Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: Dynamic Duos

 Today's Top Ten Tuesday is a fun one! Dynamic duos! I'm assuming bookish, because I sure thought of a lot of non bookish ones. So anyway, here are my choices! To play along, be sure to check out the post and lists over at That Artsy Reader Girl!


Sam and Frodo

Watson and Sherlock

Dan and Ann

Wilbur and Charlotte

Toad and Frog

Harry and Ron

Elizabeth and Darcy

Don Quixote and Sancho

Joe and Frank Hardy

Lewis and Clark
(they count because they are LOTS of books, right?)

I look forward to see what dynamic duos you all come up with! Happy TWOsday this 2/22/2022!! 

Monday, February 21, 2022

Kdrama Review: Our Beloved Summer

Drama: Our Beloved Summer (on Netflix)

Genre: Melodrama romance

Starring: Choi Woo-shik, Kim Da-mi, Kim Sung-cheol

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

This one seemed something right up my alley, so I jumped into it pretty fast after hearing the buzz. It's about a couple of high school kids who star in a documentary together... one is the best student, and one is the worst. And now it's ten years later and they want to find them and have them do another documentary, so everyone can see where their lives are now. 

In the documentary it shows how they kinda can't stand each other and bicker like crazy... but of course, they ended up falling in love and afterwards they are together for years. But when the story begins, it appears that it's now been years since they had a bad breakup and they haven't seen each other at all. 

And so, this is about how they get back together, along with all the ins and outs of the above mentioned back story. And some more back story that's really sad. And how the best friend who is shooting the documentary is actually in love with the girl too. And how HIS back story is so sad. (I cried.)

So it's a very simple drama with just these people's lives... love and loss and pain and friends and etc. It was slow moving in parts, and tended to drag a few things out a bit, but overall I quite enjoyed it the slow pace of it and the focus on characters. 

Sometimes people want a drama with no bad guys... and this is one of those kind. There's not a villain. 

Also, pretty sure it will have one of my favorite OST songs of the year too, sung by none other than our V (aka. Taehyung) of BTS fame. I love his voice so much. 

But first, here's a trailer:

And the song:

P.S. The star of this drama Choi Wooshik, is also the star of Parasite (playing the son in the poor family,) which as we know, won best picture at the Academy Awards awhile back. So if you've seen that, maybe you'll recognize him. 

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Author Event: Jennifer A. Nielsen and Heather Clark

 Not only are concerts back, but authors too!

I've really been missing going to author events but this past week, they are back! This event was to launch the debut book for Heather Clark called Lemon Drop Falls. And her author friend Jennifer A. Nielsen, and a favorite author of all or ours, was there as part of it. 

This book is a middle grade book about a girl dealing with her anxiety and fear after her mom dies. I think. Heather told us about when she herself almost died and how rough it was on her kids and especially her one daughter. So that's the inspiration for the story. 

The both of them told several other stories and it was all very inspiring. Hearing Jen's publishing story of how she tried and tried and tried and was rejected by everyone even the place that takes everyone, was really inspiring too. It really just hits home how if you want something bad enough, you just can't give up.

So I ended up with both of their books and we stood in line for quite awhile waiting for them to be signed. When it was our turn ,Jennifer give me my own personal writing pep talk and I felt fired up for... about an hour. Now that I've come down from the evening, I still feel very... I think what I mostly feel is that I'm just riding some band wagon and that I'm not for real enough in this writing quest... and I guess until I take myself seriously, no one else will either. It's a hard thing to do and something I will struggle with forever I'm afraid. 

Anyway, the biggest thing I took away from that pep talk is there are people out there who need my stories and why should I let MY fear get in the way of that happening...like just suck it up and stop worrying about it so much. 

It was a great night and I'm so glad I went. Next week the library is having its annual best books of the year talk and we plan on supporting that one too. I wish I had more time to do all the things, like read all those books that they will make me want to read!

Here's some pictures from the night:

With Jennifer. 

With Heather

Can you see our smiling eyes?

So exciting to be back at it, supporting the authors!

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Concert Updates: ATEEZ and Eric Nam

 After two years, concerts are back! 


In December 2019 we bought tickets to ATEEZ which was scheduled for April 2020. It was postponed... not cancelled. So these past two years we wondered if that concert would actually ever happen. But it did! On January 30, 2022! (Two years to the day of the last time we went to LA for a concert!) It was SO AMAZING to be back going to a concert again. I seriously have no words. 

