#SPFBO Final Batch Update

Posted On 10 December 2018

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blackThis is the fifth update which covers my final batch of books.  The fifth month of the SPFBO has come to an end which means I have now read the first 30% of my final six books.   At the start of the month I posted information about my final books.  You can find out more information here. The aim of today’s post is to provide an update on my reading progress and also to decide which book/s have been chosen to stay in the contest.  I really don’t like this part of the competition, I don’t like cutting books and I feel bad for the authors of the books that are being cut but this is a competition and I only have one space.  So, these are my thoughts this month with deepest apologies to all the authors whose books have been cut, I can’t deny that these were difficult decisions and there’s obviously an element on occasion of ‘it’s not you it’s me’.  I’ve provided ratings for the books, but these are based on the first third of the book and therefore could be subject to change.

For my final batch of books I’m rolling two books forward.

The next 4 books that I will be cutting are as follows with a short review of my thoughts on each:

ParagonParagon by K.D Wloch

I must say that the first 30% of Paragon is quite impressive and I enjoyed the read.  The story gave me Lord of the Rings vibes to be honest, the writing is good and the description makes the setting easy to imagine.   We make the acquaintance of Dan.  Dan is a scout in the militia and is given one final job – to deliver news of trouble and a burned village to his own homestead.  It seems that Dan is being dismissed with very little explanation as to why.  It would appear that things are escalating.  A burned village with no survivors, talk of the reincarnation of a god-slayer, the discovery of ancient ruins and other strange potents.  Dan finds himself on a quest with a number of companions and it seems that they’re being pursued.

As I mentioned above I think this gets off to a good start and it’s another of my books that I would be interested in continuing once I have more time.  At this stage however and having read 30% I haven’t progressed deeply enough with the story to make this one of my semi finalists.  Assuming the story continues as strongly as it starts I would say this would make a good fantasy read.

I would rate this 3.5 out of 5 stars to the point at which I stopped reading.

DeadmarshDeadmarsh Fey by Melika Dannese Lux

I was excited to pick up Deadmarsh because I love stories of the fae.  As the story begins we meet Roger who is on his way to Deadmarsh to spend another summer with his cousin Lockie.  Deadmarsh has a scary reputation although Roger loves the place and can’t wait to arrive.  However, when he finally arrives he finds things have changed and not for the better.

His cousin Travers seems to have had a personality transplant, Roger’s been switched to a different bedroom in a dark and dusty part of the house, the cat is behaving weirdly and when his cousin Lockie finally arrives he is also acting very oddly.  There is an overall feel of dark foreboding and the start of the story has a gothic feel.

To be honest it’s difficult to tell you too much more about the story as at the point at which I stopped reading I hadn’t really been able to get a good grip on it.  I think one of the issues I found I had with the read so far is the narration.  Roger is a 10 year old but for me he didn’t read that way but felt a good deal older both in his speculations and his vocabulary.  It’s still the early stages of the book but I just found it difficult to accept him as a 10 year old which in turn prevented me from immersing myself in the story as much as I would like.  I would also mention that the pacing is a little slow with lots of detail which meant that my allotted reading didn’t really see a great deal of progress in terms of the storyline although it did feel as though that was about to change.

I think this is one of those instances where it’s more a ‘me not you’ scenario.  This book, with its detailed descriptions and gothic feel could work very well for other readers but it felt a little slow to me.

I would rate this as a 3 out of 5 star read.

ArgenterraArgenterra by Donna Maree Hanson

Argenterra was quite an interesting read although it has a YA feel that felt a little too young for my reading taste.

The story starts with two young girls on a ghost tour in a castle.  They stumble accidentally into a portal that takes them to the mediaeval world of Argenterra – a place where magic known as ‘the Given’ is all around.  Unfortunately only one woman was supposed to cross through the portal and receive a gift from the Crystal Tree.  Sophy and her friend Aria have upset the balance although it would appear to all intents that Sophy is the chosen one.  She shines with radiance, her gift seems to have enhanced her beauty and she seems at peace in this strange new land.  Aria, by comparison has become a shadow of her former self, she seems to have not received the the gift of the ‘Given’ and with this lack of magic the natural inhabitants of the land distrust her presence.

