#SPFBO 6 – Saturday Snapshots : Excerpt -The Hammer Of The Gods: So You Want To Be A Star (The Druid Trilogy #1) by Andrew Marc Rowe

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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.)  Whilst the competition is taking part I’d like to post excerpts from some of the books that have entered the contest.  If you’d like to make use of this space to post a teaser to entice readers then let me know in the comments.

Today’s teaser comes from one of the books in my allocated batch : The Hammer Of The Gods: So You Want To Be A Star (The Druid Trilogy #1) by Andrew Marc Rowe:

** Excerpt **

What the King had not known until his conversation with that unknown goblin earlier was who exactly it was the goblins had to blame for their ineptitude with arms. Because the goblins did bear them, and with great panache. They put swords on their belts, axes on their backs, bows in their hands. But these were more akin to decoration than anything of practical value. Goblins thought they could scare off humans with a mere fierce appearance. Which worked only some of the time. The other times, the green humanoids were slaughtered where they stood. All for the delight of Gluttor, Lord of Pain.

Their beloved god: the very reason why they could not master their weapons. It was Gluttor who had been undermining the goblins in their efforts to defend themselves from the humans of Albion. He loved to see his flock suffer (which, truth be told, most of the goblins rather enjoyed as well). But after what had happened with King Arthur and his knights on Cambria, it had become clear to the Goblin King that the very survival of the Horde depended on something fundamental changing. Which meant adoption of one of these human gods.

But they were all so focused on human ideals of beauty and love… which was absolutely anathema to the green-skinned bunch. There was no god of gambling, no god of suffering. All of the things the goblins held dear were not represented among these humans of the Blessed Isles. The monks who worshiped this One True God, the ones who self-flagellated and screeched doom and burned down buildings seemed an alright sort at first, until the King realized that their agenda included pushing every living thing towards a life of celibacy, whereas the goblins reveled in their sexuality. Cernunnos, the Horned One, seemed like he might be a good candidate to align themselves with, or perhaps The Morrigan, goddess of war. But Cernunnos cared for little else aside from sex and The Morrigan, also a beauty deity, could not abide the ugliness of the goblins. The King had almost struck a deal with Clapperleg, god of death, until the pale-skinned monstrosity told him exactly what the cost of his blessing was.

This new god, the one who had sent that goblin to the castle earlier that day, perhaps this god was the one. It was not of these lands, this deity. It had come from somewhere far to the south, an arid desert where nothing grew. According to the envoy, this god was the enemy to all things fair, a patron of the ugly, the monstrous, the sinful. It could give the Horde power over magic, make them warriors, turn them into a self-sufficient force of nature which would no longer be pushed around by these humans. By swearing the blood oath to Dagon, the Goblin King could finally get his revenge against Arthur of Camelot.

The King picked up the knife for the umpteenth time that night. The scratchings on the metal of the black blade were unfamiliar, but there was a sensation that accompanied putting it into his hand that simply sung to the goblin regent. He felt intimately familiar with the implement, as if he had been using it to cut his morning pork since he was a boy. He opened his palm to regard the wrapping of the handle. Grey and fraying, the cloth looked as if it had been around since the dawn of time. On the pommel, a piece of bone had been carved into the image of some strange tentacled amorphous thing. Jelly-like and without hard edges, it looked as though it were some kind of gelatinous creature that washed up on the beaches of Albion from time to time.

The King made a grimace of determination, closed his hand, stood, and swayed for a moment. Then he looked down at the mug, picked it up, and downed the dregs. He was in uncharted territory now, the King mused to himself as he set the mug down. He was about to go where no goblin had gone before. Aside for, perhaps, the goblin who had given him the dagger in the first place, though he might not have actually been a goblin. He disappeared into a puff of orange smoke after he gave his speech and delivered the thing. The Queen had made him promise that he would not use the dagger before she went to sleep, that, no matter the danger to the Horde from the humans, he would stay true to the traditions of goblinkind.

The King had gripped the blade and the lie had come to him so easily. He promised he would throw the thing into the lake in the morning. He might yet, the King acknowledged to himself. But not before he completed the ritual.

