Great Book Festivals in 2019 – Final 2019 Blog Post #BookFestival #BloodyScotland #MorecambeVice #bookish #wrapup2019

Great Book Festivals in 2019
Final Blog Post of 2019

 

Bloody Scotland Torchlight Procession

I went to Bloody Scotland. This festival takes place annually in September, in Stirling across a few venues, most notably – The Golden Highland Hotel and The Royal Albert Halls. It attracts top authors and those debuting or looking for a festival to pitch their book ideas. It is lots of fun and an amazing and friendly experience in such a compact city.
I went to see Richard Osman from Pointless and House of Cards tv fame (look out for his crime fiction book The Thursday Murder Club in autumn 2020) and Mark Billingham. His latest book is – Their Little Secret. Full review is on my blog. I am looking forward to his book and hoping he returns to Bloody Scotland in 2020. I thank again, Richard Osman for the quick and nice chat and Mark Billingham for signing my book and for a nice chat.

I also saw Ian Rankin, who is also very good and very interesting, talking about his latest Rebus Book – In a House of Lies. I thank Ian Rankin again for the quick chat.
There is also a torchlight parade, which I took part in.
In 2018, I saw the author M.C. Beaton – author of Hamish Macbeth, Agatha Raisin and many others and actor Ashley Jensen – tv credits include Agatha Raisin, Love, Lies and Records, Ugly Betty and much more.
It attracts many, many more authors and their website and brochure is always worth checking out. This is a popular festival, so it is worth seeing who is on relatively early as tickets do sell out.
I had such a great time, so had to go back in 2019.
I look forward to returning to Bloody Scotland in 2020 and seeing who the authors will be.

My review of Richard Osman with Mark Billingham can be found on my blog.

I was invited back to Morecambe and Vice Crime Book Festival to review the entire weekend of amazing panels and had a thoroughly enjoyable time. This festival attracts an array of authors and speakers to Morecambe and is quirky, fun, interesting and informative. It even attracted a podcast. The authors varied from children’s authors to YA to adult fiction and non-fiction. There were talks about festivals and what it takes to set them up and the different types. There were topical talks about mental health too. I saw so many authors that it would be quite some list to mention them all, but there are blog posts about each of them in each panel within my blog.
I went first of all in 2018 after a conversation with actor and writer Hugh Fraser. It’s a long story… So, moving on, I was excited when I was invited by the organisers Ben and Tom to return. I look forward to seeing who the panels will be in 2020.
This is a newer and growing festival which is becoming established and making a name for itself, so is worth checking out.
Full reviews of each panel can be found on my blog.

So these are great festivals that will still be around in 2020 that are worthwhile checking out.

I have, before my blog began been to other book festivals, such as Edinburgh and Harrogate, which are also great, but the two I have written about here are the most recent and the festivals I have been to and they are the 2 I have attended whilst writing my blog.

I wish you all a Happy New Year and all the best for 2020. Thank you to all for following my blog. There are more exciting reviews from books to stage and more, to come in 2020, which I hope you will also enjoy and be inspired by. Thanks too for all the organisers and authors, speakers for making these experiences possible.

Review of Hands Up by Stephen Clark @StephCWrites @widopublishing #crimefiction #mystery #fiction #BlackLivesMatter #BlueLivesMatter #journalist #Review

Hands Up
by Stephen Clark
Rated 5 stars *****

About the Author

Stephen Clark is a former award-winning journalist who served as a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times and as a politics editor for the D.C. bureau of FoxNews.com.

As a reporter for the Utica Observer-Dispatch, he won a New York Newspaper Publishers Association Award of Distinguished Community Service for his investigation into the financial struggles of non-profit service. He also won a Society of Professional Journalists Award for Investigative Reporting at the Stamford Advocate.

Stephen is also the author of critically acclaimed Citizen Kill, which explores the dangers of Islamophobia through a government conspiracy to end the domestic war on terror…

Stephen grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and now lives in North Jersey with his wife and son. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Arcadia University and a master’s degree in journalism from Syracuse University.

