Review of Trillium by Margaret Lindsay Holton #Trillium #MLHolton #Review #Historical #Saga #Canada #UK

Review of Trillium
by Margaret Lindsay Holton
Rated: 4 Stars ****

 

About the Author

Artist Author MLHoltonMargaret Lindsay Holton is a senior Canadian artist and an award-winning fiction author from the Golden Horseshoe region of Southern Ontario, Canada. She has recently released her third novel.

Blurb

TRILLIUM intimately portrays the intertwining evolution of three very distinct families in the wine-making region known as Niagara in the Golden Horseshoe region, Ontario, Canada. …It all starts when 19-year-old Tom Hartford crosses over the mighty Niagara River in the 1750s … Readers will meet Maaka, an ingenious indigenous trapper; Franco, a dirt poor Sicilian labourer; Paddy O’Sullivan, a sweet-talking Irish con-artist and sweet Cate, the Hamilton port prostitute. And that’s just the beginning! All unfolds with a pair of motherless red-headed twin brothers, a diabolical hate-filled drunkard, two devoted raven-haired sisters, an obsessed land developer, hard-working Mexicans, a blind man, a handsome Italian-Canadian wine-maker, a blessed treasure trove of attentive mothers, one demented vineyard-wandering wife – and a startlingly beautiful, simpleton savant, Anna. A 250 year-old story about three families: the good, bad … and ugly.

TRILLIUM by MLHOLTON book cover

Review

Firstly, I was honoured to be asked by Canadian author Margaret Lindsay Holton to review her book – Trillium. I thank her for getting in touch with me via my blog with her request to read and review her book.

“Trillium is a spring flowering perennial, also known as Wake Robin, which are slow to establish but have a long life-span”.

Take an opportunity to read of this historical saga that gives an enlightening portrayal of different lives and times as it tracks families through multi-generations and their way of agricultural life and historical events that occur. The book is almost like reading a family tree, seeing people and what occurs during each generation makes this book fascinating. It goes further than that though as readers can get plunged into their lives and feel the emotions too. 

The book is in 9 parts, cleverly titled like a plant – seeds, roots, growing vines, flower, fruit, harvest, second harvest, MOG and new seeds. When you read the book, this all then makes sense in both the agricultural life of the characters and of the way the story spans across many years and generations, which begins with 3 settlers – Tom, Franco, and Paddy.

Reading about Niagara is interesting in this book and is brought to life beautiful descriptions, which enhances the book and the flow of the story, which moves along at a gentle pace as it evolves like a good wine.

There are traditional ties that link Scotland and Canada and in this book you will meet Clan Macdonald and their family traditions and the farming life. The book then moves onto seed number two as does the way of life in 1885. There’s even more of a feeling of some tension between Canada and England. There’s also, as time moves on the building of a suspension bridge and travel and trade really starts to get interesting too in this chapter. The author has captured a good sense of busy merchants and their trades.

Roots is an interesting part, like seeds, there are a number of roots also feeding into the family. It is interesting to read about the war times and then with vines, highlighting the aftermath of war. Flower has a different feel, a freshness about it again with life blossoming again and entering another new era, whereas by contrast, Harvest brings some challenging times and MOG, delves deeper as time moves on into the 90s that brings upon sadness and Holton captures the emotion well here. 90’s culture and attitudes is captured very nicely, an era I have lived through. New seeds are then sown into the family and the weave of time for other events to occur and this is the closing part of the book, which has a satisfying ending and one that is a reminder that there is death and there is birth and the way of the world goes on, as does life.

All in all, this is a well-rounded story that weaves fact and fiction to create character’s lives through different time-spans, which are well-captured in this book and gives great insight. I would recommend the book to those who enjoy historical sagas and family tracing and those wanting a glimpse into what events occured at different times.

I thank the author for providing me with her book and photos. I again thank her for writing to me to request I read and review her book. This review however is by no means biased.

Links to the book:

AMAZON paperback and ebook :
 https://www.amazon.com/Trillium-Margaret-Lindsay-Holton/dp/0992127289


EBOOK only : 
https://www.books2read.com/TRILLIUM

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Review of Trillium by Margaret Lindsay Holton #Trillium #MLHolton #Review #Historical #Canada #UK

Review of Trillium
by Margaret Lindsay Holton
Rated: 4 Stars ****

 

About the Author

Artist Author MLHoltonMargaret Lindsay Holton is a senior Canadian artist and an award-winning fiction author from the Golden Horseshoe region of Southern Ontario, Canada. She has recently released her third novel.