We drove to LA for that weekend, doing our normal routine. To Barstow one day (with a pit stop in Cedar) and then to LA the rest of the way on day 2... concert day. Before the concert it was fun to meet up with kpop friends. Then we braved the traffic (there was a football game going on right next door... same place the super bowl was at last week) and the parking (it cost $45 just to park!) and stood in line and not so patiently waited to get in. But finally it was time! After waiting for two years!

And the concert itself? PERFECT! We ended up having pretty good seats (not on the floor but in the lower bowl) and seriously could have listened to those boys sing and dance for so many more hours than just the 3 we got. They are just so good and so much fun. 

Then after a very very late night, we had to drive ALL the way home on day three. This is our normal "go to LA for a concert" routine, when we drive anyway. If we were to fly, it would be two days, and one less hotel stay. Usually. Not even that always. It's crazy. But so much fun. 

Here's our vlog of the experience:

Eric Nam

Then just about a week later we got to see Eric Nam, right here in our very own city! This is the first time that's happened and I'm still not over that fact. So amazing. And there's more coming! (I will be out of town for one of them.. so sad!) So hopefully this is just a start of things to come. It would be so awesome if the word got out and they realized they can come here and we will show up!

Anyway, Eric is a Korean American solo artist who sings both English and Korean... lots of mellow stuff. But dance-y stuff too. And he's just the best and so fun... so down to earth and personable and funny and... all the things. It was great to be able to finally see him live. We paid a little extra to have seats in a "standing only" venue. I am starting to learn there are ways to get around the system. And this was the best thing I've ever done for a concert pretty sure. But we did not have true VIP which is when you got to go take a picture with Eric afterwards. Maybe next time. Ha.

Here's our vlog of this experience:

Anyway, I am so glad concerts are back, even though it also brings back a lot of stress about... to go or not to go. We have to pick and choose or else we'd seriously be driving to LA every weekend. There are FOUR (at least) concerts I'm missing in these couple of months that I would LOVE to be to. But oh well. I will be grateful for the ones I do get to see. And keep hoping for more to come locally. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Too Good to Review Properly


Today's prompt is books that are too good to review properly. I feel like there's a bunch over the years that could fit this category. So I'll scroll through the list and see what jumps out and list them here with my original bad review, lol! But I already know the very first one on the list is the book I just finished and attempted a review! 

Ten Books I Loved Too Much to Review Properly

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Katherine by Anya Seton

The Tightrope Walkers by David Almond

All I  know is that I need to start reading some more meaty books again like most of these are. I miss this. I wonder if my brain can handle it yet? 

Monday, February 14, 2022

Bookish and Kdrama-ish and YouTube-ish Numbers for 2021


Pretty sure at this point no one cares about these numbers, but I find it interesting for my own observation. 


TOTAL BOOKS: 37 (Goal was 45)
Total pages: 10,174
Total Re-reads: 0

Men: 4
Women: 28

ARCS for Review: 1
Supporting Utah Authors: 4
Book Club: 10
Beehive Award Long List: 4
Middle Grade AML Judging: 9

Library: 6
On my Kindle: 12
Bought/Owned: 19
Borrowed: 0
Audio: 0

YA: 14
Adult: 15
Middle Grade: 8

From the YA Category:
Contemporary Realistic Fiction: 7
SF/Fantasy: 5
Dystopian: 2
Historical Fiction: 0
Graphic Novel: 0

From the MG Category:
Fantasy: 3
Contemporary: 4
Historical Fiction: 1

From the Adult Category:
Historical Fiction: 2
Fantasy: 3
Romance: 6
Literary Fiction: 2
Non Fiction: 2

Star Ratings:
5 stars: 3
4 stars: 24
3 stars: 10
2 stars: 0
1 star: 0


* Clearly I'm setting my goal too high still. I think I brought it back down to 40 this year. I still want to make it something I have to reach for, you know? I know I can make 30, but 40 seems to be pushing it! I wonder if I'll do it this year! I haven't made my Goodreads goal for years now. LOL. Sigh.

* Adult reading surpassed YA this year. Thanks to book club and reading all of Trish's books. Lol! And I'm determined to read more adult books again this year. Not that I'm not enjoying YA still. But I need something more lately I think.

* I really enjoyed the middle grade reading project from last year. That always surprises me!

