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Being Miss Nobody by Tamsin Winter – #YAShot2018 Blog Tour

Happy International Women’s Day everyone.

Today I’m pleased to be hosting an interview with author of Being Miss Nobody Tamsin Winter as part of the blog tour for #YAShot2018.

YAShot is the brainchild of author Alexia Casale and is a one day book convention taking place this year on April 14th. The theme for the programme this year is Human Rights and Being Miss Nobody is a perfect selection.


I have not been a very nice person

I have lied to a lot of people I know

I have done some bad things

All of these things I have done pretty much deliberately

…I am Miss Nobody.

Rosalind hates her new secondary school. She’s the weird girl who doesn’t talk. The Mute-ant. And it’s easy to pick on someone who can’t fight back. So Rosalind starts a blog – Miss Nobody; a place to speak up, a place where she has a voice. But there’s a problem…

Is Miss Nobody becoming a bully herself?

Interview with Tamsin Winter

What is selective mutism?

Selective mutism (SM) is an anxiety disorder which makes it very difficult or impossible for someone to speak in certain situations. In Being Miss Nobody, Rosalind can speak completely normally in front of her immediate family, and her slightly batty next door neighbour, Mrs Quinney. In front of anyone else she can’t say even one word.

What is the worst thing about having it?

Not being able to ask for help, not being able to make friends, not being able to express yourself freely. SM is a condition which makes so many situations incredibly difficult. During my research for Being Miss Nobody I read about a young girl with SM who broke her arm at school but was unable to tell anyone, and nobody noticed she was in pain. For Rosalind, the worst thing is the terrible bullying she experiences at school. She is known as the weird girl who can’t speak and, because she remains silent, the bullying goes (mostly) entirely unnoticed.

What is the most positive aspect of having it?

SM is an anxiety disorder which, believe me, is not very much fun! But, people who have anxiety are usually hyper-sensitive. I can remember being called sensitive like it was a bad thing, and I used to think so too. But now I don’t agree. Being sensitive means you have a high level empathy, that you experience emotionsdeeply, and that you know what it’s like to not find life very easy. An anxiety disorder is not exactly a party, but it isn’t a death sentence either. Living with a mental health condition can make achieving things really, really hard. But it doesn’t make it impossible. Rosalind finds an awesome friend in Ailsa, who accepts her condition, supports her and most importantly of all – shows her kindness.

One of our human rights is the right to freedom of speech and peaceful protest. How do you think Rosalind’s blog Miss Nobody fits into that?

For Rosalind, her Miss Nobody blog is the only way she can speak out about what’s happening to her at school. She names the bullies and exposes them for what they are. She reaches out to other people who are being bullied, and she tells everyone exactly how it feels to be a victim of bullying. But she does all of this anonymously. Social media can be a wonderful way of speaking out but, as Rosalind discovers, it can easily spiral out of control.

Another right is the right to education. What would be your top tips to teachers and fellow students on helping someone with selective mutism to access school life?

The first step when teaching or communicating with a child who has SM is always acceptance of the condition. Accept that your student or classmate may not be able to respond through speech, but provide alternative ways for them to communicate their thoughts and ideas. Do not put them in a situation where they are expected to talk, or put under pressure to talk, as this will only make them feel more anxious. Do not exclude them from discussions or group work, instead find ways for them to join in. You have to be creative and you have to find out what will work for the individual student in your class because obviously, they are all different. Rosalind is given a set of cards she can use to signal different things like she needs help, or she needs the toilet, but she finds it very hard to use them at first because she doesn’t want to draw attention to herself. She is given a notepad by her teacher which she uses to have silent conversations with her classmate Ailsa. Many young people with SM get excluded from activities, so it is important to involve them in the lesson and in conversations, but allow them to express themselves without speaking. The absolute most important thing is to show them kindness. Living with a mental health condition is really hard, especially at school. It makes an enormous difference when people are kind.

Obviously speaking up is a big theme of the book. Why was that important to you?

