September turned out to be a way busier month than I expected, and that’s saying something. With a twist of fate even I didn’t see coming, I ended up renting a flat. Official moving in day is October 1st. Things happened within 3 weeks basically. What started out as a casual looking around for flats resulted in my actually renting one. The funny thing is, I only really looked at 2 before jumping on the second one. I did not expect to move anytime before February, really. Oh well.
So, toward the end of the month on top of managing the blog (including SPFBO stuff), SoT, working my halftime job I also had to start packing up my room and take care of other things (such as ordering TV and internet and buying some furniture). Oh and I’m not going to have internet for a few days so every post I planned I had to start and work on to get them ready ahead of time – which basically almost never happens. And if that weren’t enough (because of course, it wasn’t), I started to build a database for SoT and tinker with the feature images to figure out where I went wrong when setting up the new blog (turns out I need to replace ALL of the feature images, because yours truly is an idiot), and now that I know, I can start righting it. Hey, I don’t like to be bored, okay? Shut up.
Anyway, it’s time for a Monthly Wrap Up, let’s see what we were up to in September!
In case you missed any of our reviews in September, 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.
I was lucky to get my hands on a physical ARC of Dan Hanks’ debut fantasy novel, published by Angry Robot.
“I like it when the lines between good and evil are blurred and it’s hard to decide who is on which side. This book embodies that. Even if it doesn’t really bring anything new to the genre.
Overall, I really enjoyed Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire. If you like adventure fantasy and Indiana Jones then you definitely will love this adrenaline-filled book. Dan Hanks can be an exciting new name in Fantasy in the coming years.”
I just love this series so much. I’m sorry it took me so long to get on board, but it had become one of my favorites over the summer. Can’t wait to read more.
“That being said, I loved the setting, the writing, the world-building, the awesome music-based magic (!), the twists, that even angels can’t be labeled as only good, and Diago’s character arc. But what I loved the most was the relationship between characters. The way they interacted. The banters with Guillermo from Miquel and Diago, the caring love between Miquel and Diago.”
It took me a while to get on the Michael R. Fletcher bandwagon, but here I am. Smoke and Stone was the second book I read from him in a short time, but definitely not the last.
“Smoke and Stone is the tale of what happens when mortals are forced to fight the gods’ war while blood flows through the streets as smoke fills the lungs of Akachi and Nuru. Fletcher‘s world yet again is relentlessly brutal and dread-filled. And yet, his writing is like a drug you keep wanting more and more of. Give me the next dose!”
Kings of Ash by Richard Nell – 4.5/5
Jen is slowly catching up with the series, she just read the sequel to Kings of Paradise.
“I don’t know the answers but whatever it was, it worked for me because here I sat, engrossed and rooting for this genius serial-killer character, wanting someone to love him and fix his hurt soul, all the while wondering where the hell did my values go?”
Path of Ruin by Tim Paulson – 3.5/5
Arina’s review this month goes to Path of Ruin by Tim Paulson.
“Paulson’s work is the perfect counterpoint to anyone discrediting the value of SFF as “not real enough”. It builds clear parallels to our world and critiques the politics and workings of our contemporary society. How did it come to be so? Who owns the power, truly, and how and why have they seized such control?
Path of Ruin explores answers to those questions, and delivers a clever, entrancing story that garners surprise after surprise until its very end.”
I don’t know about you, but this cover is pretty cool. Anyway, Jen is here for the rescue to tell us what’s inside.
“Mage Prince is full of family, friends, and conversation – it’s noisy and brimming with life, letting you feel like you have a window into the world they are living in. That ‘life noise’ goes a long way in helping to temper that darker subject matter.”
The Fourth and Fifth Reaping – 10 cuts and 2 semi-finalists!
In September we continued our reaping and announcing semi-finalists. Two more, to be precise and we also started reviewing them in the same order as they got announced.
Our third semi-finalist courtesy of Peter is The Hunter’s Gambit by Nicholas McIntire!
No one promised Aleksei Drago an easy life. Growing up amongst the Ri-Vhan of Seil Wood, losing his mother and just as suddenly being torn from the forest folk, Aleksei had no choice but to make the best of an unpredictable situation.
But what happens when the monsters and figures of fiction become horrifyingly real? How will Aleksei cope? When the stakes are at their highest, will he finally falter? Or will he rise to the occasion, reforging himself into the man Prophecy demands he become? In a world of magic and Magi, of Angels and Demons alike, how will a simple farm boy survive his own contorted destiny?
This is the story of a seemingly-simple world gone mad, and the reality that every action, no matter how apparently benign, can serve to unravel terrifying truths. This is the story of Aleksei Drago, farmer, Hunter, and so much more.
Our fifth semi-finalist courtesy of Nick is The Knights of Dragonwatch by Eric T. Knight!
Led by dragons, the Emperor’s vast army conquers every nation in its path…
The Emperor seeks to free the Dragon Queen from the Abyss. The only ones who could have opposed him are the Knights of Dragonwatch, an ancient order created to defend the world against the Dragon Queen, and they are no more, betrayed by one of their own and hunted to extinction.
Jarryd is a young man with a secret. He sees demons. The visions have plagued him since he witnessed a traumatic event as a small boy.
