Saturday, June 30, 2018

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

Historical Fiction

Henry is a Chinese American in Seattle during WWII. The Japanese have just bombed Pearl Harbour and tensions between Americans and Japanese are at an all time high. Henry's parents came to the USA from China, having suffered at the hands of the Japanese and despise them even more than the Americans. His father strictly forbids Henry from having anything to do with anything Japanese, and sends him to an all-white school to keep him out of trouble.

Henry tries to stay clear of the bullies, helps in the kitchens at lunch, and cleans up the school after the last bell. Then one day he's no longer the only Asian at the school. Keiko starts attending Henry's school and performing all the same work activities that Henry does. He knows he should stay clear of her but just can't help but be drawn in.

40 years later, Henry is a father and widower, and is sucked back in time when the Panama Hotel opens up their basement, which is full of Japanese family's belongings from when the Japanese were taken to internment camps. Henry wonders if there's a piece of Keiko in the Hotel and all his memories come flooding back.

This story provides a bit of insight in to what was going on in the US during WWII to Japanese and Japanese-Americans. Americans rounded up the Japanese, removed them of their belongings, and sent them off to camps. Isn't that similar to what happened with the Nazis rounding up Jewish people? The outsiders view of this was interesting, and as sad as the other books I've read on this from the Japanese point of view.

This book is really a romance though. An incredibly sweet and touching romance with an ending that moved me.

First Line: "Old Henry Lee stood transfixed by all the commotion at the Panama Hotel."


Saturday, June 16, 2018

Honeymoon with my Brother by Franz Wisner


When Franz is dumped by his fiancee a few days before the wedding, he is shocked. The entire thing has been paid for, including the honeymoon. Franz surrounds himself with friends and family on the wedding day and then convinces his brother to take his honeymoon with him. The two travel to Central America and enjoy their time. Why not extend it? All Franz can think about is his ex-fiancee. He needs to break free and what better way than to travel the world.

Franz quits his job. His brother Kurt sells his home. They look at booking in advance but figure that they need flexibility. Europe is the first continent they tackle. Travelling together, the two brothers learn a lot about each other and about themselves. Franz tries to get his head around where his relationship went wrong and from an outsider's perspective it's not that hard to figure out.

This is both a travel and personal journey book. The travel is more interesting than the personal journey part of it, but for the most part it is written together pretty well. Franz is a little annoying. He comes from a privileged background and runs campaigning for Republicans. There's a part where he brags about the millions of dollars he's raised, which was a turn off, but then he dialed back the ego a bit.

An interesting book, but I wouldn't pick up his other one.

First Line: "Amid the pine tree windbreaks and foamy Pacific shore, Sea Ranch, California, is a wonderful place to be dumped."


Saturday, June 09, 2018

Body Double by Tess Gerritsen


When Dr. Maura Isles returns from a trip to Paris, she finds her street buzzing with police activity. Wondering which neighbour got in trouble, as she gets closer she notices the activity is outside her house. A woman was shot in her car, right infront of Isles house and the woman looks exactly like Dr. Isles. Before she showed up, the police thought it was Dr. Isles, the medical examiner for the area. Relieved that it wasn't her, there are a lot of questions. Who was this woman, why was she there, and who killed her?

Dr. Isles' friend Detective Jane Rizzoli is the one investigating the crime and finds out that this woman is actually Dr. Isle's twin, whom she wasn't aware existed. Dr. Isles is confused but wants answers.

This is the forth book in a series that I haven't started. I knew there was a television show created based on these characters but that was about the extent of my knowledge. It was easy to pick up, though I felt far more connected with Dr. Isles than Detective Rizzoli because most of the book centred around the doctor. I'd like to know more about Rizzoli, but really would like to know more about the relationship between the two. I wish there was a little more background on this history in the book for those that haven't started at book one.

The mystery felt a bit disjointed as I was reading it. I wondered how certain events could possibly be connected together but they did end up all getting tied together in the end. Not a bad book!

First Line: "That boy was watching her again."