Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Kdrama Review: Encounter

Drama: Encounter (aka. Boyfriend)

Genre: romance
Starring: Park Bo Gum, Song Hye Kyo
Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

After Come and Hug Me (all the hammer murdering remember?) I needed something a little more chill, and this ended up being the perfect one! Like, probably the most refreshing drama ever.

It's a simple story, which in kdramas is quite rare, about a guy and girl falling in love. Yes. That's pretty much it. The girl has a family that is giving her grief, so the whole conflict is.... is she strong enough to stand up to them and finally, once and for all, be happy? Oh, and there's the little conflict that she is much older than him. We call that a noona romance and it's awesome.

She is a CEO of hotel chain and is planing on opening up a new hotel in Cuba. So she is there on a business trip. He is "just and ordinary guy" traveling around, spending the last few days of his 20s on a trip. They have a chance encounter, and spend a lovely (very tame) evening together. Eating, dancing, talking. She has been pic-pocketed and has no money, so he is scraping his pennies together to pay for their fun things. He has no idea who she is. At the end, they plan to meet for breakfast, but of course it doesn't work out and they go back to Korea thinking that's it.

Well, and so he is getting a job and is hired on... at the big hotel in Korea where she is the CEO. She is doing the welcome to the employees speech and their eyes meet across the crowded room. She freezes and he breaks into his beautiful smile.

So it goes from there. Her family and her ex in law family are holding all sorts of things over her head. But at this point, she is beyond caring. Mostly. And she just rolls with it and a beautiful romance happens

I kept expecting all the normal problems to happen, but since these guys were older, they didn't play games. They just talked things through. It's so refreshing. And the guy is so freaking honest and open, he just says what he's thinking and feeling. It's the best. I loved this character so much, and Park Bo Gum with his beautiful smile and clean look was perfect for the role.

The cinematography is great too. They make Cuba look like the most romantic place to go! Who knew? CUBA!!! There was no silly stuff like sometimes happens in kdramas, no over the top acting, no crazy antics, no sad backstories (except for her marriage and life, which was not really a back story as it was still currently happening). But we still had the quirky and fun side characters, which completes the whole picture.

I loved it.

Okay, the trailer:

And my favorite song from the drama sung by a favorite, Eric Nam:

I'm not wanting to figure out what to watch next after this one. I guess I'll read for a bit! LOL!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Book Review: Sweet Black Waves by Kristina Perez

Book: Sweet Black Waves by Kristina Perez
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: ★ ★ 

The premise of this one, the Tristen and Isolde story in a fantasy setting, seemed promising. I thought I would like it more, but... yeah. It was just okay.

The setting was awesome. The magic pretty cool. The writing not too bad. (Sometimes overly flowery and sometimes I thought certain word usage was weird, but not too bad.)

But I just didn't FEEL it like I wanted to. The chemistry between the characters was lacking. Or too instant. Like... let them develop something, not just be instantly... OH I WANT TO KISS YOU, you know? And the conflict she should be feeling at liking this guy didn't seem powerful enough.

There were a bit of twists on this take of the story, but basically the same sort of thing where Tristan washes ashore injured and she heals him. (The she is Branwen though and not Esuelt... which is different, right?) And the whole getting Esuelt to go be Marc's wife (but not Branwen) but Tristan is involved, which in the "real" story he is not, right? I might be confused, but I thought when she shows up to marry Marc, Tristan is all... CRAP. So... yeah. Anyway, the story is familiar, but different, which is good because then you don't always know what's happening.

It's pretty dark, and much dark magic is used... life and death sort of magic. It's pretty intense at times.

Anyway, intriguing idea. I just wish I was drawn more to these characters more. Like I think maybe there was too much world building and magic and political stuff, and not enough character stuff? Sigh.

This is a first in a series and I am not sure about continuing. Maybe? It ended on a pretty big downer, so now I want to see if things get fixed or not!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The Book Challenge of 2019

I'm not very much into challenges anymore these days. Man, remember when I was? That was fun times. But the friends at book club were talking about this one the other night that our local independent used book store is doing and it looks fun.. .and challenging... to me.

And I'm happy to support this bookstore with money, as many of the categories are specific to the store itself, and the point of the challenge is to not only challenge the reader, but to get people to the store, and so I thought... why not?

