Tag Archives: 5 stars

Hob’s Review of The Core by Peter V. Brett

It is always hard to write a review for the later books in a series without giving spoilers, yet still having the review make sense. So be forewarned this review might give a few subtle hints away. OK now that the warning has been given………


Can you fucking believe when Inevera gets killed in book 3? I thought that was a brave but strange move by the author. Even more so to have her die from falling over her shoe laces and breaking her neck while she was about to have a baby? ! I mean wow I did not see that coming.


What? Was that not subtle? I am just joking of course everyone knows that right? No? Well I was kidding about the death and the pregnancy. Speaking of pregnancy though, I really want to know how much of the Core was written while Peter’s wife was pregnant. In the book three characters are pregnant and the subtle ( About as subtle as I just was) jokes about eating and temper had me laughing out loud. But I wouldn’t be surprised if they had him sleeping on the couch.


But back to the review. I read a lot of books so I couldn’t remember off hand who was alive or pregnant or anything else so in preparation for The Core the fifth and final book of the Demon Cycle series, I did a complete re-listen to the Graphic Audio versions of the first 4 books. I have got to applaud the epic fucking awesomeness of all GA books but this series just blows me away with the quality of the voice cast and recording.  I can’t wait to get the Core in GA so I have the whole series. I did however think that Pete Bradbury did a great job with the regular AB. The recording would get louder and softer sometimes like the microphone was moved, but it wasn’t jarring or anything. https://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/The-Core-Audiobook/B06Y6G8NZW

But for those that haven’t just caught up like me and those sad, sad people that haven’t even started the series I will do a bit of a recap by posting the blurbs for each book and then once we are caught up I’ll talk about book 5.

The Warded Man

As darkness falls after sunset, the corelings rise—demons who possess supernatural powers and burn with a consuming hatred of humanity. For hundreds of years the demons have terrorized the night, slowly culling the human herd that shelters behind magical wards—symbols of power whose origins are lost in myth and whose protection is terrifyingly fragile. It was not always this way. Once, men and women battled the corelings on equal terms, but those days are gone. Night by night the demons grow stronger, while human numbers dwindle under their relentless assault. Now, with hope for the future fading, three young survivors of vicious demon attacks will dare the impossible, stepping beyond the crumbling safety of the wards to risk everything in a desperate quest to regain the secrets of the past. Together, they will stand against the night.

The Desert Spear


Legends tell of a Deliverer: a general who once bound all mankind into a single force that defeated the demons. But is the return of the Deliverer just another myth? Perhaps not.

Out of the desert rides Ahmann Jardir, who has forged the desert tribes into a demon-killing army. He has proclaimed himself Shar’Dama Ka, the Deliverer, and he carries ancient weapons–a spear and a crown–that give credence to his claim.

But the Northerners claim their own Deliverer: the Warded Man, a dark, forbidding figure.

Once, the Shar’Dama Ka and the Warded Man were friends. Now they are fierce adversaries. Yet as old allegiances are tested and fresh alliances forged, all are unaware of the appearance of a new breed of demon, more intelligent—and deadly—than any that have come before.

The Daylight War

Arlen Bales was once an ordinary man, but now he has become something more—the Warded Man, tattooed with eldritch wards so powerful they make him a match for any demon. Arlen denies he is the Deliverer at every turn, but the more he tries to be one with the common folk, the more fervently they believe. Many would follow him, but Arlen’s path threatens to lead him to a dark place he alone can travel to, and from which there may be no returning.

The only one with hope of keeping Arlen in the world of men, or joining him in his descent into the world of demons, is Renna Tanner, a fierce young woman in danger of losing herself to the power of demon magic.

Ahmann Jardir has forged the warlike desert tribes of Krasia into a demon-killing army and proclaimed himself Shar’Dama Ka, the Deliverer. He carries ancient weapons–a spear and a crown–that give credence to his claim, and already vast swaths of the green lands bow to his control.

But Jardir did not come to power on his own. His rise was engineered by his First Wife, Inevera, a cunning and powerful priestess whose formidable demon bone magic gives her the ability to glimpse the future. Inevera’s motives and past are shrouded in mystery, and even Jardir does not entirely trust her.

