World Mental Health Day 2020

This morning when I woke up Facebook reminded me that today is World Mental Health Day – a day where we remember that it’s ok not to be ok, a day where we are reminded that if all we’ve done today is breathe, that is fine. I posted a quote on social media, I reposted one I particularly liked from last year. Then I got up, made my son breakfast and started my day. At 09.40am my sister send me a text to say that one of her best friends had taken their own life.

Suicide is not cowardly, it isn’t something we should be scared to talk about and it is horrendously heartbreaking. It is so important that we check in on our people – they might not let us in, they might not be able to escape themselves… but they’ll know, they’ll know you’re there for them. My sister checked in on her friend every. single. day.

I’ve grown up witnessing people struggling with mental health – varying levels, some mild, some severe. I have suffered with mental health – some days mild, some days severe. In May 2016 I wrote my mum a letter to tell her that a world without me in would be better – I never sent it. I found out that night I was pregnant with my now four year old son – so instead, I picked up a book and I carried on reading – an escapism I have enjoyed since being young. For me, I enjoy reading and escaping my life in favour of somebody else’s (even if it is made up) but I know that a lot of people feel the benefit from self-help books. I have listed some books below that might make you feel better, even if it’s only for five minutes.

– Its Not Ok To Feel Blue & Other Lies – Scarlett Curtis
– Reasons to Stay Alive – Matt Haig
– Happy – Fearne Cotton
– The Sensitive Soul – Theresa Cheung

– Lucy’s Blue Day – Chris Duke
– My Monster & Me – Nadiya Hussain
– The Worrysaurus – Rachel Bright
– The Heart & The Bottle – Oliver Jeffers

To all my followers – you don’t have to know me, you don’t even have to like me, but if you need me I will be here for you.

Daily reminder that I love you.

on the 24th of this month my sister will be walking against suicide, you can sponsor her via the link below and donate money for CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) to help stand against suicide:

Review – The Harpy

Author: Megan Hunter
Release Date: 3rd September 2020
Publisher: Picador

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I was lucky enough to receive my copy of The Harpy through BookBreakUK and I know we don’t like to judge a book by its cover but on this occasion I did and what a great decision that was. I really enjoyed this book and definitely recommend going in blind.

Because I chose not to even read the synopsis for this book, I knew nothing about the plot. However, this was still not the book I was expecting. I did not know anything about what a Harpy is/was so I was able to use this book as an opportunity for research as well.

Initially I found the writing style slightly confusing, there is a lack of speech marks (please don’t let that put you off, it works!) and it flicks between Lucy (main character) and ‘The Harpy’ but once I had adjusted to this, I couldn’t help but wonder how Megan Hunter was able to create such a beautiful and compelling piece of writing. I’ve never read anything like this. The book is written from the main characters perspective and the further we go in the more intriguing she becomes. I think we are supposed to side with Lucy (MC) whilst reading this but she still remains a mystery, hers and her husbands methods to get through everyday life during a difficult time, make it easy to almost forget about personal feelings towards individual characters. Instead you find yourself questioning the plot.

This is short and quick read. The chapters are short and definitely pack a punch that makes it hard to put down. For me, this felt unfinished, I was left with some unanswered questions and that is why I have rated this four instead of five stars. With a mythical aspect, this enthralling piece of work is truly worth the read.

Huge thank you to BookBreakUK and Picador Books for my copy. Trigger warnings at the bottom.

Trigger Warnings: domestic destruction, domestic abuse, infidelity, violence.

Review – Soldier Boy

Author: Cassandra Parkin
Release Date: 1st October 2020
Publisher: Legend Press
Booksbytheboats rating: FOUR STARS.

Soldier Boy follows the story of Liam, Alannah and Emma as they each go on a personal journey of self discovery. Liam is a discharged army soldier suffering from anger problems and night terrors. Alannah is struggling, at the mere age of eleven, with who she is and who she wants to be and Emma is on a journey of discovering how much more she can take.

I was so pleasantly surprised by this book, it was not at all what I was expecting – I am unsure of what I was hoping for but what I got was a book full of important messages from army life to PTSD. From feeling unhappy to making life decisions. From feeling loved to feeling lost.

The most intriguing thing about this book is the writing style. What the author does with her writing is so clever – each chapter flows into the next by ending the last on a half sentence and finishing the sentence at the start of the next. I really loved this element of the book and the way this happens prevented me from putting the book down. Its easy to pause reading when a chapter ends but this style of writing makes you want to keep reading – pair that with the plot and you’re onto a winner.

I really enjoyed the characters within this book – one was slightly OTT for my liking and that did contribute to the less than 5 star rating I have given. The chapters switch between the perspectives of different characters and there wasn’t one perspective that I liked or disliked more than another. The characters journeys interlink – not just because of the family ties – but because of the intense theme of love and belonging that is carried throughout these words. At the end of the day, what it all boils down to within the pages of this book, is the love and the need to be accepted by the ones we love. .

Thought provoking and eye opening. Highly recommend and a huge thank you to Cassandra Parkin and the team at Legend Press for my advanced copy. Trigger warnings at the bottom.

Trigger Warnings: combat PTSD, mental health, OCD, gender confusion, body mutilation, self harm.

Blogger Incoming…

So here I am, booksbytheboats – actual official blogger.

Little intro post for you all while i start compiling reviews and posts to share. My name is Ellie and I am the face behind the bookstagram page booksbytheboats – not creative, I just very literally read books next to boats in my little flat by the sea.

A quick overview about me, in the hope that it might interest you enough to follow and read future posts – I’m going to use this platform, not only for sharing book reviews but also for book related thoughts and other bookish content.

I am a mother of one, reader of books. I’ve just started my third year of a degree in Business Management specialising in Marketing and that was the main driving force behind starting this blog. Before having my son 4 years ago, I worked in Hospitality and once Isaac was here, I knew I had to do something less customer facing (sanity based decision), My dreams post degree is to do something book related through marketing/publishing whilst being able to be home for the school runs… my actual plans post degree is find a job I don’t hate that pays the bills. Who knows how that will pan out. But I know there will be plenty of reading along the way,

Favourite book – A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
Favourite book character – Augustus Waters
Favourite reading spot – Readymoney Beach, Fowey UK
Favourite reading snack – Sweets, specifically SweetzyUK pick n mix
Book related tattoos: 1
Bookstagram Affiliate for SweetzyUK – link in my bio.
Goodreads 2020 challenge – at time of writing, 101/85.

I know this post is a little ramble and a little messy, I wanted to kickstart this with a few little facts – but I am hoping to improve the ‘blogging skills’ as time goes on and I’d appreciate any blog post ideas, book recommendations and comments along the way.

If you haven’t already please follow my bookstagram account (the button up top should take you there!) and bare with me.

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