Read Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin Online


During China's infamous Tang Dynasty, a time awash with luxury yet littered with deadly intrigues and fallen royalty, betrayed Princess Ai Li flees before her wedding. Miles from home, with only her delicate butterfly swords for defense, she enlists the reluctant protection of a blue-eyed warrior. Battle-scarred, embittered Ryam has always held his own life at cheap value.During China's infamous Tang Dynasty, a time awash with luxury yet littered with deadly intrigues and fallen royalty, betrayed Princess Ai Li flees before her wedding. Miles from home, with only her delicate butterfly swords for defense, she enlists the reluctant protection of a blue-eyed warrior. Battle-scarred, embittered Ryam has always held his own life at cheap value. Ai Li's innocent trust in him and honorable, stubborn nature make him desperate to protect herwhich means not seducing the first woman he has ever truly wanted....

Title : Butterfly Swords
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780373296149
Format Type : Mass Market Paperback
Number of Pages : 288 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Butterfly Swords Reviews

  • Jaya
    2019-05-31 23:36

    Was hoping for this to be more "historical". My bad, of course and most of it was...

  • Rane
    2019-06-15 20:25

    As I read Butterfly Swords- I felt I was on a balancing act with likes and dislikes. Not that I didn’t enjoy this book, but at the same time I felt there was some glaring weaknesses that made this book falter. With the old saying of opposites attract. Princess Ai Li and Ryam truly come from different walks of life. One of the glittering royalty and the other of just fighting to survive. Sparks truly fly when these two meet, only burns brighter. With Ai Li needing to get back to her family to warn them of danger and Ryam out to protect and make sure Ai gets there safety this on the road romance/martial arts story gets the reader a glimpse at the intrigues and shady allies whom would stab you in the back the moment your guard is down. Jeannie Lin did a wonderful job of showing the reading how the silk roads effected the empire at the time, while she did go into more fantasy when it came to Ai Li family, this didn’t bother me as much as the pace and at times the characters themselves. Ai Li was feisty, honorable swordswoman, whom may have been naïve and shelter about the world outside her home, but was very much to the point with a great kindness about her ,with Ryam, he had a “do or die” attitude that got him into more trouble, but also showed great honor to keep his word. When it comes to on the road romance I tend to expect a lot of talking, this gives the reader a chance to learn about the characters, have them open up to one another. This didn’t happen in Butterfly Swords, their talks and thoughts were on “repeat” with Ai worried about her family, how she can’t be with Ryam. Ryam fighting his manly urges about getting Ai into bed, how they can’t be together lather, rinse, repeat. This goes on through the whole book. Making it tedious at times. Thrown in a fight scene and the book started to really lag. The second part of the book was better, when things finally come to head between Ai and Ryam, I saw more growth between the characters, but as if they were scared of going forward, their thoughts once again went back to “repeat mode”. While an average read for me, still was an enjoyable and a good debut.

