Oct. 28th, 2010 11:49 am
isoiso: (HAPPY BEE!)
[personal profile] isoiso

So for two weeks I'm getting paid well over minimum wage to sit in a cubicle, answer 5-10 calls a day, let people into the secure office, and receive and sort mail.

All of which takes about an hour or two out of my 8 hour workday.

So.  At the suggestion of the women who I'm covering for at the VP of Sales, I have brought a book with me every day (yesterday two) so that I have something with which to occupy my time.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

A few blocks from the station itself, crowds filled the street. There was a mix of crying toddlers, shuffling suitcases, and soldiers checking the paperwork of local citizens-most of whom were dressed in their Sunday best, the one or two suitcases they were allowed packed to the point of bursting. Each person wore a plain white tag, the kind you'd see on a piece of furniture, dangling from a coat button.

Henry Lee is still mourning the death of his wife when he learns that the belongings of Japanese Americans hidden in the basement of Seattle's Panama Hotel for decades have been discovered. Henry is drawn to the basement, and what he's searching for there opens a door he thought he had closed forever. (Amazon)

Having grown up in Seattle (and taken a field trip tot the Panama Hotel's display of lost and unclaimed Japanese-American items), having worked in the Japanese Nursing home, and being half Japanese with Japanese Great-Grandparents who used to own and operate a hotel in Seattle (bet you guys didn't know that particular fact--did you know that my Great-Grandparents were also the first people to bring/sell Apple Pie in the restaurant they started when they moved back?) the story of this book was particularly of interest--and heartbreaking--to me.  There were a few things, let's say wrong, definitely that bothered me, with this book.  The "current" storyline takes place in 1986, for example, but references technology that was not available at that time.  But it wasn't until far after I had finished the book that I really noticed such details as I was caught up in the story Ford wove between memory and the present, between grief and hope.  A beautiful book and one I highly recommend.

"I even got a little green-tea ice cream for dessert."

Marty's face was frozen in a polite grimace. Henry smiled and was grateful for such a kind and thoughtful future daughter-in-law, even if she didn't know that ice cream was Japanese. It didn't matter. He'd learned long ago: perfection isn't what families are all about.

My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares

For more than a thousand years, Daniel Grey has carried around a secret.  He has lived--and died-- dozens of times.  And each time he is born he remembers.  He holds "The Memory"--the ability to recall with clarity every life he lived.  Every death he's endured.  And through them all he recognizes the souls he has previously known, and desperately searches for the source of his greatest failure, his loneliness, his love and hope. 

I don't know quite what I was expecting when I picked up this book.  This is the second adult novel by the author of the famed Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (a series I'll confess I never read more than the first book of) and I never read her first adult release.  But this was given to me by a friend and I have to admit that I'm glad I read it.  Even if you're not a fan of her writing, the idea behind it (much like the way I feel about the Harry Potter novels) is so cool you can't quite help getting sucked in.  I recommend giving it a read though I will warn you that the ending is a little frustrating.  It's the first in a trilogy and, while not a cliff-hanger in the way of Rachel Caine, it does leave you wanting more.

It was funny how the old practices always came around again. It was the rhythm of human enterprise to invent and worship some new approach, to fully reject it a generation later, to realize the need for it again a generation or two after that and then hastily reinvent it as new, usually without its original elegance. Scientists hated to look backward for anything.

Tapestry of Spells: a novel of the Nine Kingdoms by Lynn Kurland

Ruith has carefully cultivated a reputation as a terrifying wizard despite having personally renounced magic, but his fierceness isn't enough to stop Sarah of Doire, a witch's daughter who has no magic, from asking him to help fight her brother, Daniel, who has decided to destroy the Nine Kingdoms with dark magic that once belonged to Ruith's father.

I unapologetically love Lynn Kurland's romance novels.  I own them all.  I've read them multiple times and still love them.  But when she branched out into Fantasy I was hesitant to touch it.  In fact, it was four years before I would, finally, in a fit of finishing up my JET contract and needing something easy to read, download the e-book copy of her first novel of the Nine Kingdoms (The Mage's Daughter for those interested).  It's still, at the heart, pure Kurland.  There's romance (PG for those of you who know some of the other books I read) but steeped in more magic than the world of Jamie McCleod's land of time gates allows for.  I read the two other books in rapid succession and then, recently, bought Tapestry of Spells which runs a parallel storyline to the first three.  It will be a trilogy as well, with the next two books being released in January 2011, and 2012 respectively. 

Magic to the Bone

Magic, like booze, sex, and drugs, gave as good as it got."

Everything has a cost. And every act of magic exacts a price from its user--maybe a two-day migraine, or losing the memory of your first kiss. But some people want to use magic without paying, and they offload the cost onto an innocent. When that happens, it falls to a Hound to identify the spell's caster--and Allison Beckstrom's the best there is.

Daughter of a prominent Portland businessman, Allie would rather moonlight as a Hound than accept the family fortune--and the many strings that come with it. But when she discovers a little boy dying from a magical offload that has her father's signature all over it, Allie is thrown back into the high-stakes world of corporate espionage and black magic.

 I just finished the third book in this series (Magic in the Shadows), not the first, but as the summary for that would completely spoil what happens in the earlier books, I decided to go ahead and review the first with my assurance to you that the series just keeps getting better.  The concept of our world (but with magic!) is not uncommon in fiction today.  What makes Allie's world unique, her Portland unique, is that magic exists, it makes things easier, it destroys just as easily as other magic you've read about but it costs the user each and everytime.  And it, with the exception of a few, extracts it's price in pain--whether the magic was used for good or bad. 

One of the things I really enjoy about this series is that Allie is powerful--very much so--but not infaliable.  She gets thrown around, she gets hurts, and she learns.  Slowly.  There is no sudden BAM!AssKicking.  And she needs help--not because she's a damsel in distress, but because she can't do everything alone.  The best part?  Even her most powerful ally (and later love interest) can't do everything on his own.  A nice change of pace. 

Fifth book, Magic at the Gate is set to be released November 2nd. 

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