Friday, March 31, 2017

Introducing: BTS!

When I did my "Introducing SHINee" post I realized that I talk about BTS a lot, but have never done an introduction post, and so, you know, I had to do one. And since SHINee is over and we are on to BTS, now is the time.
Taehyung (V), Jin, J-hope, Suga, Jimin, Jungkook, Rapmon

So, BTS stands for BangTan Sonyeondan, which means Bulletproof Boyscouts in Korean. It's a weird name, I know, but it grows on you and there's all sorts of deep meaning and symbolic-ness to it, but I don't know it all really, so we'll just leave it at that.

They debuted four years ago this June with a song called No More Dream, which you can see here:

They are band that is much heavier in the hip hop and rap stuff then what I'm used to. In fact, it took awhile for them to grow on me because I felt they were so... out there. So... I don't know... trying to be bad boy-ish, or something. Some of the first videos I saw of them were tragic sad disturbing things with a story line that rips out your heart. They were a little too much.

But then when I watched more stuff and became more familiar with their personalities, it all changed and I found them to full of all the good things: substance and fun, smartness and silliness, rappy songs and ballad songs. They had everything.

But the thing that really sets them apart is their amazing dancing. I just really had no idea that people, boys, anyone, could dance like this. It's mind boggling watching them sometimes. Seeing them dance live is going to be a trip.

Anyway, here are the boys:

Namjoon, also known as Rap Monster, is the leader of this group, even though he is not the oldest (usually the oldest is the band leader) and falls right in the middle age-wise. I'm told someone (people from Big Hit? The company that they work for.. maybe?) discovered him and decided to build a group around him. Without him, there would be no BTS. He's a literal genius and has the deepest most profound thoughts probably constantly in his head. He taught himself English by watching TV and when he speaks you can barely detect an accent. He's truly amazing. He's one of the three rappers in BTS, and he's awesome. However, he's always in the back because he's not a very strong dancer. LOL! (Though, that's not saying much given the fact that they as a group are this amazing dance machine!)

Seokjin... known just as Jin, is next up. People call him the visual of the group because he's the "most" handsome, though I don't know how anyone can decide any one of them are more handsome than the others. He does have a killer smile though and he is a hoot. He loves to tell what they call "dad" (aka stupid) jokes and then guffaws a killer laugh afterwards that is the best thing ever. He's a goofball and I love it. Plus, his beautiful singing voice is to die for.

Yoongi, who goes by the stage name of Suga, is up next. He's also a genius and produces much of their songs. His rapping is insane and beautiful and some of the most emotional songs I've ever heard. For me he tends to be the quiet one of the group, and a bit reserved, but then suddenly, he'll turn into this squishy teddy bear. When they were a new group, one year for his birthday he wrote 300 personal notes to his fans and delivered them to everyone at a meet and greet. If you want more on him, we have a whole video dedicated to him.

Hoseok, also known as J-hope is next in. He's also a rapper and he is full of energy and spunk and positive-ness that is out of this world. Everyone calls him the sunshine of the group and that's because he is never not bouncing around and smiling and spreading his "hope" everywhere. Besides rapping, he's also an amazing dancer and choreographs many of their dances.

The above boys are called the "hyungs" or older brothers. The last three are the "maknaes" or the younger brothers. And for some reason, they tend to be my favorite.

Jimin, who... oddly enough, goes by Jimin, is... amazing. I just... I have no words. He dances like it takes absolutely no effort at all and he looks so graceful and beautiful it kills me. And then when he sings, he does those killer high notes that stand out in all their songs and you're just like...ah. Wow. And his personality is all over the place. Sweet and caring and shy and polite. Then savage and sexy the next minute. After Taemin (mentioned in my SHINee post) Jimin is the dancer to watch. Which is why when they did a duet dance awhile back, I went crazy for it.

Taehyung, stage name of V, is next in line. He is the first one I paid attention to in this group, which is why when I'm asked who my favorite is, I will say it's him. He has a personality that will suck you in like no other. Very cute and silly and fun and soft and goofy and... pretty much the complete opposite of the "bad boy" image they sometimes portray. I love it so so much. His contribution to the group his is deep, husky melty voice. Oh my word. The best.

The baby of the group is Jungkook, no stage name, but lovingly called Kookie by the brothers and fans alike. And everything I've mentioned above about all the other boys? Yeah, he can do it ALL. He's brilliant, he raps, dances, sings with the melty voice, is nice on one hand, and savage on the other. Everything. He's like the perfect child. The Golden Maknae as they say. And beware his smile.

Have I gushed enough about them? Can you tell I love them all? They truly are amazing.

The song that made me a fan is Fire, which is one that I bet most of you will love since it's a little more "normal" than that first one I posted above. I've shared this one before, but here it is again.

