Sunday, December 31, 2017

Reading Recap July through December 2017

With Jenni at Erin Summerill's book launch for Ever the Brave

With husband, son and his friend at the Oathbringer launch.

Here's what I read the second half of the year. Better than the first but not by much. I felt like it was tons better, but most of these books were in the just the last few months, so I was deceived. The summer was pretty scarce with the reading.

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick: A girl finds out that the boy who lives with a crazy big family next to her is just exactly perfect for her.

The Paper Magician by Charlie Holmberg: A girl is apprenticed to the paper magician and she is at first disappointed, but in the end, she is okay with it, especially after she saves his life.

Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between by Jennifer Smith: A couple who's been dating for a good long while need to decide whether or not they are breaking up or staying together when they leave for college. The book is their last day/night spend together as they approach that decision.

Our Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows: An alternate look at the Lady Jane Grey story.

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson: A book filled with funny crazy essays about what it's like to live with a mental illness. (Or two or three.)

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch: A guy finds himself kidnapped and sent to another reality where his life is completely different and all he wants to do is get back to is regular boring beautiful life.

I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo: A girl uses the formula found in Kdramas to help her get the guy.

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green: A girl suffers from terrible anxiety but despite that, she falls in love with the guy who's dad has gone missing and she is helping to find him.

Gem and Dixie by Sara Zarr: Gem is sick of her parents not taking care of her or her sister so she takes matters into her own hands.

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer: A boy and girl come together through writing letters to each other.

Wild Bird by Wendelin Van Draanen: A girl gets sent to a wilderness survival program for troubled teens and learns how to change her life.

A Taste for Monsters by Matthew Kirby: A girl with a disfigured face finds refuge in a London hospital and befriends the guy there known as the Elephant Man.

Deacon Locke Went to Prom by Brian Katcher: Deacon Locke takes his grandma to prom and becomes an internet sensation.

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner: A boy has lost all his friends to a car accident and has to deal with the guilt he feels that it was his text who caused it.

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen: Through strange and magical circumstances, a young woman finally comes out of herself to start her life.

The Memory Thief by Bryce Moore: A 12 year old boy ends up getting mixed up with a couple of strange people who give and take memories.

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia: A girl who is famous online, but a recluse in her real life is faced with the problem of what to do when when she is discovered.

Favorites of the bunch:

I gave five stars to Deacon Locke Went to Prom, Letters to the Lost and Eliza and Her Monsters. They were all wonderful thought provoking complicated amazing stories.

Goals for 2017:

  • Read more.
  • Continue working on my huge overwhelming stack of books accumulated recently.
  • Read Oathbringer.
  • Read another Wheel of Time book with my son who is suddenly obsessed. 

Friday, December 22, 2017

Kdrama Review: Revolutionary Love

Drama: Revolutionary Love
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Starring: Choi Siwon, Kang So Ra, Gong Myung
Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

So I watched this one soley for the reason that Siwon was in it. His first project since coming back from the military. We loved him as the second lead in She Was Pretty, but what would he be like as the main lead?

Pretty awesome I'd say! It did start out a bit weird for me. He was over the top silly, but that's because his character was. And it was somewhat cringy. But then, as the character developed, Siwon's acting refined too. Yeah. Of course he can act in a "normal" way!

In fact by the end, he was back to his swoon worthy self in a big way! Sheesh. Boy.

So this one it about the son of a rich family who owns a food company. But the son is a good for nothing playboy type who doesn't seem even a little bit smart at all. And because of all his escapades, he sort of gets kicked out.

And that's when he runs into this girl who is just working like crazy at a gazillion different jobs just to have enough to live on. He is fascinated by this. And it's actaully refreshing to him. And he falls for her fast. And now he wants to please her. Make her proud of him.

This leads to him doing all sorts of crazy things that actually start to benefit the big food company. And his dad gets mad about it, because he's pretty much a crook. But his older brother is even worse. And now they want to stop him. Especially since he's trying to uncover all the crap they've been doing all these years.

But instead, he ends up as an intern at his own company.

And there is a the second lead, who has been his reluctant friend through it all and bales him out of everything. And this friend has also been in love with the girl for years. But never has said anything. And it's so so heart wrenching! Ah, I loved this guy! (Well, and are you surprised? Always the second male lead guys. Always. Even when Siwon is the main lead!!!)

Gong Myung as the second lead who doesn't get the girl.

Anyway. It's supposed to be a funny show and it is over the top silly at times. But there are some dark disturbing moments too. Child abuse for one. And Siwon, even though he's older now, still gets beat up by his dad. Like, all he time. It's terrible.

So, yeah. You never can tell what you are going to get with these things! In the end, I totaly enjoyed it, but there were parts that made me either roll my eyes or cringe, or look away. A strange little drama indeed.

