Category Archives: From My Bookshelf

Damming The Heresy Or Adding To The Flow?

When reading a never ending series you realize the only way to reach the end is to never stop reading. That said every so often it’s good to pause and evaluate if you’re enjoying the series. Upon finishing the thirtieth book of The Horus Heresy I decided to do just that.

One of my early complaints about The Heresy was that every few books you’d get a story that didn’t advance the overall storyline. It felt like it would go sideways. This was a way of building up the series, of showing you what was happening all around the Imperium Of Man during The Heresy. The Damnation Of Pythos by David Annandale felt like one of those sideways books and I won’t lie I was a little frustrated by that at the start. Especially considering the previous book actually featured Horus and advanced the story greatly! To go from a book that’s focused on one of the central characters to the Heresy to a book that features a battered and near destroyed company of Space Marines trying to pull themselves together after being almost destroyed in events that took place in the fifth book of the series was a little like changing gears while driving without using a clutch.

However I must admit that as I read on in the book I started to see how this story fits in the overall story, and I was able to appreciate the added depth it brought to series. It’s also an amazing example of GrimDark SciFi such as you often see in the pages of a Warhammer40K book, I say that to say it felt more WH40K than Horus Heresy style and I’m happy with that. This book, whether intentionally or not, started to form more of a bridge between the events of The Horus Heresy and the events of the every day Imperium Of Man in the 40K universe. Less hope and more faith combined with inner struggles and ultimate sacrifices for gains you can’t yet see.

Thirty books into this Heresy and I’m still quite happy with this series and the directions the authors are taking it in. Truth told I’m going to be sad when I reach the end of this never ending series. I’m going to miss it because it has been such a great reading experience.

That said I’m also starting the thirty-first book right now. Because the only way to reach the end of a never ending series is to never stop reading it. Let The Heresy Continue.

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Announcing The #ReadDune Group Read For Vintage SciFi Month!

Officially announcing the #ReadDune GroupRead I’ll be hosting for #VintageSciFiMonth this January!

We’ll be using the #ReadDune hashtag to help keep track and follow along of each other’s posts and be able to enjoy more discussions on it! So break out your copies of Dune by Frank Herbert and let’s start spreading the word!

For those new to how I handle GroupReads here are some details:

Each week we have a target page/location goal in the book. We don’t discuss in detail anything that takes place in the book until we reach that Saturday Goal, and then we discuss only the sections we’ve read so far. You’ll find it works really well. The Group DMs are normally very fun and respectful, and allow for discussing shared emotional reactions, general observations, and encouragement to reach the goal. Once we’ve reached a goal we discuss things that happened in detail and have fun with it. If anyone hasn’t reached the goal they’ll need to be careful about the Group DMs on the weekends as that’s when a lot of specifics get discussed. I’ll be looking into the page counts of the common versions but it’ll probably be between 130-150 pages a week of reading.

What are Group DMs? Everyone who wants to participate will be invited into a group DM on Instagram or on Twitter (whichever social network you prefer). There’s a limit on how many can join so there’ll be a few group DMs created. I’ll be in each one to help moderate and help keep spoilers to a minimum. We’ve got several first time readers joining in so everyone needs to be conscious about posting spoilers! That’s where the page goals will come in to play.

Since we tend to have more than one Group DM I’ll also post a #ReadDune Instagram post and Twitter Post every Saturday Morning so that everyone can publicly discuss the book (up to that page goal) with everyone else easily.

Ready for the cheesy fun part? At the end of it all on either Saturday the 27th or Sunday the 28th depending on people’s schedules we’ll all hit play at the same time on the fun and cheesy 80’s movie edition of Dune and have fun watching the movie together to celebrate finishing the book!

Posting photos of your reading of Dune is highly encouraged! Please post away and use the #ReadDune hashtag and we’d love if you used the #VintageSciFiMonth hashtag too! Above all have fun! This is one of my favorite books, and I think it has a broad appeal. I’m hopeful you’ll like it, but there is no pressure to like it! If you don’t it’s really ok as I’m not the author, just a fan.

Let me know on Twitter or on Instagram if you’ll be joining in! Check out my latest post on Instagram or my pinned tweet on Twitter to respond and let me know if you’re joining!

Five Books Fifty Pages!

