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Welcome to the infamous Pingkang Li—home of the celebrated Lotus Palace courtesans, and a place of beauty and treachery...Charming and seductive, Mingyu is the most sought-after hostess in the pleasure quarter. She has all men wrapped around her finger—except Constable Wu Kaifeng, the one man she can't resist, the only man to have placed her in chains.Wu Kaifeng's outwardlWelcome to the infamous Pingkang Li—home of the celebrated Lotus Palace courtesans, and a place of beauty and treachery...Charming and seductive, Mingyu is the most sought-after hostess in the pleasure quarter. She has all men wrapped around her finger—except Constable Wu Kaifeng, the one man she can't resist, the only man to have placed her in chains.Wu Kaifeng's outwardly intimidating demeanor hides a reluctant, fierce attraction to beautiful Mingyu. But the passionate temptation she presents threatens to destroy them both when a powerful official is murdered and they find themselves on a deadly trail. Amid the chaos, a forbidden affair could change Mingyu's fate forever, for following her heart is bound to have consequences......

Title : the jade temptress
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 20827171
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 384 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

the jade temptress Reviews

  • Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
    2018-10-09 08:03

    Welcome to the world of the Pingkang Li.Meet Mingyu, the most celebrated courtesan of the Lotus Palace.Welcome to a world of refinement, of beauty. Music and tea. It is a place where the most powerful men in the Tang Dynasty come to relax in the company of stunning, sophisticated women. Lose yourself in the music of the qin. Prepare yourself for flirtation and lust. Power and politics. Jealousy and murder.There was a body seated in the chair dressed in a brocade robe. The head was missing and there was blood everywhere, splattered over the papers and staining the floor and walls.“He was alive when they took off his head."The Summary: This is the second book of the Pingkang Li series. The courtesan Mingyu and Constable Wu Kaifeng are not strangers. They have a past. And boy, it was not a good first impression. In the previous book, Mingyu was suspected of having killed a man. She was thrown into jail. She was tortured by the ruthless Wu Kaifeng with bamboo sticks. Her knuckles were crushed every time she refused to answer.Tears had flooded her eyes while her screams echoed off the walls of the barren cell.As a courtesan, Mingyu is used to being used by men. Kaifeng is just the latest, at least he had the courtesy to stop when he realized she would reveal nothing.. No one came to her defense. For all the compliments and praise that scholars bestowed upon her, she was still nothing more than a diversion. Admired in passing fashion like the brightness of a full moon, beautiful in one moment, easily forgotten in the next.The life of a courtesan is only beautiful on the surface. Mingyu is nothing more than a glorified slave, owned by the Lotus Palace.Wu Kaifeng is not a handsome man.His face lacked any refinement. Wu Kaifeng wasn’t ugly—he was more like a puzzle that didn’t quite fit together. There was no harmony to him, no sense of balance. Wu was long in the face, broad in the nose. The eyes were black and hard and unwavering. A sharp jawline framed his hard mouth, a mouth that she had never seen smile.Wu Kaifeng is the "demon" to Mingyu's "flesh of ice and bones of jade."When Mingyu's long-time patron, General Deng, is brutally murdered, their fates are again intertwined. She needs help. Being caught with a dead body once is bad enough. Being suspected of murder for a second time is truly bad. To make it worse, Mingyu is found with blood on her hands.Mingyu might not like Wu Kaifeng, but he is a just man, and he is the only one she can trust.“I don’t trust you because you are kindhearted and honorable, Constable Wu. I trust you because you don’t care who Deng Zhi is or how vast his forces are. You don’t care who I am, which means you don’t care that a lowly courtesan was found with her dead and high-ranking lover. Or that her life means nothing to the magistrate or his superiors. All you care about is finding the truth.”Furthermore, Mingyu has no choice.Her chest squeezed tight. “There is no one else.”General Deng is a powerful man, with powerful enemies. The mystery of his death needs to be solved, but it's not as simple as that. The murderer might have wanted Mingyu dead, too.There are enemies everywhere, from political adversaries, to a jilted wife, whose kind words...Finally, the widow’s shoulders relaxed. “Is it not awful how women are pushed to secure ourselves in this way, with our flesh and blood? I think of the stories of Empress Wu and Concubine Xiao, clawing at one another, sacrificing their own children for the attention of the Emperor.”...are laced with poison.“Xiao was one of Empress Wu’s rivals in the imperial court. The Empress cut off her feet and drowned her in a vat of wine.”To Magistrate Xi Lun, an ambitious and cruel rival determined to have Mingyu.He was well-dressed, his robe dark blue and made of a fine silk brocade. His features were square, his jaw and nose broad. Not beautiful, but a certain kind of handsome.To Xi Lun, Mingyu represents a symbol of success. A forbidden fruit that he has always coveted and will now do everything to possess."There were times when I hated him.”Her pulse jumped and once again her skin prickled in warning. “Hated?”“Because I realized long ago that only a man like Deng Zhi could ever possess someone like you.”A twisted suitor. Political enemies. Jealous wives. There are no ends to the list of suspects. And there are far too many enemies to be made, for both of them.It was always dangerous dealing with powerful men, especially those whose pride was displayed so eagerly. Those were the ones who were easily offended. Those were the admirers who could turn on you in a heartbeat.Will Wu Kaifeng be able to hold onto his position, against all the people determined to remove him from it? Will Mingyu and Wu Kaifeng be able to overcome their differences, their strange attraction? Can they trust each other enough to fall in love?“It’s difficult to look at you because you make me want things,” he answered plainly. “Things I cannot have.”Or will Mingyu return to her true roots, forged from a lifetime of distrust and pain amongst the beautiful world of the Lotus Palace?“She played you.” His face was twisted with hatred. “She plays everyone.”The Murder Plot:Her mere presence distracted him and he couldn’t allow that to happen. This was his duty and his calling and he needed to remain sharp to solve this puzzle, a puzzle that the courtesan was inexplicably a part.I have to comment on this, because so rarely does a Historical Romance actually executes a murder mystery so well. I loved all the details of the investigation. I love the fact that the investigation does not take a back place to the romance, rather, it's the backbone of the plot. The entire story, the setting, the mystery, weaves together so divinely. No single element overpowers the other. We get to see how Wu Kaifeng follows clues and uses his own ingenuity to solve elements in a case in circa 800 A.D. China, where criminal forensics are nonexistent. Brilliantly done, Ms. Lin.Wu Kaifeng:Some unnamable emotion flickered in his eyes, but she was unable to catch it. Mingyu was skilled at reading a man’s desires. Maybe she couldn’t read Wu Kaifeng because he had no desires. He was as dark and fathomless inside as on the outside.I do love a complicated man.With the torture of Mingyu, you might be wondering why Wu Kaifeng doesn't deserve a place on my "Jericho-fucking-Barrons" shelf. That's because Wi Kaifeng is not a cruel man. He does his job as an investigator and he is damned good at it. He needs to catch the bad guys. He tortures, but he stops when he sees that nothing more can be done. It is a despicable act, but it was not out of line with the method of the day. In this book, he is never unnecessarily cruel to Mingyu. He is harsh, he is stern, but Wu Kaifeng is a conscientious man. From a child criminal to a shopkeeper, he is unrelentlingly fair in his pursuit of justice.Moral, just, and determined to do the right thing. A simple man. A common man. A man with hidden desires. Mingyu is a courtesan, from roots as low as his own, but she is refined. A prize for a higher man, a wealthier man. One such as a lowly constable can never dream of loving such a jewel.After the kiss, Mingyu had granted him a soft, wistful smile as they parted. They both knew nothing more could become of it.Mingyu: Mingyu is but one of many courtesans within the walls of the Lotus Palace.She is a beauty, no fair and innocent maiden. At 28, Mingyu has been cruelly treated by life. She is not a person, she is a slave. Mingyu is a possession.She was part of the cycle, training another girl into the life: bondage and servitude on one side, poetry and music on the other.She has been used by men, and has been in service since she was barely a teenager. She is no virgin. Her long-time patron, General Deng, was a harsh one before he was murdered. Like most powerful men, he seeks to possess. Mingyu is but a prize possession to be shown off, like a particularly nice car you could show off to your friends. She knows powerful men, she entertains them, one could say she uses them. Wu Kaifeng confronts her on it, but as she reminds him...If Wu was waiting for her to flinch, then he would be disappointed. “Sometimes exploiting a man’s power is the only influence a woman can wield.”Mingyu has guts. She has a fire within her. One does not become the city's most celebrated courtesan by being a meek little fucking wallflower. She knows when to tease men, and when to appease them. She is not a shrinking violet. She has been weak before, and she will never be weak again.“I have no manners,” he apologized, the roughness of his voice stroking over her.“Well, Constable,” she purred. “Then I shall have to put you in your place.”The Romance: How can you not have a romance novel set in Tang Dynasty China without the mention of fate? In Chinese legend, lovers are born with a red thread on their fingers, tying their destiny together. Soul mates exist, they are fated to meet.The events of the past had created a connection between them that remained unresolved. It was fate. Yuán fèn.This romance is a slow burn. It is a fire of two intensely strong personalities, I can think of no few HR characters so equally matched as these. This is forbidden love, the two are separated by the boundaries of class, of wealth. In a culture where social lines are clearly defined, it is a difficult thing to overcome.They may be as different as day and night, but Mingyu and Wu Kaifeng burn when they're together. It takes a long time for trust to be built, for lust and attraction to grow into love. But man, it's worth seeing them til the end.She was a courtesan trained in the art of seduction, but she knew nothing beyond that. It was harder than she’d ever imagined to open her heart to someone. She didn’t even know how to begin.Welcome to the Pingkang Li.

