Monthly Wrap Up February

Monthly Wrap Up: February 2021

February went away way too fast. I WANT MY BIRTHDAY MONTH BACK! *ahem* We’ve been busy with SPFBO reading and SoT and a lot of other things. Though, to be absolutely honest, I’m struggling with reading a lot these days, so it’s probably about time for me to take a nice long break.

But fear not, we still had quite a lot of content in February including reviews, author spotlight, book tours and a lot of other things.

All that being said, it’s time for a Monthly Wrap Up, let’s see what we were up to in February!

Book Reviews

In case you missed any of our reviews in February, it’s your chance to catch up!

Tower of Mud and Straw by Yaroslav Barsukov – 4.5/5

Tower of Mud and Straw by Yaroslav Barsukov

Arina reviewed Yaroslav Barsukov‘s latest novella on the blog.

Tower of Mud and Straw makes perfect use of the novella format, an awesome gaslamp science fantasy with a mystery punch. I can see myself coming back to this world again and again.”

The Moonsteel Crown by Stephen Deas – 5/5

The Moonsteel Crown by Stephen Deas

Angry Robot kindly provided us with an ARC of The Moonsteel Crown and Arina took it up. Spoiler: she loved it.

“A fun as hell adventure of betrayal filled with murdering bastards, dead men, and lots of chaotic stabbing, shrewdly disguised as a royal corruption story. With dry dark humor that cleverly analyses the grimness of class disparity, rival gangs, luring dark magic, and lots of unpredictability, you just can’t miss this one.”

The Second Bell by Gabriela Houston – 3/5

The Second Bell by Gabriela Houston

Another ARC kindly provided by Angry Robot (these robots have a healthy amount of respect for the Queen, it seems). I was super excited to read this title. It didn’t quite deliver for me, but I think it’ll find its audience. It’s out on March 9th!

The Secon Bell is a refreshing read with its Slavic setting. If you like dark themed folktale inspired stories, you probably will like it. Personally, I have mixed feelings and think it could have been better at some aspects, but it also did well in others. It shows the deep bond between mothers and their child as well as how closed groups work especially when it comes to beliefs and age-old prejudices. The need to fit in even if one’s nature is against everything the rules represent. Sometimes you need to follow your other heart in order to find happiness. Even if it comes with a price.”

A Fool’s Hope by Mike Shackle – 5/5

A Fool's Hope by Mike Shackle

Jen finally joins me with her review of A Fool’s Hope. We have a serious love for Mike’s stuff over here.

We Are the Dead was a damned good book. There wasn’t a lot of room for improvement but, Mike Shackle brought his A-game to A Fool’s Hope, and the follow-up is freaking incredible.”

The Forever King by Ben Galley – DNF

The Forever King by Ben Galley

I accepted a review request from Ben Galley, fully expecting to enjoy his latest novel, The Forever King. Unfortunately, I did not, and eventually decided to put it aside, but it was the case of the wrong book at the wrong time more than anything.

“All that being said, The Forever King had the misfortune of crossing my paths in the wrong time and I’m sorry I can’t give it a glowing review, but at the end of the day, I just had to walk away rather than forcing myself to enjoy it. If you are looking for a Nordic-inspired Epic Fantasy with dragons, gods, battles, magic, and don’t mind a bit of ice, I’m sure you’ll have a great time with The Forever King. Especially if you read and liked the Emaneska series. You might find a familiar face or two here.”

SPFBO

Reviews

In February we continued reviewing the finalists. And also had a few other features involving the authors!

The Lost War by Justin Lee Anderson

The war is over, but something is rotten in the state of Eidyn.

With a ragged peace in place, demons burn farmlands, violent Reivers roam the wilds and plague has spread beyond the Black Meadows. The country is on its knees.

In a society that fears and shuns him, Aranok is the first magically-skilled draoidh to be named King’s Envoy.

Now, charged with restoring an exiled foreign queen to her throne, he leads a group of strangers across the ravaged country. But at every step, a new mystery complicates their mission.

As bodies drop around them, new threats emerge and lies are revealed, can Aranok bring his companions together and uncover the conspiracy that threatens the kingdom?

Strap in for this twisted fantasy road trip from award-winning author Justin Lee Anderson.

The Combat Codes by Alexander Darwin

“We fight, so the rest shall not have to.”

In a world where single combat determines the fate of nations, the Grievar fight so that the rest can remain at peace.

Cego is a mysterious Grievar boy forced to fight his way out of the slave Circles into the world’s most prestigious combat school.

At the Lyceum, Cego will learn a variety of martial arts from eclectic teachers, develop deep bonds of friendship and fight against contentious rivals to climb the school’s rankings.

But, Cego will find far more than combat studies at the Lyceum. He will find the mystery of his past unraveled by forces greater than he could ever imagine. 

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.

Suzannah Rowntree Party with the Stars invitation

Suzannah Rowntree lives in a big house in rural Australia with her awesome parents and siblings, drinking fancy tea and writing historical fantasy fiction that blends real-world history with legend, adventure, and a dash of romance.

​If you like the mythic fantasy of Stephen Lawhead, S. A. Chakraborty or Naomi Novik, you’ll probably like her stories too!