As you can probably guess my TBR Pile has actually grown so much that it is a living breathing sentient being and desires world domination…. but that’s another post entirely! This post is about how I was inspired by my friend The Little Red Reviewer to select five books from my TBR Pile, read the first fifty pages, and decide if I want to read them now, later, or never! Time to find out which books were YAY, which were NAY, and if any were MEH! The books I selected were:

Norwegian By Night by Derek B Miller

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

The Vorrh by B Catling

The Depths Of Time by Roger MacBride Allen

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell


Norwegian By Night by Derek B Miller is interesting! I saw the cover and was immediately intrigued. A Crime Fiction that follows an older Korean War vet named Sheldon as his last surviving family member takes him away from NY to live in Norway. Sheldon is possibly suffering from dementia, he is xenophobic, he is combative, and he is out of his element. Yet he opens his door to help try to save a lady and her child from a violent crime which leads to an unexpected adventure. This book was really captivating. Sheldon isn’t a good person or a bad person; he just is a difficult person with uncomfortable views that have been negatively reinforced through the years, but he’s a person that you want to get to know and see how he might develop! Will I continue reading? Yes!

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes is a book that I have wanted to read for ages! I’ve heard only good things and rave reviews for this book. I picked it up excitedly andddddd forced myself through 50 pages. There is a house that time travels and it has selected a killer to travel through time and it wants him to murder people? It’s an interesting premise but I’m not impressed with either execution of the premise or the characters. I sadly found the book quite off putting. Will I continue reading? No. 

The Vorrh by B Catling was a book that captivated me as soon as I saw the cover! It was a gift from my lovely wife, and I went in knowing that it’s an odd story, but I don’t think I was prepared for exactly how odd it was! This is one that needs to be a solo focused read. Will I continue reading? Not now, but one Winter I’ll read this odd book!

The Depths Of Time by Roger MacBride Allen is a SciFi that has to do with the spread of humanity through the galaxy via time travel through closely guarded worm holes. It starts with a grand premise and then quickly gets lost in the weeds. Way too many little details that slow down the story and make it an unappealing read for me. Will I continue reading? Nah. 

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell You should stop whatever you’re reading and get this book now! A near future SciFi in which we’ve discovered alien life, and while humanity is deciding how to approach and contact them: The Jesuits do what they’ve done throughout their history and send their own mission to make contact. This book is so smartly written! The characters are fully realized, the style of writing creates a mystery that draws you in, and the author’s writing is a joy to read! Will I continue reading? YES!


In the end: Yay, Meh, or Nah:

Norwegian By Night Yay!

The Shining Girls Nah!

The Vorrh Meh…

The Depths Of Time Nah!

The Sparrow YAYYYYY!!!! 

Have you read any of these? Would you Yay, Meh, or Nah any of these? Also: I’d love hearing from you if this post has inspired you to try the five books fifty pages method yourself! Let me know about the results!

DNF Books!

DNF Books: Did Not Finish Books. What makes you not finish a book?


Maybe you found the book to be boring, predictable, and have shallow characters?


Maybe you tried to read the entire series at once and got burned out on it?


Maybe even though you love the author and it’s not a book in a series you find that the author has told the same story one too many times?


Or maybe you just got bored?


What makes you not finish a book? Any of these reasons? Or another? What causes you to walk away from a story? 

Bonus notes: 

If you want to see how to remove pesky sticker covers from your books you can find out HERE. 

If you’d like to see me chat about these books you can watch me on BookTube.

Hope y’all are having a wonderful April!

DORSAI! Group Read Part Four (The End)

Caution! Spoilers ahead! We’re reading DORSAI! by Gordon R Dickson for #VintageSciFiMonth and in this post we’ll cover Protector III through Donal (the end of the book)


DORSAI! will always be a favorite book for me. Yet even with this third read through I still feel this book is hurried. I wish the author had taken more time exploring Donal’s new abilities, his brother’s actions, the surrounding cast, and respected the female characters more instead of just using them to show off some aspect of Donal. 


Questions for you: Did the ending events surprise you? Or were you expecting a planetary invasion after all the foreshadowing? Did you guess who Donal was kidnapping in Commander In Chief? What are your overall feelings on the book now that you’ve reached the end? Would you consider reading on in the series?


The next book in the series is Necromancer (formerly No Room For Man). It takes place long before DORSAI! and it sets the stage for the universe of The Childe Cycle. Soldier, Ask Not (one of my favorite titles ever) takes place parallel to DORSAI! and is quite intriguing. Tactic Of Mistakes is the fourth book and is a prequel to DORSAI! and follows Donal’s parents (I think). It is what I’m picking up to read next!


Thank you so much for joining in on this group read! I hope you enjoyed your meeting with Donal and are willing to give Gordon R Dickson a chance to win some space on your bookshelf!

Making Time For Reading

Life is busy. Life is distracting. Life is full of urgent things that pull you in every which direction! So how do you find or make time for your passions? For those things that bring you peace and joy? 