The Goblin King looked on the snoring form of his wife once more. What was it the envoy had said to him, some title in a foreign language that slipped off the tongue like rendered pig fat? He was the Goblin King, but with Dagon, he could become… El Goblerino. The King liked that.

The King liked that very much.

***ends***

Here’s a link to the book’s Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Hammer-Gods-Want-Druid-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B088TWL8TX/

A link to the author’s page is here.

And, finally, here’s the description for the book plus the cover:

hammerIt’s Hammer Time!

Pitted against a perverse pantheon of warring deities, Gudleik Sigbjornsson and Rosmerta O’Ceallaigh are two dreamers living worlds apart, hoping to create a better life for themselves by following their dreams. It won’t be easy: Gudleik’s soul is the battleground between two gods of Asgard. And Rosmerta is supposed to do as her parents have done: offer her life to the service of an ancient Celtic fertility god. But the gods are only half of it… the biggest foes the two will face are to be found within their own minds.

Can Gudleik overcome the ugly blessing of a trickster god and prevent Ragnarok? Will Rosmerta find the courage to forge a new path? Will there be a whole load of dirty jokes and comments on the human condition?

Yes, yes, there will be… to that one, the third question.

Also, check dis out: there is a bunch about Merlyn and King Arthur of Camelot, a Goblin King, an ancient fell jellyfish god, encroaching Christian zealots, characters whose proclivities are too crude to mention here, because, well, gotta make the advertising copy pop, you know?

An epic fantasy comedy as blue as the cover art, get your copy of The Hammer Of The Gods today!

My thanks to the author for submitting an excerpt.

If any other entrants would like to post an excerpt let me know in the comments 😀

#SPFBO 6 – Cover love (4)

Posted On 3 July 2020

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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 and my first batch of books is here.  I’ve now read my first batch of books and an update can be found here. My second batch of books looks like this. In the meantime, this year I’m aiming to shine a little bit of focus on some of the books either through posting excerpts to act as teasers for potential readers or through posting some of the covers and highlighting the book that way (not just for my own books but other entries).  The invitation is open to all authors from the competition – if you’d like to post an excerpt then give me a shout in the comments.

As part of the competition there is a cover contest.  The details can be found here.

So, this week’s SPFBO covers:

gravey

Shadow

rado

#SPFBO : My Second Batch of Books

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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 first batch of books here and my update here.

As with previous years I’m hoping to read a batch of books each month.  I will read at least 30% 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.  My book list is chosen randomly and the six books I will be reading this month are outlined below:

 

Burn (Desert Deities, #1) by G. E. Hathaway

Burn ecover - G.E. Hathaway - Vickie L. H.

After a devastating power outage wipes out most of Tucson, survivors Liam, Noah, and Ellie have more than the hot summers to worry about. In the absence of modern technology, ancient spirits awaken and the Sun God and Rain Goddess resume their timeless war over the elements. Friendships are tested and lines between good and evil are blurred as the humans are thrust into a strange and dangerous journey that reveals the mysterious forces ruling the desert. When the Rain Goddess is injured and the temperatures rise, Liam, Noah, and Ellie must find a way to restore power to the city before they all burn.

Author Info : 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ranger’s Oath (Arc of Radiance/Fall of Radiance #1) by Blake Arthur Peel

rangerThe barrier between worlds is broken. Only he knows the truth…

Magic has protected Tarsynium for a thousand years, shielding its people from being ravaged by bloodthirsty demons. When a young ranger’s apprentice named Owyn Lund discovers that the Arc of Radiance has been breached, he tries to warn anybody who will listen.

But legends aren’t supposed to be real.

When a village is mysteriously destroyed, rangers, mages, and rebels all point the finger, blaming each other for the demons’ brutality. However, Zara Dennel, a mage’s ward, has heard Owyn’s tale—and she’s inclined to believe him.

Together, they must prove that friendship is greater than intolerance, unity is more important than division, and that even the most powerful magic can sometimes not be enough.

