Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Ten Books I Plan to Read On The Beach

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.
TTT again! This week is top beach reads. I normally take books of short stories, comfort books or comic book anthologies on vacation. Books of short stories are easier for me and like a comfy blanket. I can read a story while taking a break between pool time and going out to dinner, or read a story before bed, or even during Baby Jay's nap time. Yeah, short stories on vacation work for me. I also bring comfort books or books that have been sitting on my shelf that I haven't gotten to yet.
Here's what I plan on taking with me on different vacations this summer (if nothing else captures my attention between now and the end of June)...
Short Stories: 
Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman
Unnatural Creatures edited by Neil Gaiman
Stories: All New Tales edited by Neil Gaiman 
Steampunk! edited by Kelly Link 

Others on my bookshelf: 

Sorrow's Knot by Erin Bow
Gilt by Katherine Longshore
Misfit by Jon Skovron
Lullaby For Polish Girls by Dagmara Dominczyk

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Happy Mother's Day

As stated by my school principal: "Birth mothers, foster mothers, fathers who play both roles, aunts, uncles, grandparents, step parents, brothers, sisters, good friends... all REAL mothers."

Happy Mother's Day to you all. I hope the day brings you many blessings and is a wonderful reminder of how much you have blessed so many others.   

Saturday, May 07, 2016

K-Drama Review: My Love From the Star

title: my love from the star aka my love from another star
genre: romance, science fiction, comedy
original run: december 2013 - february 2014
network: SBS
number of episodes: 21
my rating: 5 stars

synopsis from viki.com:
Can an alien understand a modern Korean woman? Do Min Joon (Kim Soo Hyun) is an alien in the form of a perfect human specimen who arrived on Earth 400 years ago during the Chosun Dynasty. While living among the inferior human species, Min Joon has always been cynical toward his human neighbors. But in modern-day Korea, Min Joon meets top actress Cheon Song Yi (Jun Ji Hyun) and falls in love with her. Can the cross-species couple possibly have a future together? “My Love From the Stars” is a 2013 South Korean drama series directed by Jang Tae Yoo.

 OMGSH I cannot get enough of this drama! I was hesitant to watch it. I mean I've heard all the reviews were great, it's won awards, but I'm so iffy with the science fiction/fantasy genre in k-dramas. They are usually hit or miss and for most of the ones I've seen it's been miss. But a co-worker and long time friend recommended My Love From the Star to me and said that I HAVE to watch it. I caved and I'm so glad I did.

What I liked:

Jun Ji Hyun: I have read in some reviews that they didn't like her and she took away from the wonderful Kim Soo Hyun's moments BUT I loved her. I know her from the live action Blood: The Last Vampire so I'm biased and kinda loved her already. I thought she played the character of Cheon Song Yi very well. Cheon Song Yi was supposed to be spoiled, petty, and childish because of how she grew up and the big star she was. She also has a good heart deep down which we see when everything is stripped away. I thought her character had a lot of emotion and was a great match with Do Min Joo.

Kim Soo Hyun: I fell in love with him after seeing Dream High like many others out there. My Love From the Star let Kim Soo Hyun show a different side. He is a great actor, there is nothing to dislike here. I am definitely looking into other dramas he's in to see his acting.

the comedy: There were definitely some moments that were laugh-out-loud. Though the second half of this drama was on the heavy side, there were still moments to make you smile.

What I didn't like:

Jae Kyung: I understand why he was necessary to the plot line. But his side story about his brothers and him being so power hungry it seemed a bit much and I found myself skipping a little. In general, he is an all around villain and considering the science fiction theme, there wasn't much to complain about him.

How many times was this girl (Cheon Song Yi) going to be in the hospital? I mean come on, it seems like over exaggerating the damsel in distress thing.

Lastly, the fact that Do Min Joo only has 3 months left on earth was good and bad. It was good because it kept me on the edge of my seat like even if they solve all of the other problems there's still this for love to conquer. It was bad because the ending felt rushed like after they solved all of the other problems they only had one or two episodes to deal with this last one.

Overall, 5 stars across the board. My Love From the Star is such a great story with great acting and laughs. The science fiction thing isn't something I would continue to watch after this one but it's nice to have come across one science fiction drama where the alien thing works, for me at least.

The Beat Goes On...

Blogging has been an outlet for me to express myself. Lately I haven't been able to do that because I haven't been reading books. I had originally wanted this to be a book blog only thing but as my life changes, I find myself not having enough time for reading or I'm distracted and tired and don't want to read as much. It's hard with a full time job, husband, a toddler, grad school... sigh.... yeah... So moving forward, I have decided to make this an everything blog. The type A in me is like NOOOOO but I can't juggle multiple blogs and I want this. It makes me happy.

