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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
This was a book that I would have loved reading as a youngster and still truly enjoyed as an adult! It is an adventure in the realms of MineCraft which is a video game I’ve not yet played, but that didn’t keep me from getting into and enjoying the story. You find yourself immediately drawn to the primary characters, and cheering them along as they encounter adventure after adventure in fast paced chapters that pull you along from start to finish!
I really enjoyed this adventure story! Definitely one that will appeal to young readers while also entertaining seasoned readers!
Thank you, LittleRedReviewer, for allowing me to be a part of this fun BlogTour!
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.
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!
We interrupt this unintentional period of silence with good news: You’ll love when you read You Die When You Die by Angus Watson!
Every so often a book comes along and completely interrupts your currently reading pile and all your carefully made to read plans! Angus Watson has written such a book! The title caught my eye, the cover interested me, the premise intrigued me, and the story delivered even more than I had hoped for.
You Die When You Die is a Fantasy set in a world similar to North America prior to the Europeans, except that a small group of people similiar to Vikings have somehow made their way far into this land and created a settlement where they lived mostly in peace. That is until their settlement is massacred and the few survivors set off on an epic journey to try and cross the land and find the safety that has prophesied far off to the West….
This story is excellent. It’s a fun page turner of a book! The chapters are short and action packed, the characters are interesting, the conversations witty, the blending of possible history and fantasy is well done, and this all works together to draw you in to an incredible story! How much did I enjoy it? Well since I have to wait until 2018 for the sequel I went ahead and bought Age Of Iron which is a separate trilogy the same author wrote before writing You Die When You Die. The two stories are unrelated, I just wanted to read more by Angus Watson immediately!