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Category Archives: In Library

Flow my Tears, The Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Mariner Books; Reissue edition (July 17, 2012); Reissue edition (July 17, 2012), Paperback: 256 pages, ISBN-10: 0547572255, ISBN-13: 978-0547572253

Book Review

Book Review

Flow my Tears, The Policeman Said is set in a dystopic future where everyone does drugs, genetic modification exists, and the police have supreme power. In one moment Jason Taverner has it all. He, along with a select few, has been genetically modified to be the perfect human. He is a famous singer and television personality. He has charisma, grace, good looks, extreme intelligence, and plenty of luck. Until one day when his luck runs out, and he wakes up with nothing. He not only has no identification on him, but now no one knows his name, and he is a nobody. He risks facing death or ending up in a forced labour camp unless he can prove who he really is, but is that even possible?  Taverner goes on a race against time and the authorities to discover what happened.

Philip K. Dick was a prolific writer, having published 49 novels and over a hundred short stories, and all were primarily science fiction. Much of his work concerns altered realities and drug use, and Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said, certainly delivers these and more. This book is a science fiction novel that includes drug use and an alternative universe. Interesting enough several of my favourite science fictions movies, like The Adjustment Bureau, Minority Report, Paycheck, A Scanner Darkly, Blade Runner, and Total Recall have all been based on stories by Philip K. Dick. Flow my Tears, The Policeman Said is written using a third person point of view, primarily from the point of view of Jason Taverner, but also at times moving into the point of view of the Police General Felix Buckman.

There is some really incredible writing in this story, but there are also a few areas which do not make sense and contradict what previously occurred. It is possible that these were intentional, and perhaps support the premise of the book, because their existence could explain movement between alternate realities. Like for example on page 26, when Eddy, the police informant, exits the building leaving Jason alone with Kathy so she can prepare forged identification documents for Jason. Then on page 32, suddenly Eddie is in the room with them, and Eddy “lurked in the background, smoking a fake Havana cigar; he had nothing to say or do, but for some obscure reason he hung around.”

At times the writing alludes to unknowable past events while at the same time pulls the reader into the story. Like on page 6, “Forty-five beautiful years ago, when the world was young and droplets of rain still clung to the now-gone Japanese cherry trees in Washington, D.C. And the smell of spring that had hovered over the noble experiment.” While this is never explicitly explained, the story itself points to past events that may have lead up to the current dystopic society. The characters in the story are interesting and well drawn. The plot is intriguing and the reader is immediately pulled into the story. If you like science fiction stories, then I recommend Flow my Tears, The Policeman Said as a very good read.

 


To purchase: Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said from Amazon, click here

 

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A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of A Week in Winter: 2 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (January 7, 2014), 416 pages,ISBN-10: 0307475506, ISBN-13: 978-0307475503
A Week in Winter is a collection of stories that are weaved together, and the common thread that pulls them together is the location of the story, a small inn in Ireland. Each chapter is a glimpse into the life of a new guest. The beginning of the book examines the life of the proprietor and the birth of the inn.

Maeve Binchy was an Irish author and she published 16 novels; A Week in Winter was the last novel that she wrote.  The protagonist in A Week in Winter isn’t a person, but rather a place. It is Stone House, a newly renovated hotel on the cliffs of the west coast of Ireland. Each chapter tells a different story about the inhabitants of the inn during it’s opening week.

I enjoyed this book, it was a nice light and easy read. There were not any surprises, and not much excitement, but it was entertaining. I recommend this book as a good read.

 

Sabriel by Garth Nix

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Abhorsen Trilogy
Book Review

Book Review

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
First Book in The Abhorsen Trilogy
Publisher: HarperTeen; First Edition edition (August 23, 1997), Paperback: 496 pages, ISBN-10: 0064471837, ISBN-13: 978-0064471831

Sabriel is a necromancer, but instead of raising the dead, she returns the dead back into the grave.

Garth Nix has written numerous young adult fantasy novels and series, including: the Old Kingdom series, The Seventh Tower series, and The Keys to the Kingdom. Sabriel is the first book in the Abhorsen Trilogy and it is told in a third person narrative from the perspective of the main protagonist, a young woman who can control the dead. The story takes place in a world filled with magic that can be controlled through sound. Particularly the sound created by whistling or bells.

The story was intriguing from the first page.  The characters were all interesting and the concept of the world was unique and captivating. I was never too sure where the story was going but I was anxiously turning each page to find out what was going to happen next.  There was plenty of action during the fight scenes against the dead.

“Sabriel” is a standalone novel. There are two other books in the series, but each has its own characters and storyline, which only lightly touch each other. I recommend this book as a very good read.

To Purchase: “Sabriel” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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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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White Night by Jim Butcher

This entry is part 9 of 13 in the series The Dresden Files
Book Review

Book Review

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
Book Nine in The Dresden Files
Publisher: Roc (February 5, 2008), Mass Market Paperback: 528 pages, ISBN-10: 045146155X, ISBN-13: 978-0451461551


A serial killer whose sole focus is magical practitioners is creating fear and chaos in Chicago, but Harry with the help of his old flame Elaine will stop this maniac. Evidence points to Harry’s gorgeous and dangerous brother, Thomas, a vampire of the white court.

White Night is the ninth book in The Dresden Files. Jim Butcher has currently written 14 books in this series. He has also written 6 books in the Codex Alera Series, which is closer to high fantasy than the Dresden Files. See my review of these books at https://books-treasureortrash.com/series/codex-alera-series/ The Dresden Files are considered contemporary fantasy and are sometimes referred to as urban fantasy. They can also fall into the detective genre since Harry solves a case in each book. These stories are told in the first person narrative from Harry Dresden’s point of view as he solves each case.

This is a great story, and I loved the direction and consummation of Harry’s relationship with the fallen angel. Molly is a great addition to the cast, and more insight is released concerning Harry’s past as well as his relationship with Elaine.  A bit more information is revealed about the Outsiders and Harry’s potential to wield power over them. While Harry is solving the mystery of the serial killing, several important plot points are revealed, and the story keeps on building with plenty of excitement up to a thrilling and terrifying ending.

White Night is an intense story that is filled with mystery and plenty of suspense. As usual there is lots going on and the story includes some hints to future events. I recommend this book as a very good read, and even though it can stand on its own I suggest that first all the previous books are read to receive the greatest satisfaction. I am anxiously looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Small Favor.

To Purchase: “White Night” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher

This entry is part 8 of 13 in the series The Dresden Files
Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of Proven Guilty: 3 Treasure Boxes
Book Eight of the Dresden Files
Publisher: Roc (February 6, 2007), Mass Market Paperback: 576 pages, ISBN-10: 0451461037, ISBN-13: 978-0451461032

There are monsters mauling and murdering people at a convention. Harry is now an unlikely warden for the White Counsel and needs to investigate, plus he is secretly exploring the anomalies within the Fae courts because there is a traitor operating on the Counsel. The war against the Red Vampire Court is not going well, and Molly, the grown daughter of Harry’s friend, Michael, a Knight of the Sword and a true fighter against evil, is in trouble. Harry has a heavy load, but in true Dresden form, he takes care of business.

Proven Guilty is the eighth book in The Dresden Files. Jim Butcher has currently written 14 books in this series. He has also written 6 books in the Codex Alera Series, which is closer to High Fantasy than the Dresden Files. See my review of these books at https://books-treasureortrash.com/series/codex-alera-series/ 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. Each book is told in the first person narrative from Harry Dresden’s point on view as we follow him through his life while he solves his current case.

Proven Guilty has plenty going on and it is spellbinding from the first to the last page. There is lots of action interspersed with the reveal of some interesting new facts. The book begins with the execution of a teenage wizard who violated the rules of magic and caused the death of his family. For Harry, this is too close to home considering his history and it also adds a sense of weight onto Molly’s illegal use of magic. Molly is a great character and she adds a fascinating new dimension to the storyline.  The depth of detail that Mr. Butcher uses to describe the scenes within the Winter court is really well executed.

This is a standalone story which builds up to a fabulous and exciting ending, but the books should be read in sequence for the best appreciation of the characters and the world that Mr. Butcher creates. I recommend this book as a very good read. I am anxiously looking forward to reading the next book in the series, White Night.

To Purchase: “Proven Guilty” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

 

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Dead Beat by Jim Butcher

This entry is part 7 of 13 in the series The Dresden Files

Book Review

Book Review of Dead Bead: 2 Treasure Boxes
Book seven of the Dresden Files
Publisher: Roc (May 2, 2006), Paperback: 528 pages, ISBN-10: 045146091X, ISBN-13: 978-0451460912

The word of Kemmler provides the hidden information which allows a necromancer to turn into a demi-god. Harry Dresden must discover how the word will provide such power and stop anyone from using it. Meanwhile, he needs to fight against the competing forces of evil that are all searching it out, and the deadline is Halloween, which is fast approaching. In between, Harry and his friends are facing numerous obstacles from many different directions.

Dead Beat is the seventh book in The Dresden Files. Jim Butcher has currently written 13 books in this series with book 14 due November 2012. He has also written 6 books in the Codex Alera Series, which is closer to High Fantasy than the Dresden Files. See my review of these books at https://books-treasureortrash.com/series/codex-alera-series/  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. Each book is told in the first person narrative from Harry Dresden’s point on view as we follow him through his life while he solves his current case.

Dead Beat is the story about a modern day wizard (Harry) who is fighting against evil in the supernatural community. The story was well told and kept the suspense going right up to the end. There were a few interesting scenes concerning the fallen angel whose coin Harry holds, and there was plenty of action. We learn more about Harry, more about the war against the Red Vampires, more about BOB, and more about the supernatural world that Harry lives. A couple of my favourite characters are BOB, the air spirit and Mouse, Harry’s Tibetan Temple dog.

The story is stand alone, but should be read in sequence with the rest of the books in the series since each story builds on the one preceding it and the world it takes place in has its own unique rules which are released over time. I recommend this book as a good read. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.  If you enjoy reading a good detective story encasing paranormal activities with a strong, honorable 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.

 

To Purchase: “Dead Beat” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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Legion by Brandon Sanderson

Book Review

Book Review of Legion: 2 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Audible Frontiers, Listening Length: 2 hours and 8 minutes (88 pages), ASIN: B009KEZ6F6

Stephen Leeds is insane, but he is also a genius. He specializes in solving the unsolvable and now he is needed to find a stolen camera that can take pictures of the past.

Brandon Sanderson has written numerous books and series in the fantasy genre including the Mistborn Series, the Alcatraz Series, The Stormlight Archive series, several stand alone novels and he completed the last three books in the Wheel of Time series working with Robert Jordan’s notes. Legion is a novella and it is also in a completely different genre, primarily crime drama but with a twist. The main protagonist, Stephen Leeds, is a genius, but the only way he can access his mental abilities is through hallucinations. He creates numerous aspects of himself that he communicates with to help him solve mysteries. The story is told in a first person narrative strictly from Stephen’s point of view, excluding any of his aspects. Instead the thoughts of these other personae are only shared through their conversation with Stephen.

The cover is awesome and it says it all; it shows a black and white faceless Stephen with silhouettes of his different personae trailing him. The story was intriguing from the first line where Stephen claims he is quite sane, but his hallucinations are all mad. Stephen’s genius is fragmented, and he can only access it through the different personalities that he has created. He treats each aspect of his personality like a real person and each has their own bedroom in his large mansion, (representing his mind) although no one else can see them. This story addresses several themes including mental illness, the fragility of faith, the self-serving needs of terrorist groups and the potential for harm that spring from new technologies.

The story introduces an interesting new concept, and begs the question, what if a picture could be taken of any place or event in the past? What potential damage could this cause? Conversely what potential good could it cause?

Legion is a standalone novella that immediately grabs the reader’s interest and then quickly builds up steam with plenty of action. The ending is satisfying and plausible. I recommend this novella as a good quick read, and it is only 88 pages. I am hoping Mr. Sanderson will create some new cases for Stephen and crew in the future.

Question to Ponder:

If you could take a picture of a any past event, what would you like to take a picture of?

To Purchase: “Legion” from Amazon, click here or on picture above


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Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Book Review

Book Review of Life of Pi: 2 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Mariner Books; Int Mti edition (October 2, 2012), Paperback: 416 pages, ISBN-10: 0544045203, ISBN-13: 978-0544045200

In Life of Pi a young Indian boy becomes lost at sea after his ship sinks in the Pacific Ocean during his family’s journey from Indian to Canada. For 227 days he lives in a lifeboat, and his sole companion is a Bengal tiger.

Yann Martel has written several novels, but Life of Pi is his most well known book, and this book has also won several awards.  It is written in the genre of magical realism and is an adventure story. The story is told primarily in a first person narrative from the point of view of our main protagonist, Pi Patel.

The author’s note at the beginning of the book convinced me I was reading a true story, and it wasn’t until I was about half way through the book did I come to realize that this note was part of the fiction. The story is told in a format that suggests it is a retelling of a true adventure, including italicized notes at the beginning of some of the chapters.

The story is told in three parts.  The first part introduces the main character and develops the premise which explains how Pi could eventually exist alone on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. This part takes place during Pi’s early years when his father ran a zoo. There were some interesting comparisons between animals and humans. The second part is his time at sea, and the final part introduces a possible alternative.

This is a spiritual story, and Pi Patel has a strong faith, which he relies on heavily during his trials at sea, but it is not religious or sanctimonious. Overall I thought the story was told in an interesting manner, and generally found it believable. The Life of Pi is a standalone story, and it is well told, although both the beginning and the time at sea were a bit too long.  I recommend this book as a good read.

Favourite Quote:

“To lose a brother is to lose someone with whom you can share the experience of growing old, who is supposed to bring you a sister-in-law and nieces and nephew, creatures to people the tree of your life and give it new branches. To lose your father is to lose the one whose guidance and help you seek, who supports you like a tree trunk supports it branches. To lose your mother, well, that is like losing the sun above you.”

Question to ponder:

Which version of the story did you think really occurred?

What did you feel was the most spiritual or mystical part of the journey?

 

To Purchase: “Life of Pi” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris

This entry is part 10 of 11 in the series The Southern Vampire Mysteries Series

Book Review: 1 Treasure Box
A Sooke Stackhouse Novel (The Southern Vampire Mysteries), Book 10
Publisher: Ace Books; 1 edition (May 4, 2010), Hardcover: 311 pages, ISBN-10: 0441018645, ISBN-13: 978-0441018642

Eric and Sookie are now married and Eric’s sire is in town.  Sookie has to deal with her vampire father-in law and her crazy, vampire brother-in-law. At the same time she is recovering from the ordeal she went through in Dead and Gone.

Dead in the Family is the tenth book in The Southern Vampire Mysteries series (also known as A Sooke Stackhouse Novel), and currently there are a total of twelve books. The thirteenth and final book is going to be released May 2013. All the books are contemporary fantasy but are also known as urban fantasy. They also fall into the romance genre. The story is told in the first person narrative with Sooke’s voice and thoughts as we follow her around.

Not too much happens in the beginning of this book because Sookie is recuperating from being captured and tortured.  Eric’s sire is in town making life difficult for the couple.  There are a few problems which crop up surrounding the werewolves and there are still some lingering faerie problems. This book continues to examine prejudice showing the damage it can cause. The end of the book was exciting and had plenty of action.

Previously, I had found this series to be one of the better in this genre, but now I am questioning if that is still true.  While reading Dead in the Family, I found some of the writing to be trite and rushed with a story that was not very well formulated. I also thought the book lacked its usual exciting pace. However, I still enjoyed reading Sookie’s thoughts and I still really like all of the characters.

This is a standalone book that continues immediately after the events in book nine, and since there are going to be three more books in the series, I know that there is more to tell in Sookie’s story.  I have read all the previous books in the series and I have enjoyed them all, but I found Dead in the Family to be underwhelming.  I thought the book was OK, and I am planning to give the next book in the series a read.  I am hoping it will pick up some speed.

 Favourite Quote:

 “I love spring for all the obvious reasons. I love the flowers blooming (which happens early here in Louisiana); I love the birds twittering; I love the squirrels scampering across my yard. I love the sound of werewolves howling in the distance. No, just kidding. But the late, lamented Tray Dawson had once told me that spring is the favorite season of werewolves.” Page 37

 

To Purchase: “Dead in the Family” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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