Friday, September 3, 2021

Kdrama Review: Imitation

Drama: Imitation

Genre: melodrama

Starring: Jeong Ji So, Lee Jun Young, Park Ji Yeon, Jeong Yun Ho

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤

This was a fun drama that got a lot of buzz because it stars a bunch of our favorite kpop idols playing... kpop idols. Kinda cool, yeah?

It's about a couple of different kpop groups... two boy groups and one girl group, and follows them in their journey to debuting (in the case of the girl group) and struggling (in the case one of the boy groups) and being huge and popular (in the case of the other boy group.)

It deals with a bunch of issues swirling around the industry...the competition between groups, the comradery between groups, the terrible management and manipulation by management, the struggle these idols have with dating relationships, and so on. It's heartbreaking at times.

But also really heart warming at times too. Our main dude is very popular and a bit of an angry young  man, but then he connects with the girl from the girl group and they bond and fall in love. And then he turns all sweet and soft. But the other dude from the other and already loved her, so he has to deal with that sadness.

When the drama opens, one of the guys from the popular group just up and disappears right in the middle of a performance, so we have the mystery to deal with and learn about. And that's part of the heartbreaking bits. 

Anyway, it was very fun to see boys from ATEEZ, and SF9 doing some great acting. And it was fun to fall in love with a dude named Park Yuri (he does solo stuff) and also the main dude who used to be in a group called U-Kiss back in the day. They were all great. The girls were from real live groups too... Pristin and I forget who else.


Jongho from ATEEZ and Park Yuri... so much comic relief in this drama. LOVED THEM!

But the fun thing is that these fictional bands, since they were made up of people in real bands, all did songs and performances as part of the show. I loved that. 


Our cute couple


So yeah, it was great and a lot of fun. It did get a bit slow for me in parts and I always just wanted the cute romance parts, but everything about it was quite interesting.

Here's a tiny trailer:



Here's the "popular" group SHAX with their song:

 

 Here's the "struggling" group SPARKLING with their song:

   

 The debuting girl group OMEGA 3 with their song:

 

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Book Review: Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

Book: Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

Genre: literary fiction?

Rating: ★ ★ ★ 


I don't even know how to describe this little book. It's fascinating and trippy and weird. And I totally enjoyed it!

It starts out with us meeting a dude living in some sort of palace... but this palace is huge and goes on forever. And our dude seems to be the only one living here... with the exception of some other dude who visits him now and then.

Our guy is fascinating but we can tell he is... off... somehow. He is very very immersed in this palace place and it just seems so weird. He keep meticulous records and lives off the land (the sea actually because this palace appears to be on the water) and he seems very happy and content. 

But then one day strange things start to happen, and our dude starts getting a clue that something is not right. And that's when we as readers start realizing what's really going on too.

And I really can't say much else because it would all be SPOILERS!

But guys, have you read this book? What did you think? I feel like there's something deep and symbolic about it all but I don't really know what! Anyway. Good, fast, interesting little read this one was!

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Kdrama Review: So I Married The Anti-fan

 Drama: So I Married the Anti-fan

Genre: romantic comedy

Starring: Choi Sooyoung, Choi Taejoon, Chansung

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤



This one sounded stupid at first, but then I saw everyone raving about it and then it sounded just the sort of fluffy and fun that I enjoy, and yep, it was! Totally fun!

The premise is we have our guy who is a top kpop star, and our girl, who is a reporter and they get in a clash when she sees something she isn't supposed to and it makes him crazy. Their conflict is captured and now it's a big news story. His people think it would make a  great publicity stunt, and so they come up with the idea to make a reality show pairing them together. They can't stand each other and this sounds painful to them, but both of them are talked into it.

And so the show (within the show) begins. And also the romance. Which is very lovely! And suddenly we see that this dude who seemed gruff and unapproachable at first, is actually really sweet and nice. Of course he is!

It was awesome. So much great banter and funny moments. And then swoony moments. 

However, I didn't enjoy the side story of his two friends... one of them who manages the other of them in the kpop business...and yet doesn't seem to be helping her debut as a kpop star at all. Anyway, that story included a lot of emotional abuse and it wasn't not fun. And the resolution of that story was just weird and unsatisfactory for me. Just weird.

And Chansung from 2PM played this part and dang but he seems to always have these obnoxious boy parts! Can't he be the sweet charming main lead some day? Here's hoping!

But despite that, I did truly enjoy it. A fun crazy romance for sure!


Here's a trailer:




And that song that Taejoon actually sings himself:



Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Book Review: Somewhere Only We Know by Maureen Goo

 Book: Somewhere Only We Know by Maureen Goo

Genre: YA romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ 


I wanted to read this one because I heard it was going to be a Netflix movie, and you know I'm going to be curious about this one given it's topic! 

So in this one we have a kpop star... who is the girl this time. And a dude who is suffering the summer as an intern at his dad's bank in Hong Kong. They are both Korean  American's from California, and both living these interesting lives abroad. Our girl loves being a very famous star, but she is feeling strange about it lately... and needs to figure out what's wrong. How to change things up a bit, etc. 

So one night when she sneaks out of her hotel to find a hamburger (she is starving because they never let her eat) and she is under the influence of her sleeping pills... she ends up stumbling upon our dude. Who basically rescues her because she can barely function. Of course he thinks she is drunk. 

He doesn't know where she lives so she ends up spend the night at his apartment. And when the morning comes and they can think clearly again... she knows she should go back... but he wants to make use of her. Because in the meantime,  he has found out who she is and he has aspirations to become a top "journalist" (aka. paparazzi) and this would be his big break. So somehow, he convinces her to spend the day with him. She needs the escape and he needs the story.

