The 5th Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off has commenced as of July 1, 2019. The Qwillery is one of the blogs assigned a 30 book slush pile. We're putting on our agent hats to find that one book we believe (hope) can win!
How will this work at The Qwillery? Each of us has been assigned 6 books randomly. Out of those 6 we will each pick at least one Semifinalist and out of those Semifinalists we shall pick our Finalist after we all read them and politely discuss which book is the best of our best. Rejected books will more than likely receive mini-reviews - a brief discussion of why it was rejected. Semifinalists will receive full reviews, but no score. Only the Finalist will receive a score.
In order to give each of us a range of books I looked at Goodreads ratings and broke the books into 5 groups starting with the 6 lowest rated books, and moving up to the last 6 books that had the highest ratings. So 5 groups of 6 books each were created. Then I put each groups' book titles in separate containers and pulled out 1 from each group to create 5 assignable groups of 6 books each. This way we each get some high rated books, some middle rated books and some low rated books. I realize of course that Goodreads does not have a perfect rating system but it's better than completely guessing.
Those five sets of books were then labeled A, B, C, D, and E. Our names were put in a container and slips with A, B, C, D, and E were put in another container. Then slips were pulled out of each so that everyone was assigned a group of books. A little complicated by better than one person getting all the most highly rated books and someone else getting the lowest rated books. And as I said it's not foolproof but it's better than guessing.
So who has which books?
Note: All book description are from Amazon and you can click on the covers to enlarge them. Books links are also to Amazon.
You can follow what is happening with the Slush Pile at The Qwillery's SPFBO 5 page here.
Darius wakes surrounded by blood. Most of his mind has been stolen, and the dark figure that took it wants the rest.
Caught in a raging war between the human empire and fiery rakkan invaders, he soon learns his fearsome powers have made him an enemy to both.
Unable to tell friend from foe, he must fight to escape a fate worse than death. His only helper is a mysterious female warrior who promises to restore him to former glory. Too bad she may be out to betray him…
Who he was and why they want him, he doesn’t know. Is he ready to discover the horrifying truth?
If you like Epic Fantasy full of mystery and action, you’ll love this fast-paced sword and sorcery series.
New adventure from A.J. Ponder- in the tradition of The Princess Bride and Terry Pratchett. !
Sylvalla escapes Avondale castle, and the life of a princess, in search of the adventure she’s always wanted.
Once found, adventure bites back.
Fortunately Sylvalla is not alone – Unfortunately, her new-found companions are less than heroic. Jonathan would rather make money. Dirk would rather live a long and happy life. And at 150, Old Capro would rather stop gallivanting and harangue unsuspecting students about his glory days over a nice cup of tea.
Quest has everything, heroes, monsters, chases, escapes and a complete lack of true love.
A quirky and original celebration of fantasy for everyone who loves fantasy adventure - buy your copy today!
Saving the world is such a bother when it makes you late for tea.
Wizard Lily Singer is kept busy managing library archives, studying magic, and trying to keep her witch friend Sebastian from dragging her into trouble. Unfortunately, he loves adventure even more than she loves being left alone.
She doesn't want to investigate a malignant spell in a haunted house, but Sebastian is promising rare books as the reward. She also doesn't want to hurt her family, but is tired of being lied to about her past. And she definitely doesn't want to get stuck in a dangerously unstable time loop, but Sebastian is in trouble--again...
Strangling her friend, as satisfying as it would be, won't fix her problems. If she wants answers, and to not miss tea, she had best find the right spell for the job--before everything goes to hell, and takes them all with it.
With 300+ five star ratings on Amazon and Goodreads and over 30,000 copies downloaded, this urban fantasy series full of adventure and snarky humor is guaranteed to cause loud snorts of laughter, tea cravings, and sleep loss. Don't start reading at night or you'll never go to bed! Great for fans of urban fantasy from Harry Potter to Harry Dresden. Pick up Book 1 and enter your magical escape today.
Ever wondered what happened to the teeth that you left under your pillow?
