Fairy/Folk Tale Friday- The Ship Of Wheat

I hadn’t heard of this story before so I was super excited to get reading it.

It’s about a wealthy city called Stavoren that was on the short of Zuyder Zee. It had a fine harbour that carried goods from distant lands. All of the merchants became so rich that they ate from silver dishes. The richest was a lady who lived in an amazing house. She wore rubies, pearls and slept on a golden bed that was carved with peacocks. Despite her grandeur she wasn’t happy. She always wanted more to prove that she was richer than everyone else.

She called for the captain of the fleet and asked him to find her the most precious thing in the world. For months and months, he searched for something precious but he had no idea what to give to the lady. The crew suggest bread because no one could live without it. He bought sacks and sacks of wheat and gave it to the lady. She flew into a rage and demanded that he should throw it over the edge as she could live without it.

A boy stepped forward and said that he would love to eat some because his mother couldn’t feed him. The nasty lady glared at him and told him it was hers and nobody could eat it. She ordered the crew to chuck it over the edge. The captain told her she’d regret it one day. She took the ring from her finger and dropped it into the harbour. she told the crew that the ring would return to her before she ever begged for something.

At supper the next evening, when the lady cut into the fish she found her ring. She was shocked. A messenger arrived and told her that all of her ships had been wrecked in a storm. That night, her house was also struck by lightning. Every thing was destroyed and no one was willing to help her.

Without her fortune, the lady found herself begging for bread on the street. (Karma?) At the bottom of the harbour, the wheat grains began to grow up through the water, blocking ships from passing in and out. After a short period of time all of the merchants of Stavoren were ruined and themselves begging for bread, despite the fact that at the harbour the lady’s wheat was growing but wasn’t able to offer them a single grain!

Next Fairy Tale- Persephone

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The Liar’s Room

The Liar's Room: The addictive new psychological thriller from the bestselling author of THE HOUSE

How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Penguin Books UK

Previously reviewed by the same author:
The House

Synopsis:

ONE ROOM. TWO LIARS. NO WAY OUT…

Susanna Fenton has a secret. Fourteen years ago she left her identity behind, reinventing herself as a counsellor and starting a new life. It was the only way to keep her daughter safe.

But everything changes when Adam Geraghty walks into her office. She’s never met this young man before – so why does she feel like she knows him?

Then Adam starts to tell her about a girl. A girl he wants to hurt.

And Susanna realises she was wrong. 
She doesn’t know him. 
BUT HE KNOWS HER. 
AND THE GIRL HE PLANS TO HURT IS HER DAUGHTER…

Thoughts:

I was excited to get my hands on a copy of The Liar’s Room after really enjoying Simon Lelic’s book The House. I actually think this book was a much stronger read than The House. It was clever, manipulative and so easy to read. I raced through the book eager to find out what was going on. This book has definitely made me quite the fan of Simon Lelic’s writing!

The Liar’s Room has so much going on within its pages. It centres around Susanna and her new client Adam. Susanna has a secret that goes back so many years. She has reinvented herself, not realising that her new client knows more about her than he initially lets on. Adam talks about wanting to hurt a girl. Susanna soon realises that the girl is her daughter, Emily. Susanna is determined to protect her daughter. Adam takes Susanna on a trip down memory lane and she finds out that she is closer to him than she had ever expected to be!

This is one of those books that is SO hard to review without spoiling it, so apologies for my vagueness. I will say that this book has some utterly fascinating characters. I was so eager to find out the truth between lies. I had moments of not really trusting many of the characters and I love that. I adore an unreliable narrator/characters. I thought this book had them in abundance.

With a seemingly simple plot, a counsellor and a client, Simon Lelic really wove a tangled web. The story was incredibly intense. I loved how the characters were trying to get the upper hand at points. It really was quite the battle. I also really appreciated how there were journal entries within the story from Emily. I thought this was a clever touch and really added to the story.

I am excited to read more from Simon Lelic in the future. He has a compelling writing style and his books keep me guessing.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A wonderful thriller! It definitely didn’t go where I expected!

This Week In Books #119

I am joining in with the lovely Lipsy from Lipsy’s Lost and Found’s feature which highlights our week in books. I shall be sharing what I’m reading now, then and next! I won’t be showcasing my new books as I do that on a Saturday. I’m really excited by this feature as I loved sharing my recent reads. My book reviews published on my blog are often WAY behind what I’m actually reading, so this is a good feature to keep you up to date!

Book images go to Goodreads!

The Astonishing Color of After Tender The Exact Opposite of Okay

NOWThe Astonishing Color Of AfterEmily X. R Pan– I’m almost halfway through this book about a girl whose mother committed suicide. She’s convinced that her mother has come back as a bird.