  • Zoe
    2018-09-27 10:04

    The Jade Temptress is a very interesting read for me. Set in the imperial China, it is a historical romance featuring a courtesan and a lowly constable. We have all read our shares of courtesan-themed HRs. Most of them lose me because the heroines usually belong to the subgroups: the man-hating ones, the frigid ones, the shamed ones and the "if you love me you would have married me" ones. Needless to say, all very off-putting for me. Jeannie Lin created Sun Mingyu (h, Mingyu = bright jade, translated literally) and Wu Kaifeng (H). Mingyu the unattainable courtesan and Kaifeng, the constable who believed in nothing but justice. In a way this book reminded me a lot ofSomeone to Watch over Me, which features a courtesan (or a courtesan's twin sister) and a bow street runner. The difference is that Mingyu truly was a courtesan and a bonded one, no less. Her slave status was a major obstacle for their relationship, coupled with a murder mystery. The mystery was, mysterious. The mystery plot went on until the end of the book but somehow it did not overshadow the relationship. I think what makes this book better than mots courtesan-themed books is Mingyu, who was as elegant and graceful as the writer said she was. Most courtesans in such books are ninnies. They end up wallowing in self-pity or bitterness. Not Mingyu. From the beginning to the end, she was the graceful hostess that she was supposed to be. Her scandalous profession did not diminish her self-value and I very much appreciated that. Kaifeng was your normal quiet hero who doesn't say much. And I like that. There is no dramatic change of mind and all of a sudden this unfeeling constable turned poet. He was reliable and steady, and was clear-headed from the beginning to the end. No begging "come away with me" or accusing "you just want to be rich". He was level-headed and this part of his character appealed to me. Admittedly this book was unusual. To imagine characters of this particular time and place in a similar story as I would a story in Regency England took quite some getting used to. But I think this book was successful. There are quite a few intimate scenes but the sex wasn't very hot. I don't know. Maybe it is because they were both too mature. Not that I thought the intimate scenes are bad. They just aren't all that memorable. I read the 3rd book, a novella in the series and I read about Mingyu and Kaifeng there first. In the same book I read about the lead characters of that novella and the lead characters of book 1. I come to the conclusion that Lisa Kleypas was right when she said in one of her tweets about Helen and Rhys inMarrying Winterborne, that some couples "just have it" and she wish she "could force it." Mingyu and Kaifeng "had it", even in the novella where they were just secondary characters and caught my attention. Their story turns out to be enjoyable, whereas Mingyu's sister, heroine of book 1 who also appeared in the novella, completely failed to interest me. All in all there is nothing original about the plot in this book. But the setting, the characters well make up for it. I would continue to watch out for Jeannie Lin's books. I think she has created a niche market in HR by writing about love stories taking place in imperial China.

  • Isa Lavinia
    2018-10-07 02:50

    I was really looking forward to this book as a light, romantic read - the other books I've read of this author, The Lady's Scandalous Night and The Dragon and the Pearl, while not particularly light, focused a lot on the romance.The Jade Temptress, make no mistake, is a historical romance, but the emphasis (and, to me, the strongest point) was on the historical.I was looking forward to this one for another reason: the heroine was a courtesan, not a blushing virgin. I don't mind that plot point, but it gets tiresome, so I wanted a character who took charge in the bedroom, one who wasn't blushing and cluelessly stumbling about. The thing is, (and what a lesson that was!), this notion of mine of weaponised femininity was, as many often are, poisonous in its inception.Mingyu is, indeed, a skilled courtesan. Poems are written about her, men despair over her, powerful warlords vie for her attentions. She knows how to play the game. But there is another facet to it, it's not all glamour and female charms. Mingyu is an indentured woman. She belongs to the Madame of the Lotus Palace, sold along with her sister by their mother for a handful of coins. Her training in singing, playing, her clothes, her education, her jewels, all of it was added to the price needed for her freedom.She had a powerful warlord seemingly enamoured with her, she could (and did) refuse to become his concubine, but she couldn't very well refuse to go to his bed. She needed to turn a profit so she'd be valuable to the Lotus Palace, she needed to court favour so she'd receive gifts to redeem her sister's price and, hopefully one day, her own.When the book starts Mingyu is headed for a "meeting" with General Deng. What she finds is his headless body. She calls for Wu Kaifeng, the man who tried to torture a confession out of her in the previous book in the series. Now, I haven't read that one, but I didn't feel like I needed to have read it to follow this story - of course, now I want to read it!There is obvious bad blood between Mingyu and Kaifeng. He's pragmatism incarnate. Not susceptible to her charms. Not even touched by enough sympathy for her to keep from torturing her. Because only one thing matters to him: the truth. As a Constable he makes it his life's mission to see justice take its place. Which is why Mingyu knows she can trust him to solve this case.But, of course, the case is more intricate than it seems. I really, really loved this! Compared to the other books I've read, in this one, Lin crafts an exquisitely elaborate plot. I never really knew who to believe to be the killer until they were unmasked. And even then, there were further mysteries to unveil!I cannot commend this enough, it was an exceptionally well achieved mystery. And, as always, it's a delight to read a book that doesn't feature the same settings, the same type of people, as virtually all HR. Bear in mind, I do like the other HRs. But it's so satisfying not to have everything be told through the westernised white gaze of the usual protagonist. All genres need diversity, and it's lovely to see it in HR, as well.On that note, as always, I must praise Lin's research and knowledge of the time period. I always learn new things after finishing one of her books!Mingyu was a very compelling character. I felt for her. I felt how trapped she was, how lonely, how few her options were. I felt how strong she was, in spite of all these things. How she used what power she could, how she did not shy away from doing what needed be done, and how she held her head high while doing so. We grow used to modern heroines having more of an agency, but Mingyu was no less strong because, as she said, she realised that, “Sometimes exploiting a man’s power is the only influence a woman can wield.”Kaifeng was more closed off as a character. We didn't dwell much in his POV. I understood him as a character, I understood his choices, and his personality. I even liked him and wanted him and Mingyu to end up together. But the romance, for me, wasn't the most important part of this story. Anyway, if you want a good HR with a well-crafted mystery and sensible characters, then you certainly cannot miss this book!

