Tag Archives: Grimdark

Book Haul + A Giveaway

October Was a great month for books, at least it was for me. So of course I am going to spread the love a bit and have a giveaway! But before we get to that let me show you what I was lucky enough to get my  grubby little goblin hands on.

 

  1. The Midnight Dunes (The Landkist Saga #3) by Steven Kelliher

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Steven sent over an E-ARC of the third book in his Landkist saga. I don’t know if his time as a UFC fighter helped but the battle scenes in this series are written very well. Go pick up a copy of Valley of Embers if you haven’t already got it.

 

  1. Black Guild (Black Powder Wars, #2) by JP. Ashman

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My Cactus loving goblin buddy sent me the digital ARC for his eagerly awaited second installment in his fantastic flintlock fantasy series the Black Powder Wars.  Check out the new cover Pen Astridge aka The Mighty Pen just finished for book one.

  1. The Infernal Battalion (The Shadow Campaigns #5) by Django Wexler

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I have to thank the publisher (Ace)  for this one.  I admit I already finished this a few days ago. This has been a great series from the start and to be honest this is the best one yet! One of the most satisfying series ends that I have read in years.

by Adrian Collins, Mark Alder, R. Scott Bakker, Bradley P. Beaulieu, Michael R. Fletcher, T. Frohock , Alex Marshall, Peter Orullian, Jeff Salyards, Courtney Schafer, Shawn Speakman ,Brian Staveley, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Marc Turner, Matthew Ward, Kaaron Warren, Mazarkis Williams, Deborah A. Wolf, Janny Wurts, E.V. Morrigan

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I backed this as a Kickstarter last year and received my beautiful hardcover copy a few weeks ago. Then last week I got a magical mystery paperback in the mail. Neither  I nor Adrian know why I got it but since I don’t need 2 of them…. Yup you guessed correctly this is the giveaway!

Open to all. Just comment below to enter . While not necessary to share this post it is appreciated! You don’t need to have a wordpress.com account to comment but it will ask for an email. I don’t care if you give a made up email but if you are the randomly selected winner you will have 24 hours to respond to the notice I send you. After that I will randomly select someone else. The contest will end and the winner will be chosen Friday the first of December.

Good Luck!

An Excerpt of Song By Jesse Teller

First I need to apologize to Jesse, I had all of this for so long and I said I would post it on release day. Well here we are 20 days later. So sorry again Jesse, and thanks for the Excerpt!

 

The Guard of Mending Keep

One Year After The Escape

 

The serving boy’s face was stained green with disgust and horror. He looked about to be sick, about to flee, about to weep. Rayph saw the trembling lip and the panic in the eyes, and he knew what the boy was carrying. It was small, maybe a little over a foot wide, spherical, and covered with a towel. The boy wove a path through the reclining bathhouse patrons and made his slow, methodical way around the main tub to the corner where Rayph sat with his good friend, playing crease and taking in the steam.

As the boy drew closer, the dread that rose up within Rayph prompted him to turn to Dova and grimace. Rayph moved his tile, tapping it lightly with his finger, and shook his head.

“I’m afraid we are about to be interrupted,” Rayph said.

The boy trembled beside the gaming table. His white, sweating face held the world’s shock, and Rayph nodded at him. “Set it down.” He waved his hand across the boy’s eye line and muttered his spell’s incantation. The serving child’s face smoothed clear of all trepidation, and he let out a long-held breath.

“Where did you get it?” Rayph asked.

The boy’s dark eyes looked troubled even through the effects of the spell. “He hurt me,” the boy said.

“Hurt you how?” Rayph asked.

The boy pointed to his temple. “He got in here. He burned me.”

Rayph clenched his fist and anger bubbled deep within him. “What did he look like?”

“He was trimerian, but his third eye,” the boy rubbed his forehead, “it seemed to be flaming. He stunk of sulfur.”

Rayph’s blood ran cold, and he stood. “Watch the boy. Lock down the house. If he returns, do not engage, just defend, Dova. He is beyond even you.”

He looked to his ethereal friend, naught but churning wind where his body sat. The towel draped over Dova’s shoulders and tied around his waist, the only indicator of his form.

Rayph grabbed the boy’s shoulders a little too rough, just a little too hard. “Where did he go?” Rayph tried not to let fear get the better of his voice, but it trembled. There are so many innocents here. If he unleashes, how much of the city can I save? The answer was very little.