Failure means the end of all things. A second—and lasting—Doom.

Experience the beginning of a thrilling Epic Fantasy series suitable for all ages. It’s perfect for fans of Sabaa Tahir, Sarah J. Maas, and Brandon Sanderson.

Author Infoblakearthurpeel

Website: https://blakearthurpeel.com

 

Knightmare Arcanist (Frith Chronicles #1) by Shami Stovall

KnightmareMagic. Sailing. A murderer among heroes.

Gravedigger Volke Savan wants nothing more than to be like his hero, the legendary magical swashbuckler, Gregory Ruma. First he needs to become an arcanist, someone capable of wielding magic, which requires bonding with a mythical creature. And he’ll take anything—a pegasus, a griffin, a ravenous hydra—maybe even a leviathan, like Ruma.

So when Volke stumbles across a knightmare, a creature made of shadow and terror, he has no reservations. But the knightmare knows a terrible secret: Ruma is a murderer out to spread corrupted magic throughout their island nation. He’s already killed a population of phoenixes and he intends to kill even more.

In order to protect his home, his adopted sister, and the girl he admires from afar, Volke will need to confront his hero, the Master Arcanist Gregory Ruma.

A fast-paced fantasy with magical creatures for those who enjoy the Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera series) by Jim Butcher, Unsouled (Cradle Series) by Will Wight, and Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan.

Author Info:

Website: https://sastovallauthor.com/

 

The Edge of Nothing (The Lex Chronicles #1) by Crystal Crawford

EdgeofAn evil force terrorizes Arameth, but those out to stop it have a serious problem: their prophesied hero is dead.

Centuries ago, a malevolent magicborn overtook Arameth, fracturing their world and unleashing a devastating war between magicborn and their non-magic neighbors. To protect their magical heritage, the Ancients of Arameth sealed themselves off in The Core, wiping all memory of magic from the ordinary people. The remaining magicborns retreated into hiding, unable to use their abilities for fear of inciting the wrath of the Ancients’ dark regime—or the terror of their own neighbors.

Two hundred years later, the damage wreaked by the Fracture threatens to unravel their world. A dark energy from The Core is slowly corrupting once-beautiful Arameth, and the Worldforce, the source of all Arameth’s magic, is destabilizing. The heroes sworn to restore the balance fail catastrophically in their final battle, and tensions peak between the peoples of Arameth. Fluctuations in the unstable Worldforce bring frequent disasters.

But not all of Arameth’s problems come from The Core…

Lex is a seventeen-year-old with no memories before this morning, and no clue why a group of villagers want him dead. Realizing they have mistaken him for a destructive magicborn who slaughtered innocents in their village, Lex flees for his life—only to discover he’s more tangled in the conflicts of the past than he ever imagined. And the mysterious girl he stumbles upon during his escape creates a whole new set of problems…

An epic fantasy / portal fantasy / soft sci-fi mashup, this book is teeming with quirky characters, fantastical creatures, surprises and suspense. With subtle clean/sweet romance, high-stakes adventure, and a strong focus on friendship and second chances, this all-the-feels fantasy debut will keep you flipping the pages.

Author Info: cryscrawford

Website: http://ccrawfordwriting.com

 

Mid-Lich Crisis by Steve Thomas

midlichIs trying to sacrifice your estranged wife to a bloodthirsty demon an irredeemable act of evil? This is the sort of question the Dread Wizard Darruk Darkbringer struggles with. After being called evil one too many times, Darruk sets off to find a new purpose in his life and become a beloved celebrity. Can a dark wizard come to terms with himself and prove to the world that a few atrocities don’t define who he is? You’ll feel guilty for laughing at his twisted tale of self-discovery.

Author Info:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chains of Blood (The Chaos Cycle #1) by M.L. Spencer

ChainsHe thought he was born Rylan Marshall…

…until he found out he wasn’t.

Instead, he was born the son of a demon.

Would that mean he was destined to follow in his father’s footsteps?

Rylan was attacked, his young son murdered, his baby daughter taken. But his assailant left him with two gifts: the gift of magic…and an oath to darkness. Rylan blamed himself, even though he knew it wasn’t his fault.

