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Aurinne
It's very readable, and that's it's main strength.

If you love the black-bellied girl reincarnated in ancient China face-slapping and getting serious revenge everywhere genre of story... you will find this an enjoyably readable although mediocre version of this.

Weaknesses/irks:

    • The lacklustre revenge. At 207 chapters, the MC still hasn't finished off her family and step-family, even though she clearly has the ability and power to do so. Most of the satisfying face-slapping actually comes from her son or the ML, and not the MC at all. Public confrontations also feel messy and not very effective.
    • The stupid antagonists. They're suitably hateful, but they are also just stupid. They keep getting slapped and yet they just keep coming up with new weak plots against the MC that mainly weaken and undermine themselves. I don't understand how they managed to get into such a position of influence prior to this when their brains and their composure is so weak.
    • The appropriate manners/behaviour. I don't know what era/dynasty the story is supposed to represent, nor do I know all of the ins and outs of ancient Chinese culture, but from reading a variety of these ancient China stories, coupled with common sense, it basically feels like there's a lot of modern or unrestrained or liberal behaviour inconsistent with the way the overall society is represented. For instance, if the MC is supposed to have fallen pregnant while unmarried, and this is represented as a ruinously shameful thing, it's hard to see that even sympathetic and loving characters could show her off proudly and still have face. Or, when the slightest wrong word or action could get you beaten or executed by those higher than you (e.g. royalty), I don't understand why characters have no self-control and just blurt out all of their business or grievances in public without restraint.
    • MC's suddenly awesome: Although there's some basis for her developing her personal awesomeness (due to her abilities/skills in her past life), there's a time-skip and we miss seeing her build up not just her personal strength, but her allies and power/influence. She just somehow managed to get amazing people to support or follow her in only a few years.
    • Morals/likability: If you look at it objectively, the only reason to be on the side of MC and her allies is that she was wronged first, and the antagonists are sooo despicable. It's not as if the characters of the MC or those on her side are really good. They're still quite brutal, selfish, overbearing, bloodthirsty... and don't really seem to care if the fallout of their actions might also harm innocent or relatively innocent people. I know to expect a certain amount of that when reading this type of story, but I still want to feel that their basic intentions are decent, or I feel uncomfortable.
Strengths:

    • It's just really easy to read. Despite being irked by all of the weaknesses, I happily binge-read from chapter 1 to chapter 207.
    • The characters are quite lively, especially the son, and some of the side characters (such as the brother) are easy to like. Not all the characters are great, nor are they all well-fleshed out, but there's enough life in all of them to at least superficially carry the story along.
    • There's finally a hint of moving the story beyond this family-revenge arc and into the wider world. There are bigger factions, sects and the ML's demon realm to come. It has the potential to get more interesting. Hopefully.
In summary, it's readability is high, and I was in the mood for a mindless, easy-to-digest story like this (although I still would've preferred it if it was better). I'm not sick of it YET (I'm uncertain how long it will be able to hold my attention in the future).

If you like Black Bellied Miss and Enchantress Among Alchemists and are just desperate for more in that style, then this might be for you, if you don't mind it not being as good as those two.

If you want something more intelligent, then read To Be A Virtuous Wife, or if you want something lighter that focuses more on the MC making her way in the new world of her reincarnated body, with only mild face-slapping, then read Reincarnator Meets Transmigrator, or Doomed to be Cannon Fodder.
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Aurinne
Aurinne rated it
Kenkyo, Kenjitsu o Motto ni Ikite Orimasu
January 23, 2018
Status: c227
(5 stars is for how much I genuinely enjoy reading this, personally, not an attempt to influence anyone else or the overall rating. It's very hard to get that fifth star from me - so far, this is the only one.)

This is a laid-back little gem that I'm glad I stuck with through the initial chapters. I didn't find them boring, ever - but I was expecting it to rush through from the time of her remembering her previous life/recognising she's living a story until the time in... more>> high school, where all the drama "originally" happened. Instead, the story properly follows her life, practically month-to-month, year-to-year through primary and middle school. It sounds boring, but the MC is a product of her current ojou-sama upbringing and her previous "commoner", ordinary life - watching her earnestly try to live up to the expectations of her current elite environment while having the same kind of ordinary (or timid or lazy) feelings and thoughts any of us would have is part of the charm of this story.

We get to watch her relationships with the characters around her grow gently - her elite classmates, the two princes of the school (and no, they don't become close, nor is this a harem story), people she befriends outside of her narrow social circle etc. I like the balance of insight and cluelessness the MC has - I think it's very realistic: sometimes she's very quick to notice or pick up on things, especially when it's about other people, and sometimes she's less aware, especially about herself. I don't think she's a stupid character, but she's a character of very normal, unexceptional intelligence.

The main reason I like this story so much is that the whole thing is written as if the author has a little twinkle in their eye. It's just amusing. It's endearing. It's not boisterously exciting, but I'm always gently entertained.

