The Tengu’s Game of Go (Book 4) by Lian Hearn

The Tengu's Game of Go (Tale of the Shikanoko, #4)The Tengu’s Game of Go by Lian Hearn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Before you pick up this fourth book, read the first three. Hearn does an excellent job of keeping the various plot threads woven nicely throughout the four books, bringing them through to the conclusion of the tale and fourth book. I like that there are multiple characters and not just one hero. This makes for a much more satisfying read overall. The writing continues to be solid and well edited. I feel the conclusion is satisfying, especially for the style this is written in. I like the sizes (lengths) of each book as it makes it easier to carry one with you to read as there is time, unlike trying to carry a huge thousand page novel around. I like the Japanese myth feel to the whole story. I like the majority of the characters and how they are manipulated. Overall, this is an enjoyable series with a well thought through story line. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion.

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Lord of the Darkwood (Book 3) by Lian Hearn

Lord of the Darkwood (Tale of Shikanoko, #3)Lord of the Darkwood by Lian Hearn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the 3rd of 4 books that need to be read in order otherwise you’ll miss out on important pieces and generally feel like you’ve stepped into the middle of something with no reference points. The writing continues to be well done and well edited. This installment provides valuable information as the plot temporarily slows down in order to incorporate this information. This can make it seem sluggish or even a tad bit boring if your main focus is forward driven action. What is learned here sets the stage for the final book where hopefully the various plot threads weave nicely towards the completion of the tale. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion.

Autumn Princess, Dragon Child (Book 2) by Lian Hearn

Autumn Princess, Dragon Child (Tale of Shikanoko, #2)Autumn Princess, Dragon Child by Lian Hearn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Read the first installment before you read this one. Think of the four book series as one continuous story that happens to be separated into separate books for ease of reading, not for division of plot or for any other reason. Where the first book introduced the reader to setting and characters, the second book continues to move the pieces into place with experiences, gains, losses, and so forth. The writing remains the same, well-written with good flow and maintenance of the various plot threads. The style fits the story. It was easy to become immersed in the read, which I found to be enjoyable, intriguing, and well constructed. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion.

The Emperor of the Eight Islands by Lian Hearn

The Emperor of the Eight Islands (Tale of Shikanoko, #1)The Emperor of the Eight Islands by Lian Hearn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As with many first installments of a multiple¬†book series, this one starts out a little sluggish but quickly reaches a decent pace. I found the various plot threads intriguing while feeling well researched. I have only a minor knowledge of Japanese folklore so I’m far from qualified to speak on that aspect. That said, I enjoyed the way it was presented and how it makes sense for the novel. The world-building is nicely done and the foundation for what drives the main characters is in place. The read is easy enough for all readers although I don’t feel this is aimed at younger readers. Overall this is an entertaining enjoyable read that reminds me of how old tales were once told. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion.

Teagan of Tomorrow by Jaime Lee Mann

Teagan of Tomorrow (Legend of Rhyme, #3)Teagan of Tomorrow by Jaime Lee Mann

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My son (11) finished up this book with a huge smile on his face. He spent the next two days talking about the series and the characters, how much he enjoyed reading about their adventure, and how much he wanted another book like this one. The writing is done quite well for all ages and levels of readers to be able to enjoy the adventures, from the young of age to the young at heart. I was pleasantly surprised that he showed so much interest in the books. There is no questionable content for younger readers. My son’s only request is for this book to be added to the school’s accelerated reader program. We received an ARC through the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Marked by Sarah Fine

Marked (Servants of Fate, #1)Marked by Sarah Fine

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My son (23) enjoys this genre, a blend of YA and Adult supernatural, fantasy, paranormal, apocalyptic story with a strong female heroine. The primary female is both confident and comes across authentic, knowing when to speak up and when to act. None of this whiney insta love that detracts from other novels. The writing is solid and the characters are well-developed. The plot feels original and has a good flow throughout the read. The romance feels as though it developed along logical pathways, and the dialogue feels like actual dialogue. He received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. These are his opinions, which may or may not mirror your own.

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

Sorcerer to the Crown (Sorcerer Royal, #1)Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had some reservations when this book came up for review. Fantasy is my preferred genre and I tend to be a bit picky with fantasy reads. Thankfully, this one ended up being both intriguing and well-written. While a tad bit slow on the start the read gradually develops into an enjoyable experience. The fantasy elements are well developed. The characters are nicely fleshed out. I enjoyed the plot and felt the flow, once it got going, continued on at a good pace. Overall this was an enjoyable read and one I am thrilled to have been able to enjoy. I received an ARC through the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Heroika 1: Dragon Eaters Edited by Janet E. Morris

Heroika 1: Dragon Eaters (Heroika, #1)Heroika 1: Dragon Eaters by Janet E. Morris

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m not normally a huge fan of collections by different authors, but, having read this book I cannot say that any longer. This was an excellent collection, all with something to offer that was good quality and enjoyable to read. I can say that I am a fan of dragons, and as such I tend to be a little more picky when it comes to stories with dragons in them. This read left me with such a good feeling, it was as though I just finished a meal prepared by a Michelin Starred Chef. I received an ARC through the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Into Coraira by Jaime Lee Mann

