Review: House of Glass

House of Glass
House of Glass by Michelle Reid
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I actually enjoyed the love-hate chemistry between the main characters. A bit too melodramatic, but well, they’re grieving for the loss. I like that the heroine is quite strong-willed and could argue her way with the hero (though not enough).

But again, maybe the love-hate sparks tend to be more hate than love. That and the way the hero behaved throughout the story was fricking childish and….let’s just say he was stupid. I mean, even I would suspect that the “love triangle” between the heroine, the husband and the said “family friend” wasn’t what it looked like (or exactly what it looked like? It’s fricking obvious!). The hero was THIS CLOSE to that a-hole from The Devil’s Bride. To me, one thing that saves this book is the heroine. Well, a bit.

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Review: Dark Love Series: Dangerous Romance

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Dark Love Series: Dangerous Romance
Dark Love Series: Dangerous Romance by Daisy Ann
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Rating 3 bintang di sini saya beri tanpa embel-embel bahwa ini seharusnya “dark romance”, karena….dark-nya di mana?

Karakter Maura awalnya cukup menjanjikan. Oooh cinta bertepuk sebelah tangan. Oooh stalker. Oooh ternyata cukup “tega” untuk ngejar si cowok sampe bisa marriage of convenience segala. Tapi lalu dari situ Maura berubah jadi cewek kuat nan mandiri yang sebenarnya bisa-bisa banget hidup tanpa Ben (kadang saya mikir kenapa dia gak sama Kelana aja gitu? Ato mungkin si mbak lebih milih cowok yang satu home base? #eh).

Karakter Ben lebih parah lagi. Well, sebagai penikmat Harlequin series, sudah jadi semacam kebiasaan untuk tidak terlalu mengekspos POV karakter cowok. Tapi masalahnya sampai akhir saya benar-benar bingung dengan niatan awal Ben untuk menikahi Maura, padahal di situlah turning point yang jadi basis plot. Maura bahkan sudah “nantang” Ben di awal untuk “batalin aja pernikahannya kalo gak mau, tapi kamu yang bilang, soalnya aku sih mau-mau aja nikah sama kamu” (this is one of my fav scene, soalnya Maura keliatan lumayan badass sebagai seorang cewek yang kelihatannya tahu apa yang dimau). But Ben still proceed with the marriage. Jadi apa yang membuat Ben mau? Sampai akhir masih tidak jelas. Karena jujur aja ya, Ben di situ sangat punya pilihan. Lalu di adegan klimaks, saya aja masih bingung sebenarnya apa alasan mereka bertengkar.┬áreally, ngamuk cemburu karena istrinya ngasih pertunjukan tari di depan umum, rame-rame sama temennya, di sebuah acara yang sangat decent dan beralasan? What’s this guy’s problem? Dan Maura juga kenapa pake gak bilang-bilang segala?┬áBen juga gak pernah menjelaskan gimana perasaan dia ke Devina – as in how did he get over it, etc – ke Maura.

Terlepas dari kelakuan tokoh-tokohnya yang kadang bikin “Hah? Kenapa bisa begini?”, saya menikmati tulisannya yang mengalir. Setidaknya saya bisa menyelesaikannya dengan selamat, tanpa acara “pingin lempar buku ke tembok”. Lumayan gak kerasa lho membaca buku ini. Saya juga menyukai deskripsi gaya hidup tokoh-tokohnya yang relatable untuk saya (karena sering kali saya nemu buku-buku romance chicklit yang – meski gaya tulisannya bagus – cukup membuat saya bertanya-tanya di belahan bumi Indonesia mana tokoh-tokohnya hidup). Relatable, tapi tetap baper-baper ala harlequin series, yeahhh! Tentu, ada sedikit perasaan sentimentil juga karena buku ini berlatar di kota Surabaya hihihi.

