Sunday, March 31, 2019


Well, so do people still mark the passage of time by "celebrating" their blogiversaries around here? I realized the other day that I've passed through yet another year, making it 12 years since I started this book (and life's other adventures) blog. GO ME!

At any rate, it's made me think about the state of the blog and the state of blogging yet again. And the state of it is sad. Have I fallen out of it enough to not know where the action is anymore? Are people still blogging? Where do I go to reconnect if I'm ready to fully commit again? Are all my old faves still out there? Am I just being a bad blog connector myself these days?

Yeah, I'm pretty baffled with the demise of all things blogging. And I blamed it on my own changing interests, but I'm thinking that it's not all me and that many people are also finding other interests and connecting other places these days, yes? But I feel like I'm missing something. Let me know what you think is the THING these days and where I should be talking books if not here! Should I move my book thoughts to instagram for instance?

Anyway, I do miss the good old days. I'm sad that it's peaked and falling down the other side now. I will always look back fondly on so many fun things that happened through blogging! What a fun ride it's been. I plan to keep writing stuff here, but it tends to now truly be more of a journaling place and a spot for me to keep track of books/dramas and such just for myself, as I think not many people are out there keeping up on blogs anymore. But it will be interesting to see how long I last! Twelve years and counting. Let's see what happens!

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Book Club Choices 2019 -2020

We have made our marks and voted! Here's what the book club will be reading the rest of this year and into next! Wish us luck! We've been doing this for FIFTEEN YEARS now and hopefully aren't losing steam and have awhile to go still!

Let us know if you've read any of these and what we might have to look forward to.

May: Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
June: Ban This Book by Alan Gratz
July: A Room With a View by E.M. Forster
August: The Hollow City by Dan Wells
September: One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
October: A Darker Shade of magic by V.E. Schwab
November: The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
December: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

January: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
February: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
March: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
April: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
May: The First Fifteen Lives of Henry August by Claire North

Friday, March 29, 2019

Book Review and Blog Tour: Waiting for Fitz by Spencer Hyde

Book: Waiting for Fitz by Spencer Hyde
Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating: ★ ★ 

This is the story of Addie and her struggle with really severe OCD. There's a lot in this book that a person struggling with such an ailment will relate too. It sounds overwhelming and hard, that's for sure.

Just a bit after the story opens, she is put into an inpatient psyche ward for kids. There she meets other kids all struggling with different mental health issues. One of them is a dude named Fitz, who she finds very interesting. One of those things is that he gets her crazy and witty sense of humor, because our Addie is quick with the puns and jokes like no other! And Fitz has a comeback to everyone of them!

That was a very fun thing about this book, all the jokes that reference books and movies and pop culture. It made me wonder if all the readers will even catch them. I probably missed a lot myself. But I did catch a lot too. So fun.

So the story continues in the hospital and Addie learns a bit about Fitz, but not everything. She can tell something more is going on with him. After they get to know each other pretty good, he confesses to her that he needs her help to break out. She decides (fairly easily I might add!) what the heck... and helps him. Actually, all the kids end up helping and their teamwork is pretty impressive. :)

The first part of the book inside the hospital was a little slow for me. There's a lot of talk about her OCD and her frustration with how nothing helps and how sometimes she gets sick of people trying to help, even though she knows they have her best interests in mind. A lot of talk about how it is living with it. Like I said, I figure people who suffer with, or deal with people suffering with, these intense things will totally relate.

But the book picked up quite nicely during the breakout and the adventure they have afterward. Except that part is also very sad when we learn more about Fitz and what caused him to want to breakout in the first place and a little more of his back story. So sad.

So while Addie narrates this story and we learn a lot about her, it's more about Fitz and the things he's gone through and going through. There's a lot of profound thoughts scattered throughout that hit me hard and made me think. If I was a book marker upper, I would have marked a lot of things! But it just makes you appreciate your life and how even though we all have struggles, some of us are pretty blessed with the easiness of our life. Know what I mean? And I think we tend to forget that sometimes. So it also made me understand the plight of kids/people with mental illnesses. Ah, it's so hard!

