Mental Health Recs?

 

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Hey guys, sorry it’s been so long since I last posted. I’m now working full time in a call centre and struggle to find the time to blog but hopefully that will improve as I start to get used to the hours and I’ll start trying to make more effort with the blog as I do miss posting reviews and updating you guys on what I’m doing/reading.

In a few of my previous posts I’ve mentioned briefly about my battle with depression and the struggles I have with this illness. Depression is just one of the many mental health illnesses that people suffer with and over the last few weeks I’ve been wanting to read more books with people suffering with these issues so I guess this post is just a way of looking for anything you guys could recommend to me. I’m looking for both fiction and non-fiction books and hopefully I’ll be able to review some of these books too.

I’m currently reading ‘Mad Girl’ by Bryony Gordon and have just bought ‘Reasons To Stay Alive’ by Matt Haig, ‘A Mindfulness Guide For The Frazzled’ by Ruby Wax and ‘The Hospital’ by Barbara O’Hare so if you have any books similar to these please do leave a comment and let me know what they are and I’ll have a look in to them!

I also want to say that if any of you are ever feeling down or anxious about anything and need to talk to someone then I’m here to listen to you all. You can reach out to me on twitter (@kirsty_reads) and I’ll listen to whatever you have to say and try and help you in anyway I can.

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Review: Burning Bright – Chanda Stafford

Burning BrightTitle: Burning Bright

Author: Chanda Stafford

Genre: Young Adult

Format: E-book

Rating: 3/5

Synopsis: Goodreads

Buy Book: Amazon

Review: This book surprised me in a good way. I wasn’t sure what to expect but after reading two of Stafford’s other books I knew it was going to be good either way.

Burning Bright’ tells the story of Sam Grey, a teenage girl who comes from a broken home with abusive foster parents who only took her in for the money. When Ben Ramirez’s family move to her town and open a cat sanctuary, she meets Solomon, the Bengal Tiger and soon finds out they have a lot more in common than people would think.

When I started this book I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to carry on reading as I wasn’t really gripped with the story but the more I read, the more I got attached to the characters and wanted to find out what the future held for them. Sam story is a heartbreaking one and the more you find out about her, the more you feel for her. Ben was a character I was very unsure of at the beginning but the more we get to know him the more likeable he becomes and it’s clear how much he cares for Sam.

Chanda Stafford did a fantastic job of developing the characters throughout the story and there wasn’t any time where it got too much. The only thing I didn’t really like was Emily, I felt she was pointless in the story because we didn’t get much background on her or how her and Sam became friends. Other than that I did enjoy the book.

I received an e-copy of this book from Chanda in exchange of an honest review. Thank you again for allowing me to read your book.

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Review: Beautiful Broken Things – Sara Barnard

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Title: Beautiful Broken Things

Author: Sara Barnard

Genre: Young Adult, Mental Health, Realistic Fiction

Format: Paperback

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis: Goodreads

Buy Book: Amazon

Review: This book captures female friendships absolutely perfectly. You have the confident, outgoing one, the sensible one and finally the quiet, shy one. Now I know not all friendships have someone that fits these descriptions but for me and my friends, we did (I’m the quiet, shy one unfortunately).

I honestly can’t describe how much I loved this book. With what I had heard about it, I knew I was going to enjoy it but I just didn’t realise how much I actually would fall in love with the story and characters. Sara Barnard did such a fantastic job of creating such a realistic story about three teenage girls who struggle with new relationships and the strain it can have on lifelong friendships. One of the reasons I loved this book so much is because there was no cliché romances that you’d normally expect in a YA novel and it made me happy because I’m starting to get tired of reading the same kind of thing over and over again. Caddy was such a relatable character for me and I seen so much of myself in her. Although she was unsure about Suzanne at first she soon became the one Suzanne would turn to when she needed someone and when things were getting tough which is similar to something that’s happened to me in the past. At first I was unsure about Suzanne because like Caddy, I didn’t want the relationship between Rosie and Caddy to change but like any friendship you have, it does change as you grow up and meet new people plus the more we got to know Suzanne the more I got to love her and sometimes I could see part of myself in her too.

