Friday 28 December 2018

BOOK REVIEW | 'The Rains' by Gregg Hurwitz (***.5)

Hey guys, and happy Friday! Today I am happy to be sharing with you a review of a brilliant book I read recently, The Rains by Gregg Hurwitz. I have been reading quite a few horror books recently and I can't get enough! Even though Halloween was a good few months ago now... don't judge me...

The Rains follows brothers Patrick and Chance, who up until now have led quiet, relatively normal lives on their uncle's farm. One night, the world changes forever. Every person from Creek's Cause over the age of eighteen has turned into inhuman beings, bent on taking every last child and using them for their sick, twisted ends. Chance and Patrick don't have long... Patrick is set to turn eighteen in just a few weeks. The fate of humanity rests on their shoulders. Do they have what it takes to save the whole of humankind?

I was kindly sent The Rains by Penguin Books in exchange for an honest review :)

In one terrifying night, the peaceful community of Creek’s Cause turns into a war zone. No one under the age of eighteen is safe. Chance Rain and his older brother, Patrick, have already fended off multiple attacks from infected adults by the time they arrive at the school where other young survivors are hiding. Most of the kids they know have been dragged away by once-trusted adults who are now ferocious, inhuman beings. The parasite that transformed them takes hold after people turn eighteen—and Patrick’s birthday is only a few weeks away. 

Determined to save Patrick’s life and the lives of the remaining kids, the brothers embark on a mission to uncover the truth about the parasites—and what they find is horrifying.

Battling an enemy not of this earth, Chance and Patrick become humanity’s only hope for salvation.

I didn't know what to expect from this at first, since I haven't read a whole lot of zombie-esque stories. However, I soon discovered that The Rains was one deliciously creepy, gory, electrifying read. There's nothing like a good ol' tale of survival, and The Rains brought me this, and much more. I thought the setting was really well described and added to the tension that ran through the story. The writing was also very evocative, and brought the setting and the characters very much to life. 

I thought the plot as a whole was carefully crafted, and near the end especially I found myself reading compulsively to find out what happened. Although the book ended on a cliffhanger, it still ended in a satisfying way and just made me the more eager to pick up the next book. Although I thought all the characters interacted really interestingly with each other, I didn't feel myself connecting that much to any of them in particular. This might be to do with the target age of the book; forgetting the gore and horror, I think it belongs with the lower age range of YA. I'm interested to see what character development occurs with the next book, and where the story goes!

Check out Greg Hurwitz here:

Until next time :)

Saturday 15 December 2018

PULP BLOG TOUR | AUTHOR INTERVIEW | '5 Minutes With... Robin Talley'

Hey guys, and happy Saturday! Today I am thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour to celebrate the publication of the wonderful Pulp by Robin Talley! I am so excited to read this so I'm thrilled that she is appearing on my blog today to talk all things Pulp, YA literature, and the lesbian pulp fiction of the 1950s...

But first, check out the blurb here...

In 1955, eighteen-year-old Janet Jones keeps the love she shares with her best friend Marie a secret. It’s not easy being gay in Washington, DC, in the age of McCarthyism, but when she discovers a series of books about women falling in love with other women, it awakens something in Janet. As she juggles a romance she must keep hidden and a newfound ambition to write and publish her own story, she risks exposing herself—and Marie—to a danger all too real.

Sixty-two years later, Abby Zimet can’t stop thinking about her senior project and its subject—classic 1950s lesbian pulp fiction. Between the pages of her favorite book, the stresses of Abby’s own life are lost to the fictional hopes, desires and tragedies of the characters she’s reading about. She feels especially connected to one author, a woman who wrote under the pseudonym “Marian Love,” and becomes determined to track her down and discover her true identity.

In this novel told in dual narratives, New York Times bestselling author Robin Talley weaves together the lives of two young women connected across generations through the power of words. A stunning story of bravery, love, how far we’ve come and how much farther we have to go. 

And now I'd like to welcome Robin Talley to Delightful Book Reviews!

Hi Robin, and thanks for appearing on my blog! What was the inspiration behind Pulp?

I read one of the earliest lesbian pulp novels years ago when I was doing research for another book — Marijane Meaker’s groundbreaking Spring Fire, published in 1952. I was mesmerized, both by the story itself and by the world it presented. It focused on the relationship between two deeply closeted lesbians living in a time when being who they were meant having to go to extreme lengths to keep their sexuality a secret, and facing horrific consequences if they ever slipped up (which of course they did). I learned that there was an entire wave of these novels published in the U.S. and elsewhere, some of which sold millions of copies, all during a time and place when anyone who didn’t conform to expected norms faced terrible oppression. I wanted to explore that culture, and I thought it would be interesting to look at it through the lens of a teenage character in the present day — someone to whom all of this would seem like irrelevant ancient history, until she probes a little deeper and finds out it’s anything but.

