ISFAB: TOP TEN TIME!
Round 3 is underway and the top ten have been revealed! The judges have until May 15th to finish, and then the nail-biting will get bloody. It's hard to believe we have gone from 100 books down to just 10 since January.
It has been an intense ride for the authors, but the entire way they have all been respectful and encouraging to those still in the competition. The author community, for the most part, is a very loving and supportive group. Especially those in the indie world. They all deserve a round of applause for their hard work! (Pause and pat yourself on the back now!)
There are only 5 judges for round 3. Laura D. Child, Michelle Crow, Mike Voss, Cherish Kasner, and Adawia Asad. Although they are reading fewer books, the stakes are even higher now. These 10 novels are soon to be just 5, and then a sole winner is selected.
The remaining competitors? Oh yes, I have the list for you! Links included. I have provided the blurb for anyone interested in grabbing a copy of their own!
Cycle of Blades by Christopher Keene
BOOK BLURB: Faulk, a Tyrian soldier-turned-mercenary, is offered a chance to avenge his fallen commander when a fellow veteran teaches him the Lunari Ways: symbols that give the user various magical abilities. When he discovers it was these same symbols that allowed an enemy general to rig the duel that took his commander's life, he is driven by a Lunari woman to search for their source—ancient gods of the secluded mountain people, the Lunari
Esme's Wish by Elizabeth Foster
Boom Blurb: This was her last chance. Her hand twisted high in the air.
When fifteen-year-old Esme Silver objects at her father’s wedding, her protest is dismissed as the action of a stubborn, selfish teenager. Everyone else has accepted the loss of Esme’s mother, Ariane—so why can’t she?
But Esme is suspicious. She is sure that others are covering up the real reason for her mother’s disappearance—that ‘lost at sea’ is code for something more terrible, something she has a right to know.
After Esme is accidentally swept into the enchanted world of Aeolia, the truth begins to unfold. With her newfound friends, Daniel and Lillian, Esme retraces her mother’s steps in the glittering canal city of Esperance, untangling the threads of Ariane’s double life. But the more Esme discovers about her mother, the more she questions whether she really knew her at all.
Flames Over Frosthelm by Dave Dobson
BOOK BLURB: An Investigation Gone Awry Sometimes, your case takes a left turn. Or three or four. Marten Mingenstern and Boog Eggstrom are provisional inspectors, fresh out of Inquisitor’s Guild training and eager to prove themselves. Assigned the mundane task of tracking down stolen jewels, they instead uncover a mysterious cult set on destroying the city. After a thief explodes, they earn the enmity of a vicious noble, the Chief Inquisitor gets bought off and goes rogue, they are seized by barbarians, and they are sentenced to death at least a couple of times. In a final, frantic race with prophecy, they face ruthless fanatics, a city turned against them, and terrible forces long buried. Flames Over Frosthelm is the first novel about the Inquisitor's Guild, the investigative arm of the government of Frosthelm, a medieval city-state where criminals thrive, nobles scheme, and dark secrets lurk. Expect intrigue, mystery, swordplay, adventure, politics, romance, and the strong bonds of friendship. And a little magic along the way. Described as Princess Bride meets CSI, this new novel is a tale of classic adventure with a healthy dose of humor.
Frontiers of the Imperium by Jan Kotouc
BOOK BLURB: Daniel Hankerson was perfectly happy being just a midlevel spy, genetically enhanced low-ranking member of the royal family, and an avid poker player. Then the war started, someone tried to murder him, he met a strange war correspondent with an even stranger secret, and he found himself aboard a prototype warship going to the fringes of the Central Imperium. Then things got worse. An ancient enemy is approaching with a large fleet aided by people Daniel thought he could trust. Now Daniel must use his analytical skills to figure out a way to stop them before millions die.