And so dear world, be on the look out for mommy venting, k-drama reviews, book reviews and other maybe random ramblings.

K-Drama Review: Flower Boy Ramyun Shop

title: flower boy ramyun shop
genre: romance comedy 
original run: october 2011- december 2011
network: tvN
number of episodes: 16
my rating: 2 stars

synopsis from viki.com:
Teaching is considered to be the noblest profession. The greatest wish of Yang Eun Bi (Lee Chung Ah) is to attain the respect, prestige and job security of becoming a high school teacher. As she studies diligently to prepare for the teacher certification exam, she keeps running into Cha Chi Soo (Jung Il Woo), the only son of the owner of the largest food conglomerate in Korea. But Eun Bi can’t quite make out his identity, as she mistakes Chi Soo at first for an employee of the food company, then a student at her university, and then for a student at the high school where she will be a student teacher. Then they both end up working at a ramen shop owned by the lazy Choi Kang Hyuk (Lee Ki Woo). Can Eun Bi and Chi Soo’s multiple run-ins be just chance encounters or is there a larger force at play to bring the two together? “Flower Boy Ramyun Shop,” also known as “Flower Boy Ramen Shop” or “Cool Guys Hot Ramen,” is a 2011 South Korean drama series directed by Jung Jung Hwa.

I'm sorry to all of the lovers of this drama out there. I just didn't feel this one. I know that it's a popular one and I've read a lot of reviews that love the tension between Cha Chi Soo and Yang Eun Bi, but I didn't like it. I watched it mainly because I'm trying to watch all of the Flower Boy dramas before Hwarang: The Beginning comes out this summer. So here are my likes and dislikes about Flower Boy Ramyun Shop. 

What I like:
What made me watch this drama in my quest to watch all Flower Boy dramas is that Yang Eun Bi was studying to be a teacher which so happens to be what I'm doing. Yang Eun Bi was a likeable character. Her little monologues were hilarious.

The comedy: There were some great laugh-out-loud moments in this drama. Thank goodness because most of the writing was boring.

Choi Kang Hyuk: OMGSH this man. I was seriously rooting for him in his relationship with Eun Bi and in the show in general. He was my favorite character, I loved everything about him.

What I didn't like:
Cha Chi Soo: Why? Just why? I did not like his character at all. If that is what the writers wanted to accomplish then they did it. I could not stand him, he was so full of himself and I don't understand what Yang Eun Bi saw in him.

Yoon So-Yi: She was the girlfriend of Kim Ba-Wool and then Cha Chi Soo then Kim Ba-Wool again... Just annoying. Her character was never fully developed and her relationship with Kim Ba-Wool was just a buzzing side story to kill some time during the episode.

Kang Dong-Joo: I do not understand her purpose. In the first few episodes, yea I get it. Eun Bi needed a female friend around her age even though Dong-Joo was younger than her. But it's the same as with Yoon So-Yi, Kang Dong-Joo's relationship with the Coach was another side story to take up time and keep her in the episode for when Eun Bi needed to vent or get away.

The romance: I was hardcore rooting for Choi Kang Hyuk. I am so disappointed in Yang Eun Bi. Cha Chi Soo was so childish (maybe because HE WAS A CHILD in high school even though he was 19). It was admirable the relationship that Kang Hyuk and Chi Soo developed but seriously, this was one love triangle that I loathed watching. 

Overall, I did not enjoy the series. I feel like it was a waste of time. The writing was bad, the story was boring, the minor characters' stories were annoying. The acting was good though, I will give this show that much. I went and looked up the actors to see what other dramas they have appeared in. Apologies to the k-drama fandom that love this drama. It just wasn't for me.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Review: The Golden Braid

title: the golden braid
author: melanie dickerson
rating:  3 stars

blurb from goodreads:
The one who needs rescuing isn’t always the one in the tower.

Rapunzel can throw a knife better than any man around. And her skills as an artist rival those of any artist she’s met. But for a woman in medieval times, the one skill she most desires is the hardest one to obtain: the ability to read.

After yet another young man asks for Rapunzel’s hand in marriage, Mother decides they need to move once again, but this time to a larger city. Rapunzel’s heart soars—surely there she can fulfill her dream. But Mother won’t let her close to a man. She claims that no man can be trusted.