Dova exploded with a slight puff of wind. The towels fell to the floor. Rayph could feel his friend fill the room, warm air, fluttering and vibrant with life, swelled, blowing curtains in a flurry. The doors to the bathhouse slammed shut.

“Where did he go, son?” Rayph asked the boy.

“Who said he’s gone?” The voice held a new lilt of arrogance to it, a soft tinkling, musical and filled with spite. The boy leapt back. His forehead ripped open, betraying an eye. His back split and out flapped two wings that bled greasy smoke.

“Clear the room,” Rayph commanded as he loosed his spell. The power of the spell’s thrall was so great that every reclined man leapt to his feet and rushed for the door. The doors flew open to slam closed again. Every lamp in the room surged, hissing flame before dying completely. The room was thrown into gloom, the only light issuing from the great opening in the roof centered over them.

With a flick of his wrist and the uttering of a command word, the air around Rayph’s right hand tore and his sword dropped from the wound. The air zipped closed again, and Rayph turned to the serving boy, who hovered before him.

“You harm that boy any further and I will hunt you, Meric. I will plunge into that darkness you surround yourself in and I will rip you from it.”

The boy tossed his head back and unfurled a hideous laugh that trembled the ceramic tiles of the wall. “I have not come to quarrel with you, old friend.”

“You and I were never friends,” Rayph said. The sky above the opening darkened, and Rayph stepped closer. “Why have you come here? Why show yourself now, after this many millennia?”

“The nation is wide open, dear friend. No one is watching over Lorinth in your absence. You have forsaken your post.”

“I still guard this nation. I serve not the throne, but this is still my home. I will return as court wizard one day.”

The boy’s head lobbed back, and he poured out another hideous laugh, so violent the corners of the mouth split, and the boy coughed blood. “Too late, Rayph, you will return too late.” The head shook. “You have not yet looked at the present I left for you. How rude you are, Ivoryfist.”

Rayph extended an arm toward the table and muttered a word. His eyes stayed locked to Meric as the object floated the room to hover before Rayph. With a jerk of the cloth, he unveiled the severed head. Rayph looked in horror at the face, so contorted in pain from its last moment he could not recognize it.

He stared at it. The left side of the face was badly burned, the neck severed with some keen, hot blade that cauterized the wound perfectly. Deep claw marks covered the right side of the face and neck. Blood stained the chin and mouth.

Rayph’s heart broke out in a rampaging rhythm, and his mind burst into flames as he recognized the face. “No.” He looked away, but his eye was drawn to the head again as the identity of the head locked in his mind. “It can’t be.”

A gurgling laugh filled the room, and Rayph summoned forth the power to smite Meric.

“No, Rayph, you mustn’t!” Dova screamed. He threw his whistling form before Rayph, and two thrumming hands landed on his shoulders. The air that comprised Dova’s body filled with the water of the tub they stood in, making a figure of rampaging moisture. “If you engage him here, you will destroy my city. You must not.”

“Listen to Dova, Rayph. He always was one for caution,” Meric said. “Caution and cowardice looking so much alike and all.”

“Rayph, who is it?” Dova motioned toward the head.

“Stoic,” Rayph breathed. “He has killed Stoic.” Saying it aloud let the words take on meaning. His friend was gone, his guard, dead. What would become of Mending Keep? Had they all fled? Had the world’s unkillable fiends made good an escape?

He knew the futility of the words before he spoke them but felt helpless to say anything else. “I will make you hurt for this, Meric. In this one act, you have killed yourself.” Rayph felt nauseous.

“Step aside, Dova,” he said.

“Oh, my dear Rayph, please do keep tight check on that temper of yours. I would hate to reduce this city to rubble because you threw a fit,” Meric said. The black smoke issuing from the flapping wings filled the room with unbreathable air. “Stoic is gone, as are his charges, but that does not mean we need come to blows. I was not the one that killed your boy.”

“This head was severed with your blade. Do not try to deny it.”

“Yes, for easier transportation, I assure you. He was dead long before I got there.”

Was Meric lying? Did he have any reason to? Why bring the head at all? Meric was not one to gloat. It was not his way. Why alert Rayph the prison had been broken in to? There was an element to this Rayph could not see, something big moving powerful pieces about the board.

“Who did this?” Rayph asked.

