Is it scary?

Hmmmm not really scary to be honest however that nightmare/dream that Karen had lit my little horror heart a light with those two pages of gore!  Yes Stiney!  You legend!

Did the best friend do it?

No!  We could only have hoped that Ann-Marie had the umph in her to actually do something really couldn’t we?!

Some Mild Peril?

I would say the beach where they were staying was packed full of mild peril!  Polluted sea, gangs, lots of boys in heavy metal t-shirts (my kind of boys may I just point out) you know that kind of thing.

But yes other than that there was the usual drowning whilst snorkelling, drowning whilst snorkelling again, and jellyfish!  Yes imagine finding all those Jelly fish in your bed! Ugh!  That’s almost as bad as kissing Jerry!

Is it any good?

I actually quite enjoyed this one and flew through this quite quickly.  The ending was a little rushed and sudden and whilst I didn’t see the twist coming (and obviously nowadays I’m not sure if it should have been better handled), but I quite liked the premise and the actual feeling of a who dunnit in this one.

Also a nod to getting rid of the parents straight away at the start of the book with Karen’s parents being divorced and Karen and Ann-Marie staying an apartment owned by her Daddy for the summer who conveniently stayed away longer than planned.  In fact it wasn’t unit page 114 that we saw glimpse of a parent, because strange and scary things are happening to you, but pffftttt who needs their parents when you have sun, sea and jellyfish to contend with.

Final Thought

Stay away from Jerry……except if it’s Ben and Jerry’s because nom!

Cover Wars!

I found this really awesome foreign cover!  Which do you prefer?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over to you!

As well as your thoughts on the book I’ve added some fun questions to ponder!

  • Which Point Horror Boy….Jerry, Vince or Mike?  You decide!
  • Wouldn’t the jelly fish have stung Karen?
  • What was Ann-Marie ACTUALLY doing for the whole book?
  • What happened to Marty and Stephanie?
  • Ending?  Yay or Nay?

You can leave a reply by using the reply button at the top of the page!

Vote for the next #PointHorrorBookClub read here!

As the next #PointHorrorBookClub with be on the 13th February I have tried to pick a few romance-y Point Horror titles….if that’s even possible!

What will you pick?

Voting ends and the next Point Horror Book Club read will be announce on the 17th January 2018!

And the winner was…..a tie!

Therefore I have flipped a coin and picked The Invitation for next months #PointHorrorBookClub!

 

For links to #pointhorrorbookclub posts old and new, Point Horror guest posts and interviews with Point Horror authors please click here

Thanksor joining in….

PHBC – The Mall by Richie Tankersley Cusick


Do you remember the Point Horror Book Series from the 90’s? The Point Horror Series was a series of young adult point horror books and was launched in 1991 by Scholastic always with the Point Horror banner on the spine and on the top of every point horror book. There were a number of authors that wrote these books for Scholastic: R L Stine, Diane Hoh, Caroline B Cooney, Sinclair Smith to name but a few.

Are the Point Horror books we loved as a teenager still our favourites on the re-read? Are you new to Point Horror? Has our opinion changed? Are they still as good? Do they stand up to modern day YA Horror? Or are they a whole load of cray cray?

Lets find out…

#pointhorrorbookclub

Join in the discussion with this months pick….

The Mall by Richie Tankersley Cusick

Don’t forget to use the #pointhorrorbookclub on twitter so I can see your thoughts or tweet me using @chelleytoy

For links to #pointhorrorbookclub posts old and new, Point Horror guest posts and interviews with Point Horror authors please click here

Vote for the next #PointHorrorBookClub read here!


** Please note that as this is a discussion there will be spoilers**


The Tagline

Shop till you drop….dead

Okay ….so…What’s It All About?

Things are disappearing all over the mall, but no alarm systems are going off!

Ohhhhh creepy!  Tell me more!

Well The Mall was apparently one of the very first Mall’s and was built into the surrounding mountains…like a huge creepy house with secret passage ways, dodgy lighting, creepy elevators and surround by fog…..

Stop!  Not about the actual Mall we are here to read about the actual book!

*coughs*

Sorry I got a little carried away then….

Trish Somerfield has just started working at The Mall at Muffin Mania serving muffins to all manner of people….including a creepy guys who loves muffins a whole lot!

