Need recs, where to start?
I've had a subscription for a while now but haven't gotten around to reading much. And now there are so many titles available that it's kinda overwhelming. 😣 So...
What would y'all consider the can't miss, best of the best titles on here? I'm already planning to check out Yuki and Matsu, as well as Here and There and Us. But what else?
As for my preferences, I will read anything if it looks good, but I prefer titles that go beyond your typical school or office romance, either with a subgenre, different setting, a unique premise, or whatever. I also like titles that are a little more realistic in regards to queer identity, meaning the characters actually identify as gay/bi, there are queer characters besides the two leads, characters worry about coming out, etc. I also prefer series over one volume titles, and I tend not to like short stories much unless they are REALLY good.
Both SFW and NSFW titles are fine, including most kinky stuff. The only kind of content I usually avoid are direct parent/child, teacher/student, and doctor/patient relationships, but there's some wiggle room, especially if I'm assured that it is really good and doesn't come off as predatory.
I have several that I like:
- Pornographer and Mood Indigo, about an erotica writer with a whole lot of personal issues going on. Mood Indigo is the prequel to Pornographer and I prefer it, but it's best to read Pornographer first.
- How to Kill a Heart is A Lot and I always end up feeling like I've been hit by a truck whenever I reread it, so I don't recommend it if you're not in the mood for something incredibly depressing. But if you do want something incredibly depressing, it's the one. (It has rape, explicitly spelled out as such, and the main relationship, as it were, is between a man and his teenage stepbrother)
- La Danse des Amants is a bunch of interconnected stories centered on a dance troupe. (Consent issues in one of the stories)
- I Didn't Mean to Fall in Love is sweet, inexperienced older man and all too experienced younger man falling for each other after a one-night stand.
- Born to Love You has an interesting supernatural element in an otherwise pretty classic love story, I really liked it.
- At 25:00, in Akasaka has a little bit of the identity exploration stuff, but mostly it's some prime "falling for the guy I've been sleeping with" emotional pining
- Tales of Strange Coincidences in Kawabata-machi isn't my favorite (I found it a teensy bit confusing), but it reminded me a lot of The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window atmosphere-wise.
One that really stuck with me was Setagaya Synchronicity, if you're okay with infidelity. The main character is romantically attracted to women but sexually attracted to men, and the story is mainly about his struggles with his sexuality and his conflict over a guy he keeps running into coincidentally. I felt it did a good job at tackling how complicated sexuality can be, which, as a queer nonbinary person, is something I really relate to, even if my personal experience isn't the same.
I also liked A Marked Love Match, Link and Ring, Whimsical Jaguar, and If I Hadn't Fallen in Love With You, and generally liked the stuff by Ayu Yamane, Kouda Miu, Suzumaru Minta, Hayane Dento, and Fujitobi.
I'd agree with If I Haven't Fallen in Love with You - it features a very rare topic (anorexia) with some empathy to the character. And...the choice of uke is shocking 😂
Other recent reads I'd recommend are Now That's a Teacher (technically not student-teacher) and Talim (some supernatural mpreg which I surprisingly liked)
- Orison: A Wish A Prayer (really twinky twinks, but the art's real pretty and I love stories featuring writers/novelists)
- Anti-Platonic (the main MC has a scent fetish and weird justification against infidelity lol)
Thanks for all the recs so far y'all!
I can't believe how quickly their library has grown compared to when I first checked the site out. 😮 But these recs will help me narrow my choices down.
The one title I would recommend(and really should reread) is The Pure Knight’ Shining Journey and it’s sequel, The Road Home. The romance is sweet and pure, but also not afraid to get a little bit spicy. The elves are more open in their love choices due to age, but anymore than that would be a spoiler. It has an actual main plot and goals to achieve, romance is the cherry on top. It does have a second couple in the second volume, but it helps flesh out the world and existing characters rather than a sad distraction that can happen sometimes. I’m also a sucker for mainly ukes.
I do need to jump on the If I hadn’t fallen in love With You hype train. It’s one of the few titles I have added to my recommendation list on here (I’m very picky over what gets to join the best of the best club).