Guest Post – Fun At Yalc by Marisa Noelle

Today I am honoured to welcome the brilliant Marisa Noelle to the blog to celebrate the release of The Shadow Keepers!

The Shadow Keepers is released today published by Magnolia Press.

Happy Book Birthday Marisa!

Now if you’re like me and suffering from the post YALC and Comic Con blues (take me back!) I have the perfect guest post! The lovely Marisa is telling us all about visiting YALC ….oh the memories.

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Sixteen-year-old Georgia Boone has seen the shadow creatures in mirrors and other reflective surfaces since she was six-years-old. But no one–not even her brother, the person she’s closest to in the entire world–believes her. She is all alone in the hellish world where crow-like creatures hunt her everywhere she goes

When an afternoon of shopping ends in violence and blood, Georgia is sent to the UK’s most prestigious mental health hospital: Brookwood Hospital. There, she’s forced to face her fears and answer the question:

Are the shadows real, or is this all in her head?

At Brookwood, the shadow creatures are more present than ever. Each day they grow stronger. With the help of a mysterious boy who lives inside the mirror world,  she might be able to prove that she’s not hallucinating and stop the shadows from destroying the human world.

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Fun At YALC

This past weekend I got to attend the YALC conference for the second time. For those who don’t know, it stands for the Young Adult Literature Conference and is part of London’s Comicon. Jetting past the long queues for the Comicon entrance, I wound my way into the YALC entrance and up to the second floor to be greeted by stands and stands of books. This year I came well prepared; with a sturdy backpack to keep all the books I bought and bring copies I already had for signings.

YALC is a great place to meet other authors, bloggers and publishing professionals. You can pitch to agents, do workshops, attend panel meetings and have your favorite books signed. When I came the first time two years ago, I was hunting for my second agent and carried a lot of anxious energy around in preparation for pitching. With only five minute slots, the stress of trying to make an impression in that short space of time definitely adds to the armpit odour! Although I didn’t make any meaningful connections with agents that year, I know plenty who have! And it’s not as scary as it seems. (Agents are actually human and can be pretty nice!)

This year, with my debut set to come out in a matter of hours and my second novel coming in November, it was an entirely different experience. I didn’t have the stress of pitching or even networking all that much. I came to support many of my debut author friends who happened to have slots on panels, workshops and signings. It was so fun to meet some of them in the flesh for the first time after spending months chatting on Twitter. It made the panels more interesting and meaningful for me and I felt like a kid at Christmas while I waited in their lines to get my books signed. I had a few of my bookmarks out at the Waterstones so here’s hoping a few people out there got one!

Not only is it a great place to hang with authors, but bloggers are there in force. I got to meet Chelle and Amy McCaw in the flesh, both who are taking part in the Shadow Keepers Blog Tour, and Amy was my mentee last year for Write Mentor. It’s lovely to meet people from all sides of the publishing industry, get advice, give advice and generally chat about our general love of books. (Something that no one else in my household understands!!!)

I was only there for one day this year, but I plan to be back for more year after year. If you’re an aspiring writing, a blogger, a publisher, or a reader who just loves books, I’d wholly recommend the experience.  But wear comfortable shoes, take plenty of water, (and deodorant), a fan, and be prepared to have the best day ever.

I didn’t make it down to the Comicon section this year, but I had a friend helping out there who got me the best gift ever! For anyone who’s ever been on my website, they’ll know that The Karate Kid is my favourite movie of all time!!!

You can buy a copy of The Shadow Keepers here

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Marisa Noelle is the writer of middle grade & young adult novels in the genres of science-fiction, fantasy & mental health. The Shadow Keepers is her first novel. The Unadjusteds is due outin November 2019 & The Mermaid Chronicles – Secrets of the Deep at the end of 2019. When she’s not writing or reading or watching movies, she enjoys swimming. In the pool she likes to imagine she could be a mermaid and become part of some of her make-believe words. Despite being an avid bookworm from the time she could hold a book, being an author came as a bit of a surprise to her as she was a bit of a science geek at school. She lives in Woking, UK with her husband and three children. 

Check out her website at www.marisanoelle.com.

