Blog Tour: Ready Or Not Review and Guest Post from the Author!

This is a different type of blog tour for me, as I also have a guest post section from Tracy Darnton, how exciting!! My section will be a short review of this fast-paced YA mystery, and Tracy’s will be the ‘Images of Ready or Not’. Thank you Little Tiger for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Blurb:
Shared family holidays at Creek House have been the backdrop to Millie’s summers since forever. Hanging out with the other kids – Matt, Charlie, Jem and her best friend Kat – has made it her favourite time of the year.
But this holiday things are different – the childhood games that once filled their days have lost their appeal to everyone except Millie. It’s not until the final night that the others agree to a game of hide and seek. But in the time it takes Millie to count to twenty, Kat vanishes.
One year on, and struggling to come to terms with the events of last summer, Millie persuades the others to return to Creek House. It’s meant to give them closure, but it could be a chance to find out what happened. After all, people don’t just disappear, do they?

The Review:
I flew through this book. It reminded me of when I read We Were Liars years and years ago with how quickly I read it. I enjoyed reading this book, I think my favourite thing about it was the way it went between the past and the present. This was done really well, and really added to the story. Having multiple timelines is always something I enjoy, especially when there’s an element of mystery to it – where did Kat go? I liked the characters in this book. They were all so different from each other. I was never sure who I wanted to trust because everyone seemed to have a secret that wasn’t revealed immediately. I enjoyed reading about the different relationships in this book, and seeing how they changed between the two timeframes. Millie was an interesting main character to follow. She was always watching and always eager to please, however she had so many secrets that were kept right up until the very end. This made her a bit of an unreliable narrator but I loved that.

Overall I gave this book 3.5/5 stars. I flew through it and it kept me guessing on every page. I haven’t read any of Tracy Darnton’s other books but I’m definitely going to pick them up in the future!

And now for Tracy’s part of the post on the images of Ready or Not:

My latest thriller Ready or Not is about a teenage girl who goes missing during a game of hide-and-seek at a late-night party. The same group of three families have holidayed since forever at Creek House in Cornwall so the kids have grown up together. I tell the story through Millie, the youngest, who’s devastated by the absence of best friend Kat. One year on, the remaining teenagers head back to Creek House and secrets begin to be revealed.

I’m sharing some of the images I gathered on my Pinterest board when writing Ready or Not:

This is where I pin up images to help me with characters and setting, even the feel and mood of the book, as I’m writing at my desk.

I share the board with my editor and the design team at the publisher to help everyone have a sense of the book. Have a look and you’ll be able to tell that Creek House is a very lovely country home with an angel statue in the garden, that the kids go paddleboarding and play board games – that someone goes to Shakespeare and Company bookshop in Paris and that there’s a springer spaniel in the story somewhere.

Some authors like to describe exactly what their character looks like or ‘cast’ them with a particular actor and stick their picture on their desk. But I don’t like a strong physical description for my characters – I’m interested in what they’re like on the inside –I love writing in first person so for my main character I’m living in their head and seeing the world through their eyes.

Sometimes I think about my characters in terms of a single item of clothing.  Josh in The Rules had a tatty Parka jacket with a big hood that he could retreat into, and Amber’s dad was defined for me by a camouflage utility waistcoat.

You can see from my board that in Ready or Not Kat’s bikini is important – who gave it to her? I wanted a clear image of Kat’s bikini to help me write about it. Millie, by contrast, has a thinning swimsuit smelling of chlorine (we’ve all been there!) and Kat comments (cattily) that she looks like she’s ready to do twenty lengths.

Although I live in the West Country and have been to Cornwall many, many times, I was writing this largely during periods of lockdown. The Pinterest board was helpful in giving me a sense of Cornwall and potential images of ‘Creek House’ to add to my own stock of memories and images. 

If you’re working on a novel, I’d recommend building your own mood board of images for inspiration and procrastination – whether cut out from magazines or on Pinterest. You can keep your board private until you’re ready to share it. Of course, life can look rather glossy and idyllic with those sun-kissed beaches and airbrushed models – but that’s the way it was at Creek House. Until that last-night party…

Ready or Not is available now at your favourite local bookshop or online. You can follow Tracy on Twitter or Instagram @TracyDarnton.

Thank you so much Tracy and Little Tiger for including me in this tour, and for sending me a copy of this book for review!

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