Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Memoir, Motivational, Parenting and Famlies

The House That Sat Down Box Set Alice May @AliceMay_Author @rararesources 5*#Review #FamilyDrama #memoir #Self-Discovery #TheHouseThatSatDown #BoxSet #BlogTour #Restoration #Book2 #BookReview

Book 2 – The House That Sat Down Trilogy

Let us return to the crumbling cob cottage in the country, and our intrepid heroine and her hilarious family.

They are about to start rebuilding their home and their lives. Of course, nothing is going to go smoothly for them, is it?

In this sequel to ‘Accidental Damage – tales from the house that sat down’ we accompany our heroine on her journey as she bravely battles to restore everything that she loves; often against the odds and with a liberal sprinkling of humour, art and home-made cookies along the way.

One this is for sure, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The second part of ‘The House That Sat Down Trilogy’ is equally as interesting as Accidental Damage’.

The family house is finally going to be restored, hopefully to its former glory, but things have to be taken down to allow the rebuilding to commence. The aftermath of the evacuation of the family after the house cracked serves as a poignant reminder of everything they have lost. The effect on family members is recorded with honesty and humour.

The repercussions of the damage take an inevitable toll on the family, but their unity helps them to move forward. Laughter and sadness in a real-life family drama setting are written engagingly. It reads like fiction but is more believable because it is based on reality.

Inspired by a true story, The House That Sat Down Trilogy is a tale of triumph over tragedy. It is an astonishing account of sudden, first-world homelessness in the heart of the New Forest, and the unexpected consequences. Written entirely from a mother’s point of view, following the collapse of her family’s home, it is an uplifting and positive read in spite of the subject matter, with a thread of wry humour throughout. Follow this ordinary woman on an extraordinary journey of survival and self- discovery as she reels from disaster, before picking herself up and coming back stronger and wiser than before.
Packed with humorous observations about what it is like to live in a tent in your garden with your husband and four children after a significant part of your house falls down out of the blue one day, this story takes you from the depths of despair right through to the satisfying heights of success against the odds, with lots of tea and cakes on the way.

Follow this crazy family as they cope with disaster in their own truly unique and rather mad way, and celebrate each small triumph along the way with them.

AmazonUK  Amazon

#AliceMay

I am a multi-tasking parent to four not-so-small children, and I am fortunate enough to be married to (probably) the most patient man on the planet.  We live in, what used to be, a ramshackle old cottage in the country. Our house began to fall down out of the blue one day, which resulted in the whole family living in a tent in the back garden for quite some time, while we worked out how to rebuild our home.

A few years afterwards, I decided to write a book and, once I started, I found I couldn’t stop.

Inspired by true-life events ‘Accidental Damage – tales from the house that sat down’ wouldn’t leave me alone until it was written.

Within six months of self-publishing my novel, I was delighted to learn that it had won two ‘Chill with a Book Awards’. This was a massive honour and motivated me to continue writing. Accidental Damage became the first book in a trilogy.

The Omnibus edition of all three books in the House That Sat Down Trilogy is now available via Amazon in both paperback and Kindle format.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Memoir, Motivational, Parenting and Famlies

The House That Sat Down Box Set Alice May @AliceMay_Author @rararesources 5*#Review #FamilyDrama #memoir #Self-Discovery #TheHouseThatSatDown #BoxSet #BlogTour #AccidentalDamage #Book1 #BookReview

Inspired by a true story, The House That Sat Down Trilogy is a tale of triumph over tragedy. It is an astonishing account of sudden, first-world homelessness in the heart of the New Forest, and the unexpected consequences. Written entirely from a mother’s point of view, following the collapse of her family’s home, it is an uplifting and positive read in spite of the subject matter, with a thread of wry humour throughout. Follow this ordinary woman on an extraordinary journey of survival and self- discovery as she reels from disaster, before picking herself up and coming back stronger and wiser than before.
Packed with humorous observations about what it is like to live in a tent in your garden with your husband and four children after a significant part of your house falls down out of the blue one day, this story takes you from the depths of despair right through to the satisfying heights of success against the odds, with lots of tea and cakes on the way.

Follow this crazy family as they cope with disaster in their own truly unique and rather mad way, and celebrate each small triumph along the way with them.

