Things We’re Tired of Seeing in Books About Mental Health

Mental-Health-Awareness-Week-Logo.pngHello, everyone! This week is mental health awareness week run by the Mental Health Foundation. As this is an area I’m really passionate about both personally and as a psychology student, to do my bit I’ve decided to run a blog feature where I and guest bloggers talk about mental health related topics paired with books and/or blogging to help raise awareness. 🙂 Today I’m welcoming Leah to the blog!

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Hi readers of Becky’s blog, my name is Leah and I’m usually found hanging out over at Perks of Being a Bookworm, thank you, Becky for letting me guest on your blog today!

As you might have noticed, this week Becky has been featuring lots of bloggers talking about various different topics within mental health for Mental Health Awareness Week, being someone who has been mentally unwell on several occasions I do love coming across books that feature mental health as a subject. You know how it is, it’s great to see yourself in the mediums you consume. It helps when you feel you belong and there are loads of great books that deal with mental health fabulously. However, there are also a lot of tropes that I, for one, am very bored of seeing, so here is a plea to writers everywhere, please avoid the following things!

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My Top 5 Books Featuring Mental Health!

Mental-Health-Awareness-Week-Logo.pngHello, everyone! This week is mental health awareness week run by the Mental Health Foundation. As this is an area I’m really passionate about both personally and as a psychology student, to do my bit I’ve decided to run a blog feature where I and guest bloggers talk about mental health related topics paired with books and/or blogging to help raise awareness. 🙂

So the first thing I want to talk about this week is some of the best fiction books I’ve read featuring mental health so far in my reading journey. There are a lot of novels about mental health out there, but only a few I’ve come across that do it well, without romanticising illness or having characters fall into certain stereotypes. It’s a difficult balance to master, but here’s five that do it well!

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Cover Reveal & Sneak Peak of Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer!

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Hello, hello everyone, exciting news today! I am extremely honoured and happy (to the point of hyperventilating) to have been picked by Hodder & Stoughton to help unveil the cover for Laini Taylor’s new upcoming book, Strange the Dreamer! Laini is most well known for her YA, Daughter of Smoke & Bone series. I personally haven’t read any of her books before, but they have always been on my MUST GET TO AT SOME POINT wishlist, because I have heard nothing but good things and her work seems like the sort of thing I normally LOVE. Strange the Dreamer is set to be released in September 2016. The UK cover can be seen pictured on the left, while the US one is on the right. And honestly, I can’t decide which one I like better, I’m kinda drooling. Have I piqued your interest yet? Here’s the blurb:

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Mini Reviews: Fantasy Novels with Female Heroines

Hello, everyone! I have more mini reviews for you. All of these novels were interesting in their individual ways and really deserve their own reviews, however, as I read them whilst trying to complete university, I never got around to chatting about them with you! Because it’s now been a while and my memory has gotten a little foggy (but I don’t want to ignore these novels completely), I thought mini reviews were the best solution. 🙂

Overall Impression: An engrossing adventure through a sophisticated, supernatural, criminal underworld.

The Mine Order by Samantha ShannonFirst off I would like to say that I cannot recommend this series enough! It’s brilliantly original, has a completely immersive world and Shannon’s writing is compelling. The Mime Order is book two in the dystopian series, The Bone Season, which follows Paige Mahoney, a dreamwalker able to manipulate spirits. It picks up where the first story left off, with Paige and other captives fleeing from their otherworldly prison Sheol 1, where they were treated like slaves by the Rephaites. They all go into hiding, seeking salvation where they can. But Paige soon finds herself on her government’s most wanted list, and is forced to go underground and rely on her old Mime Lord, Jaxon, and his numerous connections in the criminal underworld. However, she soon realises she’s trading one prison for another. Continue reading

Dual Review: Two Amazing Books that Tackle Mental Health

Overall Impression: A feminism-focused book featuring heavily on mental health, that shows the importance of learning to accept who you are, faults and all.

Am I Normal Yet by Holly BourneAs soon as I knew what this novel was about, I had to have it and bought it the first opportunity, and I’m glad I did, because it’s the most realistic YA book about mental health I’ve ever read. Way to go Holly Bourne!!!

Am I normal Yet? follows the story of Evie, who suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder (the more well-known contamination type where people feel the need to over wash/clean for fear objects and dirt will cause harm) and generalised anxiety disorder (which causes disproportionate worry about many everyday situations). Since being sectioned, Evie’s worked hard to get her life under control, she’s going to counseling, she’s on medication, she’s working on goals and concrete steps. But now she’s starting at a new college, she’s desperate and determined to be normal by keeping her mental health problems a secret. Evie wants to do all the normal things teenage do, having friends, going to parties and most importantly, dating and finding a boyfriend. But as she starts to slowly come off her meds, she’s constantly plagued by the fear that her bad thoughts are creeping back in…and the problem is that wherever you go, your problems go with you. Continue reading

The Death Cure by James Dashner Review 4/5

Overall Impression: A satisfying end to an overall enjoyable trilogy with memorable characters.

