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earlgreyt
earlgreyt rated it
Don’t Pick Up Boyfriends From the Trash Bin
June 30, 2019
Status: Completed
This is literally one of those life-changing, genre-changing novels that after you read, will make you want to revisit (and possibly lower the rating) on other novels you have given 5 stars to in the past.

*ahem*

I could go on for 10-pages about everything I like about this novel. I will attempt to keep things short:

    • The MC is truly a genius/mastermind, and boy is it AWESOME to see him in action. I guarantee this story will be unpredictable because of how smart everything is done.
    • Every world is very detailed, the world-building makes you live it (show, not tell), and each world is a twist on common tropes found in romance/BL/other transmigration stories. Recall the yandere ML? The childish tsundere? The overbearing CEO? You can find a dose of reality in these stories that parody the cliched and romanticized views found in other novels. And it's GREAT.
    • The author is incredible at crafting characters and relationships. I still remember almost every single world's main and side characters because of how unique and memorable their personalities and actions were. That's 10 worlds, and a LOT of characters.
    • The main romance (and side romances) are seriously beautiful. We get crafted little details like a character's dislike of the waffle part of an ice cream cone, a hand-drawn storybook, or how a stray dog they picked up got his name changed. Little things seem unimportant only to make a big emotional impact later. These details truly make everything feel real.
    • There is continuity despite it being a QT/multi-world transmigration novel. The continuity is extremely intricate, detailed, and everything makes logical sense.
    • There is an undertone of realism. This makes tragedies even more tragic (prepare those tissues!) but also the redemption even more satisfying.
You don't get:

    • Obsession with Chinese-only culture/superiority/nationalism
    • Predictable cliches, overused storylines, paper-thin cannon fodder
    • Unequal relationships or romance with one partner doing everything for the other
    • Overly summarized plotlines (most QT novels will do this)
This is a long story, but it's completely worth it for the ride. I have never been so immersed in an author's works before this. This is a freaking long story but I seriously wished it never ended. I give 1000000+ thumbs up!

GO GO GO!
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earlgreyt
Do you like Harvest Moon or Stardew Valley? Or maybe base-building survival games?

This is literally Harvest Moon X Zombies.

That moment when a single un-contaminated mushroom is discovered... that moment when the first piece of fresh chicken (duck) is roasted after months of nothing...

Can compare to the feeling of climbing Mt. Everest!

Check the genre. Seriously. Don't expect the focus to be on slaughtering zombies and raising power levels. This story is not about power-tripping to the top, it is about PLANTING to the top!

The good things:

  • MC is not beautiful, not buff, not special in any way, utterly your average guy / otaku
  • The only thing that makes him "special" is his 10 years of post-apocalypse experience, which he barely managed to survive by growing plants in like a 10 sq meter basement (seriously, poor guy).
  • This is one of the *ONLY* rebirth novels I've read that truly integrate it as a vital part of the MC's skills instead of just a shallow plot point
  • He never gets any special powers in a world where "ability users" are the favored class, yet he's still able to help himself and his teammates get a standard of living that is way above everyone else.
  • You might be able to kill all the zombies or beat down all the ability users, but does that mean you will be able to live in a comfortable home with hot baths and good food to eat? Brute force isn't everything~~
More good things:

Spoiler
  • Government starts out pretty competent. The novel actually has the main characters work with higher powers to collectively protect the base. There are actually scientists, engineers, etc. that work to discover things such as water contamination issues.
  • None of the characters are obsessed with leadership roles (politically). This isn't a power fantasy where the MCs have to become The Top Leaders And Rule Everything Because They Are Better Than Everyone Else.
  • For once, the ML is not into "staying rich and powerful, " he'd rather avoid the scheming and live a low-key and comfortable life with the MC.
  • This is slice-of-life, so maybe some of the previous points should be taken for granted?
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Some bad things (as per all CN with their cultural... differences) :

Spoiler
  • The government becomes progressively more corrupt with officials that literally only care for themselves, to the point where they actually do endanger the safety of everyone in the base with their shortsightedness and obsession with temporary wealth.
  • The MCs will hide their discoveries from other people for fear of them being seized by upper management (which would probably legitimately happen in China, because the environment is crazily cutthroat with their obsession with pushing other people down to get rewards) etc. so I'm not particularly surprised. But in terms of betterment of humankind, that's probably the worst way to go about it. Untold amount of studies show that sharing knowledge and cooperation leads to n-fold increase in productivity and innovation. Welp, not in CN!
  • I won't go into detail here, but most of the women are trying to shirk working and just hug some guy's thigh or betraying him behind his back, etc. lots of throwaway misogyny, but hey, this is a BL novel so... the fact that the main character team even gets 3 women is a huge improvement to other BL where pretty much all women are the enemies of humankind.
  • A couple other logic issues, but not that frequent.
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I didn't take off a star because it's rare to have a book that's this good and breaks like 90% of CN cliches. So, go head and take a look! (But please show yourself out if what you're looking for is OP dude saving the world.)
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earlgreyt
earlgreyt rated it
Rebirth on the Doors to the Civil Affairs Bureau
March 12, 2019
Status: Completed
There are lots and lots of fluffy stories out there are are purely entertainment. The stories are full of honey and so ridiculously sappy (though sometimes they have a bit of contrived drama or misunderstandings to spice things up) that they represent an idealized, fantasy world.