* Everything mostly seems to be status quo these days. Pretty boring around here regarding reading.


Total Kdramas consumed: 20
5 hearts: 6
4 hearts: 9
3 hearts: 4
2 hearts: 1

I just still love these kdramas so much. Seriously, if you keep reading about me gushing about them, but haven't tried one yourself yet, now is the time. This is the year! Netflix has figured it out and SO MANY are on there now. So no excuses! Just try it! It's starting to be more normal and no one will think you are weird or anything! And, in case you missed it, here's a link to my top ten post Kdrama post for the year!


Total Videos Uploaded on The Kpop Konverters: 1,225 (up from 1,137 last year)
Total Uploaded in 2021: 88 (down big time from 204)
3 million views: 1 
Over 100,000 views:  23 (up from 20)
50,000 to 100,000 views: 21 (up from 20 last year)
10,000 to 50,000 views:112 (up from 102)

Subscribers at year end: 35,037  (up from 32, 298 last year) 
View count at year end: 15, 245, 831 (up from 13, 575, 314 last year)


* Our one really popular video appears to be finally slowing down after three years (or four?) since being uploaded.

* Wow, I made a ton less videos this year than previous years. Sad. I am floundering in my direction for this channel.

* Other popular videos continue to get views. So fascinating to me. New videos are not getting views. People love reactions and they don't like compilations. That's the bottom line. And all I want to do these days is compilations. Or edits. If you are interested AT ALL in the sort of videos I make, here's my favorite from this year... and it's very short. But gives you an idea:

* Anyway. I guess for now I'm still at it. I am compelled to edit videos. And I guess for now it will continue to be kpop stuff!

Friday, February 11, 2022

Book Review: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Book: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Genre: literary fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

This book has been waiting for my attention for years. I finally picked it up the other day and pretty much devoured it. Why did I wait so long?

This is a lovely lovely story that is perfect for book lovers... such an awesome nod to all things bookish I don't even know where to start!

We have our sad and sort of ornery-ish small town book shop owner who is very set in his ways and knows what he loves. He's sad because he's still recovering from losing his wife. When a rep from the publishing company comes to sell him their books for the season, he's pretty mean to her and then feels bad. 

Later that night,  his precious Edgar Allen Poe book is stolen after he gets drunk, and then the next day someone leaves a two year old in his bookstore with a note to take care of her. 

And bam, life changes for him. He decides to adopt this kid and then slowly slowly slowly he starts to come out of his stupor and begins to enjoy life again. Especially when he realizes he sorta kinda likes the publishing rep that he was mean to back in the day. 

It's a simple heart warming story all surrounded by a lot of book talk. If one were to list the books mentioned in this book you'd have a nice long reading list! (I think there's a link to this list somewhere...maybe I can find it. Actually I thought it would be a lot longer than this!) 

I really loved this one. For no particular reason other than the writing was awesome, the characters were real and the all the bookish love. 


Thursday, February 10, 2022

January 2022 Wrap Up

 Picture of the Month:

Snacks from Japan!

I feel like I got of to a fairly good start this year. Which reminds me, I still haven't done a recap "by the numbers" of the whole year. Look for that to come soon!

Stuff I read this month: 

A Million Beginnings by Sabrina T. Rudolph: Becoming the manager for a kpop band is crazy and fun and hard to not fall in love. 

Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon: How to not fall in love especially when you can see the end of the story. 

Keep Moving by Maggie Smith: Lots of thoughts on how to deal with life.

XOXO by Axie Oh: When the guy you accidently meet at your uncle's karaoke bar turns out to be a member of a kpop band and goes to the school you enroll in when you end up in Seoul. 

Favorites: Instructions for Dancing... maybe?

Goals for February: 

You know, just want to read stuff that's been sitting around waiting for a turn. Like I have no particular goals this month except to un-neglect a few books. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Book Review: XOXO by Axie Oh

Book: XOXO by Axie Oh

Genre: YA contemporary

Rating: ★ ★ ★ 

I promise when I picked this one up to read I didn't know it was yet another kpop book! I just knew it was a contemporary romance. But then when I looked closer I was like... oh, seriously? So yeah, the kpop books are finding me now, I don't even have to go out and look for them! I don't think it's just me, I think they are becoming a thing. So interesting.

