Tales Post – Final Day of the #tommyvcancer Blog Tour


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Today’s blog post marks the final day of the #TommyVCancer blog tour.

We all know someone who has been affected or taken away from us by cancer.

Where has the month gone!  This tour has been about one authors fight against cancer and how we have tried to help by raising awareness and fundraising via the blog tour by reading Tommy’s books and hosting a chat and some fab giveaways.

Today is the last day and we thought it would be good idea to do a round up blog of all the posts and to announce one final fabulous giveaway!

This was a huge event to organise and the lovely Viv (Serendipity Reviews) did the most brilliant wonderful job organising along with Laura (Sister Spooky) who helped organise the giveaways and Faye ( Daydreamer’s Thoughts) who put together all of the graphics.

Also thank you to Tommy’s Army who have made this blog tour something really special!

As many of you will know, Tommy is still in hospital, so we are unsure if he has seen all the love he has received through social media.  We can only hope we managed to raise enough awareness and hopefully some much needed funds to help in some way.

We really hope Tommy is on the mend soon.

Tommy’s Army forever!

#TommyvCancer


Twitter Chat

To end the tour there will be a chat hosted by myself and @Serendipity_Viv tonight,  30th June from 8pm – 9pm!

We will be asking questions and chatting about Tommy’s books and also announcing the winners of the giveaways (the final giveaway winner will be announced tomorrow – details below).

Please join us to celebrate Tommy!

#TommyVCancer


Blog Tour Recap
So to finish off the blog tour, here are all the blog posts from the last thirty days!
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1st – Serendipity Reviews

2nd – Sister Spooky 

3rd – Howling Reviews

3rd – Andy Robb

4th – Tales of Yesterday

4th – Maia and a Little Moore

5th – Perdita Cargill 

5th – Mango Bubbles Books

6th – Jo Cotterill

6th – Notes From a Slushpile

7th – Barry Hutchison

7th – Dark Readers

8th – Yellow Bills

9th – A Daydreamer’s Thoughts 

9th -Cynthia Murphy Writes

10th –  Kerry Drewery Tumblr

10th – That Jesse Bloke

11th – Sofi Croft

11th – Kathryn Evans

12th – Words Are My Craft

13th – Library Girl and Book Boy 

13th – Writing From Otherworld

14th – Book Lover Jo 

14th –  Our Book Reviews

15th – Chouett

15th  – Heather Reviews

16th – KM Lockwood

16th – The Pewter Wolf

17th – Bookish Outsider

17th – Books-A-Go-Go

18th – Christina Banach 

18th – The Writer’s Garnet

19th – An Awfully Big Blog Adventure

20th – Girl Hearts Books 

20th – Keith B Walters

21st – Barry Hutchison

21st – Chasing The Comet

22nd – Writing From The Tub

23rd – Bart’s Bookshelf

23rd – Space on a Bookshelf

24th – Mia Hayson

24th – Space on a Bookshelf (2)

25th – Badger Teen Reads

25th – Space on a Bookshelf (3)

26th – Kirstyes

27th – Sarah Alexander Writes

27th – Reynard City

28th – Susan K. Mann

28th – Abi Elphinstone – Serendipity Reviews

29th – Heather Reviews

29th – Jabberworks

30th – Bev Humphries

30th – Candy Gourlay 

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Final Giveaway

To finish off the wonderful blog tour properly, we have another giveaway for you!

This giveway will be running for today only!

Enter and spread the word.

The prize includes –

  • A mystery pack from Faber & Faber
  • A mystery pack from ED PR
  • A full set of Maze Runner Books from Chicken House

The winner will be announced tomorrow morning!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!


Donating

We would love to raise as much money as possible for Tommy.

You can help by:

Please help spread the word by sharing this post on twitter or Facebook or wherever you possibly can!

#TommyVCancer

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post and I really hope we can make a difference for Tommy and his family.

Tommy’s Army Forever!

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Tales Post – Extract from Cold by John Sweeney


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I was super excited to be asked Alice at Midas PR to be part of the blog tour for the first in a new adult fiction thriller series by British writer and broadcaster John Sweeney, Cold.

Join in the conversation on twitter using #Cold

My stop on the blog tour is a thrilling extract from the book!

Enjoy!


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In the feeble light of a London winter, Joe Tiplady walks his dog in the snow. He is not alone. Two men are tracking him, as is a woman with wolf eyes. Soon Joe will find himself caught in a storm of violence and retribution that he does not yet understand.

Around the world, a chain of events is in motion that will make Joe a priceless target. A retired Soviet general hunts for his missing daughter after a series of brutal murders. A ruthless assassin loses something so precious he will do anything to get it back. And in the mountains of Utah, a brilliant ex-CIA chief wrestles with his religion.

In the shadow of them all lies Zoba, strongman ruler of Russia and puppet-master of the world’s darkest operatives. Can Joe save himself from this dangerous web of power and revenge? Where can he run when there’s nowhere left to hide?


Extract

The beetle ushered Joe down a marble staircase. His feet felt cold on the stone; the handrail was of the smoothest onyx. The staircase coiled around on itself – alcoves populated with a strange mix of Orthodox icons, eighteenth-century portraits in oil of grand figures in fur, and modern art – down to a hall dominated by a circular wall of mirrors reflecting a marble statue of a naked man, sightless, with both arms missing. At the feet of the statue sat two dog bowls, one for water, one for food.

The beetle opened a shiny black door and they were out on the streets of London; a square, somewhere in Belgravia. Nearby, the flag of some exotic foreign power flapped feebly in the night.

Joe, hugging the blanket to his body, stood on the step and drank in great draughts of London air: dirty, diesel-speckled, free.

Behind him he could hear a commotion, a woman shouting, screaming abuse, and a man replying, much more quietly, the register of his voice conveying menace. A dark-blue Jaguar came to a halt beside them.

Get in,’ said the beetle, and the car door closed behind Joe with a soft, expensive thunk. After a few beats, more doors opened and closed. A middle-aged man with a sour expression, his moustache thick and bristly, claimed the front seat. Wearing a rumpled tweed jacket, white shirt, regimental tie and salmon pink corduroy trousers, he was heavy without being fat, tough without overdoing it.

He turned to the driver and said, ‘Go.’

The Jaguar slid through the London streets, heading west, but it was the woman now sitting next to him that had Joe’s attention: Wolf Eyes, the woman he’d first met at the vet’s, what seemed a lifetime ago. Streetlights strobed through the car’s windows, casting her first light, then dark, light, dark. Her perfume, which, only a few minutes before, he had experienced as a blindfolded prisoner, filled the car. Close up, she was not just extraordinarily beautiful, but bewitchingly so. And yet he was intensely angry with her for what she had done.

‘Three people dead.’

The wolf eyes stared at him, cold, unblinking.

Joe struggled to get the words out: ‘What’s . . . what’s wrong with you? Who are you and why all of this? Why did you kill those people?’

She swung in her seat and hit him with the edge of her hand, against the side of his mouth.

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Cold by John Sweeney is out 1st July (Thomas and Mercer, £8.99)

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


About John Sweeney

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John Sweeney is a British writer and broadcaster who became a YouTube sensation in 2007 while working for BBC Panorama and lost his temper with a member of the Church of Scientology. He admitted looking like an ‘exploding tomato’. As a reporter, first for The Observer, then the BBC Sweeney has covered wars and chaos in more than eighty countries and been undercover to a number of tyrannies including Chechnya, North Korea and Zimbabwe. He has helped free seven people falsely convicted of killing babies, starting with Sally Clark and Angela Cannings. He has ‘door-stepped’ Vladimir Putin over the killings in Ukraine and when he challenged Donald Trump about his business relationship with mafiosi Fat Tony Salerno, Mr Trump walked out on him. Over the course of his career John has won an Emmy, two Royal Television Society prizes, an Sony Gold award, the What The Papers Say Journalist of The Year Prize, an Amnesty International prize and the Paul Foot Award. His hobby is falling off his bike on the way back from the pub.

Sweeney’s rule of thumb in journalism is: ‘I poke crocodiles in the eye with a stick.’
He lives in London, has written seven non-fiction books and two novels. His first, Elephant Moon, has sold more than 150,000 copies. His second, Cold, will be published in the summer of 2016.

He’s on twitter, his handle stemming from his encounter with Scientology: @johnsweeneyroar


Blog Tour

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

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A huge thank you to John for letting me feature an extract here on the blog an to Alice at Midas PR for asking me to be part of the tour and organising!

