Tag Archives: UKYA

Guest Post – Sweet Elixir by Laura Lam


I am super excited to have been asked to be part of the blog tour for this amazing book, Masquerade by Laura Lam!

Masquerade is the third and final novel in Laura Lam’s Micah Grey trilogy, following Pantomime and Shadowplay, and was published on the 9th March 2017.


 

 

 

 

 

 

I am super excited to have Laura on the blog today.  Each chapter of Masquerade contains an italicised header which relates to the book in some way. Laura dedicated a lot of time to researching and selecting each excerpt and I’m so honoured to be sharing one of them today, with a bit of explanation from Laura on what each means, where it’s from, etc.

If you buy Pantomime or Masquerade & send your receipt to Laura, you can claim a free 10k short story, “The Mechanical Minotaur,” set in the same world. If you buy all three, you can claim 60k of free fiction as well. More details here.


In a land of lost wonders, the past is stirring once more . . .

Gene’s life resembles a debutante’s dream. Yet she hides a secret that would see her shunned by the nobility. Gene is both male and female. Then she displays unwanted magical abilities – last seen in mysterious beings from an almost-forgotten age. Matters escalate further when her parents plan a devastating betrayal, so she flees home, dressed as a boy.

The city beyond contains glowing glass relics from a lost civilization. They call to her, but she wants freedom not mysteries. So, reinvented as ‘Micah Grey’, Gene joins the circus. As an aerialist, she discovers the joy of flight – but the circus has a dark side. She’s also plagued by visions foretelling danger. A storm is howling in from the past, but will she heed its roar?

Old magics are waking. But will the world survive their return?

Micah Grey almost died when he fled the circus with Drystan – now he and the ex-clown seek to outrun disaster. Drystan persuades his old friend Jasper Maske, a once-renowned magician, to take them in. But when he agrees to teach them his trade, Maske is challenged to the ultimate high-stakes duel by his embittered arch-nemesis.

Micah must perfect his skills of illusion, while navigating a tender new love. An investigator is also hunting the person he once seemed to be – a noble family’s runaway daughter. As the duel draws near, Micah increasingly suffers from visions showing him real magic and future terrors. Events that broke the ancient world are being replayed. But can Micah’s latent powers influence this deadly pattern?

The gifted hide their talents, but dare they step into the light?

Micah’s Chimaera powers are growing, until his dark visions overwhelm him. Drystan is forced to take him to Dr Pozzi, to save his life. But can they really trust the doctor, especially when a close friend is revealed to be his spy?

Meanwhile, violent unrest is sweeping the country, as anti-royalist factions fight to be heard. Then three chimaera are attacked, after revealing their existence with the monarchy’s blessing – and the struggle becomes personal. A small sect decimated the chimaera in ancient times and nearly destroyed the world. Now they’ve re-emerged to spread terror once more. Micah will discover a royal secret, which draws him into the heart of the conflict. And he and his friends must risk everything to finally bring peace to their land.

You can buy these books here

If you buy Pantomime or Masquerade & send your receipt to Laura, you can claim a free 10k short story, “The Mechanical Minotaur,” set in the same world. If you buy all three, you can claim 60k of free fiction as well. More details here.


Sweet Elixir

The thing about addiction is that I know it’s what will kill me. It won’t be a carriage in the road, or a common flu, or even the slow creep of cancer. It’s almost certain that Lerium will be what ends me. And there’s a strange, awful sort of comfort in that.

From the anonymous memoir of a Lerium addict, discovered and published post-mortem

Every chapter in the Micah Grey series has a short found document at the start, ranging from a variety of sources: history books, diaries, songs, poetry, and more. It’s basically a sneaky way to add in more worldbuilding and detail about Ellada & the Archipelago.

Addiction is a reoccurring theme in Masquerade.If anyone has read my tie-in Vestigial Tale “The Card Sharp,” it picks up on a lot of threads that are introduced in that novella. Lerium is the fictional drug within Ellada, which has clear parallels to opium in the 19th century. It was only used in very special religious ceremonies in one of the former colonies, Byssia, but Elladans took it and used it commercially because of colonialism. The colonies have long seceded from Ellada, reclaiming their independence, but the damage has been done. There’s another drug that’s sort of a continuation of Lerium as well, and it complicates a lot of character interactions within the final book. A little vague, but difficult to talk about the third book in a trilogy!

You can buy Masquerade or any of the Micah Grey Series here

If you buy Pantomime or Masquerade & send your receipt to Laura, you can claim a free 10k short story, “The Mechanical Minotaur,” set in the same world. If you buy all three, you can claim 60k of free fiction as well. More details here.


About Laura Lam

Laura Lam was raised near San Francisco, California, by two former Haight-Ashbury hippies. Both of them encouraged her to finger-paint to her heart’s desire, colour outside the lines, and consider the library a second home. This led to an overabundance of daydreams. She relocated to Scotland to be with her husband, whom she met on the internet when he insulted her taste in books. She almost blocked him but is glad she didn’t. At times she misses the sunshine.

You can find out more about Laura on her website – www.lauralam.co.uk

Or why not follow Laura on twitter – @LR_Lam


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to Laura for such a brilliant guest post and a fascinating insight into the trilogy!  And to Alice at Pan Macmillan for organising and sending me a copy of this fab book!

Have you read any of the Micah Grey Series?  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 – Inspiration For The Setting Of See How They Lie by Sue Wallman


I was a huge fan of Sue Wallman’s debut Lying About Last Summer which was released last year and was also featured as part of the #ZoellaBookClub and I have been craving her next book ever since!

See How They Lie was released on the 2nd March 2017 published by Scholastic and when it dropped through my letterbox I started it straight away!

See How They Lie is set in at Hummingbird Creek, an elite wellness retreat where rich teens with psychological problems can get the help and the setting really captures your imagination from the offset.  I was interested in why Sue chose this particular setting for her second book.  Find out more in this fab guest post from the lady herself!

I also have an awesome giveaway!  Details at the bottom of the post!


Mae feels lucky to have grown up at Hummingbird Creek, an elite wellness retreat where rich teens with psychological problems can get the help they need from her father, a prominent psychiatrist. The Creek has world-class cuisine, a state-of-the-art sports centre and the latest spa treatments. Every aspect of daily life is monitored for optimal health, and there are strict rules for everyone. When Mae is caught breaking the rules, the response is severe. She starts to question everything about her highly controlled life. And at the Creek, asking questions can be dangerous.


Inspiration For The Setting Of See How They Lie

I’d been searching for an idea for my next book for what seemed like months and I was starting to panic. The right idea just wouldn’t emerge. I thought back through my life experiences to see if that would spark anything – and then I remembered: when I was six I lived in a psychiatric hospital in York. My dad had started a new job as a psychiatrist there, and my parents hadn’t yet found a house to buy.

