Thursday, March 24, 2022

Book Club Reading List 2022-2023

The IRL book club has come up with our schedule for the next year's reading! (Yes I know we do this at a weird time of year, but that's just how it's been for years!) We vote on books in March and come up with a list for our reading year which for book club goes from June to June.  

Here's what we'll be reading this coming year. We decided to shake it up a bit and do a "read your own memoir" month in July. We'll see how that turns out. And then we are keeping our August Utah Book Month tradition alive after all these years. I think we started this in what, 2010 or so? I don't even know! 

Anyway, for those interested, here's what our list looks like. Let me know what books you've read and what we have to look forward to:

June: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
July (memoir month:) Choose your own memoir
August (Utah Author month): Lines of Courage by Jennifer A. Nielsen
September: The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth
October (Halloween read): Feed by Mira Grant
November: The Maid by Nita Prose
December (Christmas read): In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren
January: My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman
February: The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty
March: The Silence of Bones by June Hur
April: The Girl’s I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe
May: The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

As always, I'm looking forward to them all!

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: Books With an Adjective In the Title

Our Top Ten Tuesday prompt today is:

Books With an Adjective In the Title

Looking back over some books I've read most recently, I've come up with this list:

Anxious People


My Plain Jane

The Black Witch

On These Magic Shores

Paul, Big and Small

The Starless Sea

Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts


Little Fires Everywhere

Well that's quite the little pile of different books! Fun prompt this week! Titles are fun! And hard. If you are trying to think one up!

Monday, March 21, 2022

Book Review: Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Book: Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Genre: literary fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ 

This book reminded me a lot of Anxious People which I also recently read. We have a bunch of people who don't know each other at all, thrown together in a strange and weird circumstance and then they all bond and their lives become better because of the experience. Very similar premise!

It also reminded me of that book in that at first I was like... am I supposed to like these people? Because they all have SO MANY issues that it's just depressing to read, you know. But I remembered Anxious People and how I pushed through that first annoyance at the characters and how everyone seems so much more "normal" after you get to know all their true stories.

And yep, the same thing happened here. One thing this author does is DRAG YOU IN with character development. Like, how does she do this? It's crazy amazing. And even though they all have issues that sometimes make me roll my eyes (I get tired of reading about so many marriage problems for instance... can't someone just get married and be happy about it?) everything makes more sense once you find out all the back stuff. Which also interesting to think about regarding real life, you know? Like people and their first impressions are not usually at all that real person once you get to know them and their back stories. 

Anyway, in this story, our nine strangers all check into a health retreat spa resort thing. All with different things they are hoping to get out of it. The leader of this resort also has her issues... A LOT of issues. We bounce back and forth between ALL their points of view! It's a bit intense, but never did it bother me. Everyone has such a distinct voice and again... how does she do this??? It's so impressive seriously. 

And then stuff happens and all does not go at all as they expect it to. And like I said, because of that and because of the connections they make with each other, they actually do end up coming out better people. There's a lot of stuff here to make one think about one's own life and so much that's relatable, which is absolutely saying something since I just said they all annoyed me! LOL! 

So bottom line, I truly enjoyed it and am glad once again that the book club keeps wanting to read her stuff! Stay tuned for later this week to see what has ended up on our book club list for next year's reading! Will their be even more Liane Moriarty??? 

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Kdrama Review: Semantic Error

Drama: Semantic Error (on Viki)

(8, 25 min episodes)

Genre: BL romance

Starring: Park Seoham and Park Jaechan

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Yes, I've been watching lots of dramas lately! My reading is having a hard time keeping up!

So I've hesitated even discussing this drama, but it's been a pretty big deal and I have thoughts, so here I am. 

This is the first BL drama I've watched. (BL=boy love for those not up on the lingo.) There was a time when I thought I'd never watch one. Just not my thing, you know. But if there's one thing I've learned these past few years... is never say never, and keep an open mind.  I feel in a very weird place regarding BLs. I feel judged or... maybe... that's not even right word... I feel very in the middle of both sides here... right in between my conservative upbringing and so many IRL conservative friends... and then the more liberal views of online friends and much more diverse circles I'm a part of there. 

I'm sure my conservative friends are thinking... wait what? You watched what now? And my liberal friends are thinking... girl... get over it! What is even your hesitation here? 

So bottom line is, I'm going with my own feelings, trying to not worry about anyone else and what they think... and in this case, I was all in regarding this drama (because of the actors,) even though I approached it a bit warily. 

