TBR Challenge Discussion: (Bananapants!) The Double

Hi friends! So this isn’t a review since the series hasn’t finished airing yet – but like I said in my previous post – I live here now (thanks).

Seriously even if you have no plans of watching this drama YOU HAVE TO WATCH THE TRAILER! IT’S SO GOOD!

The prompt for June is “bananapants” and In a way, the drama is even more bananapants than the book. (Which is a transmigration revenge romance. I’ve heard rumors/people have said transmigration is banned in dramas, someone said because Taoism … but I’m pretty sure that isn’t true because Taoists believe in rebirth/reincarnation, I think? So …) ANYWAY.

In the first episode we have this asshole dude – and his asshole family. She’s this asshole’s wife! His mother and sister (so her mother-in-law and sister-in-law) drug her, and set her up to be found in an “adulterous affair.” In the time and culture that would ruin your life and reputation. (A family might be justified in killing you.) Dude – I call him the “trash ass ex (TAE)” pretends to save her, takes her to a remote mountain, clonks her over the head with a shovel, and buries her alive. *blinks.* I’m also not calling this a spoiler because all this happens in like the first ten minutes of the drama. (I saw someone say technically they’re still married and … my summer child, no. I don’t know who broke you, but if someone tries to murder you by ruining your life and BURIES YOU ALIVE … you’re over. You get to be free now.)

As expected, our heroine makes it out alive, and takes over the identity of another tragic girl. In the book it’s a bit “easier” for her to make a comeback because it’s “just” her soul in an entirely different body. In the drama … heh it’s literally the same person. The girl she “becomes” was abandoned by her family in this remote place for over a decade, with nobody visiting her, so it’s believable they have no idea what she looks like now. If course there are a few loose ends and either the people who notice don’t matter, or they’re addressed later.

We have a poisons expert (loved her character in the book, loathe the actress and the changes in her story line), fake pregnancies, murder – so much murder – illegal salt trades and gold mining, treason, rebellions, fake priests and possessions, along with comedy and sweetness. Great actors too. One of the initial villains – I hated her so much -SO MUCH- and even as I wanted her to die a horrible death I thought “damn she’s good at bringing her character to life.”

 

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I mean come oonnnnn. I do have a few minor complaints but those can be addressed later if I get to it. And as always – you can watch on Youku (which requires a subscription), or Viki (I think if you pay it’s ad free), or Youtube! Which is definitely free!

COME JOIN US! ONE OF US!

I Live Here Now, Thanks (Talking Up The Double)

Hi all! Since I’ve been convincing people left and right to watch The Double, a currently airing Cdrama, I was like “wait how could I ignore this whole ass site I own?” [I mean >.> answer is “pretty damn easily,” considering *gestures* – BUT ANYWAY.]

I’ve mostly been talking about it on Bluesky which is where I hang out most on the socials now … but I know not everyone is there (JOIN US!) And especially watch The Double!

I mean come ONNNNNN. 😻🤩🥰

You can watch up to episode 11 today … Youku keeps adding them. Live/if you pay for the Youku access the series is up to episode 21 with 2 more to be released at midnight. There will be 40 episodes in total so 😱 we’re more than halfway through! That means you can binge!

If you have Viki you can watch it there too. https://www.viki.com/tv/40573c-the-double

The English subs … *sigh* sadly I’ve noticed a trend where they’re not wrong in dramas, but they’re not right either exactly. Just, you kinda miss a lot. (And 😱😅 sometimes they are straight up wrong – on Viki at least that tends to get fixed. Maybe YouTube too.)

It’s such an excellent story and has fantastic actors! I’ve said watching this makes me want to re-read the book. But my second time around I’d want to wait for the book to be fully translated. Which … if they continue on at the same pace, already taking five years, will take another five. 🫠)

Lime’s Favorite Chinese Romance Novels (So Far)

Hi friends – shout out to Ki especially! ❤️ You might know about eighteen months ago I started watching C(hinese) dramas in earnest after not watching any for years … and after not having any interest in reading translated novels … hearing about an upcoming drama with leads I liked got me very curious – ironically that one is still being translated (I think it’s been like nearly six years and counting 😅) but I’ve read so many since. And generally I try to avoid MTL (machine translating/novels that aren’t fully translated so then you have to turn to a site that just plugs it into a machine.) Anyway I guess this post will “close out” APAHM 2024.

ANYWAY. What started off my reading journey was the drama The Double.

