#SPFBO My fourth batch of books


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.


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.


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.

darker things

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.


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.




#SPFBO Thoughts on my third batch of books


October is storming ahead and I still haven’t given feedback on my third batch of books – although that doesn’t mean I haven’t made progress – just that I’ve been travelling and finding reliable wi-fi is not always easy.  Anyway, this is my feedback for the last batch of books.  My next set of books will be highlighted tomorrow and I’ve already started to read them.

I am intending to read 20% of each book and if one really grabs my attention to carry on and complete that particular book.  At the end of the six months I should hopefully have read six books, one from each batch, and will then choose a favourite.

Without further ado here are my thoughts:

Faeborne by Jenna Elizabeth Johnson



I think Faeborne made an interesting start, the writing style was good and very easy to read however I don’t think ultimately it would be a book that would work for me.  The two main players, Seren and Brennon, are both outcasts.  Based on what I’ve read so far it seems that the stage is set for the two of them to become romantically involved, although that’s only the general feeling I’m picking up so far.  And, I have nothing against that if it’s the case, just a general observation.  At this stage though it feels like everyone is against the two of them – in quite a strong way – and I struggled to understand why that was the case.  Obviously I’ve only read the first 20% so all things will no doubt be cleared up eventually but at the moment I wouldn’t say that Faeborne has grabbed my attention strongly enough to make me want to read further.

The Age of Mages by Ilana Waters



I found myself quite intrigued with The Age of Mages and before I knew it I’d read more than the allotted 20% I’ve set myself for each book.  This definitely comes across as a fairly entertaining urban fantasy, I’m not sure if I’ll complete this one or not yet, I think I probably will read more because I’m keen to find out more about Joshua – and his whole family dynamic to be honest.  His father, Titus, was a Roman general, now a 2,000 year old vampire.  He’s quite a hard character as you might expect and he and his son seem to butt heads quite a lot from the chapters I’ve read so far.  Joshua, he comes across as a little bit petulant and seems to be constantly trying to prove himself to his father.  I liked what I read so far although, Joshua has a way of talking directly to the reader which whilst I quite enjoyed it, particularly as quite often his comments seemed to come along in answer to thoughts that I was actually having, this might not be to everyone’s liking.  I’m very curious as well as to why Titus hasn’t made more of an effort to locate his wife?  Yes, I think I shall read more – the jury’s still out on this one.

Jack Bloodfist by James Jakins



I will definitely read on for this one – I”m just going to be honest and say that the cover did put me off a little bit and so I went into this one with a slightly mixed bunch of feelings – and then I ended up really enjoying the read and wishing to continue.  I’ve not read further yet but I certainly intend to do so to see how things work out.  Urban fantasy again, fast paced and entertaining up to the point at which I cut off.

The Lost Secret of the Faeries by Tiffany Turner

the lost

The Lost Secret of Fairies made a good start.   I liked the young protagonist, Wanda, and really liked that the author has chosen a fairly regular, down to earth character.  She’s not really from the ‘popular’ clique but is something of a loner, although she enjoys her reading and is basically quite a happy sort of person.  I had no issues at all with the writing style and I think it could be an intriguing tale for a much younger audience, but, it didn’t work for me as it felt a little too young.  Admittedly, sometimes a book aimed at younger readers can work equally well for an older audience but this one just didn’t pull me in enough somehow although I admit it definitely has a lot of promise and I can imagine younger readers being taken with it.

Grace the Mace by Tirzah Duncan



This is a strange one.  In one respect I really liked the writing, it’s really quite to the point, almost brutally so in some respects, and I think the author does an excellent job in coming up with what could potentially be a very interesting character in her hard boiled sell sword Grace.  But, and this could just be because I’ve only read the first 20% of course, I found it difficult to always like Grace – at least so far.  Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t dislike her either but at this point I don’t think she’s won me over and I struggled with some of the things she said and did which sometimes left me perplexed.  Overall, I found this intriguing but it hasn’t grabbed me enough at this point to go further forward.

#SPFBO Thoughts on my second batch of books

Posted On 2 September 2017

Filed under #SPFBO, Book Reviews

Comments Dropped 10 responses


September is upon us and with it my thoughts on the next five books for the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off.  For more details on the first five books drawn check out this post.   My thoughts on the first five are here.  I am intending to read 20% of each book and if one really grabs my attention to carry on and complete that particular book.  At the end of the six months I should hopefully have read six books, one from each batch, and will then choose a favourite.