  • Diversireads
    2018-10-16 05:57

    Some days, I have this pipe dream of fiction set in historical China written by Chinese people, where their Chinese characters can be as unapologetically Chinese as they want to be without pandering to a white gaze. Some days, I dream about a representation of China that is beautiful, but is not used to fetishise and aestheticise in some picture of imagined Orientalist glory. A critical take on historical China that is not condemnatory, where culture and history are worlds to inhabit, not setpieces for authors who don't know how to play in a world without smashing it to pieces.Some days, it's really hard to have this dream, because there exists so much excrement in the dredges of publishing. From white men who don Chinese women's names to write bad poetry to white women who have visions of a futuristic China ruled by Japanese emperors, it's hard out there for a Sino girl who grew up on Princess Returning Pearl and wuxia!And then Jeannie Lin comes along and my eyes, they grow wide. My heart, it starts to thump wildly. What is this mystical thing I'm witnessing? It couldn't possibly be a novel about a courtesan whose exoticism is not repeatedly emphasised, whose relationship to her livelihood is complex and nuanced! A hero who is not a traditional hero, especially not a traditional Chinese hero, because our heroes tend to be pale-skinned moon-faced willowy scholars lost in their own heads. And a murder that––is not a murder? (To be determined at a later date.)I'd actually picked up the first novel of this series, the Pingkang Li series, on a whim because it was recommended to me on Goodreads, and because it is exactly the type of 才子佳人 (talented man, beautiful woman; it's a genre, very historical, long story, no time, etc.) novel I would kind of expect. But actually that one didn't do anything for me. But then someone on Twitter posted a notice about the second novel, Jade Temptress, going on sale on Amazon and, like the spendthrift I am, I thought gee whiz! I didn't like the first novel so of course it makes perfect sense to pick up the second novel! This is how reading works, right? I'm really glad I bought it, but honestly, if I hadn't liked Jade Temptress as much as I ultimately did, I would have kicked myself.Jade Temptress tells the story of Mingyu, the best-known courtesan in Pingkang Li. She knows what men want from her, and she knows how to get what she wants from men. But Wu Kaifeng, a constable at the county magistrate's office, defies all her expectations. He is not interested in playing games, not interested in flattery. What he wants is to solve the murder of General Deng, Mingyu's patron. A murder in which Mingyu is implicated.Mingyu and Kaifeng have History, this much is evident, and it's a history that haunts the both of them. But it cannot prevent them from falling in love, even when that love could destroy everything they've worked for in a city where favour is fickle and power is king.I was initially really wary, because some of the history between Mingyu and Kaifeng (and this isn't a spoiler, this is mentioned in the first few chapters or so) includes him having tortured her during the previous novel. This was a sort of wildly inbalanced power dynamic that immediately raised my hackles, but it actually didn't become too much of an issue, largely because we understand the protagonists as holding equal power in relation to each other, and because Kaifeng is described not to be a cruel man who enjoys torture, but rather (and this isn't a comment on the modern practice of torture, but this is a historical fact within the imperial Chinese justice system) a constable whose primary objective is to get information. He is shown to do what he needs to do, but go no further.Similarly, it would have been really easy for Mingyu to be a stereotype. The "Hooker with a Heart of Gold" figure or the dragon-lady seductress, using sex to manipulate men into doing what she wants. But she's not, she's human, and it sucks that I'm so excited about that, but there it is. What's so great about Jade Temptress is that it neither seeks to discount the power Mingyu carves out for herself––the ability to steer conversations, to influence powerful political players––nor invest her with uncritical power––she is, however high she can rise, still in essence a slave, bought and paid for by the mistress of the bordello.Though this was ostensibly a mystery romance (romantic mystery?), the mystery element of the story was so-so. I wanted more, I think, of a show-down, a more dramatic close, but I was okay with how Lin chose to wrap up the novel, because for me, the true draw of the novel lies in its interpersonal dynamics and its sharp grasp of contemporaneous politics. It was honestly such a great read––not that long, just enough sexual tension to make me clutch my pearls, and a world that was so familiar.That's not to say this novel is perfect, though, because there were a few things that really kind of...rankled. Lin's positioning of fair skin as being beautiful over dark skin is certainly a contemporaneous (and let's be real, a contemporary) attitude, but the emphasis on Mingyu's beauty as it is tied to her paleness and Wu Kaifeng's looks as being, if not explicitly ugly, then at least not handsome, as it is tied to his darkness (particularly when factoring in the fact that he's at one point described as "barbaric") and how this is reflected in their social roles––Mingyu in a position of cultivation and admiration, Kaifeng in a position of inferiority, closely associated with violence––make for an exceptionally uncomfortable read.Theoretically, you could make the argument that this is merely a reflection of the beauty standards of the day. And this argument might hold water––if the author did not also make sure to stress that Mingyu and the other beautiful ladies in the novel are willowy and slim, which are distinctly modern attitudes, as the Tang Dynasty in particular is known for prizing fatness in women. And while there are beautiful women who are known for their thinness specifically (such as Zhao Feiyan), the defining beauty of the Tang Dynasty was Yang Guifei, who was fat, which is how we came to the expression "环肥燕瘦"–– "fat Yang Yuhuan and thin Zhao Feiyan," which is used to describe the wide range of beauty that exists.The novel was also pretty aggressively heterosexual? Not in the whole 'everyone is straight' kind of way (excuse me this is like 1200 years ago the concept of sexuality is a modern one, blah blah etc. etc. historicity and historiography bleh bleh bleh) but in thatHe bent to kiss her the way a kiss should happen between a man and a woman. Not out in the open. Not with drums beating and the threat of intrusion from the outside world.Like...I get it? She's comparing this to one of their earlier kisses, and as she's a woman and he's a man, I'm not exactly pissed at it, but the way it's phrased is not a cute look. The stress––though not overbearing––on the man/woman, maleness/womanness, masculinity/femininity is definitely present and...well. Yikes is all I can really say.I did really enjoy the novel despite some of these problems. It has a sophisticated grasp of the Tang world that felt textured with reality while not being afraid to touch the fantastical. The characters were richly drawn and on equal footing with each other, their interactions full of the things that are both said and unsaid, both juggling what they should do with what they want to do. But while the novel portrays a sweet love story, there is a bitter edge that isn't afraid to look with a critical eye, which is something I enjoy in a novel.