I loved how realistic this book was, especially when dealing with Mental Health. Suzanne comes from a troubled background and I felt that Miss Barnard did an amazing job of showing how a mental health illness can affect not only the person suffering but the people around them who love and care for them which is not often shown in a lot of YA books that do focus on Mental Health. As someone who suffers from mental health issues myself, it made me realise just what I put my friends and family through when I was at my lowest point and I know now that any time I feel like that again, I can think of this book and know that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel and I’ll always have people around me who love me.

Beautiful Broken Things’ is such a heartbreaking but stunning story about the complications and struggles all friendships go through. It will stay in my heart for a long time and I’m so glad I had the chance to read it. If you get the chance then PLEASE get this book whether it be from a library or you buy it because I can promise you won’t regret it.

After buying this book, I came home to find a copy waiting for me that I had surprisingly won so thank you to Maximum Pop for sending me a copy to review! 

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Review: The Dead House – Dawn Kurtagich

22396591Title: The Dead House

Author: Dawn Kurtagich

Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller, Young Adult

Format: Paperback

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis: Goodreads

Buy Book: Amazon

Review: I’m so happy I finally got round to reading this book! It was much better than I thought it was going to be.

The Dead House’ is different from every other book I’ve read as it is told through, interviews, diary entries and camera footage. At the start I was slightly confused by everything but the more you get used to the format of the book, the more it all begins to make sense. All evidence in the book was used to work out who was responsible for the fire in Elmbridge High School, 20 years ago that claimed the lives of 3 students and injured many others and most of it is taken from Kaitlyn Johnson’s diary.

One of the unique things about this book is it is about two girls, Carly and Kaitlyn who share the same body. I was slightly unsure about how the story would go with the double character thing and would it ruin the book but Kurtagich went about it brilliantly. You could see just how much went into creating the characters in the book and each one had so much depth and helped to create something more real. I really did like the fact that we got to know each and every character in the book without it being too much.

This book keeps you guessing right until the very end who is responsible for everything that is happening which was exciting because it made me want to continue reading on. I think the biggest thing I loved about this book (in a weird way) was the fact you never know who to believe. So much is raised and you’re left with many questions about who done it? Is she possessed? Is it all magic?? WHO KNOWS??? You’re constantly questioning things making you become a detective for a while.

All in this book was creepy, frightening but also heartbreaking as you see Kaitlyn fighting with her demons and with how the story is told, it’s almost like you’re experiencing the exact same feelings she does. If you like creepy, psychological thrillers then I highly recommend this book to you.

I received an e-copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange of a review. 

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Review: The Show – John A Heldt

Title: 27858685The Show

Author: John A. Heldt

Genre: History, Romance, Science Fiction, Time-Travel

Format: E-Book

Rating: 3/5

Synopsis: Goodreads

Buy Book: Amazon

Review: I was so excited to read this book after reading ‘The Mine’ and when John offered to send me a copy of the book I was so happy!

The Show’ follows on from where ‘The Mine’  left off and it’s Grace’s side of the story. This made me even happier because I was left with so many questions about what Grace did after Joel left and how it came about for her to make the decision to follow him to 2000. This book had all the answers and left me so happy to see how their relationship progressed over the years.

The Show’ was a lot quicker in the progress of their relationships and would jump a few months ahead at times which slightly annoyed me because I just wanted to know all about them as I became to love them both. I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the first one because just as things were starting to go well for the couple, Grace all of a sudden ended up in 1918. Again we’re introduced to a wide range of new characters who I feel were all quite similar to the characters we met in ‘The Mine’. The one thing I disliked about this happening was her meeting someone else and then the wait to find if they were going to get together because I still had the hope she would return and be able to continue her life with Joel and their children. I did like how open the couple were with their families about time travel whether they believed them or not.

With this book I was left again with a few questions about time travel. There’s just so much I can’t grasp but it’s such an interesting thing to read about and reading these books has made me want to read more books about the subject!

Although I was slightly disappointed with this book, I did still enjoy it and I’m happy with what the outcome of the book was. If you enjoy anything with romance then I think this is a book you will enjoy as there’s a lot of it in the story!

Thank you again to John A Heldt for sending me copy of both books to read.

