Monday, December 31, 2018

Book Review: Far From the Tree by Robin Benway

Book: Far From the Tree by Robin Benway
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: ★ ★ ★ 

This is the story of three kids who find out that they are biological siblings. Two of them, the sisters, were adopted to different families, but the brother bounced from foster home to foster home all his 17 years.

The story starts out with one of the sisters, Grace, having a baby herself and giving it up for adoption. This instigates her desire to find her siblings and her birth mom. But when she does find her siblings, they have no desire to help her search for their birth mom.

But they do all become friends. And we learn all the different things they are dealing with. Alcoholic mom, gay relationships, bi-racial issues, going back to school after giving birth, parents who are divorcing, foster parents who want to adopt you.. etc. Basically, everything crazy thing a kid could deal with. It was overwhelming at times.

But I bonded with them all and began quickly to care what happened, especially with the brother who seemed to be hurting the most.

In the end, I was despite the fact that I sometimes get frustrated with authors packing everything single hot button topic thing into a book... I was moved and touched. But yeah, I've said it before, anything to do with mom/dad/parent/kid emotions... I will break down... and this was pretty much ALL about that.

If you are love adoption stories, this one is for you!

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

Book: The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan
Genre: YA magical realism
Rating: ★ ★ 

This is the story about a girl who's mom suffered from pretty severe depression and when the story begins, we know she has just committed suicide. Our girl is now trying to deal with it all. She is feeling very guilty because she was hanging at her friend's house the moment it happened and in fact, was kissing said friend for the first time, something she had dreamed about for years. She thinks it wouldn't have happened had she been home.

And so now the mom is appearing to the girl as a big red bird and is encouraging her to go visit her grandparents. Well, it just so happens that our girl has never met these grandparents, and that the mom was estranged from them her whole life.

The grandparents live in Taiwan and so her dad takes her there and they meet. During her visit, she learns, through magical means, the backstory of her mom... her dad... and her grandparents. She also remembers the progression of the crush she has had on her friend over the years... so we get that little bit of romance too.

It's a beautifully written story, full of magic and memories, Chinese culture and romance. It addresses the trauma of depression and suicide in a straight forward and tasteful way. It's all quite heart wrenching really.

The colors come in, if you are curious, because she and her friend see emotion as color and are talking about what color they are feeling all the time. Color plays a very important role in this story.

I totally enjoyed it. I did find some parts a bit long and descriptive and my patience was tested a few times. I really enjoyed all the back stories... the present day story of dealing with the suicide and getting to know the grandparents was where it drug out a bit for me. But in the end, I totally enjoyed it.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

My Top Ten Kdramas of 2018

Related image

Here are my favorite dramas I watched this year. Turns out that five of them are new ones (aired this year in 2018) and five are old ones (aired 2017 or before.) What a nice balance eh?

First some numbers:

Dramas watched: 22

Five Hearts: 8
Four Hearts: 11
Three Hearts: 3

Aired this year: 11
Aired before this year: 11

New-to-me favorite actors:
Seo In Guk
Lee Min Ki
Lee Hong Gi
Lee Joon Gi
Lee Jun Ho
Park Bo Gum
Yang Se Jong
Lee Seung Gi
Yoo Seung Ho


Favorite Dramas From 2018:

Image result for 30 but 17 drama30 But 17 (Still 17) This drama is very funny and had me LOLing so many times. Plus it's heart wrenching and the dude who plays our guy is one of the best criers EVER! And he gets to do this a lot! And the nephew dude is just... so perfect! Basically, I fell in love with every character on this show. There is not a bad dude. The bad thing in this drama is inner conflicts. Anyway. I loved it. The girl is a violin player so there is a lot of classic music as a backdrop. And the nephew is on a rowing team, so there's a lot of that too. And there's a cute dog and a funny chicken. And the maid is also hilarious with her own tragic back story. So many good things. And beautiful characters. It was a perfect.

Image result for i am not a robotI Am Not a Robot:  And of course, he is so charming that she falls in love with him but there is no way she can ever let him know that  SHE IS NOT A ROBOT! AH!! But.. just tell him already!!!  No, it's not that simple.  Anyway, things get very complicated from there and yeah... it's awesome.  I loved loved loved it. I pretty much just want to watch it all over again. 

Just Between LoversOur dude's character grows from an angry young man, to a loving guy... mostly. He has found people in his life that have taken care of him over the years and part (a lot actually) of what makes this drama so awesome is those relationships. One with an older grandma lady, one with his landlord lady and her mentally disabled but bright and beautiful son. And one with a "lady of the evening" who he saved back in the day and so she has taken him under her wing and she is now like an older sister to him. He also has his true sister who he is struggling to help and provide for as she is going to medical school.

Meanwhile, our girl has all her family issues to deal with too. Many after effects of what happened with the mall event as pulled them apart and made them live a lonely life.

Together, they help each other deal with things, and they learn and grow and love and heal.

