Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Hotel Bitter Sweetby Jamie Ford

Yes, this book has been on The New York Times bestseller’s list, but if you haven’t yet, I hope you’ll read it soon!  After living 20 years in the Seattle area, I never realized that part of what we now call Chinatown was once known as Nihonmachi, Japantown. In the wartime years of the 1940s, a 12-year-old Chinese American boy befriends a girl of Japanese heritage, defying his father’s hatred of Japan.  Forty-some years later, as a grown man, he goes on a search for an item she left behind when sent to an internment camp. Fascinating premise, bittersweet story.

Jamie Ford’s website is

Ties that Bind, Ties That Break

Ties that Bind, Ties That Breakby Lensey Namioka

If you haven’t discovered Lensey Namioka, you’re in for a treat. I met her recently, and she has an intriguing background: daughter of a Chinese linguist, she married a mathematician from Japan after immigrating to the U.S.  Her books, for children and young adults, draw on her deep knowledge of China and Japan.  This novel tells the tale of Ailin, the spirited third sister in the Tao family, a girl who refuses to have her feet bound. That causes a break in her arranged marriage and costs her dearly; she loses her family connections as she gets an English education in Shanghai in the 1910s. To find out what happens next, you’ll have to read the book.

Trickster's Choice

Trickster's Choiceby Tamora Pierce

I love Tammy Pierce’s books set in the imaginary land of Tortall, and this one is delightful. It is the first of two about Aly, daughter of Alianna, the warrior heroine of the “Song of the Lioness” quartet. Unlike her mom, Aly is a spy. After being sold into slavery, Aly gets caught up in an effort to overturn the rulers of the Copper Isles and return the islands to a queen who will unite and strengthen them. Aly is clever, the plot is compelling, and the adventure captivated me completely.

Tamora Pierce’s website is

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