Friday, December 31, 2010

Coming Soon - In Deep Kimchi




Deep in Kimchi




Erotic romance author Shaundra Morrison thought there was nothing in the world her handsome white boss Harper Kehoe could offer her to get her on a plane bound for Tokyo, including free use of his body for the duration of the trip. Becoming a member of the mile high club intrigued her but not enough to conquer her fear of flying.

Harper Kehoe had money, power and everything his heart desired except for the affections of his best selling author’s Shaundra Morrison. He jumped at the idea of forming a partnership with Japanese mogul Goro Niigata because to Harper business came before pleasure. And what a perfect way to have both than by inviting Shaundra and three of his other successful authors to accompany him to Tokyo to promote the opening of NIKII Publishing. So what if it meant having one of his doctor friends prescribe Shaundra a sedative to knock her sexy ass out for twenty five hours.

Shaundra wasn’t too keen on the idea of being drugged just to fly halfway around the world to help Harper promote his new business, until her senior editor showed Shaundra a picture of Aomori, a group of four J-Pop singers who Mr. Niigata managed and planned to use to help promote his new business. All it took was one look at those beautiful faces, sexy young bodies and all that long black hair to get her to reconsider. The worst thing that could happen to her would be she’d be turned into a junkie before she returned to New York, she mused looking down at the photograph again. The dampening of the panties between her legs assured her that it would be well worth it.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

M Butterfly - A Movie Review

M Butterfly – A Movie Review
Imari Jade
M. Butterfly is a 1993 film written by David Henry Hwang about a relationship between a French diplomat Bernard Boursicot (played by Jeremy Irons) and opera singer Shi Pei Pu (played by John Love). It is based on a true story.
Premise – I can’t say too much without giving away the surprise ending of the hour and forty minute film. It’s a case of love at first sight for Bernard Boursicot when he attends an opera accompanied by his wife. Bernard furiously peruses the coy and mysterious opera singer, to whom he calls “my butterfly,” until Shi Pei Pu finally gives in and agrees to become his lover. And in the end Bernard Boursicot learns that his precious Shi Pei Pu, who he left his wife for and lost his job over, has kept lots of secrets from him.
Review – This is a case where both characters got what they deserved in the end. I expected to watch a beautiful multicultural romance grow. But from the beginning it appeared to be only one-sided (Boursicot), who steps out on his wife and forcefully gains entrance into Shi Pei Pu’s home in Peking.
I really never felt the love between these two characters. Boursicot looked for an Oriental woman who could love a Western man, even though he was poor and who would serve him unconditionally. Shi Pei Pu just wanted to survive the harsh conditions of that time. She also desired to be famous. I felt she only agreed to be with him because he kept bothering her and showing up at her home at outrages hours of the night and for what he could do for her.
Warning – This film does have two or three nude scenes. (And not even good ones).
Like the Sixth Sense, it is one of those films that once you know the ending you might not want to see again. I recommend this film only if you are a Jeremy Irons fan, or if you just have a love for Asian movies.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

How Not to Spend the Holidays

How Not to Spend the Holidays

I have made a promise to myself that next year I will leave this house during the holidays. I think this is the only home in the world where the phone and doorbell constantly rings. Most of the time the calls and visitors are not for me so I just try to look over at the caller ID to see who it is first and then make a decision whether or not to answer it. At the moment the house is very quiet. I am the only one home, but that will be changing in about an half hours because I’m expecting yet another contractor to come over to give me an estimate on how much it is going to cost to raise my house so it won’t flood just in case we have another killer hurricane. The only person I really want to see is the UPS delivery man. I’ve been waiting on a Christmas present to myself that I paid to have delivered in three days. That was twelve days ago. The last time I tracked it, it was sitting somewhere in Texas on December the 21st. You know I’m going to be expecting a refund on the shipping!
So, did I get everything I wanted for Christmas? No. I didn’t get anything on my list, and Santa wonders why adults stopped believing in him. I mean how hard can it be to deliver a six foot Asian singer to me? I gave him a picture to identify him by and everything. He’s lucky I didn’t pay for expedited shipping.
It was rainy and very cold all day here in New Orleans on Christmas Day, so all I did was cook and write. It had to be one of the most peaceful days I have ever spent. I only had one visitor, my daughter-in-law who came to pickup and transfer food since we both were cooking and it was too cold for the grandchildren to come over. But the day before I wanted to strangle everyone because my kids and their friends kept coming in and out of the house, letting the cold in and getting in my way while I was trying to cook and clean. Remember, if you see Mama on a ladder washing walls, you need to either leave, or help. So I gave up on washing the walls and pulled out my tablet and started writing. This didn’t work either since they felt they had to entertain me with conversation.
So far I have had three contractors come over to the house to give me estimates. The first one was about three months ago, and I’m still waiting on his estimate.
The second one was Monday at nine in the morning. People, just because I’m a woman it doesn’t mean that I am stupid. I’m very good at reading people, and even though it may appear that I’m entertaining you with conversation the fact is I’m listening to what you are telling me. The only thing he was supposed to do is take pictures, measure and give me an estimate on how much it was going to cost. He came through the door telling me that he could work a deal for me and expected me to sign a contract right then and there. He also wanted a check for $50,000 in advance so he can buy supplies. So I just let him talk, and flipped through this photo album of houses that he already lifted and then he went outside to do the estimate. He never ever checked the inside of the house which I took my time and cleaned before he came. He came back a couple of hours later with an estimate in this new binder he had purchased from Office Depot with a picture of my house on the cover. You know that got my mind to clicking. How do I know that he actually did any work on the houses that he showed me earlier in the photo album? He could have just taken a picture like he did mine and put it in the album. I’m not a fool; I’m not signing anything or giving $50,000 to anyone in advance without checking some credentials. He was quite disappointed when I refused to sign and told him I had to run the estimate over to my mortgage company.
I can’t wait to hear with this new one has to say. He’s supposed to arrive at ten so I hope he arrives on times, does what he has to do and leave early because I’m trying to juggle some administrative things so I can be ready for 2011.
I had an appointment with the dermatologist yesterday. My scalp has been itching and burning like crazy for the last five years. Not very good news. I’m not dying but my hair is never going to be the same. Someone should have told me that braids, pony-tails and weaves damages the hair. I walked away with three prescriptions and a lot of emotional problems. I know I’m getting older but it’s hard to be a cougar when you’ve been advised not to put chemicals in your hair. Yo, black woman here. I’m all for the natural thing, but I refuse to go around with gray hair. Nature and genetics have been very kind to me in every aspect except for my hair. I’m not opposed to wearing a wig for a year until when and if my hair grows back. I wear them most of the time anyway when I want to change my personality, but ladies, wigs come off when men run their fingers through your hair (smile).
I, for one am glad that Christmas is over. It’s time for me to get back to work on promoting my upcoming book “In Deep Kimchi,” which is scheduled to be released on January 9, 2011 with Sugar and Spice Press. I should have done the promotions earlier but I didn’t want my book to get lost in the Christmas novel buying frenzy. I worked hard on that book and it deserves a time for itself.
I sent another manuscript, “Strange Packaging,” off to Sugar and Spice for consideration yesterday. I wrote this book during the NaNoWriMo challenge and just loved it. It’s very sweet, but not erotic. I’m on this quest to find the true meaning of romance, and even though sex it nice, I feel there’s more to being in a relationship than how many times my characters can get off. That’s not to say I will continue writing sweet stuff, but for the moment I’m giving it a shot to see what my fans think of it.
I also sent a short story, “Swept Away,” off to be considered in a Yaoi Anthology. Yaoi is not for prudes. Either you’re into or you’re not. Fortunately, I’m really into it.
I really didn’t know how far behind I was on my administration work until I went to the database to update my “Submissions Out,” list. Boy was I shocked to find out that I had nothing out there waiting for consideration. What the hell have I been doing the last couple of months? I do have three books scheduled for publication for 2011, but that’s not enough since my goal is ten. So right now I’m working on a paranormal novel about the end of the world. It’s due on the 25th of January. I think I might make it if the phone stops ringing.
The contractor is now sixteen minutes late. If you want to work on my house you should at least show me that you can be on time since you were the one who called me.
Well, I better get back to work. It is not true that novels simply write themselves.
Imari Jade

