Wondrous READS - young adult & Children Fiction

Review: On Sudden Hill by Linda Sarah and Benji Davies


Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children's
Format: Hardcover / large paperback / eBook
Released: August 28th, 2014
Rating: 8.5/10

Amazon summary:

Birt and Etho are best friends. Together they play on Sudden Hill, making marvellous contraptions out of cardboard boxes. But then a new boy, Shu, wants to join in too. Etho is happy to welcome him. Birt isn't so sure. Eaten up with jealousy, he goes home and refuses to come out to play. Until Etho and Shu come to his house with the most marvellous cardboard contraption so far...

Review:

On Sudden Hill is my first encounter with Linda Sarah and Benji Davies but I hope it won't be my last. The illustrations in this book are brilliant, the writing is heartfelt and, combined, they make for one heck of a good picture book.

On Sudden Hill deals with friendship and jealousy, and especially those times when we're young and we have to open our lives to new people. Things can't always stay the same, which is what Birt and Etho learn when a new boy called Shu wants to join in with their cardboard box games on Sudden Hill. Etho is immediately welcoming to Shu, but Birt doesn't like the idea of two becoming three, of sharing his best friend with someone else. It's an age-old lesson we all learn eventually, and Linda Sarah really captures that feeling of sadness and, ultimately, understanding and acceptance.

Benji Davies's illustrations are so lovely, perfectly rendering Birt, Etho and Shu as they turn cardboard boxes into hours of fun. Their imaginations run wild, creating monsters and dragon-slayers, and the artwork showing this is some of the nicest I've seen. It's got a retro feel to it too, appearing simple and understated but hiding so much more behind the colours and depictions. It's really nice work.

On Sudden Hill is the perfect read for younger children, especially those about to start nursery or even school. It teaches the art of sharing and being kind, showing that you can meet your very best friends if only you give them a chance. A lovely book from start to finish.
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Posted by prophecygirl at 15:00 No comments:
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Labels: Benji Davies, Linda Sarah, On Sudden Hill, picture book, Rating: 8.5/10, Review
Review: It Had to Be You by Ellie Adams

Publisher: Corgi
Format: Paperback / eBook
Released: August 28th, 2014
Rating: 6.5/10

Amazon summary:

The worst break-up ever... Could be the best thing that has ever happened to her Lizzy Spellman has been dumped. At a party.While wearing a Henry VIII costume. By the man she thought was The One. Someone even filmed it, so now she's a massive YouTube hit sensation too. Just when she thinks things can't get any worse, she meets the rudest, most cynical man in the world, and gets a new mission in life. To prove him wrong. Love does exist, and she's going to find it...

Review:

This book had me laughing right from chapter one, when we're first introduces to Lizzy Spellman as she gets dumped by a man wearing a Henry VIII costume. The video gets uploaded to YouTube and pretty soon she's an online sensation - everyone knows her and everyone has shared in her humiliation. Lizzy then meets a man that is definitely NOT the man of her dreams; he's rude, arrogant and absolutely not her type. What else could possibly go wrong?

Like Bridget Jones before her, Lizzy Spellman is a smart, sophisticated woman with a tendency to put her foot in it and ruin everything. She talks before thinking, takes most things to heart and is constantly reminded that she's not yet married. Or even close. Even after all that, she still takes it in her stride and works hard at a PR firm that really shouldn't be classed as a serious job.

I enjoyed this book though parts of it do come across as unrealistic, especially how Lizzy becomes a huge YouTube sensation overnight. Her break-up doesn't even seem that bad, so I don't quite know how it gets to be so infamous. There are quite a few funny moments and I like Lizzy and main man Elliot, even if he does take a while to warm to. There are a fair few parallels with the aforementioned Bridget Jones, so if you like those books then you'll probably like this too.

