Announcing the June Book Cover of the Month

Announcing the June Book Cover of the Month

Hello everyone,

The June Book Cover of the Month bracket has just wrapped up. It was honestly a fairly disappointing month in terms of votes. We only had 2,652 votes, which is the lowest total we’ve had since the very beginning (when we only had a few days to vote). I have some concerns, and I’d be immensely grateful if any viewers could provide me some honest feedback. Was one week not enough time? Should I simply extend the number of days the bracket runs? Should I keep the “vote once” tournament we’ve used the last few months, or should I go back to the “round-by-round” format we had a while back? I want this to be as fun and easy as possible, but I need your help to make that happen.

Now, 2,600 votes is still a lot. Those voters who came by did so for three books in particular, but only one cover could win.

The June Book Cover of the Month is…

 

For Steam and Country by Jon del Arroz! If you’re curious about how I felt about the book, check out the Facebook post that I posted when this book first landed on the bracket, here.

Let’s look at the stats!

Steam and Country took the lead late on the last day and pulled away. This was one of those contests where the match was decided in the #FinalFour. It was either going to be The Girl Who Could See by Kara Swanson or Steam and Country. Argon by E.L. Patrick made it to the finals, but it couldn’t muster any actual bracket wins in comparison to the other two books. (More on that in a moment.)  The finals came down to Steam and Argon, but Steam won a total of 28 brackets.

Steam received 205 total votes, which was seven more total votes than The Girl and 99 more than Argon.

June_Cover_CollageLRI usually have the runner up get a spot in the next month’s bracket. I just can’t, in good conscience, place Argon in July’s bracket when The Girl had more votes and more bracket wins.  If this were a 30-day month, I wouldn’t have a problem because I’d have two open spots, but July has 31 days, and I have to try my best to allow the book that the voters most liked get a slot. As this wasn’t a “round-by-round” tournament, I can’t honestly tell which voters would prefer in a head to head. I can only go by the number of votes and brackets each cover won. I’m very dedicated to making this a fun, fair competition, so I have to make these calls with as much integrity and data as I can. So I offer my congratulations to The Girl Who Could See, as that book will have another chance to move on in the July bracket.

That said. Arroz is the winner this month, so let’s look at his book.

Amazon blurb.

Amazon:

(START BLURB)

Her father’s been pronounced dead. Destructive earthquakes ravage the countryside. An invading army looms over the horizon. And Zaira’s day is just getting started…

Abandoned at an early age, Zaira von Monocle found life as the daughter of a great adventurer to be filled with hard work and difficulty. She quickly learned to rely on only herself. But when a messenger brought news that her father was dead and that she was the heir to his airship, her world turned upside down.

Zaira soon finds herself trapped in the midst of a war between her home country of Rislandia and the cruel Wyranth Empire, whose soldiers are acting peculiarly—almost inhuman. With the enemy army advancing, her newfound ship’s crew may be the only ones who can save the kingdom.

For Steam and Country is the first book in the Adventures of Baron Von Monocle series by top-10 Amazon best selling space opera author, Jon Del Arroz.

“Witty, charming and downright thrilling!  Del Arroz nails the feel of good old fashioned Steampunkery with wit, aplomb and of course… panache.” – Nick Cole, author of the Dragon Award winner, CTRL ALT Revolt

“FOR STEAM AND COUNTRY is a rousing girl-powered fantasy tale. I thoroughly enjoyed this action-packed airship adventure!” – Laurie Forest, author of The Black Witch

(END BLURB)

As always, I’ve purchased the book and added it to my TBR. (For those who are new to the deal, I buy the Book Cover of the Month to read and review in the future. I bought Manning’s cover, Howard’s cover, Deyo’s coverJones’s CoverHubert’s Cover, and MacNiven’s cover, and they are also on my TBR. (I just finished reading Deyo’s cover.)

18221611_10207749242842260_3867576595174516287_nHere’s Arroz’s Facebook page. Give it a like if you’re curious about him and his work.

The artist for that beautiful cover is Shawn King, whom I contacted to see if he’d like to do an interview about his victory.

The July bracket is still under development. Conventions and honestly a string of not-very-good covers made it harder to fill this bracket than normal. But it’ll still be ready to go by Aug. 1.

I will continue to identify and select covers for each day from Amazon’s New Release section for fantasy and science fiction. If you follow and like my Facebook page, you can see what covers will make the bracket.