Blurb

TRILLIUM intimately portrays the intertwining evolution of three very distinct families in the wine-making region known as Niagara in the Golden Horseshoe region, Ontario, Canada. …It all starts when 19-year-old Tom Hartford crosses over the mighty Niagara River in the 1750s … Readers will meet Maaka, an ingenious indigenous trapper; Franco, a dirt poor Sicilian labourer; Paddy O’Sullivan, a sweet-talking Irish con-artist and sweet Cate, the Hamilton port prostitute. And that’s just the beginning! All unfolds with a pair of motherless red-headed twin brothers, a diabolical hate-filled drunkard, two devoted raven-haired sisters, an obsessed land developer, hard-working Mexicans, a blind man, a handsome Italian-Canadian wine-maker, a blessed treasure trove of attentive mothers, one demented vineyard-wandering wife – and a startlingly beautiful, simpleton savant, Anna. A 250 year-old story about three families: the good, bad … and ugly.

TRILLIUM by MLHOLTON book cover

Review

Firstly, I was honoured to be asked by Canadian author Margaret Lindsay Holton to review her book – Trillium. I thank her for getting in touch with me via my blog with her request to read and review her book.

“Trillium is a spring flowering perennial, also known as Wake Robin, which are slow to establish but have a long life-span”.

Take an opportunity to read of this historical saga that gives an enlightening portrayal of different lives and times as it tracks families through multi-generations and their way of agricultural life and historical events that occur. The book is almost like reading a family tree, seeing people and what occurs during each generation makes this book fascinating. It goes further than that though as readers can get plunged into their lives and feel the emotions too. 

The book is in 9 parts, cleverly titled like a plant – seeds, roots, growing vines, flower, fruit, harvest, second harvest, MOG and new seeds. When you read the book, this all then makes sense in both the agricultural life of the characters and of the way the story spans across many years and generations, which begins with 3 settlers – Tom, Franco, and Paddy.

Reading about Niagara is interesting in this book and is brought to life beautiful descriptions, which enhances the book and the flow of the story, which moves along at a gentle pace as it evolves like a good wine.

There are traditional ties that link Scotland and Canada and in this book you will meet Clan Macdonald and their family traditions and the farming life. The book then moves onto seed number two as does the way of life in 1885. There’s even more of a feeling of some tension between Canada and England. There’s also, as time moves on the building of a suspension bridge and travel and trade really starts to get interesting too in this chapter. The author has captured a good sense of busy merchants and their trades.

Roots is an interesting part, like seeds, there are a number of roots also feeding into the family. It is interesting to read about the war times and then with vines, highlighting the aftermath of war. Flower has a different feel, a freshness about it again with life blossoming again and entering another new era, whereas by contrast, Harvest brings some challenging times and MOG, delves deeper as time moves on into the 90s that brings upon sadness and Holton captures the emotion well here. 90’s culture and attitudes is captured very nicely, an era I have lived through. New seeds are then sown into the family and the weave of time for other events to occur and this is the closing part of the book, which has a satisfying ending and one that is a reminder that there is death and there is birth and the way of the world goes on, as does life.

All in all, this is a well-rounded story that weaves fact and fiction to create character’s lives through different time-spans, which are well-captured in this book and gives great insight. I would recommend the book to those who enjoy historical sagas and family tracing and those wanting a glimpse into what events occured at different times.

I thank the author for providing me with her book and photos. I again thank her for writing to me to request I read and review her book. This review however is by no means biased.

Links to the book:

AMAZON paperback and ebook :
 https://www.amazon.com/Trillium-Margaret-Lindsay-Holton/dp/0992127289


EBOOK only : 
https://www.books2read.com/TRILLIUM

Review of Star Child – Book One: The Age of Akra @VacenTaylor @OdysseyBooks @rararesources #Rachel’sRandomResources #Fantasy #Kidslit #Adventure #ChapterBook #Australia #Newzealand #UK #BlogTour #Review

Star Child – Book  One: The Age of Akra
by Vacen Taylor
Rated: ****

It is with pleasure that it is my turn on the Random Things blog tour to review Star Child and today is the day of my turn to present it.

