Back with more cnovel recommendations! I’ve discovered more favourites recently~ But I want to prioritise those titles which seem lesser-known (?) among English readers. As mentioned, I always make sure to finish reading what I started. I usually read the original Mandarin Chinese version, besides some exceptions.
犯罪心理 (Criminal Psychology)
One day, while Lin Chen read a book, Xing Cong Lian said to him, “You’re a psychologist. Can you help me find out what kind of person is suitable for me to marry?”
Lin Chen remembered telling him love was the most immeasurable thing in the world. Even psychologists couldn’t predict love, because its progress in two people’s lives had countless variables.
Lin Chen thought, at the time, the first variable was: You’re just an ordinary police officer who liked eating crayfish at the stall with a bottle of beer. I didn’t know you were…
Or: I didn’t know when I fell in love with you or when you fell in love with me. (Novel Updates)
This has been on my backlog for a long time, and I finally got to it recently. I was promised by a friend that this focuses on criminal psychology, and I got what I wanted. In fact, the author mentions that they wanted to discuss crime + psychology. They read up a lot for it. I think they achieved their goal. Yes, it’s also about solving cases. But I think you should expect plenty of discussion too. There isn’t absolute black and white, right and wrong in this novel. Good people get tortured. Bad people get away with their crimes. There’s plenty of grey and fluidity. I know some readers could not get into the philosophical discussions (unlike me, I love it), and did not like the open ending. So do keep that in mind. A few loose threads aren’t tied up. But do read the author’s note at the end to understand why. Despite all this, I enjoyed it so much.
The thing is, the characters are very memorable. Not just the couple. They felt so real so raw – their emotions, their motivations, their feelings. The author is really good at showing, not just describing. I’m already feeling emotional writing this. There are certain side characters which linger in your mind. If you absolutely do not want to be spoiled, don’t read the comments! People will keep commenting certain character name(s), and you will start to wonder why. By the time you get to read the actual case, you would have certain expectations already. So if you really want to be surprised, don’t read the comments.
A special mention to the couple. I loved their interactions. They communicate when necessary. The confession scene was hands-down one of my favourite moments in the novel.
营业悖论 (Fanservice Paradox)
Written by: 稚楚 (Zhi Chu)
Length: 109 Chapters + 11 Extras
Translations: Peach Pits
Kaleido, a talented but unpopular boy band, shot to fame by chance because of a video shot at the airport. In the video, Pei Tingsong, the youngest and most gong member of the whole group, pinned Fang Juexia Gege against a wall as he gently patted his face with a ticket. Yet Fang Juexia just took the ticket away, biting it as he tidied up his clothes. A “bullying” incident within the group thus transformed into an intense flirting exchange, and the TingJue CP was born.
Netizen: holy sh*t that’s so gong! Kabedon AND a bayonet fight! (internet slang for lovey dovey actions between men)
And thus, the abandoned trump card burdened by rumours of having had sold his body and the legendary rich member with a strong backing were bound together. They had clearly never gotten along since their debut, yet they were now forced to embark on an endless path of selling their fake ship together.
Pei Tingsong was famous for being ‘real’ in the circle, and he had offended many people from his lyrics alone because they were overly ‘real’. But he stressed again and again that he and Fang Juexia were only providing fan service.
CP fan: [Someone who has never been fake is selling a fake ship.] May the philosophy students please explain the paradox to this young student Pei here.
Young Pei: Fine, you guys win.
Juexia: (seriously considers the logic) If B is true, then A is also true; but if A is true, then B should also be true…it really is a paradox.
Young Pei: Fang Juexia, you’re heartless. (Novel Updates)
I was not expecting to enjoy this so much. This was my first read by this author, and it basically sold me and made me want to check out all their other titles. Anyway! This is a beautiful read of seeing two very different characters grow to understand and fall for each other. Due to previous prejudices and misunderstandings, MC (Fang Juexia) and ML (Pei Tingsong) never saw eye to eye. However, when they’re asked to act as a CP by the company, they start to grow closer to each other, realise how attractive the other party is, and influence each other for the better. Also, MC studied mathematics and ML studied philosophy (and is also knowledgeable in poetry). So the author really made good use of those aspects to represent their views, opinions, behaviour and personality. There are so many squeal-worthy moments in this novel. I find that Zhi Chu is really good at writing romance.
Moreover, let’s not forget the idol group they belong to. All the other members are really fun and distinctive, and the best part is that they themselves shipped the couple from very early on. Everyone is so wholesome, and I really loved how the author wanted to portray an idol group. Though the author acknowledged that it is idealistic, it still makes you wish that this group existed in RL (really).
Additionally, there are cameo appearances by characters from the author’s other novels (I Only Like Your Character Settings, BE Crazy Demon Survival System). They appeared in the reality escape show segment which was super entertaining!
可爱过敏原 (Lovely Allergen)
Song Yu has three requirements for Yue Zhishi:
– You cannot call me gege in public.
– We won’t do anything together in public.
– You cannot let other people know you live with me.