Here's a trailer that hardly gives you a feel for it at all:

And here's the song. It's English again! What's up with that!???

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Movie Review: Wonder

Movie: Wonder
Genre: Drama
Starring: Julie Roberts, Owen Wilson, Jacob Tremblay
Rating: Two thumbs up

Whenever a well loved book is turned into a movie, it's always a scary thing. But I think this one did a great job. The kid was an amazing actor... all the kids were actually, and that makes a huge difference I think. I also really enjoyed Julia and Owen who played the parents. They are pretty much good in any movie, don't you think?

This is the story of a boy who has a face deformity. He's been homeschooled and is brilliant smart. And now his parents have decided it's time for him to face the world and go to regular school.

It's a hard thing.

But this kid has an amazingly resilient and persistent personality, and before long, he is making friends without problem. Well, wait. There are some problems and that's what this is all about. And not only his problems, but the problems of those around him. His sister. Her friend. The kids he comes in contact with.

It's one of those stories that shows that EVERYONE has a story. Even if you aren't the leading character in a crazy plot.

I love that.

It was a great movie. And so many tear jerking moments. Things like the parents watching him walk away to face the scary school. And the death of a pet. And friends making up. Simple, tear jerking things.

Yes. This is a good one. Watch it some day! If you haven't already.

Here's a trailer:

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

You Did Well Jonghyun

This is Kim Jonghyun. He is the lead singer for a Korean kpop band called SHINee. They've been singing together for ten years. They were the first kpop band we got to see live in person, in LA, in March.

He sings beautifully. He writes songs. He is a goofball. He has the biggest most contagious smile ever.

He suffered from depression. On Monday, he decided he was done. He texted his sister and said, this is my final farewell.

He wrote his friend and said, all I want is for people to say, you did well.

You did well... it's what Koreans say after they've completed a job... after they've worked together on a project, they will say to each other as they leave... you did well. Kind of like we say, good job guys.

He went to an apartment, not his, and burned charcoal on the stove. And poisoned himself with carbon monoxide.

His sister called for help. They couldn't find him. Until it was too late. He died on the way to the hospital.

And now there are four other boys who are without their lead singer. Three of those boys are also known to suffer from depression. One of them fainted when they heard the news.

And now there are millions of fans all around the world without his voice and his smile and his music.

And now there's a family without their son or their brother.

I wish he would have known how many loved him. I wish he would have been able to get help that actually helped. I wish he would have decided to call someone in that last moment instead of go through with it. I wish we could hear him sing again, live in person, in LA.

But hopefully his pain has ended. And hopefully his family and band members will heal.

We are going to miss him like crazy. He did amazing things while he was here for these short 27 years. So yes...

Jonghyun, you did well.

Our tribute to Jonghyun... pictures and gifs set to his beautiful song: End of a Day:

A year ago, singing live at a radio station. SHINee being silly and cute. One of our favorites. Jonghyun is in the black hoodie.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Movie Review: Murder on the Orient Express

Movie: Murder on the Orient Express

Starring: a ton of big names stars! But Kenneth Branagh heads things up
Rating: One thumb up :)

This was a pretty fun movie. A little silly in parts. And a bit over the top in parts. But basically what you'd expect from an Agatha Christie type mystery. We have a bunch of seemingly random passengers on this train...  and as the trip progresses, we get to know them and their weirdnesses. A bit into the trip (the scenery from the trip was the best thing about this movie! LOL!) they discover one of the passengers has been murdered.

Well, of course one of them has done it!

And it just so happens that Hercule Poirot is on the train! Only the best detective ever. Or cop. Or whatever he is. (Ah, the opening scene is really fun! I just remembered it. Nothing to do with the movie, just introducing this crazy dude!) And even though he really doesn't want to get involved, he does anyway. He can't help himself.

And he uncovers quite the story. And it turns out that... well... yeah... you'll have to just watch the movie!

It's fun. Nothing to freak about, but good fun entertainment!

Here's the trailer:

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Favorite Things 2017

So guys. In 2012 I started a tradition here on the blog to post my favorite things of the past year. Taking a clue from Oprah and such. But it appears I forgot to do one last year! WHAT WAS I THINKING? I had so many favorite things from 2016!!!

And so now this post will be things from both years... 2016 and 2017. And you know what that means right? Because what HIT ME HARD these two years???? Sigh. Let's just jump into it...

(P.S. I love looking back at past years and looking at my favorite things of 2015 just cracks me up now. Like... did I have any idea what was about to happen in my life? NONE??? Not even a clue!!! Ah, but things are so much more fun now!)

And so I give you favorite things from 2016 AND 2017:

I think number one in my list will have to be Drama Fever and Viki and V Live.... all the places were I get my Korean fix (besides YouTube of course.) Two drama sites, and one where kpop stars jump on whenever they feel like it and talk live with fans. Among other things. All three provide endless hours of entertainment...that two years later I'm not tired of yet.

