Thursday, March 23, 2017

K-Drama Review: Goblin


title: Goblin: the great and lonely god
genre: Fantasy, Melodrama
original run: December 2, 2016- January 21,2017
network: tvN
number of episodes: 16
my rating: 4 stars

synopsis from dramafever:
A fabled "goblin" attempts to end his life by marrying a human priestess, but things get complicated when he starts to actually fall for her, and in turn, finds a new reason for wanting to stay alive.

Ok, first of all, that synopsis does not do this drama justice, though it does give a brief summary without giving anything away.

Goblin was definitely entertaining. The first half of the drama I loved, but it kind of fell apart for me towards the end. It was like I didn't care about the main characters and wanted to know more about the minor characters' story. This was also the first drama where I noticed there was a warning at the beginning saying the drama was for ages 15 and up. I was surprised that the drama had a rating, but after watching the first 2 episodes, I understood. The premise is not for the faint of heart and will definitely raise some eyebrows.

What I liked:

Kim Shin- the story of how he became a goblin and how he got to present day in the drama is fascinating. I found myself looking forward to these parts the most. It's starting to make me think about exploring historical dramas.

Grim Reaper- my favorite character in the drama. I loved the story of his past, I loved who he was in the present and how he found out the truth about who he was in his past life. Everything about him was wonderful.

Grim Reaper and Sunny- I loved everything about their story! Their past lives, their current relationship, how they fall in love. *sigh* I would watch a drama about them.

SPOILER AHEAD***
Goblin (Kim Shin) and Ji Eun Tak's relationship up until the sword was pulled out- I thought their relationship was unique and complicated and interesting. After Ji Eun Tak lost her memory after the sword was pulled out, it was cute how Kim Shin tried to win her over again. Then she regained her memories and I lost all interest in their relationship. It just got boring and I was more interested in the Grim Reaper's story with Goblin's sister, Sunny.
END SPOILER***

What I didn't like:

I was just overall bored at some parts. There was too much melodrama for me.
Toward the end of the drama, I definitely cared more about the minor characters, specifically Grim Reaper and Sunny.

If you like the melodrama genre, this will definitely be a new favorite for you. It just didn't sit right with me. It was a very good story, but yea. I think just a little too much for me.

K-Drama Review: Oh My Venus

title: Oh My Venus
genre: Romantic Comedy
original run: November 16, 2015- January 5, 2016
network: KBS2
number of episodes: 16
my rating: 5 stars

synopsis from viki.com
When you go from the top of the pecking order in the looks department in high school and then fall to the bottom in adulthood, is it possible to get back on top? Kang Joo Eun (Shin Min Ah) was envied by every girl and desired by every boy in high school as the Daejeon Venus because of her pretty face and killer figure. Despite coming from a poor family, Joo Eun was determined to go to law school and become an attorney. At age 33, she has achieved her professional goals and has been in a stable relationship with her high school boyfriend, Im Woo Sik (Jung Gyu Woon), for 15 years. But she has let herself go over the years and is now overweight and often disregarded and overlooked by society and her coworkers. On the plane ride back from a quick business trip to the United States, Joo Eun has an embarrassing run-in with Kim Yeong Ho (So Ji Sub) and his two sidekicks, Jang Joon Seong (Sung Hoon) and Kim Ji Woong (Henry). Yeong Ho is a celebrity personal trainer who is involved in a scandal in the United States and forced to flee to Korea until things cool down. But his wealthy family has other plans for him. As soon as they discover that he is back in Korea, his grandmother appoints Yeong Ho as the new president of the family medical services company and prevents him from returning to the States. A lost purse causes Young Ho to reconnect with Joo Eun and witness another personal embarrassment for Joo Eun in the aftermath of being dumped by Woo Sik and finding out that he has been dating her new boss, Oh Soo Jin (Yoo In Young). As it seems to become a habit for Yeong Ho to bail Joo Eun out of trouble, can he also help her to reclaim her former looks? “Oh My Venus” is a 2015 South Korean drama series directed by Kim Hyung Suk.


