Monthly Wrap Up

Monthly Wrap Up: September 2019

I thought August was a glitch where I couldn’t get done much, but apparently it’s a bit of a long term thing, as I continue to struggle with everything which makes me frustrated, which makes me struggle even more and my life had become Catch-22. It’s not fun, don’t try it. On top of everything else, my body decided to get a mini vacation at the end of the month – and by vacation I mean I spent a week in bed unable to do anything except sleep and watch tv. I was not productive. I could squeeze in a little SPFBO reading so I could feel that I’m at least GETTING SOMEWHERE. Ugh. My reading slump is worse than ever, but I have to push on, because obligations – also I need money because fucking capitalism. Anyway, forgive me if I’m being a tiny bit bitter, but I’m not having good times at the moment. I’ll try to balance things for the rest of the year and then see where things will go next year.

I still owe you guys at least one write up post about WorldCon – I’ll do it, I promise, I’m halfway done writing it, just needs some pictures and stuff. It’s gonna be a mammoth blog post, so be ready.

Now that I vented my frustration all on you, here is what we actually got done in September. Honestly, it wasn’t such a bad month in itself, but, yeah, I had better ones.

Book Reviews

In case you missed any of our reviews in July you can read them by clicking on the title! 🙂 I didn’t manage to read much more than last month, so actually only one of my reviews is for a book I’ve read in September, the others are catch ups. I still have one review I need to write, and I need to get to some ARCs, and let’s not even talk about beta reading *sigh*

Three Crows Magazine #4 by Alex Khlopenko – 4/5

tcm 4

I reviewed the 4th issue of Three Crows Magazine, which also turned out to be the last review I wrote for Grimdark Magazine. Due to time management issues and personal reasons I decided to leave the team. I had a great year and got to know really awesome people, but everything has to end.

“In the fourth issue you can find three short stories by Avra Margariti, Stephen Couch and Eliza Chan—find my mini reviews below—an interview with G.V. Anderson and Evan Winter, reviews of: A Collection of Obsessions by Michael R. FletcherChildren of Ruin by Adrian Tchaikovsky; A Ritual of Bones by Lee C. ConleyEngraved on the Eye by Saladin Ahmed and an essay on the development of desert narratives from the Dune to Empire of Sand.”

Shields in Shadow by Andy Peloquin – 4/5

shields in shadow

Jen was lucky enough to get an ARC of Andy Peloquin’s latest book, and she enjoyed it too 🙂

Shields in Shadow was an exciting popcorn read – thriller-type pacing, good gory battles, and some fun characters to root for. All in all it looks to be a great start to a series that is worth keeping an eye on.

Shattered Fears by Ulff Lehmann – 4.5/5

shattered fears 1

I had an early ARC of this book thanks to Ulff. I really love this series and grew close to my heart as book 1 was I think the first book I reviewed for the blog as a request. There are still 2 more books to go in the series (Shattered Fears is the 3rd) so you still have time to get on the bandwagon!

“Lehmann’s writing keeps improving as the series continues. The characters keep changing and growing as time goes by and things are keep happening. Which is great because they don’t get boring and there is always something to throw them off course so they have to adapt. And even though Shattered Fears is the third book of a series it doesn’t seem like it’ll drop in quality anytime soon. In fact, based on the end of the book, I’m pretty sure the fourth book will be a blast. As the previous books it ends a bit abruptly, but honestly it just makes me want to keep reading on.”

A Hero Born by Jin Yong – 4/5


This Chinse classic had been released for the first time in the US, and Jen had the chance to review an ARC copy.

“The story itself has a fable-like quality with the detours in the plot, as we see and hear about the Seven Freaks and their fight with Cyclone Mei, Qui Chuji and his battle with the Freaks. Charity tending to the wounded soldier – you know it’s going to go all wrong in the end, and all those little story arcs inside the big one kept me reading and were exciting, but I also felt they could have been more cohesive in their presentation.”

The Imaginary Corpse by Tyler Hayes – 5/5

the imaginary corpse

I’ve read this book back in June, but was waiting to post my review until the official blog tour organised by Angry Robot. This book is one of my favourites this year, maybe ever, so I definitely recommend checking it out!

“The Imaginary Corpse is one of the most imaginative books I’ve read in a long time. As someone who is a sucker for stuffed animals and battles with anxiety this book really hit close to home. Tyler Hayes’ debut fantasy novel just ruined me in the best possible way, and not only jumped somewhere near the top of my “Favourite Books Ever” list, but also landed him on my auto-buy list.”

Eye of Obscurance by Jeffrey L. Kohanek – 4/5


Jen is our resident Kohanek reader it seems, because she’s got an ARC of the first book of his new series.

Jeffrey L. Kohanek has a knack for giving them fun personalities and lots of humorous interactions with one another. This is popcorn so it’s light on some of the rounding out of the characters – we do see clear motivations but occasionally there is a leap to get us from point a to b in the story, that’s ok too because this is unapologetically fun and isn’t trying to be anything else.”

The Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow – 4/5

the ten thousand doors of january

I’ve been looking forward to read this book for MONTHS, I even had a Netgalley ARC and then got a hardback copy and OMG. While I did enjoy reading this book, I didn’t quite fall in love with it.

“Even though I didn’t fell in love as much with The Ten Thousand Doors, I still recommend it for those who are looking for a heartwarming story about love, about never giving up and taking your life into your own hands. Harrow’s debut novel is absolutely worth the attention and I’m pretty sure she’ll be opening many Doors in the literary world in the coming years.”


We are over the halfway mark in the competition and things are getting interesting. We had some more mini reviews and 5 more books. You can follow everything that happens with us on my SPFBO 5 page and you can get to know the team better here!


We continued slush piling our books and kept writing mini or full reviews. We also said goodbye to 5 books in our group.

So, here is how we fared in the third month of Phase 1:

Jen and Timy’s Second Round of DNFs

Nick’s last batch of mini reviews and the last 8 standing

The Second Reaping

Tales from the Asylum

Tales from the Asylum is a new feature I came up with for SPFBO. I wanted to create a unique opportunity for the authors to show off their story telling skills by taking their characters and putting them in an asylum room to see how they would deal with the situation. A lot can happen in a closed space…

Honestly, I just love this one, and can’t wait to read even more in future. I also won’t confine it to only SPFBO, I plan to keep it as a once a month feaure when the competition ends.

author photo gregory

Gregory Mattix grew up in the blazing heat of the Arizona desert. He obtained a degree in Business Administration at the University of Arizona, served in the military, and lived overseas for a time. He currently lives in Colorado with his wife. He is the author of the Extensis Vitae and Nexus of the Planes series.

Read Gregory’s tale!

anela deen 1

A child of two cultures, this hapa haole Hawaiian girl is currently landlocked in the Midwest. After exploring the world for a chunk of years, she hunkered down in Minnesota and now fills her days with family, fiction, and the occasional snowstorm. With a house full of lovable toddlers, a three-legged cat, and one handsome Dutchman, she prowls the keyboard late at night while the minions sleep. Coffee? Nah, she prefers tea with a generous spoonful of sarcasm.

Read Anela Deen’s tale!

camillaochlan bonitagutierrez camilla ochlan

Owner of a precariously untamed imagination and a scuffed set of polyhedral dice (which have gotten her in trouble more than once), Camilla writes fantasy and science fiction. An unapologetic dog lover and cat servant, she lives in Los Angeles with her husband — actor, audiobook narrator and dialect coach P.J. Ochlan, three sweet rescue dogs and a bright orange Abyssinian cat.

Bonita found her way to the stage at the early age of five. After college, she moved to Los Angeles to get into “The Biz.” Over the years, she’s played many roles from actor to producer, screenwriter to filmmaker — and now novelist. With a background in Jeet Kune Do Kung Fu (Bruce Lee’s art), Bonita holds a black belt in Kickboxing-MMA and trains in Kali-Eskrima (stick and knife fighting). An avid runner, student of film and lover of music, Bonita is a self-proclaimed hamburger connoisseur with a passion for all things Star Wars and Buffy.

Read Camilla and Bonita’s tale!

victoriacorva authorphoto victoria corva

Victoria Corva writes things and reads things and reads things out loud, and sometimes she gets paid for that, which is nice because it means she can feed her cat. She lives in Wiltshire with her partner and her furry familiar and as many books as she could fit in her small flat. She is anxious and autistic and doing just fine. To find out more about her and read more of her work, visit

Read Victoria’s tale!

Author Spotlight


tyler hayes

Tyler is a science fiction and fantasy writer from Northern California, and a Social Justice Bard specializing in the College of Comfort. He writes stories he hopes will show people that not only are they not alone in this terrifying world, but we might just make things better. His fiction has appeared online in AnotherealmNossa Morte, and The Edge of Propinquity, and in print in anthologies from Alliteration Ink, Graveside Tales, and Aetherwatch. Tyler’s debut novel, The Imaginary Corpse, is coming from Angry Robots on September 10th 2019.

I probably say this a lot, but I think this really is the most awesomest interview I ever did. If you don’t fall in love with Tippy, then you don’t have a heart!

Other Bookish Posts

The Questioning

My anniversary celebration event was pretty fun and people seemed to like it, so I decided to make into a monthly feature, just in a smaller scale: 1 blogger and author a month. Due to time issues, this month I only had the Blogger Edition, but I’ll get an Author Edition out too soon.

Author Edition: Graham Austin-King

Music Musings

Music Monday

If you missed any of them, give them a listen and read my personal notes/thoughts/ramblings regarding them 🙂

I think that’s it for August. I hope to see you all in October!