Book Reviews, Friday Five Challenge, Fun Stuff

Friday Five Challenge


Welcome to the ‘Friday Five Challenge.’

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The original idea for the #FridayFiveChallenge comes from Rosie Amber at

In today’s online shopping age, readers often base their buying decisions on small postage stamp size book covers (thumb-nails), a quick glance at the book description and the review. How much time do they spend making that buying decision?

AUTHORS – You often only have seconds to get a reader to buy your book, is your book cover and book bio up to it?

The Challenge is this… IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES…

1) Go to any online book supplier,

2) Randomly choose a category,

3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which has instantly appealed to your eye,

4) Read the book Bio/ Description of this book,

5) If there are reviews, check out a couple,

6) Make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS?

(then write a little analysis about your decision)

Here is my contribution:

I wanted to take a look at one of my favourite genres this week, so I typed ‘Sword and Sorcery’ into the Amazon search bar. There tends to be a trend within the fantasy genre towards black or grey covers. As such, quite a few of the thumbnails didn’t jump out at me as unique. I scrolled down a couple of pages until I spotted Legends II.


The cover is a marvellous representation of sword and sorcery. Clicking on the book link told me this was for pre-order only – release date is 3 August 2015.

At 230 pages, the pre-order cost is £1.99, which I think is more than reasonable when you look at what you’re getting. The Legends II book is an anthology, containing short stories from twelve of the best fantasy authors. I was pleased to see Mark Lawrence has been included as I love his books. The bestselling author of the Orc Series, Stan Nicholls provides the introduction. Interesting fact – I met Stan at a workshop a couple of years ago, he is an amazing and talented author.

Blurb for Legends 2: Stories in Honour of David Gemmell.

Determined warriors, hideous creatures, wicked sorceries, tricksy villains and cunning lovers abound as fantasy’s finest imaginations do their best and their worst…

In November 2013, NewCon Press released Legends: Stories in Honour of David Gemmell. We are now delighted to unveil a second volume of original stories from some of the world’s leading fantasy authors written in honour of one of the genre’s greats. As before, Legends II will act in part as a fundraiser for the David Gemmell Awards.

1. Introduction – Stan Nicholls

2. The Blessed and the Cursed – Gav Thorpe

3. A Rescue – Mark Lawrence

4. The Lowest Place – Edward Cox

5. The Giant’s Lady – Rowena Cory Daniels

6. An Oath Given – John Gwynne

7. The Singer – Stella Gemmell

8. Sandrunners – Anthony Ryan

9. Smokestack Lightning – Gavin Smith

10. Oak – Lou Morgan

11. An Owl in Moonlight – Freda Warrington

12. Heaven of Animals – John Hornor Jacobs

13. The Iron Wolves: Retribution – Andy Remic

14. About the Authors

As this is a pre-order book, there are no reviews. However, as I scrolled further down the page I was presented with the ‘customers also bought’ option. In the list, there was the link to Legends, the first anthology.


The cost of this Kindle edition is £3.59, which, although, at the high end of my budget, I would pay it for such a selection of well-known authors.


Legends is an anthology of all original stories written to honour the memory of one of Britain’s greatest fantasy authors. Determined warriors, hideous creatures, wicked sorceries, tricksy villains and cunning lovers abound as fantasy’s finest imaginations do their best and their worst.

James Barclay reveals the origins of his elite mercenary band The Raven, Adrian Tchaikovsky unveils new aspects of the realm of the Apt, Tanith Lee, Joe Abercrombie, Storm Constantine, Stan Nicholls, Juliet E McKenna and more weave their magic as only they can. Produced in cooperation with the David Gemmell Awards, Legends will, in part, act as a fund-raiser for the awards.

Steel yourself, throw caution to the wind, and dare to enter the realm of Legends:

1. Introduction – Stan Nicholls

2. Or So Legend has It – James Barclay

3. A Blade to the Heart – Gaie Sebold

4. Return to Arden Falls – Ian Whates

5. The Drake Lords of Kyla – Storm Constantine

6. A Tower of Arkrondurl – Tanith Lee

7. Who Walks With Death – Jonathan Green

8. Skipping Town – Joe Abercrombie

9. The Land of the Eagle – Juliet E McKenna

10. All Hail to the Oak – Anne Nicholls

11. Swords and Circle – Adrian Tchaikovsky

12. Fairyland – Jan Siegel

13. Mountain Tea – Sandra Unerman

14. The League of Resolve – Stan Nicholls

15. About the Authors

Legends has received thirteen reviews, all in the five, four and three-star range. The comments vary from; ‘nice selection of stories’ to ‘mixed bag’. One of the five-star reviews refers to the battle scenes and fantasy, informing the reader that they would love this book. As an avid fantasy reader I know I would find something enjoyable in both these books. If you were dipping your toe into fantasy for the first time then it might be a good place to start – maybe opt for the second book and take advantage of the lower price.

As this is my favourite genre, and I already know a few of the authors, it’s a BUY from me, and I will probably click the pre-order button on Legends II while I’m at it.

Link to Legends:

Link to Legends II:

10 thoughts on “Friday Five Challenge”

  1. This sounds like a great introduction to several fantasy authors and a good way to see which one’s writing styles you like. I’m not a huge fan of short stories, I like to be able to sink my teeth into a book, but I can definitely see the appeal of them. As you say the book cover is spot on.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s a pass from me because I’m not into fantasy, and I don’t like short stories much either, but I can see why it would appeal to many!


    1. This is why I love Rosie’s Friday Five Challenge – we get to share such a wide range of books/genres and find out who they appeal to. Life would be so boring if we all enjoyed the same stuff 😉


  3. I do like the cover and short stories but fantasy?? not so much. It is something that I would pick up to read if I had nothing else to do but I’m not likely to actually buy it.


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