Book Review: Blood and Bile by J.C. Boyd and Joshua Robertson

Book Review: Blood and Bile by J.C. Boyd and Joshua Robertson

coverSpoiler Free Summary:  Blood and Bile by J.C. Boyd  is and Joshua Robertson is the first book in the Legacy series. Runa’s brother has lost his mind. The evidence is composed of the bits of his wife still stuck in his teeth. Even so, Runa’s priority is to help her brother return to sanity even if it costs everything else. Hunfrith, however, is determined to see the letter of the law fulfilled and Ranvir, Runa’s brother, killed. The battle for Ranvir’s life will test how far both Runa and Hunfirth are willing to go to see their ends met.

Character:  Hunfrith made perfect sense to me. I didn’t necessarily like him, but he was a believable character. He was proactive and competent, but not very sympathetic, but as the antagonist, how likable is he supposed to be? Run, however, didn’t make as much sense. This isn’t a gender issue. My problem is everything about Runa rides on her love for her brother, but the reader never sees that relationship, so there’s no context for the basis of her entire character. Is it plausible that a person would do anything on earth to save her brother? Yes, but the emotion is lost because the relationship wasn’t established. She’s is a formidable opponent to Hunfrith because she’s equally as proactive and competent. 

Boyd
This image is the same from source file in previous reviews.

Exposition: I felt this dragged this particular story down. The book felt so slow (especially in the beginning). Some of it was necessary to establish the world and the culture, but I felt “told” a lot about the world’s history and society when I would have preferred to have seen it or experienced it. This story has amazing drama and a very satisfying (in terms of rising action and plot development) ending, but it definitely takes a while to warm up.

Worldbuilding:  This is the strongest part of the book. So books that have amazing worldbuilding and lack that proactive character link aren’t bad books by any means, but I don’t thrive on worldbuilding alone. When a book has amazing worldbuilding, but it doesn’t hook me with a character, I tend not to like it as much. Now, there are those who hate a book if worldbuilding isn’t on point (or even if it’s not amazing). So I want to make it a point to say this culture is amazingly researched and incredibly well thought out. And if you like deep worlds and settings, this is for you.

Dialogue: There are some “tales” that happen, and in a movie, when the director can shift to a flashback, these aren’t so hard to get through. However, when the reader can only read or metaphorically listen to the tale, it’s just more exposition. I recall one story about how the big bad of this world’s history was killed. If you take those away, the dialogue is actually pretty powerful. The conversations that weren’t clearly there to establish back story or culture revealed character and had some great snap.

Robertson
This image of Joshua Robertson was the same used for previous reviews. 

Description:  This is the other high-quality aspect of the story. This book puts you in the scene. All the senses are activated. These authors do a great job of using the most underutilized aspect of storytelling. They even gave distinct character quirks to their cast that did more to reveal their character and personality.

Overall: This book started slow, and it took a long time for the plot to get going. What amounts to a political fantasy drama takes a while to come to a head, but when it does, everything is all the more satisfying. The ending was awesome. While it was hard to connect with some of the characters, this book ramps up to an amazing end that promises great conflict.

Thanks for reading

Matt

Book Review: Heyshayol by Joshua Robertson and J.C. Boyd

Cover
The cover for this book was taken from its Amazon buy page for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine. 

Spoiler Free Summary:  Heshayol by Joshua Robertson and J.C. Boyd is the second book in The Blood of Dragons series.  It’s been a thousand years since Tyran and Drast have killed the Horned God, but their actions didn’t bring them eternal life; they brought the brothers imprisonment and the world in chaos as the old gods have returned. To remedy the situation, Tyran and Drast embark on a quest to recover the Horned God from the underworld.

 

Character:  Tyran and Drast are why I enjoyed the first book in the series. While I didn’t get the same connection to them in this book that I got from the first, they’re still the stars of the show and the strongest part of the book. Their dependency and dedication to one another adds a degree of sympathy a lot of fantasy stories lack. I’m not actually sure why they have made the decision they made (rescuing the Horned God).  This element of confusion is something I tried to understand throughout the book. Yes, it’s a question I had, but it didn’t ruin the story for me because Tyran is pretty headstrong anyway. Whatever his reason, he won’t let anything stand in his way once he’s chosen a course. 