 And after that we discovered dance practices which shows their dancing and silly personality. Here's one of my favorites of them "practicing" and being silly:

 And just so you can see a softer one, here's one of their newest songs called Spring Day about losing touch with old friends. (I decided to show you a live version instead of the MV so you can see their singing and dancing better.)

Anyway. a tiny overview of an amazing talented group of boys that I can't wait to see TOMORROW!!!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Our SHINee Experience: March 26, 2017

So, the concert was awesome. Crazy crazy fun. Lots and lots of screaming. Very loud. My ears hurt for a full 24 hours afterwards. The boys are as beautiful and talented and amazing as expected. We all fell in love with Taemin and his dancing and shyness and attempts at English. We fell in love with Key for his coolness, Minho for his swagger, Onew for his sweetness and Jonghyun for his voice. All of them. They are all the best.

If you REALLY want to know what our experience and our one day adventure in California, was like, we made a video:

 Some songs that I didn't know before but loved after this concert:

And now... TWO DAYS UNTIL BTS!!!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Bloggiesta To Do List Spring 2017

Oh my word guys! I haven't done a Bloggiesta since I handed over the reins last year!

BUT, I wanted to try and join in this week because I've been having these overwhelming thoughts about revamping my blog in a big way. I've been resisting it but then I keep thinking... dang it.. it's my blog and I should be able to do with it whatever I want. And if that means totally changing it and going after a different audience a bit (I don't want to lose EVERYONE but I know it's happening whether I change my blog or not) then just embrace it, right?

Ah, it scares me still.

And this week, like most weeks, might be too crazy to really commit to much, but let's just say I hope to START the process this week anyway.

So here's my to do list for what it's worth:

  • change my header to reflect the new focus
  • change up the menu tabs
  • delete side bar stuff that is pointless now and add sidebar stuff that makes me happy
  • organize stuff to show off all interests somehow
  • write some posts 
  • twitter chats maybe
  • some mini challenges maybe

Anyway, if I change things up to reflect my new interests, you'll all still be my friends, right?

Sunday, March 19, 2017

KDrama Review: Goblin: The Lonely and Great God

Drama: Goblin: The Lonely and Great God

Genre: Romance/Supernatural
Starring: Gong Yoo, Kim Go Eun, Lee Dong Wook, Yook Sung Jae
Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Wow but everyone was talking about this one! I was so scared to watch it! Because it sounded like after this one NO other drama would hold up to the pressure. Nothing would be good again.

And, yes, it has been kind of like that because guys, this drama was amazingly well done. All of it. Cinematography, music, story line, character development, acting. All of it. AMAZING.

This one is about a guy who lived nearly 1000 years ago. He was a general for the king and fought his battles too well. So well in fact that the king was jealous. This king had issues let's just say. Anyway, so he had him killed. But he wasn't really killed, but instead cursed to be immortal and watch all his loved ones die over, and over again. The curse made him become a goblin. And the only way to break the curse is to meet "the goblin's bride" or a girl who could actually pull the sword (still embedded in him but that no one could see) out, and thus releasing him to death.

Well and so what happens if he actually and truly falls in love with that girl? Not let her pull the sword out, right? BUT.. what if she is also cursed because she is living on borrowed time (she was actually supposed to die at birth but was well...the goblin himself) and what if she doesn't pull the sword out then SHE will die?

What's a goblin to do then?

And then there's the grim reaper, who is happily escorting people to the after world, until he meets someone and then he is all torn up inside trying to remember his past life. Because it appears he is also cursed with no memories. And it pretty much drives him mad.

And when these two, the goblin and the grim reaper, become friends, then wow, it's the best bromance relationship I think I've ever seen. And they are cool. Like the coolest dang characters I've ever seen I think! And do their stories come together? Well of course they do!!

Grim Reaper on the left and Goblin on the right.
Frenemies in life and death!

There is much magic and ghosts and past and future lives, portals to other places and all that fun stuff. No love triangles though for those that hate that!

The drama is full of so much funny stuff and also many many weepy moments. It's truly one of the more emotional dramas I've seen and that's saying a lot.

The Goblin and his bride meet

Bottom line though, like I said before, it's amazing. One of the songs I will listen to forever when I need to remember how wonderful life is. You will know what I mean even without seeing the drama or without understand the words. Please listen:

Here's some more scenes set to a couple of the other amazing songs from this drama:

And then we have this amazing trailer:

Have I convinced you to give it a try? When you are moaning about there being nothing good on TV these days, or you are out of things to watch... remember this one! TRY IT!!!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Happy Ten Years!!

Well, I almost missed it but TEN YEARS AGO this past week I started this book blog. I went strong for nine years straight! And then faltered during this past year. That makes me so sad! BUT, I'm still here. I'm not done. I'm too attached. And I know there's got to be a way that I can keep going and mesh all my passions together without feeling too guilty about it.