Have you read Cold?  What did you think?  Have you read any of John Sweeney’s other thrillers?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

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Review – Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt


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A heartbreaking story, narrated by twelve-year-old Jack, whose family is caring for fourteen-year-old Joseph. Joseph is misunderstood. He was incarcerated for trying to kill a teacher. Or so the rumours say. But Jack and his family see something others in town don’t want to.
What’s more, Joseph has a daughter he’s never seen. The two boys go on a journey through the bitter Maine winter to help Joseph find his baby – no matter the cost.


Publisher – Andersen Press

Date Published – 31 December 2015

Pages – 192 pages

Format – Hardback

Category – Contemporary YA

Source –

I was sent a copy of this book to review by the wonderful Harriet at Andersen Press!   This does not affect my review or my opinions in any way and am delighted to write an honest review.  Thank you for sending this to me to read!


** Please note Tales Of Yesterday Reviews are written as spoiler free as possible**


“Sometimes it’s like that. You know something good is coming, and even though it’s not even close yet, still, just knowing it’s coming is enough”

When Harriet at Andersen Press contacted me about this book her email was filled with so much love that I simply said yes to a copy immediately.

Orbiting Jupiter may be a short contemporary YA read, but it certainly hit me with all the feels all at once which will stay with me for quite some time.

Orbiting Jupiter is a story about love, family and friendship and a message of never giving up on what you believe in no matter what.  I smiled, I shed tears and I felt so much love for these characters.  In fact thinking about it now is making me emotional all over again.

The story is told from the point of view of 12 year old Jack whose parents foster a 14 year old child called Joseph and he comes to live with them on their farm.  Joseph has had a heartbreakingly difficult childhood and circumstances prior to being fostered led him to spend some time in a juvenile prison which only caused him further damage.  Jack tells the story of getting to know this new member of the family and to understand Joseph’s past and situation.  Joseph finally has a family filled with love, a routine and responsibility, but the one thing Joseph wants more than anything is to find his baby daughter, Jupiter, who he has never met.  Even if that means confronting demons from his past.

The ending in the book broke me completely.

Joseph simply wants to be loved and beneath the surface he has so much love to give.  After an abusive and seemingly loveless upbringing he wants to feel part of something.  To have hope and love unconditionally.  This is something he feels deep inside for his own daughter although they have never met.

 “I can’t see Jupiter,” Joseph said. “The moon’s too bright. And I don’t know where she is.”

The complex situation with Joseph, his childhood, his daughters young mother and their parents is explained also so that the reader sees all sides of the coin and an all rounded view  but in a way that is easily understood and full of truth and emotion.

As well as the story leading us to gradually learn about Joseph’s back story it is also a story about Jack and his family getting to know Joseph and to show him unconditional love.  I loved Jack as a character.  Whilst all of the small town that they live in, the teachers at school and the bullies and class mates seem to pre judge and label Joseph without trying to get to know him, Jack makes the effort to get to know Joseph and to understand him and “have his back” at all times to protect him.  The relationship that builds between them touched me to the core.

One of my favourite scenes is the daily walk to school where the two of them always stop to throw stones at the church bell tower.  Such a simple scene but as the story goes on it is almost like a comfort to both boys and something that helps them bond.  I also loved the way Joseph bonds with one of the cows on the family farm and it gives him something to focus on.

“You can tell all you need to know about someone from the way cows are around him”

I think that’s the thing with this book it is so completely simplistically beautiful and grabs your heart from the get go and never lets go.

I’ve not read anything by Gary Schmidt prior to reading this book.  Schmidt’s writing in Orbiting Jupiter, whilst it took me a little while to get used to the style, every sentence seems to be packed with emotion and perfectly crafted to give the reader the sense of the feelings and emotions of the characters, but from the point of view of 12 year old Jack.  The writing explores how he is feeling and what he is experiencing, but also Jack tells us exactly how Joseph is feeling in such a caring nurturing way full of curiosity and weariness at first and then love, care and concern as the story unfolds.

Selfishly I would have liked the story to have been longer and slightly more in depth and the complexities and story and characters explored more, but that’s why I say selfishly.  I think I just craved more and wanted to hold onto these characters for longer than the time I had.

Orbiting Jupiter is just as simplistic and beautiful as it is sad and heart-breaking.  Friendship, family, unconditional love and hope.  It will make you smile, it will make you angry, it will make you cry, but most of all it will leave you with the feeling that no matter what some things are worth fighting for.

 “Maybe angels aren’t always meant to stop bad things.”
“So what good are they?”
“To be with us when bad things happen.”

I award this book 4 out of 5 Tales Of Yesterday Books!

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You can buy a copy of Orbiting Jupiter here

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About Gary D.Schmidt

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Gary Schmidt is a professor of English at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He received both a Newbery Honor and a Printz Honor for Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy and a Newbery Honor for The Wednesday Wars. He lives with his family on a 150-year-old farm in Alto, Michigan, where he splits wood, plants gardens, writes, and feeds the wild cats that drop by.

You can find out more about Gary D. Schmidt on his website here


Have you read  Orbiting Jupiter?  What did you think?  Has this review convinced you to pick up a copy and read?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment by clicking the reply button at the top of this page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy

 Happy Reading!

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Guest Post – Top 5 Romance Novels by Elida May


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I was so excited to be asked via Faye Rogers to be part of the blog tour for a new self published Romance book called Following Evan by Elida May.

I previously shined the Spotlight on Elida and this book here

My stop on the blog tour is a wonderful guest post from Elida May with her top 5 romance novels!


Following Evan

Three years on from the sudden death of her husband Matt and a subsequent miscarriage, interior designer Laura is still lost in grief, hiding out in the smart London townhouse that was going to be her family home. On the encouragement of her best friend Carla, she signs up to a dating website and receives a message from a mysterious stranger, imploring her to visit him in New York because he has seen her face in his dreams.

Meanwhile, Laura visits an art gallery and is captivated by a painting of a beautiful woman in a flowing dress. It seems to be speaking directly to her, beckoning her to take a leap of faith.

These seemingly disparate events lead Laura on an epic journey to the bustling streets of the Big Apple and the desert landscape of Wyoming, where the clues to her future happiness are waiting to be discovered…


Top 5 Romance Novels

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

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I know this isn’t strictly a novel, but I had to start with one of the finest love stories ever written. What young girl doesn’t long to feel loved and believe that they will live happily ever after with the person they were fated to be with? And who, as a young adult or ever older, hasn’t experienced their parents interfering too much in their love life? I have and surely all other girls have too. Hundreds of years since this play was written, people can still relate to it.

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

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I thought this was a remarkable love story. I loved that a faded notebook follows the lives of two lovers and keeps their love alive. As the book unfolds, the missing pieces of Noah and Allie’s story are revealed. For me, this book is a true tribute to the power of love.

The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer

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I love the way Stephenie Meyer writes, and she has created a very unusual love story. I like the name of the characters, especially Bella Swan (beautiful swain) and I appreciate how she develops from a delicate, fragile girl into a lethal weapon. The love between Bella and Edward is intoxicating, even though initially there’s no sex involved.

The Crossfire series by Sylvia Day

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These books grabbed me right from the start and they still haven’t let go. The books flow so well, the protagonists are hot and so are the scenes. The relationship between the two main characters, Gideon and Eva, is emotional, intense and captivating. Accepting their pasts brings them closer together, and their relationship grows as they begin to learn from their mistakes.

 P.S. I love you by Cecelia Ahern

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Cecelia Ahern has created a beautiful love story that is meaningful, moving and magical. Gerry and Holly are soul mates who cannot imagine their life without each other, but then death strikes, leaving Holly devastated. She withdraws into a dark corner, refusing to talk with anyone until a bunch of notes slowly guide her into a new life. I feel that the point of this novel is that life is for living and not for mourning.

Following Evan

You can buy a copy of Following Evan on ebook here

Or add it to your Goodreads here


About Elida May

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Elida May was born in Albania in 1972. Growing up in a Communist country, where access to books was severely restricted, helped to nurture her love of the written word, and she avidly read whatever genre she could get hold of, including a lot of European literature. Today Elida lives in London with her son Elidon. Following Evan is her first novel, and she is currently working on her second, Diary of Michael Vica.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ElidaJamesAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/elidamay5

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/elidamay


Blog Tour

Follow the fantastic blog tour that kicks off tomorrow at the following stops!