Once Arlen and Jardir were as close as brothers. Now they are the bitterest of rivals. As humanity’s enemies rise, the only two men capable of defeating them are divided against each other by the most deadly demons of all–those lurking in the human heart.


The Skull Throne


The Skull Throne of Krasia stands empty.

Built from the skulls of fallen generals and demon princes, it is a seat of honor and ancient, powerful magic, keeping the demon corelings at bay. From atop the throne, Ahmann Jardir was meant to conquer the known world, forging its isolated peoples into a unified army to rise up and end the demon war once and for all.

But Arlen Bales, the Warded Man, stood against this course, challenging Jardir to a duel he could not in honor refuse. Rather than risk defeat, Arlen cast them both from a precipice, leaving the world without a savior, and opening a struggle for succession that threatens to tear the Free Cities of Thesa apart.

In the south, Inevera, Jardir’s first wife, must find a way to keep their sons from killing each other and plunging their people into civil war as they strive for glory enough to make a claim on the throne.

In the north, Leesha Paper and Rojer Inn struggle to forge an alliance between the duchies of Angiers and Miln against the Krasians before it is too late.

Caught in the crossfire is the duchy of Lakton–rich and unprotected, ripe for conquest.

All the while, the corelings have been growing stronger, and without Arlen and Jardir there may be none strong enough to stop them. Only Renna Bales may know more about the fate of the missing men, but she, too, has disappeared…

notesOK so for those of you not taking notes I did a casting call and found a few goblins to fill the rolls of the main characters. We have Arlen Bales 34

who is Married to RennaRenna

and Ahmann Jardir


who is married to Inevera, (and like 15 other wives)


Rojer Inn and his wivesmusicgoblin-singing_full

and Leesha Paper  Leesha Paper

And I couldn’t help myself from casting this last one even though she is not a major character. sexy


I cringe when most authors have a made-up language that is used a lot in their books. In this series there is the Krasian language and yes, I suppose I did cringe at first with this series but Peter did two very important things to make it not only easy but fit the story perfectly. First Before a single Krasian word is said we are invested in the characters. It’s not until book 2 that much is said   Secondly, he made it sound familiar even though it is made up. It has a strong Arabic taste to it so it was easy to pick up on.

There are however, 2 words I think he kind of messed up with Ala = the name of the planet/dirt. I thought they were talking about god for the longest time.  The one that really confused me was Inevera. It translates to gods will/fate or something Inevitable. So, if you knew a thing would happen you might say it was Inevera. That part is fine it even makes sense, but it is also the name of Jardir’s wife. When Inevera says its Inevera or someone says it’s Inevera to Inevera, the first few times I was like what the fuck?


I made this animation to demonstrate how awesome Graphic Audio is and so you can hear a bit of the Krasian tongue. This is the story of creation told in book 2 The Desert Spear.

Here is a link to the GA series.

Now let’s talk about The Core. You know the book I am supposed to be reviewing here. (Just trying to remind myself) This one had a pretty grim feeling to it. Like humanity could be wiped from existence at any moment. That’s fitting since in the book …… humanity could be wiped from existence at any moment. Yes, the plan to go down to the core leaves the people up top in a pretty bad position and a lot of people die. I liked the tension that brought on and for about 9/10ths of the book I didn’t see how the series was going to be able to be finished in this book. That brings me to the one thing I didn’t like. The ending felt a bit rushed. Don’t get me wrong I actually liked the way it ended but it just felt like it happened to fast. How can a book that is 29 hours and 22 minutes long feel rushed, you may ask. It’s hard to explain but you will understand it when you read it.


Speaking of people dying there was a death at the end of book 4 that I had convinced myself for over a 2 years that it was faked. The person was being held as a prisoner and the faked death could have gotten him out of the city. I had convinced myself that was what had happened. But I was wrong. So, with such a long time assuring myself they were still alive the funeral was pretty emotional for me. What? Don’t look at me that way. I know it wasn’t a real person but….. fuck you it was like I lost a friend.


Give me a sec I need to collect myself now.


OK where was I? Oh yeah. One character that I didn’t like in the previous books was Briar. But his parts really stood out in the end and he became one of my favorites.  I think that’s one of the things I loved about this whole series. How just about everyone grows so much. From the days when people had to hide in their homes behind the wards every night terrified they would fail to the bad ass warriors we see in this book is just awesome. Then at the end we see the worst of them (you will know who I mean when you read it) risking and/or giving their lives to save those they would have happily watch die before, is inspiring.




