Thursday, November 16, 2017

Book Review: A Taste for Monsters by Matthew Kirby

Book: A Taste for Monsters by Matthew Kirby 
Genre: YA Historical-ish ghostly 
Rating: ★★★★☆

This one takes place in the rough part of England right when Jack the Ripper lets loose. Our girl, who has been disfigured working in a match factory, gets a job as the maid of a guy named Joseph Merrick, in a nearby hospital. Turns out, this guy is the famous Elephant Man. He's come to live out his days in this hospital, and the matron thinks that our girl, due to her own facial issues, will be a good match.

Turns out she is right. And they form a fast and bonding friendship. But strange things start to happen when ghosts begin appearing in his room at night. And they, together, have to help these spirits find peace.

It's a heartwarming story. I really actually quite enjoyed it. It's written in a slow methodical dry style, which at times I liked and at times made me crazy. I think young people might find it boring. Unless they enjoy a sort of old style of writing. Which they might do, you know.

But if they like these two stories, this is a fun and interesting mash up. I'm not sure it was meant to be a creepy ghost-like tale, but if so, it wasn't. Like I said, it was more heartwarming. For the most part. I mean our girl had to deal with a few other things not part of these two stories, that wasn't so heartwarming.

So yeah. An interesting historical ghost story with a some unique twists and turns. I totally enjoyed it.



Tuesday, November 14, 2017

This Week (Month?) In Kpop: September/October/November



Well. SO MUCH IS GOING ON in the world of KPOP! And I haven't kept up on my idea to do these weekly/biweely posts, and so I'm going to touch on some of the highlights of the past while.


BTS COMEBACK

While I was on the trip, BTS had a new album come out. It's called LOVE YOURSELF "HER" and it has some really fun songs on it. DNA is the title track and I love it, but I especially love Mic Drop. Here it is:





Speaking of BTS, they arrived in LA today and they are going to be on like a bunch of talk shows here in the US (James Corden, Jimmy Kimmel, Ellen so far) and then perform at the AMAs on Sunday. WATCH THEM! YOU WILL BE BLOWN AWAY! They will perform DNA at the award show we've been told.

Anyway, this is huge for them and I hope America loves them and is nice to them and I hope they aren't corrupted by America. I hope it all goes well.


SUPER JUNIOR COMEBACK

Our favorite boys, the ones that started this whole obsession, also had a new album come out last week. They look and sound amazing. Even though they are all "old" now, they still have what it takes! Here's what they look like doing their title song from their album: Black Suit:




As part of their comeback, they've been having a daily "behind the scenes" show be aired that let's have a glimpse of what it's been like for them getting this album ready. I love seeing all their personalities come out during this kind of thing. It's been so fun to fall for them all over again.


OTHER COMEBACKS

Many of our other favorite groups have also had new albums come out this past week too. Monsta X, Block B, SEVENTEEN, Astro and Wanna One.... to name a few. All their new songs are so much fun! We can't get enough of them. And just yesterday, Monsta X won their first award! YES! They cried! It was awesome!


THE CHANNEL

Our Youtube channel has partnered with one of the biggest Korean entertainment companies (the one that puts on KCON, among many other things!) which means for us that we get some perks (hopefully) should we ever visit Korea, and we get some other opportunities that we otherwise wouldn't. It's been a scary thing, but we hope it's a good one in the end. Mostly we hope that when KCON rolls around again, we get to be more a part of the festivities on the front lines as we saw many other Youtubers doing last year. We'll see I guess.

Well, as I said... them's the highlights! So much is going on. It's so crazy. I just am constantly blown away by this music, this fandom, this industry... everything about it. Wow. It's a blast



Friday, November 3, 2017

Book Review: Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

Book: Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer
Genre: YA contemporary
Rating: ★★★★★


So this book made me feel like my old self again. I read it in just a couple of days and totally got caught up in the story. I dropped all my other distractions to JUST READ! It was awesome!!!

However, it reminded me a lot of a couple of other books I've recently read, the ones where the two characters are writing to each other, but they don't know who each other are. They are interacting in real life, and not necessarily liking each other. But they are falling in love through the letters. So the story itself wasn't really new, but I didn't care. I must really love this plot device.

So in this case, our girl visits her mom's grave and writes letters to her and leaves them there. Our boy is doing community service at the cemetery and discovers the letters...well the most recent one anyway. And he is moved by it.  The girl is pouring our her feelings and he just simply adds... me too, on her letter.

Well, when she sees that she freaks and gets mad and writes him a scathing letter back. Telling him he has NO RIGHT to mock her and that there's no way he can understand. Well, turns out he can because he has lost his little sister.

So they start writing. Then they start emailing... and they find a place through each other,  to pour out their guts in a safe way.

At school, there's this dude who is shunned by all the kids because he has bad reputation. He's done some "bad" things and he is now serving time by doing community service. Yeah. Our girl thinks he's scary just like everyone else, until she has a few encounters and then she finds she is drawn to him in a weird way that makes her a little freaked out.

