Review: Love Is Deep (2019)

Love Is Deep 2019

YIKES. After I wrote such a positive First Impressions & Episode 1 Recap, Love Is Deep turned out to be overwhelmingly disappointing. This drama is frustrating 40 episodes long because the same issues kept arising but the characters never seemed to learn and grow from them. I began watching half-heartedly in the second hand and the final storyline was awful. I can’t believe how they wrote the ending.

Ding Ding, the female lead played by Kang Ning, dreams of designing pet toys and finally begins pursuing her dream, facing the challenges of running an online shop and creating original designs. I loved that this was a major storyline that didn’t get pushed aside for the relationship. In fact, Ding Ding actually put her work first at times, which I really liked. That’s a valid choice! 👏

Ning Wei Jin, the male lead played by Hu Yun Hao, is a talented young surgeon, and although unexperienced with love, he is reliable, caring, and mature. I personally didn’t swoon over him but he was excellent boyfriend material. I liked his relationship with his younger sister Ning Wei Xuan and his best friend Gao Ren. He (and his sister) have a difficult relationship with their father.

The real highlight of this drama was Ding Ding’s best friend Xiao Feng, who gave the BEST advice. You could always count on him to call her out on her behavior. Basically, every time Ding Ding’s ex-boyfriend re-appeared in the storyline (which was way too many times), it would cause an issue between Ding Ding and Ning Wei Jin. It made Ning Wei Jin feel like Ding Ding wasn’t letting go of her ex, and Ding Ding never seemed to understand or care about how he felt. It seemed hypocritical on Ding Ding’s part given how she felt when she saw Ning Wei Jin with his close female friend.

As for the supporting characters, Ning Wei Xuan is a really energetic and lighthearted, and relentlessly pursues her brother’s best friend Gao Ren. Their scenes initially are so much fun—another highlight of the drama for me—and had me laughing out loud. However, there was a point when she really crossed the line and I no longer found her antics funny. I really wanted her to reflect over her actions and grow up a little. Also, while I loved Gao Ren, the introduction of the other doctor really showed how immature he was in comparison. (That other doctor deserved better.)

In conclusion: If you start to feel like you want to drop the drama, especially because of the storylines with the ex, then you should probably drop it before the last few episodes.

SPOILERS FOLLOW!

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Conspiracy of Love (2019): Episode 1-3 Recap

Conspiracy of Love 2019

Conspiracy of Love (谋爱上瘾) is a 2019 iQiyi web drama that began airing on August 12. It’s a revenge drama; the female lead Shu Bei lost her parents at a young age and enters Sheng Shi Group and gets close to its successor Sheng Jun for revenge.

Having watched several dramas in a row with innocent, kind-hearted female leads, I wanted something different and I’m seven episodes into Conspiracy of Love and enjoying it immensely. Although sometimes Shu Bei’s calculating actions make me cringe, I admire her craftiness and determination. I really hope she’s able to find some emotional closure for what happened in the past. I like her relationship with Sheng Jun because he’s not her target and they use each other, so it’s not unbalanced. Their bickering is very enjoyable. I also like that other characters are formidable opponents so it’s not like Shu Bei’s the only person who is scheming.

Sorry, there are no screencaps in this recap. Maybe for the next post though!

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Review: Go Go Squid (2019)

Go Go Squid 2019

I watched this drama as it aired in July, but I wanted to think about it more before writing my review. Surprisingly, I found Go Go Squid! enjoyable from beginning to end. It’s really Han Shang Yan’s story, a young man approaching the age of 30 who holds grudges and regrets, single-mindedly pursuing his dream of winning a cybersecurity competition for China. The romance storyline helps him let people into his life again and let go of the unhappiness he’d bottled up in his heart. There are much more flashback than I expected, but I loved all the team and competition scenes.

This 41-episode drama is available on Viki with English subtitles and YouTube.

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Book of the Month YA: August Selections

Book of the Month YA Subscription

Note: I received this box for free as a BOTM YA affiliate. This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a commission if you purchase using my link. This helps keep my blog running!

Perhaps you’re already heard of Book of the Month, a monthly subscription box (U.S. only) that offers five newly released hardcover books for you to choose from for $14.99/month (free shipping!). I had to cancel my subscription I have a huge number of unread books on my shelf, but I love seeing their selections every month, which range from non-fiction to thrillers to fantasy—there’s bound to be something that interests you! You can add additional books for $9.99, which is such a steal for a hardcover.

Recently, Book of the Month launched a Young Adult subscription box as well! Previously, there were a couple YA selections every once in a while, but if you love YA or are looking to read more YA, this box is perfect for you. Sign up today and get your first book for $9.99 with the code FLEX!

August Selections

For August, I picked the YA historical novel The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee, and I absolutely loved it! Set in 1890 Atlanta, seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan works as a maid by day and writes an advice column under the pseudonym ‘Ms. Sweetie’ by night. I immediately loved Jo because she’s witty and self-aware, and she explores race and gender in her column. I loved seeing the perspective of a Chinese-American girl in this time period in the South.

