Escape is so much fun, and when you add romance to it, well, I’m there. I do enjoy a range of genres from the sweet to the hot-hot-hot, so I’m sure you’ll find something to enjoy *grin*.
I have included a few single books in this, partly due to my hopes that they are only the first in a series the author hasn’t yet named…*more grins*…
I do try to update this page once a year, adding new authors or series to the list. If you subscribe to my blog, you will get the updates as and when. You may want to tweet this information to someone who is also interested in la romance.
Sexual Distinctions of the Romance Genre
Sweet finds the romance centered on a virgin heroine, with a storyline containing little or no sex.
🔥Sexy is “about the development of a romantic relationship that just happens to have more explicit sex. The sex is not an inherent part of the story, character growth, or relationship development, and could easily be removed or “toned down” without damaging the storyline. A happily ever after is a REQUIREMENT as this is basically a standard romance with hotter sex (Sylvia Day).
🔥🔥Erotic romance is one that develops between two participants with sex an important aspect of the story and essential to character growth and relationship development. Its removal would damage the storyline. It may include toys, bondage, or games, and it always ends in a happily ever after.
🔥🔥🔥Erotica explores the sexual journey of the participants (usually two or more) and how it affects them as individuals. It may or may not show the development of a romantic relationship. Love and/or lust may include toys, bondage, or games; usually ends with happy; but, not necessarily happily ever after.
I’ve tried to categorize the various series by what seems to be an underlying theme or concept. They almost all involve romance. Within each category, there may be a subset of Children, Middle Grade, New Adult, or Young Adult.
Caveat: These are only series which I have read. It does not include everyone who has ever written any kind of romance. Fantasy, paranormal, horror, steampunk, and urban fantasy romances are in my KD’s List of Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Fantasy & Horror List.
|NEW (to this list) with the 2016 update.|
OMIGOD – Do Not Read
Jessica Bird‘s, (a.k.a., J.R. Ward), An Unforgettable Lady is cute, and more of a B-class romance. There are two books in this series, and they’re not connected. Her Moorehouse Legacy is a sweet and cozy read.
Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly‘s Culhane Family is weird. The first novel was cute and fun; the second novel was horrible, and I have no clue how the two stories connect.
Stephanie Evanovich has written two stories (with a third coming) that connect through its characters, but she hasn’t given it a series title — I’ve been using Big Girl Panties for one simply because it’s the title of her first book in this group. Big Girl Panties is sweet and revolves around a fat girl who finds love while the second gets a bit steamier.
Tracey Garvis Graves‘ On the Island is an unexpectedly sweet romance, even if it’s not really well-written. And one I would buy for my own.
T.S. Krupa‘s Safe & Sound starts off sad and slowly grows with the widow finding happiness at the beach.
Andrea Laurence‘s Rosewood is set in a small town in Alabama, and I thoroughly enjoyed the first story and intend to read the rest.
Judith McNaught‘s Second Opportunities is all about a second chance, and mostly in moving from one social level to another. I adored her Foster Saga about a family struggling against bankruptcy and using their skills to launch a highly successful magazine.
Lucy Monroe‘s princely By His Royal Decree is okay.
Nora Roberts‘ The Calhouns is a mild romance about a family of sisters in Maine. Her Celebrity Magazine is two books long and a beach read. Now, her The Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy is a buy. It’s sweet, cozy, and one I already want to re-read. Her Born In Trilogy (a.k.a., Concannon Sisters), is cute, but no great shakes. A B+ read as is her very sweet, soothing, homey The Bannions. The McKade Brothers is a sweet, homey read.
Jill Sanders‘ The Pride is good if all you want is cute and cozy and don’t mind some melodrama and no depth to the characters.
Jill Shalvis has a number of sweet and easy romances: Animal Magnetism revolves around a group of veterinarians in Idaho; Lucky Harbor ranges through a supportive harbor town in Washington state (I’m slowly buying these up); Cedar Ridge takes place in a mountain ski resort town in Colorado, and I love the core family in this. Talk about dysfunctional, but in such a fun way. I can’t wait to read the next one. Wilder is another resort romance.