While the very ending could have had a bit more detail I think the series as a whole, ended pretty spectacularly. The Core was almost 30 hours of action that I finished in about 40 hours after starting. I couldn’t put it down. or turn it off whatever. While not quite the best book I have read this year, I will say this series as a whole is in my top 10 I have ever read. So, you should definitely pick up book one if you haven’t already, and if you have I really don’t need to say anything else. Once you know The Core is now out I am sure you will want to go get it. I give The Core by Peter V. Brett 5 out of 5 stars. This was truly a great series and I not only recommend it, I insist that you go read it!

Interview with Ed McDonald


I just want to thank Ed McDonald for taking the time to do this interview. And now on to the questions!

  1.  If you could do it all over again, would you change anything in Blackwing?

In all honesty, no. It’s easy to look back at something you made and think “Ah, I hate how the word ‘number’ appears twice in that line, or ‘I wish I’d given that character another few lines of character development’ but I don’t like to look back. I’m very happy with where it ended up and I’m only moving forward.

(Not that it matters but I was very happy with it as well. It was a great read that I highly recommend in my review here.)

  1. Have you ever judged a book by its cover?

I am terrible for doing this, but I do it often. A good cover will get me to pick the book up from the shelf. Whether I keep on reading it then depends on the writing.

  1. Who designed your cover/covers? Were you able to work with the artist or is it all the publisher/artist?

I provided a brief for my publishers on what I wanted. It was very detailed, several pages. Then they ignored it completely and their art departments or sub-contracted artists came up with something pretty much completely different. Dan Smith did the UK cover but the US one I’m genuinely not sure. I take the approach that I’m good at words, and other people are good at art, and I need to just leave them to do their own thing. It’s healthier that way and I’m really pleased with what they came up with.

  1. Have you ever had a side character Try to steal the show? Would you like to go back and make a spin off series or something for them? Or is there a theme or idea you’d love to be able to explore in more depth?

In a sense, I think that they do a little. Nenn and Tnota have been so often mentioned as being the favourite characters in Blackwing and they really aren’t central to the story! Additionally, the more I wrote, the more the story became about Ezabeth. I may have fallen in love with her myself a bit, even though that’s weird to say.
I like to imagine that after The Raven’s Mark books I’ll be able to explore the world I’ve imagined further, but I wouldn’t want to go backwards – I’d be interested in following the children of one of the characters perhaps. Assuming they live long enough to have them.

  1.   If you could read any book again for the first-time, what book would it be?

Legend, by David Gemmell. I’ve read if seven times. It’s a book that genuinely influences my moral compass and my way of living.

  1. How much for this car stereo? Oh wait, wrong kind of fencing.  I meant to ask, How did you get into fencing?  Do you compete or just do it for fun?

I did sport fencing at university, and then picked it up again later but I was always frustrated by how much of a sport it was, and how little genuine swordsmanship was involved. From there I started doing HEMA and never looked back. I love learning the technical aspects, but I’m also hyper competitive and love to compete.

  1. How many books have you written, how many have you tried to publish, and how many are in print?

Written – eight
Tried to publish – three
In print – one, with the eighth now in the hands of my editors

  1. Have you found any occupational hazards to being a novelist?

I do most of my writing with a beer in the pub, I guess that’s not great for my health…

  1.    What is your favorite word? Least Favorite?

Favourite word – there was a note in the margin of Blackwing’s edits by one of my editors, Gillian, saying “Arsehole is your favourite word. Maybe change a few?” I do like arsehole. Don’t quote me on that.
Least favourite – “literally,” used when people mean “very” and what they’re discussing is figurative.

  1. How many people have you killed over the course of your career?  Real people first, then fictional.

Three, but you’ll never find them. Fictional, we’re talking millions. I have a short story in the forthcoming The Art of War charity anthology run by Booknest.Eu which features an Armageddon event.

  1. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?  Did it end up helping? Or did we just count that person in question 10?

I don’t think that I’ve ever really had criticism, but the best piece of advice was given to me by an agent was that my sixth book, at 280,000 words, was simply way too long to be published and that no agent/publisher would pick it up. As a result I abandoned it and wrote Blackwing, at an easy 117,000 words and never looked back.

