Tuesday, 17 January 2017

REVIEWS FOR LOOKING GLASS GIRL!

Have YOU read Cathy's thriller LOOKING GLASS GIRL yet? Here are some reviews which might make you wonder what you're waiting for!

Cecelia says:
LOOKING GLASS GIRL is probably the most intricately plotted book by Cathy Cassidy and the one I would recommend above all the others (and I love CC books!). Let's start with the cover. I got the book in hardback, and it is my favourite - that beautiful, Alice-in-Wonderland vintagey style is so pretty and intriguing. It was what made me pick the book out to begin with!The actual book is so well written and is jam packed with Alice imagery... the story is clearly inspired by the classic Lewis Carroll tale. LOOKING GLASS GIRL is a book all girls can relate to... boys, school, friendship and drama. In the story, Alice, Yaz and Elaine have been BFFs since they were tiny, but when Alice is picked for a drama role jealousy breaks things apart. By Year Eight, Alice is all alone and Yaz and Elaine are friends/minions of popular girl Savvy. When Savvy invites Alice to a Wonderland-themed sleepover, things change overnight in a very dramatic way. What will happen to Alice? Can she be best friends with Yaz and Elaine again? Read LOOKING GLASS GIRL to find out!

Romina says:
LOOKING GLASS GIRL was one of those page-turning books - I couldn't stop reading it, and in the end it took me just four days to finish. Alice's story was so relatable it was easy to connect with her, and I liked how you don't find out just how she came to fall until towards the end. I liked the different viewpoints and how Alice's life started out one way and turned out differently, which shows that life can always change for the better, and I liked the ending which was really cute and sad. I would definitely recommend this to my friends!

Rebecca says:
LOOKING GLASS GIRL is a unique spin on the classic ALICE IN WONDERLAND story. It is a more realistic, modern version and looks at real life problems such as bullying. It was an amazing read and I loved it - the way it is set out and planned intrigued me and made me want to read more and more. I was definitely hooked, and the ending was NOT what I had expected! Overall, I think LOOKING GLASS GIRL is an amazing book and is suitable for ages ten and over. I would definitely recommend it to anyone, whether they have read Cathy Cassidy books before or not!

Top artwork by reader Cecelia - how cool? Love the sketch of Alice!

Cathy says:
Aww, thank you Cecelia, Romina and Rebecca... great reviews! If you like your reads to have a page-turning thriller style with a twist in the tail, give LOOKING GLASS GIRL a try! Have YOU read it yet? COMMENT BELOW to have your say! 

Monday, 16 January 2017

MOVIE MONDAYS: MOANA

Reader Rhia checks out the new Disney movie Moana... and tells you whether it should be on your to-watch list!



Rhia says:
I am a longtime fan of Disney films so I have been looking forward to this film for ages. It did not disappoint. It's a PG film, as there are some scary scenes, but overall it is a perfect family film and I know I'd have loved it when I was younger. OK, I admit it, I loved it NOW! Moana is a brave and adventurous teenager, the daughter of a chief of Oceania, who sails away on a daring mission to fulfil a quest and give balance back to her people. She meets the demi-god Maui who becomes her guide and helps her on her voyage. This is an action packed film with lots of drama, as Moana encounters monsters and sprites before fulfilling the quest of her ancestors. She also finds herself along the way.

Moana is a brilliant adventure and the CG animation is amazing. Visually it is my favourite Disney film and I love that Moana is a very modern kind of 'princess' and a great role model for girls - she does not need a prince to rescue her but takes things into her own hands. In fact, there is no prince at all and no romance, and that's fine because it just isn't needed in this enthralling story. See it as soon as you can!

Cathy says:
Ooh... that sounds wonderful! A must-see. Have YOU watched a fab new film recently? COMMENT BELOW to tell us more!

Sunday, 15 January 2017

HOROSCOPES: YOUR YEAR AHEAD!

Skye Tanberry takes a look at what 2017 has in store for each star sign... will your long-term for the coming year predictions ring true?

Capricorn: 23 Dec - 20 Jan
Expect the unexpected - but in a good way! Work is going well and 2017 has the potential to be a transformative year for you. Life may not be plain sailing, but by the time the year closes you will have gained the strength and determination to conquer anything you put your mind to.

