Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Movie Review: The Death Cure

Movie: The Death Cure

Genre: Dystopian drama/adventure
Starring:  Dylan O'Brien, Ki Hong Lee, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster
Rating: Two thumbs up

I loved the first movie. The second one was weird, but okay. So I went to this one wondering what I'd think this time around. And let's just say I don't remember a thing about the book except that I wasn't that fond of it probably. The ending bugged me? I can't remember. (I just looked up my review and it was most unhelpful... I think basically the books was a blur for me!) So I had no notions of what to expect with the movie.

BUT, that being said, I really quite enjoyed the movie. Like quite a lot! The production and overlook of it was amazing actually. I continue to really love the casting... all the dudes that play these boys are awesome. The girls... eh.. they're okay. And the bad adults? They do the part well. The good adults.. .they are awesome.

So the movie opens with a fantastic action scene! Ah, it was a great! Our crew is trying to rescue the kids that have been captured by WCKD .... their buddy Minho being one of them. Do they succeed?

Well, mostly. But they failed with regard to Minho... so now they head for the big city (I don't think it was ever named in the movie, but the book says Denver) where all the people are pitted against each other... those out side the walls and those in.  Those without the cure, and those who are hoping to have the cure any second... by testing those who are immune.. like Minho.

And Thomas' lady love Teresa, is also there and working with these guys trying to find the cure.

So anyway, they get in, and all this stuff goes down. It was all quite nail biting at times. Some stuff was of the "suspend your disbelieve" sort.. like there's NO WAY they could have done that. But it was entertaining at least.

Galley appears again ... and provides some much needed comic relief. Ah, that guy! He was awesome in this one! We needed so much more of him!

Well, anyway. It was a bit long... and there were some slow moments in the middle. But I quite enjoyed it all and the ending was pretty good except for one thing that bugged me and I was like, seriously? Was that necessary? I need to go see if it matches the book now, since I do not at all remember.
And PS can I just say that I'm pretty sure Dylan O'Brien probably has the most beautiful eyes ever? Dang boy. Am I right, or am I right?
Also, he suddenly looks and seems WAY too old to be playing this part... like, he grew up you know? Good thing this is the last one. This is the last one, right?

The trailer:


One other thing I wanted to say... and I probably say this every time with regard to James Dashner's success with The Maze Runner. Ten years ago (I think it was ten.. .maybe nine) almost to this very day we went to a book blogging party and he was there as an up and coming author. He was working on The Maze Runner at the time and so he told us all about it. He was so excited and he was all, guys... this is going be awesome! I remember thinking.. wow he has some vision thinking it's going to do so well and be so excited. And now, look at how it's all gone down pretty much just like he wanted it to. Was it all luck? A little. Was it a lot of his drive and ambition? I bet some, yes. Was it connections he made? Probably that too. But whatever it is and however you feel about him, he saw this dream, he wanted it, and he made it happen. It's very powerful to me to have been around, sitting here in the sidelines and watching it happen. My hats off to him...way to go Dashner Dude!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Currently: Feeling the Need for Chocolate Chip Cookies



Listening: It's awesome these days because people are always recommending new wonderful music to us from all over the world. It's like a dream for me. So the latest discovery is happily known as Qpop... music from Kazakhastan (or Qazaqstan as it's also known as these days.) There's a particular group there known as Ninety One and it's been all about them this week around here. Some of it is pretty weird, but also so very fun. Here's the favorite:   (Watch it a couple of times and let me know if it gets stuck in your head.)





Watching: just more kdramas. I have another one to review. Look for that in the next couple of days. Nothing "normal" on regular TV or Netflix or whatever it is people watch. I'm really feeling the need to watch that one about Queen Victoria though.  And The Walking Dead will be starting up again in about a month. Somehow, I'm still following that one. Even without my favorite character. Sob.

Reading: I've still been working on my pile of MGs that need to be read. I got stuck on one though,
which is not a great sign, right? A MG book should not take me all week long to read! But I have a Kasie West book waiting for me on the sidelines and I'm dying to just devour it and enjoy. Please let that be this week!

Making: As noted above in the title, I'm having a chocolate chip cookie craving. It happens way more often than it should. But I think I'll make up a batch and then freeze most of the dough. Great idea, no? Yes?

Planning: I need to plan April, but I haven't actually done it yet. April is going to be an intense month. I'm also planning what to do next week for Bloggiesta.

Thinking about: how I'd really like to go to The Death Cure. Sometime in the first week at least.

Enjoying: a lot of down days lately with just at home evenings with books, music and dramas. I think this might a perk of an empty nest.

Writing: a lot more blog posts than usual. Though I do still think... okay, what should I write about today? Anyone got any great ideas? Anyone? I think about my WIPs a lot, probably every day, but still haven't figured out how to fit them into my life again. Or how to get up the enthusiasm for them again. I'm pretty convinced that I can't do it and then I get mad at myself.

Blogging: I feel like I'm back in the swing of it again. Mostly.

YouTubing: As mentioned above we have a bunch of new videos up about Qpop... and some about Vpop (love this stuff too) and Toto has been making her roommates react to videos, so those are going up too. I also did a very fun (I thought) compilation of kpop guys who dance in floppy shirts.  Yeah. Some of you might enjoy that one more than others... but you can click here if you are intrigued by the thought. 

Feeling: Nostalgic and a bit sad lately.

Looking forward to: spring break when Toto comes home and Ryn might visit and Megs too if her spring break is then and then we can party...

Asking: What is the best thing you did this week? Or the best thing you plan to do this coming week?

