#SPFBO My sixth batch of books

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I’m on the final stretch of the first round of the SPFBO.  Below is my sixth (and final) 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 (and I’ve already started these so my final thoughts should also follow fairly shortly):

 

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A Gaze of Flint by Sandy Hyatt-James

Elizabeth Blake, a young woman with ‘The Sight’, given to her by people in a parallel universe, becomes entangled in a plot to kidnap a child.

She falls in love with an agent from the parallel universe, but unknown to her, he has fallen in love with a woman from his own land. As events unfold, Elizabeth finds herself and the child captured by a mentally deranged woman. Since the police and her family fail to find her, she has no choice but to use her wits and match her cruel adversary in cunning, in order to survive. Adding to this is her growing belief that the man with whom she placed her trust, has abandoned her.

A Gaze of Flint, has all the ingredients of a tense thriller, which also streams images of romance and a tint of the paranormal into its readers’ imaginations.

 

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The Empire of the Dead by Phil Tucker

Acharsis has always loved long shots. But even with a perfect scheme and a handpicked squad of godsblooded grifters and fighters, breaking into the undead lord’s Akkodaisis’ ziggurat is suicidally impossible. Good thing Archarsis is a fallen demigod with more than one trick up his sleeve…

Unpredictable, fast paced, and packed with memorable characters, The Empire of the Dead is a gripping tale of revenge replete with demons, ancient magic and a high stakes heist.

 

 

 

 

darkmDark Moonlighting by Scott Haworth

Nick Whittier, having been alive for six centuries, has had plenty of time to master three professions. In a typical week he works as a police officer, lawyer and doctor and still finds time to murder someone and drink their blood. He used to feel guilty about the killings, but now he restricts himself to only eating the worst members of society. Few people in Starside, Illinois seem to care about the untimely deaths of spam e-mailers, pushy Jehovah Witnesses and politicians. However, the barriers between Nick’s three secret lives start to crumble when a mysterious man from his past arrives in town seeking revenge. Nick must move quickly to prevent the three women in his life, and the authorities who are hunting him, from discovering his terrible secret.

Dark Moonlighting is the first book in the humorous series. It explores four of the biggest clichés in popular culture, and it pokes fun at a number of popular television shows including Law & Order, Bones and House. It also takes a more realistic and amusing approach to the vampire cliché. For example, the average human has the equivalent of five Big Gulps worth of blood in their body. Nick takes twenty minutes to kill someone and, like the vampire bat, must immediately urinate afterwards.

 

roadtoRoad to Shandara by Ken Lozito

When a mythical world threatens everything, an unlikely hero must join the battle…

College senior Aaron Jace is ready to start life in the real world. After the unexpected death of his grandfather, Aaron finds an unbelievable note that will change his world. The unknowing descendent of an ancient and powerful family, Aaron is thrust into a struggle that began long ago and will reach across worlds to pull him into the fight.

When he learns of the world of Safanar, it seems to be the stuff of legends: dragons, castles, and technologically-advanced cities. But it’s as much a dream as it is a nightmare. Danger lurks in the shadows, and a demon sentinel named Tarimus wants to steal Aaron’s power before he can learn his full potential.

With the help of an imprisoned Safanarion guardian, two mystical swords, and a puzzling family heirloom, Aaron must journey from Earth to find the fabled land of his ancestors. It may be a path that’s impossible to survive.

 

archThe Archbishop’s Amulet by Watson Davis

Caldane was once in training to be a shaman for his clan but now he’s a slave of the Nayen empire, trapped in a monastery, his magic being drained away by horrific human sacrifices. With the rest of his clan murdered by the giantess, General Silverhewer, and her army of orcs and humans, Caldane dreams of freedom and the return to the northern wastes of his childhood.

When a new batch of sacrifices are brought in, he seizes his chance for escape but during his recapture, he learns one of his clan still lives. His mother is a slave in Silverhewer’s fortress in Windhaven.

Nothing will stop him from saving her, not even if he has to release Hell and all its devils and demons.

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“Open the pod bay doors, Hal”

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Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .   This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book, compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future week’s themes are listed below. This week’s theme:

‘zip it, lock it and throw away the key – a cover featuring a key

This week I’ve chosen a book with a key on the cover and the title!  That was actually just pure chance though – and you have to look quite closely to find the key.  Mark Lawrence’s Liar’s Key (#2 in The Red Queen’s War):

Interesting to see the different takes on Prince Jalan.  If you haven’t read the Red Queen’s War by Mark Lawrence I highly recommend it starting with The Prince of Fools and concluding with The Wheel of Osheim.

My favourite:

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Which is your favourite?

Next week – a cover featuring a double image or reflection

Future themes:

17th November 2017 – Snap! – a cover featuring a double image or reflection

24th November 2017 – ‘I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently’ – a cover featuring snow

1st December 2017 – The pen is mightier than the sword – a cover featuring a fancy font

8th December 2017 – ‘Do not go gentle’ – a cover featuring the night…

15th December 2017 – Hubble bubble toil and trouble – a cover featuring a portion/perfume bottle

Waiting on Wednesday : Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor #2) by Mark Lawrence

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was created by Breaking the Spine.  Every Wednesday we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is : Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor #2) by Mark Lawrence.  I can’t wait for this one – this week ‘Waiting on Wednesday’ shall be known as ‘Can’t Wait Wednesday’.  That is all.

grey sister.jpgIn Mystic Class Nona Grey begins to learn the secrets of the universe. But so often even the deepest truths just make our choices harder. Before she leaves the Convent of Sweet Mercy Nona must choose her path and take the red of a Martial Sister, the grey of a Sister of Discretion, the blue of a Mystic Sister or the simple black of a Bride of the Ancestor and a life of prayer and service.

All that stands between her and these choices are the pride of a thwarted assassin, the ambition of a would-be empress wielding the Inquisition like a blade, and the vengeance of the empire’s richest lord.

As the world narrows around her, and her enemies attack her through the system she has sworn to, Nona must find her own path despite the competing pull of friendship, revenge, ambition, and loyalty.

And in all this only one thing is certain.
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There will be blood.

Due for publication April 2018

#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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Let the fun commence. #SPFBO 17

Posted On 1 July 2017

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Today sees the start of the third Self Published Fantasy Blog Off competition organised by Mark Lawrence.  Long story short – 300 novels have been submitted, 10 blogs have been allocated 30 books each and in 12 months time 1 book will win the competition.  For me the strap-line for this competition is ‘there can be only one’.

Last year I decided to divide my books up into six batches of five, chosen randomly, and then for the the first six months I would choose a favourite book each month that I would read and review completely.  By the end of the first six months I would then choose my favourite book out of those six to put forward.  The other blogs also submitted their final entries to the second stage of the contest.  During the following six months each blog then read all of the other 9 finalists and reviewed and scored them.  In this way by the end of the 12 months a winner was chosen.  I quite liked the format I used last year and I’m a believer of not fixing things that aren’t broken so I’m going to go with that again.  So, I’ve chosen my first 5 books and will be posting about those shortly.  My aim is to make sure that all the books I’ve been allocated are going to be highlighted in some way over the course of the next six months.

As last year, to get things started there was a cover competition.  Each blogger chose their favourite three covers, and from the 30 chosen we picked our favourites.  The results are in and here are the top three books (1st/2nd/3rd from left to right):

Congratulations to Benedict Patrick’s Where the Waters Turn Black for scoring so many votes.

I will post shortly about my first five books.

 

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