  • MBR
    2019-05-17 22:32

    5+ Stars for this breathtaking historical With only two historical novels published to her name, Jeannie Lin has shot into my list of favorite authors after being totally and utterly captivated by the tale of love, Tang Dynasty politics and the beautiful sensuality that she wields in her stories. I picked up Butterfly Swords right after I was done with The Taming of Mei Ling which was just a teaser into Jeannie Lin's capability in keeping readers enthralled by the magic that she creates with the words - because simply put, it was just utter and sheer magic that leaped out from each and every one of these pages as I read along.Set in 758 AD, Tang Dynasty China, this is the story of the sixth child and only girl of the Emperor of China during the time. Ai Li is on her way to meet her husband to be, Li Tao, a military governor in one of the provinces when she learns that her sense of honor would not let herself marry a traitor to the Emperor. Though she knows that the consequences of fleeing from Li Tao would be catastrophic, with a sense of inborn courage, Ai Li is all set to travel back to Changan, the Imperial Capital when she comes across the foreigner more commonly known as barbarian amongst the Chinese then who calls himself Ryam.19 year old Ai Li has always had a sort of sixth sense when it comes to judging people. And although her culture, society and decorum demands that she shun the warrior with blond hair and blue eyes, her sense of honor and respect for a man who willingly put his life on the line to come to her rescue has her requesting his help in returning to the Imperial city.Ryam is a man who has got the wandering swordsman thing down to a pat. Following in his father's footsteps who had imbibed in drinking and foolhardy fighting after the loss of his beloved wife had been Ryam's way of life until he is recruited by Adrian, a prince by his own rights who admires Ryam's mighty skill with the sword. A mission that goes horribly wrong which had nearly killed Ryam in the process has left him with a terrible sense of guilt that clouds all his senses until the beautiful and enchanting Ai Li enlists his help and Ryam agrees against his better judgement.For the first time in Ai Li's life, she gets to spend time with a man who listens to her, values her opinions and has a way of making her feel things that she shouldn't feel for someone like Ryam and keeps messing with her head. Ryam who has all the worldly experience under his belt when it comes to seduction and women finds himself for the first time smitten with a virgin who has no idea what she does to him just by existing.Though their attraction and the awareness that springs forth between them is an immediate one, the sexual tension of the sizzling variety is a long drawn one which keeps the reader on tenterhooks, awaiting that moment when Ai Li and Ryam would surrender and give themselves to each other. Every single touch and look exchanged stokes the fire that burns between them, making this a read worth savoring and sinking into just for the web of sensuality that surrounds the reader from the beginning.Ai Li and Ryam's journey towards happily ever after is not an easy one. The intricate details of the politics and the responsibilities that one shoulders in holding a position such as being the Emperor of a country as China comes to light as the story unfolds making this one of the most interesting historical romances that I have read to date. It's always refreshing to read a historical that is not based in the UK involving the ton and the patriarch British society and Jeannie Lin has carved a place for herself as one of the unique voices in the historical romance genre.There were numerous things I loved about this story. Both Ai Li and Ryam's characters reel you in from the first encounter itself, making you root for their happily ever after all throughout. Ai Li has such a sense of honor ingrained into her that she is willing to forgo everything that she holds dear just so that no shame would come to her family. Ryam who is the exact opposite to Ai Li in each and every way just turns out to be the man who complements her in every way. Though I would have loved to know more about Ryam's past and where he came from, nevertheless he makes for a pretty well rounded character whom I loved for his undeniable need for Ai Li and her touch that continues to sooth and arouse him at the same time. And loved those sword fights between Ai Li and Ryam. I didn't know that fighting could end up being so erotic!The secondary characters that we meet along the journey are all interesting ones that do not distract us from the actual main story. I found my interest piqued to find out more about Adrian and his wife Miya who gave up the throne to become his wife. And towards the end, I found myself oddly intrigued and a little bit helplessly fascinated with Li Tao who comes out as a villain at the beginning and left me with mixed feelings towards the end. I am hoping he would get his own story and that I would love seeing his cold and controlled self brought to his knees by a woman who is his match made in heaven. Oh yes, I am an evil, evil woman who gets her fix from seeing heroes crumble to dust at the feet of the women they love!Since I loved this story so much, I couldn't help but feel cheated out of an epilogue which would have done wonders for the story. Though the ending as it is is not a bad one, I would have loved seeing Ai Li and Ryam actually live through their happily ever after, maybe have a couple of babies and experience all that comes along with finding your soul mate to share your life with you forever.I end my review with some of the scenes that just leapt out of the pages at me whilst I was reading, that I just can't help but want to share with all of you.(view spoiler)[ One moment she made him swear not to touch her and the next she was kissing him into madness. If she made a single move towards him, made a single sweet sound he'd take hold of her, lower her to the ground and make her his right now with the fierce throb of combat and their wild escape still in his veins.Some part of her must have known it. That was why she stayed petrified, her only movement the rise and fall of her breasts, as she struggled to breathe."Tell me what it is you want from me and it's yours," he promised dangerously.She clutched at the front of his tunic and sank against him, closing her eyes when his mouth captured hers. It was always like this. Possessive, devastating. He knew how to make her melt into him, how to steal her breath and fold himself around her until she couldn't think of anything but him.Through the slick heat and the unbelievable tightness gripping him, Ailey was there. When he shut his eyes, he saw her face.Mine, he thought as the blood rushed through his skull. For as long as she would have him. To the ends of the earth if she needed him there.He was a fool.(hide spoiler)]Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin cannot be recommended highly enough. This is a historical romance any lover of the genre MUST read.

  • Katie(babs)
    2019-06-11 23:34

    Butterfly Swords is set during a unique time period in the Tang Dynasty in 758 AD China. Ai Li, the daughter of an emperor, is betrothed to marry, Li Tao, a warlord. This is an arranged marriage and one that Ai Li doesn't want because she has found out that her husband-to-be has plotted against her family and may have killed one of her brothers. Ai Li has always been the dutiful daughter, but in this case she will defy her parents' wishes and return to them and tell them what she knows, regardless if she will be disgraced in their eyes. As she’s returning home, she’s set upon by thugs, pretending to be bandits, thanks to one of her father's lieutenants who wants to help her. She runs off with this group of men, uncertain of her future. She trusts no one and will disguise herself as a boy using her trusty butterfly swords to protect her seeing as she has been trained in the art of sword fighting.Things become even more complicated when Ai Li is almost drugged at a tavern. She is saved from a blue-eyed barbarian called Ryam, who is cruelly nicknamed the White Demon. Ryam is also skilled with a sword, but has become an outcast since he’s not a native of Ai Li’s country. He arrived in this land five years ago through the silk trade and has outlasted his welcome. Even though Ai Li is grateful for his aid, she is wary of him because he could be working for Li Tao. But because Ai Li is a woman all alone, she throws caution to the wind, and asks Ryam for protection, to be her bodyguard of sorts. Ryam thinks Ai Li is very beautiful, as well as deceitful. He doesn't believe her when she says she comes from a family of tea merchants. But against his better judgment, Ryam will escort Ai Li home, who he nicknames Ailey.Ai Li and Ryam are surrounded by danger everywhere they turn. And even though they’re both skilled with their swords, they must constantly be on their toes. As they hurry on their travels, they begin to know one another better, and soon their attraction for one another grows into an explosive passion they know will not end well. And when Ryam finally figures out who Ai Li is, and who she's running from, he’s backed into a corner. Ai Li is in a worse position, whose parents are dismayed over her behavior and refuse to listen to her pleas. The only people she can turn to are her grandmother and youngest brother, who are not powerful enough to stop Li Tao who is on his way to claim her. Ai Li may have no choice but to exile herself away from all those she loves, although Ryam is more than willing to love and cherish her despite all the odds against them.Butterfly Swords is a very unique story. Jeannie Lin has written a rich tale and one amazing heroine in that of Ai Li, who because of her strong nature, will sacrifice so much because of the deep love she has for her family. Not only does Ai Li have incredible fighting skills that put some of her male counterparts to shame, but she refuses to sit back and do what's expected of her regardless of how wrong it may be. Ai Li is a heroine with "balls." She stands up for herself and those around her knowing the outcome may end badly.As for Ryam, I found him to be a very weak character with no spirit and only his fighting skills to recommend for him. I was very disappointed in his portrayal. I was very excited about the idea of an interracial romance, but Ryam has no real depth or dimension. He’s the type of hero you can plunk down in any romance during any time period. He’s more of a wallpaper type character if anything. Whereas Ai Li is amazingly written, Ryam held no appeal or substance for me. He seemed so out of place, and I don't mean because he’s a stranger in a strange land. He’s adequate in his role, but not much more than that. And when I reached the point where I wanted the main focus to remain Ai Li and her interactions with her family, rather than with Ryam, that became a big problem for me as a reader.I also found Ai Li and Ryam's proclamations of love all too fast. When Ai Li first meets Ryam, she keeps her distance, and rightly so, because she doesn’t know what Ryam's motivations are. But then as the walk, talk… walk and talk some more on their travels, she suddenly has this epiphany that she wants Ryam above all else. And this necessarily doesn't have anything to do with her physical attraction to him. I just couldn’t get a good sense on why she wants Ryam so much.The ending is too pat and the conclusion of Ai Li and Ryam’s HEA didn’t work for me. I shook my head a few times during what is the final fighting scene.The love scenes are well written and I very much enjoyed Ai Li’s family and the setting, But, with the lack of chemistry between Ai Li and Ryam, as well as Ryam not having enough dimension, I would say Butterfly Swords had merit, but overall it missed the high points I had been anticipating.