This was a drama I was hesitant to watch when it first came out despite the raving reviews I was reading from friends mostly because at the time I was losing the weight after having my son and a weight-loss drama was not what I needed to see. Recently, a friend told me to watch it when I ran out of other dramas to watch so I gave it a shot and I loved it.

What I liked:
The realistic weight of Kang Joo Eun- It was spot on. The makeup looked great and realistic. Recently, I have been reading a lot about the sizes of clothes in S. Korea and how plus size for them is the size of an average woman in the states. For example, I normally wear a small/medium in women but in S. Korea, I would be a large. So looking at Kang Joo Eun's realistic weight and seeing the struggle even though to us it may not look like she is overweight was interesting to watch. She was still very pretty even with the "fat suit".
Also the weight loss journey was believable. The struggle, the slow transition, how slowly the weight came off. It was about half way through the drama before she lost all of the weight and even at that she still had diet and exercise and criticism about her body.

Shin Min-ah- This is the first drama I've seen with her in it. I liked how she portrayed Kang Joo Eun. The comedic scenes were on point and the more dramatic scenes were well done. I am intrigued, so I will be looking for dramas she stars in to watch in the future.

When Kang Joo Eun did lose the weight, there was no "wow dress" to show off her figure.
SPOILER***
When Kang Joo Eun had her moment with her pretty dress, Kim Yeong Ho had his panic attack so the focus wasn't on her transformation and I really liked that.
END SPOILER***

There were some serious laugh-out-loud funny scenes- I found myself giggling or laughing and my husband looking at me like I'm crazy. This is the first drama to make me lol in a while.

Henry Lau and Sung Hoon- the perfect comedic relief. Their relationship with Kang Joo Eun was adorable.

Typical k-drama cliches didn't bother me- Everything seemed to flow with the story and when it was a stand out cliche, the characters kind of made fun of it so it was a comedic moment that still fit with their personalities.

What I didn't like:

The American scandal was never fully explained in depth. I was confused about the whole situation. Did Kim Yeong Ho have a romantic relationship with her? Or did he help her with some secret weight loss? I'm so confused. This tidbit was only put here as a reason to get Yeong Ho back to Korea and it was a little annoying.

Oh Soo Jin- I like her performance better in Goodbye Mr. Black. Her scenes felt over done to me.

If I said anything else I didn't like I would be nitpicking (like how I do not find Im Woo-shik attractive at all, or there were too many flashbacks in the last episode). The plot is very simple which may bother some but it didn't bother me. I really enjoyed this drama and will be watching it over again whenever I need a feelgood drama for comfort and a good laugh. Highly recommend.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

K-Drama Review: Uncontrollably Fond

title: Uncontrollably Fond
genre: Melodrama
original run: July 6- September 8, 2016
network: KBS2
number of episodes: 20
my rating: 3 stars

synopsis: Noh Eul and Joon Young were forced to separate when they were young. After some years both of them meet again, Noh Eul had become a documentary producer and Joon Young is now a top singer and actor.


Okay, so I looked into this drama because Dramafever wouldn't stop advertising it. I also like Suzy as an actress. So...

What I liked:
Suzy as No Eul- her acting has improved since Dream High.

Kim Woo Bin as Shin Joon Young- It was interesting to see him in a starring role. Though I did feel like a few parts were overdone and it was a bummer that there was such a big deal about him singing but it was such a small part. Overall, I thought he did well.

Rekindled love- I am such a sucker for second-chance-at-love dramas. They met in high school, stuff happened, they grew apart, and they reconnected as adults.


SPOILER***
The reveal of the connection between Shin Joon Young and No Eul's accident with the USB. Basically when No Eul found out. It was like I was dying to see where Joon Young was going with all of his scheming to get a confession. All the pieces fell together nicely.