In summary: the translation is very good; the plot/content is light-weight but intelligent; the writing style is easy to read and entertaining. It very much suits my personal taste - but it is laid-back. If you're thinking of trying it, be prepared to read quite a few chapters before you really get into the groove/style of the story. <<less
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Aurinne
Aurinne rated it
The Antelope and Night Wolf
February 4, 2019
Status: Completed
(First reviewed at ch 56, edited on completion.)

So, this story is a delightful read, except for two fairly significant flaws. I found it worth reading despite the flaws.

Pros:

    • The MC: The MC in this is lively, naughty, clever, silly, whimsical, vulnerable, kind and so, so enjoyable to read. He's one of those vibrant characters who carry the story. At first, I thought the story would be about the reader gradually learning about the ML as the MC does. In fact, much of the story is about discovering more and more about the MC, which reveals more depth and backstory than I'd anticipated.
    • The supporting characters: There is quite a rich supporting cast for the MC to bounce off and to keep things lively. (In fact, my favourite character after the MC is one who has all the charisma, cunning, intelligence, influence and loyalty of a true ML, but instead is a friend and has his own side-relationship.)
    • The writing: This writing style is very easy to read, entertaining and fairly polished. The translation is also good.
    • The complicated plot? I'm not sure if this is a pro! The plot purposely becomes more and more complicated with different characters and lies, which I usually dislike, but this story has managed so far to just steer itself clear of annoying.
THE CONS:

    • The ML: I didn't like him at all at the start, it wasn't that he was awful, he just was not very likeable. He's a stoic and rigid young man full of fairly fragile but significant pride. After a while, he improved to the level of... innocuous. That is the best I could say about him. It was a bit fun to see the MC start to use his wit and experience to wrap the ML around his finger without the ML always realising. However, as a love interest... at best, he's horribly BLAND. Several supporting characters have more personality and are more likeable than the MC. (To be fair, I do at least appreciate that he's not the same old perfect and flawless ML we often get. I just wish I liked him enough to get excited about pairing him with such a likeable MC.)
    • EDIT: After reading to the end, I liked the eventual sincerity, thoughtfulness and acceptance with which he treated the MC, so I became mostly reconciled to him as the ML.
    • The BDSM: Although flagged from the the start, this aspect doesn't really come into play until sometime after chapter 50. Initially, it fells incongruous, unnecessary and quite badly done. The tone of the rest of the novel is like a lively romcom, and the BDSM just seems thrown in for the sake of it, making it feel clunky and badly-transitioned. What's worse, though, is that the ML's dominance doesn't feel charming or seductive - instead, he just feels like a petty, chauvinistic man who has to exert his dominance regardless of the feelings of his partner or else he'll feel emasculated; not romantic or erotic at all. Luckily for him, the MC goes along with it because the author has decided he likes it.
    • EDIT: It turned out to be acceptable, so don't be put off by its bad introduction. The ML improves a lot and the BDSM, without taking over the story, gradually becomes a way that they develop a deeper connection. I was pleasantly surprised to see that this became a vehicle for the ML to actually become a more considerate partner, so I was glad I persisted with the story over the less likeable parts.
All in all, this is a lively and enjoyable story, written with a little more sophistication than many BL stories around. The author did a fairly good job of tying up all of the various complicated threads and I found the ending mostly satisfying.
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Aurinne
While there's something indefinably likeable about this story, the actual writing is so poor it's boring and painful to read, which makes me sad.

If you loooove otome game reincarnation stories you may still find this enjoyable. I reluctantly can't read anymore.

Good things:

... more>> The MC is neither stupid nor exceptionally smart.

The doll magic concept is interesting.

The "capture targets" so far are not completely falling for her just because. There's room for character growth, rather than the original game character merely converting affection blindly.

As I said before, there's something intangible about this story that makes me think about it and want to go back and read more.

Negative things:

The main problem is the writing, which affects everything, really...

Attention in the writing is given to things likes describing food or the MC anticipating problems or events. However, the actual events in the story are often skipped - after anticipating, we then receive the results of how it went.

Interactions between characters lack the additional information such as accompanying expressions and actions. Similar to above, we often don't even get to read the important interactions, but instead attention is given to more trivial ones. (It would be fine to include these as well, but if I can only read one type of interaction I don't want to waste my time on the trivial stuff at the expense of the story's main events.)

Things jump from one event to another without any transition (and often skipping a lot of important or interesting stuff). For instance, at one point she's somewhere with the visiting duke and his son, then she and the son are elsewhere - but what happened to the duke?? Not long later, she and the son are somewhere else in the town - that could have been interesting, there'd been a lot of exposition beforehand about various things in the city - but instead they have a short and pointless scene that could've occurred anywhere and then suddenly are both at a party. It's like...I keep waiting for the actual story to be shown.

There are also so many opportunities to flesh out the world and characters that are missed through this kind of writing. Especially the MC, I still haven't figured out if she's courageous or cautious or cheeky or calm etc.

Finally, I really like the concept of the doll magic, but I never get to read about her learning it or developing it. She's always just already done great new things with it so it instead feels cheaty and OP.

