#SPFBO Thoughts on my fifth batch of books

Posted On 20 November 2017

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I’m getting a bit ahead of my schedule at the moment as I’m hoping to announce the book I will be putting forward to round 2 by mid December at the latest.  So, I’ve read my alloted portion (20%) of each of the last batch of books and my thoughts and my final pick from this batch are below.  I will post my final batch of books in the next couple of days.

Without further ado here are my books from batch No.5:

Faerie Fruit – by Charlotte E English


Faerie Fruit, as far as it goes in the first 20% that I read, was quite a lovely read, with a whimsical and period feel.  Set in a small rural town it starts out with somebody experiencing an illness and having a hankering for a piece of fruit – an apple.  No apples, or other fruit, have grown in the town of Berrie on the Wyn for many years and yet of a sudden, a golden, plump apple appears on one of the trees.  This is followed by a succession of other delicious sounding fruits, a lot of strange out of character behaviour by those who have eaten said fruits and the appearance of a quirkily dressed character who plays the pipes.  I have to admit that this one is intriguing and I like the writing.  It’s a pity that the plot didn’t move a little bit quicker as up to the point I reached things hadn’t really started to happen although there is a definite sense of anticipation.

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



The story starts off with a young man, Zhao, returning to his home village.  Zhao is an Air Elemental and he is accompanied by a friend with similar abilities.  Upon arrival he is immediately detained in the village and although he could quite easily break free of this confinement he wishes to stay in the village until he’s seen his sister.  At the same time another POV character’s storyline is developing – one that I imagine will cross paths with Zhao at some point although by the point I broke off I can’t really be sure.

To be honest I thought that this read well but, I felt a little like I was reading a story that had dropped me into a world that I should already know about.  Don’t get me wrong, I was picking things up as I went along but by 20% I didn’t feel like I had a strong enough handle on things and the relationships and back histories of the people involved.

The Dark Realm (Feyland #1) by Anthea Sharp


I was quite pleasantly surprised by The Dark Realm.  This is a story that combines gaming with the world of the fey.  Jennet is from a very well to do home and leads a life of privilege.  Through her father’s high tech job she has access to the latest in new games (not just at pre release stage but also before they’ve been thoroughly checked) and she pretty much lives in the lap of luxury.  Unfortunately two things in quick succession lead to her life spiralling into turmoil – her father’s place of work is moved and because Jennet has got herself into a spot of bother playing a yet unreleased game – she will not only need to move with him, and switch schools, but will also need to recruit somebody to help her in this new game realm.

What I read of this was good.  I liked the concept.  The writing is clear and I was keen to enter the fae world (although this hadn’t happened by the 20% mark – apart from the prologue that is).  The original set up takes us into the school environment where Jennet makes the acquaintance of Tam.  Tam is the exact opposite of Jennet  He comes from a poor family and his life is tough although I won’t pretend to know exactly why at this point other than he seems to be the responsible one and takes care of his younger brother.  I didn’t really get a sense of the world here – there’s a lot of disparity between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ and it wasn’t made clear why, likewise this is set in some version of the future although I’m not sure when exactly.  There’s an element so far of just expecting the reader to run with things and not question too much the whys and wherefores.  Up to the point I left off I didn’t think this was a problem but I would probably become disgruntled if I read on and things remained unanswered.  Also, this has quite a young feel to it which I don’t really mind although in some ways it had a feeling of things just working out too easily.

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



The Rogue King got off to an intriguing start.  We make the acquaintance of Koral who seems to have been genetically modified as part of some pact between humans (and I’m not sure who else).  When he runs away from the only home he’s ever known he manages to fall in with others of his kind – although they’re not quite the same.  Unfortunately Koral’s fate doesn’t lie with the pack – he’s to be offered to one of the Gods – known as Lorric after which he will become one of the Rogue.  Rogue’s are feared by all and it seems that Koral is going to become legendary.

I’m not sure that this one is for me – it certainly had elements that I enjoyed, the start of Koral’s story was well done but then seemed to jump quite quickly in that he ran away and was immediately taken into a tribe of similar beings.  Similarly, when Koral was taken by Lorric the whole thing felt rushed somehow as did Koral’s sudden acceptance of his new situation and his vow to seek revenge.  There are definitely strong elements here but there is also a feeling of certain aspects being just skimmed over which leaves me with the feeling almost of unfinished business, like the author wasn’t sure herself how to take certain areas forward.  I also have plenty of questions but having read only up to a certain point some of these may be answered later on.

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


Everwinter shows a lot of promise up to the point I’ve read to.  A story of old Gods breaking free of imprisonment and the everlasting winter that ensues.  The main protagonist so far is a young man called Bram, an engineer who seems to sit at the centre of things.  I’m keen to carry on reading this one so it will be my choice from this batch.  More information to follow.

#SPFBO Spotlight : the fifth set of books..


This is my fifth batch of books for the SPFBO.  I’ve listed below my links to updates and reviews for the first/second/third and fourth batch of books.