I mean you gotta love a good muffin right? *scoffs muffin*…tell me more….

And then the creepy phone calls start, numerous amount of car trouble, mysterious tapes, dead bodies and the feeling that someone is watching Trish every where she goes……

*chokes on muffin*

The Girl

Good old Trish Somerfield…..well she was our classic Point Horror girl really….you know the type….never thinks guys are after her, doesn’t do dares, Mom out of town in Europe somewhere……yes that old chestnut!

She wasn’t the brightest spark bless her…..I mean who gives their full address and details and the fact she is home all alone to a man who insisted on putting a band aid on her knee….oh yes that’s right…..Trish or Point Horror Girl.

*rolls eyes*

To be fair she did have everything thrown at her – fooled by grey wigs and beards, creepy phone calls, fake car accidents, car trouble complete with scraping sounds, seeing dead bodies in bin bags with ice picks sticking out of them….you know just the norm really.

She did give us some great moments though.  Some classic Trish/Point Horror moments.  Like the time she tried on a dress in the changing rooms and felt like someone was watching her so she LEAVES THE CHANGING CURTAIN OPEN!  NO TRISH!  JUST NO!  Oh and how could we forget when she fell off that escalator…..oh come on we have all done it *chuckles*  Oh just me then?

*coughs*

*moves along swiftly*

Awwww maybe we are being a little unfair on the poor thing….she was actually being stalked to all kinds of wrong levels, but of course she had everything under control.

Disclaimer – she really didn’t!

She kind of redeemed herself when she bravely goes to try and help her friend Imogene when she thinks she has been taken by the stalker…..she takes a lot of time to go down in the creepy elevator to save her friend only just to turn and run back at the first sign of a bloody ice pick!

In fact Trish does a lot of running back…gets a creepy call in the library….decides to run out of the back door, car breaks down….decides to run back to the Mall, creepy man tries to put a band aid on her knee…..sit’s there and trusts him….

She is not our best Point Horror girl we have ever had, but she certainly made me laugh quite a lot…even if this was perhaps unintentional….

The Love Interest

Storm Reynolds….I mean what a name!

*sniggers*

All I kept thinking about was Gladiators (you know the 90’s TV Show not the film or the historical gladiators lol).  The music even played in my head every time he appeared on the page.  Anyway, it turns out there was only a Storm in the American Gladiators so I’m not sure what planet I was on!  But the pleasure was all mine googling him….

Anywho….moving on….

Storm Reynolds (*plays Gladiators music*) with his high cheekbones, cute grin, thick dark hair, his tall slender well built frame, broad shoulders and lean muscle forearms was our love interest/red herring/ undercover cop ……yep you heard me right…..Stormy went all 21 Jump Street on us!  Kind of unbelievable I know… I mean who would have thought that the guy who cocks his head to one side when he speaks, takes women to secluded run down cottages and kisses them was a cop and not some kind of serial killer lurking in the shadows of the Mall.

Also what was with Storm actually man handling Trish and physically forcing her out of the library against her will….not on Storm Reynolds….not on at all.

I don’t think I was too keen on old Stormy….just ugh!  UGH!

The Gang

We had some great supporting characters in The Mall…

Best friend Nita Hanson….who made me think of actual Hanson…you know MMMBop….what happened to me whilst reading this book!?

Anyway, where was I?  Oh yes Nita Hanson with her short blond hair, pretty face and tall willowy dancer frame made me laugh lots.  I loved her!  I also love how she loved muffins with no calories in them….yes please Nita although I’m kind of off muffins at the moment for reasons explained below.  She was quirky, boy mad, flirty and just hilarious.  The perfect Point Horror best friend!

Then there’s Imogene….Nita’s twin sister, but the total opposite.  SHE WORKED IN A BOOKSTORE!  That’s all you need to know!  What can top that!  With her mousey hair, round stare (?), wise old owl woman with glasses to big for her face and who eat, sleeps and breathes her work (I mean who wouldn’t …she works in a bookshop) and she always had a theory about everything.  I loved her too….and not just because, I think I forgot to mention, SHE WORKED IN A BOOKSTORE!