The life he knew was over.

And war is coming.

A new enemy, stronger and more fearsome than any other, appears out of the night.

Will Rylan use his newfound power to make a stand? Will he learn its use in time to make a difference? Or will his oath to darkness guide him to the enemy?

And when he finds out they’ve taken his daughter…how far will he go to get her back?

Author Info: @MLSpencerAuthor

Website: http://mlspencerfiction.com

 

Once again, good luck to everyone.  If you’d like to visit my blog for a guest post, excerpt, etc, then leave me a note in the comments.

#SPFBO : My First Batch of Books – Update

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

The aim of these updates is to provide feedback on each batch of books.  I aim to read at least 30% of all my books and then make a decision whether to roll any books forward from that batch.  Any books that I decide to roll forward I will continue reading and provide a review and a decision about whether that book will be a semi finalist.  I will provide mini reviews for the books that are being cut.  I will not rate these books as I think it will be difficult to do so having only read the first third of the book.

Below are my books from the first batch and my decision about which will be cut or rolled forward.  I realise this is really difficult for all the authors and so I want to state plainly that I don’t find these cuts easy to make or enjoyable.  However, I do have to make cuts.  I can have only one finalist by the conclusion of the first half of the competition and so 29 books will eventually be removed.

The Curse of the Jenri by Stephanie Barr

CurseCurse of the Jenri is a high fantasy novel with a pseudo mediaeval feel.  As the story begins we witness a man (Tander) being rescued from prison and torture by his partner (Layla)  Layla is a member of a feared tribe of women known as the Jenri.  The Jenri wield both magic and swords, and have a fearsome reputation.  Unfortunately, it appears that something or someone is stealing the Jenri women using powerful magic and with Layla missing Tander must take control and lead the search.

This is a book that I would say is aimed at a young adult audience, although I’m basing that on the point at which I broke off  (31%) so could be wrong.  My first impressions are that there is no cursing here, the main characters are portrayed as ‘sexy’ but I wasn’t aware of any scenes of a sexual nature and the fights and bloodshed are definitely not graphic.  **Amendment to the above: on the author’s advice I understand this book is not aimed at a YA audience as the content becomes much darker as the story progresses so please be advised accordingly.

The Jenri women are magic users, their magic seems to be assisted by the jewels they wear and some of the women have ‘familiars.  On top of this the history of the tribe can be recounted through an archivist who has the magical ability to cast a scene in a vivid and real way.

In term of my impressions at this point: I would say that the author is going for a good, clean, fun read. It felt a little young for my taste with certain elements feeling almost overly sweet – which is something that gives me pause about the audience this is aimed at. By way of example, unicorns are the Jenri’s steed of choice and a whole litter of kittens seem to have adopted Tander as their human of choice – indicating that he will himself have magical ability that will no doubt manifest as the story progresses. The other issues that I had with this is it feels very light.  We’re told that the Jenri are fearsome but I’m not really picking that up from the read at this point. I  didn’t have any strong issues reading my alloted 30% but it isn’t a book that I will be rolling forward.  **This may appeal to a younger audience who are new to fantasy and want something light, fun and maybe a little romantic with a ‘chosen one’ feel.  I have only read the first third of the book though so I can’t speak for the remainder of the story or whether or not things take a darker turn. – **Again, see the above amendment.  I wouldn’t want to encourage the wrong audience to pick this up and understand that the content turns much darker.  These comments are based on the first 30% of the book only.

Conclusion: Cut

Chains Carried on Wings by Marina Ermakova

ChainsChains Carried on Wings made a promising start and was intriguing and well written to the point at which I broke off.  The story is told through four pov characters.  Ande, is a Kingsman who seems to have been sent out on a quest to investigate the smaller towns looking for signs of sedition.  We have a young woman called Saig who longs to be allowed to do things outside the norm.  Her cousin Auris is all set to be the next headwoman and dislikes Saig’s headstrong behaviour and finally a young man called Trei – who seems desperate to prove himself.

