homelessness

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Blog Tour – Stories For Homes Volume Two – edited by Debi Alper and Sally Swingewood

Published October 6, 2017 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

“Stories give our imaginations a home. It’s good to see them helping to give people shelter in the real world, too…”
– Joanne Harris, author of ‘Chocolat’

“A cornucopia of witty, tragic, elegant, raw, heart-warming and terrifying stories that take the idea of Home, play with it as only truly talented writers can, and all to help those who have no home at all.”
– Emma Darwin, author of ‘The Mathematics of Love’

A home is something most of us have the luxury of taking for granted but for many it is a grim struggle to obtain what should be a basic necessity. Stories for Homes is a collection of witty, poignant, funny and heartbreaking short stories by fifty five authors, both established and emerging, reflecting the connection between the immediacy of housing crisis and the stories people tell about their lives around and within it. Volume Two of the anthology includes stories, poems and flash fiction and again all proceeds will be donated to Shelter, the charity for housing and homelessness.

What did I think?:

When the lovely Faye asked me to be part of a blog tour for Stories For Homes Volume Two, a collection of stories, poetry and flash fiction from fifty five published and non-published authors, I jumped at the chance. This is mainly because proceeds from the sale of each e-book go directly to the charity Shelter that helps the homeless and that this particular volume was released in response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy in London recently. It is dedicated to all the victims and the survivors, the exact death toll of which still remains unknown. I suffer with a chronic illness and a lot of the time have trouble sleeping so I was actually watching the news as it all unfolded in the early hours of the morning and it left me both horrified and completely saddened, especially as it’s clearly something that could have been prevented.

In Stories For Homes Volume Two we get a wonderful mixture of stories that all have the central theme running through them of having a home to come back to. Whether the protagonist(s) in the tale are away from home and are missing it or it might be a home that they make for themselves and learn to love, each story bounces off the page with poignancy and a great deal of heart. I honestly don’t believe there is a bad story in the collection. Obviously there were some I liked more that others and a few that had an incredibly profound effect on me but each story stood on its own quite vividly and I truly believe there is something here for everyone.

Personal favourites had to be The Tiger Who Came Back To Apologise by Jan Carson which was quirky but brilliantly written and follows the reaction of a young single mother as a man from a previous relationship knocks on her door one day. There was also Siamese by Poppy O’Neill, a fascinating story of a possibly dystopian world where a pair of conjoined twins find a way to deal with the hordes of people who pay money to stare through the window of their house and watch them at their daily tasks. Then there was the thought provoking poem, It Was Only A Patch On The Wall by Andy Leach which explores how easy it can be for such a little thing to turn into something that may cost you your livelihood and home.

I almost wish I had taken notes on each story as I made my way through the collection, there’s so much more I could say and infinitely more stories I could mention, especially the few that cover the immigration experience that I have to admit, broke my heart a little bit. If you enjoy short stories or even fancy giving them a try for the first time, there are not many collections I can recommend higher than Stories For Homes, Volume Two with such an eclectic mix of authors and diverse subjects to enjoy, I guarantee you’ll find at least one story that will move you in some way. Plus, you’ll be donating money to a very special cause – what could be better?

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

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Summary:

Published and unpublished writers come together to create an anthology of stories about what ‘home’ means.

55 writers are included in a second charity anthology that brings issues around housing, poverty and crisis to life through the power of storytelling. Volume One of the Stories for Homes Project raised over £3K for housing charity Shelter and raised awareness of housing issues. Volume Two of the anthology includes stories, poems and flash fiction and again all proceeds will be donated to the charity.

Sally Swingewood, who also edited the collections, commented:

“The Stories for Homes collections would not be possible without the generosity of a huge number of volunteers. By working together we have produced a book which will not only delight but also help address one of the biggest humanitarian crises facing modern society. In a world where migration, identity and belonging are in the news daily we have a duty to help everyone have a home in which they feel safe and settled. Stories for Homes is one way we can be part of the solution”

Further Stories

A dedicated website includes a further collection of flash fiction and poetry, real life experiences from people who have had housing problems or have experienced homelessness, as well as a series of articles from a professional working with homeless people.

http://www.storiesforhomes.wordpress.com

Thank you once again to Faye for inviting me to take part in this blog tour, it’s been an absolute honour to take part and to Shelter Charity for their amazing work. Stories For Homes Volume Two was published on 28th September 2017 as an e-book and is available from all good book retailers now. Why not check out some of the other stops on the tour?

