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Saturday, April 22, 2017

My Favorite Things Event with Jen Frederick

Jen Frederick is the USA Today bestselling author of Unspoken, part of the Woodlands series, and Sacked, part of the Gridiron series. She also co-writes the NY Times bestselling Royals series under the penname Erin Watt. She lives in the Midwest with a husband who keeps track of life’s details while she’s writing, a daughter who understands when Mom disappears into her office for hours at a time, and a rambunctious dog who does neither. Email her at

My Favorite Things

When Paper Princess started gaining momentum, quite a few reviews on Goodreads compared the series to Hana Yori Dango or “Boys Over Flowers” which I learned later to be the best selling manga of all time, having sold as many as 61 million copies in several different countries. The manga spawned an anime series and then four different live action series. The Korean drama is the most popular.

At the time I wrote Paper Princess with Elle Kennedy, we had never heard of HYD nor had we ever watched any Korean dramas. While I am Korean, I’m adopted and know all of about four words. My brother (also Korean) once told me about K-dramas about five or six years ago. He’d been dating a Korean girl and she was an avid watcher. I told him I wasn’t interested and moved on.

Fast forward to February of this year. I was in New York visiting a good friend and ran into another acquaintance quite randomly. I knew she was a big K-drama and K-pop fan so I asked her about the similarities between Boys Over Flowers and the Paper Princess series. She replied that there were a few: the plucky but poor heroine and the four rich “princes” (in Korea these would be known as chaebols) and a school full of bullies. We’re all working from the same original source material: Cinderella.

That evening my friend and I went home and watched the first episode of the K-drama, Boys Over Flowers. And then we watched the second. And the third. Over the course of about three days, we ended up watching about ten episodes. (These are an hour long!)

I went home and continued to inhale the series. I ended up watching the last five with my husband. During one tense and emotional scene, he reaches over and grabs my wrist to ask, “Are you going to be okay?”

At that point, I didn’t know if I was going to be okay!

Since then, I’ve been immersed in watching K-dramas. They’re romances come to life and I love them so today I’m going to recommend five K-dramas for you.

1) Boys Over Flowers. There are a lot of things wrong with this show but the cracktasticness of it cannot be denied. Nearly every Harlequin trope was in this series from the big misunderstanding to amnesia. No secret baby/birth plot element though. After I watched Boys Over Flowers, I ended up on a Lee Minho kick. Lee Minho plays the role of Junpyo, the leader of the pack, or as Elle calls him—Korean Reed. He’s an asshole but mostly because he was raised to be one. (Also, I became enamored with his weirdly permed hair!)

2) Healer. Healer is a night courier who steals/delivers items for a fee. He falls in love with a girl and becomes embroiled in her surprisingly complicated life. I didn’t expect to enjoy this show as much as I did but each episode was exciting and well thought out. The conflicts were natural to the story. I watched City Hunter first because of the aforementioned Lee Minho obsession, but Healer is a hundred times better in terms of plotting, storytelling, and romance. The ending is A+! Ironically, the same actress plays the lead female role in both City Hunter and Healer but I loved her character so much more in Healer.

3) Strong Woman Do Bong Soon. There are a hundred plot holes in this series and a number of questionable representations of a gay character—although I do understand where the writer (and the show) was going with this. BUT! This is a trope busting story where the female lead is a “peanut King Kong” and she’s the one with the strength. The male lead, played by my new obsession Park Hyungsik who may be the most beautiful person I’ve seen on a screen, plays an eccentric gaming tycoon. He’s open and honest in his feelings for the female lead. He supports her endeavors. He sees her as an equal. There’s one scene where he’s shot at in a park and Bong Soon, the female lead, carries him out of it with Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You playing in the background. Minhyuk pretends to have fainted, but at one point his eyes pop open and you can clearly see he’s enjoying being carried away. I’m a huge lover of the alpha hero and what is amazing about Park Hyungsik’s acting is his ability to deliver on the alpha hero who is madly in love with the female, willing to openly confess his feelings, yet still maintain aura of a confident, powerful man. It’s a revelatory performance.