Aquarius: 21 Jan - 19 Feb
Adventure is on the cards for 2017, so if you're traveling or just exploring new ideas or skills closer to home, things are looking good. You are still battling old habits and ways of handling things that aren't always good for you, but this could be the year you break the pattern and ditch those old, unhelpful traits for good. Focus on your goals... you can get there!

Pisces: 20 Feb - 20 Mar
The good news is that you won't be quite as skint as usual in 2017, and school/ work progress is looking good too! It's not an easy year, however, and you may find it hard to may key decisions at times because it won't always be clear what's going on behind the scenes. April brings new clarity as you move forward towards your dreams, leaving an older phase of your life behind.

Aries: 21 Mar - 20 Apr
Friendship, romance and school connections are all looking bright this year, which helps to balance things as there may be one or two upheavals on the cards too. Family matters are well starred too, with past strains forgotten and new close links being forged. Beware of acting hastily in March, when a thoughtless action may backfire and lead to heartache.

Taurus: 21 Apr - 20 May
By summer, you will be on top form - looking good, feeling great and making real progress towards achieving one particular dream. By autumn, you will be able to see the path ahead much more clearly and new opportunities will come your way. An unexpected problem may threaten to derail things in the spring - don't ignore it, ask for help and you'll soon be back on track.

Gemini: 21 May - 20 Jun
This year, you'll get a lot of pleasure from the achievements of others - you always care deeply about those around you, and it's a relief to see them thriving. 2017 is not the easy year you have been craving, but you will move slowly forward towards your goals - and by the end of the year things will shift dramatically, making life a whole lot easier all round.

Cancer: 21 Jun - 22 Jul
Health, family and romance are all looking brilliant this year, and summer should see a real burst of energy and creativity which, if harnessed well, may change things in a big way for you. You're learning to see past the obvious and look at things in new ways, which is good news for imagination, innovation and breakthrough ideas.

Leo: 23 Jul - 22 Aug
There's a sense that fate is leading you this year - and big changes are scheduled for late summer, when domestic life turns upside-down, but in a good way! Any plans or projects started now are destined to work out well, and your communication skills will pave the way for new beginnings work or school wise, so be open to subjects and paths you may not have fully considered before.

Virgo: 23-Aug - 22 Sept
A romantic year ahead... which should make a welcome change from 2016! September is a great time for fresh starts, too. While things look rosy for you, someone in the family may be having a tougher time, and this will impact on your relationship with them. Put yourself in their shoes and try to understand how they're feeling.

Libra: 23 Sept - 23 Oct
This year is looking upbeat and positive, at least up until mid-October. Travel, adventure and social connections are all stacked in your favour, though romance may not be running quite as smoothly. Money may be in short supply, but fun definitely isn't, so make the most of this and strengthen friendships and family links. Any glitches can soon be ironed out by talking honestly about the issues.

Scorpio: 24 Oct - 22 Nov
You will start the year with hard work and solid slog to keep school work, friendships and family issues all ticking over, but by October everything changes and a time of plenty will unfold when all that hard work begins to pay off. This period of luck in love, work, money and friendships looks set to stay strong for at least a year, so enjoy!

Sagittarius: 23 Nov - 22 Dec
You've been feeling a bit hard done by, working hard while others laze about and enjoy the benefits but this is about to change. Summer will be full of adventure and fun and family matters will feel better than they have in a while. There are still some testing times to be endured along the way, but rewards are waiting too - keep going, it will all be worth it in the end!

Cathy says:
Hmmm... my long-term forecast isn't bad, but not quite as perfect as I'd have liked... story of my life! What are YOU looking forward to in 2017? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Saturday, 14 January 2017

PADDY - NOT QUITE PADDINGTON!

Today is the birthday of Michael Bond, author of the famous series of books about the fictional Paddington Bear. Writer and blogger Malcolm looks back at what that character meant to him...

Malcolm says:
Meet Paddy (right) and his friends, including Martin, a dog named Doug, Squeaker (named on account of a squeezy insert later removed in a life-saving operation) and Laurence. Paddy came into my life forty years ago last Christmas. Something of a consolation prize at the time, he quickly became the bear I treasured most. All these years on, he is still loved, sitting with his companions in a high shelf in the bedroom of our family home in Lancashire.

