Friday, May 24, 2019

Book Review... AGAIN: Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Book: Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Genre: YA contemporary
2nd time rating: still ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Do I review a book on a second go around even one that's actually really recent?

I guess I will so I can at least say that I loved this book just as much on a re-read. I find so many things that I relate to, it's almost a bit scary. Thing like:


  • being into something that people in your real life don't get
  • and thus feeling the need to hide it to a degree
  • because otherwise people will make fun of you (something Eliza is quite worried about)
  • having an online life that is totally separate and different from your real life
  • going to meet ups or events where you realize there ARE people DO get you
  • feeling the need to constantly create (even if millions of people don't care, unlike Eliza!)
  • and then having people IRL not really care about or showing no interest in what you are creating, even family. 
  • retreating to this sort of fantasy online life because it's lonely in real life
  • and it being your own fault mostly for hiding behind this wall, which then makes you even more frustrated!
Seriously. I could go on.

We read this one for book club this past week because we realized we had lots to say about the parenting in this book, which seems to bring out some pretty strong feelings with a few of us!

Some felt that the parents did a crappy job and if they would have done this or that or the other thing, than Eliza would be a more stable kid and wouldn't have had a breakdown. They should have looked up her comic, followed her blog, realized how famous she was. They should have not bugged her to get out and do something other than looking at her phone and computer. They should have understood that what they loved to do, she didn't love to do and left her alone. Yeah? Am I getting this right? I'm not sure.

My view is that they weren't that terrible of parents. They did what most parents do. They didn't like that she spent so much time on her phone and computer, so they tried to get her to participate with whatever the family was doing. Christmas for heaven sake. Camping. Board games. Etc. They knew what she was doing, they knew about her "hobby" but since they didn't get it, they didn't dig further to know more. They tried to get her to talk. They tried to get her involved. But they were scared of her, because they knew if they pushed too hard it would backfire on them and she would retreat worse. But at least she had parents that while they may have messed up, they cared. They were present. 

Navigating these sorts of things is really hard. Some parents will do it better than others, but I doubt there's any parent who can figure it out perfectly. 

My thoughts on THAT!

The book also deals with anxiety and depression and suicide. Really tough things! But I think it does it well without being too over the top about it and it feels genuine. 

Anyway.

I just looked at my first review, and I've pretty much said the same things over again here. LOL! So, that's it then. It's official.  I love this book. 




Thursday, May 9, 2019

Kdrama Review: He Is Psychometric

Drama: He Is Psychometric

Genre: crime suspense
Starring: Park Jinyoung, Kim Kwon, Shin Ye Eun
Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

People were raving about this one, so I watched it. The first episode I thought, eh... another crime one? I get tired of the crime ones sometimes, but I continued and loved it of course.

It was fun to get to know Jinyoung as an actor. He's from a very popular kpop group called Got7 and he never really stood out to me in that group, I was always paying attention to other members. But that is no more. Let's just say he stands out now! :)

He plays a dude who can touch people and see their memories... or touch objects and see what's happened to that thing. So the people in his life are hoping he can sharpen those skills and help them in their jobs. They are cops and prosecutors and etc, so he could come in handy.

Meanwhile, he meets a girl... and soon figures out their pasts are connected. (As always!!) And every episode we got more of what happened with them. It's a fire where he loses both of his parents... and it remains an unsolved case to the present day... but during the drama other cases crop up that seems to be connected to the fire event, and so the case is reopened.

Jinyoung is adorable with the dog in this one!

And then we found out more backstory of the dude who saved him from the fire and his now his guardian and basically big brother. And that backstory is heart wrenching! And his character is the one in the drama where you just want to sob and sob and sob, and hug him like crazy. AH!! Always so much emotional trauma!
Kim Kwon who's character is in need of lots of hugs whether he knows it or not.

So yeah. Another great one. Jinyoung was amazing. Did I say that already? And hopefully he can do more soon. Geez these triple threat guys... they are everywhere! How can some people be born with so much talent. It's so not fair.

The romance is cute for a bit, but then takes a back seat to the mystery story.
Here's a trailer:





And the song sung by two of  Jinyoung's Got7 band members:


Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Book Review: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Book: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Genre: historical fiction
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


I chose this one for our latest kpop book club book because I wanted something historical and this one got rave reviews and was a finalist in the National Book Awards and etc. I wanted something a bit more farther back historically, but this one was interesting nonetheless.

It follows a Korean family from 1910 to 1989... starting with the Japanese occupation of Korea, through WWII and on to modern (ish) days. The main character is Sunja, who is born in Korea on an island just off the coast from Busan. Her dad dies when she is young and her and her mom run a quite successful boarding house. She ends up marrying one of the guys who boards there and they move to Japan to live with his brother and wife.

It was very hard to be a Korean living in Japan, which is the main theme of this book. It was hard then and it's hard now. And all of her family who was born there, her kids and their kids... are Korean ethnically, but basically Japanese, yet they truly have no country they can claim. It sounds like such craziness for them!

Anyway, we follow her story through all the the years. She had two boys and we see what happens to them. One of them ends up in the pachinko business (thus the name of the book) and I had to actually look it up on YouTube so I could visualize what a pachinko machine looks like. Vertical pinball basically. Loud and colorful. And you can win... a little with skill a little with chance. And then turn your prizes in for money... off site. I guess it's HUGE in Japan and makes a ton more money and rich people than everything going on Las Vegas.

So it's a great family sage, the type of which I love and haven't read for a long time. So I loved it. Became very attached to all the characters and either rejoiced or yelled at their choices. One of them I had to shut the book for  minute and go... ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME??? WHY WHY WHY???

