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!!

(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

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
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.


Thursday, March 1, 2018

Anne of Green Gables RAL Starts TODAY!

Is Anne of Green Gables one of those books you've always wanted to read, but just haven't managed it yet? Or you love it so much you can read it over and over?

Join us for our RAL that starts today!

Here's the plan:

  • Chapters 1-13: March 1-11 (Discussion post on March 11 here on my blog.) Twitter chat on Monday March 12 at 6:00 pm MDT
  • Chapters 14-26: March 12-22 (Discussion post on March 22 at Kami's) Twitter chat on Thursday March 22 at 7:00 pm MDT
  • Chapters 27-38: March 23-31 (Discussion post on March 31 at Jenni's). Twitter chat on Saturday March 31 at 6:30 pm MDT.
Our plan is to have a movie watch along on April 6 at 6:00 pm here at my house. Let us know if you are interested and we'll tell you more details! Or join us on Twitter that night too.

We'll be using the #GreenGablesRAL for the chats and the movie and for discussion whenever you want in between!

If you still want to join up, link up here!

Today I discovered this at my house:

It has some fun stuff in there! Perhaps I'll tweet a few pictures and things as we go. The first thing I read was the background for L.M. Montgomery. Very similar to Anne. :)

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Book Review: Love, Life and the List by Kasie West

Book: Love, Life and the List by Kasie West
Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Well. Another Kasie West book came out, so I bought it and read it. Pretty much just how it goes around here!

This one was about an artist girl who the summer between her junior and senior year is hoping to get her paintings into the art show at the gallery she works for. Well, the boss dude said, um, yeah, they are good, but there is no HEART. No EMOTION!

She is bummed, but decides to fix that by the end of the summer and in time for the art show. How does she do this? She makes a list of ideas of things she can do to help her get some heart. Some life experience. She needs to FEEL things1

Well and so it just happens that from her group of four tight friends, two of them are gone for the summer which leaves her with the fourth one.. a dude who she of course has loved for a year  (or forever), but can't tell him. Because it would ruin the great friendship they have. (She actually did tell him a year ago, but he laughed it off as a joke. AH!!)

Anyway, so together they do the stuff on the list and... well... you'll have to read it to see how it all turns out! :)

So yes, another cute fun story with relate-able characters with real life issues. I love this stuff. But you all know that already.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Asian Folktales

The current drama I'm watching is based on an old Chinese folktale, so the other day when I was at the library it dawned on me that I could probably find a version of this story and learn more.

And so I did.

And while I was at it I found a couple of Korean folktales too.

I love this crossover learning thing, where one thing leads to another that leads to another. Watching a drama that seems a bit silly in its presentation and then I learn that it's based on this very old story that is a bit... yes.. silly. And yet, I'm learning this old stuff in a very fun way. I love it. It will be interesting to see if I can find any similarities between the drama and story.

So anyway, I'll be reading and reviewing these books soon. I hope you enjoy going on my learning journey with me.

The drama I'm watching right now?

2017, Son Oh-Gong and Ma-Wang are in conflict with each other as they look for a true light in a dark world where evil thrives. Having made a contract with Seon-mi 25 years ago, entitling her to seek help from Son Oh-Gong whenever she calls him in exchange of letting him free, the two meet again in a fateful encounter. From there, Son Oh-Gong is bound to his protective role towards Seon-mi, the little girl he had met years ago.

Wikipedia also says it's based on a novel called Journey to the West, so now I'll have to see if I can find that too! :)

Sunday, February 25, 2018

This Week in Kpop: February 19 ,2018

Everyone is SO EXCITED because J-Hope from BTS has finally announced the date he will release his mixtape. March 2. The world will never be the same again!!


Honey10s (fans of Up10tion) are sad because we all thought Wooshin was coming back to re-join the group. Man they made a lot of hints, but it looks like it was just wishful thinking so far. But please, let him come back soon.

NCT is doing some teasers that I think are meant to kill us. They released a song called Boss this past week too... but there is more to come from them.

Monsta X announced they'll be going on a world tour again, but no LA dates have been listed yet. Our dilemma... do we get to have second helping of Monsta X? I would love to!

