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Hey, all! August proved to be another busy month here over at Whispers & Wonder. I finished up my mini-batch of SPFBO reads, then had to hunker down and make the crazy tough decision on who I’d like to see move on. I was also finally able to attack some of the titles on my request list (not nearly enough of them, though – if I owe you a review, it’s on its way!). We had a blast with another two Call to Arms Tourneys, one which got severely out of control just as I’d hoped it would. And finally, we got some insight into three of the five novelettes that are featured in the upcoming Dark Ends anthology. As always, I’m elated we’ve taken this journey together, but in case you missed anything, this is what went on.


Reviews

This month presented me with a wide variety of reads – a horror-driven dark occult fantasy, a mathematical military fantasy, a politically-charged young adult, and an epic fantasy that pays homage to the classics. It was also a month marked by a couple surprises and a couple disappointments.


Copper Pennies by Carrie D. Miller
Copper Pennies is a wildly creative and unique narrative spanning decades and generations. An emotional and unsettling journey defined by an inventive structure, deep character bonding, gritty and sinister magic, and easy-to-read and engaging prose.SEE FULL REVIEW


Shields in Shadow by Andy Peloquin
Shields in Shadow is a carefully written tale of redemption established with mathematical strategy and high-energy, bloody battles. An awesome well-rounded cast of characters and an implied rich history of magic and myth piqued my interest.SEE FULL REVIEW


Realm of Knights by Jennifer Anne Davis
Realm of Knights is a story with tons of potential, but falls short on execution. A tale of political intrigue and conspiracy kept me turning the pages, however, almost all the other aspects of the book aren’t as developed and polished as I’d hoped they’d be.SEE FULL REVIEW


Pursuit of Shadows by JA Andrews
Pursuit of Shadows is a clean, exciting, and uplifting adventure across the Sweep. With its refreshingly lighthearted approach to tackling serious concepts, and amazing characters, this book has earned its place on my personal list of feel-good fantasy.SEE FULL REVIEW


SPFBO

This month I finished up my assigned mini-batch by reading the three books listed below. After turning the final page of the last book, I had to begin making the toughest decision on which one would be my semifinalist to be passed off to my blogmates over at Fantasy Book Critic. Let me reiterate – this was a TOUGH decision.

The images below link out to respective Goodreads pages, so give them a look!

Six books read, one semifinalist chosen. A mini-review was written for each entrant, and my choice received a full review. The entire update has been posted over on the FBC blog, which you can see here.

Ok, without further ado, my semifinalist is…
*
**
***
****
*****
****
***
**
*
*
**
***
****
*****
****
***
**
*

A huge congrats to JA Andrews for moving on in the competition! This book was such a pleasure to read – so much so that I’ve already ordered and am awaiting the remaining books in the series. Best of luck, JA!

Mini-Reviews


Starheart by Hailey GriffithsA remarkably whimsical story defined by a uniquely enchanting world; one that is far too easy to lose yourself in. After a rough start due to unnecessary fluff, I was pulled in with imaginative trials, wicked villains, and alluring mystery.SEE FULL REVIEW


Grayden: The Secret of Illryn by L.K. EvansA compelling story of persuasion and deceit governed by magic, gods, and the arduous journey of finding the truth. Although there are plenty of brutal stabby moments, a shift in tone unfortunately created a disconnect for me.SEE FULL REVIEW


The Dark Ability by DK HolmbergA prevalent tale with an interesting magic system and a captivating supporting cast of characters. Repetitive introspection and instances of over-simplified narrative, there were times I was pulled from the immersion of the story.SEE FULL REVIEW


A Keeper’s Destiny by C.A. KingA coming-of-age tale of a cast exploring their strengths, talents, and interesting powers. This book has a promising concept and tons of potential, but unfortunately gets bogged down by copious amounts of info dumping.SEE FULL REVIEW


The Ukinhan Wilds by Eldon ThompsonA thrilling tale of adventure, treachery, and courage fraught with horrors and peril. While I loved trekking through the wilds, I feel my lack of knowledge in this established world prevented me from truly connecting with the main character. SEE FULL REVIEW


Dark Ends

Last month I was honored to announce the upcoming Dark Ends anthology, and these lovely authors have agreed to allow me to pick their brains for some exclusive early details! I was able to chat with Luke, Clayton, and Krystle about their novelettes, writerly quirks, scotch, coffee, and Gemmell. Make sure to give these a read!

Luke Tarzian discusses his upcoming novelette The Laughing Heart, his writing practices, inspirations, and what he would do if faced with a (potentially) harrowing situation.
SEE THE INTERVIEW

Clayton Snyder discusses his upcoming novelette Savages, what he does when facing down the dreaded middle, the effects of BPD, and the perfect cup of coffee.
SEE THE INTERVIEW

Krystle Matar discusses her upcoming novelette Taint, her writing habits, why she’s the authorly equivalent of a magpie, and advice for reading Gemmell.
SEE THE INTERVIEW


Call to Arms

This month we had another two great contests – one that got completely out of hand, and I couldn’t be more proud. Two lucky winners snagged some pretty sweet loot after exhibiting their awesome gif game. You can see more details about the individual contests below, or you can check out the Call to Arms hub. Also visit our Circle of Champions, where the coats of arms of our winners will live on forever.


The Blood-Tainted Winter by T L Greylock
THEME: Outrageous Winter

CHAMPION: D.P. Woolliscroft
WINNING GIF:

MORE DETAILS


Duckett & Dyer: Dicks For Hire by G.M. Nair
THEME: Incompetence

CHAMPION: Andy Ebookwyrm
WINNING GIF:

MORE DETAILS


Alright, that’s all I have for you, folks. September is already shaping up to be another exciting month, so make sure to check in often for more wonderful and crazy ongoings. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for stopping by – your kindness and support are what keep me going!

Happy Reading!
🖤

Justine Bergman

Web developer by trade, ravenous reader, excited reviewer, dark fantasy enthusiast, mother of pups, drinker of strong coffee, and player of games. I'm also a contributor over at Fantasy Book Critic and The Fantasy Hive, and I love sharing the love.

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