Misc Random:

  • I need a haircut
  • I'm adding to my Korean vocab knowledge every day thanks to Mango and TTMIK
  • Making dinner is hard.
  • My shoulder is wearing out.
  • It snowed and it was awesome. Today, back to no jacket again.


(I borrowed some more categories from Lit and Life! I was massively bored with the ones I had going on.)


Thursday, January 25, 2018

Book Review: Forget Me Not by Ellie Terry

Book: Forget Me Not by Ellie Terry
Genre: MG contemporary verse
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

I totally enjoyed this cute story about a girl who has moved to a new school and has to deal once again with everyone getting used to her Tourettes. It's told in verse with alternating points of view between the boy and the girl.

So the girl, Calli, moves in next door to Jinsong (sounds Korean to me, but he's actually Chinese) who is the popular student body present. He's vowed to be a friend to all. But that friendship pledge is tested when his friends think Calli is weird and Jin has to decide, what's more important... what his friends think of him, or being nice and friendly to Calli.

It's a bit of a struggle, but spoiler... he comes around. I like this kid a lot. Yes.

And Calli.. she is trying to decide is it better just to tell people what's going on with her, or to try and hide her issues? At first she hides it and things just get worse, but then she tries telling and hey, it's not so bad when people know.

It's a really cute story with these two cute characters at the heart of its struggle with normal everyday middle school kid issues. I totally enjoyed it and the whole verse thing just adds to the charm. Fast quick fun read. Awesome!


Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Mini Bloggiesta Is Coming! February 3 and 4



Ever since I handed Bloggiesta over to new hosts, I haven't been able to participate! WHAT'S UP WITH THAT?? Life... yeah. Life. And lack of blogging mojo and.. mostly life.

But I think I pretty much have no excuses for this mini event coming up next weekend and my blog needs a TON of catching up sort of tasky things so I plan to participate and... catch up.

Want to join in? Post your to do list and link up over at the main Bloggiesta site! Spread the word! Don't let this event die! Come and join the fun!


Here's my working list:


  • Archive lists... I'm so behind. But since I haven't been reading as much this shouldn't be to hard! *I started this but haven't quite finished yet...
  • Fix my little social media buttons on the side bar... I think they died. *DONE
  • Clean up my Bloggin Buddy List... so many people have totally stopped blogging! SADNESS! *DONE
  • Add some reviews to Amazon *DONE
  • Add links to the lists on the tabs. *I did some, but not sure I can call this finished.
  • I would say clean up email, but I know I won't do it... *Yep, I did not...
  • Think up some discussion post ideas *Nope
  • Do some housekeeping on the YouTube channel messiness *Nope
  • Participate in the Twitter chat if it's at a time when I'm home... *DONE!
  • Write two posts. *DONE


I will add to this as I think of stuff and as I get ideas from others. I hope you guys can participate too! Let me know if you sign up!




Monday, January 22, 2018

Kdrama Review: Because This Is My First Life

Yes, a kitty also starred in this one. :)
Drama: Because This Is My First Life
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Starring: Lee Min Ki, Jung So Min
Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Not sure what made me start this one, just seeing about it here and there and it looked fun. But (gosh how many times do I say this lol!!!) it really had some issue-y things going on that I did not expect!

This one basically follows three different couples, all experiencing different levels of romance/marriage/dating etc.

Our main couple is the most unique one. Our girl has no place to live at the moment. She can't stand her house anymore because her brother's new wife has just moved in with them all and it's stifling. Her friends have no room and so she needs to find a cheap place. She ends up getting hooked up with that she thinks is a perfect situation. She doesn't meet the landlord ahead of time, they just have text communications.

Meanwhile, our guy has this nice apartment and he needs a tenant to help him pay off his loan. He is VERY particular and has a OCD sort of personality.. meaning he has a list and a rating system for his tenants and so far, no one is making the cut. But he is hooked up with a new tenant that he does not meet, but communicates with through texts.

Yeah. After a few days of near misses, they finally stumble upon each other and are BAFFLED when they realize they aren't rooming with someone of their same gender. Awkward.

But the guy loves her as a tenant. She's been perfect. The highest rating he's had ye! And the girl loves him as a landlord... because he is giving her a great discount. (No deposit..something like that.)

And so they write up a detailed contract and decide to get married. LOL.
Couple #1 taking a selfie to prove they are..."together". LOL... cracks me up.

Our other couple has been dating for seven years...and the girl is dying to get married but they guy is like... why? Is that really necessary to prove we love each other and are committed?
Couple #2.. SUCH CUTIES!

The third couple is in it just for the sex. But the guy kinds likes her... and then loves her... and then she kinds likes him... and then loves him.

Couple #3: The power couple

All these people are friends.

Here they all are at the happy wedding! :)

And they all go through ups downs and crazy things until everything is resolved in the end.... and they all go through all the various stages of marriage/romance/dating before it's over.

The issues addressed? Well, of course, much is said about the nature of love and marriage. About pleasing your parents or doing whatever the heck you want to anyway. Much is said about gender roles and women's rights and feminism and all that. Much is said about traditional vs. non. Much is said about family, love, friendship, relationships, emotions, feelings, etc.

So.. I loved it.

The guy was amazing playing a very stoic unemotional dude... never cracking a smile. Never shows his feelings. EXCEPT that he does! How do people do that??? He was simply perfect. And I knew as the story unfolded he would start to soften up and loosen up and then watching that actually happen was lovely.

All the actors and characters were, as always, fun and developed and complex. Everyone did such a great job. I'm said I actually had to finish and be done! BUT... I was DYING for that happy ending!!