The boy laughed again, weaker this time. He doesn’t have much time. I have to get Meric out of that boy as soon as possible.

“I won’t do all of your work for you, Ivoryfist,” Meric said. Lightning flashed outside, the inky clouds that followed Meric everywhere boiling in the sky above them.

“Does this mean you’re coming off sabbatical?” Meric asked.

“I will find out who did this and why, and when I do, if your name comes up at all…”

The boy laughed again, a hissing wheeze that scared Rayph.

“Remember who helped you when it all comes out, Rayph. Remember who alerted you to the break. You owe me now,” Meric said.

“I owe you nothing. You did not do this for anyone’s reasons but your own.” It’s big. It’s really big, but I can’t see it.

Meric laughed again. The wings pumped, throwing blood through the air, and the boy’s body lifted.

“Leave the boy!” Rayph said.

“You don’t give me orders any more, Rayph. Those days are over.” The boy’s body lifted high above the bathhouse, and Rayph splashed into the center of the tub to stare up at darkened skies. With a deafening explosion, Meric broke loose of the boy’s body, and the child dropped. Rayph set his feet and watched as the body tumbled. The boy dropped through the opening in the ceiling, and Rayph caught him in his arms. The sky opened and rain hammered the city. Rayph looked up at his friend and grimaced.

“I must leave, Dova,” Rayph said. “But first I have to know what happened to Stoic. Can I use your lab and summoning room?”

“Everything I own is at your command, Ivoryfist, you know that.”

The boy woke up screaming.

 

 

Song
The Manhunters Book One
Release Date: October 5, 2017

Some of the darkest minds in Perilisc attacked Mending Keep, releasing all its prisoners. Despite his strained relationship with the crown, Rayph Ivoryfist calls old friends to his aid in a subversive attempt to protect King Nardoc and thwart terrorist plots to ruin the Festival of Blossoms. But someone else is targeting Rayph, and even his fellow Manhunters might not be enough to save him.

Order Song at Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

 

About the Author

Jesse Teller fell in love with fantasy when he was five years old and played his first game of Dungeons & Dragons. The game gave him the ability to create stories and characters from a young age. He started consuming fantasy in every form and, by nine, was obsessed with the genre. As a young adult, he knew he wanted to make his life about fantasy. From exploring the relationship between man and woman, to studying the qualities of a leader or a tyrant, Jesse Teller uses his stories and settings to study real-world themes and issues.

He lives with his supportive wife, Rebekah, and his two inspiring children, Rayph and Tobin.

Recognition

SPFBO 2017 entrant
Literary Titan Gold Book Award Winner, April 2017
Drunken Druid Editor’s Choice, March 2017
Drunken Druid 2016 Book of the Year Short List
Hungry Monster Gold Book Award Winner, September 2016

 

“Jesse Teller is a talented author with the future in his hands.” —Peter Tr, booknest.eu

“A very strong author who boldly builds the world he has created with strong themes and no apologies.” —Dianne Bylo, Tome Tender Book Blog

 

“Jesse’s newest project, Song, is part of his Perilisc fantasy world: a richly detailed setting, ripe with legends, magic, and secrets whispered but not yet explored.” —Bookwraiths.com

 

 

Author Links:
Website
Facebook
Goodreads
Amazon
Twitter
Reddit
Smashwords

Interview with Ed McDonald

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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.

THE BLURB

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..

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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.

FINAL THOUGHTS

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

Interview with Anthony Ryan

Anthony Ryan is the New York Times bestselling author of the Raven’s Shadow series, A fantastic epic fantasy with more than a hint of Grimdark. The Slab City Blues science fiction series. And his new series The Draconis Memoria …a Dragon Flavored Steampunk series. Book Two The Legion of Flame –– was released today in the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.     I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of The Legion of Flame (Available NOW HERE) If you haven’t read book 1 yet, take a minute or two and examine the choices you have made in life. After that you can pick up a copy of it here.  Then feel free to read my review of book 2. Don’t worry it is spoiler free.

In Celebration of this new release a few of my goblin minions and I, with the help of Alexis Nixon at Berkley Publishing, were able catch Mr. Ryan (He can move fast when he wants to)  so we could ask him a few of my Famously stupid questions, and believe it or not he answered them! So, my thanks to Anthony Ryan for taking the time to do this interview.

