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Reporting back with another Feel Good list of Korean dramas!

I don't know how about you, but I haven't been reading much in the last two years. I don't really know what it is but if you are in a long reading slump speckled with an excellent book here and there, you've probably ended up watching more TV or listening to books and podcasts, right? Right?!!! 😁

I'm sure you've figured out I haven't stopped bingeing on Asian dramas since probably 2018. Yes, that's when my blogging took a dive too. It's perfect escapism, and the feeling I get out of it is the same wirlwind of of emotions I had in my teens discovering historical romance genre.

So, if you need a bit of the same cozy, comforting feeling without reading, here are my recs to you for the next somewhat less festive month than what we've used to with lockdowns, restrictions and all.

Ready? Steady.. Go!

Having a bit of a hangover after watching Goblin? Never fear, newest Netflix hit comes to the rescue. The screenwriter from Goblin and my favourite goblin's bride Kim Go-eun are here, joined by one of the most famous Korean male actors Lee Min Ho. 
So, this is a romance, action drama and fantasy across parallel world's, and the twist isn't revealed until the very end. Just like Goblin, it's bittersweet and magical with an excellent soundtrack.

Lee Gon (Lee Min Ho) is the third Corean emperor of his generation. His citizens regard him as the perfect leader. But behind this flawless appearance, hides a deep wound. When he was eight years old, his father was murdered before his eyes following a coup. Today, instead of respecting his filial duty, he prefers to escape the palace to attend university conferences. During one of his escapades, he sees himself propelled into a parallel world into Republic of Korea where he meets Jeong Tae Eul (Kim Go-eun), an inspector with whom he teams up with to defeat the criminals but also close the door between their two worlds.
Watch all 16 episodes on Netflix.

This is also known as Jealousy Incarnate. Pure romantic comedy, full of silliness and it totally laughs at itself. There are at least three love triangles and so much over the top drama! And yet, it's warm and light-hearted. Mostly, because the main actress Gong Hyo Jin always plays really warm characters and I'm drawn to her acting, but also because the chemistry between her and the sulky, arrogant protagonist is off the charts. But wait, there is bromance too! The twist of the story? He develops breast cancer and his ego takes a massive dive. While the girl who had a massive crush on him in the past is falling for his best friend and helping him to get through the treatment, so he falls hard for her while at his most vulnerable. The OST is delicious. Look at this for a teaser and watch with English captions otherwise you'll miss what's being said during the song.

Lee Hwa Shin is a handsome anchor with notable journalistic talent, a well-to-do family and commendable education. He is also as fierce a competitor as one will find in the world of reporting, and goes after stories relentlessly. 

But as luck would have it, he also comes across another fierce competitor -- meteorologist Pyo Na Ri. Pyo Na Ri doesn’t have the shining resume of her anchor counterpart, went to a third-rate college and only has a temporary contract with the station. Although her dorky exterior hides an inner fire, Na Ri has worked extremely hard to get where she is, even doing odd jobs like lifting boxes. Both anchor and meteorologist now see each other as rivals in their race to becoming the station’s most valued employee. 

But what happens when the two rivals start to fall in love? The drama may be too much, even for a broadcasting station. 
Watch all 24 episodes on Netflix.

I've mentioned this one couple of years ago but I only watched it all the way through (binged on it, really) recently. Historical drama, check! Time travel, check! A borderline psychopath antihero, check! Settle down for Beauty and The Beast trope, peeps. And yet, both IU and Lee Joon Gi have amazing chemistry together. I am yet to watch the Chinese original, but this was despite a couple of unnecessary slow episodes excellent series!
And watch this if you need more persuasion.

When a total eclipse of the sun takes place, Go Ha Jin is transported back in time to the start of the Goryeo Dynasty of Korea during King Taejo's rule. She wakes up in the body of 16-year-old Hae Soo and finds herself in the house of 8th Prince Wang Wook, who is married to her cousin. She soon befriends several of the princes and meets the ostracized 4th Prince, Wang So. Although she knows she should not get involved in palace intrigues over the succession to the throne, she inadvertently becomes a pawn in the struggle, as several of the Princes fall in love with her. 

