Strays and Relations is a book about an adopted woman tracing her birth family. As an adopted person myself I was interested to read it and finished the whole book in just two sittings.

This book was inevitably very close to home for me particularly as the birth mother was an Irish Roman Catholic. The birth family had different strands to it too much as my own birth family did. Even in less momentous ways, I felt a link to the main character from the fact that her birth mum was based in Yorkshire where I was brought up right down to the description of her baby’s “upturned nose”. I had literally read the same description in my own adoption file only a week before reading this book. Life moves in very mysterious and meaningful ways sometimes.

Of course the story in this book is not mine. Every adoption story is an individual one. It is my belief being adopted is not a tragedy just a fresh start. Having said that I think adoption has a huge impact emotionally for all those involved including birth parents, adoptive parents, the adopted person, siblings, partners and friends.

Just as in my situation, there are different stages to locating the birth family in this story. At one point, the main character believes her mother to be deceased. I can remember being warned of such a potential eventuality when I first looked into my birth family in my twenties. I was pleased that she has support from a dear friend, her adoptive mum, her partner and her child.

Later the birth father surfaces and to me acts in a very strange way eventually bringing the birth mother and various siblings into the mix. I can see how this would be overwhelming emotionally. Adopted people often feel that they are not good enough. However logic says this is not the case, it is that feeling that comes from an early rejection whatever the sensible reasons for that letting go of a child.

I enjoyed this book a lot and found it to be a real page-turner partly because there really were so many strays and relations along the way both human and animal. The characters are well-drawn and I found myself particularly attracted to the birth mother and her daughters. I was less impressed with the birth father who I should point out does not stay with the birth mother. I would have liked to know the adoptive mother a little better too as I did not get a firm sense of her.

I have never seen myself as a stray but I can see the analogy drawn with animals in the book and the quirky Tuesday/Merlin dog in particular. There are angels masquerading as human beings out there who take on personalities who may be challenging but who ultimately deserve a second chance. You know some of us strays are quite special in our own right and add loads to the places and people we end up with. Not so long ago I would not have seen this so clearly.

The author comments;

“My novel is a fictional insight into what happens when birth and adoptive families meet – and when those families are from very different backgrounds.”

My adoptive family and birth family have never met. It is too late now. I am OK with that. I know my adoptive family were supportive of my search but did not really wish to meet my birth parents. As far as they were concerned, I was their child so I can see how meeting my birth parents would have been too much for them.

In conclusion, I highly recommend tis book. I hope the author will forgive me that I have referenced my own story in this review partly because I am right in the middle of searching actively for my birth father and establishing contact with new members of my birth mother’s family.

If you are intrigued by adoption or have experience of it, I think you will enjoy this book. In any event, I think it is a jigsaw puzzle of life as many of our stories are and worth a read adopted or not.

ISBN: 9781788039345 Price: £10.99

https://www.amazon.com/Strays-Relations-Hours-Decades-Greenfield/dp/1788039343

div align=”center”>Family Fever

Cuddle Fairy

I Spy is a classic game that has got many a parent through  a long car journey or even proved fun at home. I love how my daughter when really tiny wanted to join in with her brother but used to say “Tractor!” whatever letter we gave her. She is 14 years old now and we still giggle every time we see a tractor.

I Spy

i-SPY are celebrating their 70th Anniversary this year. The iconic spotting guides were first published in 1948 when creator, Charles Warrell, began selling small paperbacks versions in his local Woolworths. I have to confess I don’t remember these from my childhood and we have never used them until now.

i-SPY then and now….

Early editions of i-SPY give a unique snapshot of Britain in the 1940s. A lot may have changed around them but kids still love to spot! The simple, enduring formula remains unchanged – observing the world around you which is fun and educational too.

As the series’ popularity soared, so did the number of i-SPY titles available to spot. There are currently over fifty i-SPY books available to buy in the series, with over half a million sold in the UK. Supported firstly by News Chronicle in the 1950s and then published by the Daily Mail until the late 1980s when publication was taken over by Michelin. Since then i-SPY has found a new home at Collins.

Let’s celebrate with prizes

To celebrate 70 years of i-SPY Collins are giving away limited editions of i-SPY badges to customers who complete their i-SPY guides. This will be an exclusive limited run of 500 collector’s edition badges. Collins have also partnered with Away with the Kids and Timber Festival to offer an amazing competition prize for the whole family. The prize contains a i-SPY nature bundle and a family weekend ticket to Timber Festival, to enter and find out more visit: awaywiththekids.co.uk.

What will we spy?

New guides for 2018 – i-SPY at the shops, i-SPY garden birds, i-SPY butterflies and moths and i-SPY In the city. i-SPY books are co-published by Collins and Michelin and are available at £2.99 from collins.co.uk and all good booksellers. With a whole new range of i-SPY guides, Collins are looking forward to inspiring the next generation of spotters.

