Tag Archives: bookreview

Blood And Poetry

A short while back I noticed that several authors whose works I enjoy were talking about a new book that was coming soon, and everything I read about this book sounded fascinating! Y’all know I enjoy a quality GrimDark Fantasy read, and so when authors who excel at GrimDark say you need to pay attention to a book you should pay attention to that book!

The Court Of Broken Knives written by Anna Smith Spark is poetry written in blood. That’s the best description I think I can use for this beautiful tragedy.

Hidden truths behind histories, ancient empires seeking their former glory, dark gods, powerful magic, love, hate, betrayal, twists, turns, death, ruin, blood, war, and dragons. This Fantasy delivers.

One of the aspects of this story I enjoy so much is the style of writing the author uses. So rich and descriptive! You feel each page! Each paragraph comes to life and draws you in deeper to the story. This is a powerful tale told well. This is poetry written in blood. This is a story you will want to read!

Advertisements

Hello, Thank You, And Books!

Allow me to start by saying thank you for staying with me even when it has been a little while since my last post. Life has been a bit busy! A few months back my wife and I welcomed our beautifully amazing daughter into our lives and I also started a new position at work. Both of these life changing events have reduced my reading and writing time, but both have also been very rewarding. One day I’ll post more on being a father but today I can say there is nothing more amazing that holding your child in your hands. It is as if you are holding your heart in your hands. Simply amazing. But this post is about books isn’t it? On to the post!

Once upon a time when I was a young lad with a library card I discovered a few authors who managed to capture my attention and fire up my imagination! Robert Jordan was one such author. Wheel Of Time has just reached its fifth volume (The Fires Of Heaven) and I devoured the series! I read through the first five books three times before book six had a chance to be published and then with each new release I would reread the entire series. I loved it. I discovered friends in the pages of those books that I identified with more than I did the people around me. As a result those first five books are intensely special to me and I’ll forever be thankful to Robert Jordan for them.

Around that same time I also discovered an author by the name of Tad Williams and I leapt into his Memory Sorrow And Thorn trilogy! I was young so I thought I identified with young Seoman Snowlock and I sadly rushed through the trilogy trying to get past all the other bits to enjoy the adventures of Seoman. I loved the story, and I know I appreciated it at the time in my limited way, but just this past year I returned to Osten Ard (the land the books are set in) with a reread of the trilogy. My first time returning to those books in about 25 years! What did I discover? Beauty. This trilogy is a beautiful work of marvelous art and I can’t sing its praises enough! I truly identify with the side characters. The ones whose stories I couldn’t get past quickly enough to get back to what I thought was the main story. Now I see the beauty in their inner struggles and understand how very human they are and how amazing of a work Tad Williams created.

You never know what treasures you might find when you open a book, even if you’ve read that book before! Rereading Dune Messiah gave me a deeper appreciation for Frank Herbert because when you realize just how much he packed into this tiny book you are amazed! Such a short work yet so powerful!

Those are my bookish musings for the moment. I wanted to say hi to everyone and to continue our conversations on books! I intend to be a little more present here but I know you’ll understand if the posts aren’t as frequent as we’d all like. However I do intend to announce something here soon so do keep checking RedStarReviews for some fun upcoming news! 😊 I appreciate you all so much!

From Beauty To Ashes: A Tale Of Two Halves

Y’all know I try to not post negative reviews. It’s just how I tend to prefer running my page. I try to avoid reading books I won’t like so that I’m not stuck feeling like I have to explain why I don’t like a book. One of the reasons is that I know if there’s a book I dislike one of you probably would love it so I don’t want to color your experience. That said this will possibly be as negative a review as I give. As this book is already widely loved and revered I’m confident I won’t scare any of you away from it by sharing my personal opinion. Mild spoilers ahead. Ok. Let’s talk about The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell.

This book started out heartbreakingly beautiful! The whole first half of this story is a gorgeously tragic look into the heart of humanity and it is such a rewarding read! The first half is incredible! The second half is almost as if it was another book that the author was told they have to make fit into the pages of the story. It’s boring and uninspired. The beauty in this book was never going to be in the alien civilization, it was in the human interaction. The author lost that in the second half.

If the second half had only been the interrogation/debriefing then the story would have been true to itself. However that isn’t the story written, and the story written doesn’t measure the promise of the start. As a result I forced myself to finish this book, but I wish I had walked away halfway through it so that I didn’t have to read the second half and be this disappointed.

Please keep in mind I’m in the vast minority in my opinion on this book. Also I should note that it isn’t the fates the characters encountered that turns me off for the second half. It’s the story itself. The time spent on the planet was so boring, clunky, and dull. This author did such an amazing job looking into humanity, then lost the plot and thought the aliens were the story. They weren’t and a beautiful book was wasted. As it stands I finished it, and I won’t be reading the sequel.

It’d Be A Sin To Miss This

Every now and again a friend will recommend a book by their friend and you wonder if it’s as good as they say it is. It’s a reasonable doubt to have because we all want to paint our friends in a positive light. So needless to say when several of my Bookstagram friends started insisting I need to read Michael Reid Jr’s books I had some hesitations because I was worried they might just be being nice to their friend, but so many voices I trust kept echoing this so I said ok! I am so happy I did!