It's about family (and found family), and relationships and identity, Korean culture and Japanese culture, and hard work and love and struggles and life and death. So yeah, it's good! I'm so glad to have sort of randomly added this to my books read this year!

Stay tuned to find out what's up next for the kpop book club!


Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Concert Review: ATEEZ in LA March 15, 2019

ATEEZ
Mingi, Jongho, Wooyoung, Seonghwa
Yeosang, San, Hongjoong, Yunho


This concert happened back in March and I talked about it all over Twitter and YouTube, but never here. I decided I needed to write it down still, just to have for my own records since I print my blogs out as a sort of journal, so. Here goes....

Big breath....

Okay, so I fell in love with this new awesome cute pie, amazing kpop group back in October when they first debuted. But I didn't take the time to actually learn who they were until their comeback (remember comeback in kpop terms just means new release/album/song) in January and was BLOWN AWAY again about how good they are. So Toto and I sat down and learned their names and put faces to names and truly fell in love.

And then they up and announced their world tour! At a mere four months old! And only ten songs released! This was crazy!

So Kathy and I decided to go for it. (Kathy had since also fallen in love.) Toto would be in Korea by that time, so it was just me and Kathy trying to get tickets. Kathy had a presale code so we could buy them before the general public. And so we did... barely. We felt very lucky because they sold out fast during the PRE sale. But we got them... VIP tickets which meant that we would be let in the venue before everyone else and get a good spot near the stage... there would be no seats... it would be all pit/GA standing. But with VIP tickets we thought we'd be okay. Yeah. We also got hi touch (high fiving the dudes after the concert and actually "meeting" them and looking into their eyes.)

Much anticipation looking forward to this concert. I couldn't wait. This would be their very first concert EVER... our LA concert. They hadn't (and still haven't) even done a concert in Korea. Only a showcase here and there. So we knew this was going to be so fun and historic and all that.

So the day finally arrives. Kathy and I are doing a 24 hour trip. Fly there, see the concert, sleep, fly home. Literally nothing else.. not even time to eat really. It's SO CRAZY!

We got to the airport and the plane was delayed nearly an hour. We still had time, but that just added to our anxiety! We got to LA about 4 pm, shuttled to the hotel, ran in went to the bathroom, dropped off our stuff, and called a Lyft. I think it was less than 15 min.

We got to the venue... The Globe Theater in downtown LA, with plenty of time, and in fact we found our line of VIP people and proceeded to stand in it for two hours.

Oh, I forgot to say that they thought they'd come up with a great system to avoid the standing in line and fighting for a spot. On a certain day and time about five days before the concert, we had to log onto the computer and submit a form and depending on the time stamp of the form we got a number which determined our spot in line. We did that, submitted it right on the dot of the time, and got the numbers of 349 and 350. This is when we started to realize that having a VIP ticket actually meant nothing.

So when we got there, we got in the VIP line with all the HUNDREDS of other people with VIP tickets and ordered ourselves according to our number.. and waited to be let in. There were WAY more people with VIP than even the regular GA I think, and having a spot up close looked very dim. In the end, they never even looked at our number or checked or anything. We could have lied and jumped ahead of all those people, if we had been that sort of concert goer!

We finally get in and get our spot and stand some more waiting for it to start. Our spot wasn't good. About half way back from the stage. (This is a very small club type venue, so small is good, but also not good.)  I had hopes all would be well still. But....

... it was not. As soon as they came on stage, the surge was so bad we were all smashed... and then everyone's phones went up, and I mean people holding them WAY over their heads and I quickly realized I was not going to see ANYTHING.

It was such a huge disappointment. There are no words.

The surges continued to happen and I had to concentrate on breathing and quit worrying about the concert itself. People started passing out and security had to fight their way through the throng to carry them out. It got really bad. And the boys (remember this is their very first concert) had to ask people to step back and make room. This, of course, doesn't really work. There is no way to "step back" when you are totally smashed. So finally, they left the stage and said they would come back when we all calmed down and figured it out.

It was so embarrassing. And awful. And all the terrible things.

We shuffled ourselves around and Kathy and I even debated falling back entirely or going to the side or something, just to see if we could find a better spot. But then we just said, whatever, we will just stick out. In the meantime, we had fallen back quite a bit and were now at the back of the pack. NO WHERE NEAR the front that our freaking VIP tickets were supposed to get us.

We lasted the rest of the concert praying for it to be over, trying not to cry and lose it. Trying to enjoy even a little of it. I couldn't see, hear or breath. It was hard to see the good in any of it. I wanted to see them dance so bad.  I only caught a glimpse of their flopping hair now and then... and if I looked between the raised arms of everyone, in one spot, I would see first this boy and then that boy go in and out of that tiny spot.

When they talked, everyone put their phones down and I could see them a little bit. I got one picture.




At the last song, I finally pulled my phone out and joined the crowd with my phone WAY over my head (above my eye level yes) and this is what it looked like:


<

Guys. We were so sad. To have paid that much and made that effort to not see them. Or even hear them really. It was the worst. I blame the stage (too low), the sound system (too crappy), the venue (too small) but mostly the company that organized this tour for WAY overselling... both the VIP and the regular tickets and cramming WAY too many people into that space. They did us so dirty. And I will never go to a concert put on by them again... and here's hoping ATEEZ and their company learned a lesson to never use them again too!

I gotta say though, the boys were fabulous. None of this was their fault. They did amazing (even though I couldn't see it I've seen clips, and their own footage) and worked so hard and put on a great show.

