January 2019 Reading Wrap Up #amreading #fantasy

I feel as though I had a great reading month and managed to read 5 books in January. I wanted to pick a favourite, but with each book being so different I found it very hard to make that decision. Here are my reads…

The Lost and the Chosen by Ivy Asher (see my review here) 5 STARS

the lost and the chosen

This book really surprised me as I haven’t read any paranormal romance before. It was an addictive read and I’m really excited that book 2 is already out. I will hopefully get to read this in February. Check it out of Goodreads here.

I’ve been listening to the Audiobook for Scythe by Neal Shusterman. 5 STARS

My review will follow this week, but for now I will say this book is still in my head and I can’t wait to read the next book. Goodreads link.

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This next one is my first ever Netgalley book – The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Hanrahan. 5 STARS

Again I will review this next week, but can tell you it was a great debut and I’m sad I have to wait months to get my hands on the next book. Goodreads link.

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Finally, and I have to admit this is a cheat, I read my own books! I wanted to get back into the Silent Sea Chronicles world before diving into the draft of book 3, so I read The Lost Sentinel and The Sentinel’s Reign back to back. I also read the draft so far of The Sentinel’s Alliance, but as it’s not finished I can’t count that one. Also as they are my books I can’t rate them, but I will say I thoroughly enjoyed having the excuse to immerse myself in Tei’s world again. I’m so excited to get the next book finished.

Goodread links:   The Lost Sentinel    The Sentinel’s Reign

My Goodreads challenge is to read 30 books in 2019. With these 5 books I am well ahead of schedule and feeling very pleased with my progress.

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Here’s a quick peek at February’s TBR…

I promised myself I would be more of a mood reader from now on, but I do plan to read these books in Feb. Any more will be a bonus!

 

Don’t forget to look out for my reviews of The Gutter Prayer and Scythe this week.

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My reading plans for January 2019 and beyond #amreading #fantasy

Though I managed to reach my Goodreads target of 35 books in 2018, I decided to go for a more conservative figure in 2019. I want to focus on writing much more and don’t want to stress about reading. I’m aiming for 30 books.

I hate to be restricted in what I read so reading to a list doesn’t suit me. I found that the books I planned to read last year just didn’t happen. This year I want to go with the flow and read whatever takes my fancy.

That mindset will take over as of February, because I do have a couple of books that I need to read in January.

Currently reading my first ever ARC from Netgalley – The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Hanrahan. The official release date is 17th January and I want to post a review then. The book is going well so far, and is a very different kind of fantasy for me.

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Scythe by Neal Shusterman is my January book group choice, and I’ve been wanting to read this one for ages so I’m looking forward to it.

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I still have to read the book I won a few months ago – City of Lies by Sam Hawke. As a competition winner, I feel it’s only fair that I review this book once I’ve read it, but it is a big book and I keep unintentionally pushing it down my tbr list.

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And there is a non-fiction book I’ve been meaning to read for ages ‘Writing short stories to promote your novels’ Rayne Hall’s writer’s craft series.

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Plus I cannot forget to mention that I’m planning to re-read my own books (The Lost Sentinel and The Sentinel’s Reign) to fully immerse myself in the Silent Sea Chronicles ahead of completing the draft of book 3 – The Sentinel’s Alliance. I’m really excited to get stuck in, and can’t wait to show off the cover of book 3!

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My thoughts on reviewing…

I fell out of love with reviewing books in 2018. I felt I didn’t have enough to say and some of my reviews were just going through the motions. So this year I only want to review books that I really loved and just have to share with you. I also want to read more writer’s guides and plan to review them and how they’ve helped me. I read a couple late last year. Once I’ve used the techniques mentioned I will share my thoughts on how they worked for me.

Tomorrow I will be sharing my first review of the year so you know it’s got to be a good book! Please stop by then.