I think, Ondramanice has it. It's not currently on Netflix or Viki.

This an excellent medical drama, warm hearted and touching. A genius doctor collects oddball surgeons for his extremely busy small town hospital while fighting corporate greed. This was such a successful drama, that it just released it's second season, which is freaking rare in kdramas. Lovable and charismatic characters, and it'll make you feel good. 

Kim Sa Bu was once a famous surgeon at the peak of his career at a major hospital. But he suddenly gives it all up one day to live in seclusion and work as a neighborhood doctor in a small town. He now goes by “Teacher Kim” and refers to himself as the “Romantic Doctor”. Meanwhile, Kang Dong Joo became a doctor to make something of himself after growing up poor, and he seeks out VIP patients to achieve the success that he desperately wants. Yoon Seo Jung is a passionate young surgeon who is haunted by a mistake from her past and tries to get over it. When Dong Joo and Seo Jung meet the quirky Teacher Kim, their lives and careers will never be the same again. 
Watch both seasons on Netflix.

I just finished it the other day, and I have to say, it was really gripping because it portrays a young guy struggling with multiple personality disorder and and an eccentric psychiatrist working closely with him. There are all the usual tropes. Rich boy, poor girl romance, check! Tragic past, check! Drama interspersed with comedy moments, check! The best thing about this drama is Ji Sung playing 7 different characters. He was awesome!

A traumatic childhood experience leaves Cha Do Hyeon, suffering from memory loss and dissociation. The latter has resulted in the creation of seven distinct personalities. Wanting to regain control over his life, he asks Oh Ri Jin, a first-year psychiatric resident, to help him, but she eventually falls in love with one of his personalities. Ri Jin’s twin brother, Oh Ri On, a famous mystery novelist, investigates Do Hyeon and his family.

Watch it on Netflix.

This Taiwanese romantic comedy gets a honorary mention because it's so bloody delightful. The main character is a romance novel editor in a small publishing house and she is sick and tired of editing books about overbearing CEOs. Guess what, she has a secret crush on a CEO next door and when he falls into coma due to nefarious reasons, she goes down with him into the world of the novel she is editing!
So. Many. Tropes.
And the heroine uses them all to get out of the book she is in. As a reader I was ecstatic. It's bad and cringy, and she cringes with us but plays along and falls for it too. Expect great chemistry and much eye candy, tons of playfulness plus some good soundtrack. It's cheesy and at the same time great. There are sketches from some great kdramas sneaked in as cameos. Don't thank me, you've been warned.

Zheng Xiao En works as an editor of romance novels at a publishing company, and secretly dreams about falling in love with a CEO. When she isn’t working, she spends her days daydreaming about He Tian Xing, the handsome chief executive of the company that occupies the building opposite her company’s offices.
One day, Zheng Xiao En magically finds herself transported into the pages of a romance novel – and comes face-to-face with her crush He Tian Xing. However, she soon discovers that in this fictional universe, his name is Si Tu Ao Ran – and his personality is very different. She hopes to use all the tips and tricks she has learned from the romance novels she has edited to help snare his heart. But she soon discovers that in this fictional world, she isn’t the heroic female lead – and instead is an evil side character!
Can she flip the story on its head – and end up with the man of her dreams?

Watch it on Viki

Korean Paranormal Fantasy TV Series Review: Goblin (2016) 19 Episodes


Kim Shin (Gong Yoo), a decorated military general from the Goryeo Dynasty, is framed as a traitor and killed by the young king. Years after his death, he is cursed by the almighty to stay immortal forever and endure the pain of seeing his loved ones die as punishment for the kills he committed in the wars to protect his country. He becomes an immortal goblin, helping people with his powers and being a kind man in spite of his grieving past. The only way to put an end to his immortality is the Goblin's bride, whose aid in pulling out the sword will end his painful immortality.