Hands up cover

Blurb

Officer Ryan Quinn, a rookie raised in a family of cops, is on the fast track to detective until he shoots an unarmed black male. Now with his career, reputation and freedom on the line, he embarks on a quest for redemption that forces him to confront his fears and biases and choose between conscience or silence.

Jade Wakefield is an emotionally damaged college student living in one of Philadelphia’s worst neighbourhoods. She knows the chances of getting an indictment against the cop who killed her brother are slim. When she learns there’s more to the story that the official police account, Jade is determined, even desperate, to find out what really happened. She plans to get revenge by any means necessary.

Kelly Randolph, who returns to Philadelphia broke and broken after abandoning his family ten years earlier, seeks forgiveness whilst mourning the death of his son. But after he’s thrust into the spotlight as the face of the protest movement, his disavowed criminal past resurfaces and threatens to derail the family’s pursuit of justice.

Ryan, Jade and Kelly – three people from different worlds – are on a collision course after the shooting, as their lives interconnect and then spiral into chaos.

Hands up cover

Review

I was excited to be contact via my blog by Stephen Clark to review his book. He kindly sent me a physical copy from the USA (I am based in the UK) and told me a little about his book. This piqued my interest because it is about issues that are still being talked about and happening now. With him being a journalist (and award-winning), I figured he would really know what he was talking about. I am honoured that after coming across my blog that he has chosen me to review for him. This has not in any way swayed my opinion of his book. My review is not biased.

From the first few lines of readers know what has happened. This book focuses on the aftermath of a shooting. I like that. It really works for this book as instantly Officer Ryan Quinn is met and clearly not only trying to convince himself he is not a murderer, but also the tone and the doubting himself is so convincing and brings a bit of humanity to him and instant intrigue as to what really went on, on the fatal day he shot an unarmed black man, but felt his life was in enough jeopardy at the time. I like that it isn’t quite a simple as that. There are complexities to this story that has a black man shot in traffic. It gives a realism to the story.

The book alternates its chapters to bring each character into the story. This really works. The first is Ryan, who then gets interviewed about the incident. The second introduces Jade who has just broken up with her boyfriend and works in Mac’s Tavern and comes across the police and shot man. There is Kelly, who readers meet a little later, who hopes to reunite with his family. It’s well laid out and instantly readers can get a feel for the main characters and the story. It soon becomes clear how all their own lives are interconnected.

Officer Ryan’s world is turned upside down. He was supposed to be planning his wedding to Kaylee, his career was being fast-tracked and now things were not looking so rosy for his present or future.

The contrast between Ryan Quinn, Jade and Kelly is brilliantly done as there is the story from the officer’s point of view, but also his life out of work and then there is the story from Jade’s point of view – the one that even in the UK, we are becoming accustomed to seeing on the news with what happens in the US with the press being around wanting to know what happened and people wanting justice for the person who was shot. Then there’s Kelly’s who shows the scene, again one that we all see on our tv screens of what has now become sadly becoming known as “the usual reaction” and similar, with the prayer vigils, teddy’s, flowers, candles.

The book continues with a shooting of the cop’s house and depicts, what sadly seems to be the cycle of revenge by violence, that is just as sad as the death of Tyrell.

The chapters with Officer Ryan in therapy are also very poignant and adds depth to his character.

Part Two of the book takes the story to the aftermath of the trial of Ryan Quinn. The format is the same as part 1 and there is still the emotion, but the story takes the characters even further and there are some unexpected turns of events and I was still hooked, as I am sure others will be too. This second and final part is as well written and as well-paced as the first part. The twists and turns keeps it all going very well and it has a good, well-written ending.

The book gives a great insight into the aftermath of American life when a shooting happens and the lives of people. There is a depth throughout this book, with issues people face, lives being complicated. There is emotion and characters to care about. This story is one that I feel anyone reading it will want to read to the end to see how it all concludes. I certainly did. It is an absorbing book and one that I didn’t want to put down.