WWW Wednesday 5th December 2018 My reads to the end of the year #amreading and mini #bookreviews

I’m not very good with posting on WWW Wednesday, but I do enjoy sharing the books I have been reading when I get the chance. I thought today I would share my planned reads for the rest of the year and give a couple of mini reviews for the books I’ve just finished. But first here are the rules if you want to play along with WWW Wednesday weekly meme.

Answer these 3 questions…

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Then add a link to your post on Taking on the World of Word. Here’s the link to this week’s blog page.

Visit other blogs taking part.

www wednesdays

 

What are you currently reading?

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Magic Study – Maria V Snyder

I’m half way through and loving it just as much as I did book 1 – Poison Study. See my review of book 1 here.

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Couch to 50K: How to write 50,000 words in a month without burning out – Rachel Tonks Hill

I’ve actually just started this book and am hoping for some insightful ways to up my word count. I’d say I have about 50k to finish on the draft of book 3 in Silent Sea Chronicles so this is perfect timing if we ignore the fact that Christmas is just around the corner!

 

What did you recently finish reading?

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Sweet Dream by Tricia Sullivan

This was my book group choice for December (we are actually meeting to discuss it tonight so I may share a bigger review at some point).

I was immediately drawn into the story by the strong first person narrative. Charlie is a very interesting character and her world is very strange. The fact she is a dreamhacker with narcolepsy should indicate that. At times it was hard to understand the world she lived in, but then dreams are weird and the book captured this element perfectly.

I really enjoyed the story and would recommend it to people who like something different, a unique blend of scifi and mystery.

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Gilded Cage – Vic James 

This was an audiobook read and I did enjoy it that way, though I wonder if I would have enjoyed it more if I’d read it. The narrator’s voice really worked well and brought life to the characters, but I did find some of the set up boring. I had a couple of times when I thought about DNF, but I’m so happy that I stuck with it. The last couple of hours were non stop action and I really enjoyed it. I will certainly be continuing with the series, that ending is just crying out for me to pick up the next book!

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’ve won a couple of books and feel that I should make an effort to read these as soon as possible – after all it’s what I hope for when I run giveaways myself. You know, Karma and all that…

So I want to read next – Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce and City of Lies by Same Hawke.

I also have my first ever Netgalley book. I don’t need to post a review until January, but I want to make a start on it asap because The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Hanrahan sounds really good.

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Finally I have my annual Christmas read by Rachel Caine. I really enjoy escaping into the world of The Great Library and this is book 4 in the series Smoke and Iron. I have it on good authority (my son) that it is brilliant.

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I also love to read a Christmas story around this time of year, but I think I have my work cut out with this list. If I do manage it all, then I’ve have smashed my Goodreads reading goal of 35 books. Dare I up the challenge next year?

What do you plan to read for the rest of the year?

My #SPFBO book buys during November 2018 promo #fantasy #tbr #amreading

I thought I would do a quick post on the books I bought during November’s SPFBO promo. I’m excited to add these to my Goodreads TBR, but I won’t state when I’ll read them as I still haven’t read the books I purchased during the previous sale. My TBR pile keeps growing and has reached 410. That is one of the reasons I only bought 8 books this time around, the other is I’ve spent all my money on ads. Anyway here they are…

Between the Shade and the Shadow – Coleman Alexander

Phoenix Descending – Dorothy Dreyer

The Dragon Song Saga – J C Lang

Sorcerous Rivalry – Kayleigh Nichol

A Keeper’s Tale – J A Andrews

Song – Jesse Teller

The Fire Eye Refugee – Samuel Gateley

Balam Springs – Travis M Riddle

I’m really excited by this collection. I tried to be guided by the blurbs and the covers rather than be influenced by reviews or what I’ve heard through the SPFBO pages. A couple of these I’ve had my eye on for a while so I was really pleased to find them in the sale and be able to support my fellow indie authors.

I can’t promise when I’ll read them, but I will review them on my blog, Amazon and Goodreads eventually.

I think I may have sold a couple of copies of my own 2016 SPFBO entry – Visions of Zarua but with the birthday blitz and a couple of ads running at the same time, its hard to know what sparked the purchases.