Yo I am so fucking hype about this!!!! LOL. Anyway, it’s based on the book 嫡嫁千金 (Marriage of the Di Daughter) by 千山茶客 (Qian Shan Cha Ke). I immediately read three of her other books (four if you count one I DNF’d at the time) – one I even reviewed … and it’s number one. (The list is in my reading order, not my “like” order, because they’re all pretty damn close.)

  1. The Rebirth of the Malicious Empress of Military Lineage by Qian Shan Cha Ke book cover - it depicts a painted image of a woman and the title written in Chinese characters将门嫡女之定乾坤 (重生之将门毒后) (The Rebirth of the Malicious Empress of Military Lineage) by 千山茶客 (Qian Shan Cha Ke). I reviewed it here. It’s a fabulous rebirth + revenge story that has recently been licensed to be adapted into a drama and I’m both very excited and nervous because what if the leads aren’t people I like or they ruin the story?! But anyway currently it’s the only fully translated QSCK book that I know of, and is definitely worth the read. You can read it here – I started with chapter 1 since the site doesn’t have an official book page/they list all their other translations too. I also really liked 重生之嫡女祸妃 (Rebirth of the Ill Fated Consort) also by 千山茶客 (Qian Shan Cha Ke). It’s a very similar story, but even more vicious. I like this genre though, with epic revenge, smart characters, and smitten heroes … so I went for it. I’m grouping it with Malicious Empress though because a) it isn’t fully translated yet b) as I said it’s quite similar (yet not). The latter has also been licensed for drama adaptation and … the rumors of the current FL make me incredibly sad so light a candle to the drama gods it’s someone I like in the end. 🤞🙏 (For Ill Fated you can read chapters 1-207 here and bless the person who picked it up – I haven’t read their translations yet but will at some point – from 208 on you can read it here.)

2. 重生之女将星 (Rebirth of a Star General) by 千山茶客 (Qian Shan Cha Ke). It’s already been adapted into the upcoming drama Legend of the Female General, which I believe is currently in post production. I really like both leads as well, but unfortunately it’s so early in the process there’s no trailer or anything to share. Anyway, this is obviously another rebirth/revenge story, but the revenge happens pretty “early” on in the story, and then we get more focus on our heroine and hero spending time together. (And sadly not. They’re both generals, and basically literally the pillars of the country with a shit ass incompetent emperor. At times I wanted them to be like “fuck it” and just leave or live in seclusion.) This author really likes tearing her characters apart. 😿 It wasn’t fully translated when I read it (heh in fact I think I read more than half of it machine translated?) But it was still awesomeThe translator is also relatively fast so … hopefully it’ll be finished soon? This book has such a bad ass heroine and I really hope the drama does it/her justice. I felt her “first life” was so goddamn tragic – even reflecting on it now my heart hurts. (I literally cried.)  You can read it here – as of today 189 chapters have been posted. I loved the growth our girl went through – twice. (And thus ends my recs of any not fully translated books.)

3. 九叔万福 (Greetings Ninth Uncle) by 九月流火 (September Flowing Fire). I reviewed the novel here. It was my first book by SFF and I liked it so much I immediately read five of her other novels – so I’ve read six books by this author which might be the most yet? I love how incredibly competent and practical our heroine is, and again our smitten hero, as that’s my jam.  It does peter out a smidge near the end but is still such a satisfying read. I think it’s also a pretty gentle “introduction” to c-novels. There are some pretty frustrating aspects but nothing too extreme – and a good snapshot of ancient life in China and their precepts. It’s also a “rebirth/revenge lite” in my opinion because that’s a part of the storyline, but only the beginning – and our FL only lived two years before she was “rebirthed.”  You can read the novel here. I’m also adding 我给男主当嫂嫂 (I’ll Be the Male Lead’s Sister in Law) by 九月流火 (September Flowing Fire) because I think it’s so damn close to being fully translated. (It’s kinda hard to tell because the translator(s) broke it up into MANY smaller pieces. Back when I read it I had to read the whatever MTL version of a lot of it 😭 … but it was still so good. It’s also a bit of a “rebirth/revenge lite” in that the heroine lived one life, died, and was like “well fuck that shit” but she isn’t out to “get” her ex … more like she’s a bit of a chaos muppet who loves watching shows – the shows being people making fools of themselves. It’s so satisfying and delightful. Once this book is finally fully translated I am absolutely going to (re)read it. ❤️💯 You can read it here.

