Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Book Review: Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi

Book: Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi
Genre: YA Dystopian
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ 

We went to this book signing awhile back when Tahereh was in the neighborhood. Very fun as usual. It was great to see her in person. She is spectacularly beautiful. I already can't remember a whole lot about what she had to say (most of it was random stuff that Alli Condie asked her) but I do find it impressive that an author truly knows everything that's going to happen in their books and how it will all end! There are still several books to come in this series I think. So much to happen!

This one starts pretty much right were the other one (Ignite Me) left off.  The bad guys have been killed and Juliette is now in charge of the country. She is preparing to meet some of the leaders of the other countries in hopes that some sort of peace negotiations can be worked out.

But, as they wait for that to happen, Warner begins to freak out because he knows he needs to fess up to Juliette about his past. And it's not good. There's so much she doesn't know. And he has to be the one to tell her.

Then, all that opens up a new aspect to this story which will now provide the basis for the following books! So for me, this is like the start of another side series of sorts, even though it's all our same people.

For the Team Adam friends, sadly, Adam is barley in this book. I'm still hoping he will get his own story at some point. New characters are introduced and they are quite fascinating.

It took me a few pages (50 or so?) to get into to this one, which made me worry for a minute, but then it got going and I was hooked. Pretty much I will need to read them all to find out how this all ends and to see if Juliette ever gets a normal life. And if Warner's mental distress ever gets healed.




Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Kdrama Review: Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo

Drama: Scarlet Heart Ryeo (also called Moon Lovers)
Genre: Historical
Starring: GAH... SO MANY AWESOME NAMES!
Lee Joon-gi, Lee Ji-eun (IU), Kang Ha-neul , Hong Jong-hyun, Byun Baek-hyun , Nam Joo-hyuk , Ji Soo
Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤


So this drama. Yeah. It's one I heard about when it was being aired and everyone was going crazy over it. And then they talked about the tragic-ness of it. How sad it was. How it rips your heart out! I was like, why would I want to watch that then? It sounded way too much of a downer for me. So I stayed away.

Then it come up to do as a watch along with some other kdrama fans and friends. I thought, oh, maybe this is the way I can handle this drama! To watch with others!

Well, that didn't work at all, sadly. (Watching dramas together is way too painful since we all have a different way of watching. Some binge, some pace.) And I was very very bummed. And I thought about giving up because... just because.

But then my husband, who has tolerated my drama watching for 2 1/2 years now, said... "I'll watch it with you."  I was like, wait what? He seemed totally serious so how could I pass that up?

And so I started over (I had watched 4 episodes at that point) and we watched the whole thing together, one or two episodes a night. And it was awesome, sad tragic-ness and all!!!

This one is about a girl who is hating her life in the present day, and she jumps into the water to save a drowning kid... an  eclipse happens and when she comes out of the water she is the brand new kingdom of Goryeo (present day Korea) ... about 950 AD. The premise is that she learns she has arrived during a time of who she thinks is a bad king... and she wonders if she can change history's view of him. (Well, he's a prince when she arrives, but becomes the king of course.)

Anyway... the current king is the dude who united various kingdoms into one which started present day Korea (so yes this drama is loosely based on true history... very loosely) And in the drama he has 8 sons... the PRINCES! And a daughter or two also. And two queens. One evil. One... okay.

The princes in the 10th century garbs

Of course the princes are all beautiful. And after awhile, they all pretty much fall in love with our girl. OF COURSE! But they are all very very unattainable. Or already married. Etc. etc. The struggle.

The princes today!

We get to know them all very well. Their crazy back stories. We get to understand that they all (well not all maybe) want to be king when their dad dies. And so, what will happen when he does die?  And thus let the real struggle begin.

It's an epic sweeping royal family saga that is beautiful in all the ways it interprets this story! Like everything is just... beautiful. I don't know how else to describe it! There is some cheesiness here and there. And some convenience things. But yeah.. it's an amazing production.

There is one prince that is hard to ignore right from the beginning. And he rises to the top for our girl after awhile. He is the scary, angsty, hurt, vulnerable, pained, tortured anti hero of which I love to love from all my books and movies. He is a good bad guy, or a bad good guy. Not sure which. The lines are very blurry and I love it.

Prince 4 (4th in line to the throne)  aka. Wang So

And going into this knowing that it's all tragedy and sadness, we know that nothing ends well. Right? This is not your typical happily ever after Kdrama. And that can be frustrating. Because there are so many... if onlys!

That being said, it was easier to bear than I expected. Sigh. I survived Scarlet Heart! There was one scene though, where I wasn't sure I would. Oh my gosh. Seriously hard to watch.

This is NOT the hard scene. LOL! :)

Anyway. I loved it. So glad I pushed through and just watched it!



Here is an awesome fanmade trailer:




 Clips that show the beautiful-ness of this drama set to my favorite song from it, song by three EXO boys including Baekhyun who is Prince 10 in the drama:



There are so many awesome songs from this drama I can't even begin to tell you. So I'll leave at the one. Anyway, if you are in the mood for an epic family saga set in the brand new early days of Korea... this one is it!


Monday, May 21, 2018

Book Review: #fangirlproblems by Jennie Bennett

Book: #fangirlproblems by Jennie Bennett

Genre: YA romance
Rating: ★★★★☆


Jennie's got another Kpop Romance book coming out! This one explores all the fantasies every kpop fangirl, well, or ANY fangirl, has had about his/her celebrity crush. Like, what if... WHAT IF, they just fall in love with you back? What if it's not a one sided love? WHAT IF?

In this story, our girl is hoping to catch a glimpse of her favorite idol as he comes through the airport. She doesn't have tickets to the concert of course, (because who can ever freaking get a ticket?) but she thinks seeing him for a moment is the second best thing. But then she is shoved just as he walks by and misses it. And then she gets called on to cover a shift at work, catering at the hotel. Sigh.

