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Wicked Little Deeds by Kat Ellis – #TheWriteReads #UltimateBlogTour Book Review


About the Book


*THE BRAND NEW TERRIFYING THRILLER FROM KAT ELLIS*

‘Riverdale meets The Haunting of Hill House’ – Amy McCaw, author of Mina and the Undead

Kat Ellis wields an oppressive atmosphere like a sharply honed blade‘ – Sera Milano, author of This Can Never Not Be Real

Horrifyingly good fun!‘ Kathryn Foxfield, author of Good Girls Die First

From its creepy town mascot to the story of its cursed waterfall, Burden Falls is a small town dripping with superstition. Ava Thorn knows this well – since the horrific accident she witnessed a year ago, she’s been plagued by nightmares.

But when her school nemesis is brutally murdered and Ava is the primary suspect, she starts to wonder if the legends surrounding the town are more fact than fiction.

Whatever secrets Burden Falls is hiding, there’s a killer on the loose, and they have a vendetta against the Thorns…

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55600867-wicked-little-deeds


About the Author

Kat Ellis is a young adult author whose novels include Wicked Little Deeds/Burden Falls (August 2021), Harrow Lake (July 2020), Purge (September 2016), Breaker (May 2016), and Blackfin Sky (May 2014). She is a fan of all things horror and sci-fi, and a keen explorer of ruins, castles and cemeteries – all of which are plentiful in North Wales, where Kat lives with her husband.

You can find out more about Kat at http://www.katelliswrites.com or connect with her on social media.

Email: katelliswrites@gmail.com

Website: katelliswrites.com

Facebook: facebook.com/katelliswrites

Instagram: @katelliswrites

Twitter: @el_kat

(from https://katelliswrites.blogspot.com/p/about-me.html)


What I Thought


This was so good. All gothic and horrifying, a cross between The Ring, The Grudge, Scream and I Know What your family did a few centuries back, with a dash of Romeo and Juliet thrown in.


Kat Ellis has created a truly spooky mystery thriller with lots of twists and turns. I did manage to guess who done it but literally only just before the book’s characters. I was led a merry dance with all the missteps and clever authorly suggestions too.


The Burden Falls legend of Deadeyed Sadie added a spooky layer to this murderous tale and I definitely got that horror movie heart racing vibe whilst reading this. I also loved that the manor and setting became a character in this tale too.


Full of newspaper clippings, family feuds and a hit teen version of Most Haunted this is a book to read with the lights on and 🤞🏻🤞🏻🤞🏻 A film to watch with the lights off! I just hope I don’t get nightmares like Ava 😱😬😴.


Main character Ava is a intriguing heroine, one who maybe isn’t an innocent as she seems. Is there curse on her family? And will she be the one to survive it?


Wicked Little Deeds is out now so don’t delay, read and scare yourself today!


Thanks to Dave at The WriteReads and the publisher for the gifted ecopy for the purposes of an honest review. Check out the hashtags #WickedLittleDeeds #KatEllis #TheWriteReads to see what everyone else thought.

What Beauty There Is by Cory Anderson – @The_WriteReads #UltimateBlogTour Book Review

ARC Book cover

About the Book

When everything you love is in danger, how long can you keep running to survive?

Life can be brutal

Winter in Idaho. The sky is dark. It is cold enough to crack bones.

Jack knew it

Jack Dahl has nothing left. Except his younger brother, Matty, who he’d die for. Their mother is gone, and their funds are quickly dwindling, Jack needs to make a choice: lose his brother to foster care, or find the drug money that sent his father to prison.

So did I

Ava lives in isolation, a life of silence. For seventeen years her father, a merciless man, has controlled her fate. He has taught her to love no one.

Did I feel the flutter of wings when Jack and I met? Did I sense the coming tornado?

But now Ava wants to break the rules – to let Jack in and open her heart. Then she discovers that Jack and her father are stalking the same money, and suddenly Ava is faced with a terrible choice: remain silent or speak out and help the brothers survive.

Looking back, I think I did . . .

Perfect for fans of Patrick Ness, Meg Rosoff and Daniel Woodrell, What Beauty There Is an unforgettable debut novel that is as compulsive as it is beautiful, and unflinchingly explores the power of determination, survival and love.

‘Beautifully written and superbly constructed, Anderson pulls you onto a chilling footpath of love and loss and keeps you there until you’ve read every last word’ Ruta Sepetys, bestselling author of Between Shades of Grey

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44779579-what-beauty-there-is?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=cy9S5ruE50&rank=1

About the Author

Author Photo

Cory Anderson is a winner of the League of Utah Writers Young Adult Novel Award and Grand Prize in the Storymakers Conference First Chapter Contest. She lives in Utah with her family. What Beauty There Is is her debut novel.

Twitter: @coryanderwrites

Website: https://coryanderson.us/

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

What I Thought

First up this book could do with one heck of a trigger warning. There wasn’t one in the ARC so I don’t know if there is one in the finished copy.

TW for suicide, addiction, violence, murder.