And all these things make a person want to learn a new language of course. Pretty much the hardest language in the world. (I actually saw a list.. and it was listed as such... I'm not just saying it!) But there are some ways to do this... and so far the one I'm using the most is called Mango Languages. It's technically a data base that you can access from your library... and it has every thing... even Pirate!

I have love hate relationship with a YouTube Channel called 1theK... it shows pretty much every new release from the kpop world, which makes me realize there is no way to keep up. But it's a good place to see what's going on. But, I hate that they take views away from the official channels of the artists. So, there's that too. Love hate.

Sangi came and introduced us to Shin Ramyun. It's so much better than the Top Ramen stuff. Believe me on that.

I'm in love with my new (ish) phone that lets me do anything I want on it at the moment! YES!! (Well, except texting is still hard. Whatever.)

My favorite conferences and conventions of the past like Comic Con and LTUE and such have been replaced by a convention we call KCON. I feel like I'm with my people here SO MUCH MORE than any conference/convention I've been to before. It's amazing. And KCON has concerts... two of them... with dozens of bands. And more than dozens of beautiful kpop idols.

Suddenly simple beads are a favorite thing. And suddenly my wrists feel naked with out these simple cheap beads on them. It's a weird phenomenon.

Light sticks.. basically a very very expensive fancy custom flashlight.. are favorite things. Though I only own one at the moment. Maybe more are in my future.

I'm surprised this one isn't on any past lists, but Airbnb... guys. We don't travel without it anymore. Hardly do we do hotels anymore... but only Airbnb. It's awesome.

Oh, and we discovered kpop fries from a local restaurant called Bumblebees. LOVE THEM SO MUCH!!

Well, and usually I list some favorite shows/music and or people... but that's so hard to do now! (Though you can be looking for a top ten songs list coming soon!) AH!!!! There's too much! But I will just end with a few random pictures of some new favorite people since I last did this list two years ago! Enjoy!!!

Lee Jinki

Choi Minho

Kim Seokjin

Park Hyungsik

Jung Taekwoon

Lee Hyukjae and Kim Jongwoon

Super Junior

Lee Minhyuk

Park Jimin

Lee Hongbin

What are some of your favorite things of this past year?

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Book Review: The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

Book: The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
Genre: Magic realism-ish, romance-ish.. I don't know
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

This is our book club for next week. And I don't know what I was expecting, but it wasn't this! I think I thought it was a fantasy of some sort (with queen and all you know) but not really this strange magical realism thing going on. So subtle that you almost didn't even notice it!

So in this story, we have our main girl Josey, who seems to be hiding from the world. She's all about taking care of her mom and not doing one dang thing or herself. Except for hording candy and romance novels. And then this one day a visitor shows up and starts hanging out in her closet. This lady is someone she knows from the town, but not someone she really considers a friend. But this not really friend appears to need help, so what's Josey to do but help her.

Meanwhile, she (Josey) ends up talking to anther sort of acquaintance, and they do end up becoming friends. It doesn't hurt that this new girl's boyfriend (well, except she is having a bit an issue with him at the moment) is the best friend of the guy who Josey has loved for years...namely the mailman.

Well, and suddenly things start happening. And it's weird because Josey suddenly wants to start doing stuff for herself. Like go on a date with Adam (the mailman) and hang out with Chloe and let the local cab driver drive her mom around instead of her.

Really crazy things like that!

Well, it's kind of a simple story, but then we start getting all the back stories (DUDES! This book so much like a kdrama! It's just hit me!!! LOL! Back stories. Side stories. Sad stories. Quirky characters. Hints of magic. Yep... totally a kdrama kind of book.) and then you realize things aren't quite as simple as it seems. There's this strange sort of feeling going all, with all of the characters, and I started wondering, what's going to drop. SOMETHING IS ABOUT TO GO DOWN!

I loved that feeling.

And I loved the writing style. One of those sort of detached styles that grab you anyway... know what I mean? Like it's trying to not be too connected, and it fails. I love that.

I loved the character driven, relationship issues. Like there really wasn't much going on except relationship issues. Perfect.

And then the end. Of course I did NOT see it coming when the thing dropped! Even though I was looking for it. I just didn't think of that particular thing. You know? But.. I loved it.

So now... to find more of this author's books. I hear they are all pretty awesome.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Book Review: Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

Book: Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner
Genre: YA Contemporary

This is the story of Carver Briggs, who one day sent his friends a text when they were on their way to pick him up from work. The next thing he knew, he was getting notified that they'd been in a crash and all three were dead. There was a half finished text on the driver's phone... meant for him.

The is the story of Carver Briggs, who now has to deal with the guilt that his text killed his friends. The book opens up just as he is going to the last of the three funerals. That day, he has his first panic attack.