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Friday 17th June

What Danielle Did Next

Blabbering About Books And More

Saturday 18th June

Lily’s Book World

Sunday 19th June

Big Book Little Book

Monday 20th June

Emma’s Bookery

Howling Reviews

Tuesday 21st June

Married to Books

Wednesday 22nd June

Many Books, Many Lives

Boons Bookcase

Thursday 23rd June

Dual Reads

I Wanna Read

Friday 24th June

Have Books, Will Read

From A Yellow House

 

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Saturday 25th June

Delightful Book Reviews

Sunday 26th June

Confessions from Romaholics

Monday 27th June

Rachel Bustin

Tales of Yesterday

Tuesday 28th June

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Wednesday 29th June

A Daydreamer’s Thoughts

Thursday 30th June

Maisie’s Marvellous Reviews

Jess Hearts Books

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Another huge thank you to Faye Rogers and Ashley! Following Evan sounds fab!

Happy Reading!

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Tales Post – #IBW2016 Tag


ibw2016This week has been Independent Bookshop Week and today is IBW Bookshop Crawl day!

Woooohooooo we can go and buy all the books from all the independent books shops!

I’ve seen this brilliant tag knocking around the internet in celebration of IBW’s 10th anniversary which was created by Will Rycroft at Vintage Books – here

We are being encourages to share the love of great independent bookshops and books and after seeing Jim’s fab post here and Grace’s fab post here I thought I would give it a go!


image0031. What book(s) are currently in your bag?

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I’m currently reading a proof copy of this fab book, The Deviants by CJ Skuse which is due for release in September 2016.  I’m about 100 pages in and throughly drawn into the plot and no CJ book is complete without a bit of creepniess!  I’m loving it!

Heres the blurb ….

Growing up in the sleepy English seaside town of Brynston, the fearless five – Ella, Max, Corey, Fallon and Zane – were always inseparable. Living up to their nickname, they were the adventurous, rowdy kids who lived for ghost stories and exploring the nearby islands off the coast. But when Max’s beloved older sister Jessica is killed, the friendship seems to die with her.

Now years later, only Max and Ella are in touch; still best friends and a couple since they were thirteen. Their lives are so intertwined Max’s dad even sponsors Ella’s training for the Commonwealth Games. But Ella is hiding things. Like why she hates going to Max’s house for Sunday dinner, and flinches whenever his family are near. Or the real reason she’s afraid to take their relationship to the next level.

When underdog Corey is bullied, the fearless five are brought back together again, teaming up to wreak havoc and revenge on those who have wronged them. But when the secrets they are keeping can no longer be kept quiet, will their fearlessness be enough to save them from themselves?

2. What’s the last great book you read?

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I have recently finished The Square Root Of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood and I LOVED it!

Love, loss and heartbreak all with added wormholes made this a fantastic read!

Here’s the blurb…..

My heart is a kaleidoscope, and when we kiss it makes my world unravel . . .

Last summer, Gottie’s life fell apart. Her beloved grandfather Grey died and Jason, the boy to whom she lost her heart wouldn’t even hold her hand at the funeral. This summer, still reeling from twin heartbreaks, Gottie is lost and alone and burying herself in equations. Until, after five years absence, Thomas comes home: former boy next door. Former best friend. Former everything. And as life turns upside down again she starts to experience strange blips in time – back to last summer, back to what she should have seen then . . .

During one long, hazy summer, Gottie navigates grief, world-stopping kisses and rips in the space-time continuum, as she tries to reconcile her first heartbreak with her last.

3. What book have you gifted the most?

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100% Seed by Lisa Heathfield!  This was one of my favourite books of 2015 without a doubt!

I fell in love with this book from the minute I started reading it right through to the heart stopping end and have not stopped talking about it since!  This book is hauntingly beautiful and deals with such sensitive and often rather unnerving subjects and situations including one of the most hated controlling characters I think I have ever read!  Lisa Heathfield’s writing is stunning and beautiful in such a tender way.  Every sentence is enriched with so much care and imaginative description that you fall in love with it.  This is Lisa’s debut!  It’s inspiring.

You can find my full review here

4. What’s your favourite independent bookshop?

I have to say that I am sucker for Foyles when I’m visiting London!  I just love that shop so much!

Locally I love Astley Book Farm and Kenilworth Bookshop!  I even wrote about them here!

5. What’s been your favourite book recommended by a bookseller (or fellow Booktuber/book blogger)?

Arggghhhh this is so hard as I have received so many recs mainly from twitter peeps.  I totally credit my streak of reading fantastic books becase or recomendations on twitter.

I think I have to go with Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta.  Recomended and gifted to me as part of a secret santa I took part in at the end of 2015 by the lovely Caitlin Lomas I read this in the period between Christmas and New Year and it completely swept me off my feet.

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“I fall in love with these kids over and over again and my heart aches for their tragedies and marvels at their friendship”

That above quote from this book basically sums up my feelings about this book completely.  This has now become one of my favourite EVER books.  This book made me cry on the bus and my son told me I was so embarrassing.  The story of friendship, family and love that all happens around the Jellicoe Road. I highly recommend.  Taylor the main character is a reluctant leader in the towns territory wars with Cadets and Townies and with flashbacks to a past story unfolding as we read hit me right in the heart and I cry just thinking it about it.  The writing is powerful and full of emotion throughout and also introduced me too one of my favourite YA boys ever….Jonah Griggs!  To him my heart will always now belong.

You can find my full review here

6. What’s your favourite indie bookshop memory?

I think one of my fave Indie Bookshop memories has to be being asked by Kenilworth books to help them put together a YA window display.  I grabbed my list of recs and discussed them with them and they created this fab window display!

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Still so very thankful to them!

7. What do bookshops mean to you? What do you love about them?

Bookshops mean the absolute world to me.  I can walk into a book shop and feel instantly relaxed almost like I’ve left the world outside behind.  I can sit and relax, browse books, talk to people about book and sometimes if I’m brave enough say to the person standing next to me holding a fave book of mine that that book is fab go and buy it immediately.  But obviously not so much that I scare them 🙂

8. What are the books that made you? Which books have most affected or influenced you?

Oh this is a good question!

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Okay first off I’m picking my favourite childhood book Watership Down.  I read this book when I was a young wipper snapper and it has stayed with me ever since.  A book about loyalty and friendship and survival and of course rabbits.  Not only did this book teach me and perhaps shaped me a little it gave me a love for rabbits….I now have 3 🙂

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More recently I read All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven would be a book that really affected me.

“You make me feel like I just stepped out of the wardrobe and into Narnia”

I simply cannot even talk about this book without crying.  I was left an absolute emotional wreck because of it and can feel myself welling up thinking about it whilst typing this.  This book was completely heart-wrenching and tells the love story of a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die who meet on the ledge of their school bell tower.  Together they embark on a journey and Jennifer Niven writes with complete honesty, beauty and emotion about depression, those suffering and the people around them.  This book made me think and feel so much.  It is lovely and beautiful and will stay in my heart always.

9. What book do you recommend readers gift for Father’s Day?

By the time this post goes up it will be past Father’s Day…but I cannot resist a good rec!

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I would recomend this fun MG read, Demoltion Dad by Phil Earle!  Super fun and perfect for Father’s Day!

10. What book is currently at the top of your TBR pile?

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I am SUPER excited for this new book by Kerry Drewery!  The blurb speaks for itself with this one….

A world where justice and the fate of those accused of murder is decided by the public, but has moved on from the Roman Gladiator ‘thumbs up or thumbs down’ public vote, to a public vote by telephone. If you are voted innocent you are set free; if you are voted guilty you are committed to death by electric chair. Those awaiting their sentence reside in ever decreasing cells, getting smaller each day, until Day 7 and Cell 7, where they hear their fate.  Sixteen year old Martha has confessed to killing a famous celebrity. But has she done it? And if not, why has she claimed the murder? Perhaps she wants to show up the flawed and brutal system by sacrificing herself in the hope of a better world…

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So there you have it!

Happy Independent Bookshop Week / Day everyone!

Now go and buy some books!

Happy Reading!

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Tales Post – #ReadProud Special! The Art Of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson to…..


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The wonderful Jim ( @YAYeahYeah ) has invited everyone to join in with a YA/MG focused version of the fantastic #6degrees meme, started by Emma Chapman and Annabel Smith over on his blog www.yayeahyeah.com

So the idea of 6 Degrees is to post a chain of 6 books, starting with the book that Jim has nominated for that month and from there a list of 5 more books with each successive pair linked together by a different connection!

Sounds fun right?!

Jim kicked off this months today – you can find his post here

This month, as it’s Pride Month, Jim is encouraging people to #ReadProud so we can start with any LGBT YA or MG novel of our choice and make our own chain of six books, linking in any way we like.

I have decided to start with …..

51MVFXjT3eL._SX319_BO1,204,203,200_The Art Of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

Jim also has had some fab guest posts lined up throughout the month so do check those out!

