Review 5 star
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In The Bonds Between Us, the first book in the Web of Wyrd Trilogy by author Emily Ruhl, Katya is a young woman who lives in Venice and can control ice. She belongs to the lowest order of Vaettir, fantasy beings whose powers utilize natural elements, and her people, the Daskis, are viewed as criminals, often hunted by higher-ranking Vaettir. Katya finds she has somehow been linked to a dangerously incompatible Vaettir through a soulbond—a magical true-love connection. Matteo is handsome, earnest, and instantly attracted to her even though Katya feels the romance is a bad idea. Then all Hell breaks loose as the Devil arrives in Venice to claim his share of an old contract broken years ago. The couple and their friends hatch a risky scheme to change the Devil’s deal.
What a gloriously fun read! Emily Ruhl has written a great fantasy book with tremendous highs and lows of emotion as a semi-doomed (but ultimately triumphant) love story is paired with some kick-butt action-adventure. The Bonds Between Us brings beautiful, poetic Venice to life and also showcases a strong, fast-paced plot as the serene city is constantly interrupted by the sinister and the macabre. The story hooked me instantly and I immediately knew I wanted to go on reading it. When it was done, I wanted to read it again. The romance has superb chemistry—I could feel every step of Matteo and Katya falling for each other—and a perfect ensemble cast, including magnificent, often chilling villains, rounds out an awesome story. I was very pleased by the possibilities in this fantasy world and I look forward to more Web of Wyrd books to come.
Review 4 star
Not on Amazon
When the Dark is Light Enough: Elegies for Anne is a book of approximately 70 poems by Don Gutteridge that praise his late wife of over fifty years and describe his memories of their life together. The emphasis is on their romance and above all the emotional intimacy and closeness that they shared. Many of the poems deal with nostalgia and flashback to important moments throughout the years, while others are reflective accounts of sorrow in the aftermath of her passing. Some of the most notable poems include “Bouquet,” a tender and beautiful romantic poem; “Big Town,” a wistful recall of fun times together; and “Embarcation,” which recounts how he found his wife had died.
Don Gutteridge is excellent at applying the craft of poetry to make a relationship between two real individuals become a reflection of everyone’s experiences on love and death. Anne through the verses becomes a poetic figure who represents someone that is deeply cared about and anyone suffering from loss will feel that some of their emotions have been expressed here. Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson are referenced as models for a couple of poems, but the elegiac poetry in When the Dark is Light Enough: Elegies for Anne echoes many classic poets who have written about death and love (including Milton, Shelley, and Arnold) in its unfailingly good ear for particular word choice and casting of human personalities as both abstract and specifically personal to create an intricate feeling that what has happened is not just the loss of one person, but is a universal grief that is part of the human life we all share.
Review 5 star
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The Order of Time and Odin’s Door (The Order of Time Series Book 2) is a children’s fantasy book by Scott P. Southall. It begins with 12-year-old twins Anastasia and Edward facing the council of the secretive Order of Time in London. The twins are outsiders who were not supposed to know about the Order, but learned about it when they had to help a friend. They are given a test to prove themselves, but instead, they head directly into a trap and end up locked in the cold, snowy winter of Denmark in the Viking past with no way to get back and a vicious dragon heading straight for the fortress they now live in. The Iron Blades, Odin’s favorite clan of Vikings, are its target—and the twins are caught smack in the middle.
A rollickingly entertaining novel, Scott P. Southall’s book is firmly rooted in the popular imagination and hits a bullseye with its mixture of classic action-adventure elements. The Order of Time and Odin’s Door has echoes of Night at the Museum, Marvel’s Thor, and Tolkien’s The Hobbit, creating an instant winning mix for those who have been yearning for another adventure in the same vein. But I also learned an amazing amount about Norse mythology from this story, more than I’d ever learned from any other source, and all presented in an astonishingly fun way. The idea of the museum curators who travel back in time is brilliant and if you have a kid who is struggling to care about history, this book is a must-have for opening their eyes to just how exciting long-ago civilizations and their legends can be.
This is the companion for Sarah Scheele's newsletter blog. In it I share reviews for books I'd recommend/are similar to my own.