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text 2017-02-04 15:13
January Roundup
The Keeper's Price - Marion Zimmer Bradley,Jacqueline Lichtenberg,Jean Lorrah,Diana L. Paxson,Kathleen Williams,Elisabeth Waters,Linda Frankel,Susan M. Schwartz,Linda MacKendrick,Patricia Shaw Mathews,Cynthia McQuillin,Penny Ziegler,Paula Crunk,Eileen Ledbetter
Affaire Royale - Nora Roberts
Bay of Sighs (Guardians Trilogy) - Nora Roberts
Silver Phoenix - Cindy Pon
One Week in the Library - W Maxwell Prince,John Amor
Murder in Montparnasse - Kerry Greenwood
Mistletoe and Murder - Carola Dunn
The Witch's Daughter - Paula Brackston
The Witches of New York - Ami McKay
An Expert in Murder - Nicola Upson

So January's books... 33 in all



The Keeper's Price by Marion Zimmer Bradley et al. Reminded me of a lot of what I enjoyed about Darkover, I kinda want to revisit...


Nora Roberts featured a few times, Affaire Royale, Command Performance and Playboy Prince were actually a 3-in-one copy; Bay of Sighs is a newer book and I found it interesting. 


Small Gods the Graphic Novel made me want to revisit the book.


Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon was a good read, interesting to read a story set in China.


The Discerning Gentleman's Guide by Virginia Heath was a good historical romance, though the title did make me snigger a little.



One Week in the library was somewhat underwhelming, I wanted more.


Murder in Montparnasse by Kerry Greenwood was not the best Phryne Fisher story but not bad either, you learn more about Phryne's past.


Mistletoe and Murder by Carola Dunn, the framing story was a bit strained but an interesting murder mystery.


Paula Brackston's The Witch's Daughter is an interesting twist on the long-lived supernatural, for a change set in England.


Awakening the Shy Miss by Bronwyn Scott was an okay historical romance.


House of Shadows by Jen Christie was a time-travelling paranormal romance.


Captivating the Witch by Michele Hauf was a paranormal romance between a demon and a witch.


Witches of New York by Ami McKay took a long time for me to get into and then left me a little underwhelmed.


The Lie by C.L. Taylor was a story of learning about real friendship, and how things can go terribly wrong.


An Expert in Murder by Nicola Upson was an interesting murder mystery featuring Josephine Tey and her friends.


Scarlet Widow by Graham Masterton featured some problematic sex.


The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents: Terry Pratchett does the Pied Piper.


Bound by Duty by Diane Gaston was a good historical romance.


A-Force Presents volume 1 - the first new introductions to female superheroes. Very mixed but interesting.


Lucifer - Mike Carey Volume 1 - I prefer the TV series


Lady Emma's Revenge - Fenella J Miller - a murder mystery wrapped in a historical romance.


A Match for Marcus Cynster - Stephanie Laurens A man discovers that he doesn't need to belittle a woman to be strong, enjoyed this one a lot.


Lascar's Dagger by Glenda Larke - interesting world with a cleric discovering a dagger has a mind of it's own.


Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart - based on fact it's an interesting read.



Sink Reflections by Marla "Flylady" Cilley I found underwhelming.


Not my shame by T.O. Walker almost broke my heart, a woman facing up to her abuse.


The Awakening by Colm O'Connor was a very reflective piece and I found it made me think a lot about living.


Other-Wordly by Yee-Lum Mak was charming, illustrated unusual words from around the world.


Healing Fatty Liver Disease - exactly what it says.

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text 2014-06-25 11:01
Reading progress update: I've read 175 out of 338 pages.
Silver Phoenix - Cindy Pon

A little over halfway through this book and things are still dragging along.  However, as boring and monotonous as things are going, I've found myself curious enough about the conclusion to our little adventure and the newly introduced "Evil-slaying" plot device to continue on.


Again, I wonder if I've been struck with some sort of "Why do I hate myself?" streak; I've been forcing myself through books that I haven't been able to enjoy.  I had already had reserves about reading Silver Phoenix due to some of the low to mediocre ratings and some disappointing reviews, but I had to let my curiosity get the better of me (as well as a bias towards anything remotely Asian and adventure-like, doncha know).


Anyway, the world is described with a lot of detail and seems like it's built quite well.  Unfortunately, the revealing of the world, the characters, and even Ai Ling's major conflict all unfolded on a fairly flat tone.  The background is pretty stylized, but told in really boring fashion.  The characters could be great, but they just seem to be trodding along as if yanked by the Almighty Author's narrative planning... which also sits in tune with all the talk of fate and destiny and how everything is ordained and no one seems to have control over their own life in this world.


I get that in Chinese culture, historical China was a pretty dreadful place laced with societal standards, taboos, social rules and regulations... all the stuff that modern Americans (men and women alike) would never really stand for.  Ai Ling's continued shaming at not being a proper lady/daughter/woman kind of grates on my nerves and I keep expecting her to finally break the mold and act out to cement a certain strength in mind and will that, narratively, she's supposed to have.  At the same time, I keep having to remind myself that women weren't always treated fairly back in the good old days.  