We hung around afterwards for the hi touch. Since pretty much everyone was a VIP there were lots of us and they actually did a pretty good job of putting us in lines that time. And finally our turn came and we filed past the boys and hi fived them all. This part was actually nice because they didn't rush us through, they spaced us apart well. Three of the boys did a two handed high ten and finger clasped our hands, so that made me happy. They were really into it. But actually I held all their hands, so it wasn't really a high five, it's more like a handshake/clasp. Some of the others were much shyer about it, but those three were great! I tried to remember to look into their eyes and I said thank you to them all, but I didn't use any of the Korean I had practiced. It's so scary (exciting scary)  that all words leave your head, both English and Korean. No joke. Some people are much better at dealing with this phenomenon, but not me.

So I am happy that part turned out okay and that in the end I did SEE them, I just didn't get see them sing or dance.

Anyway. We were bummed and it was hard to shake that. We walked down the street to a Carl's Jr and had a hamburger and a drink... I was so thirsty I thought I was going to die. And then we went back to the hotel, slept, got up and flew home. All the while venting and in total disbelief that we had been so duped and scammed.

I really hope for a do-over regarding ATEEZ. Holding out hope they come to KCON in August. But they are so popular already that it will probably be a frenzy and I still probably won't ever actually see them. They are going big places and I think will rise up the ranks faster than any group has so far. It's going to be amazing to watch.

In a couple of weeks I have  my next concert (Stray Kids) and I'm scared to death now that it will be the same thing. We have seats this time, so I hope that helps, but people and their phones will always be a problem. And all the screaming. I would love it everyone screamed... then stopped for the songs... then screamed at the end, the stopped for the talking, the scream at the end, then stop for the songs... etc. Not too much to ask, yeah? But people scream NON STOP and it's very  frustrating.

Hoping for the best. I'm sure you'll find out how it goes down!

But you should check out ATEEZ and see what you think of them. Seriously. Here's a song called Treasure you might like:




Monday, May 6, 2019

April 2019 Reading Recap


April cherry blossoms



Well, I met all my goals that I made last month for this month, except not much happened toward the big reading challenge!

The four books I read are:

A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard: A mute girl (selective) and a deaf boy meet each other and hit it off.

The Girl With Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee: memoir of Hyeonseo as she grows up in North Korea, ends up leaving and how she got her family out.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty: we learn the story of three different moms who's paths cross as they send their kids to kindergarten, and we learn that all is not as it seems

Dreamology by Lucy Keating: Our girl and our boy dream the same dreams of each other, and then they meet in real life.

Favorite: The Girl with Seven Names for sure. But Big Little Lies was very fun reading too.

Book Challenge Progress: None. I thought about counting the North Korean book toward history of a foreign country, but decided I wanted to read something else for that one.

Goals for May:

  • mark SOMETHING off for the challenge! (Pretty sure I'm not going to complete this challenge but it's still fun to try.)
  • re-read Eliza for book club
  • read something from the nightstand/floor book stack

I felt like I was reading a lot, but still only four books! AH!! How'd you all do?

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Movie Review: Avengers Endgame (Spoilers)

Movie: Avengers: Endgame

Genre: Marvel superheros (it's its own genre now, right?)
Starring: EVERYONE I think. But my favorites are Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Hemsworth. Oh and Jeremy Renner. 
My Rating: Two thumbs up of course


If I understand correctly, it's okay to talk about this movie now yes? At any rate, if you are still nervous about spoilers, you can come back after you've watched it and we can discuss, deal?

So I'm happy we did the little catch up thing before going to this movie. It helped a ton to understand stuff and I actually think it was nice to have it all fresh in my mind. Maybe those who didn't need to catch up rewatched stuff? I'm guessing that probably happened a lot too. Anyway.

I think Infinity War and Endgame should be considered a pair... a part 1 and part 2. Know what I mean?

To summarize: In Infinity War our villain, Thanos, decides to round up the Infinity stones so he can be all powerful and do mankind a "service" by getting rid of half of all people. Our heroes try to stop him and a huge battle happens in Wakanda on the Black Panther's territory in which things do not end well. We are left with a "what just happened?" feeling in the worst worst way!

So in Endgame we pick up right where we left off... for a moment anyway, and things continue to look very dire. Our um... remaining.. heroes are baffled and depressed and have no idea what to do.

Five years pass and a very key thing happens and suddenly there is hope again. Our brilliant minded heroes put their heads together (well one especially brilliant mind) and pretty much figure out how to go back in time to stop Thanos. They actually have to go back before that and get the stones first, before Thanos does.

Which makes for the best part of the movie actually, when they come across their former selves in previous movies. That was so fun!

My other favorite thing about this movie is how many very very human parts there were. Like, I feel like a lot of times these movies are more about the special effects and sometimes forgets about the actual human connections. This movie had that everywhere, which I truly appreciated. I think the emotions of all these characters were so raw and exposed, that they all couldn't help but be more human. Know what I mean?

I may have touched on spoilery things above, but now I'm going to be truly spoilery about stuff, so be warned now especially:

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Loki's death in the first movie (Infinity War) made me sad, but it happened so fast and so out of no where that I was unprepared and didn't really register that it happened. And I really really hoped that he would be saved in this one, but I'm not sure if that happened. His character was left ambiguously and we don't really know what happened to him, do we? He was there in the past and then he disappeared. Where did he go? Did he still get killed in the future?