So here goes……


51MVFXjT3eL._SX319_BO1,204,203,200_The Art Of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson tells the story of David Piper, who has always felt like the outsider and has always known that he is a transgender girl and was one of my favourite books of 2015.  Such an important, stunning beautifully written debut.  I loved every single page, every single feeling and every single message.  Most importantly this book, for me asked the question What Is Normal?  And my own answer to this is everyone is normal in their own unique ways and we should stand proud.  Another favourite book I have read last year was Black Iris by Leah Raeder.

51y29WdhwnL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_Black Iris by Leah Raeder was an extremely intense read with an amazing main character who is just as much unlikeable and she is likeable.  This book messed with my mind.  With narration from the past and present, exploration of mental illness, friendships, love (both m/f and f/f) and with twists and turns throughout, this book’s ending destroyed me!  I did not know what to expect with this book and I have to say it was a pleasant surprise much like when I read Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith.

31ayqAvA7LL._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith is not my usual type of book at all I will be honest.  A kind of funny, super intense, end of the world coming-of-age story we follow Austin’s story of when he and his best friend Robby accidently unleash an army of horny, hungry, six-foot-tall praying mantises.  I ended up loving this book, but I know lots of people who loved it and lots of people who did not get on with it.  Praying mantises aside I was a big fan of Austin and not only his story of survival but exploring his sexuality.  Another book I loved that explores and represents different sexualities is Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate.

518PPO00cjL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate is told from seven different perspectives with each character encompassing one of the deadly sins.  Seven Ways We Lie was a really interesting contemporary read which examines the ripple effect from a student-teacher relationship.  What I also loved about this book was the representation of an on the page pansexual character and a suggested asexual character which I would love to read more of in YA.  One book that I have heard features an asexual character is This Song Is (Not) For You by Laura Nowlin.

51tEsFF7fRL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_This Song Is (Not) For You by Laura Nowlin was given to me by the lovely Jim and after starting reading it and leaving it at a friends I have now finally retrieved it back so I’m going to start it all over again.  This book tells the story of inseparable Romona, Sam and Tom who are all in a band together and become involved in a kind of love triangle and from what I have heard one character is asexual.  I cannot wait to start reading this again very soon!  Another book I cannot wait to read and has been on my TBR for far to long now is Radio Silence by Alice Oseman.

51LtAwwSuqL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_Radio Silence by Alice Oseman is one of those books that I’ve heard so many amazing things about including it’s fab characters that I simply cannot wait to read it asap!


So there you have it!

Join in and share your #ReadProud 6 Degrees here

A huge thank you to Jim for restarting this idea and encouraging everyone to join in!  It was so much fun!

What did you think of the choices above?  What books would you choose?  How would the be linked?  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy linking!

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Tales Q&A with Katie Dale


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I am super excited to have been asked to be part of the blog tour for the super fun new children’s book by Katie Dale, Mumnesia!

Mumnesia was released on the 16th June 2016 published by Macmillan Children’s Books.

A huge thank you to Katie for getting in touch and for having me on this wonderful tour.

For my stop on the blog tour I have had the chance to put some questions to the lovely Katie Dale!

There is also a fab prize draw going on along with the tour – details at the bottom of the post!

Also look out for a giveaway on twitter soon!


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Lucy’s mum is so out of date she’s practically mouldy. She’s super-strict, overprotective and won’t let Lucy go to the Valentine’s Ball! Lucy can’t believe she was EVER a teenager . . .

Until the morning her mum wakes up with no memory of the last thirty years – and thinks she’s twelve years old!

All Lucy wants is for her mum to go back to being her old self – but how?


Hi Katie!

Hi Chelle!

Thank you so much for joining me today!  I am so excited for Mumnesia!

Can you tell us a little about Mumnesia?

I’d love to!

MUMNESIA is about a 12-year-old girl, Lucy, whose mum is so out of date she’s practically mouldy! She’s super-strict and overprotective and Lucy can’t believe she was EVER a teenager . . . until the morning her mum wakes up with no memory of the last thirty years – and thinks she’s a twelve year old, time-travelling from the 1980s! All Lucy wants is for her mum to go back to being her old self – but how?

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What inspired you to write Mumnesia?

I think the relationship between mothers and daughters is a very interesting and special one that changes a lot as a child grows up, becomes a teenager, and finally an adult – a mother can be a carer, a dictator, a kill-joy, and your best friend! I thought it’d be really fascinating to be able to meet your mother when she was your age – What was she like when she was younger? Would you have been friends? So I came up with an idea about a strict mother who hits her head, forgets the last 30 years, and thinks she’s 12 again. But then I read an article about a woman who just woke up one day with amnesia (caused by stress) and I was completely fascinated! I read her whole autobiography, Forgotten Girl, and decided THAT is what would happen to Shazza (Lucy’s Mum) – as suddenly there was a mystery to solve too: why was Lucy’s Mum so stressed out, and how can she and Lucy fix it…?

 What was your favourite scene to write?

Oh, so many! It’s so much fun to write a comedy after writing angsty YA (Someone Else’s Life and Little White Lies) and MUMNESIA is full of funny scenes and mayhem as fun-loving Shazza is let loose on the “future” – and Lucy desperately tries to stop anyone else finding out what’s happened!

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One of my favourite scenes is when Shazza decides to get her nose pierced – and then wants a tattoo! And there’s a crazy scene set at a spa near the end that had me in fits of giggles as I wrote it! Snail facial, anyone?!

 If Lucy’s Mum had a favourite song what would it be?

Definitely “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper – I listened to it a LOT when I was writing MUMNESIA – I had a whole MUMNESIA playlist!

 If you knew you were going to be changed back to the age of 12 tomorrow what advice would you give to yourself?

Great question! Gosh, I guess I’d tell myself to just not worry so much (I still have stress dreams from my GCSEs!).  And be yourself – it’s difficult, I know, as everyone wants to fit in and be cool, but honestly? The coolest thing is to just be comfortable in your own skin. Oh, and keep a diary – you never know when it might come in handy when you’re writing a book!

We would love to know a little bit more about you!  Can you give us 5 random facts we don’t know about Katie Dale?

OMGA that’s a tough one! Okay, here goes…

1) I was born in Lancashire and swore I’d never lose my lovely northern accent, but sadly have.

2) I went on a study abroad year to North Carolina for the SOLE reason that that’s where they filmed DAWSON’S CREEK and I was addicted to that show!

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3) I always wanted to be an actress, but when I got my first big role (Mary in the local nativity) I lost my two front teeth!

4) I was an extra in the movie CAPTAIN AMERICA!

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Oh Wow!  So many questions!  What scene?  Who did you see/meet?

Captain America was great fun – though I didn’t know it was that movie at the time (it was all very hush hush) but I’m in the scene in the lab where Hayley Attwell shoots the gun 🙂 I saw Dominic Cooper on set and I was all dressed up in cool 50s costume/make-up – but it was really cold!

That sounds so awesome!

Anyway back to the facts 😉

5) I can bend my thumb down to touch my wrist! (bit weird – but I bet you’re trying it too now!)

Growing up who inspired you into writing?  Are there any Authors or books that inspired you?

My Mum! Elizabeth Dale.

Elizabeth and Katie Dale

She’s a children’s author too, so I grew up copying her, writing my own little stories and acting them out. Even today, we always read each other’s books as we’re writing them, which is really lovely.

Are there any recent works or authors that you admire or books you wish you had written?

SO many! I love all of Cathy Cassidy’s books, and anything by Jenny Downham, Tamsyn Murray, David Levithan or Jacqueline Wilson. There are SO many good books out there, I just wish I could read more quickly and devour them ALL!

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What are you currently reading?

I am extremely lucky in that I have a sneaky advance copy of Tamsyn Murray’s new YA, Instructions For a Second-Hand Heart, and it is breaking my heart! SO good! Definitely one to look out for when it’s published in November!

I am so very jealous!  I cannot wait to read this!

 What is your favourite book of 2016 so far?

I just read and LOVED One by Sarah Crossan – another book that broke my heart! It’s just so stunning and original and moving. Really special.

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 Are there any authors you would like to collaborate with?  Who?

Actually, I’m working on a YA collaboration with my fellow EDGE authors! And I’m writing a musical (The Sound of Music meets Les Miserables!) with my Mum and a very talented composer, Helen Bonney, which is very exciting! And I would LOVE to collaborate with Jodi Picoult or David Levithan – two of my all-time favourite authors.

 When starting a new book or idea what does your writing process look like?

