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Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Spotlight: Intriguing Titles In SPFBO Part II

Continuing from yesterday, here’s part deux of our intriguing titles spotlight. The books we are highlighting within this post caught our eye due to their blurbs, their covers, as well as potential subject matter.

We would like to reiterate that this list is in no way an indicator of our choices going forward in the contest. But simply details titles that we WOULD like to read.

So without further ado, here's a list of the noteworthy titles (in random order):

Of Honey And Wildfires by Sarah Chorn

Official Book Blurb: From the moment the first settler dug a well and struck a lode of shine, the world changed. Now, everything revolves around that magical oil.

What began as a simple scouting expedition becomes a life-changing ordeal for Arlen Esco. The son of a powerful mogul, Arlen is kidnapped and forced to confront uncomfortable truths his father has kept hidden. In his hands lies a decision that will determine the fate of everyone he loves—and impact the lives of every person in Shine Territory.

The daughter of an infamous saboteur and outlaw, Cassandra has her own dangerous secrets to protect. When the lives of those she loves are threatened, she realizes that she is uniquely placed to change the balance of power in Shine Territory once and for all.

Secrets breed more secrets. Somehow, Arlen and Cassandra must find their own truths in the middle of a garden of lies.

The Flight of the Darkstar Dragon by Benedict Patrick

Official Book Blurb: Impossible world. Impossible dragon. Impossible adventure.

Lost with her ship and crew in an unfamiliar land, Min’s first command could be her last. Nothing here behaves the way it should:

The magic that powers her skyship has been drained, rendering it immobile.
The sky is an endless twilight, lit by the luminous fish that swim in it.
Off starboard, there’s also the country-sized dragon that is looking particularly hungry.

It will take all of Min’s training and experience to get her people safely back home, but as the truth about the Darkstar Dimension begins to be revealed, Min will have to prove to her crew - and to herself - that she is still the best person for the job.

The Brightest Shadow by Sarah Lin

Official Book Blurb: The arrival of the Hero was worse than anyone could have imagined.

To take her place as a full warrior of her tribe, Tani must travel across the vast grasslands of the Chorhan Expanse. But she has her sights set higher than a mere ritual journey: she wants to uncover a solution to the impending war that threatens her people. Her world has never been peaceful, torn between the many cultures that meet on the Chorhan Expanse, but the greatest threat is an expansionist army of monstrous non-humans who call themselves the mansthein.

Legends tell of monsters who will attempt to conquer the world, but are the mansthein those monsters? Tani believes that peace may be possible, but there are others on both sides who believe in the legends with zealous devotion. All around her, warriors have their eyes on a glorious victory with no concern for the piles of bodies they'll create on the way.

Tani will be joined by a killer pretending to be a healer, a mansthein commander struggling with his orders, a thief who pawned her heart of gold, and a strategist exiled from a foreign land. But none of them are the Hero. It doesn't matter how many shades of gray might exist, some people see only in black and white. And the terrifying truth is that the stories they tell might not be just legends.

Rumble in Woodhollow by Jonathan Pembroke

Official Book Blurb: Sydney was bored--bored with mixing potions in her aunt's alchemy shop and bored of life in the faery homeland of Sylvan Valley. So when her sister Marla sends her a letter and asks Sydney to bring some family documents to the crime-ridden city of Woodhollow, Sydney leaps at the chance--only to discover Marla in charge of one of the criminal syndicates competing for control of the Woodhollow underworld.

Before she knows it, Sydney finds herself embroiled in a gang war and must maneuver her way through the plots of rival thugs, ogre peacekeepers, and the semi-immortal ruler of the city. And through it all, she learns she has drawn the attention of a mysterious order of assassins...who want Sydney for some sinister purpose of their own.

Night of the Bloody Tines by Rogan Feltmate

Official Book Blurb: ENTER the city-state of Klinghammer, a former global superpower run by old guilds and older families. Its archaic corporatist government is the last of its kind, and Lord Mayor Trav Pinion sees the writing on the wall. With a pending bid to join the Concert of Tines—an international economic and military alliance—Klinghammer is on the cusp of taking its seat on the global stage once more. However, the Corporation’s repressive policies against magic have sparked outrage across the land, prompting Kasters to rise up…

Amid the tumult, Chelsi Ashbruner applies for an internship at Guildhall, and gets much more than she bargained for. She is hired as the Auxiliary to Airn Dutta, an up-and-coming political luminary and a descendant of the City’s most powerful industrial dynasty.