4) My Love From Another Star. This is another story I figured I wouldn’t like and ended up sobbing over. The male lead is an alien (who looks like a gorgeous human male). He comes to earth on a scientific expedition and gets stuck here for 400 years. Fast forward to modern day times and he ends up living next door to one of the most famous actresses in Korea. Unfortunately, she gets embroiled in a scandal, loses her popularity, and becomes aware that life is more than getting screen time. Jun Jihyun plays the role of the egotistical yet charming and loveable actress (but somewhat dimwitted) and she’s amazing in this role. Ordinarily I’m not a fan of actress stories but the show and Jihyun convinces you that you need to root for her. Plus, we get to see the cold-hearted alien who thinks he wants to go home realize that Earth holds everything he loves. The story is about transcendent love that cannot be held apart by things such as time and space.

5) Descendants of the Sun. Come for the bromance, but stay for the awesome female leads. This show was so popular even in China that the Chinese government had to issue a national warning about it!! ROFL. It’s the story of a medical doctor who falls in love with a Korean special forces officer and how their two opposing viewpoints on life and death come into conflict with each other. She believes all lives are worth saving while he believes that death is necessary to save others. It’s funny in so many unexpected places. For fans of military heroes, Song Joongki will fulfill every fantasy.

How to watch these shows? Hulu and Netflix have a few, but I’d recommend downloading the DramaFever or Viki app. Both have free trials which will allow you to glom onto one show.

From strip clubs and truck stops to southern coast mansions and prep schools, one girl tries to stay true to herself.

These Royals will ruin you…

Ella Harper is a survivor—a pragmatic optimist. She’s spent her whole life moving from town to town with her flighty mother, struggling to make ends meet and believing that someday she’ll climb out of the gutter. After her mother’s death, Ella is truly alone.

Until Callum Royal appears, plucking Ella out of poverty and tossing her into his posh mansion among his five sons who all hate her. Each Royal boy is more magnetic than the last, but none as captivating as Reed Royal, the boy who is determined to send her back to the slums she came from.

Reed doesn’t want her. He says she doesn’t belong with the Royals.

He might be right.

Wealth. Excess. Deception. It’s like nothing Ella has ever experienced, and if she’s going to survive her time in the Royal palace, she’ll need to learn to issue her own Royal decrees.

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |


Up for Grabs:
  • 1 Signed set of The Royals series + a One Month Subscription to DramaFever or Viki

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Special thanks to Jen Frederick for sponsoring this giveaway.
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  1. Heard so many great things about The Royals series, so I can't wait to read it. Thank you for the giveaway!

  2. Never heard of the K-Dramas...but they look intriguing!

  3. I haven't heard of the K-Dramas, but they sound great. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I've heard great things about this series and K-Dramas! These are on my tbr pile. But, I love Knox! <3 How to get him signed in year!

  5. Yeah...I don't watch K-drama. I've enough drama in my own life. Lol But watching the TryGuys try acting in one...was hilarious. You should check that out. Lol Love the Royals series! Can't wait for more! 👑😄❤💋

  6. I haven't heard of K-dramas but they seem interesting.

  7. ive never heard any of theses shows

  8. Haven't read this series yet but now I want to!

  9. I've heard so many amazing things about the Royals series!! ��

  10. Can't wait to read this series thank you so much for the opportunity and your generosity

  11. Hello Jen! The Royal Series sounds great. Thank you

  12. Never watched K-Dramas,but who knows,maybe I will one day :D :)

  13. Hi, I havent read your books but I am ready to meet a new friend!!!

  14. Wow, I learned so much here today. First I didn't know you were adopted. I know many people who have adopted children and have greatly admired their capacity for unconditional love. Second I haven't heard of k-dramas or the apps to watch them so am looking forward to checking them out, especially Descendants of the Sun.
    What is unique about your series and the k-dramas from most YA tropes?

  15. I've never heard of K-Dramas, but I'm going to check them out. I've only heard great things about the Royals series and I put it at the top of my TBR pile. Thanks for sharing.

  16. I have never heard of K-dramas but I will be looking for them.

  17. Heard good things about this series