Well, and so who does she end up catering for? The whole band of course! And her boy (thank you for letting me totally picture Chanyeol from EXO for this role!) seems oddly interested in her. And he gives her a signed picture. And she breaks down and cries and runs out and he follows her.

And then, stuff happens. Suddenly a little adventure is underway!

Chanyeol from EXO

I loved how nearly every fantasy girls have regarding their favorite is addressed in this fun little story. I was like nodding right along going yep... yep... yep... so true! Much of it is very very much beyond reality, but that's the whole point... it's a fantasy. What fangirls dream about.

Another fun and fluffy kpop story. I enjoyed it!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Kdrama Review: School 2017

Drama: School 2017

Genre: high school drama/romance
Starring: Kim Sejeong, Kim Jung Hyun
Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤

I started this one a long time ago and then quit... but decided to finish it awhile back during a bit of a lull in drama watching. It was a fun and cute one, but not one of my favorites, sadly.

There's a "school" series in the drama land... there's a 2013 one and a 2015 one and then this one. I hear that the 2013 one is awesome, so I will probably watch that one at some point. Maybe even the 2015 one sometime too. We'll see.

This one is a story about a dude who's dad runs a posh and private high school. He doesn't really like how things are run, so he rebels by dressing up in black and being a sort of vigilante... sabotaging things in the school like turning on the sprinkling system during testing day. The kids love this person, but the administration needs to catch him.

Well, our girl, who struggles to maintain a good enough GPA to even stay in school, finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time and suddenly is accused of being "student X" as this kid is has been dubbed. Then the real student X has to decide if he will save her or not.

In between all this Student X business, we learn the back stories of several of the students and some of them are pretty sad. Some of these kids end up getting together to solve the problems of the school and get back at the administration.
They are all adorable.

In the meantime, our guy, who is really quite emo and ornery, starts to change when our girl ends up in his life. He turns from angsty to cute and bubbly. I love that! LOL! And there were tons of almost kisses, but guys.. .NO KISSES AT ALL IN THE END! What is up with that??? GAH!!!

Anyway, as I said, it's a cute high school romance and fun story, but not one of my favorites of late. Still, I'm glad I watched it.

A little trailer:




A cute almost kiss scene:




The song I liked from this drama isn't your typical drama sounding song:

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Book Review: A Totally Awkward Love Story by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison

Book: A Totally Awkward Love Story by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison
Genre: YA... romance?
Rating: ★☆ ☆ ☆ ☆


Well wow. This book was a huge disappointment. We bought it randomly at the story based on title and cover. It looked cute and fun. It says it's a love story. But in reality, it is not at all.

And now I've probably waited too long to reveal my thoughts and can't even remember anything since I've just pretty much wanted to forget that I read it!

It's told from the points of view of two kids, a boy and girl. (The authors each had one of the characters, which is usually kinda fun, usually.) And all they really want is to lose their virginity before college starts. Doesn't really matter how or with who, just that it happens.

So I was hoping that these two would actually FALL IN LOVE and then realize there's more to a relationship than... you know.. THAT. So that's why I kept reading, despite the crudeness, the cursing, the drugs, the drinking, the bad choices, the stupid behavior, the cliche parties and etc. I kept reading because I wanted to see them truly fall in love and I wanted to see a different side of them.

And I did catch a glimpse, but nothing ever really developed. And then it ended with the least romantic sex scene I have ever read. (Realistic maybe, but dang, can we have just a little romance and love in the mix?)  Sigh. Really people? REALLY? Is this how kids out in the real world live? It kills me to believe this....

Anyway. A waste of money and time, this one.








Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Musical Review: Hamilton





Finally finally finally we saw Hamilton and now know what the fuss is all about.

I've tried to listen to the music before seeing the musical, but haven't been drawn to it at all. The phenomenon of everyone in the world pretty much going crazy over this musical has been baffling. Because I knew it was rap and most people don't really like rap, so what the heck.

Anyway. It finally came to our city and was part of our season ticket package so we didn't even have to go through the pain that was ticket buying for lots of people (yeah, but believe me I know the pain) and we had the hottest tickets in town. It was a little painful knowing how much we could get for our tickets (like five times their worth) but we hung on to them anyway and went!





Walking to our seats. If you watch to the end my mom is about to complain about our close seats
... because we have ZERO leg room. LOL. I guess you get front row or leg room... one or the other!


The energy in the crowd before it started was intense. Like I've never before felt that at a regular old music. (I feel it at concerts without fail, but musicals? Not so much.) So that got me pumped from the get go.

And then when, who is that first comes out? Aaron Burr? When he comes out and starts belting out that song, the crowd went wild. It was nearly like a concert actually. And so of course, I loved it.

I'm glad to have been more... shall we say... inclined to like rap these past years, else I'm not sure if I would have truly loved this stuff... but now, you would have seen my head bopping and foot tapping and grinning from ear to ear. My parents on the other hand... they didn't understand a word!

Yes, it was a bit hard to understand everything and now I need to listen to it with lyrics in front of me. But I caught a lot and totally enjoyed it all. The energy of the show was amazing and it's the kind of stuff I feed off of. My mom's comment afterward... "I'm exhausted!" It was a good kind of exhaustion.

Everyone in the cast was great. I loved that George Washington was Asian.. lol. And it was fun to leave the place with many songs stuck on my head. My favorite though, is The Room Where It Happens.




Anyway. We loved it. Not sure we are OVER THE TOP about it like so many people, but so happy to have finally experienced it.

Have you seen it? What are your thoughts? Why do you think everyone is crazy over this musical, even though it's mostly rap... a genre that is not generally loved?


