Monday, 22 December 2014

"If you are looking for a special something for a child on Christmas, I suggest this book"

Review
"I have had the privilege to read Aliens and Angels by Sue Hampton before many other young readers who I am sure are anxious to read. I do not want to give away much of the stories because I don't want to disappoint anyone in any way whatsoever. What I can say is as I started reading the book I straight away started to get into the first story, and then the second story called Not without a carrot. This story is based on a donkey called Trouble who doesn't do ANYTHING without a carrot, and oh my...the third story!!!! The third story is called Bootee for Etta. WHAT A BEAUTIFUL STORY! It creates mixed emotions throughout the story. This story was based on a little girl called Etta who was left without her parents on Christmas. You will have to read the story to understand why it was such an amazing

Sunday, 21 December 2014

"a story of hope in a dark place, a super book that is to be highly recommended."

Review
"My reaction to reading these three stories was to marvel at the breadth of Sue's imagination. In the first story, from which the book takes its title, a young boy feels different from his classmates, he suffers from name calling and is quite unhappy with his part in the school nativity play. The story leads him through wonderful adventures of his imagination - or is it reality? I was not sure and it didn't seem to matter anyway - to a very satisfying conclusion. The second story was first published in this newsletter after Sue read it for our crib service. I was again moved by its great joy and laughed at the humour. The third story "Bootee for Etta" is a story of hope in a dark place for a young girl whose mother is rushed into hospital and she is bundled off to spend Christmas with her family’s cleaning lady. She is worried

"Beautifully written with rich visual imagery, makes us see three familiar aspects of Christmas in a different light"

Review
"Sue Hampton is a well-known local writer with over 20 books for children and young adults to her name. Her latest book, Aliens and Angels, is a collection of three stories with a Christmas theme. Sue’s stories are always beautifully written with rich visual imagery, and they are full of humour and imagination. Her new collection makes us see three familiar aspects of Christmas in a different light. The first story is about a boy who wanted to be an angel in his school nativity play rather than one of the aliens, which all have to be clumsy, spotty and hop about with their legs tied together. Nobody can understand what the problem is or why he doesn't like his role. The second story is about an obstinate donkey with a passion for carrots whose owner loses patience with her and sells her to someone called Joseph. The donkey

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Full Marks | Crime Detective Mystery

Full Marks
by Neal James

The stench was almost overpowering, and it hit them as soon as they had forced open the front door of the house. Detective Sergeant Marks recognised it immediately – the smell of death and decomposition. He had experienced body discovery before but nothing as bad as this, and they were yet to locate the source. Ten years earlier, as a uniformed PC, he had been called to a house on the local council estate where neighbours had reported an unpleasant odour coming from a property at the end of their street. They had noticed rats going in and out of the place, and hadn’t seen the occupier, a single woman in her late fifties, for some time. It had been down to him as the neighbourhood policeman to gain entry and assess the situation.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Me and the Foreign Girl | Suspense

Me and the Foreign Girl
by James McCarthy

An explosion rocked the trawler from stem to stern, and threw Pat O’Malley forward on to the spokes of the steering wheel. His chest took the brunt of it. He couldn’t be sure but he thought he heard a scream before he landed on the floor with a thump. He couldn’t breathe properly because of the pain in his chest. As this eased he looked around for Tarja; she was sitting on the wheelhouse floor behind him sobbing. Propelled off the bench she must have hit the floor hard.
‘Are you all right?’ he asked, while checking his ribs for fractures. They were sore to touch but none had broken.
‘I’m OK. Did we hit something?’ She was now sitting up and rubbing her right shoulder.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

The Late Night Vigil

The Laird of Castle Ballantine
by Harry Riley

“This is a crazy waste of time,” whispers Hilary.
“I agree, but we have to be here, you know we do!”
“I can’t think why, it’s pretty obvious nothing’s going to happen and I’m absolutely freezing.”
Another muted voice cuts in from the darkness at the edge of the crowd, from someone who is listening intently: “I’ve got my camera with me just in case.”
It is bitterly cold and the mist is swirling up from the flooded River Tweed, just below the small churchyard where they are now clustered. Leonard McFadden pulls his coat collar higher to protect his bare neck. Enviously he turns around and glares at the man standing behind him who had the foresight to bring his camera and to be wearing a warm woolly hat.
Leonard thinks he is coming down with the flu; he should be tucked up in bed with a glass of brandy, snug in his room at the Towers Hotel, back at Berwick Upon Tweed. Raising a hand to his mouth he tries vainly to stifle a cough that has been itching to burst out: watching as his exposed breath lingers visibly in the cold night air. He feels he should at least be waiting on the other side of the heavy wrought iron gates, in the old Singer Gazelle, with the engine running, and the heater going full blast, after all, Hilary is right, nothing’s really going to happen…is it?
There are over a dozen journalists, each of them rubbing their hands together and thumping their feet heavily on the sodden ground, trying frantically to stamp some life back into their ice cold toes–clustering together in this ice covered churchyard, and making an untidy circle around the grave…

Paperback | Waterstones | Amazon UK

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

A Fearful Madness | Crime Detective Mystery

A Fearful Madness
by Julius Falconer

It has been said, by whom and when I have forgotten, that the four ingredients of a good story are religion, sex, aristocracy and mystery. In line with this recipe, one practised hand penned the following line:
‘My God,’ said the duchess, ‘I’m pregnant. I wonder whodunnit.’
This might qualify as the shortest short story ever told – and I doubt whether it could be expressed in more compressed form even in an inflected language. The following account of the case of a death by curtain-tie will, I hope, provide you with more extended interest on the basis of the same recipe. It begins with sex and religion, and, if the circumstances strike you as sordid, I cannot help it: I recount the facts as I find them, and they are a necessary prelude to what follows.