Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Ancient Doting Wife Series by Ming Yue Ting Feng (宠妻古言系列 - 明月听风) Summary & Mini Reviews


   Ming Yue Ting Feng (明月听风) is one of my favourite c-novel authors. Her writing style is based on three famous principles: 《不虐不NP 不悲剧!有感情有激情有剧情!》meaning "no torture no NP (NP usually means harem - means the final pairing could be 1 girl 2 guys or 1 guy 2 girls) and no tragedy! Got emotions got passion got drama!" 

   For someone like me who enjoy reading positive, light-hearted romance novels with happy endings, Ming Yue Ting Feng is a godsend. She writes very good dialogue, interesting character set ups and she has a clear storyline for all her novels. In fact, she writes them a bit like a mystery novel - there is one big mystery and a few unanswered questions and the characters fall in love and try and solve them together. So, what usually prevents the characters from being together is not a stupid denial of feelings, but because of greater external forces in which the characters need to learn how to bond to deal with together - to fight for their love. Oh, I love such storylines!

  A common flaw in all her novels is that they tend to have lengthy dialogue and sag after the first half, when she is delaying the resolution of the mystery so the third quarter of her novels are usually the weakest. Then, they go full speed ahead and usually end very well. So, she has pacing issues, but overall, a very solid c-novel writer. 

  I will now write an introduction to my favourite series of hers - the Ancient Doting Wife Series. It has four full length c-novels and one mini novel. I have read all of them except the first one, "The Martial Adventures to Doting a Wife". Although this novel has some connections to the later novels in the series, this was clearly written as a stand alone and predates the later novels in timing. The beginning is not very good to be honest, and her writing was still quite raw, so I don't plan on reading it. 

  Let's head straight to the good stuff!



1) Thawing Master Yan* (融岩) (4.5 stars) (HE) 
Literally, the chinese title is Rong Yan - Rong meaning harmonising, melting, softening and Yan representing the male lead, whose name Yan means a hard cliff. The suggestion in the title is that the female lead softens and harmonises Yan.










Main leads: Female Lead - Han Xiao (酣笑), Male Lead - Nie Cheng Yan (聂承岩)
Guest Appearance: The Male & Female Leads of Dragon Flies Phoenix Dances, the Male Lead of Three Marriages

Brief summary: This is basically an ancient version of the black belly boss and poor employee plotline! It starts with the female lead traveling all the way to this special city renowned for its doctors and this special mountain next to it where the best doctor lives. However, the best doctor have several strict rules in curing patients including a hefty medical fee!

 The female lead has a young brother (totally adorable) who has a strange illness which also causes him not to be able to walk --- but she's determined to cure him, and she starts to gain a reputation for being a lucky star because all the patients she takes cares of as a helper won't die. So, the elderly housekeeper of a rich family (turns out to be the Dragon Family -- the family of main leads in the other novels) kidnaps the female lead to bring luck to the third son of the Dragon Family (the best friend of the male lead) who has become unconscious after an attack. 

Anyway, the female lead ends up on the special mountain as the best doctor wants her to take care of his grandson, the male lead, who had been poisoned and attacked and has to survive the night or he will die. So, he locks up the female lead with the male lead and asks her to take care of him and if the male lead survives the crucial night, the best doctor will cure the female lead's younger brother. So, the female lead becomes the super grumpy male lead (who becomes paralysed and distrustful of the world)'s servant and this starts her journey to becoming the greatest doctor the ancient world ever knows! 

Comments: This is basically a love story between the male lead, the ruler of the special city renowned for its doctors, and our female lead who overcomes obstacles to become a renowned female doctor. It is very cute and very sweet and pretty unique as the male lead has an obvious physical handicap to overcome but manages to still be incredibly swoon-worthy. 

2) Dragon Flies Phoenix Dances (龙飞凤舞) (HE) (4.5 stars) 

I posted this out of the three full length c-novels of the series on SSB because it is a good place to start for the series, although Thawing Master Yan predates it. This is because this c-novel is the most popular out of the whole series and will probably invite more readers to the series than the other books. 