This isn't one of them.

This story is filled to the brim with fluff, yet somehow still manages to ground itself in reality. The MC is a radio host at midnight; in between her own developing relationship, she still manages to exert such a positive influence... more>> on various strangers in her small corner of the world. From the midnight bus driver to a lost youth standing in what will one day be a roof garden, this story reminds us that there's nothing that's inevitable, nothing that's hopeless, and we all have more ability than we think we do.

I love the MC to pieces; she's truly a wonderful bold character who isn't afraid to take initiative to grasp her own happy ending. I love this author to pieces; she created such beautiful friendships and such a unique cast of characters; even making us care about people who appear for less than 2 paragraphs?!

Spoiler

The side characters are all fun and hilarious, including the exes. There's also a truly enviable friendship between the MC and her girl friends. The author is is clearly not teenager writing a shallow fantasy, which is ridiculously refreshing.

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Translation is great! Speedy updates & humor is conveyed well. <<less
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earlgreyt
earlgreyt rated it
Game Loading
May 11, 2019
Status: Completed
One regret...

why isn't this longer?!!!! (۶ꈨຶꎁꈨຶ) ۶ʸᵉᵃʰᵎ

I love this author and I love this MC. He is a very capable, intelligent, and humorous, whose only "golden finger" is that he's extremely extremely lucky in getting the top drops/all randomized events. The story is set up like [Quick Transmigration] stories where the MC travels multiple worlds, however, there's actually real world-building!!! *gasp*

Yes, instead of some kind of vague system message with random assigned tasks, the MC actually enters a very detailed Central station where many "players" gather and interact, and... more>> instead of info-dumping, we learn little by little what kind of new world he has discovered.

Overall, the story is a romance (or *cough*multi-romances*cough*?) with many game-like elements and a survival element in the earlier stages. The majority of the plots revolve very strongly around the MC succeeding in becoming the top Prince Charming and wooing the characters successfully. There are plenty of comedic moments, balanced by a healthy dose of angst (romance, after all, must have some drama!), which make for riveting reads.

Spoiler

Seriously, this story could have 400 more chapters and I WOULD BE SO HAPPY. Honestly I thought all these 3oo chapters were just to set up the setting for further stories. I really wanted to see our MC fix N's world!!! AHhhh so sad. Also the god team shenanigans were so good. I would have loved to see MC join the god team and have fun with them! *crossing fingers for sequel*

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This is also one of the few very romance-focused stories in which the ML does not steal the show the moment he shows up! The MC works hard to complete the system tasks and continues to do so relying primarily on his own capabilities, and the ML merely helps out occasion. Instead of getting hand-fed all the answers, the MC can figure things out for himself and the ML respects that. \(@ ̄∇ ̄@)/ Hooray!

Spoiler

Unfortunately, due to the heavy romance plots, the MC and ML are pretty much the only main characters. You hardly get to see the friends/helpers that the MC met in earlier worlds ever again. At most, they have one-liner cameos at certain moments, but even those are few and far between.

I really thought the author was setting this up for a very long story where the MC would go to multiple worlds and meet many more people.... *sadface*

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I highly recommend [The Earth is Online] and [Doomsday Wonderland] if you're into this type of setting but could care less about everything being romance-obsessed. <<less
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earlgreyt
earlgreyt rated it
Transmigrator Meets Reincarnator
March 6, 2019
Status: Completed
There are lots of things to like about this story. The MC is quite independent, rescues herself/others, and stands up for herself without going overboard (as in crazy revenge/horrible tortures or punishments for those that go against her). The MC is also widely acknowledged as responsible for a lot of the ML's success. For a historical novel, that's quite a notable achievement (most authors write behind-the-scenes type support). The story is especially fun in the earlier half, when the MC is building up her foodie business and has a harmonious... more>> relationship with her husband's family. The misunderstandings between MC and her husband are also hilarious.

I loved the MC's obsession with food and how the author creatively used food to solve many big issues!

However, at the later half, things reverse into a completely stereotypical/melodramatic route, which became a lot less enjoyable for me. Although the later half was such a disappointment, this novel was pretty close to 5 stars all the way up to ~Ch 454 (when they come back from the North). So if you want to avoid the negative-IQ family drama, personality transplants, and sudden population of "everyone-wants-to-seduce-the-ML" scheming, stop there.

Spoiler

MC becomes a very stereotypical shy/shirking violet whenever her husband wants to be intimate. She's not into s*x but pretty much endures it and is embarrassed easily by everything. Meanwhile, before they got together, she was shown as not embarrassed when looking at p***, so it's kind of annoying that she immediately became the 'ideal-shy-innocent-virginal-young-girl' for their physical relationship. I get that CN culture er**icizes the innocent-virgin whatever etc. It's just tiring for me to see this repeated over and over again in every book. Plus it took away a lot of the agency that made me enjoy her as a character.