  • Ana Rînceanu
    2018-10-05 03:45

    The ending is magnificent.

  • Jocelyn
    2018-09-16 03:42

    A courtesan could scold, tease, argue. She could even use her tears if the need arose. Her arsenal was filled with every woman's weapon that existed, but the one thing she could not do was cause a man to lose face.Quite possibly my favorite quote in the whole book, because if there's one thing the Chinese hate to death, it's "losing face." I was probably laughing hysterically when I read that. Except I also got to see it in a more exotic context, the tightrope a courtesan has to walk when playing with the men who hold power over her--usually men with a need to possess.I have been going bloodthirsty for Chinese anything for a little while, and the discovery of the name of Jeannie Lin seemed perfect. It also helps that it looks like her novels mostly work as standalones, so I can pick and choose which ones seem the most interesting. This is the second in the series, but I read it first because of the allure of what seemed like a woman's sexual daring.And it really does feel like it's set in Tang dynasty China, unlike GGK's heavily sexualized, heavily fetishized, somewhat Westernized version inUnder Heaven. The correct honorifics are used, appropriate modes of address. There are fascinating hints at the complexity of the imperial bureaucracy, distinctions in social class, invocations of poetry and history in a world where sly verbal sparring is a dominant form of exchange. One reviewer said that reading Jeannie Lin was like watching a Chinese drama, and I agree. I wasn't surprised to find that the murder mystery was just as thoroughly researched as it seemed--Lin says that Wu Kaifeng's forensic knowledge is based on actual records of criminal investigations from the Han through the Tang.And there's the way culture is woven into the structure of the story, too. The belief that destiny is the one who plays matchmaker. So strong that even the most twisted character in the story--Tang dynasty version of the creepy stalker, you might say--seems to share that belief, and channels every ounce of his willpower to make it come true. On the flipside, it's Mingyu who realizes her dreams against all odds through a mutual growth with Wu Kaifeng--a romance that destiny seems to be working against. My only complaint is that I was hoping for a somewhat more epic confrontation with the main threat (view spoiler)[Xi Lun (hide spoiler)], who for such a full-fledged, powerful character gets put in his place a tad too quickly.But for all that, it was a wonderfully written relationship, alternating between the clash of personalities and shared vulnerability. Threatened by outward circumstances, but steadfast--or maybe not?--internally.Because this is romance, there is a strong undercurrent of sexual longing that culminates into a few sex scenes, all of which are of the bodice-ripping sort. Don't let that deter you, though. The main plot is a thoroughly puzzling murder case and I can safely say that there is no way to know what's going to happen. I cracked this open at 12:30 in the morning, thinking to get in a few chapters, and before I knew it I'd gulped down 60% and it was 4 a.m. with two hours left before I had to get up for school. I woke up two hours later with no ill effects and burned through the last 40% between classes before lunchtime, my face likely glued to the page. I can't remember.My only regret is that I can't seem to find it in paper form, which I would really like to, cracked iPad screen and all. Still, I'll be searching for more Jeannie Lin with a ridiculously big smile on my face. I also secretly fantasize about what this book would be like if it were made into a Chinese drama...ok, never mind. *blushes*

  • La Mala ✌
    2018-09-16 07:57

    "As the bright moon shines over the sea,From far away you share this moment with me.For parted lovers lonely nights are the worst to be.All night long I think of no one but thee. "Zhang Jiu-Ling4.5In a genre usually filled with :-spineless and naive heroines -unrealistic caveman heroes -predictable and cheesy plots to find a novel with none of the above is almost impossible .Luckily , for demanding readers like myself , there're a few magnificent authors who have managed to avoid said cliches .And Jeannie Lin is one of them ."The Jade Temptress" is a novel about a woman ...:(Li Shishi)"Mingyu had been in her place once, but it seemed so long ago. Now she was part of the cycle, training another girl into the life: bondage and servitude on one side, poetry and music on the other."A man ..."He was the one who was difficult to look at. His face lacked any refinement. Wu Kaifeng wasn’t ugly—he was more like a puzzle that didn’t quite fit together. There was no harmony to him, no sense of balance. Wu was long in the face, broad in the nose. The eyes were black and hard and unwavering. A sharp jawline framed his hard mouth, a mouth that she had never seen smile. Yet when all of those features were put together, they created a picture that was inexplicably striking"And Their interactions ...“I hear there can be bitter rivalries among women.” She snorted. “And there aren’t bitter rivalries among men? There’s always a higher mountain, they say.” “Or someone who feels the need to exert their superiority,” he agreedWU and MINGYU are two errant souls whose lives revolve around work . Hers , as a slave to powerful men ; his , as a head constable . But While for Mingyu days are a constant longing for freedom , for WU Kaifeng life is tolerable except when it comes to his difficult past ... or when it comes to dealing with a certain courtesan whose beauty bewitches every man she meets .Both of them were born in poverty and , after years struggling , they've learn not to trust anyone other than themselves. They are essentially the same: proud , cold and , in some ways , ruthless . THat is why when they collide , their encounters are exquisite -filled with smart dialogues , sexual tension and an equal intelligence given to both characthers that makes the couple even more loveable .BUt Of course , the novel is not only about romance ...Besides the delighful relationship between the main characthers , the story also deals with the role of women in China during the years of the Tang Dinasty .."Mingyu folded her hands in her lap and kept her gaze lowered. She didn’t drink with them. She was an implement in this ritual, like the clay teapot or the cups. She almost dreaded the moment the most senior member of the party would finish his cup and break the silence. It was easy being a silent fixture. Almost freeing."....and A crime involving a beheaded victim (And if that doesnt give you goosebumps , then I don't know what will)that is well written and is as interesting and important as the romance -and not merely an excuse to unite the main couple .An historical romance that every fan of the genre should read : Well written , with unexpected twists and a beautiful love story that avoids the usual stereotypes. __I got an ARC!! YAYYY!I'll start reading today . between the waves and the wind , and the freezing air of the beach -because , naturally , after eleven years of not setting a foot nowhere near a beach , when I finally get the opportunity to do so ... IT'S raining! Lucky me ...BIG THANKS TO THE AUTHOR FOR THIS COPY !

  • Jewel
    2018-09-29 01:35

    3.5 starsOnce again Jeannie Lin writes a setting that is extremely enjoyable, and characters that are interesting and different.We are introduced to most of the characters in the previews book "the Lotus Palace" and pairing Wu with Mingyu did not come as a surprise.General Deng, one of the most important people in the empire, is found dead by Mingyu, who goes to Wu, the constable, for help even though it is known by everyone that she despises him.Or does she?Wu is a hard man with secrets and a mysteries past. He does not know how to deal with Mingyu the favored and most sought after courtesan. He doesn't have pretty words or poetry in him, a straightforward man in all his actions and words, it seems farfetched that she would be interested in him.Yet while he tries to solve the murder mystery their relationship goes through changes that makes him wonder about her true feelings and motives.The mystery was really well written with a few surprises, it was not easy to figure out which kept me interested. I'm hoping the next installment in this series is about Wei Wei whom we see briefly in both books.This review is for a free copy courtesy of Harlequin via NetGalley.