An attempt on the Lord Mayor’s life ignites a political powder keg, threatening to expose Klinghammer’s dirtiest secrets. An aged vigilante, a legendary swordsman, and a detective fallen from grace, are forced from retirement. Along with Chelsi and Airn, they’ll soon discover whether the City can survive its past when confronted by its eldest foes…

Shadow of the Lantern Bearer by Chris R. Underwood

Official Book Blurb: Magic is a disease. It spreads like a plague and drives the infected mad with power. Death is the only cure.

Seventeen-year-old Kole Felmen is destined for a life spent executing infected sorcerers and disposing of their tainted remains. But his first execution ends in disaster. Fearing he has been infected with the sorcerer's plague, Kole sees only one option: flee his village before his mind snaps and he destroys everyone he loves.

His chance for escape lies with a band of treasure hunters traveling to a lost ruin from a plague-ravaged empire, where ancient dangers lurk and the shadows of the past still linger…

Feast of the Mother by Miranda Honfleur and Nicolette Andrews

Official Book Blurb: Beneath the murky waters of the lake, an ancient being slumbers, and Brygida is its servant. Kept sheltered in the woods by her mothers from the nearby village, Brygida has never had so much as a friend—until the day she meets a charming stranger painting by the lake. He invites her to the village’s harvest feast, but her taste of the forbidden ends with a murder.

Called into service for the first time, Brygida must take up her ancestral duty as Reaper of Death and solve the murder within three days. If she brings the murderer to the lake on the third day, the being she serves will be sated. If she fails, Brygida herself will be drawn beneath the murky waters, and the village massacred. There’s only one problem: the main suspect is her charming painter, Kaspian.

As Brygida investigates, the dangers are many and answers few. The village and her family stand against her, and with time running short, the lake demands a price. Brygida believes Kaspian is innocent, but can she stake her life on it, when failure means condemning the rest of the village, and being dragged into the deep...?

The Obsidian Psalm by Clayton Snyder

Official Book Blurb: Betrayed by those he trusted. Resurrected by a man he should loathe. A head full of memories he didn’t make. Rook is forced into a bargain that might kill him if he refuses, and if he accepts, could mean the end of existence. Trapped in a shadow war between necromancers, his choices are dwindling to one: Cut a bloody swathe of revenge across humanity’s last remaining city.

Limbo by Thiago d'Evecque

Official Book Blurb: The fate of the world hinges on a forsaken spirit, a mad god in a sword, and 12 mythological beings.

The Limbo is where all souls — human or otherwise — go to after dying. Some don't realize where they are. Death is a hard habit to get used to. Gods and mythological figures also dwell in the plane, borne from humanity's beliefs.

A forsaken spirit is awakened and ordered to dispatch 12 souls back to Earth to prevent the apocalypse. Many don't take kindly to the return. Accompanied by an imprisoned mad god, the spirit must compel them.

Each of the 12 unlocks a piece of the spirit's true identity. Memories unfold and past wounds bleed again. The journey will reveal buried truths about gods, angels, humanity, and the forsaken spirit itself.

Chains Of Blood by ML Spencer

Official Book Blurb: One is the son of a demon. The other, the son of a hero. Together, they must break the chains that bind them to their past and forge their own legacy.

Rylan Marshall is the son of the most despised Battlemage to ever walk the earth. Gil Archer is the son of a dead hero whose legend still haunts him from the grave. In any other war, they would be bitter enemies.

But this is not a war about enemies and allies. It is a war for the human spirit.

When their homeland is invaded by a society that roams the world preying on others, Rylan and Gil must put aside the ghosts of their past in order to fight them. For their enemy uses chained mages as weapons, and capture means assimilation.

As the trilogy unfolds, the stakes get higher and the enemies more diverse and powerful. The series spans thousands of years, visits civilizations both thriving and fallen, and hurls two different worlds into a collision course. It is a bold chronicle of gods and man, demons and pawns, magic and warfare, and the very nature of humanity.

Incursion by Mitchell Hogan

Official Book Blurb: Seventeen years have passed since the Necromancer Queen Talia was overthrown and slain, and her capital city destroyed by the Knights of the Order of Eternal Vigilance.