THENTenderEve Ainsworth– This is a raw read about young carers. Both characters are experiencing caring for a family member.

NEXTThe Exact Opposite Of OkayLaura Steven– I’m looking forward to reading this book soon. I don’t know much about it but it caught my eye when I looked at 2018 Debuts!

What are you reading this week? Let me know!

Ten Book Recommendations If You Want To Read Books Involving Mental Health

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It’s all about love of lists, love of literature and bringing bookish people together. 

This week’s topic has been super tricky for me. I decided to put my own spin on the topic and suggest some books to read if you want to read some books involving mental health/illness. I know if elements of these books were added to each other it would make one hell of a book representing mental illness!

Am I Normal Yet? (The Spinster Club, #1)

I love Holly Bourne’s writing. Her characters are very relatable!

The Time in Between: A Memoir of Hunger and Hope

I really enjoyed this book which was a memoir. I do enjoy reading memoirs of mental health because they are so raw.

Reasons to Stay Alive

Another raw and real take on mental health. I can’t wait to read Notes On A Nervous Planet from Matt too.

My Heart and Other Black Holes

Some moments in this story really hit home for me. A wonderful read.

Belzhar

This is unique! I loved reading this story.

Undone

The ending of this book blew me away!

Lighter Than My Shadow

A graphic novel that shows Katie’s journey through dealing with her eating disorder.

Perfect Escape

I loved how this book portrayed the effect OCD can have on others around those with the disorder.

Highly Illogical Behavior

I adored this book! Totally relatable characters.

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things

Another non-fiction. For me, a book that involves mental health should have an element of realness in order to relate to it. All too often, books around mental health have an instant ‘fix’ and that’s not even a possibility… it makes my blood boil.

Please leave me a link to your Top Ten post this week. I can’t wait to see how you tackled the prompt!

 

Banned Books #49- Julie Of The Wolves

For July’s Banned Book we read Julie Of The Wolves. Apologies for the late posting of this feature. It took a while for the book to arrive!

Julie of the Wolves (Julie of the Wolves, #1)

Click on the book to learn more about it!

First published: 1972
In the Top Ten most frequently challenged books in 2002 (source)
Reasons: unsuited to age group, violence.

Do you understand or agree with any of the reasons for the book being challenged when it was originally published?

BETH: Sigh. As I’ve mentioned in past Banned Books posts, sometimes I can see why people have issues with some of the books we review for this feature. Not that I think they SHOULD be challenged/banned but I can see why they might be offensive or problematic. Then there’s other books that we read and throughout the book, I’m struggling to see how anybody could have a problem at all, especially when I look at the reasons behind the challenge. Julie Of The Wolves was one of these latter books for me, I read through it thinking: “Aha! NOW I’m going to find out why there are issues!” And nope, I didn’t. Not even once. Even when I think about back in the early seventies when this was first published – could there have been reasons then? You’ve guessed it – no. I normally like to try and guess the potential reasons and I’m always, always wrong. With Julie Of The Wolves, I couldn’t find a single one!

CHRISSI: I am genuinely confused as to why this book is challenged. I didn’t find it at all offensive. I really am stumped with this one. As for one of the reasons being violence? Really? Children see more violent things on the news which is actually happening in day to day life sometimes so close to them. Video games are a hell of a lot more violent too. I really didn’t see this book as particularly violent. Hunting and death do occur within the story, but it makes sense to the story and most people could rationalise that…

How about now?

BETH: This book is now over forty years old and as it was only challenged/banned in 2002, I don’t believe attitudes have changed much either in the years post publication or since 2002 to the present day. Particularly with these reasons they are giving – I mean, come on! Unsuited to age group?! Where were the unsuitable parts, please someone tell me because I feel like I’m going mad. Seriously. It’s marketed as young adult (possibly even middle grade fiction) and at no point did I feel like this was either too traumatic or indeed too violent for the younger audience. There is hunting and death, sure but it’s necessary for our character to survive out in the Arctic conditions for goodness sake. I honestly think there are many more children’s books (hello Watership Down!) that are more emotionally affecting than this one. *rolls eyes.*

CHRISSI: Definitely not. Again… I’m baffled why this book is challenged. I don’t mean to repeat myself too much but I think the hunting and death in the story is relative to the plot. Children aren’t precious snowflakes. I’d say that from middle grade up they can handle a story like this when worse things are happening in the world that they constantly see, read and hear about.