Ji Eun-Tak (Kim Go-eun) is a bubbly high school student who remains cheerful and hopeful despite her tragic life. She summons the goblin by chance and their fates begin to entwine. The Goblin's nephew Yoo Deok-Hwa (Yook Sung-jae) leases the Goblin's house to a Grim Reaper (Lee Dong-wook) and the two end up living under the same roof. Sunny (Yoo In-na) is a charismatic young lady who runs a chicken shop where Ji Eun-Tak works as a part timer.

As the lives of Kim Shin, Grim Reaper, Ji Eun-Tak and Sunny interweave, a deeper story unfolds, as they are not just strangers who met by chance but people with deep-rooted relations.


Guys, gals, if this one doesn't convert you into a fervently passionate fan of k-drama, I don't know what will! As urban fantasy genre goes, this is it. It's Buffy's goofiness and sass with Ilona Andrews' depth of worldbuilding and snappy dialogues.

It's funny, it's sad, poignant and so freaking beautiful... Of course, I cried in the end, and I just know this drama and its heroes will stay with me for a long time.

All four characters have a fantastic chemistry. Kim Shin, the immortal general is what Christopher Lambert wished he could have been as Highlander! There is no doom and gloom here, he is goofy, snarky, awkward with trying to catch up with all the technological advances, but underneath it all is this incredible weariness and sadness. He is tired of caring for people and watching them die while he carries on. The possibility of this cute little cheeky girl as his bride who can end his immortality is met with huge cinicism and disbelief. He's been there, got the t-shirt and had enough of hope.

The beauty of his curse is that the more he meets Eun-Tak, the more he gets to know her, the more he wants to live. She brings back all the forgotten feelings: seeing joy in small things, feeling warmth of someone's touch through hugs, experiencing wonder of new places and people. She is hungry for life, she has been barely surviving for years, and this opportunity she grabs with both hands.

Grim Reaper who is forced to share a house with Goblin is just as amazing character. He starts the series as an unmoving bureaucrat, who loves his paperwork and strictly adheres to the rules, but the more he interacts with Goblin and the people in his orbit, the more his character unravels. You see, fate brought them all together to resolve things which were left unfinished many centuries ago, and no matter how much they want to fight against it, it will prevail.

Be ready to laugh and cry, folks. I was definitely gulping back tears in some episodes,and the ending left me wrung out, empty and at the same time very satisfied. It's available on Viki app, so give it a go and let me know what you think in the comments.

Release Day Fantasy Romance Review: Dragon Unleashed by Grace Draven

Dragon Unleashed by Grace Draven (The Fallen Empire #2)

ecopy courtesy of the publisher

Synopsis from Goodreads

A dragon shapeshifter and a healer with power over the earth fight a corrupt empire in this thrilling and deeply emotional romantic fantasy from the USA Today bestselling author of Radiance.

Magic is outlawed in the Krael Empire and punishable by death. Born with the gift of earth magic, the free trader Halani keeps her dangerous secret closely guarded. When her uncle buys a mysterious artifact, a piece of bone belonging to a long-dead draga, Halani knows it's far more than what it seems.

Dragas haven't been seen for more than a century, and most believe them extinct. They're wrong. Dragas still walk among the denizens of the Empire, disguised as humans. Malachus is a draga living on borrowed time. The magic that has protected him will soon turn on him--unless he finds a key part of his heritage. He has tracked it to a group of free traders, among them a grave-robbing earth witch who fascinates him as much as she frustrates him with her many secrets.

Unbeknownst to both, the Empire's twisted empress searches for a draga of her own, to capture and kill as a trophy. As Malachus the hunter becomes the hunted, Halani must risk herself and all she loves to save him from the Empire's machinations and his own lethal birthright.