THAT all being said... this is a story about two dudes who go to college together. The one dude (a year younger in school) is so annoyed with the other one because they were in a group project together and he ended up doing all the work. We all know that feeling, yes? And so he called him out on it which made the older one end up having to take another semester and not graduate on time. So now HE is annoyed and tracks down the younger guy to.. I don't know what... just bother him like crazy mostly. 

Well, so that didn't go as planned, because now the older guy becomes intrigued by him. Their personalities are complete and totally opposite, so at first all he does is tease him and bug him. But then, suddenly he realizes he looks forward to seeing him every day. 

The younger one is a game programmer and the older one is a game designer.  And our younger guy (geez should I just use their names... but I think of them in terms of their real names! LOL!) decides that he wants the older one to design his game, even if he is making him crazy.

And so it goes from there and guys. I loved it. So cute. 

Like I said, I wanted to watch and support this drama because of the actors, both guys I know from kpop groups. When I first heard they were going to be in this drama together, I was like, seriously? I could not picture it. So I had to see it and decide for myself what I thought.

And they nailed it. Such great acting, great connection, great chemistry. And what do you know, I'm not the only who thought that. This drama has become a huge hit and everyone who is familiar with the genre is saying it's one of the best ones they've ever watched. Go figure that the first one I decide to watch is basically the best! LOL! 

I also enjoyed it because it wasn't preachy and "in your face" about things, if you know what I mean. It was just a love story. I don't know how else to explain it. But yeah. It wasn't trying to convince me of anything except the connection between these two characters. 

Jaechan (on the left.. the "younger" one... from DONGKIZ)
Seoham (on the right, the "older" one, formerly from KNK)
This is one of my favorite scenes. Though I think this is a shot
from behind the scenes because Jaechan's character rarely smiled like this!

And now both of these guys and their respective groups are getting so much love and attention. Well, actually Seoham left his group KNK awhile back, but Jeachan and DONGKIZ? Oh my word I never thought I'd see the day that people would be talking about them. The outpouring of love for them is overwhelming. I'm sure Jaechan (well the both of them actually)  thought if his decision to do this drama would be detrimental for his career, but he went with his gut and look at things now. It's crazy. I can't wait to see what they both do in the future. 

So anyway, I guess it remains to be seen if I watch more. There is another one I'm interested in because the actor is another favorite. So we'll see. I told people if they are all this cute and endearing and heartwarming, then I will watch more. (Of course they aren't all, but there's a bunch I guess!) 

So yeah. First BL and I loved it. Go figure!

Here's a trailer for those of you interested to see for yourself what I'm talking about here:

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Currently: Still Alive


It's been forever since I've done a weekly wrap up "currently" post. Thought I'd give it a try again. Even though life is mostly boring.

Listening: This past week I've rediscovered a couple of favorite groups that have recently received a ton of attention thanks to their two respective members being in a very buzzed about kdrama. Those groups are Dongkiz and KNK. Both very small, not well-known groups, but groups that should actually have ALL THE LOVE in the kpop world. So first off, I discovered I love this song called Fade, by KNK, which went unnoticed by me before. Here's a live stage of it:

(This group has members all over six feet tall. Can you tell?) 

And then the song from Dongkiz that I will push on everyone without restraint is called Lupin. The choreo is SO COOL!

Watching: Well, I watched the drama mentioned above starring the boys from those two groups. More on that later. I've started another drama called A Business Proposal which includes every single kdrama trope you can think of it.  IT'S SO PERFECT! We also started a new season of Survivor. Can't believe that thing is still going strong. 

Reading: I'm stuck on the second book of the Black Witch chronicles called The Iron Flower. It's good, but I'm just taking forever with it. I read the first chapter of Nine Perfect Strangers for book club next week. And I'm doing a bunch of beta reading for writer friends. 

Writing: I finished catching up on what I've written for the unnamed space opera book. (Please, someone figure out a title for me!) And now I just need to figure out how to finish up this story. I also need to add a bunch of stuff to the middle. I'm so bad at this! I have also sent out my 80's high school story to several beta readers. Anxiously waiting for that feedback, and then we'll figure out what the next step is for THAT book. 

Blogging: I'm happy that several author events have happened in the past few weeks, and more will be happening coming up. It  makes me feel like life is going back to normal more than almost anything else. I've missed it so bad.

YouTubing: I was on two live streams on my friend's channel hyping up a couple of different kpop book series. (I've blogged about them both here.) So that was fun.  I thought up a fun, fast way to introduce groups to people wanting to learn the members. I hope to make more of these types of videos. (I'll embed that one here because it would be cool if you clicked.)  I posted my favorite songs from February. And I made a snarky video about how I'm the worst kpop fan ever. 