But my other favorite is definitely Ironman and so... yeah. I cried... okay. Because I LOVE how RDJ portrays this character and this was a hard hard one to watch. And man there is so much foreshadowing that it's going to be him... you all caught it I'm sure. So I think we as an audience were basically prepared. But still. That it had to HIM of all the people!!

Natasha and Hawkeye fighting over who would die... that was hard too. Sob. I heard she is going to get her own movie after all... but what about him? I want him to have one too! He is my other favorite! (Does that make three favorites now? I haven't even talked about Thor!)

Thor! Wasn't he crazy awesome in this one? Oh my word, he sort of stole the show, yeah? LOL! That was funny. Like a total alter ego for him. What the heck. And when he was able to talk to his mom in the past? Dang. That was good.

Ironman talking to his dad in the past was also great.

And then the Captain. I cried again when he saw his love in the past. And for him to get that happy ending after all with her??? YES!!!! The best ending ever!

I was happy the green girl, Gomorrah... yeah? (I had to look it up, lol.) But she needs to remember a few things, eh? Poor Quill. They'll figure it out though. :)

There were a few superheroes that showed up for this movie's final big battle that I wasn't familiar with. I'm guessing a missed a few movies still, and have a few more to catch up on. I think I need to watch the Spiderman movie because that kid makes me laugh.

Oh, and wait, why was Vision not in this one? Or did I miss him? And his girl Wanda, yeah? That felt weird to me since he was a key part of the previous movie. Anyway, I probably missed them somehow in all that craziness.

Okay, I think those are most of my thoughts. It was good. I was glued. My husband, however, fell asleep YET AGAIN. Sigh.

Great job Marvel for taking us all on a crazy fun ride these past few years. It will be fun to see what's next.

Here's a lovely trailer, which I've only just now seen for the first time. It gives me chills.




"WHATEVER IT TAKES."   😭😭😭😭

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Avenger Movie Catch Up: Mini Reviews



So awhile back we learned that the husband's work was treating us to The Endgame. However, the past few years we had become very very behind in all our Avenger movie watching. So we knew in order to fully enjoy this movie, we needed to to a lot of catching up!

Here's what we watched:

Spoilers might be ahead... I have no idea at this point what I'm going to say yet....


Thor: Ragnorok


I'm a pretty decent Thor movie fan, but somehow never watched this one. Well, of course it was a sad one right from the get go. WHAT THE HECK??? I sort of felt like, well, there is no point in watching the rest of this movie NOW!! :)

But it was good to see Thor in action again, with his evil sister as the main villain. I enjoyed the introduction to some new and quite funny characters. The Hulk always makes me a little crazy, but it was fun to see him as part of this movie too.


Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2


Unlike Thor, I am not a very big Guardians fan. So I pretty much avoided this movie on purpose. The characters are supposed to be funny, but I find the humor extremely cringe worth for the most part. I do enjoy the music though, I must say! So for the first half of this movie, I was rolling my eyes a lot and hoping for it to get over with soon.

However, the second half was much more interesting with the conflict and redemption of a couple of interesting characters. I enjoyed their development. I also enjoyed seeing Kurt Russel in his role. I enjoy also the attempt at throwing in a little romance in here, but it needs a lot of work. Sigh.


Ant Man

Some might think this one wasn't necessary in order to understand the Avenger movies, but I think it did help a lot. After we watched it, both my husband and I looked at each and said... have we already seen that one? It felt vaguely familiar, but not enough to really ring any bells. LOL.

So, yeah. This one was fun. Pretty cool special effects as all these movies have. I find it interesting that the power to get big and small and big and small is quite a powerful one. Who would have thought??

The crazy boys in the crazy van are my favorite part of this movie.

We didn't watch Ant Man and the Wasp, though we probably should have. Maybe we will still get to that one. But my daughter sent us a link to the clip that was shown after the credits and told us she thought this was a key moment for Endgame. And yes, it sure was. I'm glad we went in with THAT little bit of knowledge!

Avengers: Infinity War


Well, finally the BIG movie that needed catching up on. I knew that if nothing else we had to watch this one before Endgame. Wow, but we heard lots about this one last year! So I was dreading it a bit and nervous for it and pretty much knew what to expect from all the buzz last year. But yeah. This movie and Endgame are more like a Part 1 and Part 2, don't you think?

Anyway. I felt it was non stop stress of a movie. My husband fell asleep but I was on edge the whole time. And baffled as everyone was at what the heck happened.

I must say, that these movies, all of them, just seem like one big special effect fight. Which, is cool for a while, but after a bit, it gets tiring and just really hard to understand what's actually happening. this is probably one reason why I sort of drifted away from keeping up with them.

But I truly enjoyed seeing all the characters trying to save the universe together! There were some I didn't quite remember, though I think I'd seen their movies. But for the most part, I think we did a pretty good job getting ourselves prepared for it!

I also decided that I'm much more of an Iron Man sort of humor person than a Guardians sort of humor person. Can you see the difference between those two like I do? Anyway, I fall on the Iron Man side. I also enjoyed the quips from the Spiderman boy. I never did watch his version of the Spiderman story. I guess I figured I knew that story. But I do enjoy his take on Spiderman (boy). LOL.

So after that, I deemed ourselves ready! We didn't do Captain Marvel. I hoped that didn't matter. Or, like I said, Ant Man and the Wasp. Are those the only two that came out between Infinity War and Endgame? I guess we can still watch them at some point, yeah?

Anyway, up next, my thoughts on Endgame.


Sunday, April 28, 2019

Kdrama Review: Chicago Typewriter

Drama: Chicago Typewriter
Genre: Historical, and other things
Starring: Yoo Ah In, Im Soo Jung, Go Kyung Pyo
Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

This drama was unlike anything I've watched so far. Such a different premise than ALL THE DRAMAS! And I was totally invested.