What did you pick up during the sale?

Did you pick up any of the books above? Or have you already read them?

My reading plan for 2018 #amreading #fantasy #ya #thriller

This year has been busy in various ways and I have not read as much as I would’ve liked. My Goodreads challenge was 35 books and so far I have only read 29. I thought making a list for the rest of the year would help me get back on track.

So here goes.

Currently reading – Magic Study by Maria V Snyder. As with the first book I find the writing totally addictive and if I read nothing else but these books this year I would be happy.

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ARC – Not Like Everyone Else by Jennifer Leigh. This is a YA thriller I’ve been interested in since following Jenn’s blog and I am going to read this before 2018 ends.

 

not like everyone else

Self Published Fantasy Blog Off books – I bought lots of SPFBO books in the last SPFBO sale which I have yet to read. Here’s my post about the bargains I picked up. Now there is another sale 15th to 19th November so I will be getting even more books to add to my TBR list which already has 400 books! I really hope to read at least another one off this list and perhaps I may even share a surprise review from my husband who is currently reading one of SPFBO books – surprise because he has no idea I’ve mentioned this!

My Xmas Read – For the last three years I have read the latest Great Library book by Rachel Caine. This year I will be reading Smoke and Iron – book 4. My son started the series a few weeks ago and has already started the 4th book. I had planned to give it to myself as a Christmas present, but he begged to read it first!

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Audio book – Still listening to Gilded Cage by Vic James which has been enjoyable so far. I like the voice of the narrator and she has brought the story to life for me. It does seem a bit slow, but I’m happy to stick at it.

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Book Group Read – Sweet Dreams by Tricia Sullivan

This one sounds intriguing!

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Books I’ve Won – I have been lucky enough to win two books recently and I can’t wait to read them.  City of Lies by Sam Hawke and Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce. I would love to read and review these before the end of 2018.

So these books will take me to my Goodreads target of 35 books, but life and writing does have a habit of getting in the way. Fingers crossed I find some uninterrupted reading time!

 

#Tuesdaybookblog #bookreview The Game Bird by Aidan R Walsh #fantasy

I found The Game Bird during SPFBO 2018 promo sale. The cover initially attracted my attention.

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The blurb from Amazon;

An evil is growing. The Realm is under attack. A leviathan has risen from the depths and is destroying the fleets that feed Stormhaven.

Stuck ashore and drowning in debt, Captain James Faulkner resolves to hunt the sea monster and claim the enormous bounty on the beast.

Sophia Blake’s life looks effortless. But she carries a secret, an occult curse that is capable of destroying both her and her nation. Sophia knows her time is running out.

The Tallowman is a slowly decaying melding of demon and man. This monstrous assassin is desperate to capture Sophia and will let nothing stand between it and its prey.

Since his wife died, the sober lawyer Uriah Blake has wanted nothing more than to live a quiet life and enjoy what time he has left with his daughter, Sophia. When he learns that the Tallowman is pursuing her, he is forced to cast aside his books and his ink and join a shadowy war against a terrible foe.

As these hunts build to their shattering conclusion, Faulkner, Sophia and Uriah will be thrown together and forced to confront malevolent forces beyond their imagining.

The Game Bird is a swashbuckling black powder fantasy, wrapped around a spine of darkness.
Goodreads link

My Review

The story starts with immediate action and thrusts you straight into Captain Faulker’s life as he attempts to escape bailiffs. Stormhaven comes alive as a place I wouldn’t particularly like to live and I enjoyed the adventure right from the first page. The scenes on the ships are especially well written.

The ‘swashbuckling black powder fantasy’ was quite a new and unique reading experience. I got swept along with the tale and liked all the characters especially James Faulkner and Sophia. The mention of their childhood lives together and hints of a possible romance were a big plus for me. There are also creatures of legend – a leviathan and pegasus to add plenty of excitement.