What did you think of this book?:

BETH: I thought it was an okay read! I enjoyed Julie’s relationship with the wolves (as a big fan of White Fang when I was younger) and the description of the harsh environment she had to survive in was beautifully done. It was a quick and easy book to get lost in and I thought the illustrations were particularly lovely but I felt Julie’s time spent with her people wasn’t as engrossing or as well written as the parts when she has to get by on her own.

CHRISSI: I wasn’t captivated like I wanted to be. I really liked the illustrations and thought that was a nice touch to the story. I actually wish there were a few more illustrations because I didn’t think the writing of the setting was as evocative as it could have been, especially if we are thinking that children are the target audience for this book. I’m glad that I read this book but it’s not one that will particularly stick with me.

Would you recommend it?:

BETH: Maybe!

CHRISSI: It’s not for me!- I wasn’t captivated but I could appreciate the story!

No Place Like Home

No Place Like Home

How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Bloodhound Books

Synopsis:

What would you do if you came home to find someone in your house? 

This is the predicament Polly Cooke faces when she returns to her new home.The first weeks in the house had been idyllic, but soon Jacob, a local man, is watching her. 

What does he want and why is he so obsessed with Polly? 

In a situation where nothing is what it seems, you might end up regretting letting some people in.

Thoughts:

The first thing that drew me to this book was the synopsis. I am a huge fan of psychological thrillers and this one sounded right up my street. I wasn’t prepared for how dark it was going to be. A word of warning, if you are triggered at all by any sort of violence/graphic content, then this book may not be for you. I found it to be quite disturbing in places but it just added to the intensity of the story for me.

No Place Like Home centres around Polly Cooke who has just got her new home. Finally she has a home that she can call her own. One night when she’s on her way back from work, Polly notices a shadow in the window upstairs. Someone is in her house! She’s not sure whether to go in and confront them or tell the police. I can’t say too much more without giving away spoilers and I really think this book is made for reading without knowing too much about it.

I can’t even discuss the characters without giving too much away. Just know that they are all very interesting. I kept thinking I had picked a side to be on, but my mind changed constantly. No Place Like Home has lots of twists and turns along the way. The story can seem a little disjointed but as you read it begins to unravel and you begin to understand what on earth is going on.

I think this book is well worth reading, especially if you’re into intense page-turners!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

This is an incredibly dark thriller with some intense, disturbing content within its pages.

Nice Try, Jane Sinner

Nice Try, Jane Sinner

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

The only thing 17-year-old Jane Sinner hates more than failure is pity. After a personal crisis and her subsequent expulsion from high school, she’s going nowhere fast. Jane’s well-meaning parents push her to attend a high school completion program at the nearby Elbow River Community College, and she agrees, on one condition: she gets to move out.
 
Jane tackles her housing problem by signing up for House of Orange, a student-run reality show that is basically Big Brother, but for Elbow River Students. Living away from home, the chance to win a car (used, but whatever), and a campus full of people who don’t know what she did in high school… what more could she want? Okay, maybe a family that understands why she’d rather turn to Freud than Jesus to make sense of her life, but she’ll settle for fifteen minutes in the proverbial spotlight.
 
As House of Orange grows from a low-budget web series to a local TV show with fans and shoddy T-shirts, Jane finally has the chance to let her cynical, competitive nature thrive. She’ll use her growing fan base, and whatever Intro to Psychology can teach her, to prove to the world—or at least viewers of substandard TV—that she has what it takes to win.

Thoughts:

I had heard really good things about Nice Try, Jane Sinner so I was super excited to pick it up. I used to watch a lot of reality TV… not so much these days apart from a few guilty pleasures. I thought this book was an incredibly original debut novel and I’m excited to see what Lianne Oelke writes next. If this book is anything to go by, her writing career will be very promising.

Nice Try, Jane Sinner centres around Jane who is expelled from high school. It takes the reader a while to find out the reason why, but it comes. Jane decides to start community college attracted by being a participant of a reality show run by Alexander at the community college. The reality show is called House Of Orange. It involves living in a house with other people and cameras everywhere. A Big Brother type show for college aged students. Jane has to interact with new people, try new things and step outside of her comfort zone. There’s competitions and Jane is determined to take them seriously. She really wants to win.

Jane isn’t an easy character to like, but I did really grow to like her and root for her. She had such dry humour which I loved to read. It’s a very funny book and its humour is definitely its strong point.

I really enjoyed the style of this book. Most of it is told via a journal. I absolutely adored this touch. I thought the narrative was incredibly well-executed. Lianne Oelke is a truly talented writer. I was amazed at how well the characters were developed and how the scenes unfolded. It felt like it was happening before my eyes, rather than reading a journal entries.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Nice Try, Jane Sinner is an outstanding debut! I was so impressed.