When I’m plotting I always start with a pen and paper – I find ideas flow better when written by hand, and I LOVE the plotting stage of a book – it’s so exciting as the book can go in SO many different directions and it’s all fresh and new. I just kind of scribble everything down I can think of and then sift through it and organise it on my laptop.

Do you have any strange writing habits?

Yes – I don’t usually start writing the book at the beginning! Usually I write the scene that is most vivid in my mind first, as that’s what I’m most interested in (plus the beginning is often the hardest bit – there’s a whole art to hooking the reader on the first page – pressure!). I do that when I get writer’s block too – skip ahead to the next scene that’s clear in my mind. It helps keep the writing fresh and exciting for me – but also means I often have a lot of holes to go back and fill in!

 Are there any exciting plans for the rest 2016 or 2017?

Mostly, I’ll be writing my next middle grade book, which is out next year – Very Exciting! And I’ve just booked my ticket for YALC in July which I’m very excited about too. But I’ve also got a holiday booked in Austria with my parents and my sister which I’m really looking forward to – we’ve been going there since I was little and I always find the mountains so inspiring and relaxing and you really feel like you’re in a whole different world.

Thank you so much for answering all my questions Katie!  I’m going to be looking out for you in Captain America now for sure as well as reading your fab books!

 Thanks for having me!

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You can buy a copy of this book here or at your local book shop!


About Katie Dale

Katie Dale signing LWL photo

I love nothing more than creating characters – both on page and on-stage! I studied English Literature at Sheffield University, spent a year at UNC-Chapel Hill, followed by a crazy year at Mountview drama school, a national Shakespeare tour, and back-packing through South-East Asia. I love all genres, and am busily working on a variety of projects from novels to picture-books – whilst playing the odd princess/assassin/zombie in-between!

Find out more about me at katiedaleuk.blogspot.com

Or why not follow Katie on twitter using @katiedaleuk


Prize Draw

Don’t forget to enter the MUMNESIA GOODY-BAG PRIZE DRAW! To enter (UK only) simply answer the question:

Mumnesia goody bag

WHAT IS SHAZZA (LUCY’S MUM’s) FAVOURITE SONG?

Email your answer to katiedaleauthor@hotmail.com

(p.s. there’s a special bonus draw and prize for those who answer all eight questions correctly  – so why not join me next time on the blogtour?)

Good luck!
www.katiedaleuk.blogspot.com


Blog Tour

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

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A huge huge thank you to Katie for answering all my questions and for asking me to take part!

Have you read Mumnesia?  What did you think?  What would you do if you thought you were 12 again?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

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Spotlight – Random Acts of Unkindness by Jacqueline Ward


NEW Random acts of unkindness v6

I was so excited to be asked via Faye Rogers to be part of a release day blitz for a new Adult Crime/Thriller book released on Kindle Press called Random Acts of Unkindness by Jacqueline Ward.

And today is the release day!

Happy Book Birthday Jacqueline!

So today in celebration I am going to shine the spotlight on the book and it’s wonderful author!

I also have a fab extract from the book!


NEW Random acts of unkindness v6

How far would you go to find your child?

DS Jan Pearce has a big problem. Her fifteen year old son, Aiden, is missing. Jan draws together the threads of missing person cases spanning fifty years and finds tragic connections and unsolved questions.

Bessy Swain, an elderly woman that Jan finds dead on her search for Aiden, and whose own son, Thomas, was also missing, may have the answers.

Jan uses Bessy’s information and her own skills and instinct to track down the missing boys. But is it too late for Aiden?

Set in the North West of England, with the notorious Saddleworth Moor as a backdrop, Random Acts of Unkindness is a story about motherhood, love and loss and how families of missing people suffer the consequences of major crimes involving their loved ones.

Random Acts of Unkindness is the first in the DS Jan Pearce series of novels.

You can buy this book here

Or add to your Goodreads here


Extract

CHAPTER ONE

I look a little closer and instinctively back away.

Her eyes are hollow holes where the birds have pecked away at her skull and she’s covered in tiny soft feathers and greying bird shit. Fragments of silvered hair lie on her shoulders, pulled out at the roots and exposing pinprick follicles made bigger by beaks. Her mouth is set in a wry smile showing yellow teeth, as if somehow, despite the torn skin and the deeply painful twist of her body, she’s having the last laugh.

The shock is so deep that it hurts more than it should, and tears threaten as I gaze at her. A human life ending in such a terrible, lonely way. It hits me with sadness so intense that I take a moment to sit with her, to tell her broken shell of a body that someone cares. Then fear oozes through the sadness, pushing it under and reminding me of why I’m here. Where are you, Aiden? Where is my son?

I slump onto a brown box sealed with Sellotape that’s sitting next to a small blue suitcase. It looks like this old woman was going somewhere. Somewhere she never got to.

Bessy Swain, by the looks of post on the doormat. A couple of bills and some takeaway menus. A letter from social services that arrived too late to make any difference.

As well as the boxes there are piles of newspapers and scrapbooks stacked up against ancient peeling sepia wallpaper. From the state of the house this woman has been suffering for a while. Poor Bessy.

Outside, starlings perch on the windowsill, quietly watching, judging me as I put off the inevitable phone call. Through the open kitchen door I can see a couple of blackbirds standing on the shed roof, and I can hear their song of accusation. I know I need to call this in and get Bessy some dignity, but I also need to finish what I came here to do.

The day job kicks in and I pull my scarf around my nose and mouth to protect my senses from the rancid fumes I hadn’t even noticed until now. My phone starts to ring, forcing me into the here and now.

I look at Bessy’s body and then at the flashing screen. Shit. It’s Mike. My partner in crime. Crime solving, that is. Like me, he’s a Detective Sergeant  working on Special Operations.

‘Jan. Where the hell are you?’

I pause. How am I going to explain this? I take a big breath and then pull down my scarf.

‘Right, yeah. I was just . . .’

‘Looking for Aiden. Come on, you’re going to get us both sacked. You’re supposed to be in Lytham Road, attending the Operation Prophesy briefing.’

On the worn kitchen worktop that separates the lounge from the kitchen a dead starling stares at me, its dried eyes condemning me from the pits of death.

A small metal toaster holds the remains of two slices of bread, which have been pecked right down to the toaster elements. The dead bird is lying close to the toaster, its feathers puffed from electrocution.

How many birds are there in here?

In my hurry to get inside I hadn’t registered anything apart from needing to know if Aiden was here. But now, sitting here with my mobile hot against my cheek, I realise I am sitting in a house covered in bird feathers and faeces.

The back door slams shut in a gust of wind. A few stray starlings are flying about in the kitchen, but most of the birds are now outside, my entrance breaking open their jail. What I can’t understand is why the windowsills are covered in them, their wings and curled up feet scratching at the dirty glass.

Then I realise they want to get back in.

‘Jan? Jan? Are you there?’

I nod at my mobile phone.

‘Yep. Look, I’ll just finish off here. I got a tip off about there being a funny smell coming from a house and I thought . . .’

Mike sighs deeply.

‘I know exactly what you thought. But this has to stop. Or you have to do it in your own time. It’s not just your own life you’re fucking up here. I’m your partner and I’ll back you up, but there’s a line. There’s a fucking line. Where are you anyway?’

The secure safety net I have in Mike has started to fracture recently and it shatters a little more now with the pain in his voice. I desperately want to put it right, but I can’t. Not yet. I have to deal with this.

‘57 Ney Street, Ashton.’

‘Connelly’s rented houses, aren’t they? I’m telling you, you’re heading for trouble.’

I end the call there. He’s right. I’m heading for trouble. But put any parent in my position and try telling me they’d do differently. I have a good reason. Mike knows that, but he also knows that everyone else’s lives are moving on and he’s trying to drag me on with him.

I push the phone into my bag and I pull my scarf back up against the smell. It’s invaded my hair, clothes  and skin, but the action gives me a bit of comfort and control.

There’s a sudden noise from upstairs and my heart skips. The memory of Aiden calls me back and overpowers the sensible part of my brain urgently screaming that maybe poor Bessy wasn’t alone after all. Maybe someone killed her. Maybe I shouldn’t be here on my own. Maybe I shouldn’t be here at all. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

I tread the worn stair carpet and creep up, nudging open the first door on the right. It’s a boy’s bedroom, all red and white, Manchester United. So she has children. Or grandchildren? But no one is in here now.

Slowly I move on to the next door and there’s a flash of feathers. Two starlings fly past and circle the landing. Another flies at me as I step inside, hitting the side of my head. It’s a dull thud on the temple that causes a slight flash, then turns into a sickening stinging sensation. The shock bursts the tears that have been waiting to be shed since I found Bessy and not Aiden. I slump on an old double bed and touch my forehead, feeling for the dampness of blood, but luckily there is none. I shift my weight onto a pretty pink quilt and pillows for respite.