I can't find a decent trailer, so we'll cut right to the love song that I totally absolutely fell in love with and can NOT get out of my head. This one shows a few clips with our main couple.





Saturday, January 20, 2018

Book Review: Those Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin

Book (Story?) : The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula K. La Guin
Genre: Short story/literary fiction
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ☆


Here's another book (story) that I picked up thanks to BTS and all the tons of literary references that their videos and teasers and theories and concepts are always promoting and throwing at us.

This one made an appearance in their Spring Day video last year (wow it's been a year already?? ) and everyone went wild. Since I'm not all that into the crazy theories these guys love to wrap the fandom up in, I have no idea what the connection is thought to be between their video and this story. And I could look that up, but I know you all probably won't care either. (Oh, man I found this, so if you are interested, take a look!) So on to the story!!!




Yeah, basically this is a short story that I'm going to count as a book since it's in a nice hardback bound copy and looks very bookish!!

In the beginning we get a description of the town people and how they are all on their way to the race grounds where a horse race is about to happen as a celebration to the beginning of summer. It's a beautiful day and everything is pretty and perfect. And the people are happy. Oh so happy!

We then get a more detailed description of this town called Omelas. How the people are so good and happy that they don't need a king, or slaves, or clergy or soldiers or weapons. They had few rules and laws. And yet, we are told over and over, that they are not simple minded or naive. They are mature and intelligent.

Do you believe all this? we are asked. The narrator knows it's hard to accept. That people could actually live this way.

If not, he/she says, then how about one more thing.

And then we learn about the ugly secret. The bad bad thing kept in a closet. ( I will not tell you want that thing is because that would be spoiler-ish. You have to read it to find out!) The thing that everyone knows about but no one does anything about. That thing that without it, the happiness of the town would no longer be. The thing that people come to visit and are repulsed by, but still go about their joyous happy lives.

Except those who don't. Except those who walk away from Omelas.

Hmmm........

Yeah. I have no idea what it means. But it feels like it could be pretty deep and symbolic. Most of the short stories I've read in my life have this sudden punch in the gut at the end, and this one is no different. It's beautiful and ugly at the same time. Omelas is not what it appears to be. There is something about Omelas that make some people want to leave, even if it's a blissful happy place. And what is the price for happiness anyway? And what would you do gain it and keep it?

This is the third thing I've read thanks to the BTS boys... what's up next? Not sure, but let me just say I've only begun to scratch the surface.


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Book Review: Exo by Fonda Lee

Book: Exo by Fonda Lee
Genre: YA SF
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

It's been awhile since I read a science fiction and this one was not bad... not bad at all! :) Pretty dang good actually!

It's about Earth after an alien invasion. I'm assuming the invasion happened about our current time. There was a long 30 year war at that time, with humans trying to fight against them. However, they finally gave up and peace between the races was declared. The book takes place near Peace Day, 100 years later.

Most of the human population has just decided to go along with the rule of this alien race. Some of them have wholeheartedly embraced it. And those people have even had their children become like the aliens in a process called Hardening. They alter them biologically so they have the ability to armour themselves with an exoskelton, similar to the aliens. These people, who have gone through that process, are called Exos.

Our boy, Donovan, is 17 years old, and an Exo. He works as a soldier maintaining peace. Because there are outlying groups who are still against the aliens and want to take back the planet. They despise Exos and hate what they symbolize. Donovan's job is to search out these people and have them prosecuted.

Oh, and Donovan's dad is the Prime Liaison... the most important human job....maintaining relations between humans and the aliens.

One day, when out on patrol, things go bad, and suddenly Donovan finds himself captured by these crazy humans. And while with them, he learns about their cause and realizes that they have some pretty good ideas....

And there's a girl of course. As one of these fighting humans. There's also someone else who's in that group that quite freaks Donovan out. And he is so confused he can hardly function.

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

Sometimes I worry about books with a political sort of premise, but this one was okay in its presentation. It didn't get too bogged down with it.

I enjoyed the intensity of this story. Many edge of your seat moments. It did get a little slower in the middle for a bit, but soon picked up again. So yeah, I really enjoyed it! I'm wondering if this is the start to a series since it ended up with lots of places it could still go. I guess we'll see!! (Well, so I see in Goodreads that there's an Exo #1 by the title.. I guess that answers that question! Yeah, there's many things Donovan still needs to do and figure out... poor kid.)




Sunday, January 14, 2018

This Week in Kpop : January 7 2018




It's been two years since we discovered Super Junior and in so doing, discovered kpop and our lives were changed. We're having a giveaway to celebrate:






There was another Korean award show (Golden Disk) and BTS won album of the year. EXO won one global artist, which caused the fan wars to erupt yet again. Also Super Junior and a bunch of our other favorites, won another award that I don't totally know how to explain. But yeah. What it means is tons more awesome performances to watch!



BTS held their 4th Muster (like a concert but more informal) and did a bunch of performances to songs that previously had no dances to go with them, so that was cool.




SHINee announced in heart breaking letters to the fans, they will go ahead with the concert scheduled for Japan... and sing without Jonghyun though they will feel him with them in spirit.



Super Junior indirectly announced an LA concert date for April 29th, along with plans to have Europe dates. Also, they had performances in Malaysia this week.




New favorite song of the week.... Grrr by Stray Kids. Ah, this one is so much fun!!!


Friday, January 12, 2018

Movie Review: The Greatest Showman

Movie: The Greatest Showman
Genre: Musical
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Zach Efron, Michelle Williams
Rating: two thumbs up


We went to this one over the holidays for our annual family girls night out. It was a perfect choice. Upbeat and fun!

