Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Kdrama Review: Doom at Your Service

Drama: Doom at Your Service

Genre: Romantic comedy/fantasy

Starring: Seo In Guk, Park Bo Young, Kang Tae Oh, Lee Soo Hyuk, Dawon

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

So when I saw that my favorite Seo In Guk would be in a new drama, I was all in. Of course! And then Tae Oh is in it too? And Dawon from SF9? And then Lee Soo Hyuk who I thought was new to me but I'd actually seen him before..??? And to top it all off, my favorite girl actor too? Of COURSE I'm going to watch it!

Interesting premise this one is. Our girl is diagnosed within the very first minutes of the drama with a terminal brain tumor. And she goes on to have an even crappier day from there! And at the end of this crappy day, she is angry and upset as is expected and she yells into the void... "I wish doom upon this WHOLE WORLD!"

Well, little did she know that Doom himself heard the call. And before she knows it, he is knocking at her door and when she opens it, he says with that perfect classic Seo In Guk smile... "Hi. Doom.. at your service."

Yep...that's how it starts!

Turns out they end up in a sort of weird contract (I'm actually bit blurry on what and why this contract) And now she is all, what the heck have I done? And he is all, sorry girl, you can't get out it now. And things just get worse for her really. And she has to make a very very hard decision.

Adorable Seo In Guk and Park Bo Young

Man the banter between these two is so perfect. And our boy Doom is so so swagger-y and like he is NOT going to be fazed or touched by anything. But of course he is and he ends up being WAY more human than not. 

And there's a girl who seems to be directing everything. The symbolism in this drama is off the charts and it might make one crazy trying to figure it all out,  but I just didn't worry about trying and enjoyed the story.

You should watch this drama if only to hear this guy's voice.
Lee Soo Hyuk

I love his smile.
Kang Tae Oh

There's also a second side story with the friends our our leads that made it seem like two different dramas going on here. Like not sure what any of that had to do with anything, but it made so our swoony second lead boys could have a love story too. And they were good and I enjoyed it even tough I didn't quite get it. And it was a bit frustrating.

And Dawon? Boy... he can act! WAH.. he's so good as our female lead's little brother. He is absolutely adorable. I just have no words. So good.

And all the heart eyes for Dawon!

Anyway, it was very touch and go and how this one might end. I was very nervous. But I will give you this much of a spoiler for those who also might worry... don't be nervous. JUST WATCH IT!!

Here's a really quick trailer:

And of course this one has amazing music. Here's an example:

Monday, July 12, 2021

Book Review: You're My Star (An Idol in Love Book 7) by Trish Milburn

Book: You're My Star (An Idol in Love Book 7) by Trish Milburn

Genre: Kpop romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ 

While this book is still considered in the "An Idol in Love" series, it feels like a first book because we are leaving our familiar band behind and learning about a new band. Which, actually FEELS familiar because this is what we kpop people do, learn new bands over and over and over again... and continuously add to our list of bands we love. So if we do it for real bands, we can do it for fictional ones!

We have slightly met this band before because they have had some appearances and mentions in the other books. But it's their turn to have their own stories now. They are called Sky High and they are in what I feel like is a bigger company and for sure a company that is much less lenient then the company our SBG boys are in. 

So if these boys all start falling in love, who knows what's going to happen!

In this first book we meet Hoon just as he's coming home from a personal event and he gets mobbed at the airport. It appears someone has leaked his information and the fans have swarmed. Turns out they think our girl, who works for the company as the person who coordinates the band's travel, is the culprit. But of course, we know she is not.

And Hoon is really bothered that she is getting blamed and begins to take steps to help her clear her name. And in so doing.. .well... it happens. He suddenly sees her in a different light than someone who just books their travel. 

And it goes from there!

I continue to thoroughly enjoy these books. Thanks Trish for such a fun series! I love seeing all the different ways that these pretend kpop idols are falling in love and imaging our real guys maybe doing the same thing!

Friday, July 9, 2021

Kdrama Review: Love Alarm Seasons 1 and 2

Drama: Love Alarm Seasons 1 and 2 (on Netflix)

Genre: Romantic comedy/fantasy

Starring: Song Kang, Kim So Hyun, Jung Ga Ram

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

There are 8 episodes in the first season and 6 in the second, which if watched together basically makes a normal kdrama season, so don't let that confuse you! They are all complete now so just watch them all together. I guess it's possible there will be more still to come though. Netflix wants to westernize the familiar kdrama formula of one and done seasons. Whatever.

This one has a great premise in that someone makes an app that dings if someone within a 10 meter range loves you... or... if YOU love someone and come within their range, you will ding their love alarm.

So, what if you can't keep your love for people a secret anymore? Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Does this take away something vital we need regarding confessing our love and/or saying "I love you" to people? 

Also, what if some people don't WANT your love and are bothered to be loved by you? What if you are loved by two different boys and those boys are best childhood friends? THEN WHAT?

Oh my word, but this little app causes ALL KINDS of craziness and it really truly does make you think. 

