Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Grandma Adventure: Half Way Point

Hey my friends. Is there anyone still out there????

I feel like I've come to a whole new world. As you may or may not know, about a week and a half ago I drove for two days (21 hours) to come half way across the US to where my daughter lives to help her and her husband with their seven month old baby while they did school and work during an especially crazy period of crazy scheduling that they were dealing with.

My plans for these two and half weeks?


  1. Hold the baby
  2. Feed the baby
  3. Play with the baby
  4. Read some books
  5. Watch some kdramas
  6. See the surrounding countryside
  7. Maybe blog a bit
Can you guess which things I've done and not done?

Here's the stack of books I brought:

In one and a half weeks I've managed to read HALF the top book which is about 130 pages total. Hmm. Fail.

And I've done two blog posts... this one makes the third. Woot! Fail? Maybe half fail.

I HAVE watched half of a kdrama though:

Heirs with Lee Minho and Kim Woo Bin
SUCCESS!! 

And I HAVE seen lots of the countryside:




 
And bonded a bunch with baby!!!



So you know.... it's been good, even if I'm not reading or blogging!!! 

Six days left, then I'll drove home for two days. And then back to non-grandma life. Which is both good and bad and happy and sad. Ah. Life. 


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Kdrama Review: Uncontrollably Fond

Drama: Uncontrollably Fond
Genre: Romantic Drama
Starring: Kim Woo Bin, Bae Su Ji (Suzy)
Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤


Sigh. Add another favorite leading male dude to my list. Does this ever end? Will I get over these guys at some point?

This is a brand new drama that just finished airing. I hate it when I start watching the ones that haven't finished because then you have to WAIT!!! Ugh... but I managed it and it just finished and then the episodes became available and....

... it was not at all what I expected. I started watching it because of the stupid funny clips that DramaFever puts on their Facebook page. And it looked funny and silly and romantic and much banter and lots of romantic tension and all that.

So I started watching... and while some of that was there... mostly it was all drama and sadness and craziness and oh my word, a lot of tears running down faces!!!

This is the story about a quite obnoxious dude who is the top Korean drama star (sort of like he really is) but, as we find out in the very first episode... he is dying of some brain disease and has only three months to live. So what does he want to do with these three months?


Turns out that he runs into a girl that he quite liked in high school, though he teased her relentlessly. Anyway, now he wants to love her "fiery and passionately" for three months. But of course, she wants nothing to do with him. She is hired to film a documentary for him and he is back to teasing her now and she is like... dude... you are so full of it and you are just a player and you are so not genuine and even though I DO like you and I HAVE liked you forever... forget it!

Meanwhile, we are all going... BUT HE'S DYING!!! YOU HAVE TO LOVE HIM NOW!!!

Well. And so it goes. And there's a back story about her dad being killed in a hit and run and how that was all covered up and she is just really wanting to bring justice and revenge to that case and when he finds out about it (well, he was kinda involved actually) that is all he wants to do with his remaining days, but in order to do it, he has to pretend he doesn't like her... and he decides this JUST when she finally decides that she will go ahead and like him after all.

Ah, the timing!!!

Sigh. There was no way this drama would end up happy. You know.. ALL DRAMAS END UP WITH A HAPPY ENDING, right? Well...

But.... BUT.... this dude. Oh my gosh. I just. Seriously. He's...well... awesome.


I loved this one because of him. Because of the conflict and the agony. Because of the romantic tension mentioned above that WAS there. Because it surprised me (as so many of them do) with its depth and thought provoking themes.

So... go watch it when you get sick of the dumb American stuff. :)

There's a gazillion little trailers for this one.... here's one I liked:







 And surprisingly, the song for this drama is not Korean! In fact, my guess is you'll know this one:


 




 But wait! You want to hear him singing, right? Of course he sings!!!

 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Book Review Thoughts: Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Book: Still Alice by Lisa Genova
Genre: Literary Fiction
Rating:★★★☆ ☆

This one of those books that reads quickly and is engaging and compelling but in the end you just wonder why you put yourself through it. Well, at least that's what I felt. Because, this is a sad sad story. The story of a youngish person (because I know this for a fact, 50 is still young) who gets Alzheimer's. This is the story of how she watches herself slowly slowly slowly get worse and worse and worse. It's the story of how her family deals with it, each in their own way.