In the end, the story feels really shallow and abrupt and awkward.

If you are a devotee of otome game reincarnation style stories, you may still latch onto whatever it is that engaged me initially and really enjoy this. If you're wary of inane writing, however, I think this will frustrate you, so don't waste your time. Go read Kenkyo, Kenjitsu o Motto ni Ikite Orimasu or Common Sense of a Duke's Daughter instead. <<less
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Aurinne
Aurinne rated it
Rebirth of the Wolfish Silkpants Bottom
November 2, 2018
Status: c149
I have sooo many problems with this story, but it had something that easily kept me following/reading it right to the end.

Pros:

  • Somewhat realistic MC intelligence (although imperfectly executed by the author). I like that the MC acknowledges all along that he's not exceptionally smart. His success in this life comes from his pre-knowledge and his loss of blind naivety/gullibility. He sees a lot of things more clearly and plans for them better because he's already experienced them (and has his past-life education/work experience). This puts at an advantage compared to most, but not against the truly successful people around him (such as the ML), and he still basically retains his natural simplicity about other things.
  • Lots of affection between the MC and ML (and, if that's a pro for you, much to-the-point-it-gets-tedious s*x).
  • It's really easy to read, rarely feels tiresome.
  • The ending was neatly wrapped up regarding all the family-related issues their relationship presented.
  • Translation is quite decent (which is the same as excellent compared to many amateur and even semi-pro translations on NU).
Cons:

... more>>
  • I felt uncomfortable with the relationship between the MC and ML earlier on. Particularly with the ML who, while he never crosses a particular line before the ML reaches a certain age, he crosses every other line he can. Even though we, the readers, know that the MC is completely an adult mentally, the ML doesn't and, even if the MC is receptive, in real life it'd be a situation where he's taking advantage of the MC's immaturity and dependence on him. I found it a bit hard to get past that.
  • The revenge - which was one of the original points of the story - became more like filler, and I started to not care, especially as more and more people-who'd-wronged-him-in-another-timeline popped up, and the maternal family that kept coming back were also a bit wearying.
  • I know it's full of mature themes and content, but it still bothered me how many of the revenges or retributions came in the form of something s*xual. I didn't like the frequent use of s*x as revenge/punishment/humiliation.
  • Similarly, I was bothered by the attitude towards one of the women antagonists when she was randomly assaulted and subsequently shunned by her in-laws and husband. This may be an attitude that is still prevalent in China (?), but (in this case) the woman was an innocent victim yet she was still punished - and this was presented as acceptable because she was otherwise despicable (which she was) and deserved punishment. Just, no.
  • Dominant ML/submissive MC relationship - nothing unusual for C novels, just not my preference even when I otherwise like a story and a couple.
Summary:

Argh. This was SUCH an engaging read, and yet so flawed. If it hadn't been for how readable it was, I would've ditched it because I can't say I approve of some of the parts, but it did keep me reading. So, if you're not so fussed about morals or other plot flaws but just want a readable BL where you will eventually get lots of fluffy affection and s*x moments, then this is a good read for you. If you are bothered by those things... you might like this despite yourself, but it might get too annoying. <<less
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Aurinne
Aurinne
Game Loading
May 4, 2019
Status: c37
Current rating: 2/5 (partway through third arc).

I just want to know, does the story style remain consistent with the beginning, or does it dramatically improve?

I think a lot of people loved this style from the start, (which is fine, different tastes) but I'm seriously struggling, and don't want to persist if it stays the same.

I can see strengths in this story: The more creative take on the world-hopping system, the more concrete and logical structure for earning rewards from each world, the more creative way to include the ML... more>> in each world, the more original and somewhat sadistic spin on each of the cliched worlds and the genuinely game-like aspects such as save points.

However, I'm finding the actual stories really boring and irritating. I don't care AT ALL about any of the capture targets, all their interactions feel tedious - like having to click through the same NPC spiel in a video game each time before you can get to the action. I want the MC to have various interesting challenges, not just love-challenges with uninteresting and two-dimensional targets. (And then he needs to use a save point, which should be a strength if the story, but it just drags the arcs out tediously...)

And the ML. MEH. Of course, it's different the way the MC dislikes him from the start, but there's good reason, you know - he's irritating. Frankly, I don't care at all about the MC falling in love with him, I'd rather he just clocks all the worlds and becomes awesome. That's feel more interesting. And I'm tired of an OP ML falling immediately in love with the MC as well. It'd be more interesting if they both disliked each other and he was actively hindering him.

(Oh, and I almost forgot the super-irritating-and-not-funny pet companion. I thought I was free of that stuff since there's no annoying system personification.)

The point is, I can't wait for each arc to be over. I've been trying to persist, because there are no bad reviews, but I'm wondering if it's just a matter of whether or not you enjoy the ML and the capture targets from the start. Since I don't, I'm beginning to think they'll never become interesting to me.

