Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Book Review Thoughts: Finding Wild by Megan Wagner Lloyd

Book: Finding Wild by Megan Wagner Lloyd
Genre: Picture book

I've rarely done a picture book review, mostly because I've been out of that genre forever and it's not often I have a chance or opportunity to read one these days! Most awesomely I'm getting back into that now that I have a baby girl in my life again, even if I won't get to see her much. I'll be on the look out!

The other day at book club one of  our members gave us copies of this picture book that her sister has written. And so here are my thoughts!

It's a lovely story about two kids who go on a walk and discover all the cool things that are wild out in the world.

It contrasts things in nature that are both tiny and soft and fragile and those that are prickly and itchy and stingy. It makes use of all the senses and really makes a case for all the things you can experience out on a walk.

But then there's the problem of nature and wild things in a city. Is it there? Yes, of course it is!

Bottom Line: Cute story with fun colorful pictures all about nature and how it's everywhere around us.

Other Reviews:

And hopefully it will make kids want to get off that couch and go play outside. From Alternate Readality

...a delightful gift for anyone with an affinity for determined city blossoms and wide, green spaces. From Book Page

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Non-Reading Summer Activities

I haven't done a Broke and Bookish Top Ten Tuesday prompt for awhile but the list today sounded fun so here I am joining in again.

Ten Summer Activities NOT Reading

1. Driving with the windows down and blasting music. If I had a convertible, I'd be SO all over that!!

2. Going on a trips, sometimes big ones, sometimes small ones, but there needs to be an escape of some sort going on!

3. Going to plays and concerts at the outdoor theater. We've been going on and off (mostly on) for the past 25 years. It's not summer without it.

4. Watching TV, catching up on all the things!

5. Going to movies, all the summer blockbusters. Back in the day we'd do the summer kid movies every week. That was fun.

6. We don't have a beach here. And I'm not much of a swimming person, but I feel like that idea of going to the pool should be included. It's a good idea, but it was always more of a pain for me than it was fun.

7. Project time! I think of summer (at least I used to) as the time to finally finish a big project, or start a new one, or learn something new. Basically to just jump in and do that thing that you've been putting off. Do it now!

8. Conventions! This will be my new thing I think. Summer is full of conventions and I'm addicted. This year it's not happening, but next year (in addiction to Comic Con which is usually spring and fall actually) I'd love to go to both Vidcon and Kcon at the very least.

9. It's sort of about reading, but different... but going to the library's summer reading program was always a part of our summer back in the day. I miss those days actually. They always have such fun activities and get the kids motivated to make and usually keep their reading goals. Loved it.

10. Sleeping in of course. While I still have to get up on work days, the non work days are truly about sleeping in. Usually. Or I wish they were.

What stuff do you do in the summer that doesn't include reading?

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Sing Along Saturday: Summer Blasting

We're thinking about summer again over at the Sing Along Saturday meme hosted by Bookish Things and More. Here's the prompt:

Summer theme song – what song will you be blasting nonstop over the summer?

Okay, well, I'll be blasting kpop all summer, as I have done for the past six months. There is no end in sight. Everyday I'm discovering new songs to love. And while I can't think of ONE particular song that will define my summer (of course I can't!) I can think of a few that I KNOW I'll be blasting pretty much non-stop.

And since it's been awhile since I shared kpop here... (It HAS been awhile! I checked! It's been over a month, not counting the introduction of the kpop channel we started. That's A LOT of new songs I've been listening since then!)... I figured I was good to share more today in the ongoing effort to lure more friends to the fandom. Because man, we have fun over in this fandom!

Here we go.

Somehow this song has slipped under my radar and when I listened to it yesterday I was like...oh... I love this one! It will be on the blasting playlist for sure. It's called Silver Spoon by BTS:

One of our fellow kpop friends recently introduced us to this song (you can see our first reaction to it here) and since then we've been playing it non-stop. Yes, it will be on the blast list too. It's called Rocking by Teen Top:

And finally, one from my new favorite group (after Super Junior that is!) This is Eternity by VIXX, and I love love love it!