Or why not catch Marisa on Twitter & Instagram: @MarisaNoelle77

Or Facebook www.facebook.com/marisanoelle77 or www.facebook.com/theunadjusteds

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Blog Tour

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

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A huge thank you to Marisa for a fab guest post and for having me on the blog tour!

Have you read The Shadow Keepers?  What did you think?  What are your favourite part? Did you go to YALC?  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Tales Character Q&A With N J Simmonds

Today I am over the moon to be hosting a tour stop on the brilliant #Pathkeeper Blog Tour by N J Simmonds.

But this is a blog tour with a twist!

Not only do I have exclusive character graphics and a character Q&A, but I also have the next clue in the treasure hunt!

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About The Book

What if our lives were mapped out before birth? Does anyone have the power to change their destiny?

Ella hates London. She misses her old life in Spain and is struggling to get over her past—until she meets Zac. He’s always loved her but isn’t meant to be part of her story. Not this time. Not ever. Little does she know that his secret is the one thing that will tear them apart and force her to live in a world that no longer makes sense. A world full of danger, lies and magic.

The Path Keeper is a passionate tale of first loves, second chances and the invisible threads that bind us. Can love ever be stronger than fate?

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Exclusive Artwork

Meet Zac and Ella the two main characters in The Path Keeper……

They were commissioned by N J Simmonds herself and beautifully designed by credit Salome Totladze Twitter: @13nakahara and are just completely stunning!

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Character Q&A With Zac & Ella

Now you know what Zac and Ella look like, I had the opportunity to interview them about love, fate and how they met. Here’s what they had to say…

Your love story is a very tumultuous one. I don’t quite know where to begin. Tell me what you thought of one another when you first met.

Zac – It was 5BC in Fiesole, Tuscany. She was called Arabella back then and had the same long, dark hair she has now. I liked the way it caught the sunlight as she…

Ella – Let’s stick to this lifetime, yeah? We met at a bus stop in Highgate, North London, a couple of months ago. It was quite corny actually. He was standing there, hood up, looking like some kind of lurker and I asked him to help me with a bag of books that broke. We walked up the hill together, I talked at him non-stop, then I didn’t see him again for ages. I thought he was hot though, and I was intrigued by his crazy-coloured eyes. They’re different shades of blue depending on his mood.

What attracted you to one another?

Ella – He was quiet and mysterious, you know, like those brooding guys in the movies. I’ve not had the best luck with men, but there was something kind of wise about him, but innocent too. And protective. I don’t know, he came along at the right time I guess. I got a bit obsessed. If I’d known then what I know now maybe I wouldn’t have chased so hard.

Zac – Really?

Ella – Well, OK, maybe not. It’s not like I’d have believed you. But I would have done things differently, we wouldn’t be in this mess if I had listened to you.

Would you say were made for one another?

Zac – No.

Ella – Oh, charming!

Zac – You know we’re not. Ella, you know there’s a big difference between the ones we choose to spend our current life with and our soul mates who traverse all life times. I told you who you’re The One is, and it’s not me.

Ella – I’m not interested in him.

Zac – We’ll see.

Wait, so you’re not the one Ella’s destined to be with, Zac? Are you not her Soul Mate?

Zac – I’m neither. I’m not allowed to be with her. Ella knows this. I tried to keep away but we couldn’t fight it. We’ve crossed the line, and now we have to pay the price. It’s been hard.

Ella – It certainly has been.

Zac – Ella, come on. Not everything’s an innuendo.

Tell me a little about yourselves. Where are you from?

Ella – Zac won’t answer that question. I can though. I was born and raised in the south of Spain to an English mum and a Spanish dad I never knew. I turned nineteen this year and moved to London after the summer. My mum married some really loaded hotel owner so I decided to carry on my studies here. My step-dad’s nice actually, way older than my mum but I like him. She used to be alright too when it was just us, she’s an idiot now though.

Zac – Ella!

Ella – What? It’s true.

Do you have any hobbies?

Zac – I play the classical guitar.

Ella – He’s really good. I don’t play any instrument, I don’t do much at all actually. I like to cook, when I can, and I’ve been out a few times in London now I’ve made some new friends. Mai Li and Kerry. They’re alright, I like hanging out with them actually. Life was way more fun in Spain though. You can’t be pissed off when it’s always sunny and you’re by the beach, you know? But I’m not in touch with anyone there anymore. I guess I’ll have to make the most of living here.