Also, it's going to be hard to summarize.

Basically, the story follows two different time lines. One in the 30s during the Japanese occupation of Korea, and one in the present day involving a popular author and his friends. The interesting thing is that the characters are the same in both timelines since the present day people are reincarnations of the 30s people.

And the premise is that they are remembering the events that happened in their past lives and writing it down as the next novel for our author dude. He's been in a bit of a slump, but when these friends reappeared in his life, things got interesting again and together, they write the novel, ,which they are calling Chicago Typewriter, which is a kind of old fashioned gun I guess, that sounds like a typewriter when being shot off.
Our characters in the 30s
Our characters in the present day

The drama also actually features an old typewriter... from Korea, that ended up in Chicago, but was found again. And is a key part of this story.

I guess that's the basics. That wasn't so hard after all, eh? Lol, but I am leaving out one very important thing that I don't really want to give away as it feels like a big spoiler, since it's something we as viewers aren't aware of until several episodes in. Even though I'm pretty sure all the summaries out there give it away.

But yeah. I loved it. I love the time jumps, I loved the intensity of the stuff in the 30s. Our characters are freedom fighters, fighting to win back independence. And it's really quite painful to see what they went through. I loved the character development and how our main dude went from a very self centered dude, to extremely compassionate and loving. I loved the book love that is shown (again, with the book love! I do seem to be getting a lot of that lately!) and the painfulness of the writing process. That was great!

I was introduced to another "new to me" actor, and he was awesome. And another actor who I sort of knew, but got a much better feel for what he's like in this one. And he was also awesome. Yeah.

This drama is another one that features a fabulous bromance full of awesome
banter between these two! So good1

The last couple episodes I pretty much sobbed through the whole thing. Man. Emotional intensity I tell you!

And I fell totally in love with one of the theme songs and looked the singer up and realized he also sang the song from Encounter, another recent drama favorite. So I proceeded to listen to all his songs and he's also awesome.

All the good things!

I loved this one. It's a few years old and I'm glad I finally fit it in!

Here's a trailer (actually three quick trailers in one):





And here's clips to the song I love. It's called Satellite and it's by a guy that goes by MYK but he has a band of sorts called Saltnpaper. This song is in English, so maybe some of you might actually give it a listen and see what you think:




Ah. SO GOOD!!!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Latest Kpop Gifs

Time to share more of my favorite gifs from off the phone!


Jonghyun from SHINee and his smiley face. He had a birthday.
I miss him. :(

Siwon from Super Junior also had a birthday!
Obsessed with Stray Kids (concert coming up in a couple of weeks!!) So I giffed a bunch of their faces from their new video this past month. Looks like I have one for everyone except Changbin! AH. His didn't turn out as good.

Seungmin looking so so serious

Hyunjin trying to kill us with the whole necklace twist move!

The amazing Han

Bang Chan doing the Huka

Lee Know front and center!

Woojin saying, "I'm okay" with his perfect voice.

I.N trying so hard to not crack up into a smile.

Felix looking amazing.

If you are interested in seeing the whole video and how they incorporate the Huka into their choreography, here it is:





Other obsession: ATEEZ. My two favorites:

Seonghwa being cute

Yeosang cracking up mid performance
Yeosang being cute

Yeosang being sexy

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Book Review: Dreamology by Lucy Keating

Book: Dreamolgy by Lucy Keating
Genre: YA Fantasy-ish
Rating: ★ ★ ★

This is another book I randomly bought at the store with a gift certificate. It's been sitting on my nightstand forever and I finally fit it in. :)

It's an interesting premise. Two kids who had nightmares were both taken to a dream/sleep center, and after that, something happened that caused them to dream of each other. Dreams that they had totally in common and remembered.

When the girl moves to a new city, at school she discovers that the guy from her dreams goes to her school. She comes face to face with him and is blown away!

At first, it's pretty weird, but they become friends and talk about all the wierdness. But then they realize that they have to "get fixed" or they will lose their hold on reality forever.

So. I mean. I enjoyed it, but it felt a little flat to me and I'm not sure why. It was just one of those books where I wasn't as invested or emotionally attached as I could have been, you know? I think the intensity could have been ratcheted up quite a bit.

But it was cute and the dreams were crazy and fun. And as I said, the premise was intriguing. So. I definitely enjoyed it.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Top Ten Books of 2018

So I was laying in bed one night worry about all the things there are to worry about, and suddenly it hit me that I'd never done a top ten BOOKS post for 2018. What the heck??? How did that slip by me? So, here I am in April remembering my favorite books from last year. I have top ten lists dating from 2002, I'm not about to start skipping this habit now!


Top Ten Books I Read in 2018
(in no particular order because ordering thing gives me ulcers. Blurb from my review attached.)


Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo: In the end... I loved it and am sad I waited so long to join the ranks of those who love these books!

Every Falling Star by Sungju Lee: 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.

You May Already Be a Winner by Ann Dee Ellis: 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 End or Something Like That by Ann Dee Ellis: It sounds a little weird, yeah? But I loved it. So much. The writing style is totally up my alley and is a style I wish I could learn how to do. So simple, but power packed. Beautiful prose. I just love it. And in the process we bond instantly with these characters, especially Emmy and her dilemma. How she misses her friend so bad and wants to talk to her again so bad, and yet she needs to move on with her life. It's heartbreaking. And yet, told in such a cute and funny way. Did say I loved it? Because, I did!

