Genre: New Adult

Review: The Start Up

Posted March 16, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Start UpStart Up
Starring: Nam Joo-Hyuk, Bae Suzy, Kim Sun-Ho
Year Released: 2020
Number of Episodes: 16
Recommended By: Nam Joo-Hyuk
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Format: Online Stream
Source: Netflix
three-half-stars

Needing to make $90k to open her own business, Seo Dal-Mi drops out of a university and takes up part-time work. She dreams of becoming someone like Steve Jobs.

Nam Do-San is the founder of Samsan Tech. He is excellent with mathematics. He started Samsan Tech two years ago, but the company is not doing well. Somehow, Nam Do-San becomes Seo Dal-Mi’s first love. They cheer each others start and growth.

Summary Credit

I used to binge watch all of the k-dramas that I watched so they had to have all of the episodes released before I’d dig into them but that’s completely changed these days. I watched this show as they released the episodes every week and I enjoyed the ride for the most part. There were parts in the show that I thought dragged a bit and though I liked the main male lead (I actually watched this show BECAUSE I liked him), I thought he was less interesting than the second lead. Did I want the second lead to get the girl? No, not at all…but just like the male lead, I thought the second lead was more interesting than the main girl too.

I’m going to break down my thoughts about this show by categories and then I’ll sum everything up in the end. Let’s get started, shall we?
Main Male Lead: Nam Do San
Actor: Nam Joo Hyuk

I really enjoyed Nam Joo Hyuk in Weightlifting Fairy, Kim Bok Joo so I was excited to see him in something new. Unfortunately, his character, Nam Joo Hyuk, didn’t completely win me over the way that his last character did. I liked him fine, I liked his story, I liked how hard he worked for his company and for his friends but after all was said and done, his character just isn’t one that will stick with me.

I wish I could say that I was invested in his character journey throughout the entire show but while I was interested in him as a character, I was rooting for him to win the girl, and I liked the guy that played his Dad, his character journey didn’t grab me the way that others did. That’s not a knock on him, as I felt that way about the entire show.

I did like the relationship between him and his friends. The loyalty that they shared between the three of them was nice. I’m always a fan of great support groups and Nam Do San had a great support system. I did like how he stepped up for a complete stranger and then fell in love with her but all of that wasn’t enough for me to enjoy the rest of his journey.

Main Female Lead: So Dal Mi
Actress: Bae Suzy

I haven’t watched very many shows with Bae Suzy at the lead but I do enjoy her as an actress. She was one of the very few things that I liked about the k-drama, Big and her character in this show showed a lot of promise. I thought So Dal Mi was a pretty solid female lead. Her story made me cry from time to time. I loved the relationship she had with her father and it made me sad that she never got that fried chicken he went out to get. But I love the woman that she grew up to be and I hella loved her relationship with her halmeoni. The whole sibling rivalry thing was probably the weakest part of Dal Mi’s journey but I did like the character growth that we saw in her sister.

Suzy played her role in this one really well. I thought she did a great job of bringing So Dal Mi’s character to life and there were so many times that I connected with what she was feeling throughout the show. I became a fan of hers during this show and I look forward to seeing her in more things.
Second Lead: Han Ji Pyeong
Actor: Kim Seon Ho

This is the first thing that I’ve ever seen this actor in and I was hooked on his story the most. I never once thought that he should end up with the female lead though. He was a jerk to all of them and though I understood why, I still didn’t care for that. I loved the guy that Dal Mi’s halmeoni saw in him but more often than not, I wanted to smack him upside his head. However, his story was what I was most interested in from beginning to end. I think his story made me cry the most and I was rooting for him to get the peace he deserved and so desperately needed.

I never really rooted for him to get with Dal Mi though. My guy had three years to shoot his shot and he waited until Do San came back from the US to do it? Too little, too late buddy but I’m glad to see that he found a new cause that gave his life some purpose.

