What Are You Reading Monday, 30 November

Thanks to J Kaye’s Book Blog for hosting this weekly meme.

Hello and Happy Monday – I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.

Given all the festivities, it was quiet on the reading front, but I did at least finish a book, and am chipping away at hitting 50 books by the end of the year. I am having a hard time choosing my reading this week, so what you see below might change later this week.

How about you, what will you be reading this week? And, how are you doing on reaching your 2009 reading goals?

BOOK I COMPLETED
1. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

BOOK TO CONTINUE
1. Decoding the Lost Symbol by Simon Cox

BOOKS TO BEGIN
1. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Borrows
2. Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Jane Austen and Ben H. Winters

Review: The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel by Maureen Lindley

I had really high hopes for The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel: A Novel by Maureen Lindley, it has some of my favorite elements – historical fiction, set in Asia and offering a glimpse into a piece of Asian life. But my feelings for this book are lukewarm. It’s not that it wasn’t well written, or that there wasn’t a good flow or overall storytelling. In this instance it really was a case of disliking a main character so much that I had a hard time looking past it.

Eastern Jewel (later renamed Yoshiko) is a princess born to a concubine in China in 1906. Beyond being a spoiled child, one of her pastimes was spying (which turned out to be good training for her future career). When she is eight, she spies on the wrong person – her father – and he sends her away to a connected, influential family in Japan.

While she never bonds with her new adoptive mother and is treated as a plaything for her adoptive father and grandfather, she still forms a love and loyalty to Japan. As Eastern Jewel grows up in the house, her adoptive father offers her to valued connections, and she falls in love with one of these men. It is this experience of loving him and being rejected that hardens her resolve to put herself and her needs first in all matters.

She is eventually given in marriage to a Mongolian prince. She hates Mongolia, it is cold and to her it is boring. She finds excitement in emotionally manipulating her brother-in-law to help her in her plot to escape from Mongolia. Following her escape less than a year after she is married, she builds a life for herself in Tokyo, entertaining important clients of her landlord, Tamura. Eastern Jewel is kept busy and interested, but as her interest wanes, she leaves for Shanghai where her partying and connections eventually put her in a position where she is recruited as a Japanese spy.

Given her love of partying and socializing, she easily slips into the role of a spy, gaining confidences and influencing the actions of others on behalf of Japan. During her time as a spy she (as best she could) falls in love with two men but of course can not let herself fully create a relationship with either. Eastern Jewel continues to be a spy until her arrest by the Chinese in Peking in 1945.

Eastern Jewel’s life portrayed in the pages of this book certainly provides for a great story, but as I said I just did not like Eastern Jewel enough to really care about her. I could not find any likable part of her. She used and hurt others with seemingly little concern. To me, it seemed like she had no heart and without some connection to such a difficult character, I could not connect with this book as much as I had hoped.

I received this book from the publisher via Shelf Awareness.

The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel: A Novel
Author: Maureen Lindley
ISBN: 978-1596917033
Published: September 1, 2009 (Paperback)
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Pages: 304

What Are You Reading Monday, 23 November

Thanks to J Kaye’s Book Blog for hosting this weekly meme.

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

Last week I finished up one book. If you remember, my next book up was going to be Fallen by Lauren Kate, but I got a message from J Kaye about doing a read-along/twitter chat. So we are going to do that, but not until after the Thanksgiving holidays (if you also have an ARC of Fallen and want to join in the chat, let me know).

That left me wondering what I should read next. I have had no luck in completing any books for the Back to School challenge, so I decided to start reading Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. It’s a little slow going, and with a festive holiday week ahead, I wanted to switch things up for this week.

So, I am picking The Lost Symbol back up (after reading where my bookmark was sitting, I realized this morning it would be better to start over again, so that’s where I’m at), and then I plan to read Decoding the Lost Symbol by Simon Cox, which FSB Associates sent to me for review.

With the holidays, I will probably be a little quiet on posting, commenting and chatting – so I hope you have a wonderful week!

What will you be reading?