Amazon US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | Book Depository


* * *
I've read Dragon Unleashed within a week of starting it, but had to re-arrange my thoughts for a few weeks before I was comfortable enough to share them with you.

Paranormal Fantasy Review: Semi-Psychic Life by Elizabeth Hunter

Semi-Psychic Life by Elizabeth Hunter (Glimmer Lake #2)

ecopy courtesy of the author

Synopsis from Goodreads
Who says you can’t live the rock and roll life after forty?
You just need a lot more vitamins and a bigger bottle of aspirin.

Valerie Costa was pretty sure she was rocking her forties. She had an amazing coffee shop, two cool teenagers, and a new superpower that gave her insight into any random object she touched.

Okay, she wasn’t thrilled about that last one.

Ever since Val and her two best friends had driven their car off the edge and into Glimmer Lake the year before, Val has struggled with her new abilities. She’s not exactly sure she wants to be psychic, she could live without her newfound glove addiction, and honestly no one wants to know that much about their teenage sons.

But when Val’s ex-husband goes missing, and police show up at her door with questions she can’t answer, Val, Robin, and Monica are going to have to use their sudden psychic abilities to solve a mystery none of them saw coming.

Semi-Psychic Life is a standalone paranormal women’s fiction novel in the Glimmer Lake series by USA Today bestseller, Elizabeth Hunter, author of the Elemental Mysteries and the Irin Chronicles.

Amazon US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository


* * *
 First of all, not surprisingly, I loved it.  What's not to love, boys and girls? Paranormal cosy mystery, check. Middle-aged, settled into their own skin and their friendships heroines, check. A sexy sheriff in a small town, rawrrr! Check. A punk, rebellious, interesting heroine with a snarkalicious attitude and a swanky coffee shop, check.

Korean Romantic Drama TV Series Review: Extraordinary You (2019)

Extraordinary You (2019)

Korean Romantic Drama TV Series
16 episodes

Watched on Netflix

Synopsis from MyDramaList
 What would you do if you found out that you were, in fact, a character in a comic? And an extra character on top of that? Change the course of the story, obviously! Eun Dan Oh is a 17-year-old high-school student from a wealthy family who suffers from a lifelong heart condition that inevitably means she will not live past her teenage years. However, when Dan Oh realizes she is experiencing long gaps in her memory as well, she comes into the unhappy inheritance of another fact in her life: she is a character in a Korean webtoon and all of her actions are predetermined by the artist who draws her. To make matters worse, she discovers she is only a supporting character in the cast. With her newfound understanding of the world she inhabits, she is determined to find true love in her own plot-line and circumvent the author’s plans for her character by utilizing the flashes of storyboard she alone is able to see. (Source: onehallyu) ~~ Adapted from the webcomic series "July Found by Chance” by Moo Ryoo.


* * *
I finished it last night at 1AM and cried my eyes out. Here, I fully admit it.

To me, in many ways, Asian dramas are an extension of my love of all things fantasy, and especially urban fantasy. They feel fresh, pure and raw. In contrast, for quite a few last years I've been struggling to stay interested in Western TV series and movies, and then gave up. They make me tired, they are jaded and cynical, and I want something emotionally uplifting instead.

Extraordinary You delivers in spectacular fashion. The premise is fantastic. An extra in a comic book suddenly snap out of character which she is forced into on stage and discovers that she, Eun Dan-oh is completely different underneath. She is chafing against her doormat of a character who is forever moping about, is potentially dying soon from a weak heart and loves a man who despises her. Instead, she is determined to live her life to the fullest between scenes in the comic book and change her fate.

Her force of character allows her to discover an even more insignificant extra in the comic book who has the strange power to alter scenes on the stage and warp the continuity of the plot creating a butterfly effect. Soon, more and more characters are waking up and walk the strange balance between the cliched comic book and their actual life.

Dan-Oh and Ha-Ru develop strong feelings for each other and discover that underneath the light romantic plot of their comic book there is another sinister layer, and it leads to many struggles and heartbreak, but above it all, there is an overwhelming hope in the power of their love for each other.

