Korean Drama Review — Arang and the Magistrate

Disclaimer – All images are from Google and I take no credit for/own either of them. 

Arang and the Magistrate is a drama intertwining two people’s fate and the role they play in the bigger picture of life and death. Arang, a ghost who doesn’t remember how she died wanders the afterworld trying to survive with mere food offerings and stay away from the Grim Reapers. She comes face to face with Kim Eun Oh who is the Magistrate of the town Miryang during one of her escapades and he, who can see ghosts, on a whim decides to help her flee the reapers. Thus begins their acquaintance which as time passes grows into a friendly relation.
Kim Eun Oh is on a quest to find his mother who disappeared from Miryang 3 years back and he finds a shocking connection between his mother and Arang which leads him to believe that she is the key to understanding what may have happened to his mother. The drama also features the Gods of Heaven and Hell who are constantly watching over the human beings and guiding them. They ultimately play a bigger role in banishing evil from the face of the Earth and help the characters achieve their destiny.
Arang on the other hand doesn’t want to fade away without knowing the cause of her death and so through her cunning scheme is brought to meet the Gods who grant her 3 months of life to try and find the culprit. Back in Miryang, everyone fears Lord Choi who has more power and control than many authoritative persons. With his arrogance and contempt of the lower classes, he seems to be the likely suspect responsible for all crimes committed in Miryang.

With the help of the Shaman, Arang’s ghost accomplices and Kim Eun Oh’s friends, they strive to work out the problems in each other’s lives while trying not to fall for the other.

My two main motivations for watching this drama were Shin Min Ah, who plays Arang, and the excessive roles of ghosts in it. I had certain expectations and this drama surpassed them all. It was so warm and adorable to watch from the very beginning. There was not a point where I wanted to drop it. I’d binge watch episodes for hours at a time. Arang is a fierce character not subdued by even the most terrifying of the Grim Reapers. She struggles for what she believes is truly hers and is awestruck to know that the Magistrate Kim can see ghosts, therefore help her. The plot is very intricate and not really predictable. There is ofcourse a love triangle in the story and I really felt bad for the person with the unrequited love. I thought that Lee Joon Gi played the role of Kim Eun Oh exceptionally and deserves applause for it.One tiny thing that bothered me was how hard Eun Oh was towards his friend/slave Dol Sae. Dol Sae is a really protective and affectionate character who only means well for his master-friend Eun Oh and ends up interfering in his matters. And even though we come to know that Eun Oh too cares about him, they have conflicts so often and I felt that he was unnecessarily harsh with Dol Sae.

The climax was brilliant and in fact there were more than one focal points towards the end that determined how the ending would turn out. Action sequences – two thumbs up! Though not realistic (which action sequence is?) it was fun to watch. Kim Eun Oh and Moo Yeong (the main Grim Reaper) make a kickass double. I wish there was more shown about Moo Yeong’s history. The little glimpses that I saw made me want to know more about him and how he ended up as a Grim Reaper. There were quite a few sentimental scenes too, that if you are soft hearted, would end up in tears. I absolutely loved the drama and its one of the best I’ve seen in awhile. A must watch for kdrama fanatics!

Ratings – 9 stars on 10.

Meera

Book Review — Compulsion by Martina Boone

Thank you Simon Pulse and Edelweiss for the opportunity to read and review this fantastic book. 

Barrie Watson lived an oblivious life with her mother, knowing nothing about her familial background and the reason behind her mother’s gruesome scars. Until after her mother’s death, when she is introduced to a whole island of connections and a lonely Aunt Pru who meanders in the intimidating Watson house without much thought. Barrie is not only anxious at the possibility of new found blood relations, but is also curious about the pressing sense of loss that emanates from the other wing of Watson’s Landing. What grave matters lurk beyond the door? Ought she to use the Watson gift and solve mysteries buried long ago by the rest?

Filled with magic and mayhem, Compulsion takes the readers on a thrilling ride between family feuds that are hundreds of years old and individuals who bear the brunt of their ancestor’s devious crimes. As she comes to terms with a life that her mother left behind, Barrie must decide whom to trust. Between her Aunt’s constant rebuttal of the Colesworth family and her own instincts to help her poor cousins, Barrie gets involved in magic that binds her to the fate her mother fled from.

This book has a mind blowing synopsis which makes you want to run out in bedroom slippers and grab a copy from the nearest store. Lucky for me I got an e-arc before the book hit the shelves. And here’s the deal, the novel meets your expectations and somewhere after the middle starts catapulting way above anything you’d have hoped for. Atleast it did that for me. Barrie lived such a secluded life, yearning for Lula’s (her mother) approval and not getting any, she turns to Mark, who I feel wins the award for best character hands down. He is Lula’s friend and Barrie’s caretaker and becomes more close to her than her mother could ever be. An unending supply of love, affection, joy from him helps Barrie pull through difficult times. The Romeo-Juliet-ish feel that is brought on by the three founding families – Watson; Beaufort; Colesworth adds a lot of drama and fun to the plot. There are sparks of interest between people from feuding families and then there are downright contempt that they feel for one another. Bring in a whole lot of magic into that and you’ll see why this book is one of the best of 2014.

Two families blessed with a gift and one family bearing a curse, not only live close by but are responsible for what happens in the aftermath of the climax (which is a true nail-biter). Eight Beaufort and Barrie begin to like each other from the start which I found to be a little apprehensive but the way Martina Boone describes their chemistry, it warms you to such an extent that you start rooting for them. He is the ideal boyfriend with just enough flaws to remind you he is human. I did sympathize with the Colesworths because lets face it, their plight was brought on by what some other Colesworth fella did ages ago. But Cassie Colesworth (Barrie’s cousin) being portrayed as a confident, stunning person who does have insecurities that she covers up with fabulous hair – gets to you at a point. The one reason that pulled me back from giving it a 5 star is that I felt the beginning to be a little slow paced and I started to question the awesomeness laid out in the synopsis. Also Cassie’s character was really predictable no matter how sweet she was made to be. All in all, its an amazing book and I recommend it to all fantasy, young adult fans. You won’t regret taking up this one.