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Review: Sihir Perempuan

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Sihir Perempuan
Sihir Perempuan by Intan Paramaditha

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sebuah antologi cerpen bernuansa gothic yang mengangkat isu gender. Ini pertama kali saya membaca karya si penulis, dan saya suka! Saya suka cara si penulis menceritakan kepahitan hidup perempuan lewat sentilan imajinasi dalam kalimatnya. Bahkan dalam kepahitan mereka, perempuan-perempuan di buku ini bisa terlihat begitu kuat, bahkan terkadang mematikan. Saya juga suka karena penulis mengangkat isu gender lewat cerita horor psikologis. Jujur, terkadang saya tidak sepenuhnya mengerti, tapi saya sangat menikmati membaca tiap patah katanya.

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Review: Radiance

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Radiance
Radiance by Grace Draven

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 star. So, in case any of you fans are thinking of sending me one of those scarpatine pies, please do so after reading my explanation.

The book is written very well. The high rating and the synopsis made me “quiver” with anticipation of a good story, good characters, and of course, good writing. In a way, the book delivers that. I like the writing. I think the author is good in describing scenes after scenes. I especially enjoy reading the world building (to be fair, I don’t read many fantasy books after Harry Potter). The characters are lovable. Well, after reading too many douche-y alpha males in harlequins and historicals, this is a good “change of scenery”.

Despite everything, I still think it lacks…something? First of all, maybe because I started this book expecting to read about human and non-human romance, but it ended to be very…human? Throughout the early chapters it has been stressed – REPEATEDLY – that the Kais are not human. In the beginning, it had been stressed that Kais and humans had different beauty standard. Ok, fine. I automatically assume that since the two species have difference perspective of beauty, they should have different ways of thinking, habits, and culture etc. But aside from potatoes and scarpatine pies, I don’t see much difference. I think I wouldn’t mind this much if this aspect was not what had sold me to the book.

To me, the characters, while lovable, are not complex enough. Well, each of them got a good start. But from there, I wish I could see more of their characters rather than being told they are this and that. Take Anhuset for example. I love Anhuset. I could get a good grasp of her basic character. But, I also would like to explore the nature of her relationship with Brishen. Okay, they were cousins as well as childhood friends. But why? How? It’s like I as reader just have to take it as it is. The same goes for Brishen. I know that he is described as being different from his (nuclear) family because he had been raised by his nanny instead of his mother. But I do believe that, for better or worse, he is still Secmis’ (and Djedor’s) son. Honestly I couldn’t believe he didn’t share one or two traits from mommy or daddy.

And then there’s the conflict. Or, in my own words: WHAT CONFLICT? While I do realize that the books stresses on how Ildiko adapted to the Kai culture, I think Ildiko and Brishen’s relationship is too…easy? If not for the world building, I would have stopped reading. And the intrigues in the story are just…not interesting enough. So once I got past the part where Ildiko and Brishen consummated their relationship, I had to push myself to read it, thus explaining why it has taken me weeks to finish this book.

Overall, it’s a good book. But considering I had to force myself to read the last 20%, I don’t know if I’m continuing to the next book in the series.

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Review: The Arabian Mistress

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The Arabian Mistress
The Arabian Mistress by Lynne Graham

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I think this book would have been a very good case study for “misinformation”. Yes, you heard me. Misinformation, not misunderstanding. The whole book is filled with “oh I thought you were implying thia instead of that” from BOTH main characters. While reading, I was really tempted to do a short presentation on this book that concludew with this: “so now we know how important it is to learn foreign language, especially the one your lover speaks.”

So, both characters were at fault, but somehow I dislike the heroine more. I mean, the hero might be a jerk at the beginning of the story, plus with him hiding the fact that they were still married for half the book (although I could smell it from miles ahead), but at least he tried to save their marriage. He was a stubborn and proud man, but I can accept that from his character. On the other hand, the heroine kept jumping into conclusion. Also, after two weeks together, did it ever dawn on her that she MIGHT be still married to Taariq, what with all those attitudes from the servants? Worse, she tried to act brave/independent, but failed. Big time. At some point I even symphatized with the hero for having to fave the heroine.

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Review: The Hating Game

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The Hating Game
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 star. I’m torn.

3.5 star. I’m torn.

