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My Mother’s Story: The Originals by Marilyn Norry

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of My Mother’s Story: The Originals: 3 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Mothership Stories Society (May 24, 2012), Paperback: 234 pages, ISBN-10: 0987984403, ISBN-13: 978-0987984401

Mothers are unheralded heroes. My Mother’s Story: The Originals is a compilation of the amazing lives of everyday women, as told through the eyes of their daughters.

Marilyn Norry is an actress and she conceived this idea. It started with her own mother’s story and she expanded out to include her friend’s mother’s stories. First she created a stage production, but since the stories are all amazing she wanted to compile them in book form as the editor. She has recently released a new volume in this series: My Mother’s Story: North Vancouver in both stage production and book form.   She has created a website: http://mymothersstory.org/ It is a place where anyone, man, woman or child can share their mother’s or father’s story. She also formed a non-profit society, Mothership Stories Society, to provide a unique place to share all the wonderful stories about mothers and fathers from around the world.

Everyone has a mother, each with her own story of quiet determination, hardship and love. Each woman has a unique life that she deals with in her own way. This project encourages the breaking of the mother taboo, where people are forbidden to talk about their mothers. Instead the focus is on bringing women’s lives out of the shadows into the open where they can be recognized and valued.

The lives of these mothers range from 1890 to present day and each story is compressed to a few pages with one or two photos. Some stories are moving and brought tears to my eyes, others brought a feeling of hope and all showed the determination and wherewithal that is required to be a mother. Each tale is a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the women who helped shape our world.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I highly recommend it as a very good read. It is a wonderful tribute to motherhood.

To purchase: “My Mother’s Story: the Originals” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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The Wishsong of Shannara by Terry Brooks

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Shannara

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
Second book in The Original Shannara Trilogy
Publisher: Del Rey; Reissue edition (July 12 1988), Mass Market Paperback: 512 pages, Language: English, ISBN-10: 0345356365, ISBN-13: 978-0345356369


Before humans walked the earth, Demons created a dark book of magic that became a living thing full of evil. The Warlock Lord’s human minions have utilized this knowledge to change themselves into the Mord Wraiths and their evil influence is threatening the world.  It is up to Allanon, the last druid and the inimitable Ohmsfords to destroy this atrocious book before it is too late.

Currently there are twenty-three books in the Shannara world. These comprise of six different series, a couple of standalone novels, a short story and a graphic book. Book number twenty-four is going to be released in August 2011 and a new trilogy is to be released over time from 2012 to 2014. Terry Brooks has also written 6 books in the Landover series, which is totally unrelated to Shannnara. Please see my review of these books at: http://books-treasureortrash.com/?series=the-magic-kingdom-of-landover. The Wishsong of Shannara is the third book in the Original Shannara Trilogy and it is in the high fantasy genre. It takes place in a non-technological age with reference to a world that was previously highly technological, but due to primordial great wars it has now once again reverted to simpler times with magic replacing technology. The story is told in the third person narrative from the various character’s point of view as the tale unfolds. The main protagonists are Jair and Brin Ohmsford.

There is plenty of action with lots of excitement. We are introduced to a new form of magic that is accessed through song, yet it has its price for use. I like how the characters are described and I enjoy reading how they react to the challenges they face. Most of them showed growth, which was required for them to attain their goals.  There were many new characters introduced, and one of my favorites was the Weapons Master Garet Jax. Once again we learn and read about the many different creatures, with most of the Gnomes being controlled by the evil wraiths. The ending was sad, yet it also left us with a sense of hope. The story had lots of twists and turns and left us wondering what was going to happen.

This is a standalone story that can be read without reading any of the other Shannara books and still be completely enjoyable. However it is best to read the books in the order they were written so you can know the full back story. I recommend this book as a good entertaining read.  If you enjoy reading high fantasy books then you will enjoy reading The Wishsong of Shannara.

To Purchase: “The Wishsong of Shannara” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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Blood Rites by Jim Butcher

This entry is part 3 of 13 in the series The Dresden Files

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
Book Six of the The Dresden Files
Publisher: Roc; First Edition (August, 2004),Mass Market Paperback: 372 pages,Language: English, ISBN-10: 978-0-451-45987-9

Harry starts work on the set of a porno. His White Court Vampire friend, Thomas introduced him to the producer and since the set is being plagued by a death curse, Harry is just the man to investigate.  Naturally Thomas would be involved, since White Court Vampires feed on lust. Soon Harry gets pulled into a deeper plot and with lots of action and magic discovers who is behind the curses.