Jarryd lives in fear that his secret will be discovered, and he will be condemned to the fate of those who consort with demons. Or, even worse, that the demons will consume him, make him one of them.
As the visions grow ever more powerful, Jarryd sets out on a journey to find answers at Knights Keep, the ancestral home of the Dragonwatch Knights. The journey brings him to the notice of the Emperor himself and sets Jarryd on a desperate quest to resurrect the Dragonwatch Knights.
Can Jarryd overcome the demons within himself and defeat the Emperor in time? Or will the Dragon Queen escape her prison and ravage the cosmos once again?
Finance: The lifeblood of any country’s beating heart and the life’s work of Sailor Kelstern — Merchant Banker. While wizards brood in their towers and great warriors charge into battle Sailor is more interested in the price of ore, herbs, and alchemicals carried by the trade ships.
But when a spell of bad fortune and bitter rivalry leaves him scrambling to turn a profit on little more than winds and whispers, one such whisper catches Sailor’s ear— a dragon has been seen in the west.
Sailor soon finds that the dragons are very real, and not at all what he expected. And they practice a very different sort of economy — one of subterfuge and fire.
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.
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.
Jonathan Pembroke resides in the deserts of the American southwest with his wife Lisa and a horde of unruly dogs, where he writes odd fantasy. He is a military veteran and was a meteorologist in a former life. His first novel, Pilgrimage to Skara, was a finalist in SPFBO 3 (2017). This year’s entry, Rumble in Woodhollow, is the first of The Holly Sisters trilogy; the next book, The Mauler, will be released Aug 2020.
I’m thirty two, from Nottinghamshire England. As well as being an author, I’m waiting for my furlough to end so I can go back to the advertisement factory.
I’ve been writing on and off for around seven years. I was in Rockstarlit Book Asylum’s group last year and did terribly. It took writing a second book to understand a lot of the problems in my first book. I should have never published it in that state, let alone enter it into a competition. I’m hoping this year’s book is gonna lead to my redemption.
I’m probably being too honest, but who cares.
Grace Bridges is a geyser hunter, cat herder, editor and translator, and Kiwi. The current president of writers’ organisation SpecFicNZ, she is often found poking around geothermal sites or under a pile of rescued kittens. She is a multiple nominee and two-time winner of the Sir Julius Vogel Award from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand, an editor and mentor for Young NZ Writers, and has edited dozens of published books. Her own novels include Irish cyberpunk, Classics in Space, and the Earthcore urban fantasy series based in New Zealand.
Michael R. Fletcher is a science fiction and fantasy author, a grilled cheese aficionado, and a whiskey-swilling reprobate. He spends his days choreographing his forklift musical (titled “Get Forked”), and using caffeine as a substitute for sanity. Any suggestions that he is actually Dyrk Ashton in disguise are all lies.
Organized by Storytellers On Tour, we brought to you the brand new cover of the third book in the Tales of the Verin Empire series, Shadow Debt by William Ray. Which soon will be followed by a book tour as well!
Organized by Storytellers On Tour, we brought to you the brand new cover of the soon to be released A Ritual of Flesh, sequel to A Ritual of Bone by Lee C Conley.
Organized by Storytellers On Tour, we brought to you the brand new cover of Amethyst, a novella by Jesse Nolan Bailey.
Things I Learned About Blog Tours in 6 Months
Storytellers On Tour, Justine and my brainchild had turned 6 months old in September. We definitely had some ups and downs, poured a lot of time and energy into it, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. I definitely learned a lot of things during this time and in my post I give you a glimpse into our everyday life as tour organizers.
Tuyo by Rachel Neumeier
We gave the spotlight to Tuyo, an Epic Fantasy by Rachel Neumeier. Our Roadies brought a wide selection of content to this show with reviews, excerpts, and other posts.
The Lost Sentinel by Suzanne Rogerson
We gave the spotlight to The Lost Sentinel, and Epic Fantasy by Suzanne Rogerson in celebration of the Silent Sea Chronicles box set. Our Roadies brought a wide selection of content to this show with reviews, excerpts, and other posts. Come and learn a bit more about the world of The Lost Sentinel through my Q&A session with Suzanne and her playlist for the Silent Sea Chronicles!
The Skald’s Black Verse by Jordan Loyal Short
we gave the spotlight to The Skald’s Black Verse, an Epic Grimdark Fantasy by Jordan Loyal Short in celebration of its re-release! Our Roadies brought a wide selection of content to this show with reviews and other posts. Come and learn a bit more about the world of The Skald’s Black Verse through Jordan’s inspirational board and playlist!
Hollow Road by Dan Fitzgerald
We gave the spotlight to the Hollow Road, a Fantasy by Dan Fitzgerald in celebration of its release! Our Roadies brought a wide selection of content to this show with reviews and other posts. Come and learn a bit more about the world of Hollow Road through Dan’s inspirational board and a Q&A!
Divinity’s Twilight: Rebirth by Christopher Russell
We gave the spotlight to Divinity’s Twilight: Rebirth, the first book in an Epic Fantasy series by Christopher Russell in celebration of its release! Our Roadies brought a wide selection of content to this show with reviews and other posts. Come and learn a bit more about the world of Rebirth through Christopher’s inspirational board, playlist and a Q&A!
I think that’s it for September. I hope to see you all in October!