4. 八宝妆 (Eight Treasures Trousseau) by 月下蝶影 (Butterfly Shadow under the Moon). I think I actually DNF’d this book the first time I tried it 😱 (or 😅 it might’ve been another book with a very similar start?) But anyway – I think the first chapter is a bit weak but then it really picks up and I quite enjoyed it. It’s not entirely clear that our heroine has transmigrated/there’s no “big reveal” or “tell” in the beginning like the previous books I’ve mentioned, but it becomes obvious as you read on. I believe our heroine was originally an actress in the modern world and her internal commentary is gold. I really love this author’s humor. In fact as soon as I read this book I read I immediately read four more books by the author – all her fully translated stories set in ancient times. You can read it here. There are a few more from her backlist I’m eyeing/waiting for the translations to be done … and some modern ones to add to the list once I get there though I’m still shying away from non-ancient set books. Which leads me to 何为贤妻 (To Be a Virtuous Wife) by 月下蝶影 (Butterfly Shadow under the Moon). Another transmigration story – I think the heroine in this one was an entertainment agent in the modern world? Another similar yet sufficiently different story (to me) to be incredibly enjoyable and I also plan on re-reading it as well. There’s a chapter titled “Imperial Knife Corps” that lives rent free in my head. You can read it here.

5. It happened! I finally read a xianxia! 勿扰飞升 (Ascending, Do Not Disturb) by 月下蝶影 (Butterfly Shadow under the Moon). It’s kinda hilarious to me how much I basically hate xianxia since it’s essentially the equivalent of high fantasy … but there too often are so many goddamn pointless misunderstandings. And what’s great about Ascending is that we don’t have that here! This is the fluff cotton candy absolute delight and joy of a book. It was sweetness and fun and if you want a pick me up read I cannot recommend it enough. I will absolutely be re-reading this book at some point in the future. It’s already been adapted into a drama – Ascending, Do Not Disturb – although the title makes me cringe – I’m already looking forward to it. I really like the male lead, and am curious as to how they’ll adapt things. Not holding my breath on being happy with it but if I am it’ll be a delight. It’s all the fun cultivation to immortality with a goofy heroine that is so sweet and talented and kind of “oops” and it’s hard to explain – you just have to read it. The drama finished filming not too long ago so I don’t think there’s a trailer or anything available yet. But! You can read the book – fully translated! here! I will say the beginning is the tiniest bit slow/you might be anxious because it doesn’t start with sweetness and light, but you get there quickly.

6. 爱谁谁 (Who Cares) by 風流書呆 (Feng Liu Shu Dai/Casanovanic Bookworm). I think this was the first book where I was like “I can read the original title without help! 😹😅” and also I like it so much more than the translated one/it doesn’t … argh. It’s hard to explain. But anyway. THIS BOOK. It has I think the hero with the MOST GODDAMN TRAGIC BACKSTORY I’VE EVER SEEN. And I’m taking into account all the gawdawful abusive insanity I saw in the decade+ of my ex-job. Anyway … this does not start out as an easy read. In fact at first I wanted to throw the [hero] into a volcano where he’d be kept alive for a thousand years to suffer. I was heated. But then we find out about him and I just … really truly loved him. I also really loved our heroine’s “fuck you, and fuck this shit” attitude. It’s a rebirth story – she finds out just how much of a trash ass man her ex (and his family) were, and wants to do everything she can to avoid him. Once she can’t, she’s basically like “nope.” Oh there was so much that was so frustrating but then so satisfying and all these twists and turns that had me 😱 and this is another book I’ll be re-reading. I don’t want to give too many spoilers – but really – power through the “grrr” because once you get to the sweetness I was 100% 😻 this guy ended up being one of my most favorite heroes ever. EVER. … EVER!!! You can read it here.

7. Daughter-in-Law of a Noble House book cover侯门新妇 (Daughter-in-Law of a Noble House) by 海青拿天鹅 (Hai Qing Na Tian Er/Sea Blue Swan). This book might be a bit more of a “typical” c-novel in the slow pacing and development, but I really appreciated the characters being slightly older. Our heroine is 20, and has been previously married (only kinda not really…). I can’t explain it without getting into spoilers but when I found out the twists and turns I was like 😱. It also gets into a bit more politicking than some of the others, and the characters face more difficulty, but it’s never too much/not “want to throw the book out the window or set it on fire.” Which … some of my other reads have edged into. If I recall correctly, this isn’t a book with rebirth, revenge, or transmigration – and that makes it different already. Our heroine’s family was framed and she was the only person who survived the calamity because the empress dowager was her relative. Life is not easy for her, but she’s a survivor. I loved how her initial plan was just “get out.” But also how our hero won her over. I read some of the comments/reviews first so I slightly spoiled myself, but I don’t mind in my c-novel reads because I need to know first I’m getting a happy ending. Also that someone said everything means more the second read/when you know how much the subtle little actions mean.

