Sunday, 31 May 2015

Interview with Savannah Avery, author of 'Girls'

Happy Wednesday, readers! Today I have for you an interview with Savannah Avery, author of Girls, a new YA novel about human trafficking among a group of teenage girls. Here's the blurb:

When Coco meets the girls she wants nothing more than to be apart of their group. They have everything she ever wanted- friendship, independence, beauty, and attention from boys.

But being one of the girls isn't easy. The group's leader M has strict rules and requires all of her girls to use their bodies to make her money.

How much is Coco willing to give up to be one of the girls?

I was able to talk to Savannah Avery about where the inspiration to write Girls came from, the importance of YA literature and why human trafficking should become a more widespread message to people everywhere.

How did you first start writing?
I can't really tell you when I started to write, I think it's always been something that had been apart of my life. I've always read and I'm sure at one point I thought 'Hey! I can do this too!'

Where did the inspiration come from to write 'Girls'? 
I thought about the book's characters before I even thought about the plot. I had this idea about writing a story of teens who 'did something wrong'. I thought about it for a while, trying to figure out what that 'something wrong' could be. That's when I came across human trafficking, and I knew I had to write about it! 

What messages did you try and get across in the book? 
I want people (teenagers and adults!) to know that human trafficking can take place anywhere. It can happen in a high school, it can happen to a regular teenager. I hope this book will help people rethink what they think about human trafficking. 

How important do you think YA literature is? 
I think it's probably one of the most important genres out there! YA literature talks about topics that a lot of other genres won't! It also helps teenagers learn more about the world around them. 

Sum up 'Girls' in three words.
Real. Intense. Sad. 

Thank you for being interviewed on my blog, Savannah! You can order Girls here.

A review of Girls will be up on my blog soon!

Until next time :)

Friday, 29 May 2015

Interview with 'Read Me Like A Book' author Liz Kessler!

Happy Friday, readers! Today I have a very exciting interview for you... It's an interview with the wonderful Liz Kessler, author of the incredible Read Me Like A Book that was published only a few weeks ago. Now, I have been a huge champion of this book ever since I learned that Liz was bringing out a new YA title, as I have been a huge fan of her Emily Windsnap and Philippa Fisher books ever since I was little. I was lucky enough to receive an uncorrected proof copy of the book before it's publication, so I was able to read it verociously before the launch party a couple of weeks ago, which was amazing. It was clear that everyone who attended was just as excited as I was at the prospect of this incredible novel finally appearing on the shelves, after fifteen long years of waiting. It was also great to finally meet Liz, who was hilarious and kind and lovely. 

I was delighted to hear that I would be able to interview Liz for my blog and on Huffington Post, as a celebration of how excited the UKYA blogging community is at this book finally being published, and how pivotal books like these are for young people and adults alike. 

What has the journey been like for getting 'Read Me Like A Book' out into the world? What does it mean to you to finally see it on the shelves?

The journey has been bonkers! Fifteen years, umpteen rejections, and now its day has finally come. It means the world to me to see it on the shelves!!!

How similar is Ashleigh to yourself as a teenager?

I don’t think she’s really like me all that much at all. I think Ashleigh is very much a contemporary teenager, and my teenage years took place in very different times. But we do have some things in common. Having said this, I never think my characters are like me, and someone usually points out that actually they are very much like me - so what do I know?!

What inspires you to write? 
Gosh, anything. Quite often it’s a place. It’s also often a chance event, or even something that someone says. There’s often a little seed in my mind that sits there for years before I get to work on it!  

What advice would you give teenagers who are struggling with overcoming obstacles like Ashleigh? 
I know it’s easy to say, but - try not to worry too much. Living with question marks all around you can feel really hard, but try to just accept who you are - even if you don’t know exactly who that is just yet! You are fine exactly as you are, and you’re not alone. Also, it can be easy to worry about things like 'coming out', but in my experience, the worrying beforehand is usually much worse than when we actually do it. 

