Drama and trauma… 3rd Annual Best Erotic Books…

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:

  1. A solid story that grabs and holds my interest
  2. Excellent writing
  3. “Legs”

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…

For the most interesting heroine…See Me by Pauline Allan.

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.



For humor and plotting…More than Words by Karla Doyle

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.




For beaming me out of the pages and into another world, Girl Under Glass by Monica Enderle Pierce

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.



For a realism in a series…Club Mephisto and Molly’s Lips: Club Mephisto Retold by Annabel Joseph

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…

For creating a compelling hero, an honorable mention goes to The Point of It All by Jade Cary.

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.



And an honorable mention for changing the game goes to Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James.

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:

2011 best books

2010 best books

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.

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12 Responses to Drama and trauma… 3rd Annual Best Erotic Books…

  1. Karla Doyle says:

    Hi Cara!
    Thank you for including More Than Words on your Best of 2012 list! I’m honored, and thrilled that you enjoyed it so much.

    I’ve read a couple of your other picks and have a couple more on my TBR list now. 🙂

  2. Sue Lyndon says:

    I very much enjoyed The Point Of It All and Club Mephisto. Burn For You was great too…I’m sure you’ll like it! I will have to check out the other books on your list…they sound great too:)

  3. Minelle says:

    Thanks for sharing. I Loved The Point of it All! I also agree that 50 was a game changer. It has made people much more excepting of differences.

  4. Oh. My. Gosh. Cara! I’m thrilled and astonished to be on your list and in such great company. Doubly so since Girl Under Glass’s sex scenes are sensual and implied. As Sally Field said so well: “You like me. You really like me!” Thank you for this lovely honor. 😀

  5. Alta Hensley says:

    Yay for Jade Cary. Although LazyDay Publishing was the publisher. It’s an amazing book. Now I need to read your other ones.

  6. Congrats to all the winners! I read More than Words and really enjoyed it. I’ll be sure to put the others on my list. Thanks for the recommendations, Cara.

  7. Jade Cary says:

    Thanks for the nod, Cara! I’ll look into the others, too.

  8. Annabel says:

    My goodness, what an honor! You know I loved your book Unexpected Consequences and False Pretenses is on my list when I get a breather. In fact, I loved your work so much that it inspired me to start working on a domestic discipline romance–a historical that’s now in the editing stages. (GAH.) I’m frustrated because you do DD so well and I have a hard act to follow, but I thank you so much for the inspiration. *bows down*

    • Cara Bristol says:

      You’re writing DD? That’s wonderful! You’ll do a great job. You write so well. I’ll be first in line to buy it.

  9. Jade Cary says:

    Yay, Annabel! A new author!

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