#SPFBO Thoughts on my first batch of books

Posted On 5 August 2017

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August is here and with it my thoughts on the first five books for the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off.  For more details on the first five books drawn check out this post.  I am intending to read 20% of each book and if one really grabs my attention to carry on and complete that particular book.

Without further ado here are my thoughts:

The Saga of Dirt and Poncho by Clayton D Baker and Michael H Kuecker


This is an unusual book so far and is the one I intend to continue reading.  I won’t say too much about this one here as I will review it once complete but at the moment it has me intrigued.  I can’t deny that there are a few mistakes here and there but because it has me wanting to know what happens next I’m currently overlooking those.

The Emperor’s Horn by Jordan R Murray

The Emperor's Horn

I thought the Emperor’s Horn was likable to the point I read up to – 20% – but, as I’ve decided to read no more than 20% I can’t really say that I’ve got a good feel for what the story is really about at this point.  I think the writing and attention to detail is good – maybe even a little bit overly so – but I don’t have any negatives other than not enough has happened at this point to draw me further in and I’ve reached my cut off point.  I would say it’s quite a gentle read and perhaps as an introduction to fantasy for a young person it might work well although maybe the pace needs to be picked up a bit.

Wishful Thinking by James Beach

I’m not sure if this really is a self published novel to be honest as I don’t seem to be able to find it anywhere.  I don’t want to be discouraging though so I have read it – there was approximately 30 pages and it was submitted as a word document.  I wouldn’t say the story worked for me, there was a lot of dialogue and jumping about, it was an original idea but far too short to ever be a serious contender for this contest.  For clarity: I’m not saying that a book has to be a tome to be considered worthy – just that at 30 pages this is more of a short story.

The Tralls of Nindarry by Gayle Torrens

TheTrallsI think this book is aimed at a much younger age group to be honest.  The writing is quite promising but for the percentage that I read I felt there was too much repetition in terms of Germaine having flash backs – again, I don’t want to be overly critical but I thought considering the age group this seems to be aimed at perhaps the action should be a bit more forthcoming and the reminiscing could be more in the form of occasional flashbacks in between.  It felt like the story should have made considerably more progress by the time I reached 20%, as it is by the time I reached my cut off point I didn’t feel a strong enough pull to continue.

Sand and Storm by Patty Jensen


I think this made an interesting start although maybe a little bit ambitious in terms of what’s going on.  It’s not that the book is too fast paced but more that the ideas at this stage leave me puzzled and with my 20% cut off point the book hasn’t grabbed my attention enough.  It’s a shame really as there are some interesting ideas but at the moment they’re failing to grab my attention in a way that makes me want to return to the book after putting it down, I haven’t really been able to form a connection with any of the characters and I’m a bit perplexed by the world itself.  No doubt some of that could be resolved reading forward so I don’t want to discourage others from reading.

I will post shortly with the next five books that I intend to pick up.



9 Responses to “#SPFBO Thoughts on my first batch of books”

  1. Tammy

    It seems surprising that Wishful Thinking would have made it into this competition, especially since it’s very short and there isn’t any cover art (??) I’m glad you found one book that you’ll continue with, good luck with the next five!

  2. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    I remember this was the most difficult stage of the competition for me last year. I knew I couldn’t read every single one of my books and I had to be picky by prioritizing the ones that hooked me right away, but I’m just so used to reading books the whole way through and there was always this nagging feeling of “What if I’m missing out on a great book because it needed some time to build?” In the end, I think the most important lesson the experience taught me was to trust my instincts. You seem to be following yours and I am certain they are on point. Keep up the great work 🙂

  3. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    For some reason, my attention keeps being drawn to the first book you showcased – The Saga of Dirt and Poncho – and your comments seem to reinforce that “vibe”. The 20% sampling method sounds like the best way to proceed, indeed, since for me that is the point where a book must have engaged me: if it hasn’t, we usually part ways then and there… Happy book hunting! 🙂

  4. lordjim13

    Patty Jansen’s Ice and Fire was a good read – though it did have a bit of a learning curve as it wasn’t your standard fantasy. I suspect it’s even worse for this one as it’s really a sequel series to the Icefire trilogy, so it may assume readers have a little knowledge of what’s going on – which doesn’t really work in a competition like this, but I’d definitely recommend her books to anyone interested in something a bit different.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Ahh, that’s interesting – the point you make that this is a sequel to another trilogy – I did feel as though this book assumed a certain level of knowledge from the reader going in. The thing is for this competition I’m limiting myself to a set percentage for each book which probably seems a bit harsh but if the book hasn’t got its hooks in by the first 20% then it doesn’t go forward unfortunately.
      Lynn 😀

  5. sjhigbee

    I find the whole process fascinating – and much kudos to you for being a reader for this competition:)). Thank you for letting us into your process – I really liked the look of the first book and hope you enjoy going further with it.

  6. #SPFBO Thoughts on my second batch of books | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] details on the first five books drawn check out this post.   My thoughts on the first five are here.  I am intending to read 20% of each book and if one really grabs my attention to carry on and […]

  7. The 100 SPFBO Entries I Hope to Read by the Contests End – Weatherwax Report

    […] D Baker & Michael H Kuecker – The Sage of Dirt and Poncho [Lynns […]

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