Blog Archive

View My Stats
Tuesday, May 17, 2022

SPFBO 8 Introduction Post - meet the Fantasy Book Critic Team


FBC will have the pleasure to participate in the SPFBO for the eighth time. This time we'll have five judges involved in choosing our SPFBO champion. We're happy to welcome one new judge this year :) Here’s a bit of information on all of us:

Jennifer has been in love with reading since the day her mom handed her Stephen King’s Firestarter at way too young of an age to get her out of her mom’s hair. Though fantasy is her biggest love, Jen has read her way through the decades in nearly every genre of fiction, and one day soon will get around to adding them all to her Goodreads shelves.

Now wrangling a zoo’s worth of bunnies, chickens, and dogs, in Northern BC, while pretending she is a gardener and learning how to can. Jen likes to think she is a Disney princess, and all her animals can live in perfect harmony, which for the most part is working, except for that occasional hiccup when someone tries to eat someone else… usually (and not too surprisingly) the chicken is the culprit.

Jonathan Pembroke is a lifelong reader and fan of fantasy, sci-fi, and horror. A meteorologist in a former life and two-time SPFBO veteran contestant--and full-time nerd--Jonathan resides in the American southwest on a ranch with his wife and horde of unruly dogs, Semi-retired, he spends his time reading, writing, working in his garden, and playing the odd video game or two. He'd yell at neighborhood kids to get off his lawn if he had neighbors ... or a lawn.

His favorite authors include Michael Moorcock, Ilona Andrews, S. A. Chakraborty, and Rob Hayes, though his favorite single book is the novella The Long Walk by Stephen King. You can find Jonathan at Goodreads.

Lukasz Przywoski is an avid fiction reader from Poland. Apart from being keen on reading and inhabiting imaginary worlds, his biggest passion is the science of movement and movement in multiple forms. Life without sport and books wouldn't be worth living.

While fantasy is his favorite genre, he tends to read pretty broadly and is always eager to try new things. Favorite authors: Terry Pratchett, Jim Butcher, Mark Lawrence, Craig Schaefer, Seth Skorkowsky, Matt Suddain and many others.. He's also active on r/fantasy as barb4ry1.

Łukasz can be found over here on Goodreads.

Michael R. Fletcher - Michael R. Fletcher lives in the endless suburban sprawl north of Toronto. He dreams of trees and seeing the stars at night and being a ninja. He is an unrepentant whiskey-swilling reprobate of the tallest order and thinks grilled cheese sandwiches are a food group.

His novels include BEYOND REDEMPTION (Manifest Delusions #1), THE MIRROR'S TRUTH (Manifest Delusions #2), GHOSTS OF TOMORROW, SWARM AND STEEL, SMOKE AND STONE (City of Sacrifice #1), ASH AND BONES (City of Sacrifice #2), BLACK STONE HEART (The Obsidian Path #1), SHE DREAMS IN BLOOD (The Obsidian Path #2), THE MILLENNIAL MANIFESTO, A COLLECTION OF OBSESSIONS (short story collection), and NORYLSKA GROANS (co-written with Clayton W. Snyder).

Mihir Wanchoo: Born and raised in Mumbai, India. Mihir is an avid book collector and longtime reader of fantasy, thrillers and Indian mythology with additional interests in historical fiction and urban fantasy.

Favorite writers include John Connolly, David Gemmell, Rachel Aaron, Rob J. Hayes, Mark Lawrence, Craig Schaefer, Richard Nell, James Clemens and a few others.

With additional interests in cricket and football (the actual kind). Mihir lives in the Pacific North West and is ever looking forward to discovering new authors and old books. Mihir can be contacted directly at Goodreads.

As always Mark Lawrence has our eternal gratitude for commitment towards running this contest and being the patron saint for self-published authors everywhereAll ten judges have had their lots allotted to them and these are the titles (and FBC team members reading them) from which the FBC finalist will most likely arise:


We divided our batch into five smaller ones. Here's the list of our books and judges who'll read them. If something catches your attention, add it to your Goodreads TBR.






Our approach

We've divided our titles into five batches. Each one of us will try to pick a semi-finalist from their mini-batch of six titles. We hope to finish with 5 semi-finalists. Each judge will read all semi-finalists, and we'll pick our finalist based on the following criteria: 
  • story/plot, 
  • characterization, 
  • world-building, 
  • writing style. 
Having five team members involved in reading each semi-finalist will counter any bias we may have.

We will try to post our thoughts on each book, but that might not always be possible. Ideally, we will go through batches of 6 books and announce a semi-finalist each time. However, that might not always be possible as we might not like any book in a particular batch.

Our semi-finalists will be getting proper reviews, and we will be offering each author an interview to go along with the review. 

We strive to make sure that our reviews reflect how we feel about the books that we read and enjoy. Please don’t feel slighted if your book isn’t selected. It doesn’t mean that it was a crappy book but simply that it didn’t match our tastes, and hence it wasn’t put forward. The books that we love might not always be the ones that you like and vice versa. Keep in mind that we will do our best to select the book that we feel is the best of our lot (irrespective of the sub-genre it inhabits within fantasy).

Our initial impressions

We're thrilled to discover new books and titles! That said, we would like to share a few thoughts.

Covers matter. They sell your books. Try to make them as visually appealing as possible. Cover art is expensive, true, but it's worth looking for artists building their portfolios or using professional book templates when money is the issue. We had a few books in our batch that definitely needed some help in their cover art game. We want readers to notice your books, and having tacky cover art is a simple way to ensure that potential readers move on without even opening your book.

Having your book’s metadata in the proper places is a boon. SPFBO's biggest strength lies in giving a free spotlight to books. Don’t deprive yourself of this by not listing your book on GR or listing it with an old cover or no metadata. This can confuse potential readers & again makes them lose interest.

Cover contest

We are also posting our top 3 covers. For determining the top 3, we rated all our books with a max score of 50 (10 from each judge) and it’s our great pleasure to present our top 3:

1. The Skin by J E Hannaford. Cover by

2. Kingdom of Essence by Holly Karlsson Cover art and design by Tanya Anor.

3. Broken Sky  by Morgan K. Bell. Cover design by Keylin Rivers. 


A.G. Lopez said...

So who is Jennifer? Is she an new judge or author? So little info.

The Reader said...


Jennifer has been a judge for the past SPFBO edition. She's an accomplished blogger and is fantastic.


Mark markueen said...

How long have u been blogging ?? U r so good man...


Click Here To Order “Cardinal Black” by Robert McCammon!!!

Order HERE


Click Here To Order “Cyber Mage” by Saad Z. Hossain

Order HERE


Click Here To Order “Miss  Percy's” by Quenby Olson!!!
Order HERE


Click Here To Order “The True Bastards” by Jonathan French!!!
Order HERE


Click Here To Order “Rumble In Woodhollow” by Jonathan Pembroke!!!
Order HERE


Click Here To Order “The Starless Crown” by James Rollins!!!
Order HERE