Sunday, April 28, 2019

Kdrama Review: Chicago Typewriter

Drama: Chicago Typewriter
Genre: Historical, and other things
Starring: Yoo Ah In, Im Soo Jung, Go Kyung Pyo
Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

This drama was unlike anything I've watched so far. Such a different premise than ALL THE DRAMAS! And I was totally invested.

Also, it's going to be hard to summarize.

Basically, the story follows two different time lines. One in the 30s during the Japanese occupation of Korea, and one in the present day involving a popular author and his friends. The interesting thing is that the characters are the same in both timelines since the present day people are reincarnations of the 30s people.

And the premise is that they are remembering the events that happened in their past lives and writing it down as the next novel for our author dude. He's been in a bit of a slump, but when these friends reappeared in his life, things got interesting again and together, they write the novel, ,which they are calling Chicago Typewriter, which is a kind of old fashioned gun I guess, that sounds like a typewriter when being shot off.
Our characters in the 30s
Our characters in the present day

The drama also actually features an old typewriter... from Korea, that ended up in Chicago, but was found again. And is a key part of this story.

I guess that's the basics. That wasn't so hard after all, eh? Lol, but I am leaving out one very important thing that I don't really want to give away as it feels like a big spoiler, since it's something we as viewers aren't aware of until several episodes in. Even though I'm pretty sure all the summaries out there give it away.

But yeah. I loved it. I love the time jumps, I loved the intensity of the stuff in the 30s. Our characters are freedom fighters, fighting to win back independence. And it's really quite painful to see what they went through. I loved the character development and how our main dude went from a very self centered dude, to extremely compassionate and loving. I loved the book love that is shown (again, with the book love! I do seem to be getting a lot of that lately!) and the painfulness of the writing process. That was great!

I was introduced to another "new to me" actor, and he was awesome. And another actor who I sort of knew, but got a much better feel for what he's like in this one. And he was also awesome. Yeah.

This drama is another one that features a fabulous bromance full of awesome
banter between these two! So good1

The last couple episodes I pretty much sobbed through the whole thing. Man. Emotional intensity I tell you!

And I fell totally in love with one of the theme songs and looked the singer up and realized he also sang the song from Encounter, another recent drama favorite. So I proceeded to listen to all his songs and he's also awesome.

All the good things!

I loved this one. It's a few years old and I'm glad I finally fit it in!

Here's a trailer (actually three quick trailers in one):

And here's clips to the song I love. It's called Satellite and it's by a guy that goes by MYK but he has a band of sorts called Saltnpaper. This song is in English, so maybe some of you might actually give it a listen and see what you think:

Ah. SO GOOD!!!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Latest Kpop Gifs

Time to share more of my favorite gifs from off the phone!

Jonghyun from SHINee and his smiley face. He had a birthday.
I miss him. :(

Siwon from Super Junior also had a birthday!
Obsessed with Stray Kids (concert coming up in a couple of weeks!!) So I giffed a bunch of their faces from their new video this past month. Looks like I have one for everyone except Changbin! AH. His didn't turn out as good.

Seungmin looking so so serious

Hyunjin trying to kill us with the whole necklace twist move!

The amazing Han

Bang Chan doing the Huka

Lee Know front and center!

Woojin saying, "I'm okay" with his perfect voice.

I.N trying so hard to not crack up into a smile.

Felix looking amazing.

If you are interested in seeing the whole video and how they incorporate the Huka into their choreography, here it is:

Other obsession: ATEEZ. My two favorites:

Seonghwa being cute

Yeosang cracking up mid performance
Yeosang being cute

Yeosang being sexy

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Book Review: Dreamology by Lucy Keating

Book: Dreamolgy by Lucy Keating
Genre: YA Fantasy-ish
Rating: ★ ★ ★

This is another book I randomly bought at the store with a gift certificate. It's been sitting on my nightstand forever and I finally fit it in. :)

It's an interesting premise. Two kids who had nightmares were both taken to a dream/sleep center, and after that, something happened that caused them to dream of each other. Dreams that they had totally in common and remembered.

When the girl moves to a new city, at school she discovers that the guy from her dreams goes to her school. She comes face to face with him and is blown away!

At first, it's pretty weird, but they become friends and talk about all the wierdness. But then they realize that they have to "get fixed" or they will lose their hold on reality forever.

So. I mean. I enjoyed it, but it felt a little flat to me and I'm not sure why. It was just one of those books where I wasn't as invested or emotionally attached as I could have been, you know? I think the intensity could have been ratcheted up quite a bit.

But it was cute and the dreams were crazy and fun. And as I said, the premise was intriguing. So. I definitely enjoyed it.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Top Ten Books of 2018

So I was laying in bed one night worry about all the things there are to worry about, and suddenly it hit me that I'd never done a top ten BOOKS post for 2018. What the heck??? How did that slip by me? So, here I am in April remembering my favorite books from last year. I have top ten lists dating from 2002, I'm not about to start skipping this habit now!