When Ellie's older brother is turning thirteen, she wants to see the 'transformation' into a teenager for herself. Ellie hides in a cupboard and waits. She is shocked to witness her brother kidnapped by goblins and replaced with a clone. A passing Tooth-Fairy is drawn by the use of magic and gets caught up in the commotion, to discover that Ellie is descended from the legendary Merlin. Together they embark upon an adventure for Ellie to rescue her brother, whose destiny begins to take shape as he must attempt to incite a rebellion against the goblins that try to enslave him. The siblings' combine their efforts with the fairies in their fateful struggle against the Tooth-Goblins.
Stolen magic. Rising evil. When orphan Harper discovers a legendary Dragonheart, her life changes forever.
USA Today Bestselling Author and 2018 SPFBO Semi-Finalist Meg Cowley returns with a stunning new epic fantasy trilogy set in the same world as her acclaimed Books of Caledan series.
Magically flung to the faraway country of Pelenor, where magic, dragons, and elves rule, Harper must find her place - and fast.
Searching for the elven King's missing Dragonheart is his ruthless Spymaster Dimitri, who has his own agenda to revolutionise Pelenor, and free it from the King's greed.
Harper is thrust into a web of intrigue beyond her knowledge, and her newfound companions - a roguish elven thief and his ragtag band of companions - might not be the trustworthy friends she thinks.
When Harper and Dimitri's paths collide, the only thing more dangerous than lies might be the truth, yet either might destroy them. Harper is forced to ally with the hated spymaster - but Dimitri is equally displeased that his fate rests in her unworthy hands. Harper and Dimitri must work together to ensure both of them survive the King's wrath in a court where betrayal is as easy as breathing. The Dragonheart is key to both their successes - but only one can possess it, and the king will not suffer its loss.
Who will drown in deceit, and who will rise triumphant?
If you enjoy epic fantasies with vivid characters and complex plots, you'll love the Pelenor Chronicles. It's perfect for fans of SJ Maas' A Court of Thorns and Roses series and Jeff Wheeler's Kingfountain series.
Betrayal tore Liatrix from her life as a succubus, leaving her scarred and trapped in a realm where discovery of what she is means death. Until a chance encounter with an elf named Alvar offers her an opportunity to gain an ally and take revenge.
After forcing him to choose between a life of service to her in exchange for the life of his sister he forms a pact that will alter both their lives forever.
Her obsession for revenge sets them on a path filled with danger and bloodshed. Leading each to question the decisions that brought them here and the feelings they have begun to develop for one another.
Along the way Liatrix discovers the change she wanted from her life in the Lower Realm she may have already received and her obsession with revenge may be slowly turning her into one of the things she hated most.
In the city of Delstad, in the slum known as Crow's Quarter, a mage Awakens.
Possessing a dangerous power he doesn’t yet understand, Ludin fights to stay ahead of human forces who seek to exterminate him.
For Riuna, it’s just another job. Kept as the city’s pet mage, used as a tracker to help find and kill her own kind, she doesn’t dare question her place. Running away means death.
Drük has always hated mages, making him the perfect choice for Delstad’s resident Magehunter. But after years working with Riuna, he realizes there’s one mage he doesn’t want dead.
And she’s the one mage he must be ready to kill.
As Ludin grows more powerful by the day, Drük and Riuna’s loyalties are put to the test.
Will Riuna fight for her own kind? Or stay with the man she knows and trusts, a man sworn to kill her if given the order?
While a mage revolution plunges the city into turmoil, and a plot to undermine both sides rears its head, Drük will have to make a choice.
Kill the girl he cares about, or betray his deepest beliefs.
A blood-soaked, bullet-strewn thrill ride. Fast and brutal, right to the end.
The world burns. The gods are remote, offering little aid. One man stands between the world and destruction.
For nearly five years Reuben has tended the barrier between his damaged city and the lands of cinder and smoke, and now the veil is fading. Neglected by his gods and his allies, he seeks to understand why the army of fiery knights and their savage followers are destroying his homeland. From soldier to priest to reluctant hero, Reuben must battle his enemies and his own anger to save a world that would rather ignore the danger.
His home destroyed and his new city ungrateful, all Reuben wants is to be left alone. Yet danger follows him closely, and he must join with new allies and unexpected friends to find a way to save the world from the encroaching fires.
