Thursday, February 15

Your Sweet Tooth Fix - Let's Talk Romance, Books and K-dramas!

So....Vera reckons I should talk about K-dramas on the blog since I love them so much and all, and since I watched quite a few of them last year and I'm raring to talk about them, I figured I might as well do some recommendations. I'm not exaggerating when I say that some of the most heart melting, heartbreaking romances I've come across are from these dramas. You get all kinds- cutesy, angsty, sweet, infatuated, real. Set across genres like fantasy, historical, contemporary- you name it, K-dramaland has it all. And you know what's the best thing? While there are longer series that stretch across seasons, most of these are just 16 to 20 episodes long (an hour or so each), and that's basically perfect if you're worrying about how time-consuming it might be! 

...Now, it's a whole other matter if you get hooked and want to binge all the dramas but shush now.

I'm kinda nervous putting this post out here knowing that not most of you watch K-dramas but I'm hoping at least one of you will feel like checking at least one of these out. I promise I'm not trying to convert y'all but...but if you do end up getting into these because of me, please do let me know! I'm trying to keep an inventory of all the people I manage to push down the drama hole, you see, so it would be incredibly helpful if you let me know I succeeded.


It's also Valentine's and this is also primarily a book blog, so I figured I might as well use this as a chance to throw some of my favorite romances in books at y'all. I know. You're welcome. These aren't necessarily romance books per se, but some of the most swoonworthy of romances I've come across and I'm sure you would love them too! Excited already? Okay then, here goes!

Inspired by the life of South Korean Olympic weightlifter gold-medalist Jang Mi-ran, this sports drama about college athletes who fighting for their dreams and finding love. Kim Bok-joo is a student in Hanwool College of Physical Education. She has shown strength like no other since she was a child as influenced by her former weightlifter father. She looks thoughtless at a first glance, but inside she’s as fragile as glass and has deep recognition. 

Jung Joon-hyung is Kim Bok-joo’s best friend. He is a born swimmer but ever since he was disqualified from his first international event, he suffers from ‘start trauma’. Along with Kim Bok-joo, he overcomes his troubles and finds his dream and love. 

Song Shi-ho is a rhythm gymnast who also attends Hanwool College of Physical Education. She started gymnastics since she was 5 and won the Asian Games at the age of 18. She’s always been the best since then but mental pressure caused her to break up with Jung Joon-hyung and regret it.

Why you should watch this:

❥ Solid, unconventional, quirky female lead who's a weightlifter- and the story is inspired by a real life South Korean weightlifter! 
❥ Crazy chemistry between the leads! Certainly helps knowing that they ended up dating irl...well, they broke up fairly recently but shh. Don't remind me of that.
❥ Squad goals! Be it Bok Joo and her friends,Joon Hyung and his, or all of them together, they're all so amazing and it's truly heartwarming to see how their relationships progress.
❥ Also, family! Family is everything!
❥ A sports drama, but one that would instantly make you want to attend a sports uni too, even if you're against the very idea of moving your lazy bum like *cough* me. 

Na Bong-sun may be a skilled sous chef, but she lacks the self-esteem to shine professionally and socially. Beyond her cooking talents, however, is an uncanny ability to communicate with ghosts. 

One day, her mystic senses go out of control when the seductive ghost of Shin Soon-ae possesses her. Imbued with a fiery new "personality," Bong-sun starts turning heads, including that of Kang Sun-woo, the hottest chef in town and Bong-sun's secret crush!

Why you should watch this:

❥ A ghost story that is anything but scary. Basically tailor-made for someone who likes their horror in minimal (non-existent) doses like yours truly. 
❥ The most amazing leads and side characters- Jo Jung Suk grows on you when you start to least expect it and the female leads are both so good! I loved each of their character arcs and their banter was truly heart-warming.
❥ All the cooking! Chefs! Restaurants! Fun! 
❥ Relationships, be it familial, romantic or friendships, they are all done so well and you'd definitely be left wanting more of these characters and their stories. 
❥ The mystery, the plot, the feels and the legitimately laugh-out-loud comedy makes this one refreshing drama that's not to be missed!

Hae Soo is a 21st century woman who gets caught in a solar eclipse and is transported to the Goryeo Dynasty, which ruled Korea from the 10th century for nearly 500 years. Suddenly, Hae Soo finds herself in the royal palace, where she comes across Fourth Prince Wang So. 