Top Ten Books I Read in 2018
(in no particular order because ordering thing gives me ulcers. Blurb from my review attached.)

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo: In the end... I loved it and am sad I waited so long to join the ranks of those who love these books!

Every Falling Star by Sungju Lee: Anyway, and so it goes from there... four years on the streets. He was even in the kids jail for awhile, a place no one survives. But he and his gang busted out. This lasted until he was 16 years old. And his parents never came back.
But then one day....
Okay see, I can't tell you exactly how it ends, because that would be a spoiler, even though you know the ending! I want you to read it!! But, let's just say, I couldn't put it down last night and read until the wee hours to see how it all ended... crying all the while.

You May Already Be a Winner by Ann Dee Ellis: It's kind of a sad "neglected" kid sort of story, but I loved the style and the quirkiness of everyone and the spunkiness of this main character. I flew through it without any slow moments. And loved it.

The End or Something Like That by Ann Dee Ellis: It sounds a little weird, yeah? But I loved it. So much. The writing style is totally up my alley and is a style I wish I could learn how to do. So simple, but power packed. Beautiful prose. I just love it. And in the process we bond instantly with these characters, especially Emmy and her dilemma. How she misses her friend so bad and wants to talk to her again so bad, and yet she needs to move on with her life. It's heartbreaking. And yet, told in such a cute and funny way. Did say I loved it? Because, I did!

The Orphan Keeper by Camron Wright: The book was beautifully written. Sometimes a touch too flowery in description for my taste, BUT I did devour it and could hardly put it down, so it's obviously engaging and paints a wonderful picture of what life must have been like in India... and afterwards... for this guy.

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak: I feel like he writes nearly in verse, even though it's a narrative and not a verse book. The words and descriptions are so poetic it hurts sometimes. And the use of personification is as prevalent as ever. It makes scenes come alive like nothing I've ever read. I feel like this stuff just flows out of him, but I have sense learned that he truly agonizes over every word. Somehow that makes me appreciate it all the more.

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles: 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!

Please Look After Mom by Kyung Sook Shin: And so we are left with this overwhelming powerful feeling to love those that are with us WHILE they are with us. And to have no regrets about your relationships. To not leave things unsaid. And most especially, to not take your mom for granted! And to realize that she is a person just like you are with her desires and dreams. That she wasn't BORN a mom, but is a normal person like we all are.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman: In the end, I quite loved this book and its message. How people that at first seem so different can come together and be a sort of family. And how no matter how ornery this old guy is, he can still be loved and he still has a ton to contribute to the world and to those around him. Yes. It's a great story. Read it.

Exo by Fonda Lee: It's a great book that shows how there really is no black and white. You can see both sides of this issue. You end up rooting for everyone and you want everyone to win. It's frustrating and eye opening.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Book Review: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Book: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Genre: Literary Fiction
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

After hearing about this book forever, I have finally read it thanks to book club! It lived up to the buzz in that it was very engaging and page turning, with lots of relate-able characters going through real world problems.

The story centers around three ladies, all with their own crazy problems. In the meantime, they are sending kids to Kindergarten and we know that something terrible happened at Kindergarten fundraising Trivia Night. So this is a flashback of sorts to everything that led up to that incident. Scattered in between all the chapters is the interviews that the detective is doing with all the parents. That was fun.

So one mom is dealing with the fact that her older daughter wants to move out and live with her dad. This devastates her.

One mom is dealing with the fact that her son has been accused of bullying, and also she eventually reveals the story of how her son came to be and that she doesn't really know who his father is.

And finally, one mom who appears to have a charmed and perfect life, is dealing with domestic abuse. Her husband is a true Jekyll and Hyde. It's really sad and scary.

And it sounds so simple in summarizing it, but wow, you get invested fast in all their lives and the incident that you know is coming and keeping you hooked to find out what exactly happened! I think we were meant to be shocked by the big reveal at the end, and while I can never guess how things will end, I must say I wasn't all that shocked but just... wow. Okay. Ew. LOL!

Great story! And a book that addresses so many issues, without being preachy about them. And truly I do love this author's writing style. I have a few more to read I think!

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Book Review: The Girl With Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee

Book: The Girl With Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee
Genre: NF Memoir
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 

What a fascinating story. And totally different from the one I read a while back of the boy who also got out of North Korea. (Every Falling Star.) Different and yet the same.

In this situation, our girl is part of a quite well off family. During the famine, they had food. They had things. They had each other. (In the other story, the boy was starving and his whole family disappeared when he was only 12.)

And when it came time to "escape" I found it interesting that she did it accidentally. She simply walked across the ice on the river to have an adventure before she turned 18. The guard on the North Korean side liked her, so he helped her. And passed her off into the hands of a dude on the China side that knew her and he helped her from there. It was so easy!

