Book review: Frostheart by Jamie Littler
I really, really, really wanted to love Frostheart by Jamie Littler.
How could you not love a book about a boy with magical powers on a quest to find his family in a weird and wild place?
Way out in the furthest part of the known world, a tiny stronghold exists all on its own, cut off from the rest of human-kin by monsters that lurk beneath the Snow Sea.
There, a boy called Ash waits for the return of his parents, singing a forbidden lullaby to remind him of them… and doing his best to avoid his very, VERY grumpy yeti guardian, Tobu.
But life is about to get a whole lot more crazy-adventurous for Ash.
When a brave rescue attempt reveals he has amazing magical powers, he’s whisked aboard the Frostheart, a sleigh packed full of daring explorers who could use his help. But can they help him find his family . . . ?
Oh my! Frostheart has a beautiful cover!
Sorry to go all Fan Girl here, but there’s a cutout on the front, there’s gold embossed writing, there’s cute and stylish artwork.
I love it! I want it!
I would pick up the book on the cover alone.
The awesome illustrations don’t stop with the cover. Just to show what a talented chappie Jamie Littler really is, there are black and white line drawings throughout the book, which, along with some clever typesetting makes Frostheart a very special book.
Characters and writing
The writing style is lyrical and the descriptions vivid. Littler’s imagination has run wild with the world-building. It’s gorgeous prose.
There are a cast of colourful characters and the protagonist, Ash, goes on the ‘hero’s journey’ to discover, use and ultimately come to terms with his powers.
To love, or not to love, that is the question.
So, why did I keep reading a few chapters and then putting the book down?
Did I not care whether the boy with the song-weaving powers found his parents or not?
Well… kind of.
Was I not on the edge of my seat to find out if he would survive exile from the only home he’d ever known with his mentor?
Even if the mentor is a warrior-yeti?
OK, a bit.
Seriously, it took me weeks to get through this book. I finally figured out the problem.
The book starts off pacy enough with Ash using his song-weaving power for the first time to save his friend, but then the whole thing slows down while the villagers get freaked about the song-weaving, reject him and the Frostheart arrives. Then he has to decide to go on the Frostheart, and it just seems to take f.o.r.e.v.e.r.
No spoilers, but things do speed up for Ash to save the day, but on the whole, the pace was slower than I would have liked.
Frostheart is aimed at the 8 – 12 year old audience, the one’s who enjoy ‘How to Train your Dragon’ and ‘Frozen.’ It’s lovely writing, really imaginative, and don’t forget that to-die-for cover. I was really sad that I didn’t love it. It was a just bit too slow for me.
Have you read Frostheart? Do you agree with my verdict?
Let me know in the comments.
Book review: Ghosters by Diana Corbitt
Kicking off the 2020 book reviews here on my blog is Ghosters, a middle-grade novel, by Diana Corbitt.
Filled with scares, mystery, and plenty of humor, Ghosters tells what happens to twelve-year-old Theresa Martinez and her autistic brother, Joey, when their mom suddenly dies and money problems force the family to move into a creepy old mansion.
Her dead grandmother’s creepy old mansion.
Enter Theresa’s new ghost-obsessed friend, Kerry. Eager to use her ghost-hunting technology, Kerry suggests they enter a reality TV show’s video contest. “If we win, we both get what we want,” she tells Theresa. “You earn money for your family. I record an actual ghost.”
And why not try? The place is definitely haunted.
Hey, what could happen?
My random thoughts on Ghosters.
Ghosters was a surprising story in many ways.
This is not a book about silly children chasing what they think is a ghost and it turns out to be shadows at the window, or something equally boring. Ghosters turned out to be an actual ghost story.
As this is a ghost story, there are some spine-tingling scary passages, although there are some funny bits too. However, it is the cast of well-rounded characters dealing with very real issues of grief and living with Asperger’s syndrome that makes this book stand apart from others: it wasn’t really what I was expecting.
I also didn’t see the twist at the end coming, and this added another (unexpected) layer to the story.
Whilst not wanting to give spoilers, I did wonder whether it would have been possible for the protagonist’s father to have kept the ‘secret’ without her suspecting, but I’m considerably older than the 9 – 12 years target audiences, so they probably wouldn’t be as skeptical as me.
All the characters were flawed and believable. Theresa was especially well-written. One minute she was taking on the role of care-taker for the family, the next she was doing things that made you remember she was actually only 12 years old. Good stuff.
This is a great ghost story that I enjoyed. Diana Corbitt has three other books in the series too, so young readers can follow Theresa, Kerry and Joey on their adventures.
“Mog” May Giveaway
Regular readers of my blog will know that Judith Kerr’s ‘Mog’ series has a special place in my heart (and on my bookshelf). I’ve read the stories of the lovable, and just a little bit naughty, cat to my children and now to my grandchildren. And they love them just as much as I do. So, here’s your chance to win 4 ‘Mog’ books in my May Giveaway.
Titles up for grabs this month include:
Mog the Fogetful Cat
Mog always seems to be in trouble. She forgets that she has a cat flap and she forgets that she has already eaten her supper. But, one night, Mog’s forgetfulness comes in very handy…
Mog in the Dark
One night Mog’s imagination takes her on a hilarious twilight adventure to a land of fantastical creatures, but true to form, all Mog really wants is her supper!
Mog on Fox Night
One evening Mog refuses to eat her food and Mr Thomas decides he’s had enough and outside she must go. In the snow Mog feels cold and alone until she wakes from a snooze to find some young foxes are playing with the rubbish bags.
