Top Ten Tuesday: Most Recent Books I Added To my TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly blog meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s theme is the most recent additions to TBR and here goes my list of ten books I recently added to my ever growing mountain of TBR:


Swarm and Steel










Faithless by Graham Austin-King has a stunning cover and promises one hell of an epic adventure in the underground mines. I loved his Riven Wyrde Saga books (check my reviews here) and have high expectations of this one after reading the excerpt.

Swarm and Steel is a Manifest Delusions book, I loved the first two and looking forward to the release of this. Michael R. Fletcher has a track record of delivering top notch grimdark, I can’t recommend his books enough!

Godblind is a totally random discovery, recommended by a friend from the FB fantasy book groups I frequent. He showed me the first chapter posted on a giveaway contest page, I absolutely loved it and pre-ordered Godblind. It’s a debut, grimdark as grimdark goes, brutal to the core, and written by a female author if you are looking for diverse books.


Valley of Embers

Smiler's Fair

The Glass Gargoyle









Valley of Embers is a SPFBO contestant this year, I grabbed it from the free promo cause the cover is great+I liked the sample excerpt on Kindle store. It sounds like a nice, original epic fantasy with cool battles and magic.

Smiler’s Fair is highly recommended by a friend who told me the cover looks like YA but the book is gritty, awesome fantasy. She knows my tastes more or less so I trust her rec and added it.

The Glass Gargoyle is another SPFBO contestant, the author announced free promo, I totally loved the sample excerpt which features a nice tavern setting and hilarious banter. This book promises a great light reading and funny fantasy experience, plus I like gargoyles and never read any fantasy books featuring gargoyles.


A Gathering of Ravens

Assassin's Charge

The Traitor Baru Cormorant









A Gathering of Ravens sounds like my cup of tea since it’s set in a world of Norse myths and features an Orc protagonist, plus Scott Oden is a cool guy and writes cool blog posts waving Orcs into the world history in a clever way. The blog posts sold me on his writing and the whole Norse myths and grimdark Orc protagonist surrounded with morally ambiguous side characters sold me on the book.

Assassin’s Charge was a finalist in last year’s SPFBO, the blog reviews and the premise got me to put it high up in my TBR since I’m a huge fan of assassins, guilds and pre-modern city environment.

The Traitor Baru Cormorant is a book folk speak very highly of on Reddit and Fantasy book groups all over the place, my grimdark fan friends said it’s a grimdark masterpiece and I would definitely like it, so I have quite high expectations from this book.

The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble's Braids


Amra Tethys books sound exactly like my cup of tea and some of my friends highly recommended the book. Thieves, rogues, immortal sorcerers, epic artifacts, gods, demons -this book sounds like it will be hell of a lot of fun to read! I’m a total fan of thief fantasy with lots of magic and fantasy elements, so I expect grat fun from this book.

What is in your TBR? Link to your post and let me know!


Exciting New Releases This Summer

These will be my summer reads.

The Unholy Consult
I have been waiting for the Unholy Consult forever, even held off on reading the Aspect-Emperor books for ages until the release date was certain for TUC. This series is such a magnificent masterpiece of grimdark and epic fantasy, one of the best examples of the fantasy genre in fact. You can read my reviews of all the books in the series here:


The Court of Broken Knives

I have beta read a very early version of this book ages ago, I can’t tell you how excited I was to hear about the publishing deal and finally getting a publication date. This will probably be quite a bit different from that very early version I think, can’t wait to read and find out. It’s super grimdark but without a setting mostly covered in puke, piss, rot and other gross things. There is dazzling architecture, grand temples, palaces, beautiful gardens, spiced with utterly savage violence and serious nightmare fuel acts. The characters are so grimdark it’s not even funny!




A friend of mine told me to check this new debut out, and showed me a giveaway page where they had a free sample from the very beginning of the book. I was mighty impressed by the grimdarkness and how Anna Stephens made the characters so memorable in such a short space, I pre-ordered a copy. I heard the book delivers the top notch quality promised by the sample. I can’t wait to read it!



