11. Embracing Love
Author / Artist: Youka Nitta
Japanese Title: Haru wo Daiteita
Publisher: Be Beautiful / Central Park Media
US Publication Dates: 2005 - 2007
Compare prices for Embracing Love Vol. 1
Two male actors feel an immediate attraction to each other, but struggle to express how they really feel to each other in Embracing Love.
Originally published by the now-defunct Central Park Media, Embracing Love is unfinished, because of the plagarism scandal that drove Nitta-sensei to cancel her Yaoi-Con 2008 appearance and retire from the manga business.
"Embracing Love (controversy be damned) has the first plot I've read to involve adult film actors, art reflecting life. Men who love men who look and act like men."
- JRW, @togainunochi
Rafita is a suave and courageous young matador, who sets hearts a-flutter as he risks his life to battle bulls in the ring. But when Rafita meets and falls for Mauro the butcher, Rafita finds himself feeling dangerous doubts for the first time.
"Est Em makes yaoi harsh, awkward, and far from pretty, but her palpable emotions, flawed characters & striking art elevate the genre."
- Robin Brenner, @nfntrobin
13. Gerard & Jacques
Set in the days prior to the French Revolution, Gerard and Jacques is the unlikely love story between a commoner named Gerard and a young nobleman named Jacques who has been sold into a life of prostitution.
"Gerard & Jacques isn't Fumi's best, but it's the only French Revolution yaoi available in English. It's worth checking out."
- Erin Finnegan, @erinf
"Despite the awkward premise, Gerard and Jacques is a sweet and sexy story in only two volumes. Also features period clothing!"
- Adele, @lotuscarpet
14. Crimson Spell
Author / Artist: Ayano Yamane
Japanese Title: Kurimuson Superu
Publisher: Kitty Media / Media Blasters
US Publication Dates: 2007
Compare prices for Crimson Spell Vol. 1
A prince is cursed by a magical sword that turns him into a beast by night, so he sets off on a quest, with a handsome magician in tow, to break the curse. What the prince doesn't know is how the magician tames his savage monster companion at night.
"SWGM wizard seeking demon in bed, prince by day; magical bunnies need not apply. (curses lifted, add'l charge. The Crimson Spell offers fantasy BL with both funny and dark moments, adventurous, sexy, full of the gorgeous men of Yamane Ayano."
- Shelley L.R., @Shelly_LR
15. Age Called Blue
Billy and Nick have been friends for years. Their shared love for music brings them closer together as they play in a band, even as Billy's unspoken passion for Nick smolders. But trouble brews when Billy's bandmates beg him to kick out the gifted, troubled, and rarely-reliable Nick.
"Age Called Blue is est em at her most romantic, without losing any of the gritty realism that makes her so unique."
- Melinda Beasi, @mbeasi
Two step-brothers are practically best friends, until a tragic accident forces them apart. Now it's years later, and the two are reunited. Will their relationship continue to be purely brotherly?
"Brother is hilarious, explicit and sexy! How often can you get all three in one book, uncensored?"
- Erin Finnegan, @erinf
"Icky concept saved by hilarious uncensored appendages, icky and hilarious sound effects. *sproing*"
- SafetyGirl, @safetygirl0
17. Alley of First Love
Shusuke and Atsushi have been friends since childhood. All the while, Shusuke has had an unspoken crush on his pal -- that is, until Atsushi went away to the U.S. for college. Now it's a few years later, and Shusuke finds out that Atsushi is back in town. Will Shusuke find the nerve to tell his old friend how he feels?
"With so many younger readers of BL, it's great to be able to recommend a satisfying story that ends with a kiss and a fade-to-black. Sweet, funny, and the romance will make your heart flip."
- Eva Volin, @funnypages
18. Antique Bakery
Tachibana is a scruffy-around-the-edges guy who decides to open a fancy pastry shop. To his surprise, the pastry chef he ends up hiring is Ono, an old high school acquaintance. Tachibana once turned down Ono's advances while they were teens, but now Ono is a "gay of demonic charm" who drives gay and straight men to distraction.
While Yoshinaga-sensei doesn't consider it to be a yaoi title, Antique Bakery has enough guy-on-guy sexual tension to make it a delicious intro to the genre.
"The pastries are beautiful -- the men more so?"
- Jake Forbes, @Retrn2Labyrinth
19. Brilliant Blue
Shozo returns to his hometown to help out at the family engineering firm while his father is on the mend. To his surprise, his once spacey and chubby classmate Nanami is now a pretty (but still spacey) boy who does electrical work for Shozo's company. But sadly, Nanami's sweet and innocent nature make him easy prey for a variety of sexual predators, a situation that tugs at Shozo's heartstrings, and much more.
"Charming, adorable, and amusing -- well-suited to younger readers."
- Michelle Smith, @swanjun
Set in medieval Italy, Cain is the tale of "Cain the Dark, a warrior feared and revered for his uncommon courage and ferocity on the battlefield. But could it be that a street urchin could steal his armored heart?
"Cain is an awesome read, and a non-rape yaoi series. Also, it's fairly short so easy to read."
- Tiamat's Disciple, @Tiamats_Reviews