Review of ~ Rob J. Hayes – Where Loyalties Lie (Best Laid Plans #1)

8.5/10

Where Loyalties Lie is the first book in The Best Laid Plans duology and will be followed up by The Fifth Empire of Man shortly. This novel was assigned to me as part of Fantasy Book Review’s contribution to the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off and it has progressed to our internal semi-final stage. I think many fantasy readers will wish to read this based on the next two words: grimdark pirates! The two main characters in this pirate-tastic tale are the legendary Captains’ Drake Morrass, who’s only out for himself, and Keelin Stillwater, the best swordsman within the pirate isles. The two become unlikely allies as a larger threat beckons. The Empire is burning cities, killing women and children, and are essentially looking to eradicate piracy and all involved whilst manning the largest and greatest warships ever seen. The pirates need to unite or they are finished. (more…)

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Review of ~ JA Andrews – A Keeper’s Tale: The Story of Tomkin and The Dragon

7.5/10

I received a free copy of A Keeper’s Tale in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to JA Andrews.

Set in the world of The Keeper Chronicles which includes SPFBO semi-finalist A Threat of Shadows, this is an enjoyable fantasy fairy tale told to a crowded inn full of enthusiastic patrons, by a Keeper. The story progresses as follows. Tomkin is the youngest son of the Duke of Marshwell. He’s a great strategist and administrator with a prompt, analytical mind. His hero brother, Elton, and the nation’s armies are away doing typical military duty. Everything is in order and great until a dragon is witnessed hijacking and devouring local sheep. Tomkin, with his grandfathers sword Scalebreaker, decides to investigate the castle ruins at Colbreth where the dragon is reportedly residing. (more…)

Review of ~ T.M. Lakomy – The Shadow Crucible

9/10

I received a review copy of The Shadow Crucible in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank T.M. Lakomy and Select Books Inc. for this opportunity.

This novel was influenced by the scriptures found within the Nag Hammadi scrolls which were written sometime between the 2nd and 3rd-century A.D. and resurfaced about 70-years-ago. Lakomy’s stunning debut is a complex adult fantasy epic set mainly in an alternative medieval London that reeks shadowy imagery and environments reminiscent of Penny Dreadful. For the majority, this narrative follows two key players who are pawns in a greater game of which they do not yet comprehend. Firstly, the orphan protecting, demon tormented seer, Estella; who has been blessed with the gift of sight, and can often unwillingly see into Heaven itself. Secondly, Count Mikhael, a mind-reading Templar who enforces religious viewpoints and actions even though he also sees the spirits and grotesque beings that frequent beneath the radars of most individuals existence. (more…)

Review of ~ Craig Shaefer – Winter’s Reach (Revanche Cycle #1)

8/10

Winter’s Reach is Craig Schaefer’s entry for this year’s Self Published Fantasy Blog Off and is Fantasy Book Review’s first semi-finalist. Although he is mostly known for the Daniel Faust series, this is Schaefer’s foray into writing complex dark fantasy.

It starts by following a young nobleman called Felix who has a plan to go to Winter’s Reach to make a deal to save his family’s dwindling reputation. The problem is that Winter’s Reach is controlled by barbaric criminals under the guiding hand of the notorious Mayor, Veruca Barrett. Making this deal might not be so straightforward. Against his father’s advice, he goes through with the trip but, perhaps he has another motive for venturing to the infamous, blisteringly chaotic city. (more…)

What Fantasy Book Review are doing for #SPFBO – Round 1

Hi, all.

Fantasy Book Review has judged in the contest before but, as I am the man in charge of proceedings this year, I wanted to make sure I was happy before completing this sort of post. I’ve been spying on what other blogs do and what I think works and after researching I’m happy with how things will now proceed for Fantasy Book Review. I’ve spoken at length with a lot of my blogging pals such as Petros (Booknest) and Mihir (Fantasy Book Critic) to ask questions and get advice. My plan is slightly different to those blogs but hopefully interesting and exciting. (more…)

Scammers Break The Kindle Store

David Gaughran

On Friday, a book jumped to the #1 spot on Amazon, out of nowhere; it quickly became obvious that the author had used a clickfarm to gatecrash the charts.

The Kindle Store is officially broken.

This is not the first time this has happened and Amazon’s continued inaction is increasingly baffling. Last Sunday, a clickfarmed title also hit #1 in the Kindle Store. And Amazon took no action.

Over the last six weeks, one particularly brazen author has put four separate titles in the Top 10, and Amazon did nothing whatsoever. There are many such examples.

I wrote at the start of June about how scammers were taking over Amazon’s free charts. That post led to a phone conversation with KDP’s Executive Customer Relations.

Repeated assurances were given that the entire leadership team at Amazon was taking the scammer problem very seriously indeed. But it was also stressed that the…

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Review of ~ Josiah Bancroft – Senlin Ascends (The Books of Babel #1)

9/10

Will be posted on Fantasy Book Review shortly.

Josiah Bancroft’s debut novel is a huge deal in the world of fantasy fiction right now. I truly regret being late to the party but can safely say the hype is well deserved. Seeing only unanimously positive reviews from my blogging peers, I had to check out this 2016 #SPFBO’s entrant as soon as I could. (more…)