This is the story of P.T Barnum based on a few key moments of his life. (There's a lot left out, there's a lot of time crunching, there's a lot of glossing over, but it's generally how he got started and some difficulties he faced.) And all told with musical numbers.

P.T. Barnum, as you know, started "the greatest show on Earth" aka. the circus as we know it today.


The plot is simple... Mr. Barnum daydreams as a kid, falls in love with a rich guy's daughter, marries her, wants to show her the good life, but has all these fanciful dreams that never really amount to much. And then he has the idea to start a show starring random "misfit" type people he comes across. The little person he names Tom Thumb, the bearded lady, the Siamese twins, the black trapeze artist, and etc. Soon, he adds animals to the mix too. Despite a lot of criticism, his show succeeds and he becomes famous.

He then adds in a famous singer called Jenny Lind, which causes some conflict in that he forgets what he started it all for... to give back to his family.

So, for me, the message to take home was... live your dreams, stay true to yourself, march to your own drum, love your family. All this reflected in the big song numbers of the show.


And it's the songs that make this movie. Big numbers... huge production numbers. Catching tunes that will get stuck in your head. Positive fun upbeat songs. And some great choreography too. One totally takes place on the trapeze. (Way to go Zach Effron and Zendaya!) Another one is between Hugh Jackman and Zach Efron in a bar, and that is pretty amazing too!

If you like musicals, you'll love this. If you need a family movie, you'll love this. If you are into Hugh Jackman, you'll love this. If you enjoy seeing no name's become stars, you'l love this. If music gives you chills, you'll love this.

Here's a trailer, in case you need a better visual:







And of course the soundtrack is awesome... here's the whole soundtrack playlist on Youtube:

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Kdrama Review: Somehow 18

Drama: Somehow 18
Starring: Choi Minho, Lee Yoo Bi
Rating: ❤❤❤❤

Oh man guys. This drama. It's only two episodes, so it's more like a movie and not a true drama. So since it was so short, I'm like what the heck. I'll watch it. Besides... our SHINee boy Minho was in it, so... double what the heck.

It aired on like Dec. 12 or so.. I probably watched that first episode a few days later...

And then, a few days after that, we woke up to the news on Dec. 18th that Minho's band member brother and friend had committed suicide that day.

The drama's story line? It's about a doctor who is haunted by the suicide death of a high school classmate, a girl he secretly loved, and who suddenly gets a chance to go back in time to prevent it from happening.

Are you kidding me????

So I went to watch the 2nd episode the very night of the news of Jonghyn's death, somehow forgetting the story line, and then I was like. No way... no way, NO WAY! It took me about two weeks to watch that final second episode, but I had to/wanted to do it.


So Minho's character was a nerdy picked on kid in high school and he decides he doesn't want to live... so when he is up on the roof to jump off, the mysterious new girl comes and talks him out of it....flash forward a month or so later... and she is on the roof... and there is no one there to stop her.

When he goes back in time, of course he has knowledge of all this and he tries to stop everything from happening, but he quickly learns that even if he stops stuff.. the end result will still happen.. or it will just happen to someone else... the outcome is essentially the same.

So how's he going to stop this suicide?

Yeah...
Cute picture of Minho (right) and Jonghyun (left) together. 

And so when it gets to that point and now HE'S on the roof talking HER out of it... the words that are coming out of his mouth... the dialogue that he had to memorize for this.. was just what his hyung probably needed to hear.. and so I'm sure that was all in Minho's head during that terrible traumatizing week...and how ironic for him to have that drama being aired only the week before. I can't even imagine.

"There are people here that love you. Your life is worth living. Please stay with us." etc. I can't remember what else. But when I watched it, I imagined Minho himself finding Jonghyun and saying all these things to him. And... yeah. Sobbing.....

Cute nerdy Minho.

But... I do love Minho's acting. How can he pull off a nerdy boy? Well, he can. Ha. Barely. A very cute nerdy boy. :) Poor Minho. I hope he's doing okay.


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Book Review: Under Locker and Key by Allison K. Hymas

Book: Under Locker and Key by Allison K. Hymas
Genre: MG contemporary
Rating:★★★★☆

I had a feeling I'd like this one! It's a cute story about a kid who "steals" things back for people. Like a mini Robin Hood. Or.. perhaps if they lost something, he will find it. He calls himself a retriever. And he doesn't accept any payment for his services... except chocolate cake. Yeah, he's such a good kid! With quite the attitude and...style.

So one day he gets a lost key back for an 8th grader. And come to find out... that key was not that kid's and he actually DID steal it...for that kid.

Now that kid is going to do not so good things with it and our boy (gah why is it so hard for me to remember names... oh right Jeremy!) Jeremy has to get the key back before things get too crazy.

And he has to enlist the help of his nemesis... Becca, who is the school's mini detective and major rule keeper. She thinks Jeremy is a true blooded thief. But, somehow, she reluctantly agrees to help.

Let the antics begin!

Very fun MG story. I loved the hint at the friendship building between the two who claim to hate each other. I loved how Jeremy might appear an out of control kid was really deep down good. I loved the banter and smartness of it. It was great!




Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Top Ten Favorite Kdramas from 2017


I got a special request (thank you LillyLilac!!) to list my favorite Kdramas of the year. And yes, some of these aren't FROM 2017 but are old and I'm still catching up on them! And so I thought it would just be as simple as seeing what I gave five hearts too and there's my list, but in looking back over it.. some of the five hearts got bumped off and some of the four hearts got saved. Yeah, it happens.

Links to my reviews and some random quotes from those reviews are included.

