Showing posts with label top ten tuesday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label top ten tuesday. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: Self-Published Fantasy

This week's topic is: Self-Published Books

I haven't done a Top Ten Tuesday in a little while, but when I saw this week's topic was about indie and self-published books I really wanted to make sure I participated because there are so many amazing self-published books out there that I love and want to recommend to everyone! I also might cheat a little bit (but whether or not it's cheating depends on who you ask) because I'm going to include some books that were self-published only when I read them, but have now been picked up by publisher. I'm a little out of the loop with new self-published fantasy these days, but I'm hoping later this year I'll have a bit more time to get back into things. Without further ado, let's check out some amazing self-published books!

Kings of Paradise by Richard Nell
This was a very dark fantasy that was entirely unpredictable, compelling, and grabbed me instantly. I remember being really impressed with this book and couldn't wait for the sequel (which was equally amazing, by the way). 

About: "YA deformed genius plots vengeance while struggling to survive. A wastrel prince comes of age, finding a power he never imagined. Two worlds are destined to collide.

Only one can be king.

Ruka, called a demon at birth, is a genius. Born malformed and ugly into the snow-covered wasteland of the Ascom, he was spared from death by his mother's love. Now he is an outcast, consumed with hate for those who've wronged him. But to take his vengeance, he must first survive. Across a vast sea in the white-sand island paradise of Sri Kon, Kale is fourth and youngest son of the Sorcerer King. And at sixteen, Kale is a disappointment. As the first prince ever forced to serve with low-born marines, Kale must prove himself and become a man, or else lose all chance of a worthy future, and any hope to win the love of his life. Though they do not know it, both boys are on the cusp of discovery. Their worlds and lives are destined for greatness, or ruin.

But in a changing world where ash meets paradise, only one man can be king... The first installment of an epic, low- fantasy trilogy. Kings of Paradise is a dark, bloody, coming-of-age story shaped by culture, politics, and magic." Goodreads

We Ride the Storm by Devin Madson
I still remember how much I fell in love with this story when I first read it and I'm so happy that it was picked up by Orbit and the entire series is now out! I am actually planning to start a re-read of this series soon in order to read the final book. I also still love this original cover of the self-published version so much (though I love Orbit's as well!)

About "War built the Kisian Empire. War will tear it down.

Seventeen years after rebels stormed the streets, factions divide Kisia. Only the firm hand of the god-emperor holds the empire together. But when a shocking betrayal destroys a tense alliance with neighboring Chiltae, all that has been won comes crashing down.

In Kisia, Princess Miko Ts'ai is a prisoner in her own castle. She dreams of claiming her empire, but the path to power could rip it, and her family, asunder.

In Chiltae, assassin Cassandra Marius is plagued by the voices of the dead. Desperate, she accepts a contract that promises to reward her with a cure if she helps an empire fall.

And on the border between nations, Captain Rah e'Torin and his warriors are exiles forced to fight in a foreign war or die.

As an empire dies, three warriors will rise. They will have to ride the storm or drown in its blood.Goodreads 

Flesh Eater by Travis M. Riddle
You might see a few books by this author on this list, but first up is Flesh Eater! I loved this fantasy following a group of compelling characters as they are basically shuttled from one obstacle and adventure to another–it's loads of fun and plays with some really interesting ideas. 

About: "Branded as a Flesh Eater, Coal is on the run from Palace Stingers: soldiers tasked with tracking down those who have consumed flesh and locking them away in specialized prisons.

After a year of avoiding capture and struggling to scrape by working odd jobs for a local crime lord, Coal is growing desperate. He learns of someone in the city's underbelly who can erase his record, but her services don't come cheap.

Seeing no other option, he enters a spiderback race with a grand prize valuable enough to pay for his fresh start. But he's not the only one after the prize, and Coal is about to find out exactly how far he's willing to go to win.

Dreams of the Dying by Nicolas Lietzau
I picked this up after hearing Petrik Leo rave about it and thought it was a fascinating and richly crafted world and story. There's a very unique magic system that grabbed me and I'm looking forward to reading the sequel. 

About: "If your mind is the enemy, where do you run?