One day Mog was chasing a butterfly when something happened to her paw. “She’ll have to go to the vee ee tee,” said Mrs Thomas. But Mog hates going to the vet and before her paw can be made better, she causes great confusion in the vet’s surgery…
Every child deserves to read ‘Mog’ so if you’d like to win these four stories, just enter on the form below.
The winner will be drawn on 1st June.
Free-to-enter UK competitions at Competition Database – Find more competitions at http://www.competitiondatabase.co.uk
I’ve been a bit quiet on my blog recently but I thought you might like to look at some of the books I’ve been reading. I’m starting with Ten Sheep to Sleep by Nidhi Kamra.
Sammy Jo counts ten sheep to put her to sleep, but tonight, ten more sheep appear. The new sheep are creating a ruckus. Sammy Jo has to find a way to calm the sheep down, count twenty sheep, and ensure everyone is happy so they can get a good night’s sleep.
There was a lot I liked in Ten Sheep to Sleep. For a start, the title is wonderful and the grandkids ran about chanting it after we’d read it.
I liked that Sammy-Jo was pro-active in problem solving to help the sheep and it was fun seeing the things that the other people in the story counted to help them fall asleep.
I’m not an artist but the illustrations have a painted-in-watercolour effect that adds to the dream-like feel. I did worry that my grandson might complain the book was a bit ‘pink’ but it didn’t seem to offend him.
What the grandchildren thought.
At 3 and almost 5 years old, my grandchildren are below the suggested age range for this book of 5 – 8 years. The idea of counting sheep when you couldn’t get to sleep was not one that they’d encountered so we had to discuss this. Grandson promised he’d try it at bedtime.
They had no problem counting to ten with Sammy-Jo, however they’d not tried counting in two’s. The concept went over the head of the 3 year old but the older one was very interested and we had to try out the idea with his Lego blocks. Older children would probably understand the maths already but the book was a nice way to introduce them to little ones.
The final verdict.
Ten Sheep to Sleep is an unusual book which created some interesting talking points and learning opportunities with my grandchildren. It would be equally useful for early readers or as a picture book.
Love Suzie xx
PS Don’t forget about my March giveaway. Enter below.
There were exactly 1300 entrants in my Usborne Christmas Picture Book November Giveaway. Being a numbers freak, I liked that it ended so perfectly lol.
Anyway, onto the business of announcing the winner.
The winner of the November Giveaway is…
Paul from Omagh.
Paul, your books are already speeding their way to you so you’ll have plenty of reading time before Xmas.
There was a fantastic balloon festival near me this month. The grandchildren thought it was magic. Don’t they look cute?
Yikes, I just realized there’s only 21 sleeps until Christmas. I’m off to panic.
There were over 1100 entries in my October “Win 5x Jill Murphy Picture Books” giveaway. I really love The Large Family Series so this was a great prize.
The Winner of the October Giveaway
The long-suffering Mrs Large is one of my favourite book characters but Kingsumo decided on a winner and it was … drum roll please … ? Katie Skeoch.
Yay for, Katie! Please reply with your mailing address and I’ll send the books out straight away.
Summer time has ended here in Wales and the dark nights are with us; perfect for bonfire night. Here’s a pic of our epic bonfire among the mountains.
Win 5x Jill Murphy picture books in the October Giveaway.
My October Giveaway is for 5x picture books about “The Large Family” by Jill Murphy.
These stories are a firm favourite in our house with both the children and the adults. Which parent doesn’t relate to the long-suffering Mrs Large longing for Five Minutes Peace?
The five books in the prize are:
- Five Minutes Peace
- Mr Large in Charge.
- A Piece of Cake.
- A Quiet Night In.
- All in one Piece.
The competition runs until the end of October and I’ll be announcing the winner on the 1st of November.
Entering is easy-peasey – just answer one simple question. Good luck everyone 🙂
Peep inside the Zoo
One of the new books we acquired over the summer was Peep inside the Zoo by Simona Dimitri. My two and a half year old grand-daughter claimed it right away.
I’m a big fan of Usborne books, and the quality of this book is no exception. It’s a chunky book with a lovely silky feel to the cover and the size is just right for grand-daughter. The illustrations are colourful and attractive, and there are lots of different shaped flaps to lift and interesting holes to peep through.
Penguins shuffle when they walk.
They’re birds that cannot fly.
But when they dive into the water…
and flap their wings like flippers…
they’re super speedy swimmers!
It would be a great book to read to prepare for an actual zoo visit.
One of grand-daughters favourite pages features a gorilla cradling a (sneakily concealed) baby in its arms. All say Aww 🙂
There isn’t really enough text to keep my 4 year old grandson interested for more than a few read-throughs but it’s a great book for the 2-3 year old age group – especially as it’s on offer on Amazon at £3.85 at the moment.
Peep Inside the Zoo is part of a fun series of books and are a must for all lift-the-flap fans.
PS. Don’t forget this months Julia Donaldson giveaway. It ends on Sunday.
Win 5x Julia Donaldson books in the September Giveaway.
I just love Julia Donaldson books… and kids do too. So, it was a no-brainer when it came to choosing my September Giveaway.
The books included in this month’s prize are:
- Stick Man
- The Highway Rat
- Tabby McTat
Answer the super simple question below and you could be the lucky winner.
I’ll be announcing the result on 2nd October, just in time for those cozy autumn nights when all you want to do is snuggle up with a book.
Good luck in the giveaway and happy reading.