Well, I'm not trying to put anyone off with this review/whine. I think if you try it out and find yourself enjoying it early on, you'll probably really enjoy the rest. <<less
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Aurinne
Aurinne rated it
Rebirth of a Star: Another Day, Another Drama
October 25, 2018
Status: c41
I know there's still a lot to go, but a LOT has happened already.

Should you read this? If you just want something mild, not too straining and LOVE the genre without being picky, then (so far) it's an acceptable time-waster.

Would I recommend it? Not really. It started out promisingly but quickly became bland, lukewarm, inconsistent and unsatisfactory.

... more>> Pros:

  • The MC? It's nice that, apart from her incredible acting ability, she's quite normal - not stupid, but not a genius or possessing myriad skills etc. And not always able to brilliantly deal with everything. Similarly, she actually has to deal the past actions and reputation of her current body's previous owner and carry that burden continually. People don't just suddenly forget everything and bow down and worship her because she's changed her behaviour.
  • The MC's family, while not playing a HUGE part so far, is not horrible to her. For once, she isn't the trash who has to battle her hateful family. The drama focuses on rivals in the industry (one of which is carried over from her past) or love rivals.
  • I don't think I, personally, have read an entertainment industry rebirth/reincarnation story with a female lead (or not for a long time), usually the female MCs end up in some ancient China-type world, so that's a little refreshing.
  • The translation is by Volare Novels, so it's a reliable standard.
  • Readability - it's fairly smooth reading, nothing really bogs it down.
Cons:

  • The MC. She started out intelligent, composed and reasonable, but she's quickly become bland and inconsistent. I don't really feel I have a handle on what her personality/character is SUPPOSED to be, actually. I do admire authors who give their characters realistic variation in behaviour (sometimes generally-mild people do fire up, for instance), but this doesn't feel like that; it just seems like she's randomly calm and composed, meek, coldly calculating, aggressive, weak-willed etc. According to the mood of the author rather than the personality of the character or the circumstances. Beyond all of that, I don't feel strong enough charisma or anything really engaging about her for me as a reader. I don't hate her, she's just becoming ho-hum.
  • The ML. Is even more meh. Essentially, he fits the C-Novel ML stereotype - powerful, handsome, desirable, attractive, clever, overbearing, cold to other women, possessive etc. - At least, those are the traits we're told he has. However, when reading anything he says or does, he feels like an empty shell. I have no sense of presence or charisma from his character at all. I guess we're supposed to find him swoon-worthy because he's been single-mindedly devoted to the MC since her original incarnation, but the result is that he's horrible to anyone who isn't her and the MC in her reincarnation was quite cruelly and unnecessarily hurt by that. While the MC may forgive him, I haven't. His other overbearing behaviours are probably also supposed to be swoon-worthy. Well, I've never enjoyed that aspect of C-Novel MLs anyway, but at least they ARE usually charismatic, charming and likeable enough for me to bear with it. This ML is so bland I just get fed up and disdainful - his overbearing acts usually feel unnecessary, with no reason not to communicate normally. The author just puts him through the motions of what they think the cookie cutter ML should be.
  • The plot's becoming too busy/messy already. Multiple rivals (some mysterious) are popping up one on top of the other and, rather than making everything exciting and intriguing, it's feeling unfocused. Indeed, the MC doesn't feel like a protagonist at all but merely a main character who is running around ineffectually.
  • The one useful skill that she DOES have from her previous life, her acting, doesn't get much attention in the plot. It's there, but it's more like it's a given that she acts well, let's focus on drama with the rival co-actors.
Well, like I said at the start: If you love the genre and are not picky, this is a readable time-waster. If you want something of a good standard, then it's probably a waste of your time! <<less
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Aurinne
Aurinne rated it
Online Game: Willingly Captured
June 4, 2018
Status: Completed
I didn't enjoy most of this, although the ending just managed to slightly placate me.

It's one of those romances where whole story is basically the girl getting played with by the awesome ML and never winning. For me, these are not fun or cute or enjoyable, I just feel frustrated and infuriated on behalf of the MC and I keep waiting for some relief. This one, like Come and Eat, Shan Shan or Wipe Clean After Eating and similar stories, never gives me that relief. In the end, the ML... more>> continues to dominate and the MC can only surrender to never being treated equally.

The other thing I found dissatisfying is that, for 90% of the story, I don't understand why specifically she doesn't like the offline MC and why she eventually does like his online character.

The ending slightly resolves the questions I had for most of the story about her feelings, and there is slightly less of a feeling of eventual dominance at the end, but it's all weak, and it's too little too late.

Despite it being otherwise well-written, very readable, and well-translated, I felt like giving it only TWO stars before I read the final chapter, that's how little I was enjoying the story.

If you do like Come and Eat, Shan Shan and similar stories, you will probably enjoy this, but I really couldn't, despite it being so nicely written. <<less
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Aurinne
Aurinne rated it
The Sweets Prince’s Search
April 21, 2019
Status: Completed
Well, this was a very simple, somewhat-entertaining story with no real resolution - hence the low rating. If there was a real ending, it'd have at least a 3 or maybe a 4, because it was fairly entertaining.

