Monday, July 17, 2017

This Week In Kpop: July 9 to 15, 2017

Well, I really didn't plan on doing one of these kpop news posts EVERY week, but since this past week was just as much, or even more so, crazy as the week before, I figured... why not.

The biggest things that happened this past week revolved around Super Junior. We fell in love with them last January 2016... and promptly discovered that several of their guys were currently in the military. Seriously? Yes.. and so we realized that we had to wait for more than a year to see them doing their Super Junior thing. Which actually gave us plenty of time to catch up on all the stuff we'd missed!

And so, finally, this past week, two of our very most favorites were released from their service and are back in the "idol" spotlight once again! Eunhyuk and Donghae are back! And these two guys are like the best of best friends and have their own little duet sub unit of Super Junior, so it's just so awesome that they both got done within the same week.

(This is what Yesung, also from Super Junior, posted on his Instagram the day Eunhyuk was released. The guy in the gray shirt below is Donghae, who has two days until his release at the moment this was taken.)

But the very best thing about this is the very next day... KCON announced that the two of them will be coming to KCON LA in August! Guys. I can't even explain how flipped out we were over this. All our thoughts of "should we or shouldn't we" about KCON totally went out the window. We HAD to go now. Like, HAD to.

(If they do this song and we have this view, we will be very happy indeed.)

 And the,  VERY NEXT DAY after that, the tickets went on sale. We opened all the tabs and were totally prepared with what we wanted when the counter counted down. And then for 45 FREAKING MINUTES we waited for tickets to become available. It never let us select a price level, so we were just trying for whatever popped up. And nothing did. Over and over and over again. After 45 minutes, we gave up. Then my husband (who is always on board to help enable this ticketing buying thing!) called me back and said.. so I just got floor tickets... do you want them? Of course I said yes and we bought three tickets. General admission... in the pit... on the floor!!

Now, I'm okay standing up the whole time. I'm okay with bumping elbows with the crowd... but what I'm nervous about is the fact that the line for GA tickets starts in the morning, which means standing in line all day and then not being able to do anything else at KCON at all. This is what I have a problem with. So I'm not sure how this will all work. You'll have to stay tuned for the end of the story in about a month! (Most likely we'll not be very close to the stage and will have a hard time actually seeing them!! Ah...dang it!)

Meanwhile, fanwars between BTS fans and pretty much everyone else continue to happen over on Twitter. Getting on Twitter these days is a very risky thing if you are following kpop stuff at all. We are trying to stay out of things, but it's so crazy that it's hard to do! And yes, we are BTS fans, but...we totally hate the fanwars and the idea that many have that in order to be a true fan you can only like one group and etc. Seriously, this fandam is the craziest thing I've ever seen. That's including all the fandoms I've experienced at Comic Con and other places. This takes the cake.

Yes, my feelings exactly.

Oh, and then we've been planning for our upcoming Monsta X adventure. That's this weekend. I'm so nervous!!!! Sadly, I think Hyungwon is still sick and won't be with them. This kills me. And I didn't know I wanted to see him so bad until they said he won't be there. And yes, I want to see him. And we have GA tickets for this concert too, so yeah. We'll be filming and instagraming like crazy as we sit in line all day be sure to come and keep us company at all the social media places.

(Here is a brand new fancam of Monsta X at their concert just last night in Atlanta. If we get this view, I might just die. But our luck is NEVER this good!)

Hyungwon... who has some sort of weird infectious disease and hasn't been touring with them. I'm so sad.

Anyway, that's about it for the big stuff this past week. It feels like we haven't had a fun intense comeback from anyone for a long time! But, that will change tomorrow when EXO has a comeback. Check out the channel for our reaction to that!!

(Here's the teaser for their new song.)

Friday, July 7, 2017

This Week in Kpop: Kpop News and Highlights July 1- 7, 2017

Guys, so much happened in the kpop world this week. I feel the need to share and maybe vent a little even.