BOOK I COMPLETED
1. The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel by Maureen Lindley

BOOKS TO BEGIN/CONTINUE
1. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
2. Decoding the Lost Symbol by Simon Cox

Mailbox Monday, 23 November

My mailbox isn’t always super active like some bloggers out there, but I love seeing the postings from blogs I follow with their Mailbox Mondays, hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page, so when my bookshelf gets a new addition, I am going to participate in this weekly meme.

Last week I continued with my Christmas shopping, adding at least one book to the gift pile, but here are a few more books that came my way last week.

For Review:
Decoding the Lost Symbol by Simon Cox (I received this from FSB Associates).

Bookstore Purchase (so not really in my mailbox, but you get the idea):
Under the Dome
by Stephen King

How about you? What new books came into your home last week?

Tuesday Teaser, 17 November – The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel

It’s that time of week again for Should Be Reading’s fun meme Teaser Tuesdays.

So how does this work:

  • Grab your current book
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Sorry for the repeat book, but today’s teaser comes from Maureen Lindley’s debut novel The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel, which I know I also teased last week, but I still have about 35 pages to go.

It was the first time in my life that I had a man who accepted and knew me for what I was. I believed that whatever happened in our lives, it would never be finished between us.” Pg. 169

Thanks to the publisher for sending me this book to read/review.

QUESTION OF THE DAY
What’s your tease for this Tuesday?

100 and Counting

Five months ago on Saturday, this little blog was born and now I find myself writing my 100th post. In these five months there has been a Bloggiesta, an appreciation week for book bloggers, lots of contests and challenges – all sorts of opportunities to connect and share through reading and beyond.

These past five months have been great, as an avid reader, this blog has helped to create an even greater enjoyment in my reading, sharing my thoughts with you, and mostly in connecting with you. So this post is a thank you to my subscribers and those of you who pop by and leave a comment. I appreciate each and every comment and connection!

So what’s next?

Well with the new year less then two months away I have been thinking about my New Year’s resolutions for myself and this blog. Last week was a little start at one – keeping up with reviews. On books that I finish up now, I want to get a review up within a week, if I intend to review that book (unless that book isn’t out yet, because I like to hold my reviews until the book is out). I would like to host more contests, I have had two so far and I had so much fun. I would also like to host a challenge. I have a few ideas, and hope to roll out my first hosted challenge in the first quarter of next year.

I am sure that I will also be signing up for more challenges. Two already on my radar to sign up for soon are the 2010 TBR Challenge (I am already putting my list together) and the South Asian Author Challenge.

Aside from my posting on this blog, I also want to up my commenting on all your blogs too. And I also will be keeping a list of books that I have come across thanks to your posts and reviews.

So that’s it for now. But again, I just want to thank you all for reading, writing and sharing! Here’s to the next 100!

What Are You Reading Monday, 16 November

on_mondaysThanks to J Kaye’s Book Blog for hosting this weekly meme.

Well, except for The Postmistress, I am all caught up on review books.

My book reading however suffered a little this week. Not that I wasn’t reading – in preparation for the holidays I was trying to do a little cleaning up of my overflowing magazine rack. I was making great progress, and then my Mom sent me a package filled with all sorts of magazines (thanks Mom, I do really appreciate them). Not one to be defeated, I spent some of my reading time working through those magazines. I successfully defeated the magazine pile, but to the detriment of The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel.

I have two challenges that finish up at the end of this year that I still need to complete, Everything Austen and the Back to School challenge. I am half-way through Everything Austen, but haven’t started on Back to School, so I will be spending some time on both of those as well (and combining the two with classic Austen works) in the coming weeks.

Also, on Saturday this little blog hit five months old, and my next post will be my 100th post. I hope to reflect on that a little later today and think about at what the next 100 posts might look like.

Have a great reading week! What will you be reading?

BOOKS I COMPLETED
None

BOOK TO COMPLETE
1. The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel
by Maureen Lindley

BOOKS TO BEGIN/CONTINUE
1. Fallen
by Lauren Kate
2. Sense and Sensibility
by Jane Austen
2. Dracula
by Bram Stoker