The book choices are being randomly chosen. I’m aiming to read about 20% of each book or five chapters (which I think should be enough to give me a fair idea of whether or not the book could be my potential final choice).  Basically, if one of the books is standing out above the other four then that will be the clear choice from that section.

My next set of five are below.  I’ve added underneath each a synopsis (taken from Goodreads) and also linked up the titles so they’re easy to check out.j

  1. Outpost by F.T. McKinstry

outpost.jpgIn a war-torn realm occupied by a race of unseen immortal warlords called the Fylking, trouble comes with a price. Using the realm as a backwater outpost from which to fight an ancient war, the Fylking taught human seers to build and ward over an interdimensional portal called the Gate. The Fylking’s enemies, who think nothing of annihilating a world to gain even a small advantage, are bent on destroying it.

After two centuries of peace, the realm is at war. Seers are disappearing and their immortal guardians are blind, deceived by their own kind. A Gate warden with a tormented past discovers a warlock using Fylking magic to gather an army of warriors that cannot die. A King’s ranger who defends the wilds of the realm is snared in a political trap that forces him to choose between love and honor. And a knitter touched by the gods catches the eye of a dark immortal with the power to summon storms.

Forced to find allies in unlikely places, these three mortals are caught in a maelstrom of murder, treachery, sorcery and war. When they uncover the source of the rising darkness, they must rally to protect the Gate against a plot that will violate the balance of cosmos, destroy the Fylking and leave the world in ruins.

2. Beyond the Fortuneteller’s Tent by Kristy Tate

fortuneWhen Petra Baron goes into the fortuneteller’s tent at a Renaissance fair, she expects to leave with a date to prom. Instead, she walks out into Elizabethan England, where she meets gypsies, a demon dog and a kindred spirit in Emory Ravenswood.

Emory must thwart the plans of religious zealots. His mission is dangerous, his enemies are fanatical, and Petra Baron is a complication that Heaven only knows he does not need. Or does he? Although Emory is on Heaven’s errand, he learned long ago that Heaven does not always play fair.

As Petra slowly falls for Emory, she wonders if he really is who he seems, or if he is just as lost as she is. How can they have a future while trapped in the past? Or is anything possible Beyond the Fortuneteller’s Tent?

3. Mechanical Dragons: Fire & Water by Bobbi Schemerhorn

mechKhaly has only attended Pifianka Academy of Polytechnics School for a short time since moving to Vlarlee, but already she knows that she doesn’t fit in. She is relieved when the new kid, Bancroft, proves to be competent, even pleasant, when they begin work on a mechanical dragon for their school project. He even stands up to her nemesis, Jahallah. But when she discovers that she is capable of magic, a whole new world opens up to her and she sees that she is not alone. Her world is torn apart, however, when she is thrust into a battle that she was not even aware existed around her. Suddenly, she and Bancroft are forced to flee for their lives and must now learn how to control and develop their magic. The Guild is fighting to create a new world order … one without magic. Khaly and her group cannot let this happen, but are they ready for the war to come.


4. Evermage by Trip Ellington

evermage.jpgAs a wizard’s apprentice, Mithris always seemed to feel like a duck out of water. Clumsy, awkward, naive, and frequently a nuisance to his mentor wizard, it was hard for Mithris to believe he’d ever become a great and powerful wielder of magic…

But everything changed for the young apprentice one day when vicious and foul creatures attacked his master’s tower, killing his mentor, and driving Mithris into exile in the wild world outside.

Alone and left to care for himself for the first time in his life, Mithris must find the strength and courage to become the very thing he never expected he could be…A powerful wizard…

And he must do it in time to stop the monsters, avenge his master’s death, and save the world from the clutches of a power-hungry wizard.

5. A Darker Shade of Sorcery by Will Collins

adarkerThe lonely and grieving Evan Umbra is the newest Venator to enter Veneseron, the school for demon hunters.

A Venator is a wizard, a spy and a demon hunter rolled into one. They’re taught how to wield their sorcery and enchanted weaponry by orcs, elfpires and aliens alike.
Their missions range from battling monsters and saving countless lives in the multiple worlds, to the more peculiar, like wrangling killer unicorns and calming down drunken yetis.
In their free time Venators enjoy goblin soap-opera’s and underwater bubble travel, but they also understand that every new mission they’re given could be their last.
Whilst learning how to manipulate the elements, summon magical creatures and shoot Spellzookas, Evan meets a girl who makes him feel nauseous; but in a good way.

He makes the first friends he’s ever had in the carefree Jed and the reckless Brooke. Whilst Jed gets on the wrong side of a rival Venator, Brooke finds herself falling for the enigmatic demon hunter who brought her to Veneseron, not knowing he isn’t quite human. But it soon becomes apparent that Evan is more than just a Venator. Everyone wants to kill or capture him, from demons to Dark-Venators and even people he’s supposed to be able to trust.

Evan reckons he probably won’t survive his first year at Veneseron.

SPFBO Posts:

  1. Cover Lover
  2. 1st Batch of books + update + book review
  3. 2nd batch of books + update
  4. 3rd batch of books + update
  5. 4th batch of book + update + book review