The Age of Akra Full Tour Banner (1)

 

About the Author

Author Vacen Taylor picVacen Taylor is a children’s author with a portfolio of screenwriting and stage play achievements.  A selection of her poetry has been published in Art and Literature Journals. One of her plays was selected to be part of the Playwrights Program 2017 and then directed and performed as a performance reading at HOTA (previously the Gold Coast Arts Centre).

Her feature film script received a special commendation for Best Unproduced Screenplay titled Grandfathers at the British Independent Film Festival in 2018.  The logline can be found under Special Commendations for Unproduced Screenplays here.

Her TV pilot for a series (teleplay) was selected as a semi-finalist in the Hollywood Just4Shorts Film and Screenplay Competition in Los Angeles, CA. This pilot was listed in the top 50 for the Cinequest Screenwriting Competition in 2018.

She presented the first mental health panel at OZ Comic-Con in 2017. This panel was a fantastic opportunity to discuss openly and honestly about artists and their mental health to help support wellbeing, foster connectivity and provide a culture of support.

In 2018 she presented the panel, ‘An artist’s guide to creative happiness: How to strengthen your creative performance’ at Oz Comic-Con in Brisbane. Her panels are extraordinary opportunities to explore ideas with people who are currently working in the industry. She aims to discuss subjects like individualism, the community, mental health, wellbeing, happiness, creativity, co-creating and self-awareness which often leads to interesting questions from the audience.

What else does she do? Vacen is also a creative workshop facilitator and proficient in, teaching, speaking and concept creation. Guest Speaker. Workshop Presenter. Creative Panel Facilitator. Mentor. Support Worker. Counsellor. Social Welfare Advocate.

Blurb

The foreshadowing of a dark future threatens the seven nations. Mai is selected to train with the mysterious elemental master Sah Dohba who will prepare her to become the protector of the desert lands.  Her brother Long, steps forward to travel with her as her chaperone to the Valley of a Thousand Thoughts.

A chance encounter brings them together with Akra, the Starchild.  The trio travels on into a battle with the elements. Sandstorms. Deadly creatures. Starvation. Then a chance meeting with powerful earthfollower, sets them on a new path where they must each find the strength to face a terrifying foe from the Underworld.

The Age of Akra Cover (1)

Review

This is the beginning of a new children’s fantasy series for children of ages 7+
The cover is exciting with its dragon, suggesting adventure and action. There are 5 in all in this series.
It was first published in 2013 for Australia but now it has broken into the UK market.
The book begins in the land of Sahas with Mai, Akra and Long being the main characters who is the middle child. There’s the familiar child rivalry, especially between sister and younger brother. This is a book about family and adventure. There is excitement and mild trepidation. There is bravery and emotion as different creatures. Always the story is driving forwards and is a great pace to hold attention of children. There is a lot happening in this underworld that is created well by this author.

This book would actually appeal to those children who are into Ninjago and action and adventure heroes from Marvel, as well as those who like giant creatures and exploration in a different land and what does leave a strange taste and a stink? This book would suit girls and boys alike. I reckon it is a good thing it has broken through internationally to the UK market. It read very well and in the style children are used to within the UK and possibly elsewhere in the world.

At the back of the book, after the story there is a glossary that tells readers of the 7 powers and their abilities and of the creatures they meet in the land of Sahas. I think this is pretty smart of the author as children are into this from all the collector card games they play.

I recommend giving this book a try and let’s get children reading again. There is much emphasis on getting children outside, so let’s get children reading from libraries and get them reading in general indoors and outdoors and from there sparks imagination for play both indoors and outdoors.

With thanks to Rachel at Random Things blog and the author Vacen Taylor and the publisher Odyssey Books for providing a signed copy of the book for me to review.

Please note: This is an unbiased review.