"We are the terrors that hunt the night.And we have never been human"
In Greek mythology there’s a story of King Lykaonas of Arcadia and his fifty sons who were cursed by the father of the gods, Zeus, to become wolves. The very first Lycanthropes. Forensic pathologist, Sophia Katsaros, receives a cryptic phone call from Greece telling her that her brothers are missing and leaves to search for them. With the help of Illyanna, her brother’s girlfriend, Sophia examines the evidence but cannot accept a bizarre possibility: Has one or both of her brothers been transformed during the Lykaia, the ceremony where Man is said to become Wolf? Who is Marcus, a dark stranger that both repels and excites her? And what is the real story behind the 5000 year old curse of King Lykaonas?
“There is always a way.”
Kelnaht, Taruif, and Ianys are meant to be together, but old promises and the decree of the elders prevent them from claiming each other openly at Solstice. Kelnaht can investigate murder and foul play, but he can’t see how he can keep both his lovers without breaking the rules. But if he believes in the guide’s words and trusts his faith in Ma’terra, they will find a way to clear the fog and puddles from their paths.
Kelnaht, a cloud elf, is a truth seeker caught between love and faith, when a murder reveals an illicit affair between two tree elves he desires more than he can admit. Kelnaht’s former lover Ianys once betrayed him, and the shunned forester Taruif is not allowed to talk to anyone but the guide, their spiritual pathfinder.
Lost and Found
A stripling goes missing from the tribe, and heavy rainfall hides all traces of his whereabouts. With days creeping by without a lead, it’s hard to keep the tribe’s spirits up, more so when Kelnaht’s own future depends on the elders. Taruif has been shunned for almost twenty turns, but now that a possible forester’s apprentice is coming of age, the elders consider reducing his sentence. Taruif could be set free.
When several children fall ill with more than a summer bug, truth seeker Kelnaht is assigned to investigate. What he finds is deadly and threatens the life of every underage child in the tribe, including Ianys’ daughter Atèn. Then a wounded traveller is found in the forest, left to die after a vicious attack.
In the cold frozen north, the smell of magic was in the air.
A fugitive princess. An assassin in pursuit. Can she outrun a curse she never cast?
Norway, 804. Viking princess Skarga hides her insecurities behind a cover of strength. And after the young girl’s cruel father puts a price on her head for false claims of black magic, she’ll need all the might she can muster. Fleeing the family fortress with her adopted child by her side, she vows to survive the brutal winter.
With a notorious assassin on her heels, one wrong step could spell their doom. For the hunter who chases her is more than he seems… and in the frozen tundra evil takes many forms. Can Skarga uncover the frightening truth before she and Egil meet the bloody end of a sword?
A White Horizon is the first book in the epic Stars and a Wind Norse fantasy trilogy. If you like determined heroines, rugged wilderness, and heart-wrenching twists, in a world where magic is hidden, then you’ll love Barbara Gaskell Denvil’s original adventure.
Buy A White Horizon to escape into a dark Norse fantasy today!
Freedom lies on the open sea. Danger lies within it.
Rachel Goldstein dreams of the vast oceans, and her job in the Navy seems to offer her everything she’d ever hoped for. Her heart seeks adventure, but her mind is still ashore, where the last time she saw her parents, they had a fight that left everyone in tears. She wants reconciliation… which becomes impossible when she dies in a tragic aviation accident aboard her aircraft carrier.
When she wakes up aboard a ghost ship, her new shipmates offer Rachel her only chance to seize adventure again, and she knows what she must do. Aboard this impressive and fearsome vessel is her opportunity to find new freedom — if she can survive it. The ghostly high seas are fraught with danger, from devious officers to murderous pirates. And lurking underneath it all is Scylla, the mythological monster set to destroy anyone who encroaches on her aquatic territory.
Normally ready for anything, Rachel will have to find out if she’s stronger than her enemies and the beasts that lie below the waves. And at the end of it all, can she pierce the veil of death and reach through to the world of the living, and to her parents?
Fans of K.F. Breene’s paranormal fantasy, Greek mythology, and Jessica Jones will love the action-packed nautical fantasy of Emerald Dodge’s Sea of Lost Souls! Pick up your copy and join the crew today!
