February Kdrama Wrap Up

This post has been rewritten due to the WordPress app despising me so if you saw it last week, it’s different!

Just like last month, I wanted to do a wrap up of the shows I watched in February and if you’re a kdrama nerd like me please recommend your favourites to me to watch!

Run On

I finished Run On at the start of February and — my heart — it’s such a nice ending, I was worried it would be bittersweet for the second couple because dramas lately LOVE having a weird ending for some reason. The finale had another Kim Won Hae cameo so you know I loved this show. I do think this is a rewatchable show as well as the characters were so nicely developed and the relationship isn’t angsty, it’s quite natural in how they relate and tease each other (unnatural in how there’s an antagonist threatening to break them up but it’s a drama, at least they get over him quite quickly). Overall, I loved it and I miss Mi Joo already, love her and wish her all the best!

Stranger

Speaking of Stranger, I finished season one of this series in February and really enjoyed it! I dipped in and out of this show because it had quite a slow pace and sometimes the set up to a conclusion or twist in the case would be set up and the characters would take a while to realise it which irritated me a bit.

There is a second series available and a third is on the way but no production or release date yet so I’ve got time to catch up before then.

I do like that there is no romance in this and that the characters are quite pragmatic in trying to get the case closed. It would be easy for a show with this premise to get entangled in love affairs of personal drama (see Line of Duty) but it’s a straightforward anti corruption drama and everyone just becomes friends which is nice.

Busted

I finished season one of Busted this month and I still love it so much! I have two seasons left because the show ended this year with season three which is unfortunate for me but if the show has run it’s course that makes sense as it’s a very intense variety-type show. The series ended on a cliffhanger though so I want to get started with the next series to find out where Jaesuk is after that explosion!

Currently watching: The Good Detective

I started and finished this in February and I loved it straight away! Not a slow and dragging series like I sometimes found Stranger to be, this was nicely paced. I watch British/US police procedural shows so it’s a familiar format, I just haven’t seen many Korean shows in this genre yet.

This show follows an experienced detective partnered up with a less experienced but tech savvy and cool young detective, solving crimes and getting on each other’s nerves.

Currently watching: Sisyphus: The Myth

Cho Seung-Woo of Stranger stars in this new drama that took over Run On’s time slot but rather than a contemporary romance we have a time travelling dystopian murder mystery!

In this, he plays a tech CEO dealing with the death of his brother when a woman travels back in time and helps him find out what really happened.

Currently watching: Mr Queen

This is a show that my mother has ended up watching with me and so we watch at least one episode an evening after work. I know that this is the worst case of second lead syndrome I’ve ever experienced and I’ll be upset at the end but it’s such a funny show so I love it.

I like a good historical drama so a modern day chef landing in the body of a Joseon era queen is exactly what I needed. Even if the ending annoys me (I think the Queen’s cousin is adorable but he’s the second lead so I’m setting myself up for disappointment) I love the concept and may have to watch Rooftop Prince since people recommend that one a lot.

Book Review: Kissing the Coronavirus

I will start this review by saying that I’m not trying to bash the author at all, I understand that this book was written at the start of the pandemic and is not meant to be taken that seriously.

Kissing the coronavirus

That being said…this book doesn’t need to exist.

It’s a romance romp under 20 pages and features the weird grotesque humanisation of the COVID-19 virus as some hot green guy but tbh I just pictured Shrek because he’s the first green person that came to mind and I couldn’t get him out of my head.

The idea of the book as a mockery of the pandemic when people had just started working from home and practicing social distancing, I felt, was demeaning to the fears and experiences of people in the countries first hit by the virus. At the time of publishing, there had been at least 4600 reported deaths related to COVID-19 in Wuhan.

I read this book in 2020 after seeing it everywhere and then seeing that it was available to read for free as part of KindleUnlimited so I wouldn’t be spending money on it (I’ve got no clue how KindleUnlimited works tbh). There is now a sequel and an alarming amount of books cashing in on this trend and exploring kinks I didn’t want to see on my Amazon search history. Chuck Tingle, a well known absurdist-kinda erotic writer, has said he would not write about Coronavirus because of the real life harm caused by the illness BUT he has written 3 books about mask wearing, coughing and social distancing.

Ok so now onto the book!