Super Junior has still not announced an official date for their tours in the US. It's killing us. I'm not sure what's happening. But they have been working a ton on their TV show, which I have yet to figure out how to watch, but we are seeing a bunch of fun clips now and then.

Hyuk (from VIXX), for his graduation present to us his fans, released a dance cover. Dang, that boy is growing up!

We continued to fall in love with qpop group Ninety One and the day is not complete unless their songs have been played. We discovered all their instagrams and get fed often with their cute faces there.(I can't find that clip, but here's one of them just being them for you to see what I mean.)  After Korean, we'll all be learning Kazakh next. Wait for it.

SHINee had their concerts in Japan and sang without Jonghyun for the first time. I will never forget this image. Even if you aren't into kpop and don't know these guys at all, you have to admit this is a very moving image. Yes?

One space in the middle left for empty for Jonghyun.

But even through the sadness of this, the remaining four look like they are surviving, yes? 

On our channel we reacted to many things this week, but here's a very short compilation we did of five kpop songs that feature whistling. You might really quite enjoy it. And it's only two minutes!!

Are you watching the closing ceremonies for the Olympics tonight? We are really hoping to see EXO on there! Let me know if you see them and what you think!! :)

I guess that's it for this week! The kpop life continues to be full and happy and wonderful!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Book Review: You May Already Be a Winner by Ann Dee Ellis

Book: You May Already Be A Winner by Ann Dee Ellis
Genre: MG Contemporary
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

I've been reading a bunch of middle grade books for an award for which they are all nominated. This was my favorite of the bunch. I was totally charmed be everything about it! It probably doesn't hurt that I've loved everything I've read by Ann Dee Ellis. I think it's safe to say she is favorite.

This is the story about Olivia who lives with her little sister and her mom in a trailer park. Her dad has left them and so her mom is struggling to provide, which means Olivia and her sister are left alone to fend for themselves most of the time. When the book opens, she hasn't been to school for months because she's had to stay home with her sick sister. But, she finds a community in all the people that live around her, which is one of my favorite things about this book.

But not only that, she is very smart and resourceful and they do a sort of home-school on their own and have a great time. Olivia hopes it never ends.

But then one day her mom has to send her back to school, which is not great, but she deals. However, one day, she has to take her sister with and so she hides her in a closet. This is not really that great, yes?

Meanwhile, she's made a friend that's a boy who she loves quite a lot. Together they think up all sorts of adventures. But when she finds out he goes to her school, she is worried he will learn way too much about her. But in return, she starts to learn a lot more about him too.

It's kind of a sad "neglected" kid sort of story, but I loved the style and the quirkiness of everyone and the spunkiness of this main character. I flew through it without any slow moments. And loved it.

The setting is nearby my home and one day when I was in the neighborhood I actually tried to find the trailer park. Well, I found it, but not sure it's the one the story was based on, since the KOA is no longer there! LOL! But it was great because everything talked about in the book, I could picture. The bike path to the lake, the restaurants and stores mentioned, the rec center. Etc. Fun times.

I have a YA in the stacks by this author and I think I'm going to bump it up the list and read it soon.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Book Review: Mustaches for Maddie by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown

Book: Mustaches for Maddie by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown
Genre: MG Contemporary
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

This is  cute and heartwarming story based on the true story of the authors' (they are married yes) daughter. It's about how she started having issues with her arm and leg and when they got her checked out, they discovered a brain tumor. So she has deal with that fear and ends up having a couple of operations.

But it's not just about how she was brave through that ordeal, but how she deals with a sticky little situation in her 6th grade class room. How she doesn't feel included, and how she is scared to try include others. And then when she becomes the more popular kid, how does she now not make the same mistake and go ahead and include the kid that was mean to her.

I read it for much of the book with a smile, but thinking...I don't know, that everything was too obvious and I was sort of being used and manipulated. You know that feeling, yes? But then, somewhere along the way, that feeling went away and I just enjoyed the story and the touching relationships formed here. At one point, there were tears. Probably because I could relate to something as a parent. That's usually what starts them.