Main Leads: Female Lead - Feng Ning (凤宁), Male Lead - Long Fei (龙飞)
Guest Appearance: The Male and Female Leads of Thawing Master Yan & Male Lead of Three Marriages 

Synopsis (I posted on SSB):

A one line introduction: 
An amnesiac female and her playboy husband's love story 


Another conclusion: 

The mystery and secret behind her loss of memory, the honest girl fights for the truth, the charming, unconventional and gentle husband wags his tail to invite the wife home. 

Brief Summary: The title of the c-novel is basically a play on the character's names and an indication of how perfect they are together as Dragons represents males and Phoenixes represents females and together they represent a perfect combination of male and female (yang and yin energy). The male lead has the dragon character in his name and the female lead has the phoenix character in her name.

The female character is the wife of Long Fei, the third son in the renowned and powerful Dragon Family. They are very wealthy and powerful - the oldest son is a general and the second son is in charge of the large prosperous family business. No one knows what the third son does --- but he turns out to be a powerful pugilist in the martial arts world.

The female character has lost her memory and she does not know who she is or why everyone in the Dragon Family dislikes her. She finds out that she married because of a betrothal made by the grandparents of the Dragon Family and Phoenix Family long ago and this was not welcome by the Dragon Family --- she was found at the river, with a head injury after a precious treasure of the Dragon Family was stolen. The female lead starts to wonder if she is a bad person who stole the treasure and also realises that she and Long Fei had a marriage only in name and were distant and did not live together.

So, she starts out on a journey to find out her true identity and meets Long Fei on the way. Long Fei is intrigued and confused --- why does Feng Ning appear to be a completely different person?  Feng Ning starts to fall for Long Fei and wonders if their marriage can be real --- and then a secret is discovered which could potentially destroy their relationship forever...? 

Comments: This is sincerely a great love story full of martial arts and family secrets. Long Fei and Feng Ning both have powerful martial arts skills and it's great to have such a fun-loving strong female lead who seeks out the truth of her identity. It's also great to have a male lead who despite all rational reservations tells Feng Ning - as long as you stay this person for one day, I will protect you for one more day. Awww. Love it.

3) Three Marriages (三嫁) (HE) (5 stars)


                                 


Main Leads: Female Lead - Ju Mu Er (居沐儿) , Male Lead - Long Yue (龙跃) 
Guest Appearance: The Male and Female leads of the above novels. 

Summary: This is the love story of the 2nd brother of the Dragon Family. He is one of the most successful businessman in the capital and one of the Emperor's favourites - he is the most eligible bachelor in the capital and every lady in town wants to marry him. The story starts with the female lead,  Ju Mu Er, a blind teacher of guzheng, who goes to pay a visit to Long Yue to ask him to build an awning on his popular business street so her friend, a flower seller, will not get wet and fall sick. Long Yue laughs at her (because he loves money and is calculative) and she makes a bet with him that she can allow him to escape from a pesky female suitor without making it obvious. She successfully wins the bet and from then on, Long Yue constantly makes her life a trouble (since she costs him so much money).... not realising he is slowly falling for her. 

Comments: This is the first story I read of the series and my most favourite of them all. I love this novel to bits. The female lead is probably the smartest female lead I've ever read (Alert to Mei, who likes intelligent female leads) plus she is warm, kind and funny. She becomes blind due to her entanglement with a great Guzheng Mystery and one of the interesting parts of the story is how she marries Long Yue three times (haha). 

  I really love Long Yue and Ju Mu Er, I truly feel that they are a couple of one heart, brain and soul. And, I love them with all my heart! I plan to revisit this novel one day and do a proper full review with scene translations (promise!). 

   Finally, the last mini novel is called The Maturity of the Baby of the Dragon Family. It is a short cute love story between the niece of the female lead in Dragon Flies Phoenix Dances and the son of the oldest brother of the Dragon Family. 

    I hope you have enjoyed this introduction entry to the series! Please do share with me if you read any of the novels. 

  In the end, I love Ming Yue Ting Feng because she writes her characters with a lot of love. And what more could you ask of from a love story? 


45 comments:

  1. Hehe, thanks for the shoutout, Decembi. ;) Three Marriages sounds the most enticing to me, and not just because the female lead is intelligent (yay!). I'll admit, one of my favorite tropes is when one party of a romantic couple is blind, because that strips away the importance of beauty in the relationship and it becomes all about what's on the inside.