Anskar DeVantte, raised in the sacred disciplines of the Order, is now ready to face the brutal initiation trials to become a consecrated knight-sorcerer.

But the further Anskar rises in the ranks the more his faith wavers, and he is beset by harrowing dreams and uncertainty. As troubling powers awaken within him, a schism grows between Anskar and his hallowed Order, and he draws the hungry gaze of the vanquished queen’s fanatical followers.

As Anskar pieces together the mysteries of his early life, and begins to understand the malevolent forces gathering in his path, he finds himself with a crucial choice to make:

Remain loyal to the Order’s righteous mission, or control the dark powers growing within him. Either way, his destiny is steeped in war. The only question is, which side will he be on?

A Prince's Errand by Dan Zangari and Robert Zangari

Official Book Blurb: The history of the amulet…

…is the stuff of dreams and legends.

But what if the myths are true?

It is called the Crimson Eye, hidden for centuries by the Keepers of Truth and Might. An aging warrior is asked to find the Keepers by a mysterious scholar named Krindal. Cornar is a reluctant adventurer at first, but eventually he agrees, and his life is changed forever.

They have one lead…

…a magical map.

Has Krindal done enough to truly give them a chance?

This long journey, cloaked in secrecy, takes Cornar and his band through lands plagued by violent earthquakes and controlled by the Wildmen—descendants of the Klindala Dynasty twisted by magic. They are not the only threat. The Sapphire Guard searches, too.

Who will win the race to rediscover the Keepers?

Fires that Forge by R.J. Hanson

Official Book Blurb: Murder... Betrayal... Magic? One knight takes up his hammer to hunt a killer concealed. Will he discover the truth in time to rescue a friend from the executioner’s ax?

Murder in Moras is treated as an everyday affair; until it touches the nobility. The aristocracy demands someone pay for these heinous crimes. Yet, they want someone to hang before too many questions can be asked. What old truths do they fear? What if the one that stands accused is innocent?

Amid the shining streets and dark alleys of this great trade city, events will twist the Fate of two life-long friends. In this city of knights and rogues, templars and merchants, a career soldier must become a cunning detective. A young physician must prove his innocence before the hangman calls. When Dunewell learns that his good friend, Silas, is the sole suspect, the decorated veteran turned King's Inquisitor undertakes the duty of saving him. The only way? Root out the killer.

The Bloodless Assassin by Celine Jeanjean

Official Book Blurb: An assassin with a fear of blood.

A mouthy street girl.

They can't seriously be the city’s only hope?

Being Damsport’s most elegant assassin is hard work. There are devilish poisons to concoct, secret identities to maintain…and tailoring to consider. But most importantly Longinus must keep his fear of blood a secret or his reputation will be ruined.

When Rory discovers Longinus’s blood phobia, she makes him a deal. Train her, and she won’t ruin his reputation. What she doesn’t expect is that her new master has more eccentricities than a stray dog has fleas. And that in aligning herself with him, she now finds herself in the crosshairs of another, far more dangerous assassin.

Now, not only does Rory have to keep herself and Longinus alive, she has to stop a conspiracy that threatens to bring the city to its knees.

An impossible task?

It's even harder with Longinus under the delusion that he’s the hero of the story. That would be funny, if it didn't make Rory want to throttle him.

Midnight Monster Club by Gerhard Gehrke

Official Book Blurb: Digger and the fel of Loom Island have one law above all others: harm a pureblood and lose your life.

But when an enigmatic woman named Isabel invades his brother’s bar seeking refuge, it gets hard to play by the rules.

A gang of pureblood noblemen is hot on Isabel’s heels in pursuit of a stolen treasure. But helping her puts Digger’s neck and everyone else he loves in line for the chopping block.

Digger will have to trust Isabel and a group of lowlifes as they fight to protect the bar and avoid the gallows. As the law catches wind of the unrest, the unraveling situation threatens to reveal secrets Digger thought long buried. And word of Isabel’s ill-gotten prize has only started to spread.

The Longest Shadow by Stephen Murray

Official Book Blurb: A charnel wall of fog creeps across the western horizon bringing with it ancient terrors and walking nightmares, spoken of in fearful whispers as the Perash. On the farthest reaches of the Hardic Empire, disgraced general Tybir Galingar is faced with a dire choice between certain death at the hands of the Perash or, to return to his former home and the vengeance of an Emperor he once sought to usurp.