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

 

Yes, I’d do more to eliminate the typos. Other than that, probably nothing. I’m not claiming it’s a perfect book, but I think once something’s done and published I think it’s best just to leave it alone. If I wrote Blood Song now it would certainly be a different book, for the simple reason that I’m a different person these days.

 

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

 

All the time. Everyone does, even if we don’t admit it. There’s a reason why publishers spend so much time and money on covers.

 

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

 

For my self-published work, I’ve commissioned various freelancers over the years. I’m currently working with an artist in Germany, Kevin Goeke, who did the cover for my novella ‘A Duel of Evils’ (see more of his work here). For my traditionally published work the publisher takes care of commissioning artists / designers, although they do consult with me as part of the process.  –

 

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?

 

Sometimes characters become much more important than I was expecting, whilst others have a shorter lifespan than I intended. In terms of spin-offs I tend to use my shorter works to explore characters who I liked but didn’t get very much screen time in the full length novels. In my novella ‘The Lady of Crows’ I enlisted a character at an earlier point in her life as a means of exploring the criminal underworld of the Raven’s Shadow setting.

 

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

 

Probably ‘The Book of Three’ by Lloyd Alexander, which set me on the road to a lifelong obsession with fantasy.

 

6.      What was the best thing before sliced bread?

Unsliced bread.

 

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

 

With the ‘Legion of Flame’ I now have five traditionally published books in print, with a sixth, the collected edition of my ‘Slab City Blues’ sci-fi noir series, self published as print-on-demand. Back in my twenties I tried to publish a very bad crime novel which was rightly rejected by every agent I sent it to.

 

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

 

My hands hurt if I type too long without a break. The main actual risk is that it’s a sedentary occupation and you need to remember to go for a walk every now and then. Other than that, there’s always the chance that someone who didn’t like my last book might send me a weirdly passive aggressive email.

 

9.      What is your favorite word? Least Favorite?

 

My favourite word changes by the day, at the moment I find myself most taken with ‘gargantuan’. My least favourite: ‘puce’.

 

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

 

As for the real people, nobody squealed and the coppers were never able to pin nuttin’ on me, y’hear! As for fictional people, let’s just say I’m probably a mass murderer.

 

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?

 

Criticism is only useful if it’s considered and not just someone slinging abuse. I think the best criticism I received was being encouraged to concentrate on clarity rather than lyricism when it comes to my prose.

 

12.  What has been the best compliment?

 

I always like to hear from people who’ve gotten something positive from one of my books, especially during difficult circumstances. I occasionally get emails from veterans or active service military people who seem to get a lot out of them, which is nice to hear.

 

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

 

Learning not to give up is a skill you have to acquire along with everything else. Other than that, read as much and as widely as you can and finish what you start.

 

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

 

The last book I read was Blackwing’ by Ed McDonald and it was terrific.

 

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

 

Would you like a million dollars?

Yes. Yes I would love a million dollars….. Oh, I was supposed to ask you that. Well never mind then.  That’s all of the questions I have. Thanks once again to Mr. Ryan for spending the time to talk with me. To you, my loyal Goblins I say you really should check out this great series. It is Steampunk with friking Dragons! What more could you want?

SP dragon

Don’t ask me why the dragon above has goggles on his hat and his eyes. Who am I to judge a Steampunk Dragon? Seriously though this dragon was drawn by my Daughter I added the hat and goggles.

 

 

Ebook:  Amazon.com  –  Amazon.co.uk  –  Nook  –  Kobo  –  iBooks

Hardcover:  Amazon.com  –  Amazon.co.uk  –  Barnes & Noble  –  Indiebound  –  Waterstones  –  Wordery  –  The Hive

Audiobook:  Audible.com  –  Audible.co.uk

 

Hob’s review of Heart of Stone by Ben Galley

The Heart of Stone
by Ben Galley

The Blurb

Merciless. Murderer. Monster. He has been called many names in his time.

Built for war and nothing else, he has witnessed every shade of violence humans know, and he has wrought his own masterpieces with their colours. He cared once, perhaps, but far too long ago. He is bound to his task, dead to the chaos he wreaks for his masters.

Now, he has a new master to serve and a new war to endure. In the far reaches of the Realm, Hartlund tears itself in two over coin and crown. This time he will fight for a boy king and a general bent on victory.

