GOT7 Pakistan Birthday Project September 2017

Hello Aghases! Hope you are fluttering around happily 🙂 As you know September is a special month for GOT7 and Aghases. Mark, Jinyoung and Youngjae will be celebrating their birthdays in September. So, Aghases in Pakistan are planning to surprise them by putting up banners in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad on their birthdays.

Please spread the word on social media everywhere so all Aghases maybe united and the ones in Pakistan may actively participate.

Let’s make this September a memorable one for our awesome boys!

Keep on flying high ❤

got7sepbday

BTS Blood, Sweat & Tears MV Japanese Version Review & Fan Theories

Hi guys! Bangtan Sonyeondan’s Blood, Sweat & Tears MV Japanese version was officially released today and predictably, it’s awesome.

As expected, fan theories started pouring in within minutes of its release. I’m going to tell you what I think and the theories I have come up with. These are just my thoughts but I have heard some things from others which I will mention.

Let me start off with the obvious: Blood, Sweat & Tears Korean version is the first part and the Japanese version is the second part. This is not exactly a story but it does have a timeline. Both MVs have the timeline in common: we see the beginning in the last few scenes. There are many Biblical references in both MVs but sadly, I haven’t read the Bible so I was unable to grasp them all.

Namjoon has often said that they try to show the lives of the youth and BST does exactly that. BST is basically a depiction of the reality we face every day: the battle between good vs. evil. Namjoon explained that BST is about the temptations the youth face in the form of their own desires.

Here’s what happened

In the Korean version, we see Taehyung jump from the balcony and when the shroud lifts from him there is an injury on his back where his wings were ripped out. Taehyung is a fallen angel possibly, Lucifer. The statue of the fallen angel with the black feathered wings represents Taehyung. He acts like he’s one of boys so they never suspect him of being evil.

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The boys are all sitting at the table with apples on their plates but they haven’t touched them yet. The apple is the forbidden fruit which Adam and Eve ate after being enticed by Lucifer resulting in them being cast out of Heaven. The apples represent the temptation that is often invitingly laid before us like a feast.

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Jin stands up and the screen goes red as he lets go of the balloon but still reaches out for it. The balloon represents childish innocence which has now left him. Jin is alone when he kisses the statue and we see Taehyung covering Jin’s eyes. Jin has now succumbed to temptation and is blinded by evil.

Jin meets Namjoon and hands him a vial of Absinthe. Absinthe is also like apples here. The both represent the same thing: evil. So, Namjoon becomes corrupted and sets his eyes on Jungkook, who is his partner for the BST MVs. He forces Jungkook to drink the Absinthe. Jungkook is the youngest and I think he represents innocence almost angelic. The goodness in him repels the Absinthe as we see him vomit and the chaos spreading is shown as the swirling colors. Yoongi comes to check on him but Jungkook rejects his help. Remember the roles were reversed in the Run MV. When Jungkook wakes up in the Japanese MV, we can see a stain on his mattress similar to Taehyung’s wing injury. It’s like Jungkook was an angel but after being forced to take Absinthe he has fallen from grace. This probably shows how corruption spreads from one person to another and the role of peer pressure in it.

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I assume the others become similarly corrupted in various ways but they all react differently to it. Jimin bites into the apple. It obviously represents Jimin being corrupted maybe at the same time as Jungkook. This is further stressed on as the apple is blended into a liquid and the liquid turns green just like Absinthe. The scene from BST Korean version where Jungkook licks his finger tasting the green substance is repeated. This confirms that’s where Jungkook was corrupted. Jimin’s sin appears to be hypocrisy. He feels like he is living a lie and we see two parts of him in this MV: the Jimin who is aware that he has become corrupt and the Jimin who is confused and either unaware or in denial. In the blue room, Unaware Jimin looks at the apple in his hand in confusion. Yoongi keeps covering Jimin’s eyes with either his hands or a blindfold in both BST MVs.

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I don’t know if Yoongi was the one who led Jimin astray but he keeps trying to stop Jimin from learning the truth about the corruption within them both. They are partners in the BST MVs. Suddenly we start watching things from Jimin’s perspective as Yoongi’s fingers block the screen in the Japanese MV. As Jimin moved Yoongi’s hands away from his eyes he starts seeing reality. Aware Jimin walks and then literally runs away from Yoongi. He walks around realizing that his soul was tainted by the apple and feels ashamed of it trying to wipe the taste of the apple from his mouth.

J-Hope’s temptation is drugs I guess. We see him struggle with pills in many MVs. Yoongi’s might be lust/love like we saw him become destructive in First Love. J-Hope and Jimin’s solo dances are the same as that in their solo songs. I believe they reveal their inner turmoil as they battle the evil inside their souls. The ceiling of the dance studio is a scene from Heaven so J-Hope reaches out his hand in a plea for help. J-Hope alone seems keenly aware of his corruption and even manages to defeat it as he throws away his pills. J-Hope is repeatedly shown sitting in front a statue of the Virgin Mary I believe. I think it’s meant to show that the good in him is stronger than the evil and he ultimately overcomes it. Now, all six of the boys have been corrupted and we see Taehyung, the evil fallen angel, move away from Jimin and Jungkook.

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Maybe he corrupted them in order of age. It could be that kids learn from their elders and when the elders deviate from the right path, the younger ones follow. He seems to be stumbling around but I don’t know why. I can’t tell what’s written on his shirt but I think it’s significant. The lower part maybe “98six” but I can’t be sure. If so, it could be a Biblical reference I didn’t understand.

