#SPFBO Finalists: My fourth book


Below is a round up of the ten finalists that have been put forward in this year’s SPFBO (Self Published Fantasy Blog Off).  A link with more information about the competition can be found here.


I’ve now randomly chosen my fourth book for the SPFBO.  The books I’ve read so far are:  The War of Undoing by Alex Perry, Chaos Trims my Beard by Brett Herman and Pilgrimage to Skara by Jonathan S Pembroke.  The fourth book that I’m about to embark on is Sufficiently Advanced Magic by Andrew Rowe. This book was the finalist put forward by Bookworm Blues.

A little bit more about the book:

Sufficiently Advanced Magic (Arcane Ascension #1) by Andrew Rowe

sufficiently advanced.jpgFive years ago, Corin Cadence’s brother entered the Serpent Spire — a colossal tower with ever-shifting rooms, traps, and monsters. Those who survive the spire’s trials return home with an attunement: a mark granting the bearer magical powers. According to legend, those few who reach the top of the tower will be granted a boon by the spire’s goddess.

He never returned.

Now, it’s Corin’s turn. He’s headed to the top floor, on a mission to meet the goddess.

If he can survive the trials, Corin will earn an attunement, but that won’t be sufficient to survive the dangers on the upper levels. For that, he’s going to need training, allies, and a lot of ingenuity.

The journey won’t be easy, but Corin won’t stop until he gets his brother back.

Friday Firsts : Borrowed Souls (Soul Charmer #1) by Chelsea Mueller

Friday Firsts
 is a new meme that runs every Friday over on Tenacious Reader. The idea is to feature the first few sentences/paragraph of your current book and try and outline your first impressions as a result. This is a quick and easy way to share a snippet of information about your current read and to perhaps tempt others.  Stop on by and link up with Tenacious Reader.    This Friday I’m reading : Borrowed Souls (Soul Charmer #1) by Chelsea Mueller

borrowed souls
Callie Delgado needed a soul.

Her brother had been kidnapped, his captors were blackmailing her, and here she was, outside one of the most unusual pawn shops in all of Gem City, about to rent one.  She just needed to force herself to walk the twenty steps to the Soul Charmer’s front door.  The one wedged in a dirty, rundown building on a dirty, rundown street in the dirty, rundown part of town.  It was the last place she wanted to be, but the one place she had to go.

Fate was kind of a dick like that.

Downtown Gem City rolled up by 6 pm; she was alone with her thoughts.  She batted an empty soda can with the tip of her shoe.  It skittered along the concrete, banging into a nearby dumpster overflowing with the rotting remnants of life.  The kind of life her brother would cease to have if she didn’t walk in that door and let the Soul Charmer put another person’s soul into her body.

My First Impressions

Well, I have to confess I have been looking forward to picking this one up – because urban fantasy and the whole concept of borrowed souls sounds very interesting.  Clearly borrowing souls is a seedy business going off the location described above and also the reluctance of Callie to go inside the shop.  Having another soul in your body – I’m very curious to see how this plays out – do you take on board their memories, do you have their voice running along inside your head – does your soul get taken out in the process – what happens???  I have all the questions and ‘nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition’ – so I’ll read on and see if I can find out.

What you reading this Friday??  What are your first impressions??

*The above excerpt was taken from an advanced reader copy and it is possible that the final version may have further changes.

Waiting on Wednesday: Game of Shadows by Erika Lewis

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme created by Breaking the Spine.  Every Wednesday we get to highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  My book this week is :  Game of Shadows by Erika Lewis:

game-ofEthan Makkai thought that seeing ghosts was the worst of his problems. Between his ethereal gift and life with a single mother hell-bent on watching his every move, he feels imprisoned. When Ethan sees a chance to escape, to leave the house by himself for the first time in his life, he seizes it, unaware that this first taste of freedom will cost him everything.

Ethan is thrown into a strange and eerie world, like nothing he’s ever seen. He’s assaulted by dive-bombing birds and rescued by a stranger who claims to be his bodyguard. His apartment is trashed, and his mother is kidnapped to a place Ethan never knew existed—a hidden continent called Tara.

Travelling to Tara in search of his mother, Ethan discovers that everything he knows about his life is a lie. His mother is royalty. His father is not dead. His destiny is likely to get him killed.

Confronted by a vicious sorcerer determined to destroy the Makkai family, Ethan must garner strength from his gift and embrace his destiny if he’s going to save his mother and all the people of Tara, including the beautiful girl he’s fallen for.

Due out February 28th 2017 so not a long wait for this one.

A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers, readalong week 1

closed-and-commonYesterday was the first post for our readalong of A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers.  Sorry I’m a bit late with this posting but I’ve been a bit laid low with a bad cold:

Here’s the schedule:

Week 1: Friday 2nd December – Start of Part 1 up to Page 94 (“…yellow, silver, white…”), hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow
Week 2: Friday 9th December – Page 95 (Jane, Age 10 “Jane was still tired…”) to End of Part 1, hosted by imyril at There’s Always Room For One More
Week 3: Friday 16th December – all of Part 2, hosted by Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog
Week 4: Friday 23rd December – Part 3 to End, hosted by Mogsy at The BiblioSanctum


To the Q&A with the customary spoiler warning!  Be warned folks, spoilers will be lurking.