After being rescued by a knight on the road to the city, and in turn rescuing him farther down the road, Rapunzel’s opportunity arrives at last. This knight, Sir Gerek, agrees to educate Rapunzel in order to pay back his debt. She just has to put up with his arrogant nature and single-minded focus on riches and prestige.

But this Rapunzel story is unlike any other and the mystery that she uncovers will change everything—except her happily ever after.

Okay, so this book wasn't that bad.  It did read as if it were like the Disney movie Tangled with Rapunzel kicking butt and the mother being so caring. It was also unique that Rapunzel's mom traveled with her from town to town. Also the cultural aspect of Medieval Europe was a great setting and explained Rapunzel's longing for getting married very well. I liked the romance between Rapunzel and Sir Gerek and how it got started with teaching her how to read.

Here is what I didn't like. The book dragged for some parts and I found myself skimming for dialogue to move the story forward. Also, I borrowed this ebook not knowing that it was Christian fiction and reading it I couldn't even tell. But then BAM! It was like a sermon in the middle of the book. I have nothing against Christian fiction, my mom reads Christian fiction and there are some beautifully written novels that are from that genre. But my goodness there was a lot of Bible verses and talk about God and it just felt so out of place. I think if I went into this with a different mindset like if I wasn't looking for a new fairytale retelling to read with a kick-butt heroine, I would have given this a higher rating. Also, if I knew what genre this fell into before I read it, I probably would have given it a higher rating. 

In the end, for what it is, the novel was a good one. It's not a book for everyone and if religious references bother you, do not go for this book. 

my top bookworm delights

This was a Top Ten Tuesday topic from last week or a couple weeks ago. I love this topic and can't wait for the next TTT freebie so here's my list.

1. A Barnes and Noble gift card. I just got one in the mail from my mom for Mother's Day ^_^ so excited to spend it.

2. Getting approved for books via netgalley and edelweiss.

3. Library apps for mobile devices. Since I am now a mom-on-the-go, library apps like Overdrive are helping me to keep up with my reading goals.

4. Reading with my Baby Jay. It has become a thing before bed to read with him and I am loving it. he also will sit and flip through the books I buy for him for a while and he has his favorites. I am looking forward to taking him to library story time and the children section in larger Barnes and Noble stores.

5. Journals. To make lists and keep track of current reads, or add title to my TBR list.

6. Bookshelves, bookends, creative book storage. I'm still waiting for mine....

7. A newly organized bookshelf/case. After I organize my books to fit in my new books I just stand back and smile.

8. When I'm listening to music on the subway and reading a book and the most perfect song comes on that goes with the scene I'm reading.

9. Hearing someone quote from a book I've read and geeking out with them over the reference.

10. The peace that comes with walking into a bookstore. Feels like home.

11. When my husband says: "We can stop at the bookstore" and pulls into the B&N parking lot.

12. Strand @ Central Park on a warm sunny day. Most of you know about the infamous Strand bookstore here in New York City. In the spring/summer, they have a set up outside of Central Park. Lucky for me a friend of mine works there so I'm looking forward double to visiting this summer.

And of course there are the obvious delights such as the thrill of starting a new book or the awe of taking off the dust jacket on a hard cover book and the inside is beautiful.

top ten childhood characters I'd like to revisit

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

TTT again. This week's topic: top ten childhood characters I'd like to revisit. Not all of these are from childhood. I got into YA in my later high school/early college days. So this list is mostly composed of those books.

1. Vivian and Gabriel from Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause. This is the first book that really got me into paranormal/fantasy YA novels. It's the first one that I picked up from the school library and read on my own so it means a lot to me. I really want to know what happens to these two and the wolf pack after everything.

2. Lauren from Bloom by Elizabeth Scott. Kinda curious to see what her college years would look like.

3. Jade from The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti. What happens with Jade and Sebastian after? It's killing me!

4. Scarlet and Rose from Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce. This is my favorite in Pearce's fairytale retellings series. I want to see what happens with the sisters later on.

5. Anna from Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins *SPOILER ALERT* If you read Isla and the Happily Ever After, you know what happens with Anna. I want to see what happens after that ^_^

6. Lucy and Owen from the Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith. This one is more current but I want to see how/if this long distance relationship works!

7. Leo and Bree from The Long Night of Leo and Bree by Ellen Wittlinger. This book is just nuts but it's so interesting. The characters have a brief encounter and I want to see what would happen the next day... or week... or do they ever meet again....

There are more but these are all I can think of off the top of my head for now.
Can't wait to see what everyone else picked ^_^