I loved that they included some blurbs at the end about what really went on with Maddie, and then there was a letter from Maddie herself. Thanks for that guys! It was awesome.

I enjoyed the story. It's very simple but sweet and lovely.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Book Review: How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

Book: How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
Genre: MG Fantasy
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆☆

After much campaigning, book clubber Jenni Elyse finally got this book on our line up and it was finally its turn this past month! WOOT!

At first I was having a hard time getting my hands on a copy, but finally I got the audio version from Overdrive. And I only decided to relent on this because the lovely David Tennant is the narrator. Yum. (The whole thing is on YouTube if you are interested!)

However, I found that even so, my attention would wane as I listened. Either I would try to do something else and not hear, or fall asleep and not hear, or just zone off and not hear. Maybe David Tennant was just too dang lovely with that soothing voice of his. I don't know.

But I tried and it was fun trying. Eventually, I did get a hard copy from the library and I happily finished it off, and then went back and skimmed the parts I "missed" from my audio experience.

My thoughts? What a strange little story. And nothing at all like the movie. I was like... wait, the dragon talks? Wait, he's HOW small? Wait, where are the girls? Wait, they aren't going to fly on them? WHAT???

And there were a bunch of other little things that bugged me (wow, but there's an over usage of adverbs! Some I can see were part of the charm, but... I don't think ALL!!!) But when keeping in mind the audience intended for this book, it's really quite fun and cute and I can see how a whole fandom of kids are in love.

Do you want a summary? I forgot that that's the method here. So Hiccup goes out with his friends to charm up a dragon. And they find some, but not without adventure. And Hiccup ends up with this little bitty thing he names Toothless and proceeds to try and teach it stuff. But he is quite unsuccessful until he realizes he can be bribed with jokes. On the day of the big event where they get to show off their dragons, the dragons all get in a fight instead and now Hiccup is banished by his own father. But before that can happen, a huge dragon his awakened and threatens the town and so Hiccup, who can talk to dragons, is sent to find out what the dragon is up to. Well, he wants to eat everyone, but in the end... tiny little Toothless saves the day. Together with Hiccup's accidental contribution. And now they are heroes!!

Yes. Cute. :) But nothing like the movie.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Announcing the Anne of Green Gables Read Along!

It's been awhile..a long long while, but we are finally doing another READ ALONG! This one is hosted by Jenni Elyse with Kami and I helping to co-host. And we plan to read ANNE OF GREEN GALBES in March!

I can't remember when I read this one last. Or how many times I've read it. I just remember loving it. It will be interesting to see if it holds up to the memories now that I'm crotchety and old.

Anyway, we'd love for you to join us! Here are the plans:


  • Chapters 1-13: March 1-11 (Discussion post on March 11 here.)
  • Chapters 14-26: March 12-22 (Discussion post on March 22 at Kami's)
  • Chapters 27-38: March 23-31 (Discussion post on March 31 at Jenni's)

We also plan to chat on Twitter using #GreenGablesRAL as we read with official chats planned for each section. We let you know as it gets closer when those will be. We also hope to have a movie night and watch the PBS series together. Details to come on that too!

Want to join us? Post about it on your blog and then come link up here!  Spread the news. Let's do this!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Currently Feeling: Full

(as written on Saturday night)

Listening: The OST (original soundtrack) from the drama I shared about in my last post. So many awesome and beautiful songs.

Watching: The Olympics Opening Ceremonies (last night anyway.) It was fantastic and beautiful too.  I expected some kpop groups, but I think we are hearing they are saving that for the Closing Ceremonies. Yeah.
North and South Korea athletes

Reading: Still going through my pile of MG books, but this past week I read what will probably be my favorite one of the bunch. Stay tuned for a review this week!

Making: We made piles and piles of clothes today, cleaning out the closet. We took two completly full huge garbage bags to the thrift store. It feels like a little bit of the junk load in the house is lightened. Just a little.

Planning: Book club this week and making a long list for voting on our next year's schedule. Always fun!

Thinking About: how I should get off this thing and go read for awhile.

Enjoying: this guy's voice: (yeah my currently song changed and now it's this guy) Dang he kills me.