Just an example of what my summer music blast list will look (sound) like. At the end of the summer maybe I can choose just one that ended up as the theme song. Um. That will be interesting.

What songs will you be blasting this summer?

Friday, June 24, 2016

Book Review Thoughts: PS I Still Love You by Jenny Han

Book: PS I Still Love You by Jenny Han
Genre: YA contemporary

I loved the first book in this series (is there more? I don't know.. maybe it's just the twosome?) and was dying to read this one. But, having done so, I'm a little disappointed.

In the first book (my review here) Lara Jean has to face the repercussions of her love letters being mailed. As part of that, she and Peter pretend to be a couple. And then they become a real couple.

In this one, they have to deal with a situation (they are videotaped making out) and an ex girlfriend (it appears Peter is a bit of a player and that of course makes Lara Jean worry when it comes his dealings with Gen.) So their relationship is a bit rocky. And then another boy that she (well not she, but her sister) sent a love letter to in the first book appears on the scene. And he is tempting.

So when she and Peter have issues, John is just RIGHT THERE!


I wanted to love it, but I was not as smitten as I was with the first one. It was more about sex than it was about relationships. I'm getting sick of this theme. And in the end, I was over Peter and kinda sorta wanted John to make a bigger splash than he did. But having said that. Lara Jean had all her issues to sort out too, so maybe John needed/deserved someone with a few less issues.

It did redeem itself in the end with much being said about sisters and how they are pretty much your best friends. And I love their dad relationship too. Also, I appreciated the nod to Korean culture this time around much better than I did in the first book. Imagine that!

Bottom Line: Fans of the first book will enjoy it, but it was really nothing to rave about.

Other Reviews:

Final Thoughts: Jenny Han captures contemporary romance perfect - the highs and lows combined with drama, friendship, and family. If you haven't read this yet, what are you waiting for? From YA Book Nerd

It’s a book that will make you smile and think, and if you’re like and your high school years are behind you, it will give you wistful remembrance of the confusion of first love. From Ex Libris

I can’t say it blew me away as much as the first book. Nonetheless, it is still an enjoyable read, From Muggle Born

Jenny Han is the true queen of the love triangle. You say you hate love triangles? Well, read one of hers. From Alternate Readality

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Thirty Days of Books: Last Prompts!

With this post, the 30 days of books wraps up! I did it a bit randomly but I did address every prompt! What fun! And now... what will I blog about? Anyway, here's the final three prompts. Be sure to check out Jenni's blog for other responses!

Favorite title:

This one was hard for me. Most titles are pretty straight forward and nothing really that special. I scrolled through my Goodreads READ list to see what jumped out. And finally, I came to this one. I remembered that my son got this for me for Mother's Day that year and had to go to the bookstore and ask for it. "Yeah, I want a book for my mom called I Don't Want to Kill You." Awkward.

A book everyone hated but you liked:

Here's on that I'm pretty sure the whole world hates, and yet, it rips my heart and for some reason... I love that!

Your favorite book of all time:

This one as already been addressed by another prompt, but here we go again! Seriously kids... the best book ever.

And with that, we end a lovely month of bookish prompts! Thanks Jenni for the fun time!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Thirty Days of Books: Surprises and Opinions

A Character That I Relate to Most

I feel like I can relate a lot to Elinor from Sense and Sensibility. I took one of those quiz things one time and it agreed.

A Book That Changed My Opinion About Something:

I can never think of a book to answer this one. I'm sure the book exists, but it just doesn't stand out! Anyway, I decided to be (a wee bit) snarky and go with this book. Because, even though I love horses, I don't usually find them fascinating or books about them fascinating... and this book changed that idea completely around!

The Most Surprising Plot Twist or Ending:

The one that comes to mind every time this question comes up is:

Just thinking about it makes me crazy still.

The 30 days are almost move! Check out other responses at Jenni's blog!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Kdrama Review: Dramaworld

Drama: Dramaworld

Genre: Spoof
Starring: Sean Dulake, Liv Hewson
Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤

So someone here in the States had the brilliant idea to make a funny drama based on being addicted to dramas. The main girl is American and can barely function due to her addiction to Korean dramas... working while watching on her phone and etc.