Health Watch: I am loving exercising. But am discouraged that it seems to truly not make a difference in anything except that it lets me know how old I am because it makes my knees hurt. But whatever. I love it, so... sorry body. You have to do it. My diet is basically normal right now, with the few exceptions of life changes that stuck with me after the low carb thing. That doesn't really seem to matter either because the weight is coming back. Surprise surprise. I continuously argue in my head which is the worse thing... hating life because you can't eat fun things. Or being fat. I haven't come up with an answer yet....


* I want to find time to get going on another tshirt quilt. But my sewing machine says "are you kidding  me?" and needs a tune up and/or repair before that can happen.

* A family trip to Mexico is coming up (with my siblings and parents.) Wish me luck!

* We are one of the tens of thousands of lucky ones who ended up with a ticket to the BTS concert in April in Vegas! I will be shouting about that as the time gets closer!

* I went to a funeral for a friend who had brain damage from an accident 8 years ago. Her family finally decided to pull live support and let her go. It's been quite the reminder about how to enjoy life no matter the craziness it brings us. 

Friday, March 11, 2022

Kdrama Review: All of Us Are Dead

Drama: All of Us Are Dead (on Netflix)

Genre: zombie horror

Starring:  Park Ji-hu; Yoon Chan-young; Cho Yi-hyun; Lomon; Yoo In-soo; Lee Yoo-mi; Kim Byung-chul; Lee Kyu-hyung; Jeon Bae-soo

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

I didn't want to get sucked into another zombie show, after just watching one (see Happiness) but wow, so much buzz on this one, so sucked in I was! 

This one is about a high school teacher who develops a virus that he hopes will help his kid deal with some really ruthless bullying. He hopes it will make him "stronger" and fight back. Well. And so THAT backfired in a big time way! This virus, as you can guess, actually turns people into zombies, and the high school is ground zero for the outbreak. 

We learn about several of the students just before the craziness starts, and these students end up sheltering all together trying to survive the apocalypse. So this is their story. 

The first episode is REALLY rough and disturbing with the bullying story, in fact I feel like this drama's message is about bullying more than anything else, and to drive that point home, we really get some graphic images. This was a lot harder for me to handle than any zombie gore, that is for sure. 

And speaking of graphic gore, this one has a lot. It's another disturbing violent show (similar to Squid Game in it's grittiness) and yet... so much heart. So much. Amazing characters, amazing acting. (I didn't know any of the actors, and I learned while watching some behind the scenes that they picked newbies on purpose... but dang, they found some great kids to do this. I am blown away! And now I want to watch them in mores stuff!) 

I just... wow. I loved so much about it. It was gripping and "page turning" and despite that first hesitation with that first episode, I was hooked so fast and very invested.

We not only follow the stories of the students stuck in the school, but their family's stories trying to get to them, the government official stories trying to deal with the outbreak, and the stories some of the students who manage to get away. And also, we have to follow the story of the head bully dude. Oh my word, that guy is scary! (What a great actor he is... geez he makes you think he is really that awful! In the interviews we watched afterwards and we were like... DANG... he's like... NICE! What the heck!) 

The stars of the show. Oh my heart...

Our other hero. This guy stepped up EVERY TIME!

The bully boy. Looking fairly tame in this picture though. LOL! 

Anyway. It's an apocalypse survival show up there with the best of them where the survivors are the worst enemy over the zombies... much like The Walking Dead is. And the kids come together to deal with it all in ways that will have you literally cheering for them. I did so much nail biting and hairpulling and screaming and crying and... ah so many emotions... while watching this one! It's very intense, but warning... very graphic, very violent and TONS of language. 

I'll put the trailer here, but then down at the bottom of this post, I have some spoiler thoughts, so skip those if you don't want to know the ending. 


Okay, so. Gah, despite the title of this show... I really hoped for SOME sort of happy ending! It's not really at all happy. There is hope, yes. And a bit of a thread for season two (because yes, Netflix is western-izing dramas now and we have to have multiple seasons I guess) but the ending made me so crazy. Mostly because our awful bully guy basically wins. He gets his revenge on our hero (the eye thing) and I just didn't know why the writers decided that he gets that! I understand that our hero had to freaking die to save everyone else and fine, he took the bully along with him, but THE EYE THING! WHY DID THAT HAVE TO HAPPEN? Ugh, I was so mad about that....

... and dang it... NEARLY everyone dies. It's so heart wrenching. Sigh. The title is not wrong.