A hopeful orphan. An incredible wizard. One boy must do the impossible to change his life forever…
Ozel wonders if he'll ever escape his angry, fat caretaker. As the orphan hopes for a better future, a mysterious wizard gives him the gift of an apprenticeship and some unbelievable magic. But when Ozel discovers he's the lone heir to a massive fortune, he'll need more than a few spells to claim it.
After learning his portly caretaker plans to steal the money first, Ozel races through a forest of blacksmiths, witches, and even the undead to protect his birthright. If he survives the treacherous Tangul forest, the orphan and his wizard may just have to stop a twisted mage to go from zero to wealthy hero.
Apprentice Quest is a fantasy novel full of action and humor. If you like powerful wizards, twists and turns, and coming-of-age tales, then you'll love Jim Hodgson's worthy successor to the magical genre.
Buy Apprentice Quest to cast an entertaining spell today!
Only an orphan half-elf and a conman can prevent an ancient evil from returning to the world.
Hunting a traitor to the clan that raised her, half-elf spy Jie just wants to complete her mission and return home. Instead, she finds herself trapped in a foreign port, where warring crime factions vie for control of the city’s pyramid.
Cassius Larusso, a local diviner and conman, knows why: atop the pyramid sparkles a Dragonstone, preventing the Orc Gods from returning to the world. His family’s thousand-year mandate to protect the ancient artifact is almost as important to him as filling his coffers with gold, his stomach with delicious food, and his bed with a different type of delicacy.
Joined by Sameer, a paladin pursuing his forbidden love, and Brehane, a sorceress seeking her lost teacher, Jie must choose the right side in a game of shifting alliances and deception. Cassius will lie, cheat, and steal to get her to pick his.
A wrong choice doesn’t just mean that Jie can’t go home; it could lead to the downfall of humanity.
The Dragon Queen of Chaos sends her minions to prepare the world for her return...
And all that stands in her way are three children with the powers of Stone, Sea and Sky.
Fen is only a boy when his city is sacked by enemy invaders. His mother is cut down before his eyes. Yet somehow, when the blade is turned on him, he survives without a scratch. But the attack awakens something inside him, something that killed his father years ago.
Karliss was touched by the wind at birth, destined to be the greatest wind shaman his people have ever seen. But he is careless with his power and he ignores the warnings about the madness that afflicts those who don't protect themselves against the spirits in the wind. When a ritual goes wrong and strikes down his mentor, Karliss suddenly has to deal with the true responsibilities of power.
Aislin came from the sea, her origins a mystery. Within her is an innate power over water, as natural as breathing. But she lives in a world of her own, emotionally isolated from everyone else, including Netra, the woman who is raising her. Bullied by the other children, Netra fears that one day Aislin will turn her power on them.
These three can stop the Dragon Queen, but only if they can learn to master, not just their powers, but themselves...
Grab your copy of Stone Bound and begin the epic adventure today! And be sure to watch for the upcoming sequel series, Dragon Queen of Chaos.
After an uncommonly bad day, Jack Duffy makes the biggest mistake of his life—one that will propel him into an entirely new world—he’ll face challenges much more difficult than any he’s ever faced before. Assigned to collect souls, Jack begins to realize the true impact of his own life choices. With each new soul, another layer is revealed. The deeper into the afterworld he gets, the more power he discovers. With his trainer to guide him, Jack is driven to the edge where he must decide who gets to live and who will lose their soul.
The Borrowed Souls blurs the line between the moral and the unjust—his eternal commitment or the forfeiture of his tremendous power. Which will Jack choose?
The city of Laimrig, once a mighty hub of commerce and a seat of power sinks into corruption and decay. Slavers, crime lords and corrupt officials hold sway while the ruling nobility wallow in decadence. War rages beyond the borders, while within rebellion simmers and sinister plots unfold.
Trilisean is an acrobat turned burglar. Conn is a jaded former mercenary. Against the background of deadly blades, subtle schemes, glittering treasures, dark sorceries and fell servants of forgotten gods, fate has thrown them together.
Fate has a sense of humor.
Broken Crossroads is a fast paced, witty, swashbuckling modern pulp fantasy adventure in the tradition of Fritz Leiber and Robert E Howard.