What do you like about London?

Zac – The way it’s constantly evolving. It’s always had its own rhythm, layers upon layers of history stacked beneath our feet. I’ve seen it shift and change before my very eyes, the city always moulding herself to her people. So old, so wise, yet forever throbbing with unstoppable energy.

Ella – I like the bars. That’s about it really… Definitely not the crowds, the Tube or this shitty weather

And finally, if you had one wish. What would it be?

Zac – To never have to leave Ella’s side.

Ella – Well, yeah, that. And to meet my dad. I don’t know anything about him, but I know my mum’s hiding something. Why are you looking at me like that Zac? Do you know something?

You can buy a copy of The Path Keeper here

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The Clue

The competition answer letter for this blog is O. Collect all the letters on the blog tour to spell out the answer to the following question ‘What does Zac receive in the sequel Son of Secrets that’s completely out of character?’ Send the full answer after 28 May to TPKcompetition@gmail.com for your chance to win an exclusive The Path Keeper goody bag. Winner announced 1 July 2019. Open international.

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About N J Simmonds

N.J. Simmonds began her career in glossy magazines and marketing, before becoming a freelance writer and consultant. She now fills her days writing books about fearless teens, magic and adventure. Originally from North London, with Spanish parentage, N.J. Simmonds currently lives in the Netherlands with her husband and two daughters.

Follow N J Simmonds on twitter – @NJSimmondsTPK

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

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A hue thank you N J Simmonds for a fab post and for sharing the exclusive graphics with us!

Have you read The Path Keeper? What did you think? What was your favourite part? Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet/Facebook me using @chelleytoy

Cover Reveal – Gloves Off by Louisa Reid

I am over the moon to have been asked by the super lovely Louisa Reid to reveal the brilliant cover for her new YA due to be released on in August 2019, Gloves Off, published by Guppy Books.

Louisa Reid has been one of my favourite authors for years with YA titles such as Black Heart Blue and Lies Like Love which are must reads!

I am super excited to read Gloves Off, a gripping novel in verse, and of course reveal this truly stunning cover!

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The Blurb

Lily is sixteen and feels like she’s losing at life. Victimised at school, she can’t lay her unhappiness at her parents’ door – they have problems of their own – and Lily feels utterly trapped and alone.

When the kids at school finally go too far, Lily must decide if she’s going to fight back. She starts training at a boxing club and despite its initial difficulties, this becomes the centre of Lily’s life. But is her new-found confidence simply about getting revenge on those who hurt her? Or about taking charge of her own life for once and for all?

Beautifully written, immersive and page-turning, Gloves Off is the stunning story of a girl taking on the world, about body-image and bullying, and above all, about making every moment worth fighting for.

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‘Beautiful, brave and inspiring, Lil’s story will have you weeping one moment and cheering her on the next. I loved it.’ Lisa Williamson, author of The Art of Being Normal

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About Louisa Reid

Louisa Reid lives near Manchester. She’s a writer and a teacher and is originally from Cheshire, studied English at Oxford and has lived in London and Zurich. Her pupils are definitely not the inspiration for her characters in her novels but witnessing their passion for great fiction inspired her to write for young adults.

My novels feature heroines who are different in some way, or at least they feel or are made to feel, different. I think that’s something we can all empathise with.  

Her debut novel, BLACK HEART BLUE was published in 2012 by Penguin and was shortlisted for the North East Teen Book Award and longlisted for the Carnegie and Branford Boase awards. Her second novel, LIES LIKE LOVE was published in July 2014 by Penguin.

Website: www.louisareid.co.uk

Twitter: http://twitter.com/louisareid

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LouisaHRReid?fref=ts

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Cover Reveal

And now the moment you have all been waiting for…….

Check out the cover for Gloves Off by the amazing Louisa Reid!

Isn’t it awesome!!

You can pre-order a copy of Gloves Off here

(Please note that this book is not due for release until August 2019)

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A huge thank you to Louisa for asking me to host this amazing cover reveal!

