#SPFBO Feedback on my second batch of books


We’re almost at the end of the second month of the SPFBO competition.  At the start of the month I randomly chose my second batch of six books.  Throughout the month I have been making progress reading at least the first 30% of each of those books and today I’m going to give feedback on my books so far.  I will be eliminating a number of these books – with apologies to the authors, it’s not a part of the competition that I enjoy, but as has been said many many times before, there can be only one.  At this point I’ve chosen two books to continue reading – I haven’t yet decided if these will be semi-finalists but at the moment I’m carrying both forward for future reading.  To be honest, these decisions were so difficult – even now I’m going backwards and forwards and this post may change before it goes live.  I am full of indecision.

So, without further ado here is my feedback on the first six books (my third batch will be posted at the start of September).

Healer'sHealer’s Ruin by Chris O’Mara

I’ve read the first 30% of Healer’s Ruin and I’m really quite hooked.  I’d like to read more of this one as I’m really curious about the world and the characters.  To an extent it almost feels like this book is part of something bigger, as though I’ve been thrown into the middle of a fully developed world but it’s easy to read and entertaining.  I’m going to read on and see how this one develops so my review here will only be short for the time being. At the moment I’m rolling this book forward.

Author Info:

Twitter : Aphazail


TheOwl.jpgThe Owl & the Dragon by Randy Nargi 

The Owl and the Dragon is clearly a murder mystery in a fantasy world. As the story sets out we make the acquaintance of the main POV character Bander.  Bander is travelling and along the way he meets a group of characters who ask him to join their party – they then drug, rob and leave him for dead.  Not the best start for our character but everyone can make mistakes.  Bander then finds himself meeting up with another character who takes pity on him and helps him to reach the next village so that he can seek out a healer.  The story fairly quickly progresses once Bander arrives in the village of Hytwen.  A young girl has gone missing, possibly abducted, and the neighbouring village of Ortwen is suspected.  There is much rivalry between the two villages and on the face of it it would appear that Hytwen may play a role in the disappearance.

This is quite an engaging story to the point that I broke off.  It was quick and easy to read and I didn’t have any problems in making quick progress.  That being said, considering that I’ve read just slightly over 30% the plot feels a little light up to this point.   There is quite a bit of description with every new scene being given a fair amount of page time.  I don’t mind detail to be honest, but I do feel like it’s slowing the story down a little bit here.  It could be that the author is doing a Sherlock Holmes style number where things are outlined and clues are hidden within the descriptions, clues that only the detective will pick up on. Yes, that could be what the author is going for but in some respects it feels a little laboured and had me tapping my foot a little with impatience.

The main character Bander is an interesting chap.  He’s actually a retired investigator.  To some extents Bander reads well, but, the fact that he very nearly falls foul of two attempts on his life doesn’t give me a lot of confidence in his overall abilities.  There’s also a slight feeling of things falling too easily into place for him along the way and I couldn’t help feeling that he lacked emotions in some respects.  I felt that I was being ‘told’ rather than ‘shown’ that Bander was an impressive character.  On top of this, to the point I broke off, this is very light in terms of fantasy – other than the world itself being fictitious.

But, criticisms aside, I can’t deny this was an intriguing storyline and I am interested to see how the plot is resolved.  At this stage however and for the purposes of the competition I’m setting this one aside.

Author Info :


TheLoreThe Lore of Prometheus by Graham Austin-King

The Lore of Prometheus is the second book out of the batch that I would like to continue reading.  As mentioned, these are not semi-finalists at this stage, I just don’t want to stop reading at the moment.  In which case, I won’t provide further details about the read at this point other than to say this is proving to be an impressive story so far, it feels polished and given that I don’t usually enjoy military style books it’s caught my attention much more than I expected.  I’m rolling this book forward.

Author Info :

Twitter : grayaustin


RealmofRealm of Beasts by Angela J Ford

Realm of Beasts involves two main characters, both running away from something (or so it seemed to me).

We first meet Tor Lir, he’s just left his homeland and believes he has a mission to bring order and balance to the world.  I’m not going to lie, I found Tor a little bit difficult to like in the early chapters of this book – now perhaps that’s just down to getting off on a bad footing or perhaps I wasn’t quite in the right place when I started but I found him a little bit arrogant and annoying and I can’t deny that I struggled to get over this initial impression.