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Review: Lois Lane: Fallout -Gwenda Bond

23110163Title: Fallout (Lois Lane #1) 

Author: Gwenda Bond

Genre: Sci-fi, Young Adult, Mystery

Format: Hardback

Rating: 2/5

Synopsis: Goodreads

Buy Book: Amazon

Review: I first came across this book when Maximum Pop tweeted a giveaway for it and after reading what people were saying about it I decided to enter because well why not plus the cover was exciting! When I found out I was one of the lucky winners picked to review it I was so excited because I had heard so many good things about it. Unfortunately, it wasn’t what I hoped for and I was slightly disappointed. I couldn’t get into the story at all and for the majority of it I was bored.

In ‘Fallout’ we’re introduced to Lois Lane, the daughter of an Army General as her and her family settle for good (hopefully) in Metropolis. On her first day of school she is introduced to a strangely connected group called the Warheads who are making life miserable for young Anavi. Lois then decides to find out more information about the Warheads and see if there’s a way she can stop them all whilst trying to make new friends. Although I wasn’t really into the story, I did really like Lois’ character. She was funny, witty and strong-minded. I was kind of surprised by her forwardness at the beginning of the book when she butts into a conversation the head teacher is having with a fellow student. As the story starts to unfold we also see how smart and sneaky she can be.

As for the story, I can’t quite put my finger on it but I just couldn’t get into it at all. There were times I thought I would start enjoying it but then it would just go back to how it was and I would get bored again. I didn’t quite understand the game in the book either which is a huge part of the plot so that’s probably the main reason I never understood it.

With the question rising of “would you read another book by Gwenda Bond?” I think I probably would as I don’t want the one book I’ve read to ruin her other books which may be better!

If you’re into gaming and mystery books then this is probably the book for you. Thank you again to Maximum Pop books for sending me a copy to review!

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Review: Seed – Lisa Heathfield

23711685Title: Seed

Author: Lisa Heathfield

Genre: Young Adult

Format: Paperback

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis: Goodreads

Buy Book: Amazon

Review: This is the first book I’ve read that deals with cults and it was so good! ‘Seed’ follows 15 year-old Pearl and her friends as they gradually start to realise that everything they’ve ever believed is a lie. With the help of her friends they try to plan a way to escape or get help before it’s too late.

I fell in love with this story because it was something I’d never really experienced in a book before and so it was exciting for me to find something new that I really liked! The characters were extremely likeable, the story was realistic and I was gripped throughout the whole book. The first page I found quite humorous as it’s a moment every girl experience and it lead me to believe it was going to be a funny book but four pages later it took a dark turn and the whole thing changed! Within the first few chapters I had a few questions which were more or less answered the more you read.

As I mentioned above, Lisa Heathfield created characters that were extremely loveable but also created frightening characters such as Papa S. We’re first introduced to Papa S within the first few pages but we’re not really given much information about him. It’s a bit later on when things start to get a bit weird. He is the one that everyone at Seed worships and when a girl is picked to become his “companion” then they see it as being a privilege. As the story goes we begin to see how warped this character is and it was scary to see just how much control this man had over his people. He seems to get away with absolutely everything he does because all he has to say is “Nature told me to do it.” which is terrifying and disgusting because of all the bad things he did.

Pearl was such a young and naive character that did everything she was taught to do without question and would always get scared when her friends went against the rules which was sad to see as the reader because you can see what’s happening and you just want her to realise so she can escape and do something about the events that take place in Seed. Kate on the other-hand was wise and knew what was happening before everyone else all because of her relationship with a boy from “the Outside.” So much happens to both Kate and Pearl throughout the book and at certain parts is broke my heart to watch them come to terms with everything. One of the hardest things about the book for me was finding out that Pearl didn’t know who her mum was and it seemed that all she really wanted to do was find out who it was to give her that closure. As someone who’s really close to my mum, it hurt reading this because I could never imagine a world without my mum and even trying to put myself in that situation broke my heart.

There isn’t really anything I can fault with this book. I enjoyed everything about it and I’m really looking forward to reading the sequel. I don’t think I would’ve discovered this book if I wasn’t part of the UKYA In The Rain book club so I’m thankful for being a part of that so I do have the chance to read amazing books like this! If you’re looking for a chilling and gripping book then I highly recommend you read this book!

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Review: Even Angels Fall – F.L Darbyshire

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Title: Even Angels Fall

Author: F.L Darbyshire

Genre: New Adult

Format: Kindle

Themes covered: Loss, Family, Friendship, Love, Dangers of drugs

Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis: Goodreads

Buy Book: Amazon

Review: The first thing I have to say about this book is that it should maybe have come with a trigger warning for drugs as drug use is in the book every so often.