I’ve worked with so many young people who find it very difficult or even impossible to stand up and say what they think. It’s something I found extremely difficult as a teenager. I think we’ve all been in situations where we’ve been unable to speak up for ourselves but, for me, it is a crucial thing to be able to do. It’s important for friendships, for protecting ourselves, for showing people our true selves, for romantic relationships, for achieving what you want in your career, for sticking up for your beliefs and values. Speaking out takes an enormous amount of courage sometimes. But if you can do it, even for a moment, then you have the power to change your life.

Bullying is also a major issue in this book. What advice would you give to someone being bullied?

Tell someone you trust. Then tell someone else, and then tell someone else. Keep telling people until something is done about it. So many victims of bullying stay silent. It’s one of the ways bullies operate so effectively. I’ve read so many heartbreaking stories of bullying that ended in tragedy, and the question is always the same – why didn’t they tell anyone? People stay silent about being bullied for all kinds of reasons. They are scared it will get worse, they feel ashamed, they don’t think it will make any difference. We need to make it a lot easier for young people to speak out if they are being bullied.

And what advice would you give to someone who has realised they might be bullying someone else?

I don’t believe that anyone is born mean. I don’t think that bullies are happy, fulfilled people. I think there are some young people who have had hate poured into them, and it comes out in bullying behaviour towards others. If someone gets kicks out of being mean to someone, then they’re probably in a home environmentwhere they don’t get shown very much kindness. If you’ve realised that you’re bullying someone, then I’d suggest owning up and asking for some help. Your victims may not be ready to hear an apology directly, so the best apology is changing your actions. I hope Being Miss Nobody ultimately has a positive and important message about bullying. We always have a choice in anything we do, so we can always choose to be kind.

What I thought

I really loved this. Ironically Rosalind had a very strong voice throughout and she really went on a journey of development, but one with a realistic ending, where everything isn’t completely perfect.

I adored her brother Seb and once again thought that it was a wise decision not to have Rosalind’s selective mutism arise as a result of his ill health.

The power of social media to give people a voice is explored so well and is balanced alongside the notion that it can also be used to silence or speak over others. It’s a tool that can be used in many ways and I think this book does a great job of addressing how to use it morally.

Huge thanks to Tamsin for taking the time to answer the questions. Join her and a host of other authors at #YAShot2018 –

To win a signed copy of Being Miss Nobody (UK only – winner selected after Sun 11th 5pm). Post the following to Twitter with your own response to the …

Being Miss Nobody by @MsWinterTweets is about speaking up. I found my voice when … (#yashot2018, @kirstyes @yashotmediateam)


The Study of Silence by Malia Zaidi – Blog Tour Review


Lady Evelyn Carlisle has returned home to England, where she is completing her degree at St. Hugh’s, a women’s college in Oxford. Her days are spent poring over ancient texts and rushing to tutorials. All is well until a fateful morning, when her peaceful student life is turned on its head. Stumbling upon the gruesome killing of someone she thought she knew, Evelyn is plunged into a murder investigation once more, much to the chagrin of her friends and family, as well as the intriguing Detective Lucas Stanton. The dreaming spires of Oxford begin to appear decidedly less romantic as she gathers clues, and learns far more than she ever wished to know about the darkness lurking beyond the polished veneer. Can she solve the crime before the killer strikes once more, this time to Evelyn’s own detriment?

Goodreads link

About the Author

Malia Zaidi is a writer and painter, who grew up in Germany and lives in the US. An avid reader and traveler, she decided to combine these passions, and turn her long-time ambition of writing into a reality. The Study of Silence is the third book in The Lady Evelyn Mysteries.

Author links:







What I thought

Despite being the third book in the Lady Evelyn series it didn’t matter that I hadn’t read the previous two; author Malia does a good job of introducing all of the new and existing characters.

Told from Evelyn, or Evie’s perspective I immediately was drawn to her as a character. Like any murder mystery “detective” Evie has a knack of being around when someone is killed. In this book she has returned from Greece and is studying Classics at Oxford. I loved the inclusion of Greek myth and history and how Evie makes the link between that and the case in question. I also really enjoyed the period it was set in (1926) and the exploration of Women’s Suffrage and the Impact of The Great War (World War 1). Through Evie the reader gets a nuanced observation of the times. I like how she is struggling with the concept of being a ‘modern woman’ whilst still being shackled by traditional expectations – especially that of the ‘ever-present-in-her- head’ Aunt Agnes. Evie’s own upbringing is very interesting and she is haunted by the death of her parents when she was young. I do wonder whether reading the earlier books in the series would have shed further light on that, or whether the series is even building up to exploring her history in more detail. Author Malia is already at work on the sixth Lady Evelyn mystery.