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Kdrama Review: I Hear Your Voice

Drama: I Hear Your Voice
Genre: court drama with a touch of supernatural
Starring: Lee Jong Suk, Lee Bo Young, Yoon Sang Hyun
Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

The touch of supernatural mentioned above is that our main dude can hear people's thoughts. Which can make life pretty interesting. Mostly he just goes around with headphones on in order to cope.

But the drama starts when he's a kid and he witnesses his dad's murder. There's also another couple of witnesses, a girl and her "friend." At the trial, they have to decide if they will come forward to testify and thus put this terrible dude in jail. One ends up coming forward and one doesn't.

Well, then they all grow up! The girl who came forward is now a public defender, and the other girl is a prosecutor. They end up sort of working together. And our boy is a senior in high school. (He's like 10 years younger than our main girl. Which makes things especially interesting!)

Well, and so all their paths cross again. And our girl ends up figuring out that our boy can read minds, and so she loves having in the court room with her. But more than that, she just starts loving him. Awkward. 
LOL! He makes a pretty good non smiley face too!

There are several different cases we are privy to, but mostly, it's about this terrible dude who is now out of prison and is coming for his revenge. Scary stuff, really. 

Sigh, it's already been too long since I watched this to remember the details! Gah, teach me to get behind! 

I just know that the all the court stuff tends to get boring for me after awhile... I mean at first it's interesting and then it's not. Like there's a fine line for me!

But of course I totally enjoyed the sweet romance. Which at first as I said, felt a little weird and then I was totally rooting for them. It's just, I really love Lee Jong Suk and he needs to smile a lot in these dramas, you know? 

I prefer the smile though.

Things get very intense towards the end when all this stuff is getting wrapped up. Crazy stuff!

Anyway, here's a fan made trailer that I really quite enjoy! It portrays the intense-ness much better than I can!





And a song from the drama:


 

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Anne of Green Gables Read Along Part 3



Our read along of Anne of Green Gables has come to an end! How does that happen so fast! I loved revisiting this oh so familiar book. It's been awesome. Thanks to everyone who's been able to participate with us!


The final discussion is happening over at Jenni Elyse's blog. Here are my answers to her questions:

1. Is this your first time reading Anne of Green Gables or a reread? Either way, what did you think about it?

This is a re-read, I can't remember what number. Four maybe? Anyway, I wondered how it would hold up, but thankfully it did. It was just as endearing as ever. I truly love this book.

2.If this is your first time reading Anne of Green Gables, do you plan to read the rest of the series? If you’ve read Anne of Green Gables before, have you read the rest of the series? What do you think about it?

I think I've only read the first three. I never did manage to do the whole bunch. But I totally loved those first three and I'm tempted to continue right now to experience everything over again.

3. Who is your favorite character and why?

Well, this is hard. Besides Anne? Is Anne a given? Because of course I love Anne... she is what makes the book what it is. And then I do love Gilbert, but since we didn't really get to know him in this book, we won't count him either. Um, Matthew is very very hard not to love because he's so quiet and shy and yet, AND YET, he is the one that makes sure what he wants happens. I love that he is strong that way... quiet strength. And I love that he loved Anne the minute she opened her mouth. And wasn't at all turned off by her talking. He's the best.

4. Who is your least favorite character and why?

But, I don't really have one. I mean I know that Anne didn't like Josie Pye, but I didn't find her to be that awful. The teacher was annoying during the hair incident, but he seemed to come around too. Mrs. Lynde was even a little endearing to me. Diana's mom was quite prickly. So I guess I'l say her! 

5 .What was your favorite scene and why?

I love the scene in the pond/river where the boat started sinking and Gilbert rescues her. It's the best thing ever. Also, the very end of the book where she ends up talking to Gilbert by the gate and realizes that time flies by without her knowing it. I'm bugged we weren't part of that conversation!

6. What did you think about the last third of the book and why?

We did seem to fly through the years pretty fast. But I loved the last bit just as much as the first. I enjoy seeing Anne change and grow up a bit. I love how she is ready to pay back what's been given her, and stay to help Marilla. I love how she realizes that Gilbert is someone to be considered. It's all great!


I really do want to see how things go with Anne and Gilbert in the next book. But there are a ton of other things I need/want to read right now, so we'll see.

Thanks for a fun read along!


Friday, March 23, 2018

Book Reviews: Korean Folktales

So I mentioned the other day about finding some fun Asian folktales, Chinese and Korean, at the library and how I was looking forward to them. These two were very short tales, told in a picture book form. Here's what I thought about each of them:



Older Brother, Younger Brothers retold by Nina Jaffe

From what I understand, this one is a very old, very well known story told to everyone in Korea (even North I know since the boy in that recent book I read referred to this story many times) and probably other Asian countries. It reminded me a little bit of the Prodigal Son from the bible, except that the "bad" son is a brother and comes begging back home to the other brother and not the father.

The story is about two brothers who have very different personalities. (I guess this could be kinda like Cain and Able too actually.) One is loving and kind and generous. The other is selfish and mean and spiteful. When the dad dies, the older mean brother brother takes the house and kicks his younger brother out.

So the younger brother finds a new place to live and struggles and grows and learns. He is nice to a wounded bird, and later, that bird comes back and rewards him with many riches.

When the younger brother learns about this, he figures he can do the same thing. So he hurts a bird, then fixes it and then sits back to wait for his reward. Only instead he gets bad fortune. Terrible things happen. And he and his family lose everything. So he has to go begging to his brother.

Of course the younger brother takes him and welcomes him with open arms. The older brother finally sees his terrible ways and vows to do better, which he does and they live happily ever after.

I'm sure kids are told this story and learn a ton of lessons from it! Karma being one I'd think. Forgiveness. You reap what you sew. All sorts of lessons!