Several things happen around the same time now. Both Jimins face each other. Yoongi is again there to shield Unaware Jimin’s eyes from reality. Unaware Jimin drops the cause of the evil, the apple, in shock finally detaching himself from evil. Jimin is thrust into the chaos evil created, Jungkook tries to walk away from the cracks in the floor (the damage evil did in his life) and Namjoon breaks all the mirrors around himself probably because he was unable to face the reality of what he did and what he has become.

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Jimin and Jungkook hold Taehyung in place as he struggles to escape. Meanwhile, J-Hope skims his hand along a weapon and someone holds a dart read to throw it at Taehyung. I think it maybe Jin. The scene where J-Hope fires an arrow in BST Korean version is repeated but this time, the arrow flies through time and space and Taehyung flinches as if he sees it coming and not a tiny dart. J-Hope wins against Taehyung but not the others.

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Jin beats up Taehyung like he blames him for his corruption and has finally come to his senses. Taehyung seems happy that his mission to corrupt them all was successful. He pushes Jin down then appears to stab him in the heart. I think it means that Jin tried to fight his corruption too late and he couldn’t stop the corruption from killing him in the end. I think the shattered mirrors and swirls Jungkook and Namjoon see are the effects of Jin’s death on them showing how one person’s death affects those around him. Taehyung directly corrupted Jin. Jin corrupted Namjoon who in turn corrupted Jungkook. Taehyung gleefully moves on to kill the others. Taehyung’s jacket reads “Lone Wolf” and “Confuse” while having cards on it too. I think it shows that Lucifer is not one of the boys and that he plays games confusing them leading them to evil. Taehyung is moving through sheets and curtains which probably meant that he hides behind screens and it’s hard to see his true face. Namjoon also mentioned this in an interview that evil comes to us in the shape of our desires. So, that’s how Taehyung manages to lead them all astray. He sneaks around and crawls through a small opening into the outdoors where his jacket sleeve reads “DISAPPEAR”. I think it means that Lucifer sneakily corrupts and leaves once he’s done. If you are religious, you could interpret Taehyung’s character to be Lucifer or a fallen angel. If not, you could simply interpret it as supreme evil or the source of evil. It could also be understood as the selfish human part we all have inside of us.

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You might be wondering why I didn’t talk about Jin and the painting. Jin stares at a painting which depicts a battle being Heaven and Hell in both BST MVs. I believe it is figurative and not literal. Jin is gazing upon the real world and the never ending battle between good and evil. In the Japanese MV, Jin is shown first but what we don’t realize is that Jin is dead and in the place between worlds. We are later shown the hole in his heart where Taehyung stabbed him. Looking at the painting, I think his life flashes before his eyes. The scene is abruptly filled with red smoke like it’s something hazy in the past. Once, he sees his death in the painting, a void opens up in the floor. I think Jin corrupted his loved ones so now he’s going to hell for it. Suddenly, we see one of the boys (maybe J-Hope) look up to the sky and see a pair of wings.

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Jin shatters and disappears but the falling shards of glass turn into white feathers. So, I believe that Jin did do to Heaven in the end because he repented for his sins and died trying to defeat evil.

Blood, Sweat and Tears is meant to show us the ugly reality I believe. It shows the youth how evil can sneak into their hearts, cause chaos in their lives, spread to others and even kill them. through the stories of these characters, it tells us how different people react to it and how we should deal with it. I think J-Hope would be the most inspiring in this case. We should be aware of it and fight it with all we have got if we don’t want it to consume us entirely.

Let me know what you guys thought and what your own fan theories are J Don’t forget to keep voting for the BBMAs and stream the new MV. BTS fighting! ARMY fighting! ❤

Book Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. Maas

Hello! The much anticipated third book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR) series, A Court of Wings and Ruin (ACOWAR), was released on 2nd May, 2017 and I was able to get a copy the very next day thanks to the pre-order suggested by my fellow Massassin. Thanks Saima ❤ This is NOT a standalone novel so don’t skip the first two books in the series folks!

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Spoiler-free review

It’s huge like HUGE!! (705 pages) You can legit use it instead of a plain old dumbbell. I am sure a lot of people are disappointed (I actually have seen posts about this on social media) but remember that expectations were really high for this release. There were several fascinating fan theories but it appears that Sarah went in a completely different direction haha!

There are three parts: Princess of Carrion, Cursebreaker and High Lady. Everyone was agonizing over Feyre being stuck at the Spring Court and Tamlin’s “advances”. That part doesn’t take up too much space which I was glad for. I think you’ll find Feyre’s time at the Spring Court very satisfying 😉

The first ¾ of the book is paced quite well in my opinion. Nothing feels rushed or slow. We get to meet many exciting new characters especially the High Lords who I hope will feature further in the series. The characters we know and love return as this trilogy concludes. We learn so much more about the cadre, the Court of Nightmares, Velaris and Prythian as a whole. More of Miryam, Drakon and Jurian’s history is revealed and there are plenty of twists to enjoy. My personal favorite returns were the Bone Carver, the Weaver and the Suriel. I loved their stories and their contribution to the plot. Nesta and Elain have significant roles and we see how they have changed after becoming High Fae. Their father makes an appearance and we get to know where he’s been this whole time. As promised, Amren’s true identity is finally revealed though I didn’t understand it until someone spelled it out for me.