Suddenly, sitting alone in the empty house, I feel so very small and wish someone would tell me what to do next. Tell me how to find my son.

The thought that he could be captive, suffering, or dead suffocates me, and I feel my body begin to panic. Large hands squeezing my lungs. And then there’s another bird flapping, this time in a large wooden wardrobe. Sounds loosen the squeeze and I can breathe again. I need to finish this.

I open the double wardrobe door and duck out of the way this time as the bird escapes onto the landing, joining the others.

‘How did you get in there, little guy?’

They fly round and round, looking for a way out, some kind of escape, and I know how that feels. This release calms me somehow and I take an enormous breath and find raw comfort from the material of my scarf as it sucks into the crevices of my mouth.

There’s a chest lodged at the bottom of the wardrobe, like a forgotten treasure. It’s against regulations, it’s against everything I thought I stood for, but I open it anyway. I need to find out more about Bessy.

Inside, there’s another box and some papers, on top of a rolled-up baby shawl. Pink. She must have a son and a daughter.

I’m not sure what I’m searching for. A way to avoid it happening to me? What not to do. How to not die alone.

I open the inner box and there are bundles of twenty-pound notes. My fingers trace the smooth paper and lines of thick rubber bands. It isn’t often you see money like this, all rolled up and waiting for something important. My thoughts switch back to Aiden.

I remember his dark hair and angry teenage skin. I remember that I will do anything to get him home. And somehow, at this moment, the realisation of something happening to my son makes me stoop down and contemplate the unknown territory of stealing.

I’ve worked in the police force for almost two decades; I know how criminal minds work. I know that whoever has Aiden could come knocking any second, minute, hour, day now demanding money. I’m surprised they haven’t already. Time I have, but money I don’t and, as I realise the weight of a potential ransom, an intense panic prickles in my fingers. Before I can refuse this primal urge, I push the notes into my deep shoulder bag, along with the papers.

I know it’s wrong, of course; even as I’m doing it I sense my own desperation. I’m a member of the police force. I’m the most honest person I know, committed to catching the scum who do this sort of thing. Yet I can’t help myself. This is different. This is for Aiden. This could be the only way I will ever see my son again.

I’ve been involved in missing person cases before and I’ve looked at the mother, desperate and determined, and wondered how far you would go to find your child. Now I know. All the way Aiden, I’ll go all the way to find you, son.

I unravel the pink shawl, hoping I will, for a moment, lose myself inside someone else’s memories or pain instead of my own. No such luck. My hand touches fragile bone, and a tiny skeletal hand falls into mine.

I almost scream, but aren’t I Detective Sergeant Janet Pearce, Surveillance Specialist? Aren’t I hard? Tough? Impenetrable? I close the lid with shaking fingers and replace the box, hurrying now, fighting back tears. This is all wrong. It’s all too much and I rush downstairs.

My phone rings just as I’m standing in front of poor Bessy. Mike. Again.

‘Jan? Have you left there yet? You need to be here. We’re starting the briefing in half an hour and if you don’t make this one . . .’

The bag is heavy on my shoulder and pinching at the skin under my cotton T-shirt. I need to get it to my car before I ring this in, but now I have no choice. If I don’t say anything to Mike someone will suspect further down the line. I check my watch. I’ve been here ten minutes.

‘OK. I’ll be there. But I need to ring in a suspicious death.’

There’s a silence for a moment. I can hear him breathing. Mike knows what I’m going through. He gets it. He’s probably my best friend in the whole world right now. He speaks again.

‘Not . . . ?’

‘No. An old woman. Looks like natural causes, but a bit gruesome. Anyway. That’s what I found when I got here. I’ll wait until someone arrives, then I’ll be right with you.’

I sound composed, professional, but I’m still shaking. I hang up. He’ll be pleased, because I’ve got a legitimate excuse to miss the briefing. I hurry through the kitchen, out the door, and through the yard. The birds scatter then regroup on the telephone wires above.

My car’s in the back alleyway. I take the money and push it under the front seat. I push the letters into the elasticated pocket on the side of the door and pull my bag back onto my shoulder. Oh my God. What am I doing? I know this is so fucking wrong and I try to tell myself again that it’s necessary. But away from the drama of the house sense creeps in. If there was going to be a ransom from Connelly wouldn’t it have come weeks ago?

No. I can’t do it. I can’t. I pull out the money and push it back into my bag and hurry back to the house. What was I thinking? This isn’t me. The birds just sit there, their heads turning as they watch me rushing around. I try to shoo them away, because they are witnesses to my uncharacteristic misdemeanour, but they won’t go.

I move past Bessy, running now, and toward the narrow stairs, silently apologising for disturbing her secret.

But it’s too late. I see a blue flashing light against the darkness of the room and hear the back door open. Two uniformed police officers appear and someone is banging on the door.

Hugging my bag and shame to my chest, I fumble with the lock and open it. DS Jack Newsome, one of my opposite numbers in the regional police, pushes past me, followed by two uniformed officers.

‘Jesus Christ. That’s awful. How long’s it been here?’

I don’t like Jack. He hasn’t got a compassionate bone in his body. I find myself moving protectively between him and Bessy.

‘She, Jack, she. This is a person. A woman. She deserves a little respect.’

The word sticks on my tongue, heavy with mockery. Respectful, unlike me, who has just stolen her life savings. I’ve never felt guilt like this before, and I wonder how people can live with it. He smirks.

‘Right, Jan. She. How long has she been here?’

I see Bessy with fresh eyes. As Jack does, as any policeman would. Her faded dress is sagging in odd shapes against the decomposition of her body, and brown lace-up shoes sit the wrong way round, her ankles ballooning awkwardly in the crossed position they must have rested in as she died.

‘I don’t know, Jack. But I arrived fifteen minutes ago. Had a tip off about a bad smell and was just passing.’

He’s nodding and grinning. Yet underneath I can see his annoyance as he sighs and wipes his hand through his dark hair, then wipes tiny beads of perspiration away from his forehead. And, of course, the giveaway twitch at the corner of his eye that always tells me when Jack thinks he’s onto something.

‘Just passing, were you? A little bit out of town, isn’t it? Away from your usual place of work? So who was the tip off from?’

I smile now and wonder if it covers up my devastation.

‘Member of the public. In a public place. Just on my way to Ashton Market buying some bacon for the weekend when I heard two women talking about this property and the smell. Simple as that.’

He’s shaking his head.

‘OK, Jan, if that’s how you want it. I suppose all’s well that ends well.’

We look at Bessy. She’s someone’s mother. Like me.

‘Not for her, though. Which is why we’re here, not to find out the ins and outs of my shopping habits. No?’

Jack turns away now. He’s looking toward the kitchen. As he approaches the door, I hear a flutter of wings and beaks tapping on glass.

‘What the bloody hell? Get those birds out of here. And search the house. Get forensics down here, and we need a coroner’s wagon for the old bird here. Cover her up, John. She’s giving me the creeps.’

So the police machine swings into action. I stand there for a moment, wondering if there is a way for me to put the money back, but the two uniformed officers are upstairs now, battling with angry starlings.

I don’t mention that they will need two coroner’s vehicles, one for poor Bessy and one for the tiny baby. God only knows why she’s got a dead baby in her wardrobe. That poor woman must have had a terrible life if the state of this place is anything to go by. Without a word I leave by the front door and walk around to the back alley.

The houses are well maintained and I feel a little easier now the neighbours are out and I have a reason for being here. I get in my car and, with the bag still over my shoulder, drive off. In my rearview mirror the birds still watch, their heads cocking.

Two streets away, I pull up outside an old peoples’ home. I know this is a safe spot away from CCTV. My phone hasn’t even got a signal here. I’m a surveillance expert, latterly of the Communications Department, more lately promoted to DS in Special Operations. It’s my job to know these things.

Even so, guilt overwhelms me, and I remember when I first became a police detective; so full of goodwill and always on the side of the person who had been harmed. I spent hours poring over mind maps and evidence boards, midnight sessions in the operation room and endless visits to witnesses.

Sometimes when I lie awake at night thinking about Aiden, I wonder if I would have shuffled events in a different way this wouldn’t have happened. That always leads to me swearing that from now on I’ll do the right thing, be good, anything, as long as I get him back. Holding myself bolt upright, smiling, being polite, saying thank you; are they all little combinations to finding out what has happened?

