Year of the Asian Reading Challenge 2019 (#YARC2019): Sign-Up Post, TBR + Tracker

I actually knew about this challenge the day the four lovely hosts (CW, Lily, Shealea and Vicky) announced it over Twitter. Just like everyone else, I was super hyped to join the challenge, especially since I started a book club with Lili called Diverse Divers where our main goal is to support diverse authors and books. I think this challenge is an exceptional way to also support diversity which focusing on Asian literature. So then, I took a mental note that I will join and make a sign-up post as soon as possible and before I knew it, it’s February already and here we are. 😅 Oh well, but anyway! If you have no idea about this reading challenge, let me tell you about it real quick!

What is Year of the Asian Reading Challenge?

Year of the Asian Reading Challenge 2019 – or YARC for short, is a reading challenge focusing to celebrate Asian literature and Asian authors. It’s a year-long challenge, starting from January 1, 2019 – December 31, 2019. There will be also monthly link-up where you can share your monthly update/wrap-up post regarding your reading process and this will be counts as a submission for a giveaway at the end of the year! To make the challenge more excited, there will be badges for each level based on the number of books that you read! Since I’ll also be using this post as a tracker, I’ll put my current badge at the end of this post, just to keep things neat. For more details, you can head over to the original posts from each lovely hosts or follow YARC2019 on Twitter (@YearOfTheAsian):

Now, here comes the fun part. I’m going to share a list of books that I’m the most excited to read for this challenge, both backlist books and new release books. Since I’m also going to use this challenge to push myself to read more Indonesian books, there will be a special section for Indonesian authors too. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ll only read these books! I might read other books that I found throughout the challenge.

Backlist

Upcoming

Indonesian Authors

Tracker + Current Badge

So, here is a list of books that I’ve read for this challenge so far. It’s a mix of previous list and impulse decision making whenever I read a book by a particular author and interested to read more of their works. 💁‍♀️

Based on these numbers, my current badge/level is this smol Philippine Tarsier!

Philippine Tarsier: 1-10 books read

Are you joining #YARC2019? Is there any book that you think I should discover and read for this challenge? Share them below!

Image credit: Clay Banks

Paper to Popcorn: Dumplin’

Paper to Popcorn is an occasional feature on Artsy Draft in which I do review of a book to movie adaptation.

Book

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.
 
Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.
 
With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

★★★½

Title: Dumplin’ | Author: Julie Murphy | Publisher: Balzer + Bray | Genre: ContemporaryRomanceYoung Adult | Publication Date: September 15, 2015 | Format: eBook | Source: Anybooks | Read for: Diverse Divers Book Club January 2019 #BOTM | Links: Book Depository (Affiliate)

[su_spoiler title=”→ Trigger Warnings!” style=”simple”]Body hatred, fatphobia. sexism.[/su_spoiler]

Movie

Dumplin’ (2018)

The plus-size, teenage daughter of a former beauty queen signs up for her mum’s pageant as a protest that escalates when other contestants follow in her footsteps, revolutionizing the pageant and their small Texas town.

★★½

Title: Dumplin’ | Director: Anna Fletcher | Starring: Danielle Macdonald, Jennifer Anniston, Odeya Rush, and Luke Benward | Genre: Comedy • Drama | Released Date: December 7, 2018 (US) | Links: NetflixTrailer

I read this book and watch this movie as part of Diverse Divers Book Club. This review supposed to be posted earlier this month, but I wasn’t able to do so because I got caught up with graduation ceremonies, but better late than never, right? Anyway, I’m trying my best to remember my emotions and feelings towards these two, considering I read and watch it quite a while ago.

