A survey and a chance to win an eBook

A chance to win ” A Labyrinthine Journey.”

Eternal Atlantis

Today, I’d like your input into what books you read. I have created a survey to learn more about reading interests, in particular whether you read independent authors or traditional authors or both. It will take no more than two minutes to complete.

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Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

 

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

I had heard about this book, so when I saw the audio version at the library, I picked it up.

Stats: Audio is 9 discs – 11 hours. Narrated by Feodor Chin. The print book is 290 pages, published in 2009.

Blurb: In 1986, Henry Lee joins a crowd outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle’s Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has discovered the belongings of Japanese families who were sent to internment camps during World War II. As the owner displays and unfurls a Japanese parasol, Henry, a Chinese American, remembers a young Japanese American girl from his childhood in the 1940s—Keiko Okabe, with whom he forged a bond of friendship and innocent love that transcended the prejudices of their Old World ancestors. After Keiko and her family were evacuated to the internment camps, she and Henry could only hope that their promise to each other would be kept. Now, forty years later, Henry explores the hotel’s basement for the Okabe family’s belongings and for a long-lost object whose value he cannot even begin to measure. His search will take him on a journey to revisit the sacrifices he has made for family, for love, for country.

What I liked: The story does a good job of illustrating a sad time in US history, making it more personal. It takes place in Seattle, but must have occurred all along the West Coast. The number of people affected must have been huge. Hard to imagine what happened to the lives of these families. Mr. Chin does a very good job with the narration.

What I didn’t like: Not much. It was well written and using children to portray some of the issues involved made sense, but I guess because I had read other similar books about internment camps, I was a bit bored. It wasn’t because of the story, that is just me. It also was a bit predictable, but not so much that it ruined the story. One thing I thought was a bit unbelievable was that Henry waits over 2 years for Keiko, then just as she’s getting out of the camp, he takes off for China, per his Father’s wish. Why couldn’t he wait a month or so and go after he exhausted all efforts to find her. Just seems a bit unreal after waiting for so long.

Rating: 4/5

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya SisterhoodI had seen the movie and my daughter recommend the book, so I ordered it from the library.

Stats: Published in 2004, print is 383 pages, audio is 13 discs or 15 hours. Narrated by Judith Ivey

Blurb: When Siddalee Walker, oldest daughter of Vivi Abbott Walker, Ya-Ya extraordinaire, is interviewed in the New York Times about a hit play she’s directed, her mother gets described as a “tap-dancing child abuser.” Enraged, Vivi disowns Sidda. Devastated, Sidda begs forgiveness, and postpones her upcoming wedding. All looks bleak until the Ya-Yas step in and convince Vivi to send Sidda a scrapbook of their girlhood mementos, called “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.” As Sidda struggles to analyze her mother, she comes face to face with the tangled beauty of imperfect love, and the fact that forgiveness, more than understanding, is often what the heart longs for.

What I liked: It’s a great story of family and friendship. Rebecca does a wonderful job with the writing, as well. The character are all real and interesting people. That’s what kept me going in the longer sections. I was surprised that the movie people changed the plane scene (when as a child Siddalee misses out on a plane ride and her mother takes her back) from a elephant scene. I suppose plane rides are more exciting to film than a slow ride on an elephant. The narrator, Judith Ivey, does a wonderful job with the accents.

What I didn’t like: It was a bit long in parts. I’m not exactly sure how the love these women had for each other translates to the love between a married couple, since Sidda and her mother working things out and helping Sidda come to terms with herself and her expectations is really the major point of the story. I also would have like to know more about Sidda’s father – he’s painted as an ass in Sidda’s childhood and a good guy later on. And how does he live and deal with all the things Vivi does while they are married?

Rating: 4/5

The Wanted by Robert Crais

The Wanted (Elvis Cole, #17; Joe Pike, #6)This was a new audio book at the New Glarus Library – my library – so I picked it up.

Stats: Was published 2017, print is 320 pages, audio book is 6 discs. The cover didn’t give me the narrator.

Blurb: When single mother Devon Connor hires private investigator Elvis Cole, it’s because her troubled teenage son Tyson is flashing cash and she’s afraid he’s dealing drugs. But the truth is devastatingly different. With two other partners in crime, he’s been responsible for a string of high-end burglaries, a crime spree that takes a deadly turn when one of them is murdered and Tyson and his girlfriend disappear.

They stole the wrong thing from the wrong man. Determined to get it back, he has hired a team that is smart and brutal, and to even the odds, Cole calls in his friends Joe Pike and Jon Stone. But even they may be overmatched. The hired killers are leaving a trail of bodies in their wake. A few more won’t make any difference.

What I liked: It was a good story, well written, good dialogue. Kept my interest. I didn’t realize it was #17 in the Elvis Cole series. Not bad for book so far into a series. The like the PI’s name too. The narrator was good. Sorry I don’t remember his name.

What I didn’t like: There was a weird piece toward the end about the bad guys being good guys (kind of) with a Hispanic boy in a foreign country. Crais went on and on about this event in their history and the point wasn’t brought back into the story at hand. If his point was to show the softer side of these very bad men, he had already done this now and again in the story. This longer bit seems overboard. Just a odd burp in a otherwise regular good story.

Rating: 4/5

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Brave New WorldI know this is famous book so I thought I should read it. It’s definitely dated but the concepts are still something to talk about. I didn’t study this in school so I don’t know the history behind it.

Stats: First published in 1932, this unabridged audio book is narrated by Michael York and is 8 hours in length, printed book is 288 pages.

Blurb: Far in the future, the World Controllers have created the ideal society. Through clever use of genetic engineering, brainwashing and recreational sex and drugs, all its members are happy consumers. Bernard Marx seems alone harbouring an ill-defined longing to break free. A visit to one of the few remaining Savage Reservations, where the old, imperfect life still continues, may be the cure for his distress…

Huxley’s ingenious fantasy of the future sheds a blazing light on the present and is considered to be his most enduring masterpiece.

What I liked: Not really sure. As a mental exercise, I guess the story would be interesting to talk about – how the new world is set up and seems to work focused on sex and lack of any distress. But as I mention below, the world and it’s characters didn’t really interest me so it was hard to enjoy it as a story. And maybe that was the point.

What I didn’t like: It all seemed kind of silly to me – a engineered “perfect” world – which I’m sure was at least one of the points Huxley was trying to make. But it was so much so that I couldn’t believe in it as a “real” world and thus interested me less then other dsytopean worlds I’ve read about. It is an early version of such a book, so that might be part of it. It seemed like intially the story is going to focus on Bernard, but then the “Savage” is brought into the story and takes it in a slightly different direction – I suppose to more easily illustrate the silliness of the present world. Why the Controllers allow this old, imperfect world to exsist is hard to understand. You would think they would just kill people that don’t conform or fit in the new world. I think Fahrenheit 451 created a more believeable world with more likeable characters.

Rating: 2.5/5