Tell us a bit more about the main characters, Janet and Abby. Do you have anything in common with them?

Well, Janet’s an 18-year-old closeted lesbian living in 1955, and Abby’s a 17-year-old out-and-proud lesbian living in 2017, and I’ve never been either of those things (though I’m closer to Abby’s era than I am to Janet’s). But like the two of them I’m a proud, queer resident of Washington, D.C. And all three of us share a strong commitment to social justice.

Do you normally come up with plot or characters first?

It really varies from book to book. In the case of Pulp, I started with the plot.

What’s so special about YA literature?

YA is all about the lives of teenagers, who are the most fascinating people out there. Teens are going through so many firsts in their lives, and they’re so passionate about what they’re doing and what they’re learning, not to mention the people in their lives. Living inside their heads and telling their stories is a lot more fun than thinking about adults all the time.

What advice would you offer aspiring writers?

First and foremost, read everything you can get your hands on. Every word you read, whether it’s fiction, nonfiction, books, stories, articles, or even fanfiction, gets absorbed into your brain and helps you develop your own writing style. Plus, it’s fun!

Sum up Pulp in three words…

Reading, writing, lesbians. 

Thank you so much, Robin, for appearing on my blog!

 Buy Pulp here:

Check out Robin Talley here:

Make sure you guys check out the rest of the spots on the blog tour <3

Until next time :)

Monday 10 December 2018

BOOK REVIEW | 'Small Spaces' by Sarah Epstein (****)

Hey guys, and happy Monday! Today I am excited to be sharing a review with you of a brilliant YA thriller I read recently, called Small Spaces by Sarah Epstein. Small Spaces follows 17-year-old Natasha Carmody as she struggles to forget her troubled past, and move forward into a brighter future. A traumatic memory from her childhood occupies her mind, day and night: the day when six-year-old Mallory Fisher was abducted from a carnival. Tash saw who took her, but no one believed her. They still don't. Many years later, Tash has to wrestle with her own mind, and navigate around the murky dimension where imagination and reality combine.

I was kindly sent a copy of Small Spaces by Walker Books in exchange for an honest review <3

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

We don’t pick and choose what to be afraid of. Our fears pick us.

Tash Carmody has been traumatised since childhood, when she witnessed her gruesome imaginary friend Sparrow lure young Mallory Fisher away from a carnival. At the time nobody believed Tash, and she has since come to accept that Sparrow wasn’t real. Now fifteen and mute, Mallory’s never spoken about the week she went missing. 

As disturbing memories resurface, Tash starts to see Sparrow again. And she realises Mallory is the key to unlocking the truth about a dark secret connecting them. Does Sparrow exist after all? Or is Tash more dangerous to others than she thinks?

As soon as I saw the blurb for this book, I knew it was one I had to read. I love psychological thrillers, and in my experience YA ones are especially good. The premise of this book was unlike anything I had read before, and I'm happy to say that I was not disappointed. Epstein's writing is gorgeously detailed and deliciously creepy, and I found myself hanging onto every single word. Tash was not necessarily a likeable character, but her frustrations at not being heard or believed seeped out of the story and she went through a remarkable character development by the end of the book. I think the relationship between Tash and her mum was really well explored and interesting to read about. All of the characters in fact were very well-crafted and they all fit into the narrative seamlessly.

I think that the plot really drove the story forward and there were twists and turns in exactly the right moments. I really liked the excerpts of conversation between Tash and her psychologist; they gave an interesting background to the situation and allowed us to clearly see Tash's state of mind. Epstein clearly has a talent for creating a wonderfully dark and mysterious atmosphere, and although things didn't end up how I expected, I absolutely loved how the story ended up. 

Altogether I adored Small Spaces and I would recommend it to anyone who loves a good creepy psychological thriller, that will keep you second guessing right until the very last page!

Check out Sarah Epstein here:

Until next time :)

Thursday 6 December 2018

DELIGHTFUL KIDS BOOKS | 'Watch This!' by Jane Godwin (****)

Hey guys, and happy Thursday! Today I am excited to be back with my children's book feature. I know I haven't written a post in a while but I am thrilled that today I am celebrating the publication of a fantastic children's picture book, called Watch This! Watch This! is a brilliantly bold and fun celebration of shapes, colour and movement, and is a great way to teach children both about shapes and movement. 