So this one is about a girl who ends up going to Korea with her mom for a semester of high school. She's a huge celloist and plans to get into a prestigious university, so to help her with those goals, she ends up enrolling in a performing arts high school in Seoul. And guess who else goes to performing arts high schools in Seoul... kpop idols!

Turns out that the guy she bumped into briefly and hung out with for an evening before she went to Korea goes to that high school! What are the chances! And yes, he's in a band, and yes the band is very popular. So they become friends, even though they try to keep it kind of secret. That's because one of the other band members has just had a bit of scandal himself. With the girl who is now our girl's roommate. Yes. The craziness!

Anyway, it was another fun look into the kpop industry, and what it might be like behind the scenes of a famous group... and how they are just regular guys trying to live a regular life and have regular friends, in between being extremely famous. It's seriously a crazy world for them.

I really enjoyed this one, yet again. This author knows her kpop and everything felt spot on for me and was presented in a good way and not a dumb "let's make fun of this" way. 

And now I have yet another fictional band to love.... XOXO! 

Monday, February 7, 2022

Kdrama Review: Let Me Be Your Night

Drama: Let Me Be Your Knight

Genre: melodrama, musical-ish

Starring: Lee Jun Young, Jung In Sun, Jang Dong Joo, JR, Yoon Ji Sung, Kim Dong Hyun

Rating:  ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Okay, I loved it. LOL.

This one follows the adventures of a kpop band, letting us in on the back stories and struggles of all five members. But we especially follow the main lead who is suffering from sleep walking. So they hire a doctor to live in with them to help him through it. But it turns out the girl they hire is the real doctor's twin, and she ends up getting in the middle of the situation and decides instead of clearing up the misunderstanding, she is going to earn some much needed money (the whole drama starts out showing how she was totally scammed out of all her money.) She'll just get the month over with and be on her way.

Hmmm.... yep.

Our dude is grouchy and ornery and thinks it's all that. But of course that's all to hide his true emotions. And she helps him deal with everything and then he's all, I NEED YOU! And then she worries about him finding out that she's been lying and yeah... they don't call these things dramas for nothing.

The band in this drama: LUNA
The real boys and their real bands from left to right:
JR from NU'EST
Dongjoo and he's not in a real band
Lee Junyoung (the lead) was in a band called U-Kiss
Jisung was in project band called WannaOne and now he does solo stuff
Donghyun is in AB6IX

But all the other guys in the band too... dang. We fall for all of them. And they are all such great actors. I am constantly blown away. These guys are all played by in real life idols (except one, the second male lead, but still.. he sings crazy good! Of course he does!) And so, when they have songs, you know it's really them performing, and that makes everything so much better. 

I love it. Very heartfelt and sweet. And such great music. I've been in a bit of a drama slump since finishing this one. I just kinda want to start all over and watch it again...

Here's a trailer:

But really what you want to watch is their song. Well, I mean they have many (they even have an album... WAH!) but this one is the one that I love the most:

If you want to check out this awesome "fake" band, here's the rest of their stuff on Spotify.

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Book Review: Keep Moving by Maggie Smith

Book: Keep Moving by Maggie Smith

Genre: nonfiction  motivational

Rating: ★ ★ ★ 

The subtitle for this one is "notes on loss, creativity and change." It all started when the author suffered through a divorce that devastated her. She started writing tweets to help herself get through things. And people really resonated with these tweets and so she compiled them into this book. Mixed throughout the tweets are snippets of her story and the struggles she's faced.

We read this one for book club and found out it wasn't the best to encourage a discussion. I enjoyed reading it and really related to a lot of the thoughts here. However, I didn't mark them and so it was hard to talk about, short of just flipping through the book and reading everything out loud.

Anyway. That being said, while reading it I would sometimes have to stop and really think about many of these thoughts... or affirmations I guess they are called. Some of them really hit home, even though I haven't had a big loss or anything. A lot of them had to do with just being good to yourself and allowing yourself to just keep plugging along despite the negative thoughts. And also how to keep fighting against negative thoughts. Something I deal with constantly. 

So, in the end, I really enjoyed it. Kind want to print up the ones I loved the most and put them where I can see them all the time. You know?

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Book Review: Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon

Book: Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon

Genre: YA magic realism

Rating: ★ ★ ★ 

I've come to learn that I'm quite the fan of Nicola Yoon books. And this one was also quite lovely.