In the clarity of daylight it all seems different. No hippy thinking will get me through the day. Action is needed. And, after all, in this game it’s almost impossible to be good all the time. The deeper you get into something, the more complex the relationships, the situations. Everyone’s got something on someone, and they’re going to use it at some point. Until now I’d kept my fingers out of the till, been good as gold. But this is different. This is personal.

I count the money. There’s forty-four thousand pounds. Jesus. I automatically scan the horizon for the signs I know are there, at the root of my suspicions of where my son is. Connelly. I see the scarves and shoes hanging from the telephone wires, silent messages in an unspoken world and my heart turns back to stone.

I push the money under the seat, still distraught that I took it, more distraught that I couldn’t put it back, and seeing no way to return it now. I decide that, in return for it, I’ll do what I can to see Bessy Swain’s case resolved. I’ll do what I can to find out why she had to hide a baby. Someone owes her that, at least.

NEW Random acts of unkindness v6


About Jacqueline Ward

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Jacqueline Ward writes short stories, novels and screenplays. She has been writing seriously since 2007 and has had short stories published in anthologies and magazines. Jacqueline won Kindle Scout in 2016 and her crime novel, Random Acts of Unkindness, will be published by Amazon Publishing imprint Kindle Press. Her novel SmartYellowTM was published by Elsewhen Press in 2015 and was nominated for the Arthur C Clarke Award in 2016. Jacqueline is a Chartered psychologist who specializes in narrative psychology, gaining a PhD in narrative and storytelling in 2007. She lives in Oldham, near Manchester, with her partner and their dog.

You can find out more about Jacqueline on her website here

Or why not follow her on twitter using – @JacquiAnnC

Or Facebook here


Another huge thank you to Faye Rogers and Jacqueline!  Random Acts of Unkindness sounds fab!

Happy Reading!

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Guest Post – Storm Sisters: The Sinking World by Mintie Das – Raquel


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I am super excited to have been asked to be part of the blog tour for the first in a new rip-roaring YA feminist series, Storm Sisters: The Sinking World by Mintie Das.

The Storm Sisters series is a rip-roaring empowering adventure about 5 fearless and diverse female pirates, all named after real pirates from history which comes out on the 30th June from Bastei Entertainment.

The Storm Sisters are a fierce, feminist gang, with five really unique and diverse characters: Charlie, Sadie, Raquel, Liu and Ingela. They all lost their family on the Day of Destruction and have since been sailing the high seas searching for the truth and trying to survive Liu’s vengeful father, who they have stolen a ship from.

A huge thank you to Hayley Steed for having me on this wonderful tour.

For my stop on the blog tour I have a wonderful guest post from this wonderful author, Mintoe Das with a character profile of one of the main characters Raquel!


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Head for the high seas on an adventure with five fearless girls!

Their name is not Storm. They are not really sisters. They will tell you, that they are fierce pirates. What will you believe?

After the tragic events of what has become known as The Day of Destruction – a day when they were intended to die along with their families – Charlie, Sadie, Liu, Raquel, and Ingela find themselves on the high seas all alone. The girls are in great danger from sinister foes and hidden enemies, and have created a false identity as a fierce group of pirates.

Their primary mission, however, is to find out what really happened to their parents. But how long will their disguise keep them from harm? And is it such a good idea to join forces with a group of rebellious boys from their past? Unusual as it is to have five teenage girls living by themselves in the 1780s, all they have left is each other and their friendship …


MEET… RAQUEL

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AGE: 15

ROOTS: SPANISH

EXPERTISE: DAGGERS

Personality Traits

Raquel’s the ‘romantic’ of the group but don’t let her sweet façade you into thinking she’s a pushover. Raquel’s anger simmers and inside—she’s just better at hiding it than some of her other sisters.

Distinctive Physical Traits

Long, curly brown hair; makes the most ‘effort’ out of the girls in that she cares a little more about her appearance but is in no way ‘high maintenance’; shortest, moves like a dancer but is fierce with her daggers.

Detailed Description

Raquel has a sixth sense about people. While extremely talented with languages, her intuitive abilities allow her to communicate with new people, even without a mutual language. She is the natural diplomat of the group, nicknamed “Embajador” (Ambassador in Spanish) for her negotiation abilities and her tendency to mediate quarrels. While the other girls are quick to act, Raquel is quick to listen. Which has gotten the gang out of quite a few near catastrophes.

She is deeply sensitive and naturally empathetic which is generally a strength, though occasionally it bogs her down, leaving her melancholy and moody. Raquel’s sensitivity makes her the most romantic but it masks an explosive anger that rages within her. However, her enormous creativity lets her come up with ingenious solutions that get the girls out of many jams. She’s also the crew’s panchi expert and certainly has a knack with landing a perfect kick and slice of her dagger on any opponent, no matter the size.

On the Day of Destruction, Raquel witnessed her father getting stabbed to death. That image replays in her head over and over, often causing her nightmares. Unlike her sisters who seek justice, Raquel secretly wants vengeance for her father’s murder.

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You can buy a copy of this book here


About Mintie Das

0902 Rovio kirjailija Mintie Das

Mintie Das, has got some great stories to tell.

She was born in India before living in America and she moved around a lot as a child, from country to country, and now works for the UN in Finland.

As she says herself, “My heart is Indian, my spirit is American and my soul is Finnish”.

She’s very much trying to send a message of ‘Girls can’ with her new series: “I know what amazing things can happen when sisters come together and show that ‘Girls can.’ Through the power of Charlie, Sadie, Raquel, Liu and Ingela, we can take that even further and show that ‘Girls can. Girls did. You can too.’”

You can find out more on her website here

Or why not follow Mintie on twitter – @mintiedas


Blog Tour

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

Storm Sisters blogtour(1)


A huge huge thank you to Mintie for such a fab guest post and to Hayley Steed for organising!

Have you read Storm Sisters: The Sinking World?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

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PHBC – The Fever by Diane Hoh


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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 title!

The Fever by Diane Hoh

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

 There is a link to a poll at the bottom of this post to vote for your next #pointhorrorbookclub read! The next book will be announced on 20th June 2016

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

I am still awaiting the answers back from Point Horror author Richie Tankersley Cusick ….. hoping to have them back ready for next month!


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


The Tagline

Try to stay cool….because fever kills!

Okay ….so…What’s It All About?

Poor old Duffy Quinn has a fever and has been admitted to Twelvetrees hospital?!

Oh No!  Poor Duffy!  She must be really ill!  I bet her parents are worried sick (excuse the pun)!

Ermmmmmm not exactly.  Basically her Mum & Dad are extremely busy accountants and just do not have the time to look after their daughter whilst they are doing their tax returns!

Lol!  What a good excuse for missing parents in Point Horror!  So was Duffy okay?

Suffering from a fever Duffy thinks she has imagined an incident that happened in her room when she shouted out for help in the middle of the night (and was ignored…how very dare they).  She is trying so hard to work out what she has heard that someone decides that Duffy deserves to die!  That’s when the nausea, dizziness and funny lights start and fever aside basically all Duffy really wanted was a shower!

A shower?!  Hasn’t Duffy seen Pyscho?

The killer is so determined to bump off Duffy by any means!  This includes swapping of an out of order elevator sign, releasing the brake off Duffy’s wheelchair down a hill (laughs hysterically), trys to kill her in the shower and with a pillow!

*gasps*

Fear not Duffy has a pink razor, bug spray and a wide range of Point Horror boys to save her at every turn!

The Hospital

Yep the only hospital in Twelvetrees is getting a heading all of it’s own!

Wow!  What a hospital!

I loved the creepy tall, grim, gradually decaying building with it’s worn grey stones, mildew and covered in ivy walls setting.  And not to forget mentioning the wooden wheelchairs (!).  It was like something out of a horror movie….only with real live patients, staff and volunteers inside!

I don’t think it was the swapped medication that was making Duffy ill….it was obviously those pea green slacks and tunic combo that the safe wore as uniform.

And lets not go there with health and safety and hygiene……how was this hospital still running?!?

The Doctor

Dr Jonus Morgan took on a whole new level of Dr I just had to give him a quick mention.  Young, tall, boney and skinny with thick shagging eyebrows, beard and gold earing he really did not look after his patient well did he?  And although he frowned a lot I kind of found him more appealing than the boys in this Point Horror – more on that later!

The Girl

Cue worst patient in the world….well according to everyone in this Point Horror anyway…..

Dorothy “Duffy” Quinn with her sudden unexplained fever, cinnamon red hair, pretty oval face, temper and her self proclaimed odd sense of humour had never been sick before!  And after ending up in Twelvetrees hospital I bet she never wants to be sick ever again!