AmazonUK Amazon

Book 1 – Accidental Damage – Alice May

If you think the normal school run on a Monday is entertaining, you should try doing it from a tent in your back garden, surrounded by the jumbled-up contents of your entire home. It is vastly more diverting.

Our heroine has survived the sudden collapse of her home – or has she?

Certain events, two and a half years ago, led her to deliberately destroy an important piece of herself, hiding away all remaining evidence that it ever existed. What happens when she decides to go looking for it?

Does she really deserve to be whole again?

Book 1 Accidental Damage – Tales from the house that sat down

Amazon UK Amazon UK – Large Print

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

I’m reviewing the box set of The House That Sat Down on three consecutive days. Based on a true story, it is easy to read. An immersive story, part memoir part fiction, which explores what happens to a first-world family when they lose their home.

The characters are identified by their foremost personality traits and the story is told from the mother’s point of view. Two timelines give all the detail needed to set the scene when the family’s house crumbles and they have to live in the most basic way possible.

This is a family story grounded in reality. The family’ s reaction and cohesive response to such a traumatic event, is what gives you hope that they will survive intact. The mother is courageous and strong and keeps the family unit together, moving forward. The love comes across in this story, especially in the face of adversity, but nothing is sugar-coated, There are many attitudes and scenes that will be familiar to everyone who has experienced family life.

A believable and charming mix of humour, love and poignancy keeps you turning the pages. Looking forward to part two tomorrow.

#AliceMay

I am a multi-tasking parent to four not-so-small children, and I am fortunate enough to be married to (probably) the most patient man on the planet.  We live in, what used to be, a ramshackle old cottage in the country. Our house began to fall down out of the blue one day, which resulted in the whole family living in a tent in the back garden for quite some time, while we worked out how to rebuild our home.

A few years afterwards, I decided to write a book and, once I started, I found I couldn’t stop.

Inspired by true-life events ‘Accidental Damage – tales from the house that sat down’ wouldn’t leave me alone until it was written.

Within six months of self-publishing my novel, I was delighted to learn that it had won two ‘Chill with a Book Awards’. This was a massive honour and motivated me to continue writing. Accidental Damage became the first book in a trilogy.

The Omnibus edition of all three books in the House That Sat Down Trilogy is now available via Amazon in both paperback and Kindle format.

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#BlogTour
Posted in Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Motivational, Travel

Mother and Child Annie Murray 4*#Review @AMurrayWriter @panmacmillan #LoveBooksTours #MotherandChild #Loss #bereavement #Friendship #Fundraising #StartingOver #bhopal #BhopalMedicalAppeal

#MotherandChild

Mother and Child by Sunday Times bestseller Annie Murray is a moving story of loss, friendship and hope over two generations . . .

Jo and Ian’s marriage is hanging by a thread. One night almost two years ago, their only child, Paul, died in an accident that should never have happened. They have recently moved to a new area of Birmingham, to be near Ian’s mother Dorrie who is increasingly frail. As Jo spends more time with her mother-in-law, she suspects Dorrie wants to unburden herself of a secret that has cast a long shadow over her family.

Haunted by the death of her son, Jo catches a glimpse of a young boy in a magazine who resembles Paul. Reading the article, she learns of a tragedy in India . . . But it moves her so deeply, she is inspired to embark on a trip where she will learn about unimaginable pain and suffering.

As Jo learns more, she is determined to do her own small bit to help. With the help of new friends, Jo learns that from loss and grief, there is hope and healing in her future.

Amazon UK

#MotherandChild

I received a copy of this book from Pan Macmillan via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

A thought-provoking read, which focuses on a personal tragedy for Jo and Ian, and how they learn to live again after their devastating loss. Estranged, through their different ways of dealing with loss, they decide a physical move might help, and relocate in Birmingham close to Ian’s family roots.

Ian withdraws into his work, leaving Jo alone, not wanting to continue her life. Dorrie, Ian’s mum requires care and support. Gradually as their relationship deepens, from mutual need and proximity, Jo begins to feel she has a role in life. Dorrie tries to unburden herself and help Jo by sharing her painful past. This part of the story goes back to historic Birmingham between the wars and makes interesting poignant reading.

Inspired by an article, written about the aftermath of the 1984 Bhopal disaster, she reads, Jo finds it resonates. She wants to do something to help the people, who are still suffering over thirty years on, in the wake of the chemical disaster.