Whether readers are American or not, this is an important and thought-provoking story that Stephen Clark is telling. I really get the sense that he is telling it like it is. News like this is sometimes international, so no matter where you live in the world, there will be recognisable parts. There will be some parts of the story that are just part and parcel of the character’s day-to-day lives may also be relatable to people, wherever they live. The book, although fiction, fits in well with current affairs from all the different angles.

The book would be great for everyone to read and would be one that would be very good for a book group too as it would really spark conversation about the subject matter raised within this book (so long as it didn’t get too heated of course as civil conversations are always best).

Links:

Click here for Stephen Clark’s Website

Click here for Stephen Clark’s Twitter

Review of First in the Fight – 20 Women Who Made Manchester Rated 5 stars @inostalgiauk @HelenAntrobus #AndrewSimcock @LoveBooksGroup #Manchester #Scotland #UK #History #Review #BlogTour #Non-Fiction #Culture #Political #Nature #Social

First in the Fight – 20 Women Who Made Manchester
By Helen Antrobus and Andrew Simcock
Rated:5 stars *****

 

I am delighted and very excited to be part of this blog tour for the People’s History Museum for their book – The First in the Fight. Expertly put together by the historian and author Helen Antrobus and Andrew Simcock, this book celebrates women who yes, are important to Manchester, but in-turn, also made a huge impact on the UK as a whole, which we still see today. So, whether you are in Manchester or elsewhere, please do take time to find out what this book is actually all about. It covers more than you would think in the lovely short sections that are just a few pages long. They certainly keep the interest going and that want to read on.

Click here for a link: Nostalgia

Click here for a link for blog tour organiser

Blurb

Emmeline Pankhurst stands proudly in St Peter’s Square, but she stands for so many more… From the women who marched to St Peter’s Fields flying the flag for reform to the first entrepreneurs, the women of Greater Manchester have long stood shoulder to shoulder in the fight for equality and social change. For the centenary of some women being able to vote in 2018, the journey began for a statue to be erected, symbolising the incredible lives and achievements of Manchester’s radical women. Glimpse at the lives of the twenty women who were long-listed in the campaign, who all made Manchester first in the fight for freedom, and feminism.

Manchester Women Cover

Review

Behold these women who stood up for women’s rights. Some for the right to vote, others for workers rights and there are other women who inspire for other reasons as well.

This beautiful book important, influential women who have made a great impact, not just in Manchester, but across the entire UK, your mind may turn to the Pankhursts. The book does cover them, but there are also women who have done great things, who are less known or in the midst of time have been largely forgotten about, with their being at least one, almost being erased from history altogether.

This is a book I would recommend to anyone wanting to know more about social and political history and the women’s lives who were part of change or achieved great things that weren’t within the political sphere too. That’s what is so great here, is the variety of women who are showcased in this book.
The book nicely starts off with a very interesting bit about Manchester and its history before taking each individual women and allowing readers to learn something about who they were and who they became. It certainly is a valuable book full of substance. It is beautifully presented in the way it is written, with each woman just having a just few pages about them. It is also very well illustrated from the cover right down to the pages inside. Even the front cover seems fitting and eye-catching.

Let me take you on a short journey in tim to whet your appetite for reading this book.

The women who have been so well researched for this book are:

  1. Margaret Downes – read about her; discover what happened to her and Peterloo and some other, perhaps more prominent women who would have been around too.
  2. Margaret Ashton – a leading lady from Lancashire who was in the fight for equality and yet later had her name all but erased for quite some time. Find out how her name resurfaced and about her upbringing that brought her perhaps to the Suffrage movement.

  3. Mary Quaile – Born in Dublin, her family and her moved to Manchester and were from a poor working class background. Read about the her and other women who tried for equality in the workplace. Find out more about these women and the TUC here.