 

Social Media Links –  

Facebook  – https://www.facebook.com/Vacen-Taylor-Author-233611656699562/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/vacentaylor/

_____________________________________

Title: Star Child – Book One – The Age of Akra
Author: Vacen Taylor
Publisher: Odyssey Books
ISBN: 9781922200020

 

Celebrating The Enduring Love of Roald Dahl for Children and Adults #RoaldDahl #RoaldDahlDay2019 @QuentinBlake #ChapterBooks #TalesoftheUnexpected #Kidslit #Fiction #Humour #Fantasy #Family #Friendship

Celebrating the Enduring Love of Roald Dahl

This is a short article on the enduring love of Roald Dahl. Today is the anniversary of his birthday and what we call Roald Dahl Day.

Roald Dahl Pic

In the Beginning

Roald Dahl was born in 1916 in Llandaff, Cardiff, Wales. He wrote from his shed using HB pencils. He wrote for children and adults. His books live on in both book and film form. Sometimes the films are done well and sometimes they are not, that’s always the nature of films however, no matter who the original creator is. Some stories have also been adapted for TV and Radio.

Roald Dahl Day

Roald Dahl Day

Schools and libraries across the country tend to celebrate Roald Dahl every 13th September – his birthday. This year’s theme for Roald Dahl Day is Matilda. She is courageous and has a love of reading, even though it means going against her parents and isn’t seen as being trendy. The book is fun and has magic within it, but it is also sweet and gentle with Miss Honey, but then there is a marked contrast between her and Miss Trunchbull, which makes for great characterisation and story-telling.

The Books and Films

RD books

The books feed into children’s desires and imaginations. Take chocolate for example. There is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and what child wouldn’t want to join Charlie Bucket and the eccentric Willy Wonka in a factory that experiments and creates chocolate and sweets, even in this more health conscious society. The follow-up – Charlie and the Great Glass elevator has some adventure and also takes children a little into the political world and what the USA was like at the time Roald Dahl was writing about.
There is magic in The Witches, The Magic Finger and Matilda and family and school life as themes, that also have mild trepidation and villains and heroes. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was made into live action films – two of them.

James and the Giant Peach also has magic and heroes and villains. There is also friendship and adventure and a need for escape as James wants to escape his two gruesome aunts.

There is fun with The Enormous Crocodile that takes children through the jungle meeting different animals and with just enough scariness that children really enjoy when the crocodile wants to eat children.

Fantastic Mr Fox is also about nature and animals, but this time about the need to understand and look after them. It also has a political element, but on a child level about the landscape and fox hunting. This was also made into a CGI film and there was a song I remember learning when I was in primary school for the baby foxes. We acted it out and I was a baby fox.

There is also Daniel, Champion of the World about a boy and his plans. This was made into a live action film

There’s mischief to be had in the Twits and George’s Marvellous medicine. There’s also elements of inventiveness. George’s Marvellous Medicine was used for a Jackanory story on tv.

The Giraffe, The Pelly and Me shows teamwork, friendship and entrepreneurship as they set up their own window cleaning company and there is also some trepidation with a burglary in a grand house.

The BFG with his good dream catching skills befriends Sophie and the two become lovely friends.

Esio-Trot was the last book to be published in Roald Dahl’s lifetime. For those who haven’t worked it out, it is Tortoise spelt backwards.  Esio-Trot tackles loneliness and is about Mr Hopper trying to make a connection with Mrs Silver, who he has loved from afar. This was made into a film for tv.

Boy and Going Solo are both Non-Fiction and tell of Roald Dahl’s life. It may sit generally in the children’s non-fiction area, but really both children and adults will gain fascinating knowledge from them. There was a documentary style programme about them on tv.

Revolting Rhymes is exactly that and has twisted takes on fairy tales. There used to be a tv series also inspired by this with chef Gary Rhodes showing how to make revolting recipes inspired by the book with his assistant – actor, Pam Ferris.

There are books that are not only for children too, although the main emphasis seems to be on children. He also wrote really dark stories for young adults and adults alike that are twisted tales such as Skins and Tales of the Unexpected, which were on TV. Tales of plants that could talk; tattoos that someone wanted and could have straight from another person; tales of sinister bedsits etc.

There are also other books too that have been and are being produced.

Further Facts

Roald Dahl wrote everyday from 10 am to 12 noon and then from 4 pm to 6pm. His first book wasn’t what people imagined it to be – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, it was The Gremlins, those furry, cute characters that change when wet and well, aren’t so cute after that.