Anyway. I enjoyed it! Slow a bit at first, but really quite engaging that last while. Things aren't too hunky dory at the end either, but that being said, it's a very hopeful look on mental health issues.

Thank you to Shadow Mountain for the opportunity to read and review this book!

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Kdrama Review: Romance is a Bonus Book

Drama: Romance is a Bonus Book (on Netflix my friends!)
Genre: Romantic comedy
Starring: Lee Jong Suk, Lee Na Young, Wi Ha Joon
Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Ah, this was quite the buzzed about drama, especially since it was being only shown on Netflix and also because it's Lee Jong Suk's last drama before he goes off to the military service. I finally made time to fit it and it was a lot of fun.

It's about our girl who finds herself quite destitute after a divorce. She is trying to get a job in her career field (editing and book marketing) but no one will hire her since she has been away from the industry for too long. She is on her last legs, essentially homeless, when she finally gets a job by lying that she is not educated. She gets a contract position in the publishing company where her best friend for many years works as the chief editor.

This best friend, has a mansion basically and is a very popular author too. She is too proud to ask him for help, so she ends up living in his "attic" without his knowledge, since she has no where else to go. When she actually gets the job in his company, it makes things pretty tricky for awhile. Until he discovers her of course.

He, by the way, has loved her since their childhood days. So he is thrilled that she is suddenly back in his life! And though she is several years old than him, he feels his chance has finally come.

And so it goes. It's about the day to day living these two have, getting used to their new normal, falling for each other, and dealing with the struggles in the work place. Our girl really gets trampled on as a "peon" employee even though she is truly a seasoned person at this sort of thing. It's hard for her, but she is very persistent and tenacious and figures out how to deal.

There are a bunch of lovely side characters, namely all the people who work at this company. And also a beautiful second male lead with a killer smile. He wants to date our girl, but she is pretty much stricken with her friend, our main male lead, from the get go, so he doesn't have much chance. But there are other girl characters in this drama that will work much better for him! :)

Reading poetry in bed.

Anyway. I totally enjoyed it and LOLed many times. Lee Jong Suk just has a charm about him that is hard to describe and easy to fall for. Such a cutie.

What I really really loved about this one was that it was set in a place of such bookishness! All the love for books in this drama! Trying to market them to show the world how cool it is! Trying to design covers that match the mood of the book. Holding author events for beloved and well known authors. Wondering what happened to an author that has disappeared. Loving those that mentor and teach you. The pain of books that get shredded because they can't be sold. On and on. The love for books and the written word is portrayed quite deeply and I thought it was awesome.

He of the killer smile. I will find more of his dramas now.

In the end there is a quote I especially loved and Deanna, who I was discussing this with one day, conveniently journaled it and sent it to me, so I will add that here:

The only thing that made me a little crazy in this drama was... there was not the passionate kissing that one would have expected. For two people to finally admit to their feelings after so many years, you'd think they would have been, you know, a little more intense! But the kissing fell flat, dang it. Sigh.

Anyway. I really enjoyed it and thought it had wonderful characters and lots of great bookish moments.

Here's a trailer:

And a song:


Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Book Review: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Book: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Genre: Childrens classic
Rating: ★ ★ ★ 

This was the other choice for our KPOP book club this time around. The Happy Prince (see review here) and this one, The Little Prince. Fun, eh? I'd read it already quite awhile back, but of course it's an easy read, so I read it again this past week.

It's a simple story of a guy who has a plane crash in the African desert, and while he's trying to fix his plane, a "little prince" shows up for a visit. And in their conversations, the guy learns that the prince has visited several other "planets" and learned things from all the people he sees. His last visit is on Earth, and he recalls the people and things he's come across there too. In the end, he has to return to his planet and it makes our airplane guy sad, but he feels like he is better and learned a lot from the little prince.

