University and Mental Health: How A Recent Life Change Is Happening.

Hello readers!

It’s been a long time since I last uploaded a mental health post to my blog. I guess the reason for my constant withholding of posts about my anxiety is that this year, I’ve found it hard to actually type and upload my thoughts online in fear of getting bullied. If you’ve been following my blog and other social medias for a while now, you will have noticed that I am no longer a student at my FE College and now in University as an undergraduate. This life change means new people, new surroundings and a bunch of things to feel to worried about. My degree major is in Creative Writing and every week, we all have to write a new short story which then gets critiqued by other students in the class. I was so scared last Tuesday that I made the decision to pull my short story. You can imagine how disappointed in myself after I got home. The same short story then got feedback on Thursday last week and… it was mainly positive. Deep down, I knew that if my writing wasn’t strong enough or I wasn’t able to share my work, I most likely would have chosen to major in something else (English Literature or Computing). But for now, it is baby steps!

University is such a huge step away from school and college life. The campus I study at is rural and right in the heart of the countryside. It’s a strange feeling since my home is actually a twenty minute drive-away and the University I study at is my nearest one. I do feel that when I’m on campus, I’m hundreds of miles away and I kind of like that, since you feel more independent. But at the same time, if you are having a bad Anxiety day and need to be surrounded by things that make you happy (books, cat, boyfriend) then having your family nearby is a good thing. I take a shuttle bus to my campus which has saved me time and money. The shuttle bus does get busy at peak times but, it’s not as severe as the current public transport crisis in my home city.

As part of my degree, I got the chance to take up a new Computing class which is interesting and will be designing a creative portfolio. I’m aiming for at least a 2:2 grade since my mental health (Anxiety, Depression, Social Anxiety, Seasonal Affective Disorder) might flair up unexpectedly. Same goes for my overall degree grade, I’m aiming for a 2:2 since I don’t want to pressure myself and be at a huge risk of having a mental breakdown. Having just 8-9 contact hours a week, working alone has helped get more things done as well as start some new projects. I’m planning my novel for Nanowrimo which is currently slow going, but excited to try something new. I’ve also been cooking together more with my boyfriend and trying to combat my fear of ovens and flames. Some of my new classmates have part-time jobs, my decision was not to have a job at this time since again, I didn’t want my mental health to flair up.

My University offers a lot of well-being and mental health services which I’m definitely going to try and invest in. It is really nerve-wracking opening up to more people on campus, since I don’t want them to say nasty things about me. The lack of support and understanding has sadly happened to me a lot within the last five years. I knew in my heart of hearts that I did want to give a degree a try. And so far, I’ve been going to lectures and workshops and not really been interested in social activities such as parties or groups. I need to give things a try for me alone. Maybe in 2nd year, I might get more involved. But for now, my focus has been sorely on coursework.

That concludes this post, thank you so much for reading! If you are at University, share your experiences in the comments section below. See you all soon!

Alice x

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Try The First Chapter: Honest Reviews!

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Hello readers! Today’s new upload contains a total of seven books, approximately seven different first chapters and seven very different reading experiences. The spooky thing also is that seven is my lucky number. If that doesn’t scare you, I seriously need to get my Halloween game on and fast. I am a person who owns hundreds of books, many of them still sat there waiting to be read. However, this collection in particular I was very unsure about whether I would enjoy them. So, inspired by other booktubers and bloggers, I decided to conduct my very own try the first chapter experience. And to sum up my overall thoughts, it was not only useful but made me realise just what plot-lines and characters that I enjoy the most as the reader. Without further ado, let’s jump into the collection and if they are staying put on my shelves or being unhauled!

Book One: Easy by Tammara Webber

Genre: New-Adult Romance

The first chapter… had a graphic assault scene, so major trigger warnings for sexual assault. It was uncomfortable to read and with no characters in general that I liked, this was a very easy pass for me.

Reading on?: NO

 

Book Two: Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined by Danielle Younge-Ullman

Genre: Young-Adult Contemporary

I just didn’t get any good vibes from this one either. The main camp directors were nasty towards the new campers and the writing style failed to connect with me.

Reading on?: NO

 

Book Three: Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga

Genre: Young-Adult Contemporary

I’m really interested in the family dynamics and ancestry surrounding the main character. The action pretty much starts straight off the bat, being thrown into a mystery person at the front door. Also contains a letter written by the main character and in general, I like reading letters in books.

Reading on?: YES

 

Book Four: Gangsta Rap by Benjamin Zephaniah

Genre: Young-Adult UKYA (not sure over sub-genre for this one)

I think the story concept is excellent. Even though the scenes with the main character’s family was a difficult read, seeing his ambition for rapping and R+B music was refreshing. Loved the London setting!