Blogging: I failed this past week. I had nothing to give on that front.

YouTubing: I joined a new little weekly meme where we make a little video on a given prompt... five songs every Friday. This past week was five songs that will be turning 10 this year. Of course, all with a kpop spin.

Feeling: Full of dinner and especially horchata. I love that stuff.

Looking forward to: next weekend. Holiday!

Asking: What should we read for book club next year? Suggestions?

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Kdrama Review: Just Between Lovers

Drama: Just Between Lovers
Genre: Romantic drama
Starring: Lee Junho, Won Jin Ah
Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Well. Wow. This was another great one that I loved and devoured. I just... yeah...

So the premise of this one is that our two main characters, when they were kids, were survivors of a mall collapse. And now, 12 years later, they are still dealing with the effects of this. And have symptoms of PTSD. Especially our dude, who was buried for about a week.

So when they meet up again 12 years later, our girl has no memories of the event really, but our dude, it doesn't take him long to figure out this is the girl from the mall.

And now they are working together as part of  project to design a memorial on the site where a new building is now, just finally, going up.

Our dude's character grows from an angry young man, to a loving guy... mostly. He has found people in his life that have taken care of him over the years and part (a lot actually) of what makes this drama so awesome is those relationships. One with an older grandma lady, one with his landlord lady and her mentally disabled but bright and beautiful son. And one with a "lady of the evening" who he saved back in the day and so she has taken him under her wing and she is now like an older sister to him. He also has his true sister who he is struggling to help and provide for as she is going to medical school.

Meanwhile, our girl has all her family issues to deal with too. Many after effects of what happened with the mall event as pulled them apart and made them live a lonely life.

Together, they help each other deal with things, and they learn and grow and love and heal.

The drunk kiss....

The lead guy is played by another one of these guys who starts out in a kpop band (it's called 2PM) and then decides they love to act too. I don't know his band very well, but they have been around a long time and still plan to do more in the future after all their guys get done with the military. Junho will probably be going in soon himself.

Anyway, he did an amazing job and I loved his acting. Killer. All the way around.

A little trailer:


There are a TON of songs that I loved from this drama, but the one that stood out the most is this one:
(these clips are going to show you more of the drama feeling of this storyline, and not the cute romantic ones like I usually show! Oh, well!)

I was interested in what Junho's signing was like, so I looked up his solos and liked this one.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Book Review: Lucky in Love by Kasie West

Book: Lucky in Love by Kasie West
Genre: YA contemporary
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

I was in the mood for a Kasie West book and this one had been waiting for me for awhile, so it was time!

In this one we have a girl who's family is struggling with money (and other) issues and one day when she is sad that her birthday party doesn't go well, she randomly buys a lottery ticket. Well, and guess what? She wins!

So then we see the progression of what happens when you suddenly have money. And she goes crazy spending it, and her friends get weird, and people who weren't her friends get weird. And her family gets weird. And she forgets everything she had planned to do in life.

Except with one guy. The guy she works with at the zoo. Zoo Seth. And she doesn't tell him about the whole lottery thing (he's been off line so he doesn't seem to be finding out either) because he keeps her grounded. And she develops this pretty huge crush on him, but she is confident that he has no interest in her, because he's one of these guys who's nice to everyone and so you can't really tell what's going on. And she really really doesn't want him to know about the whole lottery thing.

Things get worse with her regular life, but better with her Zoo Seth life.

But despite that, all the things need to be fixed.

So, while I enjoyed it a lot and read it quickly, it wasn't as, um, shall we say, as much my favorite as her other books. Probably mostly because the romance was for sure a side thing, and it's mostly about this girl's life falling apart after the lottery. So that was annoying. But still, these books are just a happy joyful thing for me to read.

But I wanted a lot more Zoo Seth. A lot more. :)

There's another book that just came out a month ago so I'm onto that one as soon as I get a hold of it! I gotta keep up!!!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Books Read: January 2018

January Picture:
It snowed one day. The cat was interested.

I actually have a little list to report on. They are all small books, but still, I read them!

Under Locker and Key by Allison K. Hymas: A MG book about a kid who steals back things for people who have had those things stolen from them. And then gets himself (and his friend/not friend) mixed up in a bit of a mess.

