Kwitney Report 2014

Kwitney Report 2014

The Insider’s Guide to Sexy Reads: What to Get Yourself For Valentine’s Day
February 2014

Valentine’s Day is almost upon us, and the usual triad of “chocolates, roses, diamonds” is being advertised 24/7. At some point, someone on the evening news is sure to mention 50 Shades of Grey, the book non-romance readers read when theyn’re looking for something sexy. NPR and the New Yorker are sure to deliberately misunderstand what readers want when they google “sexy” and “book” and suggest a number of titles in which people either obsessively think about sex, or else have some and then suffer for it.

Ridiculous. Doesn’t anyone on prime time understand that intelligent women also want to read sexy books? I donn’t care how intellectual you are, that book they made into a film with Jeremy Irons shtupping his daughter-in-law is not exactly a turn-on.

So if it’s passion youn’re looking for, here are some books that deliver.

If You Like Dark Thriller Romances with Brooding, Dangerous Heroes

Shannon Mckenna: Standing in the Shadows, Extreme Danger. These aren’t the first in the series, but they are my favorites. Later on in the series, some paranormal elements come into play, but these books are straight thriller romances.

Anne Stuart, Ice Series: On Thin Ice, the most recent, is my favorite, because the hero reminds me of a modern day Jaime Lannister type. (If this means nothing to you, go watch Game of Thrones. Really. Itn’s as good as they say.) The fun of Ms. Stuart is you get to go on an exotic adventure (Paris, South America, Japan) with the kind of anti-hero who seems like he is just too dark to be anyonen’s happy ending – and yet, there is a happy ending.

Lisa Marie Rice: Ms. Rice specializes in heroes who are honorable but so overcome with desire they can barely function (unlike Ms. Stuart, who specializes in heroes who might kill you). Midnight Man is the first in this series, which I recall binge-reading one after the other.

Cara McKenna: After Hours. Cara McKenna (no relation to Shannon) writes gritty, blue-collar, working class heroes that you can just about smell. (In a good, hard-working man sweat kind of way.) This selection, set in a mental health facility (hero and heroine are both employees) is about as elegant as a cold beer and bacon cheeseburger, and just as satisfying.

If You Like Your Heroes with a Touch of Quirk and Humor:

Charlotte Stein: Almost Real, Sheltered, Restraint: Think Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones reimagined as erotica. Ms. Stein writes in a variety of different genres, from science fiction to historical to contemporary, and some of her books focus on triads instead of couples. Whatever the subject or the number of players, she manages to convey lust, love, neurotic self-doubt and humor, often all in the same scene. My favorites are Almost Real (science fiction), Sheltered and Restraint (contemporary).

Delphine Dryden: The author’s website lists her genres as erotic romance, steampunk and naughty geekery. The Theory of Attraction, with its socially awkward scientist hero, falls into the latter category.

Meg Maguire: This is actually Cara McKenna’s more romantic alter ego. Thank You For Riding captures her insider knowledge of working class Boston in a romantic tale of commuter woe.

Kylie Scott: This Australian writes love stories (between humans) set during the Zombie Apocalypse. Now, I love zombies and I love romance, but too many authors seem to feel that come the zombie apocalypse, women will be helpless victims. Ms. Scott has a different vision, and her heroes feel like real people. Best of all, she manages to serve up some humor with her walking dead. The aptly titled Flesh and Skin will leave you hungry for a follow up.

What books are you reading this Valentine’s Day?