This is one of those stories that has a super-simplistic storytelling style, with very little of anything about the characters, the scene, the background, the environment or expressions fleshed out or elaborated on.

What it does have going for it, however, are really delightful interactions between the two main characters (neither of which are... more>> the Sweets Prince). Their characters are both a little quirky and the way they develop a very natural relationship with an acceptance of each others' strengths, weaknesses and quirks is quite nice to read. They really are what make the whole story worthwhile.

Most of the other characters are completely two-dimensional (except, perhaps, for the MC's karate club president/senpai, who's vibrant and uncontrollable character is completely under-utilised). The Sweets Prince is merely a minor plot device, and too much time is spent on him when he's so uninteresting. It's a story where sometimes attention is given to small interactions and events that end up feeling a bit pointless considering that the story peters out somewhat.

I don't usually spoil endings, but I think a warning is warranted here when I say that there really isn't a proper ending to this. At best, two super minor "arcs" or events are somewhat resolved, but then it just stops. You could imagine romance in the future if you wanted to, but the actual story doesn't give the MC any true romantic pay out.

If you want a non-brain-straining diversion and are prepared for what you will get in terms of the simplicity and ending, then this is actually quite a cute and entertaining story. Somewhat pointless, but diverting. <<less
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Aurinne
Aurinne rated it
You Boys Play Games Very Well
March 17, 2019
Status: c83
(Easily 4.5 stars, if it allowed half-stars.)

This is an entertaining, witty and easy-to-read story. It features a delightfully lively, quirky, cute, skilled (but a little naive) MC and a fairly "perfect", but personable and pleasant, ML. There's no real drama in this, but it's enjoyable to see the way the relationship between the couple gradually builds up through their mainly-online interactions. Normally, I get a bit bored when stories feature reactions from internet fans (they're often just used as a mindless tool, mainly in entertainment industry stories, and... more>> drag the story out), but in this story the fans feel like the main supporting character and I got rather fond of them.

As well as the overall storyline, I enjoyed the light-hearted intelligence this author writes with, and the translation is good, too.

I just recently finished reading The Antelope and Night Wolf, by the same author, and enjoyed that this one was was a simpler, less-convoluted story (and that the ML is also much better in this one). You don't have to have read that one first, but there is one fleeting/unimportant cameo you won't get if you haven't.

This is a story to just sit back and enjoy, without having to deal with inane writing or plot, nor annoyances or drama and angst. Quite delightful. <<less
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Aurinne
Aurinne rated it
Reborn as My Love Rival’s Wife
March 19, 2019
Status: Completed
Not a long review this time:

What I enjoyed about this was its down-to-earth style (although it almost seemed too dry at the start, before it really picked up). While there's a dramatic premise (the soul migration, suddenly-a-woman premise), the plot drama is narrated in a more moderate, realistic way - and the story isn't all about stuffing as much drama in as possible, anyway. The same for the slow progression of the MC's acceptance of his life as a female and romantic feelings for a man. While I didn't usually... more>> laugh out loud, the humourous undertone added to the impression that this was a more intelligently-written story compared to many gender-bender-just-for-gimmick stories.

It's fairly easy to read and fairly satisfying to read, well-written and well-translated. <<less
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Aurinne
Aurinne
The Script is Not Like This!
February 11, 2019
Status: --
Oh, I don't normally review this early on (I don't normally even start reading until at least 30-60 chapters have built up), but I do appreciate it when I'm considering whether to read and there're some early reviewers already.

With this story, I just had to say that, at only 4 chapters - partway into the second arc - I'm already enjoying this. It's different and its heavy irony and sarcasm is so refreshing. It's like this author loves everything that I love about BL/danmei and hates all the same horrible... more>> stereotypes, cliches and tropes that I hate and am sick of. The writing is good, and the main character is (so far) not: boring, stupid, naive, insanely intelligent/skilled or lacking in common sense. Nor is there an annoying personified system character, either. Possible ML also seems promising. <<less
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Aurinne
Aurinne rated it
Honey Stewed Squid
January 31, 2019
Status: weibo scene 5
I read this after reading the first story, God's Left Hand, and its sequel Fish Playing While Trapped in a Secret Room. This one is a spin-off of those two. The first two have the gamer "Appledog" as their MC and follow her relationships with her old superstar gaming team and her new relationship with a younger superstar gamer. The ML of this novel, Gun, is one of her old gaming teammates and a key supporting character.

It is not necessary to read the first two beforehand (they are a nice... more>> read, but less fluffy than this one, and much more gaming-focused), however, I personally am glad I did.

If you read this novel alone, it might feel like Gun is a shallow stereotype of the cold/indifferent/handsome ML. In fact, his character setting has been somewhat like that from the very first book, where he feels like a well-rounded contrast to his former close teammates. By the time I got to this book, I already had some understanding of and fondness for him, so I didn't feel the flimsiness of the story as much. Instead, I was delighted to read a story that showed him gaining a little more happiness.