What do you want 'Read Me Like A Book' to show/teach people? 
I don’t really feel that I’ve written it in order to show or teach anything. Mostly, I want people to do what the title says and simply read it - and enjoy it - like a book! If it opens people’s eyes to anything along the way, or helps anyone to feel better about themselves or anyone else, then that is a bonus. 

Why is YA literature so special? 
YA literature is focused on a time and an age where so much is going on and everything is so intense and emotional and important. Providing books for young people who are going through all sorts of things at that age means giving them characters and themes that they can connect with and see themselves in. I can’t think of anything more special to do as my day job!

What is different about writing for young children and writing for teenagers?
For me, it’s very similar. The only difference really is that the main characters are going through different experiences and act or speak a bit older than the younger ones. I try to just get under the skin of my characters and write their stories with their voice - and that’s true of all my books.

One piece of advice you would give to yourself as a teenager?
Don’t change a thing. It’s all going to come right in the end. 

At the end of the book, the readers are left unsure of Ash's father's feelings towards her coming out. Is 'Read Me Like A Book' a novel for adults/parents as well as teenagers? 
 I really hope so. Ash’s dad’s feelings are still a bit ambivalent at that point, but I hope that I have hinted that he is open to them changing for the better given time. I think that Ash’s relationship with her parents is one of the biggest parts of the book, and I would almost love nothing better than to get emails from parents saying that it has helped them understand their daughter or son a bit better.

Sum up 'Read Me Like A Book' in three words…
It’s out - YAY!!!!! :))))))) 

Thank you so much for being interviewed, Liz! 

 Read Me Like A Book by Liz Kessler is published by Indigo in hardcover (£10.99) and as an e-book (£5.99).

Check out Liz Kessler and Read Me Like A Book below:
 Check out Liz Kessler here:

Buy Read Me Like A Book here:

Find out more about Read Me Like A Book here:

I'd also like to credit Mark Noall for the photos of Liz!
Until next time :)

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Spring Book Haul 2015!

Hello, readers! Today, I'm going to do a book haul for you lovely people. I am aware that I don't do these very often (I really should!) but I have received so many amazing books lately that I felt I should do one!

All of these books I have either been sent or gifted, so thank you to Black & White Publishing, Orion, FmCM, my Dad (lol) and Jim, who lent me Back to Blackbrick

 In The Steps of The Brontës- Ernest Raymond

Read Me Like A Book- Liz Kessler

Back to Blackbrick- Sarah Moore Fitzgerald

The Dead House- Dawn Kurtagich

Wolf by Wolf- Ryan Graudin

Did I Mention I Love You- Estelle Maskame

The Underwriting- Michelle Miller

Orkney Twilight- Clare Carson
Have you read any of these titles? Lemme know!

Until next time :)

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Liz Kessler Book Launch Party!

Happy Sunday, readers! Today, I'm really excited to talk about an amazing event I attended last Thursday: Liz Kessler's Read Me Like A Book launch party! There was such a huge build up to the publication day and UKYA bloggers and authors were going crazy with excitement. I had chatted to Liz a bit on Twitter in the weeks before the launch and so I was so excited to finally meet her, having been a massive fan for over seven years! 

The launch party was held at Waterstones Hampstead; a branch I had never visited before. It was such a lovely venue and the perfect place for a book launch. There was plenty of space for mingling and eating cake (!) but not too big that you felt overwhelmed. As soon as I arrived I could feel the electric atmosphere; the place was buzzing with excitement. The turnout was incredible and the upstairs space was packed with people. The champagne was flowing and everyone was chatting, waiting for the special guests of the evening.