Last time I remember thinking.. wow. I'm sure something is trying to be said, I just don't know what! But this time, I tried a little harder to figure out what I thought was the lessons to be learned. Here's what I'm coming up with:

1. Take time to slow down in life and smell the roses and look at the the stars and enjoy sunsets.
2. Go out and appreciate the lives of others. Learn and explore.
3. Be loyal and dependable. Take care of things.
4. Open up yourself to be "tamed" or loved and vulnerable.
5. Grown ups are strange!

I don't know... what else do you think there is to be learned from this little tale? I looked it up to see what others thought. Some other ideas are:

1. Don't be too fond of numbers.
2. Don't judge others by what they say, but by what they do.
3. Relationships make life worth living.
4. The important things aren't seen with your eyes, but with your heart.
5. The time you give makes the thing precious.

The book is also full of TONS of quotes. Here's some favorites:

“Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them”

“What a queer planet!" he thought. "It is altogether dry, and altogether pointed, and altogether harsh and forbidding. And the people have no imagination. They repeat whatever one says to them . . .

“That is the most difficult thing of all. It is far more difficult to judge oneself than to judge others. If you succeed in judging yourself correctly, then you are truly a man of wisdom.” 

“One runs the risk of weeping a little, if one lets oneself be tamed...” 

“If I try to describe him here, it is to make sure that I shall not forget him. To forget a friend is sad. Not every one has had a friend. And if I forget him, I may become like the grown-ups who are no longer interested in anything but figures...”

Well, anyway. It was fun to revisit this one. We added it to the Kpop book club reads because so many of our reading kpop idols love this book. So many! And again I say, wouldn't it be fun to discuss with them what they love about it???

We'll be announcing our next book in a video on Saturday! Look for it! I'm very excited!

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Book Review: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Book: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
Genre: Literary fiction
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

So much buzz last year around this book! And I'm happy to report that for me it lived up to the hype! Such a crazy gripping story!

It's fictional story but based on something that really happened in history, in Tennessee between 1920 and 1950 or so. This lady decided to have an "orphanage" and sell kids to rich people. I guess some of the kids were truly orphans, but many of them were stolen kids... stolen from poor people who signed them away without realizing what they were signing.

We follow the story of one family who's parents went to the hospital so the mom could have twins. They left the rest of the kids on their shanty houseboat. Before they could get back, the bad guys came and stole those kids and took them to this home. This part of the story is told in the voice of the oldest girl, Rill, who is 12 years old. It's heartbreaking.

We flip back and forth between that and the present day where our other girl has a chance encounter with a grandma at a rest home and that makes her think this person has a connection to her own grandma. She starts investigating and uncovers the truth about her family.

I was gripped and totally immersed in this story. Great writing moved it right along and had me at every page. I loved it. Even though it was a painful story, it was told in a hopeful way and so it wasn't necessarily a downer. I appreciated that too. Perfect. So glad to have finally read this one!

We'll be discussing it at book club this week. I'm hoping everyone else enjoyed it too!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Kdrama Review: My Strange Hero

Drama: My Strange Hero

Genre: Romantic comedy/drama
Starring: Yoo Seung Ho, Jo Bo Ah, Kwak Dong Yeon
Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤

This one was intriguing because it stars the same dude from I am Not a Robot, where he was fabulous. I loved him in this one too but the story line didn't grab me quite as much as I hoped it would.

It's about guy who was expelled from high school because of an incident, which we learn about as the drama unfolds. People told lies and he was falsely accused. Those people being his best friends. So he has lived with that over his head for the past nearly 10 years and is pretty bitter about it, but he's moving on.

But then one day he is invited to come back and finish high school. So he enrolls as a 27 year old and decided to take advantage of the situation and get revenge on all those that wronged him. His former girlfriend, who now teaches at the school and is his homeroom teacher, and his other friend, who is now the director of the school and is suffering from his own many bitter feelings.
The director dude who takes an amazing internal journey in this drama.