ML also changes personality several times. After he was reborn, when he's treating the MC badly at the start of their marriage, his family was surprised by it. So if his post-reborn self was normally cruel/cold, his family wouldn't have been so surprised by his abrupt about-face. After making him act cruelly just to the MC, the author suddenly started describing him as being 'cold/stoic/unfathomable' all the time towards everyone and how that was what he was like normally. It's obvious the author forgot his original character setting (warm/gentle) and decided to turn him into the stereotypical ML in most CNovels. It would have been nice if his character development had stopped at 'tsundere...' unfortunately, he becomes your standard 'tsundere/cold/yandere.' Apparently, for CN, it's incomparably romantic if your significant other is an ice cube who only 'melts' in the face of true love, hides everything he's feeling deep down inside, and is allergic to communication.

The ML additionally becomes EXTREMELY possessive to the point where he's super jealous of his wife hanging out with another woman. However, one redeeming quality is that he actually acknowledges that it is unhealthy to feel that way and feels conflicted about it (thank god?).

Finally, the family... let's use the grandma since other reviewers have talked about the poor aunt. First the MC is described as being so touched towards her husband's grandmother that she felt that she was her own grandmother related by blood. But later on, the grandmother becomes a big hindrance to her and it feels like all the good feelings that half the book was spent building up mysteriously disappeared into nothingness for the later drama. I've seen this happen a couple times for longer stories like this one. It's pretty obvious that the author ran out of ideas and decided to add more spice/lengthen the story by adjusting the characters' personalities to include the bullying since there was absolutely zero foreshadowing for any of it.

So the MC's husband's family transforms from something nice into your stereotypical horrible step-aunt/step-cousins wanting to steal all her money etc. MC's own family was super sh*tty from the start so you get your double-dose of cliched 'horrible heroine family' drama.

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Translation definitely elevated this novel. Reads very smoothly and not filled with jargon/pinyin/chinese. Big thanks and kudos to the translators! (Esp. all the delicious food photos and research they put into it). <<less
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earlgreyt
earlgreyt rated it
The Founder of Diabolism
September 26, 2018
Status: c70
This was one of the first translated LN's I've ever read, and boy, it still maintains its spot as one of the best ones. There is almost nothing badly done in this novel. It's just top notch at everything: story, characters, MC, ML, relationship, EVERYTHING.

I can't believe how 3-dimensional all the characters are. From good to evil, practically every single side character, have their motivations, their conflicts, their own hopes and dreams.

Also, the romance is amazing. Like seriously amazing??? Even after reading a ton of other novels, I still find... more>> this MC and ML my favorite couple of them all. I think it's because their relationship was built on friendship, conflict, suffering, trust and faith. There is no 'super-possessive-jealous-overbearing-forceful' cliche ML in this story. Even better, the MC also isn't constantly being outshone by the ML, whether through abilities or intellect or status. It's a story about equals who make compromises but also stay true to their own beliefs.

I've never been so obsessed as to search for fanfiction of a web novel before. Seriously! And now I'm even keeping up-to-date with the anime and the newly drawn webcomic (beautiful art, highly recommend). <<less
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earlgreyt
earlgreyt rated it
Rebirth of a Movie Star
April 12, 2019
Status: Completed
Hard-working MC? ヽ (・∀・) ノ Check. Has goals other than endless revenge or face-slapping? (๑˃ᴗ˂) ﻭ Check. Cute shenanigans with adopted son? ♡ (ɔˆз (ˆ⌣ˆc) Check. Harry Potter reference? ╰ (͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) つ──☆*:・゚ Heh.

This is a pretty well-written rebirth story. The MC was a stubborn, sincere, and gentle guy in his previous life. In his new life, instead of putting all his energy towards stomping others into the dirt, the MC instead aims to avoid the circumstances that led him to be in such bad straits in the... more>> first place. He stops being a doormat for his family, he cuts off contact with the people who betrayed him, and gives his sincere heart towards repaying the one person in his past life who actually treated him well.

Of course, the MC struggles with many of these decisions. In between the wonderful fluff and tension of the MC's encounters with the ML after his rebirth, we also get quiet moments where the MC is conflicted about his relationship with his family and his awareness that rebirth is not a magical pill to solve all of his problems.

Please note that this is NOT an instant-love story! (yay.) The MC is motivated by gratification in the beginning while the ML is motivated by physical attraction. MC and ML will go through a lot of awesome relationship development.

Spoiler

Like others have mentioned, both the MC and ML have had previous relationships, so it's not childishly unrealistic. And the ML isn't married, but does have a SUPER SUPER adorable kid who is literally just there to up the moe value x100.

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The author did a great job balancing much of the fluff and angst (without being too heavy on any side) and really pulled me in emotionally as a reader. Unlike in many other instant-gratification novels, the MC's rebirth "golden finger" doesn't magically make him an econ genius or give him a bunch of skills that he never had.