Reading on?: YES

 

Book Five: Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Genre: Young-Adult Contemporary

I do like summer romance novels but will include here a trigger warning for death of a minor for anyone who may want to pick up a copy of this. It was heartbreaking but the story-line in general just didn’t speak to me. It is also Autumn here and having read lots of summer stories, I feel like taking a break from those at the moment.

Reading on?: NO

 

Book Six: My Life With The Walter Boys by Ali Novak

Genre: Young-Adult Contemporary

Confession time, I read the original novel on Wattpad over five years ago and really loved it as a high school teen. I’m twenty now and even though I love the author Ali as a person, I don’t think this novel is for me as an older reader. There was a lot of backstory in the first chapter and many characters to deal with which also, put me off continuing on.

Reading on?: NO

 

Book Seven: Popular, A Memoir by Maya Van Wagenen

Genre: Memoir but marketed for a YA Audience

This by far was the most interesting concept in the entire stack of books I read. A real-life guide written in the 1950s, being read and the tips tried by a young teen over sixty years later. I’m really curious to see the reactions of others to the tips included and how Maya is doing now.

Reading on?: YES

 

In total from this stack, I’ve chosen to unhaul four books and keep three to read on further. As I mentioned earlier, doing this little challenge was helpful and for the future, I may make more challenges and posts just like this! What books have you tried and unhauled recently? Also, a slightly off topic piece of news but… I reached 400 subscribers for the first time on my blog yesterday! I’m super shocked to see so many of you, so thanks for sticking by and supporting my reviewing plus my creative writing. It means so much to me. ❤

See you all soon for a new post!

Alice x

 

 

My Current NetGalley Reads!

Hello readers!

Welcome back to my blog. Today, I’m going to be sharing a very exciting list of books that I’ve been approved for on NetGalley! If you don’t know what NetGalley is, it is a website where you can sign up and request digital ARCs for review. I post my reviews mainly to my Goodreads profile but if I can’t stop talking about a new favourite, there is a strong chance that my review of that particular book will end up here on this blog. I have five books to talk about, so let’s get to the list! (All story blurbs have been taken from Goodreads and/or Amazon).

1, The Miseducation of Cameron Post

miseducation

When Cameron Post’s parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is relief. Relief they’ll never know that, hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl.

But that relief doesn’t last, and Cam is soon forced to move in with her conservative aunt Ruth and her well-intentioned but hopelessly old-fashioned grandmother. She knows that from this point on, her life will forever be different. Survival in Miles City, Montana, means blending in and leaving well enough alone (as her grandmother might say), and Cam becomes an expert at both.

Then Coley Taylor moves to town. Beautiful, pickup-driving Coley is a perfect cowgirl with the perfect boyfriend to match. She and Cam forge an unexpected and intense friendship–one that seems to leave room for something more to emerge. But just as that starts to seem like a real possibility, ultra-religious Aunt Ruth takes drastic action to “fix” her niece, bringing Cam face-to-face with the cost of denying her true self–even if she’s not exactly sure who that is.

2, Odd One Out

odd one out

Courtney “Coop” Cooper
Dumped. Again. And normally I wouldn’t mind. But right now, my best friend and source of solace, Jupiter Sanchez, is ignoring me to text some girl.

Rae Evelyn Chin
I assumed “new girl” would be synonymous with “pariah,” but Jupiter and Courtney make me feel like I’m right where I belong. I also want to kiss him. And her. Which is . . . perplexing.

Jupiter Charity-Sanchez
The only thing worse than losing the girl you love to a boy is losing her to your boy. That means losing him, too. I have to make a move. . . .

One story.
Three sides.
No easy answers.

3, Beneath The Citadel

citadel

In the city of Eldra, people are ruled by ancient prophecies. For centuries, the high council has stayed in power by virtue of the prophecies of the elder seers. After the last infallible prophecy came to pass, growing unrest led to murders and an eventual rebellion that raged for more than a decade.

In the present day, Cassa, the orphaned daughter of rebels, is determined to fight back against the high council, which governs Eldra from behind the walls of the citadel. Her only allies are no-nonsense Alys, easygoing Evander, and perpetually underestimated Newt, and Cassa struggles to come to terms with the legacy of rebellion her dead parents have left her — and the fear that she may be inadequate to shoulder the burden. But by the time Cassa and her friends uncover the mystery of the final infallible prophecy, it may be too late to save the city — or themselves.

4, What If It’s Us

What if it's us

Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?

Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.

Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.

But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third?

What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?

What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?

But what if it is?

5, Mirage

Mirage

In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection…because one wrong move could lead to her death.

These five books have been highly anticipated throughout the year and I’m excited to review them and help spread the word! Do you review books from NetGalley? What books have you read and reviewed recently? I’d love to know!

Thanks so much for reading, stay tuned for new updates very soon!

Alice x

 

I Reached 200 Books!

Hello friends!

