Monday, January 21, 2019

Book Review: Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder

Book: Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder
Genre: MG magic realism ish
Rating: ★ ★ 

This was our book club read for the month. I didn't realize it was MG until I looked up at the library. But it was a good thing because that meant I could read it pretty fast in the days before our meeting.

I enjoyed reading it. It was fun and easy and intriguing. Guys, I was in it just for the fun of it, I didn't think about all the metaphorical allegorical stuff while I read it. Know what I mean? I just WANTED TO KNOW WHAT WAS GOING ON!

But I guess that wasn't the point of this book. The point, I guess, was to make a point about growing up? I don't know. I really don't get it. But when the book ended I was very frustrated.

Back up a bit... here's a quick summary. There are nine kids stranded on an island. And every now and then (they call them years, but it could be longer or shorter) a boat comes and brings a new kid, and then the oldest kid gets on the boat and leaves. There is a pretty good rule system set up where these kids live and survive just fine. The island is magic after all.

So the book starts out when our girl is now the oldest, and she has the new littlest one to take care of. We go through most of the book with her questioning everything and starting to feel pretty discontent about life. And then she makes a decision that changes everything.

I really wanted to know what was up with the island, but we don't learn that. It may be spoilery, but just know that. There are no answers. It's frustrating.

And when I think of kids reading this, you know, the intended audience... they aren't going to care about what it's all symbolizing! Gah. They will want answers. So it bugs me that it's a kids book and yet it's all about making a point.

Yeah.

But... it was a good story. LOL!

If you've read it, what did you think? Was the thought-provoking-ness of it enough for you? Or did you want more?


Sunday, January 13, 2019

Kdrama Review: Come and Hug Me

Drama: Come and Hug Me
Genre: Crime drama
Starring: Jang Ki Yong, Jin Ki Joo, Heo Joon Ho, Nam Da Reum
Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

This is a hard one to rate for me. It was very hard to watch, and yet I really enjoyed the actors and they did an amazing job and it ended uplifting enough for me to feel satisfied so... yeah. But, man it was hard!

This one is about a serial killer and how it pretty much ruins the lives of not only his victims' survivors, but everyone in his family. It's painful.

We get to know main couple when they are kids. The girl's family moves in and the two of them are drawn to each other instantly. But we find out that the boy's dad is pretty evil, and in fact, is murdering people and guess who his next victims end up being... the girl's parents. So over the course of the drama, we get flashbacks to the night this happened and how involved these two were, and how traumatic it was for them.

Our boy, now grown up and a top notch police officer, is dealing with feelings of... does he inherit these tendencies? Does he have evil inside of him? Well, we as viewers know that he is the sweetest thing ever, but he has to have a couple of tests in order to prove to himself that he is indeed safe from the same fate.
The kids... and this boy is in EVERYTHING! I can't wait for him to be his own main lead star soon!
 He is amazing. They were both awesome in this drama. 

It's such a painful internal struggle, and this actor, who I haven't seen in anything else yet.... was amazing and perfect.

The dad was extremely creepy and awful, as is the reporter who is determined to gain somehow by this awful story, which is what sets things in motion again these many years later, when she is publishing a book she helped this dude to write. It gets our couple together again, which is awesome, but people are expecting to gain from their doomed love story too, which is not awesome.

The other struggling brother.

The other interesting part of this story is the other brother, who does seem to have inherited the killing instincts, and we tend to hate him from the get go... that is, until he goes through his own internal struggle to decide if he actually does have evil or not. It's very satisfying to watch his transformation. And another stellar acting performance.

But guys, it was a little too violent and sad for me and I just wanted it over! So much tears and crying and so much violence and killing and.... I will never look at hammer the same way again! But, as i said on Twitter, I have now learned a new Korean word... 망치 mangchi. Hammer!!!

The end had me in literal sobbing tears as the whole "come and hug me" phrase took on a whole new meaning. But it was good. And I'm so happy that it had an ending that I could deal with after all that stress of hammers!

A tiny short trailer, but the hammer is featured!!





And clips of the happy cute moments:


Monday, January 7, 2019

Book Review: The Other Side of Lost by Jessi Kirby

Book: The Other Side of Lost by Jessi Kirby
Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating: ★ ★ 


I really enjoyed some parts, and was quite bored in other parts. How to rate? But in the end, I could find lots to talk about regarding this book. Probably because I have arguments! LOL! Sigh.

So it's about a girl who made big plans with her cousin that is the same age as her. But they grow apart when she (our girl Mari) decides to do different things with her life. And then when her cousin dies suddenly, Mari feels like her own life is meaningless and she decides to fulfill a big dream of her cousin's, namely, hiking the John Muir trail from Yosemite to Mount Whitney.

