Blackfin Sky by Kat Ellis

Source: Running Press
Paperback, 304 pages
On Amazon and on Kobo

Blackfin Sky by Kat Ellis is a roller coaster ride at the circus, complete with big top, illusions, and creepy mute-like clown/mime.  In a town named for the whales off the coast of an eccentric town where everyone is just a little bit odd.  Skylar Rousseau tells her story in the first person and as she unravels the mystery of her three-month disappearance, readers will be pulled into the underworld of a circus that thrived 16 years earlier.  Ellis’ novel is atmospheric, creepy, and foreboding, as Sky reconnects with the friends who thought she had died while she thought she went on with her normal daily routines of going to school, studying for tests, and hanging out with her friends in a town where a weathervane is haunted.

“Sky shook her head.  Madame Curio was well known in Blackfin, even though she was avoided by most.

‘How did you even get in there?’ The woods had been secured against intruders for as long as Sky could remember, the talk of roaming wolves and lightning trees that electrocuted passing children not being enough to keep out idle teenagers.”  (page 70 ARC)

Skylar sets on a path to uncover what actually happened to her and where she went for three months with the help of Sean, her friend that she wants to be more.  Along the way she uncovers secrets in Blood House, the family home, as it opens attic doors and pushes her in the right direction, learns things about her family and her mother that upend her world, and gets even closer to the truth through a series of unimaginable journeys.  Ellis’ ability to create a believable world in which the circus becomes a prison and gifted people are anxious to leave but unable to do so is fantastic for a debut novelist.  Beyond the darkness, however, Ellis sprinkles in the humor, making it easy for the reader to relate to these characters because they are not overly serious and the novel is not too dark.

“Sky joined him as he leaned against the back of the Jeep, looking out over the twisted townscape of Blackfin.  The houses looked like precariously stacked playing cards, balancing against the hillside while they waited for a gust of wind to carry them off into the sea.  From this height, Sky saw the thirteen black dots of the cemetery cats lazing on top of the tombstones lower down the mountain slope.  Further still, the school teetered at the seafront, with Silas’s iron form spinning crazily on the roof.”  (page 150 ARC)

Ellis balances characterization, atmosphere, and mystery well and Blackfin comes to life with all of its quirky characters.  She bends the light to reveal new dimensions and hues of the town, its residents, and its history, while maintaining readers’ interest and passion to find out how it all ends.  From the mundane routines of going to school and hanging out with friends to the traveling to the circus for answers, Sky must find the strength within herself to accept her new reality and find a way to save herself and everyone she loves.  Blackfin Sky by Kat Ellis is light refracted, speeding up and slowing down, as Sky uncovers her own truth.

About the Author:

Kat Ellis is a young adult writer from North Wales. Her debut novel, BLACKFIN SKY, is out now in the UK (Firefly Press) and the US (Running Press Teen).

Check out her Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads, and her Website.


59th book for 2014 New Author Reading Challenge.





My 1st book for Peril the Second!

I’m Joining the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril IX Challenge

Stainless Steel Droppings hosts the RIP Challenge every autumn, and I’m finally joining.

Here are the details:

Sept. 1 is right around the corner. It is time to begin.

Dark Fantasy.

Or anything sufficiently moody that shares a kinship with the above.

That is what embodies the stories, written and visual, that we celebrate with the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril event.

As time has wound on I’ve honed this event down to two simple rules:

1. Have fun reading (and watching).
2. Share that fun with others.

R.I.P. IX officially runs from September 1st through October 31st.

There are several levels to join in, and I’m picking:






Peril the Second:

Read two books of any length that you believe fit within the R.I.P. categories:

  • Mystery.
  • Suspense.
  • Thriller.
  • Dark Fantasy.
  • Gothic.
  • Horror.
  • Supernatural.

I will be reading Blackfin Sky by Kat Ellis and Feed by Mira Grant.

Are you joining?