Thanks for reading

Matt

Book Review: The Mountains Rise by Michael G. Manning

Book Review: The Mountains Rise by Michael G. Manning

Character:  Manning has proven to be a master character developer. Seeing Daniel’s journey begin was a rewarding experience for me. I expected to learn more about Daniel, but the trilogy truly was about all of the characters we meet in this saga. Not all of these characters are good, but they’re all well thought out. Their motivations and limitations are clear. Tyrion was always a heartbreaking character, reading this book brought exactly the sort of clarity I hoped for.

5215279Worldbuilding:  I already knew the world building to this series was great. What I appreciate (and what has me reading the Mageborn series) is for all the dots to connect. This book eases the reader into the magic and species of the realm with patience. What I look for in world building is what I need to know as I need to know it.  This book does that wonderfully (as does the series). I think the character and the overall world building (perhaps the plotting) are what make this series so easy to read through.

Dialogue:  I’m neutral about the dialogue in this book with one exception. While I don’t think the dialogue here was “snappy” or “quick,” it was powerful. There is an element here that requires note. There is a content warning with this book (and the series). Something happens in the beginning that might test some readers or even have some readers turn away. It’s honestly an issue I’m very sensitive about. That said, Manning treated that situation with respect, showing the impact this despicable act can have on not just the ones involved, but by all the ones those people care about. The dialogue and reactions of the character in this issue were done with sympathy. I despise books that use real-world terrible issues just to get a shock out of the audience. Manning didn’t do this. It was an integral part to Daniel’s development and being. You’ll have to read the book to find out more on what “act” I’m speaking of.

Description: Manning’s strength in description is in the sense of touch. A lot of times through this book I could almost feel (sometimes unfortunately so) what was happening to the characters. He’s decent in the other areas of description, but fans of books that make you feel like the characters will like this aspect of the book.

Overall: Manning delivers a world that is both dark and amazing. His story is built on such sadness, tragedy, and betrayal, one can’t help but want to see what happens. It’s heartbreaking to see how things go and to think of how they could have gone if only…

Thanks for reading,

Matt

The June Book Cover of the Month Begins!

The June Book Cover of the Month Begins!

June’s bracket has 30 new covers and the top two runners up from last month, The Lost Travencal by C.M. Jobe and The Other One by Amanda Jay are also back for their deserved second attempt at winning.

Last month, we went with a single tournament in which voters could vote through all the rounds at one time. Since it broke the record for most overall votes, I’m giving it another shot. I still feel it was taking a lot of energy though, so this month’s bracket will only be one week long. To make it work, I need your help. Please vote and share as much as possible to get people a chance to pick their favorite.

As always, I’d appreciate it if you tag the authors and artists if you know them. I try to tag or friend every author I can, but sometimes it’s hard to track someone down. Max participation is a huge deal to me. The more people who vote, the more recognition these authors and artists receive, and I want this to be as legitimate as possible.

social-1206612_960_720
Image taken from Pixabay.

If you are the author, let’s remember to be good sports! 1) Please feel free to message or contact me at any time. 2) Please feel free to like, share, text, ask for support, and call everyone you know. I absolutely want max participation. However, if you’re going to offer giveaways or prizes, please offer them for voting, not just voting for you.

Also, while your summoning your army of voting soldiers, please make sure you ask them to vote in every match. Part of the idea of this is to get exposure to as many artists and authors as possible. By all means, if you can get 1,000 people to vote for your book, do it. Just please also send some eyeballs to the other matches.

A final note to authors and artists: I currently have links to the books’ Amazon pages. If you’d prefer I switch that link to sign up for your newsletter or like your social media page or whatever, just send me the link and let me know. I want this to help you. I want this to be as helpful as possible, so whatever you need me to do to facilitate that, just let me know.

I hope you keep having fun. Please, vote, share, and discuss as much as possible.

All you have to do now is head over here to vote!

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Announcing the May Book Cover of the Month!

Announcing the May Book Cover of the Month!

The May Book Cover of the Month bracket has just wrapped up. It was truly an amazing bracket with a record-breaking 6,133 votes total. That crushes the last record, and I have you all to thank for that.  But enough about me and my beaming pride. You all picked a winner, so let’s see it!

The May Book Cover of the Month is…

519oTZj1I2L._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_
This image and all associated images are used for review purposes under fair use. The intent is to draw attention to the product.

 

Dawn of War by Robbie MacNiven! If you’re curious about how I felt about the book, check out the Facebook post that I posted when this book first landed on the bracket, here.