Well. It gets crazy, and there is so much corruption at this school thanks mostly to the mom of the our director dude. She is a piece of work for sure. And hss messed up this boy in so many ways.

Of course, our main guy falls in love all over again with the girl who is now his teacher. And his revenge takes a different turn. All together, with the help of the students in the wildflower class (kids with the lowest grades) they manage to bring all the corruption to light and take back their school!

So I enjoyed the romance parts. Our main dude is over the top adorable. I can't with him. He has the best eye smile I think... EVER. I cried during the bits with the director dude, who is SO SO MEAN, but also in SO SO MUCH pain. He was awesome. His character development was probably the best part of this drama.
The eye smile of which I speak.

Anyway. I enjoyed it. Cute one! Mixed in with the heavy drama as always!

A little trailer:

And cutie pie Ken from VIXX with a song and cute clips:


Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Book Review: Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Book: Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett
Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating: ★ ★ ★ 

I sneaked this in after buying it on a Kindle deal and seeing that it is marketed as a sort of You've Got Mail/Little Shop Around the Corner type of story. Boy and girl are secretly communicating and fall in love, but have no idea that the other person in real life that is driving them crazy and causing them all sorts of grief, is in fact the person they are writing to.

Yes? This is great premise and one I'll probably never get sick of.

In this story we have our girl, who's voice I loved and personality I related too (mostly, lol), comes to live with her dad in California. She has been emailing a dude (because of their mutual love of classic movies) and she knows he lives in this beach town, but she doesn't want to tell him she is there. She plans to stalk him out and evaluate the situation first!

Meanwhile, she starts working at the local tourist trap and gets annoyed right off the bat by the drop dead gorgeous surfer boy full of himself body guard. Yeah.

But of course that doesn't last for too long because this boy is very very intriguing. And then she starts to learn his back story, and back stories will end us all!

Meanwhile, what does she do about the dude she's been writing to? And should she keep trying to find him, or just tell him once and for all that she is here but that she isn't really that interested in him anymore? And just how much does she let surfer boy into her life and her OWN crazy back story?

I loved the setting, the lazy warm breezy California beach town. I think I need to live in a place like this. Seriously. I loved the banter. Banter is the best! I loved this girl (for the most part. She made some questionable choices a couple of times, but yeah.) and her insecurities and her tendency to be an Artful Dodger all of the time. I loved the dude, who appears to be one way, but is really another. I loved the families in this book. Good families are a such an amazing thing in books these days! And of course I loved the classic movie references! So many!

Yeah. I loved it for a fun YA romance. Pretty sure I need to read more by this author. Keeping my eye on more sweet deals!

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Book Club Book Choices 2019

It's voting time for the book club.
We are celebrating our 15th year in existence this year! CRAZY!!!

We had a first round of voting and these books made the first cut:

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
The Hollow City by Dan Wells
A Room With a View by E.M. Forster
Ban This Book by Alan Gratz
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Now we are voting on these books to see which ones will make
the cut to round our our schedule.

What comments and/or suggestions do you have to help us choose?

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro
Red China Blues by Jan Wong
Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio by Terry Ryan
The Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
My Story by Elizabeth Smart
Educated by Tara Westover

Bottom line: I just want to read them all!!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Book Review: Stories for Children by Oscar Wilde

Book: Stories for Children by Oscar Wilde, Illustrated by P.J. Lynch
Genre: children's illustrated short stories
Rating: ★ ★ 

I picked up this one to read because we are doing The Happy Prince for the Kpop bookclub this time around and I found it in this compilation and decided to just read all the stories here, because it will also fulfill another category on the book challenge I'm doing!

This particular edition included six stories. Here's a summary of each:

The Selfish Giant: A giant gets bugged when he discovers children playing in his garden, so he bans them from coming. But then his garden is cursed with winter until he realizes why and has the kids come back. One particular kid catches his eye...

