#SPFBO My fifth batch of books

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I’m getting to the last books now.  Below is my fifth round of books listed below in the order I’m going to check them out – five books a month for six months.  The aim is to choose one book out of each of the six batches and then from those 6 potentials choose one to submit for the final stage.

Without further ado here are my books this month:

faeriefruitFaerie Fruit – by Charlotte E English

When the centuries-barren orchards of Berrie-on-the-Wyn suddenly bear fruit, it is clear that something strange is afoot — and something fey, for this is no ordinary harvest. To partake of the fruits of Faerie is to be changed for good, but not necessarily for the better.

From whence come the golden apples, the moonlit silver pears? Who is the motley piper who walks the streets of Berrie, drawing forth magic and mayhem with his music? And how can half of the town vanish into thin air?

There may be chaos aplenty in Berrie, but all that’s needed to set things straight is a touch of the right light — and maybe just the right pair of Boots…

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Spark of Defiance (Games of Fire #1) by Autumn M. Birt

Six months after a tragic war, the world of Myrrah has found peace. But many of the heroes have not. Wandering to avoid memories of lost friends and past actions, Zhao reluctantly returns home to fulfill a promise to his sister. And to proclaim to the elders of his people that their treatment of Air Elementals is wrong. His homecoming is met with hostility but not for the reason he expects. It is far worse. To protect his gifted niece from a life of hardship and subjugation like the one he endured, Zhao must rescue his sister. Even if she doesn’t wish it. Quickly caught once again in events greater than he can handle alone, Zhao struggles to prevent a personal conflict from erupting into a larger battle. But friends are distant, and more than a few are wrestling with new problems of their own. Welcome BACK to the world of Myrrah full of elemental magic and epic fantasy adventure! A new trilogy begins in Games of Fire with book 1, Spark of Defiance.

 

feylandThe Dark Realm (Feyland #1) by Anthea Sharp

What if a high-tech computer game was a gateway to the dangerous Realm of Faerie?

When a game…

Feyland is the most immersive computer game ever designed, and Jennet Carter is the first to play the prototype. But she doesn’t suspect the virtual world is close enough to touch — or that she’ll be battling for her life against the Dark Queen of the faeries.

Turns real…

Tam Linn is the perfect hero — in-game. Too bad the rest of his life is seriously flawed. The last thing he needs is rich-girl Jennet prying into his secrets, insisting he’s the only one who can help her.

Winning is everything…

Together, Jennet and Tam enter the Dark Realm of Feyland, only to discover that the entire human world is in danger. Pushed to the limit of their abilities, they must defeat the Dark Queen… before it’s too late.

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The Rogue King (The Rogue King Saga, #1) by Aldrea Alien

Outside is dangerous.

Such is the warning Koral has heard for twelve years. Born a product of genetic manipulation, he knows little else of the
world beyond the steel walls of his home.

When fate gives him the choice between certain death and the unknown, there’s no question in what he must choose. But he’s about to find out the sands he must brave are full of more than mere monsters.

Providing the desert doesn’t kill him first.

This is a world ruled by instinct, where innocence is drowned in blood. Here, men are offered up to the great Serpent God, Lorric, only to emerge as the most feared killers on the planet: The Rogues.

With the god’s sights set on turning Koral into a legend, he must sacrifice himself to survive and be reborn as… The Rogue King.

everwinterEverwinter (The Wrath of the Northmen #1) by Elizabeth Baxter

The powers of old and new are on a collision course in the land of Thanderley. Ancient gods have broken free of their imprisonment and cursed the lands with a terrible winter, a scourge that is sweeping science and the new ways from the earth. In the city of Ral Tora, Bramwell, a young engineer, battles to save his home from the encroaching ice. But there will be no exceptions. The gods will reclaim what was theirs and destroy any who oppose them.

Once more, the balances are tipped. Magic and science cannot exist in harmony, yet Bramwell must master both to save everything he loves from destruction.

Everwinter is the first novel of the fantasy series, The Wrath of the Northmen.

 

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#SPFBO My fourth batch of books

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I’m a little late posting my fourth set of books for the SPFBO, purely down to lack of wi-fi.  Thankfully I’ve already started to read this month’s selection.  They’re listed below in the order I’m going to check them out – five books a month for the next six months.  I will choose one book out of each of the six batches and then from those 6 potentials choose one to submit for the final stage.