Let’s look at the stats!

Dawn of War took the lead about a week into the bracket and never looked back.  He won a total of 81 total tournaments, which helped him beat The Lost Travencal by C.M. Jobe.

War received 581 total votes, which is 100 votes more than the second place vote earner The Other One by Amanda Jay (who received 433 total votes).

The good news is that Jobe and Jay finished second and third respectively, which means they receive another chance to be the Book Cover of the Month in the June bracket.

That said. MacNiven is the winner this month, so let’s look at his book.

Amazon blurb.

Amazon:

(START BLURB)

Set in Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40,000 universe, this novelisation features characters and events from Dawn of War III, the third game in Sega and Relic Entertainment’s phenomenally successful RTS franchise.

Every 5,000 years, the accursed world of Acheron emerges from the warp. Drawn by its legend, three factions – Space Marines, eldar and orks – battle each other to possess the great weapon that is said to reside there. But when the weapon is finally revealed, a terrible threat rears its head. Can the three warring armies do whatever it takes to put aside their differences and defeat the ultimate evil?

(END BLURB)

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This image was taken from Mr. MacNiven’s Twitter page. It’s provided so viewers may meet the author of a book with a great cover.

As always, I’ve purchased the book and added it to my TBR. (For those who are new to the deal, I buy the Book Cover of the Month to read and review in the future. I bought Manning’s cover, Howard’s cover, Deyo’s cover, Jones’s Cover, and Hubert’s Cover, and they are also on my TBR. (I’m reading Deyo’s book now.)

Here’s the Dawn of War Facebook page. Give it a like if you’re curious about it.

I don’t know who did the cover art for Dawn of War, but I intend to ask the author so that I can attempt to do an interview and tell you all about another great cover artist.

The June bracket is ready to go and will launch on July 1.

I will continue to identify and select covers for each day from Amazon’s New Release section for fantasy and science fiction. If you follow and like my Facebook page, you can see what covers will make the bracket.

Thanks for reading

Matt

Four Days Left: A May Book Cover of the Month Update

Four Days Left: A May Book Cover of the Month Update

May_Cover_CollagelrIt’s that time again folks.  I’m flying on a plan back to the place of residence, so my laziness combined with the fact that I actually sort of skipped an update lead me to post one now.

Usually with four days left, we’d be doing  the final four, so I’ll update you on how that’s going.  But first, this announcement:

I’m happy to report we’ve shattered the record for most votes in a bracket.  We’re currently at 5,524 votes.  I thank you all for your participation, and hope you’ll continue to support the Book Cover of the Month each time it kicks off.

Let’s get down to business.

As it stands right now, your final four are:

519oTZj1I2L._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_Dawn of War by Robbie MacNiven,

The Lost Travencal by C.M. Jobe,

The Other One by Amanda Jay, and

Fate of the Big Bad Wolf by Neo Edmund.

The current top dog in terms of total votes is Dawn of War with a massive 528 votes.

The lowest vote-earner is The Empire’s Ghost by Isabella Steiger.

That being said, what matters most is that Dawn of War is in the lead because it won 72 total brackets, so you don’t need 500 votes. You just need 73 more supporters to choose the next four days to vote!

If the tournament stays this way, The Lost Travencal and The Other One would receive auto-bids into the June Book Cover of the Month, but Fate and The Acquisition of Swords by X can leap right over them if they can get their following to support them for one final push, but that’s true of all 32 books.  Anyone of these covers can have a final big day and steal the title for the month.

All you need to do is head over this website and vote!

Thanks for reading,

Matt

A May Book Cover of the Month Update

A May Book Cover of the Month Update

May_Cover_CollagelrGreetings all!

Usually about this time (three days) would be when the Sweet 16 begins.  While we’re not doing a round-by-round bracket, I still think this is a nice time to update everyone on how things are shaking out so far.

First, another explanation on how this structure works.  Brackify says, “Rank results are calculated by how far an entry advances in the bracket based on match results, not total vote count.”

What’s that mean? Well, You can have a million votes, but they do you no good if you only get them in one round. What matters is how many voters vote for a certain cover to move on.