The Orphan Keeper by Camron Wright: The book was beautifully written. Sometimes a touch too flowery in description for my taste, BUT I did devour it and could hardly put it down, so it's obviously engaging and paints a wonderful picture of what life must have been like in India... and afterwards... for this guy.

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak: I feel 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.

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles: 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!

Please Look After Mom by Kyung Sook Shin: 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.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman: In the end, I quite loved this book and its message. How people that at first seem so different can come together and be a sort of family. And how no matter how ornery this old guy is, he can still be loved and he still has a ton to contribute to the world and to those around him. Yes. It's a great story. Read it.

Exo by Fonda Lee: It's a great book that shows how there really is no black and white. You can see both sides of this issue. You end up rooting for everyone and you want everyone to win. It's frustrating and eye opening.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Book Review: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Book: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Genre: Literary Fiction
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

After hearing about this book forever, I have finally read it thanks to book club! It lived up to the buzz in that it was very engaging and page turning, with lots of relate-able characters going through real world problems.

The story centers around three ladies, all with their own crazy problems. In the meantime, they are sending kids to Kindergarten and we know that something terrible happened at Kindergarten fundraising Trivia Night. So this is a flashback of sorts to everything that led up to that incident. Scattered in between all the chapters is the interviews that the detective is doing with all the parents. That was fun.

So one mom is dealing with the fact that her older daughter wants to move out and live with her dad. This devastates her.

One mom is dealing with the fact that her son has been accused of bullying, and also she eventually reveals the story of how her son came to be and that she doesn't really know who his father is.

And finally, one mom who appears to have a charmed and perfect life, is dealing with domestic abuse. Her husband is a true Jekyll and Hyde. It's really sad and scary.

And it sounds so simple in summarizing it, but wow, you get invested fast in all their lives and the incident that you know is coming and keeping you hooked to find out what exactly happened! I think we were meant to be shocked by the big reveal at the end, and while I can never guess how things will end, I must say I wasn't all that shocked but just... wow. Okay. Ew. LOL!

Great story! And a book that addresses so many issues, without being preachy about them. And truly I do love this author's writing style. I have a few more to read I think!

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Book Review: The Girl With Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee

Book: The Girl With Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee
Genre: NF Memoir
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 

What a fascinating story. And totally different from the one I read a while back of the boy who also got out of North Korea. (Every Falling Star.) Different and yet the same.

In this situation, our girl is part of a quite well off family. During the famine, they had food. They had things. They had each other. (In the other story, the boy was starving and his whole family disappeared when he was only 12.)

And when it came time to "escape" I found it interesting that she did it accidentally. She simply walked across the ice on the river to have an adventure before she turned 18. The guard on the North Korean side liked her, so he helped her. And passed her off into the hands of a dude on the China side that knew her and he helped her from there. It was so easy!

But once she got to China, it got crazy. Her mom (who had no idea she was doing this, she totally sneaked out without her mom knowing) called her (because she was at her relative's house) and told her to not come back. That she was going to report her missing and do not come back!

So her adventure that was supposed to be for a day, turned into more than 10 years. All this time she thought she would be going back home at some point, but then finally realized that she should just go to South Korea once and for all. (South Korea was the enemy, so this was a hard thing to decide!) And she was able to get a real passport and just flew there and said, hey, here I am!

I am making light because like I said, it was easier for her than for some because she had a LOT of connections. Even though she suffered a lot during those 10 years and had to continuously change her identity and continuously run from the cops and be on her guard all the time.

But the real craziness comes when she convinces her mom and brother to join her. She thought she had it all planned out but then everything went wrong. This is the part of the story where I was especially on edge and forgetting to breathe. Seriously, the crap they went through is CRAZY!

And after all that was over, they both (the mom and brother) wanted to go back!! This is what is also so interesting to me, that the life in South Korea which should seem so blissful to them, is not really, since they are used to things so totally different. The mom wanted to die at home, and the brother left his girlfriend there and that was HARD. So hard. Anyway.

Still, the biggest eye opening thing is just reading about what life was (is?) like in North Korea. It's crazy that people live like that. Even the "well off " ones like our girl's family. It's so hard to imagine that one person, essentially, can turn a country into this. The author of this book makes a point that it's because the people there believe they have no rights. So they do nothing about it. If they realized that they actually have rights, they would rise up and revolt. But they don't believe it, so they don't.

In her new life, she has begun to fight for their rights. And has been doing all sorts of things to that end. She has become famous talking all over the place. She rose to fame especially after she gave a TED talk about five years ago. Here's that:




Other observations. The nature of people... there are some amazing instances in her story where strangers totally helped, and without them, the end of this story would have been totally different. There are some really bad people in the world, but there are also some really really good people. Also, I am impressed at how South Korea deals with the people coming from the North. They have a holding spot where they basically introduce them to the world and teach them how to live in society before they turn them loose. It might seem weird at first, but it's really amazing how they take care of them. They even get money for a time as they are trying to find a job and get on their feet.

Anyway. There are a ton books of  North Koreans telling their stories. And I'm sure they will all be different and yet the same. I really hope that some day the situation changes and that the dreams of all these people will come true and that the two Koreas can be united and families can all be together without fear.


Friday, April 5, 2019

Book Review: A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

Book: A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Rating: ★ ★ 


This is one of those books that I just randomly picked up at the bookstore (using a gift card) and bought just because it sounded good. About a deaf boy and girl who doesn't talk (selective mute they call it) falling love. Cute, yes?

And yes, it was. Mostly. Sigh.