    I'll also be interested in checking out Dragon Flies Phoenix Dances. I like strong female leads too; female characters don't necessarily have to have IQs of 180+ for me to love them! I only ask that I can respect them and thus root for their happily ever after. (In fact, know-it-all pricks, whether male or female, can be quite annoying. For example, Ye Yin in "All Are Foxes" came rather close to pushing the envelope for me on a few occasions with her holier-than-thou ways. Indeed, one of the reasons I couldn't enjoy Da Mo Yao, in spite of Koala's awesome translations, was because the female lead Jin Yu seemed so above it all in 99% of the book; same goes for Huo Qu Bing. Good thing they got together then, eh?)

    I may have to skip Thawing Master Yan. The male-boss-female-employee trope is not one that I love on paper. Of course, I do have to acknowledge that I like strong male leads too, but I can't stand a female lead who lets the male lead walk all over her and either never grows a backbone or grows one way too slowly for my liking. That doesn't mean I detest all male-boss-female-servant setups on principle, though! But there has to be something in the setup that equalizes the relationship.

    Gosh, I wonder if this makes me sound like I hate on all women who aren't on Hillary Clinton's level. XD I don't, really! I just like/prefer characters whom I can respect on some level - and that goes for the male characters as much as for the female characters!

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    1. Hey Mei,

      Yay excited for you to read the novels and hear your views on them. Three Marriages is vvv good. Though, some people find it draggy. Haha.

      Oh, the female lead in Thawing Master Yan is pretty kick ass at the start, one of the male lead's complaints is that she never listens to him and doesn't act like a proper servant. The situation is also equalised as she's his "doctor" in a way haha. The first half is v cute and zippy, only she starts to get self esteem issues in the later half but it balances out soon.

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    2. Can u pls post some sites where I can read the English translation of three marriages?? It will mean a lot. Thanks.

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    3. Hello! I don't actually know of anyone translating three marriages? You can check out shushengbar for a good list of sites that are translating c-novels.

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  2. All the novels are so long and none has audio books so they've to wait as I am too lazy to use google translate to read ancient novels. All of them do sound good & funny, the kind I like as I also don't like harem novels. I gonna finish all her modern novels first since they are my fav:) But, I do wish someone will edit them to around 50 plus chapters, the max amt I can tolerate, lol.

    Btw, isn't there another book called 凌越山,水若云 in the doting wife series?

    To Mei, I wasn't the one you mentioned in SSB who misled you in book recommendation, right? I don't really remember recommending you any book as you only read ancient novels & I read mostly modern novels. It must be lidge then since she posted most of the ancient novels:P

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    1. The shortest of the three is Dragon Flies Phoenix Dances I think haha! Yeah, they are all quite long, with Three Marriages being the longest!

      Yup, that's the first book which I don't plan to read. It doesn't sound very good.

      Going to reply you at SSB on your ancient novel recommendations. I super loved 厨娘囧事!

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  3. Anyone knows where i can read the english version of these amazing books? Thank you

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    1. Hey Boo, I'm glad you find these books amazing too, but I don't think there are any english translations currently out there. Haha.

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    2. ;((( crying out loud...
      Thanks for replying me Decembi :)

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    3. This is for the Phoenix and Dragon book translations: http://afaasun.wordpress.com/novels-translated/ enjoy...

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    4. Oooh thanks for the link!

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  4. HELLO! *waves* we have passed each other by in SSB, but thought I should come here and formally make your acquaintance. :P

    Thanks to this post, I have read both Dragon Flies Phoenix Dances and 3 Marriages (although pedantic me would make an argument that it's more of "Thrice Married" - Potayto Potahto).

    From a storyline perspective, I like DFPD more than 3M (can totally see it as a lighthearted-ish C-drama)... but loved the leads in 3M more (I cried in some parts of 3M although I know you guaranteed a HE in our post above). Long Er is much cuter than Long San because he is just so bad tempered. :p

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    1. Hello!!! Wow, so honoured to have the great landlord of peanuts visit my blog haaha. I'm super happy that you read both books! Actually, you are right - Thrice Married is a much better and more accurate translation than 3 Marriages. Heehee. Maybe I will go edit the title one day.