The Friendship

First thing first, let’s talk about the differences regarding Willowdean’s relationship with her friends. There are a few differences between the book and movie, especially on the timeline. I feel they’re rushing it on the movie because I got caught off guard by how fast everything happened on the screen. For instance, the meeting of Will and Callie on the pool happened a little later in the book. We got the opportunity to get attached to Will and her universe first, the friendship between her and Ellen, and also Will’s very own personality. I think these are very crucial aspects of the plot since it will make us more sympathetic to each character. While in the movie, the scene where Will meets Callie for the first time basically acts as the opening scene and one might interpret Will’s attitude towards Callie as petty. I’d say this is such a wasted opportunity, especially for those who watch the movie without reading the book first. And the other thing that bothered me quite a lot is Amanda nonexistence on the movie. I understand that it’s nearly impossible to fully transfer everything from the book to the screen when it comes to adaptation. But I just feel a bit surprised that they decided to completely erase her.

The Romance

The romance within the book and the movie were both unnecessary in my opinion. I personally feel this story should be focusing solely on Willowdean’s journey of finding self-acceptance, building a better relationship with her mother and also Ellen. While the book had it worse for this aspect (c’mon, love triangle?), the movie also didn’t do any better especially with the cast. I don’t feel connected to Bo’s character at all and I feel Benward is a little too old for this character (yes, even when he’s clean shaven). And again, they decided to ditch Mitch from the story? I’m not the biggest fan of the love triangle, but I ship Will and Mitch more than Will and Bo.

The Mother and The Dead Aunt

Ah, finally my favorite part of the story. The mother-daughter and aunt-niece relationship. While the book brings a meaner side of Willowdean’s mom, the movie successfully makes her a lot more likable, thanks to Anniston. When I read the book and get to any part of the conversation between Will and her mom, all I want to do is scream and yell at her because I couldn’t stand her. But on the screen, she has a different persona, I’d say. There’s no mention of close-minded opinion that featured quite a lot in the book, which is something that I’m completely grateful for (may I remind you of “It’s flattering to get catcalled.” and the assumption that having a boyfriend will cure your problems?). As for Lucy (one of my favorite character!), I think the movie missed the opportunity to feature a lot of her wise sayings from the book.

Overall…

I’m one of those people that will get pissed when an adaptation is not done properly and this is one of them. However, I think the book is quite decent and a lot better than the movie where everything feels rushed. I appreciate the issues of fat-shaming that Murphy tried to bring within her book, while also covering the relatable aspects of teenagehood lives, including self-acceptance, best friend fighting, and family issues. As the final notes, I decided to give the book 3.5/5 stars and the movie 2/5 stars.

Remarkable Quotes

[su_quote]Will. I’ve wasted a lot of time in my life. I’ve thought too much about what people will say or what they’re gonna think. And sometimes it’s over silly things like going to the grocery store or going to the post office. But there have been times when I really stopped myself from doing something special. All because I was scared someone might look at me and decide I wasn’t good enough. But you don’t have to bother with that nonsense. I wasted all that time so you don’t have to. If you go in there and you decide that this isn’t for you, then you never have to go back. But you owe yourself the chance, you hear me?[/su_quote]

[su_quote]Maybe ’cause you don’t always have to win a pageant to wear a crown.[/su_quote]

[su_quote]There’s nothing good about losing someone. But maybe Lucy wasn’t supposed to be your compass forever. Maybe she was there for you just long enough so you could learn how to be your own compass and find your own way.[/su_quote]

[su_quote]This is me. Back me up or back the fuck out.[/su_quote]

Have you read this book or watched this movie? Which one is better in your opinion?

Join us on Diverse Divers Book Club if you want to support diversity in stories!

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Child of the Moon by Jessica Semaan

This week has been pretty slow and I want to apologize for lack of contents on my blog. But today, I’m here with a review of Child of the Moon by Jessica Semaan. I received an ARC via NetGalley from Andrews McMeel Publishing in exchange for a honest review. Not gonna lie, I initially hooked because of its cover (duh), but after reading many great reviews from others, I know that I have to read it too.

Child of the Moon by Jessica Semaan

Published by Andrews McMeel Publishing on January 8, 2019. Classified as Poetry. Received via NetGalley as an eARC.

