#SPFBO : My Second 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 and my first update is here.  My post outlining my second batch of books can be found here and today’s post provides my update for that batch.

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 the books from the second 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.

 

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

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

Burn is a book that I was really curious about and to the point that I read up to was a very engaging read.  Set in Tucson this has a post apocalyptic feel.  The world became over reliant on modern technology and so when everything crashed life became almost impossible.  I must say this gets off to a very good start and pacing certainly isn’t an issue.

We meet a few characters who become entangled in helping an unusual woman who has strange abilities and who is being followed or chased by another very powerful character.  Liam, Noah and Ellie are the main characters and the unusual woman and man that they are helping/running from are the deities referred to in the book’s description.

At the point I read up to I found this intriguing and easy.  I had a few minor issues but nothing that spoiled my enjoyment and I would be interested in returning to this book to complete at a later stage.

Conclusion : Cut

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

Unfortunately Ranger’s Oath has been withdrawn from the competition so I will not be providing a review at this point.

 

Knightmare Arcanist (Frith Chronicles #1) by Shami Stovall

Knightmare

At the point I read up to I really enjoyed this one and so I’m rolling it forward and will provide a review at a later stage when I will also make a decision about whether or not this will be a semi-finalist.

 

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

Edgeof

The Edge of Nothing is a book that gets off to a very quick start with the introduction of Lex who seems to be being held captive although he has no idea why.  Lex manages to escape and makes the acquaintance of a young woman.  The two immediately encounter some very unusual events and this coupled with the fact that Lex seems to have no memory of who he is or where he is, coupled with the fact that he is experiencing strange visions does make for a slightly perplexing start.  I have mixed feelings about this book.  I thought the writing was easy enough to get along with but at my cut off point I hadn’t really been able to fully engage with the characters or story.  Partly, this is a result of the author maintaining the mystery of what is actually going on here and I recognise that reading further would probably start to uncover answers, unfortunately, at the point I read up to I find that the Edge of Nothing isn’t quite working out for me.

Conclusion : Cut

 

Mid-Lich Crisis by Steve Thomas

midlich

I have deferred reading Mid-Lich Crisis to a later batch as I will be picking up the audio version which will be available shortly so no review at this point.

 

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

Chains

This is another book that really does hit the ground running.  As the book begins we meet Rylan Marshall, a soldier returning home.  As he walks home he is viciously attacked, he discovers his son has been murdered, his daughter abducted and himself in the strange position of having magical power forced upon him and also being forced to make a dark oath that really bodes very ill.

In fairly short order we discover that Rylan isn’t quite who he thought.  He’s the son of a demon, a man hated by many but also believed a hero by others – all depending on which side of the fence you’re sitting.

At my cut off point things were really hotting up, war seemed imminent and Rylan had already had a couple of attempts on his life.

This is another of my books that I would like to return to if time allows but at this point I’m rather reluctantly setting it to one side.

Conclusion : Cut

 

 

 

#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.

#SPFBO5 My second batch of books

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Today is the second month of the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off.  As with previous years I have divided my 30 books into five batches of six books (selected using a random sequence generator).  Each month I will highlight that month’s selection at the start of the month, providing details about the books and the authors.  As the month progresses I hope to have a clear favourite out of each batch – although things don’t always go to plan of course – I will provide mini reviews for each book and hopefully a full review for each semi finalist – which I’m thinking should be five books in total.  The aim being to then choose a finalist from those semi finalists.

I’d like to wish everyone the best of luck and I hope you all enjoy the competition.

On a separate note, if any of my authors wish to pay me a visit for either an interview, a guest post, or anything else then let me know.  Also, if any of my books have audio versions available then let me know – I’m happy to use audio too.

Without further ado here are my six books for August:

 

Healer'sHealer’s Ruin by Chris O’Mara

Chalos the Healer is marching to war. As the Ten Plains King lays siege to the mysterious kingdom of the Riln, the Healer realises that if he is to survive, he has to think and fight like a soldier.

But Chalos isn’t a soldier. He doesn’t even own a sword.

To make matters worse, the famed Wielder of Aphazail, a mage of extraordinary power, has come to the aid of the Riln… and is slaughtering the invaders in droves.

Empires clash, gods walk, kingdoms tremble and sorcery carves a bright and blazing path across an ancient and mysterious land… a path that leads to HEALER’S RUIN.

Author Info:

Twitter : Aphazail

 

TheOwl.jpgThe Owl & the Dragon by Randy Nargi 

Hytwen and Ortwen: two remote villages on the southern edge of the Empire of Harion. Separated by a misty lake. And a deadly family secret.

