Caturday Reads: Indian Crime Mystery & Chinese Urban Fantasy

Good morning, bibliophiles! This past week has been rather uneventful for me aside from falling into a deep reading rut. Luckily, I was able to read small titbits at a time throughout the week, but I do miss being able to sit down and binge page after page after page. After dealing with this lack of reading frustration for approximately six to seven days, I finally went ahead and meditated to clear my mind of everything that was bogging me down. Alhamdulillah, that seemed to have done the trick (at least based off this morning’s reading session, which lasted a full forty minutes!).

Not wanting to waste a single second of these newfound reading energies, I decided to pick up a few books to check out over the next couple days and possibly into the upcoming week. One of them is an ARC (Advanced Reader’s Copy) of one of my most-anticipated historical crime mysteries of 2020, while the other one is a Chinese urban fantasy novel that has been on my to-be-read list for the better part of two and a half years! One of my favourite BookTubers is running a group readalong for the title, so I figured it is an excellent excuse to finally stick my nose into it. Lastly, I shall be hoping to finish a young adult Chinese historical novel that I began on Wednesday and thus far, I have been adoring every single bit of it. My heart and soul belong to the main character completely and I cannot wait to see where this incredible story shall take her.

Check out all of these titles below in more detail. Respective GoodReads pages shall be linked via the titles, so if you see something interesting, please visit the page and consider adding the books to your own TBR lists. 😊

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong: This is an own-voices Chinese historical novel set in Shanghai and is a beautifully imaginative re-telling of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Some of you may recognise this from last week’s Caturday Reads, where I talked about this being my most-anticipated read for the second half of 2020 due it being inspired by one of my favourite Shakespearean titles. I’m approximately fifty or so pages into this, and I love it with my whole heart. Juliette is such a fierce and phenomenal character whom I am crushing on with every ounce of energy I have. I suppose that means that I am most-definitely a part of the Scarlet Gang (so far). I look forward to finishing it up this weekend.


Murder in Old Bombay by Nev March: An own-voices Parsee historical fiction crime novel that takes place in Bombay during the British occupation of India in 1892, it follows a man named Jim Agnihotri who has recently returned from the Afghan War. While recuperating, he reads about a terrible tragedy involving two women in the local papers, convinced that not all is as it may seem. He visits the grieving family and offers his services of helping them to uncover the truth of what happened to these ladies, spurred on by the readings of his favourite sleuth, Sherlock Holmes.

An Indian Sherlockian mystery sounded positively magnificent, so when this title finally became available on NetGalley, I jumped at the chance to request it. I am approximately fifteen percent of the way through this novel, and so far, it is excellently written. The prose style, interchanges between the characters, and the descriptions of the settings have transported me back into time, which is an element of well-done historical fiction that I love the most. The author seems to be quite a natural at writing for this genre, which is really impressive considering this is a debut novel!


Jade City by Fonda Lee: This own-voices Chinese urban fantasy book is the first in a series and involves intergenerational blood feuds, intensely savage politics, magic, and kung-fu. Beyond the basics, I have tried to avoid reading any and all synopses for the most part as I believe it shall make the experience of reading it all the more rewarding and exciting. I have heard it being described as a Chinese Godfather-esque type narrative, which just makes it sound even more enthralling.



Honourable mentions: Along with those novels, I shall be reading through a couple of manga serials. The first is Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto. This is a shōnen, martial arts, action-adventure series that is outrageously popular. Since I am watching the anime series Naruto Shippūden, I thought it would be neat to read the manga alongside watching the show. The last volume I read was Volume 40 and my goal is to read Volumes 41 and 42. The second manga series I shall be reading through is Horimiya by HERO, which is another shōnen title. It’s a slice-of-life romantic comedy series about two unlikely individuals who formulate a friendship that evolves into something more as they get to know each other better. I have read the first volume of this and it is one of the most adorable RomCom manga I have read in years. I look forward to reading the next two volumes and watching the slow-burn progression of the main characters’ rapport.