Spoiler

The author's treatment of the MC's changed relationship with the ML actually takes into account the huge status difference between the two. In his previous life, the MC was someone who was pretty much a "white moonlight" for the ML, so the impression he left on the ML was very deep. But after rebirth, that was no longer the case, so the MC understood that their relationship might never have the same quality it did before.

It's rare to see a book that understands that good things still have drawbacks!!

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P.S. There was a bit of extra melodrama/revenge that I wasn't a huge fan of... and the ML is a bit typically stalker-ish, overbearing CEO, but he doesn't cross the line many others do. I also wish the author went into more detail about the acting scenes than the revenge scenes.

P.P.S. Yes, there are actually loads of face-slapping and revenge anyway!

P.P.P.S. Though I read the raws, the current translator is awesome! Really smooth and vivid translations. <<less
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earlgreyt
earlgreyt rated it
Who Touched My Tail!
April 10, 2019
Status: c180
UPDATE: Still same old, still awful, still boring. I highly recommend [Don't Pick Up Boyfriends From the Trash Bin] which is probably 10x better than this one in every aspect, serious.

The novel started out very good and there are even a few very enjoyable arcs (the earlier arcs and the livestreaming arc), but overall, there has been a trending lack of tension. Too much of the climaxes and other events in this story are merely summarized in 1-2 sentences.

The author pretty much only spends a bit of effort to describe... more>> the first 10% of the original plot before quickly accelerating to "top-power-level" and wrapping up the story at the speed of a train wreck. Basically, when readers finally get a little bit invested in the story, it's over.

Don't bother caring about any of the side characters because they're completely mindless/2D/only there to decorate the world, and they disappear equally quickly. Including the supposed "protagonists" of the world. Literally none of them get fleshed out more than appearing in the background. The only people that matter in the story are the MC and ML and their supposedly epic romance.

Yeah, so about that romance.

Spoiler

It's shallow, wish-fulfillment, and pretty boring. The author repeatedly emphasizes cliched confessions, a perfect godly ML chasing and pampering the MC through every world while the MC plays hard-to-get. There's no tension or drama, and zero obstacles. Just endless sap.

Honestly, I like fluff and sap as much as the next person. But seriously, the writing style is so boring, there's no sense of discovery. After they become a couple, the different situations in each world have no effect on the romance or relationship, so everything stays static. At this point, every time the ML is about to appear, I'm seriously dreading it because that means the rest of the world will be completely pointless and we'll be moving on shortly.

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The MC was great in the beginning, and he was OP but not to the point of making the story pointless. Well, that's changed.

There's nothing wrong with game-breaking skills, if the author could handle writing them well. With the MC's personality as "if there is a easy way out, I will take it, " the author doesn't bother to make any creative solutions and pretty much just has the MC completely cheese through all obstacles. *Snap* challenge is won, plot is overcome.

And the novel started out with such potential!! ‧º· (˚ ˃̣̣̥⌓˂̣̣̥) ‧º·˚

Spoiler

There were good parts in the beginning when the MC and ML didn't get together right away. There was a lot of humor and slow burn, and the MC worked hard to deal with the world's issues because he had lost much of his power. Additionally, the author wrote some interesting parts poking logic at other illogical novel set-ups, so I thought the author would take a better route with their own story... I was wrong.

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The translation is really fantastic, so the reading is quite fluid and smooth. You can still enjoy it if all you're looking for is some mindless dog-food to read. <<less
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earlgreyt
earlgreyt rated it
Fortunate Wife
April 16, 2019
Status: c61
So I'm a huge fan of hardworking MCs and farming/slice-of-life novels, but after 60 chapters, literally none of that has happened. The first 50 chapters have described about 3 days of the MC's new life.

The MC gets up intending to do work? Immediately interrupted by so-called troublesome neighbor's wife who is apparently irrationally jealous of her after seeing her for THE SECOND TIME with ZERO interactions and then accuses her of being a prostitute, yada yada. Absolutely no respect for female characters. The three other female characters who have... more>> shown up also try to scheme the MC despite meeting her for all of 2 minutes.... =___= If women really went around like psychopaths to scheme against all the other female "competition, " including those they've never even had a conversation with, all the women in that village would have killed each other long ago.

Maybe the author wanted to show us that the MC was 10x better than everyone else which is why she deserves 5 husbands while the other women all deserve to die.

Oh did I mention, apparently it's normal to get stoned to death by the villagers for trying to leave the village? And apparently the village elder needs to be called to make a "judgment" because the MC was accused of not being a virgin. Yeah, that is totally everyone's business, WTF.

Spoiler

Yes, I understand this is ancient China, which means a woman's reputation is like gold. And there were other reasons why the village elder was called in to mediate. But think about it, why would the cannon fodder make a big deal of the MC not being a virgin IF the villagers wouldn't have punished the MC for it? The entire scene was so laughably ridiculous, the author clearly fabricated it out of nowhere with zero historical basis.