I have to mention the Tallowman who is evil and gruesome, everything you want from an antagonist. I admit that I love an assassin story, but the Tallowman is genuinely terrifying.

I’m really pleased the self published fantasy blog off led me to this story, and I hope it goes far in the competition.

I rate The Game Bird 4 stars and urge you to read it.

WWW Wednesday 26th September #amreading #fantasy

It’s Wednesday, so it’s time to take part in the weekly meme by Samantha over on World of Words. To take part in www Wednesday just answer these 3 questions;

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Then link back to Samantha’s post and visit the other sites also taking part.

www wednesdays

What are you currently reading?

The Game Bird by Aidan R Walsh

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This is a book I picked up because the cover really grabbed me and it’s part of the SPFBO 2018, which I am also entered into. I’m enjoying it so far. I’m only about 10% in but I’m intrigued to find out where it’s going.

The Gilded Cage by Vic (Audiobook)

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I’ve heard a lot about this book so thought I’d give it a go. It’s also an audio experiment for me as I wanted to listen to a few fantasy books and see how they compare to reading fantasy. I am hoping to have one of my own books produced as an audio – more details to follow.

What did you recently finish reading?

The Exercise of Vital Powers by Ian Gregorie

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Very good read. See my review here.

The Copper Gauntlet (Magisterium bk 2) by Holly Webb and Cassandra Clare

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Another really good read. It’s a mid-grade fantasy that can entertain any age.

At last, I finished My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry

my husbands wife

This is probably an audiobook record for me – I’ve been listening to it for over 2 months! It was such a slow book. Well written and it picked up towards the end, but I think it could have been a lot shorter.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I have so many books I want to read that I just don’t know where to start. I really want to support my fellow SPFBO indie authors, so perhaps I will go for one of these;

WWW Wednesday 12th Sept #amreading #fantasy #thriller

I haven’t posted anything for a while as I’m trying to finish the draft of my latest book. I have however been reading and am joining in the weekly meme WWW Wednesday to share some of those reads with you. Anyone can take part, just answer the questions below and link back to Taking on a World of Words.

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

www wednesdays

What are you currently reading?

The Exercise of Vital Powers by Ian Gregoire. I am about 80% through this book and am really enjoying it. It feels like there is a much bigger story to tell, so I’m really looking forward to the sequel already.

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I’m also reading The Copper Gauntlet – book 2 in the Magisterium series by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare. It’s a mid-grade fantasy that can hook any reader of any age. I am enjoying the second instalment almost as much as I did the first book.

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What did you recently finish reading?

Over the summer I reading Poison Study for  my book group and wow, I loved it. A totally gripping YA fantasy that I wish I’d read when I was a teen. I can’t wait for my children to read the book and I can’t wait to continue with this brilliant series. A full review of the book will follow soon.

poison study

I’ve also finally treated myself to reading Rhyming Rings. It is the second to last of David Gemmell’s books that I haven’t read before, so I was excited and nervous to start it. Thankfully I loved it! A review of this will also follow soon.

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I am still listening to My Husband’s Wife. It is very slow going. I do want to find out what happens, but I am not compelled to finish it. I think I heard somewhere there will be a TV adaptation of it, so I will finish it to find out why it has been picked more than anything.

my husbands wife

What do you think you will read next?

It is Self Published Fantasy Month so I want to continue reading some indie fantasy books. I have a good selection to choose from – see my post here explaining the books I picked up during the SPFBO 2018 book sale in August and why I chose them.

One I have fancy because of the excellent cover is The Game Bird by Aidan R Walsh, so I think this will be my first pick.

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I also want to read the How to book – Writing Young Adult Fiction, written by a very successful agent Juliet Mushens. I’m hoping this will give me an insight into the differences of writing YA and Adult fantasy.

writing ya fantasy

 

I’ve also been lucky enough to win two books over the last two months, so these will be going up high on my TBR list.