We then switch characters to Citrine, a young female with a guarded past.  She’s found Paradise and is happy here living in the forest under the protection of a guardian.  Unfortunately Citrine hasn’t completely escaped from whatever it was she was running from and it seems that the ‘paradise’ she’s found solace in is about to be shattered.  Again, Citrine didn’t quite win me over – but it’s early stages after all.  It seems that her actions are going to have a negative impact on many of the people and creatures that live under the protections of this forest but at the moment I’m not feeling any regret or indecision on her part.  Her hand is being forced, don’t get me wrong, but she just doesn’t seem particularly cut up about it, I wanted more emotion I suppose and the lack of it left me thinking she was a little detached and a bit thoughtless which in turn made it difficult for me to become attached to her.

On the face of it and up to the point I’ve read the writing was easy, the descriptions were good, but I almost had a feeling that I’d been thrown into the middle of something, as though I should already have a knowledge of this world.  I realise that this is probably something that will be built on as the book progresses but at this point and given that neither of the two main characters really stole my heart I’m going to admit this one isn’t for me and so I’m setting it aside.

Author Info :

Twitter : aford21


PrinceofCats.jpgThe Prince of Cats by Daniel Olesen

I must say from the outset that The Prince of Cats was a good read and I easily read over the 30% allocation I allow for all these books.  This is definitely, so far a fun read with a good pace and amusing dialogue.

Jawad is a thief.  When we meet him at the start of the story he’s been arrested and about to face punishment – unless he can help to find ‘The Prince of Cats’.  Given a brief stay of execution Jawad is escorted to the home of a wealthy merchants who fears that the PoCs has targeted his business.

I liked Jawad in many ways.  He’s not a perfect character, he’s pitching people against each other and playing other people like a master puppeteer but he’s fairly easy to get along with from the reader’s perspective.

Like I mentioned, this is a good read and that makes me feel bad for cutting it out of the selection process at this stage, but this is a ruthless competition.  I think my main issue with this is that some of Jawad’s remarks fall strongly into the category of foreshadowing – now I think this is a pity in some respects because it gives me the feeling that I know what direction the story is going to go in – although I could, of course, be completely wrong.

All things being equal, this book is a good read, it has humour, intrigue and a likable main pov.  I’m still kind of torn and would like to roll this book forward but realistically I have to cut some books.  At the moment, regrettably, I’m not rolling this one forward but I may return to it later to complete and review.

Author Info :


Immortals'Requiem.jpgImmortals’ Requiem by Vincent Bobbe

I have mixed feelings for Immortals’ Requiem.  I started this book and admit that it began in a rather complicated fashion.  There are plenty of characters and goings on.  But, okay, I’m not new to complicated fantasy and by about 10% in things just ‘clicked’ for me, particularly with one of the characters who just made me laugh with his sarcasm.

I enjoyed the setting, I’m from this neck of the woods and so it was absolutely fascinating to be reading about streets that I’m familiar with – albeit that I wouldn’t particularly like to run into any of the characters from this book!

This is a story of Immortals – one in particular who seems to have travelled forward through the ages followed by his nemesis.  There are aspects of this that just gave me “Terminator’ vibes in a really good way and also other elements that put me in mind of similar urban fantasy worlds.

To be honest, I’m conflicted.  There are aspects of the story that I’m really enjoying, the pace is good as is the writing and I would like to know more about what’s going on.  On the other hand, I feel that this one might just be too violent for my own tastes.  So, I’m enjoying certain elements but not others.  I realise that’s very much a personal preference and even now I’m considering reading more to see how I get on but, for the purposes of the competition I won’t be rolling this one forward – even if I do decide to pick it back up.  Like I said, I think this one could possibly work really well for others so if you like your grimdark to be on the darker side of the scale then give it a shot.  I might continue with this one if time allows, I confess that I’m curious, but for the purpose of the competition I’m not rolling it forward at this stage.

Author Info : 

Twitter : jumpstartpub

*Final note: if I have any of your details wrong then please let me know.

My thanks to all the authors for providing review copies and regrets to those that have been cut out of the competition so far.

**Other SPFBO posts:

My Process

My 3 covers for the cover competition

Author Interview - Elise Kova

My First Batch of Books

Feedback on My First Batch of Books

My Second Batch of Books

Review: Cry Havoc by Mike Morris

20 Responses to “#SPFBO Feedback on my second batch of books”

  1. Timy

    Aww, sorry to see The Prince of Cats go, I really enjoyed that one. On the other hand, I’m glad you are rolling The Lore of Prometheus forward. It was one of my favorite reads last year. I’m looking forward to read your thoughts on that one!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I know. I was having fun with PoCs but I think rolling three books forward might be a bit excessive for me. Lore of Prometheus is very good so far.