The Princess and the Beggar retold by Anne Sibley O'brien

This is the story of a royal family, with a princess who always seemed to be crying. She was called The Weeping Princess. But in fact, she just felt a lot of sympathy for those around her. Especially one day when she saw the local beggar boy being harassed in town. She felt so bad for him. This boy was eventually banned to live in the forests outside of town and people sat around and told stories about him.

When the Princess continued to cry over every little thing, her dad the King joked that he might just have to marry her off to the Idiot in the forest. The joke got around and everyone teased her relentlessly.

Then one day she was to be married off to another kingdom. She knew she wouldn't be even a little bit happy. So she refused. Her dad was so mad and tried to force her to obey. She said "I would rather be married to the Idiot!" And so the king made it so and banished his daughter.

When she went to the forest, the Idiot (his name was Ondal by the way) found her and asked her why she was there.  When he learned she was there to "marry" him, he thought he was being mocked. But then he realized she was for real. He was very nice then and they become friends and partners. She taught him a ton of things and he learned fast. Of course, he was not an idiot at all.

Gradually, they became brave enough and one day they decided to go back to the town to the festival. She managed to convince him to compete in the games and guess what, he won! And now everyone had to know who he was!

Imagine everyone's surprise when they found out he was the "idiot" and had learned everything from his new wife, the weeping princess! The king decided to welcome them back but they said no thanks and stayed living in the forest, only coming to visit and help the kingdom now and then.

I loved this story and could see all the potential romance and sweetness. And another tale of forgiveness too. I think it would make a great drama or a YA story. I wonder if someone has already thought the same thing?

Lovely lovely stories. I'm so glad I thought to check out the folktale section at the library! I always forget it even exists! I might have to see what else it hides...

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Anne of Green Gables RAL Part 2: Chapters 14 to 26





How's the reading going everyone? Are you keeping up with us? Please be sure to visit Kami's Library Thoughts today for the discussion of part 2.. the middle! Later tonight be sure to come hangout on Twitter at 7 pm MDT for more discussion. #GreenGablesRAL


I am continuing to love this re-read. Dying for more Gilbert though (see my answer below.) I find it interesting that the loveliness of this book maintains its loveliness and doesn't seem to seep into the realm of sappiness. Know what I mean? Well, I guess for some it could, but for me, it doesn't. I was worried that it might for me this re-read, but thankfully, I'm not there yet.

Okay, without further ramblings, here are my answers to Kami's questions:


1. Anne has a gift for loving nature in all its forms, she even gives them delightful names. Do you find yourself appreciating nature more as you read this?

I don't know that I appreciate it more since I do appreciate it quite a bit, but the picture she and the author paints of nature is quite a beautiful one. Everything is so perfect! Is it really like that there? 

2. We have finally met Gilbert! What do you think of him? Do you think Anne is justified in hating him so much?

Ah! I LOVE HIM! He is the best. But man, I want more... MORE MORE GILBERT PLEASE! I keep waiting for the next incident to happen and I'm getting worried maybe it's in the second book? I know he is much much more in the second book and now I might need to keep up on the re-read into that book just for him.

I see why she is so mad, but... it hurts more because she likes him. Right? One thing I had forgotten was how fast he apologizes after the "carrots" comment. He really is a nice boy at heart and man, I'm sure he so regrets this first impression he made on her! As a reader, I for one am ready for her to be done with being mad... but... sigh. It's going to take awhile. Poor Gilbert. 

3. Anne's imagination finally got the better of her in the Haunted Wood. Do you think she learned anything from that experience? Do you think she'll tone down the imagination a bit?

This little moment was very funny. I doubt she will tone anything down though. It's just not going to happen! She can't really control her imagination. It's awesome.

4. What do you think of Diana and the other school girls? Do you think Anne chose wisely for her bosom friend?

Diana is a great bosom friend. I feel that Anne can easily control her though, which maybe is why it works out so well? All the rest of the girls seem nice enough. I keep imagining a Nelly Olsen type girl from Little House on the Prairie to emerge, but so far, all seems well!

5. I've always dreamed of visiting Prince Edward Island some day. Do you want to visit there also? What other real life literature places do you want to visit?

Yes. I've always always wanted to. I need to see if it's as beautiful as this book makes it out to be!  It really would be so fun to see all these places in real life. (According to the other book I have on hand, everything is inspired by real life places most/all of which one can go visit, I think.)

Other literature places? I've been lucky enough to see a bunch already!  I got to see the Charles Bridge in Prague just last year, as featured in Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I drove through the moors as talked about in Wuthering Heights. (It was just as spooky as described!) In England we saw lots of literature places (Bath at that Crescent street where Anne runs to find Capt. Wentworth!) but one place we skipped was driving over to Cornwall. Ah... NEXT TIME! That area is featured in tons of books and I need to see it!  In Paris we saw so many places referred to in A Tale of Two Cities and Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. It's a bit surreal actually, to be there and imagine these stories (and the real life events they are based on ) happening!


See you tonight at the chat!!! 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Blogging Slumps



Tomorrow for Bloggiesta's Twitter chat, I'll be hosting a conversation about pushing through the blogging slumps. Please join us even if you aren't participating in Bloggiesta! I want to have a fun and energetic discussion about this since I know many of us are suffering!

It will be at 8 pm EDT/6 PM MDT... use the hashtag #Bloggiesta and you'll find us!

To get you thinking, I thought I'd start the discussion right here right now!

This past week I've reached my 11th year of blogging... well, book blogging that is. I had another blog for a year before that which eventually died when the book blog became the main place. So let's say 12 years. Many of you have blogged for even longer, I know. During all this time, I never thought I'd get tired of it. I figured I could talk about books forever and ever! I also never thought new and exciting other passions would take over.

Well, so about two years ago all those things I thought would never happen, happened. 

