For most of my life, I read more in Chinese (traditional/simplified) than any other languages I know. Many Singaporeans around me would give me the o.O face when they know that I read in Chinese, believing it to be too difficult or thinking that it’s not to their interest (I’ve heard many different reasons). I think it’s unfortunate that we are not reading in a language that many of us are taught in school so I thought I’ll share a few of my personal favorites here. As with any language, you can only get better if you read more and a lot of times, it’s about taking that first step forward. If you are a c-novel or tw-novel fan, please leave a comment and share some of your favorites too!
This list is not exhaustive but might be fun to start to list down (most) novels I’ve read!
p.s. I have an obsessive streak in me so once I like a category of novels, I’ll read a lot of it
- TW Internet romance novels
- C-period romance novels
x – novels I’ve read but don’t recommend.
C-Period / Fantasy
桐华 | Tong Hua
大漠谣 ｜ Da Mo Yao The first C-novel that got me into the whole c-period romance novels. I would read this over and over again and the drama is beautifully shot too.
云中歌 | Yun Zhong Ge Featuring one of my TOP 5 favorite male characters to date. Sweeping and epic love story that is not just focused on the main pairing and I enjoyed all the various arcs. Would be good to read it after Da Mo Yao. Have read this twice already! (and shed many tears)
步步惊心 | Bu Bu Jing Xin One of the classics I believe. Writing is simpler than Tong Hua’s other novels but it gets you in the heart. Also features one of the best novel-to-drama adaptation I’ve ever seen. Much love!
x 半暖时光 ｜ Ban Nuan Shi Guang Modern novel. It started out promising, became really makjang (the kind that you hate yourself for wanting to read on when your brain tells you to stop) and ended up being such a makjang mess I couldn’t finish it. (took a peek at the ending and I gave up). Read somewhere that another of her modern novel was not good too, so I guess I’ll stick to her period writing.
曾许诺 | Ceng Xu Nuo Not my favourite Dong Hua novel. Enjoyed the first volume, but kinda lost interest in the 2nd half. I know there are people who absolutely love this, so perhaps it’s just me.
浅绿 ｜ Qian Lü
Possibly one of My favorite c-novelist (no more doubt about it). The best of 诗化小说 poetic novels to date. What’s amazing is that her writing style is so flexible, could be really poetic and exquisite in one novel and sweeping and majestic in the next one and yet another style for the the third one. ♥
A 3 part inter-connected series of the 3 most amazing female characters I’ve read to date. I love how you can each part is focused on one female character and yet you get glimpses of the other 2 in some parts as well and how they are somewhat connected to each other. Beautiful writing and it really showed how everyone is a lead in his / her story 每个人都有自己的故事。I can’t recommend this more.
天配良缘之陌香 | Tian Pei Liang Yuan Zhi Mo Xiang ♥♥♥♥♥♥ I can’t give this enough hearts. It’s a beautiful piece of writing, exquisite and yet nothing fancy, which really suits the male female lead 慕容舒清. She’s exactly the type of person I aspire to be. If there’s just one slight disappointment, it’s that I strangely don’t care much about the male characters lolol. Unlike Tong Hua’s novels when I was positively fangirling over ling ge ge.
天配良缘之商君 | Tian Pei Liang Yuan Zhi Shang Jun I didn’t knew that the story was interconnected so I was really (very pleasantly) surprised that this story focused on one of the side characters in Mo Xiang. If Mo Xiang’s writing is exquisite and fine, this is sweeping, majestic and grips you in the heart. I love loved 慕容舒清’s story and was really happy how she had an arc in 商君’s story too, which showed us what happened to 舒清 after the end of her novel. We now see part of Mo Xiang’s story from 商君’s perspective, offering us more depth to what had happened in Mo Xiang and some questions which were left unanswered in Mo Xiang were solved here. Combined with her own backstory and her own arc (with events that happened after Mo Xiang), it’s a gripping read.
天配良缘之西烈月 ｜ Tian Pei Liang Yuan Zhi Xi Lie Yue LOVE! Set in a country where women rule, you can already imagine all the hjinks. My favourite moment is the 一品夫郎 part 😛 西烈月’s story is compelling, and I loved the male lead (who was introduced as a side character in Mo Xiang). But the one thing that made me love the story? 慕容舒清. Being able to see how she lived after the story ended in Mo Xiang is awesome and provided the closure that I so wanted to have. This series proves that good writing and good plots are never about dragging out a single conflict or to have misunderstandings after misunderstandings.. It’s smart, witty, yet manages to grab you at all the right moments. You must read this series.