No for real, I’m asking you that question! That’s the dilemma that faces us all. If you have suggestions on how to make time for your personal pursuits please feel free to share them. And yes; I’m about to share a few too.


As y’all know I love reading. I love my books and my book collecting! Reading is one of my heart’s greatest joys, and a day feels incomplete without the turning of a few pages. Yet it can be difficult to find the time to read (and review) with life vying for your attention. I haven’t figured out the proper budgeting of time yet but I do have a few suggestions of what works for me. 


1)   Make sure you always have access to a book! This might sound silly but when the time comes to read and you left your book at work then what can you do? Well there is one thing…

2) Read more than one book at a time! I know people tell me all the time that reading multiple books is impossible or too distracting etc… but then those same people tend to watch multiple tv shows without an issue soooooo…. it’s all in what you allow yourself to do I think. I normally have between 5-10 books I’m working on at a time and I love it. 😊

3) Speaking of tv shows…. well you have to give up time consuming things to make time for other things! I made a conscious decision to watch less tv so that I can read more. It means I miss out on some of the pop culture discussions BUT I get to enjoy more book discussions! 

4) Find a book community that encourages reading! If you haven’t joined the Bookstagram Community on Instagram you should create a profile and join! Or join GoodReads! You’ll find people who love reading and sharing about the books they post! Doing something like an IG account is less time consuming than blogging but if you’re reallllllly serious about making books a priority….

5) Start a book reading blog! I use WordPress to host my site and I enjoy it. Having this helps remind me that I need to be blogging about books and how can I do that if I don’t read? That helps hold me accountable to reading. 

6) Create a To Read bookshelf or list. That way you have reading goals. Setting goals can really help!

7) Lists with seven points seem more legit than lists without seven points so I’ve added a seventh point!

8) Read books that you enjoy! Let me say that louder for those in the back: READ BOOKS YOU ENJOY! Reading time shouldn’t be wasted on books you don’t like just because everyone says you MUST read them. 

9) Don’t be afraid to quit a book (or series) and move on if you aren’t connecting to it. I thought I had to finish every book and series I started and if I wasn’t enjoying a popular book it was my fault and I had to make myself like or at least finish it. I can’t tell you how free I felt when I realized I didn’t have to finish every book! That I could walk away from it and find a book I connected with! FREEDOM!!!!!!

10) Plan a group read! You don’t have to get together, you can discuss it online! 

11) Give up on sleep. There is only reading now. 

12) But for real stop and examine your daily routines, keep a book close, make reading a priority, find friends you can share this joy with, set some reading goals, and decide what matters to you timewise. 

That’s all I have for now! I’m sure there’s other ways to make more time for reading, so I might add a part two one day, but I need to be reading now! AND I want to hear your suggestions and ideas! 

Vintage SciFi Month Reading Plans!

If 2016 doesn’t kill me then I’m going to get to celebrate a new year an another #VintageSciFiMonth in January! I’m so excited. Vintage SciFi Month has become an important part of my reading schedule. What is it? Basically: In January we read SciFi or Fantasy books published prior to our birth year! Check out the founder LittleRedReviewer’s post on VintageSciFiMonth for more details! 

Now as to my reading plans for January:


DORSAI! By Gordon R Dickson is the first book of his incredible Childe Cycle and I’ve been working through this series each January! This will be a reread for me BECAUSE I’m reading it with some friends who are starting their own Vintage SciFi Month journeys! If you aren’t sure what to read for this month please consider reading this book with us!  You can purchase it here. If you want to see my review on DORSAI! you can find it here. I really enjoy this book which is why the next book on my list is….


Tactics Of Mistake also by GRD and also in the Childe Cycle! It is the fourth book in the series yet second chronologically. I’m excited to read this for the first time and discover more about this great universe. 


What would a Vintage SciFi Month be here at RedStarReviews if there wasn’t a little Frank Herbert? The Worlds Of Frank Herbert is a collection of his Short Stories that I’ve been slowly working on and will continue with during this month!


Michael Moorcock’s book The Silver Warriors is Fantasy, but Fantasy is totally ok by the rules of Vintage SciFi Month! I loved reading the Elric Saga and I can’t wait to see what this book has in store for me!


Titan by John Varley was published in 1979 which is AFTER my birth year but it’s ok some rules can be bent AND the founder of the Month oks and books 1979 and prior so if your birth year is making it tough to find a SciFi book that interests you then open it up to 1979 and before! This whole month is supposed to be fun so feel free to have some fun!


Speaking of fun: I’ll be announcing a little Vintage SciFi Month giveaway here on my site on New Year’s Day! Stay tuned for details! Hope y’all have some excellent books picked out for the sixth annual Vintage SciFi Month!