  2. Tammy

    Looking forward to hearing more about the two you rolled forward. They both sound really good!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I’m enjoying them both – shame about Prince of Cats – it’s a good read too but I have to make tough decisions because I can’t read them all – still thinking I might go back and finish it though.
      Lynn 😀

  3. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    Healer’s Ruin sounds promising! And The Owl & the Dragon sounds like it could be good, and fantasy-mystery is a genre I’m all over right now. And too bad about The Prince of Cats not going forward, but like you, I think I will want to read this one in full at a later date. I have a copy and I’m glad it is as fun as it looks!

    • @lynnsbooks

      It’s a shame I can only have one book really. PoC was good and I will probably go back and read it fully.
      Lynn 😀

  4. sjhigbee

    This sounds like a really promising batch of books – I like the sound of Lore of Prometheus and the cover is also cool:)

    • @lynnsbooks

      It’s very good so far – polished and impressive and gripping.
      Lynn 😀

      • sjhigbee

        The overall quality of indie books goes on steadily improving:))

  5. Weekly Wrap Up : 25th August 2019 | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] SPFBO books and decided which two books to carry forward for further reading.  My feedback post is here.  I’ve also reviewed the book I carried forward from the first batch of books – Cry […]

  6. waytoofantasy

    Love seeing your thoughts on these. Looks like a couple of them might be contenders! Good luck!

  7. Vincent Bobbe

    Hi Lynn,

    Thanks for your review. If your preference is not for violence then a grimdark fantasy horror was never going to be your thing really :op

    To be honest the only real criticism I’ve had from some is that it’s a bit of a slow start to the book. With a competition like SPFBO I didn’t expect to get far at all because of that. I’m just pleased you read 30% and were enjoying it. I was fully expecting to get kicked out within the first 30 pages when signing up so I’m taking this as a win! :o)

    I really hope you do get chance to pick it up again at some point in the future… I’d love to read what you think on your blog if you find the courage to plough back in to the immortals war, especially from someone who doesn’t like the darker side of grimdark.

    Needless to say it massively ramps up in scale the further in to the story you progress. Then again I wrote it, and all authors would say that wouldn’t they!

    I’ll be following the rest of the competition closely. Good luck, it seems like an almost impossible task!

    Your friend,


    • @lynnsbooks

      Hi Vincent
      Thanks for stopping by (also, apologies I haven’t sent you any interview questions yet – I wanted to read the book first to be honest) so I am hoping to return and finish this.
      Grimdark – yeah, I do like grimdark tbh but I think I have a limit – probably I’m a bit of a wuss and like you say, if the book has a slightly slow start then it probably won’t have chance to work it’s magic with the 30% cut off limit I imposed. It is difficult and this is why good books are overlooked but I’m trying to be consistent and fair more than anything else 😀
      I’ll be in touch soon.
      Lynn 😀

  8. August : My Month in Covers | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] few reviews yet to schedule I’m kind of on track so all good.  Plus I’ve provided my feedback on the second month of SPFBO books and chosen two books to read fully one already reviewed here and […]

  9. August : My Month in Review | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] In terms of SPFBO – I’ve completed my first and second batch of books.  My feedback is here and here. […]

  10. LizScanlon

    Oooh.. I think as I am reading this post, your review for Lore of Prometheus has been published… I loved that book.. going to skip over to your review now… (and hope that I am not mixing you up with someone else) XD

    • @lynnsbooks

      Nope, you weren’t mixing me up – and I loved it, as you now know. 😀

  11. #SPFBO Half Way Point : Feedback | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] Books Feedback on My First Batch of Books My Second Batch of Books Review: Cry Havoc by Mike Morris feedback on my Second Batch of Books Review: Healer's Rune by Chris O'Mara Review: The Lore of Prometheus by Graham Austin-King My Third […]

  12. September : My Month in Review | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] of SPFBO – I’ve completed my first and second batch of books.  My feedback is here and here.  I’ve posted a midway point feedback post and my feedback for batch three will be posted in […]

  13. #SPFBO Feedback on the Fourth Batch of Books | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] Books Feedback on My First Batch of Books My Second Batch of Books Review: Cry Havoc by Mike Morris feedback on my Second Batch of Books Review: Healer's Rune by Chris O'Mara Review: The Lore of Prometheus by Graham Austin-King My Third […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s