Category Archives: Book Reviews

READ THIS BOOK!

If there is one book I could convince you to read right now it’s this book I’m about to tell you about! As y’all know one of my goals with RedStarReviews is to draw attention to books that are published either independently or via a small publisher with my Star In The Sky reviews. The concept is that there are so many stars shining brightly in the sky and I want to use my platform to point out some that have grabbed my eye and today I have a very bright shining star of a story to share with you!

The Deadbringer by E M Markoff is the first book of The Ellderet Series and it is AMAZING!!! The author is a member of the Bookstagram Community and I somehow missed that she was an author! One day I saw her post about her characters and thought that they sounded cool so I decided to give the first chapter of the book a try. I hoped I’d like it. I didn’t just like it, Reader, I LOVED IT. This book is so damn awesome! It is a Dark Fantasy with elements of Horror within it. The world created by the author is interesting, the characters are so alive they could step off the pages and into your home. The interpersonal conflicts are some of the best I’ve ever encountered in a book in my reading life. This is a book that grabbed ahold of me and refused to let go! Seriously if there is one book this year that I recommend that you give a chance to please let it be this book! E M Markoff has created such an incredible story that I know you’ll love. After you’ve read it please let me know what you think!

If you’d like to hear me talk more about this story check out the latest episode of my RedStarReviews Podcast

Also! Another reviewer of books Nick T Borrelli has constructed a list of his Top Ten Favorite Fantasy Series and it is an excellent list! It’s inspired me to construct my own top ten so right now I’m stuck with 16 possibles and trying to narrow that down so I can share it with you. Hope to have my list for you soon, but please check out Nick’s list while waiting, and please read The Deadbringer!

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Reading With A Baby

Reading your own books with a baby can be tricky. Good luck!

😂 Ok ok I’ll be fair and write more. I did have to pause because baby girl is napping in my arms as I type this and she decided to move. Nap times and night time are the best times I’ve found to read. I’d say lunch time at work but that’s often my nap time nowadays 😊 The kindle app on my iPhone has become my primary book because I can read while she sleeps without a bright light to wake her and it is easy to hold while my baby sleeps in my arms. Also audiobooks are great because I can listen to them on my work commutes.

Yes, reading with a baby is tricky BUT she is worth every missed page and delayed completion of books. Plus I get to spend a lot of time reading her books with her and that’s a joy!

Podcast, reading, reviews, all things bookish definitely take a back seat to my baby and that’s ok. I still enjoy a good tale, they’re just read in smaller increments.

All this to say to my fellow readers and reviewers: I often see so many apologizing for how much time passes between photos, reviews, etc… because life! Please don’t stress. Bookstagram is still here. Your bookish friends understand and we support you placing life first. This is a labor of love for most of us so it’s ok if it takes a hot minute to post. In the middle of everything please remember that you matter, and find the joy in the midst of what you’re doing.

Yes reading with a baby is tricky, but I have a wonderfully amazing and precious bundle of love and joy napping in my arms right now and that is what matters. Peace and love, y’all.

A Crooked Tie

My tie is crooked.

I’m on my way to a funeral.

My baby girl thought my tie was delightful and wanted to play with it. I think she thought her daddy was wearing a bib like she does.

I’m late for the funeral, and my tie is crooked.

I’m always late. I hope to be late to my own funeral. A few minutes earlier I held my laughing baby as she played with my tie. Now I’m headed to a funeral with a crooked tie. Now I’m thinking about time.

I measure distances in time. How long will it take me to get there is always my question. Miles and kilometers aren’t my measurements because they don’t matter when compared to time. Time is our only commodity. Time is all we have, until we don’t have it any more. Time is fleeting. Time is precious. Time passes.

My tie is crooked, but today I beheld the joy on my baby girl’s face while she played with my tie. She has her mother’s smile. For that smile I have all the time in the world.

My tie is crooked, my time is all I have, and I give it to my daughter and my wife.

An Arrogant Tale

Wolfling by Gordon R Dickson is the first book I completed for this year’s Vintage SciFi Month! It’s a really enjoyable page turner of a book, which places humanity and Earth high up on a pedestal. Mild spoilers to follow the photo below.