Without further ado here are my books:

The Soul Guide by Kelly Stock

When university student Sybil is stung by a bee in the middle of a winter snowstorm, she finds herself chosen as the latest Soul Guide. With only a few days to reach the Veil; the place of souls, and complete the Passing Over ceremony, she begins to question everything she ever believed to be true. But dark forces will stop at nothing to prevent Sybil from fulfilling her destiny. Struggling with such a huge responsibility, and afraid for her life, Sybil has no choice but to put her trust in two complete strangers.

Meet Bertram, the Caretaker. Despite his anguish at losing the love of his life, he has a job to do. Sybil is his responsibility now. He must guide her to the Veil – no matter the cost.

Then there’s Alec, who’s drawn to Sybil the moment he lays eyes on her. Overcome by the sudden need to protect her, Alec will risk his life to ensure her safety. Or does he have darker designs…?

Can the reluctant Soul Guide, the grieving Caretaker, and the obsessive stranger work together? Only one thing is certain: the future of both Earth and the Veil hang in the balance, and the dark are rising.

This is a story of loss & grief, of friendship & love and the battle of light versus dark.

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The Apotheosis Break by Josh Rhodes and Mike Rutledge

The life of an airshipman is violent and short, but every sailor still breathing in the clouds has a tale of Anton Mikhailovich.

Vasili, his fourteen year old son, never knew the man. The swashbuckling captain died mysteriously when the boy was five, leaving only tall tales and long shadows. His father’s remembrance ever looming, Vasili wants to leave his tiny frontier village and become a skysailing legend of his own accord.

A charismatic traveler arrives on an airship, a bishop with robes as worn as his smile. He comes to convey a funerary Telling of Anton some nine years overdue. Late but still timely, the traveler hints that his vessel may be looking for a new deckhand. He could put in a good word for the son of Anton.

The twinkling lights of home disappear over the horizon and the boy begins his own adventure, starting his own tale as he learns the truth of his father’s.

But the world and its skies are nothing like Vasili’s books. The serendipitous airship is the famed Apotheosis Break, Anton’s old ship, filled with beguiling shard hunters now at the end of their rope. They have already lost good men looking for Vasili. They may still lose everything seeking the forgotten legacy of Captain Mikhailovich.

Vasili will learn that the memories you try to escape are the ones you will always carry with you. And if half of what his crew says is true, his father’s story was one of loss, betrayal, and madness. If Vasili is to survive in the skies he will have to be as clever as his father and twice as lucky. Otherwise a traveler will return home with a Telling of another Mikhailovich boy.

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Darker Things by Rob Cornell

Craig Lockman—no one had called him that in fifteen years.

Not since his days at the Agency. Not since he was trained to kill creatures that were supposed to exist only in nightmares.

Yet the teenage girl on his doorstep not only knows his real name, she claims she’s his daughter.

Before Lockman can learn how the girl found him, he’s attacked by a black-ops team of assassins. But these aren’t ordinary killers—they’re heavily armed vampires sent by his most hated enemy.

Forced on the run, Lockman protects his daughter from an onslaught of horrors while searching for who betrayed him and why. The investigation leads him to Detroit, where he unwittingly sets a plan into motion that could trigger a paranormal apocalypse and cost him his soul.

For fans of Jim Butcher, Simon R. Green, and Laurell K. Hamilton… Darker Things is an 82,000-word urban fantasy loaded with double-crosses, thrilling action, and shocking twists.

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Today is Too Late by Burke Fitzpatrick

A Reluctant Villain Starts A Rebellion

Dark armies burn the greatest city in the world. A girl is born who might end their dominion, but only if a fearsome warrior protects her from the demons of the Nine Hells.

An infamous warlord, Tyrus of Kelnor helped demons conquer a continent, but the birth of a princess tests his loyalties. The child is marked for death, and her fate is in his hands. Old memories haunt him, from before the sorcery and monsters, when honor and service had value. Torn between the empress he loves and the emperor he serves, he defies the empire he helped build.

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Cursefell by C V Dreesman

The coastal town of Stonecrest is an isolated haven for nursing wounds and hiding secrets. It can cure a heart or crush it. When one girl’s secret is revealed, a curse she does not even know she carries, the safe haven becomes her monstrous prison.