Blood Rites is the sixth book in The Dresden Files. Jim Butcher has currently written twelve books in this series with book thirteen due July 26, 2011. He has also written six books in the Codex Alera Series, which is closer to High Fantasy than the Dresden Files. See my review of these books at http://books-treasureortrash.com/?s=codex+alera. The Dresden Files are considered Contemporary Fantasy and sometimes are referred to as Urban Fantasy. They can also fall into the Detective genre since Harry solves a case in each book. They are told in the first person narrative from Harry Dresden’s point of view as we follow him through his life solving whatever case he is currently working on.

Blood Rites takes place about year after Grave Peril. The war between the Wizards and the Red Court Vampires is still going on, but it is not the sole focus of this story. Although Harry decides to take out Mavra, the head of the Red Court Vampires with some very interesting results and of course plenty of action.  The book starts out with an exciting escape from a demon gorilla and the rescue of a litter of Tibetan Temple puppies. One of the puppies is a stowaway in Harry’s car and soon becomes the newest member of his family, his name is Mouse. Thomas plays a large role in this book. We learn more about Thomas, his family and the White Court Vampires. We learn more about Harry’s past and family. There is as usual lots of action and Harry is in the thick of it all. This is a stand alone story that has great pacing and builds up to a marvelous and exciting conclusion.

I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.  I highly recommend this book. If you enjoy reading a good detective story encasing paranormal activities with a strong, honourable hero then give this series a try.  However, you should read the books in order as the overall story does build even if each book is stand alone.

 

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Legacy by Lois McMaster Bujold

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series The Sharing Knife

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
The Sharing Knife Series, Volume Two
Publisher: Harper Voyager (May, 2008), 356 pages, Language: English, ISBN-10: 978-0-06-113906-2

This is a story of magic, the fight against evil, family commitments and love. Dag, the magic wielding Lakewalker and his young bride the Farmer-girl Fawn continue their story including the ongoing battle against the evil creatures known as Malices. This book takes place immediately following Beguilement

Lois McMaster Bujold has written numerous Science Fiction and Fantasy books and series including The Vorkosigan Saga, The Chalion Universe Series and the The Sharing Knife Series. Legacy is the second book in The Sharing Knife Series which has a total of four books. These books fall into the Fantasy genre but can also be considered a Romance since it revolves around a love story.  There is magic in this universe that is welded by the Lakewakers and it takes place in a society that is equivalent to ours in the early 19th century.  It occurs after the fall of a greater society that was destroyed by the creation of evil creatures known as Malices.  In this world the Lakewalkers serve by destroying these creatures as they continue to randomly pop up. The story is told in a third person narrative by the two main protagonists Dag, the Lakewalker and Fawn, the Farmer girl.

Dag and Fawn, two individuals with completely different backgrounds are married and in love.  They leave Fawn’s farmer family and continue on to Dag’s communal camp.  Once they arrive they are once again facing the unfairness of prejudice. Dag is called away to fight against a mature malice that has uncanny abilities and gets into a very tight spot in the process.  Fawn is left alone in a hostile environment and it is heart wrenching reading about her mistreatment at the hands of Dag’s own family and community. It is all based on discrimination against her, not because she isn’t a good person, but because she is a farmer.  It is surprising because Dag was only half a person before he met Fawn and some people see and understand this. The story unfolded with a good pace and there was plenty of excitement and suspense during the fight against the malice. The book had a great ending.

I highly recommend this book.  If you enjoy reading a good, original fantasy story that revolves around a romance then you will enjoy this book.  This is a stand alone book, but I quickly picked up the next book in the series to see where the story is going.

 

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Beguilement by Lois McMaster Bujold

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series The Sharing Knife

Book Review; 3 Treasure Boxes
The Sharing Knife Series, Volume One
Publisher: Harper Voyager (April 24, 2007), 384 pages, Language: English, ISBN-10: 978-0-06-1139079

What kind of world would it be if it could be assaulted by Malices? Malices are evil immortal creatures that turn living creatures into zombie-like beings and they leach all life from the world around them. Lakewalkers have magical abilities to sense and kill Malices. Farmers are smaller humans with no magical abilities that the Lakewalkers protect. This is the love story of a Lakewalker and Farm girl who have difficulties because it is taboo for the two races to intermingle.