I wasn’t impressed with Nalini Singh‘s Desert Warrior. I think she needs to keep to the paranormal romances at which she is so superb.
I only read book 1 of Vicki Lewis Thompson‘s Branscom Sisters, and it was a pip.
Tawny Weber‘s Uniformly Hot SEALs really is a cozy and not a romantic suspense with some sweet stories.
Kate Angell‘s Sugar Cookie Sweetheart Swap: “The Gingerbread Man” takes place during Christmas and is as sweet as her cookies.
Kim Barnouin‘s Skinny Bitch series is hysterical and a good read.
Emma Holly‘s standalone Cooking Up a Storm is yet another cozy, homey, erotic read.
Romances That Revolve Around Fighting
I’ve only read the first in Sidney Halston‘s Worth the Fight series, and I wasn’t impressed. If you’re not picky and enjoy men beating each other up, you might enjoy it.
Contemporary Romance – New Adult
Erin McCarthy‘s True Believers series follows four college friends and is excellent. McCarthy does not talk down to her reading audience.
Contemporary Romance – Young Adult
Katie McGarry‘s Pushing the Limits is absolutely excellent. This one’s a buy.
Teresa Mummert‘s White Trash Trilogy is very good. She reminds me of Katie McGarry and Erin McCarthy’s New Adult series.
Maya Banks‘s Breathless involves three friends who unite to form their own family as their own are so horrible. There is a threesome story, but it’s mild with most of the story(ies) restricted to BDSM amongst the couples. I found it absolutely awful. Her Colters’ Legacy was a rather cozy erotic series to which I gave ratings which ranged from a couple of 2s to a 4 and the rest were 3s. I did enjoy the characters and the central supportive family. Whew, Sweet “is a very steamy collection of stories that revolves around a group of friends and coworkers, most of whom are employed by a security company in Houston, Texas. Each book focuses on an individual romance and they’re all friends.
Jaci Burton writes both sweet contemporary romance and erotic stories. She’s a good writer.
Kresley Cole‘s The Game Maker is intense and focuses on the Russian mob.
Portia Da Costa‘s “Tempted by Two” is a cozy erotic story that starts with a painting of a threesome that “inspires” Katie as she explores an English village. Yeah, I picked this one up for myself *fans her flushed cheeks* Be warned, she is an erratic writer. Sometimes good, sometimes not.
Lauren Dane‘s Delicious is a yummy idea, but it falls flat about a group of friends who are passionate about who they are. It does involve what Dane calls “contemporary BDSM”…I dunno. There are too many mechanical writing issues with her stories. It’s sweetness and light with bits of drama and lots of sex thrown in, although you won’t be feelin’ it.
Sylvia Day‘s two-part story, Afterburn and Aftershock, 1 & 2, was hot about a woman in advertising revisiting a rich, powerful, and very sexy ex-boyfriend.
Shosanna Evers‘ Enslaved Trilogy is a Harlequin-lite BDSM series with at least one threesome.
Lorelei James‘ Mastered series is one of those HEAs, and it involves a very kinky form of bondage using ribbons and a martial arts base.
Christina Lauren‘s Beautiful Bastard is nicely written, although the stories do veer from the erotic to the sexy.
Lora Leigh‘s Cowboys and Captive is two short stories long, and eh. Skip it and you won’t be missing anything. Her Nauti series is just that…very naughty…whoo-wee. Books 1–6 are very good, but then Leigh goes off the rails with some lousy writing when she focuses on the Nauti Girls. I’ve been buying up the boys’ end, but I’ll pass on the girls. Her Wounded Warriors is good.
Raven Morris‘ Tied with a Bow is cute.