Beneath it all he longs for change. For something to surprise him. For an end to this cycle of warfare.

Every fighter has a last fight. Even one made of stone.

I received an E-ARC copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

First things First. I had an ARC so I can’t really say anything about the errors there are some but almost all in the last quarter of the book and I am sure they will get fixed before publication. The cover was done by The wonderfully talented Shawn King. It is so simple yet compelling I really like the style of it. I did Goblinize® the cover but I feel that I need to apologize for it.

I am sorry Shawn and Ben.

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Now to the Fun Stuff!

OK this is set in a pretty Grimdark world but almost all of the story takes place in one country named Hartlund.

map2

Now that you know where the story happens let me tell you a bit about who it happens to.  The main Character is a 400 year old Stone Golem. His name is Task and his “task” is to kill people. He is bound by the magic that made him to serve his master. So for 400 years he has been moved around and sold from one master to the next. And since he is thought of as a war machine that means he was sent from one war to the next.
Like I said before the world is a pretty Grimdark place with a lot of wars. Since Task was created all of the wizards that made golems have died and Task is the last of the Windcut stone Golems. When he arrives in Hartlund he is told that he is needed to turn the tide of a civil war that has been going on for 9 years already and his side is losing. His new master is a pompous ass hat just like all of his others and orders him to the stable until they march. That is where he meets Lesky a little girl that works the stable and she becomes his first friend in a very long time. That’s all I am going to say as far as plot goes.
This is the first book by Ben that I have read and I ended up really liking  his style of world building, but was a bit nervous at first. For example there are large lizard type things that are used like horses and he doesn’t sit and describe what they look like. They are slowly described throughout the book through things like someone touching their scales or saying how they moved. There are a few things like that and while I usually don’t like that type of world building he did it really well.
I am going to be honest and say there is a lot of violence in Heart of Stone, but it is there for a reason. Its not dismemberment for the sake of upping the gore factor.  Even with all of the gore and the battles I was amazed at my reaction to some of the later parts of the book. Just like with the descriptions of the lizard things happening slowly, my emotional attachment to some of the characters happened almost unnoticed by me, however  it was a deep attachment.. It wasn’t until one part when  something happened to someone when I felt a real tear that I knew I cared about these imaginary people. When I say things like “brought a tear to my eye” in reviews it usually means that I felt kind of choked up, but I really had a tear or two on my cheeks while reading this and that has not happened to me in a long time.

 

Final Thoughts
I really enjoyed Ben’s style of writing. It was almost sneaky the way he made me care about the characters.  This is a standalone book not a series which is kind of nice. It has been a while since I read one of those, and even longer since I read one anywhere near good as this book.  This is the first novel I have read by Ben Galley but it most certainly will not be the last. Heart of Stone is one action packed, bloody, emotional ride and I loved it. It receives 5 out of 5 Little Goblins© from me

The Heart of Stone

Mar 30, 2017

by Ben Galley

Available for Pre-order on Amazon. It will be released on March 30, 2017.

Hob’s Review of Circle of Reign by Jacob Cooper and a giveaway

Circle of Reign

I first came across Jacob Cooper back in August of 2015. I had a job that I could listen to books most of the day, so I went through audio books fast.  For that reason I was searching Audible one morning before I went to work for something new, I only had 2 requirements. First that it was read by someone I liked already. And second that it was long. When I  search for a new book I usually do a search of my favorite narrators first. I searched Luke Daniels  and didn’t see anything new. Then Michael Kramer and what do you know, I saw Circle of Reign a bit over 20 hours long. I was in a hurry so i didn’t even read the description, I just started downloading it to my phone and left for work.

I know what you’re saying right now. You are saying “How the hell can he remember doing a search for a book over a year ago?” Well I have a pretty good memory when it comes to what happens in books. But not names, if I ever meet you in person save us both some awkwardness and tell me your name at least 10 times over the next hour or two. I am almost as bad with book titles and even worse with Song titles.  But if we had met at a book store and we walked down the aisles I can point to every book I have read and give a synopses of what it’s about.  That is a lot of books, but let’s get back to the one I am reviewing, whatever it’s called.

