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We are all so excited to announce our finalist! Are you guys ready?!

For those just tuning in, we had four excellent semi-finalists – Air & Ash, Sorcerous Rivalry, Lords of Asylum and Gods of Men. We had a challenging decision to make because each of the books brought something different to the table. We had some fantastic stories that were so diverse it was like trying to compare apples to oranges. How to choose between a light fun story, or a dark and harrowing story when both of them kept you up at night?

We are so grateful for the submissions, we don’t think they would have been on our radar otherwise. All of our semis had under 120 ratings, so we hope that perhaps these reviews have given them a bit of a signal boost because they deserve much more attention.


We’d like to take a moment to acknowledge our runner-up, Lords of Asylum by Kevin Wright. If you’re a fan of the tone and writing style of Anna Smith-Spark, we think you would really enjoy this medieval noir story that also stood out as something exceptionally well written. It’s a book featuring highly stylized prose that creates amazing imagery and emotion. Round of applause for this book as well.

A full review can be found here WOL’S REVIEW 




Well, here it goes!



The Winner is:



Drum roll, please!

Gods of Men by Barbara Kloss


The Goodreads blurb:

Sable hated the gods. She hated what men did in their name.

Magic is forbidden throughout the Five Provinces; those born with it are hunted and killed. Sable doesn’t know her music holds power over souls—not until, at age nine, she plays her flute before the desert court and accidentally stops her baby sister’s heart, killing her. Horrified by what she’s done and fearing for her life, she flees north, out of Provincial jurisdiction and into the frigid land of exiles and thieves, known as The Wilds. There, Sable lives in hiding, burdened by guilt, and survives as a healer. But now, ten years later, someone—or something—is hunting her.

On the run again, Sable’s best chance for survival is Jos, a lethal man from the Five Provinces, who claims to need her skills as a healer to save his dying father, and she needs the large sum of money he’s offered. There’s something about him Sable doesn’t trust, but she doesn’t have many options. A spirit of the dead is hunting her, summoned by a mysterious necromancer, and it’s getting closer.

We are so excited for Gods of Men and hope people pick up this book and enjoy it as much as we did. The writing was clean, efficient and sped the story along. The world building was fantastic and written in a way that didn’t make the story drag or get overburdened with info dumping. The characters were engaging, distinct, and well developed. Congratulations, Barbara on your SPFBO success! We all hope the best for you as the competition moves forward.

The four scores averaged together was an 8.4/10, but for SPFBO purposes we are rounding to 8.5/10



Finalist Fizz


Simple Syrup Recipe

You will need:

  • Small Saucepan
  • Spoon
  • Jam Jar
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Water
  • 2 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 8 Cloves
  • 0.5 tsp Vanilla Extract

Combine all ingredients in saucepan, stir and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside for 1 hour to cool and infuse. Once cooled, remove cinnamon and cloves (or leave them in if you prefer a stronger flavor) and pour into jam jar. This can be kept in the fridge for up to a month.

Recipe: Finalist Fizz

You will need:

  • Champagne, Wine or Margarita Glass
  • 2 tbsp Spiced Simple Syrup
  • Dry Champagne
  • 1 oz Brandy
  • 1 tsp Pomegranate Seeds

Measure Syrup, Brandy and Pomegranate seeds into your glass. Top up with Champagne. Put your feet up, and take a well-earned rest.




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