Are You Human Too? The premise here is that our guy is a robot... his genius mom made him because her human son was kidnapped from her when he was about 10 years old by his grandpa (her father in law) and she was never able to get him back. So he was raised by this crazy powerful guy and so she, because she could, made a robot replacement.
The robot is nice, mannerly, kind, rule abiding, sweet, compassionate and etc. The human is... arrogant, mean, ruthless, playboyish, snotty, greedy, and etc. They are as different as can be.One day, the human son is trying to track down his mom, but he is being followed by a hitman hired by the bad guy and is nearly killed. The robot son witnesses this and is freaked out. The mom rescues the human son and begins to nurse him back to health.Meanwhile, she asks the robot son to step into his place in the corporate crazy world so that the bad guys don't know what happened, and so that the human son doesn't lose his place to inherit the company.

The Smile Has Left Your Eyes Anyway, once these two decide that they do in fact love each other, then the romance is absolutely perfect. So much kissing and hugging and all. And he is suddenly smiling a lot and believe me, when this actor smiles... IT'S OVER! AH!!! But of course, we knew that stuff is going to go down to ruin it all

Favorite Older Dramas:

Because This is My First LifeThe issues addressed? Well, of course, much is said about the nature of love and marriage. About pleasing your parents or doing whatever the heck you want to anyway. Much is said about gender roles and women's rights and feminism and all that. Much is said about traditional vs. non. Much is said about family, love, friendship, relationships, emotions, feelings, etc. So.. I loved it. 

Image result for scarlet heart ryeoScarlet HeartIt's an epic sweeping royal family saga that is beautiful in all the ways it interprets this story! Like everything is just... beautiful. I don't know how else to describe it! There is some cheesiness here and there. And some convenience things. But yeah.. it's an amazing production.

There is one prince that is hard to ignore right from the beginning. And he rises to the top for our girl after awhile. He is the scary, angsty, hurt, vulnerable, pained, tortured anti hero of which I love to love from all my books and movies. He is a good bad guy, or a bad good guy. Not sure which. The lines are very blurry and I love it.

Moonlight Drawn By CloudsIt's a great one for a fun, but not confusing, historical drama. Park Bo Gum is adorable. As is all the rest of them. The music is dramatic and epic, the love songs beautiful. Everything! I loved it.

Shopping King Louis So. They end up helping each other out... trying to navigate the city and modern life when neither one of them knows anything... and they don't have any money. And so it goes from there! And it's very cute and funny and heartwarming and all that. I loved it. It is a bit over the top silly at times. But you know. Who cares. So much fun!

Falling In Love With Soon Jung (Falling for Innocence) Well. Next thing we know the detective gets run down by our dude with issues and is rushed to the hospital where he dies.... sad. At the same time, our ruthless CEO dude collapses from heart failure and is rushed to the hospital.... and ends up getting the heart transplant he needs... from the detective dude. And he doesn't die. Yeah. So when he wakes up, he starts changing. And he is drawn to the secretary and she to him. And things get weird and complicated.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Kdrama Review: King of High School

Drama: King of High School
Genre: Romantic comedy
Starring: Seo In Guk, Lee Ha Na, Lee Soo Hyuk
Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

This drama was recommended to me more than a year ago or so. I added it to the list, but hadn't ever gotten around to it until now. And so thanks to my current Seo In Guk obsession, it was bumped up! And thus I watched my third Seo In Guk drama in a row. Have I got my fill yet? I highly doubt it.

This was a fun drama about a high school kid who has an older brother who for some reason can't come home and go to his job like normal. Well, and so since the two brothers look so much alike, he asks his little high schooler brother to take his place at work. The younger brother loves his older brother so much that even though he is like... what the heck and how can I EVEN do that... he jumps into this other life.

So he goes to school in the morning and after roll call, he jumps out the window and runs to join the corporate world of work. And he somehow pulls it off. And it's pretty funny at times!  He is also a star hockey player on the high school team, so he has to figure out how to get back to practices and games and retreats. LOL.
First impression. LOL

Meanwhile, there's a secretary at work who is a little different... she has a very childlike demeanor and so of course she and our high schooler CEO begin to bond. And then fall in love. Our boy of course knows that she is ten years older than him, but he gets over it pretty fast. Our girl, of course, has no clue.

Until she figures it all out. And then...what will she do???? It also doesn't help that her younger sister happens to be the high school girl that has a major crush on our dude!

Still, this romance is adorable. In the kdrama world, we call this a Noona Romance... noona being the word boys will call their older sisters. But is also a word they call any girl older than them that they are close to. And oftentimes it's very fun to watch a noona romance. This one being one of them. So cute. 
Best kissing actor in all of kdrama? Pretty much.

And of course Seo In Guk shines once again. His character in this one is very much like his Shopping King Louis dude. Fun and smiley and silly and childlike. I just love it. 

This was a great one for mostly fun and fluff. And I decided to end my drama watching year on this note and have taken a bit of a Christmas break to read. But just today, I started another one. And it's not going to be fluffy....