So, it's great as far as our girl finding herself and becoming more fulfilled and happy. She felt her life before was fake, but in hiking this trail she grounds herself again. I enjoyed the parts where she finds friends and there is interaction and etc. But the introspection parts when she is alone and just staring at a beautiful view and suddenly life is great.. I just... I mean.. I get that beautiful views and hiking can make people feel good, but...

My problems happen when I think that people think that there are certain activities more worthy than others. And hiking is one of them. WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT HIKING?????? Why can't a person find themselves and feel fulfilled oh, say, sitting in front of a computer blogging about books and discussing the love of books with others? Just for starters...

I guess people feel like getting OUTSIDE and doing something PHYSICAL trumps pretty much every other endeavor out there. I see it all the time and I always want to argue about it.

So in my mind, I think the fact that she fulfills the dream of her cousin by doing the hike is cool. But the fact that she has to dump her entire other life in order to do it, is stupid. She can do both. She can do her creative instagramming without being fake. She can hike AND youtube... both. Know what I mean?

Also, is it realistic that she can at the drop of a hat, just up and do this hike?  And she doesn't even call her mom and say what she's up to?  Like I found that to be so maddening. Every now and then she was like... oh man, I should call my mom. But.... I really don't feel like it now... so... maybe later. Let me just keep going on this 200 plus mile hike that's going to take many weeks that I just ran out the door to do without telling anyone and... I'll call later. UGH!!!

Okay. I ranted. It happened. I hope you enjoyed it.

Meanwhile, I guess we all need to get out and hike or something. And then life will be so much better! But ALSO, let's not be fake in what ever endeavor we DO end up doing, right? Let's embrace it and be REAL and just enjoy life no matter what we choose to do.




Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2018 Year End Number Crunch

Here is my reading by the numbers. Also a little about the kdrama and youtubing too. 

READING STATS

TOTAL BOOKS: 42
Total pages: 12,777
Total Re-reads: 1


Authors
Men: 9
Women: 33


For:
ARCS for Review: 1
Supporting Utah Authors: 8
Book Club: 5
Read Alongs: 2
Beehive Award Long List: 5
AML Middle Grade Awards: 5

From:
Library: 14
On my Kindle: 3
Bought/Owned: 22
Borrowed: 2
Audio: 1

Genres:
YA: 23
Adult: 9
Middle Grade: 8
Picture Book Fairy Tales: 2


From the YA Category:
Contemporary Realistic Fiction: 12
Fantasy: 6
Science Fiction:3
Historical Fiction: 1
Non-Fiction Memoir: 1

From the MG Category:
Contemporary Realistic Fiction: 6
Fantasy: 2

From the Adult Category:
Romance: 3 
Science Fiction Short Story: 1
Literary Fiction: 5


Star Ratings:
5 stars: 8
4 stars: 21
3 stars: 11
2 stars: 1
1 star: 1

Observations:

  • My reading numbers were quite a bit better than last year. I reached my Goodreads goal of 40. For next year I have upped it again to 50. 
  • I still mourn the passing of classics from my reading.
  • Also fantasy. But I did manage a bit of that again this year!
  • I was happy to read an ARC again! That was like a blast from the past...
  • I think I gave my first 1 star review. Y'all should be proud.
  • I feel like I read more on the Kindle, but that's how the numbers shook out! Maybe I can do better and make better use of that device this next year.
  • I love reading for award long lists! I read some awesome MGs this year because of that.
  • Happy that Utah authors make a pretty good appearance on my list. 
  • I have lots of things I want to read, so I will not be dropping the habit anytime soon.



KPOP/KDRAMA YOUTUBE STATS

Total Kdramas consumed: 22
5 hearts: 8
4 hearts: 11
3 hearts: 3

Total Videos Uploaded on The Kpop Konverters: 828 (up from 501 last year)
Total Uploaded in 2018:  273 (down from 339)
Almost 2,000,000 views: 1 
Over 100,000 views:  12 (up from 8)
50,000 to 100,000 views: 14 (up from 6)
10,000 to 50,000 views: 91 (up from 58)
5,000 to 10,000 views:  60 (up from 37)

Subscribers at year end: 22,632 (up from 14,518 last year) 
View count at year end: 8,729,763 (up from 4,521,990 last year)

Observations:

  • It's very fun to see the growth of the channel by comparing these numbers. I'm worried about what will happen this year. Here's hoping we don't see a huge drop in the numbers by this time next year!
  • Good thing we have that one popular video that is about to 2 million views! This is what is sustaining our channel right now! If only we could think up another video that would be so popular!

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