Okay. I feel like I could talk about this one for a long time, so if you watch it, let me know and let's discuss. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Kdrama Review: Splash Splash Love

Drama: Splash Splash Love

Genre: historical romantic comedy

Starring: Yoon Doo Joon, Kim Seul Gi

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

This one really isn't a true drama.. it's just two one hour episodes, so more like a movie, but I have been in the mood for short fun fast things lately, and have heard about this one forever it seems so I finally watched it!

And cute stuff this one!

It's about a girl who is kind of hating her life. She's a senior in high school and about to take that awful hard test they all have to take. And she just wants to disappear. So she jumps in a puddle and BAM finds herself back in time in Joseon Korea! WAH! 

And there she meets and falls in love with none other than the king himself! And this king happens to be the king that invented Hangul! So that all plays a part of the story. And it's kind of awesome. A cute little mix of a true history story along with a crazy silly fantasy and love story. It's very fun. You should watch it if you want to give this kdrama thing a try but you don't really want to commit to much. LOL!

The boy star is an idol actor though, so beware. (Idol actors tend to suck people down other rabbit holes they often weren't prepared for, like me six years ago....) He's Doojoon from a group called Highlight. They are awesome. Our girl star is in a ton of things too so if you love her, you can find her everywhere!

So yeah, this was a perfect one for something fun and fast and cute to watch. Totally enjoyable!

Here's a "trailer" (actually a scene) that will give you a feel for things:

And a song with lots of scenes:

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: Books With My Favorite Trope/Theme


Time for another TOP TEN TUESDAY!  The prompt for this one is:

Books With My Favorite Trope/Theme

Here's the one I thought of... can you guess what the trope is from my list???

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters by Sydney Salter

On the Fence by Kasie West

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

If you guessed "friends to lovers" trope or "the boy next door" theme... then you are right! I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!

I know there's a ton more, so....which ones would you have listed? What books do you suggest I should read... that I HAVE to read if I love this trope? Please... I GOTTA KNOW!

Monday, March 7, 2022

Reading Wrap Up February 2022


Picture of the month: It snowed and a snowman was created.

Only two books guys. Two. Dramas are winning this month. I'm telling you. It's either one or the other. The happy medium balance is HARD.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin: An sad and lonely bookseller finds life and love. 

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han: Lara Jean should have hidden those letters she wrote to her crushes a LOT better! 

I enjoyed both books a lot! 

Here's hoping I do a bit better in March, but so far I'm totally stuck on the second book in The Black Witch series. Maybe I should try something else for a minute...and hopefully I'll at least get the book club book read! Seriously though, what is my problem?

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Book Review: To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

Book: To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

Genre: YA rom com

Rating: ★ ★ ★ 

I read this for a second time for book club last month. I didn't plan on it, but a lively discussion happened PRE book club on our chat which made me want to remember it better. It's so crazy how quickly and easily I forget books, you know? Like why read them in the first place I sometimes wonder if I just forget them.

Anyway, I flew through the re-read and pretty much loved it again. At book club people brought out all kinds of things they have issues with, and I'm all... but... it was FUN! 

I think everyone knows the premise of this story, yeah? Lara Jean writes letters to her ex crushes to get her feelings out and then puts them away to never be mailed. But then, they DO get mailed and so theses guys are coming up to her with letter in hand going... so um... what's this about?? And she has to safe face with one crush who happens to be her sister's boyfriend, and so she makes another ex crush pretend to be her current boyfriend. Yeah. Fake boyfriend trope! It's great!

And lots of fun Korean culture stuff thrown in just for even more fun! (I read this the first time before I was immersed in the K fandom and so it was fun to re-read again with a very different perspective about that.) 

So yeah ,I love the banter, the silliness, the angst, the sister relationships (Kitty steals the show in both the TV version AND the book version!) just everything. It's a fun book. A fun series. I'm glad I decided to re-read it!

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I've Enjoyed But Not Blogged About

Okay so yeah. It's been week since I posted, which was for LAST week's Top Ten prompt. How does that happen? Seriously. I can't keep up. I have too many things. And I'm not willing yet to give up any of them! 

So... for TODAY'S Top Ten Tuesday prompt:

Ten Books I've Enjoyed But Never Talked About on the Blog

(click the link to participate!)

Yeah, so I've pretty much reviewed EVERY BOOK I've read since I started blogging back in 2007. I know. It's quite the claim, but pretty sure I have. But before the blog, there have been a TON of books I loved that I've maybe only talked about in lists. These include some of my very favorite books. Let's see what they are:

I won't say anything specific about them, but just know they all completely immersed me into crazy amazing worlds, buried me in extremely engaging stories and in most cases, ripped my heart out. Yep. That good. 

Happy Tuesday my book loving friends! 


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