Anyway, here's a funny cute trailer that gives a pretty good feel for this drama without even any words!

And here is Seo In Guk himself singing a beautiful song from the drama:

Friday, December 28, 2018

Book Review: Alex and Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz

Book: Alex and Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Rating: ★ ★ 

This is pretty much what it says it is... the love story between Alex and Eliza.... as in Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Shuyler. And we know that these two have risen to massive fame these past few years so their love story is a hot commodity!

(Does the thought of people who lived years ago suddenly becoming so famous in our day and age fascinate you? Like who will be the Alex and Eliza of our day for the people living hundreds of years from now? And if those people knew that now would it creep them out or would they think... wow! Cool beans?)

Anyway. I enjoyed this story but it felt just a bit lacking to me. I don't know why exactly... I needed more emotion or feeling or something. For a love story there really wasn't much romance. Most of the stuff in this book is "filled in" or "made up" since there really isn't much to go on. But still, I guess the author had to stick with what mos likely could have happened, and most likely there really wasn't a whole lot of interaction between them!

(Though there was a great rescue scene involving a horse ride that I quite enjoyed!)

The historical backdrop for all of this is interesting for sure. Living during this time period must have been crazy to say the least. And thus, I think, all the fascination with it, and the reason why a crazy fun musical was made to spark everyone's interest anew.

So, I heartily recommend this one if you are in the Hamilton camp or have kids that are. It's a fun look at the people, the history and the love story.

Thursday, December 27, 2018


Over on the channel we each made a video highlighting our favorite songs of the year. Any songs that overlapped made it to TOP 12 Songs from all of us.

It was a great and beautiful year for awesome music. And very very hard to choose only 20 favorite songs. So after a bit of stress, here are my favorite songs:

Here are the songs that made the cut to final top 12 songs for our channel:

If you are into Korean music, let me know if any of these songs made it to your favorites list. (Or, if you aren't into Korean music but you listened anyway, I would love to know if any songs stood out to you and made you think.. oh... that's not bad at all. :)

If you are into American/Western/English music, let me know what awesome songs I missed this year.  I hear a lot about Shawn Mendez, Chainsmokers, Ed Sheeran, Camila Cabello.... are any of them your favorites and someone I should check out?

Monday, December 24, 2018

Year End Book Survey 2018

The annual year end survey from Jamie at the Perpetual Page Turner is still happening! I wondered if it had died along with so many other book blogger memories, but here it is! 
My reading was a bit better this year than the past couple of years, so maybe I can find answers for most of these. Let's so how it goes, should we?
I will have the annual number crunch later in a different post. 


1. Best Book You Read In 2018?

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Every Falling Star by Sungju Lee for non fiction

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

This is for sure Hank Green's book, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing. I thought I'd totally love it. But nope. It was WAY too weird and agendy for me. Sadness!

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
Well, so yeah I was surprised I didn't like Hank's book better. I was surprised that Orphan Keeper was so good. I was surprised that Every Falling Story was so good too. 

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

I didn't really push any books this year. Maybe I pushed the fun that is Kasie West books and people seemed to take me up on that a bit. 

5. Best series you started in 2018? Best Sequel of 2018? Best Series Ender of 2018?

I started the Shadow and Bone series, also it's companion series Six of Crows. Loved it! I hope to finish the Shadow and Bone books this year. 

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2018?

Probably Leigh Bardugo for this one. Also, I would love to read more Fredrik Backman books. 

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

I read a couple of Asian fairy tale books. Definitely something out of my normal. One of them, The Princess and the Beggar, I loved a lot and would love to rewrite as a YA romance. Yeah. Ha.
8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Probably Six of Crows for this one. It was a bit hard to catch one's breath during that book! One thing after another!

9. Book You Read In 2018 That You Would Be MOST Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Probably none of this year's books, but I read Eliza and Her Monsters at the very end of 2017 and I have an inkling I might re-read this coming year if we vote it in for book club. :)

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2018?

I can't think of any favorite covers. Nothing stood out I guess.

11. Most memorable character of 2018?

Ove from A Man Called Ove is pretty memorable. I quite enjoyed him!

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2018?

There were actually a lot this year that I enjoyed the writing, but I think I'm going to go with A Gentleman in Moscow. Just the flow was so nice, the style, the wit. I really enjoyed it.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2018?

Thought provoking probably goes to Every Falling Star by Sungju Lee. Wow, his story is crazy amazing. Also Please Look After Mom. LOVE YOUR MOMS PEOPLE!

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2018 to finally read?

I'm thinking this would be Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows both. I have been hearing about them forever and FINALLY I know why!

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2018?

“Only after Mom went missing did you realize that her stories were piled inside you, in endless stacks. Mom's everyday life used to go on in a repeating loop, without a break. Her everyday words, which you didn't think deeply about and sometimes dismissed as useless when she was with you, awoke in your heart, creating tidal waves.”
― Kyung-Sook Shin, Please Look After Mom

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2018?