And as she gets to know him better, she starts feeling like she's cheating on the letter writer.

I LOVE IT!

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.

My favorite part (besides the romance of course) is that these kids had some awesome adults in their lives. You know, how you always just assume their parents are jerks and their teachers won't give them breaks or try to understand their situations or where they are coming from? Not in this book. This book had wonderful adults who helped. And it was so refreshing.

(The dude's dad has issues, but... there's more to his story too!)

Anyway. Yeah. I devoured this one. Give me more like it!!


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Book Review: Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Book: Turtles All The Way Down by John Green
Genre: YA contemporary
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆☆


It's been awhile Mr. John Green! It was fun to read this book during the readathon. I managed pretty much most of it, needing only about another hour or so the next day to finish up. Interestingly enough, it had a lot of similarities to the book I'd just finished (the kdrama one) that I kinda am now getting the stories mixed up in my head. Funny, don't you think?

Well, this one is about a girl who has severe anxiety disorder. She's quite convinced she is going to get that C.Diff infection and die, like any second now. Which makes her pretty paranoid about germs and food and whatever might be going on in her stomach. But she is coping, sort of mostly, and has an awesome friend (who sort of stole the show for me and as some of the best lines) who helps her through it.

The book starts out with her renewing a friendship with a dude she knew back in elementary school. His dad has suddenly disappeared and being from a massively wealthy family, there is a reward offered for any information about the situation. Our girl (dang what's her name again...oh right, Aza) and her friend decide to go for this reward money. In the process, sparks begin to fly with this boy that she had pretty much forgotten about.

Well. It's classic John Green in that these two have some pretty deep conversations. And the boy is pretty, introspective shall we say, and has a blog where there's a lot of.. I can't think of another word except deep... stuff on it. It makes him be an interesting character, but not too very relate-able I'd say. I don't know. It's weird because on one hand, I enjoy this deep stuff, this make you think stuff, but on the other hand, sometimes it gets annoying and too agenda-y. Know what I mean? I guess this time around, this agenda-y stuff bugged me more than it has in the past. But still, like I said, it's good stuff!

Anyway, the romance comes to a dead halt when kissing is massive problem for Aza. And then she and her friend had a falling out, which is not fun, and anyway. It turned out to be a bit of a downer, and now I can't even totally remember how it all ended up, but it wasn't the happiest of endings. Which, you know is okay, but, it just depressed me.

Yeah. So. I liked it, but I didn't love it like I have his other books. His writing is awesome and I had no problem tearing through it on readathon day. So that's something.

Have you read it yet? Let me know what you think!


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Super Junior is COMING BACK!

The group that started it all, the guys I have to blame for this whole kpop thing, is giving us new songs this week. After two years of being on hiatus while the majority of their guys do their required military service, they are finally back!

Yesterday they pre-released this awesome ballad song. Donghae (the one that starts out singing) wrote it. I haven't even really looked at the lyrics, but it's about sticking around longer than the rain. But don't worry about the lyrics.. just FEEL it. It's called One More Chance. I love it. But they look so sad in it. Well, they are obviously sad since several of them have tears streaming down their faces.

Anyway, the whole Super Junior coming back thing will be something I will have to share. So here's the first song. Be brave, click on it and enjoy:



Saturday, October 28, 2017

Book Review: I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

Book: I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo
Genre: YA contemporary romance
Rating:★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

I've had this book on my radar for quite some time being as that it features Kdramas. Then one day the librarian at work brought it to me and said, you should read this. So finally I had my chance!

It's pretty much what I expected. Goofy and fun and fluffy. It's about a Korean American girl who's Korean dad is very much into kdramas. She thinks they are silly and stupid (as most people do of course!) and never joins in his binges and marathons.

Meanwhile a new kid shows up at school and she is determined to win him over. Because he's gorgeous and intriguing and all the good stuff. But she has a problem with flirting, which is that it never works out. She fails miserably.

So one day she happens to actually pay attention to her dad's shows and ends up binging the whole drama with him and bam, she realizes.... the show has a formula she can follow to get a guy. So she makes a list and sets out to put her plan into practice.

Sadly, I can't remember the list and the book is already back at the library. But it was stuff like, find out about his mysterious past, be a damsel in distress, reveal your vulnerabilities, get caught in a love triangle, have a sad back story. Yes... it's all there. (Oh, I found the list online. Here you go.)

I found the list interesting since I would agree with some of it and not so much others. But it was fun to watch our girl try to go through the list and "make" it all happen. Of course, she didn't really NEED the list as it would have all happened without it, since the two fall in love quite nicely on their own. It's a fun romance and on the surface fluffy, but there is still the hard things they all have to deal with. (Sad back story and all!)

I loved the characters, all fun and quickly. The dad was especially enjoyable and I could totally picture him perfectly!

