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Hob’s Review of A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne

A Plague of Giants (Seven Kennings #1)

by Kevin Hearne

ebook, 624 pages

Published October 3rd 2017 by Del Ray Books

 

 

I have been a fan of Kevin’s for years and it’s not just because he is a home town hero. I love his Iron Druid series on so many levels. and so, I admit I had some preconceived notions of what to expect with this new series. Well I was completely mistaken. Don’t take that wrong I enjoyed it but it was nothing like what was expecting.  This takes place in a whole new world created by Kevin, unfortunately that means no talking dogs or Irish goddesses. That is not an entirely bad thing though.  While not as strong of a book as the Iron druid it has some fresh ideas that give it a lot of promise.

Usually when a book is told in first person there is only one POV and that is kind of how this one works except not at all. The POV we see through is from Dervan, a widowed historian of a country called Brynt. He has the task of writing down the story a bard named Fintan is telling of the Giants War.  That is where the other POVs come in, when the Bard tells each part of the story he uses magic to take on the appearance of the person that part of the story is about. So the “voice” of the book changes frequently. I have to say Kevin did a very good job with that. Each one has its own personality and Idioms. That really brought the different characters to life. Some of them were boring at first but luckily it never stays on one person for too long and they all got better as time went on.

The book as a whole has plenty of blood and violence   I would almost classify the book itself as Grimdark. But the moments that are in the present are more lighthearted and it seems as if most of the war is over.

The magic system was particularly interesting. It is called a Kenning and there are 7 distinct types, each with its own subtypes that have different abilities.  The first is fire and then water air and so on. To be able to use this power you must go to the location for that kenning and it just so happens that each one is in a different country. To try and gain the power you have to risk your life. Brynt’s Kenning is water and if you wanted to gain this ability you must dive down in to an underwater cave as the tide is strongest and swim to the bottom. Of the people that attempt to gain a kenning at least 9 out of every 10 die in the attempt. We don’t find out why people are chosen, but the lucky ones will have powers that are pretty fucking awesome afterwards. It is said that each Kenning was discovered by someone that was suicidal in just the right place at the right time. I said before that there are 7 of them but that is just what everyone believes there is only 5 known Kennings. As with all magic there is a cost though and to use your Kenning ages you. The more power you use the faster you age.

That is all really cool! The thing I didn’t like that much are the Giants. No, not because they are the bad guys. Wait, well yes, they are the bad guys but that’s not why I don’t like them.  I actually liked some of the fire Giants. But I am getting ahead of myself again. There are 2 different kinds of giants. First is the Fire Giants (whom I liked sometimes) that live on the southern islands and have a history of trade with most of the other nations. They have the Kenning of fire (hence the name Fire Giants) and are known for the glasswork they produce.

Then we have the Bone Giants. They like to kill things and they wear armor made of bone. (Hence the name Bone Giants) That is about all we learn of them. We never find out if they have a Kenning. We never even really see why they sent armies across the ocean to attack. I am sure we will find out more as the series continues but I would have liked to know a bit more of their motivations.

Final Thoughts

I loved the magic system and how each land had mixed their idioms with the kenning they have. It was a fast-paced tale and Kevin told it very well.  I would have liked to learn more about the bone giants but hopefully that will come in the next book. I am going to give A Plague of Giants 4 out of 5 stars

 

I do think a Plague of Goblins would have been more fun though

gob

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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..

3391

 

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

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Hob’s Review of White Trash Zombie Unchained (White Trash Zombie #6) by Diana Rowland

27

Yes I Goblinized the cover lol

White Trash Zombie Unchained (White Trash Zombie #6)

by Diana Rowland

 

Paperback, 336 pages

Expected publication: September 5th 2017 by DAW

 

This is the sixth book in the series so it will have some spoilers. You have been warned!

OK first spoiler zombies are real. Psst don’t tell anyone! Angle ….er I mean Angel is a poor white trash girl with lots of potential that just wants to use brains, for the betterment of society. But the brains she uses are not always her own. Yes, Angel is a zombie that works as a morgue tech and is just starting her first year at community college.  She is also a member of the Tribe a zombie organization working for the safety of all zombies.