  • Eva Rose
    2018-10-16 03:59

    At first I wasn't sure about this book but as I read on I became enthralled. Wu Kaifeng and Lady Mingyu are sooo much more interesting than Yue-Ying and Bai Huang. I was captured by the prose and the ability the authoress has for transporting me into a different cultural setting in an effortless way. It helps that the author intimately knows what she is talking about and I just enjoyed every moment of the book. It never lost its shine like the first one and I truly felt for the main couple. Lin has really improve in her writing and her pacing has improve greatly.Kaifeng and Mingyu relationship was this effortless flow of events that felt organic and never forced in any way. At first I was leery of ever feeling their love and connection but Lin proved me wrong. I felt their love, I felt the impossibility of their relationship and the despair at circumstances that set them apart. I was also incredibly happy that Mingyu was able to escape her infuriating suitor, Magistrate Li, on her own, it was an empowering moment to see her escape her fate. I want to read more books Jeannie Lin.

  • Sophia
    2018-09-21 05:36

    When I realized who would be the main characters in this one, I was all the more so eager to read it. This is the second book in the intriguing The Pingkang Li series set in the Tang Dynasty of China and featuring a combination of murder mystery and romance with the pleasure ward of the capitol city as the backdrop. Mingyu is the enigmatic older sister to the heroine of the previous book and Wu Kaifeng was the intimidating police constable who played his part in solving the murder. They were at odds with each other not just because of their vastly different stations in life, but their personalities and agendas too. Now they are both the leads and their story was all that I could hope for and then some.Lady Mingyu is the most beautiful and coveted courtesan in the pleasure district living a comfortable life at the Lotus Palace and from everyone's perspective she should be pleased with her place at the top of the food chain in her sphere. With her sister freed and happily married, with her own bond price way beyond her means, and with the new arrival to the city of her long time protector who has done more than hint that he wants her for his concubine, she grows worried about her future chance of freedom and feels loneliness. She yearns for freedom, but that is beyond her means with General Deng's return.Constable Wu Kaifeng gazes from afar on the beautiful Mingyu. He knows she hates him for his part in her arrest and interrogation the year before and he knows that she hides behind a mask using men for her advantage, but he can't stop yearning. Kaifeng is under a lot of pressure now with someone higher up pushing to have him removed and he needs to be extra careful about how he does his job. His latest murder case will tax him sorely to stay professional. Mingyu sends for him because she has discovered the body of her lover General Deng. She is well aware that she is a suspect, but he doesn't know what to make of her new attitude toward him. Is she planning to use him because she did commit the murder or because she is afraid of being accused and interrogated or is she telling the truth?Mingyu learns that her reprieve of not being sold is short lived. Deng is gone, but now 'Mother' has a new man, a Palace Investigator, who wants her. He has wanted her since he was a student and has followed her activities closely. Mingyu sees him as a stalker and someone who just wants to 'collect' her and hide her away. She must tread carefully though because he has made it clear that he hates Kaifeng and will make things hard for him during the investigation. Mingyu hides her need for Kaifeng from everyone not out of shame, but necessity. He doesn't understand what she sees in him and is suspicious that she is just using him, but in reality, it is because he is the first person to see and like the real her.The machinations of the inspector, the plotting of Mingyu's protectoress, the intrigue surrounding the murder all tighten the danger and tension for Mingyu and Kaifeng. Their relationship is forbidden and heartbreaking because it doesn't stand a chance, but it soon becomes a weapon used to harm them both. In the end, they must solve the murder and use their wits to stay alive, but it is something more- something even harder still- that is required for a chance at happiness.I cannot shower enough praise on the author for this book and the rest of her stories. Her command of the historical background, rich and full characters and their stories, and twisting plot paths is so good. I always feel like I'm really there and my emotions are always engaged. She does so well with the forbidden romance and writing the couple out of the corner that seems so hopeless without compromising the realism of the time. This particular series is set against the background of the Chinese Geisha culture and it is so artistically beautiful without compromising the seedy reality of life behind the scenes for those who live in the pleasure palaces. Mingyu is a beautiful, talented courtesan who is a prize hostess for the rich nobles and students who sit in her salons as she pours their tea and wine, sings, plays music, discusses poetry, art, and politics of the day. She is everything refined, subtle and graceful- the opposite of her love interest, Kaifeng. She tended to hide and deny her own emotions and desires, but it made sense in this instance. She was afraid to step out on faith because people who are sold by their own parents and owned by others tend to not trust in concepts like love and happiness.Kaifeng is a bluntly honest, simple man who others see as a brute and are afraid of him. He has a past that has taught him to push his emotions into a box. He has had to work hard for everything he has and it is all precariously close to being taken away by the whim of a more powerful, vindictive man. Yet for all this, he sees through all the artifice that surrounds Mingyu and appreciates the woman under the cosmetics, silks and jewels. He is protective and gentle, but always honest about what he wants even when she cannot be honest with herself.Their attraction is acted on and it is truly passionate. They both consider a relationship hopeless and even dangerous, but can't help seeking each other out. This is not one where trite words or actions are tossed out because these are two realistic, jaded people. I loved watching this relationship develop as they worked slowly, but surely to solve the ticklish murder mystery.The mystery was not an easy one which is what I liked. I had no idea who did it or even why up until the end.The presence of the characters from the previous book were a wonderful inclusion. I loved seeing how Yue-Ying and Bai Huang are doing along with his precocious sister Wei-Wei. I hope she gets a book too maybe even with Wu Kaifeng's magistrate friend. I think she'd be like the Nancy Drew of Ancient China.All in all, I enjoyed immersing myself in this book and recommend it and the series to those who enjoy historical romantic suspense in a spicy opposites attract romance with a cunning mystery and a gorgeous Asian historical backdrop.My thanks to Net Galley for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

  • Dina
    2018-10-06 03:52

    4 1/2 starsNote: I received this eARC from Harlequin via NetGalley. That had no influence on my review/rating.

  • Cindy Eliza
    2018-10-06 09:58

    I've enjoyed both the Pingkang Li series tremendously. Wish they could have adapted this into a wuxia series!

