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review 2017-09-20 21:46
Readable but ultimately boring.
My Fair Concubine - Jeannie Lin

A historical romance set in China during the Tang Dynasty? Sure, why not. This is a spin on 'My Fair Lady' where a nobleman must find a replacement for his sister who was betrothed to be married. There are consequences if no one shows up. The story opens up with Fei Long attempting to "rescue" his sister (she doesn't want to be) and deciding he must find a woman (no, not for THAT reason). He stumbles upon a local teahouse girl Yan Ling who is conveniently thrown out of her job and has nowhere else to go. She'll do.


And we're off. If you know the basic premise of MFL then you have a gist of how this story goes. Of course Yan Ling and Fei Long don't like each other. Of course poor Yan Ling is a fish out of water and must navigate dealing with Fei Long and trying to be come a noble lady for this marriage. Will Yan Ling succeed? Will the marriage happen? What about how each of our main characters are noticing each other, despite the rather strange circumstances of how they met? Stay tuned!


Aaaand...not so much. Initially I found the book really interesting. I had never read anything by Lin before and originally wasn't going to bother with this (it's only available by eBook now and I lucked out by finding a relatively good paperback copy and getting it basically for free via gift card). But I was intrigued by the premise and since I like historical fiction I thought this might be worth a go. 


But the story just kinda drags. I suppose the MFL storyline is just too familiar to me so there wasn't much tension as to whether they'd get together in the end. I was intrigued with how this type of story could work in this time and setting but while that part was interesting I didn't really feel much one way or the other about whether these two got together. 


However, I did appreciate the historical fiction aspect. I also liked how the romance was gradual (looks and thoughts and building up to it) and it wasn't an insta-lust with hormones raging and a porn without plot sort of story (I'm not sure if I've read much Harlequin or if this is my first one so I didn't know what to expect). But in retrospect I could see how the seeds were planted for a happy ending and managing the arranged marriage plot point with a rather convenient out. 


So...it wasn't terrible. If I had a commute or a plane ride where I had to sit and reading was one of the few options of "escape) I probably would have liked this more. As it was I just found it was too easy to be distracted and to put the book down as it wasn't exactly a turn pager (but not dreadful either). It was a change of pace book for me but I don't think I'll be seeking out any of her other books even if I've got a gift card. I'd consider this a library borrow and you're in the mood for a historical romance.

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text 2017-08-31 07:30
August 2017 Wrap Up
Falling for the Enemy - Naomi Rawlings
Homicide in High Heels - Gemma Halliday
Her Holiday Family (Texas Grooms (Love Inspired Historical)) - Winnie Griggs
Mission of Hope (Love Inspired Historical) - Allie Pleiter
The Dragon and the Pearl - Jeannie Lin

 I am burning out on COYER. I need something other than Harlequin romance. Bring on Halloween Bingo!



BL/GR: 128/150; 85% completed

Pop Sugar: 2; 42/52 prompts filled

Library Love Challenge: 2; 42/36 for the year

COYER: 12; 82% of list read from June-August


1. Falling for the Enemy by Naomi Rawlings (COYER) (Pop Sugar) - 5 stars


2. Homicide in High Heels (High Heels #8) by Gemma Halliday (COYER) (Library Love) - 4 stars


3. Chaucer's Major Tales by Michael Hoy and Michael Stevens (Pop Sugar) (COYER) (Library Love) - 2.5 stars


4. Her Holiday Family by Winnie Griggs (COYER) - 4 stars


5. Mission of Hope by Allie Pleiter (COYER) - 4.5 stars


6. The Baby Barter by Patty Smith Hall (COYER) - 3 stars


7. Emma and the Outlaw by Linda Lael Miller (COYER) - 1.5 stars


8. The Bootlegger's Daughter by Lauri Robinson (COYER) - 1 star


9. Love, Special Delivery by Melinda Curtis (COYER) - 2 stars


10. Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin (COYER) - .5 star


11. The Dragon and the Pearl by Jeannie Lin (COYER) - 4 stars


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review 2017-08-30 21:42
Review: The Dragon and the Pearl by Jeannie Lin
The Dragon and the Pearl - Jeannie Lin

Probably the best full length book in the series. Li Tao and Ling Suyin were a great couple and great individual characters (both got a raw deal character development wise in the first book). The plotline was filled with action and political intrigue. Best part, you don't have to read the first book to understand the characters or plot line in this book. One of the best examples of using flashbacks to tell the MCs back stories, like peeling back an onion. Such a great balance between the sexy times and the emotional intimacy times. Diplomacy and negotiations were dicey in Tang Dynasty China but the MCs didn't rise from poor kids in Luoyang to the Emperors' inner circles without gaining skills and reputation to use as capital during such dangerous times.