Thanks to Dan on Dan’s Book Blog (the site seems to be down at the moment so I can’t add a link) for my copy of Arm of the Sphinx by Josiah Bancroft – a former SPFBO entrant.

arm of spynix

And thank you to Liz at Liz Loves Books for this wonderful signed first edition hardback book of the debut fantasy City of Lies by Sam Hawke. The book looks and sounds amazing! I think this will be a treasured book to take my time over.

city of lies

That’s about it from me today. Happy reading everyone and don’t forget to visit others taking part today.

WWW Wednesday 8 August 2018 #amreading #thriller #fantasy

This is a weekly meme now hosted by Taking on a World of Words. To take part simply answer the three W questions;

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Post a link to your answers on the above site, and don’t forget to visit other blogs taking part and share the book love!

www wednesdays

What are you currently reading?

Poison Study – Maria V Snyder

poison study

80 pages in and I’m loving this book. I don’t want it to end! Which reminds me, I must look up the rest of the series.

 

I’m currently listening to – My Husband’s Wife – Jane Corry

my husbands wife

I’m still plodding along with this one. I have found it to be a slow paced book, but it is still interesting and keeping my attention, I’m just not compelled to listen to it all the time as I have been with audiobooks in the past.

What have you recently finished reading?

Lie With Me – Sabine Durrant

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This was an unplanned read, one I’ve heard good things about and just picked up to pass a few minutes before bedtime. I won’t be reviewing this as a separate post on my blog, so here’s what I thought of it – A little slow to start with and I was a bit unsure if I would get into it. However the mystery and intrigue soon kicked in and I was literally taking the book everywhere with me because I couldn’t stop reading. Paul Morris is not the nicest of characters and he really acts in horrible ways at times, but by the end of the book you sort of feel for him… a little! Great book. 5 stars.

 

Anthony Ryan’s Collected Non-fiction

I follow Anthony Ryan’s newsletter and this was offered as a free download. I haven’t seen it on Goodreads or Amazon. It’s a collection of essays or blog posts to do with his writing and editing, his ‘overnight’ success, fantasy and David Gemmell amongst other things. Very interesting reading.

What do you think you’ll read next?

David Gemmell – Rhyming Rings.

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I have been saving this book for over a year – I hope I enjoy it!

Then perhaps I’ll pick an indie book from my TBR pile. See my post here on some of the great books I’ve picked up recently during the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off promo.

 

I look forward to sharing my reviews of the above over the next few months, especially David Gemmell’s book (please let me love it!).

My thoughts on #SPFBO promo sale and my purchases of #indieauthors #fantasy books #tbr

The 5 day book promo is over and I couldn’t resist picking up some books at the bargain price whilst also helping to support my fellow indie authors.

I don’t know when I’ll get the chance to read them as I’ve already set myself a reading challenge for the summer, see the post here, but I will read them all and review them when I can.

There will be lots of reviews going up for the 300 books in this year’s SPFBO. You can keep in touch with these by searching #SPFBO on twitter and facebook, and by checking Mark Lawrence’s dedicated SPFBO page where he shares links to the judges reviews, relevant blog posts and has a counter that shows how many books are left in the competition.

I thought it would be fun to share the books that caught my eye during the sale and to say why I bought them. And of course it doesn’t hurt to give these authors a little extra exposure. So here is my list.

Starting with those already purchased

Magic Price – C.L Schneider reviewed here. A 5 star read, I loved the cover the premise and when I read it, I loved the story too!

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Melokai – Rosalyn Kelly

I was interested in this one having followed some of Rosalyn’s blog posts and then reading the prequel The Sand Scuttler which I reviewed here.

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The Exercise of Vital Power – Ian Gregorie (last year’s entry in SPFBO)

I love the revised cover of Ian’s book and was quick to buy it when it went on pre-order.

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New purchases

The Game Bird – Aidan R Walsh

I loved the cover and just had to buy it! Plus it has ships and sea monsters. Who can resist?

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A Wizard’s Forge – A.M Justice

The cover was a semi finalist in my group’s cover competition, and I can see why! From the blurb I think I’m going to enjoy this book. Plus it has some very positive reviews.