Without further ado here are my thoughts:

Gobln Fruit by S E Burr



This one gets off to a promising start.  I enjoyed what I read up to the 20% cut off point however I think it’s probably a little too slow in terms of pace, especially given the length of the story, probably a little bit too much focus on certain elements that don’t really bring too much to the story.  Otherwise I would say that I found this to be quite good up to the point at which I cut off.

Search of the Lost by Tom Gaskin



Search of the Lost – I had a shaky start with this one to be honest.  I really enjoyed the opening which has a great ‘storyteller’ feel to it but then I lost interest a little with the fight scene and the whole predicament that Havovatch found himself in.  Then there was the scene with the King which just felt irrational somehow.  Part of me is intrigued by the story and can’t help wanting to keep reading to see how things develop but I have read the first 20% and at this stage it unfortunately hasn’t worked hard enough for me to put it through to the next stage.

War Witch by Layla Nash


I’m really enjoying this one so far, I like the concept and I’m intrigued by the characters.  I’ll review this one later as this is my favourite out of this batch and I intend to complete it and see how it works out.

Land of the Gods by Justin Sloan



This story seems to have plenty going on at the start and yet I found myself strangely disconnected from the characters and I think they came across as quite emotionally immature, at least up to the point I read up to.  I quite enjoyed the setting and description of place, it wasn’t overburdened with wordiness but overall I found it difficult to become engaged with the characters at this stage.

The Devil You Know by Alan Tucker



A post apocalyptic style book with magic and aliens.  I think the writing here is good, the story flows well, but, I didn’t really get a good sense of the place at this point and to a certain extent maybe a little bit too much is going on.  I liked the aspect of Abraham and his ‘demon’ companion (for want of a none spoiler type description).  Neri – I found her magic a bit too conveniently easy and that it lacked that certain something that would make me feel intrigued.


#SPFBO My second batch of books

Posted On 8 August 2017

Filed under Book Reviews

Comments Dropped 12 responses

FullSizeRender-1The SPFBO is well underway and I’m on to my second batch of books.  They’re listed below in the order I’m going to check them out – five books a month for the next six months before choosing one book to submit for the final.

Without further ado here are my books:

Gobln Fruit by S E Burr

With goblin fruit, addiction is contagious. If you touch a user, you’ll crave the drug. If you crave it, you might take it. If you take it, you might not stop. If you don’t stop, you’ll become a zombie, slang for a catatonic, someone who can eat, and move, and breathe, but nothing more. If you become a zombie, people might touch you, and if they touch you, they’ll crave the drug.

Sixteen-year-old Clarity’s mother is a catatonic. So is Audrey’s brother. Together, with clues from a one hundred and fifty year old poem, they’ll try to save their loved ones, and the world.


Search of the Lost by Tom Gaskin

The Knights of Ezazeruth were the most elite warriors the world had known: toughened by war and trained in a harsh regime, they were a force to reckon with.
But when the arrogant King Afthadus became afraid they would not survive, he cursed them with immortality: and so they went into exile…

2,000 years later, the dark armies of the Black, the very empire they swore to protect the world against, begin their invasion of Ezazeruth, and the ancient legends must be summoned back to fulfil their oath. This quest falls upon Havovatch, with his newly-appointed captaincy and unit of elite warriors. They must venture into the wild to find the Knights. But there is one problem: no-one knows where they are… If Havovatch does not succeed then Ezazeruth is doomed.

Search of the Lost is the first instalment in the Knights of Ezazeruth trilogy.


War Witch by Layla Nash

Hustling as a waitress is a far cry from being the most feared witch in the world. But after surviving ten years of war between humans and supernaturals, Lily finds anonymity a relief.

Even a request for help from an old coven friend can’t bring Lily out of hiding — until her friend disappears, along with the entire coven. What’s worse, wolf shifter and Chief Investigator Leif — the man Lily is secretly in love with — considers her the only suspect. And to top it all off, the dark witch who was her first love has been resurrected … and wants her back.

Lily’s search for the truth could destroy the witch-shifter Alliance and reignite the war with the humans. But if that’s what it takes to help her friends, she’ll do it. Even a retired war witch is very dangerous when provoked.