First, BTS ended their months long world tour and said they were off to "rest." Well, so, the VERY NEXT DAY they uploaded a cover song, and revealed a new logo and even want us English speaking fans to call them by a new name. WHAT? Ah, these guys never let us breathe!

We reacted to the new song here. It was a bit of a depressing one to me:

And here's the new logo and name. Maybe we'll understand more about what's behind this as time goes by:

 And now they are talking about a comeback. I find that term funny when they've not gone anywhere really and having been feeding us nonstop all year. Ha. Comeback. LOL.

Let's see, yesterday Sungmin, from Super Junior, got on Instagram and announced that due to unhappiness in the fandom about how he handled his marriage three years ago, he had decided to not join the group in their comeback this fall. (Now THIS is a true comeback.. nothing from these guys for two years!) Oh man. This really KILLED me and we (Megs and I) took to Twitter and vented our hearts out. We don't get how a bunch of stupid fans can have such power over these guys. Anyway. we are going to miss him in a big big way.

In other news, we had a pretty impressive giveaway on our channel to celebrate 10,000 subscribers. Today we've had fun with an announcement video... here's the results:

We fell in love with a new group called Day6 because one of their guys is HILLARIOUS on Twitter.  His name is Jae and you can check out his tweets here. And this is one of our favorite songs of theirs. Jae is the blond one in glasses.

KCON in LA is happening Aug. 18-20. We hope to go. Tickets go on sale next week. Groups are being announced and we are DYING at the thought of seeing them:
NCT 127

I can't believe I might actually get to see VIXX now too. First SHINee, then BTS... then Monsta X in a couple of weeks and now maybe VIXX? Seriously. I really might die.  I will do a more detailed VIXX post later, but first, watch this to meet them:

 Okay. What else happened. This isn't kpop but kdrama, but guess who's getting married? The two costars of Descendants of the Sun. (read my review here.) I love it when costars fall in love! And then.. they are actually getting married! It's the best thing ever! They are so freaking cute!

Um.... oh yeah! Up10tion went to KCON NY and SLAYED it! They are such a newbie group that it was their first time traveling out of Asia and they got to come to NY and perform at KCON and everyone fell in love with them! We knew they would. We had already fallen, but now, everyone else knows about their awesomeness. Here's their new song that we absolutely love:

Sadly, they too had to have their comeback without one of their members who is taking a mental health leave. Yeah he was harassed by "fans" too awhile back.  I's insane...

Anyway,  Toto instantly learned their dance and uploaded it too:

Okay, I'm pretty sure more stuff happened, but I'll leave it at that for now.

Ah. Seriously. There is never a dull moment with this fandom.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Book Review: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Book: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick 
Genre: YA (maybe even NA?) romance

This is one of the books I got with my winning gift card. I was hoping for a sweet boy next door romance. I love those. I really do. But.. it wasn't a very sweet book. I mean, it had it's moments of sweetness, but overall, it wasn't sweet.

It's about this girl who lives with her mom and and sister (but her sister goes away for the summer and is pretty much not in the book) and this one summer, her mom becomes very involved in a campaign for senator and though are girl is busy working for summer, she is left alone a lot.

All her life, she has spied on the family next door. They have a life completely different from hers .And it's a life her mom has ridiculed and made fun and looked at with disdain all these years. She has wanted her kids to have nothing to do with them. But our girl has found them fascinating.

They have a gazillion kids and have a busy chaotic loud life. She is so intrigued. Well, one day she finally talks to one of the boys. (Gah, I already forgot how this went down!) And pretty much falls in love right then because he is beautiful. He's the third in the line up of kids and he is so very different from any boy she's known.

They become friends and then more. All without her mom knowing.

So there's that. There's the fact that something weird is going with her mom and her new boyfriend. There is some strained relationship issue going on with her best friend. There is the fact that, oh man... should she and the dude have sex? And then.. to top it all off, something happens and now she is mixed up in a problem that she has no idea how to fix!

Sigh. It could have been better. But it was disappointing. I mean. I still got into it for the most part and enjoyed the romance (not the "oh we've known each other for a week or so now, should we have sex?" part) and stuff, but it was mostly just tiring. Dang it.