It’s been a while since I last checked in and so much has happened in a short amount of time. Last weekend, I fully enrolled for university first year which was scary but also exciting at the same time. I met my fellow classmates for the first time on the Tuesday just gone and battled a heavy cold in the process. However, something incredible dawned on me after checking my Goodreads reading challenge progress, I reached 200 books read in 2018! That is the highest number that I’ve ever reached within in a single year. For the first time, I’ve felt comfortable reading so much in a short amount of time. Back in my high school days, I used to read so much but never felt comfortable openly sharing about it, as I was scared about other reactions from close people as well as total strangers.

This year in general, my reading habits have changed drastically. I no longer read just YA even though I still love and find new favourites. Thanks to the app Scribd, I’ve now been into graphic novels and comics. One of my favourite reads ever is the series called Fence by C.S Pacat which is LGBTQIA+ and has fencing as the main storyline. The illustrations are just so pretty and fun to read. I ended up binge-reading all nine available comics in a single morning… call me a fangirl or what! Other series that I’ve read or started to read include: Goldie Vance, Lumberjanes and The Backstagers.

Regarding audiobooks, I’ve managed to listen to a couple of them this year and that is after many years of not finishing listening to them. As I have a dream of recording podcasts and audiobooks, it’s been an interesting experience just sitting back with my headphones in and listening to the narrator’s voice to take me away from reality. I do prefer to read my stories physically though and that will most likely stay with me. My local library recently got a service called BorrowBox which I will test at some point and leave some feedback on.

As I am majoring in Creative Writing, I will be exploring new authors and styles through the lectures and group workshops that are part of my degree. My overall reading goal for 2018 is 300 books and I’m so close to crossing over the finishing line that I’ve promised myself a major treat should 300 in 2018 be accomplished!

How are your reading goals going? I’m planned to announce that we are nearly at 400 subscribers on this blog! If we could reach it, that would be incredible! Another exciting social media update is reaching 2,000 followers on my Instagram! I couldn’t stop grinning for the rest of the day after hitting that milestone. Thank you all for the constant support, I really appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.

See you all soon!

Alice x

Blog Tour: A Blade So Black

Hello readers! Welcome back to my blog, I’m Alice from Married To Books and for today’s upload, I will be promoting a new YA Urban Fantasy novel called A Blade So Black! This post will contain details about the book, author and a giveaway opportunity. Enjoy reading!


TITLE: A Blade So Black

AUTHOR: L.L. McKinney

PUBLISH DATE: September 25th 2018

PUBLISHER: Imprint (Macmillan)

SYNOPSIS:

The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. Now she’s trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. Yet even warriors have a curfew.

Life in real-world Atlanta isn’t always so simple, as Alice juggles an overprotective mom, a high-maintenance best friend, and a slipping GPA. Keeping the nightmares at bay is turning into a full-time job. But when Alice’s handsome and mysterious mentor is poisoned, she has to find the antidote by venturing deeper into Wonderland than she’s ever gone before. And she’ll need to use everything she’s learned in both worlds to keep from losing her head . . . literally.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36952594-a-blade-so-black 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Blade-So-Black-L-L-McKinney/dp/1250153905/ 

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Blade-So-Black-L-L-Mckinney/9781250153906 


AUTHOR INFORMATION:

Leatrice “Elle” McKinney, writing as L.L. McKinney, is a poet and active member of the kidlit community. She’s an advocate for equality and inclusion in publishing, and the creator of the hashtag #WhatWoCWritersHear. She’s spent time in the slush by serving as a reader for agents and participating as a judge in various online writing contests.

Elle’s also a gamer, Blerd, and adamant Hei Hei stan, living in Kansas, surrounded by more nieces and nephews than she knows what to do with. Aside from rockin’ the Favorite Aunt thing, she spends her free time plagued by her cat–Sir Chester Fluffmire Boopsnoot Purrington Wigglebottom Flooferson III, esquire, Baron o’Butterscotch or #SirChester for short–or defending the realm from the enemies of Azeroth. FOR THE HORDE!

Author website: https://www.llmckinney.com/ 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16354343.L_L_McKinney 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ElleOnWords 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ll_mckinney/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ElleOnWords/ 

Tumblr: http://llmckinney.tumblr.com/ 

GIVEAWAY!:

One finished copy of A BLADE SO BLACK! For the chance to enter to win a copy of the book, click on this link: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/a755c7ef45/ This is a USA entry only giveaway!

That concludes this tour post, a big thank you to Aimee and the author Elle for letting me be a part of the tour. See you all soon!

Alice x 

The Anomaly: A Creepy Thriller That Sent My Heart Racing!

Hello readers!

It’s actually not that often that I blog about just one book I’ve read in an upload. Normally, I like to group books I’ve read together and talk about them as a whole. But for adult thriller novel The Anomaly, that is a different story. A read I first spotted online several months ago on the website Readers First, in my collection yesterday and by this morning before I left for a fun day out, what I had just read chilled me to the bone. In the best possible way!