1. I didn't have much more to say about books and reading. For instance I felt like all the topics from Top Ten Tuesday I'd done a thousand times already. And I couldn't think of any new discussion posts on my own to throw out here either.

2. A new passion entered my life and that's all I wanted to talk about. Books suddenly took a back seat.

3. Which meant I wasn't reading as much so I didn't really have anything to review either.

4. Life just continues to get more and more complicated...having kids get older just makes things harder even than when they were younger. Just sayin'.

So between all these things, the blog suffered. But I was determined to not let it end. But, I figured that blogging isn't a matter of life and death and that it would wait for me to figure things out. So this is what I told myself:

1. You don't have to blog every day. (I had nearly been doing this for all the years.)

2. You don't have to blog only about books.(While I hadn't totally been doing this already, it was still mostly "all about books".) And since there was a new passion,  who says I can't just start blogging about that? 

3. Blogging is for fun and you can take breaks and then come back. No one is going to freak out.

4. Speaking of freaking out, the real blogging buddies will stick through the slumps with you. So hopefully worry about losing followers and such is not a thing.

It was painful though for a good long while. I felt guilty skipping days, then weeks. And almost months. I felt guilty talking about things besides books, knowing that people that came here to read and check in expected the discussion to be about books. I felt tired and lethargic just thinking about sitting down and writing something to post. I felt like everything was boring with regard to the blog.

It's been a sad time.

And I'm not totally sure it's over. But I feel like that after more than two years of slumping, I can see the light again, for this blog. I feel more energetic again. I'm reading more again. I'm not caring so much about what I post and telling myself that it's my blog and I can post whatever I want on it. I can change it's direction throughout it's lifetime as much as I want and as often as I want. I can try to recruit new readers that match that new content. Or not. And, I can have readers and followers that enjoy some or all of things I do.

And so it's all okay.

So at this point, I don't see the blog ending anytime soon. But I can't promise anything about what the future holds for it! Who knows what direction it will take? The possibilities are endless!

And now I want to know:

What struggles have you had with blogging? Have you gone through some of the same issues and thought processes that I have? Do you get blog guilt sometimes and feel like you owe people something? Let me know how you've struggled and how you've gotten through it! Or if you still are suffering, let me know what's up and how we as a community can help!

Comment here, and/or  if you can, please join us tomorrow at 8 PM EDT on Twitter (#Bloggiesta)  to talk more and see what others have to say!





Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Movie Review: Black Panther

Movie: Black Panther
Genre: Superhero fantasy
Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o
My Rating: Two thumbs up

Well, I'm not much of a comic person/fan, but usually I know a little about the superhero in question when I go to one of these movies. This one, however, I knew NOTHING. So the whole story was totally new to me. And I quite enjoyed it!

For those who are like me and haven't a clue, this is the story about a hidden city in Africa who has advanced in technology way ahead of the rest of the world. But they hide it and keep it all to themselves... to protect their people and society.

But then they are infiltrated by a dude who claims to be one of their sons and so has the right to be on the throne. (Whoever is king of this place also gets to have the power of the Black Panther.) And he has plans of revenge against the whole world and wants to use their power to destroy EVERYONE. He is one angry young man.

The movie was awesome in special effects and music and all the great things we expect from a superhero movie. The actors where awesome... I enjoyed the two "Tolkein"white guys. (That joke has gotten around right?) Martin Freeman is a favorite for sure. I knew I recognized the general, I think was her role, and only afterwards realized why... Mishonne from The Walking Dead! I also especially enjoyed the sister. She was fabulous!

The stars. They are all so freaking beautiful. 

Their accents were a little hard to understand. I needed subtitles, lol. I'm so used to them these days. I felt so at home when they went to Busan and bam, there were my subtitles! But hearing them speak Korean with their accents was...very interesting! LOL. I loved it. Did they really film in Busan? Because that was awesome if so.

Anyway, it was a fun movie. Very engaging and entertaining. Marvel you've done it again.

Here's the trailer:



Monday, March 19, 2018

Book Review: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Book: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Genre: Literary Fiction
Rating: ★★★★☆

I've been looking forward to reading this one all year! And finally it came up on our book club list. Finally.

But, I was put off right from the start when the main character was described as being 59 and then proceeding to act much older than that. I'm all like, 59 ain't that old, you know? And people who are 59 aren't THAT computer illiterate. In fact, they are the ones, I thought, that brought the computers to the masses. Don't make a 59 year old computer stupid!

Anyway... but it got better... lol.

Still, I had to picture this character more like 69 or 70 for what he was saying and doing to make sense in my head. Because guys, 59 just isn't that old these days.

Anyway, it was a bit of a sad story in that this guy is missing his wife like crazy and he kinda sorta wants to die. But he kinda sorta doesn't want to either. So when he gets new neighbors that both irritate the crap out of him, and yet become endearing to him too... he starts to see life a little differently.

And that's the beautiful thing about this book. How making simple connections and helping the people around you, even if they make you crazy, is what makes you want to keep living.

In the end, I quite loved this book and its message. How people that at first seem so different can come together and be a sort of family. And how no matter how ornery this old guy is, he can still be loved and he still has a ton to contribute to the world and to those around him.

Yes. It's a great story. Read it.


Sunday, March 18, 2018

BLOGGIESTA Is This Week!




It's already time for another Bloggiesta! The annual week long spring cleaning event! It starts tomorrow and goes through Sunday. I don't have a whole lot of things I want to do but there are things I SHOULD do! I'm looking at my list from last time and I plan to just pick up where I left off:


  • Archive lists...I started this last time but didn't finish. Let's see if I can totally catch this little, ugh, task up!
  • I fixed my social media icons last time, but it looks like it needs fixing again. 
  • Maybe try to tackle some email mess. 
  • Think up some discussion post ideas 
  • Do some housekeeping on the YouTube channel messiness, organize files, and etc.
  • Participate and HOST a twitter chat. Yes, please join me for my chat on Thursday at 8 PM EDT! We'll be talking about how to push through a blogging slump! #Bloggiesta on Twitter. :)
  • Get some review posts written and scheduled.
  • Edit videos.