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Itazura Na Kiss - Drama Review

Itazura Na Kiss – Drama Review

Itazura Na Kiss is a popular manga by Kaoru Tada that was turned into a live action drama in 1996-98.
Plot – a high school girl named Kotoka Aihara (played by Aiko Sato) tells fellow classmate Naoki Irie (played by Takashi Kashiwabara) that she likes him in a letter. However the super smart, athletic and handsome Naoki simply rejects her in front of their classmates. A fire destroys the home she shares with her father (a chef) and they go to stay with her father’s friend who just happens to be Naoki’s father. The two families must get along but it’s not as easy as you think.
Review – I am so glad that I watched Perfect Kiss (Korean version 2010), It Started with a Kiss (Taiwanese version 2005) and They Kiss Again (Taiwanese version 2007) before watching Itazura Na Kiss, because I never would have watched them if I had seen this version first. I’m not saying that it is horrible; it’s just really, really bad.
The character of Kotoka is not as dumb as Oh Ha Ni (Perfect Kiss) or Xiang Qin (It Started with a Kiss) even though they are all in the “F” class (lowest ranking class in school). Kotoka is so loud that it is distracting. She reminds me of someone who needs her hearing tested. She is a jinx and every time she does something she causes injury either to herself or others. But the first thing I noticed about her was her ears. She is much prettier when they are covered by her hair. She is also taller than Oh Ha Ni and Xiang Qin which is perfect for the tall leading man. She’s not a stalker like Oh Ha Ni (who has it down to a science). I figured I would have liked this version if Kotoka would have stopped yelling and whining at some point but she didn’t.
Naoki is super cute but he pales in comparison to Zhi Shu (It Started with a Kiss) and Baek Seung-Jo (Perfect Kiss).
Baek Seung-Jo is very handsome, smart and popular and all he wants is for his parents to stop interfering in his life. He is responsible, a good cook and a genius. As for his relationship with Oh Ha Ni, he treats her like a plaything. He mocks her affection and insults her until he discovers that he is about to lose her to another man Bong Joon Gu. When it comes to romance, Baek Seung-Jo steals kisses from Oh Ha Ni when she sleeps which is romantic, but when it came down to kissing he is a little stiff.
Zhi Shu is also handsome, smart and popular, and his parents interfere in his life. But unlike Baek Seung-Jo, Zhi Shu just seems to be more focused on what he wants in life and doesn’t care whom he has to emotionally hurt to get it. He treats Xiang Qin cruelly at first, but throughout the drama I could tell that everything he did is in her best interest. In the romance department he scores a definite “A”. The interaction between the two characters seems so real. I sometimes felt that they were an actual couple. Zhi Shu knows how to kiss and probably is pretty good in the sex department if it wasn’t for the censorship.
This brings us back to Naoki. It is eluded that he is the smartest boy in school but he did some pretty dumb things like missing two important tests, refusing to go to school and shop lifting just because he wanted to feel like a normal teen-ager. As for as how he treated Kotoka. I found him very rude and cruel most of the time. The kiss scene is pretty good but not very romantic. No one knows until the very end that he is actually in love with her. In fact his characters get a bit crazy that I actually feared that he would do something to hurt Kotoka.
The secondary characters were pretty hum drum, especially Naoki’s mother. I actually loved the two mothers in Perfect Kiss and It Started with a kiss. These are mother-in-laws to die for. But Naoki’s mother was a bit wacky and old-fashioned. (Now I finally know why the mothers are like they are. I couldn’t figure out if she was a normal housewife or what because she was always planning parties and decorating. I thought she had some kind of home-based business. In actually she is just like the girls, kind of silly and a jinx to her husband. She is just lonely. Apparently the husband is a genius too like the sons. This is why the bond is so good between her and daughter-in-laws to be.)
The character I liked the least is Naoki’s younger brother, Yuuki. Like the other two younger brothers from the other dramas, Yuuki hates Kotoka on first sight. Yuuki is a genius too but he is also spoiled and rotten to the point that he becomes sick from stress. This makes him catatonic and makes him lose his hair. A third grader with the intelligence of a high-school student, and who idolizes his other brother until Naoki says one unkind thing to him. He turns meaner, taking it out on Kotoka. (He is the prime reason why people should never have a second child (smile).) Then he does a 360 degree turn in attitude at the end…so not believable. His is a little serial-killer waiting to happen.
The most redeeming thing in this adaptation is that it did make me laugh a couple of times. Kinnosuke Nahamura (played by Shinsuke Aoki) is the young man who is actually in love with Kotoka throughout the story, but she only feels friendship for him. He is very funny and actually gets 3 very serious kisses. Unfortunately, not from Kotoka. He also is humorous whenever a derogatory poster about Kotoka is posted on the school bulletin board. He immediately comes to her rescue and ends up getting beat up or injured.
The “A” group female teacher is in love with Naoki like every other girl in school, and the only one who knows it is the “F” group male teacher. The two of them are always battling over whose class cause the most disturbance through the school. They are both single virgins who are just perfect for each other. Their story would have probably made a better tale.
If you’re a die hard “KISS” fan you have to watch this just for general purpose. But I give it 2 Fleur De Lis. I really don’t think I’ll watch this again, unless I’m desperate.
So the only two things I haven’t done is read the original manga or watched the anime version (both hard to get). And yes someday in the future I might review them, but I’m moving on to other things now.

