Tag Archives: YA

Spotlight – Zenith by Sasha Alsberg & Lindsay Cummings


Today is my stop on the Zenith blog tour!

Zenith by Sasha Alsberg & Lindsay Cummings was released on the 11th January 2018 published by HQ Young Adult and if you like YA Sci-fi then Zenith is the perfect book for you!

Today I am sharing a little bit about the book and I have an awesome giveaway!


YA Sci-Fi featuring an all-girl spaceship crew taking control and showing the boy’s how it’s done, with romance, tragedy and ray-guns.

Most know Androma Racella as the Bloody Baroness: a powerful mercenary whose reign of terror stretches across the Mirabel Galaxy. To those aboard her fearsome glass starship the Marauder, she’s just Andi, their captain and protector.

When a routine mission goes awry, the all-girl crew’s resilience is tested as they find themselves in a most unfamiliar place: at the mercy of a powerful bounty hunter connected to Andi’s past and a harrowing betrayal.

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


About Sasha Alsberg

Sasha Alsberg is the #1 New York Times bestselling co-author of Zenith, the first book in The Androma Saga. When Sasha is not writing or obsessing over Scotland, she is making YouTube videos on her channel, Abookutopia, and studying history at university. She lives in Massachusetts with her two dogs.

You can find out more about Sasha on her website – sashaalsberg.com

Or why not follow her on twitter – @sashaalsberg

About Lindsay Cummings

Lindsay Cummings is the author of the THE MURDER COMPLEX series (Greenwillow) and theBALANCE KEEPERS series (Katherine Tegen Books). She lives in Texas.

You can follow Lindsay on twitter – @authorlindsayc


Giveaway

The lovely people at HQ have given me 3 x copies of Zenith to giveaway to 3 lucky winners!

You can enter to win via my twitter here

UK Only

Ends 23/01/2018

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 Lucy at HQ for asking me to host a tour stop and this fab giveaway!

Have you read Zenith?  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!

Guest Post – Writing Advice by Dan Smith


Today I am thrilled to be hosting this brilliant Dan Smith here on Tales with a fab guest post to celebrate the release of Below Zero!

Below Zero was released on the 4th January 2018 published by the lovelies at Chicken House and is a chilling thriller that will chill you to the core.

Today Dan gives us all some amazing writing advise in this fab guest post!


When Zak’s plane crash-lands on Outpost Zero, a small Antarctic research base in one of the most isolated places on Earth, he discovers a cold, dark nightmare. The power’s out and the people who live there have disappeared. Worse, as he searches for answers, bizarre visions suggest a link to something else – deep beneath the ice – which only he can understand …


Writing Advise

I just typed ‘advice for writers’ into Google. 4,940,000 results. ‘Tips for writers’ gets 16,800,000 results. ‘How to write a novel’ gets 142,000,000 results.

What you’ve got right there is a LOT of advice for writers. But is any of it any good? I don’t know, maybe. Probably. Some of it might be.

When I go into schools I’m sometimes asked if I have any tips for writers. Often it’s a teacher who asks, but sometimes it’s one of the students. Or maybe I’m asked to write an article along the lines of ‘5 tips for budding writers’. You know the kind of thing. Unfortunately, though, I can’t impart any sure-fire-publication-guaranteed nugget of advice, because such a thing doesn’t exist.

I reckon there are two things you can do if you want to be a writer or improve your writing. The first is to read books. I don’t think I’m giving away any of the Majestic Brotherhood of Author’s secrets when I say that reading books will help with writing books. The other thing you can do is write. And write. And write. Because writing is like many other things – it takes a lot of practice, a huge amount of perseverance, a mound of dedication, a dollop of talent, and – if you want to be published – a monumental amount of luck. Multiply the luck by a gajillion if you want to get rich by writing books.

If I could put all those things in a bottle and sell them, I would now be sitting by the pool in my villa in Bali, watching the sea through the palms and wondering what to do tomorrow – stroll along the beach, or go and find a jungle waterfall to swim in.

So my advice would be to not listen to all that advice. Someone once told me that when writing a book for younger readers, the most important thing to do is to find a way to get rid of the parents. In fact, the most important thing to do is to write a story that will engage young readers – though don’t ask me how to do that!

When I started to write Below Zero, I didn’t want to get rid of the parents. I wanted Zak’s parents to be front-and-centre in his story. For many children, their parents are the most significant people in their lives, so it doesn’t seem strange to me that they should feature in a story about something that happens to children. But Zak’s parents are not perfect – just like my parents and your parents. They have flaws. They have quirks. They are human. They can be embarrassing, reassuring, strong, weak, fallible, and, most important of all, they can be wrong. And sometimes, when parents are wrong, they need their children to remind them of it – just like Zak and May do in Below Zero.