Since there shall be a lot of people out and about due to Black Friday shopping, I plan on spending all of my time safely tucked away in the coarse pages of these books as well as the fluffy, warm blankets of my bed where I shall be safe from the spread of the pandemic. The only thing that could make the weekend even better is a cup of steamy potato chowder and the cuddling company of my feline masters. Speaking of which, I shall wrap-up today’s Caturday’s Reads with a hilariously meme-tastic portrait of my old man, Azizi, yawning a hello.

When the enemies-to-lovers idiots finally kiss after fighting nonstop for the first two books.

Caturday Reads: Chinese Historical Fiction & Taiwanese-American YA Contemporary Romance

Weekends are typically for self-care and moments of relaxation. It is about kicking your feet up and finding a way to unwind from the busy week. However, some folx do not have the luxury or privilege of being able to partake in resting shenanigans. Rather, their Saturdays and Sundays are jam-packed with projects and hours of grinding for the moolah. This is usually my standard method of activity during the weekend, so I can empathise wholeheartedly.

Since I shall be very neck-deep in writing projects, as well as some other beta reading plans, I thought it would be fun to start a small segment here on The Djinn Reader where I share some cute—and oft times very silly—pictures of my beloved feline family members, while listing off my weekend reading plans. The goal is to spread a few smiles and offer a space where friends can come and take a small break from whatever their busy weekends entail. I have come to appreciate the positive impacts of stopping in my tracks for five minutes just to take a breath and look at things that make me smile. It tends to help me tackle the remainder of my day with determination and a sprinkle of comfort.

With that being said, welcome to Caturday Reads!

Aside from work-related ventures, my hope is to start reading one of my most-anticipated books for the second half of 2020, as well as another book that has been on my TBR radar since its release in October 2019! Both of them sound like a wonderful balance of intense and dark, along with light-hearted and romantic; elements that shall keep me greatly entertained during my break-times!

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong: An #OwnVoices Chinese historical fiction retelling of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, this breath-taking debut novel takes place in 1920s Shanghai where a blood feud between the Scarlet Gang and the White Flowers runs the streets, leaving the city in the grips of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper that has assumed the role of proud heir to the Scarlet Gang, and Roma Montagov, who happens to be the White Flowers heir apparent, as well as Juliette’s first love… and first betrayal.

I have been hearing the most incredible things about These Violent Delights, which has simultaneously made me nervous about picking it up, as well as gleefully enthused. It also helps that the novel is an East Asian retelling of one of my Shakespearean favourites. I suppose once all is said and done, the biggest question to answer is which side shall I choose? The Scarlet Gang or the White Flowers?


Our Wayward Fate by Gloria Chao: An #OwnVoices Taiwanese-American young adult contemporary novel about an outcast teenager who gets swept away in a romantic whirlwind while concurrently falling down a deep hole of dark family secrets after another Taiwanese family moves into her small, pre-dominantly White midwestern town. The story is loosely inspired by the 19th century Chinese folktale, The Butterfly Lovers.

Ms Chao’s debut novel, American Panda, was such an exceptional book. When I first read it, I was completely awed by how much it made me laugh as well as cry. It was one of the very first novels that represented a lot of the same challenges that I faced living in a conservative Asian household where my dreams conflicted with that of my family’s desires, even though I am not Taiwanese (Indian-Fijian). The similarities were both shocking yet comforting to me. For the first time, I saw my childhood as being a shared experience and that helped me to make peace with many parts of it. (My full review of American Panda can be found on my sibling blog, BiblioNyan.)

Given those experiences, Ms Chao’s second novel would of course become a must-read necessity for me. The only reason that it has taken me so long to pick it up is because I wanted to ensure that I was in a proper mood for the contemporary genre so as not to form any unfair negative associations to it. It took a long time, but I am marvellously ready to dive right in with very high hopes!

Those two shall be my bookish companions for the weekend. Whatever I do not finish, I shall continue onwards with into the upcoming week. Please let me know what books you plan on reading over the next few days! Do you have any favourite titles that you have finished recently? I would love to hear from you.

With that, I shall leave you to your Saturdays with this super comfy looking kitty named Kheb! He is the light of my heart and the ultimate source of joy in my life, even if he does snore like an old lorry.  Until next weekend, happy Caturday!

I present, a boat!