Imari Jade

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

They Kissed Again (It Started with a Kiss 2) - Drama Review

It Started With a Kiss 2 (They Kiss Again) – Drama Review

They Kiss Again is a Taiwanese drama featuring Joe Cheng, Ariel Lin and Jiro Wang. It is the sequel to It Started with a Kiss written by Kaoru Tada based on the manga Itazra na Kiss.
The story picks up right after the marriage of Zhi Shu (Joe Cheng) and Xiang Qin (Ariel Lin). Xiang Qin is as whacky as ever causing problems and making her poor husband worry about her as they enter married life. Near perfect husband Zhi Shu is now training to be a doctor and Xiang Qin, after failing to be a good teacher is training to be a nurse. Zhi Shu comes across some obstacles in training and at the hospital and runs into some romantic rivals for Xiang Qin’s affection. Xiang Qin tries hard to be a good student, nurse and wife, and the young couple learns that marriage is not all it’s cracked up to be.
Review – What can I say when a sequel is actually better than the original? Except they made Xiang Qin stupider and more bumbling in the second part. Marriage is tough and even more so when you have a near perfect husband and a wife with limited intelligence. Like the first part Xiang Qin’s main goal in life is to be with Zhi Shu until the day she dies. But when she doesn’t graduate with her class she grows depressed because she wanted to graduate from college with Zhi Shu. Apparently she didn’t calculate her credits correctly and she needed to repeat another year to earn it. Of course Zhi Shu fussed at her and made her angry, so Xiang Qin does what she normally does…cries and then runs away from home. She ends up staying a couple of nights with her friend Chun Mei whose has a big family and living in a little house. Zhi Shu doesn’t seem to care that his wife has been missing for three days, but his younger brother Yu Shu tracks down Xiang Qin’s whereabouts and even saves her from some people who wanted to turn her into a prostitute. (Even at twenty, Xiang Qin should have had enough sense to know never to get into a car or truck with a strange man.) Eventually Xiang Qin learns that Zhi Shu is not graduating for another couple of years because the intern program is longer than the regular curriculum. This makes Xiang Qin very happy. (Zhi Shu should have told her that from the beginning and made the poor girl’s life a little easier.)
Yu Shu (originally played by Zhang Bo Han) is suffering the same fate as his older brother when his mom, played by Cyndi Chao starts interfering in his life and playing the meddlesome matchmaking mama. This time she has enlisted Ziang Qin to help him get together with the girl of his dreams. Yu Shu is now old enough for high school and he’s meaner than Zhi Shu was at that age but just as lost when it comes to the opposite sex. Yu Shu is also a genius like his brother but works harder so he can compete with him. Like the original, Yu Shu and Xiang Qin fight like cats and dogs but there’s no doubt that he cares for his sister-in-law. The part of Yu Shu was recasted with Cong Yang when he got older. A lot of people didn’t like the change at first from the comments I have been reading. I really didn’t like the original actor because his skin was too dark (not prejudice, I am an ebony goddess) but it just stuck out like a sore thumb. In my mind I kept wondering if he took after someone else in the family but then we met his grandfather and some of his cousins, and no, he didn’t resemble them either.
The entire original cast returned and we got to meet some new ones. While in nursing school Xiang Qin is put into a group with four other people, two males and two females. The two females and one of the male wanted Zhi Sui as a mate while the second male is hot after Xiang Qin. (Note – both of these guys were seriously hot). Ouyang Gan (called Gan Gan) played by Danson Tang is gay and isn’t afraid to show it. Talk about a waste of man flesh (Cougar Moment). All his life he dreamed of being a nurse and nothing was going to stop him, especially some silly little rule that said the men could not get their nurses hat pinned on them or give the Nightingale speech. Interfering Xiang Qin comes to his rescue even though the two of them fought constantly.
And then there was Ah Qiao played by Gu Xuan Chun ended up being Xiang Qin’s partner in class and always ended up being the guinea pig when she had to practice CPR or draw blood. He was also the leader of the class and refused to let Xiang Qin’s bumbling make all of them fail. Then he discovered that Zhu Shu did not treat his wife well, or well by his standards and he foolishly falls for the married Jiang Qin and asks her to divorce her husband and marry him. (Dark skin, nice body, long dark hair and a beautiful smile. Wouldn’t have to ask me twice (smile)). His attitude toward her reminded me a lot of Zhi Shu’s. He wasn’t afraid to tell Xiang Qin to get her act together, but he could also be very loving towards her.
This leads to her other fatal attraction, Ah Jin played by Jiro Wang. Just when you thought he had accepted the fact that Xiang Qin had married Zhi Shu in the previous drama, Ah Jin still tries to get Xiang Qin to leave Zhi Shu because he is tired of seeing her crying and depressed. Sometimes you really want to root for him because he is so in love with Xiang Qin, but he really needed to give up. Fortunately, they introduced a new love for him, a girl from Britain by the name of Christine. I really did think the two of them made a good couple but Ah Jin’s characters didn’t mature much emotionally. He still acted like he did in high school even though in the sequel his became an excellent chef.
Xiang Qin’s best friend Chun Mei gets pregnant by her boyfriend Ah Bu played by Aaron Wan (Another gorgeous male, and a singer in the pop group Fahrenheit). This led to some seriously funny scenes with Xiang Qin telling off Ah Bu’s mother for treating Chun Mei so badly, Xiang Qin getting drunk during the wedding party and telling off Ah Bu’s mother and lastly Xiang Qin driving Chun Mei to the hospital once she goes into labor. (I can’t drive either, so there’s no way I would get behind a wheel and attempt to drive anyone anywhere.)
I really loved the sequel, especially the way Zhi Shu interacted romantically with Xiang Qin. He might have been harsh, but it was only for her own good. But when the man got romantic, he sizzled.
What I didn’t like was the way Xiang Qin constantly made mistakes. No one is that imperfect. In the entire drama no one took her to the psychiatrist. I think she was just suffering for undiagnosed ADD. And I hated the ending, just my opinion, but it left room for possible a Season 3.
I give this sequel 5 Fleur De Lis and I promise I will watch it again and again.
What will I be watching next? Probably the original Itazra na Kiss. Why stop now?

Monday, November 29, 2010

We are having our end of the year holiday blow-out sale!
All Novels & Digests are now $3.99 thru Dec 22, 2010. Happy Holidays!
Midnight Showcase Fiction

Holiday Treats!
On Sale 3.99

Briskle’s Treasure, Mae Powers
On a quest to find a dragon relative a specific holiday present, Briskle receives a wonderfully unexpected gift himself, from a lovely and unusual elf.

Unwrapped Gifts, Imari Jade
Naomi Davenport hates Christmas, but when Saint Peter sends three angels down to earth to show her what her life could be like, would it be enough to convince her to live?

An Angel's Agony, Ellen Margret
Angels are sometimes assigned difficult tasks. Josiah was sent to terminate a Blackessencer. Falling in love with Kyna at Christmas made it so hard.

Blood Under the Mistletoe, Lisa M. Basso
When Southern belle Holly Devereux is kidnapped during Christmas, it’s up to Victor her vampire lover to help keep her alive, and be able to show her what’s truly in his heart.

Amy’s Gift, Nancy Pirri
How does efficient personal assistant, Amy Gallagher, gain the amorous attentions of her boss, James Kent? By playing tricks—until they backfire on her and she finds herself definitely under his radar!

Kiss Under the Mistletoe, Jaden Sinclair
Lord Blythe Garrison has trouble trusting any ladies; but when he meets beguiling Frenchwoman Adela Delacroix he is taken aback by her boldness and the heat is on.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
I just finished my NaNoWriMo project and now it’s time to get back to work. After printing off my winner’s certificate and posting it to Facebook, I took out my green 5-subject tablet to see what’s next on my list for 2010. As I flipped through the pages I noticed that I have a lot of novel titles listed but I haven’t completed many of them. It would be nice to finish writing everything I have a premise for next year, but even I know that would be impossible since ideas are popping into my head every day. I am thankful to the NaNoWritMo competition because I have successfully written a 58,000 word novel in 25 days. Now I look forward to editing it and submitting it to a publisher for consideration.
I did most of my Thanksgiving cooking yesterday. The turkey, dirty rice, baked macaroni and cheese, and cornbread dressing are done. Now it’s time to get up and fix a quick breakfast and finish the rest of the meal before the kids arrive. I am thankful that I have lived to see another Thanksgiving and to be able to share it with my family.
So right now I’m sitting on my bed wondering in which direction I should go now? The house needs to be mopped, which I should have done at six o’clock this morning. I know the minute I put the mop on the floor everyone will get up and track over it. If I start breakfast the little ones will be up and under my feet. They need to sleep as long as possible because they are very bossy and demanding on Maw Maw’s time (smile), especially the little two year old girl whom I heard tell her four year old brother yesterday to “Get out of my business.” She always wants to sit on lap while I’m typing and she doesn’t understand that I need both hands to type. She just wants Maw Maw to go to YouTube and put on the Elmo video so she can hear Elmo sing, Beyonce’s Single Ladies. The four year old just opened my door and crawled into my bed. This is a sign that I must get up and prepare breakfast because his parents are still sleeping. Yes, I’m thankful for them too because I know long after I’m dead and gone a little of me will live on through them.
Maybe I won’t get as many things accomplished today as I want to. I need to update my website but I’m still waiting on two novel covers. I am thankful to my web mistress Rae Monet who takes care of my website.
Yesterday while cooking I took a few minutes to figure out what novels I need to complete to send to my publishers. Currently I write for nine publishers (with three upcoming books to be published in the beginning of the year), so if I do the math correctly, six editors are due manuscripts. I have several books completed. I just need to get off my butt and send them in. So I guess that is what I will do tomorrow…update manuscripts and start submitting. I also have a slew of short stories that need homes. I guess I need to get started finding markets for these too.
Sponge Bob Squarepants is flying in the air on my television during the Thanksgiving Parade and keeping the four year old occupied while I finish this. I am thankful to the creator of Sponge Bob Squarepants because the kids love him and will sit still for a moment to watch it while I’m busy.
I made a promise to myself that I will start my Korean Language course next month. I’ve watched a lot of Asian dramas over the last couple of months and I’m thankful that most of them have been translated to English so I can understand them.
Lastly I am thankful to all my networking friends and fans who have taken the time to write or to post to my sites. I look forward to sharing time with you as I write and experience life. I’m also praying for peace between North and South Korea. Be safe Jaejoong, Micky, Junsu, Max and Yuhno. (Hwaiting.)
A decision has been made. The four year old is requesting that Maw Maw get up and fix him some pancakes.