8. 穿成佛系文好命女配  (Transmigrating into the Female Supporting Character with a Good Life in a Laid-Back Novel) by 九月微蓝 (Jiu Yue Wei Lan). I’m actually really super sad it doesn’t seem there are more books by this author that have been translated. (I did read/try the other one in NU; not as good – such a big difference … it looks like she has a few more that I’d really love to read and for a few minutes I’ve even been tempted to give it a try myself with a combination of some sort of machine translating and having google translate read it to me or finding the audiobook …) Anyway this is a bit of a goofy title but it’s no lies given. I’m currently re-reading it (and doing some light edits for my own enjoyment) – if you’d be interested in that version let me know – but the original translator did a good job and inserts some images etc to give examples of what the text is describing. This is another relatively low stress novel – and sometimes you just need that. Our heroine is someone who transmigrated from the modern world into a novel she read, so she has a few “cheats.” There are also at least two other transmigrated characters, one being her older half sister who is just evil and unhinged … but in this case it isn’t too annoying because ~everyone else who is important is in on the “joke” so it’s more like “look at this clown” instead of “I want to smash people in the face with a brick.” If you want a feel good read this is definitely the book for you. You can read it here.

9. 三嫁惹君心 (Marry You for Three Times/Three Marriages) by 明月听风 (Ming Yue Ting Feng/Bright Moon Listens To The Wind). So Marry You for Three Times is the title of the book in the OverDrive/Hoopla system … Three Marriages is how it’s translated for Novel Updates… and if I were to translate it I think it’d be “Three Marriages to Provoke the Gentleman.” This is a book that isn’t translated but I JUST LOVED IT SO MUCH! SO MUCH!!! I listened to the audiobook (thank you library!) and loved it so much as soon as it ended I immediately hit “play” and listened to the whole thing all over again. Then I listened to three more books by the author. (I DNF’d one otherwise it’d be four – the DNF thought was because the narrator was so nasal I wanted to puncture my eardrums. Sad, cuz it’s a book I wanted to read.) I want to be like “YOU NEED TO LEARN MANDARIN SO YOU CAN LISTEN TO THIS BOOK!” LOL. The first 38 chapters are translated with links here but it looks like it was long abandoned. Sob. >.> One day if I lose my mind I might give translating it a try … our chaotic couple treat arguing as their love language – but it’s not real arguments – more like teasing bickering. For example our hero talks about “punishing” the heroine by “family law” but it’s more … him being kissy and sex. Heh. (Although we never get anything too explicit because censorship rules/laws – damn CCP.) Another thing I loved is that our heroine is blind and you so rarely see any sort of “disability” in books. I loved the book so much I reviewed it … I definitely recommend checking your library/Hoopla if you understand Mandarin cuz then you can read it here. <3

10. 戾王嗜妻如命 (Tyrannical Wang’s Beloved Wife) by 昭昭 (Zhao Zhao). While I did really enjoy this book, in part I’m recommending it because of the translator too – and this is the first book where that’s happened to me – the Translator Notes are great, there’s so much detail.- and I think in part near the end when things get intense and she talks about having to translate Classical (Ancient) Chinese … it’d be like having to suddenly translate Latin or Ancient Greek and … respect. Heh I posted about it but I still have trauma from my Classical Chinese class I had to take in university … It’s a tiny bit of a mess because this book is LONG. Holy hell is it long. I think it’s the longest book I’ve ever read. I talked about it in my review here. The book is well over 2 million words. BUT IT’S WORTH IT. While I mentioned the hero is a bit extra, even for me, I understood why the way he was the way he was. I also loved how the story (with the extras) takes you through literally their entire lives. So satisfying! A tiny bit I wish the translator had done the “modern world” extra, but I also get why not because holy hell it was a lot. It took her nearly five years to fully translate, and she went pretty fast, considering we have another book that is less than half as long and only half translated six years later… ANYWAY. This is another transmigration story (😅 I don’t know if they’re just that hard to avoid or if I gravitate towards them?) – I loved our intelligent practical heroine and … while he’s Definitely Problematic in parts, he’s an absolute delight in others and seriously – I do think this is a romance because all his motivation is to make life as good as possible for our heroine. Gotta love that. 