The five of us (my sister was eight and my brother was four) moved into an unused part of the hospital. We didn’t have our own entrance – just a thick-fabric screen partitioning off our section of the building (the sort that people change behind in period dramas). We slept on hospital beds which felt perilously high up off the ground until we got used to them. For some reason their height wasn’t adjustable. I spent most of my time cycling round paths in the beautiful rose garden with my sister. Once a week we had a formal Sunday lunch with the matron, and we had to be on our best behaviour because she was pretty scary.

Occasionally we were taken to say hello to the patients. We knew we had to be polite and respectful. They all seemed to be the same age (old) to six-year-old me, and I remember not being sure what to say, and often not understanding what they were saying. My dad knew what to say though, and this made me proud.

Then Mum and Dad bought a house, we moved out of the hospital and we had a new normal.

It wasn’t too much of a stretch for me to think about what it would be like for someone to be brought up for years in an isolated psychiatric facility as a doctor’s daughter. I made the facility super-luxurious, and more of a wellness retreat. And then I added a large amount of creepiness because otherwise it wouldn’t be a psychological thriller!

You can buy a copy of See How They Lie here or from your local bookshop


About Sue Wallman

Sue Wallman is a journalist who lives in London with her husband and three teenage daughters. In 2013 she won the Bailey’s Women’s Prize first chapter award judged by Rachel Joyce and Kate Mosse. LYING ABOUT LAST SUMMER is her debut novel followed by See How They Lie.

To find out more about Sue Wallman you can visit her website – http://suewallman.co.uk

Or why not follow her on twitter using @swallman

You can find my review of Lying About Last Summer here

Or find our which character from Lying About Last Summer you are here


Giveaway

With thanks to the lovely people at Scholastic I have 3 copies of this fab YA Thriller to giveaway on twitter.

You can enter here

Ends 15/03/2017

UK Only

Good Luck!


A huge thank you to Sue for such a brilliant guest post and insight into the inspiration behind the book!  And to Olivia at Scholastic for organising and asking me to host a fab giveaway!

Have you read See How They Lie?  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 – Author Of The Month – Melinda Salisbury


I am so excited to have announced on the 1st of March that the awesome Queen Melinda Salisbury is our #BritishBooksChallenge17 Author Of The Month for March 17!

You can find out more about the #BritishBooksChallenge17 here

I am a huge HUGE fan of Melinda and her books are full of worlds that will leave you breathless by the end.  Melinda’s The Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy is not to be missed!  Melinda Salisbury is a HUGE UKYA talent and I am so excited to shine the spotlight on her and her wonderful books as Author Of The Month!

And remember if you read, review and link up any of Melinda’s books for our #BritishBooksChallenge17  March link up here you will gain an extra entries into the March Prize Pack Draw!

Today I am honoured that this post is also featuring as part of the fab blog tour and I have a special signed giveaway which will be running through my twitter account.


About Melinda Salisbury

When not working on her next novel Melinda Salisbury is busy reading and travelling, both of which are now more addictions than hobbies.  She lives by the sea, somewhere in the south of England.

You can find out more about Melinda Salisbury on her website – www.melindasalisbury.com

Or why not follow Melinda on Twitter – @MESalisbury


The Books And Why We Love Melinda Salisbury

Seventeen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she’s engaged to the prince, Twylla isn’t exactly a member of the court.

As the Goddess embodied, Twylla instantly kills anyone she touches. Each month she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love a girl with murder in her veins. Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to Twylla’s fatal touch, avoids her company.

But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose easy smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he’s able to look past Twylla’s executioner robes and see the girl, not the Goddess. Yet Twylla’s been promised to the prince, and knows what happens to people who cross the queen.

However, a treasonous secret is the least of Twylla’s problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies, a plan that requires a stomach-churning, unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favour of a doomed love?

You can find my review of The Sin Eater’s Daughter here

Return to the darkly beautiful world of The Sin Eater’s Daughter with a sequel that will leave you awed, terrified . . . and desperate for more. Ever since her brother Lief disappeared, Errin’s life has gone from bad to worse. Not only must she care for her sick mother, she has to scrape together rent money by selling illegal herbal cures. But none of that compares to the threat of the vengeful Sleeping Prince whom the Queen just awoke from his enchanted sleep. When her village is evacuated as part of the war against the Sleeping Prince, Errin is left desperate and homeless. The only person she can turn to is the mysterious Silas, a young man who buys deadly poisons from Errin, but won’t reveal why he needs them. Silas promises to help Errin, but when he vanishes, Errin must journey across a kingdom on the brink of war to seek another way to save her mother and herself. But what she finds splits the world as she knows it apart, and with the Sleeping Prince drawing nearer, Errin must make a heartbreaking choice that could affect the whole kingdom…

You can find my review of The Sleeping Prince here

The final battle is coming… As the Sleeping Prince tightens his hold on Lormere and Tregellan, the net closes in on the ragged band of rebels trying desperately to defeat him. Twylla and Errin are separated, isolated, and running out of time. The final battle is coming, and Aurek will stop at nothing to keep the throne forever… Explosive, rich and darkly addictive, this is the stunning conclusion to Mel Salisbury’s internationally best-selling trilogy that began with THE SIN EATER’S DAUGHTER

The Scarecrow Queen is the highly anticipated and captivating finale in the internationally bestselling trilogy that began with The Sin Eater’s Daughter. Published by Scholastic 2 March 2017.

You can buy any of Melinda Salisbury’s books here or from your local bookshop


Giveaway

With thanks to the lovely people at Scholastic I have one Signed copy of The Scarecrow Queen to giveaway via twitter here

Good Luck!


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to the wonderful Melinda Salisbury fan’s that provided me with quotes for this post.  I highly recommend this trilogy with all of my heart and soul from out March Author Of The Month!

Also a huge thank you to Lorraine at Scholastic for having me as part of the blog tour, for fully embracing all things British Books Challenge and for the giveaway prize!

And remember if you read, review and link up any of Mel’s books for our #BritishBooksChallenge17 March link up here you will gain an extra entries into the March Prize Pack Draw!

Are you a Melinda Salisbury Fan?  Do you have a favourite book out of the trilogy?  Are you new to Melinda Salisbury?   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!

Guest Post – Writing A Sequel by Sarah Mussi


Today I am so so happy  to be part of the blog tour for Here Be Witches by the lovely Sarah Mussi!

Here Be Witches was released on the 1st March 2017 published by Shrine Bell and is book two in Sarah’s Snowdonia Chronicles series!  I cannot wait to delve into this adventure as soon as possible!

Find out more about the first in the series, Here Be Dragons in this previous guest post here

Today Sarah interviews herself in the form of a brilliant guest post and discusses exactly how to write a sequel…….

*Drum roll*


Here Be Witches is the second book in the Snowdonia Chronicles trilogy by Sarah Mussi. A perilous adventure into the magical and murderous realm of mythical Snowdonia.

All Ellie Morgan wants is to be with her one true love, Henry. But she’s caught in the middle of a BATTLE as old as SNOWDON itself. A battle between GOOD and EVIL.