And so my favorites from the dramas that were released this year are:
(Not in any order except that Goblin does top the list.)

Goblin: The Lonely and Great God There is much magic and ghosts and past and future lives, portals to other places and all that fun stuff. Also full of so much funny stuff and  many many weepy moments. It's truly one of the more emotional dramas I've seen and that's saying a lot. Cinematography, music, story line, character development, acting. All of it. AMAZING.





The Legend of the Blue Sea  But, as usual, I mostly loved the love story. The side kicks (of which there are many), the funny situational comedy, the sweet and perfect sappiness, and especially Lee Min Ho, who I somehow cannot get enough of.






Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo  needed a light and funny drama and this one looked like it would do the trick and I was right! It did! Oh my gosh I loved this one just for its cuteness. Sigh. Such  fun happy heart warming stuff.




Hwarang So yeah. I loved it. Let it be known though, that this one caused me to cry that hardest I've ever cried because of a drama. Beware episode 18. I'm talking gut wrenching sobs. Yeah, maybe I was a little bit TOO invested in this one and its characters? :) No. It was worth it.




Strong Woman: Do Bong Soon Anyway. He pretty much loves her from the beginning, which is the cutest thing because... he is just SO DANG CUTE! But she is brushes it all off, because first she thinks he's gay and second, she is totally in love with her high school friend. And so it goes from there.

There are a bunch of side stories that are just totally off the wall bizarre. And one of them, about a serial killer, is downright disturbing. But they all tie together in the end, sort of. But I was in it for the cute romance which was totally worth watching all those weird side stories for! Also, beware the cheese factor. This one plays it up as high as it can go! So it's better if you are in the mood for such  thing! But again... who cares because... Park Hyung Sik.

While You Were Sleeping  Our guy is a brand new prosecuting attorney and over the course of the drama, we get involved in all the cases he is solving. Some of them had me screaming (literally out loud) in suspense and trauma. All of it ties together in the end. There are some great villains in this drama that have you totally squirming and on the edge of your seat. The secondary characters are perfectly quirky too and the second male lead, AS ALWAYS, is swoon worthy in his own right. Sigh. Always.




Suspicious Partner/Love in Trouble Such a fun show... all the way around. For the romantic chemistry and banter. For the most awesome creepy villain who blew me away with his acting and caused a ton of suspense. For the sad back stories. For the fun quirky side characters. For the tragic side stories. All of it. Most of all though, it's the best because of Ji Chang Wook, who I've raved on and on about before. But yeah. He knows his stuff. And he knows how to be a leading romantic dude like no other. He's just, pretty perfect.








And favorites from past years that I watched this year:

Moon Embracing the Sun This is a saga of a drama. A sweeping historical romance that covers a big time period and has a very complicated political plot and complicated messed up romances and relationships. I have no idea how to summarize it! Think of this as a period drama, like watching stuff from our British Tudor history or something. It's like that. Just like that! It's all very emotional, but I held it in for the most part. Until the last couple of episodes and then I gave up and let the tears stream. Sigh. It's so good and heart wrenching! 

Coffee Prince The best part about this one was the acting. Like these two were so totally amazing. Gong Yoo, I mean... he's just.. there are no words. He's so good. And Eun Hye? The way she could make you forget she's a girl? Like how does she do that when she's this beautiful actress? I don't get it! She was so good. I think that these guys and this drama won all sorts of awards because of them. And it quite pushed the boundaries, you know, for this whole gay thing and gender identity and all that. And just really makes one think. And the romance was so... cute and fun and intense. All of it. SO GOOD!!!


Pinocchio  And it's about revenge. And about forgiveness. And redemption. And...love and family... and so many wonderful beautiful things.  I got teary so many times during this one! So many! Which is a good thing because you know it's moving and heart wrenching! Yes. It is. Mark it down for one of the best ones!


It's been a great year for dramas. I love them so much. Can't wait to see what this year brings! Already we're off to a great start!!!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Book Review: The Memory Thief by Bryce Moore

Book: The Memory Thief by Bryce Moore
Genre: MG Fantasy-ish
Rating:★ ★ ★ ☆☆

One day Benji and his twin sister are at the local fair and when Benji is running away from the local bullies, he stumbles into a booth with a funny old guy. After hanging out there awhile, the guy shows him his abilities, which is that he can give people memories. He gives (or shares more like) Benji a memory he has of being a fighter pilot. Benji feels like he really remembers it!

Well, he is now hooked and goes back the next day, hoping to get help with his parents who are planning a divorce. But instead of the old guy, Benji finds a creepy lady who is up to no good. She helps Benji erase the memories he wants from his parents, but right away, Benji realizes this is not a good thing.

And before he knows it, everything gets even worse. He tracks down the old guy to get help and then.. things get EVEN WORSE! But Benji now has the abilities to fight against the lady and he hopes he can restore everything how it was, even with all the problems.

An interesting concept about how important memories are. And how they make us be who we are., they are our very essence. And even the bad ones are good. And how if someone had the ability to give and take memories, it would really be a terrible thing.

I enjoyed the story, but it was a bit... over the top... for me. Maybe MG age kids wouldn't mind that aspect and just go with it, but for me, it was just a bit too crazy! But as I said, I enjoyed the things it made me think about and I'm sure kids reading this will go away with the similar thoughts about memory and what it means to us.


Sunday, January 7, 2018

Currently: Feeling Tired



Listening: Right now.. the sounds of a video game. I'm not a fan. Earlier... the sounds of the England Dan Spotify station my husband had going. That was soothing. This week... songs from The Greatest Showman continue to be stuck in my head. Especially A Million Dreams.




