Category Archives: Book Reviews

Hob’s review of The Bound Folio by Rob J. Hayes

The Bound Folio (The Ties That Bind #3.5)

Paperback, 226 pages

I really enjoyed this one. It is a bunch of short stories each one from the POV of a different Character. Some I already had met in Where Loyalties Lie some were new to me. Well that’s not true All of the POV’s were new to me but some of the Characters I had met as non POV characters before.

Each story was fairly short but damn can Rob pack a whole lot of emotion in to a short story. I would not have believed how much until I read this. Seriously, at one point I was wishing I could have entered the book and ripped a guy named Kav’s balls off and made him eat them. Too much you say? A little violent? Well read the book, when you get to that part you might well want to do worse and you will most likely be crying while you think about it. But just because almost all of the stories are guaranteed to make you feel strong emotions, not all the stories were on the bad end of the spectrum. No, you will feel just about every emotion possible at one point or another while reading this book. If it were possible to see emotions I would have probably looked like this while reading.

emotions

Actually I may very well have looked that way anyway but that’s beside the point……

My only complaint would be that it was too short. Well that and there is no time scale other than the first story shows someone as a young boy, and he is in his late 20’s to early 30s in Where Loyalties Lie, and the last story shows someone entering the town they had just arrived in at the beginning of that book.  I take it that its planned to be that way and it’s not that big of a deal but this being only the second book of Rob’s that I have read I wanted more. So, I ended up starting The Heresy Within (The Ties That Bind, #1) right after I finished this one to try and figure out the timeline. And I have a huge TBR pile of other books I should be reading. Curse you ROB HAYES!!!

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

I just don’t know how a book of short stories could make me feel such strong emotions. But it did. So, I am going to leave you with a warning. Beware this book will make you emotionally unstable! In the space of a few hundred pages your heart will swell with pride for the squires and Burn with anger at the street toughs. You will weep with the merchant and cheer on the assassin.  And if you are like me you will shake your head in disbelief that you still can’t decide if you love or hate the pirate. So I give The Bound Folio 4.75 stars and a tribute to Browny.

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Zombie Bigfoot (Creature Quest Series Book 1) by Nick Sullivan

You probably think the lifestyle of a Fantasy Book Blogger is nothing but charactonym* wishes and calligraphy** dreams. But I am here to tell you that no matter what you may have heard, Goblin Leach has never Visited my cave for a spot of Tea.

ich_&_Famous

*a name given to a literary character that is descriptive of a quality or trait of the character.

**fancy penmanship, especially highly decorative handwriting, as with a great many flourishes:

 In point of fact the only thing we get (other than enjoyment obviously) would be the Occasional free book that we accept in exchange for an Honest review. I am all for free stuff, who isn’t? But my TBR pile is a mile high and I get a lot of review requests. So many in fact that I had to add 2 notices to my Contact page, and they are as follows.

****NOTICE****

I am kind of open to review requests at this time.

WTF does that mean?

Well If your book is a Fantasy book or has strong “Fantasy” elements in it, feel free to ask. If your book is Sci-Fi you can ask but I probably won’t take it. If your book is an Old Adult Paranormal Romance Mystery Biography about a CIA agent trying to save the world from an unknown threat. The threat is unknown because he forgot it when he got Amnesia experimenting with BDSM for the first time. Will he remember that he was the villain in the first place, before time runs out? Or will he forget about the rest of the world and run away with the only person he can remember. And the real reason he was going to destroy the world…..  The love of his life and his greatest shame, His best friend’s wife and secret gun runner/ Sparkly Vampire/ Were-platypus Margret Thatcher!!  Will they find happiness or will the world be destroyed? Can he find love in the form of a Sparkly gun running platypus and live happily ever after?  Read and Find out!!!!!

If that is your book or if it has any of those elements please don’t ask. You still can, and I know you will.

But …..I said Please!

****END OF NOTICE****

*******Notice #2 *******

If Someone actually writes that book I still won’t read it but I want my cut of the Billions it will make.

******END OF NOTICE #2 ******

 

I wrote that to dissuade people from trying to give me books I would say no to. It doesn’t work really, but it does point out people with a good sense of humor. In a way, I guess it is kind of like a test.  A test that Nick Sullivan passed with flying colors by sending me the following e-mail.

 

“I’ve got a book that is completely devoid of fantasy elements… though I do love fantasy and as an audiobook narrator I’ve recorded Goodkind, Weber, Kurtz, and Lackey. Why dare I darken your digital door? Because you clearly enjoy humor, judging by your own writing (and the fantastic blog name). So, if you feel like taking a little side trip into the woods of Idaho, please consider “Zombie Bigfoot”. It hit #1 in Horror Comedy on Amazon (for about three days) and has sci-fi, adventure, and action elements as well as the horror (and horror spoofery).”