  4. Esther Roper – An orphan, she was one of the first women to attend Robert Owen’s College. Scots would know him for championing worker’s rights at New Lanark (now a great museum). She also wanted to continue where Lydia Becker left off (mentioned further below). Delve further into this part and you’ll find out more about her and her connections with suffragettes.

  5. Ellen Wilkinson – one of the first women to be voted into parliament and is also famous for leading the Jarrow March. Read her section to find out how she ended up in parliament and a bit about her life as a child and her death.

  6. Lydia Becker – largely forgotten in the tides of history, she had sympathies with the working class and also wrote a book about the suffragettes and set up a literary society with the focus on science. There’s much to be discovered in this part about her.

  7. Christabel Pankhurst – The Pankhursts played host to many reformers such as Keir Hardie from Scotland, William Morris – the English textile designer, activist etc and many more people, who you can discover in the book. There’s interesting bits about the relationship between Christabel and Emmeline to find out too.

  8. Sylvia Pankhurst – she had artistic and political leanings and led an interesting life in both her achievements and how family relations were with her.

  9. Emmeline Pankhurst – Perhaps not the first in the fight for women, but perhaps one of the most well-known and influential women to fight to gain the vote. There are snippets here and there however that perhaps you may or may not already know, so it’s still worth reading.

  10. Elizabeth Gaskell – One of the most influential authors of her time who also became acquainted to other well-known authors such as Charles Dickens and Charlotte Bronte. There are other parts of her life however that is perhaps less well-known and yet also fascinating, such as charitable work, other people who she met and life in general that aren’t so well-known.

  11. Enriqueta Rylands – she came across to Manchester from Cuba, other women shouted louder, so sadly she is sometimes overlooked and yet she is just as important. She was the founder of the John Ryland’s Library (perhaps a bit more well-known than herself as it is now a world landmark for literary lovers and historians. The library still exists today). Read more in this section about how she came to being in the UK, the overshadowing and her legacy to the world.

  12. Annie Horniman – she certainly lived a varied life and not one that would instantly spring to mind. Expect the somewhat unexpected here. There are many parts to her life that are very worth reading and is written in such a way that you would really get a good impression of what this woman was like.

  13. Olive Shapley – She presented Women’s Hour in the 1930’s (a radio 4 programme that still runs today) and created a safe house for women. There’s even more to this woman than meets the eye and some of it quite risky for the time. So read on to find out more about this pioneering woman.

  14. Marie Stopes – she fought for birth control and more. She, however, is a controversial woman who had (perhaps unfortunately) eugenics firmly in her sights and more can be found out in the book.

  15. Shena Simon – she championed for better education and active citizenship (however it was Ellen Wilkinson who was the first Minister of Education in 1945), but she nevertheless seemed to do quite a lot, which can be discovered in her part.

  16. Kathleen Ollerenshaw – one of the greatest mathematicians in the country (UK), she advocated for a lot educationally and died in 2014. There’s so much of her life that would have been, perhaps unknown until now…

  17. Louise  Da-Cocodia – the section starts with a great sounding African proverb, before moving onto her time within the NHS and being part of the “windrush” generation and creating a legacy.

  18. Elizabeth Raffald – long before Mary Berry and Nadia Hussain and lots of other people who you can think of today who are bakers, there was Elizabeth Raffald. A woman who was making waves in the business world and unbeknown to her she has left a legacy, of which more can be read about as well as a bit about her life.

  19. Emily Williamson – She was passionate about the conservation and preservation of wildlife. Her passion really shines through and I she would fit well in today’s most influential conservationists etc such as David Attenborough and Chris Packham. Her life is different from that from the social campaigners and worth reading to uncover more.

  20. Sunny Lowry – She swam the Channel. Again different from the social or political activists, but it shows women can do this and also take a moment to read this section as this isn’t just about achieving swimming the Channel (although impressive in itself), this is about much more that came into being afterwards.