  • Tara Chevrestt
    2019-06-11 17:35

    I rarely read romances, but when I caught the words "Tang dynasty, butterfly swords, and woman warrior," I decided to give this a go. And thankfully, there were no damsels in distress in this one. Well, the damsel has distress, but nothing she can't handle with her butterfly swords and just a little bit of help of a blonde barbarian. Ai Li (aka Ailey)is on her way to marry Li Tao when she discovers that her fiance is planning an uprising against her own father. She runs away with hired bandits to escape her upcoming nupitals and report her newfound information to her father. However, Li Tao is not giving her up without a fight and Ai Li finds herself running for her life with a blonde barbarian sidekick. The blonde barbarian, Ryam, is running himself, from his own inner demons. Despite being chased down constantly by Li Tao's army and sword battling anyone in their path (and even fighting each other), the two fall in love. But Ai Li is an important part of the Tang dynasty. Her virtue must remain intact or she will shame her ancestors and her family. She must choose between love and honor.Upon reaching her home base, things do not go as Ai Li hope. Her father is no longer than the man she thought he was. Once again, she faces marriage to Li Tao and once again, her and her blonde barbarian are running. Can Ai Li deal with the loss of her family tho? Can love really conquer all? She is now in a situation in which her butterfly swords may not be much help.A good read, very entertaining. The only reason it doesn't get a five is well... Ryam is too horny to be believable. From the very first moment he realizes Ai Li is a woman under her robes, he has urges. Come on, she can't be THAT sexy all the time!

  • Cat Sebastian
    2019-05-30 17:23

    Just one of the best historical romances ever, that is all. Oh, and sword fights. (I'm trying to go through my desert island favorites and put them on GR)

  • Krystle
    2019-06-10 21:38

    I just love the cover for this. It’s just so sexy. I mean, how often do you see a full frontal picture of an Asian woman doing an action instead of just merely giving off some blank, vacant expression in the background, or looking pretty for some “exotic” value? Not much I can tell you.The world building/historical facts of her time felt genuine enough. The author put in some amount of effort and it paid off – although don’t take my words as gospel because I am really not that familiar with Chinese history/culture as I’m more knowledgeable about Japan’s one. Nothing jarringly stood out to me and the characters all behaved appropriately for people of their position and their time period.I’m not too big of a fan of the Asian falling in love with a white person, because usually what happens is that it promotes the idea of the Mighty Whitey and sort of paints the original Asian background as something not of an equivalent worth or merit. The white figure would describe the Asian-character, female or male, as some otherworldly beauty playing into the whole “exotic” factor. This occurs in this book as Ryam views her as a one of a kind beauty that he throws away his wandering, free-spirited, bachelor life for. I kind of rolled my eyes at this but it wasn’t overbearing.Their romance started with a good healthy dose of infatuation and lust. They definitely had their eyes on each other from the beginning and things moved swiftly from there. I have to applaud that while their relationship moved at a more rapid pace, the author did hold off and prolong the actual sex scenes so as to build up our appetite for it. Gave it a nice amount of draw and hook, because if she had put those scenes in a lot earlier I would have been satisfied and wouldn’t have continued reading the book. The sex scenes were serviceable and did their thing though I thought some of them were a bit too short. I’ve read hotter sex scenes in other books. Maybe I’m just picky.The plot was pretty skimpy and linear, not much on depth but then again romance novels usually aren’t. The ending is very run of the mill but I guess it was pretty sweet so I bumped my rating for it up a notch. The couple is a bit too sugary sweet for me but I’m sure people would enjoy this stuff.Not bad. Certainly not terrible. Good read for those who want to try something other than historical romances set in Victorian/Regency England.

  • Fani *loves angst*
    2019-05-28 20:36

    I really loved this until the last 50 pages where some of the hero's/heroine's decisions started not to make much sense for me. Still, a very nice book and so much different from other romances.There is another book that deals with the relationship between a Chinese and a foreigner, that's not pure romance but is SO much more realistic, especially with how a foreigner would be treated in Medieval China:. Compared to this, I found Ryam's easy acceptance as unrealistic to say the least, especially compared to his looks.