First off we heard from Yael Rischler, children's bookseller at Waterstones Hampstead, who gave an amazing and emotional speech about finally getting Read Me Like A Book out into the world, and then we heard from the woman of the hour herself. I have to say that I learned a lot; I wasn't at all knowledgable about Section 28 or what it entailed, however Liz added that it politicised her and that's when she started writing Read Me Like A Book. There were countless rejections. No one wanted it. At one point, she thought that it would have to forever sit at the bottom of a drawer. Then, after hearing the inspirational song It Does Get Better, Liz was inspired to send it to Orion. After all, if Ash could be brave and take a leap of faith, so could she! The section Liz read from Read Me Like A Book is one of my favourite sections of the book, as I think it is one of the most pivotal moments where Ashleigh begins to accept herself for who she really is. There was a brief moment of stunned silence after the reading was finished, and then the place went crazy! Everyone was very emotional, and it was so wonderful to see. What was even more special was the fact that Liz invited her English teacher from school, who was responsible for making her fall in love with literature.

Next, we heard from special guest Ruth Hunt, who told us all about Stonewall and the amazing work it does to change people's attitudes towards LGBT people, especially in schools. Ruth talked of the importance of LGBT literature for teenagers, and how excited she is for Read Me Like A Book to finally be published. She had no doubt that it would be a great help for teenagers feeling as confused and lost as Ashleigh did at the beginning of Read Me Like A Book. 

After the thank yous and champagne-lobbying was finished a massive queue formed for everyone to get their books signed. I was a little gutted that I hadn't quite been brave enough to bring my old Emily Windsnap and Philippa Fisher books with me, but I had my advance proof copy of Read Me Like A Book and I was very excited to finally meet Liz. She was absolutely lovely and recognised me, probably from my excessive fangirl tweeting. I was so happy that I finally got to meet her, and congratulate her on the INCREDIBLE success that is Read Me Like A Book.

Overall, it was a fantastic evening, and it was definitely a momentous one. Read Me Like A Book is one of those books that changes lives for the better, and everyone at the launch was just so grateful that this book finally got to sit on the shelves, after 15 very long years.

Check out my review for Read Me Like A Book here:

Check out Liz Kessler here:

Buy Read Me Like A Book here:

Find out more about Read Me Like A Book here:

Until next time :)

Friday, 15 May 2015

Meet the five teens that are taking over the world... and totally rocking it! (Winners of Project Remix)

Hello, readers! Last week I wrote a post all about the exciting Project Remix, a competition inspiring young people to embrace their talents and get creative. I was lucky enough to attend the Project Remix Awards Ceremony at the British Library a couple of weeks ago, and after we heard the announcement of the winners I put my blogger face on and interviewed the lucky few who had been selected, to find out how they had heard about the competition, what it was that inspired them, and how they think we can inspire other young people to embrace their creativity and limitless talent. I wanted to find out if they thought there were enough opportunities available for young people, who wanted to pursue competitive careers in the creative industry.

*DISCLAIMER*. Sorry for the absolute RUBBISH quality of my photos. They were taken on my phone. I know bloggers are meant to have swishy cameras to take great photos on, but I don't. Sorry :)

While I was standing there, watching and listening to the winners' entries and their speeches, I was overwhelmed at the talent and confidence that they showed to a roomful of strangers, who were viewing their work for the very first time. It was amazing to see how extremely proud they were at the work they had produced, and the pride they so clearly felt at being able to create something that said something good about teens, for once. They all clearly recognised that they weren't only the winners of a competition, but a living legacy for all young people and a showcase of the potential that so many adults don't acknowledge young people as possessing. Having battled to get into the adult-dominated publishing industry since the age of 13, I know what it is like to be underestimated and discriminated against because of your age. I know what it feels like to have your creativity undermined and undervalued, and for people to judge you at face-value. I imagine that many of the winners standing there would have felt exactly the same way at some point or other in their lives. It was so great to know that, for once, the talent of young people was being recognised and valued. Speaking to the winners just made that clearer to me.