A WITCHES’ SPELL, cast high on the mountain, has sped up time and made matters MUCH WORSE. The dragons are awake; mythical creatures and evil ghosts have risen. And nearly all of them want Ellie DEAD.

Thank heavens for loyal friend George, (disloyal) bestie Rhi, and mysterious stranger, Davey. Armed with Granny Jones’s potions, Ellie and her companions must set out on a journey to REVERSE THE SPELL, stop the EVIL White Dragon and find Henry.

As an eternal winter tightens its grip on Snowdon, Ellie and her friends have just THREE DAYS to SURVIVE and complete their quest.


Writing A Sequel

I’m totally thrilled to be with Tales of Yesterday on day two of my blog tour for book two in The Snowdonia Chronicles: Here be Witches

THANK YOU SO MUCH Tales of Yesterday!

During my blog tour I will be interviewing myself on HOW TO WRITE A SEQUEL!

So here goes…

Sarah interviews Sarah on how to write a sequel in a thrilling and compelling romantic fantasy!

Sarah

Welcome to the world of WRITING A SEQUEL.

I am using Here be Witches to explain my thinking on how I did it.

Q.

OK.  Great. I shall be asking you lots of questions … now where did we get to?

 Sarah

A.

We got to the narrative equation and writing a synopsis.

 Q.

Ah! I remember you were going to share the synopsis of Here be Witches, can you do that now?

A.

Well, a synopsis can go on for a bit longer than you might want to post here, and a synopsis for a sequel might have to contain vital exposition from book one … so I’ll just put the beginning of the synopsis for Here be Witches in this blog. The beginning is always the most important bit anyway, as it sets the scene, identifies the genre and whets the appetite (hopefully) for more. So here goes …

Here be Witches

Ellie’s heart is broken and there is only one person who can mend it: Henry Pendragon, royal heir and Y Ddraig Goch, Red Dragon of Wales. But Henry can’t help Ellie, for he is badly wounded and entombed under Mount Snowdon, held there by ancient magic along with Sir Oswald, his fiendish uncle, and White Dragon of Wessex.

 Determined to free Henry, Ellie dedicates herself to the task. On the 29th February, an auspicious day in the calendar of dragons, she receives a distressed message from her bestie, Rhiannon, something terrible has happened at Henry’s cavern. Her heart misses a beat. As soon as possible, Ellie sets out for Dinas Emrys where Henry lies imprisoned. 

 On her arrival at the lair, Ellie discovers that her friend, and other members of a witches’ coven have performed a sinister ritual on the cliffs above the subterranean cavern, a ceremony designed to break the magic laid upon the dragons and awake them. 

 In horror Ellie hears how the ceremony went terribly wrong. The earth cracked wide, one of the girls slipped into the chasm and was impaled upon two shimmering crystals. With a sound like thunder, the mountain split open and from inside it arose a terrifying white dragon, alive, awake and very angry …

Q.

Yes, I see how each paragraph is a scene with some paragraphs acting as exposition too, but I can also see that because you have chosen to have Ellie as the narrator again, you have been unable or chosen not to have her see the witches’ ceremony first hand. Why was that?

A.

OK, those are very perceptive questions, and I can’t answer them fully until we have established a few basics. Can I just go back to basics for a minute?

Q.

Sure. Go ahead.

A.

Right before we dive into the content and the problems of point of view and the delivery of ‘off stage’ scenes, I’d like to show you how I answered some fundamental narrative questions when planning Here be Witches. They involve looking at:

What exactly is a narrative?

What exactly is a plot?

What exactly is structure?

 Q.

Why do you need to ask that?

 A.

It really helps with the planning. Here’s why…

In a narrative you need at least three things:

A character, a setting, some events (so in Here be Witches that breakdown runs like this: Ellie lives in Snowdonia and must overcome problems to achieve her goal).

In a plot we need at least three things

A character, a goal, a problem (so Ellie’s goal is to be with her true love Henry, but the magic, which has gone wrong, has banished Henry forever from the world).

For a structure we at least need three things

A beginning, middle, and an end (therefore Ellie must discover why Henry has been banished and then set out to find a way to reverse the magic and restore Henry to her and finally overcome those who wish to stop her).

Once you’ve got that in place then you can then decide about narration and point of view and ask yourself, if your lead character/protagonist is really the best person to tell this story and the one most affected by the action in general. If the answer is yes – you can then use additional devices to ‘show’ key ‘off stage’ scenes that are not within the remit of the protagonist’s point of view.

Only then can you really start to climb the narrative mountain and plan out a totally thrilling story:

Q.

OK, but how did you decide Ellie WAS the best character to narrate this story?

 A.

Well despite the fact that she was the narrator in book one Here be Dragons and there might be readers who are already invested in her story, I had to establish that she was still the best character to continue to tell the story and to do this I had to revisit an important  principle – that it’s not what happens in a story, so much as who it happens to that is the most important aspect.  Readers live the story through the characters, so they need a really nice/reliable (usually)/interesting and convincing companion to see/live the events through.

Q.

But what makes an interesting, convincing character?

 A.

Good question! Here’s the way I decide:

Firstly a character needs characteristics

A main character should be heroic, and strong (perhaps)? Good-looking (controversial?) Independent? Kind?  I try to think of characters I admire in fiction I’ve read and ask myself why do I like them? Then add my answers into the mix when creating my characters.

I also like to choose a flaw that my protagonist will need to overcome. Flaws make us human and help readers to identify with the character and understand the decisions they make. (My flaw for Ellie is that she is loving out of her element, and it is bringing harm down on those others who love her and on her home.)

Secondly, a character drives the plot forward

So a goal is important, as this is the engine of the story. I always choose the person who has the strongest/most interesting/most identifiable with goal to narrate my stories (forbidden love is a V strong goal and has driven many a better narrative than mine!). The character’s desire to achieve their goal drives the action forward, and when the character meets conflict they struggle to overcome it.

Note to self pinned on my wall: PROTAGONISTS MUST CONFRONT OVERWHELMING CONFLICT IN THEIR PURSUIT OF SOME VISIBLE GOAL.

This is so key because then the plot structure simply follows the sequence of events that lead the hero toward their goal, which mean all the hard work of plotting is done for me!

Thirdly, a character with a goal has motivation

Motivations make the character keep going when things get tough. Though sometimes it is the fear of what will happen if they fail and the stakes that drive them forward.

Finally, a character needs a background

Name/age and looks/ family/a place to live – all these things can help to make the story just right for the reader – as I choose a protagonist that might be very like the reader in some of these aspects to create reader identification.

After thinking about all of these points I decided that Ellie was still the main character and I was going to tell the story from her point of view.

Q.

So will you tell us then how you dealt with ‘off stage’ scenes and what devices you used to help the reader feel present at the action?

 A.

Yes!

I’ll do that in my next post!

So stand by for tomorrow’s blog with tips and tricks for drip-feeding or even elbowing-in all the dreaded EXPOSITION and POV conundrums with Queen of Teen Fiction! http://www.queenofteenfiction.co.uk/

SEE YOU THERE!