Years after a harrowing war experience, ex-mercenary Jespar Dal'Varek has taken to drifting. It's a lonely existence, but, barring the occasional bout of melancholia, he has found the closest thing to peace a man like him deserves. Life is "all right."

Or so he believes. Hoping to turn the page, Jespar accepts a mysterious invitation into the beautiful but dangerous archipelago of Kilay-and everything changes.

Plagued by explosive social tensions and terrorism, the tropical empire is edging ever closer to civil war. Kilay's merchant king is the only person able to prevent this catastrophe, but he has fallen into a preternatural coma-and it's Jespar's task to figure out what or who caused it. As the investigation takes him across the archipelago and into the king's nightmares, unexpected events not only tie Jespar's own life to the mystery but also unearth inner demons he believed to be long exorcised.

Battling old trauma while fighting for his life, his sanity, and the fate of Kilay, the line between dream and reality blurs until only one question remains: If your mind is the enemy, where do you run?

Kingshold by D.P. Woolliscroft
This fantasy is packed with political intrigue, clever plotlines, rich world-building, and characters you can't help but love. 

About: "Mareth is a bard, a serial under achiever, a professional drunk, and general disappointment to his father. Despite this, Mareth has one thing going for him. He can smell opportunity. The King is dead and an election for the new Lord Protector has been called. If he plays his cards right, if he can sing a story that will put the right person in that chair, his future fame and drinking money is all but assured. But, alas, it turns out Mareth has a conscience after all.

Neenahwi is the daughter to Jyuth, the ancient wizard who founded the Kingdom of Edland and she is not happy. It’s not just that her father was the one who killed the King, or that he didn’t tell her about his plans. She’s not happy because her father is leaving, slinking off into retirement and now she has to clean up his mess.

Alana is a servant at the palace and the unfortunate soul to draw the short straw to attend to Jyuth. Alana knows that intelligence and curiosity aren’t valued in someone of her station, but sometimes she can’t help herself and so finds herself drawn into the Wizard’s schemes, and worst of all, coming up with her own plans.

Chance brings this unlikely band together to battle through civil unrest, assassinations, political machinations, pirates and monsters, all for a common cause that they know, deep down, has no chance of succeeding – bringing hope to the people of Kingshold.
” Goodreads

The Grey Bastards by Jonathan French
This was an SPFBO winner and has now been picked up by a publisher! I had so much fun with this gritty story of a band of half-orcs and their adventures. 

About: "Jackal is proud to be a Grey Bastard, member of a sworn brotherhood of half-orcs. Unloved and unwanted in civilized society, the Bastards eke out a hard life in the desolate no-man's-land called the Lots, protecting frail and noble human civilization from invading bands of vicious full-blooded orcs.

But as Jackal is soon to learn, his pride may be misplaced. Because a dark secret lies at the heart of the Bastards' existence - one that reveals a horrifying truth behind humanity's tenuous peace with the orcs, and exposes a grave danger on the horizon.

On the heels of the ultimate betrayal, Jackal must scramble to stop a devastating invasion - even as he wonders where his true loyalties lie.

A standout adventure fantasy debut that's down, dirty and damn good fun - perfect for fans of Joe Abercombie, Mark Lawrence, Markus Heitz's Dwarves series and Stan Nicholl's Orcs series.

On Lavender Tides by Travis M. Riddle
I had to include another Travis Riddle novel because they're just so good! Plus, this post is about books, not authors, so I think it's fine. On Lavender Tides is an incredibly fun, action-packed Pokemon-inspired fantasy that is the start of a series I can't seem to get enough of. 

About: "Ever since he was a kid, all Balt Vana wanted was to be a world-renowned Jekua Summoner like his grandmother, battling other Summoners in front of audiences of thousands. But from where he stands now, living up to the Vana name feels impossible.

When his best friend Alani, an initiate at the local Church, is sent on a pilgrimage to find her path in life and the god she will follow, Balt sees the perfect opportunity to launch his career by escorting her across the archipelago and its purple seas. The islands are filled with monsters to imprint and Summoners to battle, with every victory bringing him one step closer to his dream.