Longest: Crooked Kingdom at 536 pages
Shortest: I read three books that are 32 pages long. The two Asian fairy tales and also Those Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula LeGuin. 

17. Book That Shocked You The Most

Okay, speaking of Those Who Walk Away from Omelas! The shocking thing in that book is... shocking! 


Clay and Carrie, from Markus Zusak's Bridge of Clay.
19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

The relationship between the Count and Nina (is that her name, I already forgot!) in A Gentleman from Moscow.
20. Favorite Book You Read in 2018 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak. Some people did find it very good, but I loved it. 

21. Best Book You Read In 2018 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure/Bookstagram, Etc.:

Not a specific recommendation, but just a another book that I had heard so much about and was a little leery about... but then, it was awesome. The Orphan Keeper by Camron Wright. Quite the story this one!

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2018?

I didn't crush on anyone particularly hard in any of my books this year. Sadness! I would have loved to know more about the dude in 36 Questions That Changed My Mind About You... and then I would have probably crushed! Paul. His name is Paul. 

23. Best 2018 debut you read?

I don't think I read any debuts this year!

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

Definitely the world from Six of Crows and Shadow and Bone. A beautiful, rich and scary world!

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

All my kpop romance books. They do make me smile if nothing else!

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2018?

I cried quite a bit when the two moms in Orphan Keeper met up.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Please Look After Mom by Kyung Suk Shin was a book I read sort of suddenly, spur of the moment, knowing nothing about and it was lovely. So glad this one ended up on the list! 

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Bridge of Clay was soul crushing. WHY ALL THE SADNESS MR. ZUSAK????

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2018?

Probably Please Look After Mom just because of all the interesting POV changes.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

I was kinda mad about how Crooked Kingdom ended. The yearning and longing in my heart!!! AH!!!

1. New favorite book blog/Bookstagram/Youtube channel you discovered in 2018?

BookTube channel is Emily Boone! YES!!! 

2. Favorite post you wrote in 2018?

Probably the Up10tion concert review. So fun to write and gush and remember that lovely experience.

3. Favorite bookish related photo you took in 2018:?

LOL, this one is easy!!! Talk about a highlight moment of the year!!!

4. Best bookish event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, etc.)?

See above!!! Meeting Markus Zusak again having him take MY picture and post ME on his Instagram??? Yeah. Not to mention just listening to him for an hour. Best. Thing. Ever.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2018?

Okay. I sense a theme here. SEE ABOVE!!!! :)

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

Well, the challenge to keep posting is getting harder and harder. Not that I don't really want to. I do. But everyone is gone. The room is empty. It's echoing around here. There is no more interaction. The hey day is over. It's so sad. And so the motivation is slowly ebbing away.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

I participated in Bloggiesta back in March and my post about blogging slumps got the most love this year. Surprising... a kdrama review is in second place! Who knew? :)

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
Of course I wish my kdrama reviews got more love, but I'm not surprised. Though I knew there are tons of kdrama lovers out there, I just wish they could find me! Meanwhile, they get more views than my book reviews lately, just not any interaction or comments. And I love gushing about them, so for now, they will stay!

9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Nothing really new for me this year in this category. 

10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I lowered by Goodreads goal significantly it seemed to be the perfect number! I read 40 books this year and completed the goal!


1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2018 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2019?

I have stacks and stacks to get to.. nothing in particular though.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2019 (non-debut)?

My mind is blank. I was looking up books the other day on Amazon and looking forward to so many! But now I can't think of what any of them were!!

3. 2019 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

I don't know the debuts! You tell me!

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2019?

Not a new series, but I look forward to finishing the Shadow and Bone series.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2019?

Just keep reading and blogging, and hoping not dropping it all.

Well...for what it's worth, there are my thoughts on some books I read this year! Let me know if you fill this out and share thoughts too!

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Favorite Things of 2018

Here are a few of my favorite things of the this year. What have been some of YOUR favorite things this year?

Trader Joe's FINALLY came to our area and I'm loving it. The buzz about this store is all true!

These ice cream bars were on sale once this summer. And I've bought them every time I  go to Costco since. Dang, but we become addicted

This is a small little company that puts on kpop concerts for small little groups in small little venues. And we experienced that for the first time this year and it was awesome. I want to keep going to small little places and enjoy the small little groups where you can actually have some eye contact and interaction! It's the best!

In all our travels I have discovered the magic of getting  a Lyft ride. (Preferred over Uber for some unknown reason.) What a lot of stress and hassle this saves!! Thank you Lyft drivers!

The new favorite group of the year for me is definitely these guys. Stray Kids. They debuted in March I think? And have since won Rookie of the Year! They are adorable and amazing and unbelievably talented. 