Exo by Fonda Lee: A SF story set about 130 years into the future after an alien takeover when the world has been living in peace with the aliens, yet there's still a group of people fighting against them.

The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin: A short story about a city that appears perfect on the outside, but is hiding a pretty terrible secret.

Forget Me Not by Ellie Terry: Cute MG story about a girl who has moved and needs to have her new school get used to the fact that she has Tourettes.

Paper Chains by Elaine Vickers: A cute MG story about two girls who are both dealing with different issues and how they help each other.

Favorites of the month: Exo and Forget Me Not.

Plans for February:

  • read a few more MG books for the award thing I'm helping with
  • read (actually I'm trying to listen!) How to Train Your Dragon for book club
  • read some more Kasie West books
  • read a couple of other YA books that I've bought in recent days
I'm ahead in my Goodreads goal! LOL! I can't even remember what I said I'd try for this year. Forty maybe? 

Saturday, February 3, 2018

This Week in Kpop: Jan. 29, 2018

We just word today that BTS song Mic Drop went GOLD in the US today.  PSY did this with Gangnam Style, but this is the first group that's done it if I understand right. Anyway. We think it's pretty cool and extremely exciting.

The other exciting BTS thing is that Target is now carrying their CDs in the actual stores! Like, you can just walk into a Target and buy a BTS CD... I can't even tell you how CRAZY this is! AH!!!

Jonghyun, the guy from SHINee who died in December, put out an album of the songs he was working on and finishing up before he left us. They are amazing. And he is winning all sort of awards for them now too. It's happy and sad at the same time.

Fanwars went ballistic this week when a US radio station asked if they should do a kpop hour every day. I'm not exactly sure what happened, but if I understand correctly, BTS fans rallied for the answer to be no because they felt no other bands should reap the benefits of their hard work getting BTS to be recognized by radio stations here. So then there was a big mess and the station backed out and said, ok fine we won't play kpop.  So in the end everyone lost. As a multifandom fan, this made me so sad and for a moment, we joined in on the drama and said our piece or two, wishing that all the fandoms would love and support each other just as the groups themselves all do. Sigh.

We had great fun on the channel this week discovering Qpop and have received a LOT of love from fans in that country. So much fun!!!

(This is actually a guy from Kazakhstan singing in French on a Chinese show and being reacted to by us (American girls) on our Kpop channel. LOL... we got a kick out of that.) 

Henry from Super Junior M had a new song come out this week:

The Olympics start next week in Korea and it's going to be very exciting to see who'll be singing at the Opening Ceremonies. Will you be watching? Many of the kpop groups got to run the torch these past few weeks also. It was fun to see all their pictures from the experience and see how much fun they had.

There's more but I'll stop there for this week/month!!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Kdrama Review: I Am Not a Robot

Drama: I Am Not a Robot
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Starring: Yoo Seung Ho, Chae Soo Bin
Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Okay, yeah, so this one is one of those that has a really stupid title. But dang, it's probably the cutest and funniest and heart warming-est one I've watched yet!

The dude that stars in this one is normally in heavy dramas, and is so so serious in his normal roles. At least that's what I'm understanding since I haven't seen him in anything until this one (I'll be fixing that soon and am ready to see the oh so dramatic acting he's known for!) So everyone was making a big deal out of him starring in a romcom.

This is a "trailer" they made making fun of him that he's now in a romantic comedy. And he's trying to do the crying thing... so funny. I giggle every time.

But seriously, he nailed it. Like, perfectly! Sigh.

So this one is about this reclusive dude who is the head of a company and everyone fears him because he walks around with a baton and is just... oh so scary. But the reason for all this is because he is allergic to people. Yeah. It's sort of this defense mechanism that his body up and did when the traumatic thing happened to him when he was young. (There's always a traumatic thing, right?)

Well, and so his company has been doing a secret project... to build a very intelligent robot, one that can learn emotions. So he gets to test out this robot and approve it and such.

But, an accident happens, and on the day before the robot is going to be sent to him, someone spilled coffee or something right in her innards.. and she is broken. So they freak out and get the girl (an ex girl friend of the main robot creator) who the robot is modeled after, to step in as the robot.