You can buy a copy of Here Be Witches here or from your local bookshop

 


About Sarah Mussi

Sarah Mussi is an award-winning author of children’s and young adults’ fiction. Her first novel, The Door of No Return, won the Glen Dimplex Children’s Book Award and was shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award. Her second novel, The Last of the Warrior Kings, was shortlisted for the Lewisham Book Award, inspired a London Walk, and is used as a textbook in Lewisham schools. Her thriller, Siege, was nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal (2014) and won the BBUKYA award for contemporary YA fiction. Her thriller, Riot, was longlisted for The Amazing Book Award and shortlisted for The Lancashire Schools Award. Her most recent novel, Bomb, was published in 2015 by Hodder Children’s Books. Sarah was born and raised in the Cotswolds, attended Pate’s Grammar School for Girls, and graduated with a BA in Fine Art from Winchester School of Art and an MA from the Royal College of Art. She spent over fifteen years in West Africa as a teacher and now teaches English in Lewisham, where she is also the current Chair of CWISL (Children’s Writers and Illustrators in South London).

Find out more about Sarah on her website – www.sarahmussi.com

Or why not follow Sarah on twitter using – @sarahmussi

You can buy Sarah’s books here


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to Sarah for a fab guest post and to Lorna at VP for organising and asking me to be part of this fab blog tour!

Have you read Here Be Witches?  What did you think?  Will you be picking up a copy?  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!

Guest Post – Heart Racing Alternatives For Valentines Day by Sharon Gosling


I am super excited to be part of the fab blog tour for a new addition to the brilliant Red Eye Series, Fir by Sharon Gosling!

The Red Eye series published by Stripes are a series of individual YA Horror stories to chill the blood and scare you to the core.  Books published in the series include Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell and Sleepless by Lou Morgan.

Fir was released on the 9th February 2017 and I simply cannot wait to read it!  I brilliant addition to the Red Eye Series.

And as it’s Valentines Day today…..

HAPPY VALENTINES!

We thought it would be great to share some heart racing alternatives to Valentines in the scary guest post…..

*evil laugh*


Moving from Stockholm to an isolated pine plantation in northern Sweden is bad enough, but when the snows come early and all links between the Strombergs and the outside world are cut off, it gets worse. With only a grudging housekeeper and increasingly withdrawn parents for company, there is nothing to do but to explore the old plantation house. Anything to stay out of the endless pine trees pressing in on them. But soon it becomes clear that the danger within the old plantation house is even greater than what lies outside…

A chilling YA horror, perfect for fans of Dawn Kurtagich, Juno Dawson and Stephen King.

Heart Racing Alternatives For Valentines Day

Why rely on a date to make your evening on Valentine’s Day? Far better to get your heart racing with a good scare! Here’s Sharon’s top tips for an alternative Valentines.

Books

The Bunker Diary – Kevin Brooks

There was an outcry when Brooks’ tale of a group of people locked in a bunker by an anonymous madman won the Carnegie Medal in 2014. It certainly shook me up – I had nightmares for weeks after reading it. It’s an uncompromisingly bleak story, all the more horrifying for the absence of any supernatural entity to take the blame. This is man’s inhumanity to man, writ large and horribly believable.

Florence and Giles – John Harding

This has the feel of the Henry James classic ghost story The Turn of the Screw, though there are no ghosts here – there’s only the growing, helpless sense that what we’re reading might be a rather twisted view of what’s actually happening. Set in New England in 1891, the book is told from Florence’s point of view, the older of two children who have been left in the care of a rich and mainly absent uncle. Convinced that the people charged with looking after her and her little brother are unfit and possibly malevolent, Florence takes it upon herself to make sure Giles is safe. Brooding, creepy and shocking.

Frozen Charlotte – Alex Bell

I love the believable mythology Bell has woven into this tale, which lends a real sense of anticipation to the action and takes the idea of possessed dolls to a whole new level. The action hits the ground running from the first page with some ill-advised meddling with an Ouija board app and winds up the tension from there. There’s a sequel coming soon, too, which I can’t wait to read!

From a Buick 8 – Stephen King

I love Stephen King and although this might not be an obvious choice for a horror from his bibliography, this is one of the first of his I read and it’s stayed with me ever since. The idea that something as mundane and apparently harmless as a car can harbour such terror and other-worldliness opens up a universe of possibilities.

The Lottery – Shirley Jackson

This short story from 1948 has become a classic of the horror genre and yet the terror in it comes not from blood and gore but from the complicit silence that reigns at its conclusion. Oh, what one human is willing to do to another.

Films

The Babadook

It’s about the evil residing in a children’s book – what’s not to like? It’s also really beautiful to look at and the child actor in it (Noah Wiseman) is unsettlingly talented.

The Mist

Based on a Stephen King novella, although the film alters the ending to make it even bleaker. Gorgeously shot by Frank Darabont, it’s worth watching in the claustrophobic monotone that the director describes as his preferred version.

The Descent

Darkness, enclosed spaces and people-eating monsters – I managed to watch this film once at the cinema but have abandoned all subsequent viewings as it freaks me out too much! Note: if you want to experience the full horror, make sure you watch the UK version – the US version features a different, more upbeat, ending.

 The Others

A classic ghost story with a great cinematic twist – the scene with the little girl in the veil really creeped me out.

The Hole

The 2001 film, not the 2009 one with the same name. My love of unreliable narrators is making itself felt with this one – it’s the story of a group of teenagers who get someone to lock them into an underground bunker to avoid school. Thora Birch is brilliantly ambiguous as the under dog (or is she?) and my scalp prickles as I remember the conversation in which it’s pointed out what will happen to them if the one person who knows they’re down there gets hit by a truck.

TV

The Fades

From 2011, this BBC mini-series is what Iain De Caestecker did before he went Stateside to join Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Paul keeps seeing visions of the apocalypse and the spirits of the dead. It’s creepy, with some great acting and a real sense of dread.

Stranger Things

I loved this, not only for all the pitch-perfect 80s observations of the genre and great soundtrack, but also for the genuinely scary nature of the monster and the ashy hopelessness of the alternate plane.

The Walking Dead

Zombies have been everywhere for a long time, but they’ve never been done better on television than in this adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s comic series – and the human characters show themselves to be as capable of acts of horror as the mindless undead.

The X Files

The first episode I ever saw was season one’s ‘Darkness Falls’, in which Mulder drags Scully out to a remote, ancient forest. There they find that illegal logging has released a miniscule bug, dormant for centuries, that really likes eating human flesh. I was thoroughly scared and definitely had a few nightmares as a result. Cut to however many years later, and my new book FIR involves an ancient forest and the forces willing to do anything to protect it. I guess it really stuck with me….