Imari Jade

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Zetta Kareshi (Absolute Boyfriend) Drama Review

Zetta Kareshi (Absolute Boyfriend) – Drama Review
Zetta Kareshi (Absolute Boyfriend) is a six volume Japanese manga series by Yuu Watase, which was adapted into an eleven episode live-action Japanese drama series. And it has been confirmed that a Taiwanese version will be filmed.
Plot – Riiko Izawa has never had a boyfriend, and has been rejected by any male she has a crush on. Then one day she meets a salesman named Gaku Namikiri who gives her his card and invites her to his place of business to participate in a little study. His company has developed the idea of creating a robot that will be the perfect boyfriend. Riiko thinks that she is participating in some type of game, but she accidently customizes her choices into the company’s computer and orders one of the robots. The next day the robot is delivered with the instructions to wake him with a kiss. Riiko kisses him and then goes off to work. She is in for quite a surprise when she goes home that evening and finds the robot alive and standing naked in her apartment.
Riiko works as a temporary employee for Asamato, a company that specializes in creating desserts, and it is Riiko's dream to one day to be a pastry chef. She is a temporary under one of the sons of the owner named Soshi Asamoto who is bit of a slacker and who would rather have fun than work.
Riiko names the robot Night, but later learns that she only has him for a 72 hour trial. The salesman, Gaku Namikiri is in fact the creator of Night (or Number One as he is originally named) tells Riiko that she must pay 100,000 yen for Night if she intends to keep him for a while. Riiko doesn’t make that much money working as a temporary and she has other bills like rent to pay. So she takes on a series of temporary positions in order to raise the money. Night, sensing her dilemma hires himself out and helps Riiko raise the payment.

Meanwhile Riiko bakes some crème puffs for a guy at work she is interested in, and like all the other guys he thinks she’s a bit too serious and talks about her pastry without sampling it. Soshi comes along after Riiko discovers that the man does not like her and samples the crème puff. He loves it because it reminds him of something his grandfather used to make for him when he was a child. Soshi comes up with an idea to have Riiko make some more of the crème puffs so that he can get his family’s business to back him. But his brother Masashi, who’s actually the vice-president of the company thinks the dessert is too plain and will not fit in to the Asamoto line. Soshi doesn’t give up so he decides to go directly to the bakeries to try to market the dessert but Masashi finds out and wants to not only fire his own brother but Riiko as well.

Soshi eventually steps down from his position as chief and starts to work in the office with Rikko. Night also gets a job at the company as a janitor just to be near Riiko and watch over her. The women at the company all fall for Night, including Rikko’s best friend Mika Ito. Rikko tells everyone that Night is her cousin, including her landlady who frowns on young women having their boyfriends stay in their apartments. But every now and then Night lets it slip out of the bag that he is Riiko’s perfect boyfriend.

Soshi and Riiko began experiencing feelings for each other, but each time Night is there to put an end to things. Another one of Soshi’s female friends appear at the company. She is a trained pastry chef and also an ex-lover of Soshi. She has come back just in time to enter her dessert design in a contest that Soshi hopes to enter with Riiko. Meanwhile Mika has fallen for Night and accidently kisses him which erases Night’s memories of Riiko and reprograms his feelings for Mika . Once Gaku Namikiri finds this out he tries to convince Riiko that she must kiss Night again and get him away from Mika. Riiko doesn’t want to do it at first and then she kisses him once Night is trap in a restaurant that is on fire. He then forgets about Mika and starts following and adoring Riiko ago. He also calls her by her name when he awakens which isn’t supposed to happen since his memory is supposed to clear and reset every time he is kissed. Toward the end it is discovered that Night has taken on human emotions and may be a danger to society if the designers can’t control him. The company creates a second computer that is supposed to be a better model than Night and sends him to win Riiko away so they can capture Night and turn him off.

Review – It wasn’t until the tenth episode that I started liking this drama. It wasn’t that it was bad, it just progressed too slowly and wasn’t what I imagined when I read the premise.

I thought Riiko Izawa played by Saki Aibu was cute but it took a while for viewers to discover that she wanted to create pastries.

Night Tendo played by Mokomichi Hayami can only be described as a living doll. He is tall, gorgeous, muscular and definitely my idea of a robot lover. Night’s innocence shows through as he experiences his new found emotions, but he has a dry sense of humor that makes the character a bit cartoonish.

Soshi Asamoto played by Hiro Mizushima is really cute but dissatisfied by the way his family’s business has turned from customer service to just creating desserts that make money. I found his character refreshing but thought he used Riiko more for his benefit that for hers.

The drama is a bit childish but it definitely picked a handsome looking cast. Mokomichi Hayami and Hiro Mizushima are two gorgeous men that women can’t help but fall in love with. On the flip side the developers send in a second robot that is supposed to be better than Night. No way. He’s really short and he’s not good looking, so if you going to improve on Night the robot should have been taller and more gorgeous than the original one. Heck, the second one was almost shorter than Riiko.

I found the secondary female characters to be funny. The landlady was always trying to get Night to take off his shirt, and Riiko’s own mother had the hots for Night. I didn’t like Riiko’s reaction toward Night through the first nine episodes, and it really pissed me off. In some instances she acted like she hated Night but then she had not problem working her butt off to make the payments for him. She should have just given him back after the 72 hours was over. But then there wouldn’t have been a story, now would there?

If a six foot, gorgeous robot is delivered to my house you better believe that I’m going to do more than just kiss it. I’m going to take him out of the box for a test drive.

The other part I didn’t understand is why introduce another love interest for Riiko? Why not just have her eventually discover that Night was the perfect man for her. After all it is a fantasy story. And what woman wouldn’t want a man who cooks, cleans and adores her? The strong points about choosing a robot over a real man…no disease, no pregnancy risk and he’s programmed not to cheat. More strong points are he’ll remain gorgeous, he won’t develop a beer belly and he’ll never need Viagra.

They also threw in a couple of female rivals for Riiko. After Mika (Ueno Natsuki) falls in love with Night she goes out of her way to make Riiko's life miserable by not only sabotaging her job, her dessert and her relationship with Night but also about going online and insulting Riiko publicly when the crème puffs do not do well in the bakeries. Then in the end she gets a revelation that maybe she was wrong and then wanted to be Riiko’s friend, and Riiko forgave her. Ladies, this doesn’t happen in real life. Don’t be friends with this type of woman again. A leopard doesn’t change its spots.

Also, there is another female who is an ex-lover of Soshi who just shows up and is working back for the company. I couldn’t make out if she was actually still in love with Soshi or his older brother. She was the one who also discovered that Sochi was actually in love with Riiko and encouraged him to ask her out. This was a total waste of a character. I found her lukewarm and didn’t advance the story a bit.

