Tag Archive: canada



A Tale for the Time BeingA Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Over a decade ago, I met an online friend that would change or at least, modify my life. I met Judith on LiveJournal, you remember that old site, better than MySpace but not quite as social as FaceBook. Judith was chatting in her journal about Chris Baty and the NaNoWriMo scene (Which resulted in my first novel being written between the Ides of March and the Ides of April. I didn’t finish the novel then as we had to move to a new city and I just couldn’t stay with it. But I added more than enough wordage to that novel in November 2002 to “win”. (First of 10 or 11 novels since.)

The other thing Judith introduced me to was BookCrossing.com. The concept that grabbed me with BC was how my read book could be recycled to others and then the new reader and the old could discuss this story. The book could travel even when I couldn’t, so it felt like a message in a bottle thrown out to sea. It is fun to see where your book could end up and the friendships that develop over said book. I still belong but since my eyes aren’t what they used to be, I am happy for the invention of Kindle and other e-readers. So I release far fewer books nowadays.

Besides Judith, what do the above paragraphs have in common, and what do they have to do with ‘A Tale for the Time Being’? The art of writing and the art of reading. Both concepts play strong in this story. Rather than a message in a bottle, this message floats ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox in layers of freezer bags. The writer was in Tokyo, the reader/finder in Canada. Years separate the two. Yet a bond is formed. Oh, yeah, Judith read and reviewed this and hooked me in. I think she didn’t like the Zen parts of the book. I found that part delightful. I have to admit that most of the book is believable whereas the Zen bits are a little more ‘magical’. But the title twinkles with that magic. If you read it right.

Anyway, I HIGHLY recommend this book. I actually read it one and a third times. I borrowed the Kindle version from the library. Between reading it on my Kindle app on my Tablet and listening on my old Kindle text-to-speech, I managed to get to about 36% in. Then I found that my library also had the OverDrive version. So I restarted reading the book with the author’s voice. That pumped up my ratings for this wonderful tale. Each layer of depth into the story has its own built-in amazements. Level one, tree book, and the Kindle version, there are many footnotes and definitions to help with a deeper understanding of that time in history or that country, language. But the narration includes minor helps. Hearing a voice say the Japanese names or words adds to the believability of the whole story. Ms. Ruth Ozeki has an impeccable voice and narration, her variations of voices for each character supreme! I enjoyed rereading the first third with her help. I felt I gained deeper understanding just by hearing her. Please, if you get the chance to pair both versions, go for it!

By the way, I want to thank Jonelle Patrick and her Mysteries and website: http://jonellepatrick.me/ for introducing me to many contemporary Japanese subjects presented in A Tale for the Time Being. At least I was forewarned.

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Divine InterventionDivine Intervention by Cheryl Kaye Tardif

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is going to be one of my shorter reviews. I think.

Though I love Cheryl Kaye Tartif’s writing style and enjoyed her other books thoroughly, I don’t like murder mysteries. The saving grace was I liked the main characters.

There is an added feature of parapsychological talents involved in solving the crimes. But mostly is was a murder mystery.

Still, I will read the rest of the series, Gotta know what happens next, ya know?

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Morning in the Burned House
Morning in the Burned House by Margaret Atwood
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I borrowed this book from my daughter ages ago. She and I both forgot I had it. I remember visiting her and finding it and sitting and reading with fascination during some boring quiet time. She had many poems dogeared and I could say those were my favorites also. I like Margaret Atwood’s writing style, her descriptions were wonderful.

Though the font was small the format of poetry left plenty of empty page to rest my eyes. Even so I needed to take my time with it to fully absorb the depth of the poems before me. I haven’t read poetry for a long time so I had to remember how to think in that abstract way.

Still, I think it’s about time I read The Handmaid’s Tale that was recommended to me decades ago by my friend.

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Review: Ashes


Ashes
Ashes by Linda Laforge
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: I won this paperback version from First Reads giveaways on GoodReads.com Thank you!

This is the first ‘tree’ book I have read in a long, long time. Most of the time I have a hard time with font and line spacing and find myself frustrated and getting headaches. The font in this book was dark against white background and was large enough to allow short periods of reading. Still, I miss the text-to-speech help and the ability of instant dictionary lookup.

This book is strange. Science fiction gone wonky and scary. Maybe because of that it is best that I did take it in small doses. There is dystopia and questions of paranoia to keep you wondering what is really happening. But stay with it. The story is good, and very imaginative. I am so glad I read it.

On the downside, I think the book could use more editing as there are misspelled words and sentences that make no sense. It isn’t often enough to pull one out of the story but it is there. Oh, and without giving any spoilers, the lisping is the worst to read. The message given is strong and I think would stand better without that constant impediment.

Anyway, I think most sci-fi buffs will like this book, especially those who like apocalyptic dystopias.

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Love and Cola Wars
Love and Cola Wars by Heidi Loney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: This ebook was a gift from the author for an honest review.

If I were a teen this would probably be getting a much higher rating. Even so, I would say this rates a 3.5 star rating. So I rounded it up.

What was good? The book didn’t get mired down in the angst that a lot of YA romance novels do. What worries presented were not hormonal but rather more about life lessons and growth of characters. I liked that we got to see the romance from several points of view. Parents and their own problems were included. There was even a little sister who was given worth beyond being cute. Bravo! The main characters were both strong in their own right yet flawed making them realistic. The story was good. There were a few plot threads so as to keep it all interesting. And I felt I learned something. The terms and play of fencing as a sport was explained while not getting bogged down in detail.

What was bad? Not much, actually. As I’m thinking about this I feel it is my own age that prevented me from immersing in the story as a reader should. Oh, and assumption that Coke is number one. I prefer Diet Pepsi!

Conclusion? If you like Young Adult Romance, this is a book for you.

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Review: Submerged


Submerged
Submerged by Cheryl Kaye Tardif
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a ride! Submerged was like the scariest roller-coaster ride. You swear as you stand in line, that you might not even get on. You might turn around and watch everyone else ride. You read the warning signs about bad backs and weak hearts. But you like the author. You like her writing. Kind of like watching your friends get on the ride for the umpteenth time and egging you on. So you get on the ride and make sure the safety bar is down tight. You take a deep breath and hope you don’t barf, or get barfed on.

As usual, with a Cheryl Kaye Tardif novel, you know that there will be realistic situations with a cloud of mystery and macabre. There are lessons to be learned, like how to use the ResQme tool. I was fortunate to win one in a Submerged contest. I hope I never have to use it, but I feel a little safer by having it.

There are so many layers of story in this book. There is romance and terror, divorce and humor and in the middle of that there is family love and addictions. And even though it has some scary moments, I found that the author kept it from bogging down in the terrors. I doubt it will give me nightmares. But I will remember this book for a long, long time. I may even reread it someday. I highly recommend any of Ms. Tardif’s novels, but this may be her best yet.

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