So the voice (ha! voice!) of this character was great. I related to her so much. She has massive anxiety, and while my anxiety isn't massive, it's there, and so everything she talks about I'm like... yep. That's it. Especially the negative self talk. And the physical pain of anxiety. I've never understood why anxiety has to manifest itself physically. You'd think it would just be in your head and make you wring your hands or something. But no, it's also very much in your gut. Ugh.

ANYWAY. So I really liked her. I didn't understand what makes a person not talk at all though. I do get the not talking in certain situations. But to totally freeze up. It's very intense. So because of that, she has learned BSL (this book takes place in Britain, they have their own version I guess) and so when the new boy who is deaf shows up at school, she is assigned to help him.

And they click right away because he is awesome. Sweet and happy and jovial and friendly and all the good things. Beautiful too of course.

So this is just their falling in love story. Quite simple really. And her trying to deal with getting better, which she slowly is. Doing all sorts of things and talking to all sorts of people!

He has his struggles too and has to overcome his insecurities with his own disability.

Anyway, I enjoyed it all except the part where teenage sex is described in much more detail than I would have liked. If they decide to "do it" whatever, but I'd rather most of it be left up to imagination, you know. The whole story was sort of sweet and nice and romantic, and those scenes just seemed like too much for the tone of this book. It jarred me a bit. You know? Sigh.

Other than that. I liked it all!


Thursday, April 4, 2019

Kdrama Review: Master's Sun

Drama: Master's Sun

Genre: paranormal romance
Starring: So Ji Sub, Gong Hyo Jin, Seo In Guk
Rating:  ❤ ❤ ❤

Since I have been having Seo In Guk withdrawals, I decided it was time to watch this one, even though he is "only" the 2nd male lead. But despite the fact that he doesn't have a huge part (though he is in every episode of course) it was fun to see him again.

This is an older drama (like five years now I think?) that made a pretty big buzz back when it aired. It's about a girl who can see ghosts (I see dead people. Yes, she says it a couple of times.) but when she accidentally comes across the rich CEO of the big mall called Kingdom and accidentally touches him, the ghosts that are plaguing her disappear. She quickly figures out that there's something pretty special about him and she wants to be touching him all the time. She can finally get a good night's sleep!
She's a little touchy, yeah. 

Of course, he is having none of this, and is pretty appalled. This girl is quite, shall we say, below him in society and he tries pretty hard to get rid of her. But she sticks around, even getting a job at the mall. And the more she is around, the more he starts to become intrigued and charmed.

Each episode includes a ghost story of sorts that she (with the help of him) has to solve. Essentially making it so the ghost can move on and not be stuck here. Some of them are silly and some of them are surprisingly moving. Like when the dead dog comes back to comfort his master who is on the brink of suicide. I cried.

But one such ghost solving story ends in near tragedy and that's when our girl decides she is putting the guy in too much of harm's way. And of course, that's when our guy decides he loves the girl and is ready to have her by his side forever.

Yes. It ALWAYS happens! And so they have to now figure all that out!

It's a fun drama. The ghosts are weird and silly at times. The romance is a bit... I don't know, lacking I guess. I wanted more from it. It's cute though. There are many laugh out loud bits, which I love. It starts a very famous leading dude So Ji Sub, who I love and yet it he also makes me crazy! Maybe both the dramas I've seen him in his character is gruff and closed and a little mean, so it would be fun to see him in one where he is less grouchy and bristly!

Seo In Guk is adorable in this one, as a body guard that falls for our girl. When he quickly realizes he has no chance, he doesn't care and is just her friend and is there when needed. He is the sweetest ever. Okay, what should I watch next that has him in it? I can't get enough!

So he doesn't get THE girl, but he does get A girl. So there's that, right In Guk ssi!? :)
There's drama also features Kim Myung Soo also known as L from the lovely and amazing band called Infinite... I enjoyed getting to know him a little better. He plays our lead as a teenager. He is adorable. He's in a ton of other things, so I have lots to catch up on there too.

L from Infinite




Here's a fan made trailer that's pretty good:





 Here's the song: (This drama actually has a really good soundtrack. All on Spotify!)


 




Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Up Next for the Kpop Book Club: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

We've announced our next book for the Kpop Book Club! It's going to be Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, a National Book Award finalist just last year I think. It sounds wonderful. I'm excited to jump into it!


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Book Review: The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade

Book: The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade
Genre: YA paranormal
Rating: ★ ★ ★ 

This book came up in a conversation the other day I had with friend Jenny. And we remembered she gave it to me many Christmases (I think) ago and WHY HADN'T I READ IT YET???? Lol.

Well, why indeed. So, I came home and read it, then and there!

I love it when that happens.

It's a fun, quick little story about a girl who is hit by a bus and killed. And she is now stuck in the in between world of living and dead. She realizes quite quickly that a dude from school, a dude she looked down on because she's in the top tier of popularity (cheerleader, homecoming queen and all) and he's in the very bottom (goth, druggie and all that... only he's not that, she just THINKS he is)... she realizes that he can see and hear her.

So she harasses him until he agrees to help her figure out how to move on. In the process, they learn each other's back stories, and find out that there is much more to them then they assumed. And isn't that always the case? Yes. Backstories guys. The key to all books and stories and real life!

There is much lovely banter is this book. These guys really get on each other's nerves, but they of course, love it and find out that they actually enjoy each other's company. A lot. But how is THAT going to work out if she has to "move on."

But yeah, Jenny was right. It's a cute fun one and I'm glad I finally read it!




Monday, April 1, 2019

March 2019 Reading Recap


March Moonrise



Another fairly normal reading month. Maybe I have this thing figured out again? Maybe?