This was not the end of his talent. He worked with illustrator Quentin Blake (more about him later) and with James Bond creator Ian Fleming and created Chitty, Chitty Bang Bang and worked on the book for the film of this and of James Bond: You Only Live Twice. He and Ian Fleming worked together prior to this during the second world war, providing information for MI6. Roald had also been in battles during the war too. He was with the Royal Air Force (RAF) until 1946.

Roald Dahl had 5 children and married twice. He has a granddaughter still living – Sophie Dahl. 

Roald Dahl died on 23rd November 1990. He was 74 and was suffering with myeldysplastic syndrome (a type of blood disease). He is buried in the cemetery of St Peter and St Paul’s Church in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire. He was buried with some of his favourite things, including: a power saw, HB pencils, chocolate, red wine and his snooker cues.

Inspiration and Importance

Roald Dahl’s stories and screenplays endure as does the love for them. He had a talent for knowing what people like and to be able to us universally broad themes to create magical worlds and fun and adventure. He had a talent to bring about some really dark stories and yet aiming them just right for his target audience. It now also helps that schools and libraries celebrate his life. He is still an important author within this age of computer technology as children and adults read less. Mention Roald Dahl and everyone knows his books, which is a good place to start. Curiosity about authors will hopefully come too as so many have led or do lead such fascinating lives. Roald Dahl is everywhere, in his own work and has inspired other authors and it is seen in their work, such as now there are people like David Walliams and other writers who are similar to him, whom it is evident must have been inspired by Roald Dahl.

Quentin Blake

Quentin Blake Books

Now it wouldn’t be right not to mention Quentin Blake too. He illustrated many of Roald’s books and has many fabulous books of his own creations too that are so full of fun and excellent illustrations. His books are now of many, his most well-known perhaps being Mister Magnolia and Mrs Armitage.

Children’s Laureate and other Awards

The Children’s Laureate seems to have been around forever, or so it is sometimes assumed, but it wasn’t until 1999 this post was created. Today in 2019, as I write, it is Cressida Cowell. In 1999, the very first Children’s Laureate was Quentin Blake.

He has also received so many awards for his books, including the Whitbred award. He has also been personally recognised and has certainly been living an illustrious life. He was made CBE in 2005, is an RDI and has numerous honorary degrees from universities throughout the UK. He received a knighthood for ‘services to illustration’ in the New Year’s Honours for 2013, and became an Honorary Freeman of the City of London in 2015. It is an impressive career and impressive to be recognised so much for all his work that endures and I am sure will also endure, not just through his collaboration with Roald Dahl, but also the work he has produced himself too, which is quite some body of work indeed as he has always worked in illustration and even illustrated for Punch magazine.

An Additional Career

Quentin also has another career. He works as a curator for exhibitions in well-known famous places – the National Gallery, the British Library and the Musée du Petit Palais in Paris. In the last few years he has begun to make larger-scale work for hospitals and healthcare settings in the UK and France where his work can be seen in wards and public spaces.

In Conclusion

So, two great men who inspire and whose work will, I am sure will continue to for generations to come with libraries and schools and parents and children all playing their part. There books I am sure will always be somewhere in bookshops, on library shelves and hopefully also in the hands of readers. I am also sure that they will be inspiring other current and future authors for years to come.

Roald-Dahl

The Magic of Julia Donaldson and the Illustrators #JuliaDonaldson #NickSharrat #LydiaMonks #Williamaeford #MacMillanKidsUK #Bookbug #ScottishBookTrust #Kidslit #Picturebooks #ChapterBooks

The Magic of Julia Donaldson and the Illustrators

 

even-more-julia-donaldson-pics.jpg

Julia Donaldson, an author’s name who just trips off the tongue so easily when talking about children’s books. Who can’t help but love what she has done for children’s literature. From the Gruffalo to Stick Man and everything in-between. So many bookshops and libraries have them, even the community library I run here in Scotland has so many of her books.

What Perhaps Make her books so popular?

Perhaps it is the fact she is a genius at writing in rhyme. Children love rhythm in stories. There is also repetition and this in turn helps make them interactive as children can latch onto key repetitive sentences and say them out loud, once they are known. Perhaps it is the brilliantly vivid illustrations. Perhaps it is the stories, there’s just enough fun and trepidation and pace within them and they are excellent to read aloud, as so many parents and librarians and teachers have discovered over the years.