Our girl is sad about stuff that's happened in her life. She's given up on love. And it doesn't help that she suddenly sees visions of people's love life's.. .and how they will end. She's determined to never be part of that craziness.

She ends up at a dance studio (she was just trying to return a book) and somehow she ends up taking ballroom dancing lessons. And is partnered with a really awesome beautiful dude. A dude she is NOT going to fall in love with. (Seriously though. He dances. And plays guitar. That's like, all it takes, right?)

Anyway, as she continues to see these visions, she continues to kind of freak out and wants to figure out how to make them go away. But before that happens, of course she sees her own story. 

And that's all I'm going to say about that. 

I loved all the meshing up of things here... books, dancing, music, family. Totally enjoyed it. Now I just need to read the other Nicola Yoon book that's been patiently waiting for... a long time!

Thursday, February 3, 2022

In Which I Find A New Thing to Love

So, it's not enough that I love something many people don't get (aka. kpop/kdramas) but I've now added to my weirdness by falling in love with another thing many will also not get.... virtual reality. 

My son decided to investigate this thing awhile back and started teaching himself how to program in 3D. He hopes to break into this program world somehow or another (his dream would be to be his own boss and create programs that big companies would buy) in the beginning as it starts to take off. And his enthusiasm has rubbed off and so after playing with his headset a few times, I got my own headset for Christmas.

And can I just say... I LOVE IT!

So far I'm only doing a couple things with it. First, the dance/rhythm game Beat Saber, which is probably their most popular thing. It is so much fun and I am obsessed with getting good enough at it to pass all the levels. Currently, I'm decent at level HARD, but am anxious to start passing the EXPERT levels. After that there is still EXPERT+ which at this point seems impossible, but you never know!

This is someone else playing the song at EXPERT that I'm dying to also pass at EXPERT. Keep in mind that when you are playing it.. .it's 3D and you surrounded by these sensations. It feels like you are really whacking these blocks with light sabers. I love it. (Maybe some day I'll brave enough to film myself doing this and share. LOL!)

Then I bought the program Supernatural, which is a subscription workout program. It looks similar to Beat Saber in that you have to hit things to the rhythm of the music, but when you play it, it feels much different. There's a boxing segment too and that one kills me! They have coaches that help you along, and each song is set in a different cool part of the world, and it's just... so much fun. 

This is the promo for Supernatural. 

Then I got ping pong and feels just as if you are really playing ping pong, so much so that when I leaned forward to return a ball, and automatically leaned on the table... I fell flat on my face because of course, there's not really a table there. But dang, you can bang your paddle in it and it sure FEELS like it's there!

I've also tried a cool board game with fantasy-like monsters that you move around, just like the game Chewbacca  loves on the Falcon. You know the one? Yeah. It's an escape room sort of thing and is very strategic. I've only played that once but it was very cool. 

I've also watch YouTube with it, and that is like your are at a big movie theater, watching stuff on a big screen. There are some videos that are 180... or 360... which is just so much fun. I haven't explored that one yet to see what all is out there. 

There are chat rooms, where you can go hang out with people. It reminds me of back in the day when online chat rooms were new and made everyone nervous. Now that's so normal... but NOW you can go with your avatar to cool locations, and actually talk to people. I haven't done this yet, because yes... too nervous. But I broke into the chat thing back in the 90s with book clubs... so maybe I can do the same with VR chat rooms? We'll see!

Or what would be really cool is to mix my two weird and crazy loves and watch kpop videos with other kpop friends from all over the world, but together using VR. Some day I think that will happen for sure, just as soon as headsets become the norm, like phones are now. 

Wait and see!

So... now I want to know. Do you have a VR headset? Do you want one or plan to get one someday? What do you think would be the coolest thing to do with it? Do you think it will become the norm for everyone to have one some day, just like phones are now?

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books With Character Names in the Title


I missed the fact that is was Tuesday yesterday. Seriously, my days are SO MIXED UP! It was a crazy weekend (maybe I'll post on that later) so real life is hard to get back to. But anyway, I figured I could do it a day late, right? 

This week's prompt over at That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday is:

Top Ten Books With Character Names in the Title

So I went through my big archive list and nabbed these gems. Links to my reviews from yesteryear! (I shudder to think what you might find should you click on them. Be warned!) But dang these are some good books!

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Agnes Grey by Ann Bronte

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Katherine by Anya Seton

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

Zorro by Isabel Allende


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