Do you ever read something and want to bleach your brain after because you feel so unclean? That’s what I felt here. And I’ve read fanfiction. So much fanfiction.

Dr Alexa Ashington is on a team of two people (?) working on investigating the coronavirus and how it can be stopped. Unfortunately, she appears to have no work ethic and cannot focus on work as she’s so aroused all the time! The total devastation caused by the virus all around the world has caused her to start…admiring (?) the virus for its power (???)…so much so that she improperly uses a test tube (girl doesn’t measure anything so good luck writing up that lab report) and tries to insert it into herself.

I’m not going to explain the whole thing because the book is 16 pages but bish bash bish the coronavirus sample magically becomes human and as all people do when locked in a room with a humanoid-virus, she decides the best plan of action is to bone down with the killer of thousands worldwide.

I’m honestly upset that I retained any information about this book to be honest.

On one hand, the author had lost their job at the start of the pandemic. On the other hand, it’s not a joking matter.

Overall, just because people talk about a book a lot, you don’t have to read it. In some cases, it’s best for your sanity if you leave it alone.

Top 5 Tuesday!

I’m doing Top 5 Tuesday this month! This was a tag that I loved doing when I started my blog so I’m glad to be back and racking my brain for books that fit the theme of Middle Grade March for this month 🙂

Top 5 Tuesday was created by Shanah over at Bionic Book Worm, and is now hosted by Meeghan at MeeghanReads – you can find all the prompts for this month on her blog if you want to join in!

This week: Top 5 books from your childhood

  1. The Mr Twiddle Stories by Enid Blyton

Enid Blyton omnibus collections made up the bulk of my reading as a child, I carried this everywhere with me for some time and took it whenever I was away from home for the night. Blyton’s books are classics for us, at least in the UK and my generation that still grew up watching Noddy.

2. Harry Potter by Unknown

I read these later than my friends as I initially didn’t get the hype, I’m counting this as a childhood read as I was about 13 when I did read them. It’s a shame that a series so beloved by many has the author that it does but in a way I think we’re quite lucky that in this era we can see people more clearly than we could before and see more of the people that we support and make decisions based on that rather than just the works or interviews. (Looking at Bridget Collins now…I’m not aware if any statements have been made but looking on Twitter it isn’t good…)

3. Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

This is a series that again, I read it too old, BUT it’s one that seems to still hold up now and Riordan is an author that appears to actively try and be inclusive which is something that authors writing for children should be.

4. Madame Doubtfire by Anne Fine

I found out that Mrs Doubtfire was originally a book and had to get it from the library and in hindsight I was way too young to read a book about the pain of divorce (especially as a child of divorce!) but I read and reread this many times as well.

5. Mog the Forgetful Cat by Judith Kerr

Going waaaay back for this one, Mog the Forgetful Cat was my favourite picture storybook that I made my family read with me over and over again!

Down The TBR Hole (Again) #7

This was created by Lost In A Story.

The Rules: • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf. • Order on ascending date added. • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books • Read the synopses of the books • Decide: keep it or should it go? • Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next week!

Book 31: Lincoln In The Bardo by George Saunders

Date added: 27th May 2018

Decision: Delete – I’m trying not to read depressing things as much and a book about President Abraham Lincoln’s son dying and finding himself in purgatory is in that category.

Book 32: Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling

Date added: 27th May 2018

Decision: Delete – I’m not in a position to accept positivity yet in this pandemic-era.

Book 33: Florida by Lauren Groff

Date added: 27th May 2018

Decision: Delete – this just doesn’t sound like fun and it sounds too emotional for me at the moment. Groff is an author I hear about quite a bit though so if I hear good reviews about this then I’m sure I’ll pick it up.

Book 34: The Incendiaries by R O Kwon

Date added: 27th May 2018

Decision: Keep! This reminded me of this book and I want to find it immediately so I want to get to this soon! It’s about extremist terrorism and American university students and sounds interesting but has mixed reviews.

Book 35: Spying on Whates: The Past, Present and Future of Earth’s Most Awesome Creatures by Nick Pyenson

Date added: 27th May 2018

Decision: Delete – I’ve survived long enough without reading this and I’m scared of whales tbh.

I’m listening to TWICE at a loud volume and I think it’s making me ruthless in my decisions today so thank you to TWICE for this. My TBR list currently sits at 162 and I want it to be down to 50! Anything is possible! We can do it!