Then there was this man/robot love relationship between Gaku Namikiri and Night. I finally figured out that Night or Number One was created in his image. Apparently, some woman cheated on him. And he didn’t want his creation to be deactivated once it took on human emotions. But dude it is a robot. If you’re intelligent enough to design such a thing you know it will never be human no matter how hard you try. I figured he would have been better off if he had found himself a girlfriend and treated her the way Night treated Riiko.

All in all Zetta Kareshi (Absolute Boyfriend) was okay. I didn’t hate it but it probably won’t be one of those dramas I’ll watch over and over again. I give it 3 Fleur De Lis.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

It Started with a Kiss - Drama Review

It Started with a Kiss
Drama Review
It Started with a Kiss is a Taiwanese drama starring Ariel Lin, Joe Cheng and Jiro Weng. It is based on the manga Itazura na Kiss, and written by Kaoru Tada.
Yuan Xiang Qin (Ariel Lin) is a bumbling, not so smart high school senior who decides near the end of school to confess her love for Jiang Zhi Shu (Joe Chang) in a love letter. But instead of the arrogant genius accepting the letter Zhi Shu walks right past her and ignores her right in front of their classmates. Xiang Qin falls down on her back and just lays there in embarrassment. Zhi Shu returns and finds her still lying on the ground and wants to know if she has anything better to do with her life.
Later that afternoon Xiang Qin and her father move into their brand new home and within minutes it is destroyed by an earthquake. They are left homeless because her father didn’t have earthquake insurance and are forced to move in with her father’s long-time best friend and his family. Little does Xiang Qin, know but her father’s best friend just happens to be the father of Jiang Zhi Shu.
Review – If this premise sounds familiar it should because a couple of weeks ago I reviewed “The Playful/Mischievous Kiss) which is the Korean version of this drama, and in a couple of weeks I’ll also review the Chinese and original version Itazura na Kiss.
Like the previous version, I didn’t really like the very first episode, but I continued to watch it and am glad that I did. The thing I liked most is that although it is the same premise the Taiwanese version is almost entirely different in most aspects. In this version Xiang Qin is not as pretty and also not as bumbling as Oh Ha Ni (played by Jung So Min), and even though I tried to find one thing Oh Ha Ni was good at, Xiang Qin is not as helpless. Neither girl can cook, or play tennis or have an IQ over that of a fourth grader. But both are very courageous and spunky and would do anything to get their man. Oh Ha Ni is more of a stalker, where Xiang Qin just happens to be in the right place at the right time.
Joe Cheng as Xiang Qin’s heartthrob is also not as mean and conniving as Baek Seung Jo (played by Kim Hyun Joon of SS501 fame). Where Baek Seung Jo is arrogant and self-serving, Zhi Shu is more quiet, subdued and just doesn’t want to be involved in the get a daughter-in-law plot concocted by his mother. It took Baek Seung Jo a long time to discover that he was in love with Oh Ha Ni, but once Zhi Shu discovers Xiang Qin’s undying love for him he instantly begins an attitude transformation, which makes him appear loveable early on in the story.
Which Kiss Scene did I love best? No doubt it was the one shared by Zhi Shu and Xiang Qin in the rain. The one between Baek Seung Jo and Oh Ha Ni was too stiff (even though I waited for it to happen with baited breath and was glad when it happened); I feel the very first kiss bestowed on Xiang Qin by Zhi Shu had more passion behind it. (PS, the bedroom scene between Zhi Shu and Xiang Qin is also the favorite), Joe Cheng is not only tall and gorgeous but he knows how to incite a sizzle.
If you’re looking for great sex scenes, forget it. If you’re looking for a laugh and a very good drama then It Started with a Kiss is the drama for you.
I give it five Fleur De Lis.
Coming Soon: It Started with a Kiss 2 Review

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Embracing Change

Embracing Change
A lot of people get left behind because they are afraid to change. The Oxford American Dictionary defines change as to make or become different. I’m not proud to say it but every now and then I fall into that category. Take my cell phone for instance. I’ve had it for about a year and the only things I can do with it is answer it, turn it off and get to Yahoo to check my email. Every now and then I can also manage to take a picture and record a video. The picture I can find easy enough but it’s a mystery to me where all the videos are hiding. The instruction manual that came with it shows that the phone can do all kinds of neat things but I refuse to click on the icons and aps for fear that I might blow the phone up or worse, that I might find something interesting that might take up some of my precious time.
I am a creature of routine. I get up at the same time every morning, take a shower and then turn on my computer and play videos while I dress. This is followed by toasting a bagel and fixing my lunch, and maybe possibly writing something. Somewhere around seven I pack my purse and tote bag, put on my earrings and then watch the news to check out the weather and the traffic while I wait for my ride to arrive.
If the telephone rings or one of the kids ask something usually I’ll stop what I’m doing to answer the phone or answer the kid and then I end up forgetting to do something that I don’t remember until I’m at work. My mind refuses to accept change most of the time and I get angry if I have to deviate for the norm.
Take my full-time job for instance. I’m perfectly happy just sitting at my desk five days a week, eight hours a day answering phones and trouble-shooting computer program or finance problems. But every now and then my supervisor asks me to teach a class or go on a trip. This completely throws me out of my comfort zone. I worry about making a mistake while teaching or dying in a plane crash, you know things I have no control of. My boss thinks this is funny and tells me that she just wants me to get out every now and then and try something new. I usually end up doing it not because I want to but because she won’t get off my back until I do. Forced change is not always a good thing, nor is it always appreciated.
For the longest time most of my heroes were tall, Caucasian males, with dark hair and blue eyes. They had to be rich, drive an expensive sport car and live in a luxurious mansion. They also had to be powerfully built in order to protect the heroine from gangsters, fallen angels, demons and natural disasters. So what’s wrong with that you might ask? Nothing, if you’re a beginner writer, but for us who have been around a little while typical is just plain old boring. So every now and then I get the heck out of my comfort zone and develop a hero that is so far from normal even I wouldn’t mind dating him.
I don’t have a problem with change when it comes to writing. Nor do I have problem shifting genre. I can write a good erotic tale just as well as I can write a tender emotional sweet romance. And I have been known to write a paranormal or horror novel or two. This type of change I embrace with a smile. In Bayou Babe, the heroine Halle is a voodoo priestess whom the entire town whispers about. I could have made her mean and in typical fashion cast a spell over everyone that messed with her but instead I made her a character that just didn’t give a damn about what anyone thought of her.
For In Love with a Dark Stranger, which is set in modern day Egypt, I created four of the most un-orthodoxed characters that I could think of and wrote a tale so hot that even I got turned on reading. Not only does it have a hot dark-haired bandit but as a change I threw in a sexy blond-haired prince to just confuse the heck out of the heroine.
On the Warpath teamed a chauvinistic male Secret Service agent with a half African American/half Native American Indian female who could outshoot, out track and basically kick his butt in everything she attempted. Originally she was supposed to be some frail little secretary type but I changed it at the last moment because his attitude was getting on my nerves and I wanted to teach him a lesson.
I got the surprise of my life one night after watching a Korean drama on my computer. I took one look at the leading man and I started to drool. No one told me that there were so many fine looking Asians just walking around on the other side of that ocean. Now this leading man was far from typical. He was drop dead gorgeous with pale skin, dark almond-shaped eyes and a set of lips to die for. My eyes automatically landed on all that thick black hair, his delicately carved face and that slender frame. Instant arousal. Or, as it’s known in the anime world…a double nose bleed. What was it about this man that caught my attention? He wasn’t very muscular, he didn’t drive a fancy car or have a million dollar home. But he probably could protect the heroine because my warp little mind assumes that just because a man is Asian that he knows martial arts, (so not true).
Then I realized that the change wasn’t in my choice of character but in me. Normally I’m turned on by tall, dark-skinned African American males, with deep voices and smoldering brown eyes. Not so much anymore. I often joke with my fans and friends on Facebook about Imari’s bucket list…the ten men I’d like to do before I die. It came as quite a shock to them and me that the top five were all of Asian descent. Just to make it clear number one is Micky Yoochun from the K-Pop group JYJ. He’s twenty-four with the best hair and best set of lips I’ve ever seen. (Cougar moment.)
I don’t spend as much time on YouTube as I used to drooling over these men. That would be just too big a change for me. But I have done a considerable amount of research on Japanese and Korean culture and customs and watched a lot of videos in the last year or so to have a very good understanding of what they’re like, which brings me to the real meaning behind this blog, I had to change my way of thinking in order to write my upcoming book In Deep Kimchi, that is scheduled to be released by Sugar and Spice Press in January 2011.
Blurb: Erotic romance author Shaundra Morrison thought there was nothing in the world her handsome white boss Harper Kehoe could offer her to get her on a plane bound for Tokyo, including free use of his body for the duration of the trip. Becoming a member of the mile high club intrigued her but not enough to conquer her fear of flying.
Harper Kehoe had money, power and everything his heart desired except for the affections of his best selling author’s Shaundra Morrison. He jumped at the idea of forming a partnership with Japanese mogul Goro Niigata because to Harper business came before pleasure. And what a perfect way to have both than by inviting Shaundra and three of his other successful authors to accompany him to Tokyo to promote the opening of NIKII Publishing. So what if it meant having one of his doctor friends prescribe Shaundra a sedative to knock her sexy ass out for twenty five hours.
Shaundra wasn’t too keen on the idea of being drugged just to fly halfway around the world to help Harper promote his new business, until her senior editor showed Shaundra a picture of Aomori, a group of four J-Pop singers who Mr. Niigata managed and planned to use to help promote his new business. All it took was one look at those beautiful faces, sexy young bodies and all that long black hair to get her to reconsider. The worst thing that could happen to her would be she’d be turned into a junkie before she returned to New York, she mused looking down at the photograph again. The dampening of the panties between her legs assured her that it would be well worth it.
Whew, had I not changed my way of thinking there’s no way I could have come up with that premise or that story. So you see some change is good.
New Orleans born Imari Jade writes for Sugar and Spice Press, Eternal Press, Carnal Publishing, Siren Publishing, Total E-Bound, Phaze, MoonGypy Press, Midnight Showcase Fiction, Wild Horse Press and Mélange.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Missing a Once in a Lifetime Event
I woke up this morning still a little disappointed that I could not attend the JYJ Concert (Jaejoong, Yoochun, and Junsu) in New York (held at the Hammerstein Ballroom) last night, but sites such as APOP, and my favorite Facebook page (JYJ Junsu Jaejung Yuchun) have been kind enough to share their photos with me.!/pages/JYJ-Junsu-Jaejung-Yuchun/165689783455694
There were also some firsthand accounts about running into the fabulous three (JYJ) in elevators, on how gorgeous Jaejoong looked in person, and several compliments on Junsu’s new hair color and on Micky’s nipple and tattoo visible through his outfit (Yummy). Oh, hum, such is the life of a busy romance writer. Or should I say this is my life where I normally miss out on everything I want to do.