The other August selections are:

  • House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig (fantasy)
  • Hello Girls by Brittany Cavallaro and Emily Henry (thriller)
  • Mind Games by Shana Silver (sci-fi/dystopian)
  • Color Me In by Natasha Diaz (contemporary)

Past Selections

You can also add additional books from the current month & past months for $9.99. My recommendations from past selections are:

  • Wicked Fox by Kat Cho (fantasy) – see my review!
  • The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen (contemporary)
  • With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo (contemporary)
  • Descendant of the Crane by Joan He (fantasy) – see my review!
  • The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan (contemporary)

If you’re a BOTM YA subscriber, let me know what you picked this month!

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Love Is Deep (2019): First Impressions and Episode 1 Recap

Love Is Deep 2019

After finishing watching Fall in Love, Unrequited Love, AND Go Go Squid (review coming soon) recently I really needed a new drama to fill the void. I tried a couple episodes of Retourner Le Monde a Toi (Gu Li Na Zha’s new drama set in the fashion business) but wasn’t feeling it, and watched half the premiere episode of Mr. Fighting because I like Deng Lun and Ma Si Chun, but I wasn’t sold on that either. But then Love Is Deep hooked me!

Love Is Deep is about a girl who has loved her boyfriend for many years and worked alongside him as he started his own company. When she realizes he doesn’t love her the same way, she quits her job and decides to pursue her own dream of designing pet toys. Meanwhile, she develops a friendship with a handsome surgeon and his younger sister. The leads are both very likable and there are a lot of fun supporting characters. This drama is available on YouTube with English subtitles.

It was only after I started watching that I discovered this drama is based on a novel and I Hear You was based on a novel by the same author! Admittedly, I Hear You disappointed me but it did have a number of positives so here’s hoping Love Is Deep is better!

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Review: Unrequited Love (2019)

Unrequited Love

Unrequited Love was featured on my Netflix homepage (here’s the direct link) so I decided to give it a try. With a title like ‘Unrequited Love’ I had previously been hesitant to watch this because I thought it’d be too sad or angsty. However, this has turned out to be my favorite modern c-drama of 2019 so far! I loved it from start to finish, and enjoyed not only the central storyline but the wide cast of characters. Set in college, the drama features several different relationships, exploring unrequited love, the choices we make, second chances, and feelings not being black & white. There are a lot of moments of reflection and self-aware, relatable characters, and many moments that made me laugh out loud.

This drama is 24 episodes that are ~35 minutes each so it does not drag on, and is super easy to watch multiple episodes at once. I watched this right after Put Your Head On My Shoulder, and while they’re both set in college, they are so different—Unrequited Love is so thoughtful and mature, while Put Your Head On My Shoulder is light and fluffy.

It’s worth noting that this drama is based on a novel by Ba Yue Chang An (I’d like to read it), who also wrote the novels that the dramas My Huckleberry Friends (2017) and With You (2018) were based on. I haven’t watched either of those because they’re set in high school. There’s also a second adaptation of this novel that’s supposed to come out in 2020 starring Yi Tian and Hu Bing Qing and I plan to watch it as well.

Continue reading for my full review—there are no spoilers (aside from references to the promotional summary).

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Review: Fall in Love (2019)

Fall In Love 2019

Fall in Love is a Chinese web drama from YouKu that was released in June-July 2019. You can watch it on YouTube, although the subtitles are automatically generated and not particularly accurate.

I came across this drama on my YouTube homepage and randomly decided to give it a chance. The summary on MyDramaList was so vague that I had no idea what to expect, but I soon understood why.

Short version of my review: in the beginning, curiosity about the mysterious female lead compels you to watch Fall in Love, but once all the pieces are on the table the story becomes rushed and uneven and falls into some classic drama clichés.

Continue reading for my spoiler-free full review!

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Review: Put Your Head On My Shoulder (2019)

Put Your Head On My Shoulder 2019

Put Your Head On My Shoulder is a 24-episode Chinese drama that aired in April-May 2019 and is available on YouTube with English subtitles.

The story centers around two college students pursuing very different fields, who find themselves living together due to their mothers being friends. As graduation approaches, they make decisions about their futures and fall in love with each other. This is a light and fluffy series with very little drama. If anything, the leads’ biggest obstacles are themselves, learning what they want and how to communicate it. It’s very much about navigating a relationship for the first time.

I really loved the first half of the series and found it charming and funny, but in the latter half I lost interest (a mix of it being slow, frustrating, and boring). While it was enjoyable, I don’t think this drama will make any of my best-of-2019 lists nor do I think I’d watch it again.

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Fall in Love (2019): Episode 29 Recap

Fall in Love Episode 29

The penultimate episode of Fall in Love is quite dramatic. Lu Qiao continues to convince Hao Yun that Feng Ping can help him walk again, and turns to drastic measures. Feng Ping and Yue Sheng reflect over their past honestly.

(In case you missed my previous note, this drama lost its charm for me and became the kind of drama I felt like skimming through so I have not recapped episodes 16-28. I’ll post the episode 30 recap tomorrow & then an overall review!)

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