  1. What has been the best compliment?

I’ve had one reviewer say it was their all time favourite book, but I’m going to give it to Anthony Ryan, author of Bloodsong, who said: “Upon starting Blackwing it quickly gained the rare distinction of being one of those books that felt as if it had been written especially for me.” Now that’s a compliment and a half.

  1. Do you have any advice to give a new writer?

Love what you write. If you’re enjoying writing a scene, it’s probably a fun scene. If it’s a struggle or boring, then change something up: a total location change, gender flip a character, start a fire. When it’s fun to write, it usually comes out fun to read.

  1. What was the last book you read? Was it any good?

Behind Her Eyes, by Sarah Pinborough. I wanted to read something far out of my usual reading zone, and it was great.

  1. What one question do you think I should have asked you, but didn’t?

What two questions do you think I should have asked you, but didn’t?

(That is cheating!)

  1. Do you have any questions for me?

Are you aware that copies of Blackwing make excellent Christmas presents? They can also be used to prop up wonky tables, to insulate wall cavities and if you bind enough of them together, can make a handy life raft in an emergency. It’s worth stocking up.

Well if you are in need of a good book or ….um .. a life raft or anything else I guess you can pick up a copy at the links below.

Get a copy of Blackwing

  1. Amazon
  2. Audible
  3. Barnes & Noble
  4. Kobo
  5. Apple iBooks
  6. Google Play
  7. Abebooks
  8. Book Depository
  9. Indigo
  10. Half.com


Hob’s Review of Blackwing by Ed McDonald

Blackwing (Ravens’ Mark #1)

by Ed McDonald

Paperback, 336 pages

Expected publication: October 3rd 2017 by Ace Books

I received an E-ARC of this book from Netgally in return for an honest review.


Nothing in the Misery lasts…

Under a cracked and wailing sky, the Misery is a vast and blighted expanse, created when the Engine, the most powerful weapon in the world, was unleashed against the immortal Deep Kings. Across the wasteland, teeming with corrupted magic and malevolent wraiths, the Deep Kings and their armies are still watching—and still waiting.

Ryhalt Galharrow is no stranger to the Misery. The bounty hunter journeys to a remote outpost, armed for killing both men and monsters, and searching for a mysterious noblewoman. He finds himself in the middle of a shocking attack by the Deep Kings, one that should not be possible. Only a fearsome show of power from the very woman he is seeking saves him.

Once, long ago, he knew the woman well, and together they stumble onto a web of conspiracy that threatens to unmake everything they hold dear and end the fragile peace the Engine has provided. Galharrow is not ready for the truth about the blood he’s spilled and the gods he’s supposed to serve.

I goblinized the cover a bit to add Crowfoot, one of the nameless..



OK that is some Blurb but let’s delve in to what it is saying in a bit more depth. First off the Misery. Well the Misery is when your number 1 fan kidnaps you and… oh wait wrong one. This misery while also being like hell on earth was created by one of the nameless as a kind of buffer zone between kingdoms. Oh, the Nameless are like Demi-Gods and so are the Deep Kings but they go about things a bit differently. But back to the Misery It is a buffer zone of hell on earth that has the annoying habit of trying to kill everyone that walks in to it. A place where you need a navigator with an astrolabe to find your way out. And that leaves you sick for days after you leave like you are going through heroin withdrawals. That is if you are not killed right off the bat by some of the beasties roaming around.

And this wonderful setting is where this book begins. This is written in first person. But while most First Person POV’s are the narrator telling their own story. This one is more like being in the mind of a man that is a drunk and borderline insane. A man that is haunted by so many ghosts of his past that this unreliable narrator goes back and forth between telling the story to some really weird places and random thoughts, and I absolutely loved it. Ryhalt Galharrow has a way about him that made me like him from the start. The pacing is steady throughout and by that, I mean it starts with action and never slows down.

The thing I really liked about this book was its originality. I mean yes, the writing style is extremely original. But what I am talking about is the originality of the story elements. Everything from the magic and monsters to the setting and style, they are all wonderfully new. I should warn you this is a pretty GrimDark world with plenty of death and carnage, but it is not gratuitous. The gore is part of the story not just there for shock value.