Lois McMaster Bujold has written numerous Science Fiction and Fantasy books and series including The Vorkosigan Saga, The Chalion Universe Series and the The Sharing Knife Series.  Beguilement is the first book in The Sharing Knife Series which has a total of four books. These books fall into the Fantasy genre but can also be considered a Romance since it revolves around a love story.  There is magic in this universe that is welded by the Lakewakers and it takes place in a society that is equivalent to ours in the early 19th century.  It occurs after the fall of a greater society that was destroyed by the creation of evil creatures known as Malices.  In this world the Lakewalkers serve by destroying these creatures as they continue to randomly pop up. The story is told in a third person narrative by the two main protagonists Dag, the Lakewalker and Fawn, the Farmer girl.

We are first introduced to Fawn, who has run away from home because she has become pregnant.  This first book is the story of her meeting and falling in love with the experienced Lakewalker, Dag. During their adventures together, Fawn becomes more than a mere Farmer.  This book deals with prejudice and shows how old beliefs hold you back. The story is very original.  The magic that is welded is new and unique.  It can only come from the death of another Lakewalker whose spirit has passed  through another Lakewalker’s thigh-bone.

I highly recommend this book.  If you enjoy reading a good, original fantasy story that revolves around a romance then you will enjoy this book.  This is a stand alone book, but I quickly picked up the next book in the series to see where the story is going.

 

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Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning

This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series Fever Series

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
Fever Series, Book 5
Publisher: Delacorte Press (January 18, 2011), Format: Kindle Edition, File Size: 1264 KB, Print Length: 512 pages, Language: English, Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, ISBN: 0385341679, ASIN: B003EY7IRC

What happens to our world if we become overrun with evil creatures and half the world population is annihilated? This is a story about humanities capability to fight and survive, even when the odds seem impossible.  It is the story about a courageous, cute and quirky young woman who will do whatever it takes to fight back. Mac (MacKayla Lane) is a Sidhe-seer and she has unique powers which help fight this battle.

Shadowfever is the fifth and final book in the Fever Series. It is a contemporary fantasy book and can also be referred to as an Urban Fantasy.  The story is told in a first person narrative with MacKayla Lane’s voice and thoughts as we follow her around. Some of the story is also told from a young Sidhe-seer’s view point as she writes her reports.

This is a wonderful series and Shadowfever culminates the story into a surprising but great ending.  I loved the interaction between Mac and Barrons.  The story had a good resolution to a number of story-lines, yet it also left a few to the imagination.  We got to explore more of Barrons, who and what he is. What drives him and who really is the man behind the beast. It was interesting to see the political dynamics between the various groups trying to capture the evil book. They all hated and mistrusted each other, yet they needed to work together to achieve a common goal.  We also learn who and what Mac really is and why she has such incredible powers. Everything is satisfactory explained. I loved the romance between Mac and Barrons and the sex was really hot.

The story comes to a full and satisfying conclusion with the end of this fifth and final volumne in the series. I  recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading contempory fantasy with a female protagonist who is cute and quirky.  This series is great because it deals with Seelie and Unseelie faeries rather that Vampires and Werewolves. There are also plenty of hot scenes between Mac and Barrons, so if you enjoy books that includes lots of sex, then you will enjoy this book. However, if you are looking for a stand alone story, then start at the beginning with Darkfever and work your way through all the books, as this is really only one story told in five installments.

 

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A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series A Song of Fire and Ice

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
Book One of A Song of Ice and Fire
Publisher: Bantam; REP edition (Aug 4 1997), Paperback: 831 pages, Language: English , ISBN-10: 0553573403, ISBN-13: 978-0553573404

This story centers around the Stark family, one of the major noble houses of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros but it also has several other prongs including Daenerys Targaryen, the exiled princess and Tyrion Lannister, the Imp brother of the Kingslayer.  The Stark family gets split up into three groups.  One group comprises the mother, eldest son Rob and the two younger boys who stay at home in Winterfell.  One group includes the father, Eddard and his two daughers who go with the King to King’s Landing where Eddard becomes the King’s hand (second in command.) The last group is the bastard son, Jon who goes north with his Uncle to become a member of the Night Watch and protect the wall that separates the Kingdom from the Others.

This is the first book in the series, there are currently four books in the series with three more supposedly coming in the future.  However, the fourth book was completed in 2005 and there is no information on when any of the other books will be released.  This series falls into the fantasy genre. The story is told in a limited third person narrative from the numerous different characters the point of view with each chapter bearing the name of the character it is focusing on.