Some other favorites of the year:

Kim Sang Woo

Min Yoon Gi 

Jung Taek Woon

Lee Jin Hyuk

Park Hyung Sik

Seo In Guk

Another great year with great discoveries and experiences! Can't wait to see what the next year brings!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Mini Reviews: Recent Media Consumption

I have a list of a bunch of things I've seen and read and attended this past while. I was going to write posts for them all, but then I remembered the awesome mini review idea and thought: brilliant plan! Especially since most of these really don't require a full post. So here goes.

Movie: Robin Hood

We had the theater rented out for Stuey's work people. I have no idea why they picked this movie for a party, but they did, so we went. I knew nothing AT ALL going in. So, it was yet again another take on the story of how Robin Hood began. I love this story, so of course I enjoyed it. But mostly it made me miss the BBC production that I loved back in the day. The dude playing Robin Hood reminded me both of that dude and Stephen Amell who plays the Green Arrow dude. Anyway, it was enjoyable with lots of great fight/escapade scenes as one would expect with Robin Hood.

Broadway: Finding Neverland

Last week we went to another musical... Finding Neverland and it was also enjoyable. I thought my heart strings would be tugged at more than they were, but it was sweet and the music was pretty great and the kids in the show were awesome. I think the actual stars could have been... louder. Not sure if it was their fault or the fault of the sound guy. But yeah. LOUDER!

Book: Flower Boy Tour Guide by Shannon Kent

Another fun fluffy K fan book.... this one not kpop, but kdrama. I read it on my phone on the plane coming home from our Thanksgiving adventure. It was a quick read, yes! It's about a girl (this one is not YA but NA... very very clean NA) who goes to Korea to participate in a tour of all the fun kdrama places. And the guy who leads this tour is beautiful of course (the flower boy... a term for beautiful guy.) But they annoy each other... until they don't. :) It was fun, as all these little easy K fan books are!

TV Show: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

While visiting my daughter, I suggested we watch this one evening. It was a fun one to watch together though her husband thought it was way too predictable and trope-y. I didn't remember the book at all, so everything was new to me. I really enjoyed it and thought it was a sweet and well done movie.


  Movie: Luck Key

When Toto joined us in Illinois for Thanksgiving she "made" us  watch this Korean movie that she had just watched with roommates and loved. Everyone actually seemed to enjoy it, (the above son in law seemed to enjoy it better than PPP Society!) It's one of those movies where you THINK you know what's happening, but in the end, everything was not at all as it seemed. We have two guys who live completely different lives and they somehow (the mess up of the locker key) switch lives. And in the process, they become better dudes... and in the process we the viewers find out what's REALLY going on. Pretty good!

Movie: BTS Burn the Stage

Earlier this year YouTube Red did an awesome documentary on BTS following them on their Wings tour (the one in 2017 that I was able to attend) and we all loved. So then they decided to do a feature film. I thought it was the same thing, but when it came out the week before Thanksgiving (only limited showings in limited places) I heard from all those able to go that it was similar, but different. So of course I was sad I couldn't go since I was no where near a theater that was showing it. But lucky for me, they decided to bring it back for a second run and I got to go this time!  YES! It was so fun. I smiled and giggled so much my face hurt. It's so awesome to see the behind the scenes of what these guys put themselves through to make fans happy and put on the best concerts they can.

What have you all been watching, seeing and reading these days?

Monday, December 10, 2018

Movie Review: Bohemian Rhapsody

Movie: Bohemian Rhapsody
Genre: Biography/Musical
Starring:  Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee
Rating: Two thumbs up

I've actually watched a handful of movies the past while and I've gotten really behind telling you about them! LOL! (This cracks me up big time since I know you are all DYING to know my thoughts on the things....)

Of course I had to watch this movie even though it took forever for me to finally get there! We did make it before it left the theaters though!

Queen was one of my first musical loves that I discovered on my own (meaning not the stuff my parents played and/or sang.) I was very very  much in love with We Will Rock You and We Are the Champions right around my 13th birthday I think it was.. .and I got that 45 record with one song on one side and the other on the other. I was ecstatic! I loved it so so much!!

A few years later I was all about Another One Bites the Dust. Oh man... that song though. I also remember loving Crazy Little Thing Called Love and Under Pressure and of course Flash Gordon.. oh MAN I LOVED THAT ONE! LOL! And the movie that went with it! Guys I was just as crazy then as I am now believe me.

Anyway, as far as the Bohemian Rhapsody song, I have no idea when I became aware of it... I think I just always knew it! And I think this is one song that I can say I pretty much know every word. If ever I had to do Karaoke this is the song I'd choose....

The movie was awesome. Sad. Depressing. Yes. But awesome. I was not aware of the "group" growing up...  I just loved the songs. I knew nothing about them as people. If I would have known them, I can tell you I would have been in love with the drummer. Pretty sure of it. The dude playing the drummer was dang cute.

The movie takes us through the whole beginning of Queen and how they become popular, how Freddie Mercury just got crazier and crazier, how he estranged himself from the group, and how they came together again for the huge LIVE AID concert... a concert I should have known about and been aware of... but I was not up on those things then. Probably someone on the radio talked about it. But the fact that Queen came together for that and how big a deal it really was... I was not aware.