Through new friendships forged out of her need to move on, she finds like-minded women, who together make a difference for Bhopal in terms of fundraising and help Jo to find a worthwhile purpose for what remains of her life.

This is a poignant story of loss and the wasteland it leaves behind, which echoes the loss in Bhopal and the devastation, in terms of lives lost and blighted since the disaster. Jo finds new purpose by helping those who are still suffering, and whilst this book is an intelligent sensitive story, it also highlights a real human disaster that will remain for generations to come.

In the book, you can read more about what happened in Bhopal and about how the book itself came to be written.

If you would like to read more about the Bhopal disaster, and the Bhopal Medical Appeal, which Annie Murray supports click here.

#AnnieMurray

Annie Murray was born in Berkshire and read English at St John’s College, Oxford. Her first ‘Birmingham’ novel, Birmingham Rose, hit The Times bestseller list when it was published in 1995. She has subsequently written many other successful novels, including The Bells of Bournville Green, a sequel to the bestselling Chocolate Girls, and A Hopscotch Summer. Annie has four children and lives near Reading.

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Posted in Animal Friends, Blog Blitz, Book Review, Childrens Books, Parenting and Famlies

Home Alone Harry Jerry Rhodes – Rachael Messiter – Illustrator Nicky Hill 5* #Review @TalkingPaws @rararesources #JerryRhodes #NickyHill #KidLit #PictureBook #Family #Dogs #AnimalBehaviour #Education #BlogBlitz #BookReview #HomeAloneHarry

#HomeAloneHarry

Harry is a mischievous young dog, adored by his family, Dad and Mum, Maisie (8) and Max (5). When the family leave him on his own he creates chaos. Dad demands, “That bad dog must go!” Alone and sad in bed that evening, Max asks, “Can anyone help?” How will the Thunkies respond to his call?

Buy LinkThunkies.com

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#BlogTour

I received a copy of this book from the authors in return for an honest review

#HomeAloneHarry

My Thoughts…

The family dog or dogs are an integral part of many households, but dogs are pack animals, and many integration problems arise from the dog being unclear about their role in the family.

This beautifully illustrated and cleverly written picture book uses a team of cartoon characters, each with a specific role to help educate a family about their dog’s behaviour when they leave him home alone.

The story is fun to read for adults and their children, and the advice is delivered in bite-size amounts. Using illustrations and short written paragraphs, making the narrative easy to understand.

I like the positive ethos of this story, which reinforces the idea, that things are not always perfect the first time. Sometimes, you have to work at understanding how someone thinks before you can live or work together in harmony.

A well written and engagingly illustrated picture book. Delivers advice in a fun, easy to understand way, about living with our animal friends. I look forward to the next book in the series.

#HomeAloneHarry
Jerry Rhodes AUTHOR

Jerry Rhodes’ life-long research and teaching is the inspiration behind ‘Home Alone Harry’, this first book in a series for children featuring the cartoon characters, Thunkies®. After completing his degree and teacher training at Oxford University, Jerry’s career as a school-master was cut short by polio. He changed course to a management career in industry, discovered his talents for creativity, and formed his worldwide consultancy to collaborate with international organisations. A special project with Philips led to the discovery of ‘Thinking-Intentions’, to which he has now given the playful name, Thunkies®. Jerry writes his books from his weather-beaten old farmhouse in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds.

Rachael Messiter AUTHOR

Rachael Messiter, a Dog Listener, uses the approach known as Amichien® Bonding pioneered by Jan Fennell. Rachael has her own practice, Talking Paws, based in Staffordshire. Previously she lived with wolves for close on two years in Colorado, USA, to learn how packs work. She has identified a group of issues that dog owners experience that are due to the well-meaning but flawed behaviours of owners, rather than ‘nuisance’ dogs. How to properly avoid and resolve such troublesome issues will be the theme of each book in the series Thunkies® love Dogs.

