Sunday, September 3, 2023

Reading Recap August 2023

 It was a pretty great reading month. For me anyway! Here's what my list looked liked (and for a video version of this click here):

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin:
I'd heard to much about this one so it was awesome to finally read it. It's basically 20 or so years in the life of these two friends who end up writing a computer game together and starting a gaming company back when gaming was fairly new. It is very character driven and I was totally invested in their lives and what was going to happen to them. Great story! Five stars on Goodreads!

My Contrary Mary by Cynthia Hand, Brodie Ashton and Jodie Meadows:
I read this one for August's book club book, another in the sort of alternate reality history recreations these authors do of Jane's and Mary's! This one is about Mary Queen of Scots and how she is fighting for her throne. I enjoyed it but it's not my favorite sort of thing. I'm giving it 3 stars on Goodreads.

Beyond the Story by BTS:
This is a big beautiful book detailing the events (including all the albums and songs and awards and etc) of the kpop group BTS from when they debuted in June 2013 to now, these ten years later. Lots of fun interesting tidbits and QR codes throughout leading you to the MVs and/or performances that are mentioned in the book. I really enjoyed it and am giving 4 stars on Goodreads.

All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir:
This is the sad story of our boy who's mother as just died and he is struggling to keep her motel business afloat since he's dad is an alcholoic and is no help at all. And our girl how just wants SO BAD to go to college but the uncle who raised her refuses to allow it. And all their even more crazy backstories, and struggles they have. It deals with hard subjects, and is heart wrenching but beautifully written. It's getting 5 stars on Goodreads.

Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang:
I picked this one up randomly and read it in one afternoon and loved it. The author follows the basketball team from the school where he teaches has they strive to take the state championship. In the journey, we learn the backstories of the players, and the coaches, and fun interesting history about basketball. It was awesome. I loved it and am giving it 5 stars on Goodreads.

Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher:
This is our September book club book in observance of Banned Books Week/Month, about a dude who falls in love with a girl who happens to be transgender. The story is about what he does when he learns this secret. And also opens our eyes to the struggles of a transgender person. Another heart wrenching but fantastic story. I'm giving it 4 stars on Goodreads.

Better Than the Movies by Lynn Painter:
A fun fabulous YA enemies to lovers romcom. It has all the things! Movie and music references. Playlists. Two great leading guys. Lots of funny scenes and perfect romance. Such fun! It's getting 4 stars on Goodreads.

September's Plans:

  • work on some prompts from the challenges
  • do a "forced phase" on sourdough bread baking
  • maybe read some more banned/challenged books
It's going to be a great new month of reading! How did your August go? I hope you are loving all the books you're reading!

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Ten Alien Books I've Read and Five I Want to Read

Did you see the video where I talked about aliens? LOL. You've heard they are real, right? Yes. And so we better read up on them!

Here are the ten books I listed in the video that I've read and enjoyed/loved:

The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancy
Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu
The Host by Stephanie Meyer
I am Number Four by Pitticus Lore
These Broken Stars by Aimee Kaufmann and Meagan Spooner
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

And these five I've added to my list to read. Hopefully sooner than later!

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout
To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolinli
Skyward by Brandon Sanderson
Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews
Contact by Carl Sagan

What alien books have you read and loved?

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Kpop Survival / Competition Shows Spring 2023

My kdrama watching this past spring was taken over by kpop survival shows. This where a bunch of guys compete to survive at the end and thus be in a new kpop group formed with the winners. Many of the current popular groups were formed in a such a way. I've only watched a handful of them in real time, and a few way after the fact, because they are PAINFUL to watch. Highly emotional and manipulative and "evilly edited" as we love to say. 

But on the other hand, they are awesome. Because there's always amazing performances, and you get to see the boys working SO HARD to achieve their dream, and there's just something about that that is absolutely mesmerizing. And the interaction between the boys is always fun, not competitive, but friendly and encouraging with tons of bonds being made.

And of course you fall in love with every single one of them and want them all to debut (ie. make into a group and start promoting.) So it's fun to watch, and it's painful to watch, all at the same time. It makes for great TV.

So I watched two such shows these past couple of months. Let me tell you about them.


This one was highly produced with an amazing set and resources. It started with about 100 boys, divided into two teams... Korean kids and Global kids (everyone else not from Korea.) It was annoying for us that they were pitted against each other at first, seeing that in the end, one group would be made from them. And it's always cool to have a group made up from members all over the world. Anyway. That's how it started and it was quickly narrowed down by half. Then they had several missions to accomplish, always so fun to see what they come up with for them to do. And every mission, the boys would be randomly (ish) divided into different teams each time. After several episodes of this, it was pretty apparent which boys would rise to the top. Each week we learn their rankings to see who made it that week, until the final episode when we see who made it into the final group of the top nine boys. It's seriously so intense. 