This is the story of Carver Briggs, who spends the next many months dealing with panic attacks and facing school alone, and seeing the twin sister of one of his friends glaring at him, and connecting with the girlfriend of the other friend, and hanging out with the grandma of yet the third friend.

It's the grandma of that third friend who sets into motion the goodbye days. Something that, while at first didn't seem to help, but in the end, worked. So he spent an entire day with each of the families, remembering that specific friend, doing with them what that friend would have done with them had they had the chance to have one more day.

I was worried at first about this book. It started out being a bit on the whiny side, like I was worried we would go through the WHOLE book with this boy moaning about how he felt so guilty about this accident. (And while I can see that he would feel this way, doesn't it come down ultimately to be the choice of the driver whether he looks at his phone or not? Carver sent the text, but the friend looked and tried to text back. )

So at first I wasn't sure I could handle that. But then it started to change, and we started to see Carver dealing with things. The tiny little romance with the girlfriend of one of the boys (which yes made for a very interesting conflict there!) and the connection he started to make with the other families. And the connecting he made with his therapist who made him tell stories to get through things.

So, I ended up really enjoying it after all and loving yet another main boy character. I'm a sucker for the guy points of views these days! And it ended up hopeful and sweet and happy, despite the downer of a subject.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Kdrama Review: While You Were Sleeping

Drama: While You Were Sleeping

Genre: Romantic suspense with a touch of fantasy elements
Starring: Lee Jong Suk, Suzy Bae
Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Yeah, I know you are thinking this name sounds awfully familiar!  But it has nothing to do with that movie you all know. In this story, our characters keep having dreams about all the other characters. Bad stuff (usually) that's going to happen to them. And then they have to figure out how to make the bad stuff not happen. Which is pretty tricky sometimes!

So our main guy moves in next door to our main girl. He tries to be nice at first, but she throws him off. And so he's all whatever. But then their paths cross again and then SHE decides, oh, he's not so bad after all and suddenly, she's not leaving him alone and he's all... dang, why is she always in my face!

So one day a thing happens that brings together several of our characters, the main ones and the secondary. And this sets into motion some events that over the course of the year makes life for our main girl really really bad. And it seems like the drama is going to end before it gets started.

But suddenly, our main guy is right there in HER face now and getting all mixed up in her business. But we learn that he is trying to make the above bad things not happen.

Oh my word this is making NO SENSE AT ALL is it??? AH!!!

Our guy is a brand new prosecuting attorney and over the course of the drama, we get involved in all the cases he is solving. Some of them had me screaming (literally out loud) in suspense and trauma. All of it ties together in the end. There are some great villains in this drama that have you totally squirming and on the edge of your seat. The secondary characters are perfectly quirky too and the second male lead, AS ALWAYS, is swoon worthy in his own right. Sigh. Always.

Suzy and Jong Suk
Jung Hae In plays the 2nd male lead... aka the cop that loves our main girl.

But mostly I loved the romance of course. Led by one of my most favorite of all time (I fear I say that every review, don't I... well... yeah...) leading guys. This guy is just... so... CUTE!! And great acting and... all of it. I just don't know how to say it all again. He's great. Really really great.

The end is pretty crazy, but the very very end had me let down just a touch. You know I just wanted a little more... something. I don't know what. But still, I loved this one.

And so one of our (sort of ) Super Junior boys, Henry, sings one of the main songs in this drama, and it's all English, so maybe you'll love it. It is one of the most romantic things ever. Gives me chills. Here it is set to some of the lovely, but not too spoilery, clips:

And there's a gazillion trailers for this one. Here's one of them:

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Kdrama Review: Coffee Prince

Drama: Coffee Prince
Genre: Romantic comedy
Starring: Gong Yoo, Yoon Eun Hye
Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

This is an old drama, like ten years old I think. But it's a classic and one that everyone who knows anything about kdramas, and even those who don't, talk about and rave about. I decided it was finally time I caught up and watched it!

It stars Gong Yoo (who I know from Goblin and Train to Busan, but I'm sure he's done a gazillion other things these past ten years too) and Yoon Eun Hye, who actually starred in the very first drama I watched, Lie to Me. I had no idea it was her because she is TOTALLY different in this one!

So, the basic story (because as you know there are a ton of side stories too!) is about this guy who is sort of loser, struggling in life, not really doing anything and just living off his family's riches. But his grandma challenges him to take this old run down coffee shop and make it successful. I think she is hanging something over his head to motivate him but I already totally forgot what. At any rate, he does love his grandma and I think he finally grows up enough to want to just make her happy.

And so he puts his heart into it. And hires a bunch of sort of misfit guys to run it and he calls it Coffee Prince.

But before all that, he is bugged that his grandma is setting him up on a ton of blind dates, so one day when he runs into this young dude, he takes a fancy to him and hires him to pose as his gay lover, even though, of course, he's not gay.