I enjoyed the storyline of the missing human queen we all wondered about. I won’t spoil it but her story is actually a loose adaptation of a fairy tale. We anticipated more of Rhys and Tamlin’s history but that barely gets any pages. Instead, the focus is on the Autumn Court’s history and its connection to Mor. Lucien obviously gets much space as a result of that and his contribution in the war. The plot follows the war with Hybern as expected but not all is doom and gloom so don’t worry. There’s plenty of smut (not a fan) and mushy romantic moments (again not a fan). If you thought things were dangerous before you’ll see just how bad things can get. There’s Fae magic and creatures to learn about besides cool action.

I can’t talk about ships and controversial characters without giving out spoilers so I’ll reserve my thoughts for the spoiler-y section. My issues with this book are similar to the ones I had with the previous two. The last third feels rushed. I understand the chaos of the war and personal preferences but there were many significant events that didn’t get the attention they deserved. Sarah was like, “Yeah, that happened. Let’s move on!” and I was like, “That’s it?”

There were some important things particularly with regards to the ships that weren’t concluded properly. It could be that she plans to explore them more in the upcoming books but still, it would have nice to have some conclusive interactions. There are some things that brought down the rating for me. I have noticed that Sarah makes things super convenient at times which kills the charm of a perfectly good story for me. I mentioned this about the mate thing in A Court of Mist and Fury (ACOMAF) too. ACOWAR leaves you with more questions than answers. That’s probably why some readers were disappointed.

It isn’t a bad book at all and you should definitely pick it up if you have already read ACOTAR and ACOMAF. Let me know what you’re looking forward to in ACOWAR.

 

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!

 

Spoiler-y review

Okay, time for some real talk. I’ll split the stuff into sections so let’s get started!

Plot

I was happy with the plot. The beginning, middle and end were all good. There was tons of action, mystery and thrill just as it should have been. There was politics, betrayal and unexpected twists. Yay! Things at the Spring Court were wrapped up well. I didn’t anticipate Lucien becoming such a close ally but enjoyed his role in ACOWAR. I wish we could have visited all the courts but we couldn’t sadly. I was happy to see Tarquin again because I have a crush on him hehe! I think Sarah did a good job with the twists. I totally didn’t see them coming.

I enjoyed learning about the histories of various characters especially the story about Nephelle. That was cute. I was disappointed that we didn’t see the Weaver and the Bone Carver interact much and we never learned who their bother was. I thought it might be Briaxis. The battle scenes were awesome and exaggerated but that’s okay. It’s fantasy after all 😀

 

Controversial characters

Tamlin

I don’t think anything ever excuses abuse and you can’t ever make up for it especially after Tamlin exploded at Feyre in his study. It doesn’t matter if she provoked him on purpose. The fact that Tamlin killed or let Rhysand’s mother and sister be killed is not something I can get over. Tamlin claims to do everything to protect his court yet he treats his subjects poorly particularly when he chose Ianthe over his guards. He insulted Feyre and Rhys badly during the High Lords’ meeting but then saved her life from Hybern apparently because he still “loved” her. He gave a drop of his power to save Rhys wishing Feyre a happy life doesn’t make me forget anything that happened before. I don’t judge characters on their morals but it’s important to say that I don’t think Tamlin deserved forgiveness or redemption. As a character, I enjoyed Tamlin’s role and him being so unstable added more anticipation to the plot. I am glad his role wasn’t small because that wouldn’t have made sense. I was happy that he was smart enough to side with the High Lords in the war.

Nesta

Let me just say this first. Nesta was a shitty elder sister and nothing excuses her behavior. She is one of my favorite characters. She brings excitement to any scene though she did change quite a bit in the second half. I didn’t expect her to agree to help the cadre but she did diligently. I think she and Amren made a great team. The part where the sisters got together after Elain’s rescue was touching. I enjoyed her facing the King. It was nice to see her care about someone besides Elain for a change.

Elain

I place Nesta and Elain in the same category of shitty sister though Elain did have her moments with her sweet gestures towards Feyre. I felt sorry for her throughout the book but she was very close to being pathetic in my opinion. I am glad she came through in the end as the situation was reversed with her and Nesta.

Lucien

I can never forgive Lucien for being a bystander while Feyre was being abused by Tamlin. At least he apologized and was willing to play his part in the war. It was interesting to learn about his family’s history but I feel like Sarah told us many things yet didn’t tell us how it factored into the plot. I was hoping Lucien and Tamlin would confront each other but that didn’t happen. Considering their friendship since ACOTAR, I was disappointed their interaction was literally zero after Lucien left the Spring Court.

Feyre’s father

He is probably the one I blame the most for Feyre’s condition in ACOTAR. Not only did he sit on ass the whole time he never tried to change the behavior of her sisters. I think he had a fitting end in ACOWAR. Even if he didn’t do anything for his kids while he was alive he wanted to become the father they deserved and died trying to protect them.

Villains

The King

I loved his cunning and schemes. He was a worthy adversary for the High Lords and I was seriously impressed by his battle strategies. He was a cool villain throughout the series and I was sad to see him go. While his death was satisfying, it seemed so insignificant to the other characters that it bothered me.

Ianthe

I love Ianthe. She brings so much fun to the plot. Stubbornly evil till the very end. I love her craftiness which Feyre turns against her. I had a blast watching Feyre destroy Ianthe using own weakness against her. The part where Feyre orders her to crush her hand was awesome. I wasn’t very happy with how she died and would have preferred her to suffer for the rest of her miserable life.

Amarantha (Honorable mention)

Even though she’s dead, Amarantha came up so many times. I am glad Sarah kept it real and highlighted the hardships of the survivors of sexual abuse.