Following the death of Abbey’s twin, her family make the move to Leeds where she now has to start all over again. As her family starts to collapse from the grief of their loss, Abbey, meets new friends and starts to enjoy her life again. But will everything be as it seems or is the life they lead just a ticking time-bomb?

Even Angels Fall’ broke my heart in so many ways. As someone’s who’s watched family fall apart due to grief I found Abbey very relatable in that sense. As things were starting to look up for the group of friends, something would go wrong but you always had that hope that things would get better again and they could live a happy life. I found that all the characters in this book were really likeable however, there were parts where some of the characters did annoy me. For example, one of the things that annoyed me was when Abbey is at the hospital with her sister who is about to give birth and when their mum shows up, Abbey decides to leave because she still isn’t ready to face her yet. Like NOOOOO!!! situations like a new baby or something can completely calm a situation down and help make things better but she didn’t even give it a chance and yeah I just didn’t like that that happened. Lucy was my favourite character. She was just so bubbly and she was everything that Abbey needed to help her get through the huge loss she suffered. It broke my heart reading about her struggles later on in the book and seeing Abbey trying to comfort her too.

There’s not much I disliked about this book but at times there could’ve been another chapter or it could’ve been made clear that some parts were separate paragraphs because at certain points you’d be reading one thing and then it would skip ahead to something else and it would take a while to figure out what was happening. In saying that though, it could’ve just been the way it was laid out on the kindle edition.

I do highly recommend this book although bare in mind there is quite a bit of drug use throughout it! After reading this, I believe F.L Darbyshire can go very far in the writing world as she did a brilliant job of creating a story full of love, friendship, loss and family as well as creating loveable and relatable characters.

*I received a digital copy of this in exchange of an honest review.*

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Review: Monsters Of Men – Patrick Ness

8100904Title: Monsters Of Men (Chaos Walking #3)

Author: Patrick Ness

Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi

Format: Paperback

Themes dealt with: War, Terrorism

Rating: 3/5

Synopsis: Goodreads

Buy Book: The Book People (you can buy the trilogy for only £6.99 on this site!!)

Review: *THERE MAY BE SPOILERS AHEAD*

Okay let me just start by saying that this book should’ve been called The Book Of Death because it’s just full of it! If you’ve read my reviews of ‘The Knife Of Never Letting Go’ and ‘The Ask And The Answer’ then you’ll know I absolutely adore this series and with the way the second one ended I just couldn’t wait to pick up book three. When you first start the book, you’re thrown right into the action as the war begins between Mayor Prentiss, Mistress Coyle and The Spackle and this gave me so much hope for another fantastic book.

Unlike the first two books in the series, ‘Monster’s Of Men’ doesn’t exactly contain chapters. It’s more or less split into parts so for example, the first part is called “It Begins” which is told from both Todd and Viola’s POV. Seventy-seven pages later we’re introduced to a third person and then each part splits. This for me is when things started to go slightly downhill. I was left feeling confused over the strange language the third person spoke in and the way they described things. Each time ‘the land’, ‘the sky’, ‘the clearing’, etc were mentioned, I was getting more and more confused.

Ness’ ability to make you have so many mixed feelings towards certain characters is unlike anything I’ve ever read and it’s one of the reasons I love his writing. Let’s take Mayor Prentiss for example. In the first book I didn’t really care much for him, coming to the second book I despised him and then the more I read this book I was confused about how to feel. Could he have changed? Was he truthful to Todd and did he really care? I was scared to like him because I didn’t know if I could trust him or not but he continued to change his ways throughout the book leaving you with a lot of hope for him. Mistress Coyle was another character I wasn’t sure about. She didn’t really seem to care about what she put Viola through, just as long as she was winning. Both these characters made me sort of think about war and I can’t seem to stop thinking that, war happens because leaders can’t seem to agree over something but rather than sit down and discuss it, they get their people to fight their battles for them (and die in the process) whilst they sit and watch it going on rather than deal with it like mature adults.

Unfortunately I wasn’t impressed with this book. I was so disappointed by it and I expected something better than what I got. My main problem was the whole ‘third person’ part because when reading the majority of Todd and Viola’s parts, I was really enjoying it! But any time I seen the third person appear then I just wanted to finish their part asap because it bored me. The biggest thing I loved about this series was that with each book you can see just how much Todd and Viola have grown and how mature they’ve became and it’s one of the reasons I do love this series because I haven’t seen much of that in a series of books.

