The Hero Feat of Hannah Helstrom by J. Philip Horne

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

The Hero Feat of Hannah Helstrom: Guild of Sevens 2.5 by J. Philip Horne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Other superheroes in the Guild of Sevens have powers that fifteen-year-old Hannah doesn’t have. She considers herself to be the worst Seven of them all, but she’s stubborn as all get-out—and her moment to prove it arrives in The Hero Feat of Hannah Helstrom by author J. Philip Horne.

First off: WOW to this!

Now, I should probably say Hannah’s moment to “prove it” is her moment to “use it,” as this isn’t a “prove myself to everybody” story but a “use what I have when it’s needed” story.

It’s pretty amazing because even though it was no shock to find out what Hannah’s moment would be, her journey to get there and the way she navigates through it is still so compelling. Hannah’s training, mettle, heart, unselfishness, and quick thinking come into play in the face of an incredibly daunting task. Yet, she’s so down-to-earth (with a little edge of dry humor) that she keeps the story real instead of corny.

As this short, coming-of-age fantasy read is a standalone from the Guild of Sevens middle grade series, it makes me curious about the “WOW” that may be in the novels.

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Guild of Sevens Series

 

The Villain Who Saved Christmas by C.B. Cook

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

The Villain Who Saved Christmas by C.B. Cook

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

This coming Christmas may be the last one for young Becca. She wants a white Christmas, but there’s no snow in the forecast. So Becca’s brother and sister decide to track down a supervillain, Hypothermia, to enlist his help in The Villain Who Saved Christmas by author C.B. Cook.

First cool thing I noticed when I started reading? The disclaimer on the copyright page. “Unfortunately, this is a work of fiction… All superpowers are fictitious. If you or someone you know has superpowers, please contact the author.”

Then comes a short and sweet story of Christmassy warmth, chill, and sci-fi power-wielding that feels more like holiday magic in this case. I appreciate that the characters have their share of obstacles to overcome and that the story doesn’t forget it’s about a villain, not a hero.

Quite a worthwhile read for a burst of Christmas.

 

Gruff by Rachel Kovaciny

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Gruff by Rachel Kovaciny

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Christopher, the deputy sheriff in town, is fulfilling his “troll” role as part of a yearly prank he plays with his little brothers. But he’s in a hurry this year, given that his parents have invited the girl he likes to dinner, and Christopher needs to get home to get cleaned up on account of an earlier incident with a drunk in Gruff by author Rachel Kovaciny.

An entertaining and cute batch of minutes, here. After reading two of the short stories in this series of fairy tale retellings, I may have to try one of the novels sometime.

The Dancing and Doughnuts one looks rather fun.

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Now here’s my review of—you guessed it!—Dancing and Doughnuts.

 

The Bruised Princess by A.G. Marshall

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

The Bruised Princess by A.G. Marshall

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

On the run from an abusive father and the trap he means to force her into, Rachel is in desperate need of sanctuary in the…church she finds on a stormy night. But something seems off in this church, including the tower of mattresses Rachel has to sleep on, and she soon fears she’s being led into another trap in The Bruised Princess by author A.G. Marshall.

Can’t say as I read many fairy tale retellings, and I wasn’t expecting a whole lot when I jumped into this short reimagining of The Princess and the Pea.

But, my, what a well-spun story this romantic read is. It wonderfully brings the believable into the fantastical and adds substance beyond simple fairy-tale developments.

And what I like most is that, yes, although Rachel is a victim, this is more than a story of a damsel in distress getting saved. Rachel has more to offer to play a purposeful, active part in the course of her life—and the course of another’s.

It’s a thrill when stories I stumble upon far exceed my expectations.

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Here’s my review of another in the Once Upon a Short Story series, The Grandmother with Enormous Eyes.