A man as feared as he is handsome, Wang So is based on the real-life fourth king of the Goryeo Dynasty and makes others tremble but wins over Hae Soo’s heart. However, he is not the only one in the palace with eyes on the throne, and a political battle of deception, secrecy and lies ensues between Wang So and all the other princes. 

Adding to the drama are Eighth Prince Wang Wook, who is less than willing to wait in line behind seven other members of the royal family, and Third Prince Wang Yo, whose right to the crown actually precedes Wang So’s.

Why you should watch this:

❥ Amazing characters who'd leave a lasting impact on you. You'd love some, hate some- the actors are all so good and you'd never be wanting for anymore perfection onscreen what with the many princes and all.
❥ Even though this was the second k-drama I watched and I watched quite a few after this, this is still my most favorite so that definitely says something, doesn't it?
❥ Basically for you if you feel contemporary cutesy stuff isn't your cup of tea- this is a historical spin-off of South Korea’s Goryeo era founded by the King Taejo, and the male lead, Wang So, is based on the real-life fourth king of the Goryeo era and he's amazing
❥ Did I mention fantastic plot and twists you'd never see coming? Apart from the many side love stories, there's also a love triangle, where the main lead, Hae Soo finds herself caught between Wang So (4th Prince), and Wang Wook (8th Prince), and if you love angst-filled romances...boy, do I have news for you.
❥ The bestest, most repeat-worthy soundtrack ever! 

An insanely strong girl swoons over her childhood crush. He, unfortunately, likes women that are a lot more elegant than the clumsy Bong-soon. While she tries to win him over, she lands a job as a bodyguard to a gorgeous CEO. However, even she doesn’t seem to have the strength to break through her boss’s impenetrable ego and thick skull.

Why you should watch this:

❥ Freakishly strong, unbelievably clumsy and cute female lead who's into computer games and takes no shit from anyone. She's strong, quirky and quite the superwoman and I loved her! And oh, did I mention she's a bodyguard? 
❥ Bong Soon finds herself caught in the best love triangle ever (yes, you read that right)- on one hand there's her thick-headed yet oh-so-gorgeous boss, and on the other there's her highly disinterested yet caring high school crush. 
❥ A+ bromance between said boss and high school crush.
❥ The weight of the world on her little shoulders, Bong Soon finds herself caught in the most hilarious of situations and it's up to her to fix things without causing too much damage in the process. 
❥ Not all fluff, however, There's a consistent storyline with a creepy criminal involved and it was given just as much importance, in case you were thinking this sounded empty and devoid of story.

Shin Joon-young and Noh Eul were classmates who were separated during their teenage years due to an ill-fated relationship, but later meet each other in adulthood. Shin Joon-young is now an egotistical top actor-singer while Noh Eul is a materialistic documentary producer.

Why you should watch this:

❥ Take that box of tissues (you're welcome) and sit down for the most beautiful, angst-filled story of ever. It certainly helps that the actors are all amazing! It's been weeks since I saw this one and my heart. Still. Hurts.
❥ Also, the soundtrack is amazing! 

That's five dramas in all. I could go on and rec a few more but I wouldn't want to scare you away so I'll stop here. *sighs* AND NOW, on to the books!

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once? 

Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. 

Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.


Why you should read this: 

❥ One of the (if not the) series that succeeded in keeping me up all night reading just because how highly addictive and cute it was. 
❥ Amazing family dynamics, the loveliest, most real characters, and beautiful relationships all around!
❥ The loveliest, most relatable main character! And the bestest love interest in a contemporary, hands down! (Well, maybe second best because Michael from Princess Diaries is still my most favourite.)
❥ The sisters! Their house! Their dad! And Korean traditions upheld all throughout the series, and yes, it's #ownvoices!
❥ Um. *throws book at you*

The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

One minute Mia's totally normal. Next minute she's heir to the throne of Genovia.

Well, her dad can lecture her until he's royal-blue in the face, but no way is Mia going to behave like some posh princess. And they think she's moving to Genovia? Er, hello?

Why you should read this: 

❥ The fact that I re-read this series on a buddy-read with Vera a year or so ago and we both loved it all over again is proof enough that this is one of the best contemporaries out there.
❥ Mindless fun, you'd find yourself zipping your way through this in no time. Maybe it's because I found Mia relatable but never once was I bored or annoyed by her. What she felt, what she went through was all just too understandable.
❥ The writing is nothing special per se, but it suffices. To the point, frank and genuine, Mia's voice comes across brilliantly,
❥ Also, amazing side characters! From Lilly, Mia's best friend to Fat Louie, Mia's cat, they are all important! They are all amazing! You see how they each develop throughout the series (and yes, even fat Louie- don't look at me like that!), and it's so, so, satisfying!
❥ Adorable, hilarious and heartwarming, this would be the perfect book if you're looking for a fluffy YA book to devour in one sitting! Or two, it doesn't matter either way. Also, did I mention Michael? 

