Transient Echoes — J. N. Chaney

I really enjoyed book one of this tetrology, so i dived straight into book two, and really enjoyed this as well.

Not as flowing as the first book as its essentially two separate stories set on two separate worlds, but it still flows as well as it can be.

As with the first book, there’s no words wasted on pointlessness.   Everything keeps the story moving forward, which is what we like.

More clues are added to the puzzle of what caused the Variant in the first place, yet i’m not left hoping for the answer any time soon as i’m quite enjoying putting the pieces together in my own head.   Yes, it’s definitely one of those, ‘Can-you-guess-yet?’ stories.

And because you’re always eager for more clues to the puzzle you just have to keep reading.   And so it’s straight onto book three.

J. N. Chaney’s Page

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The Amber Project — J. N. Chaney

A gas called ‘Variant’ has engulfed the Earth and only a small pocket of humans cling to life in an underground city.   Procreation is strictly controlled, resources are limited, and time is running out to find a solution to humanity’s future as the city is slowly failing from age.

The solution this book deals with is to genetically engineer the children to be able to exist breathing Variant, thus allowing future generations to return to the surface, and this is the story of one of those groups.   And, i have to say, it’s a rather good story too.

It certainly keeps moving along at a good pace as there’s a lot going on in the city with the various competing groups and their agendas.

It’s well written with good characters throughout.

All in all, a very good start to this post apocalyptic, dystopian future, tetrology — and i’m happily diving straight into the next book for more of it.

J. N. Chaney’s Page

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Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? — Philip K. Dick

The book that inspired the film ‘Blade Runner’.

Click here for previous comments on this book.

So my umpteenth time of reading this book, and each time it’s always a little different.   My previous reading covered the ‘what is real’ thing, this time my focus was more on the Mercer thing with the ‘Empathy Box’.   How Philip describes the continuous Sisyphean ritual of the followers of Mercer — which seems to be all of mankind.

The thing with Philip, at least for me, is that he didn’t write anything without a reason to it, and the Mercer thing is a large part of this story.   Why?   What’s the point he’s trying to make, what’s he want us to think about?

I feel that the ‘Empathy Box’ experience would be similar to what Philip experienced with his meth use.   To achieve the creative heights, bringing life, through empathy, to all his characters, that he would have gained using meth, only to crash down to the bottom afterwards with no way back up but to use more meth.

But Philip makes clear that all of mankind are in this ritual.   That of climbing to tops of hills only to find themselves at the bottom again.   And we see it everywhere.   The guy who buys the fast car, but once he’s got it he’s just as unhappy as he ever was and now wants a faster car, or a yacht, or some other symbol of wealth to show to the rest of mankind.

And yet again, even in the ‘Empathy Box’, Philip brings us back to the main point of the story that i mentioned in my previous comments: that of what is real.   Everyone is so convinced that the ‘Empathy Box’ gives them a real genuine experience with Mercer, only at the end to be told that its all a hoax.   But people won’t believe that its a hoax because they’ve invested too much into it and their lives are shaped by it, they’ve become addicted and to quit now would only leave them at the bottom of the hill with no way — that they know of — of getting back up the hill again without Mercer.

And so it was for Philip and his drug use.   He was caught in the addiction and knew only how to create from within it.   To quit his only known means to creativity, even when he realises that it’s all a hoax and none of it is really true, or real, is a step he couldn’t take.

So that’s my take on this reading.   There’s definitely a lot of food for thought in the ‘Empathy Box’ for all of us.   Even if it’s just that morning coffee, you’re still a drug addict who can’t function without your cup of ‘Empathy Box’.   But what you’re experiencing after drinking it cannot ever be real.   Life becomes a corruption experienced through the over stimulated brain cells of an addict.   But you need that coffee to climb your hill because you know of no other way — you have to keep up and share with everyone else, you all need to grab onto the handles of your morning coffee cups else you can’t be part of society, a society that is as sick, unwell and addicted to climbing that hill as you are.   And even though there is no hill to climb, you all create one from your collective experience, it must be real if everyone’s doing it, right?

Philip’s Page

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Priceless — Zygmunt Miłoszewski

I only bought this because it was £1, it had good reviews, and i couldn’t remember having read any Polish literature before and so i decided that that was something needing to be explored.   And i have to say i’m glad i did explore it.