Song Kang

This one stars a dude named Song Kang who I hadn't heard of before this drama, but now I'm seeing him everywhere. He is stunning, but dang I did NOT like his character in this drama and was of course rooting for the second lead dude. Sigh. Second lead syndrome is THE WORST! Anyway, I was hoping to find something Song Kang has done where he plays a nice boy, but I'm hearing that he seems to cater to the bad boy dudes... so I don't know... I might have to wait a bit longer!

The female lead is played be a very popular star too. She is in so many things! She is great in this one too!

Kim So Hyun

As I said the premise for this story is pretty awesome, but it leads to quite a depressing drama. I felt sad most of the time during this one. And frustrated. But is was definitely an engaging and interesting one!

Here's a trailer for season 1:

And for season 2:

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Book Review: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Book: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Genre: autobiography/memoir

Rating:  ★ ★ ★ ★ 

So I didn't really know what expect with this book, but wow, I really ended up loving it. I know this dude is popular out in the news/comedy world, but I don't really know him... I think I may have watched exactly one video of his. So I was like, hmm... do I CARE about his childhood? Other than it will be interesting to learn about South Africa?

Well, turns out he is a fabulous storyteller ( of course he is... thus the comedian in him!) and he can tell it like it is and with such heart and honesty. I really loved it. 

And at the end when we got to more about the relationship he has with his mom... yeah. That got to me. There was a little weepiness. I am a sucker for mom/son relationships.  

This is basically him telling stories from his childhood and a bunch of crazy memories of growing up in a very turbulent environment that is South Africa. He was still very young when Apartheid ended and we learn that meant things just got worse. But the biggest theme from all these stories is that he really struggled with where he fit in. He describes three groups of people: whites, blacks and coloreds. And he didn't fit in with any of them. So he would pick and choose depending on the situation. He has learned a ton of different languages, so he would pick and choose that also, depending on the situation. 

It's all quite fascinating. And sad. Also inspirational for celebrating the human spirit. 

Anyway, like I said, I really ended up enjoying it and it was quite eye opening to learn about. 

We'll be discussing this one in book club next week, stay tuned for how that turns out!

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Book Review: The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

Book: The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

Genre: historical fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ 

We read this book and another similar book (The Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek) for book club this past month. We heard that there was a bit of a controversy between these two books, so we thought it would be fun to read them both and compare. 

I managed to read this one and quite enjoyed it. The other one I started, but never finished and sadly it went off my kindle and I don't think I'll worry about getting it back.

Anyway, they are both about a period in history when a bunch of brave and strong women rode on horses through the backwoods of Kentucky to deliver books and magazines to the mountain people. Great premise for a story and one that I am pretty sure both authors came up with on their own!

This one was specifically about an English lady who married a dude from this Kentucky town and came thinking she would have a great adventure. But things did not turn out quite like she imagined and the two of them ended up not really clicking. She ended up doing the job of riding books around the mountains and found her place that way. They other ladies were awesome and became her good friends and she truly become strong on her own. 

Getting to know all these ladies, and then all the other interesting characters was the best part of this story. Very fun. And I've pretty much decided that I'm quite good with the writing style of this author. She is a great storyteller and has a fantastic way of getting you into and engaged in the story. I felt compelled to keep reading this one when I needed to lay it down and that's a great sign, yeah?

Anyway, I guess her book came out a few months after the other one and she was accused of plagiarism, not necessarily because of the main subject, but because some very specific incidences are a bit similar. But after reading up on that and seeing the list... I think they are are so nitpicky that this whole claim was just crazy. And the other book had such a different feel and was more about racial issues and the interesting occurrence of the "blue people of Kentucky" that I really think they are totally different. 

So that's my take on that.

The other book I heard was harder to read and no romance (a big factor for me!) that I have decided not to keep going with it. At least for now. But I am glad to have added this to my have read list. I really enjoyed it!

Monday, June 7, 2021

Kdrama Review: Hello Me

Drama: Hello Me (on Netfllix)

Genre: Melodrama, light romance

Starring: Choi Kang-hee, Lee Re, Kim Young-kwang

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

I watched this one based on a recommendation someone sent me when I was lamenting a kdrama slump. So I didn't go in knowing anything, or watching because of a certain actor. Which is kind a weird, lol. 

But it's a really fun premise in that our main girl lead is having a crappy life and everything is looking so so down. And suddenly, she wakes up and there's this girl who looks just like she did when she was 17... 20 years ago. And it turns it this girl IS her from the past!

So she has to take care of her until they figure out how to get her back to her timeline. In the meantime, the young her is disgusted to find out how her life turns out and the old her is upset and ashamed, but also determined to fix things. The young her has such a spunk for life that it rubs off and soon our main girl is doing a ton better.

Of course there's an incident that happened that made this character change. And the younger version doesn't know... yet.. .what that is. 

That's basically it. And it makes one think... what would your younger self think if they could see your life now (assuming you are old like me). My younger self would be absolutely aghast at how some things have turned out. And surprised and perhaps even proud about lots of stuff too. It would be interesting if we met each other. I think we are totally different people now and it would really be weird. 

Anyway. There's a cute boy in this one too...and he really likes our girl... but they barely even hold hands. Nary a kiss in sight! WAH. So sad...

