#SPFBO 8 First Batch of Books


What is SPFBO? Check out Mark Lawrence’s post here to look at this year’s entrants, judges and allocations list.

I am teaming up again with the ladies from The Critiquing Chemist.

Today’s post is all about highlighting my first five SPFBO books.  I have fifteen books altogether and I’m trying out a different process this year.  I’ve randomly chosen three batches of books, five per month for the first three months.  I most likely won’t start to make cuts until I have a good chunk of my reading underway.  As I previously mentioned I will be giving every book in my batch a fair chance to grab my attention so without further ado let’s take a look at my first five books:

Elusion of Freedom by Kelvin Womack


After thousands of years the trapped darkness is breaking free, and once it is, no longer shall we be.

Thought to be long locked away, darkness has escaped it confines, enslaving everything it touches.

The only safe haven is behind the Order’s towering walls, where 17-year-old Vayn and his father have fled. But it’s not the darkness they’re afraid of. After escaping the clutches of Shadow Reapers that ravaged his land, Vayn desires to never live in the free world again, exchanging his liberation for what some would consider a form of slavery.

But when Reapers break inside, murdering his father, Vayn is determined to attain retribution. The Order forbids it, knowing he’ll uncover their secrets.

There is but one way to regain his freedom. Once a year, on the Day of Liberation, one may leave the walls but at great cost. A life.

Vayn must sacrifice someone innocent. If he doesn’t, he’ll never bring his father’s killers to justice or learn the Orders secrets.

Outside awaits the darkness, its creatures perishable only with the aid of a larger-than-life sword. But not even that will help him face the darkness of his own past.

Freedom is both elusive and hard to distinguish. Time is of the essence, and on his quest of vengeance, Vayn must learn that true freedom is more than escape from physical and mental subjugation before the darkness swallows their world into oblivion.

Cutthroats and Traitors by Steven Smith


Will the Jagged Ghosts stop at nothing to evade capture? Their journey of alcohol induced law breaking may soon come to an end, with naval commander Lieutenant Dainsley being appointed the task of bringing the small pirate crew to justice.

It’s a race against time. If the Jagged Ghosts lose, the noose will await them all.

The Prophecy by RE Davies

Reign of

Elf born, raised by wolves, and talks to dragons…who is this girl? She wants to find out, too, as she abandons the safe confines of her home to discover the truth for herself. Blessed with a magic unlike any before, she discovers a world at war ruled over by monstrous dragons, where the land has been slowly dying beyond that of her cozy little wolf den. The young elf discovers she is known by many names, and some believe her to be the one of prophecy meant to unite the land of Onis. It is no easy task that has been placed on her shoulders. There is no love between the dragons, the elves, the humans, the dwarves, and the drow, so getting them to listen will be quite a challenge. Luckily, the wolf child has an unprecedented team of cohorts to aid and guide her on her quest, but is she ready for such a challenge? Will the great dragon Aeris’s extreme hatred be overcome so that peace can be brought to the land? Or, will the young girl fail in her quest and bring forth an even greater war between the races?

Join this young elf on her epic quest for peace and self-discovery as she battles against monsters, forms unbreakable bonds, and faces the reigning ancient dragons of Onis.

The Hidden Blade by Marie M. Mullany


The bluron’s wings delivers a stark command of death as the Empire teeters on the edge of a most uncivil war. For the first time in Her long history, a ducal line has failed. The last duke of Etendulat is dead and none of his heirs have undertaken the Trials of Dusang. The wealth of farmlands that lies at the heart of the Blutben penninsula lack a ruler and greedy men circle the bountiful plains.

Into this high stakes game, Louis is sent to end the ambitions of Tybalt du Mamel, Baron of Somfaux, who would reach for the Etendulat Sash. With every step, he uncovers more of a treacherous plot that is poised to strike at the heart of the Empire. Forbidden magic shadows him and ultimately he must make a dire decision : Can he take the life of an innocent for the greater good?

Memories of Blood and Shadow by Aaron S Jones


Guilt cuts sharper than the deadliest of blades.

Tavar Farwan lives alone past the Undying Sands. One stormy night, he is attacked by two young warriors claiming to vengeance for an ill from ages past. Tavar defends himself, killing one of the intruders and leaving the other to bleed on the floor. Weary and filled with regret, Tavar offers to tell the young man his story: a story of how a nomadic orphan rose to kill a God.

I can’t wait to tuck in – good luck everyone.

#SPFBO Thoughts on my first batch of books

Posted On 5 August 2017

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August is here and with it my thoughts on the first five books for the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off.  For more details on the first five books drawn check out this post.  I am intending to read 20% of each book and if one really grabs my attention to carry on and complete that particular book.

Without further ado here are my thoughts:

The Saga of Dirt and Poncho by Clayton D Baker and Michael H Kuecker


This is an unusual book so far and is the one I intend to continue reading.  I won’t say too much about this one here as I will review it once complete but at the moment it has me intrigued.  I can’t deny that there are a few mistakes here and there but because it has me wanting to know what happens next I’m currently overlooking those.

The Emperor’s Horn by Jordan R Murray

The Emperor's Horn

I thought the Emperor’s Horn was likable to the point I read up to – 20% – but, as I’ve decided to read no more than 20% I can’t really say that I’ve got a good feel for what the story is really about at this point.  I think the writing and attention to detail is good – maybe even a little bit overly so – but I don’t have any negatives other than not enough has happened at this point to draw me further in and I’ve reached my cut off point.  I would say it’s quite a gentle read and perhaps as an introduction to fantasy for a young person it might work well although maybe the pace needs to be picked up a bit.

Wishful Thinking by James Beach

I’m not sure if this really is a self published novel to be honest as I don’t seem to be able to find it anywhere.  I don’t want to be discouraging though so I have read it – there was approximately 30 pages and it was submitted as a word document.  I wouldn’t say the story worked for me, there was a lot of dialogue and jumping about, it was an original idea but far too short to ever be a serious contender for this contest.  For clarity: I’m not saying that a book has to be a tome to be considered worthy – just that at 30 pages this is more of a short story.

The Tralls of Nindarry by Gayle Torrens

TheTrallsI think this book is aimed at a much younger age group to be honest.  The writing is quite promising but for the percentage that I read I felt there was too much repetition in terms of Germaine having flash backs – again, I don’t want to be overly critical but I thought considering the age group this seems to be aimed at perhaps the action should be a bit more forthcoming and the reminiscing could be more in the form of occasional flashbacks in between.  It felt like the story should have made considerably more progress by the time I reached 20%, as it is by the time I reached my cut off point I didn’t feel a strong enough pull to continue.

Sand and Storm by Patty Jensen


I think this made an interesting start although maybe a little bit ambitious in terms of what’s going on.  It’s not that the book is too fast paced but more that the ideas at this stage leave me puzzled and with my 20% cut off point the book hasn’t grabbed my attention enough.  It’s a shame really as there are some interesting ideas but at the moment they’re failing to grab my attention in a way that makes me want to return to the book after putting it down, I haven’t really been able to form a connection with any of the characters and I’m a bit perplexed by the world itself.  No doubt some of that could be resolved reading forward so I don’t want to discourage others from reading.

I will post shortly with the next five books that I intend to pick up.