It will take more than just his family name to reach the same heights as his grandmother, but Balt won't stop until he does." Goodreads

The Blighted City by Scott Kaelen
The Blighted City made it to the semifinals in Mark Lawrence's SPFBO4, and for good reason! It's an ambitious dark fantasy that I recall having a mix of horror elements and complex world-building and characters that really made this one something special. 

About: "To challenge the gods is to invite their wrath.

So it is written of Lachyla, the Blighted City, in the Codex of the Ages. But who reads codices? And who really believes the tall stories of the Taleweavers?

Dagra does. If it’s a story about the gods – even a dead god – he believes every word. When his sellsword team is offered a contract to cross the Deadlands and find a burial jewel in the crypts of the Blighted City, Dagra wants no part of it. His companions are undaunted by the legend; to them, the blurred divide between the living and the dead is superstitious nonsense. Completing the contract would earn their guild’s failing reputation a much-needed boost and secure them the bounty of a lifetime. They’re going, with or without him. Torn between the convictions of his beliefs and the importance of his friendships, Dagra reluctantly journeys into the godless region in search of the fabled city. But the Deadlands are only the first challenge.

The sellswords uncover an age-old deception when they learn that Lachyla’s foul seed is much darker than its legend, that its truth must forever remain untold or risk plunging humanity into an eternal nightmare. Snagged on the barbs of the blight, Dagra faces the toughest choice of his life … and of his death." Goodreads

Never Die by Rob J. Hayes
This was a really fun Asian-inspired fantasy that is a standalone and has some companion standalone novels available set in the same world.

About: "Samurai, shinigami, vengeful spirits, and an impossible quest. 

The Emperor of Ten Kings has plunged Hosa into war, and the gods are angry.

When the god of death gives Ein a mission to kill the immortal emperor, he knows he can't do it alone. He needs allies, heroes who will fight for him. How else can an eight-year-old boy hope to do the impossible?

Whispering Blade, Iron Gut Chen, the Century Blade, and Flaming Fist. These are all names of legend. And the god of death has given Ein a way to bind them to his cause. There is only one catch. In order to serve him, they must first die.

Never Die is a stand alone set in the world of Mortal Techniques. It’s a wuxia adventure filled with samurai, shinigami, heroes, and vengeful spirits." Goodreads 

They Mostly Come Out at Night by Benedict Patrick
This has one of the coolest covers–and it's also a really interesting plot as well!

About: "He locked himself away from the dark, but in the Magpie King’s forest nowhere is safe…

Lonan is an outcast, accused of letting the monsters that stalk the night into the homes of his fellow villagers. Now, he will not rest until he wins back the heart of his childhood love and reclaims the life that was stolen from him. However, locked safely in his cellar at night, in his dreams Lonan finds himself looking through the eyes of a young prince…

Adahy has a destiny, and it terrifies him. How can he hope to live up to the legend of the Magpie King, to become the supernatural protector of the forest and defender of his people? But when the forest is invaded by an inhuman force, Adahy must rise to this challenge or let the Wolves destroy his people.

Watching these events unfold in his sleep, Lonan must do what he can to protect his village from this new threat. He is the only person who can keep his loved ones from being stolen away after dark, and to do so he will have to earn back their trust or watch the monsters kill everyone that he holds dear.

Have you read any of these books? Are there any self-published books you love?

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: 2023 Debuts


This week's topic is: 2023 Debuts

This week's topic is all about 2023 debuts, so I've decided to feature a small handful of SFF debuts I've been looking forward to! I'm actually putting this together a bit last minute this week (I'm behind on everything right now, but we're making do!) so I only have six off the top of my head to share, but there are far more coming. Let's check them out!

The Deep Sky by Yume Kitasei

Release date: July 18th, 2023
"Yume Kitasei's The Deep Sky is an enthralling sci fi thriller debut about a mission into deep space that begins with a lethal explosion that leaves the survivors questioning the loyalty of the crew.

They left Earth to save humanity. They’ll have to save themselves first.

