Below is this week's list of new fantasy releases, plus some from earlier in the month...
-A Dance of Chaos by David Dalglish (6th and final book in series)
-A Minor Malevolent Spirit and Other Tales by Drew Karpyshyn
-Born of Defiance (The League: Nemesis Rising Book 7) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
-A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel: Volume Four by George R.R. Martin
-Gotrek & Felix: Slayer by David Guymer
-Dreams of Shreds and Tatters by Amanda Downum
-The Two of Swords: Part Four by K.J. Parker
-Lord of Ashes (Steelhaven: Book Three) by Richard Ford (concludes the trilogy. I bought all 3, though I had to 'switch' my location to the UK to buy the first 2 books)
-Sword of the North (The Grim Company Series) by Luke Scull
-Oracle: The House War: Book Six by Michelle West (one more book in this series, I think?)
-Witches With the Enemy (The Mist-Torn Witches series Book 3) by Barb Hendee
-Unseemly Science: The Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire, Book 2 by Rod Duncan
-The Waterborne Blade by Susan Murray
-Blackbirds (Miriam Black) by Chuck Wendig
-The Dhulyn and Parno Novels: Volume Two by Violette Malan
Things have been quiet around here again the last 3 weeks. I got busy with house stuff, and job hunting and didn't have as much time to read in the evenings. I have NOT started reading any books for the indie challenge (yet). I still plan to read some indie books, but for reasons I'll explain, I'll only consider completed indie series. One of the primary reasons for this, is we are likely to put our house on the market this summer (we hope) to move to a better school district. Because of that, I need to do something about my overflowing book cases. I have 5 bookcases, each overflowing..and at least 100 (or more like 150-200) of those books are unread. Instead of wasting the time and space to move books that I don't like, I need to start reading some of those unread books. That way, if I find a series I don't like, I can prune my bookshelf and sell those books to my used bookstore. Plus, since we are considering moving, I should be a little more responsible with my money for awhile. That also means reading some books I own, instead of continuing to buy new books, and throw those new books on the shelves to read at some point in the distant future.
So while we are figuring out the house situation, I'll be focused on reading books I already own...for COMPLETED series. I have at least 30 series in which I own all the books, but haven't read them. Just makes sense to start working on that pile, I think. That said, I will find a way to work in some completed indie series, too. I just won't consider indie books that are part of a series-in-progress.
All that said...here is an update on what I have been reading the last 2 weeks:
-Finally finished A Memory of Light, the last book in the Wheel of Time. I thought it was an excellent end to the series, mostly (not sure about the very end, though, but can't say more due to spoilers). Those last few hundred pages were pretty emotional, and I felt happy and a little sad after finishing it. It took me 4 years, but I'm glad I can finally say I read it (though I did skip books 9, 10 and a good bit of 11). I imagine I will read it again, but not in the near future
-After spending a year trying to read Oath of Fealty (Legend of Paksenarrion Book 1), I finally gave up over the weekend. I only had 50 pages left, but gosh...I just had no emotional connection to the book or the characters. Maybe it would have helped if I had read the Paks trilogy, but I'll probably never know. I think it was the writing itself that didn't work for me. I felt distant from the story, and like I was reading a dry history textbook. If I couldn't finish the book in a year, and still didn't care with just 50 pages left, I felt it was time to move on to something else. I owned books 1, 2, 3, 5 in hardcover, so those were taken to the used bookstore on Saturday. That's 4 less books I'll eventually have to pack
-After giving up on Oath of Fealty, I decided to start reading Blood Song (A Raven's Shadow Novel, Book 1) by Anthony Ryan. I was going to wait until a little closer to release of the 3rd and final book on July 7, 2015, but I started reading Blood Song and couldn't put it down. I'm 250 pages into it, and can see why it got so many rave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. Excellent book so far.
This is part 2 of the Kindle Indie Reading Project post. You can find Part 1 here, which gives you the background on what I plan to do.
And now that you know what the project is about, below is my initial list of books. These books are in no particular order...I'll choose one based on what sounds good to me when I'm ready for my next read.