On the kpop front people in my life are texting me when they hear Mic Drop out in the wild and it's happening all the time! Have you heard it yet? If you do, I expect a notification of some sort! Let me know!!! :)


Watching: Well, Star Wars for the second time and The Greatest Showman. Survivor on TV ended awhile back. It was an... okay season. I finished Minho's terrible sad drama that was all about suicide and aired only days before his hyung (band brother) committed suicide. The timing on that was eerie. But he was awesome in that little drama. It was only two episodes long so more like a movie. Review to come soon.

Reading: I've been reading for the long lists for the Beehive Award and the AML Middle Grade awards. Which means I've been doing some awesome reading. The one I reviewed the other day... Eliza and Her Monsters was perfect. I loved it TONS. My big reading decision right now is do I re-read Ready Player One for book club.... hmmm..... But the trailer I saw for that movie made it look so very awesome. Looking forward to that!

Writing: AH! DON'T ASK ME THIS ONE!! Do you think I can give up sleep entirely so I can fit this back into my life?

Blogging: Can you see how awesome I've been this past week? Only missed one day since the new year!!! Go me! Suddenly, there's stuff to blog about! We'll see how long that lasts.

YouTubing: Oh man. The ride is a crazy one. We had our first video hit ONE MILLION VIEWS! And while it was only a compilation and not us on the video... lol... it was still a video on our channel. Yay. Other interesting things about YouTubing: hate comments, love comments, subscriber milestones, copyright claims, monetizing, working with a partnership company based in Korea... yeah. It's a fascinating ride.

Misc:
  • We had a fun Christmas break. Got to visit with my daughter and her family. My granddaughter called me Grandma and so all is well with the world now.
  • It doesn't feel like Christmas/winter yet because there is still no snow. I know some of you would love to send us some and have less in your part of the woods.
  • The week before Christmas was a very trying one emotionally for several reasons. I'm still not over some of those events. Life is hard sometimes. I hate that.
  • Next up in life: help plan a little wedding. "Small Mom, we want small. Very very small." Yes, a little wedding. 
That's about it for now! Party on.





Friday, January 5, 2018

Movie Review: Star Wars The Last Jedi

Movie: Star Wars The Last Jedi
Genre: science fiction/fantasy
Starring: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega
Rating: Two thumbs up

I've been hyped about Star Wars since I was 12 years old and the first one was making news everywhere because of its uniqueness.  It's been fun to be a fan all these years and to be always looking forward to new movies. If my 12 year old self knew that my old 50 plus year old self was still getting to see new Star Wars movie all these years later she would DIE!

That being said, I feel like something is different. I don't know if it's me. If it's just being older. If it's the change in the leadership/direction of the movies. Or what. But my excitement level for these movies isn't what it used to be. Makes me sad.

THAT being said, I still love and enjoy them. The music is still amazing. The effects are still amazing. The excitement and edge-of-your-seatness is still amazing.

So I just saw this new movie for the second time the other day. The first time I saw it maybe I wasn't able to just relax and enjoy like I wanted.. but I went out thinking..... I don't know what to think. And there were a lot of weird things. And I just... couldn't put a finger on my reactions.

It was much better the second time around. (Maybe it was simply that I got to see it in the IMAX the second time? LOL... but it was awesome with the bigger screen and sound!) And I understood stuff a bit better and caught many things I didn't catch the first time. So I think that helped a lot.

I'm still trying to decide if I'm invested in these characters. I know many people can't stand Kylo Ren, but he fascinates me as do many vulnerable tortured villains do. He totally fits in that category for me. I'm not sure what I hope for his future, but for that moment when he seemed human in this movie...it made me happy.

Rey is...cool. I like her. But I still want to know, as she does herself... what she has to do with anything. Like why is she suddenly a part of this story? There must be more!

I loved seeing Luke in this one again. He was never my favorite, even as as 12 year old (I was always about Han... sob.) But it was fun to see him you know... do his thing there at the end.

I loved the new character Rose. I hope she is still apart of things next time. And I continued to love Finn as I did the first go around. It will be interesting to see what happens with these two characters who have now bonded pretty heavily.

Now stuff that is a bit more spoilery so stop if you haven't seen it yet and care about that sort of thing:


  • Princess Leia and the whole not instantly freezing and dying in space. I mean that was a really big big BIG thing she suddenly managed to do with the force. I just... yeah. That was too much. 
  • Not learning who Rey's parents are and where she comes from... I totally thought that was going to be answered this time around. And I don't believe Kylo Ren that they are nobody. It doesn't make sense.
  • I loved the laser fight that Kylo and Rey have together. That was awesome.
  • All the strange creatures...eh. I don't get it. (The bird things, the big dinosaur things, the crystal things, etc.) Probably this is my oldness coming out.
  • I still find it strange that they use some many familiar scenes and... I don't know... just a lot of the same stuff from the original. Even some dialogue. Why? I think we'd all still like it if they didn't. Know what I mean?
  • I love the nod to the kid at at the end. I'm intrigued. The future of the rebels!
  • The absence of sound there at the end when that one thing happened. Awesome. I love that theaters had to have disclaimers saying that was supposed to happen and was part of the movie. Sheesh, some people!
  • I loved learning a little more of the back story regarding Luke and Kylo Ren. Intense.
Well, that's about all I can think of for now

Have you seen it? What were your impressions?

Here's the trailer for those are still pondering it. And just for fun for those who have already seen it!



Thursday, January 4, 2018

Favorite Songs from 2017

I loved some songs this year. I loved a lot of songs. I loved way too many songs to count. But I will share some of those songs with you here. Even though it stresses me out in more ways than one.



