China

B+
Tales From the Gunpowder Academy - Love in the Time of Engines

Although Tales from the Gunpowder Chronicles features three separate steampunk novellas, I only read and reviewed the third novella, Love in the Time of Engines.  The other two novellas are standalone stories; LitToE is a prequel to Gunpowder Alchemy, published in 2014. LitToE is tough to grade. ...

A
The Magnolia Sword: A Ballad of Mulan

During the unstable Period of the Northern and Southern Dynasties in China (484 AD by the Western calendar), Hua Mulan’s much-awaited duel with her family’s rival is called off because both Mulan and her opponent, Yuan Kai, have been called up to a different fight. The emperor anticipates an inv ...

A-
Girls of Paper and Fire

Girls of Paper and Fire is one of the most anticipated YA fantasy releases of the year. Featuring a diverse cast of characters and an LGBTQ+ heroine, it is a story of magic, mayhem, rebellion and young love. Two hundred years ago, in the kingdom of Ikhara, the demon Bull King of Han took control ...

C
A Girl Divided

I absolutely adore historical novels that center around the Second World War, but I will admit to being the tiniest bit tired of all the books set in either Europe or America. So when I saw that A Girl Divided took place in China, I was eager to read it, thinking it would give me a different perspec ...

B+
Severance

Severance is the hotly anticipated end of days tale by newbie author Ling Ma. It’s a provocative look at the future which shows the dangers of getting caught in a meaningless present and being obsessed with a sentimental view of the past. This story shifts back and forth in time between chapter ...

B+
The Golden Hairpin

There are a lot of historical mysteries on the market these days, but not so many set in ancient China. And of those, how many, in English, were originally written by a Chinese author for a Chinese audience? The Golden Hairpin by Qinghan CeCe, originally written in 2015 and translated into English j ...

B
Contingency Plan

Contingency Plan is the second book in Robyn Bachar’s Galactic Cold War series. Set in an alternate future in which the Cold War never ended, the series follows the crew of the privateer spaceship Mombasa as they follow the trail of a super weapon developed by the Soviets that may paint the entire ...

B-
My Beautiful Enemy

So, here’s where I make my confession that this is my first book by Ms. Thomas. It’s a literary crime that it took me this long to pick up one of her spellbinding stories, but I’m paying my penance by devouring her back catalogue, I promise. Regarding this work, while I really liked a lot of p ...

C
The Liar's Dice

I don’t think The Liar’s Dice enhances Gambled Away. The slow pace, the setting, and ambiguous ending struck a discordant note with me and for me, it is the least successful novella in the anthology. A murder and the ensuing search for the killer drives the plot and unfortunately, Ms. Lin sacrif ...

B-
A Dance With Danger

I've really enjoyed previous Jeannie Lin books, but A Dance With Danger felt to me like a Tang Dynasty version of wallpaper regencies. Don’t get me wrong; I’d still take it over most other categories, and even over some longer, more detailed works. But on the whole, the book was not what I’d h ...