Monday, December 10, 2018

Movie Review: Bohemian Rhapsody

Movie: Bohemian Rhapsody
Genre: Biography/Musical
Starring:  Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee
Rating: Two thumbs up

I've actually watched a handful of movies the past while and I've gotten really behind telling you about them! LOL! (This cracks me up big time since I know you are all DYING to know my thoughts on the things....)

Of course I had to watch this movie even though it took forever for me to finally get there! We did make it before it left the theaters though!

Queen was one of my first musical loves that I discovered on my own (meaning not the stuff my parents played and/or sang.) I was very very  much in love with We Will Rock You and We Are the Champions right around my 13th birthday I think it was.. .and I got that 45 record with one song on one side and the other on the other. I was ecstatic! I loved it so so much!!

A few years later I was all about Another One Bites the Dust. Oh man... that song though. I also remember loving Crazy Little Thing Called Love and Under Pressure and of course Flash Gordon.. oh MAN I LOVED THAT ONE! LOL! And the movie that went with it! Guys I was just as crazy then as I am now believe me.

Anyway, as far as the Bohemian Rhapsody song, I have no idea when I became aware of it... I think I just always knew it! And I think this is one song that I can say I pretty much know every word. If ever I had to do Karaoke this is the song I'd choose....

The movie was awesome. Sad. Depressing. Yes. But awesome. I was not aware of the "group" growing up...  I just loved the songs. I knew nothing about them as people. If I would have known them, I can tell you I would have been in love with the drummer. Pretty sure of it. The dude playing the drummer was dang cute.

The movie takes us through the whole beginning of Queen and how they become popular, how Freddie Mercury just got crazier and crazier, how he estranged himself from the group, and how they came together again for the huge LIVE AID concert... a concert I should have known about and been aware of... but I was not up on those things then. Probably someone on the radio talked about it. But the fact that Queen came together for that and how big a deal it really was... I was not aware.

Anyway, so it was fun to see this story. Though as I said... it's so depressing. I feel like so many success stories end in sadness and tragedy and relationships that are ruined. It seems to happen over and over again.

Despite all that, they remain one of my all time favorites. I love them so much. And there are so may memories tied up with their songs. I'm glad I was part of their heyday back in the late 70s and early 80s! :)

The movie trailer:

And the MV for Flash!! LOL! I LOVE THIS SO MUCH! It's the BEST cheesiest thing EVER!!

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Book Review: A Gentelman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Book: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
Genre: Historical fiction
Rating: ★ ★ ★ 

This was our book club read this past month. I had only half of it read by the time we met, but I FINISHED NOW! Yay! It's a great book, but there are some slowish parts I must say... or parts that just basically go over my head. But not enough to make me too frustrated.

Anyway, it's about a dude.. a Count who has ties to the Russian Tsars? yes? I think... and he gets mixed up in the political upheaval that happens after the Russian Revolution and because of a poem he wrote, he is under house arrest for the rest of his life and big fancy hotel in Moscow.

Which doesn't seem so bad since he was basically living there anyway, but it turns out they kicked him out of his fancy suite and banned him to tiny attic room.

Well, he makes the best of it and lives his life over the years and this is his story... his life in this big fancy hotel in Moscow! (Guys, if I ever go to Moscow.. ha ha... this hotel will be something I will be wanting to see for sure now!)

The years fly by and it seems big events happen all the time on the 21st of June, since that's how many chapters start out. I loved that literary device. And I'm so slow that it took me nearly the whole book to realize all the chapter titles started with A.... I wonder what the significance of that is, cause nothing obvious is coming to mind. But it's cool anyway and another fun little device of the author's.

Our Count meets a little girl who becomes his close friend and they have all sorts of adventures in the hotel. We watch her grow up and then we watch HER girl grow up. The Count is very close buddies with the workers in the hotel and ends up being a waiter at the restaurant himself.

You'd think he was happy with all the lovely stuff that's going on there, and it seems there's plenty to do. He even has a girlfriend! But it appears not all is as it seems....

I loved the writing in this one. So snarky and funny and witty. I loved it. I loved learning about history as we flew through the years, though as I said some of it went over my head. I loved this Count character from the very first page. He's great!

It isn't an easy book to read, that's for sure and requires some brain power, but I'm happy to say I seemed to have found the power needed and even though it took a few weeks, I managed it just fine!