Will you be joining the fun? What things do you need to do with your blog/channel/website? Let's do it together this week! Check out all the info here and link up with your to do list!


Friday, March 16, 2018

Our Book Club Schedule 2018-2019




We've just finished up the voting process for the book club and here's what ended up on the list:

June 2018: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
July 2018: Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella
August 2018: Summerlost by Ally Condie
September 2018: The Orphan Keeper by Camron Wright
October 2018: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
November 2018: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
December 2018: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
January 2019:  Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder
February 2019:  The Marriage Bureau by Penrose Halson
March 2019: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
April 2019: The Girl With Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee

May 2019: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

What do you think? Have you read a bunch of them? Do we we have much to look forward to? I think so!!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Book Review: Celebrity Superhero by Jennie Bennett

Book: Celebrity Superhero by Jennie Bennett
Genre: YA romance (a Kpop one!)
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

This author has a line of kpop romance books which is super fun. This is the second one I've read, and my guess is I'll have them all read before it's over. Just because, you know, kpop.

So, in this one we have our girl, Anna, who is obsessed with a certain kpop group, one who promotes and markets themselves using the superhero concept (like EXO if anyone knows in real life groups!) And she particularly loves one member, as we all do, and is... well.. obsessed.

One day, her family is preparing to host a family from Korea, a family that happened to be their neighbors and friends from way back when, before they left to go back to Korea to live. So Anna remembers their son as the kid she played with when she was little and that was fun and all, but she is kinda bummed that she is expected to entertain him now.

Then he walks in the door and she is blown away when she realizes her childhood friend is now her ultimate bias from her ultimate kpop group of which she, you know.. obsesses over! (I was wondering how she didn't know what had happened to him, but they basically lost touch over the years and I guess he kept his two personas quite separate or something.)

Anyway, and so it goes. He acts all jerky toward her and lets her know right off that he has no plans to hang out with her, so no worries. She is sad to learn his personality does not match his looks, but still. She can't help but drool at the sight of him.

Meanwhile, he keeps doing stuff that has her convinced he really truly does possess super powers, just like in their videos. Turns out they do get thrown together and have some adventures and she is even more convinced. At one point he's all "you know my secret, right?" and she says, "yes, but I won't tell anyone."

But of course, we the readers are pretty sure about not that they aren't talking about the same thing!

So, does he come around? Is he REALLY that jerky, or is something else going on? Does he truly have super powers? Can he and Anna be friends in the end?

Of course I had a great time reading this book. It's so fun to imagine a close encounter with one's ultimate bias (or biases in my case since I can't choose one. or two. or three) It's fun to imagine what these idols would be like in real life, or how they are as normal guys, or how they are not in front of a camera.

It's a very quick and short read. I'm always left wishing for more. But I laughed a lot and it kept me engaged and reading until late in the night one night to see how it all ended! Sigh.




Sunday, March 11, 2018

Anne of Green Gables Read Along Part 1 Discussion: Chapters 1 - 13



Well, so far I'm loving my re-re-re-read of this book! Just as fun and sweet and all happy making as ever. If this is your first time with it, what are you thinking so far? (We'll talk more about that our Twitter chat on Monday... 6:00 pm MDT. Dang... Daylight time again. Sigh.)

In the meantime, here are some other questions to be thinking about and if you want to post your thoughts and answers on your blog that would be awesome. I'll add a link at the bottom so we can quickly find your posts!!

Questions:
(all these nabbed from various websites because I was too lazy to think up my own.)

1. In chapter 2, when Matthew is driving Anne back to Green Gables, she asks him: “Isn’t it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive.” Given her tragic childhood, how do you think Anne is able to maintain such a positive attitude?

2. Anne is insistent on renaming places and inanimate things.  Why do you think she does this?

3. Marilla gives several reasons for finally deciding to keep Anne. What reason do you think most changed her mind?

4. If Anne grew up today, would she have been happier with how she looked? What would she have pined for, looks- and fashion-wise? What is our society's equivalent of plumpness, dark hair, and puffed sleeves?

5. How would Anne have turned out if Marilla had let Mrs. Blewett take her? Would that life have crushed Anne's imaginative spirit, or would she have changed in a different way?

My Answers:

1. I just think Anne was born this way. It's her nature and in her soul and it's something we should all embrace. It's my favorite thing about this book. Positive attitude! It's hard but it's awesome. 

2. I think she likes to name things because of her crazy imagination that she can't contain no matter how hard she tries. And boring names are... boring... so she is compelled to make things better and prettier. At least in her mind. 

3. I think it may have been because of Matthew. She wanted to make him happy. But then again, I think deep down, she really wanted to brighten up her own life. Also, despite what she may have thought, she fell in love with Anne from the get go too. 

4. I think Anne would have embraced her red hair much much more today than she did then. I don't think red heads get made fun of or looked at weird near as much as they used to. Do they? Also being skinny is sought after, so I think she for sure would have been happier. But she would have probably still not be satisfied, as none of us really are. So for today's standards... not plumpness for sure! Healthiness and fitness. As for hair, I have no idea. Is there a hair color people like more than others? Colors and streaked/highlighted?  Then for fashion... just whatever is in, right? What's in today? Skinny jeans? Leggings?  LOL, I don't even know. 

5. I think Anne had a spirit that would have been really really hard to crush, despite her circumstances. She'd proved that already with how resilient she been so far in her not so happy life. But it's sad to think about her being in that situation even so. I'm happy we don't have to find out!