Stories reflect life. They are often hyper-realistic versions of life, or even weird, overblown, and crazy versions of real life, but they still reflect life and relationships, and worries and fears and so much more.

There is no right way to tell a story. All we can do is try our best.

BELOW ZERO by Dan Smith out now in paperback (£6.99, Chicken House). Find out more at chickenhousebooks.com and connect with Dan Smith @DanSmithAuthor

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


About Dan Smith

Growing up, Dan Smith led three lives. In one he survived the day-to-day humdrum of boarding school, while in another he travelled the world, finding adventure in the padi fields of Asia and the jungles of Brazil. But the third life he lived in a world of his own, making up stories . . . Which is where some people say he still lives most of the time.

Dan has lived in many places that inspire his writing – including Sierra Leone, Sumatra, northern and central Brazil. He’s even lived in Spain and in the Soviet Union, but he’s now settled in Newcastle with his wife and two young children to keep him on his toes. And, boy, do they keep him on his toes!

Past jobs have varied from dishwasher extraordinaire (or, perhaps, just ordinaire), social security fraud (detecting it, not committing it), to working on giant-sized Christmas decorations, and a fistful of mundane office jobs, but throughout all of those things, he’s always kept writing.

Dan writes for both children and adults.

You can follow Dan Smith on Twitter – @DanSmithAuthor

Or on his Facebook page 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 Dan for a brilliant guest post and to Laura from Chicken House for asking me to host and be part of this fab blog tour.

Have you read Below Zero?  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….

Guest Post – The Art Of Survival In A Dinosaur YA Book by S M Wilson


Today I am roaring with excitement to have the awesome S M Wilson on Tales with a fab guest post to celebrate the release of her debut YA, The Extinction Trials.

The Extinction Trials was released on the 28th December 2017 published by the wonderful Usborne and I’ve heard if you are a fan of dinosaurs then this is the book for you!

So today S M Wilson tells us all about the art of survival in a dinosaur book…..lets jump straight in!

#ExtinctionTrials


Stormchaser wants to escape her starved, grey life. Lincoln wants to save his dying sister. Their only chance is to join an expedition to a deadly country to steal the eggs of vicious dinosaurs. If they succeed, their reward is a new life filled with riches. But in a land full of monsters – both human and reptilian – only the ruthless will survive. Jurassic Park meets The Hunger Games in this epic new series.


The Art of Survival in a Dinosaur YA book……

otherwise known as picking your favourite dinosaur to eat someone and losing characters along the way….

We’ve all settled down to watch the next episode of Star Trek and noticed the previously unseen Ensign sitting at the front of the Enterprise.  Any Star Trek fan at this point sighs and says “Well, they’re going to die!”  And within five minutes, they generally do.

That’s also the trouble with writing a book that spends a long time on a continent filled with deadly dinosaurs.  There have to be some spare characters to lose along the way.  So how do you decide?

Here’s the thing.  I hadn’t really.  I didn’t start this book knowing who was going to come to a grim end beforehand.  Things tended to happen…spontaneously.  As did the dinosaur killings.  They were mainly motivated by the landscape around them and the fact I wanted a few surprises in the stories.

Storm and Lincoln were always my main characters, but that doesn’t guarantee survival.  I also have a group of three friends, a stranger, and a whole host of other finalists who end up on the dinosaur continent.  And every story needs a bad guy.  A Darth Vader.  Mine is called Reban Don.  But why have one bad guy when you can have two?  Enter Galen.  Bad guy number two.  But as you automatically eliminate one of these from your mind, just remember, where’s the fun in killing the bad guy?  Isn’t it more fun keeping him alive and a constant threat?

You have no idea how much pleasure I took in flicking through a dinosaur encyclopaedia thinking, ‘Okay, who can eat…..’

It would probably surprise you how much we don’t actually know about the dinosaurs we’ve discovered.  Scientists have looked at bones and stomach contents and came to some conclusions.  But do we really know how clever they were?  How they hunted?  How they lived?  There are really so many unanswered questions.  Since I started writing Extinction Trials I’ve found so much speculation and differing opinions online.  T-rexess had feathers.  The discovery in South Korea – is it an Ultrasaurus or a Supersaurus? Did newborn pterosaurs actually walk instead of fly?

For me as an author it means I can have a little leeway when I write.  Here’s a spoiler.  My pterosaurs  might attack humans at one point.  Do we have any evidence of this?  Well no.  Pterosaurs and humans didn’t exist at the same time on Earth, but on my Earth?  Well, anything can happen – and usually does.