I really don't want to give you any spoilers, but I loved this series! Dan-Oh and Ha-Ru characters are magnetic and have beautiful chemistry. Dan-Oh's stage fiance is not as villainous as we are led to believe and has layers of character which were wonderful to peel off. The supporting characters are pretty memorable too. I had a kick out of all the things which were left unsaid and were played out with the eyes and the way people were holding their bodies. It's like they were these whole hidden silent dialogues in between words.

Overall, a fantastic plot, great acting and an uplifting, emotional story. Loved it, recommended.

Online Gaming TV Series Review: The King's Avatar (2019)

The King's Avatar (2019) Chinese TV Series

watched on Netflix

Synopsis from MyDramaList
In the multiplayer online game Glory, Ye Xiu is well known as the textbook level expert and a top-tier player. Due to a series of circumstances he was forcefully expelled out of his professional team. After leaving the pro gaming scene he resides at an Internet Café employed as one of the managers. When Glory launches the tenth server he throws himself into the game once more. Equipped with ten years of gaming experience, memories of the past, and an incomplete self-made weapon. His journey back to the top begins.

40 episodes


* * *

Guys, guys, I think I binge-watched the whole series in a week - week and a half, tops. This was sooo good!

First of all, this is based on anime series, and while I haven't watched the original, the adaptation was awesome. The non-romantic plot (thank god! because it definitely did not need any romance), the tension between main characters and the magnificent online fight sequences, individual and group-based. Any lover of online gaming and urban fantasy would appreciate the kick-assery of it all.

Historical Fantasy Audiobook Review: The Bear and The Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The Bear and The Nightingale by Katherine Arden (Winternight Trilogy #1)


Synopsis from Goodreads
At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn't mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse's fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa's mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa's new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa's stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse's most frightening tales.

Amazon US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | Audible US/UK | Book Depository


* * *
 There are two books which left me completely satisfied with their portrayal of Russian fairytales by non-native writers in recent years. One is Deathless by Catherynne M.Valente, another one is The Bear and The Nightingale.

Miss Arden expertly blends post-Ivan the Terrible historical period with the fairytales I grew up with. It's a charmed listen steeped in the same darkness and urgency I felt reading Naomi Novik books, and what's most important for a Russian reader, it rings true. All the little details, all the non-butchered little names, the correct pronunciation and the rightfully respectful address, it was a pleasure to listen to. I was transported with the expert narration right from the beginning.

High Fantasy Early Review: The Queen's Bargain by Anne Bishop

The Queen's Bargain by Anne Bishop (The Black Jewels #10)

ARC courtesy of Ace

Synopsis from Goodreads

Return to the dark, sensual, and powerful world of the Black Jewels in this long-awaited new story in the New York Times bestselling fantasy saga

After a youthful mistake, Lord Dillon’s reputation is in tatters,
leaving him vulnerable to aristo girls looking for a bit of fun. To
restore his reputation and honor, he needs a handfast—a one-year contract of marriage. He sets his sights on Jillian, a young Eyrien witch from Ebon Rih, who he believes has only a flimsy connection to the noble society that spurned him. Unfortunately for Dillon, he is unaware of Jillian’s true connections until he finds himself facing Lucivar Yaslana, the volatile Warlord Prince of Ebon Rih.

Meanwhile, Surreal SaDiablo’s marriage is crumbling. Daemon Sadi, the Warlord Prince of Dhemlan, recognizes there is something wrong between him and Surreal, but he doesn’t realize that his attempt to suppress his own nature in order to spare his wife is causing his mind to splinter. To save Daemon, and the Realm of Kaeleer if he breaks, help must be sought from someone who no longer exists in any of the Realms—the only
Queen powerful enough to control Daemon Sadi. The Queen known as Witch.