Relationships

Feyre and Rhysand

It’s important for me to say that I can’t overlook what Rhys did to Feyre without her consent Under the Mountain. Feyre stresses again and again on how much Rhys cares about her consent compared to Tamlin. If Sarah wanted readers to completely accept Rhysand then she should have made Feyre fully consent to Rhy’s schemes Under the Mountain. Besides that, their bond just gets better and better with every book. It’s a healthy relationship where both partners respect each other’s wishes though they are both sneaky. I loved the surprises they both prepared for each other in the final battle.

Nesta and Cassian

I know many people didn’t want this ship to go further because they hate Nesta as a person. I don’t like Nesta as a person but their romance in ACOWAR was too good. I have been enjoying their interactions since ACOMAF and I was SO relieved to know that there was no mate stuff between them yet. It’s a strained, quiet bonding between them. Their close interactions were the kind I hold my breath for. 100% satisfied!

Elain and Lucien

I really don’t know what is going on between them and where it will all go. I feel like the mating bond between them was pointless if this is how they parted ways. I was SO annoyed when I found out that they were mates in ACOMAF. Nothing happened between them like nothing literally.

Mor and Azriel

I don’t quite understand Mor’s romantic preferences but her story was sweet and sad at the same time. I don’t know why things between her and Azriel were left this way because this ship was so hyped up in both books. I am hoping there might still be a satisfying conclusion to this.

Amren and Varian

Amren is my favorite character and I was hoping for something more between her and Varian after their interaction at the Summer Court. They went from sweet and subtle to “I don’t care who’s watching”. It was hilarious and I was cheering on Varian. I don’t know if we’ll see them again but I’ll miss them. This was definitely my favorite ship in this series after Nesta and Cassian. Yes, I pick ships based on their entertainment value LOL!

 

Deaths

Amren

I love you Amren but you should have stayed dead! I am not sure how I feel about Amren’s betrayal. I don’t understand how she could stand by while Feyre, Cassian and Nesta were in such danger from the King. I want an explanation for that. All of them could have easily died and they almost did. That being said, I liked her death scene. It was emotional and meaningful. I felt like she had gotten everything she had desired in her life. She came back in such a weird way and I felt like her sacrifice and that intense death scene lost meaning.

Rhysand

I wouldn’t have minded if Rhys had not come back to life but maybe that would have defeated the meaning of the famous Suriel dialogue, “Stay with the High Lord.” I enjoyed his death scene too and it felt true to his character. However, I don’t understand how he came back the same way Feyre did. Even the High Lords doubted it. It was like a children’s fairy tale. It made no sense and again, his sacrifice lost meaning to me.

The Bone Carver

I was fascinated with the Bone Carver in ACOMAF and I was so happy to see him again in ACOWAR. His past and true character cast him a different light. I am glad we got to know him better before he died. His death scene was great too. I am sad he died but that’s what he wanted so I guess I should be happy for him.

The Suriel

Ah, this death hit me the hardest. I would rather Rhys had died instead of the Suriel. It’s sad that we never learned its name. This death scene was really emotional and I truly fell in love with the Suriel there. His death scene was my personal favorite. Bye bye Suriel. I hope there’s loads of gossip where you’re going 😦

I think I have poured out all my views on ACOWAR for now. Have you read it? What did you think about it?

 

K-drama Strong Woman Do Bong Soon Episode 1-10 Review (Part 1)

Hi everyone! Summer is here and the days have gotten longer which means I get more time to play 😉 I am a huge fan of Korean dramas or K-dramas as they are commonly known. Today I will be reviewing a K-drama that is currently airing on jTBC on Fridays and Saturdays. I decided to write this before it ended because I know people often wonder if a drama is worth the hype while it’s on air. So far, there are 10 episodes and it just gets better each week.

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Credit: Kdramastars

What’s it about

Do Bong Soon, played by Park Bo Young, is a young woman who is stands out from the crowd in more ways than one. The women in her family are blessed with Superman-level strength. It is a tightly guarded secret known only to her immediate family and her best friend. Being a below average student, she never attended college and moves from job to job always failing because of her super strength one way or another. She is finally hired as the bodyguard of the CEO of Ainsoft, a game development company, after he witnesses her extraordinary power by chance as she fights a bunch of thugs. She dreams of joining the strategy department of Ainsoft so her boss, Ahn Min Hyuk, promises to promote her if she catches the culprit who keeps threatening him and learns to control her strength. Ahn Min Hyuk, played by Park Hyung Sik, battles his own demons as he struggles to deal with his dysfunctional family and death threats by a masked stalker. Things take a turn for the worse when Do Bong Soon’s peaceful neighborhood suddenly faces a genius serial kidnapper and a sloppy murderer who keep slipping through the police’s clutches. In Gook Doo (Kim Ji Soo), Do Bong Soon’s school friend and crush, is part of the team in charge of this case and suspects both criminals are the same. A dangerous game begins as Do Bong Soon keeps coming across the kidnapper and he gets bolder with every success. She has her plate full trying to protect her boss, discovering whose threatening him, controlling her strength, hiding her power, fighting a gang that is out to restore its honor after she beat up its members, unraveling the mystery of the kidnapper, deciding how she should use her power for good, juggling her complicated relationship with her mother, achieving her career goals and understanding her growing feelings for her boss. There’s a lot happening all at once but the drama flows smoothly.