Let's not forget the absolutely giant logic gap of villagers "saving up all their life" to be able to bring home a wife, and then immediately killing said wife if she tries to run away? Uh... so suddenly they're ok with the equivalent of throwing all that money down the drain because things didn't work out once? Even becoming slave traders and reselling them would have made more sense. And that's assuming it's logical to have all the villagers basically hunting down and killing their neighbor's wives for fun.

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As for the harem part? One guy flirts with her then the others become jealous and start flirting in turn, rinse & repeat. And due to the language barrier/misunderstandings, they spend more time discussing her than talking to her. All of that would have been OK if the author hadn't spent at least 50% of the story to put in completely pointless scheming admirers (each guy has at least one) for no logical reason except to show off how awful they are compared to the MC.

I never thought there'd be a day where Imperial Harem drama seemed reasonable by comparison. <<less
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earlgreyt
If you are a cat person... damage over 9000.

Seriously cat-centric, multiple world/transmigration story. MC has a system, a 'golden finger' in that he's the author and pretty much is favored like crazy by each world's Rules, but he's not as focused on face-slapping or missions like many other similar stories. Instead, he's pretty much a lazy pet-owner. The story is more focused on the MC and ML's relationship progression and enjoying the change in scenery/worlds. While there are some good emotional variations and a bit of angst, most of the... more>> story is overwhelmingly fluffy and pet-focused (which is really... not a bad thing for cat-people ok?)

Time to scroll through my phone for more kitty photos... <<less
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earlgreyt
earlgreyt rated it
The Legendary Master’s Wife
September 26, 2018
Status: Completed
The beginning was my favorite because it had the makings of a traditional xianxia with the MC starting off weak but working really hard to become stronger. The mystery behind the ML was really intriguing as well! Another reviewer wrote 'Farmville' (I cracked up) but that's exactly the type of story I wanted to read. So read this if you want to see the process/every step the MC takes to build power, gather treasures/cheats, powerful pets, cultivate to the top!

This is a very lighthearted almost purely entertainment read. Don't look... more>> too deeply at things, the characters are all pretty shallow, and there isn't a lot of development. There's no angst, it's all fluff and face-slapping. The MC is also almost never in any real danger.

I wish the MC became more independent when he's around the ML. First, from the way the ML treats the MC (basically like a pet or servant) it's hard to tell why he even likes him. Second, the ML literally beats the MC in everything. Skills, smarts, power-ups, etc. and pretty effortlessly as well (the MC will never catch up). And the ML is super dominant in the relationship. The MC listens to him for everything. Same with the physical intimacy. The MC is always written just 'enduring' it.

It's better to not marathon this story after a certain point because that's when the MC and ML relationship gets the most annoying. In episodic/bite-sized pieces, it's more comedic and enjoyable.

Spoiler

Things that could be better:

  • The ML does not seem to respect the MC
  • The ML is not tsundere but still manages to brutally mock the MC
  • The running joke that the ML thinks the MC is stupid is seriously getting old after 500 chapters... (FYI the ML is literally thousands of years old, the MC is not; of course he doesn't have as much experience with the schemes as the ML!)
  • The ML makes the first move every single time; 10/10 times bullies the MC for s*x; there's not much 'affection' otherwise.
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Really great translation, much thanks to the translator team for their consistent and fast updates through the years! <<less
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earlgreyt
earlgreyt rated it
Demon Boss in the Human World
March 14, 2019
Status: Completed
Hm. ┌༼ σ ‸ σ ༽┐

Considering this story objectively, it's not very deep. The MC is a demon general who came to the human world in order to free all demons and conquer all humans. Oh yeah, the body he inhabits is that of an actor. The story focuses on acting shenanigans, MC throwing his arrogance around, and skimming the surface of moral dilemmas.

... more>>
Spoiler

The humor revolves around the MC's hair-trigger thoughts about how all humans are ants and deserve to die/be eaten, yet somehow he's still roped into doing actor jobs and flits around many different human characters. The author uses a variety of different lighthearted and fairly shallow plots to show people gaining the MC's sympathy and changing his view of the human world. We even have hidden identities reveal, extremely OP characters (so OP that people are too afraid of hugging their thigh OP), some dog-blood drama and blackening with the ML...

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The author doesn't spend enough time to really flesh out many of the side characters; frequently they enter and exit a scene with the sole purpose of changing some view of the MC or adding to the humor, and many of the hidden reveals are completely predictable...

YET, it totally hooked me and pulled me in. ¯_ (・᷄ㅂ・᷅) _/¯

The MC absolutely carries the scenes. He's completely aloof, arrogant to a fault, and pretty much The Big Bad around (#2Cool4HisHumanIdentity#). I've never seen this character setting for an MC before, so 10/10 originality. He's a headcase mixture of self-rationalization, hypocrisy, and bloodthirstiness; it's fantastic. His interactions with the people around him are filled with manipulations, snark, and straight out shamelessness (and no one knows that better than the ML). It's one of those enemies-to-lovers situations I like so much. Both MC and ML are on the same level as each other and their push-pull interactions are explosive. If you're a fan of angst, there's enough of that as well (a bit too much on the misunderstandings/lack of communication for me, but I can forgive it) with a couple great throwaway one-liners to hit you right in the gut.