Yeah. They pay her bunch, she is desperate for money. And she thinks it will only be a few days. So everything should be okay, right? She just has to not get caught!

So she steps in as the robot.

Well, and of course, she is so charming that he falls in love with her pretty fast. And this is freaking him out... because of course he knows he must be TOTALLY insane to be loving on a robot! Like, what??? He's is so bugged, and it pretty much tears him up inside.

But what do you know, he seems to be getting better. Like, when she's around, he can be with people. He's determined that she will be his forever.

And of course, he is so charming that she falls in love with him but there is no way she can ever let him know that  SHE IS NOT A ROBOT! AH!! But.. just tell him already!!!

No, it is not that simple.
Not the kiss... just the almost kiss.

Oh my gosh. They are both so cute I can't even....

Anyway, things get very complicated from there and yeah... it's awesome.  I loved loved loved it. I pretty much just want to watch it all over again. Except for the parts with the American dude. I don't get it. How can they get such terrible actors for the English/America parts? Always this happens! Can they not find someone that can pull of a little side part of someone that speaks English? Everyone else is so good, but then the American actors come in and BAM.. ugh. Please fix this Korean drama casting people!

Here's some cute clips:

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Book Review: Paper Chains by Elaine Vickers

Book: Paper Chains by Elaine Vickers
Genre: MG contemporary
Rating:★ ★ ★ ☆

This story is told by two different girls, alternating between their points of view. One girl is Katie and she struggles with the fact that she's been adopted from Russia and the need and desire to know more about that without offending her parents. She also has heart problems and feels stifled by her parents' worry and concern for her health.

Ana is her best friend, and she struggles with the fact that her hockey playing dad left them and her mom is suffering depression and her grandma (from Russia) has come to take over. Add to that her little brother is being bullied. She needs to fix it all!

We get to see how both the girls feel like the other has everything perfect in her life, but we as the reader know that they don't. We go on the journey of how they both are drawn to each other, and yet have some friction that pulls them apart. And then they come together again to help each other deal with their issues.

It was a well told story, but for me it dragged down a bit with the issues. It was a little heavy I thought for a MG and I feel like kids this age would have been bored with it. But it was fun to learn some Russian culture and some hockey culture!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Movie Review: The Death Cure

Movie: The Death Cure

Genre: Dystopian drama/adventure
Starring:  Dylan O'Brien, Ki Hong Lee, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster
Rating: Two thumbs up

I loved the first movie. The second one was weird, but okay. So I went to this one wondering what I'd think this time around. And let's just say I don't remember a thing about the book except that I wasn't that fond of it probably. The ending bugged me? I can't remember. (I just looked up my review and it was most unhelpful... I think basically the books was a blur for me!) So I had no notions of what to expect with the movie.

BUT, that being said, I really quite enjoyed the movie. Like quite a lot! The production and overlook of it was amazing actually. I continue to really love the casting... all the dudes that play these boys are awesome. The girls... eh.. they're okay. And the bad adults? They do the part well. The good adults.. .they are awesome.

So the movie opens with a fantastic action scene! Ah, it was a great! Our crew is trying to rescue the kids that have been captured by WCKD .... their buddy Minho being one of them. Do they succeed?

Well, mostly. But they failed with regard to Minho... so now they head for the big city (I don't think it was ever named in the movie, but the book says Denver) where all the people are pitted against each other... those out side the walls and those in.  Those without the cure, and those who are hoping to have the cure any second... by testing those who are immune.. like Minho.

And Thomas' lady love Teresa, is also there and working with these guys trying to find the cure.

So anyway, they get in, and all this stuff goes down. It was all quite nail biting at times. Some stuff was of the "suspend your disbelieve" sort.. like there's NO WAY they could have done that. But it was entertaining at least.

Galley appears again ... and provides some much needed comic relief. Ah, that guy! He was awesome in this one! We needed so much more of him!