It Had to Be You isn't the best book in this genre but I enjoyed it and it's a good, light read for these summer months. I can't help but like Lizzy and her mad life, and I'm sure other readers will warm to her as well. Readers of Mhairi McFarlane should check this one out - it's definitely worth a look and is quick to get into. I'm not sure what Ellie Adams is writing next but, whatever it is, I'll certainly give it a go.
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Posted by prophecygirl at 10:30 No comments:
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Labels: Ellie Adams, It Had to Be You, Rating: 6.5/10, Review
Wednesday, 27 August 2014
Guest Post: Pat Walsh Talks Mythology in The Hob and the Deerman!

In a place where the everyday world and the Otherworld meet, anything can happen... Crowfield Abbey lies in ruins and a ghostly crawling man haunts the long abandoned rooms and cloisters. When Brother Walter the hob returns to the abbey, he finds it a desolate, troubled place. The ghost of a young girl waits in vain for her father to come for her. A boggart lurks in the abbey drain, and the statues and wall paintings are disappearing, one by one... And who is mysterious Deerman of the forest? With the help of a young village boy and a stone hob brought to life, the hob desperately attempts to unravel old secrets and right an ancient wrong. Time is running out for the hob and it is not always easy to tell your friends from your enemies.

Pat Walsh, author of The Crowfield Curse and The Crowfield Demon, has a new book out now in the UK, titled The Hob and the Deerman. It's the first in a series of standalone books featuring Brother Walter, the hob from the Crowfield novels.

Pat has written a fascinating post about European mythology in The Hob and the Deerman, and I hope it's made you want to read the book. Thanks, Pat!

~

The Hob and the Deerman
by Pat Walsh

The Hob and the Deerman, my new book, is a side-step from the Crowfield Mysteries. It features one of the main characters from those books, Brother Walter the hob, a small fay with a red fur, a long tail and gold-green eyes. He has lived in the forest near Crowfield Abbey for centuries, in his burrow beneath an oak tree. This brave and loyal little creature settles for a while in the workshop of Brother Snail, the abbey’s sacristan and herbalist, but when The Hob and the Deerman begins, the abbey is abandoned and the hob has long since returned to his home in the forest.
You might be wondering what a Hob actually is, so I’ll tell you. Hobs appear in European folklore and legends. They are small, solitary fay creatures, though sometimes they may align themselves with the Seelie Court. In England, they go by many names – hob, hobthrust, brownie, Robin Goodfellow or Puck, amongst others. They are the bwbach in Wales, the domovoi in Russia, the tontuu in Finland and the Icelandic Yule Boys. In Scandinavia, their close cousins are the nisse and tomte, and in Germany they are kin to the kobold. Hobs and their counterparts around Europe are often household spirits who clean and tidy the house or barn, and keep an eye on livestock and family pets. For the most part they are generally good humoured, if a little fond of the occasional trick or practical joke. If you suspect one has come to live in your home, then a fair reward for its help is a bowl of porridge or a piece of bread, but give it clothing and it will leave and never return.

[The Sorceror cave painting.]

More mysterious and from a far older mythology is the Deerman. It is a spirit who has its roots in the ancient past, a time before the ice sheets covered what is now northern Europe. In the cave called The Sanctuary at Trois Frères, nearArèige in France, there is a wall painting of a naked figure with antlers dating back 13,000 years. He is known as The Sorcerer but there is no way to be sure what this rare depiction of a Palaeolithic human figure meant to the people who made it, but it was clearly very important. It was possibly a shaman or the representation of a guardian of the wild. Fast forward about 4,500 years to Star Carr in Yorkshire. Now just fields, it was once the site of an ancient lake. Excavations of the Mesolithic, or middle stone age hunter-gatherer camps on the edge of the lake uncovered antler frontlets – the foreparts of deer skulls with their antlers trimmed and holes drilled through the bone, possibly to take leather straps. This hint of a ritual involving an antlered shaman, possibly representing a nature spirit, echoes The Sorcerer at Trois Frères and other horned figures, such as the cross-legged, antlered man on the Iron Age Gundestrup cauldron.