THEY SOUGHT THE TRUTH. THEY FOUND A NIGHTMARE

A team of explorers seek ancient treasures, hidden in a secret cave.

At first it seems they will return empty handed. Then their luck turns.

But the team’s elation is short-lived as they become trapped there in the dark, with little possibility of escape.

Then events take an even more terrifying turn.

For not all secrets are meant to be found . . .

Amazon UK link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B075XPPFY5/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36342156-the-anomaly

REVIEW:

T/W- Death, Swearing, Violence

Readers, this is honestly a thriller novel that you need to add to your TBR lists, like right this second. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so spooked about an adventurous thriller in all of my life! I would highly recommend The Anomaly to fans of Indiana Jones, Dan Brown’s novels and even Stephen King’s novels. A creepy read that will stick with me for a very long time!

The main character Nolan is a host on a famous conspiracy theory show and one theory about a cave has remained for a century. According to written legends, there is famous treasure lurking behind its walls but those who seek for it, end up meeting a deadly end. Nolan and a team of friends decide to travel out and solve this mystery. Only for their experience to get creepy from the get-go. The book did start off very slowly until Nolan arrived at the cave. This moment was when the action really picked up for me. My heart was racing, edge of your seat feeling wondering what would be waiting for them. Don’t read this book at bedtime! There was a great mix of history, mystery, paranormal and a bunch of other twists that combined into a novel that blew my mind. Be aware, there is a lot of swearing from the team which at times, I found to be quite distracting. Something I would read at Halloween!

That concludes this blog post, hope you enjoyed reading my review! Have you read The Anomaly? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below! 🙂

Thanks for reading, have a lovely day!

Alice x

Scribd TBR: End of Summer, Start of Autumn Edition!

Hello friends!

As I type up this blog post, I’m delighted to say that we are just 20 subscribers away from reaching 400. I’ve been blogging here for nearly three years and seeing the recent growth in readers and bookish love, I’m thrilled that I stuck by on this journey and discovered through blogging lots of awesome friends and amazing authors! A couple of months ago, I took out a subscription to Scribd. Scribd is my favourite app ever… like nothing else comes close. I pay £7.87 a month for unlimited access to over a million E-books, audiobooks and articles. Every family member and friend I see, Scribd always comes up in a conversation. It’s something that’s generally made me feel very happy 🙂

I’d thought I share with you all what I’m currently listening/reading on the app as of today and a bit about both books!


Format: Audiobook

Blurb: While daydreaming in Chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk. Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging letters. As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery, she discovers that she may be falling for her mystery writer…

Length: 6 hours, 56 minutes

Currently at: 2 hours exactly!

Thoughts: I really like Shannon McManus’s narration and portrays all of the characters really well. The plotline is fun, full of mystery and romance. This is my first Kasie West contemporary book I’ve ever tried. Certainly won’t be my last!


Format: E-book

Blurb: Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy…

Archie and Veronica…

Althena and Noth…

…Graham and Roxy?

Graham met his best friend, Roxana, when he moved into her neighborhood eight years ago, and she asked him which Hogwarts house he’d be sorted into. Graham has been in love with her ever since.

But now they’re sixteen, still neighbors, still best friends. And Graham and Roxy share more than ever—moving on from their Harry Potter obsession to a serious love of comic books.

When Graham learns that the creator of their favorite comic, The Chronicles of Althena, is making a rare appearance at this year’s New York Comic Con, he knows he must score tickets. And the event inspires Graham to come up with the perfect plan to tell Roxy how he really feels about her. He’s got three days to woo his best friend at the coolest, kookiest con full of superheroes and supervillains. But no one at a comic book convention is who they appear to be…even Roxy. And Graham is starting to realize fictional love stories are way less complicated than real-life ones.

Length: 256 pages

Currently on: Page 30!

Thoughts: I’ve never been to a comic-con, but just from reading the first few chapters of this novel, I really want to go to one! Very excited to see what happens and whether love will blossom!

OK friends, here is a quick cover rundown of the books from my various Scribd TBR lists I’ve created. And the ones I would love to read and review before I start University in less than a month!

From My Goodreads TBR (So books that I found on Scribd that are listed on my main Goodreads want-to-read list!):



Romance TBR/TBL List:



Both the books listed above are audiobooks on Scribd UK!

YA TBR:




Adult Fiction TBR:



There are so many books that I would love to get to. If I do, I’ll definitely be posting a massive Scribd wrap-up post around the end of September. If you haven’t tried out Scribd yet, I highly recommend it. There’s something for everyone!

That concludes this post! Thank you so much for reading and for all the support over the last few weeks. What books are you reading/listening to on Scribd? See you soon!

Alice x