Category Archives: Book Reviews

A few updates leave you seeing that you need more updates which then lead to….

Y’all know how it is. You start to clean up your house and when you do you suddenly notice that there is always one more thing you can, and probably should do. Updating a website is like that too. I need to update my welcome page. Need to fix the links on my BookTube page, need to correct where my current tweets should be showing, have to consider if it is worth four dollars a month to eliminate all those pesky ads that pop up on my posts… oh yeah and write new blogs and reviews too! Well I at least added a page promoting my podcast that has been running now for two years! Every time I see my home page I realize I need to return to my Star In The Sky Indie Reviews and also finish out my reading of Dark Horse Presents too, although the weekly DHP gets a little tough because I worry about spoilers, but that is a little silly considering these comic books are thirty years old or so… hmmmm….. I think I could revamp the DHP and include spoilers to make it more fun for me to discuss and if folks don’t want to rad it because they might one day collect 100+ out of print comic books… ok I think I am sold on that.

Well all that to say this website is most def a work in progress, but it has progressed a little this weekend and that’s encouraged me to get back to writing and seeking out ways to get the ball rolling on some more reviewing! My goals are to start updating the site a bit more each week until it is all up to date, get back to reading DHP, return to the starry sky of indie reviews, share more about my podcast, get caught up on my netgalley reviews, and post a little more frequently.

I hope you are all well and that your loved ones are doing well as well. Thank you for being a part of this book reviewing journey I’ve been on! Thank you to all you who have been there since my early days, the ones who came on after, and to the new followers who have joined recently! I truly appreciate you all.

Book 36 Of ?

I’ve just completed reading the 36 book of The Horus Heresy and I really enjoyed it a lot!

The Path Of Heaven by Chris Wraight features the White Scars who are an interesting Legion to follow. Based off of a Mongal Horde sort of group their Legion cherishes speed as one of their primary traits, and they feel like outsiders from the very Imperium they’ve fought to expand and protect. This outsider mindset plays heavily into their decisions on which factor to support in the Galactic Civil War.

The book started a little slow, ironically as speed is so cherished by this Legion, but I think the slowness was primarily a result of over focusing on the enemies in this book, and setting up the deception that warfare brings with it. That said once this book started rolling it really drew me right into it and didn’t let go until the very end! One of the better books in the series.

So let’s talk about this series a bit! This is book number 36 of…. well right now 56 I think m, but as the series is still ongoing who really knows? And that is honestly something that I’m really enjoying about this series, the fact that it just keeps on going and growing. I’ll admit I was a bit frustrated with how sideways everything went early on after a quick start out of the gate with the first few books, but now I know I’d rather the series be this sprawling and wide ranging. The Heresy itself is supposedly only a ten year period of time but the series has jumped around to ten or forty or two hundred years before the “present” time. Each jump deepens the story and increases the build up! The best analogy I can think of is if you ever watched Dragonball Z and you remember how they’d spend like three episodes building up energy for one powerful punch, that’s similar to what the authors are doing here! If they’re going to tell a story of galactic civil war they’re going to truly make it as epic as the galaxy itself!

As a plus for any considering if they want to dip their toes into The Horus Heresy I can truly say I’m still loving this series 36 books into it and I’m eager for however many more books it will last!

PS: it appears WordPress just changed their App and now instead of writing one long blog post it’s split it into several boxes which is causing me some consternation and throwing me off my blogging game just a little right now, but hopefully it posts ok and I get accustomed to it soon! Hope y’all are all well!

A Voice That Gave A Voice

Creative titles are fun aren’t they? I mean I at least think it’s creative. Ok on with the reviewing before I think I’m more clever than I already think I am ha!

Years ago I accepted an ARC of A Crown For Cold Silver by Alex Marshall and was really excited! A GrimDark Fantasy of a conflicting character from an earlier generation setting out to make the world bleed for their vengeance. Sounds promising! Unfortunately it failed to live up to its promise.