(Yes, I've been trying, but I feel like my K passion is trying to shanghai my book blog, but if I change up the blog, maybe I'll not feel guilty about it anymore, right? These are my thoughts.)

Anyway... here's to ten wonderful years that have been AMAZING. So many things have happened and so many friends have been  made and so many books reviewed and read alongs hosted and author events reported on and bloggiestas hosted so many fun things!

The next 10 years might look a bit different here, but I fully intend to still be around at the end of them! And I hope you all are too!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Introducing: SHINee!

So we've pretty much lost our minds around here and are going to  not one, but two kpop concerts at the end of this month... both in LA... six days apart from each other. Which would be awesome if we could just stay there and party on, but there's school and work and responsibilities so we'll be coming home in between the two for a few days. We'll be flying to and from one and driving back to the other one. (That one happens to be at the start of spring break, so we  WILL be staying and hanging out in California that week!)

I've gone on and on about BTS, the second concert of the two, (haven't I? I feel like I have but I haven't REALLY posted about who they are or anything I don't think) but I haven't said much about SHINee... and since I wanted to... I am here to do it now!

Onew, Jonghyun, Taemin, Minho, Key

So.. SHINee is a Korean boy band with five members. They are the first band I really listened to and got excited about following the first couple of months after immersing myself into Super Junior. These two bands are very similar since they both work for the same entertainment company, which is probably why it was easy to transition from the one to the other.

SHINee is a little bit younger than Super Junior both actual age-wise and how long they've been around. SHINee debuted in May of 2008 (compared to Super Junior's 2005) with a song called Replay:

Wow they look so so young here!

But they are especially well known for their songs Lucifer and Ring Ding Dong.. both songs that I love to show people when I'm first introducing them to kpop, though I know that these songs are a bit out there" in their weirdness (or what I like to think of now as coolness and awesomeness.)

The boys in this band are:

Onew: the oldest and the leader. He has a beautiful voice that never fails to give me chills. He also made his acting debut in a really well-loved drama called Descendants of the Sun (click for my review) and blew everyone away with how amazing he was.

Jonghyun is next and also has an amazing voice that kills me. I can't wait to hear him live and in person! I first paid attention to him when I discovered this solo song of his called The End of a Day.

Next up is Key, short for Kibum. He makes me smile with his eccentric hairstyles and clothes and.. just everything. Also, he can speak English which always  endears us English speaking fans to him.

And then there's Minho who has a killer smile. And he knows it. He is FULL of swagger. And I love it. He has done a ton of acting but most recently in what will go down as one of my favorites, Hwarang (click for my review.) He is the groups rapper, which is cool, but has always been weird for me since he just doesn't seem like a rapper, despite that swagger!

And finally... the baby of the group, Taemin. He, in my opinion, is pretty much the best dancer out of all the kpop idols I've been watching this year, and that's saying a lot. Seriously. The thought of seeing him dance live is making me crazy. I so can't wait.

(Yes, this is in Japanese not Korean...just in case you wondered.)

Our concert is going to be in a theater not an arena so I don't really know what to expect. I don't know if the production level will be toned down and it will be more about concentrating on the singing and dancing or what. But if so, I'm fine with that! This is what the inside of the theater looks like:

Doesn't that look amazing? AH!!! My stomach is filling with butterflies just thinking about it...

Well, and now you know a little bit about SHINee... and what we will be experiencing in a couple of weeks. Follow our Kpop Konverters Instagram for live updates about this concert and BTS!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Book Club Potential Reads for 2017-18

It's that time of year when the book club is pondering a list of books to read during the next year! (Don't ask me why March is the month we do this. It just is!) And I've made it tradition to post this list here and get your all wise and wonderful feedback!

So let us know what you think of this year's list of potentials! Should any be voted in for sure? Should any be voted out?

Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
The Living Reed by Pearl S. Buck
All The Truth That’s in Me by Julie Berry
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
Romeo and/or Juliet by Ryan North
The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer
Ross Poldark by Winston Graham
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
My Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton
Paper Magician by Charlie Holmberg
Followed by Frost by Charlie Holmberg
The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
The Hollow City by Dan Wells
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive when the World Overwhelms You by Elaine N. Aron
The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Book Review: The Owl Service by Alan Garner

Book: The Owl Service by Alan Garner
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating:★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Here's another instance of BTS (Rap Monster aka. Kim Namjoon more specifically) trying to get their fandom to read. In their latest photo shoot, they had a bus stop sign in the back ground and on that sign was the name of this book (among other many things.) So everyone ran out to read it.

And why would I want to be left out when it came to reading books that the BTS boys want us to read?

When I saw that it was an older book, and YA book, and a fantasy, and short and with very big print.. I was like... why not?

Still, it's taken me more than a month to read it! GAH!!!