To conclude, this is absolutely a fascinating book to read a really worthwhile getting. There are so many interesting parts that aren’t specifically about the women mentioned too, such as how it came about that there would be a statue for Emmeline Pankhurst and the work that went into that. There are well presented photos of this too, which were taken in very recent times. I highly recommend this book for anyone to read.

Manchester Women Cover

Happy Halloween – A message and fun facts #Halloween #UK #USA #Family #Education #Article

Halloween pic

Happy Halloween and Fun Facts

I hope that if you do something for Halloween, that you enjoy it. Stay safe and have fun and enjoy any treats you get for your efforts of dressing up/taking the children round doors, singing songs, telling a story or a joke. Remember to be nice to people and they’ll be nice and more tolerant back.

In Scotland we call it guising, although increasingly, like so many things, it is now being very Americanised and also called sometimes Trick or Treating. In a world that is becoming increasingly challenging to be in, spread some kindness and fun across this Halloween.

Fun Facts about Halloween:

 

  • The word “witch” comes from the Old English wicce, meaning “wise woman.” In fact, wiccan were highly respected people at one time. According to popular belief, witches held one of their two main meetings, or sabbats, on Halloween night.

 

  • “Souling” is a medieval Christian precursor to modern-day trick-or-treating. On Hallowmas (November 1), the poor would go door-to-door offering prayers for the dead in exchange for soul cakes.

 

  • Trick-or-treating evolved from the ancient Celtic tradition of putting out treats and food to placate spirits who roamed the streets at Samhain, a sacred festival that marked the end of the Celtic calendar year.

 

  • According to tradition, if a person wears his or her clothes inside out and then walks backwards on Halloween, he or she will see a witch at midnight.

 

  • Jack O’Lanterns were originally made from turnips.

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

Blog Tour Review of Toletis by Rafa Ruiz – For Ages Seven to 107 #Toletis @rafaruizmad #RafaRuiz @Neemtreepress #RandomThingsTour @AnneCater #AlenaHomiga #BenDawlatly #Spain #UK #Environment #Climate #Adventure #Fiction #Kidslit #YA #Education

Toletis
By Rafa Ruiz
Rated: 4 Stars ****

It is with great pleasure that I present to you my review of Toletis by Rafa Ruiz. The book for people ages 7 to 107 because it has important themes of friendship, the environment and there’s plenty of adventure and some humour, complete with illustrations. This is a book that adults and children can read alone or enjoy together and gain something from it. It is a book to inspire everyone at every milestone in their lives.

Today is happily my turn on the Random Things Blog Tour I was invited on.

FINAL Toletis BT Poster

About the Author

Rafa Ruiz Author PicRafa Ruiz is a journalist and author who has a staunch commitment to culture, art and the environment. He spent 25 years at Spanish newspaper El País and is a partner-founder of the Press Association for Environmental Information (APIA). He has written numerous children’s books, and he codirects the Mad is Mad art gallery in Madrid which gives space to up-and-coming artists. He is one of the partner-founders of the Press Association for Environmental Information (APIA).

 

Toletis Elena Hormiga PictureElena Hormiga is an illustrator with a sense of humour. She studied and worked as an engineer and later turned to illustration

 

 

Ben Dawlatly PictureBen Dawlatly took an MA in Hispanic Studies and Translation Theory at UCL. He translates both technical and literary texts. However, his real calling is in fiction and poetry.

 

Blurb

Trees are disappearing and adults don’t care. Toletis, his dog Amenophis and friends Claudia and Tutan are on a mission to turn their little valley town, set deep in the mountains, luscious green again. The odds are stacked against them. Can they succeed… with some very unusual help?

Toletis is a positive role model for boys

Toletis is a quiet, sensitive and caring boy who isn’t afraid to show his emotions. His character is a perfect antidote to the expectations of a “typical” boy: loud, boisterous and destructive. This is definitely a book for parents who reject the saying “boys will be boys”.