There are more but these I think top my list, at least today. There are some other books I liked but are difficult. I’ve mentioned the more I read (and watch) I fucking hate Confucius and Mencius and their “men and women can’t have any interaction with each other and women should never show their faces in public.” Assholes. I’ve also mentioned how in most these books/made up dynasties the age of majority for women was 15 – which I think was pretty true throughout history? … In my brain I just age everyone up about five years. 😇 There might be cultural differences that make things more difficult to grok … for example filial piety was huge. Someone found guilty of being unfilial could lose their government position, and I think in some dynasties it was said even possibly a capital crime. It’s often weaponized by villainous characters. Those are just rants things though. Clearly I’m enjoying delving into this genre, and reading about different times and this culture, and all the kickass women and the men who love them.

I’ve also got a slew of books I’m waiting to be fully translated before I start reading them. Heh I kinda slowed down because at one point I only had like 3 more books in my TBR and none of them interested me and I panicked.

I also love how these novels have “extras” (which IMO are/should just be considered as part of the book…). Important to note is I think all of these are self published. I don’t know how it works in China/who has editors and such (I know some of the authors do) – but all the ones I recommended are pretty tight in their storytelling. Some you can kinda tell it was an earlier work, but I still enjoyed it. Sometimes it’s a bit of a wild game guessing if the “mess” is from the author or the translator. I think it helps sometimes when translators go a bit more direct I’m like “I know exactly what the original phrase was.”

I really hope some of you will read at least one of these books – I’d love to know what you think! And if anyone might have any suggestions for me! ❤️

TBR Challenge Review: Blossoms in Adversity

(This is a review of the drama (惜花芷)  not the book with the same name, because alas it isn’t translated. I just checked and it seems the book is 694 chapters with 18 “extras.” The length is often a bit misleading because the chapters are short and in no way compare to the ones we’re used to.)

ANYWAY! Blossoms in Adversity – LET’S GO!

The series description slightly edited from MDL:

A devastating tragedy of asset forfeiture to the throne suddenly befalls the Hua family. The men are forced into exile, leaving behind the women and children in dire straits. Hua Zhi, the young lady of the family, no longer stays low-key and steps up. She braves hardship and leads the women of her household to manage to avoid starvation and danger. She transforms not only their lives but also the feared Commander of the Security Bureau, Gu Yan Xi, into her beloved “Mr. Yan”. During these lively and heartwarming moments, Hua Zhi rises from a sheltered lady to the head of her family, leading her toward a brighter future.


The native title 惜花芷 actually means more like “Cherish Hua Zi” – I think the original drama title was going to be The Story of Hua Zi but it turned into Blossoms In Adversity which fits even better because 花 means flower, and it’s the family name. I loved the story and how everything made sense. Even when it was so frustrating I loved seeing the growth of the characters and how the family came together. I think it’s important to know that in ancient China society was made up of four classes: (scholar-)government officials, farmers, artisans and merchants. (And slaves). So the Hua family goes from the highest social class to the lowest. I think that helps explain the elders’ resistance to Hua Zi doing business. Also in the first episode, people might miss it, but Hua Zi shouldn’t even show her face on the street because she’s the daughter of an aristocratic house. (In fact she shouldn’t even have left the manor, but she’s an “unusual” girl and was “spoiled” by her grandfather who took her along with him to travel when he was performing his official duties when she was younger.) She goes into business not only to provide for her remaining family members, but also to redeem the menfolk from exile. Hua Zi knows under an obscure law that if she pays 500,000 liang (silver taels) one person can be redeemed. So she needs to make 21.5 million taels to bring back all 43 exiled family members. It is a staggering amount. I don’t know the dynasty equivalent or conversions, but at times one silver tael – a liang – was 1000 wen/copper coins. And I think there’s a scene that said an average family lives on 2-5 taels (though they said coins so 2-5k wen) a month. So … 21,500,000 is just … mind boggling and why her mother and aunts think she’s insane and just an immature child unreasonably dreaming. Continue reading

A List of Asian [American] Romance Authors

Happy APAHM! If we still use APAHM. I think we’re all clear I’ve largely checked out of Romanceland[ia] – god I still hate that “ia” at the end. 😖 Anyway – so I haven’t really made many changes to the list from last year. If you know people who should be on it please let me know!