Reasons for 4 star:
– It’s funny. Despite the fact that 1st person POV is not my favorite POV, this book cracked me up at many points. I really enjoyed reading it
– The rivalry between Lucy and Josh is funny, if not immature. But I like it. Love-hate relationship is my thing, and this book lives up to my expectation in that aspect
– They are both equally crazy, as a couple. But maybe a bit too crazy

Reasons for 3 star:
– Halfway down the book, i realized something: the main protagonists were screwed-up in the head. Each one was so fricking OBSESSED with the other it was really fortunate that the other was equally obsessed as well. I realize, though, that anyone could be obsessive when it comes to 1-2 things in their life but reading this in a book…enjoyable, yes, but clearly not a relationship goal. On the other hand, this is what makes me read the book all the way through the end. Lucy and Joshua were clearly made for each other!
– At some point, I think the plot was just…circling? Look, I know Lucy was confused of her feeling toward Josh and the “new game”, but what she did was just..I don’t know, circling in the same place? It got me bored and i had to force myself to finish it, but once they (or Lucy) took initiative, it sailed quite smoothly. However, I can’t help but think that this book could be ended in 250-300 pages instead of 384 pages

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Review: The Summer Palace

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The Summer Palace
The Summer Palace by C.S. Pacat

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU C. S. Pacat for writing this epilogue of Captive Prince series! This (short story) book also happens to be my first book in 2017. I swear I didn’t plan it.

As much as I like Kings Rising, I do feel like there should be more to the ending. Of course, after all what they’ve been through, I’d love to see how they settle into their new roles as kings ruling side-by-side. While this short story doesn’t cover that, at least readers get to see how they mended their relationship. Like it or not, their relationship had a rocky start and they did have some things that are off-limits to talk about (i.e. Auguste, the lashing). At least in this story they start to get more open with each other about those sensitive issues.

The writing is as expected from C.S. Pacat, but with less politics and more sweetness. As much as I had prepared myself that The Summer Palace would be “so sweet it might be diabetic”, I have to admit that I almost CRIED when Laurent bowed in front of Damen’s mother’s statue, asking for permission to court him. To me, that’s one powerful scene in this book, showing how much Laurent loved, cared, and respected Damen.

All in all, a fitting epilogue for Captive Prince. Can’t wait for the next two short stories!
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Review: Green but for a Season

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Green but for a Season
Green but for a Season by C.S. Pacat

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So, how do I say this…

The plus points in this short story is that I came to like Jord even more. During and after Prince’s Gambit, I get to see Jord’s character for more than who I thought he was. I get to see how much he cared about his Prince. This short story only affirms it. I LOVE reading the part where he was reminiscing past events with Laurent, how he came to work under Laurent, and some glimpses of how Laurent’s cared about his subordinates.

However, in regards of Jord’s relationship with Aimeric, I feel that this short story is just retelling the same thing as in the book. I mean, after everything that happened with Aimeric, I would LOVE to see his point of view on all this political matters/intrigues. Instead, I get so little of that.

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Review: The Greek Tycoon’s Blackmailed Mistress

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The Greek Tycoon's Blackmailed Mistress
The Greek Tycoon’s Blackmailed Mistress by Lynne Graham

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is one of the few Lynne Graham books that I managed to finish. In short, I like the writings – good amount of tensionsband UST and misubderstanding – but I have problems with the characters, especially the hero.

Throughout the whole book, the hero comes off as obsessive control freak. What’s with the agreement and everything? He evem told her how to dress. And in the last bit of the story, ugh! If he didn’t do that for security reasons, I would very much question the why the heroine even loves him. What makes it worse is that, as a reader, I didn’t see him changed his character or at least developed some sense. Sure, at the end he “compromised”, but it’s explained only through several paragraphs.

As for the heroine, I actually kind of like her, except for the fact that she gave up her profession, signed that fricking agreement, and basically only had her prejudice left – of which the hero didn’t seem to want to correct her assumptions. But anyway, I still like the heroine better than the heroine in Bond of Hatred. While I quite enjoy their bickering, I often wonder how long would their relationship survives when both parties have explosive traits like that.

All in all, a decent (harlequin) read.

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