When ex-Imperial Investigator Bander arrives in the village of Hytwen, ragged and half dead after a savage attack on the road, all he wants is the aid of a healer and a new pair of boots. But he’s soon pressed into service by the wealthy lord of Hytwen to find a twelve-year-old girl who’s been abducted from the manor. Everyone suspects the neighboring village, and with the drums of war beating, time is running out.

As Bander digs deeper, he confronts a brutal gang of trained killers, a mysterious barmaid, and a sinister mage plotting destruction from the shadows. Soon it becomes clear that things aren’t what they seem, and the hunt for the missing girl is just part of a diabolical mosaic of murder and chaos that threatens to destroy scores of innocent people.

But not if Bander can help it.

Author Info :

 

TheLoreThe Lore of Prometheus by Graham Austin-King

John Carver has three rules: Don’t drink in the daytime, don’t gamble when the luck has gone, and don’t talk to the dead people who come to visit.

It has been almost five years since the incident in Kabul. Since the magic stirred within him and the stories began. Fleeing the army, running from the whispers, the guilt, and the fear he was losing his mind, Carver fell into addiction, dragging himself through life one day at a time.

Desperation has pulled him back to Afghanistan, back to the heat, the dust, and the truth he worked so hard to avoid. But there are others, obsessed with power and forbidden magics, who will stop at nothing to learn the truth of his gifts. Abducted and chained, Carver must break more than his own rules if he is to harness this power and survive.

Author Info :

Twitter : grayaustin

 

RealmofRealm of Beasts by Angela J Ford

An enchantress and a wizard get tangled in the grisly plans of an undead creature. 

Tor Lir, the Nameless One, is unsure what he is. However, he knows he was born to bring balance to the powers of good and evil.

Forsaking his birthplace and fleeing from suggestions of a dark knowledge he’d rather not discover, he decides to take his fate into his own hands.

A chance encounter with a dead body, a dangerous beast, and a desirous creature lead him on the path to Paradise, where he senses imbalance.

Banished from her village and lost in a wicked forest, Citrine makes a deal with a dark creature, but that was before she found Paradise—the legendary land of a friendly giant.

Falling in love with the land, Citrine takes advantage of her time to study the lore of herbs and craft a spell of protection for her mythical beasts.

When darkness creeps into Paradise, bringing the mysterious Nameless One and an omen of death, Citrine realizes the consequences of her actions spell danger for herself, her beasts, and Paradise.

As time runs out the undead come to life. Citrine faces the ultimate showdown as everything she holds dear is ripped away.

Author Info :

Twitter : aford21

 

PrinceofCats.jpgThe Prince of Cats by Daniel Olesen

To stay alive, Jawad must succeed where all others have failed: he must catch the Prince of Cats. More legend than man, the Prince is draped in rumours. He can steal the silver teeth from your mouth in the blink of a smile. He is a ghost to walls and vaults, he laughs at locks, and Jawad must capture him before powerful people lose their patience and send the young rogue to the scaffold.

Ever the opportunist, Jawad begins his hunt while carrying out his own schemes. He pits the factions of the city against each other, lining his own pockets in the process and using the Prince as a scapegoat. This is made easy as nobody knows when or where the Prince will strike, or even why.

As plots collide, Jawad finds himself pressured from all sides. Aristocrats, cutthroats, and the Prince himself is breathing down his neck. Unless Jawad wants a knife in his back or an appointment with the executioner, he must answer three questions: Who is the Prince of Cats, what is his true purpose, and how can he be stopped?

Author Info :

 

Immortals'Requiem.jpgImmortals’ Requiem by Vincent Bobbe

There are beings that live a shadow’s breadth from our reality. They are the dreams and nightmares of humanity, the ancient seeds of fairy-tale and superstition.

These are the Immortals, creatures of magic that should live forever… and they are fading.

When a horror two thousand years dead returns to contemporary England, creatures long thought lost to myth and legend collide in a scramble for survival that could tumble civilisation back into the dark ages of blood and death.

If you like grimdark fantasy, ravening zombies, terrifying shapeshifters, scheming vampires, and vast supernatural worlds, you’ll love Immortals’ Requiem!

Author Info : 

Twitter : jumpstartpub

*Final note: if I have any of your details wrong then please let me know.

 

**Other SPFBO posts:

My Process

My 3 covers for the cover competition

Author Interview - Elise Kova

My First Batch of BooksMy First Batch of Books

Feedback on My First Batch of Books