I had my favorite that I voted for... mostly because I knew him from a previous show and he barely lost that one and I felt like he had talent and charisma up the wazoo and NEEDED to be in a group NOW. That boy is Gunwook and he is only like 17 years old, but he was ready. Did he make it? SPOILER: YES HE DID! I was so surprised because he was in and out of that top list the whole show. Click here to see his fun reaction to making it. I could watch it over and over.

Park Gunwook


Anyway, the boys that made it are all awesome and their new group is called ZEROBASEONE or ZB1 for short and they already had their debut song come out. It's adorable. And yes, several global kids made it in, yay for that!

Already we are hearing about two groups that will have boys who didn't make it into ZB1. So obviously I'll be keeping my eye on them too. That's the other crazy thing about watching a survival show, you get invested in not only the group that wins, but all the groups that spin off from it! (Those groups have the very unique names of TIOT and BLIT. Look for them! LOL!) 

Also, if you are curious what it looks like for 100 boys to be in a music video.. here's the performance they ALL did before anyone was eliminated. Though the boys with the higher rank were at the top of this thing, and the boys with the lower were on the floor. It broke my heart! Also, the boys with blue are Korean and the boys with pink are the Global kids. Just in case you were curious!


Just as Boys Planet was ending, this one started. I wasn't going to watch, but I was drawn in by my number one pick dude for this one, another boy I'd seen on a previous show where he didn't make it. He's so sweet and shy and adorable, but changes to be fierce and powerful on stage. It's the best. Also, I was drawn in by the four judges/producers of this one... some great icons in the kpop industry. They were fun to watch too. This particular show, though, seemed a lot lower budget and had less talented boys than Boys Planet.

Yu Junwon

Fantasy Boys

At least that's what I thought at first... until we got more towards the end and the cream of the crop rose to the top and boy.. they were all amazing too. The top 12 boys who made it the end will be in group and unfortunately, they are keeping the name Fantasy Boys. Geez. And my boy Junwon, made it to the number position. Way to go dude!  There was another one I was really rooting for, but alas, he just barely didn't make it. And there are several boys that made it who are VERY young. I hope they can deal with what comes next, because it only gets harder.

These guys haven't debuted yet, but I'll watching to see what they come up with. Here's a song they did for the show though that they later made this mv for:

And then there was:


This show was a bit different in that it was a competition between groups. Some old established groups that have fallen from the spotlight, some groups that had broken up but decided to get together for this show, some groups that have been doing okay, but wanted a nice push, some very new groups that no one knows, and some groups that hadn't even debuted yet. So the range in age and experience was HUGE. They also put together group made up of a bunch of solo boys from various groups. 

The premise was that each group would have a different name for the shows, corresponding to the 24 hours in the day. And  their true identity would be "hidden" until they were dropped from the show. (Of course we all knew who they were the whole time, cheering on our favorites and adding a ton of new favorites to our lists.) The winning groups would get a ton of promotional help, a concert in Korea, and then the top group gets tons of money, an album produced, and a world tour. It was a great incentive for all these groups who were struggling in some sort of way.

There was huge panel of judges all from famous popular groups, and many producers and etc. They were awesome and so much fun to watch too.

This show was AMAZING! I loved it so much and hope they do it again sometime with a whole pile of new groups. The positive feeling and the love and encouragement they all showed each other was great. They competed as their own groups, but then were divided several times into random different groups so they all had to get to know each other and work together and cheer each other on. We were able to vote for our favorite teams and also our favorite individuals. (Man that was hard.) 

And the performances were so phenomenal. Here are two that really stood out. This is one of the randomly assigned groups for the dance competition:

And there's one from the randomly assigned groups for the vocal competition:


And the winning team? 


VANNER! They even actually came to my podunk city for a concert last year and I was out of town and couldn't go! And they only had like 50 people at all their concerts in all the cities, and they were struggling financially, paying for everything out their own pockets.


Their story is crazy good and it was PERFECT that they won this thing. Now they are popular and everyone loves them! I had several other favorite groups on this show and was sad for those that didn't make it, but so happy for the 6 groups who won in the end. And hopefully the ones that didn't make it got a ton of positive exposure. Anyway, it was so fun and like I said, let's do that again!

(I must say I'm pretty sure even if you aren't into kpop music and such, you'd still get into these shows. If you are one that feels like there's nothing good watch these days, you should seriously try this.)