The Nightingale and the Rose: A young boy wants to give something to a girl to make her fall in love with him. The nightingale learns of this plight and sacrifices himself to create the perfect rose, but the boy takes no heed and all is in vain.

The Devoted Friend: A miller has a very warped definition of friendship and works his "friend" to literal death.

The Happy Prince: A statue of a the prince notices the suffering people in his kingdom and he gives everything he has, with the help of his sparrow friend, to ease their suffering.

The Remarkable Rocket: A firework, intended for the celebration of the marriage of the prince and princess, decides to start bragging about how wonderful he is and ends up exploding in a very unremarkable way.

The Young King: A pauper turned king has three dreams on the eve of his coronation which makes him decide he does not want to be a pompous king and he refuses to wear the riches prepared for his coronation.

Basically, every single story is extremely depressing! Except maybe the Selfish Giant which still ends in death. Yeah. Every story is also quite sarcastic and expresses the author's feelings (I'm assuming they are his feelings) in quite an unsubtle way. Of course, most of this would go over a kids head, so I was baffled they are considered "for children." They are pretty morbid for children too! More like parables for adults here! They did feel like twisted Bible stories in a way.

Anyway, still I learned lessons. Things like: be a true friend, don't be selfish, don't be a braggart, help the poor people, don't be prideful, give of yourself, know the true meaning of love. Etc. :) Also, I know I was supposed to pay attention to the illustrations, and they were okay, but they didn't really stand out to me.
I.M aka Im Changkyun of Monsta X

We read this one because recently I.M (aka. Im Changkyun)  from Monsta X read The Happy Prince for an audiobook production. I found it on Youtube and thoroughly enjoyed listening to him read it to me! He knows English well, but has some interesting pronunciations for some words which made me smile and was so very cute.  Here it is if you are interested. I know he did a Korean version too, which I would love to listen to. But I haven't found it yet.

We are also reading The Little Prince for this bookclub this time around, so look for that to come later!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Concert Review: ONE OK ROCK

So awhile back we realized this Japanese rock band was coming near us, like within driving distance, like we could just go and come home.. no long ride, no plane ride, no hotel! And cheap tickets too! So we decided to go! Just for fun!

We'd heard of them, but weren't totally familiar, so in the days leading up to the concert, we listened a lot to them and pretty much loved every song. So we were truly looking forward to it.

Of course, it was all GA standing, unless you spent quite a bit more money and sat in the balcony where they served drinks so it was 21+, which bans Toto from that possibility... for another year anyway. But we were fine with GA and figured we were now experienced pit goers.

Yeah. Well, we had forgotten that this concert featured two "warm up" bands. (I think they should call  them "sap all your energy" bands and leave you DEAD TIRED for the band you came to see! UGH!!) And the second of those bands was flat out awful. And roused the crowd to the true mosh pit frenzy to the point that some lovely kids decided it was time to start the slamming thing. Which caused massive pushing and shoving leading to people getting hurt and people in tears. Also, we lost our good spot on the floor that we had held on to at that point for over 3 hours. Sigh. I was so mad. SHAKING mad.

When that band finally ended, there was the expected surge, but it was a HUGE surge and some boys linked arms and literally mashed their way in front of us. Now we really couldn't see as they were all a head taller than us. I thought I was mad before, but now I was SEETHING.

After standing there for a minute trying to get control, I thought, why should I let this happen? I don't need to take this. The boys were still all linked arm in arm, and so I lifted the arm from the guy in front of me, and shoved Toto between him and his buddy so that she was a little bit in front of them again. He looked at me like I was crazy. I just said, "you stole our spot, I'm taking it back." He put his arm back, which meant he was now having his arm around both Toto and his friend. Awkward. We had to stand like that, literally in each other's faces for a half hour while they messed around on stage. Finally, he awkwardness was too much and he retreated a bit. Some of the other boys saw how upset Toto was and I felt like they were feeling a little sheepish at that point. And they didn't bug us or give us grief anymore. (They were very young Japanese boys. Not sure if they even did English too well. And I am convinced that in normal life they are very nice boys, but in that situation, they were so very not. I hate how that happens to some people.)