The Illustrators

The books all have been excellent illustrated. Possibly the best known  illustrators linked with Julia Donaldson’s books are – Axel Scheffler who also has his own series of books – Pip and Posy and has also illustrated for other books too. Nick Sharratt who illustrates so much like the ever popular Tracy Beaker and Shark in the Park series amongst many others. There is also Lydia Monks and David Roberts. These people also all add to the enduring love of her books. Children are really captured by the big, bold illustrations, which always pair up so well with the text. Their books are always worth looking out for. I plan to write more about a couple of these illustrators in a future blog/essay post.

Julia and Nick books                                        Julia D and Nick S

  Learning to Read and Using Her Books in a Fun Educational Sense

There are a great selection of books and have been for many years, which help children learn how to read. Julia Donaldson also has her own books to add to the plethora of stories which help children with phonics and beyond. Her series is Songbird Phonics and are again beautifully illustrated and are also well-conceived. They are an excellent addition. There are many books in this series to aid children’s development educationally in the 3Rs sense too (all her books have something that children can learn from as there are indeed from all books in one way or another, whether they are for children or for adults).

There are many resources that can be downloaded for free from her website, which contain many activities that are useful for both schools and libraries, which in my view is thoughtful and they do seem to be well-thought out and are sectioned into each book that she has written, so they can be part of a focused activity.

There is always something great that children can gain from her books and she even provides free resources, which are great as I have tried and tested them in the library. There are also soft toy merchandise so that her stories can be acted out or to just have them to accompany a story. I have seen them and they look and feel fabulous.

Chapter Books and Interactivity

There are also books that aren’t termed as picture books, there are books for slightly older children such as Swallows about the migration of birds and a message having to travel many miles. Again there are wonderful illustrations and something to learn from the story. It too has excellent scope for interactivity, given just a little imagination from the deliverer. I once, and may repeat it as it was so successful, played Chinese Whispers with a class of school children to show how a message may change as it travels. There are many other things you can do for this.

There are also books such as the Princess Mirror belle series, which is great for the more advanced readers and have less illustrations within them, but do have lovely front covers by Lydia Monks. They are about a princess with a purpose. 

Longevity

Julia Donaldson’s books are no doubt books that will be around forever, perhaps even have a longevity of someone like Enid Blyton for example. Some of them have already been in existence for over 10 years already, which is hard to believe, but time does fly. The Gruffalo and so many of her books are talked about as though they have just been written and are hot off the press. They still seem as fresh to new generations of children as they did when they first appeared on shelves.

Julia’s books have now been adapted for both tv and stage as well, to the delight of many. She does go to book festivals, especially the Edinburgh Book Festival. Have I ever met her? Sadly no, but never say never. Would I like to? Absolutely, to say a huge thank you to what she has brought to libraries and children’s literature. 

Children’s Laureate – 2011 – 2013

Julia Donaldson was appointed Children’s Laureate between 2011 and 2013, today as I write this it is Cressida Cowell, who I am sure will, like her predecessors, do something good within her role. In her laureate role Julia Donaldson has campaigned passionately against library cuts and closures. Sadly libraries are still closing and libraries (mine included and others and  the job went too and now I am leading a community library to compliment the local authority) are not always taken seriously enough by governments, even when there are people within government who claim to be passionate about books and education and libraries. There are also other factors at play too. The main thing is that she tried to have all libraries saved and has shown she cares as many authors etc do.

Bookbug Sessions

She is also instrumental to Bookbug sessions (rhymes, songs and stories that are provided for Free, often by libraries in Scotland). People are trained prior to leading a session and provided with the resources to deliver. There are also Bookbug                     Co-ordinators around Scotland.

Bookbug sessions help reduce the negative effects of poverty and every session is always free and benefits babies and young children.

Singing rhymes and sharing stories support children’s language, learning and social skills. They also support bonding between baby/child and the adult with them.

I lead Bookbug and they do involve some preparation work, but they are fun to do and knowing that it is something so worthwhile being to be involved in, makes it even better, but then I like to do things for communities and always have included books in some way or another and have done for over a decade in some form or another and still I am relatively young (under 40 at time of writing this). This time around it is for a community library and whenever the local authority libraries that I used to work in are in need too.

