The Weeks Gone By – 11/9/21

This time I am two weeks late with my updates, but what can I say – I’ve been very moody and uninterested. But it’s been a good two days because my dearest cousin is visiting, so I finally feel like talking about all the books I’ve been reading in the past couple of weeks.

I have been very excited for this book for a while, so I couldn’t resist immediately reading it after receiving my advance copy. But maybe my expectations were too high, because I ended up not feeling too delighted by it. The world building is this one is definitely cool and I feel like I’m enjoying the historical fantasy set in England subgenre. The whole magic system with moving hands like weaving strings was very very fascinating and I kept trying to picture it in my head. The mystery was also interesting enough, but ultimately it’s the characters who kinda let me down. They aren’t bad per se, just not very engaging and I didn’t feel myself attached to any of them. The main characters Edwin and Robin’s developing relationship is nice but I didn’t feel that chemistry between them which I was looking for. And the side characters were mostly annoying or boring except Mrs. Morrisey. So, while I can say that my overall enjoyment of this book was fine and I wasn’t too bored, I also wasn’t eagerly waiting to pick it back up whenever I took a break. Maybe go in with lower expectations and you’ll love it more.

It’s been a long while since I’ve read anything on Kindle Unlimited, but one day I got an email with this book as a recommendation and I knew I couldn’t resist. I’ve been on a wuxia kick for a while now, and reading any book in the genre that I don’t have to look for translated on multiple blogs is an unexpected convenience. So I immediately decided to get this one. The prose is very accessible, with some of the dialogues and particularly the swears making me laugh a lot with their inventiveness. The plot itself is mostly fast moving, but it’s typical of the wuxia dramas I’ve come to love. Li Ming and Shu Yan are also stereotypical protagonists whom I’ve gotten used to encountering in multiple other media. Li Ming is a grumpy swordsman who is just alive but not living, probably sustaining on the hope that he will get his revenge one day and show his filial piety to his dead master. Shu Yan is running away literally from her tragic past, in the hope for a better future. They are a very unlikely duo and despite their nonstop bickering throughout, it’s obvious that they start to care for each other as father and daughter as the story goes on. There are also some more interesting side characters who add some heart to the proceedings. In the end, this was fun and entertaining and exactly what I was looking for during a bad week. It definitely took my mind off all my worries and I’m happy for that. It also ends on a terrifying cliffhanger, so I guess I just have to read the sequel soon because I badly wanna know what happens next. 

To be honest, I don’t know why I decided to reread it. A reading slump is definitely one reason, but I guess I was also missing ZZH and reading the book is definitely less painful than watching my favorite drama Word of Honor. I think I really loved and appreciated this book more this time around. I knew everything that was gonna happen, so it was time to just enjoy the dialogue and banter and get thoroughly entertained. Because I’m reading this now after having read Qiye, I think I really got to understand Zhou ZiShu’s character better. The author really captures his loneliness, exacerbated by his condition, and while we might consider his past questionable, it’s also easy to sympathize with him now. Wen KeXing on the other hand is so over the top that I couldn’t help but giggle at his antics, and sympathized even more with ZZS because who could really handle WKX without feeling like hitting him a little. ChengLing, Gu Xiang and Cao WeiNing are all equal parts brave and sweet and their stories will never not make me feel bittersweet. I definitely enjoyed the drama much more the first time around but this book is brilliant in its own way and I have to say hats off to Priest for creating many memorable character moments that will always be etched in my heart. This reread only made me wish more and more for a Qiye adaptation but I know that will never happen after the recent crackdown, which is just unfortunate.

I do like my Chinese bl novels but tbh, I’ve only read the two – MDZS and TYK – because I loved their adaptations and then QiYe because it seemed like a fun spinoff. So when I saw this book, Golden Stage, being talked about on my social media, I wasn’t 100% sure I wanted to check it out because I know there’s hardly any hope for bl adaptations coming out anytime soon. But then I found myself in a slump and thought, maybe this one will get me out of it. And what a beauty this turned out to be. I have to immensely commend the translator because their work is wonderful and there was never a point where I felt that I was’t reading a professionally translated book published by a big name publisher. The prose is beautiful, particularly in the emotional and romantic moments and there were so many times where I just felt so much. Coming to the story itself, my major draw to pick it up was the arranged marriage trope between two “supposedly” enemies. This plotline is executed to perfection, with the characters going from friends to rivals to husbands to lovers. While the majority of the story is court politics and threats to the empire from outsiders, it’s the romance with the sweetest dialogues and heartfelt feelings that leaves a deep impression on anyone reading the book. let me conclude by saying that if you love tense and anxiety inducing Chinese palace dramas with a nice romance, then this book is perfect for you. The writing is beautiful, the story is engaging and the characters are easy to love.

After having read Ken Liu’s short stories as well as his translated works, I have been very excited to read more stories from Chinese SFF authors. So, when I saw this collection being reviewed by one of my mutuals, I knew I had to read it. And what an experience this turned out to be. I am always scared of reading sci-fi because I am not much into hard core scientific concepts, but I loved that this collection is a lot about ideas and humanity and just humans in general, with all their flaws and emotions. There were many moments here where I was moved and I just couldn’t put the book down. I almost loved all stories here and definitely appreciated the rest which is rarely the case when reading so many authors, so I am very glad that this book exists. And I hope I will be able to read more stories by these authors in the future. Look for my detailed review of all the short stories here on the blog tomorrow.

I don’t know if I wasn’t in the right mood for this one or the book itself wasn’t too engaging, because unfortunately I found this one to be just okay. I was definitely expecting the social issues to be executed well and I’m glad I wasn’t disappointed – the suffragette movement and working people’s rights and mining conditions do form a good portion of the story and the discussions about them are quite progressive. But the romance didn’t endear much to me because I didn’t feel invested in the characters. Maybe I shouldn’t read romance novels for a while when I’m unable to appreciate them better. 

I actually don’t wanna say much about this book except it’s an important part of history that needs to be remembered, so do give this book a try if you wanna know more about the community of Greenwood, Oklahoma, Black Wall Street and the Tulsa Race Massacre. It’s a well researched and emotionally evocative book and I’m glad to have read it. And I would definitely take from it what the author emphasizes – history matters, stories matter, and it also matters who is telling these stories; also keep asking questions, never stop seeking the truth or sharing it. 

I started reading this about 10 days ago but only got to 8% I think. Then my interest just waned. But I am determined to finish this series, so I will try to pick it up soon.

I finished watching Once We Get Married and absolutely adored it. It’s tropey, it’s fun, entertaining and the main couple have superb chemistry. Do watch this one if you just want something light with lovely actors.

I am extremely upset now that SDC4 is over for this year but I did watch the more than 6 hour finale without subtitles because I couldn’t resist. And Wang Yibo’s teammate YeYin won and while his other teammate Yang Kai was the runner up, so I am very very happy for all of them. And just as expected, YiBo’s final performance was spectacular and sexy. I’m really gonna miss this one.

These are some stunning covers which came out during the past couple of weeks and I just had to add them to my TBR. I am definitely a huge fan of the “step on me” energy of The Oleander Sword and the beautifully aesthetic of Violet made of Thorns. The others are cool as well and I’m very excited to read them all.

And that’s all for my weekly update. How have you all doing? What lovely books have you been reading and have you found any new favorites? Do share all your thoughts in the comments below.

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