#SPFBO : My Fifth/Final Batch of Books – Update

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300 books           10 Judges            1 winner

The 1st of June marked the start of the sixth Self Published Fantasy Blog Off (details here.)  My Introductory post is here.

You can find my updates for batch 1, batch 2, batch 3 and Batch 4 by clicking on the  links:

As with previous years I will read a batch of books each month.  I will read at least 30% (or 100 pages) and hopefully will choose one or two books from each batch to roll forward and read fully and review before choosing semi finalists and a finalist. 

This batch of books made for good reading and some very difficult choices.  Unfortunately I can’t carry all the books forward so as ever there will be cuts with my sincere apologies to those authors.   

Long Stories

Long Stories: Early Immortals and the Birth of Death by) by Evan Witmer 

This is an unusual story primarily focusing on Death.  Basically, God created Death to kill the Immortals.  Primarily these immortals are made up of vampires, but there are also witches, and others that are swelling the numbers of long lived bodies down on Earth. Death teleports round the world finding his next victims and eliminating them swiftly before burying the bodies. 

Eventually, all the immortals bar one have been eliminated.  Lucy.  Lucy is a very strange case, over 100 years old but she is still a child and Death finds it impossible to kill her.

Unfortunately this one didn’t quite work out for me.  I struggled to get a feel for the characters or understand where the story was going.  To the point I read up to it felt like a series of anecdotes that jumped back and forth in time relating Death’s encounters. There’s a tongue in cheek tone and a very surreal feel and I’m surprised that this didn’t work out for me given all the fantasy elements but I was unable to connect with it.

Conclusion : Cut



Tuyo by Rachel Neumeier

I’m not reviewing Tuyo at the moment as I’ve decided to carry this one forward.

Conclusion: roll forward



Voice of War by Zack Argyle

I’m also not reviewing Voice of War as I want to read further.

Conclusion : roll forward



The Flight of the Darkstar Dragon by Benedict Patrick

Again, no review at this point as I would like to continue reading.

Conclusion : roll forward


War Bringer

Warbringer by Aaron Hodges

I must say that I enjoyed reading War Bringer to the point I read up to.  This is a world inhabited by creatures known as the Tangata.  The Tangata seem intent on destroying mankind, they are strong, fast and feral and they are gathering their forces to launch what feels like a final attack.

The story has three clear threads.  Romaine is a warrior.  His homeland has been invaded and destroyed by the Tangata.  We first meet Romaine whilst he’s on a foray into the wild.  He and his captain and party follow Tangata tracks into the wild where they manage to survive an attack and rescue a woman who is alone in the wild.    Erika is an Archivist for the Queen.  She believes that ancient artefacts are the key to defeating the Tangata and seeks these artefacts out.  Whilst on such a mission Erika finds what appears to be a map that provides the location of other ancient sites.  She also finds a magic gauntlet although it’s unclear what the gauntlet can actually do at this point.  Finally, Lukys.  He’s a new recruit, sent to the frontier.  After surviving a brutal Tangata attack he has decided that his best hope is to seek help from Romaine.

I thought this had a good pace and the three storylines worked very well in taking the story forward.  I enjoyed the style and I’m definitely curious about the history and would like to know more about the Tangata.

In terms of criticism.  The only thing that occurred to me was that considering how deadly the Tangata were Romaine seemed to deal with them remarkably well – which kind of belied the threat a little for me.

Overall I would like to read this one at a later date and review more fully.

Conclusion : cut 




Exile was another enjoyable read.  It has a slightly generic feel with a mediaeval backdrop, castles, nobles and an old school swords and sorcery feel. 

The MC, Aron, is a sell sword.  He gets into bother as the story sets off when he kills a man and is taken prisoner by the local Earl.  The Earl of Nandor’s son has been kidnapped and is being held hostage by their enemy.  Aron has unwittingly killed the Earl’s champion and so finds himself pressed into service as part of a rescue party.

I didn’t have any trouble getting into this story but I had a couple of issues.  Firstly, I was puzzled by the Earl – he sends another noble on the mission to lead the party, but this same noble is hoping to marry one of the Earl’s daughters and basically, if the Earl’s son and heir fails to return, said marriage will result in this noble becoming the next Earl.  This seems like a real conflict to me, surely this man would be more than happy for the mission to fail and if the Earl can’t see this himself then I don’t understand why not.

Also, there are a number of romantic threads so far – which I don’t have a problem with as such – other than it seems that the Earl’s wife and both his daughters are making a play for Aron and it felt a little over the top.  It also gave me misgivings about Aron as he seemed just to go with the flow making out with whoever/whenever.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read, I enjoyed the writing and was actually starting to like Aron at the point I concluded reading but it didn’t stand above the other books from this batch that I’ve decided to roll forward.

Conclusion : cut



Mid-Lich Crisis by Steve Thomas 

This was another enjoyable book.  I dual read and listened to this one as I had a copy of both versions and I must say that the audio version is very well done.

I’m not reviewing at this point as I would like to conclude the book and review fully but at this stage I won’t be rolling this forward in terms of the competition simply because this batch has some very strong contenders.

Conclusion : cut


My thanks to all the authors who have taken part. I’ve had some very good books in my lot and will be providing an update tomorrow about the rest of my process going forward.

13 Responses to “#SPFBO : My Fifth/Final Batch of Books – Update”

  1. Tammy

    This was a strong batch, with three moving forward. I’ve already read reviews for both Tuyo and Voice of War on other blogs so I’m very curious to see what you think😁

  2. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    Congrats to those authors whose books are rolling forward!

  3. #SPFBO – My Next Steps | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] can find my updates for batch 1, batch 2, batch 3, Batch 4 and Batch 5 by clicking on the  […]

  4. waytoofantasy

    Seems like this was a pretty good batch overall–there’s a lot of roll forwards here!

  5. jessicabookworm

    Ooo lots of enjoyable reads and roll forwards in this batch – Must have been so hard to pick what to cut! 😅

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yep, the cutting is definitely not my favourite aspect.
      Lynn 😀

  6. #SPFBO Review : Calico Thunder Rides Again by T.A. Hernandez | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] can find my updates for batch 1, batch 2, batch 3, Batch 4 and Batch 5 by clicking on the  […]

  7. sjhigbee

    Oh my word – WHAT a very strong batch of books! I’ve read TUYO and completely understand why you have decided to roll it forward… Congratulations to all the authors who have made the cut and I hope you throughly enjoy all the books:))

  8. Incursion (The Necromancer’s Key #1) by Mitchell Hogan | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] can find my updates for batch 1, batch 2, batch 3, Batch 4 and Batch 5 by clicking on the  […]

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