  • ~Megan~
    2019-05-23 18:33

    I have never read a book with this particular setting, but when it was chosen for a Pick-it-for-me Challenge, I was intrigued by it. First by the beautiful cover, and second by the description of the book.I am so glad I decided to read it. What a beautiful story! It's one of those forbidden love stories...she's daughter to the Emperor on the run from an arranged marriage, and he's a barbarian Turk trying to reunite with his band of warriors. They are an unlikely pair, but the love that grows between them is beautiful to watch. It's not instantaneous like so many novels, but it builds slowly until you have no doubt the depth of feeling between the two. It can't be easy being a woman in this time period, much less the daughter of the Emperor subject to his political machinations, but Ai Li resolves not to take any of it lying down. She is being forced to wed a man whom she has discovered may have had a hand in her brother's death and is plotting against the empire. She runs away and eventually teams up with Ryam, the barbarian. He is such a wonderful character with so much honor, but always doubting that he has any. He doesn't know she is the Princess until much later in the book and well after they're in love, but he still knows he's not worthy of her.They had several swordfights with each other that were super hot. The chemistry between them was boiling from the start. The ending was perfect, and probably unbelievable for the reality of that time period, but hey, we want our happy ending and the author delivered. I just really enjoyed the whole thing, as well as the author's writing style.

  • Gail
    2019-05-27 17:38

    Look! A historical romance! That's NOT set in England! Or America! It's not a Regency, or a Georgian, or a Medieval! It's set in CHINA!!! I guess you can tell I've been really excited about this book. The heroine is the daughter of a warrior who's family has been assigned for generations to guard the frontier of the Chinese empire. This story takes place in what were the Dark Ages in Europe, and the era of a lot of turmoil in China. When the story opens, she escapes from the sedan chair carrying her to her wedding. Then it shifts to a hungry barbarian foreigner trying to walk out of China. He spots that she's female, though she's dressing as a man and accompanied by soldiers. She gives him her food-and after he eats it, he realizes it was drugged, but since he's so much larger than she, it doesn't affect him as it would have her. He goes after her to rescue her-she was nice to him after all--and that's the beginning of the adventure. There are sword fights--her grandmother taught her to use the titular butterfly swords--and issues of honor, and secrets exposed, and duty and love and running away and rescues--it's a rip-roaring adventure and a great romance. I personally would have liked a little more grounding in the historical era, but I'm a history geek. I have a whole college degree in history. I'll just go off and read actual research books. Others will probably be grateful Lin didn't spend too much time on the "reality." Good stuff, this.

  • Tandie
    2019-05-19 16:37

    I listened to this series out of order, which doesn't affect the stories. They're stand alones. Book 2 was so much better than this one that I'd recommend skipping right to My Fair Concubine. Narrator is fantastic. Lost interest in the story at around 70%, which says something about he pacing of the romance. I love reading about the Tang Dynasty, Jeannie Lin does a great job of bringing everything to life. This just wasn't a favorite.

  • K.J. Charles
    2019-06-13 23:11

    Total romp. Kick-ass (within reason) sword-wielding Emperor's daughter and white barbarian mercenary on a cross-China flight from a warlord. Tangle politics, interesting culture clash, fabulous detail, sexy romance. Hugely enjoyable, highly recommended, and this was her first book as well. Looking forward to reading more.

  • Pygmy
    2019-06-12 17:12

    Kungfu adventure! White barbarian romance in ancient China! Princess running from marriage, and powerful, scary cool warlord chasing after! Princess who fights, and cares about family and honor and isn't too stupid or whiny or some other tragic character quirk that Asian female heroines are always afflicted with!There are all sorts of things that are right about this book, at least concept-wise, that I cracked open this book with a lot of goodwill left over to forgive the unmistakeable romance book trappings. And those trappings are...well...if you are into romances, this book will be a joy. Myself, I found myself wishing this was told as a straight historical fiction, or a straight fantasy, or a straight anything with a side of romance, rather than a romance with a side of history.The main hero is a lusty fellow who "stirs" at the very sight of her walking, nevermind that she is pretending to be a guy. Even if she failed utterly in male drag, she still shouldn't have been that sexy, y/n? As the romance between the two characters deepened, passages became repetitive with the repeated iterations of how they love/fulfill/deserve-dont deserve each other. The main heroine constantly trumpeted "honor" so many times in her internal deliberations that the word lost any effectiveness or real meaning. If the author weren't restricted by the Harlequin format, and allowed to double her page count, I imagine she could have built up the story with more of each character's history. Ryam's western world was left barely mentioned, though I could fill in the sketchy blanks well enough to get through the story. I would have liked to learn more about how the emperor became the emperor (I mean the real ins and outs, not just a 5 second summary), maybe have more time for them to fall in love (rather than just TWO DAYS of misadventure before they started declaring it), and explore the princess' brothers, who seem like a fun bunch. Building up Ai Li's family would give more strength to her arguments for and against defying them for the sake of barbarian love. Finally, building up the villain would have been a huge bonus. The only time we find out that Li Tao wasn't being a bastard for the sake of being a bastard was in one, single, sentence. Thrown out there in a flash of insight on Ryam's part, then it was all over. Additionally, all accusations against the villain was on hearsay. He was a phantom menace, supposedly spurring the heroine on, but never really seeming like a great danger until his final physical appearance at the end. He is a powerful figure, and the story would have been better served to have him show up much earlier than he did.All in all, though the story ended up being slighter than hoped for, the author's writing style is decent and non-intrusive, and the potential is there. I would recommend keeping an eye out for her future works, especially to see where else she goes in historal Chinese fiction.

