August went away pretty quickly. I had a 2 weeks long vacation, 1 of which I spent in the countryside which was a nice break. I also read 3 books that week which is not something that happens to me a lot these days. But since we came home my sleeping went to shit and I’m still trying to catch up to myself and not feel like a train went through me… Anyway, vacation did not mean I was being lazy.
That being said, it’s time for a Monthly Wrap Up, let’s see what we were up to in August!
In case you missed any of our reviews in August, you can read them by clicking on the title! 🙂 We had a lot of reviews this month, so it was easy to miss one or two.
Arina brought the first rview of the month with Cradle of Sea and Soil by Bernie Anés Paz!
“I loved many things about this story, but some of my favorites were the gracious introduction of LGBTQ+ elements (Colibrí is bisexual, or at least has relationships with more than one gender; Narune’s other friend, Ixchel, has two fathers), the wild chases across huge root-roads, the wondrous mythical influences, and the considerations of family and consent that make this story stand out in a genre that can make it difficult to do so.
For anyone skeptic of the boundless heights self-published fantasy can reach, it’s books like Cradle of Sea and Soil that shatter doubts and teach us that all stories are worth taking a chance on.”
My Best Friend’s Exorcism was one of my impulse reads this summer and I definitely didn’t regret it.
“Overall, My Best Friend’s Exorcism is a highly entertaining and fast read. Sure, it has some teen drama as almost all characters are teens so that’s kinda expected, but that doesn’t mean adult readers wouldn’t enjoy the hell out of it. My Best Friend’s Exorcism ultimately makes one think about the nature of real friendship. Something all of us need some lessons about.”
Cry Havoc by Mike Morris – 4/5
Jen returned to Mike Morris’ books after some break. This was a review request she finally fulfilled.
“Cry Havoc was not as dark all-around as He Who Fights by the same author, but Cry Havoc does not shy away from the horror and blood and there are a couple good squicky scenes (some even with children) that might bother some. It is Vampires folks; huge, domineering, remorseless, flesh-eating nasties. You’re going to cheer when these brutes die.”
Arina read one of this year’s SPFBO entrants, Birth of the Dawnhawk.
“In the end, I could not fully reach the emotional ties I enjoy during climactic scenes of a story, and felt there were details of this intriguing worldbuilding that needed to be further explored.
But I loved the magic system, the representation of anxiety, the exploration of themes of sorrow and anger, and the exciting trip through manifold landscapes with its unexpected happenings.
This made Birth of the Dawnhawk a solid introduction to a new world that left me wishing for the next installment in the series.”
The Midnights was my first holiday read and tore through it in 2 days. Though I enjoyed it I also had some issues with it.
“The Midnights is about music, family, friendship and finding one’s way in life after loss. That road is sometimes has more bumps than one would like, but everything depends on how we blunts the hits. California is the perfect setting for this book, though I wish it was more part of the story than a mere background blurred as we speed through the story. If one looks for a light, music filled summer read, then The Midnights might be a good choice for that.”
Jen read yet another of Jeffrey L. Kohanek‘s books!
“Quick paced and actiony fun! I find these are nice bite-size breather books to read in between those heavier and darker themed chonkers that have filled up my kindle.”
The Second and Third Reaping – 10 cuts and 2 semi-finalists!
In August we continued our reaping and announcing semi-finalists. Two more, to be precise and we have two more left to go. We are already reading our semi-finalists and soon will start reviewing them too, before we reveal our finalist!
Our second semi-finalist curtesy of Belle is Beneath Black Sails by Clare Sager!
Sometimes it takes a pirate to catch a pirate.
With weather magic on her side, Lady Vice is the bane of the high seas, but she isn’t captain of her own ship. Yet. If she can persuade her captain to give her a command, she’ll be in charge of her own fate.
To pay off his family’s debts, Knigh Blackwood hunts pirates for the Royal Navy. And he’s damn good at it. When the bounty on Lady Vice increases, he’s determined to make her face justice, even if that means using unorthodox methods.
Forced to work together, neither can deny their mutual attraction. As they face battles at sea and schemes aboard their ship, they discover hints about a long-lost treasure that could be the answer to both their problems.
But treasure isn’t the only thing buried. Secrets best forgotten lie in wait that could blast them apart. And the closer Vice and Knigh grow, the greater the threat – to her freedom and to his family. Because for one to succeed, the other must fail.
If you love cunning heroes, feisty heroines, and enemies to lovers romance, you’ll love this new adult fantasy series that’s perfect for fans of Sarah J Maas and Miranda Honfleur.
Our third semi-finalist curtesy of me is Black Stone Heart by Michael R. Fletcher!