Wyatt….the total opposite of our Storm Reynolds….and yes you have guessed it….Chelley had a thing for Wyatt!  With his long combed back hair, holey jeans, combat boots, denim jacket and quirky personality….what was not to love?  And he loved rock music!  Teenage Chelley’s dream come true!  My love for Wyatt this time round came form the Nina and Wyatt car scene!  Classic!  Loved it!  And just like Storm he turned out to be an undercover cop…..where has he been all of my Point Horror life?!

Mystery Creepy Man aka The Muffin Man aka Athan – you know that protector, that guardian, that devoted keeper, THAT STALKER! With his pointed chin, pale complexion, smooth palms, soft voice, gaunt pale face and numerous disguises including grey wigs, facial hair and fake scars what’s not to love.  And lets not forget his passion for ice picks!  I will never ever look at or eat a muffin in the same way ever again *passes sick bucket*  He really did give me the creeps and that was even before he watched Trish sleep in her hospital bed and her little pulse at her throat *shudders*!  I give him one thing though….he took making a playlist tape for your beau in the 90’s to a whole new level!

I’m just going to be quite blunt and come out and say it but he was a borderline rapist and basically a paedophile.  It was well creepy and so wrong on so many levels.  So wrong in fact that it made me actually wonder how the hell this was published for teenagers!  That was some serious creepiness that was just plain wrong!

Special mention goes to mean manager Bethany who was the most frustrated manager on earth who had apparently worked in every store and failed and who apparently was the owner of the Mall’s wife.  I bet stalker features didn’t really kill her off that’s all I’m saying……

Anyone for ice….I mean muffins?

Fashion Faux Pas

I think I was too busy thinking how on earth was this acceptable for teenagers to read so may have missed some fashion Faux Pas but I did notice a denium jacket with the sleeves cut off!

Good old 90’s eh?!

Dialogue Disasters

“Storm Reynolds.  With a name like that he should be in the movies”

Or Gladiators….just saying!

“The way that honey looks on your fingers…..one could almost….taste it”

*gags*

“I’m eating the muffin….it tastes like you”

Ewwwwwww.  I just can’t!

“This can’t be happening to me.  Things like this don’t happen to real people in real life”

Well duh….you’re in a Point Horror and this is the 90’s!

“Oh Mom of all times for you to be out of town….”

Trish has never been in a Point Horror before….this is her first time…..she’s a lucky thing!

“Where’s my Mother?”

“We couldn’t find anyone who’ll claim you”

Awwww Trish….maybe not so lucky? *coughs* *convenient* *coughs*

“We don’t have any all-night guards here at the mall”

I’m really not sure why I wrote this down, but it must have amused me in someway?!

“Then why don’t you ask her who she’d rather be with?”

Storm knows how to be the best kind of cop and prioritise the best questions for interrogation!

“What are you doing?”

“I want to show you something”

“What?”

“Take it easy.  You’re going to like this”

“I want to go home.  Please….I don’t feel good, I….”

“This will make you feel good…trust me”

And here we were thinking that the creepy muffin man was the stalker…..This was actually Storm……You know the super cop off Gladiators!

“Oh how could I have been so stupid”

*stares at Trish with that look….yes you know the one*

Body Count

I counted 3 possible dead people persons!

We had Freida at the beginning – remember her?  Possibly killed …. not sure this was ever confirmed?

Bethany……but she kind of deserved it!  You thought it too *gives stare*

And then of course the potentially dead, but still possibly alive bad guy Athan who in classic horror movie style disappeared after being shot!

Dum dum duuuuuummmmm

Is it scary?

I will admit I thought the whole lift scenes were terrifyingly scary…..the whole lift doors opening and the lift getting stuck and dropping and the person on top of the lift shaft….my little heart was racing so much at that point.

Other than that…..not particularly scary, but the presence of the actual Mall and the atmosphere it created gave the book a chilling feel.

Oh and those spider webs / spiders in the tunnels at the end……we all know what it’s like to walk through a spider web but can you imagine it being thick and full of spiders……oh my….I just can’t type any further about this…..*freaks out*

Did the best friend do it?

Erm…no….we had some creepy muffin man stalker who was all kinds of wrong on so many levels!

Some Mild Peril?

That lift!  Oh my gosh!  That was terrfifying!

And okay I guess being stalked by some creepy, muffin lovin guy who wants to marry you!