The Death Cure by James DashnerThis series kind of reminds me of takeaway pizza.
What, you say? Bear with me.
You know how occasionally, just occasionally, that takeaway pizza yearning kicks in, and you kind of know that it’s not the healthiest thing for you and that there’s much better, more sophisticated food out there? But it just tastes so darn good and so you devour it with great speed, enjoying every bite, but if you eat too much of it you become bloated. So you know that even though you really enjoyed it, you wouldn’t want takeaway pizza every week? Yeah, that sums up The Maze Runner series for me. It’s not the best written story out there or the most complex so you wouldn’t want to read too much of it in one go, but it keeps you turning the pages and you really enjoy it, even if you’re not 100% sure why. The final book in the series, The Death Cure also followed the same pattern for me!

The trials are over. WICKED is planning to restore the survivors’ memories and complete the final cure for the Flare.
But Thomas has already remembered more than they think. And he knows WICKED can’t be trusted.
The time for lies is over. But the truth is more dangerous than Thomas could ever imagine. Will anyone survive the Death Cure?
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Tag: My Life in Books

Umbreen from Read by Umbreen has been kind enough to tag me for the My Life in Books tag! I’m quite picky about which tags I do these days because there are a lot floating around, but this one seemed like great fun so I decided to give it a go. So, onwards dear readers!

Find a book for each of your initials.

beautiful creaturesAm I Normal Yet by Holly BourneDash and Lily's Book of Dares

This was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be! I guess I’m lucky to have initials that are on quite a few book titles. I picked Beautiful Creatures because despite the novel having many flaws and somewhat frustrating characters, it’s one of the most atmospherically gothic tales I’ve ever read and it also has epic library descriptions! I still have yet to finish this series, I really need to get back to it! Am I Normal Yet is a novel I read this year about a teen with an anxiety disorder who is going to weekly therapy sessions and trying to slowly come off medication. It’s one of the most accurate books about mental health I’ve ever read, and I hope to review it soon. 🙂 Finally, I picked Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares because it’s a Christmassy book about two teens running around New York City writing in a red notebook! Continue reading

Dual Review: In Which I Finish the House of Night Series!

Well, I have finally done it! I’ve managed to power through the end of the House of Night series and wow, it has been a struggle. When this series begun I really enjoyed it, but the combination of the writing going downhill and being dragged out, plus myself getting older and gaining more knowledge about writing and what makes a good story, on top of the YA genre making serious leaps and bound in the past few years, this series no longer stacks up for me. Still, after so long and committing to reading so many of the books I couldn’t abandon the series halfway and felt compelled to finish it, even though I wasn’t enjoying it anymore. So, here are my thoughts on the final novella and novel!

Overall Impression:  A somewhat enjoyable novella that provides some interesting back story into how vampires came to be.

Kalona’s Fall is the final House of Night novella and tells the stKalonas-Fall-by-P.C.-and-Kristin-Casory of Kalona, who is a fallen immortal tempted by darkness (basically an angel but he is never referred to in this way) that aids Neferet the main antagonist in the House of Night series in her quest to rule over others and gain power.
The writing in this novella is bad – but that is no surprise, because all of the writing in the House of Night novels makes me want to grab a red marker pen and scribble like a mad woman, but in Kalona’s Fall the Casts’ tendency to show rather than tell actually worked in their favour. As the novella focuses on how the Goddess Nyx, Earth, and its creatures came to be, the telling aspect actually gave the story an oddly historical/biblical feel, and at times reminded me of the story of Adam and Eve because of the matter of fact way things came into being despite it seeming incomprehensible. Continue reading

Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray Review 5/5

Overall Impression: A spellbinding second installment of The Diviners series which captivates and enthralls.

Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray“For dreams, too, are ghosts, desires chased in sleep, gone by morning.”
The Diviners by Libba Bray is easily one of the best books I’ve read in 2015, heck, it’s one of the most fun and entertaining books I’ve read in years! So naturally, I was looking forward to the release of its sequel with unabashed excitement, hoping with all my heart that it would be just as good. Well, I am happy to report that it was as awesome as, if not better than The Diviners and I lapped up every beautiful word. LIBBA BRAY IS QUEEEEEEEEENNNNNNNN and I bow down to her epic writing skills!
I would like to thank the lovely people at Atom Books for giving my a free ARC of Lair of Dreams in exchange for an honest review.

After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O’Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. With her uncanny ability to read people’s secrets, she’s a media darling. It seems like everyone’s in love with New York City’s latest It Girl – their ‘Sweetheart Seer.’
But while Evie is enjoying the high life, her fellow Diviners Henry DuBois and Ling Chan will fight to keep their powers secret.
A malevolent force is at large, infecting people’s dreams and claiming victims in their sleep. At the edge of it all lurks a man in a stovepipe hat who has plans of nightmare proportions…

There are many, many reasons I adored Lair of Dreams, but the first reason has got to be Libba Bray’s writing. Continue reading

Attending my first bookish event: YALC 2015!

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A couple of weekends ago I found myself waking up at 6am, and dragging my zombie like body to the train station in the name of books.