 

Meet the characters

Do Bong Soon (Park Bo Young)

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Credit: jediprincess

The great thing about Do Bong Soon is that she’s perfectly ordinary so you can relate to her but at the same time she is special so she inspires you. This is a simple yet beautiful character you cannot help but love. Having faced problems because of her strength growing up, she could never really concentrate on her studies and is always labeled a troublemaker by her mother. She is an admirable character with great morals and a depth that is surprising for someone most would call a loser. I think her biggest strength is not physical but her spirit that refuses to be defeated. Even after all her failures she holds onto her dream of being a game developer and wants to be appreciated for her brains not brawn. She knows she must hide her power but she doesn’t hesitate to help those in need. Her small stature makes her the target of ridicule by bullies quite often when she stands up for others but she holds back her strength until they cross her limits. Do Bong Soon is cute, funny, straightforward, smart, brave, warm-hearted, sweet and generous. She is no pushover despite her kindness and full of sass as she continues to call out Min Hyuk on his bullshit.

Ahn Min Hyuk (Park Hyung Sik)

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Credit: Soompi

I first saw Park Hyung Sik in Hwarang (K-drama) and later in Return of Superman (TV show). It doesn’t take more than a few seconds to be totally charmed by him and he’s easily the prettiest man alive. Don’t assume that his looks got him this far because he’s actually an impressive actor. I guess it’s easier to play a spoiled rich brat when you are swimming in dough but he really brings each unique character to life no matter how similar they appear. Min Hyuk is a self-made man since he left his home to start his own company, Ainsoft. He seems carefree because of the lifestyle he displays to others but he has a lot to deal with. His hard work and intelligence built his company and it’s obvious his employees love him. As Do Bong Soon discovers, he is a lonely sensitive guy who conceals his reality behind the vain laidback CEO image.

In Gook Doo (Kim Ji Soo)

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Credit: silverpetticoatreview

Mr. Goody Two Shoes, In Gook Doo, is a tough cop who takes his job very seriously. His protective nature is evident especially with Do Bong Soon, whose feelings he’s clueless about yet cares for her deeply. He is hot tempered and acts rashly at times but he’s great at his job. He’s brave, fierce and willing to do whatever he takes to catch criminals. His passion for his job stems from his genuine care for others. That’s his biggest plus in my opinion. Although he has zero sense of humor and not the best boyfriend, Gook Doo, is a kind soul. You could call him a manly man but that isn’t always a good thing. He finds it hard to express his feelings for others and acts extremely territorial. He is stubborn and proud not to mention he has the worst timing ever.

 

There are several secondary characters that have their own importance in the drama. The most notable ones are Do Bong Soon’s mother, who constantly complains of her failures though she cares. Her father dotes on her but is always dominated by his wife so doesn’t do much about her mother’s behavior. She has a twin brother who is older than her and a doctor. Gook Doo’s girlfriend had a significant role so far and is expected to be more prominent in the future. Do Bong Soon’s bestie is exactly what you would want in a friend: loyal to the core. Min Hyuk’s problematic family consists of three half brothers, his step mother and his biological father. Do Bong Soon gains the loyalty of the local school gang that turns a new leaf at her advice. The thugs she beats up in the first episode are part of a gang we see quite often. They are a funny bunch and their leader has links to a few other characters. They are a minor threat as compared to the big bad serial kidnapper and murderer. He is definitely my favorite villain to date in K-dramas. He is scary, merciless, totally psycho, violent, super smart and highly unpredictable. We get to see him work and the victims quite often as she continues to terrorize the neighborhood. Kim Won Hae plays a double role both characters being leagues apart from each other in nature. He did an amazing job and I hope we see more of him in the coming episodes.

 

Relationships

K-dramas have the best romance and this one particularly special though romance is not the main theme. I must say the romance here fits quite well with the thrill, action, mystery, comedy, etc. which is not an easy thing to do. We have a love triangle but there are other characters involved as well so there are many twists and turns.

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Credit: Hancinema

Do Bong Soon has had a crush on Gook Doo since she first laid eyes on him but has never confessed her feelings to him. Gook Doo has no idea about this and thinks of her as only a childhood friend. Will that change? 😉 As she is put in increasingly dangerous situations, he is forced to face the truth about his feelings.

(Credit: Koreaportal)

Min Hyuk’s feelings are a bit hard to pinpoint but it’s clear that he adores her even though he misses no chance to annoy her. His heart is attached to a faceless woman who saved his life years ago. Watching their friendship grow is a true delight. They butt heads all the time and diss each other but underneath all that bickering is genuine affection. Do Bong Soon maybe the bodyguard but Min Hyuk is very protective of her and he respects her feelings for Gook Doo, which won my heart. I love how Min Hyuk sees right through her when others might have disregarded her inner turmoil.

There is a third ship that deserves mention: Min Hyuk and Gook Doo. Everyone is under the impression that Min Hyuk is gay and hired a female bodyguard to keep his reputation intact. Of course, Min Hyuk enjoys making Do Bong Soon jealous by telling her how hot he finds Gook Doo.

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(Credit: Soompi)

There is a ridiculous amount of competition between these two men and their scenes together are always hilarious. I hope we see some bromance blossom between these two in future episodes. I think the change of heart many characters experience was very well done and makes the romance believable.

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Credit: hancinema

What stands out?

There’s a lot to love about his drama. The casting is on point, the acting is amazing, the action sequences are slick and often funny, characters you can relate to, stories you want to follow, relationships you root for, great storytelling, a villain you admire and fear simultaneously, terrific makeup and styling, meaningful themes, complex characters with gray areas, superb chemistry, total eye candy, thrilling scenes, intriguing mystery and much more.