Also, like years past, I am loosely using [North] American as one category. I actually don’t know if there are any Asian South American romance authors? If so welcome!

Melia Alexander
Bella Andre
Brittany Arreguin
Tessa Barbosa
Grace Callaway
Jax Cassidy
S.A. Chakraborty
Gloria Chao (YA)
Jeannie Chin
Mary H.K. Choi (YA)
Sylvia Day
Sara Desai
Sonali Dev
Piper J. Drake
Pintip Dunn (YA)
Vicki Essex
Hafsah Faizal (YA)
Eilis Flynn
Jen Frederick
Maan Gabriel
Jeanette Grey
Jenny Han (YA)
Karen Harbaugh
Farah Heron
Helen Hoang
Mia Hopkins
Amalie Howard
Uzma Jalaluddin
Julie Kagawa (YA)
Soniah Kamal
Coleen Kwan
Thien-Kim Lam
Ruby Lang
Jackie Lau
Loan Le (YA)
Jade Lee aka Kathy Lyons
Jayci Lee
Hudson Lin
Jeannie Lin
Lisa Lin
Marjorie Liu
Gennita Low
Tif Marcelo
Maida Malby
Sandhya Menon (YA)
Courtney Milan
Tara Pammi
Suzanne Park
Sajni Patel
Cindy Pon
Tara Quan
Alisha Rai
Amara Royce
Sophia Singh Sasson
Nisha Sharma
Royaline Sing
Suleikha Snyder
Jesse Q. Sutanto
Cecilia Tan
Cara Tanamachi
Sherry Thomas
Melanie Ting
Julie Tieu
Gita Trelease
Jen Trinh
Neely Tubati Alexander
Lillie Vale (YA)
Grace Wen
Fortune Whelan
Preslaysa Williams
Cathy Yardley
Jennifer Yen (YA)

International Asian Pacific Islander Romance Authors
H. Bentham
Halina Cabrera
Catherine Dellosa
Carla de Guzman
Six de los Reyes
Mina V. Esguerra
Elizabeth Galit
Georgette Gonzales
Agay Llanera
Arlene Manocot
Chris Mariano
Nicola Marsh
Bianca Mori
Farrah F. Polestico
Kate Sebastian
Nalini Singh
Camilla Sisco
Marian Tee
Jay E. Tria
Celestine Trinidad
Ekaterine Xia
Ines Bautista-Yao

To be honest I have a fuckton of Asian romance authors to add but I’ve only been reading their [fan] translated works, so not sure how all that’d fit here, really. But if anyone is interested in reading Chinese historical romance novels boy do I have a list for you!

TBR Challenge Review: 戾王嗜妻如命 (Tyrannical [Prince]’s Beloved Wife) by 昭昭 (Zhao Zhao)

戾王嗜妻如命 (Tyrannical Wang/[Prince]’s Beloved Wife) by 昭昭 (Zhao Zhao)
Chinese historical romance published in 2016

Tyrannical Wang’s Beloved Wife by Zhao Zhao book cover

Other people’s bad reputation, if not because of themselves, then it’s slandered by others. Jing Wan’s bad reputation wasn’t because of herself, but schemed by her future husband. Jing Wan’s bad reputation wasn’t caused by others, but of his design, only for the sake of marrying the woman he has had eyes on for two lifetimes! One unable to take a bride, one unable to marry. Because he was the number one handsomest man, but she wasn’t the number one beauty. So it was still her who has earned? What the hell?

After marrying, the husband’s close beautiful servant girls didn’t try to crawl onto the bed, but instead served her like an ancestor. The previous stewards didn’t monopolize the power, but instead handed over in great detail all the properties and even the husband’s private funds. So strange no matter how one looks at it! After getting along day and night, she discovered that her husband suffers from a severe case of crazy, please cure!

“Husband, just what do you like about me? I’ll change, just please stop being weird.”

His disease acting up in seconds, telling you with his actions, just how strong his possessive desires towards you are, that’s how much care you must give back.

