The Great Self-published Fantasy Blog-off | Update

I feel a little behind with this, but my past few weeks have been very, very busy. I have uploaded all of my books onto my kindle (Wait, not all of them. I have to change some files into .mobis so I can read them. Then I will have all of them on my Kindle).

For those who are interested, here’s the breakdown of the challenge, all of our lists, and various updates as they happen.

My list of twenty-five books is as follows: 

  1. Tony Barrett – Stranger’s Descent
  2. Ben Galley – Blood Rush
  3. Jesse Jack Jones – The Darkness Undivided
  4. Sean Rodden – Whispers of War
  5. Scott Marlowe – The Five Elements
  6. Matt Waldram – Monsters of Elsewhere
  7. Eve Peters – Children of the Fallen
  8. Kip Manley – City of Roses: Autumn into Winter
  9. Jeff Haas – Searching for Nada
  10. Paul Kleynhans – Dark Legion
  11. Ioana Visan – The Impaler Legacy Omnibus
  12. Jay Flynn – The Fivefold Prophecy
  13. Pauline M Ross – The Plains of Kallanash
  14. Greg Mahan – A Touch of Magic
  15. Matt Karlov – The Unbound Man
  16. Ted Cross – The Shard
  17. Shawn – The Lonely Man : The Witch’s Price
  18. Diana Peach – The Bone Wall
  19. Felix Hartmann – Dark Age
  20. Bryan Henderson – Tales of Ordegron
  21. G. R. Matthews – The Stone Road
  22. Jonathan Ashman – Black Cross
  23. Holly Blackstone – A World Away
  24. M.S Verish – Dawning
  25. Emily McNeely – Leaving Bisht
  26. Luke Matthews – Construct
  27. Patricia Burroughs – The Crumbling Pageant

I’ve already had one person withdraw due to a book deal, which really just proves that anything can happen with this competition. Congratulations to Claire Frank, by the way. That’s fantastic for her!

I got my list, and I sat here for about a day wondering how I was going to break all of this down so it wouldn’t overwhelm me. Our first deadline is September 1 to have all of these books read. I will also be having a baby in August, so I needed to figure out a way to break this into digestible bites that would help me get through them faster without feeling rushed, if that makes sense.

I decided to break them into groups of five. I will pick my favorite book out of each of those five, and then when it gets to be time I will pick my favorite book out of my top five. I think only focusing on five books at a time, rather than twenty-five books at a time, will help me tackle this project, and keep it fun at the same time. Maybe that only makes sense to me.

I sent all of my books to my Kindle (well, almost, as mentioned above), and due to the internet they didn’t come in the order I sent them, so my first five randomly picked books are the first five that arrived on my kindle in their random order. They are:

The Stone Road by G. R. Matthews

Magic and Martial Arts meet head on in a war that will change the world. “This is fantasy in a very different setting – as traditional sword and sorcery meets the House of Flying Daggers.” – Amazon Review

Zhou is a diplomat, on a mission to bring peace between his city and the city of Yaart. A mission that will, if successful, end the war that has lasted thirty years. But, not everyone on his team wants peace at any cost. There are scores to be settled that could jeopardise the treaty and plunge the two cities into another thirty years of bloody conflict.

Haung has no family but the army that raised him. Peace could prevent him from reaching the heights of glory he desires. But then comes an offer from an unexpected source and Haung must train to be a Jiin-Wei; a master swordsman, magician and spy. He will find that life as a spy is a lot more complicated than that of a soldier, and his loyalties will be tested to the full.

Deception is a weapon that all sides wield with skill. Behind it all, an Emperor is readying the land for a war against a new enemy. One that he knows too little about.


A Touch of Magic – Gregory L. Mahan

What’s a young mage to do in a land where magic is illegal, and the penalty is death?

At the age of fourteen, Randall Miller is surprised to learn that he has the talent–for magic! Tricked into apprenticeship by a powerful Mage, Randall is forced to leave everything he knows behind.

When his mentor is killed by Aiden, head of the secret police, he flees for his life, stumbling from one misadventure into another. Teaming up with a trio of greedy traders and a capricious imp along the way, Randall must learn to master his budding power, or die at the hands of the Rooks!