Ratings – 4stars on 5.

Meera

The Lifetime of A Rose

Image Courtesy – Google

Embraced the obstacles from the start,
Have I a say in being pulled apart?
While the lesser folks await the wilting
I must prepare for the ornamental suffering.
The occasional care brightens my day,
Little memories to uplift dismay.
They stare at me with such a tender glance
And with much the same bring an end, perchance.
Even in praise, I quake with fear.
Bless the Lord, don’t make me so dear.
Before a blink, one with the soil
How long have I lived for so much toil?
Value your existence, you do.
Extend some thought to me too?

- Meera

Nail Art — Swirls & Vines

This is a rather fun technique that I revert to every time I don’t have many designs in mind. Drawing swirls and roots-like twirls not only looks nice with a good color combo but its easy!

image

 

Oh, its been so long since I last posted a nail art photo. Signs of a bored hobby? I wonder what I will take on, now that I don’t do much of these. After all, some or the other hobby has to take its place. Maybe I should resume my language learning *hmm*

- Meera

Book Addict Wonders : Reading Multiple Books at a Time.

Okay so tell me! How do you do it? How in the world, do you read 3-4 books at a time? No wait, I know people who read more than 4 books at a time, which personally I think is craazyy! No offense, please. I really would like to read more than a book at a time, cause lets face it – too many books and so little time. But somehow, when I look at another book, regardless of how mind blowing it is, I just cant bring myself to abandon the one I’m currently reading. Doesn’t make much sense though right? Whether you’d read two books together or one after the other, you’re still devoting the same amount of time. Its just a very crafty illusion that makes you think you are reading faster. Hah! Gotcha!

But still, tell me?

Then there are times when I wake up and since my bookshelf is right in front of my bed, I see all these beautiful little paperbacks and wish I could read ten books at a time. You know, just lay out ten books side by side and read them together, one page each at a time. Silly, huh? But wouldn’t it be fun? What do I know, I’ve never read two books together. I feel that when two stories are read in the same time frame, you don’t really get the true essence of each one. And plots, characters begin to sort of merge(?). But maybe I’m just plain crazy cause so many people have 3 books in their “currently reading” shelves. Is that some kind of a disorder, where you can’t focus on two things at a time? Because I do multi-task and I rely on my multitasking skills to get through my priorities in a day. But two books? Just not happening!

HELP!

- Meera

Tammy Ruggles on Social Issues

Hey you guys,

This is a spotlight feature on an author, Tammy Ruggles, who has written quite a few short stories about prevalent issues like bullying, suicide, abuse etc. I, personally haven’t read any of the short stories, but they seem to be very relatable to many especially incorporating magic realism in one of the books, I Ate The Bully, that features a boy who is brought back from the dead and has the urge to eat people around him (synopsis).

Here’s a link to a bunch of stories she’s written – YA Short Stories. Spare a few minutes and check it out? These short stories are available on Kindle.

Have a Good Day!

- Meera

 

 

Book Review — Turning Curse by A.C Harrah

Big thanks to the author, A C Harrah, for providing me an e-copy of her debut novel for review. 


Turning Curse is a tale of magic and royalty; of friendships and betrayals; of love found in the most unexpected of circumstances. Liam, an extremely notorious prince lived in his own world of child’s play and wouldn’t heed to his father’s wishes. His days of pranking never ceased to shock and disgust the royals while delighting his good friend Cordelia. She is the only one who understood his aversion to all things planned by his father – from his being the next King to getting married to some high and mighty royal’s daughter.

But when King Gerard suggests that Cordelia and Liam wed, his instantaneous refusal doesn’t sit well with her, who in the heat of the moment curses Liam to take another form for having neglected her to such an extent as to not ponder over the possibility of a relationship. This is a fascinating retelling of the Princess and the Frog with a twist. Liam, helpless as he is, looks to Cordelia’s servant Gabrielle to find a way out of the mess. But what he must accept is that along with Gabrielle, many others around him, have dire secrets to hide which take priority over Liam’s plight. Who will be his saviour or will he forever be confined to the body of a frog?

I really adore fairy tale retellings and so I jumped at the opportunity to review this. But somewhere after the first few chapters, it became an effort to carry on reading. And believe me, I tried to find something that I liked. Liam is so immature and childish, it began to leave a rash on my mind to the point that I liked scenes without him. Which is a sad thing to think for the protagonist of the novel. There isn’t much I can say without making it a spoiler so this going to be vague but the novel had one of those “instant love” aspects going on which I found very difficult to absorb. Cordelia’s character is one of the things that I enjoyed. She is very feisty and courageous. But unlike Liam, who gets around to adjusting into the royal life, she takes a stand and outrightly refuses. It is Cordelia who plays an integral role in putting together all the pieces of puzzle towards the end. The author’s writing style was also something I liked, as she pays sufficient attention to detail. Using the right amount of imageries to let us picture the sights. The story wasn’t as predictable as you’d think, but I wish it had been more gripping. Some of the dialogues I found lacked conviction and made the entire scenario lose its focus. Cordelia’s parents, Evelyn and Cornelius were underplayed and could have contributed much more to the story. I wanted to like it more but that only happened in little bits of the novel.

Ratings – 2 stars on 5.

- Meera