Tag Archives: NetGalley

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

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Hob’s Review of Legion of Flame by Anthony Ryan

The Legion of Flame (The Draconis Memoria #2) Kindle Edition

by Anthony Ryan

The Blurb

Empires clash and a fell power stakes its claim in the second in a new series from the New York Times bestselling author of the Raven’s Shadow Trilogy.

For centuries, the vast Ironship Trading Syndicate relied on drake blood—and the extraordinary powers it confers to those known as the Blood-blessed—to fuel and protect its empire. But now, a fearsome power has arisen—a drake so mighty that the world will tremble before it.

Rogue Blood-blessed Claydon Torcreek, Syndicate agent Lizanne Lethridge, and ironship captain Corrick Hilemore embark upon perilous quests to chase down clues that offer faint hopes of salvation. As the world burns around them, and the fires of revolution are ignited, these few are the last hope for the empire and for all of civilization


I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and the wonderful folks at Berkley Publishing Group 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.


This was a nice big book weighing in at 576 pages according to amazon. I will have to take their word for it. I had it on the kindle so can’t double check. The reason I have doubts is I finished the whole book within 60 hours of getting the email from Netgalley saying I was approved. But you know what they say, Time flies like an Airship with rocket boosters when you are reading a Steampunk book with Dragons. What? I am sure someone has said that before.



This is book 2 in the series there is also a short novella out that I have not read but it is on my kindle so I should probably do that. It is called Sandrunners: A Draconis Memoria Short Story and you can pick that up for $0.99 here

As it is the second book there might be some slight spoilers, but I shall endeavor not to spoil anything directly. I give warning just in case. Now that is out of the way on to the review!

The story is told through multiple POVs, but there are 3 main eyes we see out of.  Claydon Torcreek the unregistered Blood Blessed. He is a member of the Longrifle independent contractor company. Lizanne Lethridge  Blood Blessed Full Shareholder and covert Spy/Assassin for the Ironship Trading Company.  Corrick Hilemore Captain of the Blood-Burner ship IPV  Viable Opportunity. Well if you haven’t read the first book you are probably thinking 2 things right now, First “I didn’t know this was a vampire book”. Second, “Vampires are OK I guess, as long as they don’t sparkle. but a Vampire ship is going too far”. Well let me put those worries to rest by saying, don’t be an idiot this is Anthony Ryan! There are no vampires sparkly or otherwise.

This is a world just about hitting it’s peek of the industrial age. It also has Dragons. The Dragons come in 4 flavors, Cherry red, Sour Green Apple, Blue Raspberry, and Black Licorice. Well OK those are the colors but they are not flavored. Blood Blessed are able to drink the blood to gain magic powers. (Think Alomancy from Mistborn with blood) Black gives the ability of Telekinesis (Everything wants to get away from Black Licorice) Red gives Pyrokinesis (Also known as Throwing Fucking FireBalls) If used on a Blood Burner ship engine it is like a steam boat warp drive.   Blue gives a limited but instantaneous ability to communicate between Blood Blessed that know each other anywhere in the world. Any of those three types of blood will hurt or kill a normal person if they touch it. Green is the odd one out in that respect. It can be used to heal anyone. But if used by a Blood Blessed it gives them super speed, strength, agility, and Dancing moves….. Just checking to see if you are still there.


Blood is called Product by the corporations and is the source of their wealth and power. (using another mistborn analogy product is like Atium.)  Only a few can use it but everyone wants it, even Bob.


The problem in book one is that dragons are becoming an endangered species. The main problem in book 2 is that we know they are not endangered but fighting back. Under the leadership of the White “Mystery Flavor” Dragon they have formed a

Legion of Flame.

Now let’s get back to the 3 main POV characters. Lizanne is sent to the empire (Like Pre-soviet Russia) still looking for the Mad-Inventor. Her storyline gets way strange and convoluted, but eventually ended up making a lot of the plot move forward.  Claydon and Corrick are together for most of the book but do split up in two groups for a bit. Claydon’s  group goes on a journey to the center of the earth ride set up by the ancients. His was by far was my favorite plot line and many answers are found.  Finally we have  Corrick. Alas, poor Corrick! I knew him, Horatio; a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy; he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is!

to be

He doesn’t die but, well…..  you’ll see. Yes, that is Bob wearing a Tiara.

Wow this is getting to be a long review for me. So, let’s get to the Final Thoughts.

Final Thoughts

I loved this book and the series so far. A few parts seamed unnecessarily long (like this review) but still enjoyable. (hopefully like this review) Legions of Flame really is a page turner and had me up late 2 nights in a row. This is a world rich in history that is finally starting to be revealed. I could have wished for a bit more detailed information on a few things and a bit less detail on others. That, and I saw the end of Claydon’s plot line coming from the first 1/3 of the book are my only slight complaints. And the complaints are slight, I wouldn’t have noticed anything to complain about if I had not been reading with a critic’s eye. All in all, a great read. I give The Legion of Flame 4.75 stars out of 5

This book won’t be available until July 6th but can be preordered from the links below.



Barnes & Noble


Book Depository




Better World Books



Hob’s Review of Man Rules by Lex Jurgen

Man Rules: The Beginner’s Guide to Manhood

99 Rules for Re-Masculating the Millennial Male

by Lex Jurgen

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

So where to start with this book.  I am a terrible speller that notices whenever I see something spelled wrong. I usually don’t know how to fix it but I know it’s not right. I saw a few small typos and grammatical errors like “pick something as late as night as possible.” but no more than most books I read.

The only Rule I really disagree with in this book is the same thing i disagree with a lot of men for, I suppose. That is Sports. One of the rules is ” Fantasy football is everything not manly about football.” it goes on to say ” If a man has a hankering for football he plays a game with his buddies.  He doesn’t fantasize about sports from his recliner.”

Period! Stop! Wait right there! I couldn’t agree more!!

Except the rule should be  Watching Sports is everything not manly about Sports. With this       If a man has a hankering for football he plays a game with his buddies.  He doesn’t Watch sports from his recliner afterword to explain why. I enjoy playing football and baseball or did when I was younger and I enjoyed watching my Sons play. But other than that, I feel watching guys in tight spandex pants bend over and run around grabbing each other is my definition of  not manly.

That being said I am sure you can see what i don’t like about this statement Under the Men Don’t Cry rule. “Men don’t cry there are 2 exceptions Sports and dead dog movies if you didn’t cry when a dog dies you are a cold heartless bastard. E.T is close enough to a dog even though he doesn’t die . Spoiler alert.”

But ignoring the stupidity that says it’s ok to cry about sports thing, this was my Favorite rule. And I agree wholeheartedly about E.T..

All in all it was an amusing and enjoyable read. More than a bit chauvinistic but… in a good way? It did start to get tedious towards the last quarter of the book.  But I would rate it at 3.5 out of  5 stars. I will post this review on my blog https://thebloggoblin.com/ If you enjoyed this review take a minute to check out my other reviews there. I will also  review on Amazon and  Goodreads.