What I’m Reading: We Lie With Death by Devin Madson

Banner Image of cover of We Lie With Death by Devin Madson superimposed over zoomed in version of same cover. Text reads What I'm Reading and Off The TBR.

It’s been a few weeks since I had a new What I’m Reading post go up. This is primarily due to the fact that the last three books I’ve read have been for #SPFBO and I’m trying not to advertise my reading for the contest ahead of time. You’ll probably only see cross-posts for #SPFBO reviews on this site since the official team site is Beth Tabler’s Before We Go Blog.

But…I’m done reading my first batch of #SPFBO books which means I have a little time to do some regular reading before I have to focus on the next phase. Which is good because I’m waaaaaayyyyyyy behind on my other reading. This book has been on my TBR since the beginning of the year when it came out. It’s the follow-up to one of my favorite reads from 2020 and I’m super excited about diving into it.

So what am I reading this week? Well…it’s We Lie With Death by Devin Madson.

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#SPFBO7 Elimination: Ryswyck by L.D. Inman

This is just a quick post to share my first cut of #SPFBO7 for team Before We Go Blog. I know I’ve not posted in over a week and that’s due in part to being busy with work and other things, and in part to focusing only on reading #SPFBO entrants for the past couple of weeks.

If you’re new to #SPFBO here’s a link telling you all about it: The Self Published Fantasy Blog Off

Our initial batch of 30 books was divided among the team and Ryswyck was my first read for the contest and the first book I cut from my batch. Since Beth Tabler’s Before We Go Blog site is the official blog for our team you can find the full post there using the link below. It was originally posted June 11th and you may have already seen me post it on Twitter. I hope you’ll follow our team and the full competition as we move along. In the future I’ll try to cross-post links my reviews once they’ve first been posted to the team blog.

https://beforewegoblog.com/spfbo7-ryswyck-by-l-d-inman/

Book Haul: May 2021

Banner image featuring covers for the books Unsouled by Will WIght, The Pariah by Anthony Ryan, Catalyst Gate by Megan E. O'Keefe, and The Colour of Vengeance by Rob Hayes. Text reads Book Haul and Off the TBR

I’ve been quiet lately here on the blog. That’s mostly because I’ve been busy reading my first allotment of books for SPFBO, and I haven’t had any new reviews ready to go. I’ll be working on some SPFBO reviews you’ll be able to find over at Before We Go Blog, and may have some regular ones here as well in the near future. In the meantime I thought I’d share my latest book haul update with you.

My last Book Haul post was like two months ago for books I’d hauled in March. That’s not a big deal, I just didn’t realize that much time had passed. And unsurprisingly I’ve not yet read a single one of the books from that haul. One of them doesn’t come out until the fall so I’ve got time for it and one is a SPFBO entrant so I may end up reading it as part of the competition. We’ll see.

But adding books to my TBR and not reading them hasn’t stopped me from continuing to add more books. And if you are anything like me the same applies to you. So we can both revel in our book hauling, TBR building habits together.

Which leads me to this post and my haul for May. I’m really excited about all of the books I picked up last month and am trying to figure out how to work them into my schedule for the coming months. So what did I bring home? Well…take a look…

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Book Review: Son of The Storm by Suyi Davies Okungbowa

Banner image featuring cover of Son Of The Storm by Suyi Daviese Okungbowa superimposed over zoomed in and blurred image of same cover. Text reads "Book Review" and "Off The TBR."

Sometimes a book doesn’t hit you like you thought it would. For some books that means you’re in for a grand surprise and it just blows you away in unexpected ways. For others it means it fell flat and you have to ask yourself is it the book or is it me and my personal tastes that are to blame. Son of The Storm by Suyi Davies Okungbowa is one of thse books that didn’t hit me like I thought it would, and unfortunately it was the latter example of it falling somewhat flat. There were some compelling elements I liked and others that just didn’t stir me in any way. I’ll try to be fair to what the book did and didn’t accomplish for me as a reader.

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New Blogging/Reviewing Goal Reached

Banner Image for SPFBO competition. Text reads "SPFBO" and "300 Books 10 Judges 1 Winner"

If you follow me on Twitter or here on the blog you know I’m a big fan of self-published fantasy. What started out with a couple self-published author requests to read and review their books soon turned into hosting Self-Published Fantasy Month over the last three years. But there’s one major thing I haven’t been a part of as it relates to blogging and self-published fantasy. That my friends is participating in SPFBO. Sure I’ve followed along over the last few years, and I’ve tried to read the finalists, but nothing more than that. Well, that’s now changed because…

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Book Review: The Dragon of Jin-Sayeng by K.S. Villoso

Banner image featuring cover of The Dragon of Jin-Sayeng by K.S. Villoso superimposed over zoomed in image of same cover. Text reads "Book Review"  and "Off The TBR."