If you are tired of the same old thing in every fantasy book that you read, then this book is a must. Blackwing is not only a magnificent story that is brilliantly written, but it is also outstandingly original. A truly remarkable debut book. I give Blackwing By Ed McDonald 5 out of 5 stars.

Get a copy of Blackwing

  1. Amazon
  2. Audible
  3. Barnes & Noble
  4. Kobo
  5. Apple iBooks
  6. Google Play
  7. Abebooks
  8. Book Depository
  9. Indigo
  10. Half.com

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


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.

Interview with Rob J. Hayes

I wanted to do this interview with Rob after reading his book Where Loyalties Lie (Best Laid Plans #1). I loved it and it easily earned 5 stars from me. It will be available for sale on Friday the 26th but I will be out of town, so am posting this a bit earlier than I wanted. But I will be at the Phoenix Comic-Con from Wednesday to Monday. Meeting some of my Favorite authors, Like Robin Hobb, Brent Weeks, Bradley P. Beaulieu, Jim Butcher, Scott Lynch for the first time. And many more that I have met before.  Hopefully I will have lots of cool photos and stuff to share with you all when I get back.

1.       If you could do it all over again, would you change anything in your FIRST book?

Yes. A few readers have accused me of trying too hard with The Heresy Within, and I can see it. Like a new friend trying too hard to fit in. I had yet to properly settle into my own voice and figure out my own boundaries. So yes, I would certainly change some things… but I have no idea what. Can I go with ‘I would have made it better’?

2.       Have you ever judged a book by its cover?

All the time. The cover leads you to pick up the book and read the blurb. The blurb leads you to check out the first page. The first page leads you to buy the tome. A crappy cover and the book fails at the first hurdle. You judge anything with the information you have at the time and, when browsing books trying to decide which one to read next, the first information you have is the cover. I may never have discovered the joy of reading a Robin Hobb book if not for the Liveship Traders covers.

3.       Who designed your cover/covers? Where you able to work with the artist or is it all the publisher?

Alex Raspad has done the artwork for most of my books with input from myself on some of them, very little input after the initial ‘Here’s what I want’ actually. Whether it’s character shots or vistas or pirate towns burning to the ground while the men on a ship watch, Alex gets it spot on and he just keeps getting better.

Shawn King does the design on all of them afterwards and I can’t praise him enough for turning the art into actual book covers. I don’t know all of the fancy design terms folk use, and any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic… So Shawn is a wizard. Also, I hear he once turned Gandalf into a frog.

4.      Have you ever had a side character Try to steal the show? Would you like to go back and make a spin off series or something for them? Or is there a theme or idea you’d love to be able to explore in more depth?
Funny you should ask that. In earlier versions of Where Loyalties Lie there was a side character called Elaina Black who everyone (including myself) loved. In the rewrites she kept having more and more chapters and I think it’s fair to say that these days the story is as much about her as any of the others.
There are a few other characters who have made a bit of splash and when they do I tend to get a little bit inspired and write short stories around them. A few of those short stories will soon be available on my website.

5.       If you could read any book again for the first-time What book would it be?

Fool’s Errand by Robin Hobb. No book has ever hit me in the feels quite like that one. I actually cried. Also, Black Lung Captain by Chris Wooding. There’s a scene involving a mid-air dogfight between a hundred flying machines, punctuated by a guy having a fist fight with a cat. It remains one of my favourite scenes in all fantasy.

6.       When trying to figure out what a character should look like, do you think of Celebrities, or just start looking at everyone you pass as if your looking through a mug shot book?

Neither. Sometimes both. Most characters just sort of come about naturally in my head, though I probably take some inspiration from folk around me without even realizing. Some characters come from more direct inspirations. I like to reference a character from my second book, The Colour of Vengeance called Jacob Lee. He’s a psychopathic, super powered, zealot with a loose grasp of reality and he likes to dance to music that only he can hear. The inspiration comes from a film called Priest (2011)… actually it comes from a single shot in the trailer of that film where Karl Urban’s character is walking through a city in chaos and waving his arms around like a conductor. It’s a terrible film, but I loved that shot and it led quite directly to Jacob Lee.

