4 Books to Help You Achieve Dry January

How to Quiz Alcohol in 50 Days by Simon Chapple

Do you feel trapped by alcohol? Do you find yourself thinking about drinking too often? Do you put alcohol ahead of the most important things in your life? If so – here’s some good news. You can quit drinking, and it’s not as difficult as you think.

The Alcohol Experiment by Annie Grace

 It’s YOUR body. It’s YOUR mind. It’s YOUR choice. If you’re reading this right now, you’re questioning how much you drink. Maybe you know you drink way too much and you want to quit. Or maybe you’re just curious. No matter where you are on the drinking spectrum, you’re not alone.

This Naked Mind by Annie Grace

Millions of people worry that drinking is affecting their health, yet are unwilling to seek change because of the misery and stigma associated with alcoholism and recovery. They fear drinking less will be boring, difficult and involve deprivation and significant lifestyle changes. ‘This Naked Mind’ offers a new solution.

The 30-Day Sobriety Solution by Jack Canfield and Dave Andrews

‘The 30-Day Sobriety Solution’ offers the answer to anyone who feels their drinking has become unmanageable. Inspired by Canfield’s work in self-esteem and success training and developed into a programme by Dave Andrews, it integrates positive psychology, neurolinguistic programming, cognitive therapy, meditation, positive self-talk and the correction of negative self-perceptions, amongst numerous other techniques.

To reserve these books or search for others visit https://www.hillingdon.gov.uk/libraries.

Debbie’s Santa Craft

You will need:

White card or paper

Red card or paper

Cotton wool

Crayon to draw eyes (I could not resist using googly eyes but we advise that younger children draw them)

Rounded Scissors – If you do not have rounded scissors ask your adult to cut out all the shapes for you first. Then you can have all the fun sticking it together. If you are very little then you could just ask your adult to draw the Santa shape on the card or paper and you can stick on cotton wool etc or just colour in Santa.

Non toxic glue stick

Cut a circle from the white card. Cut a hat shape as shown above from the red card. Cut a circle from red card for the nose.

Stick the hat onto the circle of card, covering about 1/3 of the circle

Stick on the nose and draw the eyes.

Glue a round ball of cotton wool to the end of the hat and a strip of cotton wool to the bottom of the hat. Glue a beard of cotton wool to your Santa and he is finished.

As with all small parts, care should be taken – especially with preschool children.

Debbie’s Christmas Craft let’s make a Snowman!

Snowman for Older Children

You will need:

2 sheets of white card

Black card

Assorted buttons (or small circles of card)

Pipe cleaners or ribbon

Googly eyes (if you have them)

Glue

Rounded Scissors

Using one of the pieces of white card, cut two circles, one smaller than the other. Then fold the edge of the larger circle underneath about 2 cm. Stick the two circles together as shown below.

Cut a hat shape from the piece of black card.

Stick the hat onto the head. It doesn’t have to be straight.

Decorate your snowman. Glue on googly eyes if you have them, if not draw the eyes on. I used orange buttons glued on top of one another to make a nose. If you don’t have buttons then draw a nose on. The mouth was made from black card cut with a hole punch and glued on.

The scarf was a glittery pipe cleaner bent to shape and glued on. You could also use ribbon, or even draw the scarf on. Stick buttons onto the body of the snowman; any colour and number can be used. If you don’t have buttons, then draw them on.

Decorate the hat with the second pipe cleaner, or ribbon, or whatever you have. There is no limit to your imagination. Use the second piece of white card to make a support for your snowman to stand up.

Enjoy making your snowman!

Due to the small parts used, care should be taken if there are preschool children in your household.

Debbie’s Snowman Craft for younger children

You will need:

1 sheet of white card

Black card

Scraps of card or paper, any colour for decorating

Cotton wool balls

Non toxic glue stick

Rounded Scissors – If you do not have rounded scissors ask your adult to cut out all the shapes for you first. Then you can have all the fun sticking it together. If you are very little then you could just ask your adult to draw the snowman shape on the card or paper and you can stick on cotton wool or just colour in the snowman.