Is it any good?

This was basically a Point Horror version of Phantom Of The Opera…..you know it’s true!

I thought it was actually an okay read….but so so wrong on so many levels, but in a weird kind of way….

There was no big reveal even though we were meant to think that Storm and Wyatt were the red herrings and I think it’s important to remember what Richie said herself in our interview we did with her….this was one of the book that actually wasn’t written for the Point Horror brand, but was branded as such in the UK and other countries as it fitted the banner of the market.

Not my fave Richie Tankersley Cusick, but still a worthy addition to the Point Horror collection.

Final Thought

Honey Muffins…..

Cover Wars!

I found this really awesome alternative cover!  Which do you prefer?


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over to you!

As well as your thoughts on the book I’ve added some fun questions to ponder!

  • What actually happened to Freida?  Did it get forgotton that she went missing on the first page?  Did they ever find her?  Was it death by ice pick?  YOU decide!
  • What would you do in The Mall after dark?
  • Exactly how old were Storm and Wyatt?
  • What would your Mall shop be called?

You can leave a reply by using the reply button at the top of the page!

Also one of Point Horror Book Club members, Mark, who lives in Australia as been in touch with some wonderful people….

*hands over to Mark*

What do ‘Star Wars’, ‘Batman’ and ‘Bob the Builder’ have in common? Stumped? I’m not surprised! The answer is that they all involve actors who were part of the Point Horror Tapes (PHTs) between 1994 and 1997! As a club we touched upon this series about 18 months ago when we listened to ‘The Accident (PHT 5)’ as part of our review. After collecting all 8 tapes over the past few years, I thought it would be fun to see if we could learn a bit more about this part of the PH universe and I have been fortunate enough to make contact with William Dufris, Laurel Lefkow, Garrick Hagon and Liza Ross who were all involved in the series over its journey. They have all graciously agreed to field some questions from the PHBC gang, so please send your best-est queries through to Chelle ASAP! For those of you without a totally ace twin cassette boombox, might I suggest a quick trip over to YouTube where you can listen to all the PHTs J

A brief background…

William, Garrick and Liza met around 1990 – 1991 in London when their work with film dubbing, audiobooks and BBC radio dramas brought them together. All three already had lengthy resumes (just check out IMDB!) and around 1994 they made the decision to produce some work of their own and, after looking around for a suitable project, it was actually Garrick and Liza’s daughter, Allison, who suggested that they look into Point Horror. With the PH line only being relatively new in the UK (the first titles published in the UK were around 1991), Scholastic’s David Fickling was obviously keen on the idea of the creation of a series of audiobooks when the idea was brought to him and William, Garrick and Liza’s new production company, The Story Circle, was created.

Although published in the UK, the PH titles were still very American, so the first challenge for the fledging Story Circle team was to locate as many quality US actors working in the UK to help bring the stories to life. Laurel Lefkow, fresh off her role as Florence Maybrick in the Edward Woodward hosted ‘In Suspicious Circumstances’, was exactly the type of actor the Story Circle needed and she was to soon feature regularly in the series, including lead roles in ‘The Cemetery’ (PHT 3) and ‘The Witness’ (PHT 6).

All 4 of our PHBC guests are still very active in the industry – acting, producing and directing – so we’re very lucky to have the opportunity to speak with them and, on behalf of the PHBC, I extend a warm and sincere thanks to William, Garrick, Liza and Laurel for their time.

So do you have any questions you would like to ask William, Garrick, Liza and Laurel?  Leave your questions in the comments below……

Vote for the next #PointHorrorBookClub read here!

What will you pick?

NB – As I’m so late getting this post up and really want to get the next one up on the 13th September I have picked the next read already and will start the voting for the next read next month.

Our next Point Horror Book Club read for the 13th September is…….

For links to #pointhorrorbookclub posts old and new, Point Horror guest posts and interviews with Point Horror authors please click here

Thanks for joining in….

 

 

Tales Post – Extract From The (Big, Fat, Totally Bonkers) Diary Of Pig by Emer Stamp


My son, Corey, and I LOVE Pig!  We have followed him on his fun filled adventures for a while now and we were over the moon to hear about the release of the new installment The (Big, Fat, Totally Bonkers) Diary Of Pig!