For one thing, he actually read the notices and had a look at the blog.  Plus, I am a sucker for stupid comedy. You probably already knew that. (Goblin Leach that’s fucking golden) And it was available as an audiobook so I said yes. I am one smart goblin because it truly is a good book. The audio was done by the author, who I have heard before doing a few other books. He did a fantastic job. Really bringing the characters to life. Well until they died but more about that in a minute.

So lets talk about the story. Now the title Zombie Bigfoot might put a lot of people off from reading it. and in essence that is what it’s about, but there is so much more to it. Like an Iceberg or the Loch Ness Monster there is so much more hidden beneath the surface.

ggg

 

Now lets talk about the people the story is about. First we have the billionaire owner of everything from a record label to a space airline. He is  named Cameron Carson.  After his first space ship crew get stuck heading towards the sun he needs to do something to fix his image. What better way than to capture a live Bigfoot!  Right? I kind of picture him looking like this.

richard-branson-virgin-mobile-0528-002

Well He got a hold of primatologist Dr. Sarah Bishop. Her father had been hurt on a camping trip and was rescued by a Bigfoot. When he gets home and tells his story some people go out to the area and never find anything. He becomes obsessed with Bigfoot. After losing his job and all his friends thinking he was crazy he killed himself leaving his journal of everything that had happened with the friendly fuzzy with big feet. No it’s not what you are thinking , you sicko.

bigfoot_786_poster

Dr. Bishop knows they will need a guide so they hire Less … I mean Russ. I pictured him looking like this.

Survivorman-Bigfoot-Mystery-of-Bigfoot-Mountain

He has been doing a survival show for the last few years. Going out by himself hauling all his camera gear and then some guy that drinks his own piss comes on TV and starts stealing his ratings. In a effort to revitalize his show he agrees to be the guide. So those 3 along with a bunch of others hired by Carson set out looking for Bigfoot.

300px-Big_foot

Not that Bigfoot.

This Bigfoot.

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But when they get to the forest they find this Bigfoot.85913-6200224Fr.

 

Final Thoughts

I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed this Audiobook. The real surprise was the reading of the Journal. That part was especially well written. There are some pretty gory parts, so beware of that.  but all in all a really good way to pass 7 hours and 55 minutes. I give Zombie Bigfoot by Nick Sullivan 4 out of 5 stars.

 

Hob’s review of Faithless by Graham Austin-King

Faithless
by Graham Austin-King

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The Blurb

The temples of the Forgefather have fallen. The clerics and defenders that could once be found across the nine lands are no more. Priests huddle in the great temple, clinging to the echoes of their lost religion. But the Father has fallen silent. There are none who still hear his voice.

The mines of Aspiration lie far below the temple’s marble halls. Slaves toil in the blackness, striving to earn their way into the church and the light. Wynn has been sold into this fate, traded for a handful of silver. In the depths of the mines, where none dare carry flame, he must meet his tally or die. But there are things that lurk in that darkness, and still darker things within the hearts of men.

When the souls bound to the great forge are released in a failed ritual, one novice flees down into the darkness of the mines. The soulwraiths know only hunger, the risen know only hate. In the blackest depths Kharios must seek a light to combat the darkness which descends.

 

Let me start by saying this is a fantastic book in every aspect, from the wonderful cover (Designed by the equally wonderful Pen Astridge) all the way to the last page. But I am getting ahead of myself again. I received an E-ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influences what I say. As always, my opinions are completely my own. Well I am sure you will share them with me after you read it but you know what I mean.

OK now about this book. It is told through 2 POV’s. The First one is Wynn, a young farm boy who is basically sold to the temple by his father. The second is Kharios, a young man that has made it out of the mines and become a Novice in the temple. Now I know what you are thinking…. Well no that’s a lie. If I knew what people were thinking I would probably be doing something other than blogging, but stop trying to side track me.. What you should be thinking is, what kind of temple buys little kids and what are these mines I mentioned.

Well the answer to one explains the other. I will start with the Temple. It is the Temple of the Forgefather. Basically, a god of fire and metal.

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Not that kind of metal.  More like this kind of metal.

goblin_blacksmith_by_hrtc

So yes, he is the god of the forge. And the mines are where the metals and other ore is …. Well mined.

They need people to work down there so they take anyone they get their hands on. Sounds like a pretty bad God, right? Well we can’t really blame him he has been missing for a few hundred years.