Seventeen year old Nathera Currey sees her curse as a death sentence, or at the very least a sentence of exile. But Thera has experienced death before and survived it. She has felt alone the last year of her life and endured that too. Accidentally uncovering her secret, she becomes the cold light of hope for some and a monster to be feared by others. If she wants to save herself and those she holds most dear, she will have to balance the scales of who she is against what she must become and life versus love.

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#SPFBO My third batch of books

Posted On 6 September 2017

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The SPFBO is going strong and I’m on to my third batch of books.  They’re listed below in the order I’m going to check them out – five books a month for the next six months.  I will choose one book out of each of the six batches and then from those 6 potentials choose one to submit for the final stage.

Without further ado here are my books:

Faeborne by Jenna Elizabeth Johnson

Brennon Roarke is cursed. Stolen from his family at the age of sixteen and forced to use his glamour in the service of Eilé’s most malevolent goddess, Brenn has little room for warmth in his heart. For seven long years, he endured hardship and pain, only to escape and find his parents and sister murdered, his nephew left blind and broken. With the stain of dark magic on his soul, Brennon perseveres for the sake of his young ward, always worrying that one day the evil infecting his spirit will destroy him for good.

Seren is an outcast among her own kind, ridiculed and ostracized by all but her mother. Born to the Fahndí tribe of the Weald, Seren’s glamour allows her to transform into a deer, but it also grants her the power to heal grave wounds. When she reveals this gift to her peers, jealousy and hatred drive them to murder, forcing Seren to either flee or fall victim to their malice. Taking on her animal form, Seren leaves her old life behind hoping to find a safe haven in a world that has only ever offered her hardship.

Despite being worlds apart, Seren and Brennon are brought together in a single life-altering moment. When the doe Brenn shoots turns into a young woman before his very eyes, he has no choice but to bring her home with the hope that she’ll recover. What he doesn’t realize, however, is that Seren is quite capable of healing herself with glamour that may be able to cure his wounds as well, and not only the ones that run skin deep.

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The Age of Mages by Ilana Waters

“A mage should be able to handle anything, but really, the circumstances are getting quite ridiculous.”

Joshua’s witch mother has been missing and presumed dead since he was a teen. Years later, when he learns she might be alive, all he can think of is finding her. His antagonistic vampire father agrees to help, but Joshua fears he has ulterior motives. The situation gets even more complicated when they discover why she disappeared: she possessed a mysterious crystal whose powers remain a secret.

Unfortunately, Joshua and his father aren’t the only ones interested in the crystal. As their search leads them from New York to Las Vegas to Rome, they’re pursued by the Paranormal Investigation Agency, the High Council of Witches, and yet more vampires. In the process, they uncover a plot to wake the deadliest vampire who ever lived.

If Joshua can find the crystal, he might find his mother—and stop a massacring blood-seeker from rising. But that means not fighting with his father long enough to hold off adversaries both human and supernatural.

It might just be more than one mage can handle.

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Jack Bloodfist by James Jakins

Jack Bloodfist fixes things. That’s what his card says, anyway…

When the orcs and goblins of Summervale, Virginia need something done they call Jack.
He’s the one who convinces the local PD to ignore any tribal violence. The guy who makes sure the goblins aren’t evicted whenever they do something decidedly goblin.
He does the little things that no one else is willing to do. Like handing keys over whenever a prodigal son returns, or identifying the body of said prodigal.

He’s always believed himself capable of fixing any issue his extended family needs fixed, even those they create for themselves, but when a powerful paladin comes to town and starts killing orcs, Jack may be out of his depth.

With the help of Drow detective, a reporter that is more than she seems, and a wizard with plans of his own, Jack hopes to, if not fix the problem, at least make sure it doesn’t get any worse.

That’s when the paladin’s angry god shows up with a whole army of holy knights.
All in a day’s work.

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The Lost Secret of the Faeries by Tiffany Turner

It’s for REAL! Wanda had always read about adventure. Now she was in the middle of one. The World of Fairies is real, and she is their new Crystal Keeper, human caretaker to the World of Fairies. But the Fairy World is in trouble. The fairies are falling ill from the pollution that ravishes the world above. Wanda has to find the key to their cure, before it’s too late.

But like in all adventures, there are a few unanswered questions to solve. What has happened to the old Keeper? What are Germites? And can Wanda get used to her cat giving her backtalk while trying not to get grounded for helping the fairies? Join Wanda on her adventure, while she finds out that sometimes the best solution to a problem is the one you find within yourself.

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Grace the Mace by Tirzah Duncan

​​Grace has always been there for her mother, ever since she was old enough to bite the legs of those thugs and leeches that called themselves lovers. Ever since she was old enough to understand the world in a way her mother never would.

Now, she comes home every winter with blood money from a year of running with a band of sellswords. No more scrounging in midden heaps and cutting purses for a low court lord to survive the lean months.

But this year, home is as dangerous as the battlefield. Tensions are running through the street courts of her old slums, while a new and daunting lover has confounded her safeguards and gotten at her mum–and now they’re all tangled in a vicious turf war.

Is one lone mercenary enough to protect her own? Can she trust anyone else to do the job?

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#SPFBO Thoughts on my second batch of books

Posted On 2 September 2017

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September is upon us and with it my thoughts on the next five books for the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off.  For more 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 complete that particular book.  At the end of the six months I should hopefully have read six books, one from each batch, and will then choose a favourite.

Without further ado here are my thoughts:

Gobln Fruit by S E Burr

 

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This one gets off to a promising start.  I enjoyed what I read up to the 20% cut off point however I think it’s probably a little too slow in terms of pace, especially given the length of the story, probably a little bit too much focus on certain elements that don’t really bring too much to the story.  Otherwise I would say that I found this to be quite good up to the point at which I cut off.

Search of the Lost by Tom Gaskin

 

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Search of the Lost – I had a shaky start with this one to be honest.  I really enjoyed the opening which has a great ‘storyteller’ feel to it but then I lost interest a little with the fight scene and the whole predicament that Havovatch found himself in.  Then there was the scene with the King which just felt irrational somehow.  Part of me is intrigued by the story and can’t help wanting to keep reading to see how things develop but I have read the first 20% and at this stage it unfortunately hasn’t worked hard enough for me to put it through to the next stage.

War Witch by Layla Nash

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I’m really enjoying this one so far, I like the concept and I’m intrigued by the characters.  I’ll review this one later as this is my favourite out of this batch and I intend to complete it and see how it works out.

Land of the Gods by Justin Sloan

 

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This story seems to have plenty going on at the start and yet I found myself strangely disconnected from the characters and I think they came across as quite emotionally immature, at least up to the point I read up to.  I quite enjoyed the setting and description of place, it wasn’t overburdened with wordiness but overall I found it difficult to become engaged with the characters at this stage.

The Devil You Know by Alan Tucker

 

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A post apocalyptic style book with magic and aliens.  I think the writing here is good, the story flows well, but, I didn’t really get a good sense of the place at this point and to a certain extent maybe a little bit too much is going on.  I liked the aspect of Abraham and his ‘demon’ companion (for want of a none spoiler type description).  Neri – I found her magic a bit too conveniently easy and that it lacked that certain something that would make me feel intrigued.

 

The #SPFBO 2017

Posted On 20 May 2017

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It’s difficult to believe but the #SPFBO 2016 is all wrapped up with a wonderful winning entry and lots of incredibly enjoyable books to read.  There are lots of blog posts out there to read about but I’ll point you in the general direction of Mark Lawrence’s blog to get a general feel for what went on.  The winner – which you should definitely read – was the Grey Bastards by Jonathan French – and believe me when I say you should read quite a few -or a lot – of the other entrants because there were some awesome reads.

Now, I did intend to write a much fuller piece of my experience taking part and in fact I probably will do so because I thought it had such a good feel – but, for now, this is just a quick post to let you know that the SPFBO ’17 is about to commence.  Yes, that’s right, we’re going for our third year and hopefully it will be as awesome as last year.

As I said, a fuller post will follow, this is just a quick heads up.  The details are here.

That is all for me today.  More to follow.  In the meantime thank you to everyone who took part in the #SPFBO ’16.  A huge thanks especially to all the authors who put their work forward for review – there wouldn’t be any SPFBO without you after all 😀  And, good luck to everyone this year.

Watch this space for my list of books for 2017.

Remember people – there can be only one.

 

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