Tag Archives: Yangsze Choo

WWW Wednesday, 21-October-2020

21 Oct

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: With all the moving craziness of last week, I haven’t touched Running with a Police Escort by Jill Grunenwald. I hope to get a bit more in, but it may be a bit before I find the time. I’m liking this one a lot and I hope to finish it this month but I’m not holding myself too that too strongly.
I’m enjoying having The Millionaires by Brad Meltzer to turn to for some escapism. The fast pace is wonderful for my short attention span right now.
I started a new audiobook and had a ton of time to listen to it while driving back and forth on moving day! It’s my next book club pick, The Rise of Wolf 8 by Rick McIntyre. It’s been a while since we did some non-fiction so it’s a nice change of pace. I’ll have this one finished up by next week easily.

Recently finished: Nothing this week but after having two last week, I’m not worried. I did write a review for The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo which posted on Monday so please check that out!

Reading next: I need to start focusing on my reading challenge so I’m going to try and get a copy of The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. It’s been a while since I read a MG/YA book and this time period setting is perfect for my 1500-1699 slot in the historical fiction challenge!


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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Book Club Reflection: The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Cho

20 Oct

My book club met via Zoom again for our last meeting, a discussion of Yangsze Choo’s The Ghost Bride. I had finished the book earlier that day so I was excited to get a chance to discuss it so soon after finishing it.

Choo is 4th from the fourth generation of Chinese to live in Malaysia. She traveled a lot in her life and went to Harvard in the US. She now lives in San Francisco. It’s easy to see how her birth influenced this book. Many of us enjoyed the exposure to Chinese funeral customs and understanding how a different culture looks at the afterlife. Many of us compared the Plains of the Dead to Purgatory but they’re very different, which we realized when we started talking about them. There was a good deal of superstition in the novel. It manifested more in the older, less educated characters like Amah and Old Wong. Tian Bai and Li Lan’s father, for example, were less tolerant of old superstitions.

We had some conflicting opinions on the plot of the novel. Some felt like the plot went along well and didn’t get bogged down with side characters and side plots. Others of us felt it was very slow at times and a bit predictable. We did feel like Li Lan didn’t grow much during her story. It started to feel like a YA novel at times because she was so head-over-heels in insta-love with Tian Bai and was do repulsed by Lim Tian Ching that it felt oversimplified. We discussed the corruption side plot and didn’t feel it was a very strong plot. Most of us were surprised by Fan’s betrayal; no one saw that one coming!

We spent a lot of time talking about the ending. Li Lan seems to change her mind about Tian Bai very quickly and that was part of my frustration with the end. One reader pointed out that she seemed to lose her favor for him as she saw him like the things in Fan she despised. She seemed to think that if he couldn’t tell the difference between them and believed that she valued jewels and gifts, he didn’t really know her and wasn’t the love match she expected. She projecting her dislike for Fan onto Tian Bai. A lot of us felt like it was a cheap reason for her to end up with Er Lang, though. After so much time pining after Tian Bai, it felt weird to have her change her goal.

A few readers had watched the Netflix mini-series for this book but I wasn’t aware it existed! I’m excited to give it a try soon. I hear it’s well done so I have high hopes.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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Book Review: The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo (3/5)

19 Oct

When I started this book, I understood the concept of a Ghost Bride to be someone who marries a dead man. I didn’t think it would be a ghost story. I was thinking of pure historical fiction and that I’d learn about the cultural beliefs of Foreign-Born Chinese in Malaysia. So when Li Lan entered the world of the dead, I was surprised and excited to go on the adventure with her.

Cover image via Amazon

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

Summary from Amazon:

Li Lan, the daughter of a respectable Chinese family in colonial Malaysia, hopes for a favorable marriage, but her father has lost his fortune, and she has few suitors. Instead, the wealthy Lim family urges her to become a “ghost bride” for their son, who has recently died under mysterious circumstances. Rarely practiced, a traditional ghost marriage is used to placate a restless spirit. Such a union would guarantee Li Lan a home for the rest of her days, but at what price?

Night after night, Li Lan is drawn into the shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife, where she must uncover the Lim family’s darkest secrets—and the truth about her own family.