So hold on to your hat – or your stomach – when you read Extinction Trials and just remember that no character is safe………………

You can buy a copy of The Extinction Trials here or from your local bookshop!


About S M Wilson

Susan Wilson lives on the west coast of Scotland with her fiancé and two sons. She’s worked in the NHS for 25 years – her day job is as a nurse in public health – her dream job is writing fiction. Her love of YA fiction started as a teenager and has never stopped. The Extinction Trials was written for her two sons to try and infect them with the same love of reading that she has. Watch out – she’s hoping it’s contagious!

​You can find out more on her website – www.susan-wilson.com

Susan also writes romance as Scarlet Wilson. She’s written over 30 books for Harlequin Mills & Boon, Tule Publishing and Entangled Publishing. She’s also been a double Rita Finalist for RWA and been nominated for the RoNA Rose award five times, winning it in 2017. You can also find her here

You can find out more on her website – www.scarlet-wilson.com

You can also follow S M Wilson on twitter – @susanwilsonbook


Blog Tour

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

#ExtinctionTrials


A huge thank you to S M Wilson for such a fab guest post and to Stevie at Usborne for asking me to host and be part of the blog tour.

As you’ll see from the graphic above, the tour ends on Sunday evening on #SundayYA. Susan will be a guest during the chat, and will *DRUM ROLL*, officially reveal the title and the cover for book 2.

Usborne will then be sending out the January Usborne YA newsletter the following week with an exclusive chapter extract from book 2, and another chance to win a signed copy. Firstly, if you’re not signed up to the newsletter – do it! It’s a fun one, and the host competitions all the time.

bit.ly/2otCikx 

Have you read The Extinction Trials?  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!

 

 

 

Guest Post – 5 Ways To Cope With Being Grounded by Katy Birchall


I am a huge Katy Birchall fan!  She is just brilliant and her books always make me laugh out loud and when I say out loud I mean LOUD!

Following on from the fab success of the brilliant IT Girl series Katy is back with Secrets Of A Teenage Heiress published by Egmont today, 11th January 2018!

Happy Book Birthday Katy!

“An hilariously funny and fabulously glamorous series from the author of It Girl. Perfect for10+ years readers, and fans of Geek Girl and Girl Online”

So to celebrate today I have the lady herself with a fab guest post….although someone seems to have amended the text…..


Flick’s family have owned The Royale – one of London’s most prestigious hotels – for generations. But Flick isn’t that interested. She is interested in the newest guest – superstar celebrity Skylar Chase, and Sky’s mega-famous group of friends, including dreamy YouTube star, Ethan Duke. But just as Flick gets the chance to join their glittering squad, she gets grounded following an unfortunate incident involving a prince, a wardrobe and a selfie stick (it could have happened to anyone!). With only her Instagram star pet dachshund, Fritz, for company, will Flick find a way to escape The Royale and join the fame game?


5 Ways To Cope With Being Grounded

(amended by Flick Royale, star of Secrets of a Teenage Heiress)

 1.  Talk to your parents Don’t talk to your parents

Seriously, talking to your parents is just about the WORST thing you can do. I mean, what are they going to say? You really think they’re going to AGREE with you? HA! The last time Mum agreed with me was that time when I was about four years old and I asked her to close the window because I was cold. She agreed it was cold. THAT’S IT.

The only thing to do when grounded is SULK AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. That means no talking, no listening, no nothing. They don’t deserve such reasonable behaviour.

2.  Show that you are responsible by helping with chores Create as much trouble as possible

Being grounded is all about principles and your parents violating yours. Time to rebel!! Look, if they’re going to ground you for something TINY, there is no harm in providing them with a little reminder of how bad you really could be if you wanted.

Like the time Mum grounded me when I stuck a note on boring Mr Grindle’s back saying “I am secretly an ostrich”.

In retaliation for her stomping all over my creativity by grounding me for such HILARIOUS behaviour, I hid all our coasters and put wet glasses down on all the surfaces around the flat for two weeks until my punishment was up.

It drove her NUTS.

I’d say she’ll think twice before grounding me again, that’s for sure.

3.  Accept responsibility for your actions Never say sorry

Trust me, whatever you did to get grounded, it’s probably not your fault. You know why? Because parents are bonkers. And then they expect us to be normal.

If anything, they should be apologising to YOU. Just because.

4.  Make the most of being grounded Do NOT have fun while being grounded

Seriously, no offence, but what kind of nerd wrote this stupid list? Making the most of being grounded is the worst thing you can do. Then parents will think it’s ACCEPTABLE.

Instead, make your parents feel as guilty as possible.