9. Stories for Children by Oscar Wilde: A collection of several stories with a moral.

10. Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett: Bailey moves to a California beach town, the same town where Alex lives, the dude she has been chatting anonymously with for months, and now she isn't sure she really wants to meet him

11. Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate: based on the true story of an awful person who stole kids and sold them to rich people

12. Waiting for Fitz by Spencer Hyde: Addie suffers with OCD but things get even more interesting when she meets Fitz at the hospital and they start plans to break out

13. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery: a pilot meets a little prince alien who teaches him life lessons.

14. The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade: When Alona dies, she finds out the loser goth dude she had no time for in life is the only one that can see her and help her move on.


Favorites: Before We Were Yours for sure. Followed by Alex, Approximately.

Book Challenge Progress:
  • Alex, Approximately: book involving the ocean
  • Stories for Children: collection of short stories
  • The Little Prince: book by an author born over 100 years ago

Goals for April:
  • Read three book club books: one for regular book club, one for kpop book club and the one that got bumped from the regular book club line up. :)
  • Read another for fun YA contemporary
  • Try to mark off 4 books from the challenge

How did your month go? What do you have coming up in April?

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Blogiversary?




Well, so do people still mark the passage of time by "celebrating" their blogiversaries around here? I realized the other day that I've passed through yet another year, making it 12 years since I started this book (and life's other adventures) blog. GO ME!

At any rate, it's made me think about the state of the blog and the state of blogging yet again. And the state of it is sad. Have I fallen out of it enough to not know where the action is anymore? Are people still blogging? Where do I go to reconnect if I'm ready to fully commit again? Are all my old faves still out there? Am I just being a bad blog connector myself these days?

Yeah, I'm pretty baffled with the demise of all things blogging. And I blamed it on my own changing interests, but I'm thinking that it's not all me and that many people are also finding other interests and connecting other places these days, yes? But I feel like I'm missing something. Let me know what you think is the THING these days and where I should be talking books if not here! Should I move my book thoughts to instagram for instance?

Anyway, I do miss the good old days. I'm sad that it's peaked and falling down the other side now. I will always look back fondly on so many fun things that happened through blogging! What a fun ride it's been. I plan to keep writing stuff here, but it tends to now truly be more of a journaling place and a spot for me to keep track of books/dramas and such just for myself, as I think not many people are out there keeping up on blogs anymore. But it will be interesting to see how long I last! Twelve years and counting. Let's see what happens!


Saturday, March 30, 2019

Book Club Choices 2019 -2020



We have made our marks and voted! Here's what the book club will be reading the rest of this year and into next! Wish us luck! We've been doing this for FIFTEEN YEARS now and hopefully aren't losing steam and have awhile to go still!

Let us know if you've read any of these and what we might have to look forward to.


2019
May: Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
June: Ban This Book by Alan Gratz
July: A Room With a View by E.M. Forster
August: The Hollow City by Dan Wells
September: One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
October: A Darker Shade of magic by V.E. Schwab
November: The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
December: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

2020
January: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
February: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
March: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
April: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
May: The First Fifteen Lives of Henry August by Claire North

Friday, March 29, 2019

Book Review and Blog Tour: Waiting for Fitz by Spencer Hyde


Book: Waiting for Fitz by Spencer Hyde
Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating: ★ ★ 


This is the story of Addie and her struggle with really severe OCD. There's a lot in this book that a person struggling with such an ailment will relate too. It sounds overwhelming and hard, that's for sure.

Just a bit after the story opens, she is put into an inpatient psyche ward for kids. There she meets other kids all struggling with different mental health issues. One of them is a dude named Fitz, who she finds very interesting. One of those things is that he gets her crazy and witty sense of humor, because our Addie is quick with the puns and jokes like no other! And Fitz has a comeback to everyone of them!

That was a very fun thing about this book, all the jokes that reference books and movies and pop culture. It made me wonder if all the readers will even catch them. I probably missed a lot myself. But I did catch a lot too. So fun.

So the story continues in the hospital and Addie learns a bit about Fitz, but not everything. She can tell something more is going on with him. After they get to know each other pretty good, he confesses to her that he needs her help to break out. She decides (fairly easily I might add!) what the heck... and helps him. Actually, all the kids end up helping and their teamwork is pretty impressive. :)

The first part of the book inside the hospital was a little slow for me. There's a lot of talk about her OCD and her frustration with how nothing helps and how sometimes she gets sick of people trying to help, even though she knows they have her best interests in mind. A lot of talk about how it is living with it. Like I said, I figure people who suffer with, or deal with people suffering with, these intense things will totally relate.

But the book picked up quite nicely during the breakout and the adventure they have afterward. Except that part is also very sad when we learn more about Fitz and what caused him to want to breakout in the first place and a little more of his back story. So sad.

So while Addie narrates this story and we learn a lot about her, it's more about Fitz and the things he's gone through and going through. There's a lot of profound thoughts scattered throughout that hit me hard and made me think. If I was a book marker upper, I would have marked a lot of things! But it just makes you appreciate your life and how even though we all have struggles, some of us are pretty blessed with the easiness of our life. Know what I mean? And I think we tend to forget that sometimes. So it also made me understand the plight of kids/people with mental illnesses. Ah, it's so hard!

Anyway. I enjoyed it! Slow a bit at first, but really quite engaging that last while. Things aren't too hunky dory at the end either, but that being said, it's a very hopeful look on mental health issues.

Thank you to Shadow Mountain for the opportunity to read and review this book!









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