Then one day she falls and is whisked into Dramaworld... a place that exists only to make sure Kdramas keep on happening! Something is amiss in this particular drama and it's now her job to make sure the main leads fall in love just like they are supposed to. If they don't, then all is lost and Dramaworld will be no more!

There's a list of rules about getting involved in the workings of a drama and of course, she proceeds to break them all.

It's a great ride, a simple story, crazy silliness and lots of fun. Meant mostly for drama addicts as there are so many inside jokes and and fitting every kdrama trope in and such. Also many cameo appearances by drama actors such as our favorite: Siwon (which literally lasts only seconds!):

This one is a breeze to watch as there are only ten episodes and each one is only 10 to 15 minutes long, if even that. They are talking both English and Korean (as you'll see from that above clip) which is a bit trippy.

Bottom Line: I found it fun, but in the end, I was a bit disappointed by it and expected it to be even more over the top silly and funny.

Here's the trailer:

Monday, June 20, 2016

Thirty Days of Books: Three More Prompts

A Favorite Book I Own

Sheesh. How to answer this one? How about a picture of a shelf where I keep some old books I've inherited from grandparents? I'm not really attached to the specific books, but to the fact that they are old and that my grandparents cherished them. Know what I mean?

A Book I Wanted to Read for a Long Time But Haven't

Oh so many!

I actually read about half of this one and then quit. Why? I'm so frustrated with this! Just finish it already!!!

A Book I Wish More People Would Read

I already addressed this one a bit when I said I wish more would read Finnikin of the Rock and that series. But also, I wish more people would read: ANYTHING by Wilkie Collins. For instance:

This book is so funny and awesome and crazy. I love it
as I love all of his books. Why is he not
more well known?

Stay tuned for more 30 days of books this week! We are wrapping this one up soon!!
Check the other responses over at Jenni Elyse's blog!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Sing Along Saturday: Dad's Songs

I should have been prepared for the the song prompt today from Bookish Things and More!

Songs you jam to with your dad!

My dad and I have enjoyed many songs together over the years. Here's a few that come to mind right off the top of my head:

When this song was popular and new I remember my dad saying he loved the guitar in it. I agreed. And we bonded over Queen! I even got the 45 record for my 13th birthday I think it was... I'm sure he had something to do with it.

Also, during that same era, my dad would take us rollerskating often. There was a song that they played at the rink that we both fell in love with. It took us awhile to figure it out what it was and after the YouTube era and I found it there, I was in heaven!! I love this song so much and it always makes me think of my dad and how we "discovered" it together back in the day.

Finally, my dad would always play classical music at night as he read the paper and I was going to sleep. My favorite was when he put on Tchaikovsky, like this one:

Sorry it's so long, but if you want to skip to the "good part" check out the spots at 6;30 to 7:00 and 12:00 to 14:00 or so.. and the end of course, which is always exciting in Tchaikovsky! Ah, dang, just listen to the whole thing!!!

Well, I guess I'll stop there even though there's so much more I could share!

Happy Father's Day!!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Summer 2016 Mini Bloggiesta To Do List

Hey everyone! We're having a Mini Bloggiesta this weekend! Here's what I hope to do:

  • update my book club page
  • catch up with archive book lists
  • pin reviews to Pinterest
  • host a Twitter chat on Sunday at 11 am Eastern (join us even if you aren't participating in Bloggiesta this time around!)
  • delete some email
  • catch up with 30 days of Books
  • schedule some posts for July perhaps
Anyway. We'll see how it goes. Hopefully I'll have a few people participating with me! We are a small group this time around!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Book Review Thoughts: I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

Book: I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
Genre: Memoir
Rating: ★★★★☆

It's a crazy story, this one about a girl who was shot in the head on her way home from school in Pakistan. But the complication of the politics of the story as made me always shy away from reading this book. But since we are discussing it tonight for book club, I managed to read it!

And yes, my prediction was correct. While fascinating for the most part, the politics of this region and all the things going on here make my head spin. It's so complicated and hard for me, a person with little or no political sense, to grasp. The culture bits are fascinating and yes, the culture is wrapped up deeply in the politics.