I did like this guy and am looking forward to following his career from here on out. Kim Seon Ho blew up my IG feed while The Start Up was releasing new episodes so I hope he gets a first lead role soon.
The Supporting Cast
I’ve only seen one of these guys in anything else and I was delighted to see Yoo Su Bin in this one. This team was a highlight for me. I loved the secondary romance between the two teammates and I loved the bond that Nam Do San had with his two besties. The way that Do San tried to fix everything and be there for everyone made the way that they all had his back and had faith in him made me love them all the more. They were the perfect mix of smart, strong, funny, and loyal that hits all of my happy spots so I really liked all of these guys.
The Story
This story started off strong. I was really invested in everything and everyone right off the bat. The pacing started out strong and then sizzled through the middle, only to drag in the end. There were a lot of things that I didn’t care for (the actual start up stuff was my least favorite thing in the whole show) but overall, I kept watching every single episode so I couldn’t have hated it that much. It was a great way to spend a few hours and I did enjoy it overall, it just wasn’t my favorite but I discovered some new to me actors and actresses so I’m happy with that.
Final Rating

3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

0 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Review: Record of Youth

Posted January 26, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Record of YouthRecord of Youth
Starring: Park Bo Gum, Park So Dam, Byeon Woo Seok
Year Released: 2020
Number of Episodes: 16
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Format: Online Stream
Source: Netflix
three-half-stars

This is a drama about the growth record of young people who strive to achieve their dreams and love without despair in a generation where dreams have become a luxury and the passionate record of young people who beeline for their dreams in their own way, presenting excitement and empathy.

Sa Hye Joon is smart and handsome. He is a nice guy and a popular model, but what he really wants is to become an actor. He has auditioned for many acting roles, but hasn’t found success yet. Unfortunately, Sa Hye Joon doesn’t have much presence as an actor. Meanwhile, Ahn Jung Ha works as a make up artist. Bright and cheerful on the outside but lonely on the inside, Jung Ha takes out her stress and frustrations by fan-girling over idols.

Summary Credit

This drama started out with a lot of promise. I was really enjoying everything that was happening in the first half of the show. I was enjoying it so much that heading into the second half of the season brought about some anxiety as I just knew that the other shoe was going to drop and everything was going to go up in flames. I was right that everything was going to change in the second part of the season but I was less invested in what was happening in the second half.

So this show follows two best friends who are both actors and a makeup artist who is fiercely independent and a huge fangirl over the main male lead, Sa Hye-Jun (Park Bo Gum). Sa Hye-Jun is a twenty-something-year-old actor and model who is looking for his huge break. He’s a struggling actor, working multiple part-time jobs to support himself and seems to only get the crumbs from his much more successful, and rich best friend, Won Hae-Hyo. The story follows the both of them as they struggle, Hye-Jun struggled with staying true to himself and to his beliefs in the harsh world of entertainment, and Won Hae-Hyo struggles with being in the shadow of Hye-Jun’s spotlight for the first time. He’s not used to coming in second behind Hye-Jun in anything and realizing the truth about every job he’s ever gotten, every follower he’s got on social media bites him in the ass so they both struggle with being jealous of what the other has.

When Ahn Jeong-Ha comes onto the scene, she’s proud to be a fangirl for Hye-Jun because he’s everything she hoped that he would be before she met him. When they became friends and they flirted their way into a relationship, I was so invested in their relationship and in their lives apart from each other. They were interesting characters who didn’t have it easy but were optimistic that eventually if they worked hard enough, their efforts would pay off. They understood each other better than anyone else in their lives and seeing them grow to care for each other on a more personal level was a lot of fun.

I really enjoyed a lot of what this show had going on. The relationship between Hye-Jun and his grandfather was a good one. The relationship between Hye-Jun and his two best friends even though they were all idiots at different points in the show. I liked the friendship that sparked between Ahn Jeong-Ha and Hye-Jun’s manager was another fun friendship that was enjoyable. I liked that they all had their own struggles that they were dealing with but were still there for one another when it was needed. I liked that their friendships weren’t perfect but they were trying to be good people and when things fell apart, that was where I was left feeling confused AF. I didn’t understand what drove Jeong-Ha to do a lot of the things that she did, where Hye-Jun was concerned. It felt out of place, and character with what she felt and acted throughout the entire first part of the show.

