Kitsune by Nicolette Andrews

I don’t mean to sound like I only have complaints - there is a lot to love about Kitsune, and though the story might need a little ironing out here and there, it was a very cool retelling of The Little Mermaid. This would be worth checking out if you are at all interested in retellings, or just looking for some fun stories involving yokais.

The Mage-Born Anthology by Kayleigh Nicol

I almost wished I could have read this anthology before Sorcerous Rivalry just because there was such a bittersweet feel to the whole book, with getting to see their hopes and dreams and knowing the turn their lives take. All in all, this is nice addition to the series if you are looking to round out the sibling’s characters or just need an excuse to revisit the world.

Balance of Magic by Jeffrey L. Kohanek

I can always count on Jeffrey Kohanek’s books for fast paced entertainment and this didn’t disappoint. With lots of twisty behind the scenes plots as the balance of power shifts from one wizard to another, there are quite a few surprises along the way including the appearance of a magic-based dragon! Always good fun.

Cursebreaker by Carol A. Park

All in all, this is a good entry into the series with lots of interesting turns to the plot and some good character growth, maybe not a huge step in relationship growth for the two of them, but there is one and that’s a good sign.

The Last Sun by K.D. Edwards

While everything important to this book is tied up, there are lots of hints to draw a person back to the next book to see how the mysteries surrounding Rune and company play out. But honestly, I’m not needing much in the way of enticements to come back, consider me firmly on the bandwagon.

Carved from Stone and Dream by T. Frohock

It’s the details that impress me, the weaving together of events and placement of bread crumbs, small thoughtful comments that get followed through with later, or hit us with horror when the understanding dawns. The yellow scarf that tells us everything about Rafael’s personality while doing dual duty as a scene setter. The hints about Sam that later make my heart pound through my chest when I realize just who it is that our boy is getting ready to meet. And especially the follow-through on Martinez, who could have easily been a throwaway character, but served to show us the impact and repercussions of a tough decision. These are the things that raise a story up to the next level for me but coupled with everything else, just made this a stellar read.

We Are The Dead by Mike Shackle

Jen and I both reviewed this exquisite debut from Mike Shackle and loved it.

Jen: We Are the Dead is worthy of your attention. From start to finish this will keep you on the edge of your seat. This is an outstanding debut, you don’t want to miss it.

Timy: Mike Shackle is a fresh voice in fantasy, one we probably needed like a breeze on a hot summer day.

SPFBO: King of Ash and Bone by Melissa Wright

We've read and reviewed this book for SPFBO5. Please keep in mind these are personal thoughts only. We will update this post as the judges read along and add their opinions. This book has already been eliminated from the competition, but one of us liked it enough to write a full review.

SPFBO: Third Round of DNFs by Jen!

Here we are again, back for my third round of DNFs! I fell behind a bit last month and am now playing catch-up but this puts me around 3/4 of the way through my 30, not counting a couple that I have been on the fence about continuing.
Some of these cuts made for hard choices because they were solid books but just were missing that little something to keep me going. Again, thank you to the authors for participating, this can't have been easy.

Eye of Obscurance by Jeffrey L. Kohanek

Jeffrey L. Kohanek has a knack for giving them fun personalities and lots of humorous interactions with one another. This is popcorn so it’s light on some of the rounding out of the characters - we do see clear motivations but occasionally there is a leap to get us from point a to b in the story, that’s ok too because this is unapologetically fun and isn’t trying to be anything else.

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