February Wrap Up!

In case you missed any of my posts this month, here they all are 🙂

Book reviews:

Know My Name by Chanel Miller – here

Shipped by Angie Hockman – here

Wrap ups:

January reading wrap up – here – I read more in January than I did in February BUT I’ve been picking non-fiction books so I think that’s why as they’re more heavy subjects but I’ve linked some reviews above and will do a wrap up and maybe a March TBR soon!

Kdrama review/wrap up – here – I didn’t finish any shows this month but I started a few new ones so will post about those soon in my February wrap up!

Tags/memes:

Down the TBR Hole (Again) – because I wasn’t harsh enough the first time I tried this, I’m further demolishing my TBR on a weekly basis which you can find here, here, here and here

WWWednesday Reads – here – a tag that I always forget about because you can’t plan ahead for it! But I really like it so want to try doing this more often 🙂

Down The TBR Hole (Again) #6

This was created by Lost In A Story.

The Rules: • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf. • Order on ascending date added. • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books • Read the synopses of the books • Decide: keep it or should it go? • Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next week!

Book 26: Another Day in the Death of America: A Chronicle of Ten Short Lives by Gary Younge

Added: 21st May 2018

Decision: Keep, this is one of the books that shows me why keeping the list is important because I completely forgot about this book and it sounds so interesting and something that I think is so important. I’m from the UK and so the culture of owning guns and weaponry in America astounds me and it breaks my heart that gun violence is so widespread and in a way normalised in America. We have so few shootings in the UK that it is easy to forget that it is an every day threat to a lot of people, the Dunblane massacre is the only shooting in the UK that I know of and that took place when I was 3 years old so I have no memory of this but my mum remembers it and the UK government acted quickly to bring in new restrictions on guns. Andy Murray’s autobiography ‘Hitting Back’/’Coming of Age’ (updated) has a chapter in which he discusses what he remembers of that day as he was quite young, he and his brother were in different classes but his mother Judy has written a chapter about hearing the news while at work and waiting at the school to see the police and not knowing what was happening in the school.

Book 27: Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

Added: 21st May 2018

Decision: Keep, I need to read this. No explanation needed.

Book 28: Swan Song by Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott

Added: 21st May 2018

Decision: Delete – it’s a novel based on the life of Truman Capote who I know nothing of and don’t like his writing.

Book 29: Answered Prayers: The Unfinished Novel by Truman Capote

Added: 21st May 2018

Decision: Delete – I didn’t like his finished novels so I’m not trying an unfinished one.

Book 30: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

Added: 27th May 2018

Decision: Delete – I was in the midst of a fairytale retelling reading spree in 2018 but in 2021 I’m just not about that life anymore. Sorry.

That’s it for this week! Did I go off on a tangent? Yes I did but it’s something that I think about quite a bit so I’m not surprised. I’m in a chatty mood while writing this so I’ll tell you about the new episode of my podcast with my friend Jess which was all about our favourite books of 2020 and today we recorded our next episode about romantic books which was meant to be our Valentine’s episode but things were a bit hectic over the last couple of weeks so things didn’t go to plan!

Our podcast is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and other podcatchers if you search ‘Reading Between The Spines’!! I’m on bookstagram @booksforbecca if you want to find me over there and stay up to date with book recommendations and more 🙂

Book Review – Shipped by Angie Hockman

This is the first book in 2021 that completely hooked me in and wouldn’t let me put it down until I had finished. This is a New Adult/Adult contemporary romance in which Henley, a marketing manager for a cruiseline travel company, is up for a promotion against her arch nemesis, Graeme Crawford-Collins. Naturally, to prepare both of them for the best chance at the promotion, the company sends them both on a free cruise to the Galapagos islands – always happens to me!

I absolutely loved this book from the very start. The enemies-to-lovers trope is apparently one that completely exposes you as a fanfiction reader but it’s one that is EXCELLENT and makes for a very good and satisfying storyline in a romance. Much like You Had Me At Hola by Alexis Daria which I read last year and adored, this was a fast paced and nicely set up.