Spoiler

I heavily appreciate how horrible the MC and ML are to each other and how they absolutely deserve each other. In the beginning, I was definitely a fan of one of the second leads... a super super big fan, but as the story continued, the author really truly convinced me that the MC and ML fit each other. What makes the relationship awesome is because it's full of flaws. The second lead was TOO perfect/understanding... he became a doormat for the MC from the first time they met (in a way he deserves someone better than the MC :P).

Because both the MC and ML are so flawed; they hurt each other, they misunderstand each other, they don't even have the same morals! their falling in love despite all that was what made the relationship meaningful. I'm tired of seeing one-sided pandering or spoiling over and over again in CNovels.

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I can't help but wish it was longer/more detailed. The characters and relationships would have gained a lot more depth (or maybe I'm just wishing too hard for a second Mo Dao...). But anyway, the author's more realistic/mature worldview has created a beautiful story of redemption in its various forms, and the ending was very fitting for these two horrible star-crossed people.

Spoiler

I HAVE LITERALLY NEVER SEEN A CNOVEL REDEEM A 'BAD' MOM/STEPMOM BEFORE so seriously this is awesome.

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Spoiler

Also can I just say the MC being chill and taking initiative to seduce/kiss whatever humans cause his character setting is a demon and he just totally doesn't care, is just super hot and awesome?? like seriously tired of those blushing 'virginal bottom' types...

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Spoiler

ALSO-- ok i'll stop now

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Here is a rare story about a MC who is searching for vengeance but actually encounters something totally different-- go on, give it a shot. Translation is wonderful! <<less
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earlgreyt
earlgreyt rated it
The Antelope and Night Wolf
February 26, 2019
Status: Completed
To be honest, I almost abandoned this story after reading the author's preface before Chapter 1 (I recommend BlackBoxTL Chapter 1 because it has the author's trigger warnings translated) because I didn't think that the novel would do a good job with expressing a BDSM relationship or fetishes in a respectful manner.

I'm not part of the scene myself, so I don't know how 'accurate' the author wrote it, but I do think that everything was described with sensitivity/research/awareness on the author's part. I've read some BDSM stuff in the past,... more>> but very few give the feeling of being safe/sane/consensual. This story actually approaches it. The dominant is not just there for a power trip to oppress the sub (which is what many many awful D/S relationships come across as).

Spoiler

The ML comes across as a 'chauvinist' several times, but he does have character development and by the end of the story it's clear that he's getting past his youthful immaturity.

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Anyway, the BDSM part is not a huge part of the story. This is a well-written gaming romance, the relationship progression is very cute, and I love the MC's outgoing, sunny character. The humor, side-characters, are all pretty great. The MC is also extremely good at his game (better than the ML) which is the best part. There is also a lot of mystery, drama (some melodrama) with fake amnesia, misunderstandings, hospitalizations, etc. so buckle up!

Spoiler

Why can't childhood friends ever win??!?! Whyyyyy.....

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I started the story with a lot of trepidation, and it negatively influenced my enjoyment of the earlier chapters because I was waiting for the interactions to go wrong... so I hope that this review can encourage some of you open-minded people to give the book a shot! <<less
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earlgreyt
earlgreyt rated it
Kill the Lights
February 24, 2019
Status: Completed
Ex-police officer turned mercenary, when a mission goes awry and the MC is killed, his soul is reborn in the body of a drug addict/washed out actor. After being thrown in front of a camera the very next day, the MC is forced to learn how to act as Hollywood's most despised paparazzi fodder.

Compared to his body's previous owner, the MC, just by being a 'regular guy' is already enough to shock the people around him. The story flows together pretty seamlessly, with lots of humorous and dramatic moments. The... more>> ML is a bit of a yandere with deep psychological scars from his past.

The author's writing is very solid! Kudos for an author who is not a teenager and has a mature worldview (or maybe I've just been reading too many CNovels).

Though the mysterious past was predictable and a bit over-explained, the rest was pretty engrossing. The epilogue is awesome. It continues right after the main storyline and I love the extension of the movie acting because the MC is ultra cool. It's nice to see a MC holding his own on equal terms with the ML.

Spoiler

Some seem to be dissatisfied with the MC, mentioning that the MC is weak and that he was some kind of genius mercenary. I'd have to say I completely disagree. Mercenaries/ex-soldiers/whoever are regular people too (though most novels seem to romanticize or forget this fact completely). Just because you might be good at one thing (running missions in Afghanistan) doesn't mean if you were thrown into a completely weird situation (reborn into a drug-addict actor's body) you'd be able to suddenly become OP using your 'military experience.' In the story, MC said he was tired of everything; the mercenary life, the killing, the missions. All he wanted to do was retire and open a coffee shop. No human can be hyper-vigilant 100% of the time or badass 24/7. His reactions and fatigue were completely reasonable. The MC is also very competent. There's not a single situation that he didn't successfully control, minus the situations with the ML (which was explained and made sense as the ML is his weakness). There are stories with over-the-top MCs who just dominate everything and everyone around them just act as background to make them look better. Those types of stories are also fun to read, but I am glad this is not one of those stories.

