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Familiar Diversions

I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.

Currently reading

The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality
Julie Sondra Decker
An Extraordinary Union
Alyssa Cole
Progress: 176/258 pages
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World
Abigail Revasch, Shannon Hale, Dean Hale, Tara Sands, Listening Library
Progress: 190/473 minutes
The Mystic Marriage
Heather Rose Jones
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Ichi-F: A Worker's Graphic Memoir of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant
Kazuto Tatsuta
Progress: 448/553 pages
The Naked Sun
Isaac Asimov
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Fluency
Jennifer Foehner Wells
Progress: 58/367 pages

The Dragon and the Pearl

The Dragon and the Pearl - Jeannie Lin I enjoyed Jeannie Lin's [b:Butterfly Swords|8076157|Butterfly Swords (Tang Dynasty, #1)|Jeannie Lin|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1277163063s/8076157.jpg|12792286] enough that when The Dragon and the Pearl came out, I snatched it up. Then it sat in my TBR pile for a while. Working on my read-alikes list for Bonnie Dee's [b:Captive Bride|10197347|Captive Bride|Bonnie Dee|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1296328598s/10197347.jpg|15096558] reminded me that I hadn't read it yet, but still wanted to.I've been working on this review for a few days now, and it has been showing signs of causing me as many problems as my review for Captive Bride. So, in the interest of finishing this review this weekend instead of several weeks from now, I'm doing things a little differently.What I liked:- Li Tao and Suyin's complexity. Both characters have been harboring at least one big secret since before the previous Emperor's death, and they've become used to hiding their emotions. As a result, neither one of them knows what to expect from each other. Suyin primarily knows Li Tao through his deadly reputation – he was the weapon through which the former Emperor punished anyone potentially involved in the Empress's murder. Li Tao knows Suyin primarily through the reputation she gained as the former Emperor's Precious Consort – she was, and is, thought to be a seductive courtesan skilled enough to bring any man to his knees. I enjoyed getting to find out more about the people behind the reputations.- The intensity of Li Tao and Suyin's relationship. Neither Li Tao nor Suyin really expects that Li Tao will survive much longer, not if he continues on his current path. Even so, Li Tao really does think that he has made the best possible choice. Suyin is desperate to convince him otherwise, but, even if she can, there is still no guarantee that he won't be killed. The impending tragedy makes for some really intense and emotional romance.- The setting. I enjoyed the Tang Dynasty China setting in Butterfly Swords, and I enjoyed it in this book as well. I know only a very little about this time and place, so there were some things I didn't feel I was able to follow very well, but I think I still got the gist of what was going on.What I didn't like:- If I hadn't known this was a Harlequin Historical, I'd have been tempted to flip to the end of the book, just to make sure there was at least a half-way happy ending. The bulk of The Dragon and the Pearl often felt less like a romance novel and more like a tragic love story. While the feeling of impending tragedy gave Suyin and Li Tao's romance a lot of intensity, it didn't fit with the happy romance novel ending, which seemed to come out of nowhere. I was a little stunned at how suddenly one particular character was defanged and turned into a Tang Dynasty China equivalent of Nora Roberts' Daniel MacGregor (basically, a grandfatherly matchmaker).- As much as I enjoyed reading about Li Tao and Suyin and am glad the ending of their story wasn't tragic, I think I prefer Lin's Butterfly Swords. The ending of The Dragon and the Pearl was a bit of a disappointment. However, I'm still glad I read the book and am really looking forward to Lin's [b:My Fair Concubine|13263350|My Fair Concubine (Tang Dynasty, #3)|Jeannie Lin|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1330643840s/13263350.jpg|18465003], which is currently sitting in my TBR pile.(Original review, with read-alikes and watch-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)