Maya Banks‘ Brazen is a short series with an emphasis on threesomes and a reasonably good (hot) read. Another one that revolves around characters in a small town.
Sylvia Day‘s Crossfire was so annoying with all the whining and whinging by both characters. And yes, I know that it’s very popular. God knows why.
Felice Fox‘s Right Kind of Wrong could be categorized as erotic, but I haven’t read enough to tell. The story I read was about sexting, so it could be useful as a research story.
Emma Holly writes a lot of erotic and erotica stories including anthologies. I particularly enjoyed the writing in the anthology, Three to Tango. She has quite a few stories listed in KD’s List of Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Fantasy & Horror List.
Lora Leigh‘s Bound Hearts is heavy on the threesomes with elements of BDSM, although Leigh does create an interesting storyline both for the overall series as well as the individual stories about this group of friends. The first few aren’t very well written, but they do get better. Her Men of August will drive you nuts, as Leigh hints around at what has caused all the sexual dysfunction in the family. Lots of tension and lots and lots of group sex.
Cheyenne McCray‘s Lexi Steele is about a black ops agency that tracks down and stops human trafficking and sex crimes and is based in Boston.
Tara Sue Mi‘s reminds me of Reisz’s writing with her Submissive series.
Tiffany Reisz‘s The Original Sinners is OMIGOD intense D/s. What I did like about it was the sense of truth about it, that Reisz was explaining what Dominance and submission are truly about it, and she just happened to be telling an exceptional story along with it. Truly an excellent writer. Be warned, however, that this is really out there.
See KD’s List of Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Fantasy & Horror List for fantasy romances.
Jennifer Ashley‘s Mackenzies & McBrides (aka, Highland Pleasures) has an odd twist that’s fun.
Jane Austen‘s historical romances combine “realism and biting social commentary. It’s taken me awhile to get into her work, but I’m finally enjoying it.
Mary Balogh‘s Bedwyn Saga follows six brothers and sisters in this Regency romance. While Balogh does write stories with depth, passion, and joy and characters I enjoyed, there were slip-ups with an unevenness in the writing from book to book. One of the few story(ies) in which the deviation from the mores of the time didn’t put me off.
Maya Banks‘ McCabe Trilogy is a typical Scottish historical with battles, lairds, a king, kidnapping, and betrayals. I did enjoy it. Her Montgomerys and Armstrongs is in the same vein and also a good read.
I adored the first book in Jennifer Blake‘s Royal Princes of Ruthenia; the second one needs a re-write.
Mary Blayney‘s Pennistan is a typical historical romance but with a twist.
Rachel Caine‘s Prince of Shadows was an excellent twist on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
Phillipa Carr‘s Daughters of England is a typical gothic romance with cozy overtones that thwart Carr’s attempts to create tension and drama. I’m not sure if my frustration with this is due to the silly tropes used in this being typical of the writing styles when this was written or if this was an aberration. And I have to admit I’ve only read one story in the series.
I slogged through Loretta Chase‘s Scoundrels, so I’m not surprised the stories are loosely linked. The one story I read was obvious and bore a slight resemblance to the dialog, mores, or culture of the time period.
Kresley Cole‘s Sutherland Brothers is one for feminists, lol.
Vicky Dreiling‘s How To series is uneven. The first book was very good and the second was terrible. I never did bother with the third.
Julie Garwood‘s Highlands’ Lairds has some great stories, but her research of the time period, attention to the mores and details of the time is horrible. She also needs an editor.
Georgette Heyer‘s Regency romances are fabulous! I absolutely adore these, but if you’re expecting heavy-duty romance, don’t bother. Heyer’s novels adhere to the very careful upper-class mores and include humor with her excellent writing.
Emma Holly‘s Beyond Duet is an erotic historical series. It’s been awhile since I read this series, but I’d guess it was set in the Regency period.
I read Eloisa James‘ Duchess Quartet too long ago to remember what I thought of it. I guess I wasn’t too impressed with her Essex Sisters as I didn’t get past the second one in this series about four orphaned sisters desperate to marry well. Her Pleasures is a standard one.