The (Big, Fat, Totally Bonkers) Diary Of Pig was released on the 4th May 2017 published by Scholastic.  We knew Pig’s adventures were going to make us laugh lots….and we did!

For my stop on the blog tour I have a brilliant extract from the new book to get you excited about Pig’s new adventure….


I is Pig. This is my diary and I doubts you will believe any of it. In fact, if you is the kind of farmer what finds it hard to believe unbelievable stuff, you should put it down RIGHT NOW. I wouldn’t blame you. If I was reading it I would be like, ‘Don’t be silly! Stuff like this would never happen to a pig, it’s totally impossible.’ But it’s not. Just ask Duck, or Cow, or Ki-Ki, or Rusty. They’d all tell you. It’s all 1000% true and 10,000% BONKERS!


Extract From The (Big, Fat, Totally Bonkers) Diary Of Pig

You can buy a copy of The (Big, Fat, Totally Bonkers) Diary Of Pig here or from your local bookshop!

You can find previous posts with author Emer Stamp by clicking on the links below…..

Favourite Scenes From The Pig Series

Corey’s Corner – Review – The Seriously Extra Ordinary Diary Of Pig


About Emer Stamp

Emer Stamp is the author and illustrator of The Unbelievable Top Secret Diary of Pig. Emer grew up on a farm in Devon before training in graphic design and working for some of London’s top advertising agencies. She was the Creative Director for the Adam and Eve DDB communications agency, which creates advertisements for clients including John Lewis, Halifax, Cadbury’s and Save the Children. She lives in London.

You can find out more about Emer and Pig here or on the Goodreads page here

Or why not follow Emer on twitter using @emerstamp


Blog Tour

Catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!


A huge thank you to Katrina at Scholastic and Emer for having me on this fab blog tour!

You can find previous posts with author Emer Stamp by clicking on the links below…..

Favourite Scenes From The Pig Series

Corey’s Corner – Review – The Seriously Extra Ordinary Diary Of Pig

Have you read any of Pig’s adventures?  What did you think?  Do you have a favourite moment?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading!

Spotlight – Noah Can’t Even by Simon James Green


Today is my turn on the brilliant Noah Can’t Even blog tour and I am super excited to be spotlighting this debut book by Simon James Green with a fab giveaway!

Noah Can’t Even was released on the 4th May published by Scholastic and from what I have heard already you will be laughing page after page!

So for my stop on this fab blog tour I am spotlighting this fab author, illustrator and book!

Also do check the bottom of the post for an exciting event announcement and giveaway!


Painfully geeky Noah Grimes is desperate to do whatever he can to survive school. He thinks his best chance at social normalcy is to start up a romantic relationship with the wonderful Sophie, but his plans are hopelessly derailed when his best (and only) friend Harry kisses him at a party. And that’s when things go from bad to utter chaos.

You can buy a copy of Noah Can’t Even here or from your local bookshop!


About Simon James Green

Simon James Green grew up in a small town in Lincolnshire that definitely wasn’t the inspiration for Little Fobbing – so no-one from there can be mad with him, OK? He enjoyed a classic British education of assorted humiliations and barbaric PE lessons before reading Law at Queens’ College, Cambridge, where he further embarrassed himself by accidentally joining the rowing team despite having no upper body strength and not being able swim. When it turned out that being a lawyer was nothing like how it looks in Suits or The Good Wife, and buoyed by the success of his late night comedy show that involved an inflatable sheep, he travelled to London to pursue a glamorous career in show business. Within weeks he was working in a call centre, had been mugged, and had racked up thousands of pounds worth of debt. Finding strength and inspiration in the lyrics of Tubthumping by Chumbawumba, he eventually ended up working on a range of West End shows and UK tours, co-wrote a feature-length rom-com for the BBC and directed Hollyoaks for C4 / Lime Pictures. After trying really, really hard, he also managed to write Noah Can’t Even. If you are interested in stalking him, he still lives in London, where he spends a lot of time telling people that Noah Can’t Even is only partly autobiographical, and his mum has definitely never done a Beyoncé tribute act.

You can find out more about Simon on his website – www.simonjamesgreen.com

Or why not follow Simon on Twitter – @simonjamesgreen


Event Alert!