A 3 part inter-connected series. A medical examiner (法医) and an elite cop were transported back in time and ended up in the bodies of 2 of the 3 sisters who were supposed to be sent to another country as “gifts” to 3 powerful men – the emperor, the minister (宰相) and the army general. The 3 sisters were known for their beauty, grace and talents in calligraphy, art, chess etc but now…. 😛
错嫁良缘之洗冤录 | Cuo Jia Liang Yuan Zhi Xi Yuan Lu SUPER LOVE. Initially, I was hesitant in starting this series – “What if this series does not live up to TPLY?”. But my worries were unfounded. This is LOVE. I always have a soft spot for forensic science stories and this time the time-travelling female lead is a very accomplished 法医. One main reason I love 浅绿’s writing so much is balance. Often a book focuses too much on one element – be it romance, court politics etc. But her writing always manages to effortlessly tell a good story, so much so that I find myself enjoying each and every part and in this case, that includes a great romance, investigative cases, court politics etc. The female lead is well written (as usual) but this time, I’m surprised at how much effort is put in the male lead 夕颜 too. I had my gripes about Mo Xiang not being able to develop the male lead well enough for me to care about the pairing, so in this aspect, this book is a notch above! (: Highly highly recommended and I can’t wait to read the other two books in the series <3
错嫁良缘之一代军师 | Cuo Jia Liang Yuan Zhi Yi Dai Jun Shi ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ Superb writing and fantastic plot. I thought Xi Yuan Lu was already awesome but this is two notches higher. Female lead is an elite cop who was transported back in time with the 法医 in XYL. It’s awesome seeing how she carved out a place for herself in the all-male 将军府 when she is now the youngest, cute-faced sister and her talents in investigation and her knowledge of army / weapons don’t fit her age and appearance. Definitely one of the most memorable female leads I’ve ever read. Very unique main pairing too 😛 Witty, epic and funny all at the same time. A classic in my opinion. Now I cannot wait to read the last instalment in the series.
错嫁良缘之后宫疑云 ｜Cuo Jia Liang Yuan Zhi Hou Gong Yi Yun 虽然不爱看后宫的勾心斗角（通常都很虐），但在浅绿的文笔下，我还是非常喜欢的。故事的各个环节都拿捏的好，不会太虐，也没有那种一个误会要拖很久的情节。Although I still prefer the other two books, I’m still surprised by how much I like this, given my usual dislike of 后宫 stories. Plot is well-balanced and I love love love how it sets up the story for the next 3 books in the series. Highly recommended series overall and dare I say that I like this even more than 天配良缘？
错嫁良缘之海盗千金 ｜ Cuo Jia Liang Yuan Zhi Hai Dao Qian Jin (2 books) The 4th to 6th instalment in the series are actually about the 3 sisters’ daughters (okay I don’t think that’s really a spoiler right..?). I loved the whole idea of having their daughters now as the leads but to be honest, while I enjoyed this, it was not to the level of the previous 3 books. I can’t quite pinpoint why I didn’t love this book as much, but I did enjoy the references made to the old characters in the earlier books! (: Overall, still highly recommended!
错嫁良缘之燎越追凶 | Cuo Jia Liang Yuan Zhi Liao Yuan Zui Xiong (2 books) I liked how the female leads are all very strong and unique in their own ways and not just a carbon copies of their mothers. Like the 4th instalment, I enjoyed this but somehow my heart will still be with the stories of their mothers (:
错嫁良缘之真假公主 | Cuo Jia Liang Yuan Zhi Zhen Jia Gong Zhu (2 books) Now that I’ve read all 3 stories on the daughters, I must say this set of books do have their strengths too. Will highly recommend this whole series!
女神养成计划 | Nv Shen Yang Chen Ji Hua Bought and read the e-book version. I wouldn’t have thought that this was written by 浅绿 because the story style is so different but enjoyed it nevertheless.
唐七公子 ｜ Tang Qi Gong Zi
First C-fantasy author I’ve read and completely fell in love.
An inter-connected series. At first I was rather thrown off by characters living for 14,000years or what not but I ended up loving this series SO much.