Sophy, it seems, is to win the heart and hand of the Prince who is a besotted by her from the moment they meet.  Aria’s future is not quite as plain sailing.

Argenterra felt a little too young for me and I felt myself having niggles that prevented me from enjoying the story as much as I would have like.  I like the concept but it felt a little rushed and a bit light on detail, particularly at the point I read up to.  The girls seemed to accept this strange new land really easily and on top of that I didn’t really get a good feel for their friendship, in fact I thought Sophy was very careless towards Aria at the start of the story.  Obviously I’ve only read up to a certain point so can’t say with 100% assurance but I would think this would appeal to a younger audience.

I would rate this between 2.5 and 3 out of 5 stars.

HeartotDHeart of the Destroyer by Kent Corlain

Heart of the Destroyer is a difficult book to review, particularly as I’ve only read the first 30% of the story.

The story is fairly quick paced.  We meet Ashley and her brother when they’re both children – both destined to become assassins.  We learn virtually immediately that Ashley is certainly not a hero – she likes killing people – in fact she seems to be strangely gifted in that particular area and also has an unfortunate predisposition that enjoys cruelty and torture. We then jump forward, both are now trained assassins, they have been sent on an almost impossible mission – a punishment for transgressions committed by Ashley.  Her brother is no longer in any doubt as to her true nature but he still needs her help.

I really like the author’s absolute candour about the nature of the book and it’s main character.  At the same time it’s the very nature of that main character that left me unable to really enjoy this.  The author says ‘this is a nasty story about nasty people’ – and I appreciate that brutal honesty.  It didn’t really work it’s magic on me because I just couldn’t find anything to like or enjoy about Ashley herself and I always find it difficult to enjoy a book when I don’t like the main character.  But it may appeal to others and providing you read the blurb and take into account what the author himself has to say about this book and the nature of the characters then this could work well for you.

I would rate this between 2.5 and 3 out of 5 stars.

The two books I’m taking forward are:

High Barrens by Alice Sabo

Songs of Insurrection by J.C Kang


The books I’ve carried forward and will be reviewing over the next few days are:

  1. An Empire of Tears by Tim Marquitz
  2. Purple Haze by Andrew Einspruch
  3. Kingshold by D P Wooliscroft
  4. Dark Oak by Jacob Sannox
  5. Sworn to the Night by Craig Schaefer
  6. Forsaken Kingdom by RJ Rasmussen
  7. Under Ordshaw by Phil Williams
  8. High Barrens by Alice Sabo
  9. Songs of Insurrection by J.C Kang


8 Responses to “#SPFBO Final Batch Update”

  1. sjhigbee

    Huge congratulations on getting to this stage, Lynn. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your roundup so far and look forward to hearing what you think of the books you’re reading to the end:).

  2. amjusticewrites

    Congratulations to the Nine. One Finalist to rule them all…

  3. Rebecca

    Reviewing for the SPFBO is a huge commitment! Can’t wait to see what your final pick will be!

  4. Tammy

    Wow, congrats on getting this far. I know it must be a lot of work, but hopefully you’ve discovered some gems😁 Looking forward to the results.

  5. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    The field is narrowing. Good luck to the authors who have made it this far!

  6. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    Every time you publish a post about the SPFBO, it sounds indeed like a lot of work, not just in reading (which is always a joy, or we would not be here discussing books…) but in the far more difficult endeavor of making choices. I truly admire your commitment…

  7. waytoofantasy

    Congratulations to the two moving forward! Looking forward to seeing your thoughts on those.

  8. vacuouswastrel

    Oh dear – it seems as though it’s just going to get more difficult for you. This month, cutting from 6 down to 2… but now you have to cut from 9 down to 1! And they’re the 9 best, as well. Doesn’t seem fun. How long do you have to whittle these down to your final pick?

    [yay, High Barrens – of the great cover and title – has made it through. I’m glad that, at the very least, the attractive marketing work wasn’t wasted on a sub-par book…]

    So, are you going to push ahead and finish reading this pair while they’re still fresh in the mind, or are you going to go back to the beginning and start with the book from the first month before you’ve forgotten it completely?

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