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The Fascination by Essie Fox #Review #Giveaway

   Today be prepared for a dark, Victorian gothic novel! The Fascination by Essie Fox is published on June 22nd by Orenda . For the chance to win a print copy of The Fascination see the foot of this post for details. Victorian England. A world of rural fairgrounds and glamorous London theatres. A world of dark secrets and deadly obsessions… Twin sisters Keziah and Tilly Lovell are identical in every way, except that Tilly hasn't grown a single inch since she was five. Coerced into promoting their father's quack elixir as they tour the country fairgrounds, at the age of fifteen the girls are sold to a mysterious Italian known as ‘Captain’. Theo is an orphan, raised by his grandfather, Lord Seabrook, a man who has a dark interest in anatomical freaks and other curiosities … particularly the human kind. Resenting his grandson for his mother’s death in childbirth, when Seabrook remarries and a new heir is produced, Theo is forced to leave home without a penny to his

A Boy made of Blocks by Keith Stuart **Blog Tour**

What a joy to be on the BlogTour to celebrate the launch of Keith Stuart's  A Boy made of Blocks. I have heard a lot about this book, so I was keen to read it. Written through the eyes of Alex, we follow his experiences with his son, Sam, who is on the autistic spectrum and see the pressures that are put on his family's daily life. 


The Blurb:

MEET THIRTY SOMETHING, DAD, ALEX... He loves his wife, Jody, but has forgotten how to show it. He loves his son, Sam, but doesn't understand him. Something has to change. And he needs to start with himself.

MEET EIGHT-YEAR-OLD SAM... To him the world is a puzzle he can't solve on his own.

When Sam starts to play Minecraft, it opens up a place where Alex and Sam begin to rediscover both themselves and each other...When life starts to tear one family apart, can they put themselves back together, one piece at a time?

 A Boy Made of Blocks is a beautiful, funny and heartwarming story of family and love inspired by the author’s own experiences with his autistic son.

My Thoughts

    I found this to be an extremely moving book to read.  You can feel the authenticity behind the words. One of the author's sons was diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum and you can sense the sincerity in his writing. The accounts of the school meetings with headteachers and local authority officers have a ring of truth. You just know that the author has been at many of these meetings. Similarly the reactions of other parents and children to behaviour they see as being not the norm, must ring a bell with other parents in the same boat. However, it is more than about this central subject matter. Many of the characters, including the parents have issues they still have to address from the past. 

    Sometimes life does not work out as you envisage or plan. People don't turn out as you expect. Children may not be the person their parents thought they would have. We see how the loss of his young brother has affected not just Alex, but the other members of his family. By shelving how they feel and carrying on, they seem forever haunted. They have avoided facing up to how they feel. Alex's sister travels non stop. His mother moves away to the depths of the country. Alex himself buries himself in work and avoids being at home. As Alex has to try to learn how to communicate with his son, he has to address other aspects of his life.

    I particularly enjoyed the humour in the story. It was never sentimental. The plot fizzed along. The characters were all entertaining in their different ways. I loved the writing style. The author has developed a distinctive voice for his central character, which is consistent to the end. Such an uplifting read, this has got my 2017 reading off to a brilliant start

In short: an uplifting read, brimful of insight and affection.

                                                                      About the author 

c. Ashley Bird

In 2012 one of KEITH STUART's two sons was diagnosed on the autism spectrum. The ramifications felt huge. But then Keith and both boys started playing videogames together - especially Minecraft. Keith had always played games and, since 1995, has been writing about them, first for specialist magazines like Edge and PC Gamer then, for the last ten years, as games editor for the Guardian. The powerful creative sharing as a family and the blossoming of communication that followed informed his debut novel.

Thanks to Clara Diaz and the publishers, Sphere, for a copy of the book and a place on the Blog Tour.

                                              Check out the rest of the Blog Tour!


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