I was kindly sent a copy of Watch This! by Scribe publishing in exchange for an honest review <3

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

Can you make a circle with your arms?
Or a triangle with your fingers?
If we work together, we can make a rectangle, or even a pyramid.

We can make lots and lots of shapes — just watch this!
A bold and playful celebration of movement, energy, pattern, colour and shape!

Watch This! is a groundbreaking modern photographic picture book about children using their bodies to make sense of shapes in a playful way, from three highly-acclaimed creators.

Watch This! is a brilliant picture book that exudes joy from every page, with the bright colours and lively text making it a great book to read aloud to small children. The pages are big and sturdy enough that they can help turn the pages too! The photographs by Hilary Walker and visual art by Beci Orpin just add to the vivacity of the book. This book teaches children shapes in a way I have never seen before, and I can imagine that children will be much more interested in seeing other children create the shapes, rather than them being just two-dimensional objects on a page. Godwin cleverly combines learning shapes and advocating fitness, and this is done so skillfully in this book. The fact that the children are named at the beginning of the book means that you can introduce them all to your child, incorporating memory and reading skills. 

Altogether, Watch This! is a brilliantly inventive picturebook that is fun and colourful and can teach your child a lot. This book is recommended from 0-4 years, and makes the perfect book to read together. 

Check out Jane Godwin here:

Until next time :)

Monday 3 December 2018

AUTHOR INTERVIEW | 'The Wolves of Winter' | 5 Minutes With... Tyrell Johnson

Hey guys, and happy Monday! Today I am thrilled to be sharing with you a '5 Minutes With' post... I haven't done one of these in ages, so I'm chuffed that it is with none other than Tyrell Johnson, author of The Wolves of Winter! I read this book last week and absolutely loved it. If you want to read my review for the blogger blitz click here, but here's a summary so you can see what all the fuss is about yourself...

The Wolves of Winter is a dark, gritty and gorgeously written story about Lynn McBride and her family, who after the Asian flu hit America escaped to Yukon, where there is not much to see except snow. At least it's safe. That's what Lynn thought anyway, except now they're not the only ones there anymore. And soon everything in Lynn's world is torn apart, as she finds out the truth about her life before the Yukon.

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

Forget the old days. Forget summer. Forget warmth. Forget anything that doesn’t help you survive.

Lynn McBride has learned much since society collapsed in the face of nuclear war and the relentless spread of disease. As memories of her old life haunt her, she has been forced to forge ahead in the snow-covered Canadian Yukon, learning how to hunt and trap to survive.

But her fragile existence is about to be shattered. Shadows of the world before have found her tiny community—most prominently in the enigmatic figure of Jax, who sets in motion a chain of events that will force Lynn to fulfill a destiny she never imagined. 

Today I am lucky enough to have Tyrell on my blog, to talk all things writing inspiration, dystopian novels, and writing female protagonists. 

What was the inspiration behind The Wolves of Winter?

Inspiration came from a couple different sources. I’ve always liked the post-apocalyptic genre, but also, I was a new dad at the time I started the novel and wanted to write a story with a strong female character. 

Tell us a bit more about the main character, Lynn. Do you have anything in common with her?

Absolutely. Honestly, writing different characters is a little like seeing different aspects of your own personality. There’s a lot of me in Lynn, and a lot of what I want to be. She’s independent, fierce, and adventurous. She’s also—though she wouldn’t admit it—emotional and vulnerable. Hopefully these two sides serve to make her a more rounded, believable character.

Do you normally come up with plot or characters first?

I think both things tend to happen at the same time. Or at the very least, it’s a back and forth. Sometimes, the original plot idea informs what types of characters will inhabit the novel; other times, the characters dictate what happens. The trick is, once in place, the plot can never dictate the character, but the character should dictate the plot. 

What made you want to write a dystopian novel?

I like the questions that post apocalyptic novels ask. If the world were to fall, what would civilization look like? Who would survive? How would they live? I like looking at these questions and putting my characters up not just against the ruined world around them, but each other.

What's so special about YA literature?

Really, all literature is special and important. My book sort of straddles the adult and YA market, which I like. Hopefully, the novel has a lot in it for a wide range of readers to enjoy. 

What advice would you offer aspiring writers?

Write what you’re excited about. Write the book you’d want to read. Don’t get bogged down with what came before. A lot of writing happens away from the computer, so get outside, it’s nice out there. 

Sum up The Wolves of Winter in three words

Shit gets cold. 

Thank you so much, Tyrell, for coming on my blog today!

Buy The Wolves of Winter here:

Check out Tyrell Johnson here:

Until next time :)