The problem is, this guy is not a guy, but our girl, the heroine of the story. She is very tomboyish and many people at first glance think she's a guy. So when our guy hires her to pose as his lover, she just goes along with it because she needs money to support her family.

And then they become friends and he hires her to work with the guys in the coffee shop. Still thinking she is a guy of course.

Well, and so.... she starts to like him. And much to his dismay, he starts to like her. Which is very confusing to him, because.. he's not gay.

It makes for quite the interesting conflict!

Gong Yoo and Eun Hye

And so it goes for awhile until you are just DYING for her to finally just tell him already! And then when the truth finally comes out, it's not in a good way and BAM.. everything falls apart.

Throw in all the other side stories and the back stories and you've got yourself one crazy drama filled drama! So perfectly awesome!

The best part about this one was the acting. Like these two were so totally amazing. Gong Yoo, I mean... he's just.. there are no words. He's so good. And Eun Hye? The way she could make you forget she's a girl? Like how does she do that when she's this beautiful actress? I don't get it! She was so good. I think that these guys and this drama won all sorts of awards because of them.

And it quite pushed the boundaries, you know, for this whole gay thing and gender identity and all that. And just really makes one think.

And the romance was so... cute and fun and intense. All of it.

Kim Jae Wook who is NOT Japanese but played the cool Japanese guy.

Oh wait, did I mention the Japanese guy? Well, I'm not sure if the actor is Japanese (I looked him up, he's not) but he did play a Japanese dude and he was so COOL! Like, he hardly said anything and yet you just fell in love. But when he did say stuff.. he had all the best lines! Yeah. He was also awesome.

Some cute clips with music that was not in the show:

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Book Review: Deacon Locke Went to Prom by Brian Katcher

Book: Deacon Locke Went to Prom by Brian Katcher
Genre: YA Contemporary

Wow, so this book grabbed me from the first page because I fell in love with the main dude from the opening line. This would be a great book to illustrate the use of voice to wannabe authors. Yeah, this dude, this Deacon Locke, had me from the start.

So our boy, Deacon Locke, has been living with his grandma for a few years now, since his dad basically disappeared. (I can't remember what happened to his mom at the moment, but she is not around either.) So his grandma takes him in for his high school years.

And now he's a senior and he feels like he needs to experience prom,  just to say he has. But he is too shy to do something about it. And he misses his chance.

So he decides to take his grandma to prom, since she never got to go when she was in high school because his grandpa had to go to the Vietnam war.

Sweet, eh?

And everyone in his school thought so too, so they all take out their phones to film them! That's because they've (Deacon and his grandma that is) been taking dance lessons and they are awesome!

So now this shy boy. Tall, awkward, astronomy geek and now in love with his dance teacher, becomes an internet sensation. What's a guy to do?

So stuff happens. And then other stuff happens. And Deacon becomes extremely stressed out. And how does he fix it all?

Read the book.

It's such an awesome friendship book. And relationship book, with Deacon and his grandma at the heart of it. Lots of funny moments. And sad moments. And romance moments. It has it all. I loved it.

And I've never heard of this author. I need to go read all his other stuff now.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Book Review: Wild Bird by Wendelin Van Draanen

Book: Wild Bird by Wendelin Van Draanen
Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating:★ ★ ★ ☆☆

This book is easy to sum up. It's a girl's experience being sent to a wilderness survival camp for troubled teenagers, in the middle of Utah. It's how she goes from angry and belligerent, to her normal happy (ish) self again. It was fun to see the transformation.

The book opens when her parents have finally had enough. And she finds herself on her way from California to Utah with the final destination being this camp. In real life, we have a ton of them here in Utah. It's a great place to get lost and find yourself at the same time, in the desert! I loved being able to picture the landscape and the feel of the area without any problem. Not that I've ever been lost in the desert. Or to one of  these camps for that matter. But I have been on a lot of hikes in such terrain!

Anyway. And so she fights the whole thing, until she finally decides to stop fighting. And then she ends up loving it. And then she basically doesn't really want to go home. But in all this process she realizes what an awesome family she has and how she has treated them so horribly.

And yeah. So the wilderness camp works! For this girl. And while it doesn't end totally happily ever after, and you can tell there will be bumps along the way, you have this awesome feeling of hope.

It also shows that it isn't a perfect fix for all troubled teens. There's a guy who needs to come back and try again. And I hope he makes it this time!

(Zero romance for those who wonder about that kind of thing, though there is a gorgeous Native American dude in it! YES!)

I ended up liking it a lot more than I thought I would (given the no romance factor and all). It was well written as all of her books are. I'm pretty sure I'm a fan.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Book Review: A Taste for Monsters by Matthew Kirby

Book: A Taste for Monsters by Matthew Kirby 
Genre: YA Historical-ish ghostly 
Rating: ★★★★☆

This one takes place in the rough part of England right when Jack the Ripper lets loose. Our girl, who has been disfigured working in a match factory, gets a job as the maid of a guy named Joseph Merrick, in a nearby hospital. Turns out, this guy is the famous Elephant Man. He's come to live out his days in this hospital, and the matron thinks that our girl, due to her own facial issues, will be a good match.