But mostly, while reading... I just kept thinking... BUT WHY??? WHY WHY WHY? It's so hard to understand!!!

I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Malala though and find her rise to fame (even before the incident) to be interesting. To do the things she and her father did in the face of all the crap going on over there is pretty incredible.

And then I find the fact that she survived this shooting to be even more amazing. I think she survived because she was able to get some special treatment... I think if she had just been a "normal" kid with no ties to the right people, she would have not made it. Which makes one ache for all the normal kids.

The other thing I found interesting is that I was so relieved for her and her family when after the shooting they found themselves living in England, totally free to do whatever they wanted! No more fear! But still, they weren't happy because they missed their home and culture and friends so bad. What a hard hard thing.. to be torn between the familiar on one hand and freedom on the other. I really hope this country gets it figured out soon so people can live happily ever after there once and for all. I'm not sure it's ever going to happen.

Bottom Line: Everyone should read this I think, if only to understand the fear and terror the people have to deal with in that part of the world.

Other Reviews:

I love how down to earth Malala and her father sound, yet they are making an extraordinary difference in their country. From One Librarian's Book Reviews

The way her story was told was very grounded in reality, very humble. This is one girl's story. And, yes, in some ways she is extraordinary. But in other ways she's ordinary too. From Becky's Book Reviews

...but most importantly, this is a record of a little girl's triumphing over the Taliban, and that, in my opinion, is a great read anytime. From Reading on a Rainy Day

Despite her youth, Malala is already a true hero, but her work is far from done yet. From The 3R's Blog

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Kdrama Review: Thumping Spike

Drama: Thumping Spike (you'll find this one on Also YouTube.)
Genre: Romantic comedy
Starring:  Song Jae Rim, Hwang Seung Eon
Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

I'd been seeing this one promoted heavily on DramaFever's Facebook page and finally, one day, when I couldn't stand it anymore... I clicked and started the first episode.

Come to find out these are tiny little episodes.... only 20 minutes long! So there are 20.... twenty minute episodes.. which meant I finished this cute little drama in only a couple of sittings. 

This one is about a famous volleyball player who is currently not playing due to a foot injury. An incident happens which finds her being in trouble for "beating up" this guy who happens to be on a struggling high school team. So, instead of fining her.. they decide she has to coach this team.

She rolls her eyes and thinks it's all beneath her... until of course she comes quickly attached to all the players... and especially attached to one of them in particular.

Yes, the coach (she's 24) falls for the student (he's 20 since due to some issues he had and was behind a year or so.) It makes for some pretty funny situations. 

It's a simple plot and sweet love story that I totally enjoyed! And some fun clips of awesome volleyball playing if you're into that sort of thing. A perfect little drama to squeeze in between the longer more complicated ones!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Thirty Days of Books: Random Catch Up Day!

I've fallen massively behind in the 30 Days Prompts from over at Jenni Elyse's blog. Time to catch up! But man, these are some hard and painful prompts....

A Favorite Quote from Your Favorite Book

This one comes from I Am The Messenger
which is brimming with awesome quotes.

A Book That Disappointed You

I loved The Fifth Wave and was so looking forward to its sequel, The Infinite Sea. But I was a little disappointed I must say. I am, however, going to give the third book which recently came out, a try. Here's hoping!

Favorite Book Turned Into a Movie

There are so many that I could say here! But I'm going with this one:

Favorite Romance Book

Ah so many I could list here too, but I'm going to go back a ways into my reading history and share one of my favorite historical fiction books of all time:

What an intense love story this is!

Favorite Childhood Book

Sheesh. See... these are too hard!!! How about this book that we seem to always forget about when making lists:

I picked this ugly-ish cover since it's the one I have
and grew up with!

Stay tuned for more bookish fun this month! It ain't over yet!!!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Summer 2016 Mini Bloggiesta Next Weekend!

Hey everyone! Just thought I'd let you know that we are having a mini (very mini) Bloggiesta next weekend. No mini challenges, but simply a weekend set aside to catch up on some blogging business. Come sign up if you want to join in!