The Ending- The last few episodes where characters interacted with Joon Young in his last days was good. I particularly liked the goodbye between Joon Young and Ji Tae.
END SPOILER***

What I didn't like:

Choi Ji Tae- I understand his connection to No Eul, but still toward the end he got obnoxious. Though it was nice that he eventually cared about Joon Young.

The slow motion reactions- It was so Dragonball Z sometimes. Some really dramatic scenes were dragged out in slow motion in an annoying way. Like if something big was going to happen it would flash, in slow motion, to all the characters involved to show their reaction as the big event was happening so when it finally happened it wasn't an "omgsh" from me, it was like "finally".

Im Joo Eun- All of the scenes where she "confronts" someone are seriously overdone.

SPOILER ***
Example: why the heck did she call No Eul to talk to her and why did No Eul even go to meet her? that was so pointless. I felt like it didn't move the story forward or anything. We know that Joo Eun has insecurity issues and that No Eul has a soft side but come on.
END SPOILER ***

A lot of the story dragged for me. There were a lot of parts where I felt more could have been added and there were others that I felt could have been taken out and the drama still would have moved in the same direction without it. I was bored for a lot but I kept watching for Kim Woo Bin and to see what was going to happen to his character though after a certain point you realize the drama can only end in one way.

This is not one I will be watching again for a while, but I would recommend it to someone who likes melodramas and all of the genre's cliches.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Dramas, Dramas, Dramas...


Apologies for the lack of posts so far this year. Work has been hectic. BUT I have been watching k-dramas like crazy and have been jotting down some notes on each so I can write some reviews. Here are some to look forward to:

Uncontrollably Fond
We Broke Up
Goblin
Oh My Venus
Answer Me 1997
Heartstrings

I am currently watching Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms and I plan on rewatching some others to write some reviews I never got a chance to do.

Until then, happy reading and binge watching!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Top Ten On My Spring TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

TTT again. This week is spring TBR list. I have a lot to catch up on >_< and at the pace I'm going, this list may go into the summer.


1. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

2. Roseblood by A.G. Howard

3. Heartless by Marissa Meyer

4. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

5. Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

6. The Falconer by Elizabeth May

7. Nora and Kettle by Lauren Nicolle Taylor

8. Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

9. This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz




Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Top Ten YA Romances I Surprisingly Enjoyed

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

TTT again! This week is a romance freebie. My list is the romance fiction I read that I didn't think I would like, but I found them to be guilty pleasures.

1. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith 
Okay, this one caught me off guard. I usually can't stand insta-love but I picked this one up because the whole premise was based on insta-love. I really liked it. It was one of those easy going reads that I needed after a long day at work. I also liked The Geography of You and Me.

2. When It Happens by Susanne Colasanti
This was given to me by my bbf (best bookish friend) and I took a chance on it. At the time, I wasn't really into contemporary YA but this definitely changed my mind.

3. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margret Stohl 
I read this one while working at Barnes and Noble. Again, this was based on a recommendation from a friend. I was afraid to get into it because of the fanbase. I liked the first book, but while I loved the story, the ending was kind of like "Oh come on, there's more?" instead of "I need to know what happens next!" so I haven't continued the series.

4. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Definitely a guilty pleasure. I still go back and read this when I need a mindless read to feel better. To me this is one of those silly romances that you either like it or hate it. In my case I liked it.

5. Perfect Chemistry series by Simone Elkeles
Another one I read because my bbf recommended it to me. I usually don't like urban fiction but she insisted. I surprisingly enjoyed this series. It's not one I keep on my shelf but I have it in my classroom.

6. Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer 
I don't typically like books that take place in the future. Futuristic worlds are a turn off for me. But I had to read this series because of the fairy-tale references. And of course I LOVED it and fell into the fandom ^_^


Wednesday, February 08, 2017

K-Drama Review: Legend of the Blue Sea

title: Legend of the Blue Sea
genre: Romance/comedy
original run: November 16, 2016 - January 25, 2017
network: SBS
number of episodes: 20 + 2 bonus episodes
my rating: 5+ stars

synopsis from viki.com
How can a mermaid from the Joseon era survive in modern society? Shim Cheong (Jun Ji Hyun) is a mermaid who follows her one true love, a nobleman’s son named Kim Dam-ryeong from the Joseon Dynasty, to modern-day Seoul. Kim Dam-ryeong's modern doppelgänger is Heo Joon Jae, a highly skilled scam artist who first becomes interested in Shim Cheong because of a jade bracelet worth $6 million that Shim Cheong wears. With nowhere to go, Shim Cheong is taken in by Joon Jae, who also finds his con partners, Jo Nam Doo (Lee Hee Joon) and Tae Oh (Shin Won Ho), hiding out in his home from a vengeful past victim of their scams. Shim Cheong discovers a rival for Joon Jae’s heart in Cha Shi Ah (Shin Hye Sun), a researcher at KAIST who deals with ancient artifacts. When a dangerous killer named Ma Dae Young (Sung Dong Il) sent by Joon Jae’s stepmother who wants to make her own son the heir to Joon Jae’s fortunes, can Shim Cheong survive her strange new environment while also helping Joon Jae avoid the dangers that await him? “The Legend of the Blue Sea” is a 2016-2017 South Korean drama series directed by Jin Hyuk. The story is inspired by a historical tale about a mermaid contained in a short story anthology known as “Eou Yadam” by Joseon-era scholar Yu Mong In. This drama marks the last acting role for superstar Lee Min Ho before he enters his mandatory two-year military service and the first acting role for Jun Ji Hyun after giving birth to her first child. Parts of the drama series were filmed on the Pacific island of Palau and in Spain.

Okay, first can I say that Jun Ji Hyun looks AMAZING! This is her first drama after having a baby and she looks incredible. Also, how depressing is it that this is Lee Min Ho's last drama! Honestly, I was so afraid to get into the fandom behind this.  But because this is his last drama and I think Jun Ji Hyun is amazing, I took the leap and I'm so glad I did.

That being said...

What I liked:

The connection between the present day and the past: That caught my attention right away when I read the premise. Star crossed lovers who were in love in a past life and reconnect in present day.

The comedic scenes: They weren't forced and always happened at the right time. Most of them were also laugh-out-loud funny.

The story kept me guessing: We knew who the villains were, but the twist? I didn't see that coming at all.

Lee Min Ho: This is officially my favorite drama with him. I wasn't a fan of Boys Over Flowers and Heirs was too dramatic for me. But Legend of the Blue Sea showed me why he has such a fan base.

Jun Ji Hyun: I loved her in Blood: the Last Vampire, I loved her in My Love from Another Star and I loved her in this drama. I feel like she does wonderful with the comedy but also with the more serious scenes. She played an excellent mermaid.

What I didn't like:

This is hard because I liked everything.... There wasn't anything wrong for me in this drama. I loved it. I guess one thing I can complain about is that I would have liked to see more of an epilogue with the minor characters like Yoo-na the little girl and her mom.

Oh and the villains. Ma Dae-Young wasn't really the killer I thought he was, but later learning about his past it all makes sense. The step mother was annoying but necessary to move the story along. Her past self was more interesting than her present self.

If you're looking for more about mermaid folklore, you will be disappointed. This drama is more about the reincarnation and the present characters trying to have a second chance. I've read some reviews about the chemistry between Lee Min Ho and Jun Ji Hyun and how it was lacking. I disagree. I feel like the director wanted to keep the romance more innocent and also play up the fact that the mermaid was adjusting to life on land.

Overall the vibe of the drama was very similar to My Love from Another Star, but I enjoyed this way more. All in all, a new favorite. Now I feel brave enough to watch Goblin... I think.