三生三世枕上书 | San Sheng San Shi Zheng Shang Shu In English, it’s Three Lives Three Worlds The Pillow Book. Lost in translation much 😛 It’s technically the second part of the series, but I read it first and I somehow think it’s awesome to read this one first. One of those books which would make me laugh out loud, squeal (in the privacy of my own room) and go omg omg at certain parts. Any book that stirs up so many emotions is a good book. Talked about how I loved the male lead, Dong Hua, here. Sharp witty writing. Sweeping, epic, with an amazing couple.♥♥♥♥♥
三生三世十里桃花 | San Sheng San Shi Shi Li Tao Hua This is the first in the series. I loved Dong Hua more than Ye Hua (the male lead here) but it’s an amazing story on its own. Lots of twists that would keep you guessing all the way. Tang Qi’s writing has such charm.
华胥引 | Hua Xu Yin As much as I liked it, I thought it was over-rated. Personally, I prefer Pillow Book a lot~ more. But I can’t deny that the main OTP is awesome and Mu Yan would remain as one of my top favourite male characters ever. The plot is also highly unusual and refreshing, which probably contributes to the huge numbers of fans of this novel!
Others (C-period / Fantasy)
x 山河落娇红 by 三月暮雪 | Shan He Luo Jiao Hong by San Yue Mu Xue Started out promising and turned into makjang mess. 😐 First time I hated the male lead. Didn’t finish the book.
错妃诱情 by 月出云 | Cuo Fei You Qing by Yue Chu Yun The romance is heavy in this one but somehow it didn’t manage to deliver that sweeping, gripping storyline that I would have liked. Not too bad, but not too good either. But I do quite like that the female lead has spunk and great medical skills (at least she’s not the helpless beauty).
花千骨 by Fresh 果果 | Hua Qian Gu by Fresh Guo Guo SUPERB. If you liked the drama, you would love this. The drama does have some deviations from the novel, but nothing I disliked and reading the novel added layers to the story to make it even more heartbreaking and epic. Every single character was well thought-out and I find myself so intrigued about their backstories. An amazing read that dared to go all the way, breaking your heart along the way. I would say that it’s a must-have on your bookshelf, only that it’s so heart-wrenching I don’t think I can take the pain more than once.
x 忆风舞情忆诺 by 猫音 | Yi Feng Wu Qing Yi Nuo by Mao Yin I never liked stories that are dragged out by a single misunderstanding (or more), jealousy etc, or any sort of star-crossed lovers (our love is destined to end in doom!). The writing’s pretty good (and with a male lead I liked enough to finish the first volume) but urgh the plot. :/ Good guy goes bad / possessive because of jealousy, misunderstandings snowballing, “we are not meant to be”… etc. Not my cup of tea.
帝业如画 by 慕容湮儿 | Di Ye Ru Hua by Murong Yaner 无奈. That’s how I would describe the whole story. 无缘. That’s how I would describe the characters. I’m usually not a huge fan of the palace politics type of plot, but this is just one volume so it’s easy to stomach. I love the various male leads, so it’s a good read overall!
x 血嫁 by 远月 | Xue Jia by Yuan Yue Had high hopes for this series since I read good reviews but it’s just not to my taste. I don’t quite like the “comical” tone and the plot just bothered me right from the start. Couldn’t get past the 3rd chapter or so.
x 君临天下 by 寂月皎皎 | Jun Lin Tian Xia by Ji Yue Jiao Jiao Volume 1 was not bad since I really liked the characters and their interactions in general. It’s funny to see how the crown prince’s wife act all stupid and silly when she’s really shrewd and well versed in arts / martial arts and how the crown prince thought his wife of 3 years was just a 木头. But somehow I lost interest in volume 2 and decided not to continue reading when the typical scheming female character comes in.
与凤行 by 九鹭非香 ｜ Yu Feng Xing by Jiu Lu Fei Xiang If you like Pillow Book, you would love this! Similar themes and even the male characters are somewhat similar in their personalities but both stories are awesome in their own ways. I love how the whole story focuses a lot on the two main leads, instead of having misunderstandings or other nonsense to obstruct them. Their romance is weaved into a very compelling plot and I’m just thankful that there are no scheming women here. The first part of the story was downright hilarious – where the female lead was injured, got back into her original Phoenix body, fall into the mortal world, got captured and treated as a fat chicken (all her feathers were plucked) and then put on sale in the market lolol. And of course the person who happens to buy her would be… 😛 Read somewhere that it’s one of the best 仙侠 books around and I have to agree! Highly recommended 😀
一笑千金 by 婧壹 | Yi Xiao Qian Jin by Jing Yi Another 穿越 story, but strangely, it doesn’t mention how she time-travelled nor does it mention anything related. Perhaps it’s because she has time travelled for very long (she found herself in a kid’s body and the story was about her adulthood), I find myself forgetting that she’s a modern woman and simply treat her as a character from that period ><. Which I thought was a pity since the whole 穿越 angle didn’t get used well. Besides that, it was an excellent read. The characters were great, the plot sensible and compelling but it does lack the X factor that would make it epic and memorable (for me). Nevertheless, I enjoyed it tremendously and would definitely recommend it!