 

That should be enough to get you up to date on Angel. And where I am coming from with the review. For this book, I received an E-ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I love the covers for all the books in this series but this is my favorite so far. Even though going with the title the gators should be unchained. For the first 5 books I listened to the audiobook and I loved the narration. But I don’t know if it was me actually reading this one or if the author has just gotten better but the quick joking dialog with some of her friends both ones in the know about her “Z” situation and ones that don’t felt more natural and flowed better than in previous books.

 

That dialog is also just great dialog plain and simple. As for this story, the threat of a real Zombie breakout amped up the tension to a much greater scale than previous books which I liked. I won’t actually give any spoilers for this book but the tension gets pretty high. It’s not that hard to figure it all out but it was fun to ride along even though I could see many of the reveals coming early. And I have to say it was a warm fuzzy ending.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Great Dialog really brought out the personality of Angel for me more than in the previous books. And what a great personality it is. I admit I would love to meet a girl like her, well maybe one that ate less brains. But my fictiophilia suffering aside it was a fun read. I am going to give White Trash Zombie Unchained 4.75 stars

 

Get a copy of White Trash Zombie Unchained

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Hob’s review of The Land By Aleron Kong books 1,2, and 3

This is a combined book review of the first 3 books in a series The Land: Founding: A LitRPG Saga: Chaos Seeds, Book 1   The Land: Forging: Chaos Seeds, Book 2 and The Land: Alliances: A LitRPG Saga: Chaos Seeds, Book 3 as always I wont give spoilers.

Congratulations! You have found Padded Word Count. Item weight 50.07 kilograms. Item Durability 28,0000 out of 345,612 Item class Common. Item quality superb.  Traits makes a short book even easier to write, by filling 10 to 15 percent of the pages with item descriptions. Cooldown 1 second.

For those not familiar with the concept of LitRPG. It is a genre of scifi and fantasy novels where the protagonist is in a game world of some type. This can be a virtual world or an actual other world Unfortunately, a lot of times it feels kind of like reading the logfile of a game with childish dialog added in.

This series is actually pretty good I would say it’s in the top 10 LitRPG series I have read so far but it has some major flaws that I will point out.

First of all, this is one of the human sucked in to game world forever kind of litRPG, and so far we don’t know much about how that happened. But what we do know is so generic I would say at this point it is the worst getting to the game scenarios I have come across. Once our hero is in the world the story is pretty unique though. With a major focus on building a town instead of just raiding dungeons and stuff.

The main character was a Medical student back on earth but we would never really know that if it was not said flat out.  Even in his own thoughts when he is injured he never even remotely thinks anything technical. And in this third instalment of the series he seems to be turning ever more in to the obnoxious teen with his yelling out Fuck Yeah and using Rick and Morty references and worst of all, when referring to large loot drops screaming out give me the Cheddar.

Congratulations! You have found the word Cheddar. Item weight 0.05 kilograms. Item Durability 13 out of 62 Item class all too Common. Item quality subpar.  Traits makes Protagonist look like a stupid douchbag teen Cooldown five minutes.

I will admit I may be geting a bit sick of LitRPG in general. So many of them have the same faults. For this series, I have been listening to the audiobooks read by Nick Podehl and if it wasn’t for him I probably wouldn’t want to continue this series.  That being said I am vaguely curious to see where it will go. If it goes anywhere that is. In the second and third books not much happens to move the plot along.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The excellent narration and the fact that the main story arc is original is enough to keep me coming back. But somehow the shortest book, book 1 at just over 9 hours had more stuff happen then the combined 22 hours of books 2 and 3. Hopefully more will happen in the next book and the progression of the protagonist to a teen hipster will stop or at least slow down. I give The Land: Founding: A LitRPG Saga: Chaos Seeds, Book 1 4 stars and both  The Land: Forging: Chaos Seeds, Book 2 and The Land: Alliances: A LitRPG Saga: Chaos Seeds, Book 3 get 3 stars

Congratulations! You have found an awesome Book Review. Item weight 1.5 kilograms. Item Durability 15 out of 15 Item class rare. Item quality superb.  Traits hopefully lets you know what you are in for if you pick up a book, while at the same time making you smile or even laugh just a bit.