Sabrina Jeffries is an uneven writer and doesn’t pay strict attention to historical accuracy, and yet I did enjoy her Royal Brotherhood series which is followed by the School for Heiresses. The
Hellions of Halstead Hall is about the Sharpe family and the ultimatum they’re facing; the Swanlea Spinsters is okay; and, The Duke’s Men is terrible and revolves around a disinherited nobleman who becomes a private investigator. Her Lord Trilogy is much better and funnier.
Lynn Kurland‘s De Piaget and MacLeod historical romances mix, match, and wander off as they embrace time travel with two Scottish families who keep picking up spouses from our time. Excellent stories with some better than others.
Judith McNaught‘s Westmoreland Saga is tangled up with some other series which I haven’t tracked for chronological reading. If you are interested in reading them (and you’re as OCD as me, lol), check out McNaught’s reading order on her website. And yes, I did enjoy the Westmoreland Saga. Probably would have enjoyed it more if I’d known about this entanglement. Writers: do your readers a favor and let them know if your story is part of a series OR part of a group!!
Sophia Nash‘s Widows Club was a fun and cute Regency romance.
Julia Quinn‘s Bridgertons is a cozy Regency romance revolving around the Bridgerton family and their mama. It’s another fun, feel-good read. The short stories are epilogues to the full-length story, i.e., 1.5 is the catch-up to 1, 2.5 is the catch-up to 2, etc. I did enjoy the Lady Whistledown character, ahem, lol.
Nora Roberts‘ MacGregors series combines historical and contemporary as she follows a family from Scotland to Boston in their rise to wealth and power. I strongly suggest starting at the beginning, otherwise it gets confusing.
Theresa Romain‘s Holiday Pleasures is an interesting story, but Romain ignores the culture, mores, and everything else about the time period.
Anne Stuart‘s House of Rohan is all about seduction and debauchery.
Lisa Valdez‘s Passion revolves around sisters in 1851 England.
Wendy Vella‘s The Reluctant Countess is a sweet Regency romance.
Diane Whiteside‘s Devil is a post-Civil War sexy romance with men with painful pasts. Spying is usually part of the package.
Anita Higman‘s A Marriage in MIddlebury was a sweet and cozy set in a tearoom.
Science Fiction Romance
Lisa Renee Jones‘ Zodius is a military science fiction romance set in Las Vegas.
Gini Koch‘s Katherine “Kitty” Katt, a.k.a., Alien, is a comics-influenced series with a “Wolverine with Boobs” human heroine channeling Aerosmith as she saves the day along with her alien friends. It’s great fun and will keep you laughing.
Nora Roberts‘s Hornblower-Stone is a short, sweet time travel series.
I only read one of Shelly Thacker‘s Stolen Brides stories, and while I liked the time travel aspect, her female protagonist was so annoying.
Science Fiction Romance – YA
Stacy Nash‘s Collective has an interesting premise, although there’s too much tell and too many stupid tropes for my taste.
See KD’s List of Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Fantasy & Horror List for steampunk romances.
See KD’s List of Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Fantasy & Horror List for paranormal romances.
Shirlee Busbee‘s writes some very sexy historical romances that center around Louisiana. I own most of ’em.
Jaci Burton‘s Wild Riders involves a secret government organization of motorcyclists who go undercover. They’re a fun and sexy read.
Jennifer Chance‘s Rule Breakers teeters between sexy and erotic, and I did enjoy Chance’s stories. She puts a nice twist on these.
Gwyn Cready‘s Seducing Mr. Darcy was a pip of a sexy time travel, Jane Austen-inspired romance that causes all editions of Pride and Prejudice to change. It’ll take a lot of, ahem, sexy help to fix this mess!
Johanna Lindsey‘s Straton Family is too typical of most short romance series with the first story excellent and the second a dud. Lindsey does have a ton of other historical romances out there, and they’re usually a fun read.