Okay everyone! Join us on Twitter tomorrow (Monday March 12) at 6:00 PM MDT. We'll talk more about these questions and other random Anne stuff. We'll be using the #GreenGablesRAL. See you there!

And here's the linky if you would like to write a post with the above questions. Share with us!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

This Week in Kpop: March 2018



Oh my goodness tons has happened this past week!

J-hope came out with his mixed tape and I love it. This is strange for me because I'm usually not a fan of mixtapes... which are usually hard core rapping. But this album of his is perfect. I love it. Here's the MV he put out for Daydream and you can see what I mean. It's cute and fun and bright. Just like J-hope.




The same day Sungmin, the one from Super Junior that "fans" kicked out because he had the gall to get married, came out with a solo song called get this... you got it... Day Dream! AH!!! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT???  But it's a totally different kind of song, a beautiful ballad. Watch it and see what we mean about how beautiful his singing is:





Monsta X tickets went on sale this week. It was a nightmare. We wanted high touch tickets again so we could high five them all, but we didn't realize that you clicked in a different place on the site to buy those, so we were in the wrong place. But we did get tickets, just not the ones we wanted. We are still feeling so disappointed about that, but we will go and have fun and see them anyway. That adventure is in August. In the meantime, we are looking forward to their comeback happening soon!


This week was CRAZY for kpop youtube channels. A huge Korean entertainment company decided crack down on channels using stuff from their TV broadcasts and gave out copyright strikes left and right. Channels that got three or more were instantly deleted. Like BAM, no longer existed AT ALL. Many huge channels were affected. Those that were deleted instantly started new channels and those that weren't went to the channels to vent and explain what they think was happening. It's been pretty scary, but so far we have been safe. We actually partner with this company, so we have a little bit of an extra protection because of that, but still, they don't want us using anything from their TV broadcasts. So much to learn!!! And the huge channels also have learned that despite their popularity, they are still vulnerable and have to play by the rules.


And WOOSHIN IS COMING BACK! This is the kid from Up10tion who left because he of a scandal that wasn't even real, which caused him massive depression. He is coming back! They will drop their new stuff this coming week and we are crazy excited. It was being hinted at for weeks, but finally, they revealed that it's all true. Yes. Welcome back Wooshin.

Wooshin in the white coat, front and center. The group is complete again!


Two more Big Bang members leave for the military this coming week. That means that four out five will be gone. The fifth one will leave as soon as he wraps up a few things, in a couple of months. Big Bang's idea is to get it all over and done with together and then come back with a... BANG! Lol. But they announced this past week that they did a song for us before they all left and we'll get that song this next week. Such a cool surprise!
Seungri (leaves in a few months), G-Dragon (left last week), Taeyang (leaves this week) 
T.O.P (left last year), Daesung (leaves this week.)

Suga from BTS had his birthday this past week. He turned 25 American age. For his birthday, he fulfilled a promise that he gave four years ago and donated meat to 39 (for his birthday 3/9) orphanages across Korea. He didn't want anyone to know, but fans became aware and the news spread like crazy with everyone moved that he remembered this promise and actually did it. He's truly one of the most giving persons on the planet.

Here's the song that's been stuck in my head all week. I mean, how could it not get stuck??? This is by two guys from the group NCT-U and they are... I don't even have words. They are GOOD. I could watch them dance all day. STOP BABY DON'T STOP!




I will stop there. I hope you enjoyed the little run down. Can't wait to see what's next!!







Friday, March 9, 2018

Kdrama Review: Hwayugi (A Korean Odyssey)

Drama: Hwayugi (A Korean Odyssey)
Genre: Fantasy
Starring:  Lee Seung-gi, Cha Seung-won, Oh Yeon-seo, Lee Hong-gi and Jang Gwang
Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

When I first started this one I thought, um... wait... this is WAY too weird and... yeah.. weird. But I stuck with it and glad I did because I ended up loving it.

It's about this group of demon/gods (I could never really understand what group they actually belonged to, lol) Or maybe they were demons trying to become gods? At any rate, they were here in the world in their human forms for various different reason.

One of them was for sure trying to gain points toward becoming a god. To do that, he was trying to capture evil spirits. Well, our heroine just happened to be a human who evil spirits are drawn to due to her special blood. So, he finds this girl and basically hires her to help him.

Meanwhile, our "hero", sheesh, what was he doing on Earth? I think he was banned he because he continued to constantly get in trouble. In fact, years before when our girl was just a kid, she actually found him locked up in an invisible house and she set him free with the understanding he would protect her.
When our main characters first meet.

Now years later, they meet up again and she finally remembers who he is but all he wants to do is eat her because her special blood will make him even more powerful.

Are you following?

And then a magical bracelet appears that the first dude finds because he needs our girl to live so she can get the evil spirits for him, so he gets her to put this bracelet on the magical monkey (yes he's a monkey when not in his human form)  and BAM, now he HAS to protect her with his life or his heart will break. In fact the bracelet makes him instantly fall in love with her.

Well, this is a problem because of course, she starts to truly fall in love with him, despite the fact that he wants to eat her... and she is now bugged that the love he constantly professes is totally fake. And so he's all... WELL THEN TAKE THE BRACELET OFF! (Since she is the only one that can take it off, yes?) But she needs him to help her with the evil spirits and besides, she is enjoying all the love he is showing her. So she won't take it off.

Oh, and then there's the character who had his sister's soul inside of him,
so by day he was himself (on the right)
and by night he was sister (on the left)
Yes, played by the same actor. Amazing, yes? I loved him too! AH!!!

Well, and so it goes from there. It reminded me a bit of Supernatural in that every episodes they had a new thing to find and kill, and people doing weird things because of the evil spirits. But it all tied together when an evil priestess wakes after 1000 years (or something) and is ready to take her revenge on the king that stilted her back int the day. She takes procession of their zombie friend's body (yes there's a zombie too) and begins to formulate her plan.

