8567279So here is another one where I might have accidentally broken the fiction rule as the main character talks about having the sight and is even attacked by a ghost.

This is actually the second time I have attempted to read this book, and I have no idea what happened to it  the first time.  I was completely drawn in from page one and swept away this time around.

Song of the Silk Road by Mingmei Yip is the tale of a young woman who is offered three million dollars if she journeyed the Silk Road within a set span of time and complete a set number of tasks.  In the beginning yes, she did it for the money as she was writer moonlighting as a waitress and sleeping with her married professor to help make ends meet.  But despite starting this journey for all the wrong reasons, thankfully she finished them for all the right ones.

I didn’t agree with all the choices our lady lead made on her journey.  One task has her seducing a monk to steal some holy artifacts and that was a little much for me.

And she actually meets someone else on the road, a young man named Alex who is determined to travel with her.  Their relationship is kind of strained at first, she’s almost 10 years older than him and keeps commenting on it like he’s a minor that she’s going to go to jail for seducing.  So that was kinda weird and I just wanted to smack the hell out of her for it at the end.

And as for the ghost she comes across in her travels, I really wanted more to happen with it.  She buys a pale jade bracelet with a strip of red running through it, supposedly the blood of the previous owner. She falls deathly ill when she puts it on and only after removing it and having it buried in a desert does she regain her health.  I would have liked something more done with that.  Maybe she finds the bracelet again and returns it to the tomb from which it was stolen from?  That part of the story just felt unfinished and didn’t really add overall to the plot and her journey.

The language used here is interesting.  It’s very flowery, romantic, an sensual.  Seems kinda sappy at times I will admit, but it was still well done and I enjoyed it. 

Next up, #4 for Ja No Read MO 2017: The Winter Palace by Eva Stachniak.

11149173From award-winning author Eva Stachniak comes this passionate novel that illuminates, as only fiction can, the early life of one of history’s boldest women. The Winter Palace tells the epic story of Catherine the Great’s improbable rise to power—as seen through the ever-watchful eyes of an all-but-invisible servant close to the throne.

Her name is Barbara—in Russian, Varvara. Nimble-witted and attentive, she’s allowed into the employ of the Empress Elizabeth, amid the glitter and cruelty of the world’s most eminent court. Under the tutelage of Count Bestuzhev, Chancellor and spymaster, Varvara will be educated in skills from lock picking to lovemaking, learning above all else to listen—and to wait for opportunity. That opportunity arrives in a slender young princess from Zerbst named Sophie, a playful teenager destined to become the indomitable Catherine the Great. Sophie’s destiny at court is to marry the Empress’s nephew, but she has other, loftier, more dangerous ambitions, and she proves to be more guileful than she first appears.

What Sophie needs is an insider at court, a loyal pair of eyes and ears who knows the traps, the conspiracies, and the treacheries that surround her. Varvara will become Sophie’s confidante—and together the two young women will rise to the pinnacle of absolute power.

With dazzling details and intense drama, Eva Stachniak depicts Varvara’s secret alliance with Catherine as the princess grows into a legend—through an enforced marriage, illicit seductions, and, at last, the shocking coup to assume the throne of all of Russia.

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