As the story gets underway it becomes apparent that everyone is on edge following the mysterious disappearance of a number of people. As if this isn’t enough the city suffers a couple of random goblin attacks and then an outright attack that forces people to flee into the forest or further afield.

I read quite a bit further than originally intended with this one reading over 40%.  It is an engaging read in many respects. I liked the writing and was intrigued by the people of Running Water and their everyday lives.

Obviously something larger is at play here although at this point I’m not entirely sure what that is.

In terms of magic, this seems to be related mainly to the goblins at this point who can manifest without warning.

In terms of issues that I have so far – I’m not particularly attached to any of the main characters, which isn’t to say I haven’t enjoyed what I’ve read.  I think Ande is my favourite character at this point and Saig also shows promise.

I think this would definitely appeal to a YA audience – although, tbh, I’m not an expert at determining these things.  The characters seem quite young (although that’s not always a guarantee) but the cursing, violence and sexual content seems more aimed at that audience (at this point).  It’s difficult to say how the story will develop but I imagine there will be more danger, some sort of elaborate plan and hopefully these characters will eventually pull together in times of adversary.

Conclusion : Cut

Incursion by Mitchell Hogan

Incursion

I have decided to roll incursion forward and read further so no mini review for the moment.  If I read the entire book I will post a full review and at such time will decide whether or not this is a semi-finalist.

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The Five Furies of Heaven by Ashley Capes

The Five

This isn’t the first book I’ve read from this author so I definitely had expectations going into the read and to the point I read up to I would say this was an enjoyable and well written story.  Five friends on a mission encounter a God who changes them and bestows upon them special gifts.  Of course there is an underlying reason, this isn’t just an over generous deity after all.  Trouble is brewing.  War and insects and the very nature of life is going to change – and not for the better.

Unfortunately, none of the friends know exactly what to expect and one of them appears to have undergone no change whatsoever whilst his four friends have all become adult and to say this is something of a bugbear is an understatement.  However, nobody has time for reflection because it appears that an army is marching forth and taking villagers to fight in the war (whether they want to fight or not!).

This is a fast paced story, it has a coming of age type feel with these five friends going on a journey and in fact already encountering a number of dangers to the point I read up to.  There is magic and apparently dragons (although they didn’t make an appearance at the point I broke off (which was approx 33%).

I think this book has a lot of promise although I’m not at this stage proposing to roll it forward.  If I have a chance I would like to pick it up and complete it though.

Conclusion : Cut

 

Beyond the Spire of Navarene by M Warren Askins

Beyond theAs Beyond the Spire begins there is a prologue that takes the form of an account being sent of a battle – well, a slaughter at a village where only the children were left alive.

We then start to make the acquaintance of some of the characters.  Margot and Galahalt.  Sister and brother.  They seem to be in strife money wise and it appears that Margot has been promised as wife to a rather odious man if the debt cannot be paid.

Pietr is born into a family of warriors but unfortunately does not follow in the traditional roles, instead becoming an artist (or architect). It seems that Pietr does have a role, he can reimagine things and draw up plans so that they are improved, he can make sketches from descriptions and generally he seems to have turned the family opinion of him round to something very favourable.

We also meet a few novices – training to be knights.  They’re on the final hurdle and are given one task to complete before knighthood is bestowed, a task that involves them delving into the forest of Fenrirfang with all its dangers.

Finally we meet a ranger who teams up with Galahalt on his quest into Fenrirfang where he hopes to capture a prized beast that will pay off the family debt.

There is certainly no shortage of people and events to the point I read up to in fact this was maybe a little too ‘busy’.  I do think that there were a lot of new characters and jumps back and forth for the portions I read but I expect the narrative will settle down now that Galahalt is on his quest.  At the point I read up to I don’t feel fully enough invested in the characters to roll this forward though.

Conclusion : Cut

 

Heartscale by Lola Ford

Heartscale

 

Finally, Heartscale – I must first make mention of the wonderful cover for this book which is a wrap around and has fantastic detail.

This cover promises dragons and dragons there are.