A broken man, Khraen awakens alone and lost. His stone heart has been shattered, littered across the world. With each piece, he regains some small shard of the man he once was.
He follows the trail, fragment by fragment, remembering his terrible past.
There was a woman.
There was a sword.
There was an end to sorrow.
Khraen walks the obsidian path.
Party with the Stars
Have you ever wondered what might happen if you could throw a party of your choice and not only could you invite your MC(s) but other literary figures as well? In this feature, Party with the Stars, I ask you to imagine exactly that scenario and some more.
D. H. Willison is a reader, writer, game enthusiast and developer, engineer, and history enthusiast. He’s lived around the world, absorbing history, culture, and food. Actually he’s eaten the food. It has been verified that he is a complex, multicellular life form. Fascinated by nature, technology, and history, and especially anything that can put all three of these together, he has an annoying habit of dragging his wife to the most unromantic destinations imaginable, including outdoor museums, the holds of old ships, and even the tunnels of the Maginot Line. Subscribe to his newsletter for art, stories, and humorous articles (some of which are actually intended to be humorous.)
S Kaeth is a dreamer and always has been. In the gorgeous Driftless area of the Midwest United States, she spins tales of other worlds. Writing and creative expression in various forms are an integral part of who she is. She is the indie author of Windward and Between Starfalls and a co-founder of Indie Story Geek. She can be found on her website, Twitter, helping out at WriteHive, and helping out in Writer In Motion.
JC Kang’s unhealthy obsession with Fantasy and Sci-Fi began at an early age when his brother introduced him to The Chronicles of Narnia, Star Trek, and Star Wars. As an adult, he combines his geek roots with his professional experiences as a Chinese Medicine doctor, martial arts instructor, and technical writer to pen epic fantasy stories.
Organized by Storytellers On Tour, we brought to you the brand new cover of the soon to be released Hollow Road by Dan Fitzgerald. Which soon will be followed by a book tour as well!
Justine and I had the pleasure to show off the cover of Children by Bjørn Larssen coming to you this October! Justine in her post talked about how the logo came to be and Bjørn talks about how he ended up with the final cover.
Organized by Storytellers On Tour, we brought to you the brand new cover of the soon to be released The Weeping Sigil, sequel to The Skald’s Black Verse by Jordan Loyal Short.
To Be Continued…
10 weeks, 5 authors, 1 story. In To Be Continued… I asked 5 authors (self-published and traditionally published alike) to write a story together based on my prompts, without knowing about each other. They each had 2 weeks to write their part before I forwarded it to the next person to continue. Each part is somewhere between 500 – 1500 words long.
After The New Sound and The Butcher Queen I wanted to give this feature another go. I really love working on this, but sometimes things not go as smoothly as I’d like. The Enchanted Forest brought a lot of frustration and though a few weeks later than intended, but at the end of July we finally had Part 1 up! And the rest followed in August. I’m really grateful for everyone who took part and helped bringing Gordon’s story into the world.
Part 2 by Alex S. Bradshaw: The small witch takes Gordon to her home as a guest, then gives him advice and direction how to get into the Faery Queen’s court. Following her lead, Gordon goes to the Golden Oak where he encounters the woodpecker.
Part 3 by Christian Cameron: Gordon continues his way through the forest after he manages to grab an acorn (it was harder than it sounds!), meeting several animals on his way, making friends. Until he crosses path with a fanged stag-man.
Part 4 by Phil Parker: Gordon makes his acquiantance with Herne, then he is escorted to the Faery Queen’s court.
Part 5 by Quenby Olsen: Gordon’s journey comes to an end
15+ Underrated Self-Published Fantasy Books
To get ready for Self-Published Fantasy Month in September, Jen, Arina and myself decidede to collect a list of self-published books that definitely should be on your TBR because they deserve some more love!
The Hollow Gods by A. J. Vrana
We celebrated the release of A. J. Vrana’s debut dark fantasy novel, The Hollow Gods. Our Roadies brought a wide selection of content to this show with reviews, interviews and excerpts.
The Wrack by John Bierce
Due to an interesting coincidence, John Bierce published a fantasy novel about a pandemic during a pandemic. Our Roadies brought a wide selection of content to this show with reviews, interviews and guest posts.
Kings and Daemons by Marcus Lee
We gave the spotlight to Kings and Daemons, the first book of The Gifted and the Cursed series by Marcus Lee. Our Roadies brought a wide selection of content to this show with reviews, interviews and guest posts.
I, Exile by David Samuels
We gave the spotlight to I, Exile, and Adventure Fantasy by David Samuels. Our Roadies brought a wide selection of content to this show with reviews, excerpts and other posts.
I think that’s it for August. I hope to see you all in September!