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Using one of the pieces of white card, cut two circles, one smaller than the other.

Fold the edge of the larger circle underneath about 2 cm. Stick the two circles together as shown.

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Cut a hat shape from the piece of black card.

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Decorate your snowman. Stick cotton wool balls onto the snowman. Cut out eyes, nose, mouth, buttons and a hat band from scrap paper/card and stick on as shown. Stick the hat onto the head. It doesn’t have to be straight. There is no limit to your imagination.

Cosy Christmas Reads for the Festive Season

The gleam of the fireplace, twinkling lights and soft Christmas jumpers…the holiday season is officially here! This year, things are a little different and you might be spending more time at home over Christmas and in the weeks following. Whether you’re busy with family round or keeping things a little quieter, we think everyone should have some time to settle in with a cosy book and a hot drink this festive season. So, here are some fiction titles to keep you warm and jolly over the holiday.

On the beautiful remote island of Mure, The Rock – the rambling, disused hotel on the tip of the island – was Coltan’s passion project before he died. With Flora’s help, Fintan is going to get the hotel up and running in time for Christmas, transforming it into a festive haven of crackling log fires and delicious food. Can they pull it together in time for the big opening and will Flora help her family find happiness this Christmas?

This enchanting mix of historical drama and romance cordially invites you to the wedding of the year! When fiercely independent chambermaid Nancy Nettleton first moved to London and the Buckingham hotel, the last thing on her mind was finding love, let alone falling for the debonair demonstration dancer Raymond de Guise. As the band strikes up in the Grand Ballroom to celebrate Nancy and Raymond’s wedding, one thing is certain – this will be a Christmas to remember.

Britain’s much loved saga author, Rosie Goodwin is back with her signature warmth, wonderful characters and unforgettable drama. When Opal Sharp finds herself and her younger siblings suddenly orphaned and destitute, she thinks things can get no worse. But soon three of them – including Opal – are struck down with the illness that took their father, and her brother Charlie is forced to make an impossible decision.

When Nora Seed finds herself in the Midnight Library, she has a chance to make things right. Up until now, her life has been full of misery and regret. She feels she has let everyone down, including herself. But things are about to change. The books in the Midnight Library enable Nora to live as if she had done things differently. With the help of an old friend, she must answer the ultimate question: what is the best way to live?

Sally Suggs is working tirelessly to bring in enough money to keep bread on the table especially when her father, a skilled rag-and-bone man, falls ill and Sally takes up his trade. But this is a man’s world and competition is fierce, and Sally’s rival Finn Kelly always seems to be one step ahead. Her family’s one valuable possession is their horse, Flower, yet with no one to protect them, London’s underbelly of black-market traders circle closer. Sally needs to find help in the most unexpected places if they are to survive…

Everly Lancaster always dreamed of leaving behind her hometown in rural Illinois. When a massive snowstorm hits, Everly’s mother urges the workaholic to come home for Christmas, but she hesitates to return to the life that she tried so hard to escape. Searching for other holiday plans, Everly tasks her assistant with booking her a cruise – an ideal escape. She embarks on a week-long tour of the Amazon guided by charming naturalist Asher Adams, but slowly realises just how important her relationships are to her. Can she make it home in time for Christmas Day?

And if you can’t get to your local library, here’s some digital options available to borrow for free with a Hillingdon Library card. Find out more here.