Yes, admittedly, there’s an element of the James Bond fantasy to it, and one does have to suspend a little belief in places, but it’s fiction, it isn’t supposed to be 100% real.

And if you do bear with it, it does repay you with what turns out to be a great little romp through the art world, albeit, mostly a fantasy art world, a fantasy art world that the nazi’s stole and hid away that contains a big secret that some people don’t want to be found.

And Zigmunt does have a good dig at the USA along the way — which one could say, mostly isn’t fantasy.

All in all, well written and well worth £1, and i’ll definitely be trying some more Polish writers when i find some.

Zygmunt’s Page

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Character Interview: Azriel – Joseph R. Lallo

A little extra to add on for your ‘Book of Deacon’ experience.   Free to read online after you’ve read all the books because it has a few spoilers.

So that will make this the 16th book in ‘The Book of Deacon’ series.

Joseph’s Page

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The Stump and the Spire – Joseph R. Lallo

The 15th book in ‘The Book of Deacon’ series.

A little stand alone short thrown in at the end, set long after the events of Miranda and Myn’s battle in Kenvard.

It’s a nice little read included at the end of ‘The Book of Deacon Anthology’.

Joseph’s Page

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Jade – Joseph R. Lallo

This being currently the last book in the main story line of ‘The Book of Deacon’ series, and i really don’t know what to make of it.

Mostly it’s written in what feels like a children’s story style, But at the same time it is part of the main story line being set many years after the last events we read about in ‘The Crescents’.

In this book we are told that the Chosen have only left 3 surviving family lines, that of Trigorah, Celeste and Myn.   But the thing is, if you remember, Myn took Trigorah’s place as a Chosen, thus we should have had at least another 3 or 4 family lines, but there’s no mentioned as to what became of them: that of Ether, that of Ivy, that of Lain and possibly that of the original knight that Miranda found.

So we are left with the question, what happened to Ivy and Lain’s lines over in The Crescents?   Totally wiped out apparently.   Ether, totally wiped out???   The original knight’s family, totally wiped out.   But we are given no explanation of how, only that Epidime may have had something to do with it.

And that Halfax is the last surviving dragon — which he must be because he’s never had offspring of his own, which one would think he and the other dragons of Myn’s line would have if, as he claims, the dragons cared so much about protecting the Chosen family lines.   So what happened to all the dragons, why’s there only one left?

This book, which i thought would have been tying up the loose ends and living happily ever after, has taken us back to the very beginning of not having all the Chosen ready and the D’Karon beginning to gain a power base, but with no explanation of how we got back here.

So i’m a bit confused, to say the least.

But, i’ll be the eternal optimist and surmise that Joseph has a ton more books for this series planned to deal with everything that’s suddenly gone missing, answer all the questions now being asked, and then tie up the story nicely, destroy the D’Karon completely, and have everyone live happily ever after — just coz that’d be nice.

We shall see.

This book can also be found in ‘The Book of Deacon Anthology’.

Joseph’s Page

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The Crescents — Joseph R. Lallo

Ooooh, just look at that cover!!!   Along with beautiful women in steampunk outfits — our favourite — the Kindle Worm Quality Control team did a quick survey of all the staff at morning tea break and everyone at Kindle Worm HQ agrees that a good dragon picture on the cover is always a good indicator of a really good book — apart from one who doesn’t like dragons so she was promptly given her final written warning for contravening article 16:a:ii of her contract: ‘Though shalt not be a curmudgeon in the work place’.

But does the story come up to the standard set by the cover?   I certainly think so.   As fantasy goes, this one’s got most of it: Cheftains, Priestesses, Wizards, Kings, Elves, Fairies, Malthropes, Dwarves, Humans, Dragons, Golems and, in a class of her own, Ether.

The Chosen are asked by the Elven King of South Crescent to visit and sort out a few problems for him and in doing so get him some popularity back amongst his people.   In return he offers the Chosen a cure for the blight that the D’Karon spells left upon the land.   And so, offered the chance to heal the land, the Chosen jump aboard a ship, along with Garr and Gustrim, and sail off to The Crescents for a wonderful adventure.

