Sunday, 13 August 2017

Buy my books half price in the Firefly summer sale

HEADS UP: Firefly Press are having a late summer sale where you can buy their books - including Blackfin Sky and Purge by me - at half price, including postage!

If you buy either of my books from them and would like me to send you a free signed bookplate and bookmark, send your proof of purchase to ... this would make a great personalised gift for someone, just saying.

So check out Firefly Press's awesome books and grab some bargains!


Tuesday, 8 August 2017

July Wrap-up (and what happened at YALC!)

A little late posting this, but I'm in the middle of revising my new MS at the moment -- the creepy thriller I finished drafting during my Literature Wales Writer's Bursary period -- so I'm sliiiiightly behind on pretty much everything else. (Seriously, I haven't vacuumed in ages.)

Before I get into the wrap-up, remember you can enter the Goodreads giveaway to win one of 10 copies of my YA sci-fi thriller, PURGE - but today is your last day! Here is a handy link.

I went to YALC for just one day this year, but still managed to fit loads in and had a brilliant time. I caught the 'Who runs the world?' panel where Tanya Byrne, Virginia Bergin, Clare Hennessy, and Holly Smale talked about feminism in YA with Katherine Woodfine.

I also really enjoyed Victoria Schwab, Martin Stewart, Ben Aaronovitch, Zen Cho, and Dan Vyleta talking about genre-bending with chair Samantha Shannon, and watched the 'Myth, magic and fairy-tale' panel with Joanne Harris, Julia Gray, Laura Dockrill, Zoe Marriott, Deirdre Sullivan, and Peadar O'Guilin, chaired by Imogen Russell Williams.

In between, I managed to pop to a few signings and met/caught up with some fabulous authors, and also made my way downstairs to where Comic Con was going on. I had a brief sighting of Alyson Hannigan (Willow!!!) and Kristian Nairn (Hodor!!!) though I missed the part where Benedict Cumberbatch ventured up to YALC just as Non Pratt was getting her head shaved. There was a fabulous photo of his shocked face doing the rounds on Twitter afterwards, though.

Meeting the wonderful Martin Stewart, author of Riverkeep and The Sacrifice Box (and who very kindly gave Purge an awesome blurb!)

Catching up with lovely Simon P Clark (left) author of Eren and Not Yet Dark, while getting my copy of The Call signed by Peadar O'Guilin, who was extremely charming


When Pikachu met Dalek

The Saturday was also the birthday of my wonderful friend (and host for the weekend) Tatum Flynn, whose MG duology -- THE D'EVIL DIARIES and HELL'S BELLES -- is wicked. If you haven't read those yet, do. They'll have you in stitches.

Tatum Flynn above the Comic Con floor

PHEW. That was quite a YALC!

I squeezed in 6 reads this month -- these are they.

First up, a Netgalley book which I got for review -- SLEEPER by Mackenzie Cadenhead, which released 1 August. Sarah has a sleeping disorder that makes her violently act out her dreams, until a new drug enables her to sleep without endangering herself or others for the first time. The only drawback (or is it?) is that it allows her to enter the dreams of others who have taken the drug -- something only she, and a mysterious boy, can do. Add in a bully and a quest for revenge, and SLEEPER turned out to be quite gripping. While I didn't love Sarah or the secondary characters, she was certainly an intriguing anti-heroine with a very sketchy moral compass, and I was keen to find out where her path would take her. It was a quick read with lots of energy and drama.

Anytime I pick up a book by Erin Fletcher, I know I'm in for a brilliant read. TIED UP IN YOU continues that trend with a friends-to-lovers story about hockey star Jackson and STEM-enthusiast Malina. Their struggles and dramas felt so very real and raw, and I loved how cute these two were together, even before they moved from "friends" to "more than". And the secondary characters were just awesome -- from Malina's wonderful grandmother Tutu to her hilarious best friend Izzy, and of course Lia and Pierce (from ALL LACED UP, which has just won the YARWA Athena Award!) who made a few appearances that made me want to go back and re-read their story all over again. I basically inhaled TIED UP IN YOU, and it's definitely one I will recommend to anyone looking for a book that's guaranteed to make their heart happy.

In last month's wrap-up post, I talked about Lisa Glass's BLUE trilogy, of which I read 2 books in June and was absolutely smitten with them. Well, I finished the trilogy this month by reading RIDE. What a perfect ending to Iris's story! I can honestly say I had no idea how it was going to end; I wasn't even sure how I *wanted* it to end as the various twist and turns played out. Iris and Zeke's path is messy and wonderful and painful, and ultimately very real and hopeful. A brilliant trilogy that's just made for summer. I listened to the whole trilogy on audio, and highly recommend it. 

Cat Clarke's TORN has been on my shelf for a while (I love her books, but I tend to need a little time for my shredded heart to recover in between them!) and it was another superb story of emotional suspense. Alice has a secret: one that could ruin her life, and the lives of her friends. When she and her classmates go off into the wilderness on a school trip, with a mismatched group thrown together in Alice's cabin, tensions lead to mean girl Tara ending up dead in the woods. As with all Cat's books, the character are so vivid and compelling, even when they're doing awful things, and this was a book I couldn't put down (I actually listened to the audio, which was fab, but you know what I mean). TORN is like a darker, grittier take on Pretty Little Liars, and I loved it.

I read 2 adult books this month (I know -- get me), both on audio. The first was FAHRENHEIT 451 by Ray Bradbury, which you'll probably have heard of even if you haven't read it. Set in a dystopia where books are burned because they are believed to be the cause of unhappiness and dissent, Guy Montag is a fireman -- tasked with finding and burning books -- who comes to question his vocation: if books are the cause of unhappiness, then why is he still unhappy? This was a weird one for me; it felt like the point was made pretty quickly, and even though the book was relatively short, it still seemed to go on forever. I did enjoy the narration by Tim Robbins, though... there's something very Garfield about his voice that I like.

Lastly, I listened to FALSE HEARTS by Laura Lam, which I believe is the beginning of a series of standalone sci-fi novels set in the same world. This book is about formerly-conjoined twin sisters Tila and Taema, and what happens when Tila stumbles into Taema's apartment one night covered in someone else's blood. Told in alternating viewpoints, Tila's narrative offers insight into their lives growing up in a cult, while Taema's tells the story of the events following Tila's arrest for murder, and how Taema goes undercover to find out what exactly Tila was doing working for a shady underworld gang. This was a cool, edgy, dystopian thriller, and I'll definitely be checking out more works by Laura Lam.

That's it for my July reads! I'm on track to reach my Goodreads goal of 80 books this year, but need to get a move on in August if I don't want to fall behind again. Eep.

What else did I get up to in July? Well, as I said, I've mostly been working on this new MS, but I did manage to sneak in a couple of adventures and plenty of walks. Here's a quick video of an old stone cottage I found in the woods:

And a giant plastic horse hauling a cart of giant plastic peanuts outside Chester Cathedral. Why not, I guess?

A post shared by Kat Ellis (@katelliswrites) on

I'll sign off with a couple of songs I've been listening to obsessively this month, and which are on the playlist for the book I'm working on. Hope you enjoy!

Kat out x