It is the eve of Earth’s environmental collapse. A single ship carries humanity’s last hope: eighty elite graduates of a competitive program, who will give birth to a generation of children in deep space. But halfway to a distant but livable planet, a lethal bomb kills three of the crew and knocks The Phoenix off course. Asuka, the only surviving witness, is an immediate suspect.

Asuka already felt like an impostor before the explosion. She was the last picked for the mission, she struggled during training back on Earth, and she was chosen to represent Japan, a country she only partly knows as a half-Japanese girl raised in America. But estranged from her mother back home, The Phoenix is all she has left.

With the crew turning on each other, Asuka is determined to find the culprit before they all lose faith in the mission—or worse, the bomber strikes again." Goodreads

Camp Zero by Michelle Min Sterling

Release date: April 4th
"In a near-future northern settlement, a handful of climate change survivors find their fates intertwined in this mesmerizing and transportive novel in the vein of Station Eleven and The Power.

In the far north of Canada sits Camp Zero, an American building project hiding many secrets.

Desperate to help her climate-displaced Korean immigrant mother, Rose agrees to travel to Camp Zero and spy on its architect in exchange for housing. She arrives at the same time as another newcomer, a college professor named Grant who is determined to flee his wealthy family’s dark legacy. Gradually, they realize that there is more to the architect than previously thought, and a disturbing mystery lurks beneath the surface of the camp. At the same time, rumors abound of an elite group of women soldiers living and working at a nearby Cold War-era climate research station. What are they doing there? And who is leading them?

An electrifying page-turner where nothing is as it seems, Camp Zero cleverly explores how the intersection of gender, class, and migration will impact who and what will survive in a warming world." Goodreads 

The God of Endings by Jacqueline Holland

Release date: March 7th, 2023
"By turns suspenseful and enchanting, this breathtaking first novel weaves a story of love, family, history, and myth as seen through the eyes of one immortal woman 

Collette LeSange is a lonely artist who heads an elite fine arts school for children in upstate New York. Her youthful beauty masks the dark truth of her life: she has endured centuries of turmoil and heartache in the wake of her grandfather’s long-ago decision to make her immortal like himself. Now in 1984, Collette finds her life upended by the arrival of a gifted child from a troubled home, the return of a stalking presence from her past, and her own mysteriously growing hunger.

Combining brilliant prose with breathtaking suspense, The God of Endings serves as a larger exploration of the human condition in all its complexity, asking us the most fundamental question: is life in this world a gift or a curse?" Goodreads

Flux by Jinwoo Chong

Release date: March 21st, 2023
"A blazingly original and stylish debut novel about a young man whose reality unravels when he suspects his employers have inadvertently discovered time travel and are covering up a string of violent crimes. 

Combining elements of neo-noir, speculative fiction, and '80s detective shows, FLUX is a haunting and sometimes shocking exploration of the cyclical nature of grief, of moving past trauma, and of the pervasive nature of whiteness within the development of Asian identity in America. 

In FLUX, a brilliant debut in the vein of William Gibson’s Neuromancer and Ling Ma’s Severance, Jinwoo Chong introduces us to three characters —Bo, Brandon and Blue— who are tortured by these questions as their lives spin out of control. 

* After 8-year-old Bo loses his mother in a tragic accident, his white father, attempting to hold their lives together, begins to gradually retreat from the family. 

* 28-year-old Brandon loses his job at a legacy magazine publisher and is offered a new position. Confused to find himself in an apartment he does not recognize, and an office he sometimes cannot remember leaving, he comes to suspect that something far more sinister is happening behind the walls. 

* 48-year-old Blue participates in a television exposé of Flux, a failed bioelectric tech startup whose fraudulent activity eventually claimed the lives of three people and nearly killed him. Blue, who can only speak with the aid of cybernetic implants, stalks his old manager while holding his estranged family at arms-length. 

Intertwined with the saga of a once-iconic 80s detective show, Raider, whose star has fallen after decades of concealed abuse, the lives of Bo, Brandon and Blue intersect with each other, to the extent that it becomes clear that their lives are more interconnected and interdependent than the reader could have ever imagined. 