      I love the first half of DFPD but got a little bored when they dragged on the mystery because it seemed very obvious to me. I loved 3M the most because to me, this is a true pairing! Awww. I just heart them to bits. And, I agree Long Er is so much cuter - and I love his stingy money loving self.

      Peanuts also told me that you almost *gasp* thought of translating one of the novels. I seriously encourage this! I know it's very long though, so maybe you can summarise bits heeheehee.

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    2. Yeah... well i thought i translating Bao'er's epilogue, but then when I finished it I decided not to because it kind of spoils a huge chunk of DFPD's story (no matter how obvious it was to us).

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    3. Oh! Haha! Actually I read 3M first then Bao's epilogue then Rong Yan then DFPD! So I read DFPD last hahaha! But, I'm the kind of person who doesn't mind spoilers that much and read it for the journey and characters' emotions I guess.

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    4. I actually really like Rong Yan. It's peanuts' fault! she made me like fuhei men. x____x

      I translated the scene where the Feng Ning came to rescue Long San after he got kidnapped, but Peanuts said she didn't like it - it made Feng Ning to be a total shrew. I guess without knowing the backgruond, it's hard to appreciate the humour and significance of that to their relationship - but I really liked that scene. :P

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    5. Hahaha! Ok, I blame peanuts too for my liking of fuhei men. Hahaha. I like Rong Yan a lot too (the ending is awesome) but I thought it dragged a bit much in the last 1/3.

      In which novel is this scene? Gasp, I can't remember! Was this in 3 marriages? Feng Ning appears shameless in 3 marriages, but it's only because people don't understand that Feng Ning and Long San were born to be bickering enemies and that's how they show their (brotherly/sisterly) love. Haha.

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    6. Hahah... you mean Long er and Feng Ning? Long San tends to give in most of the time. :P

      The scene is from DFPD - right before their *ahem* hot springs scene.

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    7. oh oh oh oh!!! Now I remember. Ahahahhaa I love that scene. Hahahaha.

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    8. It's my favourite scene as well! mainly because it made me laugh so hard. But Peanuts commented that it isn't really that funny and Feng Ning seemed very bad tempered. When I explained a bit on the background, she said I should write a lovey dovey scene for them to balance out - otherwise, people will get turned off by the fishwife display. *____*. And I haven't actually managed to pick out any particular scene, so that post has been iced for now. :P

      ****Spoiler alert*****

      My other favourite scene was towards the end of the story when Long San finally confesses his deception to her.... and her reaction on how he's now responsible for her and Bao'er for the rest of their lives. :P It's such a cute scene.

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    9. Hahahaha! Oh, well it's true that maybe it comes toooo far into the book for first time readers, but it's awesome when you follow the book because Feng Ning has always been so hesitant of her feelings and place, and it's nice for her to rock hard in saving her man!

      Oh, my favourite scenes come in the earlier parts - I esp like Feng Ning and Long San's first meeting!!!!!!

      *SPOILER alert*

      Yes!!! Aww I love it.I really love how Long San and Feng Ning work through all the silly misunderstandings. I especially love it when Long San went to find Feng Ning and Bao'er after she "ran" away. Awwww. Love it love the whole story. Now you make me want to translate my favourite parts too! Hahahaha

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    10. Yah! Especially because Long San was actually capable of saving himself already. But he just laid there and shamelessly added oil to fire, waiting for his feisty wife to stand up for him and enjoying her declarations of ownership. So shameless!

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    11. Hahahah! Yeah Long San is so shameless. Ah, I love this series. It's so feel good! No sense of bitterness or regret for me whenever I think about it. I want to re-read 3M one day again too so I can do a proper review.

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    12. I agree that 3M has the ultimate OTP.

      Actually, I enjoyed this series because MYTF wrote handicapped characters beautifully. I love that all of them managed to move on, and MYTF didn't push "miracle cures" into the story. Nie Cheng Yan managed to let go of his inner demon; i loved his confession when he said that if being able to walk meant never meeting xiao xiao, he would always choose meeting xiao xiao. And Feng Ning bravely going to discover herself; she realised that who she was in the past probably wasn't someone she herself would like, but her attitude of "if i broke it, i'll fix it" is totally awesome.

