By Annie from Under the Covers
If you haven’t been living under a rock, then you may have noticed that K-Pop and K-Dramas have been all the rage lately. I’m happy to say that I’ve been a lover of both for quite some time now and have accumulated a lot of favorites over the years. The thing about Korean dramas that I love is that they vary in genres and styles, which keeps things interesting for the audience.
These TV K-Dramas that I’m going to mention are my absolute top favorites and they are all still fairly recent, so you shouldn’t have a problem with looking for them. However, I will warn you now, if you’re a fan of any romance at all, then you will definitely fall head over heels in love with them!
Similarly, with these dramas I’ve paired a book and/or book series. Although they won’t necessarily be a perfect match, I’m sure you’ll quickly see the similarities in tone, genre and humor. So, let’s start with my top favorites of the bunch!
Strong Woman Do Bong Soon
Available now on Netflix, Strong Woman Do Bong Soon is all about a young girl who has super strength. Her power is so immense that she can easily take down an entire mob of gangsters without any issue at all. However, Do Bong Soon’s problem is that every time she uses her power, something bad happens. Either someone gets hurt, or someone may catch her on camera, therefore keeping under the radar gets more and more difficult.
The romance comes into play when she starts working for a hotshot billionaire who wants to use her super strength for his own protection. Since he is wealthy and well-connected he is a man that everyone wants a piece of. So he hires Bong Soon to protect him from the bad men who are trying to kill him. Just when he thinks he has everything under control he realizes that his heart has gotten away from him; it is now in Bong Soon’s hands.
If you love Strong Girl, you’ll love….
Strong heroines are no strangers to the Romance genre. In fact, there are many Urban Fantasy romances out there that feature heroines who can kick ass. Many will already recognize the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews since Kate consistently brings it no matter what situation she is put in.
Like Do Bong Soon, Kate has some pretty sweet powers of her own and there’s also no question that she shouldn’t be pushed around. But despite all that, there’s still something pretty sweet about their character as well. While Bong Soon struggles to keep her power hidden, Kate also tries to make sense of her own origins and family life. So if you like a powerful heroine like Do Bong Soon, then you should definitely check out Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series!
A bit similar in style and tone to Strong Girl, Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo takes college sports to a whole other level.
Kim Bok Joo is a member of her school’s weightlifting team and although she tries very hard to win in various competitions, she struggles with finding what truly makes her happy.
Meanwhile, the hero, Jung Joon Hyung is also an athlete except he is a swimmer who suffers from childhood trauma that causes him to make false starts in competitions.
Since both of them are experiencing lows when it comes to their college careers, their unexpected romance starts to bloom when they start hanging out with each other. Sweet and more than a little silly, these two have amazing chemistry and I’m sure you’ll fall for their story of first love.
If you love Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo, you’ll love….
Along the same lines as this college sports romance on the book front is The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan. This book has a similar style in that it’s a little lighter. However, football is the main focus of this particular book. The characters in this one share some of the same issues that are faced in Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo, along with some other angsty goodness, so if you’re a fan of college sports romance books, then you definitely need to read The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan!
This K-Drama is the most recent series to air from this list and it’s all about a billionaire hero who falls unexpectedly in love with his secretary. However, Lee Young Joon doesn’t realize his feelings for her until she decides to quit. In a race to win her over, he falls deeper and deeper until he becomes a lovestruck fool.
I really enjoyed this K-Drama because of its unexpected quirkiness. Although rich men are often the stars of a lot of TV series in Korea, this one pokes fun at the hero a little bit more making the woman the real boss.
If you love What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim, you’ll love….
There are about a million billionaire office romances out there but I think Rock Hard by Nalini Singh matches this series well in tone. Capturing the same vibe with its sexy banter and hero, Singh’s book was a refreshing take on the popular trope. I especially love the fact that the hero was a former rugby player. It’s something a little different and gives the hero a slight edge.
Both the heroes in this book and drama are very powerful but they must hard work in order to win over the hero. It’s this cat and mouse chase that makes both stories so entertaining and once you try them I’m sure you’ll feel the same!
Goblin aka Guardian: The Lonely and Great God
The last one on today’s list is the first and only paranormal romance. Goblin exploded in popularity because of its humor and heart. The hero, Goblin, has lived for many centuries and has yet to find his fated mate. Surprisingly, he finds her in a young woman who is full of life. Despite living for so long and experiencing everything, he finds her innocence inspiring. Although this story has lots of ups and downs to it, there’s no doubt that you’ll experience a full range of emotions with this drama.
Possibly one of the most heart-wrenching romances in K-Drama, Goblin remains a top favorite of mine because not only does it have a solid romance, but it also has a great take on historical and paranormal genre as well.
If you love Guardian: The Lonely and Great God, you’ll love…
Much like Goblin, Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost is about fated mates. It also has the same style of banter and humor, especially between the hero and heroine. And I love the fact that there is also a shared commonality between the paranormal aspects. So I’m pretty positive that if you enjoyed watching Goblin, then you’ll love Once Burned as well!
So those are my top K-Drama romance picks as well as the books that complement them nicely. Don’t forget that much like Romance, there’s a whole slew of different subgenres within K-Drama, so there are plenty more to love once you’ve finished watching these ones!
Thanks for letting me share my love of K-Dramas to you all. I hope you find at least one you are interested in. Until next time, happy reading!