A Gathering of Ravens


Historical fantasy with an Orc protagonist and Norse myths pretty much sold me on that one. Not to mention the grimdark and all of the characters being morally ambiguous. I love books where no one is good or evil. Also I’ve never read any historical fantasy, this should be a good way to begin. It sounds like a pretty solid read judging from the Goodreads reviews.

What are you reading this summer?

Let me know in the comments!




Top Ten Tuesday: Spring TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly blog meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s theme is Spring TBR and here goes mine (though I highly doubt I will manage all of them in spring, it’s more like spring+summer TBR!)

The White Luck Warrior

The Great Ordeal

Ghosts of Tomorrow









I’m planning to finish all of Aspect-Emperor before the next one (The Unholy Consult) comes out in summer. And there’s the grimdark new release from Michael R. Fletcher I will squeeze in, I normally don’t read western fantasy but Fletcher’s Manifest Delusions books were so damn awesome, I will read everything he publishes cause he writes some of the most messed up and complex grimdark characters out there.


The Shadow Rising

The Fires of Heaven

Lord of Chaos









I’m aching to get back to the Wheel of Time world after reading the first 3 books, but some exciting new releases came out and the news of Unholy Consult coming out got me to grab Aspect-Emperor books. I am really dying to read the rest of the WoT!


Danse Macabre

The Falcon Throne

Sword of Destiny









Of course I’m ever the impatient one, which means sometimes I get way too hyped up about certain books and I will grab them before finishing the series I have at hand, no matter how awesome it is. I’m bad like that!

Best Served Cold


I have been meaning to read the standalone First Law world books by Abercrombie since The First Law trilogy felt too short and left me with a big book hangover. This is the first of the three standalone First Law world books.

What is in your TBR? Link to your post and let me know!


New Book Promo Group For Speculative Fiction Authors

I noticed a lot of fantasy/scifi and other book discussion groups have a strict ban on advertising your own indie/small press books and the existing book promo groups are flooded with erotica and self help stuff. Indie and small press authors are having a hard time promoting their books around. How are they supposed to get the word out when every fantasy/scifi forum out there is shunning book promo?

There’s no place for speculative fiction authors to promote their books, so I created a Facebook group for promoting speculative fiction books. I established some rules to keep the group from turning into a link spam dumpster. You need to do an elevator pitch and let the people know why they should buy it and what’s special about it.

The group is public and open to everyone, feel free to join and invite your friends. Readers and bloggers who want to discover new books are welcome. Here is the link:

Author Interview with Chad Ballard

Author Chad Ballard has released a very promising fantasy debut titled Sentinel which got a huge positive response on reddit /r/fantasy and became the top thread of the day. Here is an interview giving some insights about this exciting epic fantasy book and the author.

1. What genre are your books?

Sentinel, and the rest of The Ashen Court Series, are Fantasy. So is mostly everything else that I write. Every once in a while I’ll throw in some Sci-Fi or Steampunk when I write, but Fantasy has always been my go-to.

2. What draws you to this genre?

I think it’s the sense of wonder that you can get out of a Fantasy story. The whole genre throws the rules of reality out the window and lets a writer start with something completely fresh. You want a character that can throw fireballs and fly? You’ve got it. You want a character that swings around an impossibly large hammer like it’s a toy? Go for it. You want a race of people that have feet where their eyes should be and six hands on their arms? That’s just fine.

Another major part is the creation. I love to build worlds and characters and think through how a society acts around certain aspects of the world I’ve created. When I read, it’s the same way. I like to get into an author’s head and see what they’ve built.

3. What project are you working on at the moment?

Right now I’m working on the sequel to Sentinel. I’ve got a few working titles for it right now, but nothing is set in stone. I like one-word titles, though. I’m all finished outlining it and I’ve started writing. I’m a few chapters in, but the hard part for me is done.

4. Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is special?

