Next SFF Author: Michael P. Spradlin
Previous SFF Author: Kari Sperring

Series: SPFBO

We’re participating in Mark Lawrence’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off in which hundreds of self-published fantasy writers submit their work to be judged by 10 fantasy bloggers. Read more about this contest at Mark Lawrence’s blog.



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SPFBO Final Round Reviews part 2

In Mark Lawrence‘s Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off, ten SFF review blogs joined forces to read 300 self-published fantasy novels. Each blog read ten books and chose one to advance to the top ten. The book that we advanced was Kaitlyn Davis‘s The Shadow Soul (here’s our review) and we gave it a score of 5 out of 10 on Lawrence’s scale. We reviewed four of the finalists back in March and this post contains our last batch of reviews. Thanks for joining us on this quest,


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SPFBO Final Round Reviews part 1

In Mark Lawrence‘s Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off, ten SFF review blogs joined forces to read 300 self-published fantasy novels. Each blog read ten books and chose one to advance to the top ten. The book that we advanced was Kaitlyn Davis‘s The Shadow Soul (here’s our review) and we gave it a score of 5 out of 10 on Lawrence’s scale. We are currently reading the remaining top ten SPFBO books. Here is our review of four of them. We’ll get the last five books done soon.


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The Shadow Soul: Our SPFBO winner is a solid YA fantasy

The Shadow Soul by Kaitlyn Davis

The Shadow Soul came in first place of the 30 books that our Fantasy Literature team of reviewers read for Mark Lawrence’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off (SPFBO), in which 300 self-published science fiction and fantasy novels have been read and evaluated by ten blogs. The winner of the very first round, it managed to survive and prevail over all of the rest of the novels in our later rounds. A round of virtual but heartfelt applause to The Shadow Soul and its author,


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Thoughtful Thursday: Our SPFBO winner!

We have finally chosen our winner for Mark Lawrence’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off (SPFBO), in which 300 self-published fantasy authors contributed their work to be reviewed by 10 fantasy review blogs. This last round was really tough, containing some of the best of the 30 books we were given. In fact, we had planned to have our winner declared last week, but we needed a little more time for comparison.

In the end, we chose the book that has been at the top of our list since our first round — The Shadow Soul by Kaitlyn Davis — but it just barely edged out three of the books in our last round!


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Thoughtful Thursday: SPFBO Post #5

It’s time for Round Five of FanLit’s participation in Mark Lawrence’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off (SPFBO) in which 300 self-published fantasy authors contributed their work to be reviewed by 10 fantasy review blogs.

In the last round we took a look at The Heirs of Lydin, Salvation’s Dawn, The Flight, The Fuller’s Apprentice, and Shadowed Strength. Of these, we liked Joe Jackson’s Salvation’s Dawn best and we also thought The Fuller’s Apprentice would appeal to youngsters,


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Thoughtful Thursday: SPFBO Post #4

It’s time for Round Four of FanLit’s participation in Mark Lawrence’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off (SPFBO) in which 300 self-published fantasy authors contributed their work to be reviewed by 10 fantasy review blogs.

The Shadow Soul by Kaitlyn Davis’ was the winner of both our first and second rounds. It went up against five more books in our third round and, guess what?

The Shadow Soul advances again! It was almost beat by Peter Fugazzotto’s Five Bloody Heads which we thought was well written and engaging but lacked the fuller characters and more original plot of The Shadow Soul.


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Thoughtful Thursday: SPFBO Post #3

It’s time for Round Three of FanLit’s participation in Mark Lawrence’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off (SPFBO) in which 300 self-published fantasy authors contributed their work to be reviewed by 10 fantasy review blogs.

Kaitlyn Davis’ The Shadow Soul was the winner of FanLit’s First Round and went up against six more books in our Second Round. We asked you to guess, based on cover art and blurb, which book would come out on top… And, The Shadow Soul continues to be our favorite book so far;


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Thoughtful Thursday: SPFBO Post #2

It’s time for Round Two of FanLit’s participation in Mark Lawrence’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off (SPFBO) in which 300 self-published fantasy authors contributed their work to be reviewed by 10 fantasy review blogs.

In Round One, we presented six of our assigned books and asked you to guess, based on cover art and blurb, which book we’d like best. Well, we’ve read the books and are impressed that our readers, for the most part, identified the best books without actually reading them. Here is our runner-up and winner:

Runner-up: Bone Dry by Cady Vance is a quick-paced engaging story with likeable characters and competent writing.


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Thoughtful Thursday: SPFBO Post #1

This year we’re participating in Mark Lawrence’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off (SPFBO) in which 300 self-published fantasy authors contributed their books to be reviewed by 10 fantasy review blogs which will work together to choose the best of the 300 books. (You can read all about it at Mark Lawrence’s blog.)

We’ve been assigned to read 30 books. We eliminated three immediately because they didn’t fit the spirit of the contest very well. We have 27 left.

Over the next three months, we’ll be posting five Thoughtful Thursday columns that each feature five or six of the books on our list.


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Ten reviewers … Ten novels … One great bundle of books!

Blair MacGregor writes fantasy—adventurous, epic, and dark. She is a graduate of Viable Paradise, chairs SFWA’s Self-Publishing Committee, and runs a Patreon for self-defense and fight-scene writing. When not writing, she hangs out with family, camps alone, teaches and trains in Okinawan karate, and speaks to groups on resilience and wellness. She loves traveling to places both wild and domesticated. 

KATE: We usually use the Expanded Universe space for short essays on SFF topics. But today I’ve invited Blair McGregor to tell us about the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off,


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Next SFF Author: Michael P. Spradlin
Previous SFF Author: Kari Sperring

We have reviewed 8287 fantasy, science fiction, and horror books, audiobooks, magazines, comics, and films.

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    Words fail. I can't imagine what else might offend you. Great series, bizarre and ridiculous review. Especially the 'Nazi sympathizer'…

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