Exposition: The bulk of exposition that slowed this story down was actually in the dialogue. I think there was a bit more in this story that I’d like. Any time a story feels slow to me or I catch myself losing focus, I suspect exposition to be why. The story does slow down a time or two, but the authors offset this with compelling, well-written action scenes.

Boyd
Image of J.C. Boyd from Amazon.com for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

Worldbuilding:  This is another strength for this series. This particular series is part of a deep saga called the Thrice Nine Legends. The meticulous attention to detail and deep mythology make this story a wonderful one for any who like expansive scope in their stories. While the pace might be slower than I like personally, people who want to study and immerse themselves in a different world will love this book.

 

Dialogue: This was better than the last book. Yes, above I mentioned a lot of loosely hidden exposition, and there was. However, there was also some adorable and witty exchanges. One of my favorite parts of the book was Drast’s interactions with another character (spoilers). I don’t remember much of the dialogue from the first book, but this book had some wonderful banter that built on the characters and revealed them even more.

Description:  I know this book had solid description because I have a clear mental picture of the characters and some of the scenes. In this case, if I think there is a bit too much, it’s probably just about right. This book has several cinematic scenes that the authors really bring to life with solid, punchy description.

Robertson
Image of Joshua Robertson taken from his Amazon page for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

Sure, it slowed me down a bit as a reader, but that’s because I personally hate description.  No, the book isn’t as well pictured as some other books I read, but it definitely activated all the senses.

 

Overall: This is action packed. I’m not such a big fan of the cliffhanger ending, but I liked seeing the characters. I think the first book was better, but this was fun to read. The action kept my attention, and I really wanted to learn more about the characters. The overall concept is pretty interesting, and I’d recommend it to any fantasy fans who like deep worlds and epic battles.

Thanks for reading

Matt

The 2018 M.L.S. Weech Book Cover of the Year Bracket Starts Now!

The 2018 M.L.S. Weech Book Cover of the Year Bracket Starts Now!

Hello all!

I’ve been building to this for quite some time, and I’m so excited to kick things off. This is it! Twelve Book Covers of the Month join four Wild Card Book Covers to comprise a sixteen-book tournament to determine which one will rule them all!

If you like, you can take a look at each book cover’s winning announcement: December, January, February, March, April, MayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctober, and November.

The Weech365 book covers. 53,047 votes. All leading to this tournament! The covers were ranked 1-16 by the number of total votes each received. That means the cover that received the most votes (Until Nothing Remains) is going up against the Wild Card that received the fewest votes. (Age of War), and so on and so forth.

You can vote all the way through the tournament, supporting the covers you like best through each round. I like to make sure people get the credit they deserve, so please show your support. Please vote and share as much as possible to get people a chance to pick their favorite.

As always, I’d appreciate it if you tag the authors and artists if you know them. I try to tag or friend every author I can, but sometimes it’s hard to track someone down. Max participation is a huge deal to me. The more people who vote, the more recognition these authors and artists receive, and I want this to be as legitimate as possible.

If you are the author, let’s remember to be good sports! 1) Please feel free to message or contact me at any time. 2) Please feel free to like, share, text, ask for support, and call everyone you know. I absolutely want max participation. However, if you’re going to offer giveaways or prizes, please offer them for voting, not just voting for you.

Also, while your summoning your army of voting soldiers, please make sure you ask them to vote in every match. Part of the idea of this is to get exposure to as many artists and authors as possible. By all means, if you can get 1,000 people to vote for your book, do it. Just please also send some eyeballs to the other matches.

A final note to authors and artists: I currently have links to the books’ Amazon pages. If you’d prefer I switch that link to sign up for your newsletter or like your social media page or whatever, just send me the link and let me know. I want this to help you. I want this to be as helpful as possible, so whatever you need me to do to facilitate that, just let me know.

It’s been fun! I’d like to end this tournament on a high note. I’m trying to get 10,000 total votes. Please, tell everyone. Get people to vote. I want this trophy to mean something, and it’ll frankly mean more as more people vote.

I hope you keep having fun. Please, vote, share, and discuss as much as possible.

All you have to do now is head over here to vote!

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Announcing the March Book Cover of the Month!

Announcing the March Book Cover of the Month!

Hello everyone,

We’ve just wrapped up another month. This one was pretty historic.  This month is the second-most voted on month to date. That’s a pretty awesome stat to hand out. I’m thrilled and honored at everyone involved.

We had 6,019 votes this month.