A consolation prize? I'd best explain! Most summers from 1973 onwards, Mum and Dad would take us to St Ives, Cornwall, a place I loved. For as long as I could remember on those first holidays, there was a Paddington Bear in a shop window on the walk to town from the railway station, and every summer I looked longingly in but understood that he was out of our price range. Dad was a postman and Mum did every job under the sun - mostly cleaning - to help pay the rent on our council house outside Guildford. We were grateful that they managed to save enough to take us for that annual holiday. Besides, the price tag on that Paddington Bear, with his toggle-loop duffle coat, rubber wellies, felt hat and luggage label, seemed to increase every year.

I was hooked on the BBC children's TV cartoon of Paddington, first aired in 1975, having already started reading Michael Bond's stories about this stowaway bear from Darkest Peru. I didn't own many books then (most were borrowed from the library) but Paddington Bear was up there with AA Milne's Winnie The Pooh for me, and I had read them all before I turned ten in 1977. What's more, I still have my copies, some more dog-eared than others.

I don't remember being disappointed that I never got to own a proper Paddington. I got the best possible alternative. I've no idea how Mum found the bear that became known as Paddy, as it's too late to ask her now, but he arrived on Christmas Day 1976, sporting a hand-made red felt coat with buttons, black felt boots and hat. These days he wears a jumper Mum originally knitted for one of her nine grandchildren, the clothes he arrived in long since gone. After all, he had travelled thousands of miles to reach Darkest Surrey. And yes, Paddy turned out to be the perfect Christmas present!

Cathy says:
Awww this is such a lovely story! My little brother also had a 'fake' Paddington bear... they must have been quite the thing around 1976! Who was/is YOUR fave fictional character? COMMENT BELOW to tell us more! (And Happy Birthday, Michael Bond - and thank you for the stories!)

Friday, 13 January 2017

ANASTASIA: READING CC IN BOSNIA!

In the first of a new series on readers all around the world, we talk to Anastasia, who tells us just what the CHOCOLATE BOX GIRLS books mean to her!


Anastasia says:
I am thirteen years old and I live in a country in Eastern Europe called Bosnia and Herzegovina. I absolutely love Cathy Cassidy books - or Keti Kessidi books, as they are over here! I've been reading them since I was ten! They inspire me so much, and I love the way they are written and the themes of the stories. I have learned so much from them. At times I have cried because there is a sad bit, or even just because it's the end of the story.

Sometimes I just get right into the pages of the book and feel like I am actually there... in Tanglewood. looking out to the beach and the beautiful ocean; or beside the little pond with Cherry's fish; in the woods where the gypsies once lived; or in the big garden with the gypsy caravan. It is not just the series I like, either, but the stand-alone books also. It's amazing to see Indigo's new house and share her problems, or be a part of Daizy's performance with her band.

I have not read all the Cathy Cassidy books yet as I have not been able to find them all in my country. I'm trying, though!  I do have all of the CHOCOLATE BOX GIRLS series, and my favourite characters are Skye, Summer and Coco. These books mean so much to me... one day I would love to meet Cathy Cassidy and get my books signed, and I cannot wait to read more CC stories.

Cathy says:
Awww... this is such a lovely post! I love hearing from readers all around the world. Do YOU live outside the UK? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Saturday, 7 January 2017

TEEN LIFE - EIGHTIES STYLE...

Back in the 1980s, I worked as a writer/ reporter for various teen mags. I thought it might be fun to turn the clock back thirty years and look at what life was like for teens in 1987...

Ian & Polly
People call us 'psychobillies' after the psychobilly music we like - the style stems from 1950s rockabilly, but the sound is very 1980s! We met at an alternative club and we love a lot of the same style and music, but in the past some of my boyfriends have been embarrassed to introduce me to their friends! I don't care though... this is the way I want to dress. I used to get a bit of hassle at school, with teachers sticking pencils into my quiff - it's solid with hairspray - but I actually get away with less now I've left school. I'm on a secretarial course and I have to dress low key for college. Ian changes the way he looks for work too... you don't mess around with jobs, do you? I'd love to say I'll still be dressing this way in ten years time, but I honestly doubt it. I'd like to think I was still a bit different, though, I'd hate to be just one of the crowd!

