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Shantallow by Cara Martin - Book Blitz + Giveaway

By 9:00 AM , , , , , , , , , ,

Cara Martin
Published by: Cormorant Books
Publication date: May 26th 2019
Genres: Horror, Young Adult
Tanvi isn’t the girl of Misha’s dreams; she’s the girl from his nightmares. She has appeared in his chilling dreams before he even meets her; when he DOES meet her, he falls for her.
Their relationship turns stormy, bordering on abusive, and takes a dramatic turn when they are held captive by a group hoping to extract money from Tanvi’s wealthy family.
But there is something more sinister at work, and the kidnappers and their victims find themselves struggling for survival as a supernatural force from Misha’s nightmares makes itself known in the real world.

Keion came in his cab when I texted him, like an indie 911. He shook his head at me as I dove into the front seat next to him. “I’ve never seen you in this sorry ass state,” he said. “What’s going on?”
“I don’t know,” I told him.
“Yeah, you do.”
“Yeah, I do,” I admitted. I’d walked too far out on the ice and realized it could crack under my feet. “But not now, okay? I need to get home.”
Keion nodded as we pulled away from the curb. “I can see that, all right.”
I leaned my head back against the headrest and shut my eyes; I’d downed too many shots to keep them open. Sleep curved its velvety black wings eagerly around me. I didn’t fight it.
In some other place, Tanvi stared at me with eyes like a starless night sky. “Shantallow,” she said, her cheeks slick with blood and her lips not moving. “Run.” My shirt was torn at the elbow. It flapped as I ran, my ribs twitching underneath my skin, clawing me from the inside.
“We should have reached a road by now,” Tanvi said. Misery bent her voice, like a branch drooping under the weight of too much snow. “How can there be no road?”
I jolted myself free from sleep. Keion’s eyes were on the road ahead. “Shantallow,” he hissed. “We shall all be changed.” Sharp fingernails scraped violently against the passenger side of the car. Keion grinned maniacally, his teeth broken and gray. Only he wasn’t Keion anymore. My father was at the wheel. Soil spilled from his mouth. Chunks of his skull were missing, the glare from a passing car illuminating the clumps of raw, uneven flesh left in their place.
“Hey, hey!” a voice called. “Wake up, Misha.” A car horn blared. It sliced through my fear, hurling me back to the world. My head knocked back against the headrest, Keion’s right hand closed firmly around my arm. “Whoa. You were having a night terror or something. I couldn’t wake you up. You damn scared me.” He promptly released his hold, his right hand joining his left on the wheel.
“I’m okay,” I said unconvincingly. “Must’ve been all the beer.”
We were back in Balsam, a couple of blocks from my house. Keion sighed through his teeth, his concerned eyes worse than any lecture. Thirty seconds later we veered onto my street. About six houses down from mine a guy with his hood up sat on a neighbor’s steps, hunched against the wind. He cocked his head in my direction as I exited the car, like we knew each other.
Keion called after me, “Be good, Misha. Call me if you want to talk.”
I was as shaky as hell, freezing on the inside. The dream had been so real that I easily might have thrown myself from the car to escape it. One of my hands flew instinctively up in the air to wave off Keion, my feet pausing until the cab was gone and then padding me over to the neighbor’s front yard like they had their own ideas about what was supposed to happen next.
“Thought that was you,” the guy said from the stoop. He tugged his hoodie down, revealing a familiar face.

Shantallow Playlist
The Shantallow playlist is a strange mix of scary and heartsick, plus a little bit of Coldplay sweetness. I can’t write with music playing—silence is my ideal background soundtrack. It helps me go into full concentration mode where the external world kind of fades away. So this collection of songs has been created to match the mood and action of Shantallow. 