7.       How many books have you written, how many have you tried to publish, and how many are in print?

Thirteen so far.
2 of them will never see the light of day, early attempts at discovering my style.
2 are currently in print, my It Takes a Thief… series.
1 is being released on May 26th. Where Loyalties Lie.
3 are being re-released on June 21st. The Ties that Bind trilogy.
2 are being released later this year. The Fifth Empire of Man (the follow up to Where Loyalties Lie), and Drones (a sci-fi noir story).
1 is being released next year. City of Kings (the follow up to The Ties that Bind trilogy).
2 are currently being looked at by agents so I can’t share any details.
And I’m already writing the 14th.

8.       Four children have small toys. The first child has 1/10 of the toys, the second child has 12 more toys than the first, the third child has one more toy of what the first child has and the fourth child has double the third child. How many cages are there?

How many cages are there? Four, I guess. How else do you store live children?

9.       Are there any occupational hazards to being a novelist?

Low pay, long hours, and that look of ‘You’re a unicorn.’ whenever you tell people what you do for a living.

10.   How many people have you killed over the course of your career?  Real people first, then fictional.

It’s impossible to say how many real people I might have killed over the course of my career. Due to the butterfly effect any action I take has a knock on reaction that could technically cause any number of deaths. I may be responsible for none of those deaths, but my actions may have indirectly caused events leading up to them.
As for fictional characters… A LOT. Tens of thousands at least. My First Earth saga is set on a world of turmoil where wars are a regular thing, especially in the current age. And the troubles on that world are only just getting started. Less than Star Wars, though… I’ve never blown up a planet.
11.  What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?  Did it end up helping? Or did we just count that person in question 10
Honestly one of the hardest criticisms for me to take is the times I’ve been called an Abercrombie clone. We have similar styles in some ways and a few readers picked up on that. At first it made me a little angry. Then I started looking at differently. Abercrombie is a hugely successful author with some very good books. If people want to draw comparisons between us then I will take it as a compliment.

12.  What has been the best compliment?

Any one given by my big sister. She’s my very first reader and my hero, and really not afraid to tell me when I suck, so any time she says I’ve done something well, that’s pretty much the highest praise in the world.

13.  Do you have any advice to give aspiring writers?

Never call yourself aspiring. Do you write words onto pages? Then you are a writer. Have you sold even a single copy of the words you have written onto pages? Then you are a professional writer. Also, marry into money.

14.  What do you think will be your Final words?

“Well personally I kinda wanna to slay the dragon.”

15.  What one question do you think I should have asked you, but didn’t?

Why pirates?

16.  Do you have any questions for me?

What is ‘The Captain’s Daughter’?
You can find more about Rob at his site http://www.robjhayes.co.uk/

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.



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.


Get a copy of Lucifer’s Star

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


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


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

Get a copy of Where Loyalties Lie

Hob’s Review of Skullsworn by Brian Staveley

by Brian Staveley

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influences what I say. As always my opinions, while completely awesome,  are also completely my own.

It is a funny story how I got this book. Many of my fellow reviewers had been posting that they received it courtesy of TOR and I am still a new blogger so not many of the publicity people have my address (Which I would be happy to give out to them!) but I made a post that I was sad I missed out on Skullsworn and like 20 minutes later the author Brian Staveley messaged me saying he had a few copies of his own and wanted to send me one. Needless to say, I was happy to except his offer. I have met Brian a few times before and he is a really nice guy. He always has taken the time to chat with me and sign stuff, even drawing me a sketch of an upcoming book cover once. But I was still thrilled when the book arrived and I saw that it was not only signed but personalized for me.


OK now let’s get to the review part of the review. I have an ARC so I didn’t keep track of any spelling errors, not that I recall seeing any. The one thing I did notice was a continuity type error where a guy has something taken away from him then a few paragraphs down he had it again. It was not even anything important though. I let Brian know about it. I expect the actual first edition to be just about perfect on release day. The cover has the same watercolor kind of feel to it as Brian’s other books, but I think I like it better than the previous ones.