The cover itself is excellent! And I have enjoyed reading Gordon R Dickson’s books each January for this special month and this book was a good continuation of that enjoyment! That said it’s really arrogant and human-centric. I doubt seriously if we came in contact with a superior alien race that we’d be able to go toe to toe with them much less outplay them at their own games. Also… some of the terminology and situations were troubling from both a modern perspective and from the age in which GRD wrote this tale too. The plot and primary character is interesting though so overall I enjoyed this tale.

The question what put forth of how these Vintage SciFi books age. Do they stay applicable or get passed by. It’s a tricky question that probably applies to each book differently. I think for the most part GRD’s books don’t stay applicable as they rely so heavily on the author’s outdated philosophies, but the stories remain interesting and there are thought provoking points which are worth mining out of the stories. I don’t want to sound unfair to GRD, I really do think he’s a great author, I just think the more I read of his the more I see his biases shining through.

Cleaning The Bookshelves

Cleaning the bookshelves! Or maybe better put as organizing the bookshelves? 🤔 Any way you phrase it working on your bookshelves is probably something that every book reader does once in a while. Some more often then others!

Sometimes the bookshelves are messy because friends came over and you had to move all your nicknacks into your Study, or maybe you were just given a bunch of books, or maybe you needed five books for one photo and eleven for another….

Or maybe your bookshelves are always immaculate but you realized you want them organized by color scheme rather than by author! It’s an adventure to go through your books no matter the reason! The real question is: How many books can you move before you pick one up that meant the world to you and you get lost in the memory of it?

Books are like best friends. The stories helped you through some tricky parts of life. Maybe you felt all alone and thought no one understood you and then you picked up THE BOOK in which the lead character was totally you and you realized you weren’t alone. Others went through the same stories. That’s a powerful feeling and now every time you move that book from shelf to shelf you remember that moment.

Maybe the book reminds you of that song you were listening to when you read it! Or it again sparks the creativity within you to make your own art! Or it politely waves at you and asks if it is finally its turn to be read.

Working on cleaning my bookshelves and getting hit in all the feels as I reorganize and move stories around. I don’t mind messy shelves because I know every time I look through them I’ll be taken on another adventure. Here’s to more adventures!

Blogging Can Be Difficult At Times.

Can I just say that’s it? The title I mean. That’s all the content here! Ha. No it isn’t, have no fear. Here there be content, if not dragons.

I love reading, reviewing, bookstagramming, tweeting, blogging, love it all. That said it’s much easier to just snap a quick photo (like above) and add it to a Story on FB or IG and speed along in life. Lately that’s been easier for me because as you can guess life with a little one can be a bit busy. Amazingly incredibly rewarding, but still a bit busy. So time consuming things such as blogging start to take a back seat. It’s ok and natural. If you’re at a stage where your reviews or reading is taking a hit due to life circumstances please don’t fret. Live life and your friends truly will understand. Books will wait on your shelves patiently.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been able to reduce my currently reading pile down to just seven books! Progress has been made! However I haven’t sat down and written up solid blog reviews for the books I’ve finished and they do deserve that. I fully intend to get back into the swing of things and add more content to RedStarReviews including updating a page here to feature my podcast. It’ll take me some time to get it all done, but goals are good to have!

Speaking of goals it’s time to record and release a new episode of the podcast! It will be soon. Very soon!

All of this to say: it’s easy to have your creative focus distracted over multiple avenues of expression, and really easy to focus on the few that bring the most responses. Don’t be discouraged if you’re not getting the interactions you seek. Create to create and have fun. That’s my goal here and it’s stayed fun for me so far and I expect it will continue on!