Anyway, um. It was pretty much nearly as weird as the last one Joon wanted us to read, but maybe not quite as... maybe.

It's about some kids who discover some weird things going on at the house they are staying at in Wales England. We have the girl and her mom... the boy and his dad.... (and the mom and dad just happen to have recently gotten married so the boy and girl are now step siblings) and we have the housekeeper and her son....and finally the gardener. The three kids discover some weird plates in the attic and then suddenly the girl is compelled to trace the owls on the plates at which point the owls disappear.

And then she sort of ends up with a telekinetic power. Because somehow she has now been connected to otherworldly thing that is contained in the owls. You with me?

And then the housekeeper mom freaks out and says to her son, we are outa here. And the son is sad because he is having connections with the girl by then. And the girl is scared and just wants to forget everything.

Meanwhile they learn that there's a weird connection between the gardener and the housekeeper and something that happened in the past with a cousin. So there's a bit of a mystery going on too.

In the end, it was kinda interesting, but mostly... it was weird and I just didn't get it. Sigh. BTS boys, why do you make me read these books??? And I don't get at all how it connects to their songs and/or videos of late.

But the son of the housekeeper, I really enjoyed his character and he made the experience all worth it.  And I must say that even though I didn't really get what was going on, I kept thinking it would actually make a pretty good and creepy movie. So there's that.

Can't wait to see what Namjoon recommends next! LOL!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Kdrama Review: Hwarang

Drama: Hwarang
Genre: Historical drama
Starring: Park Seo Joon, Park Hyung Sik, Go Ah Ra, Choi Min Ho, Kim Tae Hyung
Rating:  ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

I watched this drama mainly because a BTS boy was doing his first acting job in it. This BTS boy also happens to be my favorite BTS boy. And so of course I watched from day one and watched it every week as it was airing. Painful sometimes, and lovely other times.

It's about a small little kingdom back many years ago that is struggling with its identity and fighting with its neighbors. The king has been hidden from the public all his life, but living amongst the people without them knowing it. As the drama starts, he is coming of age and questioning the fact that he has been bowing to his mother's will (who is the Queen Dowager) all his life and that maybe perhaps it's time to step forward.

But he's so very scared. 'Cause people will probably kill him if he does.

Meanwhile, the Queen decides to establish a group of guys to be.. I don't know... like special fancy guards for the kingdom. She picks them from all the rich and powerful families. And she calls this group of beautiful guys, The Hwarang.

When the drama starts, a guy who has been raised outside the capitol city as a peasant and low life, he and his friend climb the wall and come into the city, at the risk of their lives because peasants aren't allowed inside. His friend hopes to find his family that he has been separated from since he was a boy. The other guy I think just wants adventure.

Well. Things don't go well. In fact, things go very very badly. Sob.

And after that, the first guy finds himself being taken in by the family of his friend... including that friend's sister. He ends up posing as the friend, which is tricky since he starts to fall in love with the sister... but she thinks he is her brother. Tricky indeed.

Anyway, he ends up in the Hwarang. Also, the king who is in hiding ends up in the Hwarang. Also, a couple of other lovely boys end up in the Hwarang. And we the viewers fall in love with them all and live through with them all their pain and fun!

Yes, as always, the drama is filled with lots of funny moments, and lots of painful sad moments. Lots of lovey dovey moments too. And a really painful love triangle too. It's awesome.

But of course, the best part was watching V.. aka. Kim Taehyung, have his acting debut. He was perfectly cast and NAILED his role! Sigh.

Kim Taehyung aka. V from BTS

Choi MinHo... also a singer from the group SHINee, was perfect. So cute and so funny and so cheeky.
Choi Minho aka. Minho from SHINee

But the guy who played the king, Park Hyung Sik, come out of nowhere and stole our hearts. I mean, where has he been all this time? Time to catch up on all his stuff now! (Both his singing in a group called ZE:A and other acting jobs.) He's awesome.

Park Hyungsik

The star of the show however, is Park Seo Joon, who some of you might remember from She Was Pretty. (He's also quite perfect in Kill Me Heal Me.) He was awesome too.

Park Seo Joon

So yeah. I loved it. Let it be known though, that this one caused me to cry that hardest I've ever cried because of drama. Beware episode 18. I'm talking gut wrenching sobs. Yeah, maybe I was a little bit TOO invested in this one and its characters? :)

No. It was worth it.

Oh, also, there's a wonderful song that Taehyung and his buddy from BTS, Jin, sing as one of the songs for the OST. It's become one of my favorites of all time. Here it it set to some clips from the drama:

And here's a trailer:

Up next? A drama called Goblin: The Lonely and Great God! (Actually, I'm almost done with this too. LOL.)

OH WAIT... I think you need to see Park Hyung Sik sing another song from this Hwarang drama. It makes my heart so warm:


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