The Stillborn King, Hector Aris sits atop a teetering throne. Cursed by his inability to sire an heir, his enemies circle ever closer and the weight of the crown grows heavier with each passing day. With the Hardic Empire in a crisis of succession and an otherworldly threat encroaching from the west, Hector is forced to confront the failings of his past if he is to salvage any future for his people.

In the secretive order of the Praetory, a young girl named Pan toils reluctantly to join the caste of imperial guards and spies known as the Praetors. Abandoned by a war-mongering father and ward to an Emperor, Pan finds herself embroiled in a web of conspiracies, wending a bloody path towards the throne.

All paths converge in Virangan the jewel of the Hardic Empire, where knives are drawn in shadow-draped streets and a climatic confrontation with the Perash decides the fate of all.

Dragon's Reach by J. A. Andrews

Official Book Blurb: The truth is neither plain, nor simple.

Sable, a reluctant thief from the slums, can feel truth when people speak. For years she’s been using that skill to try to break free from the vicious gang boss she's indebted to. Escape comes in the form of an odd set of companions:

-a dwarf running from the past,
-an actor with a magical, glowing tree
-a too-helpful kobold,
-a playwright with a knack for getting stories out of people, and
-a man and woman with suspicious, magical powers.

But Sable’s freedom is short lived. Out on the edges of civilization, they discover hidden, terrifying lies in the offers of peace from the brutal Kalesh Empire. Now, she must return to the city she fled, and along with her companions, attempt an impossible task—convince everyone, including the powerful Dragon Prioress, of the truth.

Except the Kalesh web of lies has ensnared everyone. With her land, her people, and everything she loves hanging in the balance, Sable is the only one standing between freedom, and certain death.

The Sword of Wisimir by Allen Stroud

Official Book Blurb: Opportunistic thief, Jack Von Drey thinks his luck is in when he steals the Governor's taxes from the back of a treasury wagon. But it turns out, this is a game with higher stakes than he bargained for.

City Minister, Urin Braymes makes one bad decision. Unfortunately for him, it opens him up to being blackmailed for the rest of his life.

Magister Leel's scheme to recapture his position of power seems to be right on track. But, when he makes a bargain, he finds he has unleashed magic that even a wizard cannot control.

And Jarno Herren? Well he just wants to find out the truth.

The Sword of Wisimir is a fantasy tale of crime, intrigue, life and death. Where ideals are cheap and, in the end, everyone finds out what they'd sacrifice to survive...

The Dragon’s Banker by Scott Warren

Official Book Blurb: Finance: The lifeblood of any country’s beating heart and the life’s work of Sailor Kelstern — Merchant Banker. While wizards brood in their towers and great warriors charge into battle Sailor is more interested in the price of ore, herbs, and alchemicals carried by the trade ships.

But when a spell of bad fortune and bitter rivalry leaves him scrambling to turn a profit on little more than winds and whispers, one such whisper catches Sailor’s ear— a dragon has been seen in the west. Sailor soon finds that the dragons are very real, and not at all what he expected. And they practice a very different sort of economy — one of subterfuge and fire.

Immortals by Joshua Smith

Official Book Blurb: For thousands of years, stories had been told of the terrible Sorceress who'd given all her power to end the ancient world. But those were just stories. Now, new stars dot the sky—signs of Sorceress Jocina's power returning so she can finish the job.

For A’banna, these signs mark the end of her service to the Sorceress as priestess. Commanded to sacrifice a living being in Jocina's name, she can't go through with it. A’banna flees into the jungle, but the wide world is much different than she knows. Further, she’s being hunted by Jocina’s sadistic son and her monstrous creations. Nature itself seems set against her.

Bedel and Raynt, two of the Magical Affairs Commission’s elite agents and powerful essencers, might be her only hope. They've dedicated their lives to holding back the tide of Jocina's darkness, and preventing her inevitable return, but when they discover A’banna on the edge of death, all missions are postponed in an effort to protect her.

Might this strange, defecting priestess hold the keys to defeating the Sorceress once and for all? Or will she cause two of the most powerful remaining essencers to meet their doom for nothing?


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