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


About Sharon Gosling

Sharon started off as an entertainment journalist, writing magazine articles and books about science fiction television shows. She’s also written, produced and directed audio dramas. In 2011, she wrote The Diamond Thief, (originally published as an ebook under the title Remy Brunel and the Ocean of Light). Published in traditional format by Curious Fox as their launch title in 2013, The Diamond Thief went on to win the Redbridge Children’s Award in 2014. The sequel, The Ruby Airship, was published in April 2014, and the final book in the trilogy, The Sapphire Cutlass, in April 2016. Sharon also still writes books about television and film – most recently she has co-written tie-ins for the Planet of the Apes and Batman vs Superman films as well as the television series companion The Art and Making Of Penny Dreadful, all for Titan Books.

Sharon and her husband live in a very remote village in northern Cumbria, surrounded by fells, sheep, and a host of lovely neighbours who will one day make very good characters in their own book. When she’s not writing, she bakes a lot of cake and bread, attempts to grow things in an allotment, and catches the baby rabbits unhelpfully brought in by the cat.

You can follow Sharon on twitter – @sharongosling


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to the lovely Sharon Gosling for such a fab heart racing post!
Also a huge thank you to Charlie at Stripes for organising and having me as part of this fab blog tour.

Have you read Fir?  What did you think?  Are you a YA Horror fan?   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!

Guest Post – All About Mia by Lisa Williamson


I am over the moon to be part of the fab blog tour for All About Mia by Lisa Williamson!

Lisa’s debut, The Art Of Being Normal,was one of my favourite reads of 2015 and I have been waiting for another book from Lisa ever since!

All About Mia was released on the 2nd February 2017 published by DFB and I’ve heard nothing but praise for it already!  I simply can’t wait to read it!

So when I was asked what I would like to feature as part of the blog tour I thought it would be good to find out EXACTLY all about Mia….literally…..

So come and find out All About Mia….


One family, three sisters. GRACE, the oldest: straight-A student.AUDREY, the youngest: future Olympic swimming champion. And MIA, the mess in the middle. Mia is wild and daring, great with hair and selfies, and the undisputed leader of her friends – not attributes appreciated by her parents or teachers. When Grace makes a shock announcement, Mia hopes that her now-not-so-perfect sister will get into the trouble she deserves. But instead, it is Mia whose life spirals out of control – boozing, boys and bad behaviour – and she starts to realise that her attempts to make it All About Mia might put at risk the very things she loves the most.


All About Mia

No prizes for guessing what my new novel, All About Mia might be about! But who is Mia? And why is it all about her? Here’s everything you need to know!

Name: Mia Campbell-Richardson

Age: Sixteen

Family: Mum (Nikki), Dad (Jason), older sister (Grace, 19), younger sister (Audrey, 13)

Relationship with family: Erratic

Best friends: Stella Fielding, Mikey Twist, Kimmie Chu

Relationship status: Single

Relationship history: Ten months with Jordan Cooke

Favourite films: Clueless, Mary Poppins, Pitch Perfect, The Princess Bride, Mermaids, Step Up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Favourite TV: Pretty Little Liars, Friday Night Lights, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The 100, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Favourite food: Pizza, Dad’s jerk chicken, cheesy wotsits, chocolate hobnobs, McDonalds (no gherkins!), Haribo

Music: Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Lorde, Rihanna, Drake, Little Mix

Signature style: short shorts, tight dresses, big hair, bright lips, ‘It’s All About Mia’ t-shirt

Best subject at school: Religious Studies

Worst subject at school: English

Personality: extroverted, impulsive, confident, daring, sexy, funny, energetic, chaotic

Talents/skills: Great negotiator, confident leader, creative thinker, justice seeker

Greatest flaw: Impulsiveness

Best quality: Bravery

Habits: Binge drinker, occasional smoker, sugar addict

Celebrity crushes: Zayn Malik, Michael B Jordan, Ryan Guzman

Role models: Lorde, Amandla Stenberg

Anthem: Shake It Off, Taylor Swift

Hogwarts House: Slytherin

You can buy a copy of All About Mia here


About Lisa Williamson

I was born in Nottingham in 1980. This year I turn 36, which will mean I’ve been an adult for over half my life. I’m suitably terrified. I think I like to write for young adults because I still feel like I am one. 

I was a weird kid. Chronically shy, I spent a lot of time drawing and hiding under tables. Then for some strange and unexpected reason, I decided I wanted to be an actor. I eventually got over my shyness and aged nineteen, moved to London to study Performing Arts at Middlesex University. Here I met some of my very best mates and spent three bizarre but happy years singing show tunes and rolling around in fake blood, blagging a degree in the process. After graduation, I adopted the stage name of Lisa Cassidy (Lisa Williamson was already taken by Dawn from Hollyoaks…) and did all sorts of daft acting jobs, from appearing in panto with Basil Brush, to playing a Witch in Macbeth: The Musical. These days I act in lots of TV commericals, usually playing the role of ‘dishevelled mum’. 

I’ve always loved books and stories and as a child I enjoyed making up stories in my head (usually rip-offs of Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton). In my late twenties, I found myself craving an additional creative outlet (I was temping in an office at the time) and started to write a novel about an out of work actor. Although no one wanted to publish it, I was excited to discover I could actually write something with a beginning, middle and end. Completing it freed me up to write something new and not necessarily based on my own personal experience.

Between 2010 and 2012, I worked as an administrator at the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS), based at the world-famous Tavistock Centre in North London. GIDS is the NHS service for under-eighteens struggling with their gender identity. The young people who used the service inspired me to write a story from the point of view of a transgender teenager. This eventually became The Art of Being Normal. 

You can find out more about Lisa on her website – www.lisawilliamsonauthor.com

Or why not follow Lisa on Twitter – @lisa_letters


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to the lovely Lisa Williamson for such a fab post and going along with my idea in the first place .

Also a huge thank you to Nina Douglas and DFB for organising and having me as part of this fab blog tour.

You can find a review of The Art Of Being Normal here

Or a Q&A with a character from The Art Of Being Normal here

Have you read All About Mia?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued by Mia?   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!

Tales Q&A with Juno Dawson


I am super excited to have our British Books Challenge author of the month for January, Juno Dawson on Tales today with a brilliant Q&A to celebrate the release of Margot & Me.

Margot & Me was released on the 26th January 2017 published by Hot Key and is set to be a brilliant read set in both war time and the 90’s.

Juno is also #BritishBooksChallenge17 author of the month for January 2017!

Check out the #BritishBooksChallenge17 Spotlight on Juno, her books and find out why people are loving her so much – here

You can find out more about the #BritishBooksChallenge17 here

And that’s not all!

With thanks to Hot Key I have a spare copy of Margot & Me to giveaway on twitter – here


About Margot & Me

Fliss’s mum needs peace and quiet to recuperate from a long illness, so they both move to the countryside to live with Margot, Fliss’s stern and bullying grandmother. Life on the farm is tough and life at school is even tougher, so when Fliss unearths Margot’s wartime diary, she sees an opportunity to get her own back.