So how did I spend yesterday? Babysitting a precocious two-year old who was supposed to be sick, but who somehow managed to still tear up my house and demand that I get her things. Fortunately she’s recovered enough to go to the zoo today with her parents.
Later last night after finishing my NaNoWriMo work, (I’m up to almost 29,000 words) I tried watching the first episode of It Started with a Kiss 2 but the Internet started doing that dragging thing so I finally gave up around midnight and went to sleep.
What I did not miss was the two day train ride to and from New York, the traffic, and standing in line with 6000 screaming fans for hours. I don’t think I can do that anymore. I’m hoping more on the line of meeting them in a more private venue the next time they are in the United States, like back stage, in a quiet restaurant or in a jazz club in the French Quarters if they ever come to New Orleans. And I still have my back up plan to visit South Korea and hopefully spend a week getting to know them when we all have some free time and are not bombarded by our busy work schedules.
Though disappointed for not seeing my true love Micky in person, Jaejoong did give me something I’ll treasure forever…uploaded picture of Micky Yoochun in deep slumber, exhausted after performing in last night’s free concert. Thanks Jae.
Have a splendid time in the United States JYJ.

A Fan Forever, and AKTF (Always Keep the Faith)
Imari Jade

Monday, November 8, 2010

Writing Sweet and Young Adult Romance

Writing Sweet or Young Adult Romances
Decided to take the day of and get some writing done. Blogging, as I’ve come to learn is not an easy task. And I give props to those of you who faithfully do this every day.
I’m making incredible progress on my current Work In Progress (WIP) during NaNaWriMo’s second week. I’m up to 20,000 words. I’m beginning to understand my characters a little more but it feels strange to write about young people who haven’t really experienced life yet, when I normally dealing with adults with adult issues. That doesn’t mean that they will be less interesting…they just won’t be having much uncontrollable sex in unique and odd settings.
I keep repeating to myself romance not sex over and over in my head as I write to keep this budding young adult relationship between the two lead characters at a nice and steady pace. Of course they hate each other right now, but they are beginning to discover some redeeming qualities about the other, as well as noticing that their bodies are different. Young love is so beautiful. Too bad I don’t remember it (smile).
So what are some of the Do’s and Don’ts of writing sweet and young adult romance?
(1) Don’t Make Your Characters Stupid Just Because They’re Young – Eighteen to twenty year olds have heard of sex and know the correct terminology to use to describe what’s between their legs.
(2) Do Make Them Attractive – Not everyone gets zits and pimples or dress like they’re auditioning for the Adams Family. Nose piercing and tattoos are only cute occasionally but really hard to describe.
(3) Do Give Them Personality – There’s nothing more boring than characters that look away shyly or blush ever two or three pages.
(4) Don’t Give Them Big Time Corporate Executive Jobs – Unless their parents have died and they suddenly have to take over the reins, don’t try it. Most of the time they’re barely out of high school or college and the only position they’ve held is at a fast food restaurant.
(5) Do Dress Them Age Appropriately – Twenty year olds won’t be caught dead in suspenders or pantyhose. Baggy pants falling off the behind is optional. (Bare legs under a dress…gross) but I’m not a part of this generations who I guess it’s okay.
(6) Do Make them Literate – Ebonics is so yesterday, and regardless of what you might think they know a curse word or two.
(7) Do Choose Good Music and Current Technology – Youngsters have no clue what a 78 vinyl or a 45 record is, or an 8 track player, unless they’re my kids. Right now I’m playing the Bee Gees Greatest Hits, and later on, when I switch back into to 2010 they will be hearing JYY’s, The Beginning. Throw in a little Kanye West or Beyonce if you want them to relate.
(8) Do Practice Safe Sex – Even I don’t know how this story is going to end, but if they do end up in an adult situation, give them common sense and mention protection.
Imari Jade

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Day Three - NaNoWriMo

Day Three – NaNoWriMo

Its nine o’clock at Wednesday night and I just entered my writing total into the NaNoWriMo calculator. Today’s word count is a decent 1,930, just 70 words short of my intended daily goal but it still feels good to have past the 1,667 words needed for each day.
My boss returned to work today so I couldn’t really do much writing at work. I dragged my tablet and pen with me down on break each time I dared venture out of the building, but its hard writing when there is so many people under the pavilion with me. I left my MP3 player up at my desk because it was raining and I was afraid it would get wet. Usually I could block out the people and their voices while I listen to some smooth writing music, but today all I heard was political mish-mash a day after the election. Hell, I’m so busy I’ve forgotten who and what I voted for.
Since I’ve completed writing for NaNoWriMo for the evening I still have about an hour to work on other things. At the moment I’m reading over another WIP while listening to DBSK on the stereo.
Just a short 200 word blog tonight.
Blog more tomorrow or in a couple of days.