Into Coraira (Legend of Rhyme #2)Into Coraira by Jaime Lee Mann

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reviewed by my son (11): “This was a fun book to read. I liked the animals and the adventure. I didn’t find it too hard. It was a bit on the easy side to read. I really think kids my age and a little older would enjoy reading this book. I liked the first book too.” Granted he’s not all that talkative when it comes to his book reviews but he did have all positive things to say. He didn’t feel it was an amazing book, but he did enjoy reading it enough not to be distracted by electronics. It’s a clean, well-written, book without complicated relationships or word choices. Overall, it’s a solid choice for all ages. We received an ARC through the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

Grudging: Birth of Saints Book One by Michelle Hauck

Grudging: Birth of Saints Book OneGrudging: Birth of Saints Book One by Michelle Hauck

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hauck has written a very well developed fantasy novel with this one. My son (11) and I took turns reading the book. Today he asked if we could get the audio-book so we could both listen to it on our trips. That tells me he really enjoys it and finds it intriguing and interesting. I like the world-building and character development a great deal. The plot is fascinating and quickly draws in the reader to a world they won’t want to leave any time soon. The pace is quick without skipping too fast ahead. Just enough information is provided in just the right places. I can easily recommend this to those who enjoy fantasy. While my son was able to read, understand, and enjoy this book I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for younger readers. I feel it’s best aimed at the YA audience. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion.

Former by A.E. Stueve

FormerFormer by A.E. Stueve

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There were things I enjoyed about this read and a few things I wasn’t as pleased about. The overall writing is done quite well with no glaring mistakes or typos. I like the plot idea very much. I enjoy my zombie culture settings in books and shows. I like aspects of how this was handled, although certain questions kept resurfacing during the read. There were a lot of why’s and single eyebrow raises but nothing was ever explained in great depth. This may have been an oversight but I have a feeling it was cut during the editing process to help with the flow of the read and to prevent an overwhelming amount of information feeding taking away from the core plot. I don’t think this will be a huge issue for the majority of readers. It’s a good start to a much ignored aspect of the zombie genre. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion.

Merchant of Alyss (Legends of the Realm, #2) by Thomas Locke

Merchant of Alyss (Legends of the Realm, #2)Merchant of Alyss by Thomas Locke (Legends of the Realm, #2)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Locke has an excellent grasp of the English language and how to bring to life not just a scene, but an entire world with depth and layers. The writing is top-notch with nearly perfect pacing throughout the entire novel. The characters are so well fleshed out that they feel real. I’m a huge fantasy genre fan so I was excited to read the first book and thrilled to read the second. I admit I was a bit hesitant since the first book was so good, but Locke more than came through with this one. This is a real gem of a find. The plot is very well constructed and the fantasy elements are authentic to the genre. The read is smooth and open to a wide range of readers. This comes highly recommended from our household. I received an ARC through Revell Reads in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion.

The Apostle: Destiny by Dylan Hiler

The Apostle: DestinyThe Apostle: Destiny by Dylan Hiler

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

With this book comes a great sigh and a bit of give. First off, try to ignore the cover. You hear time and time again not to judge a book by its cover but we all do it to some extent. This book needs a new cover desperately. Secondly, there is a good deal of editing that could be done to improve this book by a landslide. While the writing is good, it’s not great and there’s a lot of extra words that really could be trimmed down to make the read more enjoyable and flow better. Too many words to describe something just isn’t necessary and for many readers is a huge turn-off, myself included. Now, there is a good story hidden within these covers and some unique and well-fleshed out characters that help drive the plot nicely. I like the way they act and speak with each other, as though they are actually people having a conversation. Overall, with a bit of polish this could be an excellent novel. As it is, it’s readable and can be enjoyed if you can overlook the work that it still needs. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion which is my own and may or may not mirror your own.

The Shock of Night by Patrick W. Carr

The Shock of Night (The Darkwater Saga, #1)The Shock of Night by Patrick W. Carr
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a well written fantasy without the explicit sex and gory details. I like that although it’s published by Bethany House, it’s not preachy in any way. The writing flows nicely with a good pace. I like the descriptions and the world building is nicely handled. The world is rich and full of depth and detail. The characters are very well fleshed out and remain true to their design. Overall this new fantasy series holds considerable potential. I’m looking forward to reading future books authored by Carr. I received an ARC through Bethany House Publishing in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion.

Chivalrous by Dina L. Sleiman

Chivalrous (Valiant Hearts, #2)Chivalrous by Dina L. Sleiman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My son (22) read this one in the course of one weekend. He said there was a great deal of praying or discussion related to God and the scriptures that tipped towards a bit too much. There isn’t anything I’d worry about any of my kids reading when it comes to word choices, violence and sexual content. I can see this being very popular to the teen readers or those who enjoy YA novels. He likes that the female, Gwendolyn, remains strong and true to herself and others. The focus in this novel is on Gwendolyn but he hopes there is more about some of the other characters in the next books. Overall the read is intriguing, interesting and entertaining and well worth picking up to read. We received an ARC through Bethany House Publishing in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced our opinions.