x 云狂 by 风行烈 | Yun Kuang by Feng Xing Lie A very unique take on 穿越, seeing that it’s more of having a “next life” and both her lives are in the ancient period. However, the writing is not my style and I didn’t quite like the story starting from her being a baby, to a child and all the way to adulthood. She was born as a girl to a noble family but due to circumstances, she ended up having to take on the identity as a boy. Court politics is also not my cup of tea. I can see why there are great reviews but personally the tone / plot didn’t appeal to me – didn’t get past the first few chapters.
x 香蜜沉沉烬如霜 by 电线 ｜ Xiang Mi Chen Chen Jin Ru Shuang by Dian Xian 虽然网上都爱把这本书和三生三世十里桃花一起讨论，但….个人觉得未免差太多了吧。>< 刚开始看时，觉得文笔有点幼稚（但还可以接受），但越看越不喜欢女主，越看越烦，最后弃文。虽然最后好像会让人感动，但中间的故事真的让我无法忍受。大家都说这是仙侠小说金典之一，但恕我不能认同。Apparently one of the classics in c-fantasy novels, often mentioned together with Tang Qi’s 十里桃花 but I really don’t get why it’s so loved. The female lead is super aggravating and I didn’t quite like the tone and style of the writing. Gave up 2/3 into the novel. I guess there are people who will like this (apparently a lot) but sorry, it’s not my cup of tea.
? 纨绔世子妃 by 西子情 | Wan Ku Shi Zi Fei by Xi Zi Qing A 14-volume series which I stopped at book 12. It had a really promising start, but in the midst of trying to be really epic and having lots of twists, it ended up unraveling towards the end. It’s like going against what you have established and then changing your mind and upping yourself again. -.- Too centered on the OTP, can’t count the number of ahem romantic times in the book. I never thought I would complain that there’s too much.
大唐女法医 by 袖唐 | Da Tang Nv Fa Yi by Xiu Tang Total of 4 books. Loved the first 2 books but thought that the story faltered a little in the second half. Nevertheless, a good read overall. Good balance of cases + romance, well written characters.
公子倾城 by 维和粽子 ｜ Gong Zi Qing Cheng by Wei He Zhong Zi One of the 3 instalments in the 公子 series, although I only realised it afterwards. You don’t need to know what went on in the other parts to enjoy this one. I thought it was quite a ok read, enjoyable but doesn’t quite pull me into the story.
一生一世笑红尘 by 君子江山 | Yi Sheng Yi Shi Xiao Hong Cheng by Jun Zi Jiang Shan Many male leads, one female lead. Each character is well written and memorable. It’s described as a light and comedic writing style, but it is a lot more substantial than that, making you laugh and cry at the right moments. Highly recommended!
一生一世笑繁华 by 君子江山 | Yi Sheng Yi Shi Xiao Fan Hua by Jun Zi Jiang Shan The 2nd instalment in the series, picking up the story in the next generation. I love the connection with the first series. But I found this instalment to be unnecessarily long, to the extent that I lost a bit of interest towards the end. Nevertheless, still quite a good read.
? 三嫁未晚 by 九鹭非香 | San Jia Wei Wan by Jiu Lu Fei Xiang The same author who wrote my favourite 与凤行. I liked the story premise a lot, but somehow fall short of my expectations. Skipped a bit here and there.
杉杉来吃 by 顾漫 | Shan Shan Lai Chi by Gu Man ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ 男主角封腾是我的理想对象哈哈哈！A perfect novel-to-drama adaption and the drama will forever be on my to-rewatch list. The novel is the simpler story, very sweet and devoid of any angst but I would recommend you to watch the drama first. There are so many memorable lines in the book and although it’s quite the cinderella story, I just love allllll the plot. Apparently Gu Man is one of the most popular C-modern novelists, so you won’t go wrong with starting with this. Highly recommended!
何以笙箫默 by 顾漫 | He Yi Shen Xiao Mo by Gu Man 和杉杉来了一样，小说版的内容比电视剧来得简单，但还是有莫名的感动。A classic and there are many many who love the male lead to bits.