Imari Jade

Sunday, October 31, 2010

National Novel Writing Month

National Novel Writing Month
It’s that time of the year again, and I’m gearing up to participate in the National Novel Writing Month annual writing competition, affectionately called NaNoWritMo.
For those of you who don’t know, every year writers take on the task of creating a 50,000 word novel by writing about 1,600 words every day for the entire month of November. You can create your outline before the date, but absolutely no writing of the book should take place before November 1st. So if you’re interested now is the best time to pull out that novel premise you’ve been screwing around with and join the fun. But first you have to register at:
Last year was my first time entering and it had to be worth my while if I’m participating again this year.
Somewhere around ten last night I decided to give the heroine in my proposed novel a new career. Of course this just blew everything out of sync. Now I’m up at five in the morning on the day before the big event trying to reorganize my notes. This is so like me.
Last year I began writing with only an idea. I didn’t have an outline and I had to do the research on the subject as I went along. I chose to do a historical romance novel set in Egypt. Why do I do these things to myself?
This year I’m a little better prepared. I have an idea, know my characters and know how I want the story to begin and end. But I know me. I’ll start off with my prepared outline and I’ll go completely off the charts and write the story differently. Why do I do this? Because my characters usually take control and write the story they want the world to read.
Last year I wrote 5,000 words on the first day, which was pretty good when the goal was only 1,600 words. This year I’m not so confident since November 1st falls on a Monday, which is a work day for me, and I’ll be on a bus for two hours to and from work. Or, maybe I can use that to my advantage by writing while I’m riding. I don’t know. I have to see how things go.
What does it take to participate in NaNoWritMo? Well, it takes patience, determination and dedication to sit there and write with a goal in mind for a month. The hardest part is making sure you do it every day. I know life gets in the way some time so if you miss a day please try to catch up the next day. I generally do most of my writing in long hand first (got the callous on my finger to prove it) and then I type it up when I finish. Before I go to bed at night I enter the daily word count into the NaNoWritMo status counter box on my page. It’s fun to see the count go up every night.
What did I gain from last year’s experience? Well, I gained confidence that I could write and meet a deadline. I also discovered that I could write a book in a month if I set my mind to it. The hardest part for me was not editing the text as I went along. This is one of the rules. Editing is scheduled for the month of December. So if you make mistake just continue on.
What was the best part of participating in NaNoWritMo? The 50,000 word novel I completed.
A lot of people asked me what I did with the novel once I wrote it. Well the answer is after editing it in December 2009 I submitted it to a publisher and was awarded a contract. Last week I got my first royalty check for it. Not bad for just thirty days of doing what I love to do best…writing.
So doing the month of November I will keep you inform on how I’m doing.
Blog more later, and oh yeah, Happy Halloween.
Imari Jade

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

You’re Beautiful – Drama Review
A South Korean idol romantic drama, depicting the behind-the-scene life of the A. N. Jell idol group, staring Park Shin Hye, Jang Geun Seuk, Lee Hong Ki and Jung Yong Hwa.
Sister (nun)-in-training, Gemma (Park Shin Hye) is coerced into posing as her twin brother Go Mi Nam while he’s recovering from a botched plastic surgery. Gemma or Mi Nyu reluctantly agrees to help Go Mi Nam’s manger in order to fill her dream of finding her mother who she has never met. Mi Nyu meets the three members of A. N. Jell, Hwang Tae Kyung (Jang Geun Seuk), Kang Shin Woo (Jung Young Hwa, leader of the pop group CNA Blue) and Jeremy (Lee Hong Ki, member of the pop group F. T. Island). In the very first episode Kang Shin Woo discovers that Mi Nam is really a girl. After an unfortunate accident Tae Kyung discovers it too and both take on the responsibility of protecting Mi Nyu's true identity.
Review – Yet another drama featuring a girl posing as a guy, yet not a bad job of acting by the lovely Park Shin Hye. I watched all sixteen episodes in three days and let me tell you I don’t regret it.
Jang Geun Seuk gave a superb performance as the vain, arrogant and spoiled leader of A. N. Jell, Hwang Tae Kyung. I found myself screaming at the screen at him for being so pig-headed but was later won over by that handsome face and pouting lips.
I also wanted to slap Mi Nyu silly for not falling for Kang Shin Woo, a young man who loved her and complimented her personality more than the whiny Tae Kyung.
But the first one I noticed was the blond-haired Jeremy. Kind of like what happened when I first saw Hero of DBSK rocking that platinum blond Mohawk. But after awhile I found his character a bit babyish one moment and then too motherly the next. Mi Nyu never had a clue about his feelings toward her but in my opinion that would have been a match made in pastel hell.
Emotions run rampart throughout this drama, which will help you understand the complex issues the two main characters faced. I liked the songs performed by A.N. Jell, especially both renditions of the song “What Do I Do?” performed by Park Shin Hye and Jan Geun Seuk. (But I like his version better.) He reminded me of one of those 50’s crooners, like Frank Sinatra…very effective to set the romantic tone.
So if you’re into goofy, unpredictable characters you’re going to love this romantic comedy. I give “You’re Beautiful” four fleur delis and no doubt this will be one drama I will watch again and again.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Mischievous Kiss/Perfect Kiss - Review

