Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Autism Awareness Blog Hop - What's in a Toy

Autism fact: Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls.

Childhood Toys

I’m delighted to be taking part in RJ Scott’s autism blog hop again, although I have to admit that when I learned that the theme for this year’s autism blog hop was childhood toys, I had a few second thoughts. I honestly can’t remember a time at which toys were important to me. I have no memories of favourite playthings when I was younger, nor do I look at the items in toyshops now either with nostalgia or whishing a particular toy had been available when I was younger.

While I did have, of course, toys, for me it has always been, and still is, all about books.

But wait, says you. This is supposed to be a post about things to play with. Books are fabulous of course, but reading isn’t the same as playing.

And you would be right.

Reading is also often a solitary activity, where as toys, more often than not, easily allow for playing with others and are often created for exactly that purpose.

So, there’s me. My friends are carrying their Barbies around and playing with them whenever they can and I? I watch them, not quite understanding what the fun is supposed to be while secretly wishing for the book I haven’t finished reading yet.

The day I decided to turn my personal book collection into a library, everything fell into place. I went the whole distance and created tickets for my friends (and/or their Barbies) and put little envelopes in my books, with room to make note of the return date. My friends loved coming to my library, borrowing books, either for themselves or for their Barbies, and I’d found a way to join in and enjoy myself.

I learned a valuable lesson back then. Children don’t necessarily want to play with the traditional toys you find in shops. It was a lesson that came in handy in the recent past.

The hubbies godson is on the autism spectrum and for years we struggled to come up with appropriate gifts for Jack. It was only when I reminded myself that a toy can be anything a child likes spending time with, that things got easier. Jack likes pictures and we can’t make him happier than providing him with new ones, preferably lose, individual images he can carry around with him. Card games, postcards, they delight him more than any expensive toy possibly could. As for us, we just want to see him happy. When we stopped overthinking the toy issue, we achieved exactly that.

Autism blog hop master post: Master Post - rjscott.co.uk/autism19

Lessons in Love

Falling for each other was easy. Staying together comes with a learning curve.

Three months after they met in the miraculous library, Cian is nervously preparing for Mitch’s arrival in Dublin. As much as he’s looking forward to three long days with his boyfriend—without parental supervision—he can’t help worrying about the fact that they will have to share both his small room and his even smaller bed. He doesn’t even own pajamas.

Their relationship is new, and Cian may be two years older, but he has little more experience than Mitch when it comes to intimacy and boyfriends. He isn’t sure what he’s doing or what’s expected of him. As a result, Cian and Mitch are in for a whirlwind weekend, filled with shocks, surprises, fun, and deepening feelings.

Against the backdrop of Ireland celebrating its national holiday, Cian and Mitch learn their first Lessons in Love.

While a Miracle in the Library was a young adult story, Lessons in Love features two young men old enough to consume alcohol and be sexually active. This book is therefore meant for readers who are eighteen years or older and contains sexual acts between two consenting men.

Universal buy link: mybook.to/LiL


Tell me about your favourite childhood toy (or book) below for the chance to win a title from my backlist.


I’ve thought about this long and hard. There are so many very worthwhile charities in desperate need of money it is almost impossible to pick one over the other. So, I guess you could say I took the easy way out when I decided to support RJ’s chosen charity, Lindengate. This is a mental health charity that works with autistic children and can be found here: https://mydonate.bt.com/charities/lindengate


  1. I was fortunate to have the same teacher for three years in a row while in elementary school. She read to us everyday. I credit it her and my father with my love of books. Some of my favorite childhood books were The Boxcar Children stories. I always thought it would be so much fun to live in a boxcar! :-)

  2. This is a wonderful story and is definitely inspirational. Our daughter used to play libraries with her gran! <3

  3. My favourite childhood toy was my Lego set, not because I liked building stuff but because I could create stories with the town I’d created. It was like my own Lego soap opera! Guess that’s where my story telling started. Lego soap opera soon made way for a pen and paper, then a computer :)

  4. I had the Barbie Dream House, RV, etc. and I loved all of them :)

  5. One of mine was a stuffed animal that might have been a koala bear. It was the only one I named (sounded like Wo Wo). I still have it!

  6. My favourite was probably the doll house that my Granddad made for me. It was this fantastic two story house on a table, with working lights and everything..

  7. My faves were my Breyer horses. colby69@verizon.net

  8. Thank you for taking party in the hop and sharing this story with us. I didn't have a favorite toy but visited the library a lot. My favorite books were the Bernstein Bears series.
    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

    1. Congratulations, H.B. You are my winner and you should receive an email from me any moment now.

  9. Always loved wooden blocks and teddy bears <3

  10. Books have always been my favourite companions as a kid... I remember my mum leaving me surrounded by books, and I could spend hours looking at the pictures before knowing how to read. That's what she tells me!

  11. I always loved playing jackstones when I was a kid. I remember always having a set in my pocket or in my schoolbag. I played whenever or wherever I get the chance. You’d see me on the floor playing.

  12. Legos
    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  13. I still have a book from my childhood that I have reread so many times. The Diary of Adrian Mole by Sue Townsend. So many fun moments, emotional thoughts and growing up by a teenage boy made for a great read

  14. Books were my favorite toys as well. The Giving Tree is one of my all time faves, though I also loved the Magic Tree House series.

  15. The random number thingy had done its thing and my winner is HB!!!!

    Congratulations HB and please check your inbox for an email from me.