I know I know I rarely books that I don’t enjoy. I rarely read books I don’t enjoy or DNF them and then move on. Life is too short and my TBR too massive to spend time on books I’m not enjoying. However I felt I owed this one a read through as I did accept the ARC. It was taking me ages to make any headway though and so I ended up buying a physical copy to accompany my Ebook ARC. Maybe that will help me connect with this story but again I just wasn’t feeling it. I kept wondering why I wasn’t enjoying this tale, where was the disconnect? Suddenly it hit me: The characters didn’t have anything to truly distinguish themselves from each other.

Oh sure they had different names and physical attributes and backgrounds, but all of the characters were the same dull overly snarky attempting to be witty tough character. You could have replaced any of the primary characters with any of the secondary characters and not noticed a difference in the story. That’s frustrating.

I felt I owed it to the publisher to not give up, but a third of the way into the book I almost caved. Then I remembered I had an Audible credit and needed a new audiobook! Did this one have a good narrator? I decided to find out and I am so glad I did!

Angele Masters is an amazing narrator and she breathed life into the various characters within the pages of this book! Her reading of it and the voices she made for each of the characters turned my experience of this book completely around from one I was about to DNF to now having me interested in listening to the next two volumes of the trilogy.

If you enjoy GrimDark this story is worth a try. You may find more life within the characters than did I. If you enjoy GrimDark and audiobooks then this is a must listen because you’ll enjoy the experience!

47 And Counting

So far in 2019 I’ve read 47 books. Normally I read over a hundred books a year. This year I might hit fifty but my book reading days are definitely down from the 120 books a year days and that’s ok! Life has enough stressing without stressing over the number of books read. I’ve had such an amazing year of reading this year! I’m so thankful for everyone who joined in on 2019’s #RedStarGroupReads and I loved getting to share some favorite books with fellow readers.

Soon I’ll be going back over all my 2019 reads to pick out my favorites of the year, then I’ll be finalizing my reading plans for #VintageSciFiMonth prepping for 2020’s planned Group Reads in February and March, and considering what other books I’ll be reading in 2020. BUT I’ve got one month left in 2019 to discover some amazing books and I’m excited to discover them!

I hope your 2019 reading has exceeding your quality expectations and that everyone has a great December of reading!

Modern Military SciFi In War Stories!

Y’all, when Apex Publications asked if reviewers would be interested in reviewing books from their back catalog to help spread the word that in September their entire back catalog would be on sale I jumped at the opportunity to join in! Now I know September is flying past so I’m only now letting you know that their back catalog of books is on sale for 25% off for this month if you use the discount code of SEPTEMBER and I apologize for that lateness BUT when you look at the cost and value of the book I’m reviewing for them I think that even if you read this post at a later date you’ll still want to obtain this book and give it a read! Ok let’s dive into this book now:

First off: it is tricky to get a good photo of an e-book cover! Ha! But this cover is perfect for this book. WAR STORIES is a short story collection of new Military SciFi by a variety of authors and it is hard hitting and thoughtful right from the start! If you’re curious what Military SciFi is then I’ve got a lovely post for you on that topic HERE but the short version would be SciFi that deals with military experience as a central factor rather than a story that just has a conflict/war in it. Military SciFi takes a deep look at humanity and holds a mirror up in front of us to confront us with ourselves and what we as a species do to one another and for what purpose. I love Military SciFi and in reading this short story collection I’ve been hit hard with the stories I’ve read. Well thought out. Very thought provoking. Fiction that feels real and challenges me. This is the type of book that takes me a while to work through because I find myself stopping to reflect after every story I read. Y’all, War Stories is an excellent intro to Military SciFi for those new on the scene and it’s an excellent one to cause lifelong Military SciFi readers to gain new perspective. It’s available HERE on APEX Publication’s website.

While you are there please look around at their entire catalog and even if you can’t take advantage of their September discount I think you’ll find books that will capture your interest!

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!

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.