Monday, June 7, 2021

Kdrama Review: Hello Me

Drama: Hello Me (on Netfllix)

Genre: Melodrama, light romance

Starring: Choi Kang-hee, Lee Re, Kim Young-kwang

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤


I watched this one based on a recommendation someone sent me when I was lamenting a kdrama slump. So I didn't go in knowing anything, or watching because of a certain actor. Which is kind a weird, lol. 

But it's a really fun premise in that our main girl lead is having a crappy life and everything is looking so so down. And suddenly, she wakes up and there's this girl who looks just like she did when she was 17... 20 years ago. And it turns it this girl IS her from the past!

So she has to take care of her until they figure out how to get her back to her timeline. In the meantime, the young her is disgusted to find out how her life turns out and the old her is upset and ashamed, but also determined to fix things. The young her has such a spunk for life that it rubs off and soon our main girl is doing a ton better.

Of course there's an incident that happened that made this character change. And the younger version doesn't know... yet.. .what that is. 

That's basically it. And it makes one think... what would your younger self think if they could see your life now (assuming you are old like me). My younger self would be absolutely aghast at how some things have turned out. And surprised and perhaps even proud about lots of stuff too. It would be interesting if we met each other. I think we are totally different people now and it would really be weird. 


Anyway. There's a cute boy in this one too...and he really likes our girl... but they barely even hold hands. Nary a kiss in sight! WAH. So sad...

And there's an actor whose storyline takes a weird turn into the whole "bullying from your past" issue that seems to be a thing these days. Weird because it didn't have a whole lot to do with the story... but I guess it was something they wanted to address.



Anyway, cute drama. It made me weepy in parts.. .just the relationship between these two characters. Also, the relationship the dude has with his dad. It's all quite powerful.

A very quick trailer:

 

 Here's my favorite song from the drama...shown with the sad weepy bits:

   


 And here's the fun song shown with the cute and fun bits:

 

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Reading Recap: April and May 2021

 

A stormy sunset at the farm in Idaho in mid May.



Man, I got behind and never did a recap of the books read for April... so here you have both April and May combined. It will look like an awesome list that way! 


April's Books:

My Life as a Potato by Arianne Costner: cute story about a kid who ends up as his school's potato mascot

What Stars are Made of by Sarah Allen: our girl wants to get her favorite scientist listed in her textbook

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik: a very lose, but wonderful, retelling of Rumpelstiltskin 

Moment of Truth by Kasie West: our girl is bugged by a masked dude who crashes her swim meet and decides she must find out who he is

Hearts in Harmony by Trish Milburn: the last two guys in this lovely fictional band finally find love like all the members have done in the previous books

Favorite this month: My Life as a Potato and Spinning Silver

May's Books:

What I Like About You by Marisa Kanter: cute story of a blogger who is in love with a guy who so knows both online and in real life, but he only knows her as the blogger and thinks the real life her is someone different.

The Toll by Neal Shusterman: third book in the Scythe trilogy where everything finally comes to a crazy climax

To Best the Boys by Mary Weber: when our girl decides to join a contest previously meant only for boys

Favorite this month: What I Like About You


Goals for June:

* We have TWO books to read for book club so I'm on that one now. 

* I want to read The Silence of Bones by June Hur.

* I need to get caught up on Trish's kpop books. I just have one to read!

* There's a couple on my nightstand patiently waiting for their turn. I need to get to them too!

* I'd love to finish the book I'm writing and get it out to beta readers maybe. Wow. Did I just type that out loud? I'm soooo close though....so close. 

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Book Review: To Best the Boys by Mary Weber

Book: To Best the Boys by Mary Weber

Genre: YA Fantasy-ish

Rating: ★ ★ ★ 


It took me a minute to get into this one, but once I was fully focused I really enjoyed it. 

It's set in a sort of fantasy kingdom type world where all the boys get to compete every year in a contest where the winner gets a scholarship to college. In the first half we meet the characters and get a feel for this world... and the fact that there's a disease killing people and our heroine and her father are trying to find a cure, especially since her mom is dying from it. 