What I like about this format: This structure really does make it easy on voters. One vote and done. Also, we’re getting close to breaking the all-time voting record after less than three days. That’s wonderful! The best thing about this format is that no one is ever out of it until the very end.

horizontal-2071304_960_720What I don’t like about this format: It’s possible for a book that lost a round to still win the bracket. Let me try to explain.  Say Book 1 lost to Book 2 in the first round. However, if more voters selected Book 1 to go to the finals, Book 1 would actually move on unless Book 2 had a more dominant win in the first round. I’ve actually been monitoring that situation in this bracket. Tangled Echoes has a solid number of finalist votes, but it wasn’t until City of Miracles finally managed to over take it that Echoes fell from #1 all the way to #18 (as things stand as I type this).

Echoes doesn’t need a bunch of first round votes (though at this stage that would do the trick), it actually only needs one or two people to vote it back to the finals. I’m not sure what I think about a book being able to advance when it didn’t win a round. In this format, what matters is how far a book goes per bracket, not how many votes it gets. In my opinion, round-by-round is more demanding on participants, but way easier to understand. Please don’t misunderstand, I like all these covers. That’s why I featured them on this blog. If Echoes beat five other covers to win the day, then I’d have no problem with that. My problem would be if someone one the bracket after losing a round. To put your mind at ease, I’ve checked, and the current Sweet 16 all on their first round. So the current covers would have moved on in the original format. What are your thoughts?

Now that we’ve explained the process, let’s look at how things stand after three full days of voting.

519oTZj1I2L._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_The current top four are:

Dawn of War by Robbie MacNiven, The Lost Travencal by C.M. Jobe, The Other One by Amanda Jay, and Fate of the Big Bad Wolf by Neo Edmund.

The next four contenders are:

Reaper Reborn by Bryan Davis, The Acquisition of Swords by Timothy Ray, and City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett.

Lead Cover:

As you saw above, MacNiven’s Dawn of War is currently in the lead.

Top Vote Earner:

It’s important to know that this bracket was never a popular vote. The top vote earner for each round always moved on, but there have been plenty of times one cover received a ton of votes in one round, but fell short in the following round. Winning a round still means more than getting more votes.  That said, it’s still cool to know who’s getting support.

The top vote earner so far is The Other One by .

51gbQlbG4CLLeast voted on cover:

We have a tie in this regard. They are: The Wizard Killer Season Two by Adam Dreece and Immortals by . They each have 79 total votes, but they haven’t gotten enough votes to get them out of that first round.

There’s still 10 days left to show your support for your favorite cover. If you’ve already voted, but your favorite isn’t winning, please feel free to share the bracket on your respective social media platforms. The more people who vote, the better.

Vote by clicking this link.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

 

 

The May Book Cover of the Month Bracket Starts Now!

The May Book Cover of the Month Bracket Starts Now!

May_Cover_CollagelrMay’s bracket has 31 new covers and last month’s runner up, Fate of the Big Bad Wolf by Neo Edmund, has another chance to take the title home.

We’re doing things differently this month. In previous months, we had a round-by-round competition, which I loved. But it’s demanding on readers and fans. They have to keep coming back to vote each week, and I want this to be fun, with as much participation as possible. So this round is a one shot bracket. What this means is each person will only have to vote once for his or her own bracket. Instead of waiting a few days between rounds, you can vote all the way through the tournament. If this works better for people, and increases participation, we’ll keep this format going forward. It’ll still last for two weeks, and I’ll still do updates every so often, but no one will be out of the fight until the last day of the tournament.

As always, I’d appreciate it if you tag the authors and artists if you know them. I try to tag or friend every author I can, but sometimes it’s hard to track someone down. Max participation is a huge deal to me. The more people who vote, the more recognition these authors and artists receive, and I want this to be as legitimate as possible.

social-1206612_960_720
Image taken from Pixabay.

If you are the author, let’s remember to be good sports! 1) Please feel free to message or contact me at any time. 2) Please feel free to like, share, text, ask for support, and call everyone you know. I absolutely want max participation. However, if you’re going to offer giveaways or prizes, please offer them for voting, not just voting for you.

Also, while your summoning your army of voting soldiers, please make sure you ask them to vote in every match. Part of the idea of this is to get exposure to as many artists and authors as possible. By all means, if you can get 1,000 people to vote for your book, do it. Just please also send some eyeballs to the other matches.

A final note to authors and artists: I currently have links to the books’ Amazon pages. If you’d prefer I switch that link to sign up for your newsletter or like your social media page or whatever, just send me the link and let me know. I want this to help you. I want this to be as helpful as possible, so whatever you need me to do to facilitate that, just let me know.

 

I hope you keep having fun. Please, vote, share, and discuss as much as possible.

All you have to do now is head over here to vote!

Thanks for reading,

Matt