And there's an actor whose storyline takes a weird turn into the whole "bullying from your past" issue that seems to be a thing these days. Weird because it didn't have a whole lot to do with the story... but I guess it was something they wanted to address.

Anyway, cute drama. It made me weepy in parts.. .just the relationship between these two characters. Also, the relationship the dude has with his dad. It's all quite powerful.

A very quick trailer:


 Here's my favorite song from the drama...shown with the sad weepy bits:


 And here's the fun song shown with the cute and fun bits:


Sunday, June 6, 2021

Reading Recap: April and May 2021


A stormy sunset at the farm in Idaho in mid May.

Man, I got behind and never did a recap of the books read for April... so here you have both April and May combined. It will look like an awesome list that way! 

April's Books:

My Life as a Potato by Arianne Costner: cute story about a kid who ends up as his school's potato mascot

What Stars are Made of by Sarah Allen: our girl wants to get her favorite scientist listed in her textbook

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik: a very lose, but wonderful, retelling of Rumpelstiltskin 

Moment of Truth by Kasie West: our girl is bugged by a masked dude who crashes her swim meet and decides she must find out who he is

Hearts in Harmony by Trish Milburn: the last two guys in this lovely fictional band finally find love like all the members have done in the previous books

Favorite this month: My Life as a Potato and Spinning Silver

May's Books:

What I Like About You by Marisa Kanter: cute story of a blogger who is in love with a guy who so knows both online and in real life, but he only knows her as the blogger and thinks the real life her is someone different.

The Toll by Neal Shusterman: third book in the Scythe trilogy where everything finally comes to a crazy climax

To Best the Boys by Mary Weber: when our girl decides to join a contest previously meant only for boys

Favorite this month: What I Like About You

Goals for June:

* We have TWO books to read for book club so I'm on that one now. 

* I want to read The Silence of Bones by June Hur.

* I need to get caught up on Trish's kpop books. I just have one to read!

* There's a couple on my nightstand patiently waiting for their turn. I need to get to them too!

* I'd love to finish the book I'm writing and get it out to beta readers maybe. Wow. Did I just type that out loud? I'm soooo close though....so close. 

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Book Review: To Best the Boys by Mary Weber

Book: To Best the Boys by Mary Weber

Genre: YA Fantasy-ish

Rating: ★ ★ ★ 

It took me a minute to get into this one, but once I was fully focused I really enjoyed it. 

It's set in a sort of fantasy kingdom type world where all the boys get to compete every year in a contest where the winner gets a scholarship to college. In the first half we meet the characters and get a feel for this world... and the fact that there's a disease killing people and our heroine and her father are trying to find a cure, especially since her mom is dying from it. 

We also learn that there are two classes of people, the Uppers and the Lowers. But both can compete in this contest. 

Our girl realizes at one point the letter inviting people to compete is vague in saying that it actually has to be boys. So she gets the idea that she can join in. 

It's a sort of Hunger Games style thing where the whole town comes out in a festival type atmosphere to watch and wait to see who wins. 

Anyway, this contest doesn't start until about half way into the book, but once it starts, it's quite hard to put down! It reminded me of an escape room type game where they have to figure out how to get out, and then get out again, and again... until they finally get to the end... the reward. Our girl goes in with a bunch of her friends and some of them end up being true friends and some not. 

Man I did a terrible job of explaining that! But hopefully it intrigues your interest! I found it quite fun with many surprising twists and turns. I don't think this is the beginning of a series, but I still find myself wondering what's next for our girl (and guy!) 

Friday, June 4, 2021

Book Review: The Toll by Neal Shusterman

Book: The Toll by Neal Shusterman

Genre: YA dystopian

Rating: ★ ★ 

Wow, but it took me an entire year to read this book! I started it... got distracted by other things, and then wasn't in the mood and then finally decided to just finally get it done. It was a struggle this book. The first two books in these series moved pretty fast and were quite engaging, but this one lost me in many ways. 

The whole world just got very complicated and it actually started making me crazy... this world... where everything became so very religious and just... WEIRD. You know? And we sort of lost the deepness of the characters... they got lost in the midst of all the rhetoric of this world. 

But still the whole premise of these books fascinate me.. .and I pushed on to see what would happen. The second half of this book did finally get going a bit better for me. And the climatic ending was absolutely intense!

Anyway. A summary? Hmmm.. .how to do that without spoiling pretty much everything??

In this book we are following several different threads from the previous two:

* Grayson has become The Toll, which is the leader and god-like figure for the Tonists... the people who are speaking out against the Scythdom. And his goal is to try and get these very religious zealots to tone it down .... HAHAHAHA... a bit. 

* Rowan and Citra have been rescued from the doom they faced at the end of book 2, but are separated and face completely different realities. Rowan is still on the black list and the bad Scythe is still trying to kill him. For real. For keeps. Citra ends up in the hands of the good guys again and they are out to try and figure out how to end this  mess.

* There's a new settlement that's started on an island that is beyond the reach of the Thunderhead and they don't know why they are making this settlement, but it will become clear by the end of the book. So we are following a few different people there. 

