Tag Archives: StarsInTheSky

SPSFC2021: It’s The Final Countdown!

We are fast approaching the end of the first inaugural Self Published SciFi Competition and folks, this one is going to be a photo finish!

After starting with 300+ books our ten teams of judges have narrowed the field down to seven finalists, and y’all, I have firsthand witnessed the incredible amount of care that the judges are putting into the SPSFC and it is awesome to behold. The willingness to set aside so much of your own free time for one specific and time consuming task is humbling to see and I am honored to be a part of it all.

I say that to say: This has not been an easy journey. The nature of competitions like this mean 1 shall rise and 299 shall fall, right? BUT this competition has worked hard to shine as bright a light on the fallen as I have ever seen in any such competition. From the beginning I watched reviewers working hard through the initial allotment of books to try and find the ones to move forward, and watched as many championed books they discovered in the initial draw that didn’t make it into the next round. Books that had next to no reviews/ratings on GoodReads suddenly started getting attention, and started being blogged about, and started landing on TBRs of folks who aren’t a part of the competition! And that was only the first round! For the record three books I dearly wanted to move past the initial round in my team’s allotment did not, but those three books will be read and reviewed once the dust settles from the SPSFC, along with other books I came across in this competition that weren’t in my team’s draw.

And THAT is the magic of the SPSFC! It doesn’t just spotlight one amazing book, it creates reads and reviews for many books! I know two members of my team have read through most if not all of our initial draw, and are working through all thirty semi finalists, not just the ones we picked up! It is awesome to see. While nothing is perfect and I am sure some books didn’t get reviews out of the initial parts of the competition, many did, and that is something I am so happy about.

Now we come down to just 7 books, and getting to that 7 was tough! There have been a lot of strong attachments developed between readers and the books they love! One that didn’t make it out of my team’s top ten won my favorite book of the year award for 2021! I am telling you, there are some incredible works in this competition, and paring it down to just 7 finalists was tough, as books you love and champion don’t make the cut. However if it wasn’t for the SPSFC I wouldn’t have known about most of the books I’ve read so far, or have left to read!

So a huge and hearty shout out to the teams of judges who have been reading these books and offering their ratings and reviews as I know that takes effort and helps spread awareness of the books! Another loud and heartfelt shoutout to the authors who stepped willingly into the ring and let their novels fly! And a thankful and meaningful shout out to Duncan Swan and Hugh Howey for bringing this competition to life!

We now bring to you the final round of the SPSFC for 2021 and invite each of you to read these works alongside us as we dive into them!


A Snippet Of A Space Opera!

Y’all know I love a good Space Opera! The galaxy wide themes, everything living at stake, huge empires colliding, all of it makes for very dramatic stories! However in the midst of those mighty Space Operas it is easy to miss out on all the little side stories that would combine together into the greater tale. That’s what reading The Long Lost War by Jeff Walker brought to my mind!

This brief SciFi story is cinematic in nature! It felt like something that would easily translate to the big screen, and dealt with deep questions while not slowing down the ever moving plot line!

It is a short SciFi story that features clones and warring forces, and one clone who seeks to question everything going on around them. One who needs to know the why of things. Is there a purpose to this war? How long has it been fought? What are the goals? Can it be stopped? Why isn’t anyone else asking these questions?

This story delivers. It pushes you to think and leaves you wondering. Really fun, quick to read, I recommend giving this SciFi a read!


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!

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!

This Story Has Heart!

As y’all know I feature independent or small press authors that I really think shine like a bright star in the sky. I’ve just read one that burns so brightly it’s like a nova! It is in contention to be one of my favorite books this year!

What book is this? It is The Heart Of Stone by Ben Galley! A standalone fantasy that is full of old magic, new characters, and a fresh story! 

The Heart Of Stone is the story of Task, a 400+ year old golem who has been created by and enslaved to treacherous warlords who have forced him to unleash devastation on wartorn lands. All the while ignoring or actively trying to destroy the conscience that burns within Task. 

But Task isn’t the only amazing POV character! You have a villainous warlord, a treacherous spy, a brave girl, and a cowardly hero! All bring powerful perspectives to an engaging story. Each character compels you to turn the pages so that you can see what happens next. 

I tore through this book. I could barely stop reading it to sleep! It kept me up well past bedtime and had me waking up early to sneak in more reading. I love getting to see humanity through the eyes of an ancient being and Ben Galley delivers on that concept.

The Heart Of Stone is a book I think you’ll love and I’m encouraging you to check out this bright star in the reading galaxy. It’s a rewarding read that’ll leave you fulfilled while still wanting more. You can find it for sale here. Let me know what you think about it once you read it! I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this awesome story. 

A Bright Star, An Incredible Book

For my first Stars In The Sky review highlighting independent authors and their works I selected The Crown Of Stones Magic Price by C.L. Schneider. I am thankful that I did. 
The characters are beautifully flawed and fully realized. The conversations are fluid and move the story along. The action is fast paced and well described. The magical system is understandable and interesting. The world is well constructed and rich with the unexplored vistas of ancient history that you desire in a first class fantasy novel. 
So you have all of the elements needed to weave together an enjoyable and engaging story, the question that remains: Is the author able to weave all of these elements together into a story that you want to read? 
The answer is an unhesitating yes. A resounding yes. I tip my hat to C.L. Schneider and say thank you for an excellent story and for setting so high of a bar for my search for quality independent stories. 
Ian Troy is a tortured and gifted soul. Blessed or possibly cursed with powerful magical abilities and a legacy of destruction and death. After spending years of his life trying to distance himself from who he is and what he has done he is brought face to face with these things and pushed beyond his limits to endure. He is one that can cause empires to rise and fall with his choices regardless of if he wants to be a part of it or not. 
You’ll find yourself enjoying the characters, hoping for the best while fearing what might come next. This story is a fine addition to any collection with its eye catching cover and name, and is a fantastic book to read. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the storyline and anything more this author chooses to write! 
The Crown Of Stones Magic Price by C.L. Schneider is the first of the Stars In The Sky series of reviews, and it is a very bright star that is well worth your notice. Be on the lookout for my next independent author review in May!  


Stars In The Sky or The Hunt For Self Published Treasure

There are a LOT of independent authors out there nowadays with more joining their ranks all the time! The ease of self publishing these days has had a dramatic impact on the independent marketplace. The ability of the author to reach their audience has never been higher. 
That said: The amount of self published authors out there makes it more difficult to gain the attention of readers. The clamor of self marketing can create a white noise sensation that most readers would rather tune out than sift through. It is difficult being just another star in a night sky that is already full of stars. 
Yet in the midst of this modern self publishing boom you’ll find some marvelous gems and beautiful stories! A lot of talented authors choose to self publish so that they gain full creative control over their work, and that can be a thing of beauty when handled correctly. 
I want to use my platform as a book reviewer to place a spotlight on some of the self published works out there, and help them to break free from all of the clamor, and connect with their readership. My goals are to review one self published book a month and share my findings with y’all. I’m not taking submissions from authors at this time, just searching out stories that capture my interest. I do welcome any and all reviewers to join in the search with me! 
I hope y’all will find this journey as much fun as I will and if any of you would like to join in the fun I will be titling and hashtagging this adventure as: Stars In The Sky as there are many stars in the night sky and I’ll be bring attention to a few of the ones that shine brightly to me. Appropriate for a book review blog entitled RedStarReviews 😉 I’m very excited about this and looking forward to sharing my discoveries with y’all.