I usually start my reviews with the Physical aspects of a book. But we need to go about this one differently.  See  this book Is not  the same one I downloaded over a year ago. Well that’s not actually true. Since I first listened to it till now it has undergone a lot of changes. No I don’t mean like puberty. Jacob was approached by a guy you might have heard of named  David Farland and if you don’t recognize him from his Runelords Series, you might know some of the people he taught while a English professor  like Brandon Sanderson, Brandon Mull, James Dashner, and Stephanie Meyer. (You shouldn’t hold that last one against him.) David had read CoR and enjoyed it but thought this self published first time author could make it even better with some coaching. So together they cut about 35,000 words and then added  around 70,000. The result is not really a new book but I will admit a better one.

Now let’s get to the Physical part. The cover is pretty cool and shows a part out of the book well. But it is not very eye catching. I listened to the audio book again excellently narrated by Kramer.  And while the first version was a nice long AB this version is even longer at  24 hours 37 min. But you don’t have to take my word for it. You can pick the eBook up free on Kindle Unlimited and one of my lucky readers will get a free audible download code. More about this at the end.

Now a bit about the book itself.  The story takes place in a rather Grimdark world,  where the land seems to be dying. The country is called Senthara, and it is one of the last bastions of humanity. But on occasion people looking for farmable land  come with their whole civilizations but that is the plot for the prequel  Altar of Influence: The Orsarian War.   Also free as of now on Kindle Unlimited.

One of the things I love the most about this book is the action POVs. Like in the graphic below there are 3 people 2 fighting and one watching.  Well you as the reader are not bound to one POV you are bound to the action. During this fight you will see out of each one’s eyes and here their thoughts. It is so cinematic you can’t help but picture a movie in your head as you read. If you click the preview button at the bottom then click part one you can read this scene.

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The blade on the right was actually made from a description in the books by Fallen Oak Forge. Here is a better picture.

sword

I wouldn’t actually classify this series as Grimdark, but it is a near thing. The only reason  holding it back is no one really knows how screwed they are. The main character is Reign A Wood dweller of the Western Provence known as Arlethia.

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What is a Wood dweller?  Well they are not long lived like elves but they do have the ability to sense vibrations of anything moving close to them through the tree roots and are blessed with an almost super hero level speed . We see that right from the start in the battle I pictured above.

Do yourself a favor and read the preview Here

 

 Final Thoughts

A few things didn’t really fit smoothly for me but they will probably be resolved in book two. There is quite a bit of in world language used that did get a bit confusing at times but not enough I didn’t know what they were talking about. I loved the original and rated it 4.5 stars. This one was even better and it gets a full 5 stars out of 5. Keep reading to find out more about the giveaway.

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Win a free Audiobook version of Circle of Reign!

Jacob is a sucker for poetry. But only likes the kind that begin with Roses are red . So the best Roses are red poem of at least 30 words but no more than 100,000 wins. I am joking of course many of you know about my aversion to poetry. But I bet you didn’t know I am a published poet. Yes, sadly that is true but I don’t even remember the name of the book. ( I mentioned I am bad with names) And while the first 2  results of a Google search of Trevor Sherman poetry  will be links to something I wrote thankfully it’s not actual poetry.  No for a chance to win a free Audiobook just comment below. While you are at it you should comment on my other giveaway here. But don’t forget to comment below first! Good luck And if you lose you can always buy the book at the links below. One winner will be chosen Randomly from the comments below on this post. The drawing will take place on January 27 around 4 pm eastern. Any questions feel free to contact me 

Audible

Barnes and Noble

ISBN-13:

9780692246733

Publisher:

Jacob Cooper

Publication date:

12/27/2016

Series:

Dying Lands Chronicle , #1

Pages:

798

Hob’s Review of Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

 

Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor)

by Mark Lawrence

 

  • Publication date Apr 2017
  • Publisher HarperCollins Publishers
  • ImprintHarperVoyager
  • Publication City/Country London, United Kingdom
  • ISBN100008152306
  • ISBN139780008152307

 

Wow where to start? I am kinda at a loss for words. That might be because it is 7:15 am and I was reading for the last 6 hours straight and I am exhausted. But I think it’s more likely that my brain just can’t contain all of the awesome that I read in that 6 hour stretch.

Well I guess I will start like I always do with the Tactile and visual parts of the review.  I love the cover It is a great visual description of the book without giving anything away. Plus it’s just some damn good art. It could have been improved a bit, but I went a head and fixed it.