Tried and tested ways of doing this are:

· Crying

· Shouting

· Screaming

· Slamming doors

· Telling them that your dachshund Fritz is the only one you can talk to in this cruel, cruel world

· Telling them that if you weren’t grounded, you might be out there making human friends and finding a path of good in life

· But instead you’re stuck inside forced to tell your feelings to your DOG

· And now you’ll probably be shunned by society

·Because, thanks to your childhood, you can’t talk to fellow humans

· Only dogs

5.  Learn from your mistakes DON’T LET THE MAN KEEP YOU DOWN!!

Learning from your mistakes = defeat.

Don’t let them win.

I’d love to stay and elaborate on this point but apparently Chef found out I hid his chef hat in a giant bag of flour and now Mum and him want to “have a word.”

Fritz and I had better escape while we have the chance.

See ya! x

You can buy a copy of Secrets Of A Teenage Heiress here or from your local bookshop


About Katy Birchall

Katy Birchall is the author of the side-splittingly funny The It Girl: Superstar Geek, The It Girl: Team Awkward and The It Girl: Don’t Tell the Bridesmaid. She also worked at Country Life magazine as their Deputy Features Editor. Katy won the 24/7 Theatre Festival Award for Most Promising New Comedy Writer with her very serious play about a ninja monkey at a dinner party. Her pet labradors are the loves of her life, she is mildly obsessed with Jane Austen and one day she hopes to wake up as an elf in The Lord of the Rings. Katy lives in Brixton, London.

You can find out more about Katy on her website – katybirchallauthor.com

Or why not follow her on twitter – @KatyBirchall


Previously On Tales…

Click on the below links for previous post with Abi Elphinstone her on Tales Of Yesterday!

Spotlight – The It Girl by Katy Birchall

Guest Post – 10 Things I’ve Learnt About Being An Author by Katy Birchall

Tales Review – The It Girl by Katy Birchall

Guest Post – How To Survive Sports Day by Katy Birchall

Guest Post – An EXCLUSIVE Interview With It Girl, Anna Huntley by Katy Birchall


A huge big thank you to Siobhan at Egmont for asking me to host this fab post and for donating our January 2018 British Books Challenge Book Prize which includes Secrets Of A Teenage Heiress.

Have you read Secrets Of A Teenage Heiress?  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!

Tales Post – Best Books Read In 2017


It’s time to share my best books read in 2017!

I have really struggled this year not to just read, but to actually finish books!  You can read about it here

Now again this was not because there were no brilliant books to read, it was all down to me.  I feel I have been so busy with work, fitness, family and blogging that my mind and body just wouldn’t take anymore.  Anyway, needless to say that I have failed any challenges I set myself, but I’m trying not to dwell on that too much.

Whilst I only appear to have read 11 books this year this does not include the 20 – 30 plus books that I started and did not complete *rolls eyes at self*.

Anyway, even out of the books I have read I still had an amazing reading year and have picked some of my favourites below (you can see all of the books I have read here )

These will be listed in no particular order.

Before I start I would like to thank everyone for their support yet again in 2017!  The brilliant book community, all the friends I have made, fab authors for writing fab books and being generally awesome, all the publishers who have sent me books and everyone who has supported me through my third full year of book blogging.

Thank You All x

Here we go…..

(remember these are in no particular order…. )


I started the New Year off with such enthusiasm and excitement for all the bookish delights that were awaiting me and the book I decided to start with has ended up being one of my favourite books of 2017!  Caraval by Stephanie Garber captivated me from the very first page.  I don’t normally read a lot of fantasy, but the premise of this book with a circus theme, mysterious feel and set in a magical fantasy world really appealed to me.  I followed Scarlett as she left her tiny isle of Trisda after receiving an invitation from the mysterious Caraval, a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show.  I was mesmerised by the bright and vivid imaginary of Caraval.  I fell in love with characters who made my heartache and turned pages as fast as I could to pull myself further into its magical world.  And yes… I did fall in love with a mysterious, caped man called Legend even though it should have been forbidden and soon realised that I have a problem “thing” for men in capes!  Caraval was a marvel from start to finish and I literally cannot wait for the next book, Legendary, to be released….and yes maybe that is partly because of its namesake *swishes cape* , but mainly because this book was fantastic!

I am a huge slasher horror film lover so this book immediately appealed to me.  The story of a girl who survived a massacre that killed all of her friends and was the Final Girl who managed to escape.  I enjoyed the premise of this book and how being a Final Girl has affected our main character Quincy.  You also got glimpses into the past with flashbacks to the fatal night with the lead up to how the events unravelled right up to the climatic ending which had me on the edge of my seat.  The flashbacks for me had more pull and appealed to the slasher horror lover in me and Sager does not hold back on the shock factor when the events start to unravel.  I can’t wait to see what Sager does next as I will definitely be picking it up!