But Fliss soon discovers Margot’s life during the evacuation was full of adventure, mystery . . . and even passion. What’s more, she learns a terrible secret that could tear her whole family apart . . .


Welcome to Tales Of Yesterday Juno.  I’m so so happy to have you here!  I’m super excited for Margot & Me which was released on the 26th January 2017 so I’m over the moon to get to chat to you all about it.

 Can you tell us a little about Margot & Me?

It’s about the relationship between a modern girl, Fliss, and her overbearing grandmother, Margot. When Fliss discovers Margot’s wartime diary, she unearths a massive family scandal that changes everything.

 Can you tell us a little about the main character Fliss?

I wanted to write a character who was a little less ‘together’ than some of my previous characters. She can seem a little spoiled, a bit of a princess, but you learn she’s basically spent a lot of her teens caring for her mum, and she’s NOT impressed at having to leave her life behind to move to rural Wales.

 Can you tell us about some of the other characters in Margot & Me?

Margot is as much of a main character as Fliss. Her diaries reveal a very different side to her and you come to understand why she’s such a tyrant in the present! It’s a story about two teenage girls separated by fifty years.

 Both girls have a #squad and, as you’d expect from a Juno Dawson novel, a diverse #squad at that.

 What made you want to write a story that was set in both the present and the past?

I used to teach Year 5 history lessons about the evacuation and there’s something very evocative about that time. It’s a theme much explored in children’s fiction. It’s a way to get rid of parents for one thing and quite allegorical for being evacuated from childhood and into adulthood too.

 How does the story flow in the book?  Do we see the diary as entries or is it written as Margot’s story?

Margot’s sections are diary entries, Fliss’s are not. There are a lot of parallels – both girls are growing up in challenging times.

 As the diary of Margot is set during The Blitz in the 1940’s how did you find writing historical fiction?  Was there much research involved?

There was, although there’s nothing more boring that authors showing off about how much research they’ve done by putting it all in the novel. Why would a character living IN the 40s wax lyrical about how delightfully vintage and antique their surroundings are? It’s a story, not a non-fiction account of life in the war.

 What was your favourite scene to write in Margot & Me?

It’s a real weepy and I had to make myself have a lovely cry or why would anyone else? There’s something very cathartic about having a cry when reading. I can’t say much about it, spoilers, but the very last one is my favourite scene.

 What was the most difficult scene to write in Margot & Me?

The first page! This book has had more opening paragraphs that I’ve had hot meals.

 If you could sum up Margot & Me in 5 words what would you choose?

Moving, heartbreaking, cosy, witty and bittersweet.

 You have had some wonderful quotes from brilliant authors already ….will we need a big pack of tissues whilst reading?

Yes, for both crying and masturbation.

 This is your sixth fiction book (plus two non fiction) – what have you learnt, with regards to your writing, along the way?

I think you have to write for yourself. Don’t try to second-guess your readers or the industry. That way madness lies.

 Could you tell us a little bit about what you’re writing next?

I’m still working on my memoir, The Gender Games, which will be about in July!

 Thanks so much for answering all of my questions Juno! x

You can buy a copy of Margot & Me here or from your local bookshop

 


About Juno Dawson

Queen of Teen 2014 Juno Dawson is the multi award-winning author of six novels for young adults. In 2016, she authored the best-selling World Book Day title: SPOT THE DIFFERENCE.

Her next novel is the beautiful and emotive MARGOT & ME (Jan 2017) which will be followed by her adult debut, the memoir THE GENDER GAMES (Jul 17).

Juno also wrote the bestselling non-fiction guide to life for young LGBT people, THIS BOOK IS GAY. In 2016 a follow-up, MIND YOUR HEAD, featured everything a young person needs to know about mental health.

Juno is a regular contributor to Attitude Magazine, Glamour Magazine and The Guardian and has contributed to news items on BBC Women’s Hour, Front Row, ITV News, Channel 5 News, This Morning and Newsnight concerning sexuality, identity, literature and education.

Juno’s titles have received rave reviews and have been translated into more than ten languages around the world.

Juno grew up in West Yorkshire, writing imaginary episodes of Doctor Who. She later turned her talent to journalism, interviewing luminaries such as Steps and Atomic Kitten before writing a weekly serial in a Brighton newspaper. In 2015, Juno announced her intention to undergo gender transition and live as a woman.

Juno writes full time and lives in Brighton. In her spare time, she STILL loves Doctor Who and is a keen follower of horror films and connoisseur of pop music. In 2014 Juno became a School Role Model for the charity STONEWALL.

You can find out more about Juno on her website – www.junodawson.com

Or why not follow Juno on twitter using @junodawson


Giveaway

Don’t forget with thanks to Hot Key I have a spare copy of Margot & Me to giveaway on twitter – here


A huge thank you to Juno and also Tina at Hot Key for organising this post, embracing the #BritishBooksChallenge17 and providing a copy of the book for a giveaway!

Have you read Margot & Me?  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 review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – DIRECTION – Working Together, Collaborating London-Oxford by Perdita & Honor Cargill


I am so beyond honoured to be celebrating the release of Waiting For Callback:  Take Two by the super lovely, hilarious and best mother/daughter writers around, Perdita & Honor Cargill.

Waiting For Callback:  Take Two is the hilarious follow up to last years debut Waiting For Callback which was one of my favourite reads of 2016

Take Two is released today, 26th January 2017 published by Simon & Schuster Children’s UK and I simply cannot wait to find out what Elektra gets up to next!

I know one thing for sure…..I will be smiling and laughing lots!

I’m over the moon to have been asked to be part of the fab blog tour and today Perdita and Honour chat about direction in this fab and super funny guest post….


Elektra has finally landed a part in a film. It’s the dream. Well … until she works out that Straker is a movie so dystopian that within weeks most of the cast and all of the crew wish that the world had actually ended (preferably in scene one). And while it’s obviously great news that she’s moved from the friend-zone with Archie to become his almost-girlfriend, it would be better if he hadn’t immediately relocated to Transylvania to play a vampire hunter surrounded by ‘maidens of peerless beauty’… Full of humour and warmth, this new series is perfect for fans of Geek Girl and The It Girl.


DIRECTION – Working Together, Collaborating London-Oxford

Day Four of our Take Two blog tour and today we’re chatting about Direction (although we should have called it Co-Directing). Just to set the scene this time I (P) am talking and typing this while Hon is talking very fast and eating (classic multi-tasking).

H: Have I said enough in the last year to explode the No. 1 Misconception that because we’re family we work side-by -side sitting at the kitchen table, steaming mugs of tea and freshly baked cake in front of our matching notepads, birdsong in the background?

P: I don’t think that anyone who knows us will still be under any illusions. And we’re getting further and further apart. This time last year we were working in different rooms then you (Hon) discovered the joy of working in cafes and I stayed in the attic.  Then you went to Uni and now in term time at least you’re in Oxford and I’m in London. God, I hope it’s not some dark metaphor…

H: Not that ‘dark’… Oh God, except for That Train Journey – the one where we sat side by side working on edits all the way from London to Newcastle and had nearly dissolved the partnership by York. That was dark.