*And we also get the POVs of some of the "bad" people and how they are very conflicted in what's going on and we are left wondering if they will turn in the end.

Whew. It's a lot people.... these books. They are very powerful and deep and thought-provoking, but hard. HARD stuff. Very violent and very disturbing. If you've read them, I'd love to know what you think of them, and what exactly we should be taking away from it. 

Neal Shusterman was supposed to come to our library pre-pandemic. He had to cancel, then the pandemic happened and he had to of course cancel again. We are left wondering now if he will try to still come. He is one of the authors on my dream meet list... and I really hope that still happens someday. I would love love love to hear him talk about what he was thinking about this series. Fascinating! Please, let it happen!

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Book Review: What I Like About You by Marisa Kanter

Book: What I Like About You by Marisa Kanter

Genre: YA Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ 

When I was exchanging book recommendations with my daughter, she suggested this one for me after I told her I loved Tweet Cute. She said this one was a lot like that one, and she was right! This is definitely another cute fun "you've got mail" plot style romance. And why not add more of these into your life, right?

This one is a about a girl who has a famous blog and twitter where she combines cupcake designs with book covers. Her two passions perfectly paired and everyone loves it. She becomes friends with other kids who also have famous online brands, but they've all never meet in real life. 

So when she moves to a small town and suddenly comes face to face with one of these dudes, the one she really connects with and quite likes a lot, she freezes. She knows who he is, but he doesn't know her, since she hasn't ever used her real name or face on anything she does. 

Anyway. They become friends in real life and continue to be friends online, and still the dude doesn't know. She knows she has to tell him, but every time she tries, something happens to make it, not happen. Of course.

And so of course we wonder what will happen when he finds out... will he be mad? Or excited? Or both?

Anyway, it's all cute and fun and crazy and I loved it. Not that I'm famous online or anything, but I related to so much in this book. Her desire to go to the big book convention (BEA anyone?) and be on a panel of bloggers... the lingo she uses to describe this life. The stress of coming up with posts and waiting for replies and responses. Just simply the love of books and the love of being creative and sharing that with the world. It's awesome. 

(The one thing I thought was weird was that she and thus I'm guessing the author, made a big deal about an issue where an author in this story wanted to make sure everyone knew her YA books were for everyone. But the kids got mad at that and said no, they are for THEM, the kids. And I was like... okay yes, but... hmmm.... not sure what was trying to be said here, but it made me bristle a little.)

Anyway. I love these kinds of books and need to fit them in between all the heavier stuff that ends up on my list too.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Kdrama Review: Hello Monster aka. I Remember You

Drama: Hello Monster (aka. I Remember You)

Genre: Suspense Crime Thriller

Starring: Seo In Guk, Jang Nara, Park Bo Gum

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

I was in a bit of a drama slump, so decided I  need some Seo In Guk in my life again, and this was the last drama of his I hadn't yet seen, so the choice was obvious. It' called both Hello Monster, and I Remember You. And it's a bit of a heart wrenching thing. 

Our main dude comes back to Korea because of an email hinting at something he's been trying to find for years... namely, his brother. When they were kids, we learn that their dad was murdered by a very bad serial murderer dude who's path they had all crossed. (This bad dude played BRILLIANTLY by D.O. from EXO... the younger version anyway.) And the brother, who was like only 8 or something, disappeared that night. 

Now it's years later, and suddenly our guy is getting the vibe that maybe his brother is still out there somewhere. And yeah. Of course he is. Meanwhile, he ends up helping a fabulous team of cops who investigate murders, and falls for the girl on that team. Only, he is very aloof about it of course. (Ah, I wanted more swoony SIG romance moments, but this drama is not about that I guess...)

Instead, it's about this brother relationship, and once everything gets figured out.. .it's as I said, heart wrenching! This song from the drama and these clips will demonstrate well what I mean:

The brother is played by Park Bo Gum, who is another very famous and top notch actor in the kdrama world. And it was fun to see him in this role, something quite a bit different from what I've seen him do previously. Man, he is good!

Anyway, and all the side characters are fantastic so yeah. It's a good one! I just wanted more romance of course. But it has everything else for sure. 

Here's a trailer:

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Kdrama Review: Run On

Drama: Run On

Genre: romantic comedy 

Starring: Yim Si-wan, Shin Sae-kyeong, Choi Soo-young, Kang Tae-oh

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤

Wow, but I've gotten behind in my thoughts on the kdramas I'm watching. I don't even know if I can remember them enough!

Anyway, this one is about a dude who is a runner, also the son of the CEO of a rich company. But he gets in trouble when he stands up for a teammate that is getting bullied, so he finds himself on the outs with everyone. 

And our girl is a translator and their paths cross when she has to translate for him during an event (the one where he ended up getting in trouble) and from there their paths seem to keep crossing and they end up finding a lot on common with the things they are dealing with. And in fact he finds himself without a place to stay, so he ends up on her couch. Ha. Love it when that happens!

This actor was a new-to-me dude and I found him intriguing. Took me a second to get used to him, but he was awesome. The romance in this one was a bit... slower even than normal. I enjoyed the story for the most part, but was bored during some of it. 

