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Episode 47 - Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin

Happy lunar new year!  We rang in the Year of the Ox with Butterfly Swords , which was Jeannie Lin's first book.  It won the Golden Heart Award back in 2009 and started her illustrious career. Ai Li is to be married to the powerful and hawt Li Tao, a scheming jiedushi.  When she discovers his treachery and his murder of her brother she escapes to warn her father, the Tang Emperor.  Except her father isn't really all that fussed about it?  She's helped along the way by Ryam, Noted White Guy.  They travel all around China meeting people and running away from people and hitting people with swords, which is delightful. There's really no content to be concerned about in this book (it's a more recent book!) - if you dig action packed historical romances there won't be anything in here that's an unpleasant surprise.

Episode 31 - Bloodline

Welcome to Sara's third 4 for 40 book, in which we read Bloodline, a Sidney Sheldon book she once stole off her mother's bookshelf in order to dogear many pages and almost assuredly look up several things in a dictionary.

This isn't really a romance novel - for you young people, this is an extinct breed.  It's an airport book.  It's about rich people doing awful rich people things and it never forgets to mention a brand name.  It's about Poor Little Rich Girl Elizabeth whose father seems to have accidentally set up a tontine in the family business - only one of her cousins is actually trying to murder her but honestly, they all want to and it might as well have been any of them so does it really matter which one it is?

1215504You're going to want to avoid this one if you generally avoid any of the following: schoolgirl lesbianism as written by a dirty old man, ridiculously over the top depictions of spousal abuse (of a man by a woman for a change), eleventh hour weird detectives, decidedly dicey understandings of how money, businesses, pharmaceuticals, and elevators work, snuff films which are actually and conveniently produced by a serial killer, and books which use a tragic Jewish ghetto past for story meat but in which nobody seems to actually be Jewish in the present day.

It is impossible for me to understate, for anybody under 30 or so, what a big deal Sidney Sheldon used to be.  He only started writing books in his 50's - before then he wrote for movies and TV shows.  The man had an Oscar on his mantle for the screenplay for The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer.  He created The Patty Duke Show, I Dream of Jeannie, AND Hart to Hart.  And now he has fallen entirely out of fashion.  Probably because if you read one of his books you actively feel it leering at you.

There's a movie of this one, made in 1979 (yes, there are still a few things older than me in the world.)  So who do you think they cast to play the ingenue, the barely-adult young lady trying to figure out a murder AND a multinational business while realizing she can't trust any of the people around her?

Why yes.  Yes that is an old-ass Audrey Hepburn in... wait is that a really naked dress?  Look, I love Audrey Hepburn but she is fifty goddamned years old in this movie playing a woman who, in the book, is less than half that.  It doesn't seem to be readily available and I feel we need to watch it.

Roger Ebert called this the worst movie of 1979, and it only came out in June.

  omg it's a nipple flower


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