In this world summer and winter each can last up to ten years, currently summer is soon going to end and winter is approaching.  It is forshadowed that winter is coming not only literally but figuratively but we have yet to find out exactly what this means, although numerous things are stirring, including death, war and something evil rising from the land beyond the wall.   There are eight main characters in this book, the majority of the characters are from the Stark family with numerous secondary characters.  Most of these are well rounded and even though some are evil, they still have some good in their hearts and deeds, all except Joffry Baratheon and Viserys Targaryen who are just plain evil. This book is considered a high-fantasy book, even if there is not a large super-natural aspect to it, although there are Others, Undead predators and dragons.

As each separate story-line unfolds the book gets more and more interesting and the overall feel is one of coming doom.  My favourite characters are Daenerys, Arya and Jon and I really like where these stories are going.  I also like reading about the imp Tyrion, his attitude and character are fitting and I am really curious to see how he handles the next stage on his path. However, I felt that Daenerys journey was very sad, yet it was required to bring her to the point where she now is and my heart really goes out to Arya.  She is made of really tough stuff, yet she is also just a little girl facing a really difficult situation.  I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series so I can find out where each of these characters are going and what is next in store for them as well as all the Starks and who will finally end up on the throne.

I highly recommend this book, the plot was thick and full of lots of action and character arcs.  As a reader we can see where some mistakes were made by the characters and the consequences of these bad decisions, which really makes the book life-like. If you enjoy reading about the intrigues of court and high fantasy, with plenty of action, then you will enjoy this book.

 

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Conspiracy in Death by J. D. Robb

This entry is part 9 of 26 in the series In Death Series

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
In Death Series, Book 9
Publisher: The Penguin Publishing Group (Electronic Edition: July 2001), EBook: 290 KB, Language: English, ISBN-0-7865-9089-0

A good futuristic suspense novel featuring Lieutenant Eve Dallas. Lieutenant Eve Dallas is a tough, smart, likable homicide detective. In each book she solves a crime and finds the killer. The book also encompasses her entire life including her personal relationships. The murders in this book are very intriguing. A very talented surgeon is harvesting damaged organs and then leaving dead victims.

Conspiracy in Death is the ninth book in the In Death series by J.D. Robb, to date she has written 39 books in the series with the 40th book being released February 11, 2011. I have read most of these books and found them all to be enjoyable and well written. This book falls into both the suspense and romance categories as the book focuses on the case Eve is currently working on as well as Eve and Roake’s relationship. This is a futuristic suspense that takes place in 2059 in New York City. The books are told in a third person narrative that focuses primarily on Lieutenant Eve Dallas, a dedicated and talented homicide detective. At times, the author also gives us insight into some of the other characters including the murderer. The books are written by Nora Roberts under the pseudonym of J. D. Robb.

Eve is brought onto the homicide scene of a homeless person whose heart has been surgically removed.  Eve starts working the case and in the process comes into contact with a fellow police officer, Ellen Bowers who hates Eve and puts in several complaints about the Lieutenant.  After Officer Bowers is found murdered, Eve is suspended and once her badge is taken away, she loses a piece of herself.  Since her horrific childhood, being in law enforcement is the only identity that she has. This portion of the book is heart-wrenching and it is interesting to read about Eve’s struggle when she is faced with this loss.  With Roake and her friends help and support, Eve pulls herself together and then continues to work the case as a civilian. It is always interesting to read Eve as she tracks down her suspects. The story becomes very suspenseful towards the end and has a very satisfying conclusion.

This is a standalone book, I am sure that if you read it you would be quickly reading the other books in the series.  I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about strong female lead characters and enjoys a suspense story.   The story is well written and enjoyable.  I also recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about a bit of romance since there is a fair bit of this as well as some hot sex scenes between Eve and Roake.

 

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The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks

Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
Second book in The Original Shannara Trilogy
Publisher: Del Rey; First Thus edition (December 12, 1983), Language: English, Paperback: 576 pages, ISBN-10: 0345285549, ISBN-13: 978-0345285546

The ancient, magical tree known as the Ellcrys is dying and it is the only thing standing between the Elves and the Demons.  It is the magical barrier that was erected thousands of years ago to isolate the evil creatures of faerie in a different, dead world. The only hope is to take the Ellcrys seed and emerge it in the bloodfire so it can sprout and replace the existing tree. This is a quest, where the protagonists face many trials, including demons, human greediness and their own self doubts.

Currently there are 23 books in the Shannara world.  These comprise 6 different series, a couple of standalone books, a short story and a graphic book.  Book number 24 is going to be released in August 2011 and a new trilogy is going to be released over time from 2012 to 2014.  Terry Brooks has also written 6 books in the Landover series, which is totally unrelated to Shannnara.  Please see my review of these books at: http://books-treasureortrash.com/?series=the-magic-kingdom-of-landover.  The Elfstones of Shannara is the second book in the Original  Shannara Trilogy. This book is in the high fantasy genre, taking place in a non-technological age with reference to a world that was previously highly technological, but due to the primordial great wars has now once again reverted to simpler times. The story is told in the third person narrative from the various character’s point of view as the tale unfolds. The main protagonists are Prince Ander Elessedil, Wil Ohmsford, Amberle Elessedil and the Druid Allanon.

This story continues several generations after the first book in the trilogy.  It is with different characters who are the descendants of the original characters. It is up to Amberle Elessedil, the forsaken Elf and Wil Ohmsford, the healer to find the bloodfire and quicken the seed.  They find some unexpected help along the way.  On the home front, protecting the Elves is the Elven prince Ander Elessedil and the last of the Druids Allanon.

The book was written using plenty of imagination, the story and visual descriptions are well thought out and paint a clear picture of their journey.  The plot builds well and shows growth within all the characters, although I found the self-doubting characters to be a bit annoying at times, especially Amberle.  Her whining becomes tiresome so she makes an unlikeable heroine. Although she grows on you by the end of the book and the reader comes to understand her and her reluctance, especially considering what she has to go through. There are numerous exciting fight sequences.  The ending of the story is somewhat sad yet entirely satisfying.

This is a standalone story that can be read without reading any of the other Shannara books and still be completely enjoyable. However it is best to read the books in the order they were written so you can know the full back story. I recommend this book as a good entertaining read.  If you enjoy reading high fantasy books then you will enjoy reading The Elfstones of Shannara.

 

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Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself (Harriet Ann Jacob)

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
First published: Boston: Published for the Author, 1861, c1860, where it could be obtained at the Anti-Slavery Offices in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and of Thos. Hamilton, 48 Beekman St., New York.
Format: Kindle Edition, File Size: 374 KB, Print Length: 252 pages, Publisher: Mobile Reference (October 5, 2008), Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Language: English, ASIN: B001HHM60C 

This book was originally written in 1859 by Harriet Ann Jacob who was born into slavery in North Carolina.  When she wrote the book, she changed the names and represented herself as Linda Brent. This is the story of her trials and tribulations as an oppressed non-citizen. It shows the true picture of life as a slave, where people were treated worse than animals. It was the first book written by a woman slave.  

The story was very well told, it follows in chronological order, the story of her life.  It starts out with her childhood, where she had a good master who taught her how to read and write and showed her kindness.  Once this master died, she was given to a very mean, uncaring master who made her life hell.  She tells in great detail the great wrongs that were committed on a regular basis to the slaves in her community.  While reading this book, I felt horrified and sickened by what I read.  I always knew that slavery had existed, but I did not really think what it would be like.  Her tale truly bought the reality of that life to me.  

In order to save her children from a life of slavery she decided to run away.  To achieve this end and escape her horrific master, she had to endure seven years in a tiny hidey-hole that was not even big enough to sit up in.  She was required to spend all her time in this space and as a consequence her muscles atrophied so she could hardly move.  This put me in mind of the story of Anne Frank and shows the correlation of wrongs done in both instances, although I felt Miss Jacob’s situation was far worse.  The most surprising thing I gleaned from this story was Miss Jacob’s synopsis of how being a slave-holder harms themselves and their families. I thought these ruminations were very insightful, deep and full of truth.  

This book is an autobiography and it is written in the first person narrative as Miss Jacob describes her life growing up as a slave girl.  She goes into great detail how it is much harder to be a girl in this tyrannical and degrading environment. She struggles with her own decisions and fights with everything in her power to save her children as it was not uncommon for a slave women’s children to be ripped from their mother’s loving arms and sold to some stranger far away. I recommend this book to everyone to read. It is a true story filled with wisdom, hope and love.   

   

 

   

 

 

 

   

 

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