Turns out she is right. And they form a fast and bonding friendship. But strange things start to happen when ghosts begin appearing in his room at night. And they, together, have to help these spirits find peace.

It's a heartwarming story. I really actually quite enjoyed it. It's written in a slow methodical dry style, which at times I liked and at times made me crazy. I think young people might find it boring. Unless they enjoy a sort of old style of writing. Which they might do, you know.

But if they like these two stories, this is a fun and interesting mash up. I'm not sure it was meant to be a creepy ghost-like tale, but if so, it wasn't. Like I said, it was more heartwarming. For the most part. I mean our girl had to deal with a few other things not part of these two stories, that wasn't so heartwarming.

So yeah. An interesting historical ghost story with a some unique twists and turns. I totally enjoyed it.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

This Week (Month?) In Kpop: September/October/November

Well. SO MUCH IS GOING ON in the world of KPOP! And I haven't kept up on my idea to do these weekly/biweely posts, and so I'm going to touch on some of the highlights of the past while.


While I was on the trip, BTS had a new album come out. It's called LOVE YOURSELF "HER" and it has some really fun songs on it. DNA is the title track and I love it, but I especially love Mic Drop. Here it is:

Speaking of BTS, they arrived in LA today and they are going to be on like a bunch of talk shows here in the US (James Corden, Jimmy Kimmel, Ellen so far) and then perform at the AMAs on Sunday. WATCH THEM! YOU WILL BE BLOWN AWAY! They will perform DNA at the award show we've been told.

Anyway, this is huge for them and I hope America loves them and is nice to them and I hope they aren't corrupted by America. I hope it all goes well.


Our favorite boys, the ones that started this whole obsession, also had a new album come out last week. They look and sound amazing. Even though they are all "old" now, they still have what it takes! Here's what they look like doing their title song from their album: Black Suit:

As part of their comeback, they've been having a daily "behind the scenes" show be aired that let's have a glimpse of what it's been like for them getting this album ready. I love seeing all their personalities come out during this kind of thing. It's been so fun to fall for them all over again.


Many of our other favorite groups have also had new albums come out this past week too. Monsta X, Block B, SEVENTEEN, Astro and Wanna One.... to name a few. All their new songs are so much fun! We can't get enough of them. And just yesterday, Monsta X won their first award! YES! They cried! It was awesome!


Our Youtube channel has partnered with one of the biggest Korean entertainment companies (the one that puts on KCON, among many other things!) which means for us that we get some perks (hopefully) should we ever visit Korea, and we get some other opportunities that we otherwise wouldn't. It's been a scary thing, but we hope it's a good one in the end. Mostly we hope that when KCON rolls around again, we get to be more a part of the festivities on the front lines as we saw many other Youtubers doing last year. We'll see I guess.

Well, as I said... them's the highlights! So much is going on. It's so crazy. I just am constantly blown away by this music, this fandom, this industry... everything about it. Wow. It's a blast

Friday, November 3, 2017

Book Review: Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

Book: Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer
Genre: YA contemporary
Rating: ★★★★★

So this book made me feel like my old self again. I read it in just a couple of days and totally got caught up in the story. I dropped all my other distractions to JUST READ! It was awesome!!!

However, it reminded me a lot of a couple of other books I've recently read, the ones where the two characters are writing to each other, but they don't know who each other are. They are interacting in real life, and not necessarily liking each other. But they are falling in love through the letters. So the story itself wasn't really new, but I didn't care. I must really love this plot device.

So in this case, our girl visits her mom's grave and writes letters to her and leaves them there. Our boy is doing community service at the cemetery and discovers the letters...well the most recent one anyway. And he is moved by it.  The girl is pouring our her feelings and he just simply adds... me too, on her letter.

Well, when she sees that she freaks and gets mad and writes him a scathing letter back. Telling him he has NO RIGHT to mock her and that there's no way he can understand. Well, turns out he can because he has lost his little sister.

So they start writing. Then they start emailing... and they find a place through each other,  to pour out their guts in a safe way.

At school, there's this dude who is shunned by all the kids because he has bad reputation. He's done some "bad" things and he is now serving time by doing community service. Yeah. Our girl thinks he's scary just like everyone else, until she has a few encounters and then she finds she is drawn to him in a weird way that makes her a little freaked out.

And as she gets to know him better, she starts feeling like she's cheating on the letter writer.


Why do I love this so much? I don't know. But, these characters were awesome. So real and so lovely. The writing was just my style, whatever that means. So engaging. Deep without trying too hard.