Alright, for the sake of his disease not becoming more severe, and seeing how there’s no concubines or mistresses or other little demons, Jing Wan rolled up her up sleeves and went all out. – taken from NU 

I’m late with my TBR review because of life and site issues … and I didn’t know which book to review for the April TBR prompt of “No Place Like Home” … but I decided to go with Tyrannical [Prince]’s Beloved Wife because in the end the characters go home. It seems silly but this is a behemoth of a book. A quick estimate is that the book is roughly 2,356,000 words. (There are 1178 sections and the translator had indicated each was usually around 2,000 words. Formally the book has 589 chapters, and 68 extras.) What impressed me was despite how just almost insanely long this book was, I read all of it – I skimmed at most parts of five sections, which is not much at all. (And most of it was just schemes I wasn’t interested in.) There was so much rich history, character development, just an incredibly vibrant world created here. Continue reading

TBR Challenge Review: 三嫁惹君心 (Marry You for Three Times) by 明月听风 (Ming Yue Ting Feng)

三嫁惹君心 (Marry You for Three Times) by 明月听风 (Ming Yue Ting Feng)
<dHistorical romance published by Jiangsu Phoenix Art Publishing House in 2012

Novel/original cover of 三嫁惹君心 (Marry You for Three Times) by 明月听风 (MingYueTingFeng)One is a blind girl, the embodiment of an orchid, intelligent with sophisticated grace, and the other, a young noble who loved his wealth as if it were his life.

His endless teasing, and her numerous counter-attacks. She planned every advance with detail, and he met her with each step. As he excitedly went about making life difficult for her, all she did was sigh at his childishness.

The uneasy-proud-young noble’s odd actions, contrasted against the calm plotting of an unfazed blind girl.

*Haih (sigh), one should never invite the attentions of a petty man…*

The two were at loggerheads from the very beginning, and to no one’s surprise, they soon saw each other as the enemy, and neither tried to understand the other’s position. And thus it came to this, as long as the Young Lady did not give in, then the Young Sir would not leave her in peace.

A blind girl thrice married, but to the same person every time.

Thrice wedded, thrice wedded to; but together forever after. (Taken from NU)

The premise for March’s TBR Challenge is “Not in Kansas Anymore” which was super easy for me as I’ve still only been reading translated Chinese romance novels. No rebirth, transmigration, or revenge in this one, and yet it was so very delightful. In fact I loved it so much as soon as the book ended I immediately hit play and listened to it all over again. The blurb this time is pretty clear – but I didn’t have it when I started the book. The blurb in Hoopla was:

Stingy man are not to be taunted, “Vent one is hatred better than create more enemy!” If the girl doesn’t apologize for a day, the man will be pestering for one day. The relationship of them started with a cup of tea. A piece of music lifted and touched his heartstrings. Although he does not understand her qin (a stringed instrument), he does understand her feelings. She is blind and considerate. Blind women marry three times with one person. No matter what happens, I will be with you.

(Fair warning I’m watching a Cdrama, listening to an audiobook in Mandarin, and writing this review all simultaneously so my zero attention span is really cresting today. Apologies for mess and confusion.)  I was really curious as to how and why our couple would have to get married three times – and honestly was expecting a lot of melodrama and angst and misunderstandings, and was pleasantly surprised we didn’t really have that. First of all, the premise is great, the story is engaging, and the characters are all so interesting. We also have a bit of “enemies to lovers” which is NOT my usual trope – but they of course were never actually enemies, and I loved it so much! Continue reading

Team TBR Challenge Review/Rant: 暴君请放手 by 一抹初晴

暴君请放手 by 一抹初晴
(Tyrant, Please Let Go aka “Beauty’s Fault“) by Yi Mo Chu Qing
Beauty's Fault Hoopla Audiobook Cover

他擁有絕美的容顏,卻因此淪爲仇人的玩物;她爲報救母之恩,替他承歡於他的仇人身下。終有一天,她助他得以飛出囚籠,重獲新生。本以爲可以從此自由,誰料他殘忍下手,揮劍刺向她的胸膛。“怎麼,想離開我,回到他的身邊去?”他絕美的脣角掛着陰鷙的冷笑,長劍的劍尖上還淌着殷紅的血。他的劍,怎會刺進她的胸膛?這樣的結局,是她始料未及。他冷冷地指着她:“你逃不了!我不會放過他,也不會放過你!”
He has a beautiful face, but because of this he becomes the plaything of his enemies; in order to repay the favor to her mother, she acts his body double and makes nice with his captor on his behalf. One day, she helped him fly out of the cage and regain his life. She thought she could be free from now on, but who would have expected him to be so cruel that he stabbed her in the chest with his sword. “Why, do you want to leave me and go back to him?” There was a sinister sneer on the corner of his beautiful lips, and the tip of the long sword was dripping with red blood. How could his sword pierce her chest? This ending was something she had never expected. He pointed at her coldly: “You can’t escape! I won’t let him go, and I won’t let you go!”