This book immediately intrigued me as I heard a lot of people talking about it on twitter and as the book is based in a cult it peaked my interest.  I immediately became drawn into the book and couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to find out all about Moonbeam’s story.  And what a story indeed.  The about of compassion I felt for Moonbeam made be root for her all the way.  I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend.

A am a huge fan of Rhian’s already and when I heard about her new book Hope I just couldn’t wait.  From the tag line “Sometimes the end is just the beginning” to the way Rhian deals with subjects like organ donation, PMDD, friendship, family and love.  But most of all this book is about hope event in the darkest and most testing of times when you feel that all is lost.  There is a touching scene in this book that had me in tears which involves a group called Singing Medicine who are based on a real life group that work at Birmingham Children’s Hospital who I had the pleasure to meet when I chaired Rhian’s launch for Hope this year.  They bring so much joy by singing to children who are in need of a smile or indeed some hope and even just to watch them myself bought me some comfort and complete joy.  This is expressed completely in Hope and is just wonderful to read.

This gorgeous book has the makings of an instant classic that will be read to children Christmas after Christmas.  It’s heart warming and full of joy.  One Christmas Wish tells the story of Theo and what happens one Christmas Eve when his Christmas decorations spring to life.  The gorgeous illustrations by Emily Sutton reminded me of Raymond Brigg’s Snowman and bought Katherine’s wonderful, delightful words to life on the page.  This is like the best Christmas present all wrapped into one.  Just wonderful.

I adore Holly Bourne and I absolutely adored this book from start to finish.  I loved everything about it.  I loved Audrey and her project about how love is not as it is portrayed in the movies.  I loved Harry the loveable, funny love interest and I loved the cinema setting especially as I have been spending a lot of time in the cinema myself this year.  There were references to movies some of which I had heard of and some of which I am now going to seek out and discover, but most of all Holly’s writing is an absolute delight and this book made me smile from ear to ear.


So there you have it! My best books read in 2017! I highly recommend all of these books!
2018 looks set to be a fab year and I simply can’t wait to get back on track and read all of the fab books!

I would love to hear what your favourite books read in 2017 were? Are any of them the same as mine? Why not leave a comment or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy

Guest Post – My Favourite Reality TV Shows by Stephanie Kate Strohm


It’s Christmas Eve and what better way to celebrate than to have a wonderful author here on the blog!

Today I have the super wonderful Stephanie Kate Strohm on Tales to celebrate the release of her new YA romantic comedy, Prince In Disguise published by Disney-Hyperion.

I was lucky enough to meet Stephanie this year when I chaired an event at Waterstones Birmingham and lots of laughs were had so I literally cannot wait to jump into this book!

Prince In Disguise finds our main character Dylan as part of a reality TV programme so I thought it would be great to hear all about Stephanie’s favourite reality TV guilty pleasures…..


Someday I want to live in a place where I never hear ‘You’re Dusty’s sister?’ ever again. Life is real enough for Dylan -especially as the ordinary younger sister of Dusty, former Miss Mississippi and the most popular girl in Tupelo. But when Dusty wins the hand of the handsome Scottish laird-to-be Ronan, Dylan has to face a different kind of reality: reality TV. At least there’s Jamie, an adorably bookish groomsman who might just be the perfect antidote to all Dylan’s stress… if she just can keep TRC from turning her into the next reality show sensation.


My Favourite Reality TV Shows

I watch…a lot of reality TV. But I also read a lot of books, so I think it totally evens out! Prince in Disguise, my newest book, combines these two great loves, as it is a book about a reality TV show! When Dylan’s older sister Dusty falls in love with a Scottish lord on a reality dating show, the entire family is whisked off to Scotland to televise the wedding, much to Dylan’s chagrin. Like Dylan, I wouldn’t want to be on a reality show, but I do love watching them! Here are a few of my favourites:

Say Yes to the Dress 

Simple but brilliant. Brides head to Kleinfeld’s in NYC to shop for their dream dresses with the help of Kleinfeld’s stellar team of bridal consultants. Sometimes there’s drama caused by unsupportive family members, but there’s almost always a happy ending as the bride says yes to the dress. I could watch an infinite amount of these back-to-back-to-back, even though every bride with a budget over a certain amount ends up choosing the exact same Pnina Tornai gown.

My Fair Wedding with David Tutera

This show has since rebranded itself as first David Tutera: Unveiled and then David Tutera’s CELEBrations, but it is not as good as it was in the halcyon days of My Fair Wedding, specifically the masterpiece that is Season 3. Celebrity wedding planner David Tutera helps brides short on time, money, or organizational abilities miraculous pull together their dream weddings. The themes – and the weddings – became increasingly elaborate as time went on, often with such high production values that they looked more like film sets than weddings. My beloved Season 3 brought up such treasures as a Phantom of the Opera wedding, a Wizard of Oz wedding, an Alice in Wonderland wedding, and a mini-truck wedding. (That’s right. The theme of the wedding was small trucks.)