With Christmas coming up, Bo can’t wait to head to the snow-fringed fjords of Norway and the picturesque and remote hillside farmhouse that will be home for the next few weeks, Bo’s determined to enjoy a romantic Christmas under the Northern Lights. Everything should be perfect. But the mountains hold secrets from the past and as temperatures plunge and tensions rise, Bo must face up to the fact that a life which looks perfect to the outside world may not be the life she should be living…

Standing on London’s Victoria docks with the wind biting through her shawl, Rose Munday realises she’s been abandoned by her sweetheart. With no money and no family left in London, Rose must go to work. Finding herself a position as a typist in a slowly modernising London, Rose’s future begins to take shape in ways she would never have foreseen. But London is a treacherous place for a young woman, and what initially seemed a brave decision, might just be a dangerous one…

By Dilinna

Hillingdon Libraries Presents: Lockdown Lunches

Hillingdon Libraries brings its popular CultureBite author events to lunchtime, to help you get through lockdown.  

Whether you’re working from home or tuning in from your office during a break, our fast, fun and friendly live broadcasts are sure to introduce you to you to a new favourite author or two.  

All our Lockdown Lunches author interviews will be streamed live to Hillingdon Libraries’ Facebook and YouTube channels, giving you the chance to put your questions to authors in real time.   

They’ll also be available afterwards for you to catch up with whenever you like.  

Like us on Facebook

Subscribe on YouTube

New authors are signing up all the time, so check back to see who’s been added to the list. 

Interviews you can watch right now…

Rowena House: Wednesday 11 November, 12-noon  

Author Rowena House talks about her First-World-War-set novel, The Goose Road (“An astonishing debut” – Books for Keeps), in a special Remembrance Day interview.   

Missed it live? Catch up here

Matt Killeen: Thursday 12 November, 12-noon   

Matt Killeen, author of Orphan Monster Spy and Devil Darling Spy, talks about the themes of racism, pandemic and international conflict in his World-War-Two-set thrillers. 

Missed it live? Catch up here

Skiing and Suspense with Catherine Cooper: Friday 20 November, 12-noon  

Catherine Cooper’s brand new debut thriller The Chalet might just make you glad that winter breaks are off the cards at the moment! This mystery, set at a ski resort, has been called ‘pure adrenaline’ by the author Eric Kelly. Catherine joins us to talk snow, skiing and suspense.  

Missed it live? Catch up here

Dark Dystopias with Tracey Mathias: Wednesday 25 November, 12-noon

Described as ‘a furious dystopian shoulder-shake’ by The Guardian, Tracey Mathias’ latest novel, Silence Is Also A Lie imagines a Britain ruled by frightening, intolerant politicians – and the huge implications of their actions for one young girl.

Tracking Tigers with Polly Clark: Thursday 26 November, 12-noon  

Polly Clark is a former zookeeper. She tracked tigers in Siberia as part of the research for her latest novel, which tells the story of a primatologist who must care for an untamed Siberian tiger…  

The Ship Sets Sail with Antonia Honeywell: Tuesday 1 December, 12-noon  

Author Antonia Honeywell returns to Hillingdon Libraries to chat about her wonderful novel The Ship, which was previously named as our Culture Bite Book of the Month – and to tell us what she’s been up to since then!  

Missed it live? Catch-up here

INTERVIEWS COMING SOON…

Three Women and a Boat with Anne Youngson: Thursday 3 December, 12-noon

Costa Award shortlisted author Anne Youngson joins us to chat about her brand new novel, Three Women and a Boat, an uplifting and joyful story of self-discovery and new friendships.

Shadow Sands with Robert Bryndza: Wednesday 9 December, 12-midday  

Robert Bryndza is the multi-million copy bestselling author of the Erika Foster series, which launched with The Girl in the Ice in 2016. Shadow Sands is the latest instalment of his new series, fronted by ex-detective Kate Marshall. 

Secrets and Lies with Karen Hamilton: Thursday 10 December, 12-noon   

In December, our lunchtime interview programme continues as ‘CultureBite Lunches’.   

Join us at 12pm on 10 December with Sunday Times bestselling author Karen Hamilton, as she talks about her latest thriller, The Last Wife, and her unusual research methods, including attending psychologist appointments in character! 