In her debut collection, Semaan offers an upfront & moving glimpse into the true nature of healing: an imperfect, nonlinear journey”-Amanda Lovlace, bestselling author of the princess saves herself in this one. An illustrated poetry collection about finding light in the darkness. Set against the backdrop of the Lebanese Civil War and the author’s turbulent family life, Child of the Moon is a powerful reflection on her journey through fear, shame and despair, and the unconditional love that helped her begin to heal from childhood trauma.

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★★★★

[su_heading size=”14″ margin=”5″]REVIEW[/su_heading]

Jessica Semaan’s Child of the Moon is nothing like any poetry book I’ve ever read before. Each page is full of surprises and I love the freestyle writing of it. It’s dynamic. Some only consist of one single sentence, some feels like a short essay but I’m all in for it. This book is one wild ride. Aside from Semaan’s childhood experiences, traumas and pains, she also complemented it with sweet verses of self-love and recoveries.

[su_quote cite=”Jessica Semaan in Pain #1, Child of the Moon pg. 45″]”You want me to describe the pain. It is one year old, it can’t speak. You want me to stop the pain. It is generations old, it’s too much for me.”[/su_quote]

One thing I discovered from reading this book is a free-verse poetry can works well. I used to be a fan of properly written poetry with rhymes and highly used of metaphors. Perhaps it’s because I haven’t read as much free-verses before but now that I did, I feel so close-minded but also motivated to explore my readings.

[su_quote cite=”Jessica Semaan in Forgiveness #1, Child of the Moon pg. 94″]”And then I saw the child in you and you. Mama, Papa, you are hurting, too.”[/su_quote]

Also, the using of illustrations in this book are amazing. They’re beautiful and I found the metaphor itself transformed in each of the drawings. I like how it looks as if someone actually hand-drawn them and not doing it digitally. Maybe it is! But despite of the drawing technicality, it looks gorgeous no matter what. Final thought? 4 out of 5 stars.

This book will be published on January 8, 2019. If you’re looking forward to purchase this book (and support my blog!), you can purchase it through my affiliate links below!

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Book Haul: The Readers Fest 2018

Last month, I had a book haul from The Readers Fest 2018 which held by Gramedia at Kota Tua, Jakarta, but haven’t really got a chance to share my findings here! I also feel devastated because I just found out about this event couple days before they held it, so I don’t really have much preparation. It’s a shame, though, because aside from the incredible book sales, where everything is below IDR 30K (USD 1.98), they also had talk shows for creative writing along with literature and music performance. Sounds awesome, right? Luckily, they will hold the same event next year, so I got another chance!

So, these are my findings! I got 10 books with the total amount of IDR 190K (USD 12.49). Are you jealous of me now? 😜

The Lost City of Z by David Grann

Genre: Adventure, Biography, History, Non-fiction, Travel Release Date: February 24, 2009 Publisher: Gramedia Pustaka Utama Pages: 352 pages ISBN: 9780385513531

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Summary: A grand mystery reaching back centuries. A sensational disappearance that made headlines around the world. A quest for truth that leads to death, madness or disappearance for those who seek to solve it. The Lost City of Z is a blockbuster adventure narrative about what lies beneath the impenetrable jungle canopy of the Amazon.

After stumbling upon a hidden trove of diaries, New Yorker writer David Grann set out to solve “the greatest exploration mystery of the 20th century”: What happened to the British explorer Percy Fawcett & his quest for the Lost City of Z?

In 1925, Fawcett ventured into the Amazon to find an ancient civilization, hoping to make one of the most important discoveries in history. For centuries Europeans believed the world’s largest jungle concealed the glittering kingdom of El Dorado. Thousands had died looking for it, leaving many scientists convinced that the Amazon was truly inimical to humans. But Fawcett, whose daring expeditions inspired Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, had spent years building his scientific case. Captivating the imagination of millions round the globe, Fawcett embarked with his 21-year-old son, determined to prove that this ancient civilisation–which he dubbed Z–existed. Then his expedition vanished. Fawcett’s fate, & the tantalizing clues he left behind about Z, became an obsession for hundreds who followed him into the uncharted wilderness. 