Fae & Aydo
We follow our own style... we get influences from everywhere, and we go down to London a lot as things are always changing there style-wise. Aydo used to get into trouble at school for not combing his hair, and I used to shave the sides of my head and have a Mohican - my parents hated it. My new hairstyle, Aydo invented at the weekend... it took him sixteen hours to do all the tiny plaits! Aydo is a fashion designer - he designed these trousers - but I'm a receptionist, so I have to tone things down a bit for work! The music we like isn't especially tied up to how we dress - we like Bowie, Divine, Tina Turner, Madonna, lots of stuff.

Andrew & Helen
We've known each other for ages... we go to the same school and live in the same area. People call this style 'casual' - for me, that's about wanting to fit in with friends. I'd hate to look weird or be started at in the street - who wants to be laughed at? I buy my clothes from Top Shop and add style touches of my own - I always wear lace in my hair and wrap lengths of lace around my wrist like bracelets. Music wise, we like Patsy Kensit, Curiosity Killed the Cat, Bon Jovi, U2 and Simple Minds.

Jane & Jon
We met at art college and we both like the same sort of music - The Sisters of Mercy, The Cure, that kind of thing. People expect art students to dress a bit differently so in a way things are easier for me now than when I was at school - I've been a Goth since I was about thirteen. My mum got used to me dying my hair different colours, but school never did! It's not an expensive look - I make a lot of my own clothes and find stuff in the Oxfam shop too. We're both vegans, so I won't wear make up that's been tested on animals - I buy white stage make up and false eyelashes from a theatrical shop! It's funny how people judge you for the way you dress - we're both quite shy, but people have all kinds of odd ideas and we've been hassled in the street a few times. Why judge people on looks... it's personality that counts!

Cathy says:
I love this blast from the past. Which look would YOU have chosen? How do you think things have changed since 1987? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

STEPPING OUT!

Readers share pics of their favourite shoes... and tell us why they're so special!

Luna says:
I got these shoes from ebay... they came from China and cost £32 which is more than I'd usually spend on shoes, but they light up, so... bargain! They have a little cable that you use to charge the battery on a laptop and there are switches inside the shoe so you can change the colours or make them flash! I love the different colours, as you can change them to go with your outfit, and I love the hi-top trainer style as I'm into 80s hip hop music and fashion. These are the kind of thing people dreamt we'd all be wearing in the future! I'll wear them to go out dancing with friends, but I think they'll be talked about by just about anyone who sees them. Also, my cat is mesmerised by them!

Eleanor says:
I saw the shoes in Topshop before Christmas and loved them, but they were too expensive so I didn't buy them. A couple of weeks ago I went to see what was in the Topshop sale and there were the awesome shoes - just one pair left, and in my size! They were reduced to only £7 so I knew I had to get them! I love shoes - they're my 'thing'. I tend to plan outfits around my shoes rather than the other way around and I have around twenty pairs - I've been building my collection ever since my feet stopped growing two years ago! They are the first thing I look for in a shop and the thing I am most likely to spend my pay on!

Neibh says:
I saw these embroidered boots in Primark for just fifteen pounds... I mean, I'd have been crazy not to have them, right? I love them - they are high and elegant but comfy too. They're just ankle boots, so they go with lots of things - including trousers - so they're very practical as well as pretty. I wore them to a New Year party and they got a lot of attention, so maybe they will be my lucky boots! I like that they are so unusual and have a folk-art feel to them, plus they're bang on trend which is always a bonus! I wear a lot of black, so they are a great way of brightening up an outfit - just hope they wear well, because I have a feeling I'll be stepping out in them loads in 2017!

Jenny says:
These are my party shoes. I got them from Clarks a year ago - they  weren't for a special occasion or anything, I just saw them and thought they were fantastic. And they were reduced to £25, which was a bargain, so I kind of had to have them. They always make me feel great when I'm wearing them... like a superhero! I've had some great party times in these shoes, and they're not high so they're pretty comfy, too. Although they do catch a bit at the back, so I don't wear them all the time... even now I'm still breaking them in! I wore them once to uni and a boy said he could see his reflection in them... #TalkingPoint

Cathy says:
I love these shoes... and the stories that go with them! Which pair would YOU wear? And what are YOUR fave shoes like? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!