The side character dude on the other hand is one of my favorite actors and I LOVED his character and wanted more with him all the time. He's a student painter who falls for the very cold hearted boss of the training company (where the first dude is or was working) and she falls for his paintings. But can she fall for HIM too? Will his adorable personality win? 

Anyway, bottom line a cute fun drama but not one I'm raving about as much as I sometimes do!

Here's the trailer:

And one of the songs by a favorite group named Lucy:

Friday, May 7, 2021

Book Review: Hearts in Harmony by Trish Milburn

Book: Hearts in Harmony by Trish Milburn

Genre: Kpop romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ 

If you've been paying attention, you'll know I've been making my way through my friend Trish's kpop romance series. This is the last one about this particular band, even though the series continues on to highlight another group. 

In this series each member, and their particular love story, have been featured. So much fun! But this is a seven  member group, and this is just the sixth book. I was worried about that! But it all makes sense once you get going in this book. 

And while you may be able to guess what's going on here, I don't really want to say a lot because.. .spoilers.

One of my favorite things about reading this series it that Trish addresses many issues from the the crazy kpop industry, and this one deals with quite a big one. In a sweet, sensitive and positive way.  I really enjoyed that.

But mostly I was happy for these last two remaining members getting their happily ever after. 

In preview reviews I've added a picture of a real life kpop idol who's image I thought fit the characters in the book, but this time I couldn't come up with anyone. Maybe a couple of dudes from OnlyOneOf? LOL! (Sorry that's probably only funny to me and a random kpop fan who might read this....) Anyway, take your pick. Any two would work! 

Meanwhile the next book about the other group is already out, so I'm still catching up! And then I'll be one of those waiting for the next book to drop! But seriously, I'm goin to miss all the boys in this group that I've gotten to know so well. Hopefully they'll show up now and then in the stories of these upcoming books. :) 

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Book Review: Moment of Truth by Kasie West

Book: Moment of Truth by Kasie West

Genre: YA contemporary

Rating: ★ ★ 

After read a bunch of books for projects and commitments, it was time to read something for fun that has patiently been waiting its turn, and that was this book! YES! Another Kasie West book! Also a great comfort read for me no matter what it is. 

In this latest one, we have our girl who gets bugged when her swim meet is disrupted by someone dressed up as the latest popular craze super hero (or something, I don't even know what) and so she makes it her mission to unmask him, figure out who he is and call him out. 

Over the course of the book, several possibilities arise. And while she continues to dig for the truth, she finds out what HER truth is. And how to overcome her own fears and issues, especially the glaring problem of her dead brother that she never knew. 

Yet another fun romance with lots of funny bits, and lots of thought provoking bits. I truly think of her books as a sort of palate cleansing for me! Yeah? Some fun and mostly light, so I can keep going on the other things. And I just realized she had yet another book released this very week! WOOT!


Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

 Book: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

What a lovely fantasy story! It's a very loose retelling of Rumpelstiltskin in which we have our girl who is so smart and takes over her dad's money lending business... in so doing she ends up making a ton of money... thus... she turns silver into gold. 

Well, so when the Staryk king (the mystical people who rule the winter) gets wind of this, he comes to her and demands he turn his silver into gold. If she doesn't he will kill her, he if does, he will marry her. What a choice she has, yes? Because let's just say he's not a very a nice dude.

Meanwhile, we get the stories of several others characters, with the assumption that all the stories will converge at some point, and of course they do.

One of them is the peasant girl who ends up working for our girl who is turning silver into gold. And how she and her brothers have to deal with abuse in their house and how they try to escape it. And how that ends up getting them right in the middle of the craziness that's about to go down. 

And the other one is the girl who ends up being forced to marry the tsar. Turns out that tsar is possessed. And she needs to figure out a way not be killed by the demon.

And it all goes down when the girls try to destroy the various monsters ruling them, and how that showdown is basically a fight between fire and ice.. .and wow. It's crazy!

But then... are they really happy to be the ones destroying these guys in their lives? Hmmm....

I really loved the rich detail and beautifully story telling. I really needed romance though... I really thought I was going to get romance! AHHH!!! So other than that, everything else was fabulous! 

Monday, April 19, 2021

Book Review: What Stars Are Made Of by Sarah Allen

Book: What Stars Are Made Of by Sarah Allen

Genre: MG contemporary

Rating: ★ ★ ★ 

This was a cute story about a girl with Turners Syndrome, something that I wasn't at all familiar with. So we as readers learn all about that and how it affects our girl and all the stuff she had to deal with.

Our girl is also very into science so when she gets an assignment to write about someone in history who is not in her history book, she knows just who it will be! 

And thus begins her quest to actually get this person added to the history book.

She's quite the tenacious kid and it's lovely to see that. It's a very heart warming story and I actually learned a lot from it. 

Friday, April 9, 2021

Book Review: My Life as a Potato by Arianne Costner

 Book: My Life as a Potato by Arianne Costner

Genre: MG contemporary

Rating: ★ ★ ★ 

What a fun cute story! I really enjoyed this one about a middle grade kid who feels like he is cursed by potatoes! And that seems to be confirmed when he ends up having to be the mascot at his new school where the mascot is... A POTATO! 