Now that is it. That’s the blog today. 😊

The Books Of Summer

As I mentioned in episode two of my RedStarReviews Podcast I wanted to write a blog alongside the Podcast to share with you links to each of the twelve books I’m currently reading. If you didn’t know I have a Podcast: SURPRISE! I have a Podcast! It’s available wherever fine Podcasts are found! Here’s a link to it on Apple’s Podcasts: RedStarReviews

In my latest episode I’m discussing the books that I’m currently reading and I’ll be doing so each season of the year to give you a snapshot of what books I’m enjoying. I’m a PolyReader so I enjoy reading multiple books at once. I know this method isn’t for everyone so I’m not trying to convert anyone, just sharing what I’m reading. 🙂

On to the books! I’ll be sharing links to each one in case you’re interested in reading any!

First the books I’m reading on Kindle so I had to grab books of the same length to show off the pages “creatively” 😂

Book 1: Mad Wolf’s Daughter by Diane Magras is an amazingly fun adventure starring a badass Scottish girl in medieval times who lost her father and brothers into captivity and is now setting out to try and rescue them armed with her wits and a sword! I’m a quarter of the way in and this book is so much fun to read! It is a Middle Grade book so if you have early readers in your house this is perfect for them and if you like a good tale it’s perfect for you!

Book 2: Thistle And Spade by J Addison is an amazingly well crafted graphic novel in which the author is also the illustrated and the publisher! I got to meet them and was immediately impressed with both the art and story in the pages of this graphic novel! An alternate world reaching the end of a world war in which the regular soldiers suddenly turn on the mercenary forces. One merc survives and this is their tale!

Book 3: Another Bloody Love Letter by Anthony Lloyd is a nonfiction account of the author’s descent into heroin addiction and his coverage of the conflict in Kosovo. He’s quite biased but it is his perspective on events and I have to say the introspective look into why he’s a war corespondent and how he handles his addiction is interesting!

Book 4: Against A Dark Background by Iain M Banks is a SciFi written outside of Banks’ famous Culture Novels. It’s taken me half of the book to appreciate this work, but I’ve got the rhythm now. An intergalactic cult is chasing the heroine who is trying to find an ancient lost treasure which could destroy the universe while trying to work with her team which has been split by betrayal. It’s pretty good once you get past the first half 😂 with it being Banks I persevered knowing I’ll appreciate it in the end.

Book 5: Emperor Of Thorns by Mark Lawrence which is the third book of his Broken Empire trilogy. It’s a GrimDark Fantasy which follows the adventures of Jorg who isn’t a hero… he’s not really an antihero either… he’s really a villain and an awful person but he just might be our only hope as humanity is facing destruction! Dark and brutal but with surprising growth and insight!

Book 6: The Tower Of Living And Dying by Anna Smith Spark is the second book of her GrimDark Fantasy Empires Of Dust and it’s AMAZING. Bloody poetry, y’all. The first book Court Of Broken Knives was incredible and this continues on! Prose written in blood and gore and stream of consciousness. Beauty and horror all together. Can’t wait to see where this story goes!

Book 7: Deathfire by Nick Kyme which is the 32nd book of The never ending Horus Heresy and the only way to finish a never ending series is to never stop reading it! Slam bang Military SciFi action and intergalactic civil war!

Book 8: The Balkans Nationalism War And The Great Powers 1804-1999 by Misha Glenny and if you want to understand the Balkan region a little more then this is the book for you!

Book 9: Excession by Iain M Banks is the fifth book of his incredible Culture Novels and y’all, Banks is everything I’ve ever wanted in an author. His writing hits me on a deep level and this SciFi about AI Minds trying to communicate to sort out an issue facing the universe is engrossing and enjoyable!

Book 10: Embers Of War by Gareth L Powell was described as a cross between Iain M Banks and Ann Leckie so how could I pass that up? It’s living up to that promise with wonderfully crafted characters with deep flaws and AI driven starships battling issuers with their conscious. Truly enjoying this one!

Book 11: Winning The Hearts And Minds War Poems By Vietnam Vets is a collection of poems by Vietnam Vets during the Vietnam War and it’s a brutal collection of raw emotion that will break your heart.

Book 12: Poems by Iain Banks and Ken MacLeod is a collection of poems by these two excellent authors and I’m trying to branch out into more poetry by selecting authors and topics that fascinate me.

I’ll close this blog with a line from a Banks’ poem: “The bomb lives only as it is falling.”