Mishi and Taka live each day of their lives with the shadow of death lurking behind them. The struggle to hide the elemental powers that mark the two girls as Kisōshi separates them from the other orphans, yet forges a deep bond between them.
When Mishi is dragged from the orphanage at the age of eight, the girls are unsure if or when they will find each other again. While their powers grow with each season-cycle, the girls must come to terms with their true selves--Mishi as a warrior, Taka as a healer--as they forge separate paths which lead to the same horrifying discovery...
The Rōjū council’s dark secret is one that it has spent centuries killing to keep, and Mishi and Taka know too much. The two young women have overcome desperate odds in a society where their very existence is a crime, but now that they know the Rōjū’s secret they find themselves fighting for much more than their own survival.
A young woman who has outrun her brutal past must stand and fight in this fast-paced, action-filled debut novel readers are calling addictive and original.
What if Hercules wasn’t the hero we all thought he was?
Once, everyone knew who Lyssa was. Her famous father made sure of that. But she has left that life behind her, bad memories included. Her battered smugglers ship, the Alastor, flies under everyone’s radar and that’s just how she likes it.
The Gods have a different plan for her though. They’re about to break one of their only rules and grant a worthy hero a chance to win the ultimate prize – immortality. And Lyssa’s one of the lucky heroes offered the chance to compete.
Twelve gods, twelve realms, twelve trials. And for Lyssa, they’re about so much more than an eternal life. They’re about facing the monster from her past and stopping him from becoming truly untouchable.
Lyssa never wanted to let the world know that she inherited some of her father’s immense power. But maybe it’s time to show them all. How else can she compete with giants, centaurs, demi-gods, warriors and the strongest man in Olympus?
You’ve never read Greek mythology like this before…
Sorcerer Prince Lorrek discovers he has been wrongfully accused of a heinous crime. He is one of three people who know actually what happened, but one died and the memories of the other have been erased, so now only Lorrek remains. As Lorrek goes to clear his name, the kingdoms around him dissolve into war, but he can't go home yet to help them. He wants his accuser to admit to the lie, but even that comes at a price. Will paying the cost for his redemption pit Lorrek against his family in the war?
'Someday I'll Be Redeemed' is the first book in a fantasy/sci-fi series where medieval magic and high technology strive against one another, mysteries abound, and difficult choices must be made. If you like an unpredictable story, realistic male and female characters, a new take on old familiar tropes, and a tale that is different from any other, you will love Kelly Blanchard's page-turning series.
Buy 'Someday I'll Be Redeemed' to launch into Lorrek's compelling tale today!
Once they were humanity's exalted protectors— now they are being hunted.
Xavier will weigh all human life against Gwendolyn's ignorant happiness.
The good news is that her choice can blow his away.
Omnipotent beings find each other while playing an online game. Xavier has been searching for Gwendolyn, his true mate and the missing member of the Existence. Only if reunited can the group regain the rest of their memories and access all of their powers. Hidden in plain sight, disguised as humans, they help who they can, as best they can, when they can.
The Eyes in the Shadows, a religious sect, has been trying to free humans from the “prison” of life on Earth for millenniums. The Existence has always been able to thwart them… until now. They've discovered a way to end the world that no one will see coming.
Gwendolyn has her future all laid out. There is a plan. She knows what her parents want for her and how to get it. Then Xavier, a friend from a virtual game, makes her question everything. He's full of secrets, one being an understanding of her fear of the wind.
She tries to suppress her intense attraction to the mysterious and frustrating Xavier. She's engaged, after all, and the thoughts she's having aren't proper. Gwendolyn is swept into a whirlwind of secrets, danger, and a forbidden attraction. She'll drive across the country in her beat-up old car, not knowing if he is genuinely interested or just being polite. (He refuses to kiss her!) Gwendolyn's journey is full of self-doubt, sacrifice, and dark visions that invade her sleep. Will she uncover the truth about herself?
Artysaedra Veiyel is a liquor-loving, street-fighting, foul-mouthed soldier with a temper—everything the Infinite Royal Family’s first daughter shouldn’t be. Suddenly forced to bow her family’s stifling rules and expectations instead of storming the battlefields she revels in, Artysaedra finds her reprieve when three deities of the multiverse, known as Guardians, disappear without a trace.