But once she got to China, it got crazy. Her mom (who had no idea she was doing this, she totally sneaked out without her mom knowing) called her (because she was at her relative's house) and told her to not come back. That she was going to report her missing and do not come back!

So her adventure that was supposed to be for a day, turned into more than 10 years. All this time she thought she would be going back home at some point, but then finally realized that she should just go to South Korea once and for all. (South Korea was the enemy, so this was a hard thing to decide!) And she was able to get a real passport and just flew there and said, hey, here I am!

I am making light because like I said, it was easier for her than for some because she had a LOT of connections. Even though she suffered a lot during those 10 years and had to continuously change her identity and continuously run from the cops and be on her guard all the time.

But the real craziness comes when she convinces her mom and brother to join her. She thought she had it all planned out but then everything went wrong. This is the part of the story where I was especially on edge and forgetting to breathe. Seriously, the crap they went through is CRAZY!

And after all that was over, they both (the mom and brother) wanted to go back!! This is what is also so interesting to me, that the life in South Korea which should seem so blissful to them, is not really, since they are used to things so totally different. The mom wanted to die at home, and the brother left his girlfriend there and that was HARD. So hard. Anyway.

Still, the biggest eye opening thing is just reading about what life was (is?) like in North Korea. It's crazy that people live like that. Even the "well off " ones like our girl's family. It's so hard to imagine that one person, essentially, can turn a country into this. The author of this book makes a point that it's because the people there believe they have no rights. So they do nothing about it. If they realized that they actually have rights, they would rise up and revolt. But they don't believe it, so they don't.

In her new life, she has begun to fight for their rights. And has been doing all sorts of things to that end. She has become famous talking all over the place. She rose to fame especially after she gave a TED talk about five years ago. Here's that:

Other observations. The nature of people... there are some amazing instances in her story where strangers totally helped, and without them, the end of this story would have been totally different. There are some really bad people in the world, but there are also some really really good people. Also, I am impressed at how South Korea deals with the people coming from the North. They have a holding spot where they basically introduce them to the world and teach them how to live in society before they turn them loose. It might seem weird at first, but it's really amazing how they take care of them. They even get money for a time as they are trying to find a job and get on their feet.

Anyway. There are a ton books of  North Koreans telling their stories. And I'm sure they will all be different and yet the same. I really hope that some day the situation changes and that the dreams of all these people will come true and that the two Koreas can be united and families can all be together without fear.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Book Review: A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

Book: A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Rating: ★ ★ 

This is one of those books that I just randomly picked up at the bookstore (using a gift card) and bought just because it sounded good. About a deaf boy and girl who doesn't talk (selective mute they call it) falling love. Cute, yes?

And yes, it was. Mostly. Sigh.

So the voice (ha! voice!) of this character was great. I related to her so much. She has massive anxiety, and while my anxiety isn't massive, it's there, and so everything she talks about I'm like... yep. That's it. Especially the negative self talk. And the physical pain of anxiety. I've never understood why anxiety has to manifest itself physically. You'd think it would just be in your head and make you wring your hands or something. But no, it's also very much in your gut. Ugh.

ANYWAY. So I really liked her. I didn't understand what makes a person not talk at all though. I do get the not talking in certain situations. But to totally freeze up. It's very intense. So because of that, she has learned BSL (this book takes place in Britain, they have their own version I guess) and so when the new boy who is deaf shows up at school, she is assigned to help him.

And they click right away because he is awesome. Sweet and happy and jovial and friendly and all the good things. Beautiful too of course.

So this is just their falling in love story. Quite simple really. And her trying to deal with getting better, which she slowly is. Doing all sorts of things and talking to all sorts of people!

He has his struggles too and has to overcome his insecurities with his own disability.

Anyway, I enjoyed it all except the part where teenage sex is described in much more detail than I would have liked. If they decide to "do it" whatever, but I'd rather most of it be left up to imagination, you know. The whole story was sort of sweet and nice and romantic, and those scenes just seemed like too much for the tone of this book. It jarred me a bit. You know? Sigh.

Other than that. I liked it all!

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Kdrama Review: Master's Sun

Drama: Master's Sun

Genre: paranormal romance
Starring: So Ji Sub, Gong Hyo Jin, Seo In Guk
Rating:  ❤ ❤ ❤

Since I have been having Seo In Guk withdrawals, I decided it was time to watch this one, even though he is "only" the 2nd male lead. But despite the fact that he doesn't have a huge part (though he is in every episode of course) it was fun to see him again.

