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Unfortunately Ranger’s Oath has been withdrawn from the competition so I will not be providing a review at this point.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


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


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


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


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