Jennifer Schmidt‘s Risking It All is a passionate romance that’s more about relationships and friendship.
I’ve read a few of the short stories in Cherry Adair‘s T-FLAC, but they were good, and I want to read more.
Maya Banks‘ KGI series about a super-secret black ops group that’s also a family-run business. It started off with a bang, although 8 and 9 have been clunkers. The tenth one is making a comeback.
Nina Bruhns‘ Passion for Danger was fun and exciting.
Dee Davis‘ A-Tac is fun.
Janet Evanovich‘s Stephanie Plum is hysterically funny and sexy with that triad of Stephanie, Joe, and Ranger. I adored the first 13 or 14 in this series about an inept bounty hunter with good instincts. After that, I think Evanovich lost interest. She has a relatively new series out, written with Lee Goldberg, Fox and O’Hare, which is about an FBI agent “who always gets her man, and a fearless con artist who lives for the chase”. It’s a return to the fun of her Stephanie Plum series. I also loved the first two of her Alex Barnaby (a.k.a., Barnaby and Hooker or Troublemaker) series about a girl who gets caught up with a race car driver solving mysteries. After that second one, it descended into graphic novels which I don’t enjoy. So take that with a grain of salt. Her partnership with Charlotte Hughes created Full, which is too funny although it can be confusing. The first novel doesn’t connect to the second, so I don’t know what was going through their heads. Good for a beach or rainy afternoon read. Her Elsie Hawkins is also a cute and fun romance series good for that beach or rainy afternoon which focuses on different couples. Elsie usually shows up as a minor character (she reminds me of Grandma in the Stephanie Plum series.) I couldn’t get excited about her Cate Madigan series, well, book really as she hasn’t gone any further.
(I’ve included a link to my chronological listing of some of Janet Evanovich’s series.)
Lori Foster‘s Love Undercover is a cozy, family-sort of romantic suspense. A sweet read.
Cindy Gerard has three subseries with each following the other, beginning with The Bodyguards about an agency that provides bodyguards who each find their forever; Black Ops Inc. is probably my favorite of the three with a close-knit black ops military team that got shafted; and, the current series, the One-Eyed Jacks whose team members are friends of the men in Black Ops Inc.
Ella Grace‘s Wildefire, a southern romantic suspense/mystery series was I-N-T-E-N-S-E.
Laura Griffin‘s Tracers is an intriguing series with the focus on a private CSI-type lab with the romances revolving around its employees. Based in Texas.
Tami Hoag‘s Oak Knoll leans more toward crime with the sheriff as the main character in this California town.
Lisa Renee Jones‘ Tall, Dark, and Deadly features the Walker brothers and their passions. I wasn’t impressed and had a hard time staying awake.
Julie Kenner‘s Codebreaker Trilogy is about an online RPG that was tense and kept me reading as fast as I could.
Sherrilyn Kenyon‘s B.A.D. Agency is quite the sexy suspense series whose mission is to do whatever it takes to protect America with agents who are bad in bed and come from all walks of life from military to criminal. A B-class read that’s fun.
I am so not impressed with Lora Leigh‘s The Callahans (a.k.a., Heroes and Heartbreakers). She strings this out with a stupid premise in the first place that made no sense. Lots of melodrama and questions that never get answered until somewhere around book 3. Seriously, I recommend avoiding this series. If you absolutely must read it, borrow it from the library. Borrow it from a friend stupid enough to actually buy this junk. Just don’t encourage Leigh to continue writing this. At least, puh-lease, Leigh, do a better job. I did enjoy her Tempting SEALs and Elite Ops series (one follows the other). I loved the characters and the predicaments Leigh came up with for them.
Karen Rose‘s Romantic Suspense could use a more imaginative title, but she is an excellent writer.