The Winners Curse by Marie Rutkoski

 Winning what you want may cost you everything you love... 

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. 

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. 

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined. 

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.


Why you should read this: 

❥ If cutesy, fluffy contemporary romances are not your thing, fear not for I have a brilliant fantasy rec for you right here!
❥ Smol but smart and fierce female protagonist- Kestrel was amazing! Arin was great too and together they were freaking fantastic.
❥ The swoonworthiest, angstiest, relationship ever! This is a trilogy, and throughout the course of the series we go from being blissfully happy to heartbroken, to a sobbing mess to being happy again...or are we? It's that kind of book and if angst-filled romances in books are your think, look no further!
❥ Oppression, treason, war- put in all this with the forbidden romance and you have a recipe for epicness, and epic this one definitely is! 
❥ Beautiful writing, amazing characters, brilliant relationships...AND TIGER CUBS, y'all!!! Pick this one up already. Please.

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

Amanda Hardy is the new girl at school.

Like everyone else, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is holding back. Even from Grant, the guy she's falling in love with.

Amanda has a secret.

At her old school, she used to be called Andrew. And secrets always have a way of getting out.

A book about loving yourself and being loved for who you really are.

Why you should read this: 

❥ The story of a trans girl...basically just another story of a teenage girl- albeit with a different medical history than most others. 
❥ The author takes what could potentially be a difficult subject and works wonders with it. 
❥ Amanda ends up in a hugely homophobic town, the kind where people owning cars that flaunted bumper stickers about being a "proud homophobic", but the author shows how even here, Amanda finds an amazing group of friends and a boyfriend, and it's all done so well!
❥ Did I mention the amazing characters? From Amanda's mom to her boyfriend, Grant, there were some incredibly supportive characters- which is not to say there weren't awful ones, but the amazing ones overshadowed the horrible ones so it all turned out perfect at the end.
❥ A brilliant #ownvoices story that normalizes trans experiences- isn't that reason enough for you to pick this book up?

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

What if everything you set yourself up to be was wrong?

Frances has always been a study machine with one goal, elite university. Nothing will stand in her way; not friends, not a guilty secret – not even the person she is on the inside.

But when Frances meets Aled, the shy genius behind her favourite podcast, she discovers a new freedom. He unlocks the door to Real Frances and for the first time she experiences true friendship, unafraid to be herself. Then the podcast goes viral and the fragile trust between them is broken.

Caught between who she was and who she longs to be, Frances’ dreams come crashing down. Suffocating with guilt, she knows that she has to confront her past…

She has to confess why Carys disappeared…

Meanwhile at uni, Aled is alone, fighting even darker secrets.

It’s only by facing up to your fears that you can overcome them. And it’s only by being your true self that you can find happiness.

Frances is going to need every bit of courage she has. 


Why you should read this:

❥ Disclaimer: I did not add this book here for its romance. The main character, Frances is of mixed race, bisexual, and has a brilliantly intense, platonic relationship with a guy, namely Aled. The reason why I even added this on one here is because I feel we need more of these in YA, and why not add it on this list, when it's fabulously swoonworthy in its own way?
❥ Did I mention the book has excellent ace spectrum rep? There are many sexualities and races represented and they're all done so well! 
❥ Podcasts! Facebook! Fanart! Tumblr! YouTube! Basically everything you'd want to see in a book about millenials. 
❥ The book also deals with the pressure of high school, the negative side of uni and academia, abusive parents, and a lot more's so important, I tell you!
❥ Beautiful, real and raw. Seriously, with A+ rep, fantastic characters and relationships, flawless writing, could you honestly ask for more?

That's it! 
Five each of the most swoonworthy K-dramas and books! 
Do you watch K-dramas too, or do you perhaps find yourself ever-so-slightly curious about them now? Which of these appealed the most to you? And most importantly, would you like me to continue talking about K-dramas on the blog occasionally?
What about the books? Have you read any of these, or have any of these been sitting in your TBRs since forever? What are some of your favourite fictional romances? 
Let's talk in the comments below!