Jacob Simpson, winner of the music category, is planning on continuing his theatre learning into university whilst pursuing his music as a hobby. He has contributed in a variety of performances with various theatre companies and has composed a range of music covering multiple genres. In 2015, a film Jacob co­wrote and acted in won a Golden Owl Award for best Community Group Film in the older category. When he first heard about Project Remix, he thought it sounded 'really unique and really fun' and automatically knew he wanted to get involved. When I asked him if he thought there were enough opportunities for young people who wanted pursue their creativity in the arts industry, he replied 'Definitely for music, I don't think there are enough opportunities for young people. If we had competitions that outlined and celebrated the fact that young people can create music, that would be brilliant. I know there are writing competitions and sites like Movellas, but there are not as many opportunities for young musicians.'

Next I was lucky enough to speak to Grace Haddon, who was the winner of the creative writing aspect of Project Remix. She said that she has 'never been a fan of real life. There weren’t many dragons or ghosts as I was growing up in Leicester, so I had to make do with creating my own. Years later I still haven’t managed to kick the habit!' When Grace was thirteen she was massively into D​octor Who,​ which prompted her to write her own adventure stories. In fact, Grace first heard about Movellas through the fan fiction competitions on the site, and this is what prompted her to enter Project Remix. She explained, 'I really enjoyed taking the themes and the settings and 'remixing' it.' For Grace, Project Remix was the first writing competition she had heard about specifically aimed at young adults, and that is what inspired her to partake in it.

Georgia Oliver was the winner of the comic strip category, and she was the only competition winner who had been a member of movellas before Project Remix. In fact, she is an ambassador of the site, so she knows better than anyone the amazing creative power many teens possess. She explained, 'I created my entry to challenge myself to produce a piece of art that communicated a specific emotion, whilst still telling the story clearly. Each element of my entry was illustrated by myself digitally, and then merged onto one document after completion.' She pointed out that 'the opportunity to draw something and possibly get something out of it was amazing'. When asked about opportunities for young people to get into competitive industries like illustrating and graphic design, Georgia told me that, 'with the internet, I think it's getting better. But I still think it would be great to have more opportunities. Movellas is definitely a step in the right direction. The amount of opportunities that are given there, with the prizes and feedback are priceless.' 

I next spoke to the book trailer winner, Megan Long, who hilariously described Malorie Blackman as 'bae' in her acceptance speech. Megan is passionate about pursuing a career in the creative industries and she has self­funded courses in film making and radio broadcasting in order to take some positive steps to achieve her goal. She explained, 'I have also made it my own personal mission to spread positivity and encourage young people to value and love themselves, as the most important relationship that you’re ever going to have is with yourself!' Megan described her decision to enter the competition as a 'no-brainer'. She told me that 'it's very difficult to get into the creative industry because it's about networking. What Project Remix is doing is so special. It is very unique because it is an amazing opportunity and hopefully we'll see a rise in opportunities like these.'

Unfortunately I didn't get to meet the final winner, Christina Louise Hitchmough, who designed the winning book cover. However, she described Movellas in her winner biography as 'one of the best things that has happened to me. It has given me the chance to express my love for writing and creativity.' Christina described herself as a 'fangirl', and for her she simply wanted to express herself in a way 'that would attract the attention of the readers, using simple online or downloadable photo editors.' I was blown away by Christina's entry, which was simply incredible.

I think that, more than anything, what these five young people show us that is for teenagers there are very few opportunities nowadays for them to truly express themselves. There are probably thousands of young people whose creativity goes unnoticed, with no mediums through which to tap into their potential. Project Remix is, undoubtedly, 'a step in the right direction'. Project Remix not only to communicates to young people, but to adults also, that teenagers will not remain silent. They will continue to express themselves, and the hope is that as they continue, the opportunities for them will proceed to emerge and multiply. 