I have two. Callan starts off the story as an entitled rich boy, ready to inherit the world from his parents. He’s book smart and a quick learner, but he’s useless when it comes to keeping himself alive. The thing that makes him most special is his innate ability to lead others. He doesn’t know he’s got it, mostly because he has no interest in a leadership position…but the ability is there and it comes out when it needs to.
Pyra is the daughter of one of the most feared Lords in the kingdom. Her father isn’t cruel or overly aggressive like his reputation would suggest…he’s just intimidating. Pyra is doing her damndest to get some respect in her position, and it seems like her father is the only one willing to give it to her. She’s stubborn, capable, and working quietly to become a powerful mage.

5. Which writers inspire you?

A lot of them, and for a lot of different reason. J.K. Rowling, because I grew up with Harry Potter and fell in love with her work. I read the first book with my mom and never looked back. Brandon Sanderson for the sheer creativity of his books. He’s got the most unique ideas I’ve ever read. Jim Butcher for his ability to simply tell an engaging story. He might not have the most unique pretense for his novels, but damn are they good. Charlie Holmberg for teaching me that becoming an author isn’t some fantasy that won’t ever come true.

6. When did you decide to become a writer? Why do you write?

I don’t think I ever consciously made that decision. I’ve been writing since I was old enough to know what I was doing. I’ve always loved telling stories and it seemed to be a good fit from the beginning.

I write because I love it, it’s that simple. I enjoy it, it takes stress out of my life. I have these ideas and characters in my head that I need to get out on paper. So I write.

7. Do you work on an outline or do you prefer to see where the idea takes you?

I have a loose outline. I keep note cards for every chapter with bullet points for every plot point that I’d like to happen in that chapter. I fill in the stuff in the middle as I go.

8. What are some of your favorite books/authors?

Besides the ones that I listed above? George R. R. Martin, Django Wexler, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Steven Erikson…the list is pretty huge. I’ll leave it at those for now, for the sake of saving space.

9. I heard your main character is a female with leadership skills. Was it challenging to write such a strong female character as a male author?

Not really. The toughest part was making her seem genuine and not a strong female character for the sake of being a strong female character. I couldn’t ask myself “would a young woman do that?” I had to ask “Would a reasonable person in this situation do that?” It’s all about being genuine.

10. You have those lion people in your book, how did you come up with the idea?

It was mostly an effort to step out of the normal bounds of fantasy. I didn’t want the focus to be on Elves or Dwarves or Halflings or anything like that. I wanted a race of people that was unique to my story. I won’t say much about them specifically, to avoid spoilers, but I think that they’re a lot of fun. As much fun as 9-foot tall were-lion-things can be.

11. How can readers discover more about you and your work?

I try to update my Twitter as often as possible. @chadtastic92. I’m also on Reddit, and I hang around /r/fantasy pretty often. My username there is /u/chadtastic112. I’ll also have a blog up and running shortly. I’ll be sure to get the word out through either of those mediums when it goes live.

WWW Wednesday 25 November 2015

WWW Wednesday weekly blog meme

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m currently reading:

Beyond Redemption by Michael Fletcher.

It’s a batshit crazy world full of batshit crazy people. The lines between delusions and reality are quite blurred, if they exist at all. It’s dark, gritty and full of horrible, amoral characters. Even the little kid isn’t an innocent little angel, if that tells you something. The concept is very original and the characters are compelling. If you are a fan of grimdark, you will definitely love this book.

Beyond Redemption by Micheal J. Fletcher

Recently finished reading:

The Liar’s Key by Mark Lawrence.

Great book, a work of genius. The first book of the series is called Prince of Fools and this book continues the story there. See my reviews for Prince of Fools and The Liar’s Key.

The Liar's Key by Mark Lawrence

I’m planning to read next:

Fae: The Sins of the Wyrde by Graham Austin-King.

I read the first two books and they impressed me a good deal. See my reviews here, Fae: The Wild Hunt and Fae: The Realm of The Twilight.

