Hotel Vendome (Danielle Steel)

Danielle Steel (2011)
Bantam Dell, 2012
Adult Fiction
Books & Beyond PP – Rp149,000

This is a story about a hotel runs by father daughter, Hugues and Heloise Martin. The building was abandoned hotel which then transformed into New York’s most luxurious boutique hotel under Hugues’ management. Politicians, movie stars, rock stars, and rich and famous love to stay there. Hugues has trainings from the best schools in Europe, and he loves working hard and is very passionate about hotels. His daughter Heloise grew up under the care of hotel maids. Guests and hotel staff are used to see Heloise being around the posh hotel following her father or helping the staff. Not long enough until Heloise decided that she wants to follow her father’s steps.

This may not be my first Danielle Steele novel, but surely this is the first in many years. I came to realize why I avoided buying and reading them for so long already. Based on this novel alone, I found the plot so light and predictable, and it is dragging me with long narration. Hugues character is charming, especially because he doesn’t talk much. Well, that’s easy to point: rich, handsome, calm… what’s not charming about it? But Heloise transformation from a sweet little girl, to an excited teenager, and then to a sulky and childish adult, is unrealistic.

However, the hotel knowledge is interesting to read. To know what’s going on inside great hotels, where to pursue the best education, what to look and expect from winning hotels and so on. This novel is not great, and I won’t be harsh by saying it’s bad either. I believe it has the potential, perhaps to be made a drama series, considering that the plot is easy to follow, the story is glittering with the riches and the famous, and the story spans on couple of decades which is long enough to be made series.

The Not So Amazing Life of @Amrazing (Alexander Thian)

Alexander Thian (2012)
Gagas Media, Cetakan kedua 2012
TGA Sency – Rp43,000

Buku kocak ini adalah kumpulan pengalaman penulisnya menghadapi pelanggan-pelanggan ajaib sewaktu menjadi penjaga konter hape di sebuah mal. Saya nggak tahu, mana yang lebih ajaib, para pelanggannya yang memang serba aneh, atau penjaga konternya yang selama melayani masih sempet menganalisa pun mengigat-ingat kisahnya sehingga bisa dibukukan seperti ini.

Tidak ada yang tidak menarik dari buku ini. Saya suka caranya bercerita, penggambaran suasana dan emosi para pelaku kisahnya, ekspresif, (sepertinya) tidak berusaha untuk melucu, tapi sukses membuat tertawa terbahak-bahak. Dibalik kekonyolan dan keanehan para pelanggan maupun si empunya konter, kisah-kisah ini kaya akan potret kehidupan masyarakat yang ada di sekitar kita komplit dengan analisa dan renungan singkat dari penulisnya. Mulai dari abege seronok dengan goyangan pantura, anak manja dengan tabiat parasit, pejabat pemerintahan yang sok penting dan sok kaya, artis yang merasa perlu “survey” popularitas sampai ke konter hape, termasuk juga karakter-karakter orang baik yang ternyata masih ada terselip diantara profil para hedonis dan orang-orang narsis.

Mas Bambang adalah anomali dari semua judgement yang beredar. Kumal bukan berarti miskin atau kampungan. Sederhana bukan berarti tak canggih. Ngondek bukan berarti cong. Tampang jelek bukan berarti istrinya jelek juga. Bertampang rada preman bukan berarti penjahat. Dan pamungkasnya: penampilan dan gaya yang di bawah “standar”, bukan berarti bodoh. (Hal. 115)

Menurut saya buku ini serba pas-pasan. Pas saya kangen baca buku lokal yang nggak menye-menye. Pas juga saya sedang cari bacaan yang bisa menghibur tanpa sok gaul dan sok lucu. Pas saya sudah mau balik ke kantor dari acara makan siang di sebuah mall yang agak jauh dari kantor. Pas pula mata saya menatap sampulnya yang berwarna terang. A gem!

The Cupcake Queen (Heather Hepler)

Heather Hepler (2009)
Speak, 2010
Teens Fiction
Kinokuniya PIM – Rp91,000

Don’t be misled by the cover, which looks deliciously pretty by the way. I was expecting a quick light chicklit-type of reading when I picked up this book from the store this evening. It’s everything but that. I wish the cupcakes on the cover were in choco or mint cream instead.

Penny moves to Hog’s Hollow with her mom, leaving her friends and dad in Manhattan. Being a girl from big city, life in Hog’s Hollow is so much different. More so now with mom opens a cupcake store and Penny has to help. On the first party she assisted, it was disastrous and a girl of an influential person in town sworn her enemy.

While struggling with the new life hoping to go back to NYC and reunited with her dad, Penny also meets with new friends, and growing an interest for a mysterious boy who runs on the beach. But somehow her relationship with her mother goes distant each day.

I like the story and the fact that it didn’t give easy solutions for the problems and dramas. Everyone has problem and they need to make important decision in their life. Including Penny. She learns to move forward, begins to accept her new life, even fights for what she believe is right. It’s a cute story, definitely not shallow, still a quick reading, but highly recommended for teens.