1. Edge of Darkness, Greta Van Fleet (
This is where it all begins. In chapter one we meet main character Misha sitting in his car outside his ex’s house. It’s about to storm and Misha’s full of tension and regrets for the way things turned out with Tanvi. “The things I did. The shitty, shitty, unforgivable things. Everything runs together like mud, slick and dirty.” But his emotional state will soon have to take a backseat to the action in front of him. All hell’s about to break lose. He’s moments from witnessing a kidnapping in progress – his ex-girlfriend’s. This is the perfect on-the-edge song, before you go completely over the side.  

2. Night Terror, Laura Marling (
Misha’s nightmares have been going on for months. Always the same, a midnight black forest with someone or something chasing him through the trees. Tanvi is always in the dreams too—a girl he doesn’t know yet in real life but spots in chapter two when we jump back in time to the beginning of their relationship. Laura Marling’s song is so darkly atmospheric that even on a sunny day it gives you the shivers.  
3. Something Just Like This, Coldplay (
For me, this song sums up that time in Misha and Tanvi’s relationship when every conversation and interaction feels magical and like a revelation. They have a definite spark that quickly leads them to happy places.  
4. Consequences, Camila Cabello (
“Loving you was sunshine, safe and sound/A steady place to let down my defenses/But loving you had consequences.” Need I say more? 
A general disturbed state of mind song that fits with the falling apart of Misha and Tanvi’s relationship.
Although Shantallow is from Misha’s point of view, this screw-you message from Dua Lipa succinctly explains how Tanvi feels when Misha epically messes things up. 
7. Ultraviolence, Lana Del Rey (
Chapter 9. There’s a lot going on in this chapter. Basically if you could listen to Ultraviolence and Nothing Breaks Like a Heart at the same time you’d land in Misha’s emotional headspace. 
8. Nothing Breaks Like a Heart, Miley Cyrus (
Chapter 9 too. I love this song to death (the first time you hear it, it sounds like a song you’ve known all your life) and it also happens to be how Misha feels at this point in the book. 
9. Ghosts 1, Nine Inch Nails (
A song as creepy as the darkest corners of your mind. Ghosts 1 is the ideal accompaniment for Misha and the kidnapper’s arrival at the malevolent old abandoned house where he and the other abducted victims will be held. 
10. Broken Harp, PJ Harvey (
Another track that takes you to eerie, mysterious places and quickly makes you feel broken. But there’s something beguiling about it too. That specific feeling reminds me of a thought Misha has in chapter 16 when he encounters a ghost in the woods. “She’s middle-aged, maybe. In the dark and deluge it’s difficult to tell, and the last thing I want to do is look at her. But it doesn’t matter what I think I want. Something inside us always wants to look.”
11. Climbing Up the Walls, Radiohead (
When everything falls apart, and all you can do is run, scream or climb up the walls, trying to survive.  
12. Anti-Lullaby, Karen O (
Don’t listen to this in bed with the lights out. Seriously. 
Or almost the end. The song has such a deep feeling of inevitability to it. Like this was always the way things were going to go. Always. “This is the end/My only friend/The end/Of our elaborate plans, the end/Of everything that stands, the end/No safety or surprise, the endI'll never look into your eyes again.” But it’s not just the lyrics that give us that feeling of inevitability. It’s that oddly discordant psychedelic sound the sixties is so famous for and the hypnotic way Jim Morrison’s voice surfs in and out of the music, pulling us inside. 
14. We Don't Know, The Strumbellas (
“We don't know if we leave, will we make it home.”

Author Bio:
Cara Martin is the author of several acclaimed novels for young people published under the name C. K. Kelly Martin. Her most recent novel, Stricken, was released in 2017. A graduate of the Film Studies program at York University, Cara has lived in the Greater Toronto Area and Dublin, Ireland. Within the space of 3500 miles she’s worked a collection of quirky jobs at multiple pubs and video stores, an electricity company, a division of the Irish post office, a London toyshop, and an advertising analytics company. She’s also been an image editor for a dot-com startup that didn’t survive the 90s, and a credit note clerk for Canada's largest national distributor of General Merchandise. Cara currently resides in Ottawa, Ontario with her husband and is still afraid of the Child Catcher from the film adaptation of CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG.


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