A lot of the issues that Hye-Jun suffered through with his family, his friends, and then with the work stuff didn’t make sense to me. Like Hye-Jun’s Dad. What in the bleeping hell was his problem? He acted like Hye-Jun was irresponsible. The boy was damn near killing himself working so many different part-time jobs so that his parents didn’t have to support him and his acting jobs, but that didn’t stop his Dad from bitching at him for breathing. The way that the Dad’s lopsided support system worked got on my hot damn nerves because Hye-Jun was paying for crimes that were not his to begin with. I was glad that the Mom supported him and loved him through everything. But the Dad and the brother got on my hot damn nerves. The Dad eventually wins me over but even until the end, the brother annoyed the shit out of me.

Overall, the acting was good and the story was a solid one but the second half didn’t capture enough to keep me in love with what was happening to the characters and I just thought the second part of the season was weaker than the first. So it had a strong start but the end left a lot to be desired and I’m not used to that with the k-dramas that I’ve watched so far. I really finished the last episode looking like this…


Because, honestly, WTF kind of ending was that? It left a lot to be desired and I’m not a fan of those, leave it up to the consumer to figure out on their own BS. Tell me what the heck happens to them and leave no detail spared, please. So he comes back, sees that she’s wearing his shoes and …that’s it? Nope, didn’t like that shit. At all but I didn’t hate it enough to give this drama less than 3 stars so the strong start really saved this one for me.

I became a big fan of Park Bo Gum, Park So Dam, and Byeong Woo Seok so I’ll be on the lookout for more of their stuff for sure. Oh and another really big highlight for me was the Park Seo Jun cameo. OMG, every time he came on the screen, I was Hye-Jun’s manager. Haha, she was great and Park Seo Jun was fan-freaking-tastic too. I always love seeing him on my screen. So yeah, those were great and if the ending had matched the strong start, I would have given this one a higher grade but oh well…life’s not perfect.

Final Rating


3.75 out of 5
Listen to the OST

My favorite song from this drama was 나의 시간은 (Every Second). Every time that it played during the show, I was already teary-eyed or smiling super big. It was such a great song.
three-half-stars

2 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Eye Candy Friday: Chloe Madison from Love, Chloe by Alessandra Torre

Posted June 28, 2019 by Rowena in Books | 0 Comments


Eye Candy Friday is all about the heroes and heroines that I’m loving and wanting to spotlight right now. Sometimes I’ll do full-on gush fest posts on why I love these guys, sometimes I’ll post pictures of what I think they look like and that’s it but if they’re featured here, the one thing that will be constant is I loved the hell out of them and want everyone to know. Thanks for coming along for the ride.

Eye Candy Friday: Chloe Madison from Love, Chloe by Alessandra TorreLove, Chloe
by Alessandra Torre
Published by Self-Published, Alessandra Torre on March 14, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Point of View:First Person
Pages: 417
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads
four-stars

You know girls like me. You hate girls like me. The privileged blonde who skips her Ivy League classes when she's had too many Soho martinis. The one draped on the asshole's arm because he drives a Bugati and screws like a champ.

I was that girl. I loved being that girl.

Then, my door was broken in. Literally.

And in that moment? Everything changed.

Today’s eye candy is Chloe Madison from Love, Chloe by Alessandra Torre. It’s a contemporary New Adult story about Chloe Madison, a very rich girl who becomes a very poor girl overnight. The book is a coming of age story and it follows Chloe try to figure out what she’s going to do to support herself and to figure out who she is without her parent’s money. I’ve never been rich before but that didn’t stop me from connecting with Chloe.

She really goes through it and she stumbles a lot but man was she an enjoyable character to root for. If you haven’t read her book, you should because Alessandra Torre did a great job of making the reader connect with Chloe and the people in her life. Torre weaved a strong story for Chloe and I just adored Chloe to pieces. That’s why she’s this week’s eye candy. She’s the bomb, y’all!

