Book Stop – ARC Review – Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa

Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa

Publisher: Harlequin Teen/Inkyard Press

Published: June 18, 2019

Series: Shadow of the Fox #2

Genre: Fantasy, YA

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


3.5-4 stars. Ahhhh, Lets just say I’ve been ruminating on my review for as long as I dared. I’m on the fence.. not because I didn’t like but because I did and at the same time I didn’t get the answers I wanted here in book 2. So now I’m here we are on the cliff edge.. again… still wanting answers from book one and now having to wait till next year? to get the answers. Gah. I love the anime feel and it definitely continues into book 2 of the Shadow of the Fox series. However, now that I think back on my anime experiences.. I remember several times in which it took an entire season in order to defeat one monster. I’m hoping that is not the case here, I feel like our characters are having more and more problems heaped upon them and hope is but a speck on the horizon, or an almost forgotten memory. Like there is some deja vu of hope here.. Got me all twisted!

In the second book, Yumeko’s journey continues to the Steel Feather temple but her heart is set on saving Tatsumi. Yumeko’s dreams are haunted by a white fox who says he can teach her the way to save Tasumi, but the cost is so great. The journey is quite perilous and there was quite a bit of action and intrigue but at the same time Tatsumi is getting farther away. Hakaimono it seems has some ideas of his own and he wants nothing more than to be free of the sword. He teams up with the master of demons with a deal to get the scrolls for him even though demon’s cannot summon the dragon, if the Master will free him from the sword. Yumeko has also been summoned by the Shadow Clan the head Diva herself. It seems there is dissension in the shadow clan revolving around the lost Kage Tatsumi and the Lady wants Tatsumi saved if possible and returned back under her thumb. All the while Yumeko’s entourage grows closer together, and begin to face the trial after trial including which priority is more. Saving Tatsumi? Saving the Empire? Saving the world? The pieces are being arranged if only we knew who the main players would end up being.

The ride has been really great but I need some info stat! I really want answers about Yumeko’s past. Who are all these players? I really loved how in this book Yumeko’s magic got to come out and play for bit. I would LOVE to see more of that. Show us what a Kitsune is really capable of and why they are one of the most revered spirit messengers in Japanese culture. There are just so many mysteries and book 2 just rode us along and didn’t answer any of my questions. As a messenger of the gods shouldn’t she be a tad more on the BAD A side? Bring it! I can’t wait to see where the next book takes us!

*I received an AR copy of this via NetGalley and the publisher Harlequin Teen/Inkyard Press in exchange for an honest review.*
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Book Stop – ARC Review – Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen

Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen

Publisher: Macmillan-Tom Doherty Associates For Teen

Published: May 7th 2019

Series: Dark Shores #1

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Supernatural

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
*Requested and received an ARC of this via NetGalley and the Publisher Macmillan-Tom Doherty Associates for Teen in exchange for an honest review. Thanks so much for the opportunity to read and review this work.*

So I was completely sold by this blurb.. hook, line, and sinker… Super entertaining read with a really riveting premise. I have to say this wasn’t what I was expecting, and it did take me a bit to really become invested. This story really has some amazingly in depth and super original backstory and I honestly if there had just been more of it straight out of the gate I think this might have caught me up a little sooner.. There are also some really deep currents running here that we have just barely touched the surface. Some times a slow revealing backstory adds to the intrigue and mystery of the story and other times it just makes me antsy to get some info so I can make things make sense.

I was expecting more sea “scenes” as well as more of the supernatural aspect but the focus of this book was definitely character and relationship development focused which for me was a little disappointing because I think I was definitely leaning toward wanting more of the action/adventure vibes, rebellion etc. The author spends a lot of time developing both the characters and the character relationships which is great in the stand point that you get to watch as the main characters grow and slowly broaden their horizons; however, this also slowed down the plot a lot because it seems our characters, especially our FMC, are completely stubborn and really put up a loooonnnggg fight. So by the time the story ended I felt like we really hadn’t made all that much progress for a “check point.”

Teriana, our FMC, makes a mistake trusting a childhood friend with secrets that aren’t hers to tell and endangering not only her own people but people across the world as well, because these secrets end up in the hands of the West who will stop at nothing but world dominion. In Teriana’s world West and East must always remain separate and her people. The people of the sea keep them that way. Now Teriana must lead the West to the East in order to save her own people even if it damns her soul. Marcus, undefeated in the West, must lead his legions to the East because he has no choice. Black mail and deception are being used against him and in order to protect his family he must do as he is told.. he belongs to the legion.. orders are his life. The West is unprepared for what they have stepped off into however because the pagan gods worshiped by the rest of the world are way more real than myths and legends and it seems everyone may have stepped off into a war between them…

It boils down to this, there is so much more going on with this story than what the author chose to focus on here in book one. This is both a good thing and a bad thing, at least for me. The good is that I am super pumped to continue this series and get all the information and reveals that were just barely skimmed here in the first book. The bad is that alot of books that don’t put enough “skin in the game” in book one often times lead me down a plot hole road of disappointment. So for future books in this series I’m hoping for more nitty gritty and way more of the whole supernatural aspect to the story and less back and forth between main characters. What little we did get here in this story was enough of a sneak peak to keep me glued to the pages the entire book wanting more. Can’t wait for book 2!
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Book Stop – Requested Review – Legend of Griff by Richard Sparrow

The Legend of Griff by Richard Sparrow

Publisher: Independently Published

Published: December 27th 2018

Series: Legend of Griff #1

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Humor

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars for me. So just to start off with the feel of the book I was getting “The Black Cauldron” vibes the entire time. I am not sure why.. maybe the pig farmer thing? The orphan and sword thing? I couldn’t shake it throughout the story. I really loved the “spoof” factor in the book. The author seemed to take popular fantasy tropes and basically make fun of them in a very entertaining fantasy story. Instead of the handsome young hero with a tortured past off to save the world with his magic sword that just appeared out of thin air, the reader basically get an anti hero. A foul mouthed Goblin with a penchant for thievery and a very healthy dose of survival skills who just so happened to accidentally kill the hero and now has to somehow find a way to weasel his way out of becoming involved with this journey.

In terms of originality I’d give it 5 stars lol. I think what kept me off that 4 star is the fact that though we are having an entertaining jaunt and a very detailed world building and backstory, the first book didn’t really feel like it got anywhere for me. I am not quite sure where we are headed plot wise. I feel like we never really reached the climax so to speak, however there are definitely things simmering on all the burners.. there are a lot of burners it seems. We have a complete cast here and get a whole heck of a lot of viewpoints. It was a little difficult to finally get everyone separated in the respective corners but by the end I felt like a had a pretty decent grasp. I’m afraid if too many more ingredients join in however the pot will be overflowing.

All in all this really was an entertaining flip on the popular tropes of the world of fantasy. The book was really well written and very easy to sink into. This is seeming to be a story that’s not about the destination but all about the ride. I’m down with that!

I was contacted by the author and asked to take a look at this book and leave an honest review.
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