Great Books I have Read Lately

A couple days ago I ranted about the rash of rotten books I’d read lately, and I asked for recommendations for well written erotic romance. Twitter and blog commenters came through for me. I thought I’d report back on my reading since then.

Several people recommended Cara McKenna and I was reminded that I’d read her Willing Victim some time ago and really liked it. At the time, I recall thinking that WV was not quite edgy enough for me. However, see below. The book specifically recommended to me was Ruin Me but I also bought Brazen and Don’t Call her Angel.

Ruin Me was wonderful and it was the perfect antidote for all those badly written books that made me want to reach through my iPad screen and slap the writers with a dictionary and a copy of Strunk & White. The writing was excellent, the characters were actual adults and the subject matter was complex. YES! Total win.

For all that I adored Ruin Me, I think I liked Don’t Call her Angel even better.  I’m not so fond of the title, but it doesn’t matter. The story was complex and full of interesting moral questions. Also, the hero of the story is … gasp … Middle Eastern but he was not just a collection of cliches about Middle Eastern men. I’m sure someone who is more familiar with the culture would know how accurately he’s situated in the story, but, for what it’s worth, he did not strike me as poorly handled. I fully admit I may merely be ignorant. For everyone who (rightly) bemoans the lack of heroes of color in Romance, here’s one for you.

Brazen was also a good story and I enjoyed it. Again, complex, grown up characters and excellent writing. I also re-read Willing Victim and liked it more on this second reading than on my first. I still wish the story had taken some bigger risks, but the writing is lovely and the characters are adults. I think that’s why I liked Don’t Call her Angel so much. The risks there are bigger.

I also re-read Heat, by R. Lee Smith only I skipped all the parts I knew would drive me crazy.  Heat is a crazy-ass unapologetic story that is utterly politically incorrect. Despite the weak writing (but still better than E. L. James) I give major kudos to any writer having the balls to write Heat. I wish Smith would hire a formatter and an editor. I wish she hadn’t put some of her other stories out there that made me sad because they were just rotten for all the reasons I ranted about before, especially when I know she can do better.

I have several more recommendations to get through and I’ll report back on those, but I did want to say thank you to everyone who recommended McKenna.




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