 Four Weddings

The weddings on Four Weddings are never the over-the-top confections David Tutera might dream up, and in some ways, that’s part of their appeal. Four strangers from the same area meet and then attend each others’ weddings, ranking them in such categories as dress, venue, food, and overall experience. There’s something kind of evil but also deliciously fun about watching people say out loud all the judgmental things you think when you’re at your cousin’s/sorority sister’s/whoever’s wedding.

 Top Chef

The only thing I love more than weddings is eating. (So if your wedding has really great food, yes, it would be my ideal event!) There are a lot of reality TV cooking competitions (see: basically all of Food Network and Cooking Channel), but for me, nothing beats Top Chef. I love getting to know the chefs and their stories, I love the challenges and the different restaurants and farms they visit, but most of all, I love seeing plate after plate of delicious food. The only thing it’s missing is some romance. If a few more of these chefs would start kissing each other, then it would literally be a perfect show.

Special UK Bonus 

When I was on vacation in England, I caught an episode of The Geordie Shore. It was like Jersey Shore, but way better! I quickly became obsessed and spent way too much time watching it. I have since read all of Charlotte Crosby’s books and done her 3 Minute Belly Blitz workout. Since no one in the states knows who Charlotte Crosby is, I have no sense of how embarrassed I should be about this. (Like, for example, I would never admit to anyone that I’d done Snooki from Jersey Shore’s workout, if such a thing existed.)

Prince In Disguise is out now and you can by a copy here


About Stephanie Kate Strohm


STEPHANIE KATE STROHM is also the author of Pilgrims Don’t Wear Pink, Confederates Don’t Wear Couture, The Taming of the Drew, and It’s Not Me, It’s You. She works as an actress and teacher in Chicago. Visit her website at www.stephaniekatestrohm.com and on Twitter @stephkatestrohm.


A huge thank you to Stephanie for such a fab guest post and to Amy at Disney-Hyperion for getting in touch about hosting.

Have you read Prince In Disguise?  What did you think?  Do you enjoy reality TV?  What are your favourites?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the post or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy !

Happy Reading!

Spotlight – Blackbird by N D Gomes


Today I am excited to be part of the blog tour for this brilliant new YA by N D Gomes, Blackbird.

A Dark contemporary YA following a murder mystery on Orkney that fans of 13 Reasons Why will devour.

Blackbird was released on the 16th November published by the lovely people at HQ and I am super excited to be sharing a fab extract from the book today here on Tales!

So sit back and jump in….


Dark contemporary YA following a murder mystery on Orkney that fans of 13 Reasons Why will devour.

Olivia disappeared the night the blackbird died.

It was New Years Eve the night that dead blackbirds descended, hours before fourteen year old Alex McCarthy’s sister Olivia went missing from a party.

Committed to finding out what happened to her sister, within the previously safe walls of their subarctic Orkney village, Alex knows that dishevelled, sometimes intoxicated Detective Inspector Birkens is her best shot.

Yet as they uncover the secrets behind Olivia’s last night, Alex starts to find things she may be better off never knowing…


Extract

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


About N D Gomes

N.D. Gomes graduated from the University of Stirling with a B.A. in Media Studies, and is currently completing an MLitt in Literature and Creative Writing. She also holds an M.Ed. in Education and worked for several years in the US public education system. Her first novel, Dear Charlie, was published in 2016, followed by Blackbird in 2017. N.D. Gomes currently lives in Scotland.

You can follow N D Gomes on twitter – @nd_gomes


Giveaway

With thanks to the lovely people at HQ I have 1 x copy of Blackbird to giveaway to 1 lucky winner!

I’m hosting this over on my twitter page so do head over and check it out here!

UK Only

Ends 29th November

Good Luck!


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to HQ and N D Gomes for having me on this fab blog tour and for the super intriguing extract!

Have you read Blackbird?  Did you enjoy?  What did you love about it?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the post or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy !

Happy Reading!

Spotlight – Otherworld by Jason Segel & Kirsten Miller


Today I am super excited to be part of the #Otherworld blog tour where I am sharing a thrilling extract and exciting giveaway!

Otherworld was released on the 31st October published by Rock The Boat and is set to me one addictive thrilling read!

So sit back and relax and enter the Otherworld……


“Full of high stakes, thrillers, and fantastic twists and turns, fans of Ready Player One are sure to love this addictive read.” ―BUZZFEED

Welcome to real life 2.0. Are you ready to play?

