‘The House That Sat Down’ by Alice May #bookreview #booktour @rararesources @AliceMay_Author #thehousethatsatdown

I’m so happy to be on the blog tour today for ‘The House That Sat Down’ by Alice May. Sincere thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for including me, and to Alice, Chaos and Logic for the copy of the omnibus edition, in exchange for my thoughts.

What’s it about?

The House That Sat Down Omnibus Cover

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.

My thoughts:

In some ways, this review wanted to write itself, and was furiously scribbling itself down in my head while I was reading. Yet, I have given myself enough time and rewrites to hope that I can do this remarkable story justice. I have already written the screenplay, cast it, produced it, edited it and timetabled it for TV, all without the prerequisite skills, experience and contacts to make it so (and thus, regretfully, all in my mind). I hope then, that you can see just how much I loved this book. I gratefully received the omnibus edition, thoughtfully complete with postcards of Alice’s art. The edition comprises ‘Accidental Damage’, ‘Restoration’ and ‘Redemption’. For ease of reference, I have used ‘the book and ‘the story’’ to refer to all three.

The main part of our heroine’s 350 year-old family home in the countryside split open. Wide open. Sufficiently to allow a man and a dog to walk through. Blaming herself entirely, she gave up a part of herself, which, as we can only come to truly appreciate throughout the trilogy, must have been devastating, and the family were thrust into a position that few truly can imagine, living in a borrowed tent in their garden, with the possibility of this being for an indeterminable period.

Luckily, the story was written with the benefit of the passage of time giving much needed perspective, and despite the desperation of this predicament, this is one of the funniest pieces of writing I’ve ever read, gently acerbic, wonderfully witty, with a huge heart. And a skeleton. Not in a cupboard. I’ll come back to him later.

With a cast of tremendous characters; Beloved Husband, Chaos, Logic, Quiet, Small, Skelly, Various Builders, The Insurance People and Some Genuine Experts, our heroine transitions from despair, through grim acceptance, to hope, some journeys back and forth between them all, and then to a level of personal fulfilment, which would not have happened without the events back in 2014.

Which leads to the book. She is an artist, and this is a clear case of art begetting art. The cathartic voyage through painting from beginning to end is mesmerising, and the book being written is an extension of that extremely capable, intelligent artistic ability. It’s an absolute joy; a stream of thought masterpiece. The omnibus is a Big Book, and I worried I hadn’t left myself enough time to complete it, although I shouldn’t have been concerned. This is not a book to skim read; it is worth reading every sentence.

I’m plucking something out of my dim and distant memory, which is going to require a brief google. Please bear with me one moment…
….
Yes, erm… Picasso said, (fingers crossed this is true) “Every act of creation is first an act of destruction”. This works well on so many levels in this story, and in ‘Redemption’, our heroine reflects on the silver linings, the opportunities created, the self-reaffirmation and the blessing which is her family.

And yes, here we are on the book tour. I couldn’t recommend this more highly. It is not purely a self-indulgent exercise. It has the potential to speak to so many people who are, or have been, sailing in a similar boat. I live in Doncaster, and we have recently seen dreadful flooding, with many people facing lengthy separation from their family homes. They are at the despair/grim acceptance phase. Stories like this could make a real difference.

I’ll conclude on a lighter note… If Alice May ever feels like a further foray into fiction, I would like to take this opportunity to ask for the main protagonist to be Skelly. I can’t help thinking he would have a tale or two to tell.

P.S. I’m leaving the recipes lying around the place, just in case any of my four Barbarians take the hint….

Buy the book (you won’t regret it):

Amazon UK

Amazon US

About the author:

The House - Alice May

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

To connect with Alice:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

This is, of course, a book tour, and there are other wonderful perspectives on ‘The House That Sat Down’ for you to read. Please see the tour banner below x

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#bookreview of ‘The Raided Heart’ by Jennifer C Wilson as part of the @rararesources #blogtour @inkjunky1984 @OcelotPress #GIVEAWAY

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Jennifer C Wilson’s ‘The Raided Heart’. Many thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation, and to the author and publisher for my e-copy of the book, in return for my thoughts.

What’s it about?

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Meg Mathers, the headstrong youngest sibling of a reiving family on the English-Scottish border, is determined to remain at her childhood home, caring for the land and village she’s grown up with.