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Spoiler

Also some mentioned that the MC was reborn into a stereotypical 'uke' body who is weak and prone to tears; this I did realize eventually as well, so they have a point! A couple things that made me feel better about it: at least half of the male characters do also cry, ML included, and as for physical fitness, it would have really been too boring if the MC didn't end up in a newer weak body. The new body is completely the opposite of his original body, and it's the contrast that adds interest. If the MC had been reborn into a similar body, readers would be wondering about the plot point of having him die in the first place. Much more interesting to describe how he still felt like he was a stranger after being in the new body for months and having to exercise to make himself stronger. It also made the ML's recognition of the MC's soul much more touching. Plus, the MC was still able to trounce all the bad guys despite his 'weak' body, so I think the author did a convincing job of writing it in a way that didn't make it feel like it was done for the stereotype.

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earlgreyt
I do highly recommend this even though I prefer MCs with more moral compass. There's only a couple things you need to know if you want to enjoy this story:

    • It's looooong so the romance and the character development is paced slowly and spans many worlds (unlike many stories where the MC and ML get together after the first arc).
    • The MC is very distanced from humanity where she treats the characters like she's playing a game. This means that she doesn't treat them like 'real people' and doesn't consider her actions towards them as towards 'real people.' To her, they're all NPCs, which is why she can be extremely crazy and destructive without caring too much. This will probably change in the future, but it hasn't yet. That also means there will be some cliffhangers because the MC doesn't care enough to 'solve-the-mystery' or 'figure-out-every-mysterious-past' in each new world.
    • The MC is frickin' badass. She's an unconventional female lead who frequently flips gender roles to take on traditional 'ML-reserved' spots. She also prefers to solve everything with her sword rather than her brain.
    • If you don't mind all of the above, you will definitely enjoy this story.
Why didn't I give this a 5...

Spoiler

The story lines can get a bit repetitive since the MC only uses her 'might' in each world. She breaks the worlds quite frequently and makes everyone pretty speechless because she doesn't bother to play to social conventions and kind of just crashes through everything like a demolition truck. I'm crossing my fingers for the MC to get more character development in this factor.

Despite the MC being the coolest person, there's still some misogynist subtext. I say this also because rape or prostitution is used with insane frequency (pretty much every arc) for 'bad' female characters. Other than the MC, the rest of the female characters tend to completely follow stereotypical cliches. All of the FL's that appear either rely on the ML/their charms for success or rely on the MC to rescue them. So we have a strange situation where the MC, who is used by the author to break social convention or traditional female roles, ends up emphasizing it instead because she is the sole exception.

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Translation is 10/10 one of the best. Kudos to the translation team!
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earlgreyt
earlgreyt rated it
Doomsday Wonderland
February 12, 2019
Status: c429
This is a thriller-type survival novel with multiple worlds/species/civilizations. Translation is 10/10. The beginning arc seems like it's a pure survival/apocalypse arc, but more and more unexpected things happen, so I wouldn't categorize it completely as a pure survival novel. Some challenges also have a bit of a horror theme.

This is really quite an amazing story, that only keeps getting better and better. The MC is one of the best I've ever read! This is one of the extremely rare stories where the MC has good morals/human rights awareness and... more>> generally maintains that despite the ruthlessness around her. Her morals don't make her stupid, rather, it's more of a slight hero complex in protecting/rescuing innocents or kids. The side characters are very fleshed out as well, including the enemies! Some unexpected enemies become allies and vice versa. It's not a very predictable story.

Spoiler

The side characters have their own backgrounds and mysteries, and even the MC's friends have their own goals that do not necessarily align with each other. It's not a one-dimensional world where the MC's friends are 100% good and supportive. It's also not one of those stories where you can judge the character by its cover.

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The character development, world-building, puzzle setups, and the absolutely weird sh*t that happens only get better and better. In the beginning, I was a bit thrown by some of the seemingly super random and a bit scattered new ideas that kept popping up, but the author was able to flesh them out and connect them together, so everything made more sense as the story continued.

Spoiler

So far, I'm relieved that there's not much romance. C-novel MLs tend to be 100% perfect or better than the MC at everything so I did not want to see any of that making MC's hard work pointless.

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Don't be intimidated by the amount of chapters and don't look down on them! Every new world is complex and handled carefully. This is not one of those light fluffy novels where everything is filler and nothing happens after 500 chapters. The pacing is fantastic (neither slow nor fast) and the quality is maintained throughout. <<less
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earlgreyt
earlgreyt rated it
God of Cooking
October 31, 2018
Status: c200
Being a big foodie and all, I was pretty skeptical when I first started reading this. It surprised me and surpassed my expectations. This is a very good cooking focused novel with only a couple minor issues. The writing also gets better and better the further you get. A lot of longer novels tend to drag on; so far this is absolutely not one of them! The pacing is fantastic so far and I even feel that the story has just started to really pick up.