The MC is a bright and fluffy girl who, although intelligent academically and talented as an online singer, is somewhat awkward socially and loses a lot of her wherewithal when the ML is around. I didn't find her to be one of those hopelessly stupid MCs (like in Wipe Clean After Eating or Come and Eat, Shan Shan), but she's definitely in the more naive/clueless category. However, she's written endearingly, so it's enjoyable rather than irritating (unless you're one of those with a morbid loathing of any character who isn't 100% full of common sense and situational awareness).

I felt a bit sorry for the MC in the first half as she desperately tries to chase or deal with her feelings about an ML who is completely indifferent, but the pay-off in the second half is totally worth it. And there's lots of sweet pay-off to enjoy (not just some rushed chapter at the end). In the end, it really is their sweetness that makes this so enjoyable.

Although it's short and lightweight, it still manages to carry some of the intelligence and a sprinkling of the depth from the preceding stories. So, I'd recommend this to anyone looking for some sweet, satisfying, lightweight romantic fluff, and to anyone who's read the first two and wants to read more about Gun. <<less
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Aurinne
Aurinne rated it
The Healing Sunshine
January 4, 2019
Status: epilogue
I don't exactly want to give this one as much as four stars, but I don't think it deserves only three. It's definitely better than three.

For me, I loved the first two-thirds and appreciated, but did not really enjoy the last third.

The first two-thirds is a delicate, serious, touching and lovely story. It shows the growth of the relationship, attachment/affection and eventual romance between the two main characters against a back drop of life difficulties and struggles. It has a serious tone, but is charming.

The last third was mostly well-written,... more>> but it involved angst and emotion and, basically, I felt depressed while reading it. The angst did eventually get resolved, but, for me, it felt more like I was ploughing through chapter after chapter of unenjoyable depressing stuff. I don't mind reading about sad and emotional things in stories, but I'm not really into reading things that have sad or bitter emotions for long periods without relief. Some stories tend to make you want to read through the emotional things, but I was surprised when I noticed I was really disliking reading it, and this feeling was never completely alleviated. For me, the resolution was OK, but it was not really enough. It did not resolve their relationship issues quite enough for me, nor was the ending joyful enough to lift me from my serious, bitter mood at the end. (I was waiting for one of those epilogues/extras that show their happy life afterwards to boost my mood and finish things on a lighter note, but it didn't have one of those.)

Having said that, it was a delight to read a thoughtful, intelligently-written translated novel. (Honestly, it feels like, recently, there are masses and masses of trope-filled, pointless, mindless novels being translated, but it's hard to find anything in any genre that has a bit of decently-intelligent writing and plot about it (and has more than a few chapters).)

I easily read through most of the book, so it's overall readability is quite high, also.

The translation is generally of a very good standard.

I think many people will enjoy all of it, even the depressing/thankless parts. It is, after all, a novel with a serious tone and many difficulties presented right from the start. (There are probably novels around that are much more angsty and gritty than this one, actually, so many readers wh seek out deeply sad stories might even find this one mild.) However, if you're someone wary of reading depressing content that leaves a bitter taste (although well-written), you do need to be prepared for the downward turn later in the story if you start reading it.

On a side note, this is loosely related to Together Forever, however they are both able to be read as stand-alone novels. <<less
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Aurinne
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Eight Treasures Trousseau
October 12, 2018
Status: c108
Just finished binge-reading this, I found it really interesting and satisfying.

If you read and liked To Be a Virtuous Wife, then you will probably like this, too.

When I first started TBaVW, I found that story was really interesting, but it strained my brain a lot. Primarily, all of the Chinese terms/honourifics/titles, but also the detail and dense meaning of the writing. I paused that one and went and read looooots of other, more light-hearted Chinese novels of various genres, before picking up Eight treasures Trousseau. This time, I found the... more>> same type of writing much easier to read.

While this is a modern woman reincarnated into an ancient-China-type-era story, it is not the lightweight and easily-digestible writing you might find in ones such as Black Bellied Miss, Transmigrator vs Reincarnator or Doomed to be Canon Fodder. The writing here is more like reading Jane Austen - the details of etiquette and small talk might seem trivial, but, in fact, they are full of meaning and this is where the plot is actually developing. As I said, this became easier for me to understand after becoming a little more familiar with ancient Chinese culture, and so it became interesting and intriguing.

I liked the MC because she has strength and intelligence but she does not use it much and the story does not rely on this too much (well, perhaps the rarely-displayed-but-impressive physical ability is a bit too Mary Sue) ; Unlike similar novels, she's not actively scheming or brilliantly face-slapping all the time (although she's capable enough), instead there's an overarching plot unfolding of political intrigue and machinations as various factions vie for power.