P: *shudders* But we do loads of the actual writing during your holidays.

H: I work very hard in London cafes! But (at arm’s length) we’re surprisingly harmonious collaborators. Ok, there’s some pretty brutal editing along the way but I can’t think of any bits that in the end we disagreed on.

P: No, it works well. Although there were a couple of…misunderstandings that underlined that I must never be allowed to write contemporary teen on my own.

H: Ha! Like your tendency to put add full stops to the end of texts and the great bucket hat fiasco?  We probably plotted better together because we were on a tighter schedule for Take Two so we had to be more focused.

P: I’m quite proud that we got Take Two done to deadline. It was hard work. You did so much of the writing this time that I wanted to change the name order on the cover because I felt guilty! (We couldn’t).

H: I still didn’t do any of the copy editing stuff. I’d be useless at that. And I think Take Two was easier to write than Waiting for Callback because we know all the characters so well. I am genuinely fond of them – even Flissy.

P: Have you got a new fave character or does your heart still belong to Archie?

H: My heart will always belong to Archie… whether he’s in character as a vampire-slaying-hero or not …

(Random cute baby vampire bat)

But I’d quite like to go clubbing with Hot Carlo…

P: I’m quite glad that we’re talking about fictional characters.  I’ve got a soft spot for Amber. She is truly dreadful (“very shiny, possibly made in a lab in Beverley Hills. Scary handbag dog named after a vegetable.” Ch. 7) and yet mastering yogic breathing is definitely one of my 2017 resolutions.

H: Good luck with that.

Thank you Chelley for hosting us! Come and join us tomorrow on Vivienne’s blog, Serendipity Reviews where we will be chatting about Special Effects (our glossy cover and lovely inside Extras!)

You can buy a copy of Waiting For Callback: Take Two here or from you local bookshop


About Perdita & Honor Cargill

Perdita Cargill

I co-write the WAITING FOR CALLBACK series with Honor Cargill. She’s my daughter and it’s something of a miracle that no only do we write together but we have a lot of fun doing it. She’s in her first year at Oxford University reading Classical Archaeology and Ancient History (niche…). I used to be the least numerate tax barrister ever to practise in the English courts. It was a relief to everyone when I hung up my wig and gown and took to writing funny teen novels…

Honor Cargill

I’m 18 and I’m in my first year at Oxford Uni reading Classical Archaeology and Ancient History (bit rogue) and I co-write the WAITING FOR CALLBACK series of funny teen novels with Perdita Cargill (who is, conveniently, my mum…). I’ve done some acting and although I’m nothing like Elektra (our main character) I feel her pain because her most humiliating moments are strangely similar to mine…

You can find out more by visiting the website – www.waitingforcallback.com

Or why not follow Perdita on Twitter – @perditact

Or Honor on Instagram – honorcargill


Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of the awesome blog tour at the following stops.


A huge thank you to Perdita and Honor for a fab guest post and making me laugh always.  Also a huge thank you to Jade for asking me to be part of the blog tour and for organising.

Have you read Waiting For Callback:  Take Two?  Are you intrigued? Did you read the first book in the series too?  What parts made you laugh out loud?  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

Guest Post – Our Favourite Magical Moments In Literature by Katharine & Elizabeth Corr


I am over the moon to have been asked to be part of the blog tour for the second book in this fantasy, witch-y, fairy-tale YA series, The Witch’s Tears by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr.

The Witch’s Tears is due to be released on the 26th January 2017 published by Harper Collins Children’s Books and is the sequel to lasts years debut The Witch’s Kiss.

I literally cannot wait to read this book!  Not only is it set to be an amazing read, but Katharine and Elizabeth are just the loveliest.

I’m THAT excited that both books are part of the British Books Challenge January Prize pack with thanks to Harper Collins Children’s.

For my stop on the blog tour Katharine and Elizabeth share their favourite magical moments in literature!

*swishes magic wand*


Can true love’s kiss save the day…?

Electrifying dark magic debut by authors and sisters, Katharine and Elizabeth Corr.

Sixteeen-year-old Meredith is fed-up with her feuding family and feeling invisible at school – not to mention the witch magic that shoots out of her fingernails when she’s stressed. Then sweet, sensitive Jack comes into her life and she falls for him hard. The only problem is that he is periodically possessed by a destructive centuries-old curse.

Meredith has lost her heart, but will she also lose her life? Or in true fairytale tradition, can true love’s kiss save the day?


Our Favourite Magical Moments

 We LOVE fantasy in all its various guises, both as readers and as writers. Fantasy opens the door into another world, often literally – whether by stepping through a wardrobe, getting swept up by a tornado or climbing into a painting. In fact, these interfaces of the real and the magical might be our favourite elements of fantasy literature: they hold out the promise that any minute, our ordinary lives might become extraordinary. So here, in no particular order, are the top five magical literary moments from our childhood…

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C S Lewis): Lucy finds Narnia

 ‘And then she saw that there was a light ahead of her… A moment later she found that she was standing in the middle of a wood at night-time with snow under her feet and snowflakes falling through the air.’

 Apart from fairy tales, the Narnia stories were our first introduction to fantasy. We both remember exploring an old wardrobe in our grandmother’s house after reading this bit of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. We were utterly crushed not to find a magical land at the back of it.

The Box of Delights (John Masefield): Kay opens the Box for the first time

 ‘…the Box slowly opened. Inside he saw what he took to be a book, the leaves of which were all chased and worked with multitudinous figures, and the effect that it gave him was that of staring into an opening in a wood.’

 We came to this book through first seeing the BBC adaptation. It’s such a wonderful, unique blend of magic and real life (or real life as it was in the 1930s, at least). When Kay first opens the Box he encounters Herne the Hunter and gets to experience life as a stag, a bird and a fish – all within two minutes of human time.

Tom’s Midnight Garden (Philippa Pearce): Tom discovers the garden

‘Tom opened the door wide and let in the moonlight. It flooded in, as bright as daylight – the white daylight that comes before the full rising of the sun. The illumination was perfect.’

Who wouldn’t be intrigued by a clock that strikes thirteen? Tom’s investigation leads to the discovery of the garden that only exists at a special time of night. He goes on to have magical adventures in late Victorian England.

Through the Looking Glass (Lewis Caroll) – Alice climbs through the mirror

‘And certainly the glass was beginning to melt away, just like a bright slivery mist.’

The Looking Glass is another way to escape from reality into a magical world. And yes, we did both check periodically that the mirror over the fireplace at home hadn’t turned into silver gauze. A mirror universe with backwards writing and talking chess pieces was just so tempting

The Dark is Rising (Susan Cooper) – Will awakens on Midwinter Day

‘He was woken by music. It beckoned him, lilting and insistent…There was in this music so much of the deepest enchantment of all his dreams and imaginings that he woke smiling in pure happiness at the sound.’

