Review 4 star
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This review was done for an older version of this book, which was titled as Footnail Book 1: Genesis Awakens. That book is still on Amazon in paperback. The more recent version, released later in the same year, is the one linked to in the Find It on Amazon.
Gen Isherwood has fallen away from God recently, but an epic spiritual adventure awaits when she returns to her family’s ranch in Footnail: Book 1: Genesis Awakens, a fantasy series for young adults authored by Howard Haugom and Akorede Adekoya. Part of the story is set in present-day Canada and follows Gen as she takes on her family’s magical destiny of protecting three nails that have immense spiritual and historical significance. A subplot set in the Roman Empire shows Empress Helena, mother of Constantine and ancestress of Gen, becoming entangled with the same powerful nails. The two plots are linked by Gen’s flashback visions, by a family of bodyguards who protect the women through the ages, and by a wise old man with unimaginable powers who guides both the Roman and contemporary characters.
Footnail: Book 1: Genesis Awakens is well worth reading and Howard Haugom and Akorede Adekoya have successfully created a thrilling and layered story. I was drawn in by the premise of a brave girl fighting dark elements and Gen really delivered on that angle as this book is a coming-of-age story about a very interesting girl in a situation that is quite fascinating! Empress Helena is also a strong character and both she and Gen exhibit vulnerability and unexpected strength on their paths to becoming spiritual warriors in a plot that spans centuries. The villains, undead soldiers who originated in Roman times, appear in a veritable explosion of well-described fantasy battles, and the backstory about how they have always hunted the nails had me amazed and intrigued. An intense feeling of catastrophe overcome by light pervades this exciting take on Christian motifs and themes.
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 5 Star
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Cinderella—A Love Story is a cute fairy tale retelling by Gina LoBiondo. Set in the kingdom of Orynx, the story starts with Ella’s parents—her mother Marie, who married very young, and her father Charles. After Marie dies and her father remarries, Ella’s life goes from paradise as a much-loved daughter with a huge doll collection to a slave in rags. Her stepmother, Vera, deeply resents how happy Ella used to be and deliberately sets out to be hard on her, using her two spoiled daughters as puppets. But will a king’s unwelcome edict, which forces his handsome young son to choose a bride, help turn things around for Ella? And she sorely misses her mother—is it possible her mother misses her too?
This gently-paced, humorous little story has a narrative voice that is exactly reminiscent of the way old fairy tales were written, which lends it a great deal of authenticity. It makes a nice quick read for anyone who loves to collect and read fairy tales. Cinderella—A Love Story adds some intriguing touches to a familiar classic, including Cinderella’s father as more of a central character present throughout the story, which I really liked. Gina LoBiondo achieves great success in making this story about an oppressed heroine always feel lighthearted. Even as Ella goes through bad things, the witty conversations and interesting additions to the original tale such as a scheming valet, a ghost, and a genuine change of heart from the stepsisters, make it a worthwhile reading experience. It has just enough familiarity that it never disappoints and just enough originality that it pleasantly surprises at the right times.
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.