      But JM... JM breaks my heart and then makes it whole again. I love that she is a brilliant and empowered female character that didn't let her handicap maker her a victim. Yes - bad things happen to good people, and I love that it didn't make her bitter. And the fact that Long Er met her when she was already blind, and he didn't let that stop him from loving her - so much <3. 3M was the first in the series that I read, and I was half afraid that MYTF would write a miraculous cure for JM towards the end, because there is nothing about JM that is broken and needs fixing.

      Although, I really wouldn't mind if xiaoxiao will help improve JM's constitution so that she can have adorable babies with Long Er.

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    13. *Big Internal Squeal* I totally totally agree. You capture it perfectly. I love that there weren't any artificial obstacles in the story and the love story and connections really got to shine. Maybe it's a little corny but love did "fix" them by making them realise they did not need to be fixed at all.

      I love Cheng Yan's grumpy self haha and Xiao Xiao's optimism. I super love Feng Ning's curiosity and willingness to be a better person. And, I totally respect JM for being the smartest female lead I ever read, who still had that little sense of mischief in her, and bullying Long Er (because he totally deserved it). I like that little hint in the end that her eyesight gets better, but it's not a miraculous cure.

      Ahhhh I just love this series. I need to order all the books, I heard some has epilogues that may not be online.

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    14. Hi ladies!

      I have some problem posting a reply and if this goes through, I just want to say I read 4 epilogues for 3M online at www.19lou.com. The first is titled "General" and is a bit of nothing talking about how Long Da met his wife. You have probably read the rest which is "Guard" on Li Ke and Qing Er, "Bandit" on Li Yan Shan, the rich girl who was kidnapped with Mu Er, and the last one on Bao Er.

      I don't particularly like Bao Er's epilogue but "Guard" and "Bandit" are quite poignant. Glad to discuss this book with like-minded folks!!

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    15. My reply!! It finally went through. I have been trying to reply to my thread (below) on the epilogues I could find online.

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    16. Oooh yay! Thanks for making the effort to post your reply. Oooh, now you are on blogger too! Are you going to start a translation blog? I will def support your translations :) hahaha.

      My favourite of all 4 epilogues (actually I can't remember if I read Guard though) is Bandit. OMG, Bandit made me cry in the end (why is my tear buds so susceptible). It's one of the reasons why I love 3M so much because even the second female lead gets to redeem herself and become a true female lead! <3 Omg so much hearts. If anyone ever translates 3M, I will happily translate Bandit haha.

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    17. Ahhh... now I remember reading them. I kinda ffw through General, because I was impatient to continue with the main story (it was inserted in between chapters). But I liked Guard and Bandit. I think each pairing is very well suited.

      But i want more Long Er x JM

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    18. Hahaha it's funny you want more Long Er x JM, since it's the longest novel out of the 3 right? Haha. Me too! I want to read about their babies.

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    19. I would have given up on 3M midway if I didn't like Long Er and JM that much. At one point, when JM and Long Er were apart, I almost gave up because they are not much fun apart. :P But I persevered because JM and Long Er are awesome sauce.

      I think I mentioned to Peanuts, that if I were to translate this book, I'll be editing a lot of bits out. I mean, they're funny and good bits, but not necessary to the storyline. That's how I feel - maybe because it's the third and apparently last book, I felt like the the author got a bit draggy mid way like she doesn't want the series to end so soon. Don't get me wrong, the mystery is probably better written than DFPD (where it quickly became obvious), but it's just... well so long (like my rant). *sighs*

      BUT YES. I want to read about Long Er' spoiling his daughters while not getting along well with his sons (who are just like him) because then he would have to share his wife with other males. I want to read about him tearing his hair out outside of the birthing chamber while NCY gets annoyed that he's doubting Xiaoxiao's superb medical skills.
      I want to read MOAR MOAR MOAR fanservice epilogues. Somebody write a fanfic - stat!