Find the details and the sign up linky over on the Bloggiesta page.

Here's hoping I'll see a few of you there!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Sing Along Saturday: Let's Go to the Beach!

The prompt for our song theme today from Bookish Things and More is:


Well, of course the first thing to come to mind is The Beach Boys! (They were one of the first bands I saw in concert way back when. So much fun!)

And just for kicks, how about this one:

I don't know. What else is beach music to you?

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Introducing: The Kpop Konverters, A YouTube Channel

Time to reveal the super secret project! (Gah. Scary. Be nice!)

First, a timeline of events:

A year ago: My sister Megs and I discuss and ponder how fun it would be to do a vlog together. We
live in separate states, but love all the same things, which makes for some fun texts and hangout discussions and such. Wouldn't it be fun to take it to the next level and do a vlog (Hank and John Green style perhaps?) and do videos and let people be part of the craziness?

Would it be fun? Or stupid?

Would it be too scary? Or can we get over the fear?

What would we actually talk about? Books? Writing? Movies? Music? Mom life? Single life? Teaching life? Library life? A mix of it all?

We even practice it and then die laughing at how silly it is. And give up fast. It's just too dang too hard. .

Months pass.

Five months ago: Our lives change when we discover a new genre of TV to watch and a new genre of music to obsess over. A new culture to love and a new celebrities to add to our crush list. Our ongoing hangout chat intensifies. Then one day, the light bulb goes off. We should vlog about THIS! There's a huge community out there, a huge fandom, bigger than any fandom we've ever been part of before.

We should do it!

We should?

Yes! No? Why not? What's there to lose? (Oh so much, but nothing that matters!)

Let's just do it!

One and a half months ago: We brainstorm a name, come up with a mission statement and create a brand new YouTube channel, a Twitter account, an Instagram account and a Pinterest account. We film an intro vlog and bam... we are up and live!

But we are too scared to officially announce it to people we know in real life. We are closet YouTubers. Closet vloggers. Closet kpop crazies. (Wait, you knew about the kpop crazy bit, right? Maybe not so closet there then...)

We film and edit several other videos and upload them.

We wonder when we'll be brave enough to come out and actually share it with people other than the random weirdos on YouTube. (Sorry, but YouTube is weird.)

Two weeks ago: We upload a "non Kpopper reaction" video (making someone who is not a fan watch a kpop video and react to it.) We didn't explain to our guinea pig reactor all the expectations. He reacted in an unexpected way. We upload the video and instantly start getting hate comments and thumb downs.

We have arrived! We have ticked off the biggest and, as I said, most intense fandom I've ever known! We have no subscribers, but we are suddenly getting noticed!

The hate comments cross the line and a week later, we take down the video.

Welcome to the wonderful world of YouTubing!

And now, we really wonder when we'll be brave enough to come out!

Today: We've told a few key people. And we decide... why not tell everyone? What's the point of vlogging anyway, if you don't tell anyone? We need love from people we know!


And so I give to you:

The Kpop Konverters:
 Our mission:  To Konvert people everywhere to the world of Kpop!

Want to follow us (and especially subscribe to us)? Here are the links;

The list of videos so far:
How It All Started (Our Kpop Story)
Discoveries of the Week: May 2
Discovering Got7: Part 1
Discovering Got7: Part2
Meg's Fire Reaction
Ryn's Save Me Reaction
Suey's She Is Reaction
A Ryeowook Tribute
The Joker Meets G-Dragon
Suey and Toto's Monster Reaction
Suey and Toto's Lucky One Reaction

Coming soon:
The True Story of Megs...and How She's Always Wrong (this will be uploaded today... you don't want to miss it!)
Those English Phrases in Kpop Songs....
Discoveries of the Week: May 15
Ryn's Reaction to Ryeowook's Moves Like Jagger Performance
NonKoppers React to Fire and Dope

All we ask is that you have fun with us... laugh with us and not at us... enjoy the journey with us... perhaps give this music a chance and maybe you too will be Konverted!

(Want to see what Megs has to say about our coming out? Check out her post here! Happy SuJu Anniversary to us!)