When an accident brings her a broken ankle and six weeks in the resentful company of ambitious and angry young reiver Will Hetherington, attraction starts to build.

Both begin to realise they might have met their match, and the love of their lives, but 15th century border living is not that simple, as Meg soon finds herself betrothed to the weakling son of a tyrannical neighbour, Alexander Gray.

When tragedy strikes, can Meg and Will find their way back to each other, and can Will finally take his own personal revenge on Gray?

My thoughts:

One of the aspects of this historical romance that I really appreciated was the scene setting; it captured the life of a 15th century reiving community and had memorable and well-drawn characters. I felt completely at ease in the world Jennifer C Wilson had created in this novel, despite the tumultuous times in which it is set.

Meg is a likeable character, although to begin with, I think I had imagined her as older, given her position in the bastle (lots of historical detail to learn!). Will is troubled, and there is an uneasy relationship between them in the beginning. The level of romance, as it develops, suited me; it doesn’t overbear the historical elements.

The unpredictability of borderland boundary safety and protection during the hard winter months leads to Meg’s brothers playing a dangerous game between rival factions, and I enjoyed the tension this gamble brought to the story.

Alexander Grey is the monster of the piece, and he pulls off a few horrible stunts. I did find some of his actions predictable, but this didn’t spoil anything, as he is a character without any moral compass whatsoever, and I always find a bit of joy in these villains.

Readers who enjoy historical romance, will I’m sure, enjoy ‘The Raided Heart’. A solid recommendation from me!

If you are tempted to reive yourself a copy (no, really, you’ll have to buy it), please click one of the purchase links here:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

You can also enter the exciting giveaway at the end, and give yourself the chance to win a copy of The Last Plantagenet?!

About the author:

The Raided Heart - JenniferCWilson-Castle-Cropped

Jennifer C. Wilson is a marine biologist by training, who developed an equal passion for history and historical fiction whilst stalking Mary, Queen of Scots on childhood holidays (she has since moved on to Richard III).

Enrolling on an adult education workshop on her return to the north-east of England for work reignited her pastime of creative writing, and she has been filling notebooks ever since.

In 2014, Jennifer won the Story Tyne short story competition, and has been working on a number of projects since, including co-hosting the North Tyneside Writers’ Circle.

Her Kindred Spirits novels are published by Crooked Cat Books and her time-slip novella, The Last Plantagenet?, by Ocelot Press.

She lives in North Tyneside, and is very proud of her approximately 2-inch sea view.

To connect with Jennifer:

Author website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Exciting Giveaway to Win 2 x e-copies of The Last Plantagenet? (Open Internationally)

The Raided - Giveaway Prize

Please enter here

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide 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 passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for 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.


To read lots of unique perspectives, author interviews and extracts, please visit my fellow bloggers (shown below):

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#promo of ‘The Honeysuckle Dream’ by Kate Frost @rararesources @katefrostauthor #contemporaryromance #Giveaway

Welcome to my slot on the book tour for ‘The Honeysuckle Dream’ by Kate Frost, where I am delighted to be promoting the book! Many thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for including me. Without further ado, this is what the book is about:

TheHoneysuckleDream_eB

The Honeysuckle Dream

Two men. Three decades. One decision.

Pregnant at nineteen from an affair with a married man, Leila goes against her parents’ wishes. Alone in an unfamiliar city, a fresh start is terrifying.

Leila struggles to navigate between being a single working mum, new friendships, and her bad choices in men. The heartache of past mistakes haunts her. Disillusioned, lonely, and with a fractured mother-daughter relationship, she swaps the vices of city life for the peace of the country. Yet new-found happiness is short-lived and old habits return.

Can Leila let go of her past and find true love?

Here’s what some of the lovely people on the blog tour have been saying:

“a lovely story to read and it had a lovely flow to it – highly recommended!” donnasbookblog

“Heart-warming and uplifting” Book Lovers’ Booklist – Sue Featherstone

“The book was entertaining, easy to read, and with different characters adding to the flavor” Shalini’s Books and Reviews

“a really thought-provoking story” FNM

“Ms. Frost does a good job keeping the reader eager to find out how Leila’s story unfolds” The Eclectic Review

“This story was so not what I expected, it was even better!” Tizi’s Book Review

“a wonderful read where I couldn’t help but become immersed in Leila’s life. Kate Frost has done a wonderful job of exploring Leila’s character and showing us what motivates her” That Thing She Reads

So, if you are tempted, bag yourself a copy here

Or, enter the giveaway to win a paperback copy of The Honeysuckle Dream by Kate Frost (Open Int) here

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide 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 passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for 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.