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There were 5 or 6 Grammatical things I noticed. But all small things like bought her hand down instead of brought and in in instead of it in. I did have an ARC not the Final version of the book. I am just mentioning it so that in the unlikely event they haven’t been fixed already they will be before its published, I am not taking any points off.

“I have been too young to know, and I have been too old to care. It’s in that oh so narrow slice between that memories are made. So enjoy it.” – Sister Pan

I love Marks writing because on a almost subconscious level there is a meter or tempo to it. It’s not like a rhyming poem or anything, and it’s really hard to put a finger on what “it” is. I think “it” is the sentence structure its self. He writes like a great Orator speaks. The cadence of the words pulling you in to his stories  almost hypnotically. It has taken me reading 7 books by Mr. Lawrence to actually come to that conclusion.  I am probably wrong and its just a compulsion spell.. And while I am not accusing him of witchcraft or sorcery, per se. His prose has definitely cast its spell on me.

1

You would not believe the amount of times that I have read a series by an author then read their new series, and it felt like…. well like the same books almost. At the very least, many authors fall in to old speech patterns using new mouths.  I have actually thought about this way too much in the past, and I came up with an explanation for it. The characters from the old books are in the FBI’s (Fictional Body Importation) Protagonist Protection Program.  (Rolls right off the tongue doesn’t it?) Their names have been changed for their own safety and they have been moved to a new world to start over. But just like Steve Martin in My Blue Heaven they soon get up to their old tricks again.

hob-heaven

In Mark’s first two trilogies he managed to make the protagonists so completely different from each other I was amazed. And Yes he did it again with Red Sister. I know I know, the protagonist in this book starts out as a 7 or 8 year old girl and yes it takes place on a completely different world. So it sounds like it would be easy to make them unique. But even the Narrative flow in Red Sister was different from the Broken Empire books. While still having the Orator’s Tempo I talked about before. It really did amaze me.

“But be warned, young Nona: a book is as dangerous as any journey you might take. The person who closes the back cover may not be the one that opened the front one.” – Sister Kettle

Ok Like I just mentioned, Red Sister takes place on a completely new world. New to us that is. Its actually so old it is dying, really in fact it is the Sun that is dying. Causing the slow formation of a Ice Planet like Hoth from  StarWars. The only glacier free area of the planet is a 50 mile wide strip that goes all the way around the planet. I Picture it just like Beggar’s Canyon back home.  Only wider obviously.

And the only Reason that 50 miles is still open is because of a moon…… “That’s no moon kid” That’s a focus lens! Every night it gathers the light from the dying sun focusing it in to a single beam that sweeps over the area with enough heat to keep the glacier from closing in on them. If that’s not bad enough, the “moon” is in a decaying orbit and will soon return to the planet and then the ice will close on the people like a giant trash compactor.. “C-3PO come in C-3PO where are you C-3PO OH where could he be?” Sorry can you tell I went and saw Rogue One again today?

Final Thoughts

It is not only a great story, but beautifully written as well. I loved the ending but at the same time I wish I hadn’t gotten to it yet. It was by no means a small book but I read it in three sittings, and that only made me want more.

Mark Lawrence has been the author of my choices for book of the year for the last 2 years in a row. Red Sister was the first book I finished this year but it is possible he might get my vote a third time. Red Sister gets a Outstanding recommendation from this goblin with 5 stars out of 5

P.S. if you’re a Mark Lawrence fan don’t forget to enter my free drawing to win a Broken Empire themed book cover! A $90.00 value for free! Just go to my blog post  here and make a comment and you will be entered.

To Pre- Order Red Sister click below

Amazon

Book Depository

 

The Grim Tidings Podcast

Rob and Phil bring us up to date on what’s up with the podcast, including upcoming guests, news about their new website, and a look back at their  favorite episodes of 2016, a special preview of Grimdark Magazine issue #10, and list a few of the most anticipated grimdark / fantasy novels of 2017. They also announce the winner for best novel of the year as voted by the members of Grimdark Fiction Readers & Writers (the GDAF award) Hint It is the one I voted as best Grimdark  Book of 2016 in The Fist Ever Goblin Awards Then most importantly they talk about me!!

Yes, a new feature on this awesome podcast will be the Blog of the week. And they made a great start to it by naming The Blogin’ Hobgoblin as the first one! I love this podcast and have for a while now. If you haven’t listened to it yet you need to check it out The Grim Tidings Podcast