Can we ever really change the past, or the future? What truth do we owe our families? What truth do we owe ourselves?" Goodreads

The Lies of the Ajungo by Moses Ose Utomi (debut novella)

Release date: March 21st, 2023
"Moses Ose Utomi's debut novella, The Lies of the Ajungo, follows one boy’s epic quest to bring water back to his city and save his mother’s life. Prepare to enter the Forever Desert.

They say there is no water in the City of Lies. They say there are no heroes in the City of Lies. They say there are no friends beyond the City of Lies. But would you believe what they say in the City of Lies? 

In the City of Lies, they cut out your tongue when you turn thirteen, to appease the terrifying Ajungo Empire and make sure it continues sending water. Tutu will be thirteen in three days, but his parched mother won’t last that long. So Tutu goes to his oba and makes a deal: she provides water for his mother, and in exchange he will travel out into the desert and bring back water for the city. Thus begins Tutu’s quest for the salvation of his mother, his city, and himself. 

The Lies of the Ajungo opens the curtains on a tremendous world, and begins the epic fable of the Forever Desert. With every word, Moses Ose Utomi weaves magic.” Goodreads

The Splinter in the Sky by Kemi Ashing-Giwa

Release date: July 11th, 2023
"The dust may have settled in the war of conquest between the Holy Vaalbaran Empire and the Ominirish Republic, but the Empire’s surrender means little. Especially to a lowly scribe like Enitan, given her country’s continuing status as a Vaalbaran province. All she wants is to quit her day job and expand her fledgling tea business. But when imperial agents assassinate her lover and abduct her sibling, Enitan abandons her idyllic plans and embarks on a rescue mission, weaving her tea tray up through the heart of the Vaalbaran capital. 

Her enemies are countless, clever, and powerful beyond measure. There’s a new God-Emperor on the throne, and her reign promises to change the continent forever. And as Enitan sinks deeper into the Empire’s bloody conspiracies, she discovers just how far she’s willing to go to exact vengeance, save her sibling, and perhaps even restore her homeland’s freedom." Goodreads

Are you looking forward to any of these debuts? 

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: Series I Need to Catch Up On

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book blog meme now hosted by Jana over at The Artsy Reader Girl!

This week's topic is: Series To Catch Up On
I've made these posts before, but as the years go on I keep reading (and not finishing) plenty of series, so here is a very incomplete list of series I'd like to catch up on! It was actually hard to pick only ten because I tend to start series a lot and move around without much thought (I feel like this is a mood reader thing), and I like knowing that I always series waiting for me finish them, haha. Anyway, let's check out some series I need to finish. 

A Memory Called Empire (Texicalaan #1)A Desolation Called Peace (Teixcalaan, #2)
1. Texicalaan by Arkady Martine
A Memory Called Empire was a really interesting space opera that left me really curious about the sequel, so hopefully I can get around to that sometime. I'm actually thinking of trying the audiobook for the sequel this time, but we'll see 
What I've Read: A Memory Called Empire (#1)
What I need to read: A Desolation Called Peace (#2)

The Hand of the Sun King (Pact and Pattern, #1)The Garden of Empire (Pact and Pattern, #2)
2. Pact and Pattern by J.T. Greathouse
The sequel came out this summer and I have a copy in my hands as well, but I have yet to actually read it. I'm not sure if there are going to be more books or not in this series, but either way I guess I need to catch up. 
What I've Read: The Hand of the Sun King (#1)
What I need to read: The Garden of Empire  (#2)

The Darkness That Comes Before (The Prince of Nothing, #1)The Warrior Prophet (The Prince of Nothing, #2)The Thousandfold Thought (The Prince of Nothing, #3)
3. The Prince of Nothing by R. Scott Bakker
This series is very slow-paced and rather dense as well, so each book takes me some time to really focus on and make sure I'm getting what I'm supposed to be out of it. I've enjoyed the first two books overall and just need to wrap up this trilogy. Hopefully end of this year or beginning of next?
What I've Read: The Darkness That Comes Before (#1), The Warrior Prophet  (#2)
What I need to read:  The Thousandfold Thought (#3)