This book gets straight into the dark stuff and it keeps on piling although there are periods of quiet respite. It is a gritty depiction of the uglier sides of life and it feels authentic in its rawness. I can see this one winning prizes!

Each chapter starts off with Ava’s voice, speaking from the end of the story, adding weight to our foreboding, as an example the end of her part in chapter two says ‘We knew each other nine days.’

The rest of the chapters are close third person, mainly from Jack’s POV but also from the antagonist and a cop.

The three children, teenagers Jack and Ava, and Jack’s younger brother Matty are definitely victims of their circumstances – all born into families that mean they do not have a head start at life. Two quotes that struck me were:

“He lay in the dark and the blue, and he wished for a more beautiful world than there was.”

“You can’t just tell people they’re the master of their fate and let them believe it. They’ll think they’ve done something wrong their entire life.”

Those reflect how much this book makes your heart bleed for these characters. But they do find beauty in each other and it’s their relationships – the tender love between the brothers, the youngest looking to the eldest for protection; and the blossoming feelings between Ava and Jack. There is a hint of instant attraction between them but it is the kindness they show each other that has you rooting for this pair of starcrossed lovers. There are definite echoes of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in their tale, which swaps Verona for Idaho.

The wintery snowy landscape adds to the atmosphere of the story – with the constrast between its barrenness and beauty reflecting the characters’ experiences.

Anderson’s prose is beautiful. This book has a very lyrical feel which plays against the brutality in the story.

This book will shatter you. According to goodreads a book two is planned and some healing is definitely needed. I’m certainly not ready to let these characters go.

Blog tour banner

Thanks you to @TheWriteReads and the publisher for the gifted ARC for the purposes of an honest review. I have to admit preferring the cover of the ARC as I think it better reflects the story inside. Below are the UK and US finished covers.

UK / US CBook Cover Images

Small Spaces by Sarah Epstein – Guest Post – Are Characters Writers’ Imaginary Friends?

Continuing with the spooky theme – today I have a guest post from Sarah Epstein author of psychological thriller Small Spaces.

Synopsis

Tash Carmody has been traumatised since childhood, when she witnessed her gruesome imaginary friend Sparrow lure young Mallory Fisher away from a carnival. At the time nobody believed Tash, and she has since come to accept that Sparrow wasn’t real. Now fifteen and mute, Mallory’s never spoken about the week she went missing. As disturbing memories resurface, Tash starts to see Sparrow again. And she realises Mallory is the key to unlocking the truth about a dark secret connecting them. Does Sparrow exist after all? Or is Tash more dangerous to others than she thinks?

Author

Sarah Epstein spent her childhood drawing, daydreaming and cobbling together books at the kitchen table. A writer, illustrator and designer, she grew up in suburban Sydney and now lives in Melbourne with her husband and two sons. She is passionate about YA, especially the thriller genre, which is her favourite to read. Small Spaces is her first novel.

Are Characters Writers’ Imaginary Friends? by Sarah Epstein

Imaginary friends have always fascinated me. And while I don’t remember having one myself as a child, I’ve encountered plenty of people who did. When my own kids were small and attending playgroup and kindergarten, I’d hear stories from mothers about how they’d overheard their child’s one-sided conversations in the bath, or how their child’s invisible friend had to have a place set at the dinner table. I’d always think, where do these imaginary friends come from? Are they tied to emotional issues, loneliness or just boredom? Are they coping mechanisms, a cry for attention, or even, as some suggest, a spiritual presence that a child’s mind is open enough to see?

It was a subject I wanted to explore in a story. But in many ways I’ve been writing about imaginary friends for years – my own. The characters I create who tell me their story.

In Small Spaces, I wrote about my protagonist Tash’s experiences with her imaginary friend, Sparrow, both as a young child and as a teenager. To do this, I had to understand Tash’s character inside and out – her hopes, dreams, fears and faults – so I could figure out how she would react to the appearance of Sparrow and the situations his presence would put her through.

In a sense, Tash became my imaginary friend, because she was constantly talking in my head. She was with me while I walked my dog, took showers, and late at night when I was trying to switch my brain off to go to sleep. For writers, this is nothing new. Our characters are shadowing us everywhere we go, especially during the drafting stage of a novel when we’re trying to work out exactly who they are. You imagine how they look, speak, think and act, who they are closest to in the world, and what makes them angry or afraid. Soon they become more than just fictional characters – they become friends we are passionate about. They become friends we are rooting for, friends who are keeping us company on our writing journey as well as actively driving our stories.

And, until readers discover these characters, they are friends created in our imagination that no one else can see.

Is this so different from the imaginary friends some of us invented during childhood? If they were created for company, entertainment, comfort or even a bit of attention, perhaps it’s not so different at all. And while I may not set a place for Tash at my dinner table, or hold a conversation with her in the bath, she’s always with me, tucked away inside my head.

Thanks so much to Sarah for this insight into how characters can ‘live and breathe’ for the writer. Hope everyone taking part in NaNoWriMo has picked nice people to spend the next month with

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