For decades scientists & adventurers have searched for evidence of Fawcett’s party & the lost City of Z. Countless have perished, been captured by tribes or gone mad. As Grann delved ever deeper into the mystery surrounding Fawcett’s quest, & the greater mystery of what lies within the Amazon, he found himself, like the generations who preceded him, being irresistibly drawn into the jungle’s green hell. His quest for the truth & discoveries about Fawcett’s fate & Z form the heart of this complexly enthralling narrative. 

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Little Men by Louisa May Alcott

Genre: Classic, Fiction, Young Adult Release Date: November 19, 2015 (Or.1871) Publisher: Gramedia Pustaka Utama Pages: 432 pages ISBN: 9786020322735

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Summary: Did you ever wonder what happened to Jo March from Little Women? She grew up, of course, and followed her dream to become a writer. In addition, she opened a school, home to her two children and twelve other boys. There’s accident-prone Tommy, bookish Demi, and greedy Stuffy. Into this large, unusual family arrives Nat – a skinny, nervous orphan boy with no schooling, just a fearless talent for the violin. Amid all the scrapes and japes of twelve rambunctious boys, can little Nat find his place at Plumfield?

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Victor Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Genre: Classic, Fiction, Horror, Science Fiction Release Date: Or.1818 Publisher: Gramedia Pustaka Utama Pages: 288 pages ISBN: 9780143131847

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Summary: Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein when she was only eighteen. At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature’s hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.

Frankenstein, an instant bestseller and an important ancestor of both the horror and science fiction genres, not only tells a terrifying story, but also raises profound, disturbing questions about the very nature of life and the place of humankind within the cosmos: What does it mean to be human? What responsibilities do we have to each other? How far can we go in tampering with Nature? In our age, filled with news of organ donation genetic engineering, and bio-terrorism, these questions are more relevant than ever.

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The Nearest Exit by Olen Steinhauer

Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller Release Date: December 10, 2015 Publisher: Gramedia Pustaka Utama Pages: 552 pages ISBN: 9786020321356

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Summary: Now faced with the end of his quiet, settled life, reluctant spy Milo Weaver has no choice but to turn back to his old job as a “tourist.” Before he can get back to the CIA’s dirty work, he has to prove his loyalty to his new bosses, who know little of Milo’s background and less about who is really pulling the strings in the government above the Department of Tourism—or in the outside world, which is beginning to believe the legend of its existence. Milo is suddenly in a dangerous position, between right and wrong, between powerful self-interested men, between patriots and traitors—especially as a man who has nothing left to lose.

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The Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers by Lynn Weingarten

Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult Release Date: January 26, 2015 Publisher: Bhuana Sastra Pages: 388 pages ISBN: 9786022498612

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Summary: If there’s an upside to having your heart broken, it’s this: A broken heart makes you brave.

The first day of sophomore year doesn’t go the way Lucy planned. After a summer apart from her boyfriend, she’s ready to greet him with a special surprise and instead gets a shocking one in return: He’s breaking up with her. Beyond devestated, Lucy has no idea how she’s going to make it through homeroom, let alone the rest of her life.

Enter three stunning girls with the unnatural ability to attract boys and an offer Lucy can’t refuse: They can heal her heart in an instant. And then she’ll be one of them – a member of a sisterhood that is impervious to heartbreak and has access to magic distilled from the tears of brokenhearted boys. But to gain their power, Lucy must get a guy to fall in love with her the old-fashioned way, and then break his heart in the next seven days.

While the sisterhood may need another Heartbreaker, Lucy’s only desire is to get her ex back. But how far is she willing to go, and who is she willing to cross to get what she wants?