 

What bothered me?

There are some things that had me wondering why? The first thing is how Do Bong Soon’s mother treats her. She keeps breaking down her self esteem, sets a bad example of a marriage for her kids, keeps comparing her to her twin brother and misuses her position all the while telling her daughter how she shouldn’t use her power or she would be stripped of them like she was in her youth. Despite the security measures in the neighborhood, the kidnappings occur so frequently. I confess I have little patience for friends that are ignorant of the feelings their friends have for them. Even Min Huyk tells Do Bong Soon that she’s very obvious about her crush but Gook Doo never suspected even though he dates women. I was dying of Second Lead Syndrome after Hwarang and this just pushed me further to root for Min Hyuk. K-dramas are notorious for torturing viewers with teasing romantic scenes which bother me and don’t. I just thought I’d point it out if you are not accustomed to slow burn torture.

 

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Do Bong Soon’s bestie became a target for the kidnapper but she saved her friend in time. He came back for her only once but then gave up.

 

OST

No K-drama would be complete without a hit OST. Strong Woman Do Bong Soon does not disappoint. The songs are beautiful and have perfect placement to “shake your heart” (I’m sorry I just had to. I still don’t understand the correct meaning of this translation. Hopefully, learning some more Korean will help). You’re My Garden, performed by Jung Eun Ji of Apink, is a haunting melody that you want to sing along to and it fits the drama so well. Heartbeat is sweet romantic song made sweeter by the vocals of Shin Suran. It’s the ultimate BGM to play when you’re falling in love. How Would It Be by Standing Egg is a lovely composition that reflects the changing feelings of the characters towards possible romance. Kim Chung Ha, formerly of I.O.I, sung a cute number titled Pit-a-Pat that will surely put a smile on your face. MAMAMOO recorded a cool fast paced track, Double Trouble Couple, that pairs wonderfully with all the action sequences. The most fantastic news is that Park Hyung Sik, who debuted with ZE:A in 2010,  is rumored to be recording a song for this drama too besides being the male lead.

 

My favorite scenes

I couldn’t let finish this review without sharing some of my favorite scenes in Strong Woman Do Bong Soon.

 

Are you watching Strong Woman Do Bong Soon or are you tempted to watch it?

 

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Do Bong Soon carrying Ahn Min Hyuk after he gets grazed by a metal pellet and acts all dramatic 

(Credit: Hallyusg.net)

 

Amusement part sort-of date where Do Bong Soon shows Min Hyuk how to have a great time on thrilling rides

(Credit: Narvii.com)

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The last scene so far is the most emotionally loaded and a relief for those who ship Min Hyuk with Bong Soon.

(Credit: Soompi)

 

When Min Hyuk and Gook Do are too drunk to consider their sexual orientations.

(Credit: Asistarz)

 

The moment our hearts stopped beating when Min Hyuk took the hit for Bong Soon

(Credit: A koalas playground)

 

Disclaimer: None of these images or gifs belong to me. Full credit to the rightful owners

 

A Book Review of Blues by Masooma Memon

Hello everyone! Today I will be reviewing another superb entry from Daastan’s A War Within competition: Blues by writer and blogger, Masooma Memon. Before we dive into the analysis let’s just appreciate this beautiful book cover. It really does capture the essence of the story.

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Waneeza Z. for Daastan Publishers

Blurb

Depression is an abyss. An abyss with sharp, scintillating canines that can swallow you whole.

She knows about it because she had been devoured by it once. She has come a long way, and at most of the nights she feels proud of herself, but some nights the memory of it is strong enough to pierce her skin and shatter her once again. She was nine when her parents went separate ways.

She thought she could survive that, but what she didn’t expect was that a dark, hollow abyss was waiting to engulf her just up the road.

 

My Thoughts

When I talked to Masooma about her story she told me it was about depression. I admit it made me hesitant to read it because I generally don’t go for sad stories. We all seek happiness in our lives, right? Most people don’t enjoy hanging around depressed people because they don’t want to be dragged down with them. I thought Blues was going to drag me down with it. Boy was I wrong!

I didn’t need to go past the first few lines to fall completely in love with the writing. The author is gifted at spinning sentences that push the limits of your imagination and allow the meaning of those words to penetrate deep inside your mind. I was enchanted and totally sucked into the story from the beginning.

The narrative is in the first person which may put off readers who don’t enjoy this point of view in fiction. The writer has cleverly woven in diary entries which enhance this form of narrative. We follow the protagonist’s journey into the past as she leafs through pages of her old diary. The growth in her character is evident from the stark contrast between her past self and present self. The story starts with her making new beginnings determined to change for the better. Unlike many she is not afraid of her past and decides to face her demons head on. We can see that she has come a long way from days filled with hopelessness, self doubt, denial and loneliness. She reflects on the thoughts of her younger self and tries to spot the mistakes that made her fall so deep into the darkness of depression.

In the past, she felt imprisoned by her broken family. Her entire life was consumed with the grief and rage that comes with being a neglected child. That’s what she thought as she let her anger eat away at her common sense. It was clear whose fault it was but being stuck in her confused thoughts she directed the blame in the wrong direction. She allowed herself to be defined by her circumstances and her actions followed the path to self destruction.

With time she learned to escape from her pain, accepted the ugly truths of the world, appreciated the ones who never gave up on her, was grateful for what she had and most importantly, believed that she was not helpless or worthless. Living in a world that constantly seeks to put you down, it’s hard to believe in your value. Through Blues, the author shows us that there is always an escape from depression. It is usually a place you create yourself by holding fast to pessimism and thinking of problems rather than solutions. When you unearth the power of change that lies within you there is nothing that can stop you from moving forward towards the light. It is you who has to take the first step or else you could be lost in the darkness forever.

