April Recommendations from the Contemporary Romance Cafe Authors

Usually we start the month off with some contemporary romance recommendations from book bloggers and reviewers. This month we decided to something a little different. I sent a last-minute call out to the Cafe authors to see what books they’d recommend. Then Jeffe Kennedy had a brilliant idea. She suggested that we not limit our recommendations to contemporary titles. Instead, we’d recommend the books we were excited about. Period.

So here’s a peek into our libraries (Kindles, Nooks) at what we’ve been reading and can’t wait to tell you about. The selections encompass various genres of romance from paranormal romance to historical romance. And of course, we’ve included a few scorching hot titles, too.

Samantha Ann King

Hot Head by Damon Suede

Hot Head by Damon Suede

I don’t often reread books. I figure what’s the point. I know how it ends. But sometimes a story’s journey is so compelling, so layered, I’m moved to read it again and again. Such was the case this week when I picked up (again) Damon Suede’s (http://www.damonsuede.com/) Hot Head.

FDNY firefighter Griff Muir is hopelessly in love with his best friend Dante Anastagio. Has been since 9/11…ten long years. Problem is they’re both straight, and even if they weren’t the FDNY isn’t gay-friendly. Griff’s muddling along, trying to mind his own business and keep Dante out of trouble.

Unfortunately, Dante’s having financial problems, namely a money-pit of a house. But he’s got the perfect scheme to save himself. Gay porn. And he’ll make even more money if he can convince Griff to join him. Griff hates the thought of performing for an anonymous audience and risking his career. But the temptation of being with Dante, even if it’s a fantasy played out for the camera, is hard to resist. Griff’s soul-searching journey from straight to gay is convincing and heartrending. Damon Suede is a master storyteller.

Jeffe Kennedy

Last week the finalists for the RITA awards for the best romance novels of the 2013 publishing year were announced. While there ended up being 18 finalists in Contemporary Romance, there were only three in Erotic Romance. While I’m so pleased and happy for those three, I’d like to tip my hat to five of the 2013 Erotic Romances I read that I fully expected to be finalists and who deserve recognition.

Anne Calhoun’s Unforgiven – An unflinching heroine and electric tension with the guy who did her wrong.

Unforgiven by Anne Calhoun

Christine D’Abo’s Naughty Nicks – Sexy Santa-stripper fun!

Naughty Nicks by Christine d'Abo

Del Dryden’s Seduction Hypothesis – Brainy types approach sex with serious intensity.

The Seduction Hypothesis by Delphine Dryden
Katie Porter’s Bare Knuckle – A complicated hero and heroine, more than a boxer and a showgirl

Bare Knuckle by Katie Porter

Charlotte Stein’s Run to You – Secret meetings for kinky sex with an inscrutable hero

Run to You by Charlotte Stein

Reese Ryan

I primarily read contemporary romance. Lately, though, I’ve been venturing into other genres and I’ve been rewarded for stepping outside of my comfort zone. Here are my recommendations:

Unraveled by Courtney Milan

Unraveled by Courtney MilanThis was this first physical book I’d read in awhile. I loved everything about it. The heroine is tough and gritty.She managed to survive and take care of a little boy she’s “inherited” even though it often requires that she skirt the law, if not downright violate it. The hero is a judge who follows the rules so closely that he drives his fellow magistrates crazy. Both characters are damaged, but especially the hero who had an extremely traumatic childhood. This story made me an instant Courtney Milan fan.

Red by Kate SeRine

Red by Kate SerineAnother genre I’d have confidently said I don’t read is paranormal. I started reading First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones, which I loved, but didn’t get a chance to finish. That book definitely made me rethink the whole, “I don’t read paranormal” thing. This book pretty much demolished that whole theory.

It’s a hilarious tale of Make Believe characters, like Red Riding Hood and Elizabeth Bennet, who are now stranded among the ordinaries in the real world. The heroine is bold, a little out of control and prepared to take on anyone or anything…including the big bad wolf, who just happens to be her ex. Oh, then there’s the guy she’s got the hots for and who is currently her partner: Nate Grimm, also known as the Grim Reaper. Together they try to unravel the mystery of who’s been murdering Tales before Red, or someone she loves, is the next victim.

Maggie Wells

Cheapskates in Love by Evelyn JulesI am a notorious genre hopper, so I could go on and on with recs. Here are a few I can’t resist sharing: Amy Harmon’s Making Faces, was a touching New Adult contemporary. If you like sports romance, give Parker Kincade’s Spring Training. I also love historical romance and just consumed Julie Anne Long’s latest Pennyroyal Green installment, Between the Devil and Ian Eversea, as well as Anne Barton’s When She Was Wicked.

Next up on my contemporary list is Kristan Higgins’ new Blue Heron book, Waiting for You. If you’re looking for a hot, fast read that’s as quirky as it is sexy, give Cheapskates in Love by Evelyn Jules a shot!

Jana Richards

The Ugly Duchess by Eloisa JamesLately, I’ve been on a historical romance kick, and I’ve found two new-to-me authors that I really love. Sally McKenzie’s “Duchess of Love” series is great fun. So far I’ve read “Bedding Lord Ned” and “Surprising Lord Jack” and enjoyed them immensely. Both books combine humor with a touch of mystery and pathos. I’m looking forward to reading the third book in the series, “Loving Lord Ash”.

Where has Eloisa James been all my life? I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to read her books, but I’m glad I finally did. I loved, loved, loved “Duchess by Night”, book 3 of James’ Desperate Duchess series. I’m currently reading “The Ugly Duchess”. Unfortunately, my MP3 copy from the library quit about three-quarters of the way through – right at the good part! I’m desperate to finish it!

Now, tell us what books you’re excited about, regardless of genre. We’d love to hear about it in the comments.