Friday, November 30, 2018

Kdrama Review: The Smile Has Left Your Eyes

Drama: The Smile Has Left Your Eyes
Genre: romance suspense/crime
Starring: Seo In Guk, Jung So Min, Park Sung Woong
Rating:  ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Well, and so everyone was talking about this drama. And I tried to wait until it was done airing, but couldn't, so I started it when it still had about 4 episodes (two weeks) to go. I had just come off the high of seeing Seo In Guk in Shopping King Louis and was ready to jump right into another one of his dramas.

And boy was it very much character whiplash. In Louis he was cute and naive and childlike and sweet and innocent and so so very smiley. In this one the character is angsty, sad, a little mean, angry, hurting, and... the smiles are rare. The smirks, however are not. Oh, man, the smirks.

So this one starts out with a murder that our cop dude is trying to solve. Also, at the same time, there's an art show with a girl who happened to be friends with the murdered girl. At the art show, the paths of the art girl and our main lead girl and our main lead guy all cross paths. Our guy is working the bar at the show. He instantly hooks up with the art girl. (which is strange for the main lead to be loving on someone right off the bat that is NOT the main lead girl!) And our girl has a not so great first impression of our guy.

Oh, and our girl is the brother of the cop guy. And the cop guy starts to suspect our guy, after awhile and a few strange things, of the murder. We are getting vibes that our guy is not the best guy in the world. What a playboy first of all. And he is really, oh man... almost creepy.

But then of course, as our girl starts to get to know him through random encounters, she is extremely intrigued, even though he makes her crazy. And thus, we the audience also start to see him in a new light.

And, as always, we are getting the back stories of everyone and we know that something  very strange and sad has happened, that probably ties all these characters together.

Anyway, once these two decide that they do in fact love each other, then the romance is absolutely perfect. So much kissing and hugging and all. And he is suddenly smiling a lot and believe me, when this actor smiles... IT'S OVER! AH!!!

But of course, we knew that stuff is going to go down to ruin it all.

And now I will get to the spoilery part so read no further if you happen to think that you might want to watch this one... if you know you won't and don't care... well then... carry on:


So as I said I finished the last few episodes as they were aired and so experienced the trauma that is this drama with everyone else watching it. That was kinda fun! LOL! But a lot of people who did get spoiled are saying they refuse to watch it now because guys, THIS IS NOT A HAPPY ENDING. This is a very very tragic ending. A shocking WTH ending. A disturbing and terrible ending.

But that ending lasts for ONE MINUTE... the very last minute of the entire drama. If you want to watch the drama without that ending... just hurry and quickly turn it off as soon as he says... "No, I want to live." AHHHH!!!

Because the whole rest of the drama is SO WORTH IT! Believe me. Everything about it is fascinating. The characters, the music, the angst, the romance, the crime solving, the back story. Everything.


It's frustrating.


But can I just say this has thrown me into a full on Seo In Guk obsession. Like, I can't believe I waited this long to watch his stuff. He's so intriguing. Like, I have no words to describe this actor. He is just really cool.
Seo In Guk smiling

And I think I'm about to start another drama that stars him... so... here we go!

Oh, P.S Hongbin from VIXX is in this one, but it was so fast and small you barely even notice it! But still, it was fun seeing him act. I need to watch the other dramas he's in.

Also I loved the soundtrack for this one. Like not the OSTs (songs) but the instrumental soundtrack. So haunting. (It's on Spotify, yes!)

Here's a tiny little trailer:

And the lovely song with some kissy huggy clips. :)

Well, and so. I loved this one. A lot. A lot a lot.

And because I just made this compilation today, you get that too. Here is five songs by Seo In Guk, because he started as a singer... and still does sing, but now is more known for his acting I think because. Dang. But his singing too... dang. Just... dang all around.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Book Review and Blog Tour: Lies, Love and Breakfast at Tiffany's by Julie Wright

Book: Lies, Love and Breakfast at Tiffany's by Julie Wright
Genre: contemporary romance
Rating: ★ ★ ★ 

This is just the sort of book I'm craving all the time these days! A simple fun light romantic story!

Our girl, Silvia, has an interesting connection to Audrey Hepburn. For one thing they both had cancer, and in fact the day Audrey died was also the day that Silvia, as a five year old, lost her eye to cancer. But the other thing is that Silvia looks like Audrey! Also, she is very much into movies. In fact, she grew up to be a movie editor and is tying to make it big in Hollywood behind the scenes.