So in Shipped, Henley is a career driven young woman who dreams of being in the executive suites at her company and goes home after work and night classes to her rescue cat called Noodles. Sharing snippy exchanges with a remote social media manager in the company set up the rivalry between Henley and Graeme Cracker-Collins who took credit for Henley’s viral video in his first week at the company and earned his place on my fictional character hit list because I hated him with a burning passion immediately. When Henley’s sister appears after ditching a failing relationship and needing a place to crash, Henley brings her sister along on the cruise as a buffer between Henley and Graeme as well as having the opportunity to have some sister time.

Over the course of the cruise, Henley is forced to come to terms with the fact that her nemesis may not be as bad as she built him up to be and he might actually be kind of nice…and attractive…and someone who rescues dogs…did I mention that this is a romance novel so you can see where this is going?? Fade to black scenes and a courageous workplace power play made this a five star read for me as I couldn’t put it down and finished it in a few hours (reading the last 30% on an exercise bike which is a good focusing tip that I didn’t expect to work but honestly you go quite fast when multitasking by reading so I’m going to do that some more!). It’s a fun trip around the Galapagos with a little bit of ABBA (YES!) and a lot of cuteness and scenarios that would definitely be reported to HR in a normal situation.

My rating: 5 stars!!

Just for trigger warning, this story contains some mentions of domestic abuse/psychological abuse/gaslighting. This is not the main romance but may be worth being aware of.

Down The Rabbit Hole (Again) #5

This was created by Lost In A Story.

The Rules: • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf. • Order on ascending date added. • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books • Read the synopses of the books • Decide: keep it or should it go? • Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next week!

I have realised now that I forgot to note how many books I had on my TBR when I restarted this tag/challenge so right now I have 170 books on my ‘Want To Read’ shelf on Goodreads and I want it to be at the lowest it can be so I will continue to be brutal after I was easy on the list last week. This will not be the case this week. Books be warned.

Book 21: Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Date Added: 7th October 2017

Decision: Get away from me, haven’t read you yet.

Book 22: Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Date added: 7th October 2017

Decision: Get away from me, paedophile sympathy manifesto.

Book 23: Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saawadi

Date added: 23rd November 2017

Decision: Remove, more respectfully than the previous two as I started this and enjoyed it but it was on my old kindle (RIP 2009-2018) and refuses to send itself to my new one. Maybe one day but not right now.

Book 24: My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf

Date added: 24th March 2018

Decision: Remove, no thank you. I also tried the film and…no thank you.

Book 25: The Year of Less: How I stopped shopping, gave away my belongings, and discovered life is worth more than anything you can buy in a store by Cait Flanders

Date added: 20th May 2018

Decision: Keep. Yes the title is a book in itself BUT I have this on kindle and I think it’s an interesting concept, I already try to reduce the amount of things that I buy by doing things like shopping at the library etc so I’m still interested in this.

Book Review: Know My Name by Chanel Miller

I apologise in advance for this review because I can barely put into words how brilliant this book is.

Know My Name is the memoir/account of Chanel Miller around the time of the Stanford Sexual Assault Case in 2016, what she remembers of the night and how the trial preparation and sentencing went. I think a lot of women remember the news reporting the disgustingly short sentence given following the trial and recommendation from a probation officer that did not take the time to understand Miller’s wishes properly and the judges sympathy for a defendant that could not properly grasp his guilt and the reality of his actions and impact on another person.

I remember reading Miller’s statement to the court when it was published by Buzzfeed and the full statement is included at the end of this book and still lacks a punch. Her account of the time in court is heartbreaking, with comparisons to the dehumanising questions made to victims in other similar cases such as the Scottish case where the court made her hold up her underwear to show what she was wearing.

This is essential reading for anyone, not just women and not just feminists. There is no part of this book that is not brave and eloquent and heartfelt. Miller has asserted herself and shown the world that she can thrive creatively and live happily even after such a shocking event. Moments where she does not know how to act, if she feels normal or if she is breaking down are gutwrenching to read as assault is something that has no easy remedy, screaming in a parking lot is contrasted with finding a cute old deaf and blind dog to bring home (when she had gone to the shelter seeking a big dog for security), Miller shows that there is no quick fix but happiness is possible.

The only negative about this book is that circumstances required it to be written at all. Privilege and the disgraceful actions of the media in glorifying a rapist while causing an anonymous victim (therefore all victims) to be shamed on a national and even global stage will keep you angry at the legal system, the class system and the white privilege ingrained in our society long after you finish the last page.