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!

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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.

#TuesdayBookBlog The Cornish House by Liz Fenwick #Bookreview #womensfic #romance

Although I planned to read just fantasy this year, I picked this book up one evening for a quick glance and just couldn’t put it down. The house and Cornish setting were the draws, but I just fell into the character’s stories and they wouldn’t let me go.

Here’s the blurb…

When artist Maddie inherits a house in Cornwall shortly after the death of her husband, she hopes it will be the fresh start she and her step-daughter desperately need. Trevenen is beautiful but neglected, and as Maddie discovers the stories of generations of women who’ve lived there before, she begins to feel her life is somehow intertwined within its walls.

But Maddie’s dream of a calm life in the countryside is far from the reality she faces – and as she pulls at the seams of Trevenen’s past, the house reveals secrets that have lain hidden for generations.

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My Review

First thoughts

Although it’s quite an intense subject dealing with loss and a heartbroken step-daughter, I didn’t find this story depressing or difficult to read at any point. There are plenty of tear-jerking moments, as you might expect from a story of second chances. But new friendships and healing play a big part in the story too. And as I expected, the house and its secrets kept me hooked.

Characters

I really like all the characters in this book, the main characters Maddie and her step daughter Hannah, Mark and Old Tom (OT), Tasmin and Will, plus the other characters that play a part in this small Cornish community.

Maddie is an easy protagonist to like and you feel every moment of her suffering and relate to the hard decisions she’s had to make. I also liked the fact she was an artist struggling to find her inspiration again after the loss of her husband.

Trevenen, the house, is a character all of its own. I’d love to inherit an old house like that and restore it.

Writing style

Told mainly from Maddie’s POV, we also get to see the story through Hannah viewpoint and this works really well.

Final thoughts

I loved the layers to this story, the different pieces that come together from the characters’ recent past and much further back in history.

The story intrigued me, the characters came alive and filled my head, I loved every minute of reading it. In fact, I would love to pick it up now and re-read the whole book again. I will definitely be reading more of Liz Fenwick’s books.

Recommend

To anyone who enjoy women’s fiction, not just romance but something a bit extra.

Rating

5 out of 5 stars, though I wish I could give it more.

Check it on Amazon and Goodreads.

My Top 10 reads of 2017 #greatreads #booklove #amreading

I’m surprised to say I beat my reading challenge target on Goodreads. I read 34 books throughout 2017, my target was 30. I read 33 in 2016, so I think I’ve found a good reading level for me, but I might aim a little higher in 2018. I plan to be more organised in my reading next year, finishing a few trilogies I’ve started etc. But I’ll post about that later. Right now, I’d like to share my Top 10 Reads of 2017…

My kids have recommended a few books this year, which have been really addictive. It’s hard to choose between them, so I’ve selected two…

Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver.

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I love wolves, have done since I read Robin Hobb’s Farseer trilogy. This book has emotion, excitement, adventure and friendship. It has been enjoyed by three generations of my family, so don’t let the fact its a children’s book put you off. I haven’t reviewed this book on my blog yet, but it is a 5 star read.

The Iron Trial By Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

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Again I haven’t reviewed this book yet, but it’s an amazing read and my first try of both these authors. I highly recommend this unputdownable 5 star book.

I tried a couple of historical fiction novels this year and I was so impressed with IREX by Carl Rackman, which I read when I was a reviewer on Rosie Amber’s book review team.

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This book really draws you into the Victorian era and the mystery elements keeps you intrigued right to the end. I was sad this book had to end at all. Here’s my review.

I also tried Urban Fantasy for the first time and loved…

Eleonore by Faith Rivens

This was another 5 star read, here’s my review. I was really surprised how much I enjoyed changing my usual fantasy genre. I highly recommend this demon hunting, kick-ass heroine’s story.

Two of my stand out fantasy reads in 2017 were…

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

This was my book club choice and I loved it. Here’s the link to my original review. I loved this magical book and I’m jealous of Naomi Novik’s story telling skills.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V E Schwab

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I was taken by surprise by this novel. I loved the characters and can’t wait to read the rest of this series in 2018. I plan to share my review of the series then. It was another 5 star read.

I have listened to a few audiobooks in 2017 and two that really stand out are;

Therapy by Sebastian Fitzek

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The premise of this book really drew me in and I couldn’t stop listening. I may not have been over the moon with the ending, but it was still a great book and a 5 star read. Here’s my review.

The Breakdown by B A Paris

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This book was another addictive listen, with plenty of twists and shocks. You feel as unsure of whom to trust as the main character, Cass, and I loved the ending. A must read, and I hope to share my review of it early in 2018.

I have read a few writing guides this year. Again it was hard to choose between them, but I’ve selected two favourites…

The Writer’s Lexicon by Kathy Steinemann

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This book is a great editing companion. I found it really helpful in helping me focus on over used and redundant words, with plenty of helpful word alternatives. Here’s my review.

Overwhelmed Writer’s Rescue by Colleen M Story

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A great book to help you re-evaluate your life and focus on what matters. There is so much in this book to help you find more time to write. Here’s my review.

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So looking back at my reading in 2017 I’m impressed that I managed to read so many books considering I’ve published my second novel, The Lost Sentinel, edited a third and wrote 40k of another during NaNoWriMo.

I don’t know what 2018 will hold, but I’m looking forward to immersing myself in more fantasy books and following more review blogs to build up my TBR shelf even more.

Happy New Year everyone!