Land of the Gods by Justin Sloan

Narcel’s enslavers took everything from him: his family, the woman he loves, and his freedom. All he has left is his will to live and a burning hatred for his masters.

Years of living and training with the Mawtu changes Narcel. Once his sworn enemies, he now considers these men friends and brothers-at-arms. He would snuff the life from those who oppose them, and fight and die to protect them.

Battle looms on the horizon and the Mawtu army faces its toughest challenge yet. Will Narcel side with his enslavers and lead their army to victory? Will he honor his friendship and allegiance with his new brothers? Or was this all a ruse and will Narcel finally exact his revenge and betray the army that took everything from him?

As Game of Thrones is based on the Wars of the Roses, Land of Gods is the first book in an epic fantasy series based on Ancient Greek wars. It features fast-paced action, a love triangle, and bitter revenge.


The Devil You Know by Alan Tucker

Two alien races vie for control of Earth amidst a human population decimated by a merciless plague, famine, and war.

Meanwhile, the denizens of Hell grow restless. The apocalypse they were supposed to instigate and revel in is happening without them…

Doing their best to create new lives in the aftermath of the chaos triggered by the aliens’ arrival, Abraham Black and Neri White come from backgrounds about as different as their last names would indicate. Yet, together, they may hold the key which allows humanity to remain the primary tenants of Earth. The question is: how much are they willing to give up to save the world? Their memories? Their lives? Their souls?


#SPFBO My first batch of books

FullSizeRender-1The SPFBO has officially started and I’ve now chosen my first batch of books to read.  They’re listed below in the order I’m going to check them out – five books a month for the next six months before choosing one book to submit for the final.

Without further ado here are my books:

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

ThesageofdirtFrank sucks. Or at least his life does, not that he’d know. When he meets Dirt and Poncho his life changes from sucks to really sucks. But hey, at least it’s interesting now. Now he gets to almost die on a daily basis and generally have no idea what it going on around him. His new friends make it a point to put him in harms way all while telling him how important he is. Murder doesn’t seem important to Frank but he ends up trapped by his own indecision and possibly idiocy in an insane plot to end the world, or save it. It’s pretty hard to tell.

Frank thinks it’s all B.S.

The Emperor’s Horn by Jordan R Murray

The Emperor's HornDo not ask to fight me. The power I wield is more ancient than your blooded line. I will crush your soul and devour your essence until you are nothing but an empty, discarded husk.

The first Emperor of the Imperium banned the use of magic a millennium ago, and yet now, something is stirring in Falden Province. An unspoken truth begins to emerge: magic still exists.

As dark forces seek out ancient and powerful sources of magic, a mysterious horn resurfaces that was thought to be only a legend. Herbert Tanasen and Teguin Dorst—two young men with remarkable magic of their own find themselves pawns in a dangerous game. Will Herbert and Teguin learn to harness their abilities before the horn falls into the wrong hands?

The Emperor’s Horn is a breathtaking adventure that will immerse you in an imaginative fantasy world.

Wishful Thinking by James Beach

At the moment I don’t seem to be able to find a cover or description for this one so we’ll just have to wait and see…

The Tralls of Nindarry by Gayle Torrens

TheTrallsGermaine thinks that he is heading off for a funfilled holiday with his grandparents at Ninderry in Queensland, Australia but when he arrives, he finds his grandfather seriously ill. As his parents are committed to flying to Canberra to try to save Fraser Island from the ravages of sand mining, it is left to him to help his grandmother find the unusual cure – the only thing that will save his grandfather’s life. The journey to find the cure sets Gemaine and his grandmother on a fantastic journey into a parallel world that is amazingly beautiful but, at the same time incredibly dangerous. Along the way, Germaine uncovers a long held family secret. Will this secret bring his family even closer to each other or will it shatter his family forever?

Sand and Storm by Patty Jensen

Sand&StormAn ancient machine that produced icefire was destroyed twenty years ago, but the deadly magic is again on the increase. No one understands why or where it’s coming from.

King Isandor sends his Eagle Knights to investigate a concentration of icefire in the mountains at the border. It appears that the neighbouring country Arania wants revenge for a defeat in a war forty years ago, and is using icefire as weapon. The evil power source must be eradicated.

Lana is a student about to make a vitally important discovery about icefire, but the people in power, including her own father, are too busy talking about war to listen to her.