About the author:

KateFrostHeadShot

Kate Frost writes character-driven women’s fiction and romances, alongside Time Shifters, an award-winning time travel adventure trilogy for 9-12 year olds. She has a MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University where she’s also taught lifewriting to creative writing undergraduates.

She is the Director of Children’s and Teen events for Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival, and she’s the co-founder of Storytale Festival, the first city-wide children’s book festival in Bristol.

The Honeysuckle Dream is Kate’s ninth book and the third (standalone) novel in her popular The Butterfly Storm series. She lives in Bristol with her husband, son, and Frodo, their cute Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

To connect with Kate:

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Goodreads

For all the other reviews, please see the blog tour banner below:

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#BookReview of ‘Keeper of Secrets’ by Lynda Stacey as part of the @rararesources #blogtour #KeeperofSecrets @ChocLituk @RubyFiction @LyndaStacey #doncasterisgreat

It is my great pleasure today to be on the blog tour for ‘Keeper of Secrets’ by Lynda Stacey. Many thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for including me, and to the author for my e-copy of the book, in exchange for my thoughts.


Synopsis
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Should some secrets stay buried?

For as long as Cassie Hunt can remember her Aunt Aggie has spoken about the forgotten world that exists just below their feet, in the tunnels and catacombs of the Sand House. The story is what inspired Cassie to become an archaeologist.

But Aggie has a secret that she’s buried as deep as the tunnels and when excavation work begins on the site, Cassie is the only one who can help her keep it. With the assistance of her old university friend, Noah Flanagan, she puts into action a plan to honour Aggie’s wishes.

It seems the deeper Noah and Cassie dig, the more shocking the secrets uncovered – and danger is never far away, both above and below the ground …


My thoughts

I was really happy to get on to this blog tour, as the author is from a village less than four miles away from where I live, plus I love the subject matter. I always wanted to be an archaeologist, right from my first experience of the adventures of Indiana Jones, through my gaming addiction to Lara Croft, and the muddy, methodical Time Team.

Anyway, I was an auditor, and then a housewife now, so it didn’t quite turn out the way I’d planned…!

The story starts dramatically, and in the first chapter, we are immediately drawn into the dark world of Cassie’s youth in Doncaster. The mood lightens throughout the rest of the first part, as we see Cassie and her sister living more comfortably and surrounded with love. Aunt Aggie is a lovely, selfless character and her story drives the whole plot.

It is from Aunt Aggie, in the first instance, and without knowing the full story, that Cassie follows her dream out to Italy as an archaeologist, and there is a really compelling dual plotline which I have no intention of revealing beyond what you can see from the blurb, but hope that it suffices to say that it’s clever and poignant and every bit worth reading for yourself.

I was totally absorbed in this novel, from the dark to the light, and then back again. It is part romance, part mystery and is beautifully balanced. The characters are believable, with back stories which rise to the fore in all the right places.

Gripping, dangerous, tense and heart-breaking; this is a story of the lengths we will go to for those we love. For me personally, it’s also been a fascinating introduction to an incredible local history of which I had no previous knowledge. I’ve done lots of research since I finished reading.

Thoroughly enjoyed this; highly recommended. I also hope that Lynda and her friends and family were not affected by the terrible flooding we have seen in Doncaster over the last few days 🙁

To buy a copy, please click here

About the author

Lynda Stacey

Lynda is a wife, step-mother and grandmother who grew up in the mining village of Bentley, Doncaster, in South Yorkshire..

She is currently the Sales Director of a stationery, office supplies and office furniture company in Doncaster, where she has worked for the past 28 years. Prior to this she’d also been a nurse, a model, an emergency first response instructor and a PADI Scuba Diving Instructor … and yes, she was crazy enough to dive in the sea with sharks, without a cage.

Following a car accident in 2008, Lynda was left with limited mobility in her right arm. Unable to dive or teach anymore, she turned to her love of writing, a hobby she’d followed avidly since being a teenager.