So, anyway the book starts with Wynn getting sold to the temple. He starts out thinking he will be training to become a priest. That is the goal of everyone down in the mines, but one not reached very often. The book started out at a slow pace, but with some absolutely fantastic writing. I was comparing it to Rothfuss in my head for about half the book. Beautiful Prose, not a whole lot of action. But then Oh MY GOD all hell breaks loose. I was on the edge of my seat saying stuff like oh shit and no way for half the book.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I was blown away by this book. Faithless was one of the best books I have read so far this year. It is an awesome story told remarkably well. I read it in one sitting, I literally could not put it down. I highly recommend it and wish I could give it more than the 5 stars out of 5 that it received.

 

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Hob’s Review of Dragonship A Short Story by J.P. Ashman

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I have to apologize I made the graphic for a different review but it just fit so perfect I had to reuse it.  This is the second short story by J.P. that I have read. I think this one is even better, and the first one Black Martlet   earned 5 out of 5 stars.

Oh yeah I should mention I received an E-ARC From the author in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influences what I say. As always, my opinions, while completely awesome and undeniably correct, are completely my own.

Now this story is short enough that all I really should say is that it is awesome go read it, But I also want to add that it is a awesomely original take on an Epic Fantasy classic.

So Go Read It!

 

Dragonship by J.P. Ashman easily earns 5 stars from me.

Hob’s Review of Valley of Embers (The Landkist Saga Book 1) by Steven Kelliher

Valley of Embers (The Landkist Saga Book 1)
Aug 12, 2016
by Steven Kelliher

The Blurb
For hundreds of years, the flame-wielding Embers have been the last line of defense against the nightmare creatures from the World Apart, but the attacks are getting worse. Kole Reyna guards Last Lake from the terrors of the night, but he fears for his people’s future.

When Kole is wounded by a demon unlike any they have seen before, the Emberfolk believe it is a sign of an ancient enemy returned, a powerful Sage known as the Eastern Dark.

Kole has never trusted in prophecy, but with his people hanging on the precipice, he reluctantly agrees to lead the Valley’s greatest warriors in a last desperate bid for survival. Together, they will risk everything in search of a former ally long-thought dead, and whether Kole trusts him or not, he may be the only one capable of saving them.

This is one of those books that sat, well definitely not lonely but I guess you could say neglected on my virtual TBR pile for way too long. I have so many EBooks on my Kindle that at times it feels a bit overwhelming. But enough about my problems let’s talk about this book. First of all, I love the cover. It tells us a bit of the story without reveling too much. Plus, I think it is pretty. As far as the editing goes it was very polished for a self-published debut book. I am actually reading book 2 that was just released right now.

Now let’s discuss the meat of the book. Or if you are a vegetarian the tofu? Hmmm… would the Characters be the meat and the plot the bread? What would be the lettuce? Now I am just hungry and confused……. So how about we just talk about the characters.

I liked the main ones and was glad they were all experienced in battle at the beginning. Even though most of the actual POV’s are from young people they were living in a world where fighting for your life is a normal thing. So you don’t have to worry about the young boy becomes sword master in a day trope. The author did a great job of portraying extremely competent fighters that are still kind of dumb when it comes to other things. I guess what I am trying to say is that they felt realistic.

Now lettuce…. Errr let us talk about the lettuce? The writing style is good my only complaint would be some of the dialogs, when a group of people are talking I sometimes got confused about who was saying what. Other than that, I really enjoyed the style.

Finally let’s talk about plot. It starts out as a typical epic fantasy story. With the big bad living on a far-off mountain peak sending his evil minions to kill the good guys. But by the end I am not sure if the big bad even knows that the good guys exist, and he is not the one living on the mountain peak.

FINAL THOUGHTS
A refreshingly original take on the old Epic Fantasy story. Written with a great style and including great characters. This is a book definitely worth your time to read. I give Valley of Embers 4 stars out of 5.

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Hob’s review of Lucifer’s Star (Lucifer’s Star #1) by C.T. Phipps and Michael Suttkus

Lucifer’s Star (Lucifer’s Star #1)

by C.T. Phipps

Michael Suttkus

The Blurb

From the bestselling author of The Rules of Supervillainy:

Cassius Mass was the greatest star pilot of the Crius Archduchy. He fought fiercely for his cause, only to watch his nation fall to the Interstellar Commonwealth. It was only after that he realized the side he’d been fighting for was the wrong one. Now a semi-functional navigator on an interstellar freight hauler, he tries to hide who he was and escape his past. Unfortunately, some things refuse to stay buried and he ends up conscripted by the very people who destroyed his homeland.