This is what I get for not reading summaries before starting a book. I really enjoyed Li Lan’s story and learning more about the Planes of the Dead. However, I got frustrated with the book and felt like it was dragging a bit too much in places. It seemed like Lim Tien Ching’s deception at the hands of his family was unnecessary and Fan’s betrayal didn’t seem to do a lot. These things complicated the plot. And I was disappointed in the ending. I think the story would have been stronger without Li Lan’s change of heart.

I thought the characters were well-drawn and believable until the very end when Li Lan seemed to go against everything she’d worked for the entire book. I’m going to try and stay vague to remain spoiler-free, but I got really frustrated with her and mostly lost my respect for her and her character. The remaining characters were strong and consistent. Fan was a favorite, even though I thought her character could have left the story a little sooner. Amah was another favorite. I liked how well she knew Li Lan and cared for her and her mother.

Throughout the whole book, I felt like a lot of the characters changed which is a testament to Choo’s writing and how well crafted the story was. I can’t think of a character I liked for the entire novel besides Er Lang. He began caring for Li Lan and was there for her when she needed him. Despite my frustration with the ending, I have to admit he’s a great character and someone I would have liked to have by my side if I were going through what Li Lan experienced.

I really liked Tian Bai’s character and I felt connected to him more than most of the characters. I liked that he was humble and didn’t seem too proud; very unlike his cousin. He seemed like a kind person and I think he would have been a good partner for any woman, especially Li Lan.

Yangsze Choo
Image via the author’s website

I enjoyed Li Lan’s initial time as a spirit when she was walking around her town. I thought it was fun to see her explore other people’s homes and learn what it meant to be a spirit and how to function. It was a fun time for her to learn about the dead and how the spirits of those she’d lost were sometimes still around her.

I felt Li Lan’s time in the Planes of the Dead dragged on for far too long. I was curious about the place, but the amount of time she was there and the things that happened to her seemed too drawn out. I kept getting frustrated and wanted to see what happened when she returned more than I wanted to know what was happening with a secret plot in hell that turned out to be almost nothing.

Choo narrated her own audiobook. This often makes me nervous because I’m unsure how well someone whose talent is in writing will be able to voice act. Especially for fiction where it’s necessary to do accents, voices, and read dramatically. Choo did very well and I was impressed with her. I wasn’t expecting so much inflection in her voice and distinct voices for the characters but that’s what we got. Huge kudos to her for all her talents!

I don’t know if I felt like there was too much of a theme to this book. I felt like it was a fun exploration of the funeral beliefs of the culture but the plot of the book wasn’t a win for me. Li Lan didn’t like the man she was supposed to marry and when that was resolved, left her family uncared-for to chase a dream. (It’s a bit of an oversimplification, but this is what I felt fell flat at the ending.) I didn’t feel there was a theme of woman’s liberation or chasing a dream or anything much which frustrated me.

Writer’s Takeaway: It’s fun to explore the beliefs of a culture, historically or in a modern setting, through story. I felt like the Disney movie Coco did something similar and was a great way of explaining the Mexican traditions around The Day of the Dead. Of course, one has to be very well aquainted with a culture to use it as the plot of a story. Anyone who’s lucky enough to do that can create a beautiful narrative.

A fun setting, but not the story I wanted. Three out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
The Ghost Bride – Yangsze Choo | Fiction Matters 
The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo – A Review | The Lady Sam’s Story Space 
Book Review: The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo | Untitled 
The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo | Twelve Pale Roses 
BOOK REVIEW: The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo | GraceLWrites 

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Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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WWW Wednesday, 14-October-2020

14 Oct

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I actually made progress in Running with a Police Escort by Jill Grunenwald! I had some time on a lazy Sunday morning to read a chapter or two and I know I’m getting close to the end so I’m going to try to stick with that progress for a while. Fingers crossed.
I finally started The Millionaires by Brad Meltzer! I’m relieved to be able to start another book after feeling like I was stalled for so long. A thriller is a welcome escape right now, too.
Surprisingly, I’m between audiobooks at the moment. I’ll start another one, soon!

Recently finished: I finally wrapped up the final chapter of Lipstick Jihad by Azadeh Moaveni this week and I’m relieved to have finished. The book was great and really well written but I moved through it slowly because it was one I had to pay a lot of attention to. I’ll have a review up next week.
I finished The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo just in time for my book club. My patience for the book started to wane as I got close to the end. It felt like it was starting to drag on a bit but I was also impatient to finish so I could be ready for our meeting.