  • Donna Alward
    2019-05-26 21:18

    Maybe it was my frame of mind when I started reading but I wasn't quite as gripped as I expected. I think I felt that there was a certain amount of set up and action going on, but it didn't take long for that to change. You know what sticks out for me with this book? Pacing. The pacing was really well done. There was a lot of traveling - really this was one big old road trip for Ai Li and Rayam - but because of the changing situation and locations it didn't feel monotonous. In fact, each leg of the trip worked like a road map to the emotional conflict and romantic development as well as advancing the stakes in the plot - really great crafting IMO. And even though we reach a point where Ai Li and Rayam know they love each other, a happy ending is still very far away and I'm reading along trying to figure out how it's all going to work out and I HAVEN'T A CLUE.You know what else was well paced? The sensuality and sexual relationship. And her descriptions were beautiful. Even in hard battle scenes or the heat of sex, Lin's writing is graceful. If you look at the components of the story, they seem very typically plotted. But the writing is individual and fresh and smooth so that you don't mind at all. I liked that.I did have a few thoughts about the ending. It felt a little rushed. I would have liked to have understood exactly why her father acted as he did, and more about why he suddenly seemed to change his mind. And I would have liked for her to have had her swords at the end. They play such a pivotal role throughout. In Rayam's final battle, when he realizes how he should be fighting, I really wanted a mention of the touch reflex thing. The scene in the beginning where she blindfolds him to demonstrate touch reflex in battle is beautiful. Then it's repeated when they first make love - a lovely way to explain their reactions to each other that stood out as particularly well crafted. It was nearly there in the ending and just needed more of an overt reference. There are moments of levity, too, and my favourite humorous part was when Ryam and Ai Li's brother Huang are drinking. Huang says "She chose you. You can't be so bad. Do you know there is a tradition of lucky devils in our family? Our grandfather won himself the most beautiful bride in the province. And he was nearly as ugly as you are." I laughed out loud! There is some wonderful word play between the characters and an awareness in the differences of language without it being awkward or clunky. There were so many things that Jeannie did well in the construction of this book! And the true test - the more I think about it, the more I like it. It's a book with resonance. This is a lovely story in an unusual setting with a fantastic balance of suspense, action, and romance. If you haven't read it, you should!

  • Caroline The HEA Lover
    2019-06-03 16:22

    (This was originally posted on Book Lovers, Inc.)This is a good example of why I should keep on trying books I think are out of my comfort-zone. I really doubted I could love a historical romance set in China. Why not? Because I knew next to nothing of China at that time (I hate feeling stupid). And I was scared of reading about a very different culture I was afraid I wouldn’t understand. Prejudiced much? heh! Well I read Butterfly Swords and I’m glad for it. There isn’t anything not to love in this book.We’re following Ai Li from the moment she flees before her wedding. Ai Li has been promised to a powerful war Lord by her parents. She accepted this arranged marriage as is the tradition but when she learns he’s plotting against her father she flees to warn him. On her way back home she meets a man with blond hair and blue eyes. Ryam is considered a barbarian in these lands, a ‘white demon’, and most of all he would be killed if he was found . Ryam meets Ai Li in a difficult position and decides to help her find her way home despite the facts that he knows nothing of this woman.This book was an adventure. I don’t even know where to start. Ai Li comes from a family of warriors. Her grand-mother taught her how to use her butterfly swords. She practiced fighting all her life, by herself or with her brothers. She is one tough cookie! I really really liked this character, she is strong and can take care of herself. She believes in honor and will always keep true to her words. Ryam doesn’t belong anywhere. He’s the soldier type, he’s also a womanizer and loves to get into trouble. Those two know they can’t have anything together. Ai Li comes from a powerful family and Ryam is a nobody. I loved that their relationship wasn’t rushed. It happens fast yes, but many things will stand between them and you can see them realize and fight the true nature of their feelings.Jeannie Lin’s writing is beautiful and it flows easily. I discovered China as it was centuries ago and it’s absolutely breath-taking (see? cheapest vacations ever! *wink*). While reading I felt like Ryam, a stranger in a strange world, discovering a new culture and new exotic lands. The story is intriguing and kept me hooked until the last page. I knew how it would end but how we got there was the best part. The only thing that made me roll my eyes (yes I do that a lot it seems lol) is the mystery about Ai Li’s true identity. It was a bit…amusing. lolButterfly Swords is a fantastic adventure, where a swords-wielding heroine and a blue-eyed barbarian will fight anything standing in their path. Jeannie Lin will take you on a trip to China you will not forget.I give Butterfly Swords 4 1/2 Bookies