The Unbound Man – Matt Karlov

“Satisfying yet surprising, THE UNBOUND MAN is quality comfort food for fantasy fans.” – Hugo and Nebula finalist Saladin Ahmed

In a land of merchant companies, printing presses, gunpowder and sorcery, Arandras Kanthesi once worked alongside the gifted and powerful, hunting down artefacts of the glorious past and teasing out their secrets. Then an unknown assailant murdered his wife, and his world fell apart.

Now, at last, he has a lead.

But pursuing his quarry means joining forces with the Quill, the order of sorcerers and scholars Arandras abandoned after his wife’s death. And the Quill’s help never comes without a price.

In his hunt for the killer, Arandras stumbles across a relic of a long-dead empire, one that could lead to a weapon of enormous power. Caught between his former colleagues and his wife’s murderer in a race for the lost weapon, Arandras must decide what he values most: revenge, the lives of those he once called friends, or the fate of a world he no longer cares for.

By turns gritty, reflective, and intense, THE UNBOUND MAN is a powerful debut from a compelling new voice in fantasy.

The Shard – Ted Cross

A dying king. A mysterious invader. The seer’s vision was clear: find the lost shard from the Spire of Peace or the realm would drown in blood.

The problem: eight hundred years ago the elven hero Kathkalan took the shard with him into the lair of the most vicious dragon ever known to mankind…and he never returned.

Reluctantly drafted to lead the quest is the minor noble Midas, torn between his duty to the realm and the desire to protect his sons. With an unlikely band of heroes, including two elderly rangers and a young tinker’s son, Midas must risk losing everything he loves if he is to locate the shard and save the Known Lands.

This Crumbling Pageant – Patricia Burroughs

Get ready to be swept away into a dark fantasy series that combines swashbuckling adventure, heart-pounding romance and plot-twisting suspense in equal measures.

Expect to hear more about Persephone Fury.

A lot more.

England, 1809. As fashionable Society streams toward London for the start of a new social season, they are unaware of a hidden magical England existing alongside. The Magi cathedrals are temples to the old gods. Reigning on their throne is not poor mad George, but the ailing King Pellinore of the House of Pendragon. But their wars are no less deadly.

The Furys are known for their extraordinary music, their powerful magic, and their historic role as kingmakers. But the Furys have their secrets as well, none so dangerous as the daughter whose Shadow magic spills from her, unchecked. Unless her powers are concealed, she’s not only ruined in Society, but marked as a target for those who would use and abuse her magic.

Persephone Fury is the Dark daughter, the one they hide.

But desperate times call for desperate measures, and a good marriage for this frightening daughter is desperately needed. On the night of her debut, her world comes crumbling down around her when she is abducted from the man she loves by the man she most loathes.

Evil powers circle, calling her to the destiny foretold at the moment of her birth, drawing her to the source of her power, to the one place she can finally be free.

By embracing the Shadows.

Persephone is ruthless, devious, and clever, but when confronted with the truth, she must make horrifying choices.

Can she defy destiny and seize her own fate?

So when the last and dreadful hour
This crumbling pageant shall devour,
The trumpet shall be heard on high,
The dead shall live, the living die,
And music shall untune the sky.
John Dryden, 1687

I will post reviews as I read, and I’ll also post my top pick out of this group of five after I read them all. I’m thrilled to be part of this project, and I’m very, very excited to see what literary awesomeness has come my way.

6 Responses

  • The Unbound Man sounds quite interesting! I might have to nab a copy of that for myself just because. :p

    I’m really excited about this project and I can’t wait to see how it all turns out, and to see what happens along the way.

  • The Unbound Man has one of the best covers I’ve seen for a self published book! And I’m surprised I actually recognize 4 of the title one your list. Really look forward to seeing how these work out 🙂

    • Agreed; it’s a fantastic cover, and I’m really impressed by it! It looks like something I wouldn’t be surprised to see at a a big-chain bookstore1

      • Agree. The cover and the quote from a well-known writer indicate that the author has put a lot of effort into the presentation. Well done, sir! Now we must all be curious to see what Sarah says about the content.

  • Some good looking books – particularly like the look of the Unbound Man and the Shard. Hope they’re as good as they look.
    Lynn 😀

  • This is such a cool project. I hope you find some real gems & I look forward to reading your reviews!

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