Let's see if the next one is better, shall we?

Friday, June 30, 2017

Reading Recap January through June 2017

A book event from this past month that I never reported!
This is us hanging out with Sara Larson and Erin Summerill.
(Note: Erin Summerill's book in my list below!)
Hopefully I'll read Sara's soon too.

I haven't been doing monthly recaps this year for obvious reasons...because there's really nothing to report. But since we've just hit the half way through the year mark, I thought I could manage to list what I've read this year so far. Um... ten books. Guys. I really didn't think I'd ever get to this point. I feel an upsurge lately, so I'm hopefully that the reading thing isn't truly over. So, here's hoping that when I report at the end of the year we'll all be able to see a change between the first half and the second.

Anyway, as for the first half, here's what I've read:

The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough: Fascinating story about personified Love and Death characters playing for the soul of our main characters.

Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff: The companion book to one of my favorites of last year, Illuminae. This one a violent tale of what was going on in a different part of the galaxy during the events of the first book.

Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill: It's a problem when you are sent on a mission to figure out who murdered your father, and then you find out that the guy you've loved your whole life did it. Now what should you do?

By Your Side by Kasie West: A cute romance about what happens if you get trapped over the weekend in the library with the guy you think is bad news.

The Owl Service by Alan Garner: A strange magical tale that I can't even begin to summarize without sounding crazy.

The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer: Our main character is hired to torture answers out of people, so what happens if she falls for one of her subjects?

Kidnapped Idol by Jennie Bennett: Falling in love with a kpop idol while on a study abroad might be hazardous for your health!

Switching Gears by Chantele Sedgwick: Lucas died. The girl next door loved him her whole life. They had a deathbed confession. So, now what happens? This is how she overcomes this event.

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty: When Alice fell and hit her head, she woke up thinking it was ten years earlier. She is baffled at her current self and has to come to terms with her "new" life.

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum: Jessie is the new girl and someone has decided to write her anonymous texts to help her get through things.

Favorites from the list:
For pure enjoyment: By Your Side
For thought provoking: What Alice Forgot
For most unique: The Game of Love and Death

Plans for the next half of the year:

  • read more than 10 books
  • go through the stack of books I've accumulated on the floor by my bed
  • read lots of contemporary as that's what I seem to be in the mood for
  • keep up with book club reads
  • I have no specific books planned.
  • if anyone is having an interesting read along, make me join!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Kdrama Review: The Moon Embracing the Sun

Drama: The Moon Embracing the Sun
Genre: Historical drama/romance
Starring: Kim Soo Hyun, Han Ga In, Jung Il Woo, Song Jae Rim
Rating:  ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

This was one of our exchange student's most favorite dramas of all time. She wanted so bad to share it with me and watch with me. We finally fit it in toward the end of her stay and had a great time watching it together. She told me when this aired a few years ago in Korea it had the best ratings a drama has ever had... then... and still. How could I pass that up? I was intrigued, and so we watched, and I was not disappointed at all.

This is a saga of a drama. A sweeping historical romance that covers a big time period and has a very complicated political plot and complicated messed up romances and relationships. I have no idea how to summarize it! But here goes my try at it.

The first episode sets the back story of the rivalry between two clans that are vying for power of the throne. There's violence and some strange sorcery magical stuff. At the end of it we are to understand that this particular shaman is charged with watching over and protecting the baby that is about to be born. 

Next episode, skip ahead several years and this baby girl is now 13 years old. There's an event near the palace and she just happens to stumble upon the 15 year old Crown Prince who is trying to escape for a moment on his own. They are instantly intrigued and fascinated with each other. (Of course she has no idea who he is.)

The Crown Prince and his Princess of choice, behind the scenes and out of character!
Aren't they so cute!!!

Well, it turns out that she and another girl end up being invited to come and live at the palace to be the companions and playmates with the young princess (the Crown Prince's little sister.) And then that's when things start getting interesting. The Crown Prince is being forced to choose his wife and he knows who he wants without question. There's a sort of audition for the position, including our girl and the other girl.. who just happens to belong to the above mentioned rival family.