She Will Soar with Ana Sampson: Wednesday 16 December, midday  

Join Ana Sampson, editor of the brilliant new poetry anthology, She Will Soar, as she talks about the process of putting together a book of poems – and why she thinks women have so often written about themes of freedom and escape in their poetry.

Digital kids’ books for Halloween

Halloween is fast approaching, so here’s a selection of scary and mysterious tales to terrify and delight your kids at this time of year.

These spooky reads are all available to borrow for free as an eBook or eAudiobook for if you’re a library card holder. Find out more here.

There are witches, wizards, ghosts, and other ghoulish creatures to get kids’ imaginations going during this spooky season!

Age 3+

Room on the Broom – Julia Donaldson.

Read by Josie Lawrence. Listening Time 24 mins.

When three helpful animals, a dog, a bird and a frog, go to help the witch find her hat, bow and wand – which have fallen off during a windy flight on a broomstick – they all want a ride on the broom in return. But is there room on the broom for them all?  And when the broom snaps in two from the extra weight, how can they save the witch from a hungry dragon who fancies a snack…?

Aged 5+

Revenge of the Phantom Furball – Sam Hay.

Read by Toby Longworth. Listening Time 1 hour 1 min.

Joe Edmunds makes a wish on an ancient Egyptian amulet and inadvertently finds himself the defender of the undead pet inhabitants of his town. He must teach Bonsai the dog a lesson after the pesky pug chases Pickle the cat under the path of an oncoming car. Pickle is flattened but doesn’t want to die just yet as she must protect her sister Pebble from suffering a similar fate. So Pickle and Joe set off to prevent further ‘cat-astrophe’.

Aged 6+

Tom & Tallulah and the Witches’ Feast – Vivian French.

Read by Vivian French. Listening Time 2 hours 16 mins.

Tallulah Tickle has a timing problem and turns up late to each and every meeting in her witches’ circle. She’s given one last chance to prove herself, and must prepare a delicious feast for the other witches. Tallulah is a terrible cook and she’s tasked with preparing their favourite meals – but is not told what they are. And she has just three days to complete her task!  Ably assisted by her little brother Tom, her cat Sparks, and a talkative cow, can Tallulah defend herself from her enemy Gertrude Higgins, and create a fabulous banquet for the circle?

Aged 7+

The Witches – Roald Dahl.

Read by Miranda Richardson. Listening Time 4 hours 28 mins.

If  you think witches are old ladies in black cloaks and hats who ride around on broomsticks and sit around cauldrons all the time, you are in for a bit of a shock!  Real witches are horrible, vile creatures who disguise themselves as ordinary and pleasant ladies. Real witches hate children and will do anything they can to get rid of them. 

Aged 8+

Wildspark – Vashti Hardy.

Read by Cecelia Ramsdale. Listening Time 7hrs 26 mins.

When a secret guild of inventors in the city of Medlock devise a way of bringing the dead back to life, Prue Haywood sees this as a way of bringing back her brother who had passed away tragically the previous year. Offered the opportunity to join the guild as an apprentice, Prue seizes the chance. However the work is not as straightforward as she first believes. The machines need to remember the people the ghosts used to be – and if Prue succeeds then this could destroy her society…

The Wizards of Once – Cressida Cowell. 

Read by David Tennant. Listening Time 5 hrs 56 mins.

Once there was Magic, and the Magic lived in the dark forests. Until the Warriors came….

The Wizards and the Warriors are sworn enemies and their children are brought up to hate each other with a passion. However two of their number, Xar the Wizard boy and Wish the Warrior girl, must forget their differences and work together if they are going to defeat the mysterious force in the dungeons at Warrior Fort. A force that has been asleep for centuries but is now stirring…

Victoria Stitch: Bad and Glittering – Harriet Muncaster. 

Read by Emily Wheaton. Listening Time 4 hours 42 mins.


Twins Victoria Stitch and Celestine are royal, but find themselves denied their regal birthright. Celestine is accepting of their fate, but Victoria Stitch wants her power and status back, and will do anything to regain it. Can the twins, as different as moonlight and sunshine, work in harmony to reclaim their rightful roles and change their destinies?