I buddy reviewed this book with Ames and you can read our review, here. 🙂

Heroine Casting
Lauren Conrad would make a great Chloe, I think. They have the same look and Lauren kind of lived the same kind of life that Chloe enjoyed before her parents lost all of their money. I connected with Lauren on all of her shows even though I didn’t have a thing in common with her, the same way that I did Chloe and to me, that makes her perfect.
Buy the Book
AMAZON || BARNES & NOBLE || THE RIPPED BODICE

Have you read Love, Chloe by Alessandra Torre? Did you love Chloe as much as I did? Who is your favorite character right now?

four-stars

0 Comments
Tags: , ,

Throwback Thursday: The Understatement of the Year by Sarina Bowen

Posted June 20, 2019 by Rowena in Books | 2 Comments

Each week, I’ll be writing a review for an oldie but goodie that I’ve read through again to see if these books are holding up for me. I’m a different person than I was when I read these books, older and wiser (at least I hope) so I’m curious to see if books that I used to love can stand the test of time. Throwback Thursday: The Understatement of the Year by Sarina BowenThe Understatement of the Year
by Sarina Bowen
Series: The Ivy Years #3
Also in this series: The Year We Fell Down
Published by Self-Published, Sarina Bowen on September 29, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Point of View:Alternating First Person
Pages: 310
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Add It: Goodreads
four-half-stars

What happened in high school stayed in high school. Until now.

Five years ago, Michael Graham betrayed the only person who ever really knew him. Since then, he’s made an art of hiding his sexuality from everyone. Including himself.

So it’s a shock when his past strolls right into the Harkness College locker room, sporting a bag of hockey gear and the same slow smile that had always rendered Graham defenseless. For Graham, there is only one possible reaction: total, debilitating panic. With one loose word, the team’s new left wing could destroy Graham’s life as he knows it.

John Rikker is stuck being the new guy. Again. And it’s worse than usual, because the media has latched onto the story of the only “out” player in Division One hockey. As the satellite trucks line the sidewalk outside the rink, his new teammates are not amused.

And one player in particular looks sick every time he enters the room.

Rikker didn’t exactly expect a warm welcome from Graham. But the guy won’t even meet his eyes. From the looks of it, his former… best friend / boyfriend / whatever isn’t doing so well. He drinks too much and can’t focus during practice.

Either the two loneliest guys on the team will self destruct from all the new pressures in their lives, or they can navigate the pain to find a way back to one another. To say that it won’t be easy is the Understatement of the Year.

Warning: unlike the other books in this series, this heartbreaking love story is about two guys. Contains sexual situations, dance music, snarky t-shirts and a poker-playing grandmother.

As you may recall, I read the entire Ivy Years series when Sarina Bowen put them on Kindle Unlimited and I was shook when I read this book because I didn’t remember much of anything that happened. Reading this book again was like reading it for the first time and I really dug that. This book was also the very first m/m romance that I read and come to think of it, the only m/m romances that I have read were probably written by Sarina Bowen. She writes them well. John Rikker just transferred to Harkness to play hockey with a new team after a bunch of drama at his old school. Turns out that not a lot of teams want to play with a gay hockey player. When he gets to Harkness, he’s expecting the worse but what he’s not expecting is the blast from the past, Michael Graham. Rikker and Graham were best buddies growing up, until an incident occurs and Rikker is sent to the hospital then moved away to live with his grandmother, out of town. It’s been years and years since they’ve seen each other and by the way that Graham is freaking out, Rikker realizes the boy is still so far deep in the closet that he’s not touching those issues when he’s got so much of his own to contend with. Michael Graham is shook when he sees Rikker walk in. He hasn’t seen Rikker in years but he looks the same though there’s no way he in any way resembles the boy that Graham knew growing up. How could he when Graham isn’t the same guy himself. Seeing Rikker again brings up everything that happened the last time that he saw him and the guilt that Graham has carried since then has all come flooding back and Graham is drowning. Even after Rikker assures him that he didn’t come to Harkness to destroy Graham’s life, Graham worries. There’s no way that they could keep out of each other’s way since they go to the same school and they play on the same hockey team so of course, they grow closer. Man did my heart hurt for these two. They both struggle with different things and they’re both linked by so much hate thrown their way and I just don’t understand it. I don’t understand why so many people care if a man loves another man or if a woman loves another woman. I grew up in a religious household but it wouldn’t be very Christlike for me to judge anyone or hate anyone or treat anyone differently just because they’re gay. Love is love and other people’s love ain’t none of my business. I don’t understand how Rikker’s parents could love him any less just because he was gay. That’s not Christlike at all. If anything, I judged the hell out of his parents and anyone else that had issues with Rikker’s sexuality. Grrr. I really loved seeing Rikker and Graham come together in love. Their road is a long one and an emotional one and I loved how strong both of them were in the end, both separately and together. Sarina Bowen once again knocks this story out of the park and it’s one of those lasting stories that will continue to be good every single time that you read it. I definitely recommend this one.
Final Grade
4.5 out of 5
The Ivy Years Series
four-half-stars