(P.S. If anyone has any YouTube vlogging pointers... let us know. This is one hard gig to break into and completely different than the blogging community. Help. What have we done?)

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Thirty Days of Books: Favorite Guy and Favorite Girl

So this latest prompt from Jenni and her 30 Days of Books is JUST TOO HARD!!!  Otoke! What should I do? I just might have to pick a couple or three or five.

Who is your favorite male character?

Kvothe from The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss

Paraphrasing myself from this post:
He's smart, clever, romantic, bookish, musical, generous, reckless,
loyal, and beautiful.

Gilbert Blythe from Anne of Green Gables by L.M Montgomery

Everyone knows all about Gilbert and why we love him so much!

Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Quoting myself from this post:
 "I don't think there's a single other literary character that can match him in loyalty, faithfulness, steadfastness and pure courage. He is amazing. I love him with all my heart."

Who is your favorite female character?

Mia Thermopolis from The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

I just love her cooky craziness and down to earth-ness.

Laura Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Her story has always fascinated me since I was first reading.

Jo March from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

She has spunk and wit that I've always admired.
Who would you put on your list? Link up over at Jenni's!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Movie Review: Love and Friendship

Movie: Love and Friendship
Genre: Drama/Comedy
Starring: Kate Beckinsale
Rating: PG
My Rating: 1/2 a thumb up

Yeah. Well. This movie. What to say. Strange little thing.

It's based on Jane Austen's Lady Susan, a strange little book that I read a long time ago. What did I think of it then? I can't remember. I'll look. (Here's my review.) I guess I thought it was sort of intriguing, but hard to follow. In my research I've learned that is was NOT her last book ( as I thought someone had said) but actually her first book and probably she never intended for it to be published.

So. The movie. I think it followed the book quite closely, including the sudden and abrupt ending. Like... it just ended and we were all like... that's it. For reals? Jinjja? There was really no plot, or character development at all. It left me feeling very unsatisfied. It skims the surface of some interesting plot ideas, (like an abusive mother daughter relationship, an affair, a normal romance, an abnormal romance, lots of scheming, etc.) but never goes anywhere with them. People are falling in love all over the place, but we don't get to actually SEE it. It makes me crazy.

But it also left me feeling a bit slap happy since it was so so silly. There's a character who is a bit Mr. Collins like that had us rolling in aisles with his silliness. So the movie is worth it for him alone. And Kate whats-her-face is pretty good in the leading role and has some great lines, though you must be on your Jane Austen game to catch is all.

This dude makes the movie worth it.

Bottom Line: Jane Austen fans... just go... and let me know what you think. Everyone else will be like... what was the point?

Here's the trailer:

Monday, June 6, 2016

SpudToddos: Gourmet Potatoes and More!

"Some say potato, we say SpudToddo!"

For years my brother has dreamed of opening his own restaurant and today, that dream became a reality.  I've found it very inspiring watching him and his wife go on this journey. Talk about a major example of positive thinking and hard work and persistence! Impressive!

And now to see that there's a REAL LIFE RESTAURANT to show for it! We all just want to clap and cheer for them!

Well, and so here's my version of clapping and cheering... a blog post to announce their opening this very day at Jordan's Landing in West Jordan Utah.

So when you are in the area, drop by and check out their huge awesome potato bar, entrees, garbage fries, and soft drinks you can mix yourself.  There's everything from a pulled pork SpudToddo to a turkey dinner SpudToddo, to Todd's Favorite SupdToddo! They have soups and salads too. Let me just say, so far in my experience... I have yet to go home hungry!

Here's a few pictures I took the other day during their practice run:

It started getting crowded with all the family and friends
that showed up!

Get a soft drink then pump in flavors and add creamer to
create your own concoction! So fun!

Garbage Fries!

This is the pulled pork SpudToddo.

Love this saying.

Checking out the menu.

Brand new employees learning the system!
(Including sister Megs there in the center!)

My brother Todd and his wife, Petrea.
Way to go guys! We are so excited for you!

So... when you are in the mood for something a little different than the regular, go have a SpudToddo!


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