Not Thomas

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Not Thomas

Author: Sara Gethin

Genre: Fiction

Release Date: 15th June 2017

Publisher: Honno Press

I am so excited to be sharing a book that is right up my alley! If you love Cathy Glass and Casey Watson, like I do, you will love this book! Make sure to scroll down all the way to the bottom for the giveaway!


Tomos lives with his mother. He longs to return to another place, the place he thinks of as home, and the people who lived there, but he’s not allowed to see them again. He is five years old and at school, which he loves. Miss teaches him about all sorts of things, and she listens to him. Sometimes he’s hungry and Miss gives him her extra sandwiches. She gives him a warm coat from Lost Property, too. There are things Tomos cannot talk about – except to Cwtchy – and then, just before Easter, the things come to a head. There are bad men outside who want to come in, and Mammy has said not to answer the door. From behind the big chair, Tomos waits, trying to make himself small and quiet. He doesn’t think it’s Santa Claus this time.

When the men break in, Tomos’s world is turned on its head and nothing will be the same again.


My Review

This book was written from Tomos’s position, in a very similar style to the book Room, which I also loved. Gethin uses this style to slowly reveal more and more details about Tomos’s situation. Although this book is not a thriller, it keeps you on the edge of your seat. Although it’s not a mystery, it keeps you guessing. Although it’s fiction, it depicts a situation which could very well be true.

This story will certainly break your heart at times. In the middle, I kept wondering, “When will he be saved? When will his life get better?” Tomos does have a number of redeeming characters in his life, but none can shield him from the realities of home. As you watch the characters try to help Tomos, it sometimes results in more harm and brings up a big question of the right thing to do in this situation. Tomos’s mother could certainly be seen as a villain in this story, but it is written in such a way that the reader has compassion for her and can empathize with her, despite her behavior. This was a very well-written and engaging story that I would recommend to fans of Room, Cathy Glass, and Casey Watson.



The lady’s here. The lady with the big bag. She’s knocking on the front door. She’s knocking and knocking. And knocking and knocking. I’m not opening the door. I’m not letting her in. I’m behind the black chair. I’m very quiet. I’m very very quiet. I’m waiting for her to go away.

I’ve been waiting a long time.

‘Thomas, Thomas.’ She’s saying it through the letter box.

‘Thomas, Thomas.’

I’m not listening to her. I’m not listening at all. She’s been knocking on the door for a long long time. I’m peeping round the black chair. I’m peeping with one of my eyes. She’s

not by the front door now. She’s by the long window. I can see her shoes. They’re very dirty. If Dat saw those shoes he’d say, ‘There’s a job for my polishing brush’.

She’s stopped knocking. She’s stopped saying ‘Thomas’. She’s very quiet. The lady can’t see me. I’m behind the big black chair. And I’ve pulled my feet in tight.

‘Thomas?’ she says. ‘Thomas?’ I’m not answering. ‘I know you’re in there. Just come to the window, sweetheart. So I can see you properly.’

I’m staying still. I’m not going to the window. I’m waiting for her to go back to her car. It’s a green car. With a big dent in it. If I hide for a long time she’ll go. She’ll get back in her car and drive away. She’s knocking. And knocking again.

She’s saying ‘Thomas.’ And knocking and knocking again.


That is not my name.

The Author

Sara Gethin is the pen name of Wendy White. She grew up in Llanelli and studied theology and philosophy at Lampeter, the most bijoux of universities. Her working life has revolved around children – she’s been a childminder, an assistant in a children’s library and a primary school teacher. She also writes children’s books as Wendy White, and her first, ‘Welsh Cakes and Custard’, won the Tir nan-Og Award in 2014. Her own children are grown up now, and while home is still west Wales, she and her husband spend much of their free time across the water in Ireland. ‘Not Thomas’ is her first novel for adults.






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*Content and images provided to me as part of the book tour. I was given a copy of this book and am voluntarily reviewing it.*

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Skin Deep Review

Skin Deep

By Casey Watson

5 out of 5 singing chickadees!

This book was incredibly heartwarming. Sweet and affectionate Flip comes to live with Casey after a house fire. She has fetal alcohol syndrome (FASD) and is sure that she’s ugly. She attaches to Casey immediately, calling her mummy. Casey thinks it’s a part of her FASD- forming shallow attachments with people because she struggles with empathy. It turns out that Casey’s mother is an alcoholic who inadvertently started the house fire. More secrets about Flip’s difficult home life are revealed as she stays with the Watsons. We also get to read more about the Watson family, including Tyler, who they are fostering long-term.