Before they are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie (I read The Blade Itself and totally loved it, see my review here)

Fae: The Sins of the Wyrde by Graham Austin-King Before they are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie

Summer Reading List: The Most Promising Books from my TBR

I feel like sharing a select few books from my massive TBR I have reserved for my summer reading. The Goodreads reviews, covers and the blurbs are quite promising and I think I will have a great time reading these.

If you like dark, dystopian fantasy or epic fantasy with a dark twist you might want to consider adding them to your reading list.

The Riven Wyrde Saga series by Graham Austin-King is the first in my list. This is a dark faery tale, which is right up my alley. I read plenty of grimdark but this will be the first grimdark fairy tale I will be reading. The first book of the series was the semifinalist for the best Kindle reads award and received plenty of high praise from the Goodreads and Reddit /r/Fantasy folks. The second one has excellent reviews, too, but I just skimmed through them for the fear of spoilers. I will start reading this series as soon as I’m done reading Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence (which is a superb read, btw!)

Fae The Wild Hunt

Fae The Realm of Twilight

The 3rd book of the series is not released yet so I should be able to read these two before it’s out.

The next book I’m mighty curious about and dying to read is Peter Newman’s debut novel The Vagrant. It’s fresh off the press, published just a few days ago from Harper Voyager. The cover grabbed my eye when I saw friends sharing it on Facebook. The blurb is quite intriguing and sounds like something I’d totally love. I have a thing for mysterious characters and the main character of this book is as mysterious as they come, judging from the blurb and a couple of reviews.

The Vagrant

The next in my list is the Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb. My co-bloggers at Grimdark Alliance have reviewed it and I really need to catch up since this excellent series is one of the must-reads of grimdark fantasy.

Assassin's Apprentice

Royal Assassin

Assassin's Quest

The last one in the list the Aspect-Emperor series by R. Scott Bakker. I loved The Prince of Nothing to death and it left me with a major book hangover. I have been holding off on reading its sequel, The Aspect-Emperor, cause its 3rd book is not out yet. I’m dying to know what happens next and what evils the dreaded Consult are stirring, what Achamian is planning to do and whether Kellhus turns out to be a hero or villain.

The Judging Eye

The White Luck Warrior

This pretty much sums up my summer vacation reading list so far. Whether I will get to read all of them before the end of the summer is another question. There’s nothing like the joy of reading grimdark under the mediterranean sun!

Concept for my book title

Today I managed to learn some cool text effects and typography tricks on gimp and made a concept design for the title of my WIP novel. Feeling too tired to write, I played around following this awesome metallic text tutorial and put together the concept. Almost looks professional, doesn’t it?

Though this looks more like a romance design rather than dark epic fantasy. I need to pick a more suitable font next time I try.

It took me about 2 hours to figure out the typography stuff. As a first timer, putting this together was not an easy task. Doing the steps of the tutorial took about half an hour. But once you get the hang of it, it gets a lot easier and takes less time. Besides, you can save the steps of what you do as layers in your gimp .xcf file, so it’s hell of a lot faster to duplicate the same thing with different texts.

My artistic side has been neglected since I took up writing and it has been complaining louder and louder as weeks passed by.  This book cover design business worked out quite well. Now I can resume writing my missing chapters!



Creepy Book Cover Concept

As a starving indie author I can’t afford a professional book cover design, so I decided to brush up my graphics skills to get ready to make my own covers. I use gimp, a free graphics software which is also known as the poor man’s photoshop. (You can download it from

If you want to learn how to make your own book covers, Rachel Zellers is running an excellent tutorial series on her blog here:

Anyway, I have downloaded hundreds of fancy brushes from deviantart (searching for gimp brushes reveals hundreds of results) and decided to play with them a bit. I was actually trying to do a happy, cheerful, fairy-tale kind of cover but ended up with a creepy gothic thing. Reading too much grimdark fantasy literature has that effect on you I guess!

This is not the actual cover for my own book, it’s just a concept I slapped together this evening. Gimp brushes are a lot of fun to play with!

creepy book cover design

creepy book cover design