The year draws to a close, and it’s time to announce my selections for the best erotic romances of 2012. Of the novels I read this year, these stories are my favorites. But before I announce the “winners,” I’ll share the criteria I use for “best.” It’s simple:
- A solid story that grabs and holds my interest
- Excellent writing
Legs? The story must hang with me. I must be able to pick up the book six, ten months later and remember what it was about. I read a lot of novels that I thoroughly enjoyed, but when look at the titles months later, I can’t remember anything about them.
What stands out about this year’s picks is that ALL the stories involve traumatized main characters who faced serious issues. I don’t seek out those types of books necessarily, but when I selected my most compelling reads, that was the one characteristic this time that they shared. Another commonality is that four of my five faves were written by first-time published authors.
And now, the best erotic romances of 2012…
A pornographer abused by her ex-husband hires an ex-con down on his luck. Together they overcome hurt and distrust to find love. A debut contemporary erotic romance. I loved the idea of a woman behind behind the camera instead of in front of it. The characters are well crafted, and this story is wonderfully written. Published by Loose Id.
For defining “compelling read”…Giving It Up by Amber Lin
A rape victim deals trolls the bars looking for men to abuse her. Then she meets the one who won’t. Giving It Up grabbed me by the throat from the first page and didn’t let go until the end. A debut contemporary erotic romance. Published by Loose Id.
A woman traumatized by a mugging fears leaving her apartment until she meets the rock musician she’s been playing online Scrabble with. This is Doyle’s second novel, but she debuted this year. Doyle is the master (mistress?) of witty dialogue. Published by Ellora’s Cave.
A mother who fights to save her daughter following an apocalypse must bring herself to trust a Stranger, a member of the race responsible for it. Girl Under Glass Takes place on earth in the near future and on a space ship. The writing is beautiful, the story compelling, and the setting is literally “out of this world.” A sci fi romance. A debut, self-published novel. First in what will be a series.
The Mephisto series explores a bdsm total power exchange relationship. A sub’s master lends her to another Dom for a week of training while he’s out of town. Annabel Joseph’s books are extreme and disturbing, but feel incredibly real (which is probably what makes them disturbing). I have not yet read the third book, Burn For You, but intend to. Self-published.
And lastly, two honorable mentions…
This is romantic suspense/thriller domestic discipline novel about a woman who is kidnapped and then rescued by the hero. (Another trauma story!) What one finds attractive is so personal and subjective, but for me, the hero Val Rios personified masculine and sexy.
Self-published. Published by Lazy Day.
Wait! Listen to my explanation. Whether you loved the trilogy or hated it, you have to admit that Fifty Shades ripped off the closet door off the erotic romance/erotica market. It made it socially acceptable to read and write erotic fiction and it drew brand new (dare I say virgin) readers to the market. (And again, more trauma, only this time it was the hero, Christian Grey who’d been abused). Published by Vintage.
So there you have it. If you want to know more about the individual books, click on the photos, it will take to each book’s Amazon page. Feel free to share your favorite books of the year or take me to task for mine! If you want to see what I like in previous years, they’re here:
The list of all the books I considered at least four-star reads are located under the Recommended Reads tab. It goes away, and a new list starts with the New Year.