Monthly Wrap Up March

Monthly Wrap Up: March 2021

For some reason March hit me harder than I expected. I spent two weeks being sick, my mental health took a deep dive and I still keep struggling to even gather the willpower to pick up a book, let alone read, so I mostly just allowed myself to only read what I felt like and when I felt like. I’m still good with audiobooks though. I also reached back to my childhood and now I’m spending my evenings watching old episodes of an international game show in which Hungary took part between 1993-1999 (which was also the last year of the show). It’s fun and I think that’s what I’m needing right now – relax and let my batteries charge themselves ever so slowly. As a result, you’ll probably see less content from us in the next couple of months. Personally I need to rediscover my enjoyment for reading and blogging, and also find other activities that might bring some fun into my days. We’ll see how that goes.

On a happier note, in March we celebrated our 3rd anniversary as well as Storytellers On Tour’s first one. We’ve managed to read and review books, continued with the SPFBO Finals, finished the first SPFBO Special Edition To Be Continued story, revealed covers, toured with books and showed off others.

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

Book Reviews

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

Dead Space by Kali Wallace – 4/5

Dead Space by Kali Wallace

Arina reviewed Kali Wallace‘s sci-fi noir novel on the blog.

“The power of Dead Space’s narrative is the inescapable analogy it draws with our current society. While exploring how greed, inequality, and bondage may be carried with us when we breach the boundaries of space, it imagines technology in that exciting way of science-fiction that pushes readers to dream.
This fast-acting standalone of realistic speculative fiction has propelled me to explore Wallace’s other works.”

Sin Eater by Mike Shel – 4/5

Sin Eater by Mike Shel

I’m sloooooowly catching up with my backlog. I was super late reading the second book in Mike Shel‘s Epic Fantasy series, but the third book will be out soon so if you look at it that way, I’m just right in time.

Sin Eater is a worthy sequel to Aching God. It shows how much Shel improved as a writer as he finds his footing within the story he wants to tell. It definitely steps up from book one and opens up the scope of the story within the world, building up the foundation of something I expect to be a great ending to the trilogy. If you are into adventurous epic fantasy, a world with ancient gods, artifacts, and secrets waiting to be discovered springled with a few political intrigues, then I think you should check the Iconoclasts series out.”

Songs of Insurrection – 4/5

Songs of Insurrection by JC Kang

Jen joined the Songs of Insurrection Book Blitz by reviewing JC Kang‘s Epic Fantasy novel, which was just re-released in March.

Songs of Insurrection, is a fun and twisty romp through a richly layered world. Somewhere between political mystery and coming of age story, its setting is an interesting mix of traditional and current, gritty and beautiful, naïve and worldly.”

The Shadow in the Glass – 2.5/5

The Shadow in the Glass by J.J.A. Harwood

I had an ARC of The Shadow in the Glass provided by Harper Voyager. I wasn’t quite into it, but someone else might like it better than I did.

“Ultimately, The Shadow in the Glass is an interesting read, one I didn’t really like, but one that raises some questions. If you got 7 wishes to do as you please, and ones you have to pay a high price for, would you take them? And how would you use them? Answering violence with violence is the right way? Does the intention excuses the action taken? Does reaching your dreams worth risking everything? Is there only one answer to any given question? While I support the idea in here that one has to stand up to the person who abuses people around them, Eleanor’s idea of a solution – even if she refused to acknowledge to herself – was less than ideal.”

Pawn’s Gambit by Rob J. Hayes – 4.5/5

Where the Waters Turn Black by Benedict Patrick

I’ve reread my favorite Yarnsworld novel, Where the Waters Turn Black by Benedict Patrick. This was the one that sealed the deal for me on becoming a Yarnsworld fangirl. I have no regrets whatsoever. It’s just as good the second time around.

“I said many times before that Benedict Patrick had become one of my favorite authors over the years, and it was Where the Waters Turn Black that sealed the deal for me of becoming a Yarnsworld fangirl. And I’m not even into fangirling. Anyway. You are really missing out on an amazing journey if you don’t read these books. And before I start sounding like a broken record, let me just say this: Where the Waters Turn Black is as close to perfection as a book can be. It’s got music, magic, monsters, gods, found family, adventure, and a heroine who fights to write her own story. What would you do to earn a place in legends? Would you befriend a monster and deal with gods even if you might die trying? Kaimana certainly did all that and more.”