It was a pretty stiff competition between about five books. No one really pulled away, and that made for some exciting matches.

The March Book Cover of the Month is…

 

51e-zNkL4LL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_

 

Heshayol by Joshua Robertson and J.C. Boyd! If you’re curious about how I felt about the book, check out the Facebook post that I posted when this book first landed on the bracket, here.

Let’s look at the stats!

Heshayol received 335 total votes. If this cover and art looks  familiar, it’s because his first book Anaerfell was in the Book Cover of the Year Wild Card Round. I also read and reviewed it.

Since April only has 30 days, Metal and Stone by K. Potter and The Past is Never by Tiffany Quay Tyson. will be in next month’s cover bracket because they finished second and third respectively.

But for now, let’s look at this month’s winner!

Amazon:

(START BLURB)

Over a millennium ago, at their father’s command, Tyran and Drast sent the Horned God to the Netherworld in hopes of gaining everlasting life. Instead, they sparked a chain of events that led to the near destruction of the Ash Tree and the liberation of the old gods. Now, with the world waning, the two brothers are freed from Anaerfell to travel to the frozen realm of the dead and resurrect their enemy with hopes of restoring balance. Tyran and Drast journey between time and space with limitless magic at their fingertips to face demon legions, forsaken immortals, and the realization that the malevolence of their father is not yet done.

While the first ennead of books in Thrice Nine Legends can be read separate of one another, the following is the chronological reading order for full enjoyment.

Anaerfell, The Blood of Dragons, Book 1

Warden of the Ash Tree

The Highborn Longwalker

Melkorka, The Kaelandur Series, Book 1

When Blood Falls

Dyndaer, The Kaelandur Series, Book 2

The Name of Death

Maharia, The Kaelandur Series, Book 3

Heshayol, The Blood of Dragons, Book 2

(END BLURB)

I’ve added Heshayol to my TBR. (For those who are new to the deal, I buy the Book Cover of the Month to read and review in the future. I buy all the winning covers. I’ve already bought FebruaryJanuary and December’s book.


Feb_Cover_Collage
Here’re Josh’s and JC’s Facebook page. Give it a like if you’re curious about him and his work.

I’ll try to find out who did that cover. I’m still  behind my interviews, and I’m just not sure how or when I’m going to get back on that. I will try though.

The April Book Cover of the Month is almost set, and that contest will launch May 1.

I will continue to identify and select covers for each day from Amazon’s New Release section for fantasy and science fiction. If you follow and like my Facebook page, you can see what covers will make the bracket.

Thanks for reading

Matt

The March Book Cover of the Month is up and Running!

The March Book Cover of the Month is up and Running!

March_Cover_Collage_175Happy first everyone! As is now officially tradition here on my blog, it’s time to start a new book cover of the month competition.

Star Mage Exile by J.J. Green joins 31 brand new covers this month.

You can vote all the way through the tournament, supporting the covers you like best through each round. I like to make sure people get the credit they deserve, so please show your support. Please vote and share as much as possible to get people a chance to pick their favorite.

As always, I’d appreciate it if you tag the authors and artists if you know them. I try to tag or friend every author I can, but sometimes it’s hard to track someone down. Max participation is a huge deal to me. The more people who vote, the more recognition these authors and artists receive, and I want this to be as legitimate as possible.

If you are the author, let’s remember to be good sports! 1) Please feel free to message or contact me at any time. 2) Please feel free to like, share, text, ask for support, and call everyone you know. I absolutely want max participation. However, if you’re going to offer giveaways or prizes, please offer them for voting, not just voting for you.

Also, while your summoning your army of voting soldiers, please make sure you ask them to vote in every match. Part of the idea of this is to get exposure to as many artists and authors as possible. By all means, if you can get 1,000 people to vote for your book, do it. Just please also send some eyeballs to the other matches.

A final note to authors and artists: I currently have links to the books’ Amazon pages. If you’d prefer I switch that link to sign up for your newsletter or like your social media page or whatever, just send me the link and let me know. I want this to help you. I want this to be as helpful as possible, so whatever you need me to do to facilitate that, just let me know.

I hope you keep having fun. Please, vote, share, and discuss as much as possible.

All you have to do now is head over here to vote!

Thanks for reading,

Matt

A Special 5-Star Review for Caught!