1. My favorite song of the year is probably Mic Drop by BTS.  First they came out with their own version of it in September with the rest of their new album. But then they did a remix with Steve Aoki and did a music video for it and that remix is now getting played all over the place, including radio here in America and it's high in all the charts and lists and such. So, you could say this is a "mainstream" popular song even, not just in my kpop world/fandom. Have you  heard or seen it yet? If not, please click and enjoy:





2. Monsta X with their Beautiful song, with beautiful singing and beautiful dancing is up next.




3. Then we have Taemin (from SHINee) doing his solo song, Move. It kills me. Here's a live version.





4. I really loved this B side song by EXO. It's called Sweet Lies and the vocals in it are amazing to me. There's no video for it so just turn it up loud and enjoy their beautiful voices.




5. Super Junior came out with new stuff this year. And while I loved their upbeat title song Black Suit.. it's their more ballad-y song that really got to me emotionally after waiting these two years for them. One More Chance it's called. And I love it.





6. There were many SEVENTEEN songs I loved from this year. Several of them duets by different members. But this one that they did altogether remains one of my favorites. It's called Don't Wanna Cry.





7. Yes, okay. Another BTS. They've pretty much taken over the kpop world and it's hard to deny how many amazing songs they have going on right now. The year started with this one that I still can't get enough of. NOT TODAY! I love this fighting song. Taken from Lord of the Rings for those paying attention. Maybe someday I'll give up, maybe someday I'll stop loving kpop and kdramas, but that day is NOT TODAY! Ready aim fire... BAM! :)






8. Here's one we stumbled upon accidently and then ended up loving. For those of you with more of a rock love, you might like this one. And my guess you'll all understand the story of the video even without understanding the lyrics. Try it. It's very funny. This one is called The Real by N. Flying.



9. This one I can't help but dance too. (Well, they are all that way but this one especially.) Does it make you want to dance too?  Block B Shall We Dance. (Purple dreads? My favorite!)





10. Well and so I thought there must be a current song from this past year that was popular here on the radio or something that I liked/loved. I couldn't think of any. I looked at the popular chart even to see if I even knew any. Most of them are explicit songs. Nice. I remember hearing Shape of You a lot. But I didn't ever like it. Despacito, yes. I liked that one, but the Spanish version of course, not the Justin Bieber remix necessarily. Imagine Dragons... I just realized they have new stuff... I bet I'd like it if I listen. :) But I'll end with a song from a musical that has been popular this past week. And features music I truly do love. But now to pick one song from it... This Is Me from The Greatest Showman. Here's hoping we can all live by and believe these words and brave enough to be ourselves.




If you are interested in a little longer list with very short clips, here's what The Kpop Konverters loved from the past year:




What songs were on your favorite list? Let me know what I missed from the world of western/American music this year!!!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Top Ten Books Read in 2017




Here are my favorite books of the year, quoting myself from my reviews. I read a lot I loved toward the end, but there's several from the very beginning of last year too. Interesting. The top two I would say sort of tied for my favorite. Maybe even the top three. I loved these books.



1. Deacon Locke Went to Prom by Brian Katcher: It's such an awesome friendship book. And relationship book, with Deacon and his grandma at the heart of it. Lots of funny moments. And sad moments. And romance moments. It has it all. I loved it.


2. Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia: So yeah. Read this book. Especially if you've ever been made to feel weird because you are part of a fandom that people think is stupid or silly. My guess is you will relate to the feelings in this book too, no matter how old you are.


3. Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer: Why do I love this so much? I don't know. But, these characters were awesome. So real and so lovely. The writing was just my style, whatever that means. So engaging. Deep without trying too hard.


4. Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff: It's so very complicated and much much more intense than I can articulate. But let me just say, whew, these are violent books. Let that be a warning to those with queasy and/or weak stomachs. Violent I'm telling you! So once again, I was sucked in and loved this story. I'm anxious to read more and see how it all ends, because of course, there is so much  more of this story to tell!

5. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch: I thought it was a great page turning and twisty story. And it made you really think about all the different decisions you make in life and how things would be if you chose other things. And how we should love and appreciate the life we're in at the moment. Because what if you woke up one and it was all gone. 

6. What Alice Forgot by Lian Moriarty: I found the premise really fascinating because the first thing it does is make you think about your own life and would you recognize yourself ten years from now. Or would your younger self recognize the you you are today? Have you made good changes or bad ones? Have you done anything with your life? Have you alienated all the people around you? Are the things that were important ten years ago still important? It's an interesting thing to think about!

7. The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough: A fascinating story about Love and Death who have a competition to see who can win the souls of these two characters. Death's player is the girl, and Love's player is the boy. The idea is if they fall in love, then Love wins. And if they don't then Death wins.

8. The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen: Well, it's kind of a simple story, but then we start getting all the back stories and then you realize things aren't quite as simple as it seems. There's this strange sort of feeling going all, with all of the characters, and I started wondering, what's going to drop. SOMETHING IS ABOUT TO GO DOWN! I loved that feeling.

9. Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner: I ended up really enjoying it after all and loving yet another main boy character. I'm a sucker for the guy points of views these days! And it ended up hopeful and sweet and happy, despite the downer of a subject.

10. Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum: Guys. I love this kind of stuff. I have no idea why. But it's just... fun! This one was a little gritty in parts, and sad in parts. But overall, an uplifting... I got this! sort of attitude. I really enjoyed it.