Nicky Hill ILLUSTRATOR

Nicky Hill is an illustrator and storyteller from Winterbourne near Bristol. Her artwork is featured throughout the Thunkies® Love Dogs books, bringing a bright, vibrant style that captures the imagination. A great lover of animals both wild and domestic, Nicky also illustrates and writes her own series of books about ‘The Wotton Pack’; a group of inquisitive pooches who spend their days and nights having many adventures. She currently lives with her own pack of three dogs in Wotton-under-Edge, a small town in Gloucestershire, where she also co-runs the shop called ‘The Collective’.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Childrens Books, Fantasy, Friday Read, Parenting and Famlies

A Spooky Tale Sue Wickstead 4*#Review @JayJayBus #kidlit #childrensbooks #BlogTour #BookReview #Halloween #school #walking #adventure @rararesources #Awalkwithourteacher #Giveaway

#ASpookyTale

A Spooky Tale – a walk with our teacher

When the teacher decided to take the class out on a walk the children did not want to go … But… What could possibly go wrong? why did the class not feel well? Read the book to find out.

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#BlogTour

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

A lovely bright book, which makes full use of children’s imaginations. The original story was written with children in the author’s class at school, and some of the ideas and images are very childlike and will appeal to the intended age group.

I love the map of the walk so you can relate the story to where the children are on the walk. The animal lover in me quaked at whacking a bear, with a stick and throwing stones at the wolf, but apart from that, it was an enjoyable read, for my grandson and I.

Fun, imaginative and perfect as a Halloween book for your little one.

#SueWickstead

I am an author and a teacher and have written six children’s picture books, all with a bus included somewhere.

Having been able to share my first book, ‘Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus’, it was time to think about writing a book for younger readers.

While visiting a local school the children were writing stories about a journey, we read Jay-Jay’s book and then I remembered a book that I had written some years before and I read this to the class too, and they loved it.

The original story was based on a walk with my class around the neighbourhood of Bewbush, Crawley. The walk had led to map work and sequencing. Then together with the class I wrote an imaginative adventure.

The events we imagined were put into a class book. The book was shared with many classes and it was always a favourite.

Now years later I decided it was time to update, improve and look at publishing the book.

There is indeed a walk around the district of Bewbush. and following the publication of the book, I went back to see if and how the neighbourhood had changed.

‘Oh, I see you have written a book without a bus!’ commented a friend.

But, look through the pages and you will see there always has to be a bus!

The neighbourhood of Bewbush was a new estate built in Crawley town in the 1970s. The area was built without any shops, school or safe places for children to play. It was an area of high need and was supported by a special playbus which offered a much-needed playgroup venue.

I also undertake events and author bookings and love to share my stories. There are also a few more stories in the writing process, with links to real events and buses.

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#GiveawayPrize
Giveaway to Win 1 x Paperback copy of Daisy Daydreams bus rhymes and joke book (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Read my review of daisy Daydream The Nursery Bus

Posted in Book Review, Childrens Books, Non-Fiction

Creative Writing Skills Lexi Rees 4*#Review @lexi_rees @rararesources #LexiRees #OutsetPublishing #CreativeWritingSkills #ChildrensBooks #KidLit #NonFiction #Workbook #Writing #7+ #BlogBlitz

#CreativeWritingSkills
Creative Writing Skills: Over 70 fun activities for children

Discover the secrets to becoming an amazing author

  • Find your creative spark
  • Grow your skills and confidence
  • Have more fun with your writing

Packed with top tips, this awesome workbook has everything you need to know about creating colourful characters, perfect plots, dynamite dialogue, and lots more…

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I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

I enjoyed reading this activity workbook on creative reading for children of 7 years upwards. The writing style is informal and motivational, using language that will appeal to the book’s target audience. The book is divided into sections, detailing the main areas of creative writing, and there are easy to understand, but engaging tasks to complete within each section.

Although this book is intended for children, it contains good advice that will be useful to any novice creative writer whatever their age.

I read a PDF version of the book, but if the workbook is to be used regularly, a paperback version may be more appropriate.

#LexiRees

Lexi Rees writes action-packed adventures for children. As well as the Creative Writing Skills workbook, the first book in The Relic Hunters Series, Eternal Seas, was awarded a “loved by” badge from LoveReading4Kids and is currently longlisted for a Chanticleer award. The sequel, Wild Sky, will be published in November.

When not writing, she’s usually covered in straw or glitter, and frequently both.

She also runs a free club for kids designed to encourage a love of reading and writing which you can check out here https://lexirees.co.uk/kidsclub/

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Win 2 copies of Creative Writing Skills

Choice of paperback or pdf for UK winners and pdf for international winners.

