Master of the Idle Clouds | 闲云公子

%e9%97%b2%e4%ba%91%e5%85%ac%e5%ad%90Title: Master of the Idle Clouds | 闲云公子
Author: Yu Qing
Genre: Romance, Historical Fiction
Rating: ★★☆☆☆ | 1.5

Here’s the thing: I really like this novella. I still really enjoy this novella. I plan to make so many edits for this novella that I drown in them. But my god, in good conscience there is no way I can ignore some of its massive problems.

Which brings me to prelude #2: how can something that went so right in the first 3/5 of this novella so quickly take a turn for the worse in the last 2/5th of it? It was meant to be a romantic comedy, so why is the last 2/5th so determinedly unfunny?

Huangfu Yun is the Guardian of the Left in the Baiming Sect, which is known among the mainstream Chinese warriors and gallants as the Demon Cult. Orphaned from youth due to infighting within the sect, Huangfu Yun learned how to protect herself, to avoid attention in order to survive until adulthood. But when she was fourteen, she accidentally crossed paths with Gongsun Yun, a disciple from the Yun Family Manor, who are in charge of compiling histories. In saving his life, she accidentally brought him into her debt and left a deep impression on him. Six years later, she and her slave He Zai enter the Chinese heartland in order to attend a funeral, and her path crosses Gongsun Yun’s again, and this time, he’s less willing to let her go.

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Prom Queen Perfect

29331371-_uy1600_ss1600_Title: Prom Queen Perfect
Author: Clarisse David
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Rating: ★★★☆☆ | 2.5

Alexandra de la Cruz is perfect: perfect family, perfect older sister, perfect clothing, perfect life. She’s the most popular girl in school, and she’s on track to become prom queen––just like her sister. Just like her mother’s favourite. And if she becomes prom queen, maybe her mother will stop finding fault with her at every turn.

So when childhood friend-turned brother-in-law turned nuisance Adam Cordero tells her she’s selfish, she’s determined to prove him wrong by taking Christy Marquez on as a project, turning her from social reject to social butterfly. Her plan works, but it works too well, and suddenly the title of prom queen, which was so within her grasp, is slipping away, and she has to contend with the true nature of friendship.

This was a cute pick-me-up during finals week––it’s short, utterly predictable, and its characters were bland and vacuous enough that I didn’t feel so caught up in their struggles that I neglected my studying, which is good. For finals week. Not really so good for when I need a substantial story to keep me occupied.

But I’ve mentioned this multiple times across multiple reviews and I am always going to be the first to say: fluff entertainment has value, too, and I’m not going to dismiss the novel because it doesn’t have substance. Books are entertainment, and English minor I may be, but I will meet you behind the gym at 3:00 pm with my fists ready if you entertain the notion that all books have to meet some arbitrary standard of Literary Value to have Worth™.

That being said, while I enjoyed the novel for what it is––the written version of, say, She’s All That––it wasn’t much beyond that. I don’t really know what else to say. It was cute, it was okay, it’s the equivalent of watching a teen movie with a tub of ice cream and some popcorn on a lazy Saturday when you should be doing other things. I don’t regret purchasing it, but I’m also probably not going to reread it. The characterisation was jerky––who becomes a best friend mere hours after meeting?––but overall it was inoffensive enough that it went down like jello. It didn’t stir up any strong emotions or attachment, but I was also not really expecting it to.

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Binti (Nnedi Okorafor)

binti-nnedi-okorafor

Title: Binti
Author: Nnedi Okorafor
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating: ★☆ || 4 stars

When I finished this book on the bus, I put my kindle in my bag and thought to myself this novella won that Nebula for a good reason. I went into Binti expecting a story about a girl who doesn’t fit into the world of academia. Binti covers that, but also goes beyond it. It is a delightful read that touches upon culture, war, family, expectations of society, and being an outsider. I was touched by its mix of sadness and sweetness that made it both heartbreaking and heartening.

The most powerful that thing that I took away from the story was the way that culture endures. The way we protect our culture no matter how far away from our homelands the journey of life takes us. However, I feel that Binti is the kind of book that everyone has a different experience of.

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Short Soup

16330647Title: Short Soup
Author: Coleen Kwan
Genre: Romance
Rating: ★★☆☆☆ || 2.0

The concept of this novella was reeled me in long before one of my friends recommended that I read this book, and while in theory I enjoyed this novel, practice is a beast of different nature.

Short Soup is a novella that follows two childhood friends, Dion Chan and Toni Lau, as they reconnect following Toni’s divorce from a cheating husband. Dion’s been in love with Toni for years and never found a good way to tell her, but now that she’s back and he’s taking over their parents’ jointly owned restaurant, he’s determined not to let her go, especially now that scumbag Nick is out of the picture. But there are things more pressing than opportunity and timing keeping them apart––Toni’s life is in Sydney now, Dion’s father is hard to please, while Toni’s baba is terrified that Toni will distract Dion and leave him heartbroken again. Together, they must navigate not only their attraction for each other, but also food, their futures, and family expectations.

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