 

Overall Opinion

Beautifully crafted, Blues is an inspiring tale that serves as a lesson for us all.

 

My Rating

*****

 

Have you read any of the short stories published this year at Meraqissa store?

A Book Review of An Abandoned Leaf by Neeraj Brahmankar

Hello readers! Besides my Whimsical Wednesdays series, where I post a detailed book review every week, I will be sharing reviews of shorter publications like short stories I have read. Daastan is a relatively new publishing platform of Pakistan that organizes short story competitions in both Urdu and English categories. I participated in “A War Within” (English category) and made it to the Top 15. Today, I will be reviewing the first entry I read from this year’s batch of short stories: An Abandoned Leaf by Neeraj Brahmankar. Congratulations on clinching the 6th rank this year, Neeraj. May you enjoy more success in the future 🙂

 

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Cover by Waneeza Z. for Daastan Publishers

Blurb

A War outside is visible, but when it is within you, even if you bleed, no one sees it. There was a war between his mind and vocal cords.

Some people are fortunate enough to be born with a healthy body. Some are born disabled. He struggled to speak, due to stammer.

“An abandoned leaf” portrays the life events of a boy who despite having chaos in mind and outraged with pain, tried to flow like a meandering river.

Passing through a stage of resistance to abject surrender, he fought a long battle against the stammer, and words were like leaves buffeting against the wind of stammer.

Now even after battling with all his demons, he is left with nothing but a blurry childhood. Will he ever be able to revive what is lost?

 

My Thoughts

An Abandoned Leaf by Neeraj Brahmankar is non-fiction and written with a first person narrative since the author relates his story. It may sound a bit like an autobiography as he shares his struggle with stammering, which he developed as a child due to an illness.

The book opens with a quote by Einstein that pretty much sums up the message the author is trying to convey through this story.

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He explains that every person has their own special strengths so they should not be compared with others and made to feel inferior for not having a particular ability. To add to that everyone has their own idea of “normal” and “perfect”. The expectations are equally strong from each side but all demand different things.

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In this case, his disability was something that most of us don’t think twice about because we have to put in zero effort to give our thoughts a voice. He describes the importance of speech in human expression and reveals how hard it was to even say his first name. It’s not difficult to imagine how such a disability robs a child of confidence and self-worth. A child lives to please their peers and elders. The theme of the contest, “A War Within”, fits here as “the endless battle between my brain and my vocal cords”. He says that even if he managed to speak, his words weren’t invited by most people. However, all wasn’t gloom and doom as you join in the joy of his first success: shouting his name out loud during an interview for a school admission.

This is the point where he decides to take control of his life and not let his stammer dictate his progress. The author’s dedication to rising above his disability is truly inspiring not just for the disabled but also the rest of us who give up at the first sign of failure. He narrates his struggle with “different shades” of his stammer. You can see that it is way more complex than it appears from the outside. If you have ever wondered what life’s like for a disabled person then An Abandoned Leaf will give you a whole new perspective. The invisible war within the author mentions is not something others can see peering in from the outside. Whether you realize or not how every little comment opens up a world of hurt for them, it is unacceptable to be insensitive about something that’s not in their control.

His perseverance and hard work led him to not only overcome his stammer but excel in public speaking. Meanwhile, he also became a wonderful writer and poet. The young boy who struggled to speak became fluent in several regional and global languages. He found solace in music playing the harmonium where words seemed inadequate to express the depth of his feelings. He was bullied and taunted at every turn by others but his family and some teachers stood firm by him. It just goes to show how far a person can go with a few kind hearts and understanding minds.

The author delivers a powerful message to the disabled to become the masters of their own fate. This story is an eye opener for teachers, family, friends and the rest of us who look down on the disabled. Many do not bother to extend a helping hand or worse, humiliate them. This is a very common attitude that needs to change. You learn about the first hand experiences of the amazing man who was pushed down repeatedly but never lost hope or gave up on his dreams.

 

Overall Opinion

The writing is beautiful, personal and has a strong impact on the reader. I don’t read non-fiction that often but this is one piece everyone should read regardless of your preferred genres. It’s not just a story of a stammering boy but a mirror that shows us how ugly we appear to such people. There is so much we can do but we don’t even bother saying a kind word. Like the author said, “Love is all that they need” and The Beatles agree 🙂

 

My Rating

*****

 

Have you read any of the short stories published this year at Meraqissa store?

A Book Review of Beckoning Darkness (The Damned and the Pure #1) By J. D. Stonebridge

whimsical-wednesdays

Hello! Welcome to the first post of my brand new series, Whimsical Wednesdays, where I will be reviewing a book every week J

My first selection is a book I received from the author in exchange for an honest review. It belongs to the Fantasy and Paranormal Romance genre. So, if this is something you’d like to try then read on!

Beckoning Darkness” is the first book in the “The Damned and the Pure” series by J. D. Stonebridge. The name of the series makes sense since the hero is a “Damned” demon and the heroine is a “Pure” angel. I liked the depiction of the angel, Ariel, on the book cover but that sword is what stole my heart. It was released in 2014 and is now part of a trilogy.  So don’t worry about waiting for the next book to come out.

beckoning-darkness-cover

Blurb

God left humanity in the care of the angels. Centuries have passed, and Heaven is preparing for His return.