All this is not good for our main characters and they plot to stop her.

Oh my gosh this is a complicated story but so good!

I loved it because of the crazy quirky characters and their relationships (there's a great bromance) and their heart. Despite being demons they are extremely lovable! Especially the one that's a pig in his not human state. Oh man, he was great! And the zombie girl. They sort of fall in love too and there are some rip your heart out parts with them. Sob.
These two were hilarious together!
Our pig and zombie!

It's just a great epic fantasy type drama that's so crazy and over the top but so good. Sadly, I'm not too sure I liked the ending. Still, I'm going to miss this one!


A tiny little trailer:




 But here's more of an idea of what it's like set to one of my favorite songs from the drama:


 

And another:



Thursday, March 8, 2018

Book Review: The Magical Monkey King retold by Ji-Li Jiang

Book: The Magical Monkey King retold by Ji-Li Jiang
Genre: Chinese folktale
Rating:★★★☆☆

Inspired by the crazy drama I was watching (done now, review of that soon if I can tackle it... AHH!!!) I picked up this funny little book at the library one day in order to learn more about this very popular folktale.

We learn first how this silly monkey came to exist. Basically, a storm swept across the land. At the top of a very very tall mountain, there was a stone. After the storm, the stone was shattered in pieces, leaving only a black stone egg. It sat there for 99 days and then a dragon came and breathed fire on it. Then it burned for 9 days. After which, the egg was gone and a stone monkey sat there.

Eventually, the monkey came to life and he found a clan of monkeys to live with. He helped them to discover a beautiful secret garden where they lived happily for many years. They loved him so much, they made him their Monkey King.

But the monkey got sad because he wanted to live forever. So he goes on a quest and finds a sage who, after much trouble, finally teaches him a lot of life's secrets. Among them, magic. But he caused so much mischief, the sage kicked him out.

And so it goes, many other adventures follow. The Monkey King happily causes grief wherever he goes, but also saves his monkey clan from the demons. Also, later on he gets banned to a peach orchard, his favorite thing of all, and eats the peaces of immortality, but he gets in big time trouble. Eventually he meets up with Buddha himself, loses a bet and gets banned to live under a mountain for 500 years.

This is one crazy monkey! And in my drama, he was also very much crazy! But oh so lovable!

A very fun and enjoyable little tale filled with all sorts of lessons to learn in life. As I said over at Goodreads, this one would be a fun one to read to kids. I think they'd get a big kick out of it. I also enjoyed learning a bit of the background and basis for which the characters on my drama were based. What a blast.




Monday, March 5, 2018

Book Review: Every Falling Star by Sungju Lee

Book: Every Falling Star: The True Story of How I Survived and Escaped North Korea by Sungju
Lee
Genre: YA NF Memoir
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Lately I've been hearing a lot about these types of books, stories from North Korea. And while I've been a bit scared to read them, I've been very curious and interested too. So finally I tracked this one down at the library and proceeded to devour it.

This one is told almost like a novel, but in the voice of the author as he remembers his childhood days. Life was pretty good for him for the first few years. They lived in the capital city in North Korea and his parents had good jobs and they had good things and lived comfortably. His dad was sort of "high up" in the government if I understand correctly, but must have done something "wrong" because one day everything changed.

(Sungju, as a kid, never knew what happened, and then finally, years later, he was told, but he still can't reveal what it was because there could still be repercussions to family members.)

One day, his dad came home and said, let's pack, we are going on vacation.

They left their apartment and comfortable living and headed to a small town more north where their life slowly unraveled. After maybe nearly a year, they had run out of food. Jobs weren't working out. Sungju quit school. And finally his dad said, "I' going to China to find food, I'll be back in a week."

Of course, he never came back.

After months of waiting, his mom said "I'm going to aunt's house to find food. I'll be back in a week."

Of course, she never came back.

Sungju was barely 12 years old.

You see, a famine was going on due to the invasion of the US on North Korea. Yes. And everyone was starving. And now Sungju, as this little kid, had to figure out how to survive.

He went to his friend's house and together they perfected the art of pick pocketing and swiping from merchants. Eventually, they gathered other friends and formed a gang of seven street boys. They traveled from town to town, fighting other gangs for the territory, and learning better and better ways to steal stuff. Sungju was dubbed their leader and he had to do all the fighting. (Thanks to learning taekwondo back before life changed.)

Anyway, and so it goes from there... four years on the streets. He was even in the kids jail for awhile, a place no one survives. But he and his gang busted out. This lasted until he was 16 years old. And his parents never came back.

But then one day....

Okay see, I can't tell you exactly how it ends, because that would be a spoiler, even though you know the ending! I want you to read it!! But, let's just say, I couldn't put it down last night and read until the wee hours to see how it all ended... crying all the while.

Amazing story. It's hard to believe that this stuff is truly happening to people, regular people, right now. It's not like it's in the past and over with... like...right now. This kid is my own son's age. This happened to him just a few years ago (years 1998 to 2002 to be exact). And it's still happening. All because these people happened to live on the wrong side of a line drawn in the sand when leaders were dividing up the spoils of war.

I don't know what the future holds for this country, but I'd love to see them unified some day as a one Korea,  with South Korea going in,  putting their arms around their brothers, and helping them to recover.

Sungju is doing great today. But it's one of those stories where he was so angry that it took him more than a year to find himself after being rescued. He could have gone either way. But there was a specific moment where he decided he wanted to live a good life and chose the better path. I'm so glad he did and happy that he is able to tell his story now with such a positive tone and feeling of hope. Yes, it's truly an amazing story that while to us seems so crazy and powerful, and yet, is basically the story told by everyone living there.

SUNGJU LEE



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