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review 2017-04-14 00:00
The Incense Game: A Novel of Feudal Japan
The Incense Game: A Novel of Feudal Japan - Laura Joh Rowland,Bernadette Dunne I JUST finished this and I'll be back with a full review, but I wanted to add some notes.

TW: Transphobia, Rape, Pedophlia, Suicide,

--At first I was impressed with how0 they kept using someone's preferred pronouns. Then the situation took a nasty turn. It was disturbing how the character's started describing them, how all of a sudden their birth sex was apparent and how they'd been fooled! To make matters worse, they were not transgender by choice but were the villain by choice. So again, in a book with a setting where m/m, f/f, and bisexuality is accepted as normal and unremarked upon, the T gets phobia and villainy. Sano doesn't even agree about keeping "the secret" because of respect, but because it threatens his master's regime! UGH.

--While the shogan doesn't have an active harem of boys in this installment, just pages at this time, there are references to his history and I'm sure he won't be celibate for long.

--There is a victim of rape with her brother being the perpetrator. This is referred to as "incest" as if she was a willing participant. The victim blaming is excruciating and society is her adversary to justice and peace. She has PTSD, anxiety, and is the one to commit suicide.

An aside: Apparently in this society, incest is perfectly normal as is it resulting in children.

--I'm always impressed how Rowland keeps things fresh, evolving, and progressing.
--Holy fucking shit, that ending!!
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review 2017-04-14 00:00
The Incense Game: A Novel of Feudal Japan
The Incense Game: A Novel of Feudal Japan - Laura Joh Rowland,Bernadette Dunne I JUST finished this and I'll be back with a full review, but I wanted to add some notes.

TW: Transphobia, Rape, Pedophlia, Suicide,

--At first I was impressed with how0 they kept using someone's preferred pronouns. Then the situation took a nasty turn. It was disturbing how the character's started describing them, how all of a sudden their birth sex was apparent and how they'd been fooled! To make matters worse, they were not transgender by choice but were the villain by choice. So again, in a book with a setting where m/m, f/f, and bisexuality is accepted as normal and unremarked upon, the T gets phobia and villainy. Sano doesn't even agree about keeping "the secret" because of respect, but because it threatens his master's regime! UGH.

--While the shogan doesn't have an active harem of boys in this installment, just pages at this time, there are references to his history and I'm sure he won't be celibate for long.

--There is a victim of rape with her brother being the perpetrator. This is referred to as "incest" as if she was a willing participant. The victim blaming is excruciating and society is her adversary to justice and peace. She has PTSD, anxiety, and is the one to commit suicide.

An aside: Apparently in this society, incest is perfectly normal as is it resulting in children.

--I'm always impressed how Rowland keeps things fresh, evolving, and progressing.
--Holy fucking shit, that ending!!
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2015-05-19 02:37
The Warlord and the Nightingale - Jeannie Lin
Once Upon A Fairy Tale: A Collection of 11 Fairy Tale Inspired Romances - Jennifer Blackstream,Cate Rowan,Danielle Monsch,Nadia Lee,Jeannie Lin,Ella Drake,Dee Carney,Sela Carsen,Jennifer Lewis

The only picture that could be found is that of the whole anthology in which the Warlord and the Nightingale is a part of.  The Warlord and the Nightingale is a mini tale of the Steampunk genre set in feudal Japan. 

 

I won the little minibook in a giveaway that the author Jeannie Lin had for those who subscribed to her newsletter, and I was ever so stoked to get the book.  =)  I wanted to read the story sooooo bad but I didn't want to cough up the money to buy anthology when I just wanted to read one story.

 

Yeah, I'm a tad picky like that.  

 

Anyway.  

 

Kanakuri no Hanzo is a Kanakuri maker who is summoned by the warlord, Lord Mitzunaga to create a Kanakuri, which is a type of mechanical puppet of sorts, created elaborately and as wondrously as one can.  Innocently he accepts the challenge and request unknowing of the hidden motives of the feudal lords.  

 

While staying at the compound of Lord Mitzungaga, Hanzo meets Lady Yura of Edo.  A woman of great beauty and a voice of one who could only put the Warlord to sleep, Lady Yura and Hanzo develop a cautious friendship of sorts that leads to more that could mean death for more because Yura is fiercely protected by the Warlord and murders those who would even casually mention her name in front of the Lord Mitzuangaga.

 

Okay.  Stopping there I may end up giving the whole story, and for such a short story, it is so beautifully woven.  The detail and imagination just takes you there and you're just caught up so that by the time you finish the story you're left wanting more.

 

Needless, to say, the ending was very surprising to me and very satisfying.  But it left me wanting more.  =)

 

It's a good thing I have more of Ms. Lin's works to read.=) 

 

Thanks Ms. Lin for the book!!

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review 2013-11-20 04:03
Great for loyal fans and newbies
The Ronin's Mistress: A Novel - Laura Joh Rowland

I’m still a loyal reader of Sano Ichiro novels. I love them. I love the mystery, the political intrigue and how Sano is always dangling by the thread but manages to save the day but there’s always something looming around the corner where he’ll be dangling by a thread again.

 

This one was good, loyal readers will enjoy this and new readers will also like this. Background information on the 47 ronin helps a bit but not necessary. The title is a bit misleading, the Mistress is mentioned, but she doesn’t really play such a huge role in the book nevertheless. The plot was pretty good. Lots of twists and turns, and when you get towards the ending that’s where everything is so skillfully packed in you’ll feel like rereading it again just in case you missed something important. It’s always the last third of the book that gets you in the gut!

 

The only gripe I have, and I’ve been ranting about this for the past few novels now is the mystical Hirata issue. Please stop. It’s getting ridiculous and I’m finding when Hirata is featured, I’m starting to dread it. He used to be a personal favorite. Now he’s become this annoying mystical pest and I don’t care if he can feel auras of other people and can meditate in pretzel format (no, he doesn’t do this, but you know what I mean). He’s starting to become something I don’t want to read about. Please stop before you go further. This series DOES NOT need anything supernatural. Keep it real. Please.

 

Loyal fans will like this, newbies will too. A great historical read (and not many features in medieval Japan!) give it a go!

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