Only to turn up dead. Eyes gouged. Hearts ripped out. Souls missing. And all in apparent suicide.
Now, a fourth Guardian has vanished.
Slipping away from her protective detail, Artysaedra sets out to uncover the truth of the alleged suicides before the next can occur, joined by her best friend, Naliah, and her brothers, Kinrae and Draven, but their investigation soon plunges them deep into the Realm of Black Waters, a dimension where cities have been devastated, all wildlife has mysteriously died, and mutilated bodies are heaped by the millions, with no cause to any of it in sight.
Artysaedra and the others confront a startling realization: something greater and darker than they ever imagined is at work in the multiverse, and now, they’re all in its path.
Condemned for using a forbidden spell. Imprisoned in a cell buried deep beneath the earth. One wizard will make his captors regret their choice.
When Demetry, a promising young wizard at Taper Academy, discovers a fire-damaged book hidden in the headmaster’s study, he can’t contain his excitement. The book is the Paserani Haote, an ancient spell book that contains the original teachings of the gods. Eager for a challenge, Demetry delves into the book’s dark arts. But when he fails to control the book’s most treacherous spell, it sets off a deadly chain of events that rocks Taper Academy to its core.
Although Demetry’s crime is punishable by death, his life is inexplicably spared. Instead of being sent to the gallows, he is sent to Coljack, a fortress prison built to house the kingdom’s most dangerous criminals. After the prison warden begins to put Demetry through a series of brutal tests, Demetry realizes the prison isn't what it seems, and the key to survival might be his mysterious new cellmate, an ancient wizard who stole a weapon capable of reshaping the world from the king.
Set in the world of Annals of the Nameless Dwarf...
A powerful demon known as a husk crosses the mountains, leaving a trail of the dead in its wake. When efforts to track the killer end in disaster, the task falls to a man not expected to succeed: the Maresman, Jebediah Skayne, Lothario, hustler, hunter of nightmares..
Jeb has been hunting husks his entire adult life, but there’s something different about the trail leading to the fishing town of Portis on the shores of the Chalice Sea: no spoor, no footprints; nothing save the unmistakable feeling of wrongness.
Finding a husk in Portis would be near impossible for someone who didn’t have the sixth sense, but the instant Jeb arrives, all trace of the creature vanishes, save for the victims it leaves behind: men mostly, half-dressed, killed in the throes of passion.
Forced to rely on more mundane methods of investigation, he starts to uncover a town rife with corruption, where a man will kill you for looking at a woman the wrong way; a town that’s seen its share of incursions from the land of nightmares before.
As events start to slip from his control, he realizes the husk he's come to kill is one step ahead of the game, and it holds a secret that will shake his world to the core.
The Boiling Seas are the mariner’s bane – and the adventurer’s delight. The waters may be hot enough to warp wood and boil a hapless swimmer, but their scalding expanse is full of wonders. Strange islands lurk in the steamy mists, and stranger ruins hold ancient secrets, remnants of forgotten empires waiting for the bold… or lying in wait for the unwary.
On the Corpus Isles, gateway to the Boiling Seas, Tal Wenlock, the Blackbird, seeks a fortune of his own. The treasure he pursues could change the world – but he just wants to change a single life, and it’s not his own. To reach it, he’ll descend into the bowels of the earth and take ship on burning waters, brave dark streets and steal forbidden knowledge. He’ll lie, cheat, steal and fight – but he won’t get far alone. The ghosts of Tal’s past dog his every step – and one in particular keeps his knives sharp.
The Blackbird will need help to reach his goal… and he’ll need all his luck to get back home alive.
Hûw Steer is an author, historian and sketch comedian from London. You may have seen him with the UCL Graters at the Edinburgh Fringe, read his theses on ancient Roman science-fiction, or even read one of his short stories. You probably haven’t, but at least you’re reading this.
Hûw has previously been published in ‘Making Monsters’ (The Future Fire, 2018), and the UCL Publisher’s Prize anthologies for 2018 and 2016. This is his first published novel.
Stay tuned for interviews, mini-reviews and more! And Good Luck to our Authors!