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    20. Hahaha I know! 3M is a very hard book to translate, because there are slow bits, but somehow it all comes together in the end, and I really love the second female lead so even though she's all kinds of evil at the start, I think all her scenes make so much sense for her final evolution. Tough novel to translate!

      Heehee! I thought up some of my own fanfic ideas - I imagine Mu Er being like Agatha Christie's Mrs Marple, she's this harmless weak looking female who asks all the right questions, "sees" everything and solves and pushes everything to the right places (exactly where she wants), but makes Long Er think he is doing all the work haha! I love their dynamic. And omg, NCY against Long Er is awesome! Heehee. I think Long Er and Mu Er are two brilliant halves of one brain - one wants to save the world, the other just wants to make money. Isn't it poetic brilliance that the most mercenary man in the world has the eyes to see that Mu Er is the most valuable thing ever? Ahhhh love it. Please write your baby fanfic, hui3r! It will bring much joy after Hua Xu Yin!

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    21. Ooooh... claps. Write Ms JM Marple! I'll support!

      Yeah. Maybe I will although i haven't engaged in any creative writing in a long long time. What I write nowadays are on the far side of boring.

      Btw... I've started doing what everyone is saying they will do - I am re-reading 3M. :P So come join me!

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    22. Hahahahaha! Ok, I will update you if I do. I actually DO want to write fanfiction, but I can't find the time at all. I even had this dream of a black belly employer employee situation but in the god realm! Haha. I thought it was so funny and wanted to write it down. But... erm, there is never enough time.

      Ok, I will! I was actually going to start on 断魂殿! Though I can't even find time to read these days.

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  5. I am reading "3 Marriages" and found it very enjoyable so far. I think the writer's principles are very good. Who need more sadism and sad endings? Thank you for the recommendation!!

    - Moonblossom

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    1. Yay! Where are you at now? People have the tendency to stop at around Chapter 50 :(, that's where my sister stopped and I think she never finished it. But, I love 3 Marriages! To me, they are my gold class One True Pairing.

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    2. I am crossed-eyed heaven or hell, I haven't decided which. I briefly considered stopping in the middle of the book, but I have completed it now. Whew!!

      Thank you for your recommendation! I liked Long Er and Mu Er very much. He is such a brat but he got his comeuppance when he fell for Mu Er. I like the tone of the book, there should be more happy books like this.

      Although Mu Er did not pity the villian, I did when his back story is revealed. It is so sad for a poor boy to work his way up the ranks only to find that the view top is actually an illusion.

      I'm going to go through your other recommendations now. I saw your post on Su Ji Coffin Shop and the length of it sounds inviting.

      - Moonblossom

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    3. Hey Moonblossom,

      Congrats! Woohoo. Few manage to finish the whole book I think. There's also an epilogue! I'm not sure if I read the correct one, apparently you have to buy the real book to read it. :) I do plan to buy the real book once I settle into my new place.

      I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I agree perfectly - most of the joy comes from Long Er, that arrogant ass, experiencing the mournful joys of love!

      I can't decide if I pity the "villian". I suppose I do feel bad for him, but also feel that he is far too cruel.

      I recommend the other 5 star novels! I usually don't write reviews for them because they are toooo good. Haha.

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  6. at times like this, i'm desperate enough to use google to read these books. lol

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    1. Hope you manage to enjoy these gems! I will probably translate one of the series one day, but my progress is slow <3

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  7. I love 3 marrieges its really good! (so far at least! xD)
    Can i ask for a spoiler?....what happens to the guy who wants to marry the blind girl so much? (and his wife that came to threaten her)...oh and who hit her head?

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    1. Eeks! I can't remember which guy that is!

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    2. some guy called Yun Qing Xian (he is super in love with her or something) whose wife came to threaten her (in chapter 9) ...i think they also framed her for murder? (i'm not so sure about this orz....when does she marry the male lead? (i hope not too far ahead >.>)

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  8. For DFPD I want spoilers regarding the relationship progress between the two leads!! What happened the hot spring scene?? Also is Bao-er their unborn child?? I really like this book but I have trouble accessing the raw site...Can someone post the raw site and the english translated scenes??

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    1. Haha so sorry! I've forgotten the little details in the story so I'm not able to answer this. :(

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