So admittedly I’m a reader who tends to shy away from the romance section – probably due to cover embarrassment as much as anything else – but with all the unresolved will they/won’t they in the world of books, film, and TV, sometimes it’s just ridiculously fun to read a book where you know how it’s all going to end. So when I do find myself coveting a fun, smexy Romance of the bare-chested variety, rather than brave the stacks alone I always ask my friend Thuy at Nite Lite for a rec, and she unerringly points me towards the good stuff (so it’s entirely her fault I’m on book eleven of Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changling series). So for those like me who need help navigating the wilds of the Romance genre – book us, Thuy!
Underrated Smutty Romance Books
Hi! Thanks to Bookyurt for having me on today. I am an equal opportunity book lover and read books from many genres. However, I do have a soft spot for romance (aka smutty) novels. Contemp, historical, paranormal – I read them all. So I thought what better topic for my Over/Under post than to talk about some of, what I feel, are some underrated romance books. If you’ve never read a romance novel, give it a try. You never know what you might like until you do. And if you’re a seasoned romance reader, maybe you’ll find something new to read on this list.
A Tryst with Trouble is a fantastic Regency romance featuring a feisty heroine and a rake who are thrown together and must solve a murder. Of course the two get on like cats and dogs and barbs and witty banter are thrown around to great effect. I am a huge fan of the love/hate trope in romance novels and A Tryst with Trouble does it so well. The two main characters have great chemistry and watching them fight is the best kind of foreplay. Unfortunately this novel was put on hold for a couple of years when the publisher went under. The book sat on the shelf until just this year when the rights reverted back to the author and a new deal was made with Carina Publishing. Because of the delayed release I think this book hasn’t made many people’s radars, which is really a shame because it’s excellent. It’s also not quite as steamy as some romance novels and may be a good book for romance newbies or for those who like their romance a little tamer. I can’t recommend this one enough though and really hope that more people read it.
While Nalini Singh is huge name in romance, Lord of the Abyss is a book that doesn’t seem to get much attention. This was a one-off that Singh wrote a few years ago as part of The Royal House of Shadows series, a multi-author series. While there is an overall arc between the four books in the series, each can be read as a standalone. It is the last book in the series and, in my opinion, is the best book of the series. It’s a play on the Beauty and the Beast theme but is flipped so that the female character is the unattractive one. Both characters are damaged but have a great inner strength. I was surprised by how emotional this one made me. Definitely one of my favorite Nalini Singh books (and I’ve read a lot of them).
Lisa Kleypas is another big name in romance but this book isn’t talked about much. I am a huge fan of her historical romances and this was one of the first books I read of hers. It’s actually a companion novel to her Wallflowers series. At over 200 pages, it’s longer than a novella but not quite book length. It’s a really great story though about two characters who can’t stand each other (I told you I liked the love/hate thing) and end up falling in love during a holiday party. This is another emotional one for me and it sparked my love of the Wallflowers series.
When people think of Richelle Mead, they usually think of Vampire Academy. As much as I love VA and Bloodlines, Mead’s Succubus series may be my favorite series by her. It’s much more nuanced that the VA series and has complex, flawed characters. The main character is a succubus so there are definitely some sexy times but, what really gets me about this series is the characters. They felt real to me and I didn’t want to let them go at the end of the series.
I am a knitter and came across Herron’s books originally because I was a follower of her knitting blog. This is a really sweet, fun story set in a very small town. I enjoyed the small town feel with everyone in everyone else’s business. There is a bit of knitting talk (the main character owns a yarn shop) but it’s not so much that a non-knitter would get annoyed. Story is a bit predictable but still very sweet and sexy. If you like small town stories, definitely give this one a try.
I read this after a friend of mine came to me and raved about it. I had never heard of it before and the subject matter seemed iffy but I gave it a go based on her recommendation. It’s about a girl who is kidnapped to be sold to a sex slavery ring. But all is not what it seems and captor and captive start to develop feelings for one another. Let me just warn you that this book is not for the faint of heart. It’s a tough, emotional read but one that I think is done really well. It’s really dark and unexpected. If you think you can handle the subject matter, I highly recommend this book. One of the most emotionally intense books I’ve ever read.
There you have it – my list of underrated smutty romance books. I hope that you find something on this list to try. If you have an underrated romance book you’d like to recommend, I’d love to hear it. Thanks, ‘Yurt, for having me. :)
Thanks again, Thuy!
And for more of Thuy’s recs and reviews, check out Nite Lite (part of Read Now, Sleep Later) HERE.