Tag: New Adult

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

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Review: Cheese in the Trap

Posted October 8, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews, TV Shows | 2 Comments

Cheese in the Trap

Male Lead: Park Hae Jin
Female Lead: Kim Go Eun
Secondary Lead: Seo Kang Joon
Also Starring: Nam Joo Hyuk, Lee Sung Kyung, Park Min Ji
Year Released: 2016
Number of Episodes: 16
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Country: Korea
Where I Watched It: Viki
Recommended By: Kim Go Eun, Nam Joo Hyuk
Watched it For: Nam Joo Hyuk, Kim Go Eun

Are even the most unlikely of people destined to be together? Hong Seol (Kim Go Eun) is a dedicated student who has just returned to college after taking some time off to work part-time jobs and make money to pay for her tuition. Nothing has come easy for her in life, but she is determined to study hard and overcome her impoverished background. Yoo Jung (Park Hae Jin) is a handsome, athletic student who has returned to college as an upperclassman after serving his mandatory military service. Despite Seol’s best efforts, she keeps having unfortunate run-ins with Jung that irritates her while her friends, Jang Bo Ra (Park Min Ji) and Kwon Eun Taek (Nam Joo Hyuk), try to run interference. But when the broody Jung is somehow responsible for Seol being able to get one year’s free tuition, thereby eliminating her financial woes, Seol is confused by Jung’s actions. What will Seol do when she gets caught between the attentions of the mysterious Jung and his estranged friend, Baek In Ho (Seo Kang Joon)? “Cheese in the Trap” is a 2016 South Korean drama series directed by Lee Yoon Jung. It is based on a webtoon written by Soon Ggi. This series marks the television debut for film actress Kim Go Eun.
I watched this show because I’ve become a pretty big fan of both Kim Go Eun and Nam Joo Hyuk and they’re both in this show. I had really high hopes for this one since I’ve had a good running streak of really great Korean dramas set in college. I really enjoyed Weightlifting Fairy, Kim Bok Joo and so I was riding that high when I started this one.

So this show follows our main female lead, Hong Seol. She’s a struggling college student that is trying her best to stay afloat. She’s working, she’s studying, and she’s trying to figure out how she’s going to pay for next year’s tuition because she doesn’t have a lot of parental support. Plus, her family isn’t well off and whatever money they have was used to send her younger brother abroad to study in the states. So yeah, Seol’s on her own. She doesn’t have a lot of free time but the free time that she does have, she spends with her two best friends. When she meets Yoo Jung, a rich guy that all the girls love, Seol isn’t that interested. They have nothing in common and she keeps catching him doing weird things. Things that she’s not a fan of and because of that, she tries to steer clear of him…but he keeps showing up wherever she is and…he’s interested in her. Getting to know him wasn’t in her plans but because they keep bumping into each other, she gives him a chance.

This show started off really strong. The main character, Hong Seol did a great job of hooking me into what she had going on. Between her and her two best friends, I was really rooting for this show to be a huge success and it almost was. The lengths that the hero went to get shit done was low key a turn-off. He had a God complex that didn’t sit right with me throughout the entire show and even in the end, I wanted to knee him in the balls because ugh. There’s only so many times that I can forgive someone for doing some creepy shit and letting it slide. Even after understanding the way that he thought and the way that he was, I still didn’t like it. Or him for that matter. I was much more invested in Hong Seol’s relationship with Baek In Ho (the second lead) and that almost never happens. I’m usually a stickler for the main couple no matter how much I like the second lead but this is the first show where that wasn’t the case.

