Weird Yuletide Tales Volume Two

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Horror spills over the boundaries into most other genres at one time or another. Science fiction, crime, fantasy — all, in one way or another, can be the stuff of our worst fears. And so, of course, can sex or love.

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Quite the opposite, in fact. When he chooses the gentle Svetlana, the ruthless and scheming Anya resorts to murder to get what she wants. Coded messages, perhaps, but for whose ears? When little Heather, staying with her grandfather, starts listening to his old radio, she finds messages that seem to be meant for her ears in particular, but deciphering the message places her in danger.

His best work combines the traditions of the classic English ghost story with a thoroughly modern refusal to pull his punches when it comes to the brutality and cruelty human beings are capable of, giving them a compulsive, visceral power. When it comes to finding a story for this list, I was spoilt for choice with Finch.

His ebook mini-collections In A Deep, Dark December and Dark Winter Tales are both treats for anyone looking for traditional seasonal dreads, and for anyone seeking a longer read, his novella-length Victorian Christmas ghost story, Sparrowhawk , should be nothing short of perfect. The Industrial Revolution is at its height, and the town is a maze of smoky, smog-choked backstreets, packed-out slums, drunkenness, squalor and violence.

The four novellas in Major Craddock Investigates are eerie and compulsively readable, and it makes for an addictive, chilling read. Keris McDonald is the second author on our list who, as Janine Ashbless, is best known for her erotica. James Platt was a contemporary of M. James, a renowned scholar who was fluent in every European language by the age of twenty-five, and a contributor to the original Oxford English Dictionary. Hageck has come to beg the hermit to let him speak one last time to the woman he loved. He and his brother both loved her, but when she chose Hageck his brother attempted to kill him, caused her death instead.

All this and a hint of necrophilia, plus a jaw-dropping last line, make this a unique experience. Steve Duffy has, for the better part of thirty years now, been building up a body of work that ranks with any of the finest classical ghost stories. James mould, later collections found settings and situations both more contemporary and more personal to the author.

The teenage narrator, Chris has a crush on the tough, tomboyish Lesley, one he thinks will remain forever unrequited.

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A lovely look at a 19th century farm Thanksgiving as only Louisa May Alcott can do. When Farmer Eph and his wife have to leave suddenly for a family emergency, the girls decide they are perfectly capable of cooking a Thanksgiving meal.

Between mixing up ingredients and quantities, their dinner looks fine but the taste brings about good-natured humor from their parents and the relatives they brought home. Grades: 3, 4, 5 5 Stars.

The Husband of the Rat's Daughter. The mother of the loveliest rat daughter decided her daughter must marry only the greatest husband so they set out to arrange a marriage with the sun but the sun said the clouds were greater, and he said the wind was greater Grades: 3, 4, 5 3 Stars. Appears in: Manning-Sanders, Ruth. Lost in the Fog. Young Willie can't fathom why anyone would like geese but he does like Mother Tipton, the local goose-woman.

When he accompanies her on her journey across the bay to sell her feathers, they are overtaken by a fog and driven far off coarse.

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Mother Tipton's skill and the instincts of the geese steer them safely to dry land, giving Willie a new respect for Mother Tipton's gaggle. Grades: 5, Adult 4 Stars.

Appears in: Frye, Burton. Gyffes Llaw. Gyffes Llaw is the finest shoemaker in Wales and the Princess of Wales goes barefoot for lack of good shoes. Well, as you might guess, Gyffes Llaw wins her heart while making her shoes. The Time Shop. A young boy visits a department store where everything is paid for in time but is disappointed to find that the owner of the shop across the street, Mr. Procrastination, has picked his pockets clean.

Grades: 3, 4 4 Stars. Appears in: Commager, Henry Steele. The Second St. A Snow Battle. During recess from school a full scale snowball war forms, complete with ammunition sleds, forts and commanders. Grades: 3, 4, 5 4 Stars. The Witch's Cat's Kitten. Every Spring the Old Witch's cat, Shadow, has a litter of black, green-eyed kittens that are eagerly taken home by young witches. But one Fall, just before Halloween, Shadow has a litter of one, snow-white, blue-eyed kitten. The Old Witch swears a white kitten is bad luck and that the kitty has to go.

But Shadow comes up with a clever plan to save her child and to soften the Old Witch's heart. Grades: 2, 3, 4, 5 4 Stars. Weird, Wonderful Mrs. Cat thinks her new neighbor, Mrs. Becker, is really weird when she sees her hauling rocks and dirt into her house a month before Christmas.

But when Cat's mom asks her to take Mrs. Becker some fresh cookies, Cat discovers a wonderful and kind woman that has a perfectly good reason for bringing bushels of dirt into her home. Grades: 2, 3, 4, 5 5 Stars. Up the River.

Fifteen Twisted Christmas Tales

When a young girl visits her Native-American grandfather, she is surprised to find that the river sings to her and that her grandfather catches fish with his hands. Simple, really. Just listen to the river and think like a fish. But when she falls in she comes face to face with a fish that looks an awful lot like her grandfather. Katie's Letter. Katie's mom couldn't figure out how to keep a woodchuck from ruining her garden. Traps didn't work, and he just dug under the fence.

Then, while Katie was writing a letter to her dad, she had a brilliant idea. She posted a sign that read, "Dear Woodchuck, Please stay out of our garden or you will be sorry.

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Love, Katie Robinson. Grades: 2, 3, 4 5 Stars. The Beautiful Necklace. Izzie wants to hear the story of the beautiful necklace, and her grandmother begins; "Long age, your ancestors lived on the island of Kiriwina, in the deep blue Pacific Ocean. Its beauty is so great, he can't let it go until it loses its luster and he realizes he must let it reenter the Kula ring.