What do you think of the cover for Gloves Off?  Are you intrigued? Have you read any of Louisa’s other books?  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 Q&A With Ben Miller

Today I am super excited to be celebrating a little bit of Christmas with the amazing Ben Miller!

The Night I Met Father Christmas is perfect for all ages who would like to melt their hearts this Christmas and will leave you feeling all warm and cosy inside!

Today I am very lucky to have been able to put some questions to Ben Miller all about his wonderful book and about his Christmas traditions!

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About The Book

Jackson knows all about the flying reindeer, he knows about the elves and the secret North Pole workshop, he knows about the magic that allows Father Christmas to deliver presents around the world in just one night, but there’s one thing he doesn’t know …  how did Father Christmas become Father Christmas?

That all changes when, one Christmas Eve, Jackson meets Father Christmas and hears his incredible story.   

So begins an enchanting fairy-tale into a magical snowy landscape, where Torvil, a mean-spirited and miserly elf, is about to discover the true meaning of Christmas. This might not have been the story Jackson was expecting but, as Father Christmas tells him, no good story ever is… 

Get ready for a Christmas classic in the making from actor and comedian Ben Miller with beautiful illustrations throughout from emerging talent Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini, that will remind everyone of the true spirit of Christmas and prove once and for all that Father Christmas really does exist! 

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Q&A With Ben Miller

Hi Ben!  Just wanted to start off by saying I am a huge fan and cannot wait to read The Night I Met Father Christmas!

Lets jump on Santa’s sleigh with the first question!

Can you tell us a little about The Night I Met Father Christmas? 

It’s the story of a boy who waits up to meet Father Christmas, then helps him deliver the presents. As they go, Father Christmas tells him the story of how he became Father Christmas.

The book is illustrated by the talented Daniela. What were your thoughts when you first saw the illustrations accompanying your words and do you have a favourite? 

I do! The last one, of Father Christmas climbing down the chimney for the first time. Daniella gave the original to me as a gift! When I first saw them I couldn’t believe how magical they looked, and how scary!

If you could choose one character from the book to invite round for Christmas dinner, who would it be? 

It would have to be Rudolph the talking reindeer. He’s great company.

What would you like your readers to take away from reading The Night I Met Father Christmas? 

That inside every one of us is the child we once were!

What does Christmas mean to you? 

It means magic, and presents, and family. And Father Christmas! 

Thank you so much for answering all of my Questions Ben and for featuring on my blog today.  It’s a huge honour!  Happy Christmas!

Thanks Michelle!

You can buy a copy of The Night I Met Father Christmas here or from your local bookshop!

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About Ben Miller


Ben Miller is an actor, director, and comedian, best known for writing and starring in The Armstrong and Miller Show and his role as Rowan Atkinson’s sidekick, Bough, in Johnny English Strikes Back.  Other recent big screen roles include What We Did On Our Holiday with Billy Connolly, and the much-loved Paddington 2 with, well, Paddington. On television, he is best known for the crime comedy drama Death In Paradise which has been a big hit worldwide.

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Blog Tour

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

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A huge thank you to Ben for answering all to Katherine at Simon & Schuster for asking me to host and be part of this fab blog tour!

Have you read The Night I Met Father Christmas?  What did you think?  What was your favourite part and illustration?  What are you favourite Christmas traditions?  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet/Facebook me using @chelleytoy

Guest Post – 7 Reasons I Love Trick Or Treat by Richie Tankersley Cusick by Joshua Winning

 


Happy Halloween!!

*evil laugh*

Today I have a spooky guest post featuring a book after my own pumpkin heart!

Anybody that knows me knows my love for Point Horror and I’m always super happy to find others who share that passion and have Point Horror memories to share

Today the Spooktacular Joshua Winning does just that talking about his ultimate Point Horror fave in the fab guest post….

Check out Joshua’s YA Horror read – Vicious Rumer!  It’s awesome!

Jessica Jones meets Dragon Tattoo in a thriller that’ll keep you up all night. 

A fresh and fiercely unique thriller, Vicious Rumer features one of the most complex and unusual heroines in years. The ruthless and independent Rumer Cross is a snarky survivor whose moving story explores notions of identity, family, death and redemption. It will appeal to fans of Patrick Ness, Ruth Ware and Joe Hill.