I also loved that the author included a list of kdramas to watch for those just getting going on this adventure and willing to give them a try and fall down the rabbit hole! She had them all listed by genre and category which was awesome. I've watched maybe half of the ones suggested. It was fun to see many of my favorites on the list. I should have saved that list too to fit in some of the other suggestions, but my "to watch list" is out of control already!

Anyway, of course I totally enjoyed this book that mashed up my favorite things... kdrama, korean culture and YA romance! :)


Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Trip Part 4: Paris

We started the last leg of our trip by waking up and driving to the train station in Frankfurt Germany. We left our rental car there, waited a few hours, and then got on the train to Paris. Let me just say, if I haven't already said it... train travel is the most relaxing way to travel! It's like nearly impossible not to just sit back and be lulled to sleep the whole way!

We arrived in Paris without incident and found our way to the metro where we managed to get to the Bastille stop and walked a block from there to our last and final Airbnb apartment. (Metro travel is the most stressful way to travel! We had to smash ourselves and our bags onto the train and just pray that we wouldn't get pickpocketed! Gah, those things are so crowded all the time!)

This apartment, while nice, was quite small compared to our others but we dealt with it. First order of business was to get groceries that would last us only the weekend! It was fun shopping like a local and buying bread at the bakery and fruit at the stand and etc.

The next day we began all the normal sites. First up, Notre Dame. Even after all cathedrals we'd seen this trip, it's still the most impressive one! We also checked out Saint Chappelle, the very old, and very blue church, nestled right in the middle of the Justice compound. Then we walked across the river to the Latin Quarter and had lunch. We bought a book at Shakespeare and Company (my souvenir book this time: A Tale of Two Cites. Last trip it was: The Hunchback of Notre Dame.)

Then we spent the afternoon at the Louvre. We wheeled grandma around in a wheelchair to save her feet, and it was interesting finding all the hidden elevators and figuring out how to get around without stairs! Quite the adventure! But we found all the big things and even got a front row seat at the Mona Lisa!

After that we had a snack/dinner in the area and then took our most exciting taxi ride back to the apartment. That guy weaved us in and out, drove us on a pedestrian only road, nearly ran down a cop and yeah. I said "WEEE!!" a bunch of times, but then remembered it sort of means just plain old yes in French. LOL.

The next day we walked around our own neighborhood, saw the locals hanging out at a cute park, talked to people who were gathering for a demonstration, and visited Victor Hugo's house. Then we rode the metro to the Eiffel Tower.

We ate lunch first and then got in the line to get in to the Tower. Security is so tight there these days. There's a big ugly fence around the whole Tower and you have to go through security just to get in there, and then we stood in a long slow line to go up... and had to go through security again. But we finally made it up and the view is amazing. It's like, you can't really believe you are truly there doing it. You have to stop and breathe and make sure you are really paying attention! Know what I mean?

After coming down, we took the hour long boat ride on the Seine and that was so relaxing and peaceful. We timed it perfect so that when we got back, the lights came on the tower and they did the sparkle thing. It was perfect. After dark, it's like a massive party at the Tower. I loved being part of it for just a bit before we had to go home and sleep.

Our final day was spent wandering around the most awesome cemetery ever. Pere La-chaise. Don't skip it if you ever go to Paris! I love this place! We had a guy take us around and tell us risque stories and show us all (well some) of the famous graves. It was fun. I could spend hours there and not get sick of it. But we had to leave and go get lunch. Afterward, we took the metro to Sacre Coeur. This was a place we'd missed on our previous trip, and i was impressed that this neighborhood felt so different from the ones we'd been in up to that point. It was a really hip and happening spot! The view from the church was amazing. We didn't go in, but the church was beautiful. We also finally saw the famous Moulin Rouge which is at the bottom of the hill there.

After that we deemed the trip over and came back home to pack and get ready to leave bright and early the next morning. We took a taxi to the airport where we then waited for hours until it was time to go home. But we had one last final experience before leaving, and that was to get a thorough and chaotic nearly strip down security check just as we were boarding the plan. Lucky us.

It was an amazing trip and we are already dreaming about the next one!

Selfie at Notre Dame

Trying to figure out the gargoyles.

Saint Chapelle

Ye old famous book store. 

The Louvre

Front row "seats" at the Mona Lisa

Victor Hugo lived right around the corner from our apartment

We found a cool looking tower.

It's a really pretty impressive tower.

The view from the top, well, nearly the top.

The view of the top from the nearly top.

On the boat ride. Notre Dame

Sunset on Notre Dame.

The tower again. Sparking. But not like a vampire.
'Cause it only sparkles at night.

Pere LaChaise

More awesome grave stones
(Interesting thing about this place, it's really not that old
but it sure feels like it.)

A "street" through the cemetery.

More graves. Beautiful, yes?
(or... am I weird?)

Scare Coeur

My traveling companions

The view, of both people and city.

It's the Moulin Rouge!

The door to our apartment.

Looking up to the apartment.

And the street from our window.
The Bastille (well of course it's not there anymore)
is right around the corner.

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