Our review

We were grateful to receive some books to see if we liked them. They have really captured our imaginations. They are pocket-sized so very handy to carry around with you. The ones that appealed to us most were the camping one and the one on astronomy. They were quite detailed so that you do learn from them but in  a non-pressured way. They are glossy and we find ourselves picking them up all the time at random moments sharing  information and looking out for things listed.

My son said “I like the quite unique offering in that that you can work towards badges if you spot a lot of things. I Spy was fun anyway but these books make it even better. I am going to go star-gazing and I also want to explore France too as there is one all about French sights.”

The books are in my view under-priced at just £2.99 but a fun holiday treat or thinking ahead an ideal stocking filler.

Celebrating 70 Years Of I Spy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read With Me
Family Fever

Ready to Ride is a delightful book by Sebastien Pelon aimed at children aged 3 and over. I am delighted to share my book review with you.

Ride

 

The first thing that strikes you about the book is how beautifully illustrated it is. The colours are far more subtle than in most children’s books and I liked that. It felt like it would make a really stylish present and capture any child’s imagination.

It has a great message too. Although it is fundamentally about a boy riding his bike for the first time without stabilisers, I felt it had far deeper meaning hidden in its pages. Trying things for the first time at any age from 18 months to 100 years old can be scary. Change is exciting and daunting at the same time. Things can go wrong and we might get hurt. We may seem to fall but then we get on and with new learning set about our tasks again.

It helps if a mentor or kind spirit shows up to share their experience and help us along the road. As well as reminding me of my Dad teaching me to ride my bike many decades ago, the book also made me reflect how I was so lucky to have such a wise Dad always ready to let me try things and to share his life lessons generously but without ever insisting on what I should do in any given situation.

Anyway the basic story of this book is about the little boy who meets a special someone who might be an imaginary friend although the creature also reminded me of the Snowman in the famous Christmas tale too. Someone who is kind and someone to have fun with on a joint adventure.

This  book is so heart warming for children who are going to learn to ride their bike for the first time or to take on any independent enterprise. As a grown-up I loved it too and it made me feel ready to take on the world too.

Highly recommended.

https://www.amazon.com/Ready-Ride-S%C3%A9bastien-Pelon/dp/1910277738

Read With Me
My Random Musings
Family Fever

 Treasure Hunt is a book by Rizwan Vark. It’s a little bit different and worth investigating.

Treasure Hunt

Have you ever experienced an odd coincidence? Have you visited a place and had a sense of deja vu? Does your body feel strange sometimes perhaps when making decisions about the next path to take?

What if there was a way to just “know” the people, places and opportunities that would be best for you?  We talk about mentors these days but what if you had an inner one that just wants to shake you sometimes?

Rizwan Virk, a successful Silicon Valley entrepreneur and investor, shows you how to tune into messages that are coming to us all the time from the hidden worlds.

These clues, from our inner mentors, or future selves, can help us uncover our hidden Treasure Map, which shows us the work we were meant to do in this life and the path to take to get there.

I did not find this an easy read and had to focus on it more than most books but I read it in just a few days so it kept me coming back to it. I did like howRizwan Virk summarised what he calls  the Clue Lifecycle to provide concrete guidance for our lives and futures. That means I can keep this book and return to it quickly when I need to.

I have always had a keen interest in spiritual matters. I used to read so many New Age books back in the day. This book is interesting in that it combines that spiritual feel and investigation with the business and science world too. It has countless interesting case studies that help to explain the clue lifecycle.

Not everyone will be ready for this book right now but I would encourage everyone to give it a go and see what lessons they can take from it. In a busy and stressful world, we all need to listen to the quieter messages that come our way in dreams and waking life.

 

 

 

 

 

Read With Me
Family Fever

I love a good children’s book and feel in a way you are never too old for them. It is good to be reminded of more innocent and straightforward times. Dr, Michael Boyle’s ‘Canary Across the Mersey’ has such an intriguing title and is a perfect read for younger children based on a true story.

Book

 

Everyone with a heart loves animals and birds have such a special air about them. I still remember my childhood Budgie called Billy with affection. I keep trying to persuade my husband we need some birds in our lives and of course canaries are so pretty and delightful.

Canary Across the Mersey is about a young boy called Michael who is a footie-mad lad who happens to find a canary. He falls in love with the bird as do his school mates

What will happen if Michael loses his pal? Will this be a good or bad thing? Sometimes we have to lose things to make other people happy. Self-interest or doing the right thing is a theme of so many books for children and adults too. It reflects real life.

When my son was little he loved any books about forms of transport. This book leaves us wondering how the canary crossed the River Mersey in the first place to find Michael.

The author comments “I’ve sold over 400 already, mainly locally, owing to the book’s natural local feel. I’ve also been in touch with former classmates who remember the incident well, including my then teacher who still lives in the area. It just goes to show what a profound effect animals can have on our lives!”

‘Canary Across the Mersey’ is available now, from the official website: http://canaryacrossthemersey.co.uk.