27 May 2015

THE SUMMER OF BROKEN STORIES.


The Summer of Broken StoriesTHE SUMMER OF BROKEN STORIES by JAMES WILSON.

BACK COVER BLURB: England, 1950s. While out playing in the woods, ten-year-old Mark meets a man living in an old railway carriage. Despite his wild appearance, the stranger, who introduces himself as Aubrey Hillyard, is captivating - an irreverent outsider who is shunned by Mark's fellow villagers, and a writer to boot. Aubrey encourages Mark to tell stories about his own make-believe world, and in return he informs the boy about a novel he is writing - a work of ominous science fiction.

As the meddling villagers plot to drive Aubrey out, Mark finds himself caught between two worlds - yet convinced that he must help Aubrey prevail at any cost. 

FIRST SENTENCE {Chapter One}: It's as if for years you've had a picture on your wall.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 70}: As they close on her, Peggy Akers suddenly cries out, stumbles, then collapses onto the bank, strewing the ground with buttercups and daisies.  Grimacing with pain, she clutches at her ankle - revealing a pair of lumpy green knickers. To Mark's horror, they're stained with darker patches, and the top of her thigh is wet.

SOURCE: Received for review from Alma Books. (Click here to read an excerpt).

MY THOUGHTS: A story of an outsider (Aubery) who, most of the adults having found his mysterious presence dubious to say the least, is befriended by two children, Mark and, other newcomer to the village, Lou.

A tale of inter-generational friendships, of stories swapped as Marc and Aubery tell their tales. Mark's an innocent childhood tale, Aubery's an altogether darker, more sinister one.

Evoking a bygone era in which children, free to roam as they pleased, had secret dens with which passwords were needed to enter and formed friendships with adults that were free from suspicion in a way they aren't generally today. The Summer Of Broken Stories, told in such a way as to be almost cinematic, is a rich, multi-layered read in which the author subtly plays with our perceptions.

And as for the characters?

Wonderfully quirky, I adored the eccentric, 'awfully British' Murky (an elderly friend of Mark given to giving him the odd glass of home-made blackberry wine - ah times have indeed changed). And as for Mark? A boy poised on the cusp of adolescence, whilst female and a child of the seventies myself, he is the sort of character that I found myself readily relating to.

With its two worlds, that of the real and the imaginary, this was everything I was hoping for ... and more. 


26 May 2015

OF ANIMALS AND PEANUT BUTTER.

WARNING: Whilst I endeavour to keep Media Monday family friendly I feel it only right to point out that some of the newspapers featured do have links to articles of a more adult nature. TT

Alexander McCall Smith's Fatty O'Leary's Dinner Party has won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for comic fiction which, possibly Literature's most eccentric prize, saw him awarded a large quantity of champagne, a 99 strong set of books and .... a pig named after their novel.

Personally I'd prefer to eat it ...

Shaving your legs with peanut butter is the quirky way of getting super-smooth legs this summer as according to a consultant dermatologist at a London clinic the old kitchen staple has moisturising benefits.

Doh! She did say your legs and not your face ...

Armed with a jar of Sun-Pat and a packet of disposable razors a man tried shaving his face with peanut butter .... and apart from it smelling nicer than shaving foam and tasting better when you licked it off your fingers it wasn't pleasant.

And now for the story that caught Mr T's attention ...

Having escaped from her field and been shot by police marksmen concerned for the welfare of the public a FaceBook group (RIP Wallsend Cow) had organised a candlelit vigil to pay respects to the cow affectionately named Bessie.


24 May 2015

AS MUCH AS I LOVE CHOCOLATE ....



- Sweet potato 
(Japan)

Japanese Kit Kat – Gouda Cheese
- Gouda Cheese
(Japan)

- Peanut .... and ketchup
(America)

Tayto has already sold out of the limited edition run of 100,000 bars it produced in Ireland
- Cheese & Onion crisp
(Ireland) 

Bacon chocolate
- Bacon
(England)

Havana Tobacco Chocolate, Belgia
- Havana tobacco
(Belgium)

- Chocolate flavoured tooth paste
(Philippines)

And last but not least ...

In a wedding that would make Willy Wonka proud a fifty four year old bride from Devon married in a gown made up of chocolate wrappers.

Any of these take your fancy? I must admit if it wasn't for the colour I quite like the idea of the sweet potato Kit-Kat and the cheese & Onion crisp flavoured Tayto don't sound too bad either.

22 May 2015

THE CARETAKER OF IMAGINATION.


THE CARETAKER OF IMAGINATION by Z.R. SOUTHCOMBE.

BACK COVER BLURB: Bored with his normal life, John Carroll runs away with his faithful cat in search of adventure. When he meets a real-life pirate, John realises there is much more to the world than he'd ever thought possible - that magic is real, and in desperate need of a hero.

John must convince the (once fearsome) Captain Simon Peabody to join him on a fantastic and perilous quest to find the only person who can save magic from being lost forever: the Caretaker of Imagination.

FIRST SENTENCE {Prologue}: Like most children, John wanted to run away.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 65}: Unfortunately for this group of pirates, none of them was too flash with a fishing rod and so they wasted valuable hours trying to catch something big enough for a dragon.

SOURCE: Received for review from the author.

MY THOUGHTS: The first in a series. I liked this book, really liked it - after all, a story about the quest for magic featuring a pirate, a dragon AND a cat, what is there not to like? However I felt that it had a lot more potential, that at only eighty six pages long it could leave all but the youngest of readers disappointed that it wasn't a longer story. 

Still, a fun read. With its imaginative plot, great illustrations and a wonderful mix of colourful characters it should appeal to children and is traditional enough to be a hit as a bedtime read with parents/grandparents.