Turns out he kind of has a knack for this sort of thing, but still he doesn't want anyone to know. So ends up lying to get away with it all. Which makes him feel bad towards his friends. 

It also turns out he's becoming popular at this new school. And he sometimes finds himself wanting to help the underdogs, but remain popular. Which as we all know, is sometimes a conflict of interest. 

So how does he solve all this issues?

I fell in love with this character from the very first page and I love it when that happens. Rooting for him all the way! He's an adorable kid, I know this! LOL. A truly funny story with lots of heart. Awesome.

(This one read a little bit older than some of the other MG books I've been reading lately... which probably contributed to the fact that I enjoyed it a lot. But not TOO much older. It was pretty spot on, really, perfect for grabbing all sorts of audiences.)

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Book Review: Kits and Cubbyholes by Loralee Evans

 Book: Kits and Cubbyholes by Loralee Evans

Genre: MG fantasy

Rating: ★ ★ 

This one is along the vein of Magic Treehouse, where our kids have the ability to time travel. In this particular story, a kid from the 1700's comes to the present day and the kids are all like... "Hey, don't you remember the time we visited YOU?" 

But alas, he doesn't! Which means somehow perhaps something happens to the memory of the kids in the past? 

Anyway, so this book is the present day kids trying to figure out how to get this kids back to his time. In process they all end up witnessing an event they've heard about.

The fun thing about this book is the premise that when they kids go back in time, they end up in the stories of their very own ancestors. Which would be pretty cook, yeah? But also quite disconcerting! 

The part that made me a little crazy was that they just kept referring to their previous adventures, and I kinda wish we were experiencing an adventure... but it just felt like they were trying to get the one kid back and not a whole lot was happening. Until that event at the end, which was just a little bit of this book.

Anyway. Cute story. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Book Review: Horace and Bunwinkle by P.J. Gardner

 Book: Horace and Bunwinkle by P.J. Gardner

Genre: MG 

Rating: ★ ★ ★ 

I wasn't too sure about this one, not being a huge fan of talking animal books. But it looked fun and easy, so I jumped in and guess what?

I thought it was adorable! An ornery stuffy dog and a cute lovable pig become siblings... and they end up teaching each other all kinds of things about getting along and loving life. 

They get in all sorts of trouble and have all kinds of adventures... along with the fact that there's a mystery to solve. The mystery of the missing pets!

Very cute with loads of fun animal characters. My immediate thought was how fun it would be to read aloud, especially by someone who loves to do voices. So upon finishing it, I sent it to my granddaughters with the suggestion that their mom and/or dad read it with voices! I'll let you know how that goes over!

But regardless, hopefully they'll have fun with it (yes there are even cute fun pictures!) and it will get a second life with them. 

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Reading Recap: March 2021


On our walk one day in March.

Here's what I read this month:

A Captain for Caroline Gray by Julie Wright: Our girl is on her way to India to meet her potential husband, but meets the captain of the ship in the meantime. 

On These Magic Shores by Yamile Saied Mendez: Three sisters trying to survive when their mom suddenly disappears.

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue: Our heroine goes to see if the talk of a young girl starving herself, yet surviving, is true or a hoax.

96 Miles by J.L. Esplin: A survival type story of two brothers and their two friends walking the 96 miles to get help during a countrywide blackout.

Kits and Cubbyholes by Loralee Evans: The coolness of traveling back in time and meeting up with your actual ancestors.

Horace and Bunwinkle by P.J. Gardner: The antics of stuffy uppity dog and a cute piglet... and how they solve mystery of the missing pets. 

Favorite was for sure 96 Miles. 

Goals for April: 

  • The book club this month is Spinning Silver. I need to find it at the library.
  • I want to read some books that are laying around being neglected. 
  • I need to find some good love story books. 

What are you all loving lately? Let me know!

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Book Club Picks 2021-2022

Here's our schedule for book club this next year! We are doing DOUBLE THE BOOKS during the summer! This cracks me up given that the whole book club is experiencing a slump. Maybe this will help? I guess we'll see!

Anyway, over the years our book club lists have been popular, so I wouldn't want to neglect you all of seeing what we've chosen yet again. 

Have you read any and do you have thoughts about what we have coming up?

The Giver of Stars AND The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek: June

Born a Crime/ They Called Us Enemy: July

Seven Deadly Shadows/My Plain Jane: August

Anxious People: September

The Picture of Dorian Gray: October

I am the Messenger: November

Emily of New Moon: December

Keep Moving: January

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before: February

Nine Perfect Strangers: March

Dread Nation: April

Carve the Mark: May

Wish us luck!!

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Book Review: 96 Miles by J.L. Esplin


Book: 96 Miles by J.L. Esplin

Genre: MG contemporary survival

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Wow, but I haven't read a book that gripped me like this one for quite awhile. It's a survival story that really had me on the edge of my reading seat the whole time, and I devoured it. (Ha devoured... because yet again, this book will make you HUNGRY and THIRSTY both, like... literally!)