You can catch Simon James Green on tour at the following destinations with the super funny Beth Garrod and Stephanie Kate Strohm and I’m chairing the Birmingham Event!

Come along and watch the shenanigans unfold!

Details here……

Join Simon James Green (Noah Can’t Even), Beth Garrod (Super Awkward) and Stephanie Kate Strohm (It’s Not Me, It’s You) for this hilarious panel as they discuss the importance of funny books and reveal their characters’ most embarrassing moments (and a few of their own!) chaired by UKYABA award-winning blogger Chelle Toy from Tales of Yesterday.

Simon, Beth and Stephanie believe that laughter truly is the best medicine in a world that can be increasingly negative, so sign up and get your cure!

We hope you can join us for a wonderful evening fully of awkward, funny and cringeworthy stories!

This is a free event but seating is limited.
To reserve your seat please call us on 0121 633 4353 or buy your ticket here
Email us at events.birmingham@waterstones.com
Tweet us at @bhamwaterstones
Or speak to a bookseller in store.


GiveawayTo celebrate the release of Noah Can’t Even I have decided to host a little giveaway through twitter!

I have one copy to giveaway to one lucky winner!

Head over to twitter here to enter!

UK Only

Ends 31st May 2017!

Good Luck!


Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!


A huge thank you to Olivia at Scholastic and to Simon James Green for having me as part of this fab blog tour!

Have you read Noah Can’t Even?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued to go and grab a copy?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button above or tweet my on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – My Top Five Inspirational Places Or Objects When Writing/Encouraging Creativity by Matilda Woods


I’m excited to be a part of the fab blog tour for a brilliant new MG Fantasy, The Boy,the Bird & the Coffin Maker which was released on the 4th May 2017 published by Scholastic.

#coffinmaker

“A stunning, literary and utterly original debut from author Matilda Woods”

Today Matilda tells us about her Inspirational Places Or Objects When Writing/Encouraging Creativity in this fab guest post……


Alberto lives alone in the town of Allora where fish fly out of the sea and everyone knows everybody’s business. There he makes coffins for the great and small, but being the only coffin maker in town can be lonely. That is until a little boy and a magical bird enter his life and change it forever. But can Alberto keep them safe from the town’s prying eyes and the arrival of a menacing stranger?


My Top Five Inspirational Places Or Objects When Writing/Encouraging Creativity

One of my favourite things about writing is that anyone can do it, no matter how much, or how little, money they possess. Here are five simple (and cheap!) things that help me to get words down on the page.

Pen and Paper (Cost = $5.00)

Words seem to come more freely when I write with pen and paper rather than on a computer. I don’t tend to use this form for an entire draft. Instead, I pull out the pen and paper when I’m really struggling to phrase a particular scene or chapter. All my favourite descriptions in THE BOY, THE BIRD AND THE COFFIN MAKER were first written with pen and paper.

Coffee, Tea and Tisanes (Cost = 10c a cup)

The first thing I do before sitting down to write in the morning is to get a cup of coffee. I’m usually really nervous when I start writing for the day – I’m scared that no words are going to come out – so having a cup of coffee distracts me and calms me down. In the afternoon I tend to switch over to green tea or berry tisanes. I always find that the sign of a great writing day is when I get so caught up in the words that my coffee or tea goes cold!

The Library (Cost = free!)

When I get stuck writing a story I like to leave it alone for a few days or weeks and read something else. I tend to steer clear of reading any stories that are in the same genre as the book I am currently writing. Otherwise, the author’s voice tends to creep into my own work. Instead, I will read something completely different, like a memoir or a Nordic crime novel. Seeing that other people have been able to finish their novel gives me the confidence to keep writing my own.

Candles (Cost = $2.00)

When I am writing a really important scene or one with a lot of imagery, I like to write at night by candlelight. There is something about the warm glow of the light that helps me forget my doubts and just write. A scene always seems to turn out a bit more magical when I have written by candlelight.

A walk (or run) with my dogs (Cost = free!)

From left to right: Hector (the slowest), Watson (the second fastest) and Luna (the fastest)

My all time favourite thing to do when I’m struggling to write is to take my dogs for a walk. I have three and they all walk at different paces. If I’m working on a particular scene I will walk my slowest. If I’m working on the plot I will walk the next quickest. And when I just want to clear my head and forget all about the story I will take my fastest for a run. Without my dogs I’m certain I would go insane!

