SPFM Book Review Repost: Gedlund by William Ray

Banner image with cover of Gedlund by William Ray, superimposed over zoomed in image of same cover. Text reads "SPFM BOOK REVIEW REPOST" and "Off The TBR"

September is Self-Published Fantasy Month! This is the fourth year for this event and the first time I’m not participating as an admin/host. Thankfully there’s a great team filling in this year to keep the event going better than ever.

Since I won’t have the opportunity to review many self-pub books this September due to…all the damn reasons, I thought I’d repost some reviews of self-published fantasy I’ve really enjoyed previously. Because really the whole point of Self-Published Fantasy Month is to celebrate self-pub books and authors, and what better way to do that than shouting about them repeatedly year after year to anyone who will listen?

So this begins the first in a series of reposts I plan to upload between now and the end of the month. These will be copies of the original review, updated slightly for formatting. The first is for the book I credit with getting me hooked on self-pub…Gedlund, by William Ray.

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Book Review Repost: Gedlund

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Recently the Self-Published Fantasy Month Team posted a list of some self-published fantasy recs for those who have not read much self-published fantasy and don’t know where to start with finding a good book to read. Our hope was to offer up a few suggestions each while admitting the list would leave out a bunch of great books and authors. I hate leaving out great stories so I decided to re-post the reviews of all the self-published fantasy books I’ve really enjoyed over the last few years. Over the coming days and weeks I’ll be re-posting them here in the lead up to Self-Published Fantasy Month. My hope is you might find one that catches your interest for September.

First up is my review of Gedlund: A Tale of The Verin Empire, by William Ray. It was this book that started it all for me; this book that I count as my gateway book; this book that made me realize self-published books could be fantastic. Continue reading

Cover Reveal: Fortune’s Fool

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Today I have the honor of hosting the cover reveal for Fortune’s Fool, the debut novel by independently published author Angela Boord. Fortune’s Fool is a Renaissance inspired, epic, historical, black powder, and romance fantasy. It’s the first book of the Eterean Empire series and releases June 25, 2019 on Kindle and later in paperback.

About The Book

A secret affair. A disfiguring punishment. A burning need for revenge.

Kyrra d’Aliente has a bad reputation and an arm made of metal.

Cast out of the safe and luxurious world of silk to which she was born, played as a pawn in a game of feuding Houses, Kyrra navigates a dangerous world of mercenaries, spies, and smugglers while disguising herself as a man.

War destroyed her family and the man she loved. Vengeance is within her grasp.

But is she willing to pay its price?

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Cover Art: John Anthony Di Giovanni; Cover Design: Shawn T. King

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Seven Blades In Black Review

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Author: Sam Sykes
Series: The Grave of Empires Book 1
Publisher: Orbit
Publication Date:  April 9, 2019
Format: Trade Paperback
Pages: 704 (661 + Extras)
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher.

Seven Blades In Black is the dark, gritty, sarcastic, epic, guns, swords, and sorcery revenge story you’ve been wanting, even if you didn’t know it. Continue reading

Monthly Reading Goals: March 2019

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Nicole over at Thoughts Stained With Ink talked me into trying out this post topic back in January and after running with it a couple of months I’ve decided to keep it going. For now at least.

This isn’t something I usually do because I hate locking myself into a specific reading list. It just never works out for me. As my previous Month In Review posts reveal, I rarely stick to what I set out to read. I might read more, less, or switch books out for others. Rarely to I finish the month as I intended.

So my ongoing rule for this topic will be…

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Pirate Latitudes Review

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Author: Michael Chrichton
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: 2009
Format: Paperback
Pages: 384

“The Caribbean 1665. A remote colony of the English Crown, the island of Jamaica holds out against the vast supremacy of the Spanish empire. Port Royal, its capital, is a cutthroat town of taverns, grog shops, and bawdy houses. In this steamy climate there’s a living to be made, a living that can end swiftly by disease – or by dagger. For Captain Charles Hunter, gold in Spanish hands is gold for the taking, and the law of the land rests with those ruthless enough to make it.”

I picked up Pirate Latitudes from my local library when preparing for our recent trip to Jamaica. I was looking for a fun page turning beach read set in the Caribbean in general or Jamaica specifically. I’d read Jurassic Park and Rising Sun back in high school (way back in the 90’s) but nothing by Crichton since. I really enjoyed those books then and figured this one would be cool. I would read it while sitting on the beach sipping a rum drink and bask in all the atmosphere. We were even staying at a resort on a bay where the pirate Calico Jack was supposedly captured. I mean c’mon pirates (check), Jamaica (check), rum drinks (check)! This had everything going its way. To add to the interest factor It turns out Pirate Latitudes was published posthumously in 2009. Supposedly after Crichton died in 2008 an assistant found the manuscript on one of his computers.

As you might could tell I wanted to like this book. I really, really did. I tried to like it. But in the end I just couldn’t. There was a reason Crichton hadn’t published Pirate Latitudes yet and it shows. I think he knew it and that’s why he hadn’t submitted it yet. Continue reading

Author Interview: William Ray

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Today marks the first ever Author Interview on Off The TBR! William Ray graciously accepted my interview request and I want to take a moment to thank him.

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Ray is the self-published author of the Tales Of The Verin Empire series which at this point consists of two full length novels, Gedlund and The Great Restoration and a short story, A Case of Eager Heirs . You can read my reviews of those novels by clicking on the links in the titles above. Continue reading

The Great Restoration: A Tale of The Verin Empire Review

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Author: William Ray
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date:  2017
Format: Paperback
Pages: 483
(I received a copy of his book from the author in exchange for an honest review)

Gaslight, elves, goblins, secret societies, kidnapping, detectives, and black-powder fantasy. All of these come together as William Ray continues his Tales Of The Verin Empire series with The Great Restoration. Where Gedlundthe first book in the series was a mix of black powder fantasy mixed with sword and sorcery while on military campaigns at the boundaries of the empire, for this installment Ray took a different approach. In fact he kinda went with a slightly different sub-genre. The Great Restoration is a detective-mystery story set within both the heart of the empire and one if its recently acquired territories. Continue reading

Gedlund: A Tale Of The Verin Empire Review

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Author: William Ray
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date:  December 2014
Format: Paperback
Pages: 627

(I was given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.)

Black powder weapons, railroads, steamships, spear chucking goblins, zombies, vampire lords, lightning giants and magic.

That was a list, not a sentence, but did it get your attention?

In Gedlund, William Ray takes blackpowder fantasy and merges it with sword and sorcery. What he produced is a war story set in a fantasy world that seems almost real. You know, except for the goblins and vampires and whatnot. So let’s get to it… Continue reading