  • Nikki
    2019-05-16 23:12

    Given that this was published by Harlequin, I wasn't really holding out very much hope of it being a good book. Still, when it was mentioned during the discussions of the cover of Cindy Pon's Silver Phoenix, I decided I'd give it a try when it was out, and have finally got round to it. It does have an Asian woman on the cover, and she is indeed holding a butterfly sword (though she should have two, I'm told). So it's winning there, at least.From her author bio on Goodreads, though:"After four years of trying to break into publishing with an Asian-set historical, her 2009 Golden Heart Award–winning manuscript, Butterfly Swords, sold to Harlequin Mills & Boon."At the very least, she deserves better than a publishing house associated -- among the people I know, anyway -- with dreck and exoticisation. I don't know much about the historical setting, really, and since I don't read much in the romance genre, I have little to compare it to in terms of exoticisation. There wasn't anything that made me deeply uncomfortable, at least, but how much that is worth from a white reader...In any case, the main character, Ai Li, is a strong woman. Not "feisty", but fierce, honourable, great-hearted, willing to do whatever it is she has to do. She's naive, too trusting, but she never simply expects Ryam to look after her. She is willing to take care of herself, and to some extent capable of doing so, without being a superwoman.Ultimately, some of the episodes seem to have little point -- the interlude with Lady Ling, for example -- and the characters aren't going to stay with me. I have truly no idea how plausible it all is. But it's a reasonably enjoyable read, I wasn't bored, the sex scenes were reasonably well-written, the story didn't feel like just a vehicle for the sex scenes... As an undemanding read to relax with on a Saturday afternoon, it was good fun.08/02/2011 -- Thinking about it later, after reading a critique of another Asian fantasy, I sort of think that this was more problematic in terms of gender roles than my review suggests. The big strong barbarian, always telling Ai Li what to do, and Ai Li foolishly trusting and relying on him... Does her rebellion ever really take her anywhere? Isn't she carefully put back into her place in the patriarchy, with her father and her lover talking about her and not to her?The details are already fading from my mind, less than a month later, too -- not the strongest book in the world, clearly.

  • Librariasaurus
    2019-06-06 17:25

    I'm not much of a romance reader, this was my attempt at trying to get more involved in the genre, in the traditional sense rather than diving into all this new erotica and new adult that seems so popular at the moment. I knew I had wanted to read historical romance, but I dreaded the thought of a regency romance. Victorians and corsets and garden parties, no thanks. The sequel to this, The Dragon and the Pearl, popped up as a suggestion in an article and me being a bit book OCD had to start with number one in the series despite it being touted as not as good as the second. All that said, I LOVED this book. Tang Dynasty China is not something I'd read about before but I was interested and I wasn't disappointed. Lin has a simple and easy to follow writing style that allows you to get fully absorbed. There wasn't much I didn't like about this book, the romance was excellent, it wasn't all sex like some romance novels can be and I may have even fallen a little bit in love with Ryam. Who doesn't love a scoundrel with a spotty past. The only thing I found a little hard to swallow was that not one but two imperial princesses would fall for and marry westerners. Otherwise and in general, this was a great read and I'll definitely be getting the sequel from the library soon!!

  • Darynda Jones
    2019-05-17 20:34

    More later, but right now I just want to say this book took my breath away. I loved every minute of it. So sensual and well-written. LOVED IT!!!!!

  • Cindy Eliza
    2019-05-30 00:40

    This would make a really good period drama! I love how the heroine is so strong, and can hold an entire sword fight and duel on her own, yet can’t help but fall in love with a barbarian, an outcast. Another good series from Jeannie Lin.

  • Melissa
    2019-05-16 17:25

    This is Lin's first book. If I had read this before reading the other books or novellas in the series, I would have never read another book from her. This was a rough slog reading. At the 85% mark, I basically skimmed multiple paragraphs at a time just to get to the end.This is the story of An Li, only daughter to Emperor Shen. She ran from her arranged marriage prior to the wedding because she had reason to believe her husband to be killed her brother. An Li thinks she is a badass, but she comes across as a complete dumbass. She is also an impulsive, immature spoiled brat known to throw down some temper tantrums and had the worst mood swings. She is supposedly skilled with swords, but there were more times she was a loser in a fight and needing rescuing. She escaped a lot of dicey situations in the first half of the book by throwing money around; when she lost her money she was basically useless. She was also very vaguely drawn; it wasn't until the second half of the book we get a detail about her eye color.The hero of this mess is Ryam (no last name, which speaks volumes about the attention to detail the book gives the character development). Ryam is a "barbarian" wandering around the wrong side of the empire and is starting to make his way back home on the western frontier just beyond the empire when he encounters An Li, dressed as a boy traveling with a group of men. Of course, Ryam senses that An Li is really a female due to her curves...sure. An Li requests Ryam's help in getting her back to Changan, capital of the empire, and to her family so she can reveal her groom's nasty dealings to the court. For no reason whatsoever, Ryam agrees to help.There is a lot of walking in the woods and talk about the empire in the first half of the book. I guess this is to established the bond between An Li and Ryam, but it was so boring and repetitive. Once in Changan, a mere 3 days is used to isolate An Li from her family (that she talked about So Much during the walking in the woods) and raise some political intrigue. Ryam did his duty and he left the city after collecting his pay. This lasts for approximately 10% of the book, then An Li runs away again, this time for her family's home in Longyou. Along the way she meets Ryam again and he agrees to accompany her on her trip home. At least this time they took horses.At home in Longyou, An Li and Ryam act on their pants feelings for each other and the reader gets treated to long repetitive "is this love what I am feeling" monologues. An Li's groom is not happy with her dismissal and he tracks the couple throughout the book without being actually anywhere near them. He is mentioned about 25000 times and how he is a "bad man." An Li does not get the warm welcome home she expected by her brother (who remained in the mountain home to take on a job), so she and Ryam run away, AGAIN, to Ryam's home on the frontier. It is here in Yumen Guan (Jade Gate) that groom finds bride and lots of fighting begins, along with a kidnapping. Ryam goes after An Li and her kidnappers and we get a long, boring bloody showdown between groom and hero. In the end, the groom decides to let An Li go because she is not worth all this damn trouble. Emperor Shen, who witnessed the showdown and experienced An Li's constant running away, decides she is not worth the trouble either and gives Ryam the job being occupied by the brother and the couple gets the mountain home. Ryam also gets to use Shen for a last name. Emperor Shen doesn't care, he just wants An Li out of his hair.So the "bad man" groom is the hero in the next book which tells you everything. Paper tiger fed by An Li's hysterics.