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Kdrama Review: Crash Course in Romance

Drama: Crash Course in Romance (on Netflix)

Genre: Romcom

Starring: Jung Kyoungho, Jeon Doyeon

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Yeah, I'm so behind in talking about what I've been watching but I'll go ahead and attempt to catch up! 

This one is about a dude who is a very famous math tutor. He helps kids in the after hours (Korean kids go to academy's after school to help them get even better grades) with math and the daughter of our female main lead is DYING to get in. And she does get in, but then she is sabotaged by the mean moms in the neighborhood and is promptly kicked out. 

So... the dude starts coming around to their house to tutor her, because he feels bad about what happened. AND because their restaurant is the only place he can actually eat. Because he is extremely depressed and lonely, and is going to not make it if he doesn't figure out how to eat. So in he tutors, in exchange for food.

And then falls in love with the mom. Which is INSANE because she is SO NOT his type!

There's a lot of funny moments and sweet moments and sad moments. There's a cute side story with the daughter and her boyfriend, and the backstory of what our dude has had to deal with. I really enjoyed it! 

Here's a quick trailer:

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Reading Recap June and July 2023

 My crazy couple of months are over and it's time to get caught up on all the things! This blog being one of them! I am absolutely convinced no one is coming round here much anymore. But I still feel the need to keep track of the books I'm reading here for myself at least, if no one else! So that being said, here's what I read these past couple of months!


Mysteries of Thorn Manor by Margaret Rogerson: This is a cute little novella that is a sort of sequel or companion story to A Sorcery of Thorns. In this story we have our two characters together now, but they aren't making the commitment that the magical house wants them to, so the house turns on them. And they have to figure out what to do (commit, lol!) to stop the curse. It's pretty funny and silly and a perfect little read for fans of this series. I waited for quite awhile on Libby to get my turn with it! I gave it four stars on Goodreads.

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus: What a lot of buzz this book has had! We read it for June's book club (not many people came to discuss though so that was sad.) It's about a girl who goes to school to become a scientist, but being a woman in the 50s and 60s makes it very hard for her to fulfil her dream. And she gets thwarted at every turn. It's an interesting commentary on woman's rights and equality and all that. I enjoyed it a lot, but felt it also talked down to women who choose to be moms. I wish that all women could be supportive of each other, bottom line. I gave this one five stars on Goodreads.

Not Here to Stay Friends by Kaitlyn Hill: This is a cute YA romcom about a girl who goes to visit her friend in LA and ends up on a dating reality show that the boy is working at behind the scenes. She's supposed to fall in love with the star of the show, but of course she ends up falling for her dude and long time friend! It's fun if you love reality shows and the friends to lovers trope. I gave it four stars on Goodreads. 

Spare by Prince Harry: Whew, but this one is hard to get a hold of unless you just buy it! I finally finished it in June after reading the first half in like April. And I really enjoyed hearing all these stories from his point of view, and the behind the scenes of being a royal in Great Britain. I ended up a bit weeping over the relationship with his brother and also his heartfelt stories of the birth of his kids. I find it fascinating that he tends to polarize so many and you either love him or hate him. I feel like most people hate him though. It's crazy. But I loved this reading experience and gave it five stars on Goodreads.


The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune: I read this one to have a cute fun heartwarming reading experience, and it fit the bill, though it was a very different sort of heart warming. It's about a dude who works for a company that keeps track of "magical youth" and he has to go to this house to make a report on what's going on there. He ends up falling in love with everyone and making a complete and total life change. It's lovely. I gave it four stars on Goodreads.

Borrow My Heart by Kasie West: This is the latest release from one of my favorite authors. I think I've read every one of her books and have bought most of them. Anyway, in this latest cute YA romcom, we have our girl who steps in when she see this guy waiting for an online meetup to happen, and it appears he is getting stood up. She pretends to be the girl and it goes from there! Much of it is set in a pet shelter and there's a great dog character for those who love that sort of thing. Cute fun fluff all around! I gave it three stars on Goodreads.

Once Upon a K-prom by Kat Cho: I read this one as part of a Booktube read along for "Ktropeathon". It's another in the latest craze of kpop romance (remember when that was a new thing and now they are everywhere!) In this one we have these two kids who were close childhood friends, but then the boy moves to Korea and ends up becoming a very famous kpop star. But he promised to come back to take our girl to prom. So he shows up on her door and asks her, and she turns him down. And it goes from there. There's a lot about the struggles of kpop stars and some fun profiles for this pretend band that makes them seem so real and friend with real life kpop stars. I enjoyed it, but I didn't love the dude as much as I have some other kpop romance and gave it three stars on Goodreads.

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner: I've been meaning to read this one for ever, but I saved it for July to be my memoir of choice for our traditional "memoir month" for book club. I found it be a poignant sad story, about the author's mom dying of cancer and how she hopes to keep her  memory alive by learning how to cook some of the traditional Korean dishes that they've shared over the years. There is A LOT of talk about Korean food, which I would like most people would find boring, but somehow they must not since this has been a bestseller for years! I really enjoyed it and gave it four stars on Goodreads.

Plans for August

  • Finish Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow
  • Finish the BTS memoir: Beyond the Story
  • Read My Contrary Mary for book club
  • Work on my TBR stack of books I've bought recently
  • Remember that Oathbringer project? LOL!

Thursday, June 8, 2023

New Instagram Account

So I finally gave into something I've been pondering for quite awhile now, and that is creating an Instagram account just for the bookish things. Up till now I've just combined my personal with the bookish stuff, but I'm finding that harder and harder to do for many reasons, so... I have succumbed! 

Anyway, this account will be all the things I'm reading, the writing things I'm working on, and another place for booktube post promotion. If you are interested in following those things find me @SueysBooks there. 

As is probably pretty obvious, I'm blogging less and less and less and finding more bookish type connection in other places (something I have felt happening for years now) and I've been fighting the migration forever, but it just seems like the blog spaces are truly not the thing anymore. It makes me SO sad!

That's not to say I won't ever be here, because I still need the visual for my own records of what I'm reading and etc. And I might just need a venting place now and then. But I'm going to try and not feel so bad/guilty for being so scarce around here, and concentrate in building up the other spots. Instagram has always been a bit of a mystery to me so this good get interesting! 

Anyway, just anyone still reading this knows what's going on and where you find me (especially other than YouTube and/or Twitter which I think many people aren't fond of either!) 

Let me know if you are active on Instagram too and I will follow you also!

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Reading Recap May 2023


My big goal for May was to participate in the online Asian Readathon. I read five books and three of them were for this readathon. Here's my list:

The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave: This was a suspense/mystery book we read for the in person book club in May. Our girl in this story is fairly newly married to this dude, when he up and disappears. His last message to her was "protect her"... meaning his 16 year old daughter. So now they together, our girl and the daughter, try to remember any tiny little thing that can point to what's going on. They end up going off to learn more and investigate, and find out the truth behind their dad/husband. I enjoyed the reading experience, but didn't totally LOVE the story. It was.. .you know... okay. But not quite as heart pounding as I'd hoped it would be. I gave it three stars on Goodreads.

Shining a Light: Celebrating 40 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Who Changed the World by Veeda Bybee: This the book launch I went to a month or two ago at the local library. So I decided it was a perfect lead into to AAPI month and the Asian Readathon. It's a middle grade non fiction about 40 famous AAPI people, each one with a page about their life, and a real cool illustration. It starts with someone back in the 1800s and goes up until present today. So many awesome people! I really loved it and gave it five stars on Goodreads.

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh: This is a fun YA fantasy based on the Korean fairy/folk tale "The Bride of the Water God". In this world, they sacrifice a girl to the water god every year, and this year our girl jumps in to save the girl that her brother loves, who is meant to be the sacrifice. And in so doing, she ends up in the realm of the water god and finds out  his under a curse that she now needs to break. It's a beautiful magical story that I totally enjoyed. I gave it four stars on Goodreads.

The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu: What a crazy hard core science fiction story this one is! We have a girl who lives a crazy hard violent life until she finally ends up at some mysterious research facility where... who knows what's really going on there! And later, a dude who starts playing a VR game called "Three Body" where when he goes in he sees the end of several eras of civilizations because they have a problem, which is three suns whose orbits they can't predict. It really is quite the problem. In the meantime he makes friends with the first girl (now a very old lady of 60!) and learns the truth behind what she was doing in the research place. And it's all a bit mind boggling, but fascinating at the same time. There's more... there're sequels! AHHH!!!! I gave this one four stars on Goodreads.

Still Mine by Elizabeth Vernon Taylor: My friend published this short book about her experience having a still born daughter in 2012. It's simply and beautifully told and as expected, is so very heart wrenching and quite the tear jerker. I loved learning more about Elizabeth and what she's been through, and what so many moms and families have been through.  

So all in all, it's been a pretty good reading month, with books that ranged quite all over the place! I had hoped to read more Asian type books, but I guess I'll save those for another day. For the video version of this monthly recap click here!

Plans for June:

  • Read fun and easy fluff books! aka beach reads?
  • Read Lessons in Chemistry for book club
  • Read some books I've been buying lately.
  • Hopefully read a book for Pride Month. 
  • Keep working on Oathbringer (I did get a couple of chapters read in that one in May!)


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