Although I didn’t enjoy this book I do highly recommend this series as it’s unlike any YA fantasy I’ve read before and Ness’ work is starting to become some of my favourites. Like the other books, this book is no different when it comes to the heartbreaking scenes so watch out for them!


 

If you have read or are planning to read these books please do let me know your thoughts!!

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Review: The Ask And The Answer – Patrick Ness

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Title: The Ask And The Answer (Chaos Walking #2)

Author: Patrick Ness

Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi

Format: Paperback

Rating: 4.5/5

Synopsis: Goodreads

Buy Book: The Book People (you can buy the trilogy for only £6.99 on this site!!)

Review: *THERE MAY BE SPOILERS AHEAD!!*

I’m honestly in love with this series! ‘The Ask And The Answer’ definitely did not disappoint as a sequel. This book deals with so many huge issues such as feminism, genocide, terrorism and war ethics. Like the first book, we’re following the story of both Todd and Viola only this time it’s told from both points of view rather than  just Todd’s which I actually liked as it gave us a chance to get to know Viola and how she thinks a bit better. This book was more action-packed, violent and so much darker than the first one and there was so much tension between certain characters which I loved because it made me want to read on to find out how the relationship between characters would work out. There were a lot of surprises in this book too which made me extremely confused as to how I felt about people and events that took place.

I can’t get enough of the characters in this series although I do have huge trust issues with a few of them in this book. One of the reasons I love the characters is because they’re all so interesting and diverse which helps make this book such a good read. Some of the characters are pretty scary, especially Mayor Prentiss and Mr Hammar. Mayor Prentiss is a man who manipulates people into doing what he wants using his unique power that not many people have. Ness does a fantastic job of making you feel confused about this character and what his motive is throughout the book. Mr Hammar on the other hand is a man who prefers to use physical abuse to torture victims and when I think back to the first book there was evidence even then of how evil this character is. Although Mr Hammar is a minor character, Ness’ characterisation of him makes him stick in your head after the book is done.

Davy Prentiss, was a character I absolutely despised in ‘The Knife Of Never Letting Go‘ but you really got to know more about him and his character in this novel which is one of the things that left me really confused because I wasn’t sure if you could trust him or not. I really wanted to hate him because of his actions in the first book but we soon find out that like Todd, he’s been deceived by his father his whole life. It just shows that both him and Todd are much more similar than we were first led to believe and it slowly made me start to like his character (as much as I didn’t want to).

Although there’s not much I can fault about this book, there’s two things I’m still slightly confused about. Spackle being the first. I’m genuinely so confused as to who the Spackle are. It’s explained that they’re some sort of alien but I still don’t quite get what’s actually going on with them. Have the humans moved to a new planet (I’m guessing since it’s called New World) or have the aliens came to earth? Why is there such a problem between the species? Can they not just come to an agreement and live in harmony? With the way this book ended and from the 88 pages I’ve read of ‘Monster’s Of Men’ I’m hoping all my questions are going to be answered. Age is the other thing I’m confused about. In ‘The Knife Of Never Letting Go’ we’re told that Todd is 12 (a month away from turning 13) then when Viola appears we find out he should really be around 14 but after reading this book, both the characters seem so much older! It could be because of everything they’ve been/going through in the past and because war’s on the horizon they have a lot of grown up decisions to make but I don’t know. Maybe it’ll be another thing explained in book three!

Ness is a writer who does a brilliant job of making you feel as though you’re right there in the book, in the middle of the action with the characters watching everything going on as you read which is what I absolutely love in a book. Everything is so vivid in my head and I can see it all happening so clearly as though I’m watching a movie rather than reading a book which makes it better! He’s one of the few writers I’ve known who has the power to do this for me and he’s gradually becoming one of my favourite authors.

Like the first book, I found it to be quite slow at the beginning and so I’ve taken .5 stars off the rating but apart from that this book was incredible! If you’re looking for something that’s full of action, violence, deceit and hope then I highly recommend this book and series to you. I’ve been an emotional wreck whilst reading both books and there’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll be the same reading book three but it’s so worth it because the plot and the characters are just phenomenal.

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