After centuries of imprisonment in Heaven, Ariel is given a chance to redeem herself in the eyes of the archangels. Years after her last descent, Ariel must return to the mortal land to fulfill her mission for the coming of God. But the memories of her past sins catch up to her, and Ariel must decide where her faith truly lies.

The city of Chicago was the chosen residence of the eccentric demon, Caelum. His taste of entertainment sets him apart from the rest of his kind, driving him to walk amongst the mortal men. But when he is presented with an opportunity to have a hand in Hell’s grand plan, temptation beckoned him to take the risks. Walking through shadows and nightmares he crosses paths with an angel from Heaven, and the memories of his forgotten humanity begin to resurface.

Both Heaven and Hell have plans for the End of Days with the angel, Ariel, and the demon, Caelum, at the center. When faith is threatened, two natural enemies become unlikely allies in a war for all Humanity.

My Thoughts

I have never read a book by this author so I was excited to see what I would find. Beckoning Darkness opens with Ariel being released from imprisonment now that the archangels have a mission for her. What her sin was exactly even she doesn’t know. Her memories of that time have been erased. It’s not that her memory doesn’t try to resurface; it’s just that she’d rather not remember her shame. Fresh out of prison, she is assigned a task on earth and is eager to redeem herself in the eyes of Heaven as it prepares for the return of God.

Ariel is your typical Goody Two-shoes as you would expect of a mythological angel. She reminds me of that one kid in your class who refuses to budge a centimeter from the rules *points to self*. It’s almost like she is brainwashed since creation (which she probably is) into thinking that the world is black and white. She believes the best of all Heavenly beings and the worst of anyone remotely related to Hell. In a way, Ariel is the most naïve and innocent creature you have ever come across. She is an adult but I am sure you know street kids way smarter than her. The core of her ignorance is her belief that doubt is sin. This is why she fights so hard to keep her “faith” even when the signs clearly tell her otherwise.

I enjoyed Caelum’s entrance. It shows you the harsh reality of humans and where demonic influence would actually stand if it existed as in this book. You could say our boy’s a bit unique. He is a demon who doesn’t like Hell or torturing souls. He has no loyalty to anyone but himself. So, in many ways, he is the opposite of Ariel. He survives dodging Hellish beings especially his superiors. Unlike Ariel, he loves the human world. He enjoys the fine comforts of life. Caelum has no recollection of his life before he was a demon but he knows that he used to be human. He is smart and charming. Did I mention this is all a façade for how deadly he really is? While angels can fly and heal, Caelum can move between shadows undetected and create nightmares. As Fate (or someone else *coughs*) would have it, Caelum and Ariel are assigned the same task by their higher-ups: influence the same human. Since beings off Heaven and Hell are sworn enemies, our leads are polar opposites and they are competing for the same prize, their first meeting goes something like this.

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Ariel’s straight-faced self-righteous dialogues in reaction to Caelum’s flirtatious provocation remind me of Castiel from Supernatural. It’s hilarious and kind of sad (for Ariel).

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I wasn’t expecting the book to veer off in a completely different direction with how that particular mission ended. I thought the story would be about that mission. I was quite glad though because that’s where the plot thickens. Ariel’s dreaded doubts arise and I delighted in her inner war. Is it bad that I didn’t take the woman’s side? Yes, I sold my heart to a demon but you can’t really blame me. Caelum grows on you pretty fast. He’s a swell guy despite being a demon. Are you telling me you wouldn’t want to be influenced by someone like that? !

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Coming back to the plot, mysterious events start to happen around them and disturbing rumors reach them (ooooooooohhh!). As you might have guessed, this is the part where they shake hands and decide to help each other “solve the mystery” *Uses Shaggy voice*. Ariel is still a haughty biatch but that’s okay, she goes through a tough inner battle and plays her part admirably. Lots of other supernatural creatures join the party and the bloodbath begins!! That’s always my favorite part 😀

Strange mysteries, heart-rending betrayal, slick action, soul deep agony, fun world building, interesting characters, engaging storyline; yup, Beckoning Darkness has it all. Not only are the two main characters well developed but the secondary ones are all integral to the story and refreshing. The main mystery wasn’t hard to solve but I guess the author intended that. The others kept me hooked and I enjoyed how they unfolded. There is still a lot we don’t know and the book ends in a sort-of cliffhanger.

The writing style pulled me in from the prologue and kept me in its spell till the very end. I have read a fair number of Paranormal Romances about angels and demons but I was glad to see this book take a different approach to it. The plot did not depend on romance (Thank God!) so I was able to enjoy the story without the compulsory seduction, couple fights and make ups. This was nice. It was really nice. One thing I wanted to see more of was the world-building. I felt like a lot of things just existed but weren’t explained properly. In the beginning, there is significant human interaction so you can see how the supernatural world fits into the human one. After that, the humans are not mentioned yet everything happens in the human world. There is so much more I wanted to know but I thought was unfairly kept from me. You might be frustrated by some aspects of the writing like not having enough to go on but it won’t prevent you from enjoying the book. I hope all that will be revealed in the second book.

Will Caelum and Ariel become buddy-buddy or will they remain “just friends”? Find out in the next episode of “Days of Our Lives in Hell”. JK do read the next book in the series, “Wavering Light” to see where the story goes.

Overall Opinion

If you love reading Paranormal Fiction then Beckoning Darkness will give you something new in this genre. Even with its weaknesses, it is a very well written book with characters that you can connect with and an engaging plot.

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My Rating 

****

Will you be adding this to your TBR list?