reviews
SPFBO 2019

SPFBO 2019 (29)

The Thief and The Demon
20, Oct

The initial round of SPFBO feels like the first frenetic minutes of a Battle Royale game; the winnowing is as much a product of luck as skill. A Battle Royale player might land next to a handy assault rifle, but it’s just as possible that he or she will find nothing but helmets in the initial landing zone and spend the entire round running around half naked until a more fortunate player guns them down. In the same way, an SPFBO book can land on the Kindle of a judge who loves this particular subgenre and has an itch that only this style of story can scratch, but it’s just as possible for an entry to touch down in the purview of a judge who is not a fan of the category or chosen tropes.

Pool of Knowledge (The Hidden Wizard Book 1) by Vaughan W. Smith
18, Oct

This year I once again have the privilege of being an SPFBO guest judge for Booknest, and today I am reviewing Pool of Knowledge by Vaughan W. Smith, the first book in The Hidden Wizard series, and the last of the five books in my group. Of my group, Pool comes closest to being a classic 'farm boy' fantasy, with a touch of magic school thrown in. Both of those storylines are very popular, and this book might be right up your alley.

A Noble's Quest by Ryan Toxopeus
17, Oct

This year, like last year, I have the honor of being an SPFBO guest judge for Booknest. My job is to review five of the thirty books in Booknest's batch, though with no ratings, and then forward my pick as semi-finalist. Today I'm reviewing A Noble's Quest by Ryan Toxopeus. After what felt to me to be a rocky start, this story rockets into a fun and fast moving storyline that I really enjoyed.

Spark City: Book One of the Spark City Cycle, by Robert J. Power
17, Oct

This year I have the honor of being an SPFBO guest judge for Booknest. My job is to review five of the thirty books in Booknest's batch, though with no ratings, and then forward my pick as semi-finalist. Today I'm reviewing Spark City by Robert J. Power. It took me awhile to figure out just what kind of fantasy this was, but once I found my feet, I could not stop reading. And though I finished it weeks ago, I still find myself thinking about it.

The Golden Unseen
17, Oct

Once again, this year I have the honor of being a guest judge for Booknest in the SPFBO. My job is to review five of the thirty books in Booknest's batch, though with no ratings, and then forward my pick as semi-finalist. Today I'm reviewing The Golden Unseen by L.W. Fells. This classic epic fantasy fits the mold perfectly. Neither grimdark nor noble-bright, it follows the adventures of members of a family that must split up to flee the city they call home due to an impending attack by an unbeatable army of Northmen. Unbeatable as the enemy may be, one noble member of the family stays with a small force to defend the city for as long as possible.

Sir Edric and the Plague (The Hero of Hornska #3)
16, Oct

This year I once again have the honor of serving as a guest judge for Booknest in the SPFBO. It's my job to read and review five of Booknest's batch of thirty books (no ratings), and forward my pick of the lot as a semi-finalist. Today I'm reviewing Sir Edric and the Plague by Thaddeus White, a bawdy comedic romp through elven lands teaming with bizarre monsters and often even more bizarre allies.

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THE CITY OF LOCKED DOORS by Tristen Kozinski is a book that is difficult to describe but if I were to do so, then I would say it's something that reminds me a bit of THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS or WRAITH: THE OBLIVION. The City of Umbras is a fascinating and terrifying place that defies all conventional logic with its necromantic inhabitants.

Take Alice in Wonderland and any one of its darker variants and set them on a collision course with each other. Throw in some of the woodland cast of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and C.S. Lewis’ the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. For good measure, toss in a few Arthurian legends, a smattering of hard language, a bottle of whiskey, some epic violence, and then blend until chunky. Serve cold. Thus is born Phil Tucker’s Throne.

In The Land Of The Penny Gnomes

Blurb: “HEY KID, wake up.”

That’s how Will’s adventure began. The next thing he knew he’d fallen through a mysterious coin slot in his floor and landed in The Realm, where people like him were not supposed to be. Confused, angry, and a bit bewildered by the unhinged behavior of the Penny Gnomes – Will found himself in a land at war with a rampaging horde of camouflaged lawyers. To make matters worse Will was supposed to be the key to saving The Realm, disbarring the lawyers, and putting imagination back on the right track.

All he had in his corner was a voice in his head, a professor of Applied Imagination, and a grumpy Penny Gnome named Bug. Narrative had the horde right where it wanted them. 

Igniting Vengeance (The Frost Fervor Concordance #1)

 

Blurb: Born of frost and bound to fire, she will sacrifice everything to keep her sisters safe.

Ynya Oblique returns from a fishing expedition to find her parents slaughtered, her village razed, and her sisters kidnapped by the tyrant Frost Queen of the North. After burying her parents, Ynya vows vengeance on those that have wronged her. She heads south to find her older sister Synol. But Synol will not listen and soon Ynya learns that her sister’s marriage may have led to the death of her parents.

With no one to trust, Ynya must be prepared to make any sacrifice necessary in order to escape and find her two remaining family members. But family bonds are deep and the cost may be too great for her to pay.

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