It’s a great piece of story telling, and, i think, is definitely one of the better books in this series.

‘The Story of Sorrel’ is quite important to have read before starting this as it gives a ton of background to this story.

Anyway, a great read from a great series.

The 13th book in ‘The Book of Deacon’ series.

Joseph’s Page

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Waiting For Monsieur Bellivier – Britta Röstlund

Are you ‘Waiting for Monsieur Bellivier’?

Then i’ll begin.

In a Parisian summer heat wave we are given two protagonists, and taken on two separate stories, switching back and forth between each.

Both our protagonists are offered, and take on, some well paid extra work.

Mancebo, a Tunisian grocer who tends to sit on a stool on the pavement outside his shop most of the day, is simply asked to keep an eye on the man who lives in the flat opposite his shop and report all his findings to the man’s suspicious wife.   And why not?   He’s going to be sitting there all day anyway, and extra money is always a good thing.

But while Mancebo starts to take more notice of the flat opposite he also begins to take more notice of everything else going on in the street outside his shop, and also within his own home.   Things he had absolutely no idea about.   And so his life begins to take twists and turns that he never expected.

At the same time, Helena, a freelance writer, is asked to sit in an office and forward the very occasional emails that arrive on an old computer: all from the same email address and all forwarded to Monsieur Bellivier.   As she can continue doing her writing in between the emails instead of sitting in a cafe — and i presume the coffee’s also cheaper at the office — the extra pay offered is more than worth it, so she takes the job.

But along with the job, Helena is presented with a bunch of flowers by the receptionist in the lobby, every day, when she finishes work.   She presumes they’re from Monsieur Bellivier, but there’s no note, and she has no idea, other than the name, who her employer really is.   She doesn’t want the flowers, so she takes various steps to get rid of them on her way home, and in so doing her life starts to take twists and turns that she didn’t expect.

As well as the twists and turns, Britta brings both our protagonists very much to life in the Paris she writes about.   Britta made Mancebo and Helena a joy to read about.

As i got to the end of this book it reminded me of a passage from ‘The Little Paris Bookshop’

Habit is a vain and treacherous goddess.   She lets nothing disrupt her rule.   She smothers one desire after another: the desire to travel, the desire for a better job or a new love.   She stops us from living as we would like, because habit prevents us from asking ourselves whether we continue to enjoy doing what we do.

Yes, habit is a treacherous goddess, it can blind us to the life and world around us and keep us prisoner in our own ignorance.   It uses our own fears of the new and the unknown as the key to keep us locked in its clutches.   Opportunity is the only escape, but we have to jump through the fire of our fears in order to grasp those opportunities, and the best opportunites can sometimes be the most terrifying leaps to make in life.   Opportunities set us free and make life worth the living.

A wonderful book by a wonderful writer, and i feel i enjoyed it far more on this second reading, 17 months after the first.   And i’m sure i’ll be reading it again sometime in the future — it may just become a habit…   HELP ME!!!

Click here for previous comments on this book.

There’s some background as to how this book came to be on this page.

And Britta’s next book is supposed to be released sometime in 2019.   And i am so really looking forward to reading it.

Britta’s Page

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The Reason I Jump — Naoki Higashida

What a truly incredible book.

Noaki wrote this book when he was 13 years old.   A child diagnosed with autism at 5 who has struggled all his life with this incredibly difficult condition has finally learned a way to communicate through the written word.   This is a soul that has never been able to express itself before now able to tell the world what life is truly like living with autism.   The book takes the form of 58 common questions that are asked about autism and answers to each are given by Naoki.   These questions and answers are interspersed with Naoki’s prose and the book ends with a short story, also by Naoki.

It’s not a long book and it’s not a difficult read, it never goes off on tangents with pointless facts or science, it stays very much on target and is incredibly accessible.   And in so being, this makes this book a must read book for everyone, because we will all meet people with autism along our paths.   This book gives a lot of insight into just what is happening within that other human being, that there is a truly thoughtful and caring human being struggling within, and a little understanding of their abilities and disabilities would go a very long way to making their day a little better and not add any more to their struggles.

Just read it!!!

Naoki’s Page

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