I’ve finally made it to the end of The Chronicles of The Bitch Queen. It’s been an emotional and intimate journey with Queen Talyien as she penned her story, and it would be an understatement to say I enjoyed it. Tali’s narrative has become a new favorite fantasy series, with a new favorite protagonist, and with K.S. Villoso as a new favorite author. If you’re looking for compelling and complex characters in an epic non-western fantasy setting I recommend you give this series a chance.

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What I’m Reading: Son of the Storm by Suyi Davies Okungbowa

Banner image featuring cover of Son Of The Storm by Suyi Davies Okungbowa superimposed over zoomed in image of same cover. Text reads "What I'm Reading" and "Off The TBR."

Yet again I’m posting a What I’m Reading update when I’d hoped to be posting the review for the book. In this case I started reading it on Monday, the day before its release date in the U.S. This is another one I’ve had on my TBR a while and which I received as an ARC. But, the positive, glass is half full thing is I’ve started the read and I’ll hopefully have a review up while it’s still newly published.

So what I’m I reading this week? Well…it’s Son of the Storm by Suyi Davies Okungbowa.

Cover of Son Of The Storm by Suyi Davies Okungbowa

From one of the most exciting new storytellers in epic fantasy, Son of the Storm is a sweeping tale of violent conquest and forgotten magic set in a world inspired by the pre-colonial empires of West Africa.

“Everything I love in a fantasy novel. Damn good stuff!” —Jenn Lyons, author of The Ruin of Kings

In the ancient city of Bassa, Danso is a clever scholar on the cusp of achieving greatness—only he doesn’t want it. Instead, he prefers to chase forbidden stories about what lies outside the city walls. The Bassai elite claim there is nothing of interest. The city’s immigrants are sworn to secrecy.

But when Danso stumbles across a warrior wielding magic that shouldn’t exist, he’s put on a collision course with Bassa’s darkest secrets. Drawn into the city’s hidden history, he sets out on a journey beyond its borders. And the chaos left in the wake of his discovery threatens to destroy the empire.

Goodreads Blurb

Son of the Storm
The Nameless Republic #1
Suyi Davies Okungbowa
Orbit Books
Publication Date: May 11, 2021
Kindle ARC

A couple things drew me to this book. One is that cover. I just love the color and the visual it presents. You know I enjoy good cover art and something about it just seems mysterious to me.

The second (and primary) thing that drew me to this book was the setting. I’m always eager to read non-western (European based) fantasy. Add to that the inspiration of pre-colonial West Africa and I had to have it. I’ve made a couple trips to Ghana and I loved the time I spent there getting to know the people and the culture even if only for just a little while. I don’t believe this setting is based on Ghana but I’m still looking forward to maybe picking up on a few references here and there. In my short time reading it last night there were a couple little nuances that transported me back to that general locale and it really helped me feel the setting a bit more.

Beyond that the story just sounds really cool. I’ve seen a couple early reviews that made me feel like I could be in for a real treat with this read and I’m just really excited to dig into it.

Anyone else already read Son of the Storm? If so what did you think? Anyone else have it on their TBR? Let me know in the comments.

-Jason

What I’m Reading: The Dragon of Jin-Sayeng by K.S. Villoso

Banner image of cover of The Dragon of Jin-Sayeng by K.S. Villoso superimposed over zoomed in and blurred image of same cover. Text reads "What I'm Reading" and "Off The TBR."

I’d hoped that this “What I’m Reading Post” would be a book review but alas it’s not. I had that hope because this book is scheduled to be released today in the U.S. and the publisher sent me an ARC, and I’ve had it a while, and I usually try to get reviews for ARCs posted before the book comes out if not weeks before it comes out. But I didn’t. Because I’m still reading it. Because I’m behind. Because life.

Anyway, the least I can do is get a What I’m Reading post put together to go live on the day the book releases. That’s something right? So what am I reading? Well…it’s The Dragon of Jin-Sayeng by K.S. Villoso.

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Book Review: The Shadow of The Gods by John Gwynne

Banner image featuring the cover of Shadow of The Gods by John Gwynne superimposed over zoomed in image of same cover. Text reads "Book Review" and "Off The TBR"

When I first received a copy of The Shadow of The Gods in the mail I can’t tell you how excited I was. I’d never read a John Gwynne novel before but I’ve seen pretty much nothing but acclaim for his work. And the reviews from those other books had me thinking any story by Gwynne would be right up my alley. Friends, those thoughts were not wrong.

The Shadow of The Gods is a violent, bloody, Norse inspired saga that I didn’t want to set down. I was disappointed at the end not because it was bad, but because I hungered for more. My tastes in fantasy vary, and I like to think they are wide ranging, but that gritty, battle filled epic is definitely a favorite of mine.

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