It’s very exciting to have Joshua here on Tales…I feel very honoured…so thank you so much Joshua!

*Hands microphone to Josh*


7 reasons I love Trick Or Treat by Richie Tankersley Cusick

When I was a teenager, I devoured Point Horror books the way a zombie devours brains. Of the many, many I ate up, my favourites were Teacher’s Pet, The Accident and, top of the pile, The Babysitter, which I still couldn’t get enough of three sequels later.

 But Trick Or Treat has a special place in my cold, dark heart because it’s a book I could return to every Halloween for maximum seasonal chills. It had everything you wanted from a creepy story, from the spooky mansion to the secret graveyard and beyond. In fact, I’m pretty sure the graveyard stuff directly inspired the cemetery scenes in my book Vicious Rumer (Unbound, 2018).

 In the immortal words of the book’s dad, “Guess Halloween’s got me inspired!”, so here are seven reasons I still love this book, even though I haven’t been a teenager for a (very) long time…

 It’s Halloween

Before I ever watched John Carpenter’s classic slasher movie Halloween, Trick Or Treat was my benchmark for holiday horror. It just gets so much of it right, in particular the very specific Halloween atmosphere of dread mixed with candy-stuffed excitement.

 Richie Tankersley Cusick perfectly evokes the season with flourishes of detail, like the “trees nearly stripped by October winds”, and the house where “someone had propped a scarecrow against the porch, and its hideous face flickered… in the sputtering glow of a jack-o’-lantern”. I love Halloween, and this book captures the mood perfectly.

 The cover art

The front cover of this book is other-level spooky, but in a really simple way. That autumnal sky, the jack o’lantern and the bare tree are hella evocative, giving the book a subdued look that felt really grown-up when I was a kid. And then, of course, there’s the shadow of a person sneaking inside…

 Even today, the art is really cool – I love old-school illustrated covers like this and wish they were more of a thing nowadays. Reading the book, I constantly referred back to the cover, which brings me to the next thing I love about Trick Or Treat…

 The creepy house

This pile of bricks looks and sounds like something out of Psycho, only minus the motel, and, right from the start, the old Bedford place is spooky. Take our heroine Martha’s first glimpse of it. As Cusick writes, “The house looked strangely ghostlike, rising up through pale wisps of fog, its dark stone walls and chimneys interwoven with bare, twisted trees.”

Yeah, shudder, and it only gets more interesting the more you find out about it ­– there’s a reason this house immediately gives Martha the creeps. I love the idea of a closet door that keeps popping open (who hasn’t had a door like that?), and the fact that it leads somewhere dark and dangerous is even more disturbing.

 The scares

Point Horror books are well-known for their fake scares, and while Trick Or Treat has its fair share, there are also plenty of genuinely hair-raising moments that really stick in the memory.

 The backstory about Elizabeth is both tragic and scary, the scarecrow stuff is properly chilling, and the phone calls are genuinely unnerving: “You’re dead, Elizabeth. Trick or treat.” (If you want a movie equivalent, check out the movie Black Christmas (1974), which was some of the most disturbing obscene calls you’ll ever hear.)

 The family

The nuclear unit was getting pretty outdated even by 1989, when Trick Or Treat was published, and it was so refreshing to read a book about a family that didn’t sound like the Waltons. Martha’s dad has remarried, and Martha has to contend with a new step-mom (at least, until they go away) and her new step-brother Conor.

 Conor is hot (“he was tall and slender, but his shoulders were broad… those strong shoulders hunched against the chilly night air”), quick-witted and tawny-haired (who isn’t tawny-haired in Point Horror?). Naturally, that leads to some really confused feelings for Martha (hello, sorta incest). Speaking of…

 Conor

Martha is a bit of a whiny drip (all right, she’s a huge whiny drip) but her step-brother is all kinds of awesome. “There was just something about Conor,” Cusick writes, and she’s not wrong. He’s always ready with a killer quip, most of them at either Martha or his mother’s expense, and who doesn’t love a cute joker?

 As Wynn notes, “Heads have been turning since he got here. Like the domino effect every time he walks down the hall. They haven’t been able to keep their eyes off him.” I mean, who wouldn’t want to hang out with this guy? He’s brilliant and clearly the hero of the book.