Anyway, so it was fun to see this story. Though as I said... it's so depressing. I feel like so many success stories end in sadness and tragedy and relationships that are ruined. It seems to happen over and over again.

Despite all that, they remain one of my all time favorites. I love them so much. And there are so may memories tied up with their songs. I'm glad I was part of their heyday back in the late 70s and early 80s! :)

The movie trailer:

And the MV for Flash!! LOL! I LOVE THIS SO MUCH! It's the BEST cheesiest thing EVER!!

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Book Review: A Gentelman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Book: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
Genre: Historical fiction
Rating: ★ ★ ★ 

This was our book club read this past month. I had only half of it read by the time we met, but I FINISHED NOW! Yay! It's a great book, but there are some slowish parts I must say... or parts that just basically go over my head. But not enough to make me too frustrated.

Anyway, it's about a dude.. a Count who has ties to the Russian Tsars? yes? I think... and he gets mixed up in the political upheaval that happens after the Russian Revolution and because of a poem he wrote, he is under house arrest for the rest of his life and big fancy hotel in Moscow.

Which doesn't seem so bad since he was basically living there anyway, but it turns out they kicked him out of his fancy suite and banned him to tiny attic room.

Well, he makes the best of it and lives his life over the years and this is his story... his life in this big fancy hotel in Moscow! (Guys, if I ever go to Moscow.. ha ha... this hotel will be something I will be wanting to see for sure now!)

The years fly by and it seems big events happen all the time on the 21st of June, since that's how many chapters start out. I loved that literary device. And I'm so slow that it took me nearly the whole book to realize all the chapter titles started with A.... I wonder what the significance of that is, cause nothing obvious is coming to mind. But it's cool anyway and another fun little device of the author's.

Our Count meets a little girl who becomes his close friend and they have all sorts of adventures in the hotel. We watch her grow up and then we watch HER girl grow up. The Count is very close buddies with the workers in the hotel and ends up being a waiter at the restaurant himself.

You'd think he was happy with all the lovely stuff that's going on there, and it seems there's plenty to do. He even has a girlfriend! But it appears not all is as it seems....

I loved the writing in this one. So snarky and funny and witty. I loved it. I loved learning about history as we flew through the years, though as I said some of it went over my head. I loved this Count character from the very first page. He's great!

It isn't an easy book to read, that's for sure and requires some brain power, but I'm happy to say I seemed to have found the power needed and even though it took a few weeks, I managed it just fine!

Friday, November 30, 2018

Kdrama Review: The Smile Has Left Your Eyes

Drama: The Smile Has Left Your Eyes
Genre: romance suspense/crime
Starring: Seo In Guk, Jung So Min, Park Sung Woong
Rating:  ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Well, and so everyone was talking about this drama. And I tried to wait until it was done airing, but couldn't, so I started it when it still had about 4 episodes (two weeks) to go. I had just come off the high of seeing Seo In Guk in Shopping King Louis and was ready to jump right into another one of his dramas.

And boy was it very much character whiplash. In Louis he was cute and naive and childlike and sweet and innocent and so so very smiley. In this one the character is angsty, sad, a little mean, angry, hurting, and... the smiles are rare. The smirks, however are not. Oh, man, the smirks.

So this one starts out with a murder that our cop dude is trying to solve. Also, at the same time, there's an art show with a girl who happened to be friends with the murdered girl. At the art show, the paths of the art girl and our main lead girl and our main lead guy all cross paths. Our guy is working the bar at the show. He instantly hooks up with the art girl. (which is strange for the main lead to be loving on someone right off the bat that is NOT the main lead girl!) And our girl has a not so great first impression of our guy.

Oh, and our girl is the brother of the cop guy. And the cop guy starts to suspect our guy, after awhile and a few strange things, of the murder. We are getting vibes that our guy is not the best guy in the world. What a playboy first of all. And he is really, oh man... almost creepy.

But then of course, as our girl starts to get to know him through random encounters, she is extremely intrigued, even though he makes her crazy. And thus, we the audience also start to see him in a new light.

And, as always, we are getting the back stories of everyone and we know that something  very strange and sad has happened, that probably ties all these characters together.

Anyway, once these two decide that they do in fact love each other, then the romance is absolutely perfect. So much kissing and hugging and all. And he is suddenly smiling a lot and believe me, when this actor smiles... IT'S OVER! AH!!!

But of course, we knew that stuff is going to go down to ruin it all.

And now I will get to the spoilery part so read no further if you happen to think that you might want to watch this one... if you know you won't and don't care... well then... carry on:


So as I said I finished the last few episodes as they were aired and so experienced the trauma that is this drama with everyone else watching it. That was kinda fun! LOL! But a lot of people who did get spoiled are saying they refuse to watch it now because guys, THIS IS NOT A HAPPY ENDING. This is a very very tragic ending. A shocking WTH ending. A disturbing and terrible ending.

