I read Six Spooky Books!- #Spookathon Wrap-Up Post

Hello readers!

It’s now my half-term from College, I’ve been off since Saturday and don’t go back until Halloween so until then, I’m going to be working on assignments as well as doing some writing and reading! Between the 16th and 22nd of October, I participated in a reading challenge called Spookathon which was run by three other Twitter users and booktubers/bloggers and had a list of challenges to complete but… I kind of rebelled and only read books that were horror themed and needed to be read ASAP.

I read a grand total of six books which considering this readathon was running on the last week of my first term, that’s pretty good and something to be proud of. Here are the six books I read:

 

I have spoiler-free reviews for all of these books except for The Taste Of Blue Light which is only available to read on this blog since the post length is quite long. To see what I thought about any of the books in the image above, add me on Goodreads: http://www.Goodreads.com/Marriedtobooks44

Out of the six read, my favourite read was Fir by Sharon Gosling, it was creepy, mysterious and very very chilling.

I really enjoyed being a part of this reading experience and connecting (particularly on Twitter) with other participants and seeing what they were reading. If you are looking for something fun that is related to books, consider giving a reading challenge a go!

Add me on Twitter: http://www.Twitter.com/MarriedToBooks3

Other news!:

So, I reached 3000 followers on my Goodreads last night which is honestly so incredible, never even predicted that it would happen to me but it did and I’m blown away just by how one simple idea on an August day two years ago has turned into a dream that I simply don’t want to leave. A big thank you to all who follow me there, I love you very much ❤

I have a ton of new posts coming up including two blog tour posts, one tomorrow and one next Monday as well as my Nanowrimo project reveal which will be this Sunday and somewhat of a soppy post featuring my boyfriend 😉

That’s all to come but in the meantime, thanks so much for reading and see you soon with a new post!

Alice x 

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The Taste Of Blue Light (Full Review+Discussion Post)

Note: All my thoughts in this post will be spoiler-free and will not affect you if you haven’t read the book yet!

Hello readers! It’s Alice from Married To Books and currently participating in a readathon on Twitter. It’s now halfway through and so far, I’ve managed to read six books including the one that I’m going to be discussing my thoughts on in this post today: The Taste Of Blue Light by Lydia Ruffles. I am part of a YA Book Group at my local library which meets once a month and all of the group members received the opportunity to read and review this from the publishers Hachette. We were provided with ARCs of the book as well as a list of discussion questions which I am going to be responding to on this post! Let’s talk about The Taste Of Blue Light itself first.

This YA novel has the main character Lux Langley who is an Artist, she aspires to be creative but that all changes when she goes to a house party and then wakes up in hospital, having no idea why she’s there or what happened at the party. Her dreams are invaded by the colour of red (the ARC edition above is in red) and she only has a limited amount of time to work out exactly why she’s getting the headaches before she ends up being sent away from her boarding school that she attends. The pain that Lux goes through as well as the attempts to avoid speaking to parents, showed that she is struggling emotionally to keep her life in balance. I liked the whole aspect behind colours, dreams, art which I do have an interest in Art History and the setting of the school that Lux attends. It does touch on mental health issues which as someone with an anxiety disorder, I do respect and am keen to see how a character is portrayed in a story if they also have anxiety for example. There was a paragraph on self-harm which was emotionally challenging to read, the last quarter of the book was what really made me stop and think, taking real-world events and writing about them is very difficult to accomplish but with The Taste Of Blue Light, it actually felt more realistic to read even though the events themselves were horrific. I like to read stories that transport me away from reality BUT also have little reminders about the land that we live on today. There are also references to drug-taking and sex which I feel does make this book an upper YA novel. At my local library, there’s a YA section and a YA+ section with books suitable for age 16+. I say The Taste Of Blue Light is 16+ due to the content.

Overall, this was generally not what I was expecting to read and enjoy but pleasantly enough, I was left very surprised about how much The Taste Of Blue Light spoke to me. Lux’s struggles, her relationships with her friends and parents, going out into the real world after some difficult times, this book will be the splash of red into your daily lives.

Rating: 4/5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Discussion time!

As part of the opportunity to read and review The Taste Of Blue Light, we were also given this list of questions. So, I decided to answer them with my honest thoughts but not giving away what happens in the story. The following questions are:

 

Question 1: How is colour used in the book- does it help tell the story and/or develop Lux’s character?

The colour red means nightmares, danger, fear. In one of the early chapters in the book, Lux is in the hospital and she is asked to match up numbers with a colour, taste and smell that she associates with it, this is part of the testing that the nurses did to try and come to a conclusion as to why Lux lost her memory. The term ‘Blue Light’ I feel symbolises the colour Blue being depressing, Lux herself mentions that if you feel blue, take yourself and your life and paint it with a different colour.

Question 2: Do you think creating things can help people understand themselves and each other?

I feel that each and every of us are artists just like Lux and want to use their imagination to create a beautiful portrait painting for example. Keeping a reflective journal has helped me to know more about myself and how I used to behave in the ways I did (fourteen year old me, I’m ashamed of you) but I feel that being creative and not following any set rules can bring others together in discussion and enable understanding of who we are and how we live.

Question 3: What clues does the author give regarding the truth about Lux’s blackout?

There’s one clue that stood out to me a lot and that was when Lux found in a notebook a list of words in a collection such as Articulate and Nyctophilia. During a conversation she has with Cal, he mentions a word Basorexia which means a passionate desire to kiss someone. From this, Lux remembers from her life before the hospital incident, a girl that she used to know but feels that her mind is playing tricks on her. This memory however plays a role later on in the book.