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Confession of A Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

Genre: Adult Fiction, Chicklit, Romance Release Date: 2004 Publisher: Gramedia Pustaka Utama Pages: 472 pages ISBN: 9792202366

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Summary: Becky Bloomwood has a fabulous flat in London’s trendiest neighborhood, a troupe of glamorous socialite friends, and a closet brimming with the season’s must-haves. The only trouble is, she can’t actually afford it—not any of it. Her job writing at Successful Saving magazine not only bores her to tears, it doesn’t pay much at all. And lately Becky’s been chased by dismal letters from the bank—letters with large red sums she can’t bear to read. She tries cutting back. But none of her efforts succeeds. Her only consolation is to buy herself something . . . just a little something. Finally a story arises that Becky actually cares about, and her front-page article catalyzes a chain of events that will transform her life—and the lives of those around her—forever.

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Shopaholic Abroad by Sophie Kinsella

Genre: Adult Fiction, Chicklit, Romance Release Date: 2004 Publisher: Gramedia Pustaka Utama Pages: 387 pages ISBN: 9792203222

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Summary: The irresistible heroine of Confessions of a Shopaholic and Shopaholic Ties the Knot is back! And this time Becky Bloomwood and her credit cards are headed across the Atlantic….

With her shopping excesses (somewhat) in check and her career as a TV financial guru thriving, Becky’s biggest problem seems to be tearing her entrepreneur boyfriend, Luke, away from work for a romantic country weekend. And worse, figuring out how to pack light. But packing takes on a whole new meaning when Luke announces he’s moving to New York for business–and he asks Becky to go with him! Before you can say “Prada sample sale,” Becky has landed in the Big Apple, home of Park Avenue penthouses and luxury boutiques. 

Surely it’s only a matter of time until she becomes an American TV celebrity, and she and Luke are the toast of Gotham society. Nothing can stand in their way, especially with Becky’s bills miles away in London. But then an unexpected disaster threatens her career prospects, her relationship with Luke, and her available credit line! Shopaholic Takes Manhattan–but will she have to return it?

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Shopaholic Ties the Knot by Sophie Kinsella

Genre: Adult Fiction, Chicklit, Romance Release Date: 2004 Publisher: Gramedia Pustaka Utama Pages: 576 pages ISBN: 9792206604

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Summary: Life has been good for Becky Bloomwood: She’s become the best personal shopper at Barneys, she and her successful entrepreneurial boyfriend, Luke, are living happily in Manhattan’s West Village, and her new next-door neighbor is a fashion designer! But with her best friend, Suze, engaged, how can Becky fail to notice that her own ring finger is bare? Not that she’s been thinking of marriage (or diamonds) or anything . . . Then Luke proposes! Bridal registries dance in Becky’s head. Problem is, two other people are planning her wedding: Becky’s overjoyed mother has been waiting forever to host a backyard wedding, with the bride resplendent in Mum’s frilly old gown. While Luke’s high-society mother is insisting on a glamorous, all-expenses-paid affair at the Plaza. Both weddings for the same day. And Becky can’t seem to turn down either one. Can everyone’s favorite shopaholic tie the knot before everything unravels?

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Shopaholic and Sister by Sophie Kinsella

Genre: Adult Fiction, Chicklit, Romance Release Date: 2005 Publisher: Gramedia Pustaka Utama Pages: 496 pages ISBN: 9792213716

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Summary: Irresistible, one-woman shopping phenomenon Becky Bloomwood is back in this hilarious, heartwarming, New York Times bestselling tale of married life, best friends, and long-lost sisters (and the perils of simply having to own an Angel handbag!).

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Keterasingan by Priska Siagian

Genre: Young Adult Release Date: October 27, 2014 Publisher: Gramedia Widya Sarana Indonesia Pages: 256 pages ISBN: 9786022517221

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Summary: Apa kau yakin tubuhmu adalah milikmu? Apakah kau yakin betul kalau kedua tangan dengan sepuluh jari jemarinya adalah kepunyaanmu? Dan apakah kau benar-benar menyakini kalau kedua kakimu adalah kepunyaanmu? Aku, aku tidak!

Ya aku tidak yakin tubuh ini milikku. Khususnya kaki kananku, dia bukanlah milikku. Lebih spesifik lagi, 7 sentimeter di bawah dengkul kananku, ITU BUKANLAH MILIKKU!