Here's to 2018 and new books to discover and love!! I look forward to it!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Book: Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Another book I random picked up from the Beehive Award long list, not knowing anything about. And BAM, it whacked me over the head with so many things I related to that it was a bit spine tingly. I know I am teenager-ish at heart, but it's still a bit weird when a YA book like this can feel so personal to me an old grandma. You know?

I wish I would have marked all the passages I loved, but alas, I didn't.

So, this book is about a girl who started a webcomic several years prior to the opening of the book. She is extremely famous online. She has millions of followers.... tons of forums and fanboards where people go and discuss her story. Where she joins under her alias and discusses with them. Every Friday, the world waits for her to upload the next chapter. And she hasn't missed once... ever.

In her real life she is a recluse who spends all her time on the computer. She comes and goes to school, trying to hide from everyone. She rarely talks, mostly because she has no friends. Everyone thinks she is weird. She gets made fun of, but she just ignores people. She is just dealing with it all for the last few months of high school before she can go to art school and then truly concentrate on making money with her comic.

She has a great family. Loving parents, crazy younger brothers. But she tends to just ignore them too and brush off any attempts on their part to get her to do things.

They know she does this comic thing, but they don't know how big it is.

And no one online knows who she really is except a couple of good online friends who live in various parts of the world.

One day, a new boy arrives at school! (AH... ALWAYS WITH THE NEW BOY!!!) And after an incident, she learns that he writes fanfiction for her stuff, and that he is a huge fun. This is both scary and thrilling for her. Then she finds out more about him and realizes he is the leader (mastermind) of one of her hugest online fan groups. And he is extremely popular too. Online.

In real life, he also doesn't talk. And even though he looks like he should be a popular football player. He is not. He is a nerd just like her.

So they connect. And it's awesome. And then she finds out more about his deepest darkest secrets. But he still has no clue who she is. And she is scared to death he will find out. And she wants to tell him though, but hasn't figured out how or when.

And so of course you can probably guess what happens. And then more stuff happens and everything falls apart. It's a mess and all must be fixed.

I loved it.

Why did I relate you might ask...

  • being part of a fandom (fandoms?) that most people don't get
  • having an online persona that is a bit different than your offline one 
  • being addicted to what's happening online, needing to check in with stuff all time
  • making friends from all over the world and connecting in a way that's hard to explain
  • having people think that that the thing that consumes you is just a hobby
  • having the need to create be overwhelming
  • having people think you are weird because of stuff you like

There is one quote I remember found at the very beginning of the book when our character has to stand up for the new boy. She says: "One thing I can't do is stand idly by while a fan, [a fan of anything] gets ridiculed for what he likes." I was like... yes. YES! Sigh. Why do people do this?

Anyway. Yes. I loved it. It hits on many of the hot topics of the day like depression, anxiety and suicide too. Stuff that more and more people are dealing with these days.

So yeah. Read this book. Especially if you've ever been made to feel weird because you are part of a fandom that people think is stupid or silly. My guess is you will relate to the feelings in this book too, no matter how old you are.




Monday, January 1, 2018

2017 Year End Number Crunch

I find it still a little depressing to crunch the numbers when they still feel so small to me compared to past years. But, I was just looking at last year's stats and even if it's not like it used to be, the numbers are still interesting for me to look back on, so... here's yet another number crunch and look back on both my reading and youtubing year.

READING STATS

TOTAL BOOKS: 27
Total pages: 9216
Total Re-reads: 0 (I started a re-read but never finished it.)

Authors
Men: 8
Women: 20
(one book was both)

For:
ARCS for Review: 0
Supporting Utah Authors: 6
Book Club: 6
Read Alongs: 1
Beehive Award Long List: 8

From:
Library: 10
On my Kindle: 4
Bought/Owned: 13
Borrowed: 0

Genres:
YA: 21
Adult: 5
Middle Grade: 1

From the YA Category:
Contemporary Realistic Fiction: 14
Fantasy: 5
Science Fiction: 1
Historical Fiction: 1

From the MG Category:
Fantasy: 1

From the Adult Category:
Non Fiction/Memoir: 1
Science Fiction: 1
Fantasy: 1
Literary Fiction: 1
Mystery/Thriller: 1

Star Ratings:
5 stars: 4
4 stars: 10
3 stars: 13
2 stars: 0

Observations:

  • The reading was very similar to last year. I guess this is my new normal. Shall I shoot for 30 books next year?
  • I really really love the contemporary YA fiction right now. What recs do you have for me this year?
  • I love reading books for the Beehive Award long list. Some awesome books end of on that list!
  • I bought a lot of new books and acquired a lot of new books this year, even though I can't keep up with reading them. I will keep trying next year!

KPOP/KDRAMA YOUTUBE STATS

Total Kdramas consumed: 20
5 hearts: 10
4 hearts: 7
3 hearts: 3

Total Videos Uploaded on The Kpop Konverters: 501
Total Uploaded in 2017:  339
Over 100,000 views:  8
50,000 to 100,000 views: 6
10,000 to 50,000 views: 58
5,000 to 10,000 views:  37

Subscribers at year end: 14,518
View count at year end: 4,521,990


Observations:

  • Yeah, the channel grew some! Here's to the same sort of growth for next year! Maybe get to 25,000 subs and 10 million views???  Get one or two videos past the 1,000,000 view mark?
  • If you count Kdramas as books, then that puts my book number more to normal... yes? LOL.
  • I really love doing the channel. And I really love reading. The struggle is still to figure out how to do both. But I think I'm getting there. Now to just fit in writing! And exercising. 
  • We have many many goals for the channel, but I won't bore you with them here. If some of them come true though, I may have to shout about it here...
Here's to a great and awesome and wonderful 2018!!!

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