  • Hannah
    2018-09-23 09:47

    Jeannie Lin is always my go-to author when I feel like immersing myself in a historical setting - her Tang Dynasty China is wonderfully vivid and simply sparkling with rich detail, capturing both the beauty and cultural sophistication in Chang'an and its seedy underbelly. The world of the Pingkang Li, the pleasure quarter of Chang'an, immediately captured my imagination when I read the first in the series and knowing that Yueying's older sister Mingyu and the intimidating Constable Wu Kaifeng will be the focus in Book 2 only made me that much more excited to pick up The Jade Temptress.Mingyu is the famed flower of the Pingkang Li, the most sought-after courtesan in Chang'an with a reputation for being as beautiful as she is aloof and untouchable. But the glimpses we saw of the real Mingyu behind her carefully-maintained mask in the first book revealed a truly compelling character even then, and seeing those layers peeled back one by one as Mingyu gradually freed herself from her prison here was delightful. It was not hard to be drawn into Mingyu's story, because even in writing Mingyu felt strong and charismatic; unlike her sister Yueying, she is determined, assured and her years at the Pingkang Li have taught her not only skepticism, but to hone every skill she has in her arsenal as a woman and a courtesan. Underneath all that, Mingyu is also a lonely and very tired soul who wants to regain her freedom and shed the image that she'd worn most of her life as a glorified slave, and I rooted for her the whole way.We got to know Wu Kaifeng less, since there was much less time dedicated to his POV and he was a reticent character even then, but he is morally just and his outward reserve masked a great deal of passion that only becomes apparent after an extended association with Mingyu. He and Mingyu shared a magnetic push-pull relationship that was so much fun to read, particularly with the element of forbidden romance that brought some delicious angst. The only aspect that could have been improved on this front was the speed at which Mingyu and Kaifeng moved from fiery antagonism and reluctant attraction to open demonstrations of affection - while it suits Mingyu's worldly character to be direct when she's made up her mind what she wanted, I nevertheless feel that the speed of relationship development in the first phase could have been somewhat slowed, considering Mingyu had (not so long ago) resented Kaifeng for the way she suffered under his interrogation.The murder mystery in The Jade Temptress was exceptionally well-crafted throughout most of the novel - it was very suspenseful, had genuine stakes for the both Mingyu and Kaifeng and I loved the tingle of excitement that the introduction of every new clue and suspect brought. It wasn't easy to immediately guess who the culprit may be, either. Unfortunately, there were a few inconsistencies that cropped up along the way, and the ultimate resolution was disappointing: (view spoiler)[There is no real justice to achieved in the end; the best outcome was that our couple is free of their ties to the case and knows what happened. (hide spoiler)] Even more disappointing was the character of Inspector Xi Lun, who was closely (maybe too closely) tied to the murder mystery from the very beginning... except as it turns out (view spoiler)[he had nothing to do with the case at all. Not just that, but the threat he posed towards Mingyu was not satisfactorily resolved - that he wanted her was clear, but why? Out of desire? And for someone who was so threatening throughout the book, he was too-quickly neutralized at the end - so quickly that it was almost anti-climatic. There's also the strange scene where Mingyu confronted him, but he left unscathed and the matter unresolved (hide spoiler)].Despite a few disappointing factors regarding the mystery, this is nonetheless a really enjoyable historical romantic-suspense story with complex characters that you'd root for, a slow-burn romance that puts the trend of insta-love to shame and a richly-woven backdrop. I do hope there's more to come in the Pingkang Li series.

  • Lexie
    2018-09-21 05:47

    Seriously book 3 will feature Wei Wei right? At any rate, Mingyu who seemed so much the cold, aloof jade and Constable Wu, inscrutable and intimidating made for a fine pair. Unlike Huang and Yue-ying, Mingyu and the constable understand how all actions create consequences no matter how small. Even as he is inconsiderate of his words, Wu understands their effect, just as Mingyu can read how best to influence those around her by look.The mystery of this book, much like its predecessor THE LOTUS PALACE is both obvious and hidden. The Pingkang Li holds many secrets and its inhabitants jealously horde knowledge until it benefits them otherwise. No less then 4 times did I feel I understood the solution, and in truth my first assumption had been correct though not for the right motivations.  Very easily this could have felt artificial.  Essentially Mingyu finds herself at the center of yet another murder, this one of her long time patron who she both needs for the stability he represents and despises for the position he puts her in.  Wu investigates, not completely trusting of Mingyu's innocence.  In the year since THE LOTUS PALACE the two have circled each other, rarely directly in each other's sphere, but much too often in passing.  Despite herself Mingyu finds Wu intriguing.In the time since her sister went off with Bai Huang, Mingyu has tried to distance herself from Yue-ying so that she may have an easier time settling in.  This has left precious few people Mingyu can reliably trust and share her worries with, and much to everyone's surprise Constable Wu is that person.  She knows he is a man who will hunt for the truth and won't be swayed by politics or bribes.  She wants to know what happened to the General as much as anyone, even if it does lead to her downfall.Wu is a man that what you see if what you get.  He doesn't play games, doesn't mince words or offer insincere declarations.  Mingyu confuses him more than any other courtesan or woman he's come across because she doesn't reveal herself through action or word.  He comes to understand her as they come together to solve the murder, but its rocky at first.As in Yue-ying's happy ending, Mingyu has to have the strength to grab her future.  Its difficult and Wu doesn't make it easy either, but the future she builds is one she is proud of.  

  • Liane
    2018-10-04 08:04

    4.5 starsOh, that last section, and that epilogue. Happiness, indeed.Mingyu and Wu were fully fleshed-out characters, and their motivations, self-doubts and inner conflicts, and joys were all realized. As with the other Jeannie Lin books (this is only my second, though - but certainly not my last), the historical atmosphere was excellent, and the writing, quietly moving. It's a mystery too, by the way. I find myself sometimes struggling with this sort of romancy-mystery-mashup genre; here, the mystery held its own and added its own tension to the tale. I was pleased with the revelations and resolution.

  • Harlequin Books
    2018-10-08 09:45

    "Once again Lin showcases her talents for crafting a taut and original mystery set in the exotic world of the Pingkang Li. What she does so brilliantly is expose the dark, deceitful world beneath the sophisticated facade of the glamorous era in which the pleasure palace is a central fixture. Lin's crisp, clear prose and her seemingly aloof and austere characters are perfect detectives for this type of mystery, which is one her fans will relish." RT Book Reviews, rated 4 1/2 starsLotus Palace, book #2

  • Suzanne
    2018-10-02 08:47

    'The Jade Temptress' is the second book in Lin's romantic Pingkang Li Mysteries series. I enjoyed revisiting the Tang Dynasty pleasure district from 'The Lotust Palace' and many of the characters from that first book. Beautiful writing, fascinating historical detail, and a well created fictional work full of danger, romance, and mystery.

  • Nidofito
    2018-09-16 04:56

    Rating: 3.5/5I found the murder mystery in The Jade Temptress more interesting than in its prequel but overall the book just didn't have the same impact on me.

  • Stephanie
    2018-10-01 04:36

    Definitely commanded my attention during a flight. My favorite part of this series is the very evocative portrayal of the claustrophobic lives lived by these courtesans.