Perfect Kiss/Mischievous Kiss (Review)
Overview - Clumsy high school senior Oh Ha Ni (Jung So Min) decides to tell her perfect four year crush Baek Seung Jo (Kim Hyun Joon of SS5501 Kpop Group) how she really feels about him so she writes him a letter and gives it to him at the end of the school year. Baek Seung Jo is handsome and a genius but very rude. He corrects the miss-spelled words in Ha Ni’s letter and then returns it to her and tells her that he could never date a dumb girl.
And as things can’t get any worse an earthquake occurs and the home Ha Ni shared with her widowed father Oh Ki Dong (Kang Nam Gil) is destroyed. Ki Dong’s boyhood friend Baek Soo Chang (Oh Kyung Soo) and his wife Hwang Geum Hee (Jun Hye Young) invites Ha Ni and Ki Dong to move in with them. To Ha Ni’s surprise and dismay it is also the home of Baek Seung Jo and his younger brother, Baek Eun Jo (Choi Won Hong). Can Ha Ni and Baek Seung Jo possibly co-exist beneath the same roof without getting on each other’s nerves?
Review – Funny, funny, funny tale of a young woman who knows what she wants and won’t let anything stop her from getting it. Ha Ni is a beautiful young woman but she can’t seem to find anything she’s good at. She can’t cook, she’s clumsy and she can’t keep a secret to save her soul. But though everyone, including Baek Seung Jo’s younger brother Eun Jo thinks Ha Ni isn’t capable of doing anything correct, she does do one thing well, sister can stalk.
Baek Seung Jo’s world is turned upside down when Ha Ni moves in. She follows him around, pries into his business and never fails to get him or herself in trouble with her persistent hounding of him. They even get into an argument on graduation night which turns out to be a great night for Ha Ni since Baek Seung Jo rewards her with her first kiss after they have an argument. The kiss is a bit awkward, but traditionally about normal for most South Korean dramas with young people I’ve watched. Cute, but still not perfect. This sets the scene, and has viewers waiting with anticipation for that perfect one.
Baek Seung Jo’s mother wants Baek Seung and Ha Ni together, and she does everything in her power to see that she gets what she wants even if it means playing the matchmaker. This is the type of mother-in-law dreams are made by. Even though she was blessed with two genius male children, she still pines for a daughter and instantly takes a liking to Ha Ni. She is the complete opposite of the mother-in-law in the Baking King, Kim Tak Gu. She is meddlesome but for a good reason. The only thing I can’t figure out is why she did not try to teach Ha Ni how to cook. On the flip side Ha Ni’s father was also a chef and owned a restaurant and Ha Ni barely could boil water.
Baek Seung Jo’s grades are so good that he can get into any college that he chooses. Unfortunately, Ha Ni’s grades are not and she must face the fact that she might never get into a real college. But with a help of a teacher and a typhoon Ha Ni wins a spot in a community college. Everyone is so proud of her. Meanwhile Baek Seung Jo has not decided if he wants to go to college. He is tired of everyone trying to tell him what to do and even rebels. Throughout all of this he berates and insults Ha Ni for the least little thing. He continues this type of behavior toward her throughout the entire drama and makes me wonder why she puts up with it. If it were me I would have forgot about him after he insulted me in high school. But our heroine doesn’t let what he tells her affect her long and before we know it she is stalking him again. Later Baek Seung Jo decides to go to the same college as Ha Ni and things between them gets interesting.
Of course there are romantic rivals. Bong Joon Gu (Lee Tae Sung) is a street tough want to be cook who has always been in love with Ha Ni. He appeared as a pest in the beginning of the story but midway through he had won over my heart and for a time I wanted Ha Ni to forget about Baek Seung Jo and date him. There’s nothing he wouldn’t do for Ha Ni. Ladies, if you find a man like that, accept him. He’s a lot less trouble and you have to expend a lot less energy on him.
There was also this perfect girl, Yoon Hae Ra (Lee Si Young) who was just perfect for Baek Seung Jo because they shared the same ideals, personality and meanness toward Ha Ni. Well she wasn’t exactly perfect. She wore dresses or skirts throughout the drama and she had very thin legs. But she did pull off the perfect bitchy other girl that we love to hate.
I loved this romantic drama and hated to see it end. Like others I keep hoping for a second season. The chemistry between the two lead actors is fantastic. Of course this was the perfect opportunity for me to ogle the very handsome Kim Hyung Joon who also stars in Boys Before Flowers. Definitely a five fleur de les recommendation for viewing.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Baking King, Kim Tak Goo - A Review

Baker King (King of Baking, Kim Tak Goo) – Review
Baker King (King of Baking, Kim Tak Goo) is a 30 episode Korean drama about the eldest son of Goo In Jong, a legendary baking president of Samhwa Enterprises. Kim Tak Goo, portrayed by Oh Jae Moon (as a child) and Yoon Shi Yoon (as an adult) is a loving and caring person who at the age of twelve discovers that he is the eldest son of Goo In Jong, a skilled baker and also the president of Samhwa Enterprises.
For the past twelve years he and his mother Kim Mi Sun (Jun Mi Sun) has lived in poverty and have moved around a lot because of threats made by Han Seung Jae (Jun Sung Mo), the best friend and secretary of Samhwa Enterprises under the order of Goo In Jong’s wife, Seo In Sook (Jun In Hwa) who finds out about the child’s existence. Goo In Jong and Kim Mi Sun had a brief affair a little over twelve years ago after Seo in Sook gave birth to her second daughter, and under the guidance of Goo in Jong’s mother who desperately wanted a grandson to carry on the family’s name and business. Instead of killing Kim Mi Sun, Secretary Han allows her and the baby to live with the promise that he would kill both of them if he ever saw them again.
Kim Tak Goo gets to meet Goo In Jong, whom he calls Chairman when Kim Tak Goo and another friend tries to steal bread from a baking plant. Kim Tak Goo later takes responsibility and pays off the debt by selling junk he has collected. Goo In Jong is so impressed when the young man lives up to his responsibility that he asks him his name and he tells him Kim Tak Goo. Goo In Jong is shocked because that was the name he asked Kim Mi Sun to name their son before she gave birth to him but chocked it off an a coincidence since Kim Mi Sun disappeared and he hadn’t heard from her in twelve years. Kim Mi Sun gets upset when she learns about the meeting and learns that Kim Tak Goo wants to grow up to be someone successful just like Goo In Jong. But just as soon as she is about to forget the incident Secretary Han hears the child’s name and hunts them down. He threatens to kill them but Kim Mi Sun tells him that she will take her child and leave again. Kim Tak Goo does not want to leave because he is tired of moving and he has made friends. One friend in particular is Shin Yoo Kyung (Eugene) who is being physically and mentally abused by her alcoholic father.
Kim Mi Sun decides to take Kim Tak Goo to his father for him to raise since she is unable to give him the kind of life he needs to be a success. This causes a major problem because Goon In Jong is not only still married to Seo In Sook and they have three children, two older daughters and a younger son named Goo Ma Joon (Shin Dong Wood (child)/Joon Won (adult) whom Seo In Sook has been grooming to take over Samhwa Enterprises. Seo in Sook makes it very clear that she is not going to raise a child by her husband’s mistress. Goon In Jong’s mother instantly sees the resemblance between Goo In Jong and Kim Tak Goo and agrees to raise the child in the home despite the way Seo In Sook feels. Kim Mi Sun leaves and Kim Tak Goo tearfully cries because he doesn’t want to be separated from her. His grandmother tells him to man up and ignore the ugly stares he’s receiving from Seo In Sook and the other kids in the house.
Kim Tak Goo decides to give it his best shot but Seo In Sook treats him so badly, including physically striking him in the face because she hates him and what he stands for. Then one day Kim Tak Goo gets a wired message from Shin Yoo Kyung that his mother is in danger. Kim Tak Goo leaves the home to rescue his mother and Goo Ma Joon follows him. But when he gets there he discovers that his mother has been kidnapped.
Kim Tak Goo and Goo Ma Joon return to the mansion and Kim Tak Goo asks his father to help search for his mother, but his father is too busy and tell him that he will take care of it later. Seo in Sook plots with Secretary Han to get rid of the child and Secretary Han takes him off and tries to sell him to some men on a ship. Kim Tak Goo gets away from the men after he discovers what Secretary Han has done. While in hiding he meets an old man Pal Bong, who gives him some bread to eat, keeps him safe and then talks to him until Kim Tak Goo leaves the next morning. For the next twelve years Kim Tak Goo searches for a man with a windmill tattoo on his arm…the only clue he has in his mother’s disappearance. Twelve years later he shows up at a bakery and all their lives collide again.
Review – This is another one of those instances where you can’t judge a series by a couple of episodes. I originally watched the first couple of episodes and stop because the story dragged. So I put it aside for a while and then went back to it and got interested in the story. Just because you have money doesn’t mean that you are better than people who don’t. In this case money has turned these people into a very dysfunctional family. It is a tale filled with lies, deceit and secrets that span twenty-six years and just when you think nothing else can happen to the happy-go-lucky Kim Tak Goo one of his extended family members pulls a rabbit out of a hat to keep him in his place. This is a tale where men run the business and women run the household. They are pampered and spoiled and have never gone without a meal. Seo in Sook will stop at nothing to make her son the next president of Samhwa. Once she asks Secretary Han to help her he agrees since the two of them used to date and he is still in love with her. Secretary Han is an evil man who doesn’t have a problem committing kidnapping, murder and putting his own life on the line while pretending to be the president’s best friend and confidant.
This story is a tear-jerker, where most of the time Kim Tak Goo is the one in tears. Seeing him cry gets a little boring at times but your heart will go out when you see how determine he is to find his mother. I give this drama four fleur de les.