Interview with Jennifer M Baldwin and a Giveaway

I found some great books by following the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off also known as SPFBO last year. And while I am not a judge I am following even closer this year. Somehow I even talked a few of the contestants into doing an interview and giving away free books. The first in the hot seat is Jennifer M Baldwin and she had some great answers to my questions so …. um .. well here they are…….

DSC_1170

{Bob you are not Batman! If anything you should have a crown or something….}

 

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

The Thirteen Treasures of Britain is my first published book. I am not sure I would change anything because it is what it is, and I don’t believe in changing a piece of work after the fact (not counting typos or huge continuity errors). But I do know that for some readers, my book might start off a little slow. I was reading The Last Unicorn when I was working on those early chapters, and I feel like I was channeling Peter S. Beagle maybe a little too much. I got caught up in making sure the style and tone were what I wanted and perhaps didn’t give enough thought to what modern readers expect as far as action. I don’t open with an exciting action scene, or with some history-defining epic battle. It’s just a wizard having a weird dream and going insane.

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

All the time. I am deeply shallow.

 

(I LOVE this answer)

  1. What FRAKING side are you on of the fictional curse debate? Any in your books?

I wish I had more fraking curse words in my book! Frak!

Not too many fictional curses, alas, but I tried to come up with some creative exclamations (think: “Great Caesar’s Ghost!”) The usual, “Oh my God!” wouldn’t really work because my characters are either pre-Christian types or talking animals or fairies. I tried to have characters say things like, “By the oaks!” or “Thank the winds!” Nature-y stuff, basically.

In general, though, I’m in favor of fictional curse words. They’re fun.

  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?

My side characters always steal the show. I eventually realize that these “side” characters would be much better as main characters – and that I should drop my dull as dish-water protagonists and replace them with the cool side people.  Some of my best stories resulted from ditching the original protagonist and going ahead with the side character.  I’m a terrible date, I guess. I don’t dance with the one who brought me.

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

Can I say “D. None of the above”? I love discovering new books and falling in love with them, but honestly, I wouldn’t want to read any of them again as if “for the first time.” My favorite books are the ones that only get better each time I reread them. I suppose, if I had to choose, I would say The Chronicles of Narnia. But in choosing them, I’m not really wishing I could read them again for the first time – I’m wishing I could relive the moments of my childhood when I read them for the first time. That’s what I’d love to return to: the thrilling wonder of my childhood, when I first discovered my love for fantasy.

 

  1. Four children have small toys. The first child has 1/10 of the toys, the second child has 12 more toys than the first and is looking at him and going nananannaanna, the third child has one less toy then the first child has, so is crying at the top of their lungs. And the fourth child has double the toys of the third child then takes 5 from the first child. No question here just a flash back to when I ran a daycare…

This non-question feels like my life… (I’m a mom.)

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

Books written (in total): Four (a fifth is on the way…)

Tried to publish (and did!): One

In print: One (it’s very glossy and pretty)

{Yes, Yes it is and we will be giving an autographed one of them away to one lucky person that comments on this post}

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

The crushing disappointment of realizing that no one I meet in real life cares that I’m a novelist. (I usually get an “Oh, that’s nice!” which is the Midwest’s way of saying, “So what’s your real job?”)

  1. What was the hardest thing about self-publishing that you didn’t expect?

Getting newsletter sign-ups. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but then I look around at people with, like, 100,000 people on their mailing lists, and they just published their first book a month ago (this might be a slight exaggeration), and I’m completely baffled. How did they do it? I suck at getting newsletter sign-ups.