Read all the entries below:

Running From Shadows by Grace Haddon:

The Fault in Our Stars Music (ProcrastinatorJ) by Jacob Simpson:

Wonder (Meganissleeping) by Megan Long:

'Fangirl' Comic Strip (Picachunicorn) by Georgia Oliver:

Fangirl (C.H. Potter) by Christina Louise Hitchmough

Congratulations! These were all amazing and well-deserved winners. It was also lovely to meet you all!

Until next time :)

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

'Read Me Like A Book' by Liz Kessler (*****)

Happy Wednesday, readers! Today I have a much anticipated post... a review of the fabulous Read Me Like A Book by the wonderful Liz Kessler! As soon as I heard about this book I requested an uncorrected proof copy straight away. I loved the Emily Windsnap and Philippa Fisher series when I was younger so I was very excited when I saw a new Liz Kessler title, after all these years! I remember when I was little I would wish every single night that I could meet Liz Kessler one day (I was seriously obsessed with mermaids and fairies, as you can probably gather) and it's absolutely crazy that, this many years on, I am able to fulfil that dream! I am super excited for tomorrow night, the Read Me Like A Book launch party, and I cannot wait to finally meet my childhood hero! In the meantime, however, I am delighted to talk about the novel itself, and share with you my thoughts. This is my one of my favourite reads for 2015; I cannot recommend a book highly enough. 

I was sent an uncorrected bound proof of Read Me Like A Book by Orion Books in exchange for an honest review! Here's the blurb:

Ashleigh Walker is in love. You know the feeling - that intense, heart-racing, all-consuming emotion that can only come with first love. It's enough to stop her worrying about bad grades at college. Enough to distract her from her parents' marriage troubles. There's just one thing bothering her...

Shouldn't it be her boyfriend, Dylan, who makes her feel this way - not Miss Murray, her English teacher?

I was gripped from the very first page. That is no exaggeration. As soon as I was introduced to Ashleigh, I knew that I could relate to her, sympathise with her, travel on this journey with her. The adolescent voice came through so clearly and it was so wonderfully enunciated. It was honest yet realistic; as a teenager, I didn't feel patronised or 'preached' to- probably the worst feature of some YA literature! The book can easily be described as a journey, because as Ashleigh begins to discover more about herself, the reader is able to journey with her, sharing in the happy moments, sad moments and moments where you whisper: yeah, I sometimes feel like that too. It doesn't matter how you define yourself sexuality-wise, there is something everyone can relate to in this wonderful book. You know that warm, comforting feeling when you read a book and you feel that the author has kind of climbed inside your head and had a go at understanding how you feel? Cause it's weird that they seem to totally get it. Yup, that's how I felt when reading this book.

As for the plot, I always felt like it was moving somewhere. There were so many things going on in the book but I never felt lost, just constantly moving. The narrative could have felt rushed, confused, bewildering, simply because the protagonist is on a journey of terrifying self-discovery, however it most certainly didn't. In a way, feeling slightly confused and often on edge due to the confused jumble of Ashleigh's feelings just made the book a bit more real. Not every single teenager feels confused about their sexuality, but every teenager sometimes feels confused, period. Read Me Like A Book made me feel okay about that.

Overall, Read Me Like A Book was a beautifully told, amazingly addictive and touching tale about a teenager trying to find herself. It's awful to think that today, in our supposedly 'modern' society, people are still afraid to speak about who they really are. Read Me Like A Book is not only groundbreaking in subject matter, but also in it's message of always staying true to yourself, no matter how frightening that seems to be. 

Check out Liz Kessler here:

Pre-order Read Me Like A Book here:

Find out more about Read Me Like A Book here:

Until next time :)

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Bookshop Special! Daunt Books in Hampstead Heath

Hello, readers! Today, I thought I would share with you a bookshop that I visited recently that I loved. This summer, I would like to turn this into a regular feature (after exams are finished!) but for now, here's a bookshop that I discovered with my friend Aoife in Hampstead Heath. It's called Daunt Books, and apparently there are a few branches all over London. It was a lovely, friendly atmosphere, with books stacked high in gorgeous bookshelves all around the shop. I quickly found my favourite author Alexander McCall Smith; everything was organised perfectly.