Matt Larkin Party with the Stars invitation

Matt Larkin writes retellings of mythology as dark, gritty fantasy.

His passions of myths, philosophy, and history inform his series. He strives to combine gut-wrenching action with thought-provoking ideas and culturally resonant stories.

To Be Continued...

It’s no secret that To Be Continued… is one of my favorite features, so I couldn’t resist the opportunity to invite the SPFBO 6 finalists to play! 8 of them agreed, so in the next few months, you’ll read 2 stories written in collaboration by them. They don’t know who is taking part and in which story, so it keeps things interesting. In February I started posting the first story titled Sanctuary of Arrows.

Rachel Emma Shaw

Part 1 by Emma Rachel Shaw: In Garedath, criminals are dealt with a deadly competition. A net of ropes hanging over a pit full of sharp blades. Only one can survive. Will it be our MC? And will they be able to help their fellow criminal, Dela?

Author Spotlight

Cover Reveal

Organized by Storytellers On Tour, we brought to you the brand new cover of The Place Below, the third book in Dan Fitzgerald‘s Maer Cycle trilogy.

The Place Below by Dan Fitzgerald Cover Reveal

Organized by Storytellers On Tour, we brought to you the brand new cover of Katy of Clay, a stand alone Urban Fantasy novel by U.L. Harper, set to be released this August!

Katy of Clay by U.L. Harper Cover Reveal

Interview

T. Frohock

T. Frohock has turned a love of history and dark fantasy into tales of deliciously creepy fiction. A real-life cyborg, T. has a cochlear implant, meaning she can turn you on or off with the flick of a switch. Make of that what you will. She currently lives in North Carolina, where she has long been accused of telling stories, which is a southern colloquialism for lying.

Yaroslav Barsukov

After leaving his ball and chain at the workplace, Yaroslav Barsukov goes on to write stories that deal with things he himself, thankfully, doesn’t have to deal with.

He’s a software engineer and a connoisseur of strong alcoholic beverages—but also, surprisingly, a member of SFWA and Codex (how did that happen?). His stories have appeared in Galaxy’s EdgeNature: Futures, and StarShipSofa, among others.

At some point in his life, he’s left one former empire only to settle in another. And here’s his SFWA Profile.

Book Blitz

A Sea of Pearls & Leaves by Rosalyn Briar

In the summer of 1844, Tom Lyman flees to Bonaventure, a transcendentalist farming cooperative tucked away in eastern Connecticut, to hide from his past. There Lyman must adjust to a new life among idealists, under the fatherly eye of the group’s founder, David Grosvenor. When he isn’t ducking work or the questions of the eccentric residents, Lyman occupies himself by courting Grosvenor’s daughter Minerva.

But Bonaventure isn’t as utopian as it seems. One by one, Lyman’s secrets begin to catch up with him, and Bonaventure has a few secrets of its own. Why did the farm have an ominous reputation long before Grosvenor bought it? What caused the previous tenants to vanish? And who is playing the violin in the basement? Time is running out, and Lyman must discover the truth before he’s driven mad by the whispering through the walls.

Storytellers On Tour

Rise of One by Dixon Reuel

Rise of One by Dixon Reuel

We gave the spotlight to Rise of One, the first book in Dixon Reuel’s Paranormal Post-Apocalyptic/Occult Fantasy series, the Blood Brute! 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 Rise of One through our Q&A with Dixon!

Ten Years of Darkness by Kristen M. Chambers and Viktor H. Strangewayes

Ten Years of Darkness

We gave the spotlight to Ten Years of Darkness, the prequel stand alone novella to Kristen M. Chambers and Viktor H. Strangewayes’ Dark Fantasy series, the Vaal’bara Historical Society! 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 Ten Years of Darkness through our Q&A with Kristen and Viktor!

Vultures by Luke Tarzian

Vultures by Luke Tarzian

We gave the spotlight to Vultures, the first book in Luke Tarzian’s Dark Fantasy series, the Shadow Twins! 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 Vultures through Luke’s playlist!

Rising Shadows by Phillip Blackwater

Rising Shadows by Phillip Blackwater

We gave the spotlight to the Rising Shadows, the first book in Phillip Blackwater’s Epic Fantasy series, The Pillar of Creation! Our Roadies brought a wide selection of content to this show with reviews, interviews and other posts. Come and learn a bit more about the world of Rising Shadows through Phillip’s fan cast!

How LJ and Rom Saved Heavy Metal by S.D. McKinley

How LJ and Rom Saved Heavy Metal by S.D. McKinley

We gave the spotlight to How LJ and Rom Saved Heavy MetalS.D. McKinley’s Action Adventure Fantasy novel! 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 How LJ and Rom Saved Heavy Metal through S.D’s playlist!

The Ventifact Colossus by Dorian Hart

The Ventifact Colossus by Dorian Hart

We gave the spotlight to The Ventifact Colossus, the first book in Dorian Hart’s Epic Fantasy series, The Heroes of Spira in celebration of the upcoming fourth book, The Infinite Tower! Our Roadies brought a wide selection of content to this show with reviews, interviews and other posts. Come and learn a bit more about the world of The Ventifact Colossus through Dorian’s fan cast!

I think that’s it for February. I hope to see you all in March!

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