Author: youandibooks

Hi, I’m James. I love reading a wide range of books, playing pool in a couple of leagues, seeing friends and losing myself in role playing games and shoot ’em ups on Xbox One. I recently passed my CII Certificate in Insurance and my Google Certificate in Online Marketing. I am currently studying for my CII Insurance Diploma and my Shaw Academy Diploma in Graphic Design. In the near future I wish to take a course to become a life coach provided by The Coaching Academy. I like to mix things up a bit and I am always either reading or studying. I attended university at Aberystwyth, Wales where I made many amazing friends. If I save up money for a few years then when I am 35 I want to do another degree at an accelerated pace of study and get invited into a secret cult where lecturers and geniuses discuss nonsensical nothingness over expensive wine.

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…)

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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…)

Covers and Amazon

One of the coolest feelings of being a book blogger is getting your words on Amazon pages or on the covers of books that you love. I’ve been doing this for about ten months now and am not doing too bad. I don’t really follow my reviews but I have been made aware I have made Amazon pages for Brian Staveley, Chris Sharp, and John Gwynne. But, being on covers for books that I really enjoyed is so cool. Such as…

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It rules. Bloggers, most you guys write better than me, have more friends, are more eloquent. Keep at what you do because the rewards are out there. Plus, I love reading your reviews.

Peace y’all. x

 

Reviews

Black Antlers

I thought I’d keep a note of some nice reviews on this site of Age of Assassins so I can come here and remember the good old days when everything was lovely and clouds rained down candyfloss each time someone decides they hate it.

Dave is clearly a man of charm and integrity.

Age of Assassins – RJ Barker

James Tivendale of the Fantasy Book review is a gentleman and a scholar.

http://www.fantasybookreview.co.uk/RJ-Barker/Age-of-Assassins.html

The hands of fate chose Paul because he is most wise.

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1990028844

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Guest review ~ T.M Lakomy – The Shadow Crucible

8/10

Review by the awesome Michael Britt

“Mortals are weak and prone to mistakes; do not measure us by our worst, but rather by our virtue. In a world where we have many reasons to be evil, some choose goodness.”

Shadow Crucible is such a strong debut novel! I’m not even sure what I could compare this to. It’s almost like a historical fiction with fantastical and paranormal elements thrown in.

There still tends to be the stigma surrounding independently published books. This book blows that stigma out of the water. I tend to keep my reviews spoiler free, so I’ll try and keep this as vague as possible. We follow a few characters in the book, 2 more so than the others, and it’s set in the medieval gothic era of London. The 2 main characters of the book are Count Mikhail, a Knights Templar, and Estella, a seer. As you can probably tell, these 2 characters couldn’t be much different. While I really enjoyed them, I think I might have enjoyed some of the side characters more. Mainly Antariel, but stating the reasons would be major spoilers. We also get a really great cast of angels and demons, which is what grabbed my attention with this book in the first place. And Lakomy sure gave us some major players! We’ve got Lucifer, Samael, I think Jesus makes an appearance, and some of the Archangels. My favorite scenes were, by far, when any of these angels or demons made an appearance. You just knew something was going to go down!

Luckily, there wasn’t much need for world-building. Some like it, but I’m picky on my world-building, so it’s nice when it’s pretty much already done for us. But what I did love was her ability to set scenes up. She’s able to make our surroundings vivid without giving us 2 pages of extensive and useless descriptions. Which seems to be something that some authors, understandably, find kind of tough. This definitely has a dark feel to it too, which I absolutely loved! This is pretty much what I pictured throughout the book:

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I did have a few problems with the book, though. It obviously wasn’t anything that ruined the novel for me, or my enjoyment, but I do feel that they’re things worth addressing. Some of the action scenes tended to happen really quickly without much of a segue from it being a calm setting into the action. It wasn’t something that happened often, but I did have to go back and reread a few scenes. The other thing was actually part of what I liked. I didn’t really connect as well with the main characters as much as I did with the side characters. So I look at that one as a strength and a weakness. But I also tend to gravitate more towards side characters in every story I read, so take that for what it’s worth.

All in all, I was extremely happy that I picked this book up! It had so many elements that I really enjoyed. If her debut novel is this strong then I can’t wait to see her future works as she grows as a writer! Definitely recommend for anyone who loves a real life setting with some paranormal and fantasy twists to it.