  • MBR
    2018-10-16 03:58

    The Jade Temptress is the second book in The Pingkang Li Mysteries, and tells the story of Mingyu, the most celebrated courtesan at The Lotus Palace. Even though this book can be read as a standalone, to experience the wide range of emotions the unfolding story exposes the reader to, I would recommend reading the series in order.Wu Kaifeng, known as Constable Wu is a man of serious demeanor, having never shown an interest in her, unlike men of the caliber that Mingyu usually spends her time with. But the murder of Mingyu’s long term patron General Deng Zhi brings Wu and Mingyu together in a way that deepens the awareness that had sizzled to life between them from almost the beginning. of their acquaintance, though neither had acknowledged the fact at first.While Mingyu is beauty personified with every man who comes to The Lotus Palace enamored by her presence, Wu is the opposite of what one would call “handsome” in the classical sense. But his strong presence, his demeanor, the way he holds himself, his strong sense of seeing justice through, and the way he is helplessly ensnared by the strength of character that Mingyu hides from most; all that and more makes Wu a formidable character, one that I fell head over heels in love with from the minute I came across him in the first book.Mingyu’s past, the way she had become the most sought after courtesan at The Lotus Palace is one that grabs the emotions of the reader. Similar is how Wu grew up, his character even then one that was different from most children. How Jeannie Lin creates such beauty in a world where murder, jealousy, and traversing the treacherous waters of Chinese imperial politics is one that continues to amaze me. I would always come back for more because similar to authors like Sherry Thomas, Jeannie Lin is one of a kind and there is no giving up on that.I absolutely loved the story that unfolded in The Jade Temptress, more so than the first book in the series. I have a thing for strong and silent heroes, and Constable Wu personifies all that and more. Mingyu is not the average heroine material that you encounter in most romance books, but she is endearing in so many ways that I fell for her just as hard when it came right down to it.As the story reached its ultimate conclusion, I couldn’t help but marvel at the beauty and utter perfection that Jeannie Lin created with the characters, the story, and the ending. I loved the way Kaifeng bought the one thing that mattered most to Mingyu, and yet, waited patiently, biding his time until Mingyu came to him on her own volition. That was profound in a way I cannot describe, because for a woman such as Mingyu, that was a gift that was priceless. I loved the tidbits that showed the struggles both of them go through to make a different life for themselves together – and that in essence clinched the deal for me.This is one of Jeannie Lin’s best works, and comes highly recommended for fans of beautifully crafted romance novels. Rating = 5/5 For more reviews and quotes, please visitwww.maldivianbookreviewer.com

  • The Reading Panda
    2018-10-02 07:45

    I LOVED THIS BOOK! I started The Jade Temptress directly after finishing The Lotus Palace because I needed to know more about Mingyu. Her devotion to her sister was so sweet to read, and I just loved her in The Lotus Palace. I loved her even more in this book. This book is very special for two reasons. First, we get an inside look at criminology in 848 AD China. China is renowned for the knowledge and inventions that came from its culture. China has contributed so much to the world, and this book reminded me of that. Even though forensic science was nonexistent, there was still science involved in solving the crime. Wu Kaifeng not only took notes of observations in the crime scene itself, he also looked at the whole body at his headquarters and took sketches and notes then as well. He was also observant and made a profile of the suspected murderer. I respected that the investigation was professional even though they did not have the luxuries we have now. Second, I got an inside glimpse of what it must have been like to be courtesan. Mingyu was the consummate professional. She knew how to manipulate men and use their power to her advantage, her only source of power. She knew when to tease or appease them. She knew how to put men in their places without causing them to lose face. I also got a glimpse of what it must have felt like to be objectified and possessed. She was aware that she was a slave, and she was aware that the men that fawned over her would never respect or even defend her.I cannot begin to imagine the hardships the women of the pleasure quarters must have faced, but this book gave me a good insight. As for the romance, it was oh so sweet. Kaifeng was aloof and cold. As the story progressed, however, I got to see that underneath his cold veneer he was fiercely loyal. Not everyone is romantic or gushes with love, and that is completely fine. Kaifeng was loyal and devoted to Mingyu. He was her "ride or die". Mingyu had fire in her. She wanted to be free, and she fought tooth and nail to get her freedom. She was drawn to Kaifeng precisely because he wasn't the gushing type. She was so sick of the sweet words and loving poetry of her patrons that she was no longer moved by romance; she wanted something real. Mingyu, in turn, made Kaifeng feel love and belonging again. Their romance is sweet because they each provided what the other needed. I know that there is a novella about Wei-Wei, Huang's little sister, but I do not know if there are more Pingkang Li novels in the works. I hope Lin continues with the series. I wouldn't mind seeing Wu Kaifeng and Mingyu's family completed with little babies!

  • Sheryl
    2018-09-27 05:52

    Mingyu is one of the most revered courtesans in the Chinese capital of Chang An, during the Tang dynasty. She is famed for her beauty, elegance as well as hosting skills. She is embroiled into a gruesome murder and tossed into a scene of political intrigue, when she is summoned to the house of her patron, the high-ranking General Deng, and finds him beheaded. She approaches her arch-nemesis, Constable Kaifeng, for help (they had presumably started off on a bad note in Book 1 of the series) to clear her name. As they work together on this case, they start growing closer. This was an unusual and interesting read. This is the first time I've come across a historical romance set in Imperial China, and written in such detail. I especially enjoyed the references to the tea ceremony and the art of hosting. Most historical romances are usually set in England. The mystery at the heart of the book was quite deftly woven and I didn't see the revelation coming. I had expected this to be a very straight forward romance. I especially liked the reference to how the courtesan (Mingyu) was indentured to the house that she worked in, and how her wages were inflated till beyond redemption even after she became famous and successful and could draw a high income. This was pretty much the case for the Asian pleasure system. Overall, a short and breezy read that I enjoyed because this heroine has a stronger spine than most of the wilting beauties in other romance novels. This book also offered a fresh perspective by coming in from a different cultural angle.What I didn't like was the title - The Jade Temptress - what in the world?

  • Nessa
    2018-09-25 07:40

    I CAN SAY THAT THIS AUTHOR'S WRITING IS IMPRESSIVE BUT IT LACKS THE KIND OF EMOTION THAT KEEPS ONE ATTUNED TO THE STORY. WHAT MADE ME MARCH FORWARD WITH THIS ONE WAS THE CHEMISTRY BETWEEN THE PROSTITUTE AND AN AUSTERE CONSTABLE.OUR HERO is a serious man who takes no shit from his job and he's determined to solve crimes and give it the justice it deserves. When another dead body comes into play, the list of suspects are numerous but it puts the beautiful Mingyu in his path again. This time, fate is going to give them a chance at chance for romance but how will it playout?OUR HEROINE is the sister of Yue Ying in the first book, and I can honestly say that I wasn't a fan of hers until getting to know her in this story. Mingyu is no shy virginal miss. She's had her share of man, and not wanting to judge because it is during the ancient times of China, I can say that it made me queasy. OVERALL while I wasn't thoroughly entertained by the whole murder plot because I'm not a fan of reading crime and mystery but watching it....I did like the chemistry between the characters, which was the only thing that made me persevere.

  • Ewa
    2018-10-08 01:43

    I'm marking it as DNF though technically it wasn't one. I read about half of the book ((view spoiler)[when they have sex for the first time (hide spoiler)]), lost interest and went on to read only last chapter and an epilogue. So I finished it, but I missed out on big chunk of the story. I read couple of Ms Lin's books few years ago and I remember enjoying them. I don't know what wnet wrong here. When I read romance I suspend my disbelief and I know everything will work out in the end. In regency romance if all plot devices fail you can always have a guest appearance by Prince Regent himself and he will usually smooth out situation somehow by throwing his money or influence at the H/h. Here (maybe because Ms Lin's writing is actually very good) I felt that situation was tragic and I didn't know what kind of miracle can help our couple. I guess I just wasn't in a mood for a very angsty read.

