Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Reading Recap: November 2019

Snowy morning!

Books I read in November:

Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman: The answer to "what if the water stopped coming out of the tap one day"... and it's not pretty.

Pride by Ibi Zoboi: A retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in inner city New York with a cast of all black characters.

Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer: A romance between a girl who is dealing with her own wrong choices and wrong choices of her sister, and a boy who is dealing with the wrong choices of his dad.

The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen: A summertime story of a girl who goes to stay with her maternal grandmother and finally learns more about her mom who died five years before.

Favorite: I really enjoyed ALL these books and gave them all four stars. How to pick a favorite? Dry probably stayed with me the longest and made me think too much and have nightmares about dying of thirst.

Goals for December:

  • read the book club book The Bear and the Nightingale
  • read more Beehive long list books
  • don't stress that goals and challenges have not been met
  • makes year end favorites list and maybe even some decade end ones!

Will you all be making year end and decade end lists? Is it still a thing?

Monday, December 2, 2019

Book Review: The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen

Book: The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen
Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating: ★ ★ ★ 

This is an author you know you can go to whenever you want a fun, sweet, heartfelt coming of age story. Which is pretty much what I always want, so there's that.

In this one, we have our girl who's mom passed away several years before due to an overdose. Her mom gave her and her dad trouble a lot, and our girl only remembers the bad times, and has just a vague memory of the good. 

So when the dad gets remarried and goes on a honeymoon, our girl ends up staying with her maternal grandma, someone they have totally lost touch with, and in so doing, she reconnects with her mom's family and learns all about her mom...thanks especially to a childhood friend (who she can't even remember) who has now grown up into a way cute boy. It just so happens that his dad was really good friends with her mom and he has tons of pictures of them, and knows all the stories.

A perfect summertime romance. I really enjoyed it. 

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Book Review: Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer

Book: Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer
Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating: ★ ★ ★ 

So I've decided this author is one of my favorites and I need to catch up on on ALL her books. Seriously. I love her writing and her stories and her way of dealing with both an intense romance along with some real life issues. So good. 

So this one is about a girl who is frustrated because she has been judged because of a past deed where she choose poorly and now has messed up how everyone looks at her... which used to be the smart and perfect honor student. Also, she has to deal with her sister who has come home from college pregnant and the whole family is trying to deal with the consequences.

It's also about a boy who's father has been caught embezzling money from all his clients and because of that... the dad tried to commit suicide, failed, and is now disabled and dependent on his wife... and this boy... his son. Everyone now hates him (the boy) because they think he knew what was going down and they blame him for what has happened. So the boy has gone from really really popular, to no one talking to him.

So these two come together since they have to do a group assignment together... and they start learning more and more about each other and that the judgments everyone is putting on them aren't quite right. 

I really enjoyed this romance... and also all the underlying crazy things these kids deal with because of other people's choices mostly. It's really good. 

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Book Review: Pride by Ibi Zoboi

Book: Pride by Ibi Zoboi
Genre: YA contemporary romance
Rating: ★ ★ ★ 

This is a fun retelling of Pride and Prejudice with a few changes. It's modern day and takes place in inner city New York with a cast of all black people. 

So basically you know the story! I really enjoyed it! The characters were a lot of fun and I had no trouble picturing them and this setting. I loved seeing how she managed to change up the story just a bit to fit a modern setting. It was fun anticipating the next event but still not really knowing how it would go down. 

There were a lot of references to this culture that went over my head... and some of them I would have liked have explained to me a little, just so I could go away from this reading with a little more knowledge about it but they were just thrown in here and there and I didn't know what was being talked about... so I went a way not learning. That was a little frustrating to me. But the only complaint I have really.

Because bottom line, it was really well written and I was totally engaged through the whole thing. So yeah, a really fun retelling!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Kdrama Review: When the Camellia Blooms

Drama: When the Camellia Blooms
Genre: drama/mystery
Starring: Kang Ha Neul, Gang Hyo Jin
Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

This one is a heartfelt drama that includes nearly everything a drama could have. A little romance, a little mystery, lots of  mean mother in laws, quirky friends, a precocious kid, an ex, a murder, scandal, orphans, a long lost mom, and death. I mean, everything!

I enjoyed it, mostly. I loved the romance, though I wanted more of it. It seemed our main leads were only on stage together for a very small percentage of each episode. It made me a little crazy sometimes.

I loved all the kid/parent relationships. In fact, this is what this drama is mostly about. And that is played up to the highest and made me weepy several times... because kid/parent relationships can do that to me as we know.

This story is about a single mom who comes into this small town (this one does not take place in Seoul which is unusual) to set up shop... shop being a bar. She lives there for several years, being tolerated by the townspeople, but not really being friended by them. But she doesn't seem to care until the time period of our drama and then she lets it all out.

There's a serial killer and he seems to be stalking our girl, which really upsets the policeman, who has fallen in love with our girl at first sight. And he is determined to 1. make our girl love him back and 2. catch the killer.

Meanwhile, the ex of the girl (and the father of her kid) shows up and decides his life is crappy enough that he would like to change it which means, be a dad now and also, get our girl back.

Many of the characters are shown in this picture. Can you feel the tension? LOL!

We also have the quirky friend who likes to steal from everyone, including our girl who has hired her. And we have the crazy towns ladies, and the lawyer and her wannabe governor husband. They have many issues And everyone has a mom who is getting way too much up in everyone's business!

And then the mom of our girl shows up and suddenly, everything gets really complicated.