This is an older drama (like five years now I think?) that made a pretty big buzz back when it aired. It's about a girl who can see ghosts (I see dead people. Yes, she says it a couple of times.) but when she accidentally comes across the rich CEO of the big mall called Kingdom and accidentally touches him, the ghosts that are plaguing her disappear. She quickly figures out that there's something pretty special about him and she wants to be touching him all the time. She can finally get a good night's sleep!
She's a little touchy, yeah. 

Of course, he is having none of this, and is pretty appalled. This girl is quite, shall we say, below him in society and he tries pretty hard to get rid of her. But she sticks around, even getting a job at the mall. And the more she is around, the more he starts to become intrigued and charmed.

Each episode includes a ghost story of sorts that she (with the help of him) has to solve. Essentially making it so the ghost can move on and not be stuck here. Some of them are silly and some of them are surprisingly moving. Like when the dead dog comes back to comfort his master who is on the brink of suicide. I cried.

But one such ghost solving story ends in near tragedy and that's when our girl decides she is putting the guy in too much of harm's way. And of course, that's when our guy decides he loves the girl and is ready to have her by his side forever.

Yes. It ALWAYS happens! And so they have to now figure all that out!

It's a fun drama. The ghosts are weird and silly at times. The romance is a bit... I don't know, lacking I guess. I wanted more from it. It's cute though. There are many laugh out loud bits, which I love. It starts a very famous leading dude So Ji Sub, who I love and yet it he also makes me crazy! Maybe both the dramas I've seen him in his character is gruff and closed and a little mean, so it would be fun to see him in one where he is less grouchy and bristly!

Seo In Guk is adorable in this one, as a body guard that falls for our girl. When he quickly realizes he has no chance, he doesn't care and is just her friend and is there when needed. He is the sweetest ever. Okay, what should I watch next that has him in it? I can't get enough!

So he doesn't get THE girl, but he does get A girl. So there's that, right In Guk ssi!? :)
There's drama also features Kim Myung Soo also known as L from the lovely and amazing band called Infinite... I enjoyed getting to know him a little better. He plays our lead as a teenager. He is adorable. He's in a ton of other things, so I have lots to catch up on there too.

L from Infinite

Here's a fan made trailer that's pretty good:

 Here's the song: (This drama actually has a really good soundtrack. All on Spotify!)


Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Up Next for the Kpop Book Club: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

We've announced our next book for the Kpop Book Club! It's going to be Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, a National Book Award finalist just last year I think. It sounds wonderful. I'm excited to jump into it!

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Book Review: The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade

Book: The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade
Genre: YA paranormal
Rating: ★ ★ ★ 

This book came up in a conversation the other day I had with friend Jenny. And we remembered she gave it to me many Christmases (I think) ago and WHY HADN'T I READ IT YET???? Lol.

Well, why indeed. So, I came home and read it, then and there!

I love it when that happens.

It's a fun, quick little story about a girl who is hit by a bus and killed. And she is now stuck in the in between world of living and dead. She realizes quite quickly that a dude from school, a dude she looked down on because she's in the top tier of popularity (cheerleader, homecoming queen and all) and he's in the very bottom (goth, druggie and all that... only he's not that, she just THINKS he is)... she realizes that he can see and hear her.

So she harasses him until he agrees to help her figure out how to move on. In the process, they learn each other's back stories, and find out that there is much more to them then they assumed. And isn't that always the case? Yes. Backstories guys. The key to all books and stories and real life!

There is much lovely banter is this book. These guys really get on each other's nerves, but they of course, love it and find out that they actually enjoy each other's company. A lot. But how is THAT going to work out if she has to "move on."

But yeah, Jenny was right. It's a cute fun one and I'm glad I finally read it!

Monday, April 1, 2019

March 2019 Reading Recap

March Moonrise

Another fairly normal reading month. Maybe I have this thing figured out again? Maybe?

9. Stories for Children by Oscar Wilde: A collection of several stories with a moral.

10. Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett: Bailey moves to a California beach town, the same town where Alex lives, the dude she has been chatting anonymously with for months, and now she isn't sure she really wants to meet him

11. Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate: based on the true story of an awful person who stole kids and sold them to rich people

12. Waiting for Fitz by Spencer Hyde: Addie suffers with OCD but things get even more interesting when she meets Fitz at the hospital and they start plans to break out

13. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery: a pilot meets a little prince alien who teaches him life lessons.

14. The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade: When Alona dies, she finds out the loser goth dude she had no time for in life is the only one that can see her and help her move on.

Favorites: Before We Were Yours for sure. Followed by Alex, Approximately.

Book Challenge Progress:
  • Alex, Approximately: book involving the ocean
  • Stories for Children: collection of short stories
  • The Little Prince: book by an author born over 100 years ago

Goals for April:
  • Read three book club books: one for regular book club, one for kpop book club and the one that got bumped from the regular book club line up. :)
  • Read another for fun YA contemporary
  • Try to mark off 4 books from the challenge

How did your month go? What do you have coming up in April?


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