  • Torzilla
    2019-06-16 18:20

    DNF - Please note that I skimmed the latter half, and thus, feel wrong giving this book a rating.I wanted to love the world and the characters in BUTTERFLY SWORDS. Because of the setting, I believed the story had a lot of potential to be rich and the adventure exciting. Instead, the story fell flat; the writing did not fully draw me in -- which I think was one of the primary problems for me -- and the hero was not all that impressive.Usually with adventure stories, they're either full of excitement/beautifully written, or they soon grow repetitive and tiresome to read about. I thought BUTTERFLY SWORDS fell into the latter category. This is, interestingly enough, primarily where the writing disappointed me. I did not feel invested when Ai Li and Ryam were sneaking around, attempting to avoid the guards searching for them. I simply kept on reading (apathetic the entire time) and neither felt any sense of relief when the two managed to escape, nor any connection to their environment. You know how some stories seem to have the characters living in their own little world, disconnected to their surroundings? For some reason, I felt like it was like that instead of having the environment almost as its own character. That was the first sign of "trouble" when reading this story.Ryam, our pale-skinned barbarian, fell flat for me, too. Like the environment, I felt no connection with his character at all, which is probably one of the most disappointing aspects of this book for me. He was not fully developed as a character and was not an interesting love interest. So, because I found our hero uninteresting, I never felt fully invested with this romance (which is a problem, considering what the genre is). What I cannot understand is why Ryam would not be developed further. We don't even learn (unless I missed it while skimming) where he comes from. Why include a foreigner then if he brings no real uniqueness to the overall story? I think the only redeeming quality about this book was how kick ass Ai Li was, especially with her butterfly swords. The fight scenes in this book were my favorite parts. I loved that the author created an independent character who was strong enough to disobey the rules to protect her family. Too bad her love interest lessened the story for me.... and that Ai Li was reduced to the same virginal sissy that we encounter in numerous historicals.I do give Jeannie Lin props, though, for thinking outside the box and exploring a different time period and writing an interracial romance. While I did not enjoy this story, I will be interested in checking out her future titles, since she does bring a breath of fresh air to the historical romance genre.

  • Pamela
    2019-05-26 21:33

    Jeannie Lin has written a historical romance set in 758 CE China during the Tang Dynasty. Shen Ai Li, daughter of the Emperor, has been betrothed to Li Tao to seal an alliance between the Emperor and his rival. Before she can be married, however, she learns that Li Tao was responsible for the death of one of her brothers and that he is amassing a large army to usurp the throne from Ai Li’s father.Ai Li is determined to warn her father of Li Tao’s perfidy. First, though, she must travel across country, even as she is being chased by Li Tao’s soldiers, to the Emperor’s palace. When she gives a beggar a rice bowl, he turns out to be a barbarian. Her body guards are drugged and she runs into the forest. The beggar, a swordsman of some skill, is Ryam. He rescues her as Li Tao’s men try to capture her. Ryam promises to see her safely to the Imperial city, no easy task considering Li Tao wants her back. On the way to the Imperial city, Ryam recognizes that he is deeply attracted to Ai Li. He also knows that there is no hope for a relationship between Ai Li and himself. Nevertheless, the attraction is mutual and continues to grow as they run for their lives.Lin has written a fast-paced adventure story, a historical, and, above all, a love story. Her characters, Ryam and Ai Li, are strong, intelligent, well drawn, and come alive for the reader. She has included many historical details without overwhelming the reader and her story with minutiae. If you love your romantic stories set in distant times and far away places, Butterfly Swords should be on the top of your list.

  • Abby
    2019-05-22 17:20

    I think I first heard about this series from Wendy the Super Librarian's "Unusual Historicals" blog. The setting of the Tang Dynasty intrigued me and in that respect, this book does not disappoint. Author Jeannie Lin does a great job of weaving in history and cultural detail into a short novel without resorting to info dump or awkward conversations. She lets the actions of the characters reveal the current political situation and shed some light into recent history. The only thing that bothered me was the Englishizing of the heroine's name, Ai Li, into Ailey. In the first chapters, when we're in her head, her named is spelled Ai Li. Once we meet the Western (British? French?) hero, the spelling is shifted to Ailey, I'm guessing to approximate his mangled pronunciation. Eventually, though, it becomes the dominant spelling, even when the reader is getting Ai Li's perspective. This bothered me a lot. At first I interpreted it as the loss of the heroine's identity into the hero's Westernization. (This is the kind of crazy stuff that happens when you've taken too many post colonial literature classes in university.) I think the more accurate reason is laziness on the part of the author or editor. Keeping track of two spellings depending on POV was at the bottom of the narrative "to do" list. Which is fine. But it still bothered me. Looking forward to getting the second in the series. Luckily my public library network has the trilogy, so I can feed my need for interesting and unusual locations in romance.