As Jillian rides the winds of first love with Dillon, Daemon and Surreal struggle to survive the wounds of a marriage turned stormy—and Lucivar has to find a way to keep everyone in his family safe…even from each other.

Release date: March 10, 2020.

Amazon US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | Audible US/UK | Book Depository


* * *
This was like a long-awaited reunion among old friends. I missed them all and I loved to have them back.

Urban Fantasy Early Review: Smoke Bitten by Patricia Briggs

Smoke Bitten by Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson #12)

advanced reader copy courtesy of Ace

Synopsis from Goodreads
Mercy Thompson, car mechanic and shapeshifter, faces a threat unlike any other in this thrilling entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling series.

I am Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptman.
My only “superpowers” are that I turn into a thirty-five pound coyote and fix Volkswagens. But I have friends in odd places and a pack of werewolves at my back. It looks like I’m going to need them.

Centuries ago, the fae dwelt in Underhill–until she locked her doors against them. They left behind their great castles and troves of magical artifacts. They abandoned their prisoners and their pets. Without the fae to mind them, those creatures who remained behind roamed freely through Underhill wreaking havoc. Only the deadliest survived.

Now one of those prisoners has escaped. It can look like anyone, any creature it chooses. But if it bites you, it controls you. It lives for chaos and destruction. It can make you do anything–even kill the person you love the most. Now it is here, in the Tri-Cities. In my territory.

It won’t, can’t, remain.

Not if I have anything to say about it.

Release Date: March 17th, 2020.

Amazon US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | Audible US/UK | The Book Depository


* * *
 As much as I couldn't get into the previous Mercy's book on audio, I feared I lost my interest in this series. Never fear! Now I'm thinking it was just the audio format itself that I didn't like because Smoke Bitten was superb!

I devoured this book, everything in it was perfect. Two reasons. 

Paranormal Fantasy Review: Suddenly Psychic by Elizabeth Hunter

Suddenly Psychic by Elizabeth Hunter (Glimmer Lake #1)

review copy courtesy of the author

Synopsis from Goodreads
Every woman goes through changes in their forties.
Just not… these changes.

Robin Brannon was a normal wife, mom, and antique shop owner until a brush with death turned her day-to-day life upside down. Now she and her two best friends are seeing things that belong in a fantasy novel. Ghosts. Visions. Omens of doom. Nothing that belongs in the peaceful mountain town they call home.

Added to that, Robin’s marriage is on the rocks, her grandmother’s health is failing, her mother is driving away the customers at her shop, her teenage daughter refuses to get her drivers’ license, and her left knee aches every darn morning.

Robin doesn’t have the time, energy, or knees to unearth the secrets buried at the bottom of Glimmer Lake, but fate doesn’t seem to care. Some secrets are just dying to be exposed.

Suddenly Psychic is a stand-alone paranormal women’s fiction, and the first book in the Glimmer Lake series by USA Today Bestseller, Elizabeth Hunter, author of the Elemental Mysteries.

Amazon US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK


* * *
 If you can describe this book with one word, you'd use the word "enchanting".There is something about it, cosy, mysterious, secret, atmospheric and hidden that just kept pulling my strings.

It actually reminded me of one of the first paranormal books I've ever read - Dance Upon The Air by Nora Roberts from Three Sisters Island series. It's got that secluded, shut from the world, disconnected from the outsiders feel to it.

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In case of zombie apocalypse

Hey, guys! I feel like I should say this just in case :)
If you'd like to sponsor a fellow book addict who sometimes can't sleep at night worrying that she won't have enough books to read if internet goes down in the event of zombie apocalypse (I'm convinced it's one of the top five ways to go for human race) you can donate through Paypal to olivesandacorns at gmail dot com or buy a book through any of the links provided with my reviews which will send me a small percentage from the sale. All proceeds will go towards my enormous TBR. I will also shelter you on the remote farm in Portugal when zombie apocalypse starts provided you survive getting there. There will be books, yay?
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