Chill & Shiver – Alex Nye. 

Available as an eBook.

Two books in one. Chill won a Scottish Children’s Book Award, and Shiver is its spooky sequel.  The Morton family home is haunted by strange figures and nightly noises. Trapped in a remote location in deepest Scotland in the middle of winter, how are the Morton children going to uncover the shocking history of their family and lift the evil curse? 

Aged 13+

Scared to Death – Anthony Horowitz. 

Available as an eBook.

Ten frightening, fiendish and funny short stories for fearless kids at Halloween. There’s the story of a train journey to hell, a television show where the penalty for failure is death, and murderous rampaging robots. Acclaimed author Anthony Horowitz shows all his wit, dark humour, and storytelling genius in these sensationally scary tales.

Scarlet and Ivy: The Lost Twin – Sophie Cleverly. 

Available as an eBook.

A creepy take on boarding school stories, unruly Scarlet mysteriously disappears from Rookwood school and her introverted twin sister Ivy is offered the chance to take the school place she has left behind. Ivy doesn’t want to go but it is the only chance she has of finding out what has happened to her twin. A trail of diary pages left in secret locations over the school are Ivy’s only clues to her sister’s fate, but can she solve the mystery before finding herself in a similar dangerous situation?

City of Ghosts – Victoria Schwab. 

Read by Reba Buhr. Listening time 5 hours 2 mins.

Many people wonder if ghosts really exist. Cassidy Blake knows that they do. Her best friend Jacob is a ghost, and since Cassidy survived – well, almost survived, but she doesn’t like to think about that – a drowning accident, she finds that she can pull back the Veil that separates the living from the dead and enter the spirit world. On a trip to Edinburgh with her parents to uncover the world’s most haunted places, Cass meets a girl who can also see and communicate with the spirits, and Cass realises she still has much to learn about the Veil. The city of ghosts is dangerous, and Cass has to learn a lot – very quickly…

These titles are available on our digital reading apps, which you can find out about here.

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5 Horror Comics on RB Digital

With Halloween fast approaching we look at 5 horror comics available on RB Digital.

30 Days of Night

The story of an isolated Alaskan town that is plunged into darkness for a month each year when the sun sinks below the horizon. As the last rays of light fade, the town is attacked by a bloodthirsty gang of vampires bent on an uninterrupted orgy of destruction. Only the small town’s husband-and-wife Sheriff team stand between the survivors and certain destruction. 

George R.R. Martin’s Doorways

Dr. Thomas Mason had a regular life, with a regular job, and a regular girlfriend. Until one night, zapped from somewhere else, a mysterious young woman named Cat ends up in his E.R. Pursued by the government and twisted creatures from her own world, Cat inadvertently embroils Tom in her quest for freedom. Which takes him to alternative Earth’s he never imagined – and which he may never get back from!

Remains

When the world goes mad, a blackjack dealer and an exotic dancer are mysteriously spared. But now they’re trapped in Reno, surrounded by a veritable army of the undead – and with no idea what might wait for them beyond the city limits if they can escape. Are they the last man and woman on Earth? And if so, how long can they last?

The Other Dead

The world’s first Zombie Animal epic is here! A deadly hurricane threatens New Orleans just as a frightening and mysterious outbreak hits the animal kingdom!

Night Mary

Meet Mary Specter, a misunderstood teenage girl trained to be a lucid dreamer. Mary’s father runs a sleep disorder clinic where Mary enters the ghastly dreams of severely disturbed people in an attempt to help them. When a patient is revealed to be a serial killer, the nightmare world and the waking one become intertwined, putting Mary in real jeopardy. Set in a world where the boundaries between dreams and reality are tenuous, Night Mary, courtesy of Rick Remender and Kieron Dwyer (Remains), is a very dark and terrifying trip into psychological horror.