I only bought one small thing, a beautiful little book called How To Become a Writer by Lorrie Moore. I hope to come back and visit again soon for a proper book haul!

Have you visited Daunt Books before? Or do you have a favourite bookshop you want others to know about? Let me know!

There was also a funny TFL sign I wanted to share with you...

Until next time :)

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Project Remix Awards Ceremony

Hello, readers! Today's post will be another feature on the amazing Project Remix, and I want to talk about the awards ceremony I was invited to attend two weeks ago, at the British Library. It was a gorgeous venue and it was a great place for everyone to come together to celebrate the winners and the shortlistees. 

As per usual, there was lots of cake and refreshments! I think I am just subconsciously drawn to events with cake... haha. But seriously, everything was so beautifully set out and everyone there was buzzing with excitement. There was definitely a tense but absolutely electric atmosphere, with lots of young people eager to find out whether or not they had been successful. As well as the winners and shortlistees, there were representatives from Penguin Random House, Book Trust and Movellas, students from two London secondary schools and professionals from the creative industries. We were welcomed by Yvonne Biggins from Movellas who introduced Project Remix and the different categories for the winners. Yvonne also spoke about the importance of fanfiction, not only on Movellas but for fostering the creativity of young people and getting them writing. It was stressed that fanfiction is what started the creative process for coming up with Project Remix, and that it was central to the general idea behind it. 

Then we heard from Children's Laureate Malorie Blackman (who everyone was delighted about seeing!) who gave an inspiring talk about how she first got into writing. She explained the pivotal importance of putting as much focus on the arts in schools as much as maths and the sciences. Malorie spoke about how childhood is the time of our greatest creativity, but that often adults become 'straightjacketed' by fear and lack of confidence- children are almost always proud of what they create and want to show it off to everybody. She wanted the competition to encourage young people to continue to express themselves creatively, but also to show the importance of the arts and creative subjects. However, as much as the competition was about showcasing talented young people's creativity, the competition also aimed to show teenagers that there are routes into the arts industries, and it isn't impossible to do careers in the future that you actually enjoy.

Next came the announcement of the winners! Everyone was incredibly supportive of each other and excited for each winner. The highlight for me was being able to listen/watch/see all of the entries by the amazing winners and runner ups- they were all incredible and I couldn't see myself creating anything like it any time soon! The winners all spoke openly about their inspiration and why they chose the particular novel to base their creation on. You could see the passion and enjoyment they had experienced while creating their work radiating from them... to use an extremely overrated metaphor. But you see my point. It was just lovely to spend a whole afternoon with people passionate about creativity, dedicated to teenagers who were the best examples for it. 

The only thing possibly more exciting than finding out the winners was finding out about the prizes the winners were going to receive! I must say, I was extremely jealous of all of them. As well as a goody bag of books, including a copy of Malorie Blackman's new YA anthology Love Hurts, the prizes were...

Creative writing: An editorial feedback session with Random House editor, Natalie Doherty.

Comic strip: A behind-the-scenes visit to The Phoenix comic, including meeting the team at Phoenix HQ in Oxford, finding out about how a comic is made, and getting some career advice from the Phoenix’s comic creators

Cover design: A portfolio session with Random House senior fiction book designer Laura Bird.

Book trailer: A feedback session with BBC director Jermain Julien.

Music: A behind the scenes day at a music studio shadowing Brendon Harding, studio manager and resident engineer at Red Bull Studios, London.

To top it all off, I was very lucky to meet Malorie Blackman and Laura Dockrill from Radio One, and I even got my battered old copy of Noughts and Crosses signed! A definite highlight for me! I also interviewed the winners for a big post coming up on Huffington Post, so keep your eyes peeled for that!

