Carved from Stone and Dream by T. Frohock

It’s the details that impress me, the weaving together of events and placement of bread crumbs, small thoughtful comments that get followed through with later, or hit us with horror when the understanding dawns. The yellow scarf that tells us everything about Rafael’s personality while doing dual duty as a scene setter. The hints about Sam that later make my heart pound through my chest when I realize just who it is that our boy is getting ready to meet. And especially the follow-through on Martinez, who could have easily been a throwaway character, but served to show us the impact and repercussions of a tough decision. These are the things that raise a story up to the next level for me but coupled with everything else, just made this a stellar read.

SPFBO: Our Bloody Pearl by D. N. Bryn

Congrats to D. N. Bryn for becoming our first semi-finalist! We will reveal three more in the coming weeks before we tell you which one of them will be advanced into the Finals. To remain mysterious, I decided not to add ratings at this time, but will update this post once we announced our finalist.

We Are The Dead by Mike Shackle

There were moments in the story where you could see the trail, the event or the thing that had to happen to push or spur that character forward to their path. But then there were also times that the story took a total left, and I was like, What the hell just happened here? When you read a lot, those surprise moments are rare so the fact that there were a few; impressed me.

SPFBO: King of Ash and Bone by Melissa Wright

We've read and reviewed this book for SPFBO5. Please keep in mind these are personal thoughts only. We will update this post as the judges read along and add their opinions. This book has already been eliminated from the competition, but one of us liked it enough to write a full review.

SPFBO: Third Round of DNFs by Jen!

Here we are again, back for my third round of DNFs! I fell behind a bit last month and am now playing catch-up but this puts me around 3/4 of the way through my 30, not counting a couple that I have been on the fence about continuing.
Some of these cuts made for hard choices because they were solid books but just were missing that little something to keep me going. Again, thank you to the authors for participating, this can't have been easy.

Eye of Obscurance by Jeffrey L. Kohanek

Jeffrey L. Kohanek has a knack for giving them fun personalities and lots of humorous interactions with one another. This is popcorn so it’s light on some of the rounding out of the characters - we do see clear motivations but occasionally there is a leap to get us from point a to b in the story, that’s ok too because this is unapologetically fun and isn’t trying to be anything else.

SPFBO: The First Round of DNFs by Jen (Bunnyreads)

The pokey person in the group is finally getting around to her first round of mini-reviews for my DNF's! Please note, that this is only my opinion and my ratings, and these books still can end up as semi-finalists if one of my fellow judges deem them worthy. Once we have a couple of books all of us thinks won't make it, Timy will write up announcement posts.

Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford

The story was quick, lots of fun, with some fluttery first-time love feelings, and a good dose of danger for our heroine to overcome. I liked the first half because of the setting and the sisters, and second half for the characters and the intrigue. The ending felt a tad bit rushed but I enjoyed this book as a whole and blew through it in a few sittings.

Red and Black by Nancy O’Toole Meservier

The characters do have a lot of introspection and awareness of their own faults with good reasons for their choices. At times I thought they were maybe a little too aware of their own shortcomings during these self-examinations but the characters really were wonderfully handled. Even Calypso and other support characters had motives beyond just being bad, for the sake of being villains.

The Ragged Blade by Christopher Ruz

This one was an assorted bag of fabulous, and some odd, not quite sure how I feel about it stuff. It’s a slow building world that relies on the MC Richard, to tell the story through a combination of flashbacks - partly through sharing stories with his daughter Ana (who is mute for the most part), combined with present day events.

Gedlund by William Ray

As military fantasys go, I found a lot to like in this one. There’s a lot of battles which get progressively bigger until the finale. There are organising troops, gun use, and marching - some of my favorite parts were the parade row marching and just any of the scenes where they had to keep or use a tempo. I especially loved the use of sound combined with the visuals to bring the scenes alive.

Pride Month: RainBook Recs – Part 2

We thought it would be fun to do a little something in recognition of Pride Month here at Rockstarlit BookAsylum. So, I went through and picked books that I had enjoyed that had some LGBTQ content, and matched the pride flag to the dominate color of the covers, with varying degrees of luck.

The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t With Her Mind by Jackson Ford

This opens with a bang, befitting the title but it’s weird bang - kind of like small town fireworks with the reload time between the bursts of color, as this stops mid-action to give us a bit of catch-up. Once we are caught up though, it’s go-time, and the rest of the book is an easy, quick, and fun read.

Pride Month: RainBook Recs

We thought it would be fun to do a little something in recognition of Pride Month here at Rockstarlit BookAsylum. So, I went through and picked books that I had enjoyed that had some LGBTQ content, and matched the pride flag to the dominate color of the covers, with varying degrees of luck.

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