2 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Throwback Thursday: The Year We Hid Away by Sarina Bowen

Posted June 13, 2019 by Rowena in Books | 2 Comments

Each week, I’ll be writing a review for an oldie but goodie that I’ve read through again to see if these books are holding up for me. I’m a different person than I was when I read these books, older and wiser (at least I hope) so I’m curious to see if books that I used to love can stand the test of time. Throwback Thursday: The Year We Hid Away by Sarina BowenThe Year We Hid Away
by Sarina Bowen
Series: The Ivy Years #2
Also in this series: The Year We Fell Down
Published by Self-Published, Sarina Bowen on May 26, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Point of View:Alternating First Person
Pages: 274
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Add It: Goodreads
four-half-stars

She’s hiding something big. He’s hiding someone small. Bridger Macaulley used to be a player both on and off the ice. But now, while his teammates chase the next hockey victory, Bridger worries that the dean will discover he’s housing his eight-year-old sister in his dorm room. Juggling a full course load and a big secret, it’s only a matter of time until the other skate drops.

Scarlet Crowley is the only freshman at Harkness College who had to sneak past TV news trucks parked on her front lawn just to leave town. Her name is as new as the shiny student ID it’s printed on. The only way to survive college will be to conceal her identity, even if it means lying to the green-eyed boy she's falling for.

Bridget and Scarlet form a tentative relationship based on the understanding that some things must always be held back. But when grim developments threaten them both, going it alone just won't work anymore. And if they can't learn to trust one another now, the families who let them down will take everything they've struggled to keep.

When Sarina Bowen put her Ivy Years series on Kindle Unlimited, I read all of the books while I was at work and each book lived up to the love I had for it when I first read them. This book was no exception. In this book, we get Bridger and Scarlet’s story. I fell in love with Bridger, Scarlet, and Lucy all over again. Bridger is one of Adam Hartley’s hockey teammates who is struggling with personal and family stuff. His mother leaves a lot to be desired in the parental department and if it was just him, he wouldn’t care but it isn’t just Bridger. His little sister Lucy is left, feeling the brunt of their mother’s life choices. Bridger is trying to handle everything on his own but it starts getting overwhelming and the only thing that brightens his weeks are his interactions with Scarlet. Scarlet has her own issues that she’s trying to move on from. Her family life leaves a lot to be desired as well and the minute she could, she distanced herself from them because her parent’s life choices bleeding into her life isn’t something she wants any part of. It’s hard to pay for the sins of your parents and Scarlet made the choice to walk away from her past and build a better future for herself. She’s a loner by nature and necessity but the highlight of her weeks have been interactions with Bridger Macauley. Sarina Bowen writes emotional New Adult romances really well. She’s really good at pulling your heartstrings one minute and then making you laugh like a loon the next. There were times in this book where I didn’t think I’d stop crying because my heart hurt for both Bridger and Scarlet and the hand life dealt them. Seriously, my coworkers were starting to get really worried about me but I couldn’t help it, Bridger just needed some help dammit. Bowen tackles different situations that give this story a really intense feel but she does a great job of not bogging the entire story down with all of the seriousness of the issues facing both Bridger and Scarlet. This is probably my favorite book in the series and I just love it to pieces. It’s not perfect but it’s a damn good addition to this series and I highly recommend it.
Final Grade
4.75 out of 5
The Ivy Years Series
four-half-stars

2 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , ,