Reading Romance

I’ve been asked for reading recommendations three times this week. Must be a week for romance. Awww

Since I’ve pieced together this list a few times, I thought I would leave it here for all who might want it. I am going to break these down into a few categories for you. Here we go:

Dark Erotic Romance

I have two picks in this category. These two stand out far and above the others for me.

The Dark Duet series by C.J. Roberts. First one free right now* or trilogy. As the title suggests, these books are dark. Very dark in a way that a lot of erotica is not. They contains some physical abuse, and some sexual abuse. They are not for everyone, but they create a beautiful story. Life is not all sunshine and daisies. Not all love is born from something bright and lovely. This series does a great job of taking something tragic to an amazing place. Not to mention they are sizzling hot on the erotica scale. You certainly won’t find many books more erotic than these.

Blood and Roses series by Callie Hart. First one free right now* or series. This is a series of novellas. I tend to find novellas a turn off, but I love these. Love. Them. It is one of my favorite series in any romance category. I devoured these when I started them. They are a perfect balance of the dark side of erotica, an engaging plot with jaw dropping twists, and the heat you look for in this genre. Zeth is easily my all time favorite book boyfriend.

Lighter Romance

These books still pack plenty of heat, but have a lighter theme than the books listed above. There are so many  romances that fall in this area. It makes it so hard to pick.

Archer’s Voice, by Mia Sheridan. This was the easiest book to pick for this category and might be my favorite read of the year so far. Beautiful story. Sweet, and heartbreaking, and steamy. Everything needed for a great romance read.

The Surrogate Husband, by Wynter Daniels. This book was a lot of fun. Light and sexy with a few good laughs.

Forever His, the first in the Stolen Brides series, by Shelly Thacker. I was never sure that historical or time travel romance was for me, but this book puts a great twist on it and won me over big time. An American girl taken back in time 700 years to the home of an ornery dark knight makes for some funny and sexy scenes. This is a romance with a great page turning plot.

Owned by Fate, and Exposed by Fate, the first two in the Serve series, by Tessa Bailey. These are a nice way to ease into the world of BDSM. Beautifully erotic, but plots that are light enough to still be fun.

Owning Violet, by Monica Murphy. This book is well within the erotica category. It has heat that jumps off the pages.

Paranormal Romance

I can also narrow down my favorites in this category to two series.

Black Dagger Brotherhood, by J.R. Ward. Book one. Vampires the way you imagined they would be. Dark fantasy lovers. Alpha males ready to sink their teeth in. This series weaves a thick complex plot, layered with smoking hot erotic scenes. There are a lot of books in these series. It can seem daunting at first. Just dive in. Pick up book one and I can promise you will want to read them all.

Fever series, by Karen Marie Moning. Book one. Lighter on the erotic side. Reads a lot like a YA urban fantasy series, but definitely adult. If you like YA but want it a little sexier, maybe a few more orgasms, this is the series.

Male Male Erotica

Temptations series, by Ella Frank. Book one  or series. This is the only series I have for this category. Trust me, it’s enough. You would be hard pressed to find erotica with more heat than these. There are three in this series: Try, Take, and Trust. I have only read the first two(the third is a recent release and I will be reading it very soon). I will say, I like the second book, Take, a bit better than the first. That isn’t normal for me. I usually like the first, and peter out as the series goes on. The first book is all heat and lust. Don’t misunderstand, I loved it. But the second book starts to pull at your heartstrings. That, along with all the heat that easily carries over from the first book, edges it out over its predecessor just slightly.

My only caution on these books is do not listen to them on audio.  The narrator sounds just like the movie trailer guy, and turns the book in to a total cheese ball fest. It really ruins how steamy and sensual they are.

YA Romance

Obviously these won’t be erotica at all, but there are some beautifully written romances in YA. Both of my favorites come from the same author.

The Infernal Devicesand The Mortal Instruments, by Cassandra Clare. The Mortal Instruments was released first and is the more known of the two series. The series do intertwine, but are absolutely stand alone. I tell you that to say, even though The Infernal Devices was released second, I would read it first. It is a prequel of sorts to the other. That isn’t why I am telling you to read it first. It might be my favorite romance story…ever.

Both series are urban fantasy, and are cut from the same cloth. However, The Infernal Devices series, I feel, does a better job of focusing on the interpersonal relationships, making it a better romance. It is heartbreaking, beautiful, and it made me ugly cry. It takes a lot to make me ugly cry, but these books make you that emotionally invested in the characters.

Okay, that is it… for now. We will have to do this again.

If your jaw is dropped, not understanding how your favorite romance didn’t make my reading recommendations, it could be that I haven’t read it yet. Remedy this by letting me know what your favorite is. My favorite reads have all come from recommendations.If you have blazed through these and are looking for more, check me out on Goodreads.

May B. B. The reads-more-than-she-writes, writer.

*Books listed as “free” were free on Amazon when I posted this. I can’t guarantee that they will be free a moment longer.

 

Rape in Romance. It’s still rape.

January 9, 2015

It has been at least two weeks since I’ve read any romance genre books. Too long. So I thought I would dive back in with a short erotica novella. The teaser for the one I chose looked good, and $0.99 is always the right price for me so I downloaded one from an author I had not heard of.  

It made me cry. Not because the writing was good and moving in any way. Not because the author set a sad scene (intentionally). No one died, and I can’t say that any of the characters would tell you any tragic events happened (which is, essentially, the issue here). I cried because the book being passed off as erotica, a genre I write, read, and love, is really a rape scene.

To give you some gauge of my sensitivity in general, I can count on one hand the number of times I cried, actually physically shed tears, last year. I am, unfortunately, a distant, if not cold person. I can let things just roll of with the best of them, usually.

So here is how it goes down. A girl gives a guy a BJ. That is over, and it looks as though they’re going to go their separate ways when another guy, a stranger she doesn’t know (to be fair she doesn’t really know the first guy either but their encounter was prearranged), so a guy she doesn’t know, doesn’t know is there, doesn’t know is watching, comes from some unseen place and slams into her, pinning her to a wall.  She is dazed and confused when he then forcefully kisses her and shoves his fingers inside of her via the easy access of her dress.

The author writes it out that the girl is still so lust drunk on her encounter with the first guy – who is still standing there chatting it up with his buddy that is forcing himself on the girl- and now coupled with how fast everything is progressing, that although the girl wants to struggle, everything is too hazy and heavy. Does this sound like a rape scene to you yet?

Okay so at some point she starts to like it, even want it in some confused way. (I could freak the fuck out right at this moment, but I’ll wait a second.) So the guy stops forcibly penetrating her with his fingers and tells her he wants her consent to now letting him actually fuck her. Before she answers he starts with the fingers again. She is still pinned between him and the wall and his douche-bag buddy is still looming too. He also proceeds to bite her.

He asks again for consent to fuck her and she notes, mentally, that she should point out that more or less he is already fucking her (without that consent). (Could also freak the fuck out here but…) So obviously she says sure. They fuck, douche-bag watches and then they ask her to go back to their hotel….. I honestly quit reading not long after this, but not before the author makes one small attempt at curtailing the rape opener.

The girl asks the one guy that raped her (‘cause that is what it was) if she had said no when he eventually asked for consent (after he had already vaginally penetrated her) would he have stopped. Of course the dude says that he would have stopped and even says that he goes to extremes to get what he wants but he isn’t a rapist. I might have just vomited in my mouth.

So am I supposed to think “Oh, well since he would have stopped, you know, eventually, because he had already started, then it’s okay”? With that attempt to lighten the blow of rape, I would assume the rest of this novella is a few kinky sex scenes and the end. Don’t know. Don’t care. Not reading the rest.

I was, at the point where the author is attempting to curtail rape, still crying. She can have her main character think non-rape-ish, confused, maybe I want this, internal thoughts. She can tell you that it is erotic. There doesn’t have to be crying and screaming from the girl. Those of us that know better, those of us that have a healthy fear of men (if any fear of men can be called healthy) will never see scenes like that as anything other than what they are, rape. It will hurt for us to read them and hurt even more that someone, a woman especially, is trying to pass it off as being acceptable.

For those that don’t know better, the author is painting a horrifically misleading picture about what rape is.

As to what she is saying to men, well, this is what I see. This opening say that it is okay to physically trap a woman, penetrate her in some way, work at her for a bit and if you’re good enough at it she’ll like it and let you continue. Great fucking message. There is also a small bit in there about her being wet so must be turned on. NO. It is a biological reaction, not a fucking invitation.

I cannot, and will not try to articulate to you how far off base this author is about what goes on in a woman’s head when someone who is physically superior to her, traps her, and enters her body with anything: fingers, dick, foreign object, doesn’t fucking matter. *It doesn’t have to be his dick. And to say or portray that it wasn’t rape because he only enters her with his hands and not his dick right away, is wrong. Colossally wrong.

I have read other books that contain rape scenes. I have even liked books with these scenes, not liked the scene themselves, or the fact that it was a part of the book, but liked the book as a whole work. It is an understatement to say that it is unfortunate that rape is part of, or has been a part of life for some people. As all parts of life do, it has its place in literature. My issue with this novella in particular is the authors attempt to pass off the act of rape as something else, as something acceptable.  

Because I don’t really want to sit here on this train of thought all night, I’ll wrap this up by saying that if you ever write a sex scene, and you intend it to be anything other than rape, you need to have this order of operations down pat. 1) Consent, clear consent. 2) Everything else second.

May B.B.  (The, disappointed in her own genre sometimes, Writer)

*I am not implying that you must be, or that rape only happens when one person is physically superior to another. It’s just how it went down in that case.

As always, you can find me on Twitter and Facebook or shoot me an email via the contact page on this site. I love to hear from you.