Her own life story, along with varied career choices, helps Lynda to create stories of romantic suspense, with challenging and unpredictable plots, along with (as in all romances) very happy endings.

She lives in a small rural hamlet near Doncaster, with her ‘hero at home husband’, Haydn, whom she’s been happily married to for over 20 years.

Lynda joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association in 2014 under the umbrella of the New Writers’ Scheme and in 2015 her debut novel House of Secrets won Choc Lit’s Search for a Star competition. Lynda writes for both Choc Lit and Ruby Fiction.

To connect with Lynda:

Facebook

Twitter

Website

To read lots of other reviews etc about ‘Keeper of Secrets’, please do check out the other blogs on the tour, which are shown on the banner below:

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#bookreview of ‘Until We Meet Again’ by Rosemary Goodacre as part of the #rararesources #blogtour @rosegoodacre #untilwemeetagain

It is my pleasure to be on the blog tour today for ‘Until We Meet Again’ by Rosemary Goodacre. Many thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for including me on the tour, and to the author for the e-copy of the book, in exchange for my thoughts.

Until We Meet Again Cover

Synopsis:

The Great War drove them apart – but love kept them together

Summer 1914: Shy young woman, Amy Fletcher, lives a quiet life in Sussex. An office worker, she lives at home, along with her parents and spirited younger brother, Bertie. But her life is transformed when she meets handsome young man, Edmond Derwent, son of one of the wealthiest families in the small town of Larchbury, and student at Cambridge University.

The couple are falling deeply in love when war breaks out and, eager to do his duty for England, Edmond signs up as an officer. The couple plan to be wed, eager to start a new life together – but their happiness iTs short-lived when Edmond is sent to Flanders to lead his men into battle. Amy trains as a VAD nurse and is soon sent to France, where she sees the true horror of war inflicted on the brave young men sent to fight.

Separated by war, Edmond and Amy share their feelings through emotional letters sent from the front line. But when Edmond is critically wounded at Ypres, their love faces the biggest test of all – can their love stay strong while the world around them is crumbling?

A romantic, emotional saga set in WW1 – readers of Rosie Goodwin, Katie Flynn and Val Wood will be captivated by this story of love.

My thoughts:

There are a few strands weaving through the plot of this story, which result in an absorbing, interesting and emotional read.

In the pre-war period, the main character, Amy, becomes involved in the local suffragette movement. In her ordinary life, she appears to be an independent, but shy young woman at home, conforming to what is expected from a girl of her age.

The awkwardness and haughtiness of social class divisions is also explored, as Amy, the daughter of a respectable schoolteacher, begins to fall in love with Edmond, the son of a wealthy landowner, who has commenced his studies at Cambridge.

The outbreak and progression of World War One is, of course, the main theme in the novel, and I found myself almost anxiously reading the chapter titles in order to find out where the action was taking place – where the main characters would be for the few months in the chapter. This period of our joint European and US history is such an emotive one, and I was forever in doubt as to what ‘Until We Meet Again’ would actually mean.

It’s a well-documented fact, and this comes across really well in this book, that so many young men did not return, and a generation of women had to take on labour to make up for the devastating shortfall in the workforce, and to live as young widows or to remain single.

The love story is very romantic and the bravery of all the characters, possibly with the exception of Edmond’s female relatives, is testament to the time in which they lived, and the affection with which this story has clearly been written.

There are a few unexpected dramas, and I felt mortified, as we are supposed to, with some of the predicaments the characters found themselves in.

It is an emotional novel about war, class, the beginning of 20th century female empowerment, the strength and faith of loving relationships, and social deviations from the norm in the face of terrible adversity. Highly recommended, particularly to fans of historical romance.

To buy a copy, please click on one of the purchase links below:

Amazon

Apple

Kobo

About the author:

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Rosemary Goodacre has previously worked in computing and teaching. She has had short stories published and a novella, A Fortnight is not Enough.

Her father’s family came from continental Europe and she loves travelling.
She enjoys country walking, bridge and classical music. She lives with her husband in Kent, England.

To connect with Rosemary:

Twitter

Facebook

For many other perspectives on ‘Until We Meet Again’, please do visit my fellow bloggers, who are listed below:

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