  1. I've never actually watched a K-drama, but looking at Scarlet Heart: Ryeo makes me want to try it...unfortunately I can't seem to find where to watch it. And Oh My Ghostess sounds cute, haha. I completely agree that The Princess Diaries are still good as an adult. I haven't re-read the later ones in the series, but I love how the first ones still hold up.

    1. Oh, PERFECT choice! I can say you have great taste in k-dramas already! :D Have you tried the DramaFever link I included? The first seven episodes are free on it. And Oh My Ghostess is cute alright- I hope you get around to it someday, if you ever get into K-dramas! <3

    2. Oops, silly me! The link absolutely works, and I will check it out quite soon. I'm finishing up another two series, but then it is next on my list!

    3. OH!!! I'm so excited already- I hope you finish the other two VERY soon and get around to this one! AAAAAAAARGH I really, really, REALLY hope you end up loving it!

  2. I have never had the pleasure of watching any k-dramas. Back when I was teaching, I had a group of girls, who loved k-pop and k-drama, and they tried to teach me about it. I loved their enthusiasm. I am a fan of Lara Jean, but now I need Han to write a Kitty spinoff, that jumps her ahead to high school, so we can find out how the whole college thing worked out for LJ and Peter K.

    1. I fairly sure I'd love kpop too but I can't afford another obsession right now so I'm restraining myself xD I HOPE YOU TRY KDRAMAS SOMEDAY THO!!! I promise they are amazing! <3
      And reg Kitty- omg yesss, that would be perfect and I really hope Han does something along those lines!

  3. Radio Silence sounds like a book I can get behind. Thanks for the book recs, (I don't need the drama recs LOL) I've read Princess Diaries and quite enjoyed it as well as Lara Jean, I loved those books!

    1. HAHAHAH but of course you wouldn't need drama recs, being the veteran you are ;)
      I wouldn't have thought you were the PD or Lara Jean type tbh, I'm so very pleasantly surprised! And you should totally check out Radio Silence, Dashie! It's AMAZING! <3

  4. Never watched K-dramas before even though loads of people in my Twitter timeline talk about them. I'm just watching TV less and less in general. There are a couple of shows I'm interested in but that's it. The Winner's Curse is on my TBR and is one of the few YA on my shelves I didn't get rid of so I'm hoping to read it sometime in the future. Hopefully

    1. Ahhh what a pity you're watching lesser TV now- kdramas are so, so, SO good xD While I don't think you'd enjoy any of the ones I've mentioned here there ARE a few other's I'd rec you in a heartbeat! LET ME KNOW IF YOU'RE EVER INTERESTED, PLEASE!
      And oh, I hope you pick The Winner's Curse up soon! Though I felt the trilogy could have ended better, it was still a very good series!

  5. I started watching the K-drama on Netflix, but then they took it off so I never got a chance to finish. I'd love to start another, so I'm going to be searching to see if any of these are on their. I love Kestrel so much. I'd love to see more fantasy heroines who are celebrated for their brains. Great post!

    1. I just checked and both Strong Woman Do Bong Soon AD Oh My Ghostess are available on Netflix- YOU HAVE TO WATCH THEM OMG!! And if you feel you'd like something a little serious (and yet so much fun!) you should try Descendants of the Sun! I just watched it and its AMAZING!
      And yes, I'd kill for better fantasy heroines too! It's not always in the strength, brains are important too ahaha.

  6. I love Oh My Ghostess and Strong Woman Do Bong-Soon! They were both incredible. Uncontrollably Fond is definitely on my to-watch list :D

    1. YES YES YES about OMG and SWDBS! I loved them both so much! You should totally watch UF soon- I'd recommend a box of tissues too, you're welcome! :D

  7. I love K-dramas! I haven't watched the ones you talked about yet but I've heard great things about them all and they're all on my k-dramas-to-watch list. Have you watched Hwarang? It's a great historical k-drama and I'd really recommend watching it, if you haven't already.

    I really liked The Winner's trilogy and Radio Silence. Great Recommendations! :)

    1. Nooo, Hwarang's on my watchlist (mostly because I love Park Hyung-Sik) and I need to get around to it soon! ALSO- you should watch all of these asap- and add Descendants of the Sun to the list, while you're at it, because I just watched it and it blew my mind! xD
      Thank you! I'm glad you approve of the recs- I feel Radio Silence more appreciation tbh, so few people I know have read it!


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