You know how we sometimes say about nonfiction books, that they read like a novel? Well, this is a novel that feels like a nonfiction book. It feels like this is a real person that this really happened to. It's not, but it is. As many people end up dealing with this very situation.

Which brings me to wonder, why do we enjoy reading (and authors enjoy writing ) these types of stories. It made me wonder if I'm supposed to walk away feeling scared to death every time I forget something. Or feel foggy. Or can't quite think of the word I want.

Or am I supposed to walk away feeling all depressed about a disease that there really is nothing that can be done about. It's such a helpless feeling.

Or, and I suppose this is what we decided at book club, do we read these books just to be aware that there are people who are dealing with this and that when we come across them in our lives (both the youngish people and the many oldish people that we know who deal with it) we feel more compassionate and understanding then we otherwise would. Yes, I suppose this is what we should take away from it. Because I for one, hate walking away from a book that makes me feel helpless, scared and depressed. You know?

Bottom Line: Quick and compelling. You should read it and become more compassionate!

Other Reviews:

Lisa did a great job in telling the story from Alice's perspective. This is the kind of book that makes you appreciate those who have the disease better. From Reading on a Rainy Day

I felt that the author also does an excellent job of describing what is going on in Alice's head as the dementia increases. In fact, she does such a good job that I sometimes forgot the book was fiction and not about a real person. From Always With a Book

I loved Still Alice and can’t recommend it highly enough. It offers such insight and would make a wonderful gift for anyone touched by this devastating, incurable disease in some way. From Books on the Brain

I thought the author really understood the experience of a person who is diagnosed and then lives with the disease of Alzheimer’s. From Semicolon

Monday, September 12, 2016

Book Review Thoughts: Hinges of Broams Eld by Jennifer Cano

Book: Hinges of Broams Eld by Jennifer Cano
Genre: MG Fantasy
Rating: ★★★☆ ☆


This is the first book in a new middle grade fantasy series that features elves, cats, trees, and tons of magic all taking place in an alternate world to our own called Broams Eld.

We start the story meeting the well-loved aunt of the Hinge family. Sadly, she is taking her last breaths and dies before we even get to know her. A year later, we learn that she has hidden a magic leaf in a nearby tree and her niece, Livy, discovers it which then propels her on an adventure in the elf land called Broams Eld.

When she goes to this magic elfin land, she learns that her aunt was a powerful leader of these creatures and that she, Livy, can also be trained and join the community. Together with several other kids who join her, they go through a series of tests to see who will become the next Deliverer.

It appears that the world, both our world and Broams Eld, is being cursed with a plague called The Blight and someone needs to find the cure and save everyone. But there is also someone who does not want the world to be saved and they are preventing the cure being found and used. And it comes down to Livy and her friends to save the day.

This book is great for kids who are fans of both Harry Potter and Fablehaven. It's sort of a mashup between those two types of stories with a girl discovering her destiny and finding that destiny with the help of a group of misfit friends, in a magical land filled with magical creatures. Kids will enjoy all the interesting names, the cool spells and funny "snips" the Livy gets to try out and experience. And then at the end they'll be holding their breath as Livy and her friends fight to the end.

My favorite bits of this story are the trees that whisper encouragement and words of wisdom to help Livy when she needs it most. I also loved that certain people who the characters (and thus the readers) think are a certain way turn out to be not quite that thing.

Bottom Line: This is a fun, well written, debut that fantasy fans of all ages will enjoy.

Be sure to check out all the fun features found at the dedicated site for this upcoming series.... BroamsEld.com.





Friday, September 9, 2016

A Report on Comic Con September 2016



This was the Comic Con that I wondered the whole week or two before why I was even going. It seemed to be too much and way too stressful and not really that worth it and.... why why why was I even going????

In the end though, it was all pretty fun and I remembered why I go... the energy.... the energy is amazing and the crazy atmosphere is just to die for. I love it, even if it's stressful and exhausting and expensive!

Thursday:

We got there a bit late since I had to work and the girls couldn't leave school early this time. Sadly, the biggest event of the con happened Thursday morning when they rented out the huge arena and had both Mark Hamill and William Shatner do Q and A presentations back to back in the morning. It was painful to miss those and I had to block it out of my head. Sigh.