Just the mere fact that Ai Ling almost gets raped, yet everyone around her were more worried about pride, reputation, and a lost father's letters than her well-being, and then ultimately making her feel like the entire incident was her fault should have forced me to drop the book already.  Or how she is constantly being reminded that "A lady should not be doing such and such" and all sorts of double standard crap.


And yet, I continue to persist, probably with the hope that Ai Ling will become a girl beyond her own time and that these issues will be addressed.


And is that a potential triangle brewing between Ai Ling and the two brothers, Chen Yong and Li Rong?  I'm already rolling my eyes.


Anyway, now that the main point of the adventure has come to light (finally), maybe things will pick up a little.



P.S.  Why do we keep calling them "eating sticks"?  I'm sure everyone and their neighbors know what chopsticks are.  It isn't even any sort of direct translation from the Chinese characters for chopsticks, so what gives?  Am I missing something here?


Also, for an adventure, there sure is a lot of resting and eating and resting and eating going on.  Let's just skip the monotony and move forward, shall we?

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text 2014-06-19 15:54
First Impression: A prologue, chapter 1, and historical sexy picture books
Silver Phoenix - Cindy Pon

Ai Ling let the book fall open to a random page. Her face flushed at what she saw--a man and woman stark naked, their limbs entwined. THE DANCE OF THE CRANES was printed neatly above in black ink.


"Mother..." She could not bring herself to meet her mother's gaze.


"Keep looking, Ai Ling. This book is informative, with all the things you need to know about the bedchamber and what it takes to pleasure your husband."




Did her mother really just give her a book of "How to" on sex?  With pictures?  And it's called The Book of Making?  Making what?


Setting aside the whole "young marriage in a fictional historic Chinese setting" (which I totally understand)...  How old is Ai Ling?


But never mind.  Historical China always sucked when it came to women's rights and double standards and crap like family pride and social standards.  I'm glad I never had to live any of it.  Being disgraced and made to feel shameful just because some stuck-up family's mother and son didn't want you for a wife really kicks the balls in this type of society.


If I still had to live according to those types of rules of life, I'd have been disgraced at least ten times over... I guess.


But anyway...


From the fairly confusing prologue to the somewhat stilted telling of the first chapter, things seem to be moving along quite slowly.  There are no mentions of the fantasy aspects yet aside from Ai Ling's latent ability to read minds and sense another's feelings through touch.  Some mysterious conflict seems to be brewing already as we see Ai Ling's father leaving for the Palace (with a capital 'P'), and so hopefully the story and the adventure will start to pick up from here.


Until then... let's see more of that Book of Making...

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review 2013-07-07 00:00
Silver Phoenix - Cindy Pon I've decided once I've gotten 50% into a book and I still don't like it there's nothing to be had for it, so thus my new shelf. I get it, it's meant for a younger audience than me (but so is most of what I read) but I found it pretty lacking even considering I read it to broaden my SFF picks to be more diverse.
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review 2012-12-31 00:00
Silver Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of Xia
Silver Phoenix - Cindy Pon Oh my God.OH MY GODWHAT THE HELLThat wasI loved this book. Period. It was such a fascinating read.I am Chinese myself, and I thoroughly enjoy Chinese dramas, btw, so whenever I read a Chinese Historical fiction I tend to recognize things as I read along. It makes me feel like I'm watching another TV drama. Fabulous. In this book, I not only recognized things but learned a few new things myself.Anyways, let's jump right in.Ai Ling is the main character. She's on the cover, as I'm assuming. So, she's really brave, reckless, and stubborn. Really persuasive. She has this amazing talent that I shall not share because that's spoiling. She's a really good heroine and protagonist.Chen Yong. Oh my goodness. He reminded me of Jem Carstairs from Cassandra Clare's TID series. And Jem is my absolute FAVORITE out of all the books I've read. SKLFJDSKL:JDSKLJFKSLJF CHEN YONG JUST REMINDED ME OF JEM SO MUCH. I DIED. Well mainly because Chen Yong is half Xian and half.. White, I'll just say. And Jem is half British and half Chinese. The similarities are the biggest there. Chen Yong is really brave. He seems sort of introverted but then again not really. He's different from all the other guys, that I know for sure. He's ready to draw his sword at any time to defend Ai Ling. He's never rash. When he's sad or angry he just keeps to himself. Absolutely, positively, LOVABLE, especially since he accompanied Ai Ling all that time when he didn't have to.Li Rong. Without him, Ai Ling's journey would have been flat and boring and awkward. Li Rong is so freaking awesome. I'm glad he stepped into their journey. And I'll always remember him. His death was heartbreaking. WHY DID HE HAVETA DIE The ending was just, ugh. I need the next book. NOW.Overall, this was an amazing, captivating, and exciting read. Definitely a recommendation! (Hopefully there's more romance in book 2)
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