Click to enter Giveaway

Posted in Biography, Blog Tour, Book Review, Memoir, Non-Fiction

My Judy Garland Life Susie Boyt 4*#Review @SusieBoyt @ViragoBooks #memoir #RandomThingsTours #Biography #Obsession #Life #BlogTour #Celebrity @AnneCater

Reissued in Virago Paperback in September 2019

June 2019 is the 50th anniversary of Judy Garland’s death

August 2019 is the 80th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz

October 4th  the motion picture JUDY starring Renee Zellwegger and Jessie Buckley is released in the UK

An irresistible mixture of memoir, biography, cultural analysis, experiment and hero-worship about one person’s enduring fascination. This is for anyone who has ever nursed an obsession or held a candle to a star.

Judy Garland has been an important figure in Susie Boyt’s world since she was three years old; comforting, inspiring and, at times, disturbing her.  In this unique book, Boyt travels deep into the underworld of hero-worship, reviewing through the prism of Judy our understanding of rescue, consolation, love, grief and fame.

Layering key episodes from Garland’s life with defining moments from her own, Boyt demands with insight and humour, what it means, exactly, to adore someone you don’t know. Need hero-worship be a pursuit that’s low in status or can it be performed with pride and style? Are there similarities that lie at the heart of all fans? nd what is the proper husbandry of a twenty-first-century obsession, anyway?

I received a copy of this book from Virago Books in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

I didn’t know quite what to expect when I picked up this book. A biography of Judy Garland, whose films I have always liked, or a memoir of the author, whose life is somehow entangled with the iconic star? In truth, it is both of these, and something more, an insight into celebrity and obsession in the twenty-first-century.

Honestly written, with no filter, this is an intense book, the author truly believes that her love of Judy, someone who she never met, has and does have a profound effect on her life. Many of us have obsessions, some of us with celebrities, I love the Osmonds. I grew out of my blinkered obsession in my mid-teens, but I still like their music, and listen to it today. Few of us are so affected, but this makes riveting reading.

Aside from the biography, illustrated with wonderful images. there is the memoir, which is very readable sometimes amusing and poignant. The author also highlights obsession as an entity and explores through her experience, whether this is a positive or negative force.

Worth reading for the intrinsic interest value alone. It is thought-provoking and resonates.

‘When Judy sang to me as I grew older she seemed to confirm things that I’d all my life held to be true:’

*   Things that are hard have more of life at their heart than things that are easy.

*   All feelings, however painful, are to be prized.

*   Glamour is a moral stance.

*    The world is crueller and more wonderful than anyone ever says.

*    Loss, its memory and its anticipation, lies at the heart of human experience.

*    Any human situation, however deadly, can be changed, turned round and improved beyond recognition on any given day, in one minute, in one hour.

*    You must try to prepare for the moment that you’re needed for the call could come at any time.

*    There are worse things in life than being taken for a ride.

*    If you have a thin skin all aspects of life cost more and have more value.

*    Loyalty to one other is preferable to any other kind of human system.

*    Grief is no real match for the human heart, which is an infinitely resourceful organ.

Susie Boyt was born in London and educated at Camden School for Girls and Oxford University.  After a nerve-racking stint in a lingerie boutique and an alarming spell working in PR for Red Stripe lager and the Brixton Academy, she settled down to writing and is the author of six acclaimed novels including The Last Hope of Girls, which was short-listed for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, and Only Human, which was short-listed for the Mind Award. Of her last novel, Love & Fame  The Sunday Times said ‘she writes with such precision and wisdom about the human heart under duress that the novel is hard to resist.’ 

Susie wrote a much-loved weekly column about life and art for the Financial Times Weekend for fourteen years and still contributes regularly to their books and fashion pages.  Last year she edited The Turn of the Screw and Other Ghost Stories for Penguin Classics.  Susie is also a director at the Hampstead Theatre in London and works part-time for Cruse Bereavement Care.

She lives in London with her husband and two daughters. She is the daughter of the painter Lucian Freud and the great grand-daughter of the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud.

My Judy Garland Life was Book of the Week on Radio 4, shortlisted for the Pen Ackerley Prize, extracted in U.S Vogue and staged at The Nottingham Playhouse in 2014.