Reading next: I’ll pick another audiobook soon, but for now, I have no plan and I’m kind of glad. It’s nice to not plan so far in advance every second. Right now, I can concentrate on my move.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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WWW Wednesday, 7-October-2020

7 Oct

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I won’t lie, I haven’t touched Running with a Police Escort by Jill Grunenwald. Work has been crazy and I’ve been logging in early rather than taking time to read in the morning. My logic is that I’m getting more done and reducing my stress, but that’s crap.
I keep moving through Lipstick Jihad by Azadeh Moaveni but I’m not sure I’ll finish it this week. I’ve just not been reading as much. I’m liking this book a lot, though. If I can find more time, I think I’d finish it quickly but it’s been a matter of being able to dedicate time to read.
I’m trying to finish The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo this week so I’ll be ready for my book club discussion on Monday. I don’t want two months in a row of not finishing the book before we meet!

Recently finished: If you hadn’t guessed by my slow progress in my current books and my lack of posts this week, I didn’t finish anything. I’m slightly optimistic about something being here next week, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

Reading next: I have The Millionaires by Brad Meltzer on the top of a moving box of books so I can pick it up as soon as I’m ready. It will be fun to have something that moves quickly! And the short chapters will be good for when I’m exhausted before bed.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Sign Up for Monthly Newsletter 

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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WWW Wednesday, 30-September-2020

30 Sep

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I tried to read Running with a Police Escort by Jill Grunenwald. Does anyone even believe me anymore? I’m horrible at picking up physical books, even ones I’m enjoying like this. I really hope to get back to it soon. I need to stick to short ebooks, haha.
I’ve made steady progress on Lipstick Jihad by Azadeh Moaveni but the physical exhaustion of moving has kept me from reading a lot before bed this past week. It’s going to be a long move so this might keep up for a while. I hope it doesn’t slow me down too much.
I started listening to The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo and I’m trying to figure out how much of a ghost story this really is. I’m not far in yet so that’s still TBD but I’m enjoying the fantastical elements so far.

Recently finished: I wrapped up Joy, Inc. by Richard Sheridan and posted my review of it yesterday. Sheridan has created a very unique and positive culture in his company. It would be amazing to see that culture in some other industries but I don’t think there’s a solid idea of how it would translate to less technical industries, like manufacturing or even medical. I’d love to see it at my office, but I’m not sure that’s realistic. I gave the book Four out of Five Stars.

Reading next: I still plan to pick up The Millionaires by Brad Meltzer as soon as I can. I think a thriller with short chapters will be good for me when I’m exhausted before bed.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Sign Up for Monthly Newsletter 

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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WWW Wednesday, 23-September-2020

23 Sep

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I made minuscule progress on Running with a Police Escort by Jill Grunenwald. I’d hoped that with my triathlon season over, I’d find more time to read but I haven’t gotten there just yet. I’ll keep looking.
I’ve almost finished Joy, Inc. by Richard Sheridan now that I’m back in it. I’m enjoying the book a lot and wondering if there’s a way his company could use my skillset. It’s less than 30 minutes from my new house! I should easily have this finished next week.
I’m steadily moving through Lipstick Jihad by Azadeh Moaveni but I’m finding it hard to binge this one. There’s a lot of information to unpack in Moaveni’s story. It’s well researched and clearly a personal story for her. I’m enjoying it but I’m looking forward to a fast, fun book after this.

Recently finished: I posted my review of In the Distance by Hernán Díaz yesterday. This book was a rare miss for me. My book club met before I’d finished it but I pushed through to the end and I don’t think knowing the ending ruined much for me. There wasn’t much anticipation to be ruined. I gave the book Two out of Five Stars. I think this might be the first time I’ve posted a book club reflection before a book review! That went up on Monday.

Reading next: I’ve packed a lot of my books but I’m leaving The Millionaires by Brad Meltzer on top of the pile so I can grab it and start soon. I’m looking forward to a thriller!
My next audiobook will be for my book club. We’ve picked The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo. Usually, we read a horror book in October, but I don’t think that’s what this one will be about. It sounds like an interesting read, though.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Sign Up for Monthly Newsletter 

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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