BOOK BLURB: A corrupted power stirs from beyond the grave. A sacred order of knights sworn to protect the world from evil. The Necromancer Queen will rise again. Seventeen years have passed since the Necromancer Queen Talia was overthrown and slain, and her capital city destroyed by the Knights of the Order of Eternal Vigilance. Anskar DeVantte, raised in the sacred disciplines of the Order, is now ready to face the brutal initiation trials to become a consecrated knight-sorcerer. But the further Anskar rises in the ranks the more his faith wavers, and he is beset by harrowing dreams and uncertainty. As troubling powers awaken within him, a schism grows between Anskar and his hallowed Order, and he draws the hungry gaze of the vanquished queen’s fanatical followers. As Anskar pieces together the mysteries of his early life, and begins to understand the malevolent forces gathering in his path, he finds himself with a crucial choice to make: Remain loyal to the Order’s righteous mission, or control the dark powers growing within him. Either way, his destiny is steeped in war. The only question is, which side will he be on? Og-Grim-Dog: The Three-Headed Ogre by Jamie Edmundson
BOOK BLURB: Two heads are better than one Three can be a real pain in the arse We are Og-Grim-Dog! We have been loved and reviled! We have been the Hero of the Hour, the Darkest Villain, and everything in between! We have saved this world and traveled to worlds beyond it! You think you can distill the life of Og-Grim-Dog into some words on a page? When a stranger visits their inn, the regulars are in for a surprise. Did their Landlord really come here from Gal’azu—the dangerous, edgier province to the east? Could it be that his stories, so fanciful and fantastical, were episodes from his previous life? When their Landlord is persuaded to have his life story recorded for posterity, the surprises come thick and fast. Just like his regulars, you too can learn how a three-headed ogre came to be a hero. Unlike them, you don't stand to be killed if it all goes wrong...
BOOK BLURB: She could barely look after herself. Now, she's looking after the entire planet. After an incident with a hot-air balloon causes college dropout Sally Webber to lose her job, she sets off to find direction in her life. Crashing into a teleporting alien, however, is not on her to-do list. Now she’s on the run from TV-drama-loving aliens, and things are just getting started. Zander won’t stop reeling her into life-or-death situations to save her planet, as he waits for his laser-wielding sister to search the universe for him. Though Sally isn’t quite sure if he wants to save Earth from annihilation, or just quell his curiosity of all things human. Now she’s got to find lost alien emissaries, as well as a job, and stop the planet from getting incinerated in the process. But with Zander as her roommate, what could possibly go wrong?
The Swordsman's Lament by G.M. White
BOOK BLURB: A dead prince. A grieving king. A legendary swordsman accused of murder. Loyalty counts for nothing when the king demands blood. In the ancient city of Villan, wealth and power descend from proximity to the throne. As royal champion, and confidant to the king, Belasko thought he was beyond intrigues and machinations. But when the grief-stricken King demands vengeance for his murdered son, Belasko discovers he is expendable. His options are clear: find the killer or die for a crime he didn’t commit. Forced into the city’s bleak underbelly as the palace mobilises against him, Belasko finds unlikely allies in his hunt for the truth. Can the veteran survive to protect his friends and prove his innocence? Join Belasko as he hunts the real killer from the royal court to the depths of the city’s criminal underworld, finally learning the true meaning of The Swordsman’s Lament. A story about friendship, betrayal, and doing the right thing no matter the cost, this breakneck fantasy thriller is perfect for fans of David Gemmell, Sebastien de Castell, and Miles Cameron.
Trial by Sorcery by Richard Fierce
BOOK BLURB: Dragons can be dangerous … if you don’t bond with them first. Eldwin wants to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a Dragon Guard, but not for the glory. With his family dead and their lands dying, the opportunity to join the dragon rider school is all he has. But before Eldwin can bond with a dragon and guard the skies, he must pass three tests to prove his worth. Compassion, magical aptitude, and armed combat. He’s determined to pass, but his maimed arm is a constant reminder of his disadvantage. Will the obstacles Eldwin faces keep him from reaching his dreams, or will he finally see what it’s like to ride the skies?
BOOK BLURB: While preparing for the birth of his first child, Chrys Valerian is tasked with uncovering the group responsible for a series of missing threadweavers--those able to see and manipulate threadlight. With each failure, the dark voice in his head grows louder, begging to be released. A young girl from a secret city in the center of the Fairenwild veers off course to explore the streets of Alchea. She never expected that her journey would end in chains. Far in the deserts to the south, a young man's life changes after he dies. When Chrys learns who is responsible for the missing threadweavers, they come for him and his family. He must do everything in his power to protect those he loves, even if it means trusting strangers or, worse, the dark voice in his mind. Together, they will change the world--whether they intend to or not. Which one will you be rooting for?