Yue Zhishi has always been obediently following these rules. They were practically strangers at school. At the opening ceremony, he suddenly collapsed due to an allergy-related asthma attack, sending everything into chaos. At this moment, the student representative Song Yu suddenly stopped speaking…….
That night, a hot post appeared on the school forum.
【Shock!! Our junior high school department male idol and our senior high school department male idol are actually ‘brothers’!】
Ever since his father brought back a mixed-race baby when he was six years old, Song Yu’s life has been completely entangled by this clingy little guy who couldn’t speak Chinese well.
Le Le who was in kindergarten: Xiao Yu gege, my classmate said today that he has a beautiful sister-in-law. What is a sister-in-law?
Song Yu: His older brother’s wife.
Le Le: No! I don’t want a sister-in-law!
Song Yu: ……..
Le Le: I’ll be your sister-in-law! (Something isn’t quite right…….)
Song Yu: Please study up on Chinese familial relationships.
Le Le: Wait, wait. I’ll be my sister-in-law!
Song Yu: ……
Mouth says one thing but body does the other, cat-like gong x mixed-race, obedient and straight forward puppy-like shou. (Novel Updates)
Do let me promote another novel by Zhi Chu! First off, the MC (Yue Zhishi) is a precious being. His personality and development was such a joy to read. I also really loved his relationship with the ML’s parents. They truly see each other as family. As for the ML (Song Yu), he actually really cares for the MC (and his parents). As we read on, we learn more about his feelings and reasons behind his past actions. I also found it interesting that the ML was studying topography. His motivation and goals were something special, and it all ties back to the MC.
In case you are worrying about potential drama surrounding the fact that they were brought up as brothers (not blood-related), which usually appears in other similar novels – no need to worry! I personally found everything handled really well. For one thing, the parents’ reactions were one of the best I’ve seen. It was heart-warming to read. The same goes for their friends. I just really like how supportive everyone was.
黑莲花攻略手册 (The Guide to Capturing a Black Lotus)
Written by: 白羽摘雕弓 (Bai Yu Zhai Diao Gong / White-Feather Eagle Bow)
Length: 118 Chapters + 4 Extras
Translations: Second Life Translations
The demons of this world run amok; it’s time for the children of heroes to fill in their own legends.
Unfortunately, you’re not the cold and incorruptible female lead(FL). You’re not even the high-status, delicate and charming second female lead: You’re just the detestable cannon fodder female number three!
The original character was secretly in love with the male lead(ML) while a fanatic in harming the FL from the dark. Till the very end, she was merely a stumbling block for the love between the ML and FL. She let herself get stepped all over by the second male lead and lived a life that could only described as ‘s*upid’.
“So you’re saying… as long as I steal the FL’s man, I’ll have succeeded?”
“Apologies, your target partner is… the FL’s little brother.”
“Yes, it’s exactly that little brother who’s hopelessly in love with his older sister. The one with a twisted heart and evil tendencies, vicious and merciless… that little brother.” (Novel Updates)
I know that at the start, you may feel frustrated by the ML (referring to the black lotus). But trust me, he gets plenty of character development while still being that black lotus. His backstory really plays a big part in the plot. At first, our MC (the transmigrator) is just doing her best to stay alive while sticking to the main plot. But gradually she starts to understand ML and also change him for the better. I really love how MC handled him, especially given the fact that she had so little support from the system. The individual catching-demon cases were interesting. But really, their relationship development was the highlight for me. Also, the side couple was kind of cute and it was funny to see the senior brother act as a wingman to MC and ML’s romance.
The one con I have to point out are the sudden scene transitions. It was really confusing to follow at the start, because I couldn’t tell if it was the present or a flashback. Because of this, I actually had to read the manhua to be able to grasp the story flow. At the time I read, the manhua already covered the first arc. I would definitely recommend you to do the same too.
一级律师 (The Lawyer)
Written by: 木苏里 (Mu Su Li)
Length: 215 Chapters
Translations: shandian translations
Yan Suizhi, the young and accomplished dean of the interstellar Maze University’s law school, wakes up in a body that has been gene-modified to resemble that of a twenty-something-year-old. He had supposedly ‘died’ in a premeditated explosion a few months ago but someone had managed to save him. In his search for his saviour as well as his murderer, Yan Suizhi encounters his former student, Gu Yan, who is now a successful lawyer at Southcross Law Firm. (Novel Updates)
I am making it a point to promote the lesser-known Mu Su Li titles haha. The plot for this is really, really solid. The MC (Yan Suizhi) and ML (Gu Yan) solve separate cases, but gradually you see that everything is tied together and related to MC’s past and the explosion. The author does such a good job at unravelling the threads and the pacing was good. It was also hilarious to read MC pretending to be an intern to ML, yet not putting in much effort while thinking he is doing a good job. Meanwhile ML had his suspicions early on, but just played along. Besides that, the side characters are really well-developed too. They each have their own story to tell.
As you can tell, law is central to the story. I really liked the message told by MC – that you will be judged for your crimes, no more than you deserve, but also no less than you deserve.