YALC is the UK’s first ever young adult literature convention. It was set up last year and attached to London Film and Comic Con as it was felt books should be seen alongside other popular media. I had never been to a convention before, but I have to say it is one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had. There was so much positivity and enthusiasm in one place and a real sense of community, and I kind of felt like I wanted to grab a sleeping bag, set up camp and stay there forever!

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Post Uni/Yay its Summer Book Haul!

Hello, dear bookworms of the interwebs! I hope you’ve all been enjoying soaking up the summer rays, especially if you live in the UK where we’ve been having a serious heat wave (to those of you stuck in offices with poor air conditioning I weep for your souls). Personally, I have been indulging in some well deserved time off. My final year of university was a super stressful slog, so I am currently taking advantage of my post-student but have-yet-to-be employed status (Yep, I’m a slacker now!) by catching up with family, friends and my books (not necessarily in that order).
As a gift to myself for completing my degree I decided to splurge on some books I had been pining over for a while, especially now I have the opportunity to fit in some serious summer reading!

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So first up we have two YA contemporaries that deal with an important topic Continue reading

The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson Review 3/5

Overall Impression: An amazing step forward in diversity in publishing, not such a step forward in engrossing storytelling.

The Art of Being Normal by Lisa WilliamsonAs both a reader and a psychology student, I’m always on the lookout for YA books that tackle serious topics and incorporate them into stories, whether that’s mental health, rare disorders or, in this case, gender identity. As a student, I was lucky enough to cover gender as a topic and it really opened my eyes, so I was excited to discover a novel about a transgender teen was being published this year! I couldn’t wait to see how such a complex topic would be handled, especially as it’s something people find hard to understand. This novel is groundbreaking in so many ways, and yet, unfortunately, I didn’t love it as much as I was hoping to and found myself disappointed on multiple levels.

Two boys. Two secrets.
David Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he’s gay. The school bully thinks he’s a freak. Only his two best friends know the truth – David wants to be a girl.
On the first day at his new school Leo Denton has one goal – to be invisible. Attracting the attention of the most beautiful girl in Year 11 is definitely not part of that plan. When Leo stands up for David in a fight, an unlikely friendship forms. But things are about to get messy. Because at Eden Park School secrets have a funny habit of not staying secret for long…

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A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness Review 5/5

Overall Impression: A unique and powerful book unlike any other I have read. It’s raw, emotional and haunting.

A Monster Calls by Patrick NessA Monster Calls is a book that has received multiple awards. It’s one of those that is praised everywhere and I have yet to read a single negative review of it. This initially made me petrified to pick it up because I was worried it couldn’t possibly live up to my preconceived expectations. But it turns out I didn’t need to worry because this book was phenomenal.
I was told it was dark.
I was told there would be a sad young boy.
I was told there would be tears.
But none of this prepared me for the sledgehammer of emotions I was hit with as I made my way through its gorgeous illustrated pages.

The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.
But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…
This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.
It wants the truth.

I want to preface this review by saying that I feel like it’s impossible I will be able to do this book justice, so much of the magic in this story lies in reading it, experiencing and uncovering its truths for yourself. But, as always, I will do my best (and waffle on for far too long)!

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I’m going to YALC!


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Hello everyone!

Today I wanted to highlight a bookish event going on in the UK. This is only the second year it has run so it’s a very new thing. While I saw many bloggers post about this event last year suggesting it’s widely known about, I thought I would mention it here just in case because I wouldn’t want anyone to miss out!

YALC is the UK’s first young adult literature convention and is held in London over three days with 40+ authors in attendance. It gives readers the chance to have books signed by their favourite authors, visit panels about bookish subjects and even take part in workshops and more! Continue reading

The Manifesto on How to be Interesting by Holly Bourne Review 3/5

Overall Impression: A book with brilliant writing and a wonderful protagonist that was let down by its cliché plot.

When I first saw this book pop up on my Goodreads feedThe Manifesto on How to be Interesting by Holly Bourne it piqued my interest straight away. How can someone resist a book with a title like The Manifesto on How to be Interesting?!? I could barely contain my curiosity! When I looked at the blurb and it hinted that the story was about an introverted teen writer who wanted to turn herself into a research project because of the good old saying that you can’t write interesting stories unless you’ve experienced interesting things in life, I knew I had to give this a go. I love stories about characters going out of their comfort zones and deciding to become active agents in their lives instead of passive ones, they make the perfect coming of age stories. However, in a lot of ways this novel wasn’t at all what I was expecting, and, in this case, I’m not sure that’s such a good thing!

Apparently I’m boring. A nobody. But that’s all about to change. Because I’m starting a project.
Here. Now. For myself.
And if you want to come along for the ride then you’re very welcome.
Bree is by no means popular. Most of the time, she hates her life, her school, her never-there parents.
So she writes.
But when Bree is told she needs to stop shutting the world out and start living a life worth writing about, The Manifesto on How to be Interesting is born.
A manifesto that will change everything…
… but the question is, at what cost?
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