Sins Of The Father is the first book I’ve read by Michael Reid Jr but it won’t be the last! This was the best thriller I’ve read since Tom Clancy. That’s not hyperbole that’s just truth. Part political thriller, part adventure, part anti terrorism, part special forces, all intensely woven together into one fast paced drama that quickly delivers on stories!

Sins Of The Father is actually a sequel to Debt Of Fear which I haven’t read yet but I’ll be reading soon! I always suggest reading books in order but from personal experience I can say you can read these in any order you want to. I just suggest you read them. A lot of stories try to build tension by hiding the story from you. This book doesn’t have to use tricks like that: it’s tense from the start and the story immediately unfolds before your eyes! It draws you in and keeps you turning page after page.

Seriously check this author out! Click on the links I provided to see his books on Amazon or his website. Once you read one book by him you’ll join me in eagerly reading everything by him.

A Bright Star With A Unique Voice!

As y’all know one of my goals is to feature independently published (or small publisher) books that I feel shine brightly in the night sky! I want to bring quality stories to your attention that you might otherwise miss, and I have an excellent one to bring to your attention!

Abigail Rhodes: Seeds by Michelle Allen is one of the more uniquely twisty turny stories that I’ve read! The author’s unique voice shines through as the story draws you in deeper and deeper with each new revelation. The description from Amazon sets the stage well:

The Lamp Light Society believes they own the world. The Organization believes they can control it. In a world where humans, monsters, and even gods are attempting to maintain a fragile balance, an unknown entity has arrived whose agenda may only be chaos. Her name is Abigail Rhodes.

Right from the start you are thrown into this world, but you don’t feel lost! You feel intrigued and curious. Before you know it you’ve read more, and the style has drawn you in while the substance grabs ahold of you! I was very impressed by the story and found that I couldn’t set it down. I had to keep on reading to see where it went, and now I can’t wait to see where the next story the author tells will take us!

This is a bright star that is worth your attention, and a story that will intrigue you! I’m really looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it so please give this book a read and let me know what you think!

Ongoing Heresy

The only way to complete a never ending book series is to never stop reading it! Y’all know I love The Horus Heresy, and since I’m now twenty-six books deep into this forty plus book series it seemed a good time to pause and reflect on it!


I first started reading this series when it was first published but after reading the first six books I was distracted and I had set it down. Well, discouraged would be more the phrase. I had not expected the overall story to be put on hold while we saw everything else going on in the universe! And that’s kind of what happens. But I still thought it was a great story and had potential so four years ago I started the series over and this time I LOVED it! I knew more of what to expect. So when I heard it was over twenty books I wasn’t surprised. So grand a heresy, so great a tragedy deserved several books to lay out the whole story. Then it passed thirty books. Then it passed forty books….. but then I realized something: How do you finish reading a never ending series? By never stopping reading it! 


I have just completed reading the twenty-sixth book in the series. Nick Kyme struck gold with Vulkan Lives. This book has almost perfect pacing! And within its pages you reach one of the primary questions/frustrations so many have had with this series. The question of WHY. Why do we have this heresy? Why didn’t the principle parties sit down and sort out their issues since they are described as gods? Well in Vulkan Lives we are reminded that as much as the Emperor elevated all the good, noble, true, and incredible traits in the Primarchs, he also elevated all the bad, evil, selfish, and dark traits in the Primarchs. 


But I don’t mean to get lost in the weeds for this post. I mean to reflect. From the first book Horus Rising through the twenty-sixth book Vulkan Lives the authors have crafted an immense and awesome STORY. It’s a rabbit hole to be sure but one that’s worth jumping down and exploring. You don’t have to be a Warhammer40K fan to appreciate this story. You’ll truly learn enough by starting with the first book and reading on. I do think you’d have a difficult time if you aren’t a fan of SciFi as it is GrimDark Military SciFi, but at its heart this is a tragic tale of children rising against their parent and their siblings and the stakes in this family struggle are nothing less than the galaxy itself. 

Now to start the twenty-seventh book! 

Myke Cole Writes A Damn Good Story

Years ago when I first joined Twitter I encountered an author who was witty and wise, and also had a history of serving his country. After reading Myke Cole’s tweets for ages I knew I had to give his books a try! I just wasn’t sure where exactly to start so I asked him. He suggested I start with Gemini Cell which is a prequel to his Shadow Ops Series. When the author gives you a suggestion on where to enter their work, it’s normally a good idea to follow their advice!


The story is about Jim Schweitzer who is a Navy Seal. Jim has dedicated his life to taking down the many threats to his nation and loved ones. Unfortunately that means he sees things he shouldn’t and as a result he’s gunned down in front of his wife and child. 


But death isn’t the end for Jim! He’s brought back by a combination of science and magic, infused with superhuman powers, and an inner demon he must battle with for control of his new life. Surrounded by enemies and deceitful allies he strives to discover the fate of his family, and to see if he can remain human. 


Gemini Cell is a hell of a tale that starts off with action, continues with action, and ends with action! Fast paced, brutal, thoughtful, engaging, and well thought out. This is an incredible story that worth reading! Now that I’ve finished it I plan on continuing on in the series, and I hope you give it a chance too!