Mailbox Monday #280

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links.  Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

1. Blackfin Sky by Kat Ellis for review in September.

Just like any other morning, Skylar Rousseau is late for school, but when she is greeted by a blanket of silent stares upon entering Blackfin High, she discovers that the whole town thought she fell from the pier and drowned on her sixteenth birthday three months earlier. However, Sky remembers the last three months living her life as normal, and since she is a full, living breathing human being, she has no idea whose body is buried underneath her tombstone. Everyone seems reluctant to help except her steadfast friend and crush, Sean . . . and a secretive man who draws her to a mysterious circus in the woods.

2.  Inamorata by Megan Chance for TLC Book Tours in August.

American artist Joseph Hannigan and his alluring sister, Sophie, have arrived in enchanting nineteenth-century Venice with a single-minded goal. The twins, who have fled scandal in New York, are determined to break into Venice’s expatriate set and find a wealthy patron to support Joseph’s work.

But the enigmatic Hannigans are not the only ones with a secret agenda. Joseph’s talent soon attracts the attention of the magnificent Odilé Leon, a celebrated courtesan and muse who has inspired many artists to greatness. But her inspiration comes with a devastatingly steep price.

3.  This Is How I’d Love You by Hazel Woods from the publisher for review in September.

As the Great War rages, an independent young woman struggles to sustain love—and life—through the power of words.

It’s 1917 and America is on the brink of World War I. After Hensley Dench’s father is forced to resign from the New York Times for his anti-war writings, she finds herself expelled from the life she loves and the future she thought she would have. Instead, Hensley is transplanted to New Mexico, where her father has taken a job overseeing a gold mine. Driven by loneliness, Hensley hijacks her father’s correspondence with Charles Reid, a young American medic with whom her father plays chess via post. Hensley secretly begins her own exchange with Charles, but looming tragedy threatens them both, and—when everything turns against them—will their words be enough to beat the odds?

4.  Tall, Dark, & Dead by Tate Hallaway, which I got from a book swap with friends.

A delightful new comedy about witches, vampires, and the search for the perfect man. Recovering witch Garnet Lacey manages Wisconsin’s premier occult bookstore. And a fringe benefit of the job is getting customers like Sebastian Von Traum–piercing brown eyes, a sexy accent, and a killer body. The only thing missing is an aura. Which means he’s dead. And that means trouble. So what’s a girl to do if she’s hot for a dead man walking? Run like hell-and take full advantage of the nights.

5.  Environmental Stewardship in the Judeo-Christian Tradition by Rev. Robert Sirico and Jay W. Richards also from the book swap.

A fair and honest debate about religious responses to environmental issues should always distinguish theological principles from prudential judgments.  The Cornwall Declaration and the accompanying essays in this volume were written to do just that.  They were not written to provide theological rationale for current environmentalist fashion.  Rather, they seek to articulate the broad Judeo-Christian theological principles concerning the environment, and to distinguish those principles from contrary ideas popular in the environmental movement.

6.  Summer Blowout by Claire Cook from the book swap.

A good makeup artist never panics. Bella Shaughnessy knows this. She’s the resident makeup maven in a family of Boston Irish hair salon owners; she has an artful solution to almost every problem. But Bella feels bruised beyond the reach of even the best concealer when her half-sister runs off with her husband. What could she come up with to cover a hurt like that? Plenty, it turns out. She conceives an invigorating new business idea, and soon meets a cute entrepreneur who can help out. Despite their bickering, they can’t seem to stay away from success–or from each other.


7.  Daemons Are Forever by Simon R. Green from the book swap.

Eddie Drood’s clan has been watching mankind’s back for ages. And now he’s in charge of the whole kit and caboodle. But it’s not going to be an easy gig…

During World War II, the Droods made a pact with some nasty buggers from another dimension known as the Loathly Ones, which they needed to fight the Nazis. But once the war was over, the Loathly Ones decided that they liked this world too much to leave. Now it’s up to Eddie to make things very uncomfortable for them or watch everything humanity holds dear go up in smoke.

What did you receive?