Conclusion

I think that the magic of Julia Donaldson will be around for generations to come as will Bookbug (so long as there are no more cuts). She goes to book festivals, the Edinburgh Book Festival in-particular to meet her audience and to bring her stories to life and that too will no doubt add to her appeal and her ability to be relevant and current, even though she has been writing since at least 1993 with A Squash and a Squeeze.
She has won many awards and deservedly so and is still writing today.

I totally rate her and the illustrators associated with her for bringing so many great stories that can be worked with more than one way as they can be read straight or can prompt a conversation of discovery for children.

There are some authors who write similarly to Julia Donaldson who are emerging. I of course rate Nick Sharratt, but the author who I am thinking about at this moment is William AE Ford who writes Timothy Mean and the Time Machine. I mention these people because it is important and good for children to be able to try out other authors too.

So here’s to Julia Donaldson and the illustrators who have and indeed the people who publish her books, which is now over 70 and long may it all continue.

julia-donaldson-pics.jpg

Review of Secret Things and Highland Flings by Tracy Corbett @tracyacorbett @AvonBooksUK #romance #Scotland #uplit #rom-com #fiction #newbook

Secret Things and Highland Flings
By Tracy Corbett
Rated: 5 Stars *****

About the Author

Tracy Corbett lives with her partner Simon in Surrey and works part-time for a local charity. Tracy has been writing for a number of years and has had a few short stories published in My Weekly magazine. As well as belonging to a local writing group, she enjoys amateur dramatics and can regularly be found dressing up in strange costumes and prancing about the stage pretending to be all manner of odd characters. Secret Flings and Highland Flings is Tracy’s fourth novel.

Blurb

Will a trip to the Highlands bring a new beginning?

Secret Things and Highland Flings coverWhen Lexi’s ex runs off to Spain with his PA, she’s left to clean up the financial mess he leaves behind. She’ll do anything to keep her beloved art gallery afloat, but a surprise discovery makes things even more complicated…

On the surface, Olly seems to have it all: a carefree life travelling the world. But he’s running from something in his past. And when his father dies, Olly’s life is suddenly turned upside down as he inherits his family’s crumbling estate in the Scottish Highlands.

When their worlds collide, Lexi and Ollie are instantly drawn to one another. But can love ever work if they both have secrets to hide.

Review

Firstly check out that cover design that has romance and fun combined within it and then continue into the book.

Enter the charm and delightful romance of the book of relationships, art, but also the tangled web that is weaved in the art world and who exactly is Dazed and Confused?

The book opens up to rather unfortunate events for Lexi Ryan, that in someways is actually quite humourous. Things do  however take a darker turn as her art gallery – The Munch Museum is being investigated by HMRC. I wanted to read on to see what the involvement of Marcus is as the book started to reel me in.

The first encounter with Oliver Wentworth (Olly) doesn’t exactly go to plan as Lexi tries to deliver a painting and with Lexi in a tiz over the painting, Olly trying to convince her he is genuine and Louisa’s baby on its way, it is all happening at Rubha Castle.

The scenery is depicted very well and captures the picturesque beauty of it very well. The book takes readers to Shieldaig in the Wester-Ross region of Scotland, 68 miles west of Inverness. There are of course the castles (as there are in many parts of Scotland). The castle here is Rubha Castle and I like that there is a real sense of the up-keep of such a castle is not easy at all. The contrast between the idyllic, beautiful scenery and a conversation and the emotions works so well as does the disclosure of secrets that are discovered bit by bit.

I must add that I enjoyed that there was such a good combination of art, auction house, scenery, architecture, love life, family life and that not everything is quite as it first appears to be.

This was a delightful read as I sat in the garden with the hot sun beating down (yes, it can even get hot in Scotland) as the story glided from page to page in a relaxing manner. This is a romance, but it also has substance and a good plot. It really is a great heartwarming book to chill out with.

Please note that this is a stand-alone book and at the back of the book there is a note from the author and details of other books.

I give thanks to Avon Books who have kindly given me a free paperback book of Secret Things and Highland Flings.

Please find links below

Links: 
Avon Books Website

Avon Books Twitter

Tracy Corbett

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Title: Secret Things and Highland Flings
Author: Tracy Corbett
Publisher: Avon Books
Pages: 322
ISBN: 978-0-00-829950-7