 The twist ending

Warning: SPOILERS! This book has such a great twist ending that I genuinely didn’t see coming. Of course, re-reading it, Cusick cleverly weaves in subtle clues from the start, particularly with the idea of a family who all look alike.

 Cusick keeps us guessing right up until the final couple of chapters, when Martha and Conor finally discover the secret passageway that leads from the cellar. “It was scarcely more than a crawlspace,” writes Cusick. “They had the most horrible feeling that they were crawling deeper and deeper into the earth.”

 What they find is a gorgeous, ghoulish nod back to Hammer Horror films (“An altar wreathed with candles… And the stale, faded sweetness of dead flowers…”), and a final confrontation that really pulls the rug out from under you.

 Happy Halloween!

Josh

You can buy a copy of Vicious Rumer here


Joshua Winning is an author and film journalist who writes for TOTAL FILM, SFX, GAY TIMES and RADIO TIMES. He has been on set with Kermit the Frog, devoured breakfast with zombies on The Walking Dead, and sat on the Iron Throne while visiting the Game Of Thrones set in Dublin. Jeff Goldblum once told him he looks a bit like Paul Bettany. In 2018, Joshua’s YA thriller VICIOUS RUMER was published by Unbound. His dark fantasy series THE SENTINEL TRILOGY was published by Peridot Press, and he also co-wrote ’80s teen horror CAMP CARNAGE. In 2015, Joshua’s short story DEAD AIR appeared in SPEAK MY LANGUAGE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF GAY FICTION.

You can find out more about Joshua on his website- www.joshuawinning.com

You can follow Joshua on twitter  – @JoshWinning


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.

Why not join in Point Horror Book Club and the discussion on the 13th of every month?

You can find links to all #PointHorrorBookClub posts here

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

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 the a whole load of cray cray?

A huge huge thank you to Joshua for featuring on Tales and a huge round of applause for such a fab guest post!

*claps hands excitedly*

Do you remember Point Horror?  Which was your favourite?  Would you like to join in on #pointhorrorbookclub ?

Happy Point Horror-ing!


Tales Spotlight – My Dad The Earth Warrior by Gary Haq

 


My Dad The Earth Warrior was released on the 5th June 2018 published by Gazzimodo and will have you chuckling.  It also has gorgeous illustrations by Mark Beech and designed by Mandy Norman!

So today I am shining the spotlight on the super funny book and it’s author Gary Haq….


One boy.
A geeky dad.
A freak accident!

Dad wakes up from a bump to head claiming to be an Earth Warrior sent to protect Mother Earth – and is soon up against a ruthless energy tycoon.

Hero is forced to go along with Dad’s new persona. And when Gran mysteriously disappears, Hero and Dad embark on a dangerous rescue mission.

Can Hero save Gran and his old dad back befor it’s too late?

My Dad, the Earth Warrior is an extraordinary heart-warming and funny tale of a Dad and son on a thrilling mission to save Mother Earth! It is a story of personal growth, environment and discovering the warrior spirit that lies in all of us.

A funny, heartfelt, quirky middle-grade adventure that will appeal to fans of Frank Contrell-Boyce, Phil Earle and David Walliams. 

You can buy a copy here !


About Gary Haq

Gary Haq is a human ecologist with over twenty years of supporting the development and implementation of environmental policy in in Africa, Asia and Europe. He is a researcher at a prestigious global environmental think tank. He is the author / co-author of five books and has written numerous academic papers and policy reports. When he’s not involved in his own ecoadventures, he likes to write, read, learn languages and explore new cultures. Gary lives in York, England, with his wife and their young daughter.

You can find out more about Gary on his website – www.garyhaq.com

Or why not follow Gary on twitter – @DrGaryHaq

Or Facebook – www.facebook.com/garyhaqauthor


A huge thank you to Hannah Cooper for asking me to host!

Have you read My Dad The Earth Warrior?  What did you think?  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading!


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Guest Post – 5 Books About Being Different by Rob Stevens

 


Today I have a fab guest post from the super Rob Stevens!

Lucky Break was released on the 3rd May 2018 published by the fab Andersen Press and is an hilarious comedy of errors that also touches on unlikely friendships, grief and mental health.

Today Rob shares his top five books about being different….


Leon’s twin, Lenny, had the best imagination in the world. He could do a back flip from a standing start and tell rude jokes nonstop for hours. But a year ago Lenny died, and Leon’s family hasn’t been the same since.

When a new boy, Arnold, starts at Leon’s school, he has no idea what to think: Arnold doesn’t understand jokes, sarcasm is lost on him and he can be completely blunt. Leon has never met anyone like Arnold before, and an unlikely friendship blossoms. Before long things start to get seriously bonkers, and the two boys are breaking windows, accidentally holding up a bank and getting arrested after a disagreement with a baguette.

But amidst all this madness, can Awkward Arnold actually help Leon to sort his life out?


5 Books About Being Different

My new book, ‘Lucky Break’ is about an unlikely friendship between Leon and Arnold, who is far from your typical teenager. As their friendship develops, Leon learns that the very characteristics that make Arnold so different are the same ones that make him so special.

Here are my five favourite books celebrating children who are struggling to fit it.

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ – The original in this hilarious series about the angst-ridden teenager who would go on to become Prime Minister

Wonder – a moving story about a boy who is destined to stand out because of the way he looks

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – The brilliantly funny and moving story of an autistic boy investigating the death of his neighbour’s dog

Lion – an incredible story about Saroo’s journey from being a street kid in India to growing up in an adoptive family in Australia

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – because you can’t be much more different than being a boy wizard!

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


About Rob Steven

Rob Stevens is a British Airways Captain who does most of his writing in hotel rooms around the world. His first book, ‘The Mapmaker’s Monsters: Beware the Buffalogre!’ was shortlisted for the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize 2009.


A huge thank you to Rob for a fab guest post and to Harriet at Andersen for asking me to host!

Have you read Lucky Break?  What did you think?  What are your favourite part?   Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

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

 


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

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

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


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

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


Tender – The Book That Made Me Cry

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

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

From this, the idea of young carers developed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


About Eve Ainsworth

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

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

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

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

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

Or follow her on Twitter @EveAinsworth


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

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

Tales Post – Toppsta Summer Reading Guide

 


I know the summer holidays are almost at an end.  For some of us it has already ended *cries forever*, but there’s always time to jump into the world of books and imagination!

I heard about the brilliant Summer Reading Guide that Toppsta have developed to help encourage more children to read over the summer and wanted to share this with everyone!

#ToppstaSummerReadingGuide

Toppsta, the UK’s largest online community reviewing children’s books, has just launched a FREE Summer Reading Guide packed with book reviews from children aged 5 to 12!

There’s also a reading diary to fill in over the summer holidays and a book review template too!

You can read more about the Guide and download it here: http://bit.ly/ToppstaSRG

Whether it’s picture books, unicorns or glittery slime. Or maybe a funny book or a spot of new fiction it’s a must-have resource for children to enjoy at home and at school!


A huge thanks to Liz at Toppsta for introducing me to this and asking me to host this piece.

You can follow Toppsta on Twitter – @Toppsta

Please note that this post was not sponsored by Toppsta

Have you been reading over the summer?  What has been your favourite read?  What are you looking forward to reading?  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Guest Post – See Life In The Secret Deep (Sea What I did there?) by Lindsay Galvin

 


I am HUGELY honoured to have the wonderful Lindsay Galvin here on Tales today with a brilliant blog post to celebrate the release of her debut novel, The Secret Deep.

The Secret Deep was released on the 2nd August published by the amazing Chicken House and is beautiful and gripping and will keep you enthralled throughout.

I’ve known Lindsay mainly via twitter for a few years now and when I heard that she was getting her debut published I was so over the moon for her so to have her featured on my blog today is very special indeed.

Find out more about sea creatures in this fantastic guest post….


About The Book

When Aster wakes alone on a tropical island, she has no idea what has happened, why she is there, or where to find her younger sister, Poppy. Meanwhile Sam, who once met the sisters on a plane, makes links between the mystery of their disappearance and suspicious happenings in his own life. In a stunning dual narrative, the truth unravels with devastating effect – and the answer lies in the secret underwater world surrounding the desert island, populated by the beautiful and the impossible …


See Life In The Secret Deep (Sea What I did there?)