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text 2017-08-24 08:54
#boutofbooks Cycle 20 Mid Week Update
The Bootlegger's Daughter (Daughters of the Roaring Twenties) - Lauri Robinson
[(Butterfly Swords)] [By (author) Jeannie Lin] published on (October, 2010) - Jeannie Lin
The Dragon and the Pearl - Jeannie Lin

Bout of Books



Reading Progress


Finished The Bootlegger's Daughter by Lauri Robinson

Continued to read Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin



Finished Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin

Started The Dragon and the Pearl by Jeannie Lin - 10% read



Continued with The Dragon and the Pearl by Jeannie Lin (40% read) - so far, it is a much better story than Butterfly Swords


Challenges Completed


Describe yourself in six words - I posted via Twitter https://twitter.com/tea_rain_book/status/899554770326892544






Rainbow spine pic posted to IG https://www.instagram.com/p/BXm9lPTBN_U/?taken-by=tearainbook



Reading progress going okay. Challenges are okay. Can't do the Twitter chats due to time zones (2am is either for sleeping or reading). Getting more reading done than I thought I would with the few PTO events I have to prep and go to.




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review 2017-08-22 08:44
Review: Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin
[(Butterfly Swords)] [By (author) Jeannie Lin] published on (October, 2010) - Jeannie Lin

This is Lin's first book. If I had read this before reading the other books or novellas in the series, I would have never read another book from her. This was a rough slog reading. At the 85% mark, I basically skimmed multiple paragraphs at a time just to get to the end.


This is the story of An Li, only daughter to Emperor Shen. She ran from her arranged marriage prior to the wedding because she had reason to believe her husband to be killed her brother. An Li thinks she is a badass, but she comes across as a complete dumbass. She is also an impulsive, immature spoiled brat known to throw down some temper tantrums and had the worst mood swings. She is supposedly skilled with swords, but there were more times she was a loser in a fight and needing rescuing. She escaped a lot of dicey situations in the first half of the book by throwing money around; when she lost her money she was basically useless. She was also very vaguely drawn; it wasn't until the second half of the book we get a detail about her eye color.


The hero of this mess is Ryam (no last name, which speaks volumes about the attention to detail the book gives the character development). Ryam is a "barbarian" wandering around the wrong side of the empire and is starting to make his way back home on the western frontier just beyond the empire when he encounters An Li, dressed as a boy traveling with a group of men. Of course, Ryam senses that An Li is really a female due to her curves...sure. An Li requests Ryam's help in getting her back to Changan, capital of the empire, and to her family so she can reveal her groom's nasty dealings to the court. For no reason whatsoever, Ryam agrees to help.


There is a lot of walking in the woods and talk about the empire in the first half of the book. I guess this is to established the bond between An Li and Ryam, but it was so boring and repetitive. Once in Changan, a mere 3 days is used to isolate An Li from her family (that she talked about So Much during the walking in the woods) and raise some political intrigue. Ryam did his duty and he left the city after collecting his pay. This lasts for approximately 10% of the book, then An Li runs away again, this time for her family's home in Longyou. Along the way she meets Ryam again and he agrees to accompany her on her trip home. At least this time they took horses.


At home in Longyou, An Li and Ryam act on their pants feelings for each other and the reader gets treated to long repetitive "is this love what I am feeling" monologues. An Li's groom is not happy with her dismissal and he tracks the couple throughout the book without being actually anywhere near them. He is mentioned about 25000 times and how he is a "bad man." An Li does not get the warm welcome home she expected by her brother (who remained in the mountain home to take on a job), so she and Ryam run away, AGAIN, to Ryam's home on the frontier. It is here in Yumen Guan (Jade Gate) that groom finds bride and lots of fighting begins, along with a kidnapping. Ryam goes after An Li and her kidnappers and we get a long, boring bloody showdown between groom and hero. In the end, the groom decides to let An Li go because she is not worth all this damn trouble. Emperor Shen, who witnessed the showdown and experienced An Li's constant running away, decides she is not worth the trouble either and gives Ryam the job being occupied by the brother and the couple gets the mountain home. Ryam also gets to use Shen for a last name. Emperor Shen doesn't care, he just wants An Li out of his hair.


So the "bad man" groom is the hero in the next book which tells you everything. Paper tiger fed by An Li's hysterics.



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