Anyway. Here's the fun list:

First book in a series
Man Booker Prize winner or nominee
Book by female author
Book recommended by friend or family
Newbery Award winner or honor
Pioneer Book “Employee Pick”
Book by an African-American author
Book from the “Self-help” section
Book by an author you’ve never heard of
Oprah’s Book Club selection
Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller from the 1960s
Book by a Nobel Prize winning author
Book with a red cover
Play or screenplay
Book from the “Poetry” section
Collection of short stories
National Book Award winner or nominee
Book from the “Nature/Ecology” section
Book from the “New Arrivals” display at Pioneer Book
Book you’ve never heard of
Book set in or written about your home state
Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller from the 1970s
Pioneer Book “Customer Pick”
Pulitzer Prize winner or nominee
Book from the “Biography” section
Book by an author born over 100 years ago
Book from the “US History” section
Book from the “Sports” section
Book with a strong female lead
Book published the year you were born
Book involving the ocean
Non-fiction book you probably disagree with
Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller from the 1980s
Book translated into English
Hugo or Nebula winner or nominee
Book from the “Westerns” section
Book from the “True Crime” section
Christmas or holiday book
History of a foreign country
Book with 500+ pages
Book from the “Science” section
Book from the “Bestsellers” display at Pioneer Book
Book set in or written about Utah
Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller from the 1990s

If we the readers accomplish the list, we get $50 store credit. Fun, yes? I will have to pretty
much make all my reading fit this list! Let's see how it goes, yes?

Monday, January 21, 2019

Book Review: Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder

Book: Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder
Genre: MG magic realism ish
Rating: ★ ★ 

This was our book club read for the month. I didn't realize it was MG until I looked up at the library. But it was a good thing because that meant I could read it pretty fast in the days before our meeting.

I enjoyed reading it. It was fun and easy and intriguing. Guys, I was in it just for the fun of it, I didn't think about all the metaphorical allegorical stuff while I read it. Know what I mean? I just WANTED TO KNOW WHAT WAS GOING ON!

But I guess that wasn't the point of this book. The point, I guess, was to make a point about growing up? I don't know. I really don't get it. But when the book ended I was very frustrated.

Back up a bit... here's a quick summary. There are nine kids stranded on an island. And every now and then (they call them years, but it could be longer or shorter) a boat comes and brings a new kid, and then the oldest kid gets on the boat and leaves. There is a pretty good rule system set up where these kids live and survive just fine. The island is magic after all.

So the book starts out when our girl is now the oldest, and she has the new littlest one to take care of. We go through most of the book with her questioning everything and starting to feel pretty discontent about life. And then she makes a decision that changes everything.

I really wanted to know what was up with the island, but we don't learn that. It may be spoilery, but just know that. There are no answers. It's frustrating.

And when I think of kids reading this, you know, the intended audience... they aren't going to care about what it's all symbolizing! Gah. They will want answers. So it bugs me that it's a kids book and yet it's all about making a point.


But... it was a good story. LOL!

If you've read it, what did you think? Was the thought-provoking-ness of it enough for you? Or did you want more?

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Kdrama Review: Come and Hug Me

Drama: Come and Hug Me
Genre: Crime drama
Starring: Jang Ki Yong, Jin Ki Joo, Heo Joon Ho, Nam Da Reum
Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

This is a hard one to rate for me. It was very hard to watch, and yet I really enjoyed the actors and they did an amazing job and it ended uplifting enough for me to feel satisfied so... yeah. But, man it was hard!

This one is about a serial killer and how it pretty much ruins the lives of not only his victims' survivors, but everyone in his family. It's painful.

We get to know main couple when they are kids. The girl's family moves in and the two of them are drawn to each other instantly. But we find out that the boy's dad is pretty evil, and in fact, is murdering people and guess who his next victims end up being... the girl's parents. So over the course of the drama, we get flashbacks to the night this happened and how involved these two were, and how traumatic it was for them.

Our boy, now grown up and a top notch police officer, is dealing with feelings of... does he inherit these tendencies? Does he have evil inside of him? Well, we as viewers know that he is the sweetest thing ever, but he has to have a couple of tests in order to prove to himself that he is indeed safe from the same fate.
The kids... and this boy is in EVERYTHING! I can't wait for him to be his own main lead star soon!
 He is amazing. They were both awesome in this drama. 

It's such a painful internal struggle, and this actor, who I haven't seen in anything else yet.... was amazing and perfect.

The dad was extremely creepy and awful, as is the reporter who is determined to gain somehow by this awful story, which is what sets things in motion again these many years later, when she is publishing a book she helped this dude to write. It gets our couple together again, which is awesome, but people are expecting to gain from their doomed love story too, which is not awesome.

The other struggling brother.

The other interesting part of this story is the other brother, who does seem to have inherited the killing instincts, and we tend to hate him from the get go... that is, until he goes through his own internal struggle to decide if he actually does have evil or not. It's very satisfying to watch his transformation. And another stellar acting performance.

But guys, it was a little too violent and sad for me and I just wanted it over! So much tears and crying and so much violence and killing and.... I will never look at hammer the same way again! But, as i said on Twitter, I have now learned a new Korean word... 망치 mangchi. Hammer!!!

The end had me in literal sobbing tears as the whole "come and hug me" phrase took on a whole new meaning. But it was good. And I'm so happy that it had an ending that I could deal with after all that stress of hammers!

A tiny short trailer, but the hammer is featured!!

