Hello everybody! Today, I’m really excited to be part of the blog tour for the International Yeti Collective, and for my post I’m going to be sharing some information about the book AND an exclusive illustration from it by Katy Riddell. Onto the post!
Hello everybody! Today, I’m very excited to be sharing my interview with Alex Bell, the writer of the wonderful Explorers books and the newly released A Most Peculiar Factory with Barrington Stoke, as well as some YA. Onto the post!
Hi Alex, thank you so much for being here!
1. First off, can you please describe A Most Peculiar Toy Factory in 5 words?
Teddies. Goblins. Creepy. Toymaker. Secrets.
2. Since the book takes place in a toy factory, what were your favourite childhood toys?Do you think you`d like to have a toy from Hoggle`s Happy Toys?
I had a soft toy of Abu, the monkey from Aladdin, that was my absolute childhood favourite. He came with me everywhere! I also had an impressive collection of Polly Pockets. And, yes, I’d love a toy from Hoggle’s Happy Toys, just so long as it wasn’t one of the evil ones.
3. I also really liked the otherworldly elements to the story, particularly someone I don`t want to name specifically as it may be a tiny bit of a spoiler, and I love this in the Explorers series too. What are your favourite magical elements or creatures to find in a book, and do you have any specific examples of these?
I enjoy it when there’s a little bit of darkness or creepiness to magic, as in many of the Roald Dahl books. And I’m just a sucker for any kind of magical creature in a book, but I especially like completely new ones that the author has created themselves, which is something I love playing with in Explorers.
4. The farm your main character Tess`s family runs sounds BRILLIANT- for anyone who hasn`t read the book yet, they produce sweets. If you had your own unconventional farm, what thing would you most want to create unlimited supplies of? (and this can be anything, not limited just to food!)
Ooh, what a great question! I think it would have to be some kind of Christmas farm, perhaps creating magical Christmas trees. Otherwise, it would have to be a unicorn farm.
5. My absolute favourite thing about the novella was definitely the ending though, WOW. What endings in books/films/TV shows have surprised you the most?
I love a twist and I almost never see them coming. I was completely blown away by the ending of Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane, which I think is one of the most amazing novels I’ve ever read.
6. Also on the theme of endings, what tips would you give to writers trying to create a cliffhanger-style one? Between this and the ending of Explorers on Witch Mountain, it`s safe to say you`re amazing at them!
Thank you! I think the aim with cliffhangers is to leave your audience wondering about what happens after the book ends, so you need an unanswered question of some kind, or hint that things are not quite as resolved as the reader thinks. But at the same time I think it’s important that most of the major issues have been resolved, otherwise it can feel like a bit of a cheat.
7. What is your writing routine like? Do you have any unusual habits or quirks?
I generally aim for 2,000 words a day but that really just involves sitting down wherever there’s space and working away at it until it’s finished. I don’t have a dedicated writing room, but I always work better with one of my Siamese cats on my lap for company.
8. Can you tell us anything about your next release or what you`re working on at the moment?
I’ve recently done the final checks on the third Explorers book, Explorers on Black Ice Bridge, which comes out in November. I had so much fun writing it, and can’t wait for their next adventure to hit the shelves, especially as this one involves sea-gremlins and gentlemen flamingos.
Hogwarts house? Ravenclaw
Explorers` Club you most want to be part of? Polar Bears
Favourite biscuit? Jammy dodger
Thing you`re most excited about for autumn/winter? Eggnog lattes, always.
Top 3 reads of 2019 so far? North Child by Edith Pattou. The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale. The Binding by Bridget Collins.
Have you read any of Alex’s books, or are you planning to? I’d love to hear in the comments!
Hello everybody! How is October please?! Today, I’m once again taking part in Top Ten Tuesday and the theme today is books with numbers in the title- some of which I’ve read and some which I have not yet. Onto the post!
Hello everybody! Today, I’m going to be talking about my most anticipated October releases, some of which are among my most anticipated anticipated books of the whole year! Onto the post!
The Somerset Tsuanami– this is the new Emma Carroll. Do I really need to say any more?! If Emma released a book of her shopping lists, I’d read them. This is about witches and history though, which I love anyway, so I could not be more excited.
The Star Outside My Window– I really liked the Boy at the Back of the Class last year, and I think Onjali’s second book sounds so interesting- it’s about a girl who finds herself in foster care when her mum suddenly disappears. I suspect domestic violence will be a big theme in here if I’m picking up the inference in the synopsis correctly, and I also think I will very likely cry reading it.
The Conspiracy of Magic– I know very little about the actual plot of this, but I do know that I really enjoyed the Company of Eight and that I desperately wanted a sequel, so I am very excited indeed. The world is really feminist and just generally fabulous, and I can’t wait to see some more of it.
The Extremely Incovenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone– this is about a girl whose parents die and leave her a task to visit ten aunts and deiver things to them. I’m not 100% sure I’ll like it, but it sounds quirky and fun enough that I’m willing to give it a go! And I want to support the publisher too, seeing as they’re new.
Harriet and the Galaxy– I don’t think I’ve mentioned this that often publicly, so if you don’t know, I have been wearing hearing aids since I was 15 and when I learned that I needed them, I went through a few months of really struggling with feeling alone in needing them that young, and I had no books I was interested in reading that helped with this at the time. This one, which is about a girl with hearing aids saving the world from what I can gather, is REALLY personal for me.