But that ending lasts for ONE MINUTE... the very last minute of the entire drama. If you want to watch the drama without that ending... just hurry and quickly turn it off as soon as he says... "No, I want to live." AHHHH!!!

Because the whole rest of the drama is SO WORTH IT! Believe me. Everything about it is fascinating. The characters, the music, the angst, the romance, the crime solving, the back story. Everything.


It's frustrating.


But can I just say this has thrown me into a full on Seo In Guk obsession. Like, I can't believe I waited this long to watch his stuff. He's so intriguing. Like, I have no words to describe this actor. He is just really cool.
Seo In Guk smiling

And I think I'm about to start another drama that stars him... so... here we go!

Oh, P.S Hongbin from VIXX is in this one, but it was so fast and small you barely even notice it! But still, it was fun seeing him act. I need to watch the other dramas he's in.

Also I loved the soundtrack for this one. Like not the OSTs (songs) but the instrumental soundtrack. So haunting. (It's on Spotify, yes!)

Here's a tiny little trailer:

And the lovely song with some kissy huggy clips. :)

Well, and so. I loved this one. A lot. A lot a lot.

And because I just made this compilation today, you get that too. Here is five songs by Seo In Guk, because he started as a singer... and still does sing, but now is more known for his acting I think because. Dang. But his singing too... dang. Just... dang all around.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Book Review and Blog Tour: Lies, Love and Breakfast at Tiffany's by Julie Wright

Book: Lies, Love and Breakfast at Tiffany's by Julie Wright
Genre: contemporary romance
Rating: ★ ★ ★ 

This is just the sort of book I'm craving all the time these days! A simple fun light romantic story!

Our girl, Silvia, has an interesting connection to Audrey Hepburn. For one thing they both had cancer, and in fact the day Audrey died was also the day that Silvia, as a five year old, lost her eye to cancer. But the other thing is that Silvia looks like Audrey! Also, she is very much into movies. In fact, she grew up to be a movie editor and is tying to make it big in Hollywood behind the scenes.

But she has a crappy boss, which mean a lot of this story is about her struggle dealing with the ruthless business that is movie making. While that part of the story was okay, I am sure you are not surprised to know that I was much more about the romance!

Because there's this guy that she has thought of only as a friend, someone she used to work with before she got her current job. Then one night he comes to the rescue when her boss fails her yet again. And suddenly she is thinking of him a little differently. But it might be too late since he's dating someone else.

And so it goes... the two of them figuring out that they have always liked each other. And it's fun to be part of. Also, there's fun interaction with Silvia's grandma and that's nice. I love seeing young people getting along well with the old. Know what I mean? And respecting them and realizing they are people too and have loves and passions just like when they were young.

There are a LOT of movie references in this book, so if you are into that thing you are going to love this! I knew many, but not all. There are also a lot of references to Audrey Hepburn movies as can be expected. Again, I knew some but not all. It was fun though, all of it.

Bottom line: Cute fun story with all the troubles a single working person might have to deal with. Very clean and sweet romance. I totally enjoyed it!

Thanks to Shadow Mountain for having me participate in this blog tour!

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Book Review: An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

Book: An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
Genre: NA SF
Rating:  ★ 

I was a little leery about this one going in. Not exactly sure why, but just... you know... not too sure. Turns out, I was kinda right. Cause this book was just weird.

It's about a girl who one day as she is walking home happens upon a weird robot statue that seems to have just appeared out of nowhere there in New York...and she thinks it's pretty cool. So she calls her friend and they make a youtube video about it.  Well, and so the next morning they find out that these robot things appeared in cities all over the world, but it happens that they are the first ones to say anything about it. And everyone loved their video and watched and so overnight they become famous.

So then it's mostly about her dealing with this sudden fame and how should she use it to get across her message, which is that the robots are friendly. She has named them Carl, which the world loves, and now everyone is trying to figure out where they came from and why they are here.

There's a lot of science talk, and puzzles to solve, which might be fun for some readers, but kinda made my head spin. Then things turn political as it turns out there are two sides... those that think Carl is friendly and those that don't. And so now she has enemies.

So in the end, the book for me was a little boring.. until the end when things finally started getting interesting and then it was over. So that was sad. But I, for the most part, felt like it was too agenda-y. Our friend Hank was trying too hard to get across a lot of points regarding fame and fortune and tolerance and ... I don't even know what else.

I felt also like the characters weren't that interesting. Gah, I feel bad saying so! I wanted to be more invested with them, but I just wasn't feeling it. More character development Mr. Hank! and less about the agenda!

Yeah. Not my favorite book of the year I'm pretty sure...

Friday, November 16, 2018

Broadway Show Review: Come From Away

We went into this one only knowing a little of the premise.. and we came out LOVING IT! Oh my word, but it blew me away. So much energy. So uplifting and powerful and happy even though the subject is sad. The actors were amazing and never stopped. Like... it was a non stop show... we only had a chance to clap for them like three times through the whole thing! Crazy!