It's about two brothers (ages 13 and 11) who are trying to walk the 96 miles across the Nevada dessert to get to family friends who they hope will help them. Because there's been a country-wide blackout and it's been about a month now with no electricity. Which means that society is falling apart.

Just before the blackout, their dad had gone on a business trip, leaving the boys alone. And it appears he is having a problem getting back to them, because they have heard nothing from him at all. 

Normally they'd be fine, because their dad is one who has prepared... they have food storage and a generator and all the things they need. But the neighbors raid it and steal everything. This is a problem in more ways than one, and so they head off for help.

It's written in such an engaging way that I was invested from page one. It read very much like a YA for me and not sure why... the characters just felt a bit older than they actually were, but not in a way that bothered me, you know? They are awesome kids. We do meet up with another sibling pair and the four of them face this adventure together. It's very heartwarming. And rough, and scary. And sad, once again showing an idea of what people will do in the face of survival. 

Anyway. Yeah. I loved it. Now, I kind of want to go take drive and see this road they had to walk down. 

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Book Review: The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

 Book: The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

Genre: historical fiction-ish (man who thought naming a genre would be so hard lately?)

Rating: ★ ★ 

We read this one for book club this past month and I must say, it's one of the weirdest books I've read in a long long time! I went in expecting absolutely nothing, but what I got was REALLY not expected. LOL!

It's about a girl in Ireland in the 1800s who appears to be starving herself, but staying alive. So people are starting to look at her like she is something divine, some sort of saint... a "wonder!" So a couple of nurses (well, our main character nurse and a nun) are sent in to watch her 24/7 to make sure that her family isn't sneaking her food and then claiming her to be this saint-like thing. 

Our main character girl goes in with a really bad attitude about it thinking she is going to figure it all out right away and that every one is really stupid and she is going to be in and out and yeah... she is just rolling her eyes over it all. 

Turns out things are much more complicated than she expected, and suddenly she finds herself  much more invested in this girl and everything that's going on than she planned!

The first half or so of this book was VERY slow... and it seriously was just us as readers going every day into this girl and watching her.... and absolutely nothing was happening. Our main character did A LOT of complaining and such... but yeah. I was like... please let something happen soon!

And yet I felt this weird draw to keep reading and to see what WOULD happen. And what was actually up with this girl. And in the end it started to get much more crazy and...like I said.. .so very weird, that the last bit I read nearly in one sitting until it was done. Such a crazy story!

Not based on a true story, but based on stuff like this that really happened, which makes it all even weirder. Anyway, I'm glad it showed up on our list this year and added some diversity to my reading for sure. Be warned though, reading this while you are hungry is not recommended! It will make you even hungrier!

Monday, March 22, 2021

Random Life Update

A cat picture because don't we all love cat pictures?

I feel like it's been a long long time since I've done a random rambling post. But I feel like one is really needed about now since we have crossed that year mark from when all the pandemic stuff started. Here are a few thoughts:

  • We keep having anniversary dates: one year since the pandemic started, one year since we've been to our last concert, one year since that crazy earthquake happened, one years since we've been on an airplane, one since we could go in public without a mask... and on and on. It's crazy we've survived this long in this new world. Who knew it would still be happening a year later. 
  • But it seem like the light is at the end... I got my first vaccine dose last week, and look forward to completing that process with the second dose in a couple of weeks. Hopefully the rest of the family and follow soon with their doses. I'm still wary that it will even help... I keep reading things that say you can still give it and you can still get it... so that makes me think what's the point. But hopefully the point is that this is a step in just making this all end. Though.. there are some that say it will never end and this is our life now. Which is the most depressing thing ever.
  • It's also been one year since I went to the doctor to "get healthy" which basically means I'm told all the things that are wrong with me and that if I eat this I will die, but if I eat that I will also die. And that I need to take a thousand supplements to cover all the things I can't eat. I can't even tell you how frustrated I am with it all. I'm still at 40 pounds lost, and holding steady... it seems that no matter what I do.. eat good or eat crappy... nothing moves that number now. So... I'm currently trying to figure out what to do next... food wise. Moderation in all things?
  • In other news, I'm constantly trying to figure out how my hobbies can make money. I don't know why I care about this lately, but it seems like a good thing to worry about. So... I want to figure out how to make videos for the kpop channel that get watched, I want to start making other sorts of videos for a "normal" channel (lol... like books, travel, etc.), and I want to figure out how to write books that people want to read and sell them independently on Amazon. So there you go for my new years resolutions. Ha. 
  • I'm also helping my son try to get a cool language vocabulary site off and running and spending a ton of time on that. If anyone knows how to get a business going, let me know! I'm sure you'll see more on that when I really start trying to get the word out, but in the meantime, if you want to drill French words or Korean words... try it out! www.trackyourvocab.com 
  • Oh I was going to mention that I'm part of a video chat show that my friend is doing on her YouTube channel. Talking with people from all over the world about kpop. It's been pretty cool so far. Pretty sure anyone reading this won't want the link, so... no link. Just know that's been a biggish fun thing in my life lately! And maybe I'll get famous because of it...(insert extremely sarcastic emoji face here....) 
What's new with you all? Have we all survived the year and hopeful things will get back to the new normal soon? New normal where we can travel, go to concerts,  and you know... see people again? 

