Category Archives: From My Bookshelf

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! 

The Winner Of RedStarReviews’ Favorite Book Of 2016 Is….

Each year I select my “Favorite Book Of The Year” and it is definitely a difficult task! I have tried to keep the book selection to one of the more current books I’ve read in that year which helps me narrow down the selection process, but as this is a subjective award I feel free to award it to any book I read in the calendar year. That said let’s look over the past winners of the award and then announce 2016’s Favorite Book Of The Year!

First up is 2013’s winner of Favorite Book Of The Year:


Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie is one of the best books I’ve ever read. It fought off tough contenders in 2013 such as Ship Of Fools to win this award. It is an interesting tale marvelously told. A multi perspective character to start things off with a bang! Seriously the primary character starts off with multiple view points and that’s neat to me! Also this book challenges gender bias and does so in a unique and interesting way. Excellent SciFi. 

This leads us to the 2014 winner of Favorite Book Of The Year:


Red Rising by Pierce Brown takes The Iliad and combines it with Warhammer40K style action and weaves a grand tale of betrayal, intrigue, vengeance, and heartbreak. Imagine your people slaving away in dangerous conditions in mines never to see the light of day, dying young, risking everything, with only the belief that you’re doing this so that mankind itself won’t perish keeping you strong. Now imagine that after sacrificing everything you learn that all that you know is a lie and your people are merely slaves being used to enrich your masters above you…. That’s where this story starts, and from there an amazing adventure takes place. Red Rising beat books such as Half A King, Consider Phlebas, The Southern Reach Trilogy to win the award. 

The book that won the 2015 Favorite Book Of The Year award is:


The Girl In The Road by Monica Byrne which is a beautifully told story that will place you within the hearts of the characters and let you see life through their eyes! Monica Byrne has a way of pulling you not only into the story but also into the characters too. This tale is an outward adventure that reflects the inward journey our characters are on. It is a masterpiece and it’s one that causes you to see this world we’re in through different perspectives. I had thought Golden Son would be my favorite of 2015, or Armor, or Half The World, but in truth The Girl In The Road surpasses them!

Which brings us to…

The WINNER…

Of the 2016…

RedStarReviews…

Favorite…

Book…

Of…

The…

Year…

Award!

And the winner is:


Jeffrey Alan Love for his book: Notes From The Shadowed City! 

This book is AMAZING! It is an illustrated tale of a man who has forgotten who he is while finding himself inside a magical city filled with dark and dangerous wonder. I love the artwork and was completely captivated by the story. This is a book to fire up the imaginations of the readers! A fantasy that introduces you to some of the lessor known magical swords hidden away within the Shadowed City. This beat Passage At Arms, The Incorruptibles, Children Of Fire and all others to carry away the award this year!


I am looking forward to finding out what book will win the award in 2017! 

December Reading Plans! Attacking The Currently Reading Stack

This past February I decided to clean up my currently reading list. The goal was to finish the books I had started in 2015. It was a great goal yet it was a little ambitious for such a short month. So now I’ve decided to try something different and set December aside as the month to attack my currently reading stack!


This means I’ll attempt to work through these seven books in December! I fully expect to fall short and probably to start reading an extra book or two alongside these seven, but it’s nice to have goals! I figure that with December being such a busy month it is a better time to try and finish books I’ve already started rather than start new books. We’ll see how it goes!


Betrayer by Aaron Dembski-Bowden is the 24th book of the ongoing Horus Heresy series I love so much. Always good to have some GrimDark Military SciFi on hand!

The Worlds Of Frank Herbert is a short story collection from the master of SciFi and a good way to prepare me for January’s Vintage SciFi Month!

Awakenings by Edward Lazellari is an Urban Fantasy that is starting off in a very kick ass grab your attention fashion. 


Gene Wolfe’s Book Of The New Sun series is a masterpiece of SciFi and I’m loving it. The goal is to complete the second book The Claw Of The Conciliator.  

Gail Z Martin’s War Of Shadows is the third book of her awesome Ascendent Kingdoms saga. Post magic apocalypitic fantasy? With good characters? Easy to enjoy!


These last two are the long reads that I doubt I’ll complete in December and expect to be reading into 2017. 

Bloodheir by Brian Ruckley is the second book of The Godless World trilogy and I couldn’t keep myself from starting it after I finished Winterbirth. 

House Of Leaves by Mark Z Danielewski is off to a creepy start and I know this one will take me a while. 

So that’s my December Reading Plans! Finishing up 2016 and getting ready for new reads in 2017!