So FINALLY, after waiting and standing for FOUR hours (one outside to come in, one inside waiting for it to start and a total of two for those two dumb bands) our guys came out and the concert truly started. Thankfully, once they started, the crowd seemed to calm and everyone was normal for the rest of the night. Sigh. I was so scared it would happen again, but it didn't.

And so, ONE OK ROCK was awesome. Hearing those songs live was awesome. So much energy. Chill inducing lyrics (they sing sometimes in Japanese, but they did English songs for us) and just powerful vocals and guitarists. We really loved it. Even though we were EXHAUSTED! We sang some of the songs loud with the crowd and everything was redeemed! In the end, we were glad we went and were able to see them.  I guess in Japan, you can't hardly get a ticket and they play at huge venues and are extremely popular. So we feel lucky to have experienced them live. Next time though, I 'll probably avoid the pit and sit upstairs. LOL!

Here's a video with a little montage of some footage we took. Please take note of the very first song they sang. It's called Push Back and the chorus says :So go ahead and push us, we'll get up and push back!! LOL! We thought it was so perfect! Watch the first part of the video at least to see that song!

Monday, March 4, 2019

February 2019 Reading Recap

I don't know why but the combination of flag, snow and mountain always compels me to take a picture!

It was almost like a normal reading month for me! Here are the books I enjoyed in February:

4. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami: a young kid runs away from home and meets some interesting people along the way in his journey to find himself
5. Dear Rachel Maddow by Adrienne Kisner: a struggling student writes to a famous news anchor as a way of getting her feelings out
6. Geekerella by Ashley Poston: a girl goes to a convention dressed in her dead father's cosplay and ends up meeting the stranger she has fallen in love with through texts
7. The Marriage Bureau by Penrose Halson: the story of a dating service set up in London during WWII
8. Fame, Fate and the First Kiss by Kasie West: a budding actress has strange things happening on set, including falling for her tutor

Favorites of the bunch: Geekerella and Fame, Fate and the First Kiss were just totally enjoyable. Kafka on the Shore was a wild ride that I somehow enjoyed!

Book Challenge Progress: 3 more crossed off

  • Kafka on the Shore: book translated into English
  • Dear Rachel Maddow: book I've never heard of
  • Geekerella: book recommended by friend or family
Goals for March:
  • read the book I have lined up for a book tour
  • read both book club books (in person and online kpop club)
  • mark something else off the challenge list
What books did you enjoy this past month?

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Book Review: Fame, Fate and the First Kiss by Kasie West

Book: Fame, Fate and the First Kiss by Kasie West

Genre: YA contemporary
Rating: ★ ★ ★ 

As you know, I pretty much read all Kasie West books the minute they are out. So this is the latest one!

It's about a girl who is the lead actress in a zombie movie playing opposite a famous actor dude. She is happy for her big break, but trying to adjust living with her dad suddenly and having his ever protective presence always in her face. As part of that, he has hired a tutor from the local school, to help her get her homework packets done. When the tutor shows up, she is surprised that he is a cute student her age, but not surprised at how serious and closed off he is. She pretty writes him off.

But that doesn't last for long. She soon realizes there is a lot more to him than meets the eye and she learns that if she is going to find "chemistry" with her co-star, she might have to experience love in real life first.

Lots of fun movie set scenes. Which is funny since I just read a book taking place on a movie set. Seems like these things come in spurts, yeah? It's fun because we get a little glimpse throughout this one of the actual script of the movie too.