So... I enjoyed the story. Except the killer dude part which I didn't understand why that had to be part of the story, I think everything else would have held up on its own with out that, but whatever. Everyone loves a mystery I guess.

Most of the side characters made me crazy and I had trouble sympathizing with any of them. And wow, did they all yell a lot! SO MUCH YELLING IN THIS DRAMA!! Whew. But in the end, most of them redeemed themselves and I was like, okay. Maybe you all can be decent people after all. I don't know.

My favorite part of this drama BY FAR was our main guy and the character he played. (Are you surprised? LOL!) What a bumbling awkward, perfectly sweet and nice guy he is! When he was on screen, all was well! I loved his interaction with nearly everyone in the drama, but of course the romance for sure. What there was of it. Gah, I needed more. But anyway. He was amazing. I have seen him in only one other drama (Scarlet Heart) where his character was completely different. Now I would love to see more of his stuff to see what other characters he has done.

He's so good at expressions! Love it!

My other favorite character was the kid.. what a crazy good actor he is! OH MY WORD, but the kids they find for these dramas sometimes. It blows me away. He was amazing and my weepiness usually stemmed from feeling the emotions he was portraying. Wow.

Anyway. The moms all made me mad. All of them so so selfish. Except the mom of our girl, and especially when we learn her back a story, she is an exception. but the other moms.. dang. They made me crazy.

This has been a very well loved drama across the kdrama fandom and I feel like an exception for having some issues with it, which is weird, because I usually love everything about every drama. So. Interesting turn of events there.

Not to say I didn't love it... I mean I really liked it a lot. Yeah. It's on Netflix so those of you who have pondered a drama but don't want to deal with another app... there you go. Link up above on the title, watch it on Netflix and let me know what you think! Netflix is getting a TON of dramas these days, so it will be so easy to find them and watch them for all of you!

Here's the trailer:

The cute song and moments:

Monday, November 25, 2019

Book Review: Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman

Book: Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman
Genre: YA contemporary-ish sort of
Rating: ★ ★ ★ 

This is the story about what might happen if suddenly there is no water coming out of your taps when you turn them on. This is what happens to this family, and these kids. One day, no water. It is contained to an area in the LA country  but a lot of people are affected. 

First everyone goes to Costco to buy water, or in other words, to fight over the water there. That makes people last a day or two. Then they hope to figure out a way to turn the ocean water into drinkable water. But that fails too.

Our two heros... the girl and the boy next door, end up together trying to stay alive. They pick up a few other stragglers on the journey and together they make a band of unlikely survivors. Our boy is from a family that actually HAS prepared for such an event, though it targets them in the neighborhood which is also not a good thing.

But these kids end up trying to find the bunker that our boy's family has built, and yet... that is not easy either and they come up against one obstacle after another after another after another.

Oh man, it's disheartening to see a portrayal of how fast society will come screeching to a halt should something like this ever happen. Martial law was declared within days and so so many people suffer and die. It's really eye opening.

And wow, but by the end of it I knew it would be awhile before I took my casual drinks of water for granted. And still, nearly a month after reading it, whenever I guzzle a huge tall glass of water I think... wow... this water is AMAZING! I was even having dreams about being thirsty! 

So, I loved it even if there were harsh moments in this story. It was very page turning and nonstop "action" ie. things that happened from second to second to keep you on the edge of your seat. It was fabulous. 

P.S. Neal Shusterman is coming to the local library in a couple of weeks. I'M SO EXCITED!

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Kdrama Review: Melting Me Softly

Drama: Melting Me Softly
Genre: Romantic comedy with SciFi elements
Starring: Ji Chang Wook, Won Jin Ah, Choi Bo Min
Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Our boy Ji Chang Wook is back at it! It seems the critics and other reviews felt this drama wasn't his best return to the acting scene, but I found him to be just as adorable as always and enjoyed this drama thoroughly.

It's about a dude who is the director of a popular stunt reality TV show in the 90s and for one of his gigs, he thought it would be fun to be the first frozen human. He gets a girl to do it with him and they are put in the tank and frozen, all of it being filmed for the show. They are supposed to be awakened 24 hours later, but something happens, they are stored away and no one involved knows what to do (or are threatened with their lives) and the two of them or forgotten about for 20 years. Until finally one day in 2019, they are brought back.

And so it's about them dealing with life now that 20 years have passed. Their own health is at risk and they have to find the cure for that or they will die. They have to navigate that fact that their families are older and dealing with heavy things. And of course, everyone's love lives are messed up.

Figuring out phones!

I thought they were really cute together and the relationships they each have with their families is heartwarming. There were some annoying characters that really grated on the nerves, the other managers of the TV show for one... and the girl's ex boyfriend who was bad in 1999, but worse in 2019, for the other.
Cute Bo Min of Golden Child

But they did include another love interest for her... a college student who falls fast and hard for her. He is played by the beautiful Bo Min of the group Golden Child... and idol who we have actually had some interaction with once upon a time at KCON 2018 thanks to the fact that Toto was wearing his name on her head and he saw it and loved it!  He blessed us with that crazy smile of his and we won't ever get over it. LOL. But he plays up that smile a lot in this drama which was awesome.

Bo Min reacting to Toto's headband which had his name on it.

This was also the first drama I've watched since being to Korea myself and to be able to recognize landmarks and locations was SO MUCH FUN! AH!!

Anyway. I enjoyed it and got all wrapped up in how it would all end!

The trailer:

The cute stuff:


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