But she has a crappy boss, which mean a lot of this story is about her struggle dealing with the ruthless business that is movie making. While that part of the story was okay, I am sure you are not surprised to know that I was much more about the romance!

Because there's this guy that she has thought of only as a friend, someone she used to work with before she got her current job. Then one night he comes to the rescue when her boss fails her yet again. And suddenly she is thinking of him a little differently. But it might be too late since he's dating someone else.

And so it goes... the two of them figuring out that they have always liked each other. And it's fun to be part of. Also, there's fun interaction with Silvia's grandma and that's nice. I love seeing young people getting along well with the old. Know what I mean? And respecting them and realizing they are people too and have loves and passions just like when they were young.

There are a LOT of movie references in this book, so if you are into that thing you are going to love this! I knew many, but not all. There are also a lot of references to Audrey Hepburn movies as can be expected. Again, I knew some but not all. It was fun though, all of it.

Bottom line: Cute fun story with all the troubles a single working person might have to deal with. Very clean and sweet romance. I totally enjoyed it!

Thanks to Shadow Mountain for having me participate in this blog tour!

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Book Review: An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

Book: An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
Genre: NA SF
Rating:  ★ 

I was a little leery about this one going in. Not exactly sure why, but just... you know... not too sure. Turns out, I was kinda right. Cause this book was just weird.

It's about a girl who one day as she is walking home happens upon a weird robot statue that seems to have just appeared out of nowhere there in New York...and she thinks it's pretty cool. So she calls her friend and they make a youtube video about it.  Well, and so the next morning they find out that these robot things appeared in cities all over the world, but it happens that they are the first ones to say anything about it. And everyone loved their video and watched and so overnight they become famous.

So then it's mostly about her dealing with this sudden fame and how should she use it to get across her message, which is that the robots are friendly. She has named them Carl, which the world loves, and now everyone is trying to figure out where they came from and why they are here.

There's a lot of science talk, and puzzles to solve, which might be fun for some readers, but kinda made my head spin. Then things turn political as it turns out there are two sides... those that think Carl is friendly and those that don't. And so now she has enemies.

So in the end, the book for me was a little boring.. until the end when things finally started getting interesting and then it was over. So that was sad. But I, for the most part, felt like it was too agenda-y. Our friend Hank was trying too hard to get across a lot of points regarding fame and fortune and tolerance and ... I don't even know what else.

I felt also like the characters weren't that interesting. Gah, I feel bad saying so! I wanted to be more invested with them, but I just wasn't feeling it. More character development Mr. Hank! and less about the agenda!

Yeah. Not my favorite book of the year I'm pretty sure...

Friday, November 16, 2018

Broadway Show Review: Come From Away

We went into this one only knowing a little of the premise.. and we came out LOVING IT! Oh my word, but it blew me away. So much energy. So uplifting and powerful and happy even though the subject is sad. The actors were amazing and never stopped. Like... it was a non stop show... we only had a chance to clap for them like three times through the whole thing! Crazy!

If you don't already know, this show is about when on 9/11, and the air space was closed and the planes were all ordered to land. This tiny island in Newfoundland had an airport that could hand them... and 38 planes landed and were then stranded for five days until they allowed them to fly again. This little city of Gander... population 9000, took care of these stranded people.... 7,000 of them. They opened their homes and hearts and gave them everything they needed. And there was bonding all around. So much so, that when it was time to leave to go home, everyone was sad and wanted to some back!

I couldn't figure out how they would make a musical from something like this, but believe me, they did, and it was awesome. The cast is only 12, and they play all the parts... both the Gander people and the plane people. And somehow, it works and you can keep them all straight! It's so cool. They songs are very upbeat and fun and in the end, like I said. the story is very heartwarming and happy.

Anyway, here's a little taste of it:

So if you ever get the chance to see this one, don't pass it up!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Kdrama Review: Shopping King Louis

Drama: Shopping King Louis
Genre: Romantic comedy
Starring: Seo In Guk, Nam Ji Hyun
Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

So there's a new Seo In Guk drama airing right now and I wanted to watch it, but before I did that, I wanted to watch this one with him... because it's one I started awhile back but never continued with... and I felt the need to finish it first before starting the new one. You know? Kinda like books.

And I'm SO GLAD I DID! Because... dang. Why have I not watched this actor before????