1. So this story picks up more or less where The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet left off, but rather than having an ensemble cast on an adventure, it seems this story is much more intimately focused on Lovelace (later named Sidra) and ‘Jane 23’. What’s your initial response to this shift in the narrative style between books? Is it one you appreciate or do you think you’ll miss the ensemble aspect (assuming you’ve read Small Angry Planet)?

I’m enjoying this style very much to be honest.  Both of the characters are easy to read about and the difference in style for both works really well.  We have the flashbacks to Jane 23 which for me is making for a fascinating story and then we are experiencing Sidra’s reactions to her new body which are also really interesting to read about.  Very intriguing way to write the story.

2. Sidra’s first experiences of living confined to a body mean that readers get to see her new home, and her new world, through the eyes of someone who’s never experienced it in such a way before. What aspects of Sidra’s first days ‘on the ground’ on Coriol stand out to you, and why?

I think this is a great idea.  It allows the author to share lots of new things with us because we’re experiencing all these new things at the same time as Sidra.  It allows for information to be given in a way that isn’t resorting to huge info dumps or great chunks of dialogue that come off as unnatural.  I love the way Sidra’s tale is told in a detached way.  Like she talks about herself as though her body is just a ship or housing.  In terms of her first days on Coriol I think what stood out for me the most was the way Sidra experiences anxiety if she can’t really see things properly.  The way she jumps when somebody approaches her from behind (because she can’t see them beforehand).  The whole idea of getting used to being much more restricted is interesting to observe and really well done.

3. The POV switches regularly between Sidra in the present and Jane 23, a clone raised in some form of slave labour with many others of her kind, when she was a 10-year old girl. What do you make of Jane and her upbringing at this point, and where do you think her story might be going from here? Does her story interest you as much as Sidra’s (or vice versa)?

I find the Jane 23 story really intriguing to be honest and if forced to choose I’d say that aspect is the most interesting to me so far.  The way all these girls are being kept and used as slave labour.  It’s really awful and I’m curious to see whether anything happens to the camp after ‘Jane’ finally makes her getaway.  Clearly these girls are all clones and the camp has an ‘illegal’ type feel – to me anyway.  It puts me in mind a little of Cloud Atlas which also has a theme concerning the use of clones as little more than slaves and with no real rights or worth in society.  And the ‘mothers’ scary, brrr.  Faceless AI who can move fast.  I hate to think what ending Jane 64 met with.

4. In general, what’s stood out the most to you about these chapters so far, and why? Has anything raised questions or curiosity, or particularly turned you off? Discuss your favourite bits!

I think what stands out to me most so far is the difference in storytelling style between this and the first book.  And not only in terms of following the two main pov narratives.  Looking back at LWtaSAP the crew and their adventures had a really, almost warm and cosy glow or atmosphere, there was all the banter and the light hearted camaraderie between them all and even if some of the characters didn’t get along it had an almost homelike family feel.  Here we’re reading along with Sidra who is coming to terms with a whole new way of ‘being’ and also reading the back story of Jane.  Both are quite lonely and sad feeling.  Not in a way that puts me off or makes the reading dour, as I said above, I’m finding this quite fascinating at the moment – even though I have no idea at this point where the story is going in terms of plot – I’m just enjoying the more up close and personal feel to it all.

Favourite bits – I enjoyed Sidra’s first experience of a party, reading about her first introduction to alcohol and the images that come along with the experience. In terms of Jane – I really like the part that we just reached where having escaped whatever those monsters were that were chasing her, she finds herself on board some sort of capsule with an AI, and the AI decides to drop the numbers from her name – it’s a small thing but really quite touching!

Favourite quote:

‘And seriously, anybody working in a job that doesn’t let you take a nap when you need to should get a new job.  Present company excluded of course.  This!! (apparently I need to look for a new job – no naps in my current employ!)

Waiting on Wednesday: Avengers of the Moon by Allen Steele #RRSciFiMonth

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.  Every Wednesday we get to highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  My book this week is : Avengers of the Moon by Allen Steele.  It simply must be fated for me to read this book (of course true scientific minds don’t believe in fate).  But, ignoring the logical and moving swiftly on, I just read a lovely review of a short story by this author over on Space and Sorcery and so decided to go and check out his other works and boom!  I found this – serendipity eh!

avengersIt was an age of miracles. It was an era of wonder. It was a time of troubles. It was all these things and more . . . except there were no heroes.

Naturally, one had to be created.

Curt Newton has spent most of his life hidden from the rest of humankind, being raised by a robot, an android, and the disembodied brain of a renowned scientist. This unlikely trio of guardians has kept his existence a closely guarded secret since the murder of Curt’s parents.

Curt’s innate curiosity and nose for trouble inadvertently lead him into a plot to destabilize the Solar Coalition and assassinate the president. There’s only one way to uncover the evil mastermind—Curt must become Captain Future.

With the permission of the Edmond Hamilton estate, Allen Steele revives the exciting adventures of Captain Future.

Expected publication: April 2017 by Tor Books


Sci Fi Month organised by Rinn Reads and Over the Effing Rainbow is a fun event that celebrates all things sci fi and runs for the whole of November.  Check it out and come and join the fun and discussion.  You know you want to 😀

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