  • Anna
    2019-05-24 16:39

    While Butterfly Swords is marketed as a romance, it has a strong plotline full of politics, swordfights, and family dynamics that give the book a wider audience than the standard romance. The worldbuilding is beautiful, with the sort of details that enrich the world and make it memorable without bogging the story down. The attention to the swordplay and fighting scenes makes them a particularly important element of the story, and Lin reveals a lot about their characters simply by the way they fight. In some cases, the swordfights show more than a conversation could.It takes talent to take what could be typical romance characters and breathe life into them so they not only feel real, but unique and endearing. Ai Li is a sheltered, upper-class maiden with a tendancy for stubbornness; she's also a warrior who's trained with swords all her life and is more concerned with the honour of her marriage than the fact that she's never met the groom. Ryam is a hardened and bitter fighter with a sketchy past; he's also a wanderer with nothing to his name but his skills and his father's sword. On the surface, a lot of the elements will be familiar to romance readers, but with enough of a twist to feel fresh and exciting. The writing is engaging, especially the eye for detail. Jeannie Lin is a storyteller to watch.

  • Jax
    2019-05-23 00:10

    This is the first Harlequin Historical I've read and I'm delighted to say it won't be the last. Jeannie Lin's debut novel BUTTERFLY SWORDS is an incredibly visual read. Cinematic and as vivid as the characters she's written. It brought back so many fond memories of my love for Chinese cinema growing up. This story was beautifully written and although it possessed a love story, the root of it was a personal journey of love and loss for the heroine Ai Li. She is a smart, sassy, and strong character with the ability to wield her butterfly swords with eloquence and surety. Her spirited fighting skills, while engaged with the handsome foreigner Ryam, managed to capture his interest and his heart.The Tang Dynasty setting was a breath of fresh air–and who doesn't love a sexy bad boy who is eager to tame the feisty heroine (at least in his bed)? This story had plenty of action, intrigue, loyalty and passion. I can't wait to see more from this Golden Heart winner and I'm excited that she's helped revived historicals outside of the Regency and Victorian era! Well done, Ms. Lin!

  • Lydia Presley
    2019-06-09 21:29

    Hey - romance lovers. Let me introduce you to a nicely priced, fantastic little adventure book. As those of you who visit my blog regularly know, I'm not really a romance reader (although I do tend to read more romance during the fall/winter months). Still, I saw this title on NetGalley and decided to check out it. Warrior girl? Bring it on!Of course, there were all the normal cliches in this book, but that's what makes a romance novel a romance novel. There's the sense of danger, the muscled leading guy, the beautiful leading girl, the forbidden romance. Still, even with all of the normal ingredients a romance novel can be really bad.. or good, depending on the writing. Jeannie Lin did a fantastic job with the pace, her choice of words and her character development. My only complaint was that.. for being a story set in the Tang dynasty... the language and actions of the main characters were.. pretty modern. Still, it's a romance novel and not an educational history book.. so I'm willing to overlook that.Full of steam, romping fun and a good adventure overall!

  • Karen
    2019-05-25 17:33

    I enjoyed the setting for this book - Tang Dynasty in 758 AD China - different than anything I've read before but everything else about the book was pretty generic. A fun adventure but the romance was nothing too exciting. In fact Mr. Hormone hero was super annoying trying to keep his lust in check with the (kick ass) heroine but thinking dirty thoughts almost non stop from the get go. I think I'm getting waaaay to critical but this scene annoyed me (view spoiler)[ The hero is about to have sex with the virgin heroine but was in the room w/another woman the night before (don't worry - nothing happened) but he feels it's wrong to take her virginity in that room, under those circumstances - just seconds away from having sex he stops. Poor girl is all confused and hurt so he brings her to orgasm - same room/same bed that he won't have sex with her in - with his mouth. What the f*ck is the difference?? Maybe I just don't get man logic lol (hide spoiler)]

  • Judy
    2019-05-18 21:38

    Fairly enjoyable and smooth read. I question the authenticity of Jeannie Lin's Tang China, but I didn't really have high expectations of historical accuracies when it comes to these sorts of stories. Although the story was predicable, I liked the fast pace of the action scenes. The attraction between Ai Li and Ryam sent sparks flying off the page, and there were a few scenes where I had to fan myself from the sheer intensity of their passion. Ryam as a hero and in general their romance was ok, but nothing boundary breaking or amazing. It felt fairly formulaic: blond haired blue eyed barbarian who is good with a sword, with a mysterious angsty past. This one was between 3 and 4 stars, but I chose to go higher because of the genre and the type of novel this is, and how this one certainly exceeded my expectations in terms of just being fun. However, cheesy some of the background stories are, I did care for the characters and cheered for them to get together.

  • February Four
    2019-06-13 19:37

    Ai Li is a handful of trouble, and Ryam is ye olde standard hero, but Li Tao is surprisingly deserving of respect. Of the other characters in Ai Li's family, her mother comes closest to a real character. Nice, enjoyable, shades of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. I have to admit, I liked it more than I thought I would. The back cover of the book proclaimed a romance between "princess and barbarian" and comes dangerously close to exoticism, but Jeannie Lin manages to convey her respect of the Chinese culture beautifully. This is one I might actually recommend to others.

  • Goblin
    2019-05-28 00:40

    I want to give this book 3.5 stars. I loved that this novel took place in such a unique setting. I wanted to love the book too! To be honest it wasn't a bad story. I just felt things became a bit tedious in places (travel scenes) and perhaps didn't explain as much about the characters as I was expecting. I found myself never really growing attached to her characters, and I kept reading and wishing that something else would happen. There was action, and lots of travel but it just seemed to fall flat.