So in this drama, he is a silly happy carefree character. He has been hidden away in France by his rich grandma... she's afraid something will happen to him or something. And he's so isolated that he gets all his fun and pleasure from buying things.. so he's very very very into STUFF. But then, one day his grandma (in Korea) gets sick, so he goes to visit her. On the day he arrives, something happens to him while he's driving... and his world changes.

His family believes that he died in a car crash... but we the viewers know that he has survived, but woken up with amnesia and is homeless on the street. But we still don't really know what happened, and all is revealed as the show goes on.

Then there's our girl who lives up in the mountains.. isolated, having no real knowledge of modern life. When HER grandma dies (that's who she's been taking care of up there) she decides to come down to the city to find her brother who has disappeared. When she arrives, she finds our main character guy.. homeless on the street... and dressed in her brother's clothes.

So. They end up helping each other out... trying to navigate the city and modern life when neither one of them knows anything... and they don't have any money. And so it goes from there!

And it's very cute and funny and heartwarming and all that. I loved it. It is a bit over the top silly at times. But you know. Who cares. So much fun!

And this actor has now risen to the nearly top of my list... and now that I've started the other drama with him in which he plays someone COMPLETELY OPPOSITE of his character in this one, it shows what a great actor he is. I'm so gone with him. Wow.

This show features a song by one of my favorite bands, Monsta X.... called Tiger Moth. So here's a lovely video someone made with that song and so many cute clips. Dang. All those smiles. Now I want to watch it all over again.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Currently: Full

Listening: Spotify has created a playlist of my favorite and most listened to songs from last year. So I'm playing that and enjoying some memories! It's true that some of these songs have been forgotten about in favor of new stuff. Sad! But thank you Spotify for helping  me to remember.

Watching: A very awesome drama called The Smile Has Left Your Eyes. It's a crime suspense sort of drama with a murder mystery that a lot of you murder mystery lovers would... you know... love. Also, keeping up on Survivor! How is it that that show never gets old??? I am not watching Walking Dead this season. Maybe I'll catch up someday. I have some desires to see Bohemian Rhapsody at the theater, but it hasn't happened yet. Queen was one of the first groups I ever had physical music for...We Will Rock You and We Are the Champions... for 12 year old birthday. On a 45 record. One song on one side, and the other on the other. Y'all know what that is, right?

Oh, we saw Come From Away this week. The musical. I didn't know much about it going in, but I came out LOVING IT! I plan to gush in a separate post. But, yeah. SO GOOD!

Reading: I'm in the middle of Hank Green's book (well actually more toward the end) and I just want to get done with it. Sigh. This one is not going down as one of my favorites this year that's for sure.

Writing: I really wish I was doing NaNo. Seeing everyone's updates on this is killing me. I totally still have the bug and think about my stories pretty much every day. I just can't convince myself they are worth writing. Sigh. The struggle.

YouTubing: Well somehow I still have videos to put out. Kpop for Beginners, album collection, watching videos with Emily, and Friday Fives. We crossed over to a new 1000 subscriber mark...which is always fun. I have no idea who keeps subscribing to us. By the way, my sister and partner in YouTubing took off and went to Korea to live. Yeah. So hopefully we'll have some videos of her experience soon to share.

Picture Taking:

First Snow



Trunk or Treat

Brandon Sanderson at the library

Misc: So my granddaughter number 2 was born yesterday! I will be going in a few days to see her! YAY!! I will also be having a birthday in a few days. I'll let you know if this the one where I will suddenly not like doing all these things that I like... I guess it will hit some year, yeah? That's what they say anyway. (I will stop now before my snark gets worse.)

Have a great week my friends!

Friday, November 9, 2018

Book Review: Please Look After Mom by Kyung Sook Shin

Book: Please Look After Mom by Kyung Sook Shin (translated by Chi Young Kim)

Genre: contemporary literary fiction
Rating: ★ ★ ★ 

This is our first book in our new kpop book club! I'm thinking I might be the only one reading along! LOL! (Maybe Emily will still? )

Anyway, fabulous book, this one is. It's about a Korean family and one day when the older parents (I think they are in their 70's maybe) come to Seoul to visit, the mom gets separated from the dad at the train station. He gets on and she does not. (This has actually happened to us in Rome only we all got off and my husband couldn't get past the crowd to get out and the train left with him still on it!)

And now they can't find her. So they begin to search everywhere, with no luck.