There are no screens. There are no controls. You don’t just see and hear it – you taste, smell, and touch it too. In this new reality there are no rules to follow, no laws to break. You can live your best life.
    It’s a game so addictive you’ll never want it to end. Until you realize that you’re the one being played.
    Step into Otherworld. Leave your body behind.

The frightening future that Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller have imagined is not far away. Otherworld asks the question we’ll all soon be asking: if technology can deliver everything we want, how much are we willing to pay?

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


Otherworld – Extract

“Hey, crazy!” someone shouts. I recognize the voice. It belongs to a girl from school. “What the hell are you doing?”

“What does it look like?” I call out. “I’m getting a tan.”“Put some clothes on, you pervert!” shouts a second voice. “Nobody wants to see your hairy butt cheeks, Simon,” screams a third. I open my eyes a crack and see three girls from school hanging out of a car. One of them is already tapping away at her phone. Their friends will be arriving soon.

My butt cheeks aren’t quite as furry as they’ve been made out to be, and apparently lots of people would like to see them, because the traffic on my street goes nuts for the next thirty minutes.

I don’t pay any attention to the hoots and catcalls. Crossing ice fields and getting blown to smithereens for hours on end was exhausting. I got about five hours of sleep, but I’ll need more if I want to go back in tonight. I’m just drifting off when I hear a car pull into my drive. A few seconds later, someone’s thrown a jacket over me.

“Get up and get inside.” It’s my mother.

I open my eyes. She’s looming over my chaise, and she’s pissed as hell.

“The people across the street are threatening to phone the police,” she hisses.

“Hi, Mom,” I say with a yawn. “You look stunning this afternoon.”

She does. Her black hair is pulled into a fancy knot, and she’s wearing a silk dress in a very tasteful shade of pale blue. Her painted lips are pressed together beneath her perfect nose.

Now, Simon. Or you’re going to jail.”

I sigh and sit up, tying her jacket around my waist. “Aren’t you overreacting? I’m sure the neighbors will forget all about this unfortunate incident if you let them keep their vulgar roses.”

“Those people are not who you should be worried about,” she says. “My accountant just called to ask if the six-thousand-dollar charge on my AmEx for video game equipment was a business expense. You stole my credit card, Simon. One more word from you and I’m dialing your probation officer.”

This is unexpected. The accountant must be new. The old one didn’t ask questions.

I’m fully clothed and sitting on the living room couch when my father gets home. He’s dressed in Easter egg colors and there’s a nine iron in his hand. Apparently I’ve interrupted a golf game. He walks straight through the room without even acknowledging me. A few minutes later, he’s back, and he’s got my new headset, gloves and booties. He drops them all in a pile on the floor.

I wince when I hear a crack. “Come on, Dad,” I groan. “Do you know how hard it was to get all that stuff? Only a couple thousand of those headsets have even been made. That one’s going to be worth a fortune someday.”

“This heap of crap cost six thousand, three hundred and fifty- six dollars?” he asks.

Not exactly—I bought two sets of gear. I only kept one for myself. “It’s not crap,” I say. “It’s the newest virtual reality technology. I was on a wait list for that headset—”

“So it’s a video game,” my father says. If you didn’t know him, you wouldn’t think he was that angry. But I’ve spent eighteen years with Grant Eaton, and I know all the warning signs. He’s about to blow sky-high.

“It’s revolutionary—”

“It’s over.” He lifts his nine iron over his head and brings it down hard on the equipment. He repeats the same motion at least three dozen times, until his face is bright red and he’s out of breath.

I’m finding it pretty hard to breathe too. My last chance to spend time with Kat is just a pile of plastic shards.

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


About Jason Segel

Jason Segel is an actor, a writer, and an author. Segel wrote and starred in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and co-wrote Disney’s The Muppets, which won an Academy Award for Best Original Song. On television, Segel starred on How I Met Your Mother and Freaks and Geeks. He is the co-author of the New York Times bestselling series Nightmares!  Otherworld is his first novel for young adults.

About Kirsten Miller

Kirsten Miller is the author of the acclaimed Kiki Strike books, the New York Times bestseller The Eternal Ones, and How to Lead a Life of Crime. Otherworld is the fifth novel Kirsten has written with Jason Segel.  kirstenmillerbooks.com


Giveaway

With thanks to the lovely people at Rock The Boat I have 1 x copy of Otherworld to giveaway to 1 lucky winner!

You can enter via my twitter here

UK Only

Ends 17/11/2017

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 Rock The Boat and Nina Douglas for having me on this fab blog tour!