My favorite part (besides the romance of course) is that these kids had some awesome adults in their lives. You know, how you always just assume their parents are jerks and their teachers won't give them breaks or try to understand their situations or where they are coming from? Not in this book. This book had wonderful adults who helped. And it was so refreshing.

(The dude's dad has issues, but... there's more to his story too!)

Anyway. Yeah. I devoured this one. Give me more like it!!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Book Review: Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Book: Turtles All The Way Down by John Green
Genre: YA contemporary
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆☆

It's been awhile Mr. John Green! It was fun to read this book during the readathon. I managed pretty much most of it, needing only about another hour or so the next day to finish up. Interestingly enough, it had a lot of similarities to the book I'd just finished (the kdrama one) that I kinda am now getting the stories mixed up in my head. Funny, don't you think?

Well, this one is about a girl who has severe anxiety disorder. She's quite convinced she is going to get that C.Diff infection and die, like any second now. Which makes her pretty paranoid about germs and food and whatever might be going on in her stomach. But she is coping, sort of mostly, and has an awesome friend (who sort of stole the show for me and as some of the best lines) who helps her through it.

The book starts out with her renewing a friendship with a dude she knew back in elementary school. His dad has suddenly disappeared and being from a massively wealthy family, there is a reward offered for any information about the situation. Our girl (dang what's her name again...oh right, Aza) and her friend decide to go for this reward money. In the process, sparks begin to fly with this boy that she had pretty much forgotten about.

Well. It's classic John Green in that these two have some pretty deep conversations. And the boy is pretty, introspective shall we say, and has a blog where there's a lot of.. I can't think of another word except deep... stuff on it. It makes him be an interesting character, but not too very relate-able I'd say. I don't know. It's weird because on one hand, I enjoy this deep stuff, this make you think stuff, but on the other hand, sometimes it gets annoying and too agenda-y. Know what I mean? I guess this time around, this agenda-y stuff bugged me more than it has in the past. But still, like I said, it's good stuff!

Anyway, the romance comes to a dead halt when kissing is massive problem for Aza. And then she and her friend had a falling out, which is not fun, and anyway. It turned out to be a bit of a downer, and now I can't even totally remember how it all ended up, but it wasn't the happiest of endings. Which, you know is okay, but, it just depressed me.

Yeah. So. I liked it, but I didn't love it like I have his other books. His writing is awesome and I had no problem tearing through it on readathon day. So that's something.

Have you read it yet? Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Super Junior is COMING BACK!

The group that started it all, the guys I have to blame for this whole kpop thing, is giving us new songs this week. After two years of being on hiatus while the majority of their guys do their required military service, they are finally back!

Yesterday they pre-released this awesome ballad song. Donghae (the one that starts out singing) wrote it. I haven't even really looked at the lyrics, but it's about sticking around longer than the rain. But don't worry about the lyrics.. just FEEL it. It's called One More Chance. I love it. But they look so sad in it. Well, they are obviously sad since several of them have tears streaming down their faces.

Anyway, the whole Super Junior coming back thing will be something I will have to share. So here's the first song. Be brave, click on it and enjoy:

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Book Review: I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

Book: I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo
Genre: YA contemporary romance
Rating:★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

I've had this book on my radar for quite some time being as that it features Kdramas. Then one day the librarian at work brought it to me and said, you should read this. So finally I had my chance!

It's pretty much what I expected. Goofy and fun and fluffy. It's about a Korean American girl who's Korean dad is very much into kdramas. She thinks they are silly and stupid (as most people do of course!) and never joins in his binges and marathons.

Meanwhile a new kid shows up at school and she is determined to win him over. Because he's gorgeous and intriguing and all the good stuff. But she has a problem with flirting, which is that it never works out. She fails miserably.

So one day she happens to actually pay attention to her dad's shows and ends up binging the whole drama with him and bam, she realizes.... the show has a formula she can follow to get a guy. So she makes a list and sets out to put her plan into practice.

Sadly, I can't remember the list and the book is already back at the library. But it was stuff like, find out about his mysterious past, be a damsel in distress, reveal your vulnerabilities, get caught in a love triangle, have a sad back story. Yes... it's all there. (Oh, I found the list online. Here you go.)

I found the list interesting since I would agree with some of it and not so much others. But it was fun to watch our girl try to go through the list and "make" it all happen. Of course, she didn't really NEED the list as it would have all happened without it, since the two fall in love quite nicely on their own. It's a fun romance and on the surface fluffy, but there is still the hard things they all have to deal with. (Sad back story and all!)

I loved the characters, all fun and quickly. The dad was especially enjoyable and I could totally picture him perfectly!

I also loved that the author included a list of kdramas to watch for those just getting going on this adventure and willing to give them a try and fall down the rabbit hole! She had them all listed by genre and category which was awesome. I've watched maybe half of the ones suggested. It was fun to see many of my favorites on the list. I should have saved that list too to fit in some of the other suggestions, but my "to watch list" is out of control already!