First of all … I spent too much time hunting down the actual book blurb, and “translating” it – TBH I obviously used google translated and edited what it spit out … What it says in Hoopla is this:

“Canon grave” is based on Jiang Feng as the main line, wrote about the jiangs pawnshop in three hundred years throughout the country. The story took place in different times. The Jiangjia Pawnshop before liberation and the Jiangjia Pawnshop after liberation were staggered.

… which is obviously fucking wrong. Also I started listening to the book in my car so it’s not as if I could’ve tried to find the source material and plug it into a translator. Anyway I’m salty AF. Especially since all the [Chinese] sites I’ve found it on label it as a romance. A ROMANCE! NO!

While the prompt for the TBR challenge this month was “furry friends” I’m ignoring it because I need to rant. (Also I considered writing a review of a book I enjoyed that had a dog, but look … I need to talk about this goddamn book more.) Calling the … I don’t even want to call him a “male lead” – even in my notes I just called him “dude” other than my descriptive “13 year old shitprince” … anyway, calling him a dog would be an insult to dogs. And not just because I LOVE dogs. I felt insane while I was listening to this book. I didn’t DNF it because I’d DNF’d like eight books over the weekend – so many that I didn’t even bother putting them all into GR. I kept listening because the first part was ok, and more I kept hoping it’d get better. I kept thinking, “it has to get better, right? Everything is going to turn around.” Well, I WAS WRONG. I think this might be the most “what in the goddamn fuck” book I’ve ever read in my life. Continue reading

Aidee’s Anticipated Books of 2024

This list is late, which is entirely my fault. The end of 2023 felt like it snuck up on me, and I’m terrible at looking for new books when I actively have to go and find them. Also, there is not a lot of romance on this list, but I am definitely looking forward to romance novels. The theme this year seems to be reading a lot of authors I’m familiar with. You’ll notice books by my favorite authors, like Nalini Singh, Sherry Thomas, Seanan Mcguire, and Patricia Briggs, among others. The list is roughly chronological, though it doesn’t make it past July because while I’m sure that there are many authors with books in the second half of the year, I wasn’t really able to find them. Happy Reading!

Mislaid in Parts Half-Known by Seanan McGuire (January)
1000 Words: A Writer’s Guide to Staying Creative, Focused, and Productive All Year Round by Jami Attenberg (January)
Emily Wilde’s Map of the Otherlands by Heather Fawcett (January)
Filterworld: How Algorithms Flattened Culture by Kyle Chayka (January)
The Catch by Amy Lea (February)
Bride by Ali Hazelwood (February)
At First Spite: A Harlot’s Bay Novel By Olivia Dade (February)
The Imposition of Unnecessary Obstacles by Malka Older (February)
A Tempest of Tea (Blood and Tea) by Hafsah Faizal (February)
Aftermarket Afterlife by Seanan McGuire (March)
Archangel’s Lineage by Nalini Singh (March)
The Familiar by Leigh Bardugo (April)
The Dead Cat Tail Assassins by P. Djèlí Clark (April)
Evocation by S.T. Gibson (May)
The Paradise Problem by Christina Lauren (May)
A Ruse of Shadows (The Lady Sherlock Series Book 8) by Sherry Thomas (June)
The Catalyst: RNA and the Quest to Unlock Life’s Deepest Secrets by Tom Cech (June)
Running Close to the Wind by Alexandra Rowland (June)
Winter Lost (Mercy Thompson Book 14) by Patricia Briggs (June)
Primal Mirror by Nalini Singh (July)
Twisted Shadows by Allie Therin (December)

*Editor’s Note: Aidee sent this on January 14th, so it’s my fault too 😅

A Working List of Black Romance Authors

Hi friends! I have to admit I’ve largely been away from the Romance community and reading for the past year or so – so I’m sure there are many more names to add to this list. Please let me know who you/they are! Thank you!

My apologies if there are any errors. (As always if someone wants to be removed from the list, let me know and I’ll be happy to do so.)

Happy reading!