Read all the entries below:

Running From Shadows by Grace Haddon:

The Fault in Our Stars Music (ProcrastinatorJ) by Jacob Simpson:

Wonder (Meganissleeping) by Megan Long:

'Fangirl' Comic Strip (Picachunicorn) by Georgia Oliver:

Fangirl (C.H. Potter) by Christina Louise Hitchmough:

Check out all of these links below to find out more about Project Remix, Movellas and Children's Laureate!

Until next time :)

Monday, 4 May 2015

'Orkney Twilight' by Clare Carson (****)


Happy Bank Holiday, readers! Today I have a book review for you, of Clare Carson's wonderful Orkney Twilight! I finished this yesterday and could not wait to write a review; I can honestly say I haven't read a book like this ever, and it was such a fresh read for me. As I said in my last post, I normally don't review adult books here on Delightful Book Reviews, however I loved it so much and was very interested in the backstory to this book, so I wanted to feature it! I was also lucky enough to be able to interview Clare Carson all about Orkney Twilight and the thrilling history behind the novel, which you can find here.
I was kindly sent Orkney Twilight by FmCM Associates in exchange for an honest review! Intrigued? If so, here's the blurb...

Jim says he's an undercover policeman.

His daughter Sam thinks he's a liar.

On holiday in Orkney, beneath an endless midsummer sky, Sam spies on Jim as he runs secretive errands across the island. What did he take from the old watchtower on the edge of a cliff? Why is he so interested in Norse mythology? And why does Sam have the eerie feeling that she too is being watched? When Sam finally discovers the truth, it will draw her into a dangerous world of darkness and deception...
An original and haunting thriller about fathers, daughters and the ghosts of the past.

Orkney Twilight is the kind of book that pulls you in from the start, and doesn't let you go until the very last page. Carson's language is clear and honest, slightly cynical and coldly empty where feeling is concerned; the build up of emotion not really setting in until the middle of the novel. You can really tell that the protagonist is a teenager, even though the story is told through a chilling and somewhat ambiguous third person narrative. Sam as a character is not immediately likeable, but I gradually warmed towards her as I realised how complex the tale that she set out to tell was. Tom was a welcome escape from the seriousness of Sam and the drunkenness and harsh temper of Jim; I liked him immediately and considered him a clever device to give some insight into the otherwise complex and mysterious story.

As for the plot itself, I found myself not only being swept away by the mystery and the excitement of the thriller twists, but also learning a lot as Carson delved into the rich history of the 1970s. Carson always kept you guessing, never giving you enough time to think, never leaving you space in your brain to make your own conclusions. You are not a passive reader of Orkney Twilight, but an active participant of the story. You are not watching Sam discover the truth about Jim and his ominous history, but helping her along the way. 

My favourite part of Orkney Twilight was most definitely the character of Jim. I loved him from the first introduction of him and I loved him until his demise. But even then, the astonishing presence of Jim didn't fade away. Carson was able to keep the spirit of Jim alive, even when the physical character of him no longer existed. He was a delicious character, the type most readers can only dream about, where you continually ask yourself whether it is actually possible to ever understand him.

I had to include this extract of the book, as it brought me very close to tears. Here it is:

She felt a tear welling, forced it back and then smiled as she remembered Jim. And she thought then that what she really missed was the double-edged reassurance of his presence, the sense of danger letting you know you were alive, the lack of certainty, the doubts about what was real, what was cover, the feeling that he was more reliable, more trustworthy than the people who played it straight. Because in her heart she knew that truth was little more than fool's gold and there were no solid facts in this world, only stories and cover-ups, and if you scraped the surface all you would find were more strange tales and sleights of hand and anyone who thought differently was living in a land of make-believe.

I think that sums up pretty well Orkney Twilight, and why I loved it so much. I would highly recommend that if you're up for an utterly thrilling read, that you check this book out!

Check out Clare Carson here:

Buy Orkney Twilight here: