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Book Reviews

The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman

“I know, ain’t evils in no life nor cruelties in no red hell can change the vally heart of Ice Cream Star.”

Sandra Newman’s novel The Country Of Ice Cream Star is going to cause some fights, cause some clamour among the finger-wagging ranks of the sensitive literati. People who care about books (and who care about seeming to care about books) are going to go nine kinds of bonkers over this thing because it presses just about every single big red button there is.

Is it a book about black people and their experiences written by a white lady? Yep. Is there rape and murder? There sure is. Slavery? White colonialism? Religious fundamentalism? Check, check and double-check. Is it an apocalypse story with a plague that has conveniently wiped out 80% of the population of the American Northeast (at least), leaving none behind but several generations of black children who all die before their 20th birthdays like some kind of freaked-up mashup of Logan’s Run and that old Star Trek episode, “Miri?” Hell yes, it is.

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Book Reviews

Everything About You by Heather Child Book Review

Freya has a new virtual assistant. It knows what she likes, knows what she wants and knows whose voice she most needs to hear: her missing sister’s.
It adopts her sister’s personality, recreating her through a life lived online. This data ghost knows everything about Freya’s sister: every date she ever went on, every photo she took, every secret she ever shared.
In fact it knows things it shouldn’t be possible to know. It’s almost as if her sister is still out there somewhere, feeding fresh updates into the cloud. But that’s impossible. Isn’t it?

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Book Reviews

Deceptive by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Months ago, Ciere would have cast her illusion outward, like throwing a sheet over a table. It would cover everything, but the pain was debilitating. Now, after months of careful practice, Ciere reaches out and  imagines the world the way she wants it. She visualizes the frozen white fields, the twist in the road around a clump of trees—the trees that make a perfect place to stash their getaway van—and the dirt-streaked snow covering the pavement. She gently pulls at the landscape, smudging over the lines of the spiked chain and the armed mobsters. The illusion settles into place, and anyone who walks into the scene will be affected by it—all they’ll see are a few hazy flickers, like heat waves rippling across the snow.

Once again I’ve picked up a book mid-series. I need to start checking out whether I’m only starting or hopping on a moving train. In this specific instance, the train was called “Illusive” and I’ve started with book 2. Thankfully, there is a bit of a backstory so I didn’t go in to be blindsided by characters that everybody knew and a story that had some spicy bits already in the past.

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Book Reviews

Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Book Review

“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.

This was a weird book to read. It’s been on my list for ages and ever since they’ve released a movie, I wanted to see the story of the fireman by myself.

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Book Reviews

Mortal Engines – [The Hungry City Chronicles #1] – Philip Reeve

The great Traction City London lumbers after a small town, eager to strip its prey of all assets and move on.

Resources on the Great Hunting Ground that once was Europe are so limited that mobile cities must consume one another to survive, a practice known as Municipal Darwinism.

Tom, an apprentice in the Guild of Historians, saves his hero, Head Historian Thaddeus Valentine, from a murder attempt by the mysterious Hester Shaw — only to find himself thrown from the moving city by Valentine himself and stranded with Hester in the Out Country.

As they struggle to follow the tracks of the city, the sinister plans of London’s leaders begin to unfold…

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Book Reviews

Sand (Sand #1-5) by Hugh Howey Book Review

No luck. I haven’t had any with recent books. I’ve wrongly thought that sometimes a large size might be an indicative of a good story line but as with Drood, size doesn’t matter. 30% into the book, I couldn’t find any connection with the characters, the plot was dull and what promised to be an amazing epic adventure, was instead as interesting as watching sand fall through an hourglass.

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Poetry

See It Through – Edgar Guest Motivational Poetry

When you’re up against a trouble,
Meet it squarely, face to face;
Lift your chin and set your shoulders,
Plant your feet and take a brace.
When it’s vain to try to dodge it,
Do the best that you can do;
You may fail, but you may conquer,
See it through!

Categories
Book Reviews

Mockingjay * Suzanne Collins * Hunger Games Book 3

I haven’t enjoyed this one as much as The Hunger Games to be honest. While the first book was fast-paced and written well and to the point, the Mockingjay offers a pale hero version of Katniss, lifeless and placid. One that’s sick and tiring easily, one that has to negotiate with the political leaders of the revolt so that she can have a cat in her quarters, one that goes from one guy to another and then back again.

Yeah, we wouldn’t want to lose our little Mockingjay when she’s finally begun to sing.

The post-traumatic stress, the mental breakdowns, the self-pity, the self-loathing, the nearing of insanity .. all of these things are realistic, yes, but a bit tiresome and not very interesting to read when it’s all the same and the narrator is drowning herself in it in the face of much greater things to the point where it detracts from the plot.

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Book Reviews

Orson Scott Card – Elephants of Poznan

I’m a massive fan of Orson Scott Card. He got me hooked with Ender’s Game and then I got into the Alvin Maker series. To my surprise, I received an Audiobook from one of my friends with a story I had not read or come across before. The Elephants of Poznan.

About the story

The story is set about 20 years after a plague kills off most of humanity, in the city of Poznan in Poland. The author did mention in the intro of the book that the story came to him after visiting Poland and wanted the story to be based there, so he wrote it and unlike his other books, did not want it immediately published. In the end, his friend and interpreter translated this book into Polish and it was published first in a Polish Sci-Fi Mag. This audiobook I received was the first English reading of the story. Lucky me!

The book continues with an interesting twist – the Elephants from Africa had migrated north, past Ukraine, past Belarus, into Poland and were now in Poznan checking out the humans.

Why were they interested in us? Humans were no longer killing them for their ivory. The world was theirs. We were going to die—I, who was only seven years old when the plague came, am now past thirty, and many of the older survivors are already, if not at death’s door, then studying the travel brochures and making reservations, their Bibles open and their rosaries in hand.

The main character even asks himself this:

No other animals from Africa had made the journey north. Only the elephants, and not just from Africa—the elephants of India were roaming the Orient, and on the most recent Radio Day we learned, through messages relayed many times, that they had somehow crossed the Bering Strait and were now, in ever greater numbers, grazing the prairies of America, small-eared cousins to the great-canopied beasts that now shadowed us on the streets of Poznan. I pictured them swimming, or piling onto boats that some last human pilot guided for them onto the stygian shore.

They had inherited the Earth, and were bent on surveying their new domain.

Categories
Psychology

ARE YOU WASTING OR INVESTING YOUR TIME?

Time is the most precious value we have. Time is the greatest equalizer of human beings. If we don’t ant to admit his and to treat time with respect then we will only have to lose. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, healthy or sick, you will only have 24 hours a day either way, and you should try to use them wisely.