Well... and so then we go around Hong Kong on a grand adventure! And now I wish I could visit someday! (Ha, like travel will ever happen again, eh?)

So this ended up being a fun romp and cute romance. Lots of disses to the kpop business as usual. It's a rough business I guess and deserves the criticism, but sometimes I get tired of that, you know? But this one is good because she figures out how to buck the system a bit. So in other words... happy ending. 

Anyway, for those of us that are kpop fans, this is another fun take on that craze. And I'm really quite enjoying this author. I have another one of hers on the stack to read soon. So we'll see if the enjoyment continues. 


Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Book Review: They Called Us Enemy by George Takei

 Book: They Called Us Enemy by George Takei

Genre: Graphic memoir

Rating: ★ ★ ★ 

This was the other book we read last month for book club. (If you've been paying attention, we've been reading two books per month through the summer. It's been an interesting endeavor!)  I found it to be very interesting in learning about what happened to George Takei's family during World War II and how they ended up in the interment camps. 

It's a great look from a young boy's point of view. He didn't understand a whole lot of what was going on, but he sure did feel the pain from his parents. He makes a big deal about the fact that he really questioned his father later on... and wanted answers to why they did what they did and suffered what they did.

But as a young boy, he adapted well and the whole experience was quite an adventure actually. And it turned out they felt very safe in these camps and built up quite the life for themselves. That was one of the most interesting parts to me... that once they were freed and let out to go about their lives again... that was almost a worse adjustment than going in. And they felt very afraid of everyone. 

But yeah. It's so depressing the way we all have treated each other over the years. And so scary that this sort of thing very well could happen again. I'm glad George Takei has taken this experience and made it sort of his life's campaign.

Anyway, another great book and story that I never would  have read except for book club! I love that!

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Kdrama Review: Doom at Your Service

Drama: Doom at Your Service

Genre: Romantic comedy/fantasy

Starring: Seo In Guk, Park Bo Young, Kang Tae Oh, Lee Soo Hyuk, Dawon

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤


So when I saw that my favorite Seo In Guk would be in a new drama, I was all in. Of course! And then Tae Oh is in it too? And Dawon from SF9? And then Lee Soo Hyuk who I thought was new to me but I'd actually seen him before..??? And to top it all off, my favorite girl actor too? Of COURSE I'm going to watch it!

Interesting premise this one is. Our girl is diagnosed within the very first minutes of the drama with a terminal brain tumor. And she goes on to have an even crappier day from there! And at the end of this crappy day, she is angry and upset as is expected and she yells into the void... "I wish doom upon this WHOLE WORLD!"

Well, little did she know that Doom himself heard the call. And before she knows it, he is knocking at her door and when she opens it, he says with that perfect classic Seo In Guk smile... "Hi. Doom.. at your service."

Yep...that's how it starts!

Turns out they end up in a sort of weird contract (I'm actually bit blurry on what and why this contract) And now she is all, what the heck have I done? And he is all, sorry girl, you can't get out it now. And things just get worse for her really. And she has to make a very very hard decision.

Adorable Seo In Guk and Park Bo Young

Man the banter between these two is so perfect. And our boy Doom is so so swagger-y and like he is NOT going to be fazed or touched by anything. But of course he is and he ends up being WAY more human than not. 

And there's a girl who seems to be directing everything. The symbolism in this drama is off the charts and it might make one crazy trying to figure it all out,  but I just didn't worry about trying and enjoyed the story.


You should watch this drama if only to hear this guy's voice.
Lee Soo Hyuk

I love his smile.
Kang Tae Oh

There's also a second side story with the friends our our leads that made it seem like two different dramas going on here. Like not sure what any of that had to do with anything, but it made so our swoony second lead boys could have a love story too. And they were good and I enjoyed it even tough I didn't quite get it. And it was a bit frustrating.

And Dawon? Boy... he can act! WAH.. he's so good as our female lead's little brother. He is absolutely adorable. I just have no words. So good.


And all the heart eyes for Dawon!

Anyway, it was very touch and go and how this one might end. I was very nervous. But I will give you this much of a spoiler for those who also might worry... don't be nervous. JUST WATCH IT!!


Here's a really quick trailer:


And of course this one has amazing music. Here's an example:



Monday, July 12, 2021

Book Review: You're My Star (An Idol in Love Book 7) by Trish Milburn

Book: You're My Star (An Idol in Love Book 7) by Trish Milburn

Genre: Kpop romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ 


While this book is still considered in the "An Idol in Love" series, it feels like a first book because we are leaving our familiar band behind and learning about a new band. Which, actually FEELS familiar because this is what we kpop people do, learn new bands over and over and over again... and continuously add to our list of bands we love. So if we do it for real bands, we can do it for fictional ones!

We have slightly met this band before because they have had some appearances and mentions in the other books. But it's their turn to have their own stories now. They are called Sky High and they are in what I feel like is a bigger company and for sure a company that is much less lenient then the company our SBG boys are in. 

So if these boys all start falling in love, who knows what's going to happen!

In this first book we meet Hoon just as he's coming home from a personal event and he gets mobbed at the airport. It appears someone has leaked his information and the fans have swarmed. Turns out they think our girl, who works for the company as the person who coordinates the band's travel, is the culprit. But of course, we know she is not.

And Hoon is really bothered that she is getting blamed and begins to take steps to help her clear her name. And in so doing.. .well... it happens. He suddenly sees her in a different light than someone who just books their travel. 

And it goes from there!

I continue to thoroughly enjoy these books. Thanks Trish for such a fun series! I love seeing all the different ways that these pretend kpop idols are falling in love and imaging our real guys maybe doing the same thing!





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