I found the fact that the MC remembered her past life almost unimportant, as it is not overtly utilised as in some stories where the MC will use her special skills, knowledge or experience. However, it does mean she is viewing things through the dual perspective of someone born and raised in an old-fashioned era who has also lived independently in the modern era. This means that her values are more in line with the readers' values, which is more satisfying to read. I did find it uncomfortable to be supporting an MC and ML who are fine with the harsh way enemies and even out-of-line servants are abused, but at least the author had her grow up in the era since birth and therefore she had a realistic rather than idealistic attitude to a lot of the things that should outrage someone who had only just transmigrated. The MC is also not without some genuine compassion and kindness, although she is not a bleeding heart.

As well as the intricate writing, I also really enjoyed the balanced and realistic way most of the characters were treated. There were actually nice characters. Especially, many of those who behaved antagonistically were not completely without good qualities, and we even saw how some purer characters were gradually corroded by the toxic environment of plotting and manipulating.

Also, the translation was, while not flawless, of a high quality that really made reading enjoyable.

In the end, my ratings are always primarily for how readable & enjoyable a story is. This is not quite the mindless, easy read of some others of this genre, but I still found it smooth, interesting and engaging. I wanted to keep reading (and I did, on and on).

(I almost never give five stars; it would have needed to to have just a tiny bit less literature-like heaviness - it's not very heavy, though - and probably have MCs that never did anything that jarred with my modern-day principles at all. Small things, though.) <<less
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Kiss the Black Cat
May 24, 2019
Status: extra 1
Frankly, I was disappointed with how this developed. The first part was sweet and cute, if a bit simplistic in narrative. It was told solely from the MC's perspective and had a gentle feel as the two main characters gradually became closer.

The second part was told primarily from the ML's perpective and this is where the story seemed to do a 180. It was suddenly very adult, but no longer sweet. Honestly, I found myself disappointed in how the ML's naivety led to him acting like a jerk rather than... more>> sweetly, and I didn't enjoy the MC becoming so self-sacrificing. Although the ML finally sorted himself out, I'd stopped liking him by then because of how much he'd taken advantage of the MC. And it felt like there really wasn't much of the MC in this part apart from when having s*x. It could have been redeemed if the author hadn't chosen to show that the ML's feelings had finally caught up in the form of yet more s*x from the ML's point of view where, even if he was saying nice things, it still basically revolved around how amazing the MC was at making him feel good. I'd become very fond of the MC, so less s*x and more ML sincerity from the MC's perspective would've probably somewhat reconciled me.

In short, it felt like I read two different stories. Others liked the whole thing (which is cool), but I only enjoyed the first part - so, if you try this out, do be warned that it becomes less sweet in the second part. <<less
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The Heartbeat at the Tip of the Tongue
May 1, 2019
Status: c82 part2
This is one of those intelligent modern romances that was very easy and enjoyable to read - not horrendously deep or angsty, but just thoughtful enough. I liked it a lot.

The MC is a likeable character - not boring or bland, but still with her fair share of common sense, reasonableness, occasional insecurity and enthusiasm. Well, and a slightly unbelievable level of natural, undeveloped cooking talent, but I wasn't bothered too much by that.

I also enjoyed the ML - yes, a little too perfect, but not in the usual overbearing... more>> way many weaker/melodramatic Chinese novel MLs are. I enjoyed the way he slowly let her deeper into his world, and patiently worked his way into her heart by simultaneously stimulating and supporting her in her career and life.

I appreciated the balance between the romance and the cooking. Rather than the romance taking over or distracting from the cooking, the gradual development of their relationship instead occurs naturally through the cooking. I really felt that this was one of the more enjoyable and satisfying relationship developments I've read for a while.

Most of the other characters around her are also not treated as all-bad, all-good or cliches. Although most don't receive much attention in the story, it is nice to see some characters that are given plausible motivations and a chance to develop by the end of the story (although, as I indicated, it's not an emotionally-heavy, character-driven story where this is the focus).

If I had any irks (apart from having to stretch my belief just a little further than I'd like regarding the speed and level of the MC's improvement in cooking), they'd be:

The love-triangle, which, although this is one of the most well-handled ones I've read, is still something I don't enjoy. I spent the first part of the book impatiently waiting for her to get over the second-male-lead and get on with the end-game romance, and the last part of the book feeling a little sorry that the second-male-lead couldn't get a happier romantic ending (not sorry at all he didn't end up with the MC, though).

The food porn. I neither love nor hate food porn in stories, and I think this one handled it pretty well most of the time, but, in the last stages of the book, I began to tire of the sections that contained successive, seemingly-endless dishes that needed to be artfully described and evaluated by the characters. Like, I began to just skim it because I was so over it. Having said that, if you really read stories for the food porn, you might feel the opposite about these parts. It's only a minor thing in the context of the overall story, anyway.

In summary, I think this is one worth at least trying. It's easy to read, there's nothing annoying about the writing itself, it has an intelligent and reasonable undertone and I found the main couple's relationship development really lovely and satisfying. <<less
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Sweet Heart in Honeyed Desire
January 31, 2019
Status: c63
This is a good, solid, easy-to-read and enjoyable story, as expected from this author. I just binge-read the whole thing and never got tired.

What I love the most is that, although the MC and some of the other characters have some liveliness about them, the writing always keeps things measured and intelligent (compared to many romcoms). Cliches are also not taken too far and so don't become annoying.