I have always been fascinated by animals in the wild and am the biggest David Attenborough fan. Even more so since I spent so much time diving in the waters around Thailand when I lived there ten years ago. Researching sea life for The Secret Deep was a joy… and a form of legitimate procrastination. Introducing some of my sub aqua stars and what they mean to story:

Manta Ray 

I can’t wait for you to meet the giant oceanic manta rays in THE SECRET DEEP. I’ve never come across a story that featured these gentle giants and would love to know if you have. These blanket shaped beauties can grow up to 7 metres across with a weight of 1350 kg but their size isn’t the only thing that makes them perfect for the story.

Manta (and mobula) rays have the largest brains of all 32,000 species (approximately) of fish known to date. They display intelligent behaviour.

One test of intelligence is to find out if an animal can gaze into a mirror and know it’s themselves they see. Gorillas, leopards, dogs, and cats, for example believe that their reflection is just another animal looking back. Nonhuman animals that have been observed to pass the mirror test include bonobos, chimps, dolphins, elephants, and some birds. And manta rays.

In all my scuba dives I have never seen a manta and diving with them is on my bucket list. They are so different to us, yet have huge brains and who knows what they are thinking? In THE SECRET DEEP they represent a link between wildness and humanity and how it is possible for there to be harmony between living things no matter how different they are. A lesson that certain characters in the story certainly need to learn…

Seahorse

Seahorses have a reputation as cutest animals in the ocean and I am lucky enough to have seen them in the wild, so can confirm this. They are famous for mating for life and the male seahorse carries the babies. But what I love the most is that new baby seahorses, each about the size of a little finger nail, find other baby seahorses and float together in small groups, clinging to each other using their tails.

So adorable it hurts; I had to include them in THE SECRET DEEP.

When main character Aster rescues a seahorse that floats free of its family, what she actually needs to learn is how to rescue herself.  Look though…there’s four seahorses in this photo and they are…ridiculous.

Puffer fish

When divers first discovered beautiful patterns on the seabed; intricate concentric circles raised in the sand that look like mandala designs, no-one could figure out what had made them. Turns out it was a tiny puffer fish, building a nest of sand to attract a mate. And I got to thinking that if this fish could do that, than anything is possible if you swim deep enough. When I first saw these amazing creatures on BBC footage I knew they had a place in my story.

Look closely and you’ll see the dinky builder right in the centre of his sand palace.

Shark

I would love to write a story one day where sharks are friends. Because they are beautiful, endangered and unfairly maligned. But THE SECRET DEEP is not exactly that story. They are magnificent creatures but fearsome predators and can’t be blamed if certain characters in books rudely wander into their territory smelling distinctly like dinner…

Jellyfish

I spent some glorious hours (I’m a sea-geek, okay?) finding out about these beasts. Box jellyfish are gorgeously terrifying with their four eyes, ability to follow their prey and deadly sting. I mean, why create characters you adore if you aren’t going to confront them with a lethal jellyfish swarm?

I could go on. What are your favourite sea-creatures and why? I would love to geek out with you.


THE SECRET DEEP is out now in paperback (£6.99, Chicken House)

You can buy a copy here or from your local bookshop


About Lindsay Galvin

Lindsay was lucky enough to be raised in a house of stories, music, and love of the sea. She left part of her heart underwater after living and working in Thailand where she spent hundreds of blissful hours scuba diving. Forced now to surface for breath, she lives in sight of the chillier Sussex sea with her husband and two sons. When she is not writing, she can be found reading, swimming or practicing yoga. She has a degree in English Language and Literature, is fascinated by psychology and the natural world, and teaches Science. Lindsay hadn’t written creatively since childhood until the idea for her debut novel The Secret Deep splashed into her mind, and now she’s hooked.

Connect with Lindsay on Twitter: @lindsaygalvin

Find out more at lindsaygalvin.com and chickenhousebooks.com


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to Lindsay for such a fab blog post and to Laura at Chicken House for asking me to be part of this fab blog tour!

Have you read The Secret Deep?  What did you think?  What are your favourite part?  What are your favourite sea creatures?  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !



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