Setiap pagi aku mengutuki diriku. Aku mengutuki diri yang menjadi pencuri kaki. Setiap langkah kaki yang aku buat adalah langkah penolakan. Aku tidak pernah merasa menyatu dengan kaki kanan ini. Tidak seperti kaki kiri yang setiap kali ia melangkah, aku tahu bahwa itu atas perintahku. Kami bekerja sama untuk menjejakkan kaki ditahan. Tapi kaki kanan ini… ia seolah menempel tanpa mengetahui tubuh siapa yang ia tempati.

Karena itu aku harus mengamputasinya. Dan kali ini aku harus benar-benar berhasil memutusnya dari kaki kananku. Demi menghapus cap Sang Pencuri Kaki di jidatku!

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So, those are everything that I got! I’m really upset that I can’t get my hands on all the books in Shopaholic series, though, because there’s so many different cover and edition out there and I just really want to collect the same ones! Now, the hunt begins!

Now, my questions are:

  • Have you read any of these books?
  • If so, what do you think about them?
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*This post contains affiliate link(s). I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links at no extra cost to you. This does not impact my reviews and opinions about the products.

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A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena

I started reading this book on August 28, 2018, and you might be wondering why it took me more than two weeks to finish it. The truth is, I neglected this book several times (due to some IRL responsibilities, ugh). I read the first few pages (which is decent, but quite tense I’d say), but I didn’t feel intrigued enough to keep going. Things started to work out a bit once I passed several chapters. And I’m referring to the plot only here. Unfortunately, the characters brought a bit of confusion, as you can’t really tell at first whether they’re a protagonist or antagonist. Which, on the other side is a good thing. However, I managed to finish it yesterday and here’s my review!

You’re waiting for your beloved husband to get home from work. You’re making dinner, looking forward to hearing about his day. That’s the last thing your remember. You wake up in hospital, with no idea how you got there. They tell you that you were in an accident, you lost control of your car whilst driving in a dangerous part of town. The police suspect you were up to no good. But your husband refuses to believe it. Your best friend is not so sure. And even you don’t know what to believe…

The only thing that I liked about this book is the last plot twist, since the other ones (yep, there’s more than one plot twist) are predictable. It’s annoying because isn’t this supposed to be a mystery novel? Although, the last few pages of this book is definitely interesting and unexpected. I sensed some Gone Girl 2.0 inspo here. The other thing that I appreciated about this book is the writing style. I saw other reviewers that considered this aspect as the weakness of this book since it’s quite straightforward and it can feel like you’re reading a fan-fiction on Wattpad. However, I kinda like it because it’s a huge convenient since I’m not an English native.

Does she really not remember that night? Or is she simply not telling him?

Now, this is the exciting part. Let’s start with the plot. Oh God, I cringed so hard at the mainstream storyline. Car accident, amnesia, affair and two women fighting over a man (not even a good one!). It feels like a soap opera! Not to mention the bad writing of characters. The male lead is so in love with the female lead, and two seconds later he’s become this naive, weak, cheat-ass liar. He’s doubting his marriage right after his wife got into an accident because he feels like he doesn’t know her anymore and he scared. What a coward! The two female leads are at least, has a bit more of personality. Definitely not a great one, however, they’re interesting enough to make you think about what they’re actually up to.

Rating: ★★

[su_spoiler title=”→ Trigger Warnings!” style=”simple”]Abuse, death, fertility, violence.[/su_spoiler]

[su_heading size=”12″ margin=”10″]Title: A Stranger in the House | Author: Shari Lapena | Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books | Genre: MysterySuspenseThriller | Publication Date: July 27, 2017 | Format: Paperback | Source: Purchased | LINKS: GoodreadsBook Depository (Affiliate)[/su_heading]

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Have you read this book? If so, what do you think about it? Have you read any book written by Shari Lapena? If so, how was it compared to this book? Are you looking forward to read this book after reading my review? Let me know!