I found it intriguing how the red herrings started even before the murder, with me mis-guessing who the victim was going to be. And as ever suspicion on who the murderer is switches repeatedly.

I loved the link to the title and the concept of silence is really well explored in both subtle and more explicit ways.

If you are after a fast paced murder mystery with a swift denouement then this isn’t quite that read. But don’t let that put you off. Instead it is a clever exploration of love and the human condition in general with a well plotted murder mystery added. As with any good murder mystery series the story of the “detective” is also paramount and Lady Evelyn is a great character.

I will definitely be picking up the first two stories and continuing to read as each new book is released. Fans of the middle grade series Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens or the young adult series Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco should enjoy this adult series too.

Thank you to Malia and Jenny of Neverland Blog Tours for the eARC of the book for the purpose of this honest review.

The Devil’s Poetry by Louise Cole – Blog Tour Book Review

Goodreads Link


Questions are dangerous but answers can be deadly.

Callie’s world will be lost to war – unless she can unlock the magic of an ancient manuscript. She and her friends will be sent to the front line. Many of them won’t come back. When a secret order tells her she can bring peace by reading from a book, it seems an easy solution – too easy. Callie soon finds herself hunted, trapped between desperate allies and diabolical enemies. The Order is every bit as ruthless as the paranormal Cadaveri.

Callie can only trust two people – her best friend and her ex-marine bodyguard. And they are on different sides. She must decide: how far will she go to stop a war?

Dare she read this book? What’s the price – and who pays it?

Commended in the Yeovil Prize 2016, this is an action-packed blend of adventure, fantasy and love story.


Louise Cole has spent her life reading and writing. And very occasionally gardening. Sometimes she reads as she gardens. She can be seen walking her dogs around North Yorkshire – she’s the one with a couple of cocker spaniels and a Kindle. She read English at Oxford – read being the operative word – and hasn’t stopped reading since.

In her day-job she is an award-winning journalist, a former business magazine editor and director of a media agency. She writes about business but mainly the business of moving things around: transport, logistics, trucks, ships, and people.

Her fiction includes short stories, young adult thrillers, and other stuff which is still cooking.

Her YA and kids’ fiction is represented by Greenhouse Literary Agency and she is also published on Amazon as one of the Marisa Hayworth triumvirate.

What I thought

I loved the opening paragraph which was so evocative.

“I’d never realized war could be so quiet. The National Service letters had whispered through our doors that morning. It seemed such thin pages should have torn under the strain of such a heavy message.”

Initially because of this I thought this was going to be an historical novel – I’d read the synopsis ages before so went into it blind, but then the horror dawned. It was set now. In the days of Facebook and terrorism: National Service – Involuntary Conscription for those eighteen and above was back.

Callie is seventeen so it’s not her time yet but instead she has another battle to face. One night she is handed a book and told not to read it but keep it safe. Then the ‘men’ start coming for her. The Cadavari with haunted eyes.

This reminded me a little of Buffy which I love. There is definitely a chosen one vibe. The book switches between first person POV from Callie and third person exploring other character’s points of view from the Cadaveri to Jace Portman the man who mysteriously gave her the book, saved her life, disappeared, and then turned up at her school as a supply teacher. Callie has two close friends Amber and Gavin who are quickly pulled into the action and her ex Alec who she’d prefer to be far from it.

I really enjoyed Louise’s writing style and the book is quite fast paced. We get into the action quickly. I liked the mix of an almost dystopian near future with the threat of war and National Service with the Supernatural elements. As I said before fans of Buffy, and of Cassandra Clare should enjoy this. And it is great to see a UK based fantasy too.

Thank you to Louise and Faye for the e-copy for review. Opinions are my own. The follow up book ‘On Holy Ground’ will be going up on KDP Select shortly, I’ll definitely be ‘Reading’ it. I just hope the Cadavari don’t show up for me 😜.

Do check out the rest of the tour stops to see what everyone else thought.

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