The Boy, the Bird & the Coffin Maker by Matilda Wood is published 4 May 2017 by Scholastic Children’s Books

You can buy a copy of The Boy, the Bird & the Coffin Maker here or from your local bookshop!


About Matilda Woods

Matilda Woods lives in the Southern Tablelands of Australia, where there are no flying fish, but there is the world’s largest cement sheep. She currently lives with her four chickens, three dogs, two cats and one bird.

You can find out more about Matilda on her website – www.matildawoods.com

You can follow Matilda on twitter – @MatildaWrites


Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!


A huge thank you to Matilda for such a fab guest post and to Lorraine at Scholastic for organising and asking me to be part of the blog tour!

Have you read The Boy, the Bird & the Coffin Maker?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued to go and grab a copy?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button above or tweet my on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Spotlight – The Inventory Trilogy by Andy Briggs


Today I am super excited to be closing the brilliant Black Knight Trilogy Blog Tour by spotlighting this brilliant sci-fi trilogy by Andy Briggs and celebrating the release of the  third book Black Knight!

Black Knight was released on the 6th April 2017 published by Scholastic and is the epic conclusion to a gripping MG trilogy!

So lets have a look at what the trilogy is about……

I also have a fab giveaway!


Hidden under a small suburban town, the Inventory is a collection of the most incredible technology the world has NEVER seen: invisible camouflage, HoverBoots, indestructible metals, and the deadly war robot Iron Fist. Dev’s uncle, Charlie Parker, is the Inventory’s mild-mannered curator, with security provided by Eema, a beyond-state-of-the-art artificial intelligence system. But security is catastrophically breached when Lot and Mason from school turn up unexpectedly and, hot on their heels, a ruthless gang of thieves working for the Collector and the Shadow Helix organization. If the thieves succeed in their goal to seize the Iron Fist, Dev, his friends, and the world are in a whole heap of trouble.

Hidden under a small suburban town, the Inventory is a collection of the most incredible technology the world is NOT ready for. In this sequel to Iron Fist, much of the Inventory’s technology has fallen into the wrong hands \- including Newton’s Arrow, a powerful weapon that can manipulate gravity. It’s up to Dev and his friends to get it back, and they follow the weapon’s trail around the world. Along the way they learn the terrible truth about Newton’s Arrow’s capabilities \. as well as disturbing details about Dev’s origins.

Dev and his friends are back with more mind-bending tech in this third installment of the Inventory series. The World Consortium is recruiting more agents to defend the most advanced technology the world isn’t ready for, and it’s up to Dev, Lottie and Mase to train them up for action. But will they be ready before Shadow Helix’s next strike? And has Dev uncovered all the secrets of his past, or is there more to know about his special abilities?

You can buy a copy of this trilogy here or from your local bookshop!


About Andy Briggs

Andy Briggs is a screenwriter, producer and author of the Hero.com, Villain.net and Tarzan series. Andy has worked on film development for Paramount and Warner Bros, as well as working with Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee and producer Robert Evans. With a strong social media following, Andy tours the UK regularly, doing festival, school and library events. 

You can find out more about Andy on his website – www.andybriggs.co.uk

Or why not follow him on twitter using – @aBriggswriter

You can catch previous posts from Andy Briggs on Tales by clicking on the below links….

A Day In The Life Of An Author

Favourite Fictional Worlds


Giveaway

With thanks to the lovely people at Scholastic I have a set of this fab trilogy to giveaway to one lucky winner!

Just head over to my twitter page where you can follow and RT to enter by clicking here

UK Only

Ends 07/05/2016

Good Luck!


Blog Tour

Catch up on this fab blog tour at the following stops!


A huge thanks to Katrina at Scholastic for having me on this fab tour and sending me a copy of the book and to Andy for always being such an awesome author!

You can find a previous guest post with Andy Briggs telling is all about a day in the life of an author here

Or Andy’s Favourite Fictional Worlds here

Have you read any books by Andy Briggs?  Does the Inventory Trilogy sound up your street?  Which was your favourite in the trilogy?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading!

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