I’m not entirely sure what I think of Duffy.  She did have some get up and go in her as I think most Point Horror girls would have just lay there in the hospital bed.  I mean Duffy was determined to have a shower after all as she obviously found the expert sponge baths and delicious back rubs the nurses gave her as creepy as I did whilst reading it!

She did go through a lot before she figured out someone was trying to kill her though.  There was the Elevator scare, the runaway wheelchair (omg that was hilarious – sorry Duffy), shower attack and then the pillow attack and of course someone changing her medication!  Who knew a pink ladies razor, a carafe of water and a can of bug spray would come in handy!

*pops these by the side of my bed forever…just in cases*

I mean that must have hurt right?!

And yes a ladies razor bloomin hurts when you cut your leg shaving!

thepinklady

All in all Duffy was a determined Point Horror girl even when no one believed her over anything.  Even her parents!  The less said about them the better!

I found her quite entertaining.  Especially when she ran out of the shower looking like this in my head……

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Or was this just the effect of the Digoxin?!

The Love Interest

There was that many boys lusting after Duffy whilst she was high with fever that I do not know who the love interest was in the end so I’m renaming this heading….

The Boys

Oh where to start!

One thing these boys all had in common is that they were all lusting after Duffy!  Fever or no fever!

Okay lets go with the boy version of Cinderella only without the happy ending……Kit Rappaport! Cute, smart and nice, a math wizard with carroty red hair.  Duffy rescued his frog and they had been good friends ever since.  Orphaned at the tender age of nine (and unfortunately killed off Point Horror style at the tender age of, I’m guessing 16), turned down for a scholarship and forced to work in his Uncle’s shoe shop we didn’t get to see much of him as he “moved to California” aka snuffed it before chapter two!  Although this was not revealed until the end.

I feel we missed out on a decent Point Horror boy here as he was cruelly taken away from us!

Dylan Rourke blue eyed, devilish and shrewed with a square honest face and a trail of freckles on his nose that had been broken twice and leaned to the right.  An employee as janitor at the hospital and classmate of Duffy.  He was the total opposite of Kit and struggled for good grades.  He had recently broken up with Amy and basically fancied the pants off Duffy.  I liked Dylan….he can run after my runaway wheel chair and save me any day!

And last but my no means least Smith Lewis!  An orderly at the hospital and I think he was meant to be our Point Horror hunk!  With his eyes the colour of root beer, sexy proud walk (which Duffy found arrogant), thick straight hair, practical jokes and black sports car he apparently sent pulses racing where ever he went and his catch phrase “You think I’m adorable right?” made me want to grab the sick bucket!  I’ve been watching this years big brother whilst reading this book and all I could picture was Marco!  Help Me!  I think I have caught Duffy’s fever!

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The Girls

Blue eyed Amy Severn a junior volunteer at the hospital and of course classmate of Duffy.  She was kind and helpful with her blond hair perfect and sprayed so much into place it looked like plastic and her preppy clothes which included plaid skirts and sweaters she was a quiet and dutiful student and made it quite clear that looking at patients charts was illegal in Twelvetrees hospital!  She had cruelly been dumped by Dylan and gave Duffy’s the evil’s inbetween smiles and patient care of course.

Best friend Jane Sabatini was described as breathtakingly beautiful with thick dark lashes, dark curly hair, heart shaped face, perfectly flawless ivory skin, almost violet eyes and perfectly arched brows.  And yay for another overweight not skinny fab Point Horror character!  I loved Jane!  I wish she had featured a little more.  I mean she walked up four flights of stairs just to bring Duffy some magazines and ran errands for her when she had been running errands all morning with no questions asked.  A true friend indeed.

In fact I’m starting her own hashtag on twitter – #GIVEJANESABATINIHEROWNPOINTHORROR !

And last and most intentionally least we have junior volunteer and so determined to get into medical school that she TOUCHED AND MIXED UP THE PATIENT CHARTS FOR THE MAN WHO OWNED THE HOSPITAL, Cynthia Boon!  With she straight sandy hair, pale eyes, full mouth, shiny skin and tension lines she was described as ambitious and energetic and a KILLER!!  She killed off poor Kit after he discovered that she killed off Mr Latham who funded the hospital with as many wooden wheelchairs as possible and then because she killed Kit in the middle of the night in Duffy’s hospital room she had to kill Duffy next!  You have to feel sorry for her a little bit…..she was given a classic Point Horror ending and was sprayed in the eyes with bug spray and stabbed herself in her face with a hypordermic needle and then shoved on a slate in the morge!

Fashion Faux Pas

I spotted a few…..

Too tight Bermuda shorts over an oversized hot pink sweatshirt and hot pink bow!

And best of all…..Jane wearing lime green pedal pushers and a hot pink short-sleeved t shirt with the slogan, GO AHEAD MAKE MY DAY GIVE ME A CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE!

Get me one now!

Dialogue Disasters

Here’s some lines that made me giggle…..

“Residents of the town of Twelvetrees, Maine, had often remarked sourly that it was not the sort of look a hospital established to welcome the sick and ailing should have”

The obviously had not been inside Twelvetrees hospital….it was far worse than the outside!

“Had it been someone out in the hall doing something useful with the old metal bedpans?”

*sniggers*

“Dr’s were supposed to be balding or grey”

Duffy has never watched Casualty or Holby City then?  Or even visited Hollyoaks?!

“He might look like an ad for a physical fitness magazine, but there was a lot more to Dylan then brawn”

Any volunteers to answer this?

“Sensing that Duffy would rather spend valuable visiting time with her friends, her parent didn’t stay long”

Oh there’s a surprise!

“I wish we could come more often.  I worry about you every minute.  But it’s tax time, honey, and you know what that’s like”

I sense Duffy’s parents are LIARS!

“What you need is a man in your life.  Someone to take you out to a funny movie or dancing”

Firstly no Amy!  No!  And secondly I’m surprised Cynthia didn’t bump Amy off for saying this to her!

“What was Amy shaving with?  A power saw?”

All the lol’s!

“No one will ever be able to tell that you were dead before the car ever went off the road”

This was pre CSI so I will forgive Cynthia for this comment!

Body Count

2!  One pre the book starting and one in front of our very noses!

Is it scary?

Hmmmmmm not really.  I mean this was no Stiney Phirana Pit was it?!  Other than the fact there was not a squirt of hand gel in sight in that hospital which was scary enough and the clear breaches of patient care aka changing someones medication in order to bump them off!

Oh!  I did find the whole shower scene a little scary actually I have to be honest….I mean it was kind of violent and horror movie style scary!  It made up for me laughing so hard at the whole wheelchair scene!

*starts laughing again*

*doesn’t stop…ever*

Did the best friend do it?

Hmmmmm not really, but most of the characters in this Point Horror were a confusing hot sweat of friends/classmates/worked or volunteered at the hospital and who liked visiting Duffy more than actually you know…doing there job!

Some Mild Peril?

It’s like PHBC just want me to keep mentioning the runaway wheelchair again!

*laughs*

I think being admitted to a hospital because your ill with a fever and almost falling down a lift shaft, being rolled down a hill in a runaway wheelchair, being attacked when you finally get a shower and having your medication changed could be classed as mild peril don’t you think?

Or was Duffy just overreacting?

Is it any good?

Possibly not the best Diane Hoh offered to the Point Horror brand, but certainly not the worst.  I loved the concept of this one with the unknowing witness to a crime becoming the target and must be killed by any means in a creepy hospital setting, but the various coming and goings of the so called “friends” at every given opportunity and the amount of time Duffy waited and moaned about wanting a shower was a little strung out.  However the “attacks” on Duffy were pure classic Point Horror gold!

Final Thought

Kadunk!

Even PHBC member Tara’s cat got the fever!

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Cover Wars

Which cover do you prefer?

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Over to you!

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

  • Which boy (or maybe girl) would Duffy have got with in the end?
  • But what would have happened if Kit was still alive?
  • What happened to Cynthia?
  • If you had to bump Duffy off what method would you choose?
  • What would your Point Horror weapon of choice be for getting that killer?!

See you at #pointhorrorbookclub on 13th July 2016 !

I promise to be on time!

**EXCITING POINT HORROR BOOK CLUB NEWS**

 I have sent our questions to  Point Horror legend – author Richie Tankersley Cusick!  I am just awaiting them back….hoping to have these ready for next month!

You can vote for your next #PointHorrorBookClub read here!

Voting closes on the 20th June 2016!

And the winner was Twins by Caroline B Cooney!

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The next read will be announced on the #pointhorrorbookclub page here and on twitter using the hashtag #pointhorrorbookclub on the 20th June 2016!

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

Thanks for joining in….

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