A Special 5-Star Review for Caught!

caught-front-coverGreetings all,

As usual, I’m sharing what reviews I find for my books. However, this review is special to me. You see, Joshua Robertson is someone whom I respect a great deal. He’s a brilliant writer, a well-respected member of the community, and someone I consider a mentor. When I saw that he’d started reading Caught, I felt a degree of fear. I feel it when any of my author friends read my work, but I’ll admit that I was slightly more nervous than I had been.  So when I saw his five-star review for the book, I had to let out the breath I’d been holding since it appeared on his “currently reading” tab.

Some of you might recognize the name. You should, I read and reviewed Anaerfell fairly recently. I can say first-hand that Mr. Robertson is a busy man, so even seeing him take the time to read my book was an honor. The fact that he liked it has me on cloud nine.  I’d like to take this chance to thank him now. Thank you, Mr. Robertson.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

The 2017 M.L.S. Weech Book Cover of the Year Wild Card Round Begins!

The 2017 M.L.S. Weech Book Cover of the Year Wild Card Round Begins!

WildCardGreetings all,

I have to admit, I’m super excited about this project. I love tournaments, and I love book covers. I’m having a lot of fun with it, and I hope you all do as well.

In addition to giving you the link and some guidance, I wanted to give you some insight as to why these eight covers were chosen.  So here we go!

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab: This is one of only two covers to receive more than 1,000 total votes. Unfortunately, it face the OTHER cover. Schwab’s 1,091 votes didn’t carry it through. It was the runner up, but didn’t make on it’s second time up. I still think it’s an amazing cover, and with 1,000 people behind it, I felt it deserved a final try.

The Dragon Rider Vol. 1 by T.J. Weekes: This was November’s runner up, and since I always put the runner up in the next tournament, I felt this time should be no different.

Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan: This book was one of only two to finish as runner up in two different brackets. A lot of people liked this book cover. So if this was one of two books to be a runner up twice, it only stands to reason the other would get in too, right?

The Girl Who Could See by Kara Swanson: Your darn right it stands to reason.

51VhLwOV75LAnaerfell by Joshua Robertson and J.C. Boyd: This doesn’t surprise anyone who follows my blog, but I had to make the announcement. This book was in a downright fight with Bentz Deyo, and it was just fun to watch. The cover also received a total of 574 votes.

The Other One by Amanda Jay: It finished as a runner up and received a total of 433 votes.

To Brave the End by Frank Dorrian: Another runner up to fall just short, it received 348 votes in it’s first try.

Fate of the Big Bad Wolf by Neo Edmund: It also received 348 votes. It was a runner up, and even performed pretty well on its second try.

Three hundred votes is an important benchmark. Since I went to the two-week, total voting style, the winners all received a maximum of 350 votes. So my thinking was people who earned enough votes to win under the old system deserved a chance with the new one.

Now that’s said, let’s go over the basics:

This bracket has eight books. The top four selected will move on to the 2017 M.L.S. Weech Book Cover of the Year Bracket. Winning is good (and I use vote totals to create the matches in the BCOTY bracket, but all you really want is to finish in the top four.

You can vote all the way through the tournament, supporting the covers you like best through each round. I like to make sure people get the credit they deserve, so please show your support. Please vote and share as much as possible to get people a chance to pick their favorite.

As always, I’d appreciate it if you tag the authors and artists if you know them. I try to tag or friend every author I can, but sometimes it’s hard to track someone down. Max participation is a huge deal to me. The more people who vote, the more recognition these authors and artists receive, and I want this to be as legitimate as possible.

If you are the author, let’s remember to be good sports! 1) Please feel free to message or contact me at any time. 2) Please feel free to like, share, text, ask for support, and call everyone you know. I absolutely want max participation. However, if you’re going to offer giveaways or prizes, please offer them for voting, not just voting for you.

Also, while your summoning your army of voting soldiers, please make sure you ask them to vote in every match. Part of the idea of this is to get exposure to as many artists and authors as possible. By all means, if you can get 1,000 people to vote for your book, do it. Just please also send some eyeballs to the other matches.

A final note to authors and artists: I currently have links to the books’ Amazon pages. If you’d prefer I switch that link to sign up for your newsletter or like your social media page or whatever, just send me the link and let me know. I want this to help you. I want this to be as helpful as possible, so whatever you need me to do to facilitate that, just let me know.

I hope you keep having fun. Please, vote, share, and discuss as much as possible.

All you have to do now is head over here to vote!

Thanks for reading,

Matt