Question 4: Did you find the book funny and why is humour important to the story?

I have to be honest here and say that I read the entirety of The Taste Of Blue Light with a completely emotionless face, not laughing, instead more focused on the action  between Cal and Lux and also Lux with Dr Baystone who she sees for talking therapy groups and 1 to 1 discussions. One conversation between Cal and Lux however was amusing, when they interviewed each other and Lux said her favourite flavour was piano when she actually meant to say pistachio. Humour is important I feel in the story because of the overall story subject content, it makes the reading experience more comfortable and also makes the characters (mainly Lux, Cal, Mei and Olivia) more realistic since they are all teenagers who are up for a laugh and ready to explore the world, letting their hair down, if neither of the characters joked or were happy, I would have found it to be quite difficult to read.

Question 5: How vital is setting to the story?

As a visual learner and reader, setting and worldbuilding mean a great deal to me, I love to be in the same world as the characters and seeing firsthand what they get up to. I found the setting of Richdeane Arts School to be a mix of Hogwarts (from Harry Potter) and Whyteleafe (from Enid Blyton’s The Naughtiest Girl In The School series) by students not doing traditional subjects but rather have the freedom to go into various studios and express their creativity however they wish. There are rules in the School but the overall picture is not a lot of bad events or naughty students getting into trouble happen. There were descriptions about some of the classes that the students attended which was interesting to read more about.

Question 6: Do you consider Lux a heroine? 

This is the hardest question out of the list for me to answer but I actually don’t consider Lux a heroine, I say Mei is more of the heroine in The Taste Of Blue Light as she is the person that is looking out for Lux the most. Whenever Lux is unwell or having difficulty with things, Mei is there to watch over and make sure that she is OK. That for me personally is someone being a hero and not letting the confusing mystery of Lux’s headaches and loss of memory get in the way.

Question 7: What will you remember most about The Taste Of Blue Light?

I will remember a few things; That for Lux, it took time to finally be herself again which in life, it does take time to find the routes that you want to travel down. Also, the power of not giving up, using creative methods to find your voice and the colour red that features predominantly and creates fear for Lux herself. The aspect of the colours as a whole made the storyline interesting and created suspense for when Lux tries to remember a fragment from her past.

That wraps up this post! It was a long one but I really hope that you enjoyed reading it, a big thank you to the YA Book Group and Hachette for the amazing opportunity, I look forward to Lydia’s next novel. Leave a comment in the comment section below if you have read or are planning to read The Taste Of Blue Light. See you all soon with a new post!

Alice x

Two Years on Twitter: A Lookback

In a couple of weeks time, it will be two years since I joined Twitter with the aim of connecting with other bloggers, authors and publishers and I have to credit the app for enabling me to do just that. As a 17 year old newbie on the social media scene, I wasn’t really sure what to expect and was very tempted after the first month to deactivate my account but I’m super glad that I didn’t do that.

My profile MarriedToBooks3 has seen a lot of things happen within the last two years, the exploring of trending hashtags, entering in giveaways to win some free books and sometimes winning them and meeting some people that have since become really close friends. One of the main things that I’ve noticed is how my blog traffic and audience comments have increased subsequently because of using Twitter on a daily basis.

Last night, I took part in a Twitter chat called #ukteenchat focusing on a book award and getting to ask one of the organisers some questions about the judging process and what trends were appearing in this year’s entries. It was a lovely use of one hour, it was free and I didn’t have to leave my bed or my bedroom to participate. At the end, I tweeted about how much that I had learnt in the hour chat about the publishing industry and hopefully one day being a judge for a book award.

A lot of users through Twitter have followed my other social medias such as my Instagram and Goodreads which have all tied together nicely with my blogging and writing. After two years on Twitter, my goal for the next two years is to keep networking and be an active participant in online chats and not be afraid to speak up if I have a question.

Do you use Twitter and if you do/don’t, has this helped you gain an audience?

If you would like to support my vision for the next two years then please follow my Twitter: www.Twitter.com/MarriedToBooks3

See you all soon!

Alice x

Trying To Write Stories Again.

June 9th 2017- Coming off the back of pulling an all-nighter to watch with baited breath the results of the general election here in England, I realised that my future and the steps I take will be extremely important. In life, sometimes you have to experience the dark clouds to find light at the end of the tunnel. Where I live, the voting turnout was great. The results were declared at around 3am and going the way of the person I wanted to see as MP. It was a shock to be honest as the polls predicted otherwise but now, this turn of events gives me hope for the first time in a long while. So, why does creative writing come into this? I’ll explain.

I really want to see Creative Writing as a huge part of my future but in the last few years, that has rapidly decreased to just a fingertip of a dream. The hundreds of projects that I started but never finished, the word documents left untouched for months, I was mortified. I mean, this is a blogger who wants to study Creative Writing and Publishing at University and yet, she isn’t able to finish something? I was told by some people not to go to University at all, that I would have better luck working as a secretary in a office. No! That’s not where I see myself.

But with this small light of hope for my home city, this positive change has started to set a motivational boost for me. I don’t want to write a story about politics but I do want to write and create characters that become positive role modals for others, stories that don’t paint a damp picture but radiant a bright sunshine.

As I prepare to start writing online again, all I can hope for is that readers give me a second chance to start and finish the stories I want to tell.

Alice x   Image result for writing in a notebook