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Symphony of the Wind – Steven McKinnon

The cover is a draw for me and I was also impressed by the blurb. I don’t come across many books set in the desert and I haven’t read much steampunk so I’ll look forward to trying this one out.

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We Ride the Storm – Devin Madson

My son spotted this one on the list and said the cover looked really good. I had seen a few reviews on goodreads and thought why not try it out and see what I think.

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Crossfire – Andrea Domanski

Andrea did a lot of hard work setting up the giveaway so of course I was going to support her by buying her book. But the book cover and the blurb also did a good job of selling the book to me. I haven’t read much in the way of Urban fantasy, so this sounds like a great place to see what I think of the genre.

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The Blighted City – Scott Kaelen

I like covers with cities and the blurb sounds intriguing. I’ve also seen reviews for this book and knew I wanted to read it.

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High Barrens – Alice Sabo

This one is in my group of 30. I like the cover and the blurb so I thought why not see what its about. I’m intrigued to find out about Flint and how she can see into souls. This sounds like just my sort of story.

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Fire’s Song – J.E. Mueller

I loved the cover but wasn’t so taken with the blurb at first. But when I checked the book again another day, because I still just loved the cover, I thought actually this sounds pretty good.

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The Shadows Are Stirring – Hannah Sullivan

A one for younger readers, this really caught my attention. I love the idea of talking horses. And the cover is brilliant.

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Kingshold – D.P. Woolliscroft

I like the cover and the blurb, and have seen some good reviews knocking around. So this was an easy purchase.

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Liath Luachra: The Swallowed – Brian O’Sullivan

It sounded like something a bit different and I like the idea of Druids and spectral forests, so I’m hoping to enjoy this one. It does say book 2, but also that it can standalone, so I’ll have to see how that goes.

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Blade and Rose – Miranda Honfleur

I was drawn in by the premise of this book, and I was interested to read a fantasy with more romance at its heart.

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There were so many books that I would like to have bought, but alas I don’t have the money to buy them all. I look forward to reading the above books and reviewing them in the future. I wish everyone in the competition luck and look forward to seeing the judges reviews as they come in.

My thoughts on the SPFBO sale…

The Lost Sentinel didn’t fair as well as I’d hoped throughout the sale, but looking at the competition I can understand why. When faced with so many books, a reader must really be dragged in by the cover, the tag line and the blurb – I know as I looked at most of the books on the list and I probably wouldn’t have bought The Lost Sentinel either. I had to be so selective as my budget is non-existent, and I’m sure this will have been the same for many of those checking through the books for new reads.

Although I still love my cover and won’t consider changing it yet, when I saw it against the others I knew it didn’t have the same instant appeal.

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Book 2 would have stood out better and someone did purchase it during the sale, so that was an added bonus!

The Sentinel's Reign book cover

I’ve been trying to improve the blurb of The Lost Sentinel, and it’s something I want to keep working on. My experience of looking through the list of books showed how a long winded blurb can put off a potential reader rather than entice them to click Buy Now.

So in all I didn’t gain that many sales, but I did gain extra insight into the competition my book is up against for a reader’s attention, and I’ve realised my blurb is in need of work. This experience has also led me to make a decision that I will stop obsessing over the sales and reviews for now and instead focus on book 3. Once the series is complete I can work on my sales tactics, but if I carry on as I am book 3 will never be finished!

Another quick thank you to Andrea Domanski for hosting the sales page and for her tips regarding my blurb.

And thank you to those who purchased The Lost Sentinel, I appreciate every sale.

And finally this is a cheeky reminder that The Lost Sentinel is still only 99p / 99c until the 8th August. I have also reduced the price in Canada (if it has worked) as that is where my Ad with EbookSoda is posted today. Check out the EbookSoda website if you want to place an ad for your future book sales and kindle countdown deals.

Thanks for reading, and good luck to everyone in the SPFBO 4 competition.