SPFBO Review: Aching God by Mike Shel

Aching God

This is a continuation of a series of reviews for the top 10 finalists for the 2018 Self Published Fantasy Blog Off. Usual reminder that I am not associated with the contest and my review has no bearing in the contest’s final score.

This book tells the story of Auric Manteo, a retired member of the Syraeic League, a guild of Indiana Jones-style adventure archaeologists in a medieval fantasy setting. Auric struggles with PTSD after his last dungeon crawl went terribly wrong, and only seeks to enjoy a quiet life in the countryside. Unfortunately, he is called back into his old life when he learns that his daughter is in terrible danger.

On the surface this premise sounds a lot like Kings of the Wyld — aging adventurer is pulled out of retirement in order to rescue his daughter, who is...

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SPFBO Review: Ruthless Magic by Megan Crewe

This is a post in my continuing series of reviews of the top 10 2018 SPFBO finalists. Disclaimer, as usual, that I am not affiliated with the contest in any way and my review has no bearing on the final results.

Not sure where to start with this one except that I liked it, a lot. I’m a pretty slow reader when it comes to print/e-book. I hardly ever finish a book in a single day like a lot of my book nerd compatriots seem to manage. But this one I devoured in three days, which, for me, is pretty darned fast (By contrast, Out of Nowhere, which was quite fast paced, took me more than a week).

Ruthless Magic is billed as Harry Potter meets the Hunger Games, which I think is an apt description...

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SPFBO Review: Out of Nowhere by Patrick LeClerc

Continuing my reviews of the top 10 SPFBO 2018 finalists with Out of Nowhere by Patrick LeClerc. Usual disclaimer that I am not affiliated with the contest in any way, and this review has no bearing whatsoever on the final results.

Out of Nowhere is about Sean Danet, a sarcastic tough guy who works as a paramedic in a somewhat seedy Massachusetts town. But Sean has a pretty big secret: one, he’s older than he looks. A lot older. So old that he can’t even remember his childhood, though he does remember such famous figures as Napoleon and Shakespeare. His second secret is that he can heal people supernaturally. He tries to keep both of these things a secret, lest people freak out and he gets run out of town or burnt at the stake...

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SPFBO Review: The Annointed by Keith Ward

In continuing my quest to read all the top ten SPFBO finalists, next on the list was The Annointed by Keith Ward. Usual disclaimer that I am not associated with the contest in any way and my review has no bearing whatsoever on the final results.

Like the previous finalist I reviewed, Sowing, this book had a lot of things I enjoyed about it, tainted somewhat by some things I really didn’t like. Actually, some of my main complaints about The Annointed are similar to my main complaints about Sowing: that is, gratuitous baby murder, and a so-called “good-guy” who is a just plain awful human being.

This book takes place in a world where people learn their lifespans ahead of time, but can increase their lifespans by ritualistically sacrificing and stealing the life force of someone else...

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Bingo Review (Middle Grade): Wishes and Wellingtons by Julie Berry

I have to admit I picked this one up not having high expectations. I’d not really explored much of the Audible Originals program, their program where they let you select one of their exclusive Audible-only audiobooks for free every month. But hey, free is free, and I was intrigued by the cover art. I’m really glad I decided to give this one a listen, though, because it was absolutely delightful. This book only exists as an audiobook, there is no print or e-book version, but narrator Jayne Entwhistle does an excellent job bringing the story to life.

Adventurous Maeve Merritt is constantly getting in trouble at her strict boarding school in Victorian London. She dreams of traveling the world and playing cricket, instead of staying in school pursuing more feminine interests...

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SPFBO Finalist Review: Sowing by Angie Grigaliunas

Hi everyone! Surprise surprise, I’m still alive. I took some time off from book blogging, but with award season fast approaching, I think it’s time I dusted off this old blog and started doing reviews for all these exciting books and seeing what the fuss is about. My current plan is to read and review each of the 10 finalists for Mark Lawrence’s Self Published Blog Off. Full disclaimer, I am not one of the judges for the contest, and I am not affiliated with the contest in any way. I’m just doing this for fun.

The first of the books I read was Sowing by Angie Grigaliunas. So, without further ado, the review.

This one was actually pretty challenging for me to review objectively, because it had many good things about it, and many things I thought were, unfortunately, less good...

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Review: Queen of Crows by Myke Cole

I received a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. And, in the grand tradition of being the worst book blogger ever, I procrastinated finishing it until, you know, the actual book was already out.

I’m not sure what about this book made it take so long to get through. It’s not a long book by any means. Nor is it a bad book. Certainly, I loved the first book, and eagerly anticipated the sequel. I was thrilled when I was selected to receive an early copy. But something about this book failed to grab me the way the first one did. But more about that later.

Warning: This review contains MAJOR spoilers for the first book, The Armored Saint. If you haven’t read that book and want to, close your browser tab and walk away now

Plot

After narrowly defeating a devil with the help of ...

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Review: Liesmith by Alis Franklin

I’ve been in something of a reading slump lately, my poor, poor neglected review blog. After DNFing more books than I care to admit, I finally picked Liesmith up on a whim, and completely devoured it.

Plot

Awkward gamer nerd Sigmund Sussman is not particularly happy at his boring IT job, and spends his days fantasizing about developing (and playing) video games with his two best friends. It comes as much as a surprise to him as anyone, when his much-cooler-seeming coworker begins to show romantic interest in him. But Sigmund’s excitement about his budding romance is cut short when he discovers that his new boyfriend is much, much more than he seems.

Thoughts

First off, this book has a great many elements that I absolutely love. Awkward nerd boys. Queer romance. Norse gods...

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Morgan Reviews Romance: An End to Summer by Diana Rose Wilson

I should open this with the disclaimer that I do not normally review romance. I love sci-fi and fantasy novels with romance in them. Sometimes, I’ll read Romance-with-a-capital-R, under the covers, where no one can see. But it’s not something I usually mark as read on Goodreads, much less write a full review.

At this point I must ask myself if I am biased against romance as a genre. A lot of the romance I have read has fallen solidly in the category of badly-written-but-hot. But is that really any reason to dismiss it?

I stumbled upon this book on the “read now” section on Netgalley, and the description seemed so specifically my  sort of thing, I really had to grab it. And in fact, I found it both hot and well-written...

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Review: The Days of Tao by Wesley Chu

This is a novella starring the son of the main protagonists from Chu’s Tao trilogy. If you haven’t read that trilogy, you probably won’t get as much enjoyment out of this story, but it does still function well-enough as a standalone.

Plot

Since the earliest days of our evolution, humanity has been guided and sometimes controlled by a race of alien brain parasites. After millions of years, it only makes sense that the aliens would begin to differ in their ideas of the direction humanity should go. Now, in the not-too-distant future, the alien secret is out in the open, and the war between the factions is about to come to a head.

Cameron Tan, son of the faction leaders, host to the alien Tao, and Ordinary College Student, just wants to enjoy his summer studying abroad in Greece...

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