I really enjoyed this book. It felt like a quick read and I fell in love with little Flip. I love Casey’s openness and honesty about fostering, the challenges she faces, and the mistakes she sometimes makes. I plan to read a lot more of her books!

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The Silent Cry Review

The Silent Cry

By Cathy Glass

Genre: Non-fiction, memoir, foster care story

This book deserves a 3.5 I think. I love Cathy Glass’s books and her tales of being a foster parent. This book was a little different as it had to do with her neighbor’s mental health issues and wasn’t centered around a child she was fostering. Because I am such a fan, I thought it was interesting to see some other aspects of Cathy’s life and how her family functions when there’s no foster child with them. However, I think first time readers of hers would find the book slow. 

Besides her neighbor, this book also discusses a few respite foster care placements that Cathy took during the time period of her neighbor’s difficult. There are still some fostering stories in here and more information about different types of placements. Again, as a long-term reader, this was interesting, but it may not be to an new reader. I also don’t think the book title and cover blurb were very fitting since there were a lot of family members in little Kim’s life helping to look out for her. 

Not my favorite Cathy Glass book, but it’s worthwhile to read if you’re already a fan.

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Instant Mom Book Review

img_0071Instant Mom

By Nia Vardalos

I must give this book five stars! I kept hearing that I should read Instant Mom. For some reason, I hadn’t realized that she actually adopted from foster care- I thought maybe it was a domestic or international adoption. This book immediately sucked me in. Nia is such a fascinating person. I had no idea the lengths she had gone to to get her movie, My Big, Fat Greek Wedding, made. Nia is one stubborn, persistent lady and doesn’t give up!

She applied this same philosophy to getting pregnant- going through IVF treatments 13 times! She did this quietly and privately while continuing to work on her career. Eventually, she and her husband, Ian, looked into adoption. They ran into some “sketchy” agencies at first, but eventually ended up on the wait list for international adoption. Nothing was moving on that front when Nia finally found out about all the children available for adoption through foster care. She realized that this was going to be the quickest and easiest route to becoming a mother.

Nia and her husband were then matched with an almost 3 year old girl with blonde streaks in her hair (the same blonde streaks she had a dream about). They immediately want to take her home after meeting her but have to wait until they are approved. When they do take her home, there are definitely some challenges as she adjusts to her new home and new parents. I thought Nia was really straightforward and honest about the challenges. She also discussed her fears that the adoption wouldn’t go through, since you must foster the child for 6 months before making it official. Spoiler alert (not really)- there is a happy ending here. At the end of the book, Nia answers frequently asked questions about how to adopt.

All in all, this was one of my favorite memoirs. I thought Nia was a really fascinating person and very down-to-earth for being a celebrity. I also thought this book was extremely informative for those wanting to adopt through the foster care system. I would highly recommend it to prospective parents!

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Another Place At The Table

Another Place to The Table

By Kathy Harrison

Genre: Memoir, Autobiography, Parenting, Foster Care, Adoption

5 out of 5 stars!

This was a great book. I read it quickly in one day. Kathy shares her life as a foster parent. We really just see a small snippet of her many experiences with the system. She talks about overworked social workers, lack of money and resources, and many overstretched foster homes. These children need beds and so foster parents say “yes,” even when maybe they shouldn’t.

Kathy admits her own mistakes. One of them is not saying “no.” The fact that she is just one person caring for something like 6 foster children at a time on top of her biological and adopted children leads to a lack of supervision which causes the kids more trauma. That just broke my heart. She is trying to do the right thing by all of them, but her limits are tested. I had to laugh at the “plastic crown” story. Kathy shows us that foster parents aren’t saints and aren’t above petty feelings at times. They’re human, too!

We also hear a few of her children’s horrible stories and have to acknowledge that many times the people who victimized them were once themselves victims. The picture Kathy paints isn’t sunshine and roses, but neither is it doom and gloom. She has to believe that what she is doing is making some sort of difference.

I especially enjoyed the question and answer part at the end of my book. I felt like it gave me a better picture of who Kathy was and why she fostered. There was also information about how to help support foster kids even if you don’t become a foster parent. I would love to read more from Kathy. I like her relatable style and she seems to have a lot of interesting material she could draw from.

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