Anyway, of course I totally enjoyed this book that mashed up my favorite things... kdrama, korean culture and YA romance! :)

Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Trip Part 4: Paris

We started the last leg of our trip by waking up and driving to the train station in Frankfurt Germany. We left our rental car there, waited a few hours, and then got on the train to Paris. Let me just say, if I haven't already said it... train travel is the most relaxing way to travel! It's like nearly impossible not to just sit back and be lulled to sleep the whole way!

We arrived in Paris without incident and found our way to the metro where we managed to get to the Bastille stop and walked a block from there to our last and final Airbnb apartment. (Metro travel is the most stressful way to travel! We had to smash ourselves and our bags onto the train and just pray that we wouldn't get pickpocketed! Gah, those things are so crowded all the time!)

This apartment, while nice, was quite small compared to our others but we dealt with it. First order of business was to get groceries that would last us only the weekend! It was fun shopping like a local and buying bread at the bakery and fruit at the stand and etc.

The next day we began all the normal sites. First up, Notre Dame. Even after all cathedrals we'd seen this trip, it's still the most impressive one! We also checked out Saint Chappelle, the very old, and very blue church, nestled right in the middle of the Justice compound. Then we walked across the river to the Latin Quarter and had lunch. We bought a book at Shakespeare and Company (my souvenir book this time: A Tale of Two Cites. Last trip it was: The Hunchback of Notre Dame.)

Then we spent the afternoon at the Louvre. We wheeled grandma around in a wheelchair to save her feet, and it was interesting finding all the hidden elevators and figuring out how to get around without stairs! Quite the adventure! But we found all the big things and even got a front row seat at the Mona Lisa!

After that we had a snack/dinner in the area and then took our most exciting taxi ride back to the apartment. That guy weaved us in and out, drove us on a pedestrian only road, nearly ran down a cop and yeah. I said "WEEE!!" a bunch of times, but then remembered it sort of means just plain old yes in French. LOL.

The next day we walked around our own neighborhood, saw the locals hanging out at a cute park, talked to people who were gathering for a demonstration, and visited Victor Hugo's house. Then we rode the metro to the Eiffel Tower.

We ate lunch first and then got in the line to get in to the Tower. Security is so tight there these days. There's a big ugly fence around the whole Tower and you have to go through security just to get in there, and then we stood in a long slow line to go up... and had to go through security again. But we finally made it up and the view is amazing. It's like, you can't really believe you are truly there doing it. You have to stop and breathe and make sure you are really paying attention! Know what I mean?

After coming down, we took the hour long boat ride on the Seine and that was so relaxing and peaceful. We timed it perfect so that when we got back, the lights came on the tower and they did the sparkle thing. It was perfect. After dark, it's like a massive party at the Tower. I loved being part of it for just a bit before we had to go home and sleep.

Our final day was spent wandering around the most awesome cemetery ever. Pere La-chaise. Don't skip it if you ever go to Paris! I love this place! We had a guy take us around and tell us risque stories and show us all (well some) of the famous graves. It was fun. I could spend hours there and not get sick of it. But we had to leave and go get lunch. Afterward, we took the metro to Sacre Coeur. This was a place we'd missed on our previous trip, and i was impressed that this neighborhood felt so different from the ones we'd been in up to that point. It was a really hip and happening spot! The view from the church was amazing. We didn't go in, but the church was beautiful. We also finally saw the famous Moulin Rouge which is at the bottom of the hill there.

After that we deemed the trip over and came back home to pack and get ready to leave bright and early the next morning. We took a taxi to the airport where we then waited for hours until it was time to go home. But we had one last final experience before leaving, and that was to get a thorough and chaotic nearly strip down security check just as we were boarding the plan. Lucky us.

It was an amazing trip and we are already dreaming about the next one!

Selfie at Notre Dame

Trying to figure out the gargoyles.

Saint Chapelle

Ye old famous book store. 

The Louvre

Front row "seats" at the Mona Lisa

Victor Hugo lived right around the corner from our apartment

We found a cool looking tower.

It's a really pretty impressive tower.

The view from the top, well, nearly the top.

The view of the top from the nearly top.

On the boat ride. Notre Dame

Sunset on Notre Dame.

The tower again. Sparking. But not like a vampire.
'Cause it only sparkles at night.

Pere LaChaise

More awesome grave stones
(Interesting thing about this place, it's really not that old
but it sure feels like it.)

A "street" through the cemetery.

More graves. Beautiful, yes?
(or... am I weird?)

Scare Coeur

My traveling companions

The view, of both people and city.

It's the Moulin Rouge!

The door to our apartment.

Looking up to the apartment.

And the street from our window.
The Bastille (well of course it's not there anymore)
is right around the corner.


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