Well, anyway. It was a bit long... and there were some slow moments in the middle. But I quite enjoyed it all and the ending was pretty good except for one thing that bugged me and I was like, seriously? Was that necessary? I need to go see if it matches the book now, since I do not at all remember.
And PS can I just say that I'm pretty sure Dylan O'Brien probably has the most beautiful eyes ever? Dang boy. Am I right, or am I right?
Also, he suddenly looks and seems WAY too old to be playing this part... like, he grew up you know? Good thing this is the last one. This is the last one, right?

The trailer:

One other thing I wanted to say... and I probably say this every time with regard to James Dashner's success with The Maze Runner. Ten years ago (I think it was ten.. .maybe nine) almost to this very day we went to a book blogging party and he was there as an up and coming author. He was working on The Maze Runner at the time and so he told us all about it. He was so excited and he was all, guys... this is going be awesome! I remember thinking.. wow he has some vision thinking it's going to do so well and be so excited. And now, look at how it's all gone down pretty much just like he wanted it to. Was it all luck? A little. Was it a lot of his drive and ambition? I bet some, yes. Was it connections he made? Probably that too. But whatever it is and however you feel about him, he saw this dream, he wanted it, and he made it happen. It's very powerful to me to have been around, sitting here in the sidelines and watching it happen. My hats off to him...way to go Dashner Dude!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Currently: Feeling the Need for Chocolate Chip Cookies

Listening: It's awesome these days because people are always recommending new wonderful music to us from all over the world. It's like a dream for me. So the latest discovery is happily known as Qpop... music from Kazakhastan (or Qazaqstan as it's also known as these days.) There's a particular group there known as Ninety One and it's been all about them this week around here. Some of it is pretty weird, but also so very fun. Here's the favorite:   (Watch it a couple of times and let me know if it gets stuck in your head.)

Watching: just more kdramas. I have another one to review. Look for that in the next couple of days. Nothing "normal" on regular TV or Netflix or whatever it is people watch. I'm really feeling the need to watch that one about Queen Victoria though.  And The Walking Dead will be starting up again in about a month. Somehow, I'm still following that one. Even without my favorite character. Sob.

Reading: I've still been working on my pile of MGs that need to be read. I got stuck on one though,
which is not a great sign, right? A MG book should not take me all week long to read! But I have a Kasie West book waiting for me on the sidelines and I'm dying to just devour it and enjoy. Please let that be this week!

Making: As noted above in the title, I'm having a chocolate chip cookie craving. It happens way more often than it should. But I think I'll make up a batch and then freeze most of the dough. Great idea, no? Yes?

Planning: I need to plan April, but I haven't actually done it yet. April is going to be an intense month. I'm also planning what to do next week for Bloggiesta.

Thinking about: how I'd really like to go to The Death Cure. Sometime in the first week at least.

Enjoying: a lot of down days lately with just at home evenings with books, music and dramas. I think this might a perk of an empty nest.

Writing: a lot more blog posts than usual. Though I do still think... okay, what should I write about today? Anyone got any great ideas? Anyone? I think about my WIPs a lot, probably every day, but still haven't figured out how to fit them into my life again. Or how to get up the enthusiasm for them again. I'm pretty convinced that I can't do it and then I get mad at myself.

Blogging: I feel like I'm back in the swing of it again. Mostly.

YouTubing: As mentioned above we have a bunch of new videos up about Qpop... and some about Vpop (love this stuff too) and Toto has been making her roommates react to videos, so those are going up too. I also did a very fun (I thought) compilation of kpop guys who dance in floppy shirts.  Yeah. Some of you might enjoy that one more than others... but you can click here if you are intrigued by the thought. 

Feeling: Nostalgic and a bit sad lately.

Looking forward to: spring break when Toto comes home and Ryn might visit and Megs too if her spring break is then and then we can party...

Asking: What is the best thing you did this week? Or the best thing you plan to do this coming week?

Misc Random:

  • I need a haircut
  • I'm adding to my Korean vocab knowledge every day thanks to Mango and TTMIK
  • Making dinner is hard.
  • My shoulder is wearing out.
  • It snowed and it was awesome. Today, back to no jacket again.

(I borrowed some more categories from Lit and Life! I was massively bored with the ones I had going on.)


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