An example of the sort of breakfast I eat that makes me lose weight,
but isn't great for cholesterol levels.

It's been exciting at the library, we opened a new part of the building that we call:
The Library Hall. Now, if only we could have events in it!

An example of the wonderful lyrics found in my kpop songs. 
Most songs are so upbeat and positive, and they really help me keep going.

Pickleball has becoming a thing at this house. But it's bad if you accidently step on one.

A rare selfie on the day I got my Victon album and was thrilled.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Reading Recap: February 2021


February Storm

Oops I guess I'm a bit behind on my monthly recap post! Here you go!

The Elephant's Girl by Celesta Rimington: During a tornado a young girl is lost and family is gone, but she is found at the nearby zoo being protected by an elephant.

The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary: What happens if you share a flat with a dude you've never met, and plan to never met since he lives there during the day, and you live there during the night. No problem, right?

Beginners Welcome by Cindy Baldwin: Our girl and her mom are trying to cope with the death of their dad/husband. 

Beautiful Melody by Trish Milburn: Chim, leader of the famous kpop group SBG, finds love when he is reunited with a childhood friend.

Favorites of the month: The Flatshare and Beautiful Melody. 

Goals for March:

  • read The Wonder for book club
  • read as  many MG books that I can for the award I'm helping judge
  • catch up with my Shadow Mountain ARCs
That's about as much goal making that I can handle!

Here's hoping you are all having fun with your reading these days!

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Book Review: On These Magic Shores by Yamile Saied Mendez


Book: On These Magic Shores by Yamile Saied Mendez

Genre: MG magic realism-ish

Rating: ★ ★ ★ 

I've been anxious to read this author for quite sometime now. She was someone I met way back in the big book blogging days before she became famous.  (Her books are currently making quite the buzz especially after she was chosen as a pick for Reese Witherspoon's book club.) And I think this was a great first choice for me to read!

It's about a 12 year old girl and her two sisters. Her single mom works hard to keep them going, but one day when the mom heads to work... she doesn't come home. And she doesn't call, and they have no idea what's happened.

So our girl  tries to keep going as if all is well. But that's really tricky when she has to go to school. And she finds out the day care her mom uses for the baby is crap. And she wants to try out for Peter Pan and get the role as Wendy. And she needs to figure out how to get food for them. 

Her mom has told them stories about fairies, which she rolls her eyes about, but turns out it appears these fairies might actually be helping them somehow. Or SOMEONE is anyway. She ends up befriending a cute boy that actually does help them in the small ways he can. And the neighbor helps them a bit. And she finally gets the courage to contact  her grandma that she doesn't even know... to see if SHE can help. 

It's all very moving and sad in bits, but funny in bits too and cute and wonderful in all the family and friend connection stories. We do find out what happened to the mom and in the end some hard choices have to be made, but it all works out and I think all three of these sisters are in a better place. 

I totally enjoyed finally reading one of Yamile's books and hope to add more to my list soon! 

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Book Review: Beautiful Melody

Book: Beautiful Melody by Trish Milburn

Genre: kpop idol romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ 

I'm still trying to catch up with this series! This is book five in the Idol in Love series wherein each book a different member of this fictional kpop band is highlighted... specifically their love story. It's so much fun. And like I've said before, I am in love with this band now as if they were real! 

In this book, our leader Chim finally gets his story. He's off to see a childhood friend's wedding, and he goes against the rules and attends without his people, his entourage... which turns out to be a bit of a mistake. 

All his childhood friends attend this event, including a girl who he has lost touch with after she moved to the US. She is now back in Korea and when he sees her at the wedding he's all... wow... she grew up well! And of course she is thinking the same thing about him. She knows he's become this famous dude, and has sort of paid attention, but when she sees him in person she's all.. wow... he's is TEN TIMES better in real life and... can this even be the same dude??

And so they reconnect and it's wonderful... until the paparazzi gets wind of things because of bad security situation and bam... suddenly everything is this HUGE scandal. So how are these two supposed to connect now that they are being watched constantly, and if they don't want Chim's career to be ruined? (It's so crazy that this is true to what really happens in the kpop world... dating is a massive scandal and can totally ruin careers... unbelievable.) 

These books are such fun fast reads! I look forward to slipping them in between all the other books I'm trying to get read. The next book is the last that will be dealing with this group and we'll get the stories of the two remaining members. I'm particularly concerned about them so I want to jump into reading this one ASAP! 

And Trish has just released the 7th book, in which we switch over to learning about the "rival: group of these guys that we've fallen in love with! How fun is that! 

Trish uses a real life kpop dude as visual inspiration for all her books. I don't know who Chim was for her but I find it fun to try and think up my own visual inspiration as I'm reading. Chim was a little harder for me to peg though...hmmm.... (which I actually love that they become their own person in my mind, you know? I'm telling you, this is a real band for me!)

I'll think I'll go with Yonghoon from ONEWE for my Chim! What do you think Trish? Does he fit or not? LOL!


Related Posts with Thumbnails