Amazon UK Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Stories-Homes-Two-Jacqueline-Ward-ebook/dp/B075W8H8QT/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1506875151&sr=8-1&keywords=stories+for+homes+2

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Shelter Us – Laura Nicole Diamond

Published June 11, 2015 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

Since the death of her newborn baby, lawyer-turned-stay-at-home mom Sarah Shaw has been struggling to keep it together for her law professor husband and two young sons. With her husband burying himself in his career and her friendships all having withered, she is lost in a private world of grief. Then one day, walking in LA, Sarah s heart catches at the sight of a young homeless woman pushing a baby in a stroller and saving them becomes her mission. An unlikely bond grows between Sarah and the mother, Josie, whose pride and strained relationship with her own mother prevent her from going home to Oakland. Through her friendship with Josie, Sarah slowly learns that those we love are never far, even in death and that sometimes it is the people we set out to save who save us. Shelter Us speaks to the quiet joys and anxieties of parenthood, and illuminates the place all parents know: that shadowy space between unconditional love and fear of unbearable loss.

What did I think?:

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, so thank you very much to She Writes Press for the opportunity to read a novel that had me instantly intrigued by the synopsis. As the story begins our main character Sarah Shaw and her husband Robert are struggling to deal with their inner turmoil after losing their baby daughter at only a few weeks of life. They have managed to have two healthy baby boys, Oliver and Izzy but Sarah is constantly petrified that something terrible is going to happen that will take them away from her as well. Her husband, Robert, is sensitive to her pain and is trying to mask his own the best that he can by throwing himself into his work. This however, has stay at home mother Sarah feeling even more pressurised to “get over it,” and continue her life – a difficult thing for her to imagine doing when she keeps seeing her baby girl’s face everywhere and doubting her skills at motherhood.

Then one day, on a very difficult trip out with the boys she sees a young woman pushing a pram with a baby inside. The woman is homeless and Sarah’s heart immediately goes out to her plight. On impulse, she takes one of the boy’s lunch boxes and chases after the woman so that she can give her the little food that she has available. At home, Sarah cannot get the woman and her child out of her head and wants to help her find a way out of her situation. When she suggests to Robert that perhaps they might be able to house the woman and child she is told that on no terms would this be a possibility. Sarah is not dissuaded by Robert’s attitude and is sure that she must be able to help in some way. She begins to form a relationship with the woman – Josie and her little boy whose malnourished appearance for his age breaks her heart. However, how far is Sarah prepared to go to help her new friend? And will the consequences of her actions affect her already fragile relationship with her husband?

This novel was a pleasant surprise on so many levels for me. I love an author who is not afraid to tackle tough or sensitive issues and I thought the death of Sarah’s baby was handled absolutely beautifully. It will hopefully give some comfort to those poor parents who have actually gone through this horrific event and new parents who are nervous about their own parenting skills. I also enjoyed reading about the relationship between Sarah and Robert, both how they deal with their own personal grief and how they respond to each other. The author surprised me often (and I do like to be surprised) as at first, I assumed this was a novel about parenthood and how it feels to lose a child. It is so much more than that. The story takes an unexpected turn when Sarah responds to Josie’s call for help, never imagining that during this process she will be tested in ways she could never have believed. The characters are fabulous, flawed, brilliant and most importantly HUMAN. I didn’t really have a favourite, every one seemed to bring something different and fresh to the table and I thoroughly enjoyed discovering what they had to offer. This is the author’s debut novel and I feel that Laura Nicole Diamond is definitely an author to watch out for in the future!

The lovely people at She Writes Press have authorised a giveaway on bibliobeth for one lucky person to see what Shelter Us is all about for themselves. Enter below and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please note: giveaway only available for UK/USA residents 

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0