Vermilion by Molly Tanzer is an amazing book. It was the one I have spent years looking for. I read a crazy amount of mystery novels, but as I mentioned in my review of the Red Princess Mysteries by Lisa See, when it comes to historical mysteries, the protagonist is always the same – a white widow of means. I even read two mystery series set in San Francisco this year, and in both of them, Chinese characters are relegated to the sidelines, if they are present at all. Vermilion finally breaks out of this mold. Tanzer has created a facinating …
I have been looking for a novelization about Empress Wu Zetian for a while. I gave Empress by Shan Sa a try, but it was god-awful. So I was very excited to come across The Moon in the Palace by Weina Dai Randel. About The Moon in the Palace There is no easy path for a woman aspiring to power A concubine at the palace learns quickly that there are many ways to capture the Emperor’s attention. Many paint their faces white and style their hair attractively, hoping to lure in the One Above All with their beauty. Some present him …
Richelle Mead, the hugely successful author behind the Vampire Academy series, stepped into new territory this year with Soundless, a fantasy novel set an a China-inspired world. About Soundless For as long as Fei can remember, there has been no sound in her village, where rocky terrain and frequent avalanches prevent residents from self-sustaining. Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.   When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink and many go hungry. Fei’s home, the people she …
I read a lot of historical mystery books, but I got really tired of the same protagonist – a white widow of means. So when looking for a mystery with a non-white heroine, I came across Lisa See’s Red Princess Mysteries. While it isn’t exactly a historical series, the Red Princess Mysteries is a solid  trilogy with a much more interesting setting than most mysteries on the market today. Don’t forget to read my interview with Lisa See about this series here. About The Red Princess Mysteries: The bestselling Red Princess thrillers aren’t just riveting crime stories; they’re novels of …
I am a big fan of Xinran’s books. It is still difficult to find female Chinese writers writing about women’s issues in China in English. While more Chinese women are taking up the pen regarding these issues, Xinran was one of the first. She was in China collecting women’s stories when many people in China thought those stories weren’t important. Her books The Good Women of China and Letters From an Unknown Chinese Mother were groundbreaking in their time. This time, Xinran has widened her scope and looks at the first generation of young men and women raised under the …
Most readers of this blog know that I am a huge fan of the author Xinran. I reviewed her book “The Good Women of China” here and wrote about her book “Letters From an Unknown Chinese Mother” here. Her latest book “Buy Me The Sky: The remarkable truth of China’s one-child generations” talks about the children who have grown up under China’s one-child policy, something else I have written about quite a bit.  I am so honored that Xinran agreed to talk with me about her new book!  1)      Tell me about yourself.   I am… A Chinese daughter, but doesn’t know …
This year, for the one week national holiday, Seth and I went to Bali, Indonesia. While we didn’t get to stay as long as we wanted and didn’t see nearly all the island has to offer, we had a great time and would love to go back. We mainly stayed in Ubud. Ubud is in the center of the island, surrounded by jungles and nestled deep in Indonesian culture. The area is not nearly as developed as other parts of the island, which is just the way I like it. Ancient temples and traditional craftspersons are everywhere. The first thing …
Congratulations to BlueCat731, our November winner! BlueCat will recieve a digital copy of The Crazy Dumplings Cookbook! Since December is a special month for most people, I have decided to give away a physical item this month – a little diorama of Beijing Monkeys eating dumplings for Chinese New Year! Beijing Monkeys (Beijing Maohou, also called Hairy Monkeys) are a traditional Chinese handicraft that dates back hundreds of years, but they are extremely rare today. I came across an elderly man selling them at the ICIF this spring and I just fell in love with the quirky little critters. The …
Lisa See is best known for her historical novels, especially Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, which I reviewed here. But she also wrote a fabulous mystery series back in 1997. I recently read all three of the Red Princess mystery books and really enjoyed them. Lisa was kind enough to answer a few questions I had about the series. Check out my interview and enter for a chance to win all three Red Princess mystery books at the end! 1) Tell me a little about yourself. I was born in Paris but grew up in Los Angeles. I’m part …
The following was originally published in the Shenzhen Daily. I have added a little more information for clarity and an analysis to the end. DOZENS of expats in Shenzhen have been swindled out of tens of thousands of yuan in a United Airlines fraud case allegedly perpetuated by a well-known Shenzhen international student, an investigation by the Shenzhen Daily has discovered. “My mother was stranded in Rome,” said one victim named Rose. “We had to pay thousands of dollars to get her back home to the United States.” People interviewed for this article asked not to be identified by their …
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