Well. It appears all is well, and our two little nobles will eventually be allowed to marry. Because of course our girl wins the competition. 

But... the Queen Dowager, who heads up the rival clan, makes plans to do away with her. It's the most tragic and sad and dramatic and terrible thing! It appears she has succeeded but we are only now about 8 episodes in and there are 12 more episodes to go!

Skip ahead about 8 or 10 years and suddenly the Crown Prince is grown up. (New actors now join the cast and Kim Soo Hyun finally arrives! Though I totally loved the kid who played his younger self. Man, that kid was GOOD!) His dad has died and so he is now king. And he is married to the rival girl. But he has refused to consummate the marriage even though everyone is getting awfully upset that he won't help with the insurance that there is an heir produced. He pleads sick every time! What is his problem!!??? Well, we know that he is still in love with the other girl of course.

Kim Soo Hyun as His Majesty the King
He pretty much has a perfect face, imho.

So they get the new shaman in town to be his "bad luck talisman" and she comes and sits by his bed at night to absorb all the bad vibes. It's awesome. I want one of these! Well, and guess who this girl is? 

Yep. It's true.

And then things get oh so very complicated and crazy and intense and wonderful from there!
Hmmm... I wonder if he figures out who his talisman is?

I have no idea if this drama is any representation of what really went on during this time period in Korea's history, but if so... sheesh. It's crazy stuff. 

Think of this as a period drama, like watching stuff from our British Tudor history or something. It's like that. Just like that!

It's all very emotional, but I held it in for the most part. Until the last couple of episodes and then I gave up and let the tears stream. Sigh. It's so good and heart wrenching! 

P.S. Do you like long-haired angsty body guards? Me too.

This is a fan made trailer. They did an amazing job. It gives me chills! How about you?

And of course some scenes set to the love song:

Yeah. Mark this down as one of my favorites.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Introducing: MONSTA X

In a couple of weeks we'll be heading back to LA for our third kpop concert experience. This time we'll be experiencing the group called MONSTA X! Guys. I'm so excited my stomach hurts! But since they are coming up soon, I figured it was also their turn to get highlighted here on the blog.

Jooheon, Wonho, Hyungwon, Minhyuk, Kihyun, Shownu, I.M

This group sort of appeared out of nowhere for me last summer. I was just opening up to exploring the whole black hole of kpop music, allowing myself to listen to other groups besides Super Junior. I'd embraced a few others by then and suddenly, this group appears. From the very moment I saw that very first video I was entranced.

The first video I saw from Monsta X. This song is called Hero.

 Then they went to KconLA in July and though we didn't get to go to the event, we had fun streaming it and watching it at our house. But when it was Monsta X's turn, the stream failed. I thought I would die of frustration. It hit me then.... this group was turning into more than just another group to check out. I was invested. I had fallen. It was over.

Then one day I happened to be watching V-Live (an app where these kpop stars log in and talk to fans in real time) and Minhyuk was on. And I was mesmerized by his soft spoken voice, his humbleness, his realness. And how he could so easily just talk to us like everything was totally normal. I fell again.

The are a fairly new group, debuting in 2015, and starting to become noticed last year in 2016. (They actually performed at the my exchange daughter's school in Busan before they debuted. She told us..."they were THIS FAR AWAY" and she indicated only a half a room's length. Ah! Lucky her!!!)

So, who are these guys? Here we go:

Shownu is the oldest and the leader. When I watched them at Kcon last summer (when the stream finally started working again) he was the one that stood out. His dancing is AMAZING and then when he sings, it's like this pretty angelic voice. The body and the voice don't go together at all and I was in awe. But dang. His dancing. It's just... crazy. Oh and yeah. He's kinda known for his biceps...