So, as with all the rest of her books, I totally enjoyed and devoured it. Those first books are still some of my favorites but I really truly enjoy a good simple YA romance with a little mysterious conflict thrown in. So much fun!

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Book Review: The Marriage Bureau by Penrose Halson

Book: The Marriage Bureau by Penrose Halson
Genre: NF WWII
Rating:★ ★ 

We read this one for book club. It was interesting because it was like our libraries hadn't even heard of it. That's not normal! But I requested them to purchase a copy and now they have one! LOL! Anyway.

The author of this one took over a marriage bureau aka. dating service based in London back a few years ago and became so fascinated with the history of this business that she decided to write a book about it documenting how it got started and highlighting some stories surrounding it.

It started a few years before WWII when our girl Mary was struggling to find her place in life. Several marriage proposals of her own didn't pan out and she bounced from job to job never really settling. Her uncle who lived in India planted an idea in her head that she decided to run with, and to get her friend Heather on board.

So that's how The Marriage Bureau get set up, in a small office in London, with the intent to help people who wanted to get married, but didn't really have time to go through the whole process of finding each other. It was a booming business from the very start!

They had clients fill out information about themselves, and about who they wanted to date. They interviewed them and had a secretary type up all the things. And then basically they could memorize everyone in their system and when someone came in looking for a certain type, they could match people up! The clients paid a small fee to register their information, and then a bigger fee if they got married.

We follow them through the break out of the war, and all the sad stories that happened with that. We follow them through changes and moves and new people added to the business. We learn about many different people and their stories and how they found each other through this bureau. We follow them until they have their 10th anniversary and have a party to celebrate, inviting all the people that they matched up. So much fun!

The thing I loved about this book was the fact that it confirms that everyone has a story. These were all "normal" people, living ordinary lives, but they they all had a story, something interesting enough about them that made this book feasible to write. And something interesting enough about them that we were always left wanting more. That was the biggest complaint people had a book club was that they wanted MORE... a follow up... for these stories. Sometimes we were left hanging a bit!

But for the most part it was great fun reading this book. It was written in a more newspaper-y format, not really a novel narrative, and I think I might have liked it more had it been less... newspaper-y. But still, I enjoyed it very much. Very fun to see how this dating service type business flourished even back in the day... and how this business actually still exists today, despite the invention of computer matching sites.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Book Review: Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Book: Geekerella by Ashley Poston
Genre: YA contemporary
Rating: ★ ★ ★ 

I've been hearing about this one for quite awhile now. The book club friends kept talking about it and saying how much they thought I'd like it.

They were right.

I finally bought it when it was one sale at Amazon Kindle and couldn't wait to get to it. Some how I fit it between the other things and proceeded to devour it.

So yes, it's a retelling of Cinderella. We have our girl, Elle, who lives with her stepmom and twin stepsisters, and works at a food truck called The Magic Pumpkin. Her dad, before he died, was in charge of a huge convention for a Star Trek-like show and when she finds out about a cosplay contest that's happening there this time, she wants to go. So she finds her dad's old costume and with the help of her quickly co-worker, proceeds to fix it up and she starts making plans to go.

Meanwhile, we are also following the story of the dude who has been cast to star in a remake of this show. Many people aren't happy with this casting choice, including our girl who wrote a scathing blog post about him that goes viral. Yeah.

As part of his job, and as part of the cosplay contest, our dude has to go to the convention, and judge the contest. Yeah.

He wants to get out of it, so he calls a random number he finds on the internet for the convention. It happens to be our girl's number, since she is using her dad's old number.

A conversation between them begins. I love it when that happens!

Can you predict the rest??? Even if you can, it's a blast to see it all go down! And there are some interesting twists and turns that you won't see coming. I enjoyed every minute. I love that our two leads were able to develop a relationship before they actually "meet" at the "ball." That was an awesome addition.

Anyway. If you are into retellings. Or cons. Or cosplay. Or Star Trek-like shows. Or cute YA romances. You will enjoy this one.


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