LUCIFER’S STAR is the first novel of the Lucifer’s Star series, a dark science fiction space opera set in a world of aliens, war, politics, and slavery.

I received an E-ARC of Lucifer’s Star From the author in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influences what I say. As always, my opinions, while completely awesome and undeniably correct, are completely my own.

This book starts during what turns out to be the last battle of a huge war between the Crius Archduchy and the Interstellar Commonwealth. In all of the Sci-fi books I have read I don’t think I have ever found one that described the battle so well. This first chapter can be called nothing but epic. And even though the scale is soon lowered the epicness never goes away.

Cassius is a great character from the start, even though he is beaten and in hiding he is proud of who he is. Although he probably should not be proud of his hiding skills. But like I said the scale is lowered and what at first looks to be a grand space opera with huge battles becomes a character driven story of intrigue and deception (with huge Battles). And the characters doing the driving are first rate. I loved them all, even the ones I hated, if that makes any sense.

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FINAL THOUGHTS

Lucifer’s Star was a nonstop thrill ride filled with action and humor. I blazed through the book so fast it felt like it only took a few seconds but I loved every second of it. I Swear the last 1/3rd of this book was so good it had me smiling for days. So do yourself a favor and pick up Lucifer’s Star by C.T. Phipps. I give it 5 stars out of 5 and I wish I could give William a hand.

 

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Hobs Review of Where Loyalties Lie (Best Laid Plans #1) by Rob J. Hayes

Where Loyalties Lie

(Best Laid Plans #1)

by Rob J. Hayes

THE BLURB

Everybody knows Captain Drake Morass is only out for himself.

As the fires of a dying city burn on a distant shore, Drake sees an opportunity to unite the other pirate Captains under his flag and claim a crown for himself. If he is to succeed, he will need allies and the Oracle named Keelin Stillwater, the best swordsman in the isles, as his right hand.

With enemy ships sailing his waters and setting fire to his cities, and the sinister Tanner Black threatening to steal the throne before Drake even has a chance to sit upon it, Drake Morass must somehow convince the other Captains that his best interests are also theirs.

Where Loyalties Lie is the first book in the Best Laid Plans duology and is set in the same world as The Ties That Bind trilogy, continuing Captain Drake Morass’ story where the trilogy left off.

Kindle Edition, 404 pages

Expected publication: May 26th 2017

 

I am Ashamed to say this was the first book by Rob that I have read. Even more ashamed to say that is the third book by Rob that I own (Plus a novella I think) Trust me this will soon be remedied. It is listed as being over 400 pages, but I zipped through it faster than I have gone through some novellas. Wait I am getting ahead of myself here. Let’s do this review proper and such.  I received an E-ARC of Where Loyalties Lie

From the author in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influences what I say. As always, my opinions, while completely awesome and undeniably correct, are completely my own.

OK now back to my gushing review of this book. I loved the cover and will admit that is the reason I moved it up in my cue.  Really I only meant to read the first chapter to feel it out and the next thing I knew I was half way done.  When I was a Kid my Favorite video game was Sid Meier’s Pirates. I am not talking about the version that came out in 2005 no I am talking the one from 1987 I played on my Tandy 100 that had no HD and ran DOS on its amazingly powerful 24b of ram. (//C:chkdsk) But the game came with a real treasure map that you used while you played and I have been a Pirate at heart ever since. This book brought that feeling back so strongly I was humming the sea shanty my brother and I had made up as I read.

Enough of walking down memory lane lets sail the sea of reviews. If unlike me you are a land lubber and have never tasted the salt spray as you stand on the deck of your flag ship, have no fear me’ lad. The Characters in this book are strong enough to carry you away on their own. I was a fan of Keelin from the start and even by the end am still not sure if I love or hate Cap’n Drake. But both have enough hidden backstory to sink a ship, and I want to know what it all is about. I am not even going to start on all the great supporting roles because I’ll be here all day.

Final Thoughts.

Avast! Ya lubber and get yer sea legs

The action here will give ye no quarter Heave Ho and ……….. I am just fucking with ya

REAL FINAL THOUGHTS

This really was one of those rare books that has everything you could want. Witty and strong male characters. Sarcastic and possibly even stronger females. Swashbuckling hijinks and devastating losses. Dark Pirate Captains and even darker monsters. Magical Paladins and Long rifle sharp shooters. And that’s just the tip of the …. ICEBERG dead ahead Cap’n

Shiver me timbers!

Hard to Port an Get ye this book or Walk the plank ye scallywag

.

Where Loyalties Lie Gets 5 Stars me hearties Yo Ho

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