Skullsworn is set in the same world as the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne Trilogy, but is not part of that story. You don’t need to have read any previous books to enjoy this one.  That being said you might enjoy it more if you have read them, because it is kind of an origin story for Pyrere. That oh so lovable priestess of death, the Skullsworn assassin from the original books.  The story started off on a strange foot for me.  There was a lot of action right out of the gate and I liked the character the book was about, but it still took me a bit to really get in to it. I think the main reason was my own busy schedule. The other reason it may have been hard for me to get into it, was that a major theme in the book was LOVE. I don’t mean it is a love story. It is not. But the questions of what love is and how it works are a major part of the story. Normally that wouldn’t matter to me at all, however I just went through a divorce with my wife of 20 years and felt a bit put off by that at first. But once I started to get to parts like this prayer to the goddess of love I was hooked.


That is some pretty great stuff right there. So, while it took me almost a week to get about 100 pages in, I read the remaining 218 pages in a night.  I couldn’t put it down.

One thing I really liked about this was the way it is told. I said before that is an Origin story, and it is. But Pyrre is the one telling it to us. So, there are occasional side notes and explanations as well as changes in the use of tense and perfective aspect. I have read a few short stories that tried to do this and failed, but this was done very subtly and extremely well.  Kind of like in The Princess Bride, but not so much. (Helpful, I know) At any rate it was done well.

I won’t go much in to plot but the jist of it is that Pyrre is ready to take the final test to become a true Priestess of Ananshael; the God of Death. The test is that she has to kill 7 people in 2 weeks but no one else. The people are not specific targets but are the paradigms from a song. Here is part of it so you get the Idea.


She sets off to the town she was born in with a full Skullsworn Priest and Priestess to witness her test and kill her if she fails. There is a whole big reason why she chooses to go there and the city itself is a major part of the story, so I won’t say any more about it other than it is a unique and volatile powder keg, and Pyrre plans to be the match.

Final Thoughts

A great read with tons of action and humor. A story that examines the multifaceted concept of love in some profound ways, without ever getting sappy. While not at all what I was expecting, it was better than I could have hoped. Written with a unique kind of prose that managed to pull me deeper in to the story. This is not a love story but a story about love (and killing people), and I loved it.  I give Skullsworn 5 out of 5 stars. Use the links below to order a copy.



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Hob’s review of The Girl With All The Gifts by M. R. Carey

The Girl with All the Gifts


Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her “our little genius”.

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.

Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

The Girl with All the Gifts is a sensational thriller, perfect for fans of Stephen King, Justin Cronin, and Neil Gaiman.

©2014 M.R. Carrey (P)2014 Hachette Audio


The Cover is pretty plain but it is pretty powerful when you look at it after you have read the book. The narration was really excellent. I can’t think of anyone that could have done a better job.

Just reading the blurb you know more about this book than I did when I started it. I knew absolutely nothing of what it was about I had heard people saying it was good. But if I am completely honest the main reason I got it is that the Author is quoted on Dyrk Ashton’s  book cover extolling its virtues, and since Dyrk is a friend and I loved his book  I wanted to see what M.R. Carrey had written.

When it first started I was drawing a lot of parallels to an anthology I read a year or two ago called Through the Eyes of the Undead   ( Very good by the way and free right now on KU)

But it soon went far afield from anything that can be done in a short story. Now I need to explain something. I am a father. My kids are the most important things in my life. I would do anything for them. I even stayed in a bad relationship for 22 years (17 bad years) because I would not be one of the guys that isn’t around to talk to his kids after school every day. The reason I tell you this is so I can try to explain the anguish I feel when I read about kids in harm’s way or emotionally messed up. So I have to admit that during the first 2 or 3 hours of this AB I was pretty much continuously holding back tears.  And I loved it!

I fell in love with Melanie from the very first minute of the book. The other characters were not that well fleshed out but most of the book is from Melanie’s POV anyway. And that is my only criticism of the book.

There are some pretty scary scenes  but nothing to bad. While not the best bed time story for the toddlers, for a zombie story I would say it’s OK for the younger teens.  It is a hell of a lot less than any thing you would see on a episode of The Walking Dead.


It is a great read. It pulled on my heart strings so hard at times I thought it would get pulled right out. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like zombie books this is something I think most of the people that visit my blog would love. And OMG what an ending I did not expect that! Just kidding……. or am I? HAHA now you will have to get it just to see if there really is a surprise ending. My work is done here. I give The Girl with All the Gifts 5 out of 5 Goblins 5-star