一厘米的阳光 by 墨宝非宝 ｜ Yi Li Mi De Yang Guang by Mo Bao Fei Bao
谁在记忆里流连 by 云葭 | Shui Zai Ji Yi Li Liu Lian by Yun Jia After an accident, she woke up having strong memories of a certain guy named Yu Feng. Yet, everyone around her tells her the guy didn’t exist. Yet, one day, she met him… Love the story to bits! Good balance of suspense and romance and more (:
美人为馅 | 丁墨 Mei Ren Wei Xian by Ding Mo First time reading a modern crime / thriller type of story in Chinese. While I really enjoyed the initial setup and the suspense, I thought the story kind of lost its steam halfway through, making the read less satisfying than I thought it would be.
隔壁的爱情杀过来 by 浅绿 | Ge Bi De Ai Qing Sha Guo Lai by Qian Lu Didn’t know that my favourite author also wrote modern stories! To be honest I read this quite some time back and can’t quite remember what the storyline was about, but I remembered enjoying the read!
隔壁那个饭桶 by 酒小七 | Ge Bi Na Ge Fan Tong by Jiu Xiao Qi ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ 我发现我喜欢的男主角都是一类的：聪明，帅（此次啦），腹黑，有些冷漠，不太爱社交，有些孩子气的固执。而且我特别喜欢“吃出感情”来的故事，像是“杉杉来吃”。爱！The male lead is totally my type of guy. An easy and light read, but still managed to tug your emotions 😛
他来了，请闭眼 by 丁墨 | Ta Lai Le, Qing Bi Yan by Ding Mo It’s hard to write crime fiction that can balance between the intricacy and suspense of the cases and weaved in a good romance at the same time. This one manages it, which is why I’ll re-read this over and over again. ♥♥♥♥
最美遇见你 by 顾西爵 | Zui Mei Yu Jian Ni by Gu Xi Jue ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ “每个女生内心都住着一个渴望遇到徐莫庭的李安宁”。 封面的标题吸引了我，读完故事后，确实如此。甜而不腻的文，不会过于梦幻，但还是温馨甜蜜的。I’m going to be on a hunt for more of 顾西爵 and 酒小七’s novels. If they are all as good, I’ll have more stories on my fav list!
名草有主 by 酒小七 | Ming Cao You Zhu by Jiu Xiao Qi 男主是腹黑的。所以我爱。简单的故事，适合放松心情。A simple college love story, but slightly disappointing that the characters (especially the non-leads) aren’t very memorable or well fleshed out.
对的时间对的人 by 顾西爵 | Dui De Shi Jian Dui De Ren by Gu Xi Jue 腹黑啊，有够黑！男主是我喜欢的类型。第一次阅读有关RPG游戏的故事，利用游戏里的互动和现实生活的穿插，写出的是一个让人印象深刻的故事。I haven’t played any RPG before, so I was deeply fascinated by the virtual world which seems to have so many functions!! I’m so tempted ot try. I really enjoyed the story and the author is fast becoming one of my favourite for modern C-stories!
你和我的倾城时光 by 丁墨 | Ni He Wo De Qing Cheng Shi Guang by Ding Mo Got used to the author’s crime fiction works and so I was pleasantly surprised that she could write such a great story about the competitive business world too.
你是我的荣耀 by 顾漫 | Ni Shi Wo De Rong Yao by Gu Man 顾漫的故事简单，但还是能够牵动我的情绪。It’s a simple story as usual, but somehow you are invested in the narrative.
雪輪｜ Xue Lun
Also under the Novel@Net series which I super love. This author is known to write OL-targeted stories = stories of my life. Seriously, I resonate with the characters so much (I believe every OL does). The worries about being single, not knowing what to do in life, being lost, alone, and feeling helpless as time slips through our hands so fast. Some of her stories are also interconnected. To be honest, I can’t quite link each story to each book, but I know I did enjoy every single one. The only unrealistic part? Each of the female leads gets a happily ever after. WHERE IS MINE. lol. Read the stories on her blog here.
- 若你看見我的悲傷 – Strangely, didn’t enjoy this book as much as the others listed earlier.
洛心｜ Luo Xin
Seriously the author that made me love Chinese novels. 小雛菊 was one, if not, the earliest Chinese novel I read as a teen as previously I was more into English novels.
- 夏飄雪 – THIS. Is my favourite novel. I go to the library to borrow it once a year or so.
- 人之初 – This hurts. It hurts.
- 蜃棄樓 – Luo Xin’s novel published in 2017 after 12 years of hiatus. Found out about this in late-2019 and you can’t imagine how happy I was! On my to-read list