Anyway, we finally got there and no issues getting Sangi's wristband which I sort of worried about, but our VIP status worked in our favor for that. And then we split up and they went to a World of Warcraft panel while I saw the girl from Arrow. Then they joined me for The Dukes of Hazard and Billy Boyd, both of which was wonderful. But Billy Boyd sang and it made me feel so much better! And made up for the fact that I'd missed Luke Skywalker earlier that day. Sigh. He, Billy Boyd, was so funny and his voice is amazing. I loved it.
The Dukes

Billy Boyd




We found James Dashner and got a picture.

Also a picture with Benedict!

We wandered the vendor floor for a bit after that and then got a Crown Burger which is turning into a comic con tradition.

Friday:

We waited until the kids were done with school again, but they had early out so we could leave by noon which meant we got there by 1:00 which meant we caught Henry Winkler. He was awesome. Then we stayed for Evanna Lynch who played Luna Lovegood in Harry Potter. She was fun. Mellow. Quiet-ish. After that we had our photo op with Manu Bennett. Ah. He's... awesome looking!

With Manu

We also stopped and talked to Chistorpher Gorham and got an autograph for Jenni Elyse.


After that, we hung out on the floor, shopped, had snacks, rested up a bit and then went to a Star Wars panel where we all promptly fell asleep. So, we left when that was over and went to get kpop fries which are THE BEST!

Kpop fries and Bumblebees BBQ grill! So good!


Saturday:

We got there in time for the first panel at 10 but not in time to get a very good seat. We were up close, but way to the side. It ended up being okay. We stayed in that same spot until 5:00 pm!!! Here was the line up of celebrities that came through;

  • Michael Rooker aka. Merle from The Walking Dead.. and he was amazing and so funny and worked the crowd like crazy.
  • Famke Janssen who I didn't really know though she has been in a gazillion things
  • Xander and Anya from Buffy.... they were pretty funny.
  • Stephen Amell and David Ramsey from Arrow... and they were awesome!
  • Lennie James aka. Morgan from The Walking Dead... loved him too.
  • then we waited an hour for the next panel because he was late.. again!!!
  • Ian Somerhader from Vampire Diaries. He is fun but... a little strange. I don't know... he's just.. a little strange.

He called Chris Pratt.. no biggie.

Our home for hours.

Xander is my favorite on Buffy.

These guys from Arrow are the best!

It's Morgan!!!
(later at the photo op he walked past us and Toto almost stepped on him) 

Ian aka Damen

We finally did a picture with some cosplayers while waiting in the photo op line.

He's so cute!
And the night ended with stories!

Finally, we left the ballroom and got food then had our photos with Billy Boyd. YAY!!! We shopped just a bit after that and then left to head to a Timpanogos Storytelling event back at home!

What a day!
What a weekend!
Exhausting and tons of fun!



Thursday, September 8, 2016

August 2016 Reading Recap


Our Utah Book Week Party!


I read three books and worked on a fourth that I'm still reading at the moment.  Here's the little list:


Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae: A fun fluffy story about a girl who goes to Italy and falls in love, but not with an Italian.

One Dead Spy by Nathan Hale: The first in the Hazardous Tales series introducing the spy who continues on in other books of the series telling tales from history.

P.S. I Like You by Kasie West: Another fluffy story about a girl and a guy who get together by writing notes to each other about obscure bands and hiding them under their chemistry desk. Love this stuff!

This list includes one Utah author, and one sort of Utah author (she's friends with all the authors here and has strong ties) and the one I'm working on but not finished with yet is a Utah author. So... I tried with regard to Utah Book week!!!

Plans for September:

  • Finish Hinges of Broams Eld
  • Read Still Alice for book club
  • Read The Immortal Throne by Bree Despain (Did I tell you she gave me a book at Comic Con? SHE DID!)
  • Maybe read something else! AH!!! PLEASE!!!





Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Concert Report: VanLadyLove

We've seen a bunch of concerts this summer, and I've managed to record highlights for a few of them. Here's one that I wanted to share from the VanLadyLove concert held at the city park in July.

I was blown away when I realized they would be here. I thought they were a widely known popular band. But I found out they are local and were just going to appear at the park for fun and free! What? Crazy?

I've loved their Neverland song for awhile and it was regularly blasted pre-kpop era (before January) and when I remember my love for it, I find it to be one of the best songs ever.

Anyway. I was excited to go and support them and enjoy a nice evening in the park.

Here's some of their highlights:





What do you think? You like this kind of music? Have you heard of these guys before?

Stay tuned for at least one more concert report from this summer! (I'm bummed I didn't film any Boyz II Men. Oh, well.)


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