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

I’m an English teacher, so I’m more into crushing people’s souls with the withering criticisms I write on their papers. Soul crushing is much more satisfying than outright killing.

Fictional people? Not sure. A dozen? Do non-humans count? If so, then double it. Nay, triple it. I like killing monster-y things and bad guys.

{That has to be one of the greatest quotes ever! “I’m an English teacher, so I’m more into crushing people’s souls”}

  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 question10?

I can’t think of one in particular, but I value pretty much all of the criticism I’ve been given. My 11th grade English teacher once made me rewrite and revise an essay four times, and at first I griped, but when the process was complete, I ended up with one of the best pieces I’ve ever written. She didn’t do it to punish me; she did it to help me and make me grow as a writer. That’s why I like criticism; it makes me better. Even if I don’t end up using a suggestion from someone, just by thinking about it, by considering it, I come to a better understanding of my own choices and why I’m making them.

  1. What has been the best compliment?

James Tivendale from Fantasy Book Review told me in a tweet that he thought my writing for Thirteen Treasures was “stunning.” My insides are still a giant puddle of goo from seeing that.

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

Oh, I have so much… I am an English teacher, after all! I would say that new writers need to really work on tone and word choice. Nothing throws me out of a piece faster than when a writer uses a word that doesn’t fit with the tone of the story. I also think that reading and writing poetry can be a great way to flex and strengthen writing muscles. Finally, when it comes to learning how to structure a story and write characters, I would suggest a little-known screenwriting book called Writing the Character-Centered Screenplay by Andrew Horton. Yes, it’s mostly about  screenwriting, but many of the principles apply to fiction in general. It’s a great book.

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

Just an obscure little book called Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It was quite good; I think that series might have potential…

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

You forgot to ask me my favorite Smiths song (in Thirteen Treasures, Merlin is a fan of 80s New Wave). For the record, it’s “Bigmouth Strikes Again.”

  1. Do you have any questions for me?

If you could be any knight of the Round Table, which would you be and why?

{ I would be Madmartigan the greatest swordsman that has ever lived of course!

1Madmartigan

Just kidding. Seriously though I would want to be Sir Gawain. The poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight was one of the things that got me into fantasy. I think I read it in 3rd grade}

And that’s it! See it wasn’t that painful, for me anyway, and that’s what really matters right? And as I mentioned above Jenifer has generously donated a signed copy of The Thirteen Treasures of Britain to giveaway to one lucky reader. This is open to all. One winner will be chosen randomly on August 18th around 10:00 pm and will be announced soon after.

All you need to do is Comment below on this post and you are entered. Then, while not necessary you might as well share this post on Facebook, Twitter or whatever since you are already here. and I put those little button things down below. Everyone likes to push buttons.

But don’t forget to comment on this post before you leave.

 

Links:

The Thirteen Treasures of Britain on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N3O8PWD

iBooks, Barnes & Noble, other retailers: https://www.books2read.com/u/47kVE8

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-thirteen-treasures-of-britain-1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/dereliction_row

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jmbaldwinwriter/

Website: http://www.jmbaldwinwriter.com/

 

The winner has been chosen. Thanks to everyone that entered.

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

The Bound Folio (The Ties That Bind #3.5)

Paperback, 226 pages

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

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

emotions

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

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

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

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

browny2

 

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

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

ich_&_Famous

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

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

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

****NOTICE****

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

WTF does that mean?

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

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

But …..I said Please!

****END OF NOTICE****

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

ggg

 

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

richard-branson-virgin-mobile-0528-002

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

bigfoot_786_poster

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

Survivorman-Bigfoot-Mystery-of-Bigfoot-Mountain

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

300px-Big_foot

Not that Bigfoot.

This Bigfoot.

BIGFOOT-630x481

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

 

Final Thoughts

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

 

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 Faithless by Graham Austin-King

Faithless
by Graham Austin-King

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The Blurb

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

ax2e

 

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

goblin_blacksmith_by_hrtc

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

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

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

FINAL THOUGHTS

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

 

Get a copy of Faithless