The Ghouls of Howlfair– this is about a girl who lives in a mysterious, supernatural place called Howlfair and her attempts to solve some mysteries about it. I think it’ll be spooky and fun, and hopefully I’ll get the chance to read it at some point during autumn!
The Great Brain Robbery– I thought the first book in this series was absolutely brilliant, and I’m very excited to return to the world of the Impossible Places and see its postal staff once more. I’m also looking forward to seeing how the plot introduced about who is in power carried on!
Boy Meets Ghoul– this is another sequel, but quite different as it’s teen contemporary rather than MG fantasy. The first book was adorable and funny, with brilliant characters and if you’ve ever wondered what Simon Vs might be like if it were British you’ll really enjoy it too, I think.
Frostheart– I know very little about the actual plot of this, but it’s a big MG release for autumn and I love a bit of MG fantasy so I might as well give it a go! Also, I really like the cover.
The Places I Cried in Public– Holly Bourne always writes really interesting, feminist fiction, and I’m looking forward to this one, which based on the blurb I assume is going to tackle an abusive relationship of sorts. I’ll need to be in the right mood, but when I am I think I’ll really like this.
Shadows of Winterspell– I really like Amy Wilson’s books, and they’re always great to read in autumn/winter time. It’s about a girl named Stella who has grown up in a magical forest and is trying to integrate into the local school, but must save the forest from ancient dark magic at the same time. I’m expecting stunning writing, great worldbuilding and a really interesting plot.
Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas– I loved This is Going to Hurt when I read it back in January, so I’m super excited for this Christmas spinoff about working in the NHS during the festive season, if slightly worried that it won’t quite be as exceptional as its predecessor.
In the Time We Lost– I’ve not yet read any Carrie Hope Fletcher, but I really want to so this will be joining my TBR alongside When the Curtain Falls and All That She Can See. It’s about someone who moves to a Scottish island after she gets jilted, and sounds like it’ll be Groundhog Day but a romance.
What are your most anticipated October releases? Do we have any in common, and are you planning to add any I mentioned to your TBR? I’d love to hear in the comments!
Hello everybody! Today, as part of Top Ten Tuesday, I’m going to be sharing ten books that I hope to read during autumn. Let’s just ignore the fact I didn’t actually read all the ones on the summer version of this post… shall we? Onto the post!
Invisible in a Bright Light– I have only read one Sally Gardner before and it was maybe 8 years ago or so, so I can’t really remember it, but I’m looking forward to her newest release, which sounds really unusual and interesting.
White Eagles– I loved Elizabeth Wein’s last release from Barrington Stoke, Firebird, and I’m very excited to start this one- by the time you read this, I’m hoping I’ll be partway through at the very least. Like most of her books, this is about female pilots, this time in Poland. Louise has told me I should read the Pearl Thief, so that should also hopefully happen at some point.
The Conspiracy of Magic– this hasn’t actually arrived yet but I have been informed that I am getting one, so I thought I’d pop it on this list anyway. I read the first one in the series at the beginning of 2018 and ADORED it, so I’m very much looking forward to returning to this really cool world with characters and storylines that I love. Also, the cover is stunning, which is always a bonus.
The Somerset Tsuanami– if you know me even remotely, this isn’t going to come as a huge shock. I am OBSESSED with Emma Carroll’s books; I think she is an absolute queen of her genre and just in general, and I am DYING to read this one. It’s about a girl pretending to be a boy who gets accused of witchcraft when a tsuanami hits and I think it could well become one of my favourites from her, although it will have to be truly exceptional to manage that. But this is Emma, so it’s obviously going to be AMAZING.
Sealed with a Kiss– I’m currently reading Wildflower Bay whilst I’m writing this, and so far I’m really enjoying it. Therefore, I really want to read another Rachael Lucas and as this is set in the same place, it seems the best choice. That said, her others sound excellent too and I am fickle, so could well change my mind and go for one of the others. I am VERY glad I took Aimee’s recommendation on Rachael’s books!
Tunnel of Bones– I feel like this has to be read during autumn. I read the first one in November last year, and it was a brilliant time to read about the ghosts of Edinburgh and Cassidy, who can see “beyond the veil” after a near death experience. This one is set in Paris, which is very exciting for me since I’m kind of obsessed with all things French, and I have heard it’s even better, which is promising.
The Turn of the Key– this feels like another one that is just calling out to be read in autumn- it’s a creepy reimagining of the Turn of the Screw and is about a nanny in a high-tech house in Scotland who is writing her story from prison in letters to a lawyer who she hopes will represent her, because she has been (allegedly) falsely accused of murdering one of her charges.
Shadows of Winterspell– this is the new Amy Wilson, and I am a big Amy Wilson fan. I think her books just keep improving too, so it’s always nice to get hold of a new one. Her writing is so lyrical and beautiful that I always get totally swept away in her worlds and stories.
The Switching Hour– everyone I know who has read this says it’s really special, so I’m excited to give it a chance despite it sounding a bit more dystopian than fantasies I tend to love. The promise of an excellent animal companion didn’t hurt either, I’ll not lie.
Skycircus– I’ve been putting this off for nearly a year because I thought it was the last book in the series and I am not yet ready to say goodbye to Malkin, but it’s now been announced that the fourth is due in January and therefore I ideally want to get to this before then. Aother third book in a series I’d quite like to get to in autumn is the Frozen Telescope, because I am fairly sure it’s set at Thanksgiving.
Which books are you hoping to read during autumn? Do we have any in common, or do you have any suggestions about which I should read first? I’d love to hear in the comments!