Basically, this is a story of two characters, from opposite sides of the world who both seem to be chosen by a particular dragon – and the choosing will change their lives.

Graith is a farmer.  He encounters a dragon when it crashes, injured, into his barn after being attacked. He helps the dragon (Azelia) and the two form a friendship (or bond of sorts).  Graith undertakes to help Azelia return to her home and save her eggs.

Meanwhile, a young woman named Nerie has her life set on it’s head when she attends a hatchling and is chosen by one of the dragons (Kiriga)  Rulers are chosen by dragons and so this is rather a shock until it is discovered that Nerie is the illegitimate daughter of the King.

So, at the point I concluded the two dragons and characters have not met – I’m assuming they may do so if the cover is anything to go by??  Also, at this point I’m not entirely sure what direction the story is going to take.  There doesn’t appear to be any imminent threat on the horizon when I reached my cut off point.

The narration has a light touch, it almost feels like an expanded fairytale in the way the dialogue and description is approached and whilst this felt a little young for my own taste it could appeal to a MG or just slightly older reader – particularly as this looks like the first book in series.

Conclusion : Cut

 

I will be highlighting my next 6 books very soon so watch this space.

 

 

 

 

 

 

*******

Finally, good luck to all my authors.  Also, a quick mention that if any of you would like to post excerpts over here by way of teasers for other readers then just let me know (if you’ve already left me a comment to that effect I’ll be in touch shortly :D)

#SPFBO Saturday

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Today I’m combining two posts – my Cover Love (3) post that I usually post on Friday and my Saturday Snapshot where I post an excerpt from one of the forthcoming SPFBO books.  Basically I was a little too preoccupied yesterday to do anything so I’m squishing the two together here today so that I don’t lose track of things.

So, firstly, I’m highlighting three covers from amongst my own collection of books this week – take a look and see what you think. In the interests of keeping this post to a reasonable length I’ve not added the descriptions here but I have linked to the Goodreads and Amazon pages so you can check them out quite easily:

Rise of the Forgotten Sun (The Sun and the Raven #1) by Jon Monson

 

Emma and the Minotaur (World of Light, #1) by Jon Herrera

 

Burn (Desert Deities, #1) by G. E. Hathaway

Do you have a favourite?

 

Secondly, my sample today, kindly provided by the author, to shine a light on his SPFBO entry, is The Child of Silence (The Burning Orbit Book 1) by Joseph O. Doran – this is a tiny teaser, I’ve also provided the description, links and author information below.  Enjoy:

 

** Excerpt **

 

I am called Aiata dal’Pelferta. On the day I entered the world, I sustained massive damage to my brain. In a society where beauty is paramount, I have a weak, poorly-formed body that I can hardly move. Amongst a people where one’s voice grants incredible power, I cannot speak save for random sounds. For most of my life, those who knew me either resented my existence or liked to pretend I did not exist at all.

And worst of all, I was born fourth in line to the throne.

 

** Ends **

 

Further details for The Child of Silence:

ChildofsilenceYou’ve never met a hero like this before.

Born severely disabled, Aiata dal’Pelferta has spent her life despised by her own people simply for who she is. Worse still, she is the youngest daughter of the Empress, making her an Imperial embarrassment. Unable to talk, move or let anyone know she is a thinking, feeling person, she spends her days observing – and learning – from those around her.

Everything changes when she finally discovers a way to communicate and is plunged into the dangers of the Imperial court. With the magic of Songthrust, Aiata’s people can force others to their will, however they are ill-prepared for a popular revolt within their own borders – a revolt that Aiata is dragged into. Abused by her family and surrounded by danger, Aiata will learn that her intellect – not her magic – is her greatest asset, as she fights to save her home from the ravages of civil war.

Yet while all eyes are on the war at home, a far greater threat looms in the dark of the night sky.

Author info

 

Finally, I’ve made very good progress on my first batch of books and my update will follow very soon. Unfortunately this will involve cuts – which is my least favourite part of this first stage of the competition – but it is also a necessary part so I wanted to raise this in advance.

 

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