The Thousand Deaths of Ardor Benn (Kingdom of Grit, #1)The Shattered Realm of Ardor Benn (Kingdom of Grit, #2)The Last Lies of Ardor Benn (Kingdom of Grit, #3)
4. Kingdom of Grit by Tyler Whitesides
I finally got around to this book this year (after starting it and not finishing it a couple years back) and I really enjoyed it! Now I just need to finish it up. These books are quite hefty so it always feels like a big commitment, haha. 
What I've Read: The Thousand Deaths of Ardor Benn (#1)
What I need to read: The Shattered Realm of Ardor Benn  (#2),  The Last Lies of Ardor Benn (#3)

Archimancy (Shadow School, #1)Dehaunting (Shadow School, #2)Phantoms (Shadow School, #3)
5. Shadow School by J.A. White
I really liked this new(er) MG series from my favorite spooky MG author, and it was as great as I'd hoped. Now to finish the series!
What I've Read: Archimancy (#1)
What I need to read: Dehaunting  (#2), Phantoms  (#3)

Contagion (Contagion, #1)Immunity (Contagion, #2)
6. Contagion by Erin Bowman
I actually just (finally) got around to reading it and had so much fun with it! I am really hoping to read the sequel soon. Big shout out to Greg from Greg's Book Haven for always making it sound so interesting and convincing me to read it!
What I've Read: Contagion (#1)
What I need to read: Immunity  (#2)

The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time, #1)The Great Hunt (The Wheel of Time, #2)The Dragon Reborn (The Wheel of Time, #3)The Shadow Rising (The Wheel of Time, #4)
7. Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan
Honestly, I don't even know if I want to finish this serious if we're being honest, haha, but I'm  far enough in that I feel like I should... but I also have been hating the characters lately and feel like the plot is a bit stagnant. We'll see how I feel in the future, but for now this series is on hiatus. 
What I've Read: The Eye of the World (#1), The Great Hunt  (#2), The Dragon Reborn  (#3), The Shadow Rising  (#4), The Fires of Heaven  (#5)
What I need to read: Lord of Chaos  (#6), A Crown of Swords  (#7), The Path of Daggers  (#8), Winter's Heart  (#9), Crossroads of Twilight  (#10), Knife of Dreams  (#11), The Gathering Storm  (#12), Towers of Midnight (#13), A Memory of Light  (14)

The Tiger’s Daughter (Ascendant, #1)The Phoenix Empress (Ascendant, #2)The Warrior Moon (Ascendant, #3)
8. Ascendant by K. Arsenault Rivera
I loved the The Tiger's Daughter and have no idea why I haven't continued the series. 
What I've Read: The Tiger's Daughter (#1)
What I need to read: The Phoenix Empress  (#2), The Warrior Moon  (#3)

The Last Watch (The Divide, #1)The Exiled Fleet (The Divide, #2)
9. The Divide by J.S. Dewes
Same story as Ascendant–absolutely loved The Last Watch, no idea why I haven't read The Exiled Fleet yet.
What I've Read: The Last Watch (#1)
What I need to read: The Exiled Fleet  (#2)

The Book of Koli (Rampart Trilogy, #1)The Trials of Koli (Rampart Trilogy, #2)The Fall of Koli (Rampart Trilogy, #3)
10. Rampart Trilogy by M.R. Carey
I read the first two books and then apparently decided to procrastinate on the third. I still haven't read it and I have absolutely no idea why. But I'd like to!
What I've Read: The Book of Koli (#1), The Trials of Koli  (#2)
What I need to read: The Fall of Koli (#3)

Have you read any of these series? What series do you need to catch up on?

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Captivating Typographical Covers

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book blog meme now hosted by Jana over at The Artsy Reader Girl!

This week's topic is: Typographical Covers

It's been a short while since I've been able to participate in a Top Ten Tuesday post, but this week's topic sounded too fun to pass up because I love a good typographical cover. I included some that are text only and make some great use of that text only, as well as a few that incorporated the title text into the cover image in some way that really catches the eye. Let's have a look! (And yes, I did end up including twelve covers instead of just ten, it was hard to pick.)







What do you think of these covers? What are some covers you love that use the title typography in a neat way?