We also learn that there are two classes of people, the Uppers and the Lowers. But both can compete in this contest. 

Our girl realizes at one point the letter inviting people to compete is vague in saying that it actually has to be boys. So she gets the idea that she can join in. 

It's a sort of Hunger Games style thing where the whole town comes out in a festival type atmosphere to watch and wait to see who wins. 

Anyway, this contest doesn't start until about half way into the book, but once it starts, it's quite hard to put down! It reminded me of an escape room type game where they have to figure out how to get out, and then get out again, and again... until they finally get to the end... the reward. Our girl goes in with a bunch of her friends and some of them end up being true friends and some not. 

Man I did a terrible job of explaining that! But hopefully it intrigues your interest! I found it quite fun with many surprising twists and turns. I don't think this is the beginning of a series, but I still find myself wondering what's next for our girl (and guy!) 



Friday, June 4, 2021

Book Review: The Toll by Neal Shusterman

Book: The Toll by Neal Shusterman

Genre: YA dystopian

Rating: ★ ★ 


Wow, but it took me an entire year to read this book! I started it... got distracted by other things, and then wasn't in the mood and then finally decided to just finally get it done. It was a struggle this book. The first two books in these series moved pretty fast and were quite engaging, but this one lost me in many ways. 

The whole world just got very complicated and it actually started making me crazy... this world... where everything became so very religious and just... WEIRD. You know? And we sort of lost the deepness of the characters... they got lost in the midst of all the rhetoric of this world. 

But still the whole premise of these books fascinate me.. .and I pushed on to see what would happen. The second half of this book did finally get going a bit better for me. And the climatic ending was absolutely intense!

Anyway. A summary? Hmmm.. .how to do that without spoiling pretty much everything??

In this book we are following several different threads from the previous two:

* Grayson has become The Toll, which is the leader and god-like figure for the Tonists... the people who are speaking out against the Scythdom. And his goal is to try and get these very religious zealots to tone it down .... HAHAHAHA... a bit. 

* Rowan and Citra have been rescued from the doom they faced at the end of book 2, but are separated and face completely different realities. Rowan is still on the black list and the bad Scythe is still trying to kill him. For real. For keeps. Citra ends up in the hands of the good guys again and they are out to try and figure out how to end this  mess.

* There's a new settlement that's started on an island that is beyond the reach of the Thunderhead and they don't know why they are making this settlement, but it will become clear by the end of the book. So we are following a few different people there. 

*And we also get the POVs of some of the "bad" people and how they are very conflicted in what's going on and we are left wondering if they will turn in the end.


Whew. It's a lot people.... these books. They are very powerful and deep and thought-provoking, but hard. HARD stuff. Very violent and very disturbing. If you've read them, I'd love to know what you think of them, and what exactly we should be taking away from it. 

Neal Shusterman was supposed to come to our library pre-pandemic. He had to cancel, then the pandemic happened and he had to of course cancel again. We are left wondering now if he will try to still come. He is one of the authors on my dream meet list... and I really hope that still happens someday. I would love love love to hear him talk about what he was thinking about this series. Fascinating! Please, let it happen!

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Book Review: What I Like About You by Marisa Kanter

Book: What I Like About You by Marisa Kanter

Genre: YA Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ 


When I was exchanging book recommendations with my daughter, she suggested this one for me after I told her I loved Tweet Cute. She said this one was a lot like that one, and she was right! This is definitely another cute fun "you've got mail" plot style romance. And why not add more of these into your life, right?

This one is a about a girl who has a famous blog and twitter where she combines cupcake designs with book covers. Her two passions perfectly paired and everyone loves it. She becomes friends with other kids who also have famous online brands, but they've all never meet in real life. 

So when she moves to a small town and suddenly comes face to face with one of these dudes, the one she really connects with and quite likes a lot, she freezes. She knows who he is, but he doesn't know her, since she hasn't ever used her real name or face on anything she does. 

Anyway. They become friends in real life and continue to be friends online, and still the dude doesn't know. She knows she has to tell him, but every time she tries, something happens to make it, not happen. Of course.

And so of course we wonder what will happen when he finds out... will he be mad? Or excited? Or both?

Anyway, it's all cute and fun and crazy and I loved it. Not that I'm famous online or anything, but I related to so much in this book. Her desire to go to the big book convention (BEA anyone?) and be on a panel of bloggers... the lingo she uses to describe this life. The stress of coming up with posts and waiting for replies and responses. Just simply the love of books and the love of being creative and sharing that with the world. It's awesome. 

(The one thing I thought was weird was that she and thus I'm guessing the author, made a big deal about an issue where an author in this story wanted to make sure everyone knew her YA books were for everyone. But the kids got mad at that and said no, they are for THEM, the kids. And I was like... okay yes, but... hmmm.... not sure what was trying to be said here, but it made me bristle a little.)

Anyway. I love these kinds of books and need to fit them in between all the heavier stuff that ends up on my list too.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Kdrama Review: Hello Monster aka. I Remember You

Drama: Hello Monster (aka. I Remember You)

Genre: Suspense Crime Thriller

Starring: Seo In Guk, Jang Nara, Park Bo Gum

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤


I was in a bit of a drama slump, so decided I  need some Seo In Guk in my life again, and this was the last drama of his I hadn't yet seen, so the choice was obvious. It' called both Hello Monster, and I Remember You. And it's a bit of a heart wrenching thing. 

Our main dude comes back to Korea because of an email hinting at something he's been trying to find for years... namely, his brother. When they were kids, we learn that their dad was murdered by a very bad serial murderer dude who's path they had all crossed. (This bad dude played BRILLIANTLY by D.O. from EXO... the younger version anyway.) And the brother, who was like only 8 or something, disappeared that night. 

Now it's years later, and suddenly our guy is getting the vibe that maybe his brother is still out there somewhere. And yeah. Of course he is. Meanwhile, he ends up helping a fabulous team of cops who investigate murders, and falls for the girl on that team. Only, he is very aloof about it of course. (Ah, I wanted more swoony SIG romance moments, but this drama is not about that I guess...)




Instead, it's about this brother relationship, and once everything gets figured out.. .it's as I said, heart wrenching! This song from the drama and these clips will demonstrate well what I mean:



The brother is played by Park Bo Gum, who is another very famous and top notch actor in the kdrama world. And it was fun to see him in this role, something quite a bit different from what I've seen him do previously. Man, he is good!

Anyway, and all the side characters are fantastic so yeah. It's a good one! I just wanted more romance of course. But it has everything else for sure. 

Here's a trailer:


Saturday, May 8, 2021

Kdrama Review: Run On

Drama: Run On

Genre: romantic comedy 

Starring: Yim Si-wan, Shin Sae-kyeong, Choi Soo-young, Kang Tae-oh

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤

Wow, but I've gotten behind in my thoughts on the kdramas I'm watching. I don't even know if I can remember them enough!

Anyway, this one is about a dude who is a runner, also the son of the CEO of a rich company. But he gets in trouble when he stands up for a teammate that is getting bullied, so he finds himself on the outs with everyone. 

And our girl is a translator and their paths cross when she has to translate for him during an event (the one where he ended up getting in trouble) and from there their paths seem to keep crossing and they end up finding a lot on common with the things they are dealing with. And in fact he finds himself without a place to stay, so he ends up on her couch. Ha. Love it when that happens!

This actor was a new-to-me dude and I found him intriguing. Took me a second to get used to him, but he was awesome. The romance in this one was a bit... slower even than normal. I enjoyed the story for the most part, but was bored during some of it. 




The side character dude on the other hand is one of my favorite actors and I LOVED his character and wanted more with him all the time. He's a student painter who falls for the very cold hearted boss of the training company (where the first dude is or was working) and she falls for his paintings. But can she fall for HIM too? Will his adorable personality win? 



Anyway, bottom line a cute fun drama but not one I'm raving about as much as I sometimes do!

Here's the trailer:




And one of the songs by a favorite group named Lucy:

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