Thoughtful Thursday: SPFBO Post #3

It’s time for Round Three of FanLit’s participation in Mark Lawrence’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off (SPFBO) in which 300 self-published fantasy authors contributed their work to be reviewed by 10 fantasy review blogs.

Still winning after two rounds!

Kaitlyn Davis’ The Shadow Soul was the winner of FanLit’s First Round and went up against six more books in our Second Round. We asked you to guess, based on cover art and blurb, which book would come out on top… And, The Shadow Soul continues to be our favorite book so far; it will advance again. We liked this book pretty well, but we’d probably rate it at 3 or 3.5 stars, so there is plenty of room for it to be overtaken. If you want to read The Shadow Soul for yourself, it’s currently FREE at Amazon. And if you correctly guessed The Shadow Soul on that Round Two post, you’ll be entered into the drawing to win the giveaway.

So now we’re on to ROUND THREE! Here are the next five books we’ll be reading. As before, we’re asking YOU to choose the book you think will move on to our next round. You can choose one of the books below (all you’ll have to go on, unless you click the link and buy these books, is the cover art and blurb) OR you can choose the winner of our first two rounds, The Shadow Soul. Which book will move on?


Jabberwocky by Daniel Coleman — How can a boy succeed where an army has failed?

Tjaden, a young man who aspires to be an Elite soldier, blames himself when Elora’s beautiful face is disfigured by a bandersnatch. Elora hides behind her scars, feeling unlovable in a world that only confirms her doubts.

Before Tjaden has a chance to convince her that scars don’t matter, an even more terrifying monster comes between them—the Jabberwock. Tjaden must risk his life not only to prove his love to Elora but to save her life.

If the secrets of the vorpal sword fail, so will Tjaden.


Five Bloody Heads by Peter Fugazzotto — A simple job. Hunt down five killers to secure a bounty of five gems. But how much blood will be spilled? A gritty fantasy adventure of clashing swords, dark magic and revenge.

Spear Spyrchylde is failing miserably as an outlaw bandit leader in the lawless borderlands of the North. Robbing pilgrims has resulted in only a few measly coins. Upstart warlords are encroaching on his territory. And his own impoverished crew is talking mutiny. So when a blood-covered girl offers Spear Spyrchylde a bounty of five gems for the heads of the five men who killed her family, he jumps at the chance to change his fortune. He’s got what it takes to hunt down these men: a hardened crew of bandits, a mysterious companion in a dark magic cloak, and his own blood-soaked sword. But tracking down the five seasoned killers in the wilderness of the borderlands won’t be easy. Especially when one of them is Spear’s former henchman Cruhund, now an insane warlord garrisoned behind the walls of a mountain fortress. So when everything starts to go wrong, Spear will need to decide how much he is willing to sacrifice to fulfill his promise to deliver five bloody heads.


Haunted Tree by Scott Robert Scheller — Times were hard for Marc: Too much cold, not enough food and a once good friend had turned against him. Then his life grew even more complicated as magic invaded his world. Little did he know that discovering the Haunted Tree would change him in ways he could not imagine. Under the tutelage of the mysterious wizard Oren, Marc, and his lifelong friend, Valeria, found themselves on the path to learning the greatest secret of magic. But this journey would come at a price. Together they struggle to not only discover and fulfill their destinies, but to also survive the evil that wants them dead, all within the shadow of the Haunted Tree.


Night Awakens by Leslie Claire Walker — Apocalypse. Resistance. Hope.

Night Sanchez knows how to survive being hunted by relentless magical assassins. After all, she used to be one, a member of The Order of the Blood Moon—until the fateful night she aborted a mission to kill a magically gifted ten-year-old girl. Night took the girl and ran, raising the child as her own, living a new life in the dangerous shadow of the old.

But everything she’s built comes crashing down in a perfect magical storm: The sudden, unexpected appearance of a member of the Order. A deadly threat from the descendants of fallen angels. And the beginning of the end of the world, as the Angel of Death walks the earth.

Night must go to war against them all to protect the ones she loves. If she fails, she’ll lose her daughter, her love, and her life. And the world will burn….

If you enjoy dark, edgy urban fantasy with page-turning suspense and a heroine who finds hope even in the darkest moments, read NIGHT AWAKENS.


Evil Never Dies by Rick Haynes — The Maxilla are a peaceful clan but when rumours of dark magic arrive in their land for the second time in a decade, can they survive the latest threat from Myracadonis, the shaman?

Tarn is ordered to lead the Maxilla into battle for the first time, but a man with the mark of greatness will always have enemies. Grona hates everyone, including his son, Tarn. Both are destined to be heroes yet only one can stand before the gates of hell and win.


So, readers, which novel will move on to our next round? Remember that it could be the winner of our previous round (The Shadow Soul) or one of these new books. One of the readers who guesses correctly gets a Kindle copy of the book OR a Kindle copy of the overall SPFBO winner OR you can choose a book from our stacks.


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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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11 comments

  1. April /

    Gosh. I’m not terribly impressed with any of the latest crop. I don’t think that I’d buy any of them based on the blurbs. I guess that means I’ll have to choose Shadow Soul to take another round!

  2. Sandy Giden /

    I have to go with Shadow soul to move on again.

  3. M. Robinson /

    Night Awakens

  4. Carla Roberts /

    I really like Haunted Tree. It’s different from other fantasy stories I’ve recently read, too many of which have similar plots. It’s got a good rating on Amazon, along with nice reviews, too.

  5. Iain Hope /

    Were there any comments on the books in round 2?

    • Hi Iain, We didn’t prepare any comments on the other books, but we did make some notes about them that we shared between ourselves. I think the most relevant thing to say is that we are really looking for something fresh that involved the types of characters, settings, and plot elements that we haven’t seen much of before. We are also looking for prose that is dynamic and engaging.

  6. M. Robinson /

    The link is above.

  7. I’m going to guess that Jabberwocky will move on. It sounds creative and original despite being based on a famous poem.

  8. u/cheryllovestoread /

    I vote for Night Awakens! Love me some urban fantasy!

  9. Issam A. /

    Definitely The Shadow Soul!

  10. April, you win a Kindle copy of Shadow Soul, or you can choose a Kindle copy of the overall SPBO winner, or a book from our stacks.

    Please contact me (Marion) with your choice and a US address. Happy reading!

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