Where the Waters Turn Black by Benedict Patrick – 5/5

Pawn's Gambit by Rob J. Hayes

Jen read Pawn’s Gambit, a follow up stand-alone novel to the SPFBO finalist Never Die by Rob J. Hayes.

“The quirky cast is small but memorable, lightening up the mood when needed.
Lump stole the spotlight in all the scenes, and I loved the interplay between Natsuka, and well… everyone. 

Fun, exciting, and full of heart, Pawn’s Gambit is a stand-out story in this series.

SPFBO

Reviews

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

Darkness Forged by Matt Larkin

Vengeance is Wrought. Darkness is Forged.

The greatest crafts on Midgard come from the dvergar realm of Nidavellir. Volund, a gifted smith and once apprentice to the dvergar, escaped their dark realm to find solace in the arms of a valkyrie.

Nine years of respite.

And then she was gone.

Volund will do anything to get her back. But his reputation precedes him, and a cruel king knows the weapons Volund forges can win his wars. Imprisoned in the king’s forge, Volund’s only hope to escape is to find his wife. If he can’t, more than the forge’s darkness will overtake him.

A Wind from the Wilderness by Suzannah Rowntree

Hunted by demons. Lost in time.

Welcome to the First Crusade.

Syria, 636: As heretic invaders circle Jerusalem, young Lukas Bessarion vows to defend his people. Instead, disaster strikes.

His family is ripped apart. His allies are slaughtered. And Lukas is hurled across the centuries to a future where his worst nightmares have come true…

Constantinople, 1097: Ayla may be a heretic beggar, but she knows one thing for sure: nine months from now, she will die. Before then, she must avenge her father’s murder–or risk losing her soul.

Desperate to find their way home, Lukas and Ayla join the seven armies marching east to liberate Jerusalem. If Lukas succeeds in his quest, he’ll undo the invasion and change the course of history.

But only if he survives the war.

Only if his enemies from the past don’t catch him.

And only as long as Ayla never finds out who he really is.

A Wind from the Wilderness is Book 1 in the new Watchers of Outremer series. If you love stories full of dark magic, bloody warfare, and star-crossed love, then you’ll be spellbound by this sweeping historical fantasy!

Voice of War by Zack Argyle

While preparing for the birth of his first child, Chrys Valerian is tasked with uncovering the group responsible for a series of missing threadweavers–those able to see and manipulate threadlight. With each failure, the dark voice in his head grows louder, begging to be released.

A young girl from a secret city in the center of the Fairenwild veers off course to explore the streets of Alchea. She never expected that her journey would end in chains.

Far in the deserts to the south, a young man’s life changes after he dies.

When Chrys learns who is responsible for the missing threadweavers, they come for him and his family. He must do everything in his power to protect those he loves, even if it means trusting strangers or, worse, the dark voice in his mind.

Together, they will change the world–whether they intend to or not.

The Fall of Erlon by Robert H. Fleming

As empires burn, heroes must rise.

Elisa Lannes was once heiress to the mighty Erlonian Empire. But when her mother abandons the empire and her emperor father is defeated on the battlefield and sent into exile, the world she would rule collapses around her. As enemies converge on the capital, Elisa must join with the last of the empire’s loyal soldiers to escape the evil that hunts her and her family.

With the help of her father’s generals, can Elisa find the strength to fight for her people? Or will a twist in the tide of the empire’s last war awaken an evil far greater than the enemy’s blade?

The Fall of Erlon is the first in the new military fantasy series from author Robert H. Fleming. If you like deep fantasy worlds filled with colorful characters and massive battles, the gods and generals of the Falling Empires Saga is for you. 

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 March we posted the remaining 3 parts of the first story titled Sanctuary of Arrows.

Zack Argyle

Part 2 by Zack Argyle: Dela and our MC are hanging on by a thread. Quite literally. Seeing the already fallen criminals under them, a plan is forming to soften their inevitable fall. Can they make the few feet across the ropes to risk a swing?

Robert H. Fleming

Part 3 by Robert H. Fleming: Dela and our MC are hanging on by a thread. Quite literally. Seeing the already fallen criminals under them, a plan is forming to soften their inevitable fall. Can they make the few feet across the ropes to risk a swing?

Shaun Paul Stevens

Part 4 by Shaun Paul Stevens: Sanctuary of Arrows comes to an end. Will Dela and our MC survive?

Author Spotlight

Cover Reveal

Organized by Storytellers On Tour, we brought to you the brand new cover of White as Frost, the first book in Anthea Sharp’s The Darkwood trilogy.

White as Frost by Anthea Sharp cover reveal

Joining with some awesome bloggers, we came together to show off the cover of the hardcover version of Vultures, the first book in Luke Tarzian‘s series, Shadow Twins.

Vultures by Luke Tarzian cover reveal

Organized by Storytellers On Tour, we brought to you the brand new cover of Windborn, the debut Norse-inspired Fantasy novel of Alex S. Bradshaw.

Windborn by Alex S. Bradshaw cover reveal

Book Blitz

Empire's Legacy by Marian L. Thorpe

Lena is a skilled hunter, but beyond the need to kill for food, weapons are a man’s domain – until one day a soldier arrives in her village, pleading for fighters. Accepting his challenge, she steps into a new life, one of battle, intrigue and politics, where actions have deadly consequences. Her survival – and that of her country – depends on her prowess with knife and bow, her quick wit, and a journey into unimagined lands to confront a lost Empire of immense power.

Astral Cuts by John Notlad

A twisting contemporary fantasy about a son’s revenge, an imaginary friend with a magical dagger, and a journey between the planes of existence in search of one sinister cowboy.

Flint Hainsen is a young, ordinary man still living at home with his mom. That is, until the evening he discovers her lifeless body on the living room floor.

Grief-stricken, Flint quickly falls into the hands of an otherworldly gentleman by the name of John. The enigmatic, old cowboy claims to be a friend of his late mother. He offers answers surrounding her death and a plot of revenge. However, Flint soon finds that John’s motives are far more sinister than he let on and the answers he provides only lead Flint deeper down the rabbit-hole between this reality and another.

From the other side of that rabbit-hole emerges Nelson Germander III. He was a friend of Flint’s from childhood, an imaginary one. He has returned to the physical world with a warning: John is a demon from the Astral Realm, and he must be stopped.

Armed with Kashvi, a portal opening dagger, the two old friends descend through the layers of reality in search of John. They are confronted with the monsters that lurk in the shadows, and their minds. Along the way, Flint’s troubled past rears its head and the sinful connection that binds he and his mother to the astral visitors becomes all too clear.

Other Bookish Posts

In March we celebrated our 3rd blog anniversary! As usual, I put together a post about all that happened to us this past year, though it was a shorter post due to 2020 being what it was.

Storytellers On Tour

The End of Dreams by Marcus Lee

The End of Dreams by Marcus Lee

This past week we gave the spotlight to The End of Dreams, the third book in Marcus Lee’s Dark Fantasy series, The Gifted and the Cursed in celebration of its release!

Legacy of the Brightwash by Krystle Matar

Legacy of the Brightwash by Krsytle Matar

This past week we gave the spotlight to Legacy of the Brightwash, the debut Gaslamp Grimdark Fantasy novel of Krystle Matar, and the first book in the Tainted Dominion series. 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 Legacy of the Brightwash through our Q&A with Krystle!

Once Upon a Lane by Duncan Wilson

Once Upon a Lane by Duncan Wilson

This past week we gave the spotlight to Once Upon a Lane, the slice-of-life Paranormal Horror novel of Duncan Wilson. 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 Once Upon a Lane through our Q&A with Duncan!

Sand Dancer by Trudie Skies

Sand Dancer by Trudie Skies

This past week we gave the spotlight to Sand Dancer, the YA Heroic Fantasy novel of Trudie Skies. 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 Sand Dancer through the mood boards of Trudie!

In the Orbit of Sirens by T. A. Bruno

In The Orbit of Sirens by T. A. Bruno cover

This past week we gave the spotlight to In the Orbit of Sirens, the Sci-Fi Adventure novel of T. A. Bruno. 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 In the Orbit of Sirens through the mood board of T. A.!

The Place Below by Dan Fitzgerald

The Place Below by Dan Fitzgerald

This past week we gave the spotlight to The Place Below, the third and last novel in Dan Fitzgerald‘s Fantasy series, The Maer Cycle. 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 Place Below through Dan’s video!

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

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