  • Summer
    2018-09-21 04:53

    I still enjoyed this but I found it less engaging than the first book in the series. In the first book I felt like the mystery and romance had equal footing in the pace of the story whereas here the romance took more of a center stage role. I also didn't quite feel as connected to the protagonist Mingyu as I did to her sister from the first book. I did like Constable Wu Kaifeng but I feel like both Mingyu and Kaifeng were written as characters that live with a lot of personal walls surrounding them and even in their POVs you felt somewhat disconnected. It was still enjoyable and I'd like to read more by the author.

  • Alice Heider
    2018-10-05 08:42

    This book was amazing! I was a bit nervous because the first novel in this series, The Lotus Palace, was a little hard to follow. I thought Jeannie Lin did a fantastic job balancing the different elements of history, romance, and mystery with great pacing throughout. This made both the story and the characters multi-faceted and captivating. Even though I've read almost all of Lin's stories and thought I knew all her tricks, I still got sucked into the story and fell into the traps she set for readers. Overall, very engaging and highly recommend!

  • Moo Montatip
    2018-10-08 01:48

    สำนวนการแปล แปลกประหลาด เพราะชอบใช้คำที่ประดิษฐ์ขึ่นเอง เช่น จ่องจ๋อย นี่แปลว่าไรคะ อยากบอกว่าเนื้อเรื่องน่าติดตาม แต่แปลโดยใช้ตัวเองเป็นที่ตั้งอะแย่ ต่อไปเห็นชื่อคนแปลคงไม่กล้าซื้อค่ะ รับไม่ได้

  • Anonymous
    2018-09-17 05:48

    Actual Rating; 3.5

  • Nhi Le (The Literary Bystander)
    2018-10-15 07:58

    I'd like to start this review by stating that I blame Khanh (Clowns, Nightmares, and Bunnies) entirely for piquing my interests in this book. Because now I feel like I'm a kid who has discovered where their folks hid all the chocolate/lollies in the house. I don't want anything but to get my grubby hands on every one of Jeannie Lin's books, and devour them until there is nothing else. Like in a 'staying up until 4am in the morning just to finish it' kind of way. Because who needs sleep? Sleep is for the weak! And the patient, unlike me who just needed know if Mingyu and Kaifeng were ever gonna get together.I think I'm going on a downward spiral, and I need to stop binge reading and devouring every one of this woman's books before I just end up wasting away, living on a diet of just emotional anguish/catharsis and a lot of free time.There probably isn't any new praises I could bestow upon this book, that I hadn't already written/thought about in regards to her other works. The setting and work of Pingkang Li feels real, well-thought out and actually plays an important part to the characters, especially to Mingyu. While I feel she and Yue Ying are similar in their jaded and realist perception on the world, their part in it, and their fierce bond with each other - I felt that the dream of true freedom was far more important to Mingyu than her sister. This book also helped delved into her character, and explain why she was so distant and aloof in the previous novel. I did feel the weariness and suffocating atmosphere that Mingyu had spent years trapped in, only managing through perfecting the art of pleasure, and manipulating the situation to her own by any means necessary. Any glamorization of a courtesan's life is absent, and Lin doesn't hide the horrid reality of what it must have been like to live as a walking talking doll/trophy girlfriend. Pretty to look at, and nothing else.There is a balance between exposition and showing us how the characters were like/felt about each other, unlike most works in its genre which just wants to bore its reader through an overkill of info-dumping. The romance plays an integral part to the plot, but not overwhelming it to the point it becomes a case of Romantic Plot Tumor. There is a murder mystery to solve, and Constable Wu Keifang - who has a Javert-like sense of justice and persistence, finds himself conflicted when Mingyu is somehow involved in it. You don't have to had read The Lotus Palace (although it help give more background info) to know that there was bad blood between them. Not that I can blame Mingyu, I'd be more than rightly pissed off if some guy tried to torture information/a confession out of me without so much a speck of emotion across his face. But somehow this one main interaction instigates a chain of events that just drawn them to each other, despite their confusion and uncertainty as to what it is. Fate, lust, love - whatever it is, it wasn't long before they succumbed to their mutual desire, which grew into something more. Like Suying and Tao, or even Huang and Yue-Ying, both our protagonists have their own emotional baggage; and despite coming to term with their growing attraction and feelings for each other, their bond grows to mean so much more to them. I don't know about other readers, but I know my heart just ached for these two, when they relished in the fact that the other just valued and acknowledged them for who they really were. That they weren't just discarded/only noticed when they were useful to someone else. I liked that contrast of artifice versus bluntness in how Mingyu and Kaifeng chose to carry/portray themselves to others. You can understand why Mingyu was intrigued by him, a man who would cut through the bullshit and tell her the truth straight to her face, no pretense at all. Their love was a slow burning and believable romance, where they help each other realize that they were important, regardless if others didn't see it like that, and were welders of their own destiny. Long story short, I loved this book, especially the romance that made me wish with every fibre of my being that they would be allowed to be together (because they just belonged together) and basically, I was like this throughout the entire novel:

  • Hilly
    2018-10-11 09:01

    3.5 stars. Very nice read; I only rounded down because of the inconsistencies in the mystery and of the characters.This is a very good sequel to The Lotus Palace. There was a very twisty mystery, but I'm leery of admiring it for surprising me, because I suspect that it was written differently and was changed during drafts.Initially, I read Kaifeng as a (less intellectual) composite of BBT's Sheldon, The Theory of Attraction's Ivan, Sherlock Holmes, Blakes 7's Avon (and by extension, You Have The Right To Remain Silent's Curt). He didn't finish that way, however.What I liked: > Scarlet Pimpernel (or Lord Peter Whimsey) meets Sherlock Holmes. I'd have liked to have seen more of Bai Huang & Wu Kaifeng working together.> How Kaifeng resolved and solved the local crimes early on. Ethics are important to me in a protagonist.> Sherlock and LaStrade. The dynamic of that partnership/friendship worked for me.What I didn't like:> The purpose of the picture of Mingyu found at the murder scene (view spoiler)[ was never adequately explained(hide spoiler)].> The presence of the Inspector as a long-time admirer of Mingyu and his history as a student-artist (view spoiler)[ were not pertinent if he was neither the murderer of the General nor Mingyu's stalker. I did not feel that the question was adequately resolved as to whether he wanted her for his own masculine desires or for his pride in solving the case(hide spoiler)] .> The appearance of the Bai family was necessary to Mingyu's story as her access to power and protection, but they were so vivid in The Lotus Palace that it was sad to see them acting merely as as props here. Our meeting of them here felt hollow to me -- again, perhaps they were of greater importance in earlier drafts and were edited down to exist as mere devices in this finished product.> The Lotus Palace had more depth of feeling; The Jade Temptress felt less passionate to me overall (not just due to Mingyu & Kaifeng's reserve).> I think that Kaifeng could have been (might have been originally written as) a genius detective, but that his character's edginess and perspicacity were dialed back during the course of the book. I could feel him becoming blunted and ordinary as I read on.This was a really richly written book, but as much as a wanted to prefer these characters and their relationship to the first book, this book had obvious weaknesses inherent to a sequel of a more carefully crafted book. This read like a patchwork of ideas and scenes. Either there were too many editors or not enough.