Wonho is the other one that stood out at first also because of his dancing. He has an attitude that portrays total and complete confidence. He seems to be like that when he's just being himself too. Not an act, just how he is. But without arrogance. It's a weird thing. He's extremely sexy and he knows it and he uses it and we all eat it up. (Mostly likely you will notice him quite a bit in the above Hero MV!)

Minhyuk, mentioned above, is like this calming balm. I'm addicted to his talking voice. Sadly, he doesn't have many singing parts in this group, but when he does, I melt. He seems to be the nurturer of the group and also, the life of the party. He's calm on one hand, but the silly clown on the other. Another weird combination. In real life, I think he would be sweetest nicest friend a person could ever have.

Kihyun is the main singer, the belter, the high note person. The crooner. Oh my word, but he can sing. I haven't figured out much about his personality yet though. However, he and Minhyuk did do an hour plus long V-Live one time where they talked deep serious subjects and it was fascinating. I'm intrigued by him for sure. Also, he likes to cook. :)

Hyungwon escaped my notice for a long time. I thought he looked funny with his pouty lips! But then I saw the show where these guys spent time at a day care center for their reality show, and he killed my heart. And since then I've noticed his dancing, his long long legs dancing, his beautiful eyes, and his quiet nature. He lets everyone else have the spotlight. And then he dances. I'm falling for him fast.

Jooheon I think is one of my favorite rappers. (Don't tell Rapmon!) His enthusiasm and energy is CRAZY! I love it! He is so so so much fun! And then... ah... the dimples. He is giving Rapmon a run for his money on that count too! He is adorable and funny and sensitive and as cool as they come. (He stands out in the Hero MV too. He's the one that starts the song in that so very Jooheon way!)

I.M is the other rapper and he, like Hyungwon, escaped my notice at first too. Then, like Hyungwon, I watched him with the kids and melted. He is a true sweetheart. So so soft. Why are the rappers always the soft ones? It doesn't make sense. He's adorable. And he's the only one that knows a little English (having been an exchange student) but he forgets it a lot and then it's fun to laugh with/at him as he tries. So cute. He's also the one that says "guys, just calm down" so much! I love it!

Together, these guys have a very distinct sound that I can't describe, but you can always feel it when a MONSTA X song comes on. The two rappers stand out, and then those angelic voices mixed in... it's just... the best.  And then when you watch them dance on top of that. It's over.

Here's a compilation of bunch of their songs just to give you an idea:

I love them and can't wait to see them. To MEET them actually. We have pit tickets this time, which makes me nervous, but should be a blast if we can survive, and they come with a hi-touch, which means afterwards, we'll get to go up on stage and high ten them all! Hopefully with "crossed fingers" included! Ah. I might die.

This video shows what I mean by a hi-touch and crossing fingers:

Here they are performing their newest song which came out just last week;

Yeah. Monsta X. I love them.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

In Which, WE WON!

The other day, thanks to the peer pressure of Kami and Jenni, we (Toto and I) went to the Provo Library and joined in on their book trivia night. Together, we formed a team, along with a random other teammate who came to the event alone and joined up with us. We called ourselves The Reading Mongooses... or some such thing.

There was about six or so other teams and we proceeded to play nine rounds. Each round had ten questions along a theme... like... books to movies, significant others, villains, etc. The genres represented were across the board, from classics to picture books and everything in between.

We did well. We only missed a few questions. It was surprisingly fun! We added our score and then it was time to reveal. I figured we were doing about the same as all the other teams. And we did... and it was close. But in the end, we had ONE MORE POINT than all the next best team!

WE WON! Who knew? I mean, those other guys were pretty up on their book trivia too! And then I wondered, is the fact that we won just sort of a bragging right? Did we get to take home an extra pile of candy?

And then, they passed out our prizes and each one of us on the team got our own $25 gift card to Barnes and Noble! I was like, wow. This is a legit prize! Who knew?

Anyway, yeah. It turned out to be really fun and totally worth the effort. So the other day Toto and I happily went to the store and spent our money. Here's what we got:

Better yet, I plan to actually read them! (Well, except Empire of Storms... since I'm really not up on that series at the moment.)

Stay tuned!


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