Monthly Archives: May 2016

Like Fire From Heaven

Children Of Fire by Drew Karpyshyn has an interesting premise. I should know as I’ve added the book to my to be read pile five times. Other commitments and scheduling kept separating me from this book so this time I didn’t just add it to the pile I picked it up and started it and I am glad that I did! 
The interesting premise is imagine a world in which the gods are dead or dying and their protective magic is dying alongside of them. That magic is all that stood between humanity and an ancient force that attempted to overthrow the gods and is angry at years of being banished from the mortal realm. What if that ancient force found a way to send parts of its essence through the barrier and implant its essence within four unborn children. Would those children of fire grow to become champions of the gods and fight off the ancient force? Or would they become its pawns and unleash it into the world?

This is the intriguing concept within this story, and what a story it is! Epic in nature, vast in scale, ambitious in its grasp, and overall very well done! The author introduces many POV Characters right from the start and continues to do so quite frequently for the first quarter of the book, but does it in such a way that it isn’t confusing and it actually adds to the story. The story itself hurtles forwards skipping years at a time as the characters grow and develop. The inevitable clash that you see building up doesn’t disappoint when delivered. This is a fast paced, well told, interesting story peopled with compelling characters who face repercussions to their choices. This is a story you rush to finish and then grab the sequel like I did. 


Midnight Burning Burns Bright In The Starry Sky

I can’t think of a better way to return to my Stars In The Sky Indie/Small Publishing House reviews than with a review of Karissa Laurel’s incredible book: Midnight Burning!

Midnight Burning is an excellent story that is extremely well told! The pacing keeps you turning page after page, not wanting to set it down. The characters are so fully realized that you care about them from the start and continue caring after you set down the book. Their conversations and interactions are so perfectly well done and that draws you more deeply into their world! 

And what a world!! Set primarily in Alaska this story is a mystery, adventure, urban fantasy, magical, Norse God filled tale! Yes I said Norse Gods! In Alaska! An easy way to get me to want to give a book a try is to set ancient deities within it, but then you have to convince me of the reality of it to keep my interest. Karissa does just that. 

On top of all the details above let me add that the lead POV character is excellently realized and a very strong character to see this world through! You are immediately brought into her life and world and see everything through her eyes and heart. This is a book you’ll deeply enjoy and will have a difficult time setting down! I can’t wait for the sequel which is available in July! You can find Midnight Burning here: Midnight Burning

I’m looking forward to hearing what you think of this bright star in the sky of books! My puppy and I loved it. 

Our Weekly Dark Horse Presents Volumes 15 And 16

Our Weekly Dark Horse Presents Vols 15 & 16

This week I’ll be reviewing two volumes at once due to missing last week and because volume 15 was very dull. We’ll start with volume 15 first

Babes ‘N Arms by Randy Stradley and Michael Ebert is just as shallow and boring as you would expect. Really Dark Horse? Really? 

Masque by Mark Badger continues to be an inaccessible and confusing story that encourages me to quit reading it. 

Captain Crusader by Gary Martin Bridges the volumes 15 and 16. It is cheesy but it at least shows what might happen if a normal person decides to try being a superhero. Quite the tragedy. This story had potential. 

Concrete’s Sky Of Heads by Paul Chadwick shows us something about our need to connect and to pass along the stories that are a part of our lives. Great stuff!

Volume 16 ends with the first installment of Paleolove by Gary Davis. Throughout this anthology series Gary Davis will return with interesting stories and excellent artwork. Paleolove is a great addition to the series. 

Guest Review Of Another Bloody Saturday

One of the goals of RedStarReviews was to have my friends be able to share their reviews of books they loved on my website! I’ve enjoyed the variety these guest reviews bring. Today I am happy to share a guest review from my friend Indreni that features a very interesting sounding book on a topic I love! 

As American football season is a few months off yet, some of us, especially those of us who aren’t baseball fans, may find ourselves in a bit of a sports gap. What better opportunity than to enjoy the sunny days of summer outdoors with a book about that other football–Mat Guy’s Another Bloody Saturday: A Journey to the Heart and Soul of Football, which takes us around the world beginning in Salisbury, England, to Wales, the remote Faroe Islands, North Cyprus, Bhutan, France, and back again to the English lower leagues? 

A delightful collection of vignettes that span Guy’s earliest childhood memories of attending matches at the now-defunct Victoria Park with his Granddad to the present, he asks the question: Why be present at sporting matches? Why not just watch them from the comfort of your home on TV? It’s a question many sports fans, especially those who love underdogs and underachieving teams, will ask themselves as they brave another weeknight under-attended game, sometimes in the lashing rain and whipping wind. And British football fans are no stranger to agony and loss to begin with–now imagine the lower British leagues, which see their rising stars plundered by the Premier League again and again. Some of us college basketball fans (ahem) know their pain–as soon as the team gets good, the coach is snapped up by a bigger university or a college with a much larger sports budget. 

But Guy has tapped into something universal when he proves again and again with his stories that the long-suffering loyalty of the sports fan is richly rewarded in numerous ways–that magic goal, the miraculous win, the sense of community and camaraderie, and the serendipitous human connections that can spring from being out in the world, in a crowd that shares love for the game and the spirit of competition. 

Likewise, stories of healing and connection permeate this collection. Guy chronicles his volunteer work in developing football in Bhutan. He includes a beautiful chapter on how two tragic events that occurred on the same night, one to his closest football friend and the other to footballer Dan Seaborne, became an impetus to embark on recovery and meet in real life. But perhaps the most touching chapter, for me, is the one where he attends the ELF Cup in North Cyprus. The ELF Cup is a world cup for stateless football teams–think Tibet, Palestine, Greenland, North Cyprus, and more. These teams aren’t allowed to compete in FIFA or in FIFA’s World Cup because they don’t represent internationally-recognized nations. Guy points out that in Tibet, a person can be thrown in jail for singing their own national anthem, but at the ELF Cup, for a couple glorious minutes, that anthem can ring loud and clear, and for 90 minutes on the football pitch, the nation of Tibet, long occupied by China, can live again. This, to me, symbolizes everything Guy is standing for in his book–the real soul of the what the game can mean to an individual, to a community, to a nation, and the rest is noise. 

As a non-British reader myself, who likes football but isn’t any sort of devoted fan, the book gave me a privileged glimpse into a world I never knew existed: the magical network that is lower league and non-league football. It stirred up feelings of nostalgia for the childhood White Sox games I attended at the old Comiskey Park in Chicago with my family, when the team was terrible and that beloved stadium was in its last days on this earth. I think I cheered all the more loudly because the team was so bad. And somehow, I think that realization taps into Guy’s insights about the true soul of sports fandom. 

Another Bloody Saturday is available directly from Scottish indie publisher Luath Press  (paperback and e-book) where you can also sample the first chapter, Amazon, and fine UK bookstores.   

You can follow Mat’s amazing football adventures and insights on his blog, Dreams of Victoria Park.