If you don't already know, this show is about when on 9/11, and the air space was closed and the planes were all ordered to land. This tiny island in Newfoundland had an airport that could hand them... and 38 planes landed and were then stranded for five days until they allowed them to fly again. This little city of Gander... population 9000, took care of these stranded people.... 7,000 of them. They opened their homes and hearts and gave them everything they needed. And there was bonding all around. So much so, that when it was time to leave to go home, everyone was sad and wanted to some back!

I couldn't figure out how they would make a musical from something like this, but believe me, they did, and it was awesome. The cast is only 12, and they play all the parts... both the Gander people and the plane people. And somehow, it works and you can keep them all straight! It's so cool. They songs are very upbeat and fun and in the end, like I said. the story is very heartwarming and happy.

Anyway, here's a little taste of it:

So if you ever get the chance to see this one, don't pass it up!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Kdrama Review: Shopping King Louis

Drama: Shopping King Louis
Genre: Romantic comedy
Starring: Seo In Guk, Nam Ji Hyun
Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

So there's a new Seo In Guk drama airing right now and I wanted to watch it, but before I did that, I wanted to watch this one with him... because it's one I started awhile back but never continued with... and I felt the need to finish it first before starting the new one. You know? Kinda like books.

And I'm SO GLAD I DID! Because... dang. Why have I not watched this actor before????

So in this drama, he is a silly happy carefree character. He has been hidden away in France by his rich grandma... she's afraid something will happen to him or something. And he's so isolated that he gets all his fun and pleasure from buying things.. so he's very very very into STUFF. But then, one day his grandma (in Korea) gets sick, so he goes to visit her. On the day he arrives, something happens to him while he's driving... and his world changes.

His family believes that he died in a car crash... but we the viewers know that he has survived, but woken up with amnesia and is homeless on the street. But we still don't really know what happened, and all is revealed as the show goes on.

Then there's our girl who lives up in the mountains.. isolated, having no real knowledge of modern life. When HER grandma dies (that's who she's been taking care of up there) she decides to come down to the city to find her brother who has disappeared. When she arrives, she finds our main character guy.. homeless on the street... and dressed in her brother's clothes.

So. They end up helping each other out... trying to navigate the city and modern life when neither one of them knows anything... and they don't have any money. And so it goes from there!

And it's very cute and funny and heartwarming and all that. I loved it. It is a bit over the top silly at times. But you know. Who cares. So much fun!

And this actor has now risen to the nearly top of my list... and now that I've started the other drama with him in which he plays someone COMPLETELY OPPOSITE of his character in this one, it shows what a great actor he is. I'm so gone with him. Wow.

This show features a song by one of my favorite bands, Monsta X.... called Tiger Moth. So here's a lovely video someone made with that song and so many cute clips. Dang. All those smiles. Now I want to watch it all over again.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Currently: Full

Listening: Spotify has created a playlist of my favorite and most listened to songs from last year. So I'm playing that and enjoying some memories! It's true that some of these songs have been forgotten about in favor of new stuff. Sad! But thank you Spotify for helping  me to remember.

Watching: A very awesome drama called The Smile Has Left Your Eyes. It's a crime suspense sort of drama with a murder mystery that a lot of you murder mystery lovers would... you know... love. Also, keeping up on Survivor! How is it that that show never gets old??? I am not watching Walking Dead this season. Maybe I'll catch up someday. I have some desires to see Bohemian Rhapsody at the theater, but it hasn't happened yet. Queen was one of the first groups I ever had physical music for...We Will Rock You and We Are the Champions... for 12 year old birthday. On a 45 record. One song on one side, and the other on the other. Y'all know what that is, right?

Oh, we saw Come From Away this week. The musical. I didn't know much about it going in, but I came out LOVING IT! I plan to gush in a separate post. But, yeah. SO GOOD!

Reading: I'm in the middle of Hank Green's book (well actually more toward the end) and I just want to get done with it. Sigh. This one is not going down as one of my favorites this year that's for sure.

Writing: I really wish I was doing NaNo. Seeing everyone's updates on this is killing me. I totally still have the bug and think about my stories pretty much every day. I just can't convince myself they are worth writing. Sigh. The struggle.

YouTubing: Well somehow I still have videos to put out. Kpop for Beginners, album collection, watching videos with Emily, and Friday Fives. We crossed over to a new 1000 subscriber mark...which is always fun. I have no idea who keeps subscribing to us. By the way, my sister and partner in YouTubing took off and went to Korea to live. Yeah. So hopefully we'll have some videos of her experience soon to share.

Picture Taking:

First Snow



Trunk or Treat

Brandon Sanderson at the library

Misc: So my granddaughter number 2 was born yesterday! I will be going in a few days to see her! YAY!! I will also be having a birthday in a few days. I'll let you know if this the one where I will suddenly not like doing all these things that I like... I guess it will hit some year, yeah? That's what they say anyway. (I will stop now before my snark gets worse.)

Have a great week my friends!


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