The ‘big’ real life stuff

One of the things I love most about Toletis is that it touches on big real life events such as the death of a family member in a wholesome and loving way. Sad events in the book are neither taboo nor overly sad; they are expertly touched upon in a way that is both matter-of-fact and empathetic.

Toletis encourages a love of nature

It’s easy to be drawn in by the immersive storytelling and beautiful illustrations. Toletis spends much of the book exploring the hills and valleys around his home, foraging, planting trees and doing all of the things every child should. The book gives just enough detail – the smells, the sounds of the hills are so clear you’re almost there yourself.

Toletis has a good sense of justice

Toletis has a good sense of justice. When trees are cut down to put a wide road through the town, he hatches a plan to stop it. He knows what is wrong in the world and isn’t afraid to step up and change it. 

Toletis Cover

Review

Travel along with the playful mist and meet Toletis who has a love of trees and to get to know them all as well as grow one, especially an apple tree. The book goes into the fascination of this in a lovely amount of detail and enough to feed the curiosity of young minds. Toletis’s friend Tutan also has a deep interest in wildlife and tries to imitate birds such as hen harriers, swifts, tawny owls and more and also animals such as pigs, horses, dogs and more.

In Spring time, also meet the Treenie-weenies, who are all the souls of the trees that had been felled, who then inhabit other trees. There’s an issue though – the town isn’t planting more trees and the Treenie-weenies are bored. Read on to find out what they do in the end. It certainly wasn’t what I expected, it was even better.

In the book you can join Toletis at his school and learn the Wobbegong language, which his teacher doesn’t understand and is reminded to write in English, but he speaks it with Aunty Josifina as they play with words and language and just have fun with it.

It is soon Summer time and there’s more people to meet and things to do.

Meet Alexander Atherton Aitken who comes to see Toletis, Tutan and Claudia on a farm. There visitor just isn’t used to farm animals. There’s fun and tall tales to be had and later in the chapter Lian – AAA as Alexander was shortened to has tales of his own to tell about Julian and whether he went to war or not and whether he was the Lian or not. Read on to find out what happens next and about the mysterious house.

Autumn arrives and Toletis promises hazlenuts for his mum and goes “nutting” a tree. There’s some natural child thoughts about how Toletis imagines his mum not being around anymore. It seems dark, but lots of children, including me, has thought and imagined this in childhood. In this case it sweetly makes Toletis appreciate his mum even more. There’s also a parts of growing up as he looks at his dad’s legs and compares them with his own, just to see if they’re the same. Children will relate to this as they try to make sense of things as they grow. There’s comfort to be gained by this part in the stories.

Behold the rickety mansion that belongs to Claudia’s Granny Ursula with her animal-like eyes. It is atmospheric and a feast for the eyes with its antique furniture and cakes, lots of cakes and then a further surprise of something else edible on the third floor. Read further to find out what…

Enter the Wide Road where people move too fast through their surroundings, never really paying attention to it as they speed along the road, that is also being widened by workmen. Toletis is different. He properly observes the surroundings. It highlights what plant species grow on road verges and their importance. There’s a stark contrast between the hard asphalt and the beauty of the green verges and the destruction of them and the speed on the roads and what harm can be done.

Winter brings a coldness that can almost be felt, as can the comfort of wintry foods. It also gives time for old photographs to come to the fore, which bring intrigue, beauty and fun that is so illustravely written.

Throughout the book there are adventures to have, friendships and a real care for the immediate environment, which is beautifully written. This may not be a book that immediately comes to people’s minds so quickly and yet there are important messages within it and it is a lovely story for children to explore this lovely vivid book alone or with and adult.

There are interesting illustrations throughout the book to assist in telling the story, which will appeal to many children of the ages 7 plus as they are now so used to reading books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Tom Gates, Storey Treehouse series that all have illustrations through them too.

The book will appeal to boys and girls alike and has Toletis, the main character having the qualities of being a positive role model to both. It shows a sensitivity as well as still having humour and adventure throughout it.