I wanted to like this show because of Kim Eun Go and Nam Joo Hyuk but even with that strong start, the middle and the ending didn’t do anything for me and that bummed me out. I can’t rate this one higher than a 2.75 out of 5 stars. Oh well.
Listen to the OST
Final Rating

2.75 out of 5

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Review: Love Alarm

Posted August 27, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews, TV Shows | 2 Comments

Love Alarm

Male Lead: Song Kang
Female Lead: Kim So Hyun
Secondary Lead: Jung Ga Ram
Also Starring: Go Min Si, Z Hera, Shin Seung Ho, Lee Jae Eung, Song Seon Mi, Song Geon Hee, Kim Young Ok, Cho Deok Hoe
Year Released: 2019
Number of Episodes: 8
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Country: Korea
Where I Watched It: Netflix
Recommended By: Nobody
Watched It For: –

In a world where an app alerts people if someone in the vicinity likes them, Kim Jojo experiences young love while coping with personal adversities.
Love Alarm is about an app that alerts the user when someone that likes them is within like 10 meters of them and it follows our main lead, Kim Jo Jo, a young woman who lives with her Aunt and cousin and works multiple part-time jobs to support herself. She came to live with her Aunt when her Mom died and left Kim Jo Jo, an orphan. Kim Jo Jo hasn’t had an easy life, she’s only known grief and unhappiness as her family life isn’t ideal. Her Aunt and cousin remind her constantly that she is mooching off of them, even though she works hard both at school and at work to support herself and works as a free laborer for the Aunt’s convenience store, but they don’t recognize much outside of themselves and their lives and that pissed me off a lot.

When the show first starts, we meet Kim Jo Jo but we also meet Hwang Sun Oh and Lee Hye Yeong, two childhood friends who are reunited when Sun Oh returns to Korea after being abroad. The two boys are best friends and Hwang Sun Oh comes home, ready to pick up his friendship with Hye Yeong again but while he was away, Hye Yeong has gotten himself a part-time job and is pretty busy. The two boys are close but the time apart has put some distance between them and Sun Oh doesn’t like it. While trying to run Hye Yeong down, Sun Oh sees the girl who has captured Hye Yeong’s attention. Kim Jo Jo. They work together at a Korean BBQ restaurant and Sun Oh follows Hye Yeong, who follows Kim Jo Jo to make sure that she gets to her bus stop safely. It is quite obvious that Hye Yeong has a crush on Kim Jo Jo and Sun Oh sees that while tailing his friend but as the show progresses, you see Sun Oh still go after Kim Jo Jo, much to Hye Yeong’s chagrin.

So I guess Netflix released only 8 episodes of this show, with the ending 8 episodes to follow sometime soon. With the pandemic, I’m not sure what happened to the release date for the second part but I hope we get to see where everyone ends up because I need some closure here.

This part was all about Kim Jo Jo and Sun Oh and while I did enjoy getting to know the both of them better, at the back of my mind, I couldn’t help but remember every time that Sun Oh and Kim Jo Jo kissed or hugged or fell a little more in love with each other, that Sun Oh did his best friend dirty. I’m not a big fan of friends sliding into the DM’s of girls or boys that their best friend likes so I wasn’t a big fan of the way that both Kim Jo Jo and Hwang Sun Oh got together.

It also took me a little bit to connect with Sun Oh’s character because he plays a very reserved but off putting character but the more you get to know him, the more you understand why he is the way that he is and what drives him to be the person that he is. There were sweet moments between Kim Jo Jo and Hwang Sun Oh but I couldn’t help but look forward to seeing what kind of relationship can blossom between Hye Yeong and Kim Jo Jo.

One of the main reasons that I adore Korean Dramas is that each show is 16 episodes and that’s it. There’s no dragging out romances and storylines for years and years and years. You get 16 episodes of a story that builds over those episodes and then you get a solid ending. We don’t get that here. This show ends on a cliff hanger and I wasn’t a big fan of that. I would have preferred to have waited to see all of the episodes together but by the time I realized that there were only 8 episodes of this show, I was on episode 6 so it was too late to stop.

I will say that the first 8 episodes are interesting and enjoyable but I wanted more Hye Yeong and I didn’t think we got nearly enough of him so I’m crossing my fingers that it’s a different story in the second season. I would definitely recommend this if you’re looking for a cute romance but beware of the cliff hanger and if you could, I’d wait until both seasons release to watch it all in one go. Still, I’m glad that I watched it and even though I spent a good chunk of the story frustrated, it’s still good stuff.
Listen to the OST
Final Rating


3.75 out of 5

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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

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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

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