As they search, we learn all about this family. The first part is from the POV of the daughter (using second person which was strange at first, but then you get the hang of it) We learn this daughter has grown up to be a famous author (making me wonder if much of this story is based on the author's real life family) and she and her mom have not really got a long much of late, but she had noticed a few times when she visited that her mom wasn't doing too well, but hadn't said anything. We learn lots of other things too.

The second part is from the oldest son's POV, this time in third person. And we learn many other things about their mom. How she was so hard working, and did so much for her family. And how everyone pretty much just took her for granted. The story flips between past and present a lot... between these kids growing up and the current day as they try to find her.

The third part is from the husband's POV, back to second person. And he is feeling bad about all the crap he gave his wife, like leaving her for another woman. But then coming back as if nothing had happened. We learn about their first meeting and their backgrounds. We also learn some interesting things about the mom that no one knew. She had her secrets.

The fourth part is now from the mom's POV, which is told in first person. And it's a bit stream of conscious and a bit hard to follow as she bounces from place to place and person to person. Is she a ghost now? It seems something like that, but it is never really explained. But we get her thoughts about all the people in her family, especially the ones we've just met. Also, more secrets!

Finally, we are back with the daughter who ends the story with an epilogue that ties it all together.

And so we are left with this overwhelming powerful feeling to love those that are with us WHILE they are with us. And to have no regrets about your relationships. To not leave things unsaid. And most especially, to not take your mom for granted! And to realize that she is a person just like you are with her desires and dreams. That she wasn't BORN a mom, but is a normal person like we all are.

All of this while also learning about the Korean culture... both now and in the recent past. Kimchi and rice. Ancestral rites. Holidays. Buying your family underwear with your first paycheck! (I get a kick out of that one!) And so many more. It was all fun and fascinating. I do wish they would have left in a few Korean words. They said Mom so many times, I think if they would have left that one iin we would have caught on, you know? And it would have given it a little more Korean flavor I think. But just a thought in passing here...

I really enjoyed it and think this was a great book for our first kpop book club pick! What's next????

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Kdrama Review: to.Jenny

Drama: to.Jenny

Genre: romance
Starring: Jung Chae Yeon, Kim Sung Cheol
Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤

Here's a cute little drama, only two episodes, which basically means "like a movie."  It's about our guy, a wannabe guitar player star, but instead is working in a convenience store, and our girl, who actually IS a music star, but she is struggling with her company and needs to step up her game in order to survive and one of the things she needs to do is learn how to play the guitar.

And so, the two of them went to high school together and in fact the guy crushed on the girl big time. At the end of the year talent show, he tried to sing her a song, but his voice squeaked, and he has never lived it down. The girl doesn't really remember him, until he reminds her of this incident.

Because yes, they do meet... at the convenience store.. and yes, he finds out about her need to learn the guitar and yes, he starts to teach her.

All this came about because his little sister forced him to get an instagram account, so he did and he dedicated it to her.. thus we have.... to.Jenny. :) And then he followed her and yeah.. know he knows what she is up to.

So, this drama is basically a musical because these two sing songs .... like... all the time. So it's lovely if you are in the mood for that. Some songs are really silly, and some are really nice.

I enjoyed it. The little sister stole the show. The dude is a great singer. The romance is cute. The friends are fun. I totally enjoyed it for a quick one night of viewing!

Here's a funny little trailer:

And this is the song he writes for her:

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Movie Review: Little Women

Movie: Little Women
Genre: Classic retelling
Starring: Lea Thompson, Ian Bohen, Lucas Grabeel, Sarah Davenport
Rating: PG13
My rating: two thumbs up

So it's been awhile, but Jenny and I randomly at the spur of the moment went to this movie together about a month ago and I've been wanting to tell you all about it!

I went in knowing nothing except that it was a modern re-make of Little Women, which was intriguing, but made me a little nervous.

But no need, I was pleasantly surprised! It's a really great retelling and I loved what they did with it! Especially the Freddy/Mr. Bhaer dude!

So the story is told in flash back mostly, since we are with Jo in the present day as she is trying to become a writer in New York. We see her pitch her book to a panel of judges and they reject it, including Professor Bhaer, but Jo tracks him down and persists and he becomes her mentor and friend. As she is doing this, we get flashbacks to her childhood days, and thus the main parts of the book we know so well!

So I really enjoyed seeing them form a relationship and it made that whole romance much more plausible and real. In fact this time I think I was actually rooting for it to happen! WEIRD!

Not a bad Professor Bhaer, eh?

The cast was great. All the girls were awesome and perfectly cast. The banter and tension between Amy and Jo was tangible and real. I died seeing Stuart Edge (a favorite local YouTuber) playing Mr. Brooke. He did great, but WHAT? No kissing scene for him???

I thought I recognized the dude playing Laurie the whole movie, but wasn't totally sure. So afterward we looked him up and YEP, the High School Musical dude! (Not Zach of course, but the brother, I forget his name!) And he did great too. Though I am still quite the Christian Bale fan when it comes to Laurie. Yeah. Not sure that will ever change.

Anyway, I really enjoyed it and having it the present day totally worked for me. Way to go guys!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Concert Review: JOSH GROBAN!

I few years ago, I become a Josh Groban fan. Many of you might remember. :) I resisted, as I usually do these things. But when I finally listened to his album, I was smitten. And it went from there. In 2007, I went to my first concert of his, and promptly experienced my first real PCD! (post concert depression) I couldn't think of anything else for weeks. After that, every time he came to our city, I went. And I got tickets as close as I possibly could every single time.

Well, this year he came again. At first I wasn't going to go. I've pretty much spent my concert allowance lately! But then I suddenly realized, I don't need to get close. I can buy the "cheap" seats and just go and sit back and enjoy and listen.

So that's what I did! At the sort of last minute, I bought nosebleed section tickets (for a fourth of a kpop concert ticket, and half of a Broadway show ticket!) and convinced my husband to go with me, something I thought would never happen (it helped that Idina Menzel would also be there!)

And so I found myself at my FIFTH Josh Groban concert this week. Way at the top... and when he came on, he was a blur. We were even too high to see the jumbotron (the speakers were in the way). But it was all good as his voice FILLED the arena and I got chills many many times over. My love for Josh has not gone away. Only taken a back seat for a time!

Idina Menzel opened the show and sang for an entire hour. She is full of spunk and personality and is a joy to see. (This is the second time seeing her. We went to a concert for just her a few years ago.) She sang several new to us songs... but also included the ones everyone wanted to hear... Let It Go and Defying Gravity. So Much Fun!!!

Then after a quick stage change, Josh came out . (With much less fanfare than he usually does. I think he must be mellowing in his old age too!) He sang quite a few from his new album, and several of his old standbys too. Idina came back out and sang Lullaby with him, and I forget what else. A couple others. He did several covers, Billy Joel's She's Always a Women, and Paul Simon's Bridge Over Troubled Water to name a few. And he of course sang several Broadway numbers like Pure Imagination and Bring Him Home. Ah... SO GOOD!! He only sang a couple of his famous Italian songs... but one of them is my all time favorite: Alla Luce.

He "ended" the show with You Raise Me Up as he usually does, but then came back for the encore of Bridge Over Troubled Water and what else? Gah I forgot already. He did sing Awake, which brought me memories of that first concert mentioned above and also memories of life during that time.. and I was suddenly weepy. Dang good times those.

I'm so glad I decided WHAT THE HECK at the last minute and bought those way up high tickets. It was awesome seeing him again.  And so it turns out, I still love Josh Groban. :)

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Book Review: Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

Book: Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak
Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

It was a bit scary going into this book, after all the waiting and building up and fangirling all these years. And I must admit, it took me a few pages/chapters to get the hang of reading the MZ style again. But it really didn't take long and then I felt the same amazement that I always have. Like HOW DOES HE DO THIS?

So the story is about a family of five boys... the Dunbar boys. Clay is the 4th one down. It's about their mom and dad. It's about how they become a family, how they love, live.. and die. It's about their pets! It's about horse racing, and running and Greek mythology, and painting and sculpting, and even a little about bridge building.

The story jumps all over the place in time. We start with the Dunbar boys after the "bad stuff" happens and they are on their own, then it flashes back to first their mom and how she came to live in Australia, and then their dad and how he grew up and fell in love, but not with their mom at first. And then, we learn how they get together and start their family.

In between those flashbacks, we learn about how their dad, who has fled, comes back and asks the boys for help on a bridge... Clay is the only one who takes him up on it. So then we start the bridge building.

Then we begin flashing back to how Clay got to know Carey, the girl he loves, and all about her background.  And sometimes we learn the story once, and then flashback to the same story and learn it again in more detail.

I loved it. It can be a bit of a whiplashing way to tell a story, but I wasn't bothered. And it was awesome to see all the pieces and parts come together in the end.

AND DANG IT! Why does he have to write such gut wrenching tear jerking scenes? Yeah. It's in this one just like in The Book Thief. So be warned.

Also be warned, this is not a gentle read. These Dunbar boys are wild and reckless. They swear like crazy and beat each other up constantly. But the love is also overflowing and that's what this book is all about. How they come together in the face of the crap that life has given them and survive.

I fell like he writes nearly in verse, even though it's a narrative and not a verse book. The words and descriptions are so poetic it hurts sometimes. And the use of personification is as prevalent as ever. It makes scenes come alive like nothing I've ever read. I feel like this stuff just flows out of him, but I have sense learned that he truly agonizes over every word. Somehow that makes me appreciate it all the more.

It was worth the wait and a joy to read. And now... do we go to hoping for another book? Or savor this one for awhile? I say... savor!

Did you read it yet? What did you think?

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Kdrama Review: 30 But 17 (or Still 17)

Drama: 30 but 17 (also known as Still 17)
Genre: Romantic comedy
Starring: Shin Hye Sun, Yang SeJong, Ahn Hyo Seop
Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

This drama will probably be my favorite of the year, unless I watch something crazy good before the year ends. Which I can't believe will happen.

And I thought I had talked about it here already, but I guess I haven't. So I will fix that now!

The premise behind this one is that our girl gets in a pretty terrible crash just as the drama starts... when she is 17 years old and in high school. It puts her into a coma until we flash to the present day... 13 years later, and she wakes up when she is 30. But to her no time has gone by, so she still feels and acts like a 17 year old.

Our guy, back in high school, had a crush on her. He is trying to figure out who she is (they go to different schools) and he thinks he has learned her name... because it's on her school uniform. But she was wearing her friends jacket at the time. Ooops. He is getting the courage to talk to her.. and they end up on the same bus together. She asks about what stop to get off and he tells her to stay one more stop...then he loses his courage to talk to her so he jumps off. Before they get to the next stop, the accident happens.. and the friend she was with dies.

The friend who's name he THINKS she is. So he now lives his life thinking he caused her death because he told her to stay on one more stop!

We flash to the present day and he is so depressed and tends to disappear a lot to run away from his feelings... still... after 13 years. Our girl, when she wakes up, tries to find her house and aunt and uncle who had been raising her, but when she gets to the house, she finds out that someone else lives there now.... and it's the dude.

Adorable nephew

They have no idea their past was intertwined.

And so starts her new life trying to get used to the fact that she has no family and is now and adult. The people living at this house help her.. so our guy.. and his adorable now 19 year old nephew and the maid... and the two friends that come over all the time. These people become her family. And it's awesome.
With the cute dog

This drama is very funny and had me LOLing so many times. Plus it's heart wrenching and the dude who plays our guy is one of the best criers EVER! And he gets to do this a lot! And the nephew dude is just... so perfect! Basically, I fell in love with every character on this show. There is not a bad dude. The bad thing in this drama is inner conflicts.

Anyway. I loved it. The girl is a violin player so there is a lot of classic music as a backdrop. And the nephew is on a rowing team, so there's a lot of that too. And there's a cute dog and a funny chicken. And the maid is also hilarious with her own tragic back story.

So many good things. And beautiful characters. It was a perfect.

DramaFever, the app where I watched this, died the day after I finished! I was SO GLAD I decided to just watch those last few episodes that day! I would have been so bummed! The loss of DramaFever is pretty painful for this fandom. Sigh.

The song with awesome clips:

Friday, October 26, 2018

The Great American Reads: FINAL RESULTS

Well, I had plans to watch all the fun episodes of this series, but I kept forgetting and Tuesday is bad day for TV watching for me. And then I'd forget to watch it later online, though I think it's possible. And hopefully I still will because I really want to know the discussion on all these books.

BUT, in the meantime, the winner has been announced! You can click here to see them... but I've also copied and pasted: (except the numbers didn't come over, but this is the order!)

Full Results

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird
  2. Outlander (Series)
  3. Harry Potter (Series)
  4. Pride and Prejudice
  5. Lord of the Rings
  6. Gone with the Wind
  7. Charlotte's Web
  8. Little Women
  9. Chronicles of Narnia
  10. Jane Eyre
  11. Anne of Green Gables
  12. Grapes of Wrath
  13. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
  14. Book Thief
  15. Great Gatsby
  16. The Help
  17. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
  18. 1984
  19. And Then There Were None
  20. Atlas Shrugged
  21. Wuthering Heights
  22. Lonesome Dove
  23. Pillars of the Earth
  24. Stand
  25. Rebecca
  26. A Prayer for Owen Meany
  27. Color Purple
  28. Alice in Wonderland
  29. Great Expectations
  30. Catcher in the Rye
  31. Where the Red Fern Grows
  32. Outsiders
  33. The Da Vinci Code
  34. The Handmaid's Tale
  35. Dune
  36. The Little Prince
  37. Call of the Wild
  38. The Clan of the Cave Bear
  39. The Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy
  40. The Hunger Games
  41. The Count of Monte Cristo
  42. The Joy Luck Club
  43. Frankenstein
  44. The Giver
  45. Memoirs of a Geisha
  46. Moby Dick
  47. Catch 22
  48. Game of Thrones (series)
  49. Foundation (series)
  50. War and Peace
  51. Their Eyes Were Watching God
  52. Jurassic Park
  53. The Godfather
  54. One Hundred Years of Solitude
  55. The Picture of Dorian Gray
  56. The Notebook
  57. The Shack
  58. A Confederacy of Dunces
  59. The Hunt for Red October
  60. Beloved
  61. The Martian
  62. The Wheel of Time (series)
  63. Siddhartha
  64. Crime and Punishment
  65. The Sun Also Rises
  66. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime
  67. A Separate Peace
  68. Don Quixote
  69. The Lovely Bones
  70. The Alchemist
  71. Hatchet (series)
  72. Invisible Man
  73. The Twilight Saga (series)
  74. Tales of the City (series)
  75. Gulliver's Travels
  76. Ready Player One
  77. Left Behind (series)
  78. Gone Girl
  79. Watchers
  80. The Pilgrim's Progress
  81. Alex Cross Mysteries (series)
  82. Things Fall Apart
  83. Heart of Darkness
  84. Gilead
  85. Flowers in the Attic
  86. Fifty Shades of Grey
  87. The Sirens of Titan
  88. This Present Darkness
  89. Americanah
  90. Another Country
  91. Bless Me, Ultima
  92. Looking for Alaska
  93. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
  94. Swan Song
  95. Mind Invaders
  96. White Teeth
  97. Ghost
  98. The Coldest Winter Ever
  99. The Intuitionist
  100. Doña Bárbára

  So.. what do you think? I think it's a pretty good representation of America's favorites, yes? I'm happy with it! I'm glad The Book Thief ended up quite high up (number 14 I think). Along with many of my other favorites! Do you plan to go and read some that you've missed over the years? I would like to. We'll see though, how THAT goes!

Thursday, October 25, 2018


So this is an idea I've had for quite a long time, and it's all coming together finally since we met a new friend and BookTuber, Emily Boone. (Check out her channel here.)

So over on YouTube we've been participating in a fun Friday meme where we have to come up with five songs every week based on a theme. And I'm having fun thinking up kpop songs that fit each weeks theme. (This week is a Halloween theme and AH! So good!)  Well, Emily participates in this meme too and in the process of going around watching everyone's Friday Five videos, she liked our songs and.... bam... e have "konvertered" her to kpop! Most awesome thing ever.

Here's her video talking about that:

And then we thought we should do something together.. collab as they say. And so we've decided to start a KPOP BOOK CLUB! Here's Emily announcing THAT on her channel:

We plan to read books that our favorite kpop stars love and recommend (it's a long enormous list) and books they have written or compiled (if we can at all find them) and books about Korea or set in Korea... and books that might be based off or on a kdrama... or books that are like a kdrama. Oh, and there are fun books about falling in love with kpop stars too. Yep.. there's TONS!

We've started a Goodreads group for this, so if it sounds at all interesting to you, find us over there: Kpop Book Club Goodreads Group.

Our first discussion will be on Emily's channel at some point down the road (we'll give it a month or two at least) and then we'll chose the next book and discuss on our channel... and go back and forth like that.

Our first book is Please Look After Mom by Kyung Sook Shin, and I'm hearing some pretty great things about it. If you start reading and want to discuss, find us on Twitter using the #kpopbookclub hashtag too! I can't wait to get started!!!


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