-Paladin's Redemption (Kingdom's Forge Book 1) by Kade Derricks
-Forging Divinity by Andrew Rowe
-Mercenary (Blade Asunder Book 1) by John Kiln
-The King's Sword (Erdemen Honor Book 1) by C.J. Brightley (this one intrigued my despite the low sales ranking)
-The Jack of Souls: A Rogue and Knight Epic Fantasy Series by Stephen Merlino
-Winter's Reach (The Revanche Cycle Book 1) by Craig Schaefer (ok, so I guess I'm not always considering the sales rank)
-Thornbear (Champions of the Dawning Dragons Book 1) by Michael G. Manning
-The Shadow Of What Was Lost (The Licanius Trilogy Book 1) by James Islington
-Enchantress (The Evermen Saga Book 1) by James Maxwell (47 North counts as indie for me....for now)
-The Way Into Chaos: Book One of the Great Way by Harry Connolly
-Bloodrush (The Scarlet Star Trilogy Book 1) by Ben Galley
-The Eye of Everfell: Book One of the Shadow Battles by Bard Constantine (ok, so this one has only 1 review and low sales ranking)
-Rough Magick (GnomeSaga Book 1) by Kenny Soward
-Trysmoon Book 1: Ascension (The Trysmoon Saga) by Brian Fuller
-House of Blades (The Traveler's Gate Trilogy Book 1) by Will Wight
-Chased by Fire (The Cloud Warrior Saga Book 1) by D.K. Holmberg
So two times in the past, I've mentioned on the blog that I was going to make an attempt to read some indie and self-pubbed Kindle books (epic fantasy of course). I asked for author submittals, got too many and couldn't make a decision, and the project went nowhere either time.
I've been wanting to do something to get out of my reading rut, and I've spent the last month (literally) thinking about this idea again. However, my attempt this time will be a bit different. I'm not looking for (and do not want) author submissions for this. I've already spent time browsing the Kindle store to come up with a list of books I'll try to read. Below is my list of "rules":
- Must be epic fantasy, and available on Kindle. I joined the Kindle Unlimited program just for this project so most of the books will be available in KU. However, I will definitely read indie books that are not part of the KU program.
- Must be self-published or small-press. Basically I'm not looking for a book I can buy at my local bookstores.
- A decent sales ranking. I know this one sounds weird, but I want to know that others are reading the book, too.
- An average rating over 4.0+, if not higher.
I know those last two items sound odd, so let me explain
There are SO MANY indie fantasy books in the Kindle store, I need some way of narrowing it down a bit. The goal if this is NOT to make some great new discovery. I just want to see how good the more popular books really are. So at least initially, I'm not likely to consider the book with a ranking of 2,100,000 and no reviews. I know that isn't fair to all authors, but I have to narrow it down somehow. And its the easiest way to start this project. Who knows how it might change, if I find lots of good reads
Its becoming fairly common to see these indie fantasy titles with lots of 4 & 5 star reviews, and making the top 3000 in overall Kindle sales. It makes me wonder...are these books really that good? Or are the ratings coming from friends, family, or paid? Also, it seems like more and more indie authors are getting major deals. One of the things these deals have in common is that the books have tons of high reviews on Amazon, plus (naturally) lots of sales (a high sales ranking).
Thus, I'm wanting to find out for myself...how good are the books? Are they as good as the sales and reviews say? And (as a side goal of this project), can the $9.99 a month for the KU program give me lots of enjoyable epic fantasy every month? Obviously the answers to those questions are subjective. But for those of you with tastes similar to mine (you prefer "classic" fantasy a little more than the grimdark stuff), you might find this project interesting.
I have no idea how long this project will last. Initially, I plan to read nothing but these Indie books...at least for the next few weeks. If the project doesn't go well, I'll give up and go back to reading "major" books. Or, what I hope, is that I'll find some good reads, and my reading will become a mix of indie and BPH (big publishing house) books.
I'm open to suggestions, if you want to leave a comment. But I would prefer not to see authors recommending their own books. If you have seen a popular indie fantasy in the Kindle store, wondered if the book could really be as good as the reviews claim but were afraid to try it, feel free to drop the book's name in the comments.
I do have a list of 15 or so that I've already chosen (i.e. I've downloaded samples, but haven't read any of them yet). I'll create a Part 2 post, later today or tomorrow, to list the books I'm considering.
Instead of several short posts today, I thought I would combine everything into one...
First, I updated my 2015 Epic Fantasy Want To Read list. I added some books, and made notes besides the books I've read (or tried to read). There is no way I'll get to all those, but I'm off to a better start than last year. The idea of going back to completed series only keeps getting in the way. And I've toyed with the idea of spending a month reading some of the self-published 4.5+ star fantasy novels on Amazon. I also updated the Fantasy Series Ending in 2015 list.
-I decided to give up on Iron Axe after all. After seeing all the books in my 2015 reading list, I realized I don't have time for a book that hasn't hooked me by page 100. I've got about 100 pages left in The Autumn Republic and still enjoying it. But I also continue to believe it won't be a 5 star series for me..more like a 4.5. So def worth reading, but not at the level of The Macht or the Brian Stavelely series.
-The Mechanical (The Alchemy Wars) by Ian Tregillis
-The Exile: Book One of the Fae (Book of the Fae) by C.T. Adams
-Anti-Hero by Jonathan Wood (even though i have less than zero interest in any story with zombies, I have a feeling I would like this series)
-The Fall of Fair Isle by Rowena Cory Daniells (this has to win worst cover of the week, right? Also, this is a 3 book omnibus)
-Broken Vows (The Fall of Fair Isle Book 1) by Rowena Cory Daniells