Abigail Roux and Madeline Dare trade off and collaborate on Cut & Run, a funny series about a gay pair of FBI agents. I absolutely adore the boys and this series is on my “buy” list.
Christy Reece‘s Last Chance Rescue about an organization that employs some of the most highly skilled and ruthless mercenaries in the world, with only one goal and purpose. These brave men and women do whatever it takes, no matter the cost, to rescue the innocent. It’s a different sort of romantic suspense that you’ll enjoy if you like Banks’ KGI.
Lisa Marie Rice‘s Protectors is intense! And a good read if you enjoy bodyguard-type romances.
J.D. Robb‘s (she’s Nora Roberts) In Death series is set in a near-futuristic New York City and revolves around a core cast of characters including Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her gorgeous hunk of a gazillionaire husband, Roarke. I’ve bought about half of them so far.
Anne Stuart‘s Ice is a romantic suspense featuring a secret organization of very scary men.
Julie Ann Walker‘s Black Knights, Inc. is about the Black Knights, an independent black ops group of men (and women!) from a variety of backgrounds who love motorcycles. It’s mostly a fun B-class read.
Jaci Burton‘s Play-by-Play series follows the family and friends of sport stars in primarily football and baseball, although other sports are included. I’ve really enjoyed this series — in spite of the fact that I hate sports. I know, I know, how incredibly un-American!! I love the behind-the-scenes insight Burton gives on each of the sports.
I’ve enjoyed Erin McCarthy‘s Fast Track series revolving around race car drivers and the racing industry with characters you just want to get cozy with, simple situations that reek of reality, a revealing peek at women’s foibles, and a skewering of men’s appetites that will crack you up.
Jessica Bird‘s (she’s J.R. Ward) Leaping Hearts is a sweet romance that revolves around show jumping, an unthinking beauty, and a man who has retreated from life. It flows well and has some nice insight on A.J.’s part as she realizes just how good she had it and what her family has had to put up with as opposed to what she thought.
B.J. Daniels‘ plethora of western series are a fun read, especially for those who do enjoy a cozy western romance. I’d classify her as a B+ writer good for those days when you want an easy, enjoyable read. I’ve read at least one book each from her Cardwell Ranch, Cardwell Cousins (which follows Cardwell Ranch), and Cascades Concealed series. She has a number of western series that intersect, overlap, and just plain confuse me. I wouldn’t trust the numbering over at Goodreads as the people licensed to edit them are just as confused, so head over to B.J. Daniels‘ books page.
Brenda Jackson‘s The Westmorelands reminds me of B.J. Daniels’ writing.
Lorelei James‘ Blacktop Cowboys, is an erotic read and follows a group of friends from the same Wyoming hometown. This one is a lot of fun when you include the Mud Lilies. Hoo, boy. Then there’s her Rough Riders western romances that are quite erotic and sweet with a supportive family and friends. It’s another of those series which focuses on individual romances and yet the others pop up throughout the series. Her Wild West Boys is another fun read and follows Rough Riders.
Katie Lane‘s Deep in the Heart of Texas is cute but uneven; I’ve given the three books I’ve read so far a 2, 3, and 4 rating.
Diane Whiteside‘s Devil starts as a Western historical and ends by roaming the world. The series also starts on a high note and steadily descends to awful.
OMIGOD – Do Not Read
These are stories that I found so terrible, that I’m warning you to save your time and money.
Camille Anthony‘s, Ross Aubrey‘s, and Eve Vaughan‘s stories in the Agency of Extraordinary Mates Vol 3 anthology is bad, terrible, horrible…!
Anna March‘s “Ménage a Tracy” is so very, very bad. It’s on my list of Never Read Agains. Yeah, I know you’re askin’. It means never read this author again.
Fern Michael‘s Sisterhood series is so incredibly bad. Yes, I read the whole thing — it was like a really, really bad train wreck. Do NOT waste your time.
Catherine Winchester is amazingly ignorant of her time period in The Reluctant Duchess.