Have you read Otherworld?  Did you enjoy?  What did you love about it?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the post or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy !

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – I’ll Be There For You… Why Teenage Friendships Are Important In YA by Anne Cassidy


Today I am honoured to have the brilliant Anne Cassidy on Tales with a fab guest post to celebrate one of my most anticipated end of 2017 releases, No Shame.

I recently featured No Shame as a book I was hugely excited about over on W H Smth blog here

No Shame was released on the 19th October 2017 published by Hot Key and is a companion novel to Cassidy’s previous novel No Virgin and explores the gruelling process one young woman must go through to bring her rapist to justice which I have heard Anne was moved to write after reading about the real-life cases of Ched Evans, Brock Turner and the Bradford grooming ring. No Shame is sure to be a thought provoking read.

Today Anne talks to us about why teenage friendships are important in YA in this fab guest post….


The powerful companion to NO VIRGIN.From the author of the critically acclaimed, LOOKING FOR JJ, shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize in 2004 and the Carnegie Medal in 2005.Stacey Woods has been raped and now she has to go through a different ordeal – the court trial. But nothing in life it seems is black and white and life is not always fair or just. Suddenly it seems that she may not be believed and that the man who attacked her may be found not guilty . . . if so Stacey will need to find a way to rebuild her life again . . .A tautly told and important book, perfect for readers of Asking for It by Louise O’Neill.


I’ll Be There For You… Why Teenage Friendships Are Important In YA

I focus on friendship in almost every book I write. As a teenager, friendship was everything to me. I was an only child and my need for companionship was greater than those kids who had brothers and sisters. Consequently, I was hungry for a best friend and the close friendships I had helped me get through some difficult times. When they ended, I was devastated. My novel No Virgin follows the main character Stacey Woods as her world collapses when she thinks her best friend, Patrice, is lying to her. These feelings of isolation make her feel vulnerable and easy prey to a boy who is sweet and nice to her. Sadly, this nice sweet boy eventually leads to Stacey being attacked. In the sequel No Shame, it’s Patrice, among others, who support her through the trial.

For young children, having a friend is the first step outside the safety of the family. When they go outside that warm base, they are at the mercy of other people’s whims, likes and dislikes. It’s a challenge and can be brilliant if they find the right friend; but it doesn’t always end happily.

During teenage years, it is absolutely crucial to have good friends. Relationships with the family are changing: the need for privacy and room to develop are important and teenagers lean on other kids who are going through the same thing. In No Virgin, after Stacey has been raped, she doesn’t go to the police and she doesn’t go to her parents. She waits until she can tell Patrice. Patrice is a dominant person in Stacey’s life and Stacey adores her. She is Stacey’s support and lifeline. I admire the work of rape prevention charities like Safeline, whose research shows that this is reflected in real life. Victims of abuse often don’t go to parents or teachers, or even the police. The friend is the first person many victims speak to, making them an essential part of that person’s life and case.

This has its own problems. In the case of Stacey, she leans on Patrice too much. She has to face a court case on her own and make decisions that don’t include Patrice. She gets advice, but in the end it has to be her who takes that step forward. It’s only when Stacey hardens up and steps away from Patrice that she is able to stand on her own two feet. Friendships change and grow over time, just like people. I felt it was important in these books to write a friendship that evolves and goes through its own struggles. But at its core is loving and supportive- something everyone needs.

Teenage friendship is important in these difficult years. But being able to stand on your own two feet is crucial. Just as the warm family base gives the confidence to reach outside and find friends so the comfort of close friends allows the teenager to stride out into the adult world and be themselves.

Anne Cassidy is the author of No Shame (Hot Key Books, 19th October)

You can buy a copy of No Shame here or from your local bookshop


About Anne Cassidy

Anne Cassidy was born in London in 1952. She was an awkward teenager who spent the Swinging Sixties stuck in a convent school trying, dismally, to learn Latin. She was always falling in love and having her heart broken. She worked in a bank for five years until she finally grew up. She then went to college before becoming a teacher for many years. In 2000 Anne became a full-time writer, specialising in crime stories and thrillers for teenagers. In 2004 LOOKING FOR JJ was published to great acclaim, going on to be shortlisted for the 2004 Whitbread Prize and the 2005 Carnegie Medal. MOTH GIRLS, published in 2016, was nominated for the 2017 CILIP Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for the 2017 Sheffield Children’s Book Award.

You can find out more about Anne on her website – www.annecassidy.com

Or follow Anne on Twitter: @annecassidy6


A huge thank you to Anne for such a fab post and to Rachel from Midas  for asking me to host!

Have you read any of No Shame or No Virgin?  Did you enjoy?  What did you love about it?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the post or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy !

Happy Reading!

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