This is the moment when Will Stanton realises he is not just a normal boy. The music beckons him outside and he discovers a snow-covered landscape from the depths of time, and first encounters the Dark Rider who pursues him throughout the rest of the book.

You can buy a copy of The Witch’s Tears here or from your local bookshop

You can catch a previous post from Katharine & Elizabeth Corr about favourite literary curses here


About Katharine & Elizabeth Corr

We are sisters and best friends (try writing a book with someone else and you’ll see why that last bit is kind of important). After spending our childhood in Essex, we now live ten minutes away from each other in Surrey. We both studied history at university and went to work in London for a bit. Then we stopped working to raise families, because somehow we missed the memo explaining that children are far more demanding than clients or bosses. When we both decided to write novels – on account of fictional people being much easier to deal with than real ones – it was obvious we should do it together.

Stuff Katharine likes: playing instruments badly; dead languages; LOTR; loud pop concerts; Jane Austen; Neill Gaiman; Loki; the Surrey Hills. Killing off characters.

Stuff Elizabeth likes: sketching, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, cinema, long baths, kitchen discos, Terry Pratchett, Thor, London. Saving characters.

Stuff we both like: YA / non-YA fantasy and science fiction,Star Wars, Star Trek, each other (most of the time).

You can find out more about Katharine and Elizabeth on their website – www.corrsisters.com

Or why not follow them on twitter – @katharinecorr and @lizcorr_writes


Blog Tour

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


A huge huge thank you to Katharine and Elizabeth for such a superb guest post and for being so lovely to invite me onto the blog tour!  Also a huge thank you to Jess at Harper Collins for having me and being super wonderful and supportive with the British Books Challenge too!

Have you read The Witch’s Tears or the first book The Witch’s Kiss?  What did you think?  What are your favourite magical moments in literature?  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!

Guest Post – Character Inspiration in Gilded Cage by Vic James


I am super excited to be part of the epic blog tour for the brilliant Gilded Cage by Vic James!

Gilded Cage is the first book in the Dark Gifts trilogy and is due for release on the 26th January 2017 published by the fantastic Pan Macmillan and is set to be an unforgettable read!

As well as all of this Vic James is also #BritishBooksChallenge17 debut of the month for January 2017!

Check out the #BritishBooksChallenge17 Spotlight on Vic and Gilded Cage and find out why people are loving it – here

You can find out more about the #BritishBooksChallenge17 here

And that’s not all!

With thanks to Pan Macmillan I am also hosting a special giveaway on twitter to win 1 of 5 copies of Gilded Cage here!

I’m intrigued by Gilded Cage and I wanted to find out a little more about the inspiration behind its characters……


About Gilded Cage

A thrilling Orwellian vision of Britain, with a rebellious Hunger Games heart, Gilded Cage is the astonishing debut novel from Vic James, and the first title in her electrifying The Dark Gifts Trilogy.

A modern Britain
An age-old cruelty

Britain’s magically skilled aristocracy compels all commoners to serve them for ten years – and now it’s the Hadleys’ turn. Abi Hadley is assigned to England’s most ruthless noble family. The secrets she uncovers could win her freedom – or break her heart. Her brother Luke is enslaved in a brutal factory town, where new friends’ ideals might cost him everything.

Then while the elite vie for power, a young aristocrat plots to remake the world with his dark gifts. As Britain moves from anger to defiance, all three must take sides. And the consequences of their choices will change everything, forever.

You can buy a copy of Gilded Cage here or from you local bookshop


Character Inspiration in Gilded Cage

Ahh, the inspiration for the characters in GILDED CAGE. This is such an interesting question, because while it’s easy to talk about inspiration for the world-building, or the ideas behind the story, the characters seem to come from nowhere.

What I mean by that is that I have never sat down and thought: ‘I need a villain who will betray his best friend’, or ‘Everyone likes strong female characters, so let’s have one of those.’ In fact, as most people who write will tell you, that is one of the Very Worst Ways to try and write a book. It means you regard your characters as plot tools, or as types, rather than as real, rounded people.

So if you’re not creating a character from a kind of checklist (pick any one of: brave/spirited/reckless, innocent/cynical/cunning etc.), then where do they come from?

The truth is that they seem to exist independently of you, and yet you know everything about them.

So in an early draft of book 2, I needed some random details about Silyen Jardine – the enigmatic and unprecedentedly powerful youngest son of the elite Jardine family. And the answers were there. What sort of treat would he nibble on? Pistachio macaroons. His favourite smell? New polish on his beloved riding boots. For GILDED CAGE, I needed to know how he takes his coffee. Black, and scalding hot.

Unless you know your character this intimately, you’ll struggle to know the big stuff: What do they really want? Would they ever betray the one they love? How far would they go to achieve their goals?

That’s because characters must drive story. An author is like a laboratory scientist observing rat behaviour in a maze. You build the maze (world). You have a good idea how your rats will navigate it (plot). You usually know where they’ll end up (dramatic conclusion!). In the case of the Dark Gifts trilogy, which completes in June 2018 with BRIGHT RUIN, I sat down to write knowing the beginning and the end of the entire sequence.

But plot serves character, not the other way around. So you have to be prepared for a few of your rats to take a different route. Some characters demand more of the story than you originally intended for them – I found, for example, that I loved writing playboy heir Gavar Jardine. When you know a character better than they know themselves, it can create compelling twists and turns, as they discover sides of themselves they weren’t aware of.

And how do you get to know your characters like this? It’s exactly how you’d get to know anyone in real life. Talk to them. Go for walks with them. Think about them. Work at figuring them out. All that time you spend in your teens obsessing over what’s going on in the head of your crush/best friend/ /siblings/parents? That’s the most valuable preparation you’ll ever have for writing characters that you, and hopefully your readers, will love.

Gilded Cage by Vic James is the first installment of the Dark Gifts Trilogy. It is published in paperback 26 January 2017 by Pan Macmillan £7.99

You can buy a copy of Gilded Cage here or from you local bookshop


About Vic James

Vic James is a current affairs TV director who loves stories in all their forms, and Gilded Cage is her debut novel. She as twice judged the Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize, has made films for BBC1, BBC2, and Channel 4 News, and is a huge Wattpadd.com success story. Under its previous title, Slavedays, her book was read online over a third of a million times in first draft. And it went on to win Wattpad’s ‘Talk of the Town’ award in 2015 – on a site showcasing 200 million stories. Vic James lives and works in London.

You can find out more about Vic James on her website – www.vicjames.co.uk

Or why not follow her on twitter – @DrVictoriaJames


Giveaway

Don’t forget with thanks to Pan Macmillan I am also hosting a special giveaway on twitter to win 1 of 5 copies of Gilded Cage here!


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to Vic James and also Alice at Pan Macmillan for organising this post, embracing the #BritishBooksChallenge17, providing a copies of Gilded Cage to giveaway and having me as part of this fab tour!

Have you read Gilded Cage?  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 review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

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