The slightly more serious aspects aren't too heavy, so they don't weigh it down - and the author herself acknowledges that her portrayal... more>> of a mental disorder is probably not completely accurate - I found I was able to ignore the flaws, but it can be a sticking point for some.

One warning about the translation = After the translator switches part-way through (it's still a decent, if slightly inferior, translation), occasionally, when a chapter is posted in two parts, part 2 has been posted before part 1 - so just keep an eye on the number in the chapter titles to avoid reading those few out of order. (At 31/1/2019.)

=============

Part of Ban Li Zi's (AKA Chestnut) "Truly Precious" shared universe. Most of the stories are not directly linked; there are usually small references to characters from previous stories (e.g. Film Emperor Mo from the first book) and occasionally very minor spoilers. It's not necessary, but (where possible) I recommend reading in order to appreciate references and cameos, if not to avoid the occasional little spoilers.

READING ORDER (Jan, 2019)

Good Morning, Miss Ghost - mostly-translated (ongoing by original translator) /translation complete (by different translator)
Amnesiac Queen - mostly-translated
Divorce: This is a Trivial Matter - partially-translated
Sweet Heart in Honeyed Desire - translation complete
Marriage Concerto (Small Thing Called Love) - translation complete
Sonata: Fleeing to Avoid an Arranged Marriage - partially-translated
Finding Glowing Beauty in Books - mostly-translated
Just Blame Me For Being Blind in the Beginning - translation complete
My World Falls into the River of Love (2016-17) - translation complete
I Seem Unsuited for Dating (2017; uncertain of order) - partially-translated
Midnight Cinderella (2017; uncertain of order) - partially-translated
Slowly Falling For Changkong (2018) - partially-translated <<less
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Blazing Sunlight
January 29, 2019
Status: c40
The is another really nice romcom with a bit of the depth you expect from Gu Man. (I do appreciate how she can show side characters who are not necessarily bad-intentioned, but are still unreliable compared to those who are really true and trustworthy.) Some quite touching moments and lots of sweet ones. The MC appears dense at times but it is more that she is consciously willing to expect good from others and would rather let things go than hurt people, which is admirable, if not always in her... more>> own best interests.

I'm mainly writing a review to note about the spoilers mentioned on the translation site for the intended (but as yet unpublished? Perhaps never-to-be-published?) book 2. The book 2 events suggested honestly put me off finishing this book at first. On my second try, I instead pretended there will never be a sequel and read it as if book 1 is the end, which was very satisfying. I would recommend new readers ignore book 2 mentions because this story was lovely on its own and felt complete enough in itself. <<less
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Everyone Thinks that I Like Him
January 1, 2019
Status: Completed
(The rating is my genuine score, I never up- or down- score based on others' scores - everyone's perspective is valid, so it's OK if the overall score doesn't match my personal evaluation.)

I have issues with the start of this story, but it was worth bearing with. The rest of it is exactly what I wish more translated RomCom novels (and BL in particular) were like.

Cons:

So, the first 10-15 chapters feature everyone around the MC misunderstanding him, misinterpreting everything he says according to their own ideas and deciding... more>> everything for him. It's supposed to be humourous and I think many people enjoy this kind of humour. For me, stories like this are nothing more than frustrating, irritating, painful and infuriating. I really hate it when the highlight of the story is supposed to be that nothing goes right for the MC and nobody takes what he says seriously. It's the humour of "Love Stops Rumours", which I had to drop, but others loved. If you are not like me and enjoy that kind of thing, then you will find the beginning really funny instead of excruciating.

Pros:

However, if you are like me, don't be put off by the beginning. Once I waded through that, this completely became the kind of BL RomCom I was hoping for.

The MC and ML's relationship develops naturally and comfortably in an everyday way. It's written with a gentle, humourous, lighthearted but sensible tone. There are no overdramatic problems, but instead issues arise and are dealt with promptly and reasonably (which is like a breath of fresh air).

The writing of this story is fairly simple, easy-to-read and never boring, but I felt secure and relaxed and enjoyed the ride. This is a story where you enjoy the humourous tone and thoughtfulness and in the end feel like there's a sincere and satisfying relationship built.

I LOVE that this isn't the typical OP/overbearing ML x innocent and boyish/girlish MC I find in too many Chinese RomComs, especially the currently translated danmei/BL. The ML does initially appear to fit the stereotype of the too-smart, too-rich, too-handsome, cold-to-everyone-else Chinese ML, but the story instead shows him as a very normal human (well, a very handsome, very intelligent, normal human) and is able to show more of a balance between the main couple - which I've felt starved for recently.

A small nod for the other characters, too. It's not a deep or serious story, but it shows not only lively fellow students (although they are initially infuriating), but also the positives and negatives of the main couple's family members, which in turn makes the main couple have slightly more depth.

The translation is very good and the story is highly readable and enjoyable. I was really glad I'd persisted through the excruciating beginning. <<less
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