The characters are fantastically well-rounded... more>> and 3-dimensional. They are also a wide range of personalities (though the female lead is classic tsundere), and the character development is done very well. There will be people the MC meets that dislike him on sight, but that doesn't make them bad people. It's very rare to have complex characters like this and makes the novel world feel very deep and realistic!

It's also nice that the MC, despite having a system cheat, is not instantly a top genius. You really get every step of the journey with him building up his skills. He also doesn't have the best stats of everyone starting off and has many idols he looks up to. He's also very humble and not a 'genius, ' but works harder than anyone to make up for his deficiencies. This also adds another level of realism and inspiration to the novel. I absolutely enjoyed the cooking aspect. This is definitely a novel with fantastic food descriptions and cooking techniques. When reading this novel, I had an urge to re-watch episodes of Iron Chef. When watching episodes of Iron Chef, I had an urge to read more of this novel.

While the author is probably not a chef, they have definitely done a lot of research regarding various ways of preparing food, recipes, and so on. Although the author's perspective can be a little limited regarding Korean vs. Western cooking, it's clear within the story that there are many types of western cooking, from French to Italian to Brazilian, etc. I imagine the 'western' label is probably just a generic term that is influenced by the Korean origins of this novel. In many countries in Asia, there is a tendency to lump all 'western' influences together in speech, but that doesn't mean that people in Asia don't know that Greek and Italian are different things. I'm sure in the West, there is a tendency to lump 'Asians' together the same way when speaking about it, but people still know that Korean and Japanese aren't the same thing. Thus, I wouldn't be too concerned about these labels, they definitely do not reflect the range of cooking represented inside the novel.

The translation is pretty good and the translators have my respect for figuring out all those industry/professional cooking phrases. <<less
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earlgreyt
[Rating/Review might change as I'm in the process of reading this]

So far really enjoying the story! The arcs are pretty fun/awesome and super comedic, especially the misunderstandings between the MC and the ML from the beginning. There's a lot of character development and the ML has a bit of a mysterious past cliche, but I didn't mind it much. This one is a good contrast to QWFOD because the side characters are awesome! The 'love rivals' are generally good people, and it's so refreshing to read BL with non-misogynist,... more>> likable female characters. I think the set up for this story allows for more freedom with the plot & characterizations (since the MC isn't typecast into a vengeance role) so there's less repetition.

I understand the POV of some reviewers mentioning that the ML bullies the MC and causes him a lot of trouble in the arcs. I dislike bully!MLs or overly dominant/oppressive!MLs, but that's not the case so much in this story. Due to the MC's origins (which is a spoiler), the MC himself wasn't actually traumatized or emotionally hurt by the ML's actions, just annoyed at his 'strange' colleague.

The MC isn't too good with emotions or understanding people's feelings, which contributes to the way the ML has to act very extremely for the MC to even take notice of him.
Spoiler

The MC will eventually think about how he feels towards the ML without coercion and it's a really touching arc with a lot of things getting cleared up, and I think the MC also successfully gets revenge for some of the stuff the ML pulled in earlier arcs, haha.

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Translation is fantastic, the flow of the story represented very well! High re-read factor. <<less
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earlgreyt
earlgreyt rated it
The General’s Little Peasant Wife
April 24, 2019
Status: c70
Even though I dislike stories with endless illogical cannon fodder characters, I thought I could last at least until the plot of the story progressed a bit more...

I was wrong.

This is awful. Completely unbearable. Pretty much every person in town other than the MC, MC's friend and ML are 5-year old cannon fodder with no ability for higher cognition. The story is just one endless "X cannon fodder pops out of woodwork to accuse the MC of random sh*t with completely irrational thinking" => "everyone in town suddenly believes in... more>> X cannon fodder for no reason" => "MC shows up and face slaps cannon fodder" => "townspeople all blame cannon fodder" => "cannon fodder hates MC more and tries a new scheme."

Repeat x 1000 and you get this story. <<less
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earlgreyt
earlgreyt rated it
You Boys Play Games Very Well
March 29, 2019
Status: Completed
GET YOUR HAPPY FRUIT PUNS HERE~~ ᕕ (ᐛ) ᕗ

A fantastic, lighthearted, BL entertainment read about gamer livestreamers! (Yes they are ALL named after various fruits and veges...) The balance between the gaming parts and the RL parts are fantastic. Absolutely hilarious MC is known for his arrogant/sarcastic one-liners that he sends off after every match with other players. One such match ends up with him exploding in popularity because it was streamed live by the ML, an official channel streamer.

Absolutely EVERYONE is precious in this story; you don't get... more>> any angst or negative drama, just tons of supportive fluff (including the coming-out to the family!).

Spoiler

I literally could not stop laughing when the MC started rapping about mining and his roommate crashed his stream with accompanying dance...

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Highly recommend, great translation as well! (There's a lot of footnotes, but there's a lot of gaming/online jargon to parse, so kudos for that.) <<less
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