Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Jumping on the Kdrama Bandwagon

A couple weeks ago I got together with Suey and Jenni to watch my first K-drama. Suey's become an expert on all things Korean, so she started us on the show She Was Pretty.

Verdict? It was really cute! It's a fun show about friendships, first loves, and some misunderstandings. By the end I liked all the characters so much I just wanted them all to be happy. You should love them, too.

**There's our main girl, Kim Hye Jin who is in a rough patch in her life.
When she gets the chance to meet up with an old friend, she ends up hiding out of embarrassment at who she is now. Not as pretty or popular as she used to be, she's living with her best friend and job hunting. She ends up taking a job as an intern at a fashion magazine. (Also, she's hilarious)

**Then there's the main guy, Ji Sung Joon.
He was a chubby kid who got bullied and his only friend/first love was Hye Jin. He goes to America but eventually finds his way back to Korea, all grown up and hot stuff. And as the boss at a fashion magazine. (The man loves scarves and turtlenecks. Seriously. Every scene.) He's kind of a jerk, though, especially to a certain intern.

**The best friend is Min Ha Ri.
She's a very pretty girl from a well-off family, and she'll do anything for Hye Jin. Like pretend to be Hye Jin when Ji Sung Joon unexpectedly comes back to Korea.  It's only supposed to be a one time act, but of course grows into more. Can you say love triangle?

**Except it's totally a love square!
Kim Shin Hyuk works at the fashion magazine, too. He becomes friends with our main girl, and really takes a liking to her. He manages to be both very cute and very funny. And very cute.
Did I mention he was good looking?

There's wackiness and a lot of laughs. Even watching with subtitles and a different language/culture, it was a good show. Basically, everyone should go watch it and then we can laugh and swoon together. Deal?

PS - if for nothing else, watch it for this guy. Look at the dimples!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Read This: The Raven King *no spoilers*

I know, it's been forever. But I had to review the final book in one of my most favorite series!

The Raven Kingby Maggie Stiefvater

The Goodreads Summary Says:
For years, Gansey has been on a quest to find a lost king. One by one, he’s drawn others into this quest: Ronan, who steals from dreams; Adam, whose life is no longer his own; Noah, whose life is no longer a lie; and Blue, who loves Gansey…and is certain she is destined to kill him.

Now the endgame has begun. Dreams and nightmares are converging. Love and loss are inseparable. And the quest refuses to be pinned to a path.

I Say:

4 stars
On the whole I liked this one a lot.

The plot is more complicated and the twists somehow manage to be completely unexpected. Maggie Stiefvater is the queen of words. Her writing had me laughing in parts, crying in others, swooning when I hadn't expected to. This has never been the kind of series to line up all my questions in a row and answer them neatly, and The Raven King is no exception. The biggest questions get answered. (will they find Glendower? Will Gansey die?) But there are some things that simply don't get explained, not that I think that was a bad thing. The heart of the series - Blue, the boys, their friendships - is still there and just as enjoyable as earlier books.

If I had to criticize anything in The Raven King, it's that some things weren't as developed as previous books. Some plot points and details got lost in how big this last book is. There's a lot of ground to cover with Blue and her boys, the secondary characters, and then some characters who are introduced in TRK. I could have done without the new characters if it had meant more time hashing things out with Blue and her boys. I could have done with a bit more in the romance department too. But ymmv. It wasn't the strongest book in the series (for me) but I still really enjoyed The Raven King. I think the series is one of the best in YA.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Little Women Read Along: Final Discussion Post

And just like that, it's over! I enjoyed the read along. Little Women is a book I wouldn't have picked up on my own, and I'm glad I could read it with friends.
  1. What do you think about the girls now? Has your opinion of them changed since the beginning or even the middle of the story?
I still like them. I liked seeing how Amy especially grew up. She seemed so little and immature at the beginning of the story. And there were still shades of that at the end, but I think she grows up the most.
  1. At the end of the book, which character do you relate to most? Is it a different character than at the beginning?
I was a big fan of Jo at the beginning. She was so spunky and really a force at the beginning of the story. I think one of the biggest disappointments for me was seeing her lose a lot of that at the end. The Jo that ends up with Professor Bhear almost seemed defeated, compared to how she began.
On the other hand, I could relate to the mom version of Meg more than I could the older sister version, so that was fun.
  1. Do you think Beth should’ve died when and in the way she did?
That's hard to answer. I thought the chapter with her death was some of the best writing in the book. It was emotional and tender. Honestly, it was the part I connected with most in this last section.
  1. How do you feel about Laurie’s romantic decisions? Did his relationship with Amy seem developed enough to be sincere?
I think there was a lot of summarizing and telling that Amy and Laurie had fallen in love. I would have liked to see more of it, but this book is just not a romance. I liked their friendship, though, so I'll say I think his feelings were sincere.
  1. How do you feel about Jo’s romantic decisions? Do you think they were consistent with her character?
Oh, Jo. Her story was just sad to me. I think this was a case where the author laid the groundwork for something (meaning, a relationship with Laurie), and then didn't deliver. I thought Jo and Laurie had the most developed female/male relationship in the entire book, so I felt let down. Maybe I'm seeing it with modern eyes, but Jo and Laurie felt like equals. And it seemed like LMA was determined to marry off all her girls to guys who were older/smarter/condescending to them. That drove me nuts.

Anyway, back to the question. I didn't think it was consistent with the Jo described at the beginning of the book. But it is what it is.
  1. What do you think about the names the girls and their husbands gave to their children?
I liked Amy naming her daughter Beth. That was really sweet. Jo naming her son Teddy was just weird. Let it go, Jo.
  1. If this was your first time reading Little Women, what do you think? Did it meet your expectations? Would you read it again? If this was a reread, do you feel the same as you did when you read it the first time? Or, has your opinion changed?
I loved the relationship with the sisters. I don't know that I had many expectations, but Part 1 was better than I thought it would be. I enjoyed it a lot. Outside of Beth's final chapter, I probably could have done without Part 2. 
  1. Do you have a favorite quote or passage from Little Women?
There were a lot of good ones, but I enjoyed when Amy chewed out Laurie:
"It's wicked to throw away so many good gifts because you can't have the one you want.”  
  1. Would you change anything about the story if you could? If so, what?
So much less summarizing. (I wish I could have seen more of Professor Bhear in action, instead of being told how so many people liked him. Let me see him and decide if I like him for myself!)
Also, maybe a hint of what Jo's wedding was like? Or more details about Amy's fabulous, but tasteful, European wedding? Apparently I just really wanted to make this a romance.
  1. Even though the setting for Little Women is quite different from today’s world, do you think we can learn anything from this story? If so, what?
I think there are a lot of morals throughout the story (which occasionally felt heavy-handed). But I loved how important family was in the book, and how the girls all loved each other. Sisters are the best.