And clips of the happy cute moments:

Monday, January 7, 2019

Book Review: The Other Side of Lost by Jessi Kirby

Book: The Other Side of Lost by Jessi Kirby
Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating: ★ ★ 

I really enjoyed some parts, and was quite bored in other parts. How to rate? But in the end, I could find lots to talk about regarding this book. Probably because I have arguments! LOL! Sigh.

So it's about a girl who made big plans with her cousin that is the same age as her. But they grow apart when she (our girl Mari) decides to do different things with her life. And then when her cousin dies suddenly, Mari feels like her own life is meaningless and she decides to fulfill a big dream of her cousin's, namely, hiking the John Muir trail from Yosemite to Mount Whitney.

So, it's great as far as our girl finding herself and becoming more fulfilled and happy. She felt her life before was fake, but in hiking this trail she grounds herself again. I enjoyed the parts where she finds friends and there is interaction and etc. But the introspection parts when she is alone and just staring at a beautiful view and suddenly life is great.. I just... I mean.. I get that beautiful views and hiking can make people feel good, but...

My problems happen when I think that people think that there are certain activities more worthy than others. And hiking is one of them. WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT HIKING?????? Why can't a person find themselves and feel fulfilled oh, say, sitting in front of a computer blogging about books and discussing the love of books with others? Just for starters...

I guess people feel like getting OUTSIDE and doing something PHYSICAL trumps pretty much every other endeavor out there. I see it all the time and I always want to argue about it.

So in my mind, I think the fact that she fulfills the dream of her cousin by doing the hike is cool. But the fact that she has to dump her entire other life in order to do it, is stupid. She can do both. She can do her creative instagramming without being fake. She can hike AND youtube... both. Know what I mean?

Also, is it realistic that she can at the drop of a hat, just up and do this hike?  And she doesn't even call her mom and say what she's up to?  Like I found that to be so maddening. Every now and then she was like... oh man, I should call my mom. But.... I really don't feel like it now... so... maybe later. Let me just keep going on this 200 plus mile hike that's going to take many weeks that I just ran out the door to do without telling anyone and... I'll call later. UGH!!!

Okay. I ranted. It happened. I hope you enjoyed it.

Meanwhile, I guess we all need to get out and hike or something. And then life will be so much better! But ALSO, let's not be fake in what ever endeavor we DO end up doing, right? Let's embrace it and be REAL and just enjoy life no matter what we choose to do.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2018 Year End Number Crunch

Here is my reading by the numbers. Also a little about the kdrama and youtubing too. 


Total pages: 12,777
Total Re-reads: 1

Men: 9
Women: 33

ARCS for Review: 1
Supporting Utah Authors: 8
Book Club: 5
Read Alongs: 2
Beehive Award Long List: 5
AML Middle Grade Awards: 5

Library: 14
On my Kindle: 3
Bought/Owned: 22
Borrowed: 2
Audio: 1

YA: 23
Adult: 9
Middle Grade: 8
Picture Book Fairy Tales: 2

From the YA Category:
Contemporary Realistic Fiction: 12
Fantasy: 6
Science Fiction:3
Historical Fiction: 1
Non-Fiction Memoir: 1

From the MG Category:
Contemporary Realistic Fiction: 6
Fantasy: 2

From the Adult Category:
Romance: 3 
Science Fiction Short Story: 1
Literary Fiction: 5

Star Ratings:
5 stars: 8
4 stars: 21
3 stars: 11
2 stars: 1
1 star: 1


  • My reading numbers were quite a bit better than last year. I reached my Goodreads goal of 40. For next year I have upped it again to 50. 
  • I still mourn the passing of classics from my reading.
  • Also fantasy. But I did manage a bit of that again this year!
  • I was happy to read an ARC again! That was like a blast from the past...
  • I think I gave my first 1 star review. Y'all should be proud.
  • I feel like I read more on the Kindle, but that's how the numbers shook out! Maybe I can do better and make better use of that device this next year.
  • I love reading for award long lists! I read some awesome MGs this year because of that.
  • Happy that Utah authors make a pretty good appearance on my list. 
  • I have lots of things I want to read, so I will not be dropping the habit anytime soon.


Total Kdramas consumed: 22
5 hearts: 8
4 hearts: 11
3 hearts: 3

Total Videos Uploaded on The Kpop Konverters: 828 (up from 501 last year)
Total Uploaded in 2018:  273 (down from 339)
Almost 2,000,000 views: 1 
Over 100,000 views:  12 (up from 8)
50,000 to 100,000 views: 14 (up from 6)
10,000 to 50,000 views: 91 (up from 58)
5,000 to 10,000 views:  60 (up from 37)

Subscribers at year end: 22,632 (up from 14,518 last year) 
View count at year end: 8,729,763 (up from 4,521,990 last year)


  • It's very fun to see the growth of the channel by comparing these numbers. I'm worried about what will happen this year. Here's hoping we don't see a huge drop in the numbers by this time next year!
  • Good thing we have that one popular video that is about to 2 million views! This is what is sustaining our channel right now! If only we could think up another video that would be so popular!


Related Posts with Thumbnails