We all have them! Those books that may not be well written or even all that great but there is something about them you can’t put down. Perhaps this is the Black Dagger Brotherhood crack that JR Ward sells (sooo addictive even as she constantly stiffs the m/m) or the heroin like books from Laurel K Hamilton. Or even the sparkly vampires of the red apple.
But what about m/m erotic romance titles or authors? I’m not trying to slam anyone but there are some authors that are good for stroke fiction or something to get off to, or even those books that are poorly written but you just. cant. put. them. down!
One of these authors has to be Stormy Glenn. Now not to malign the author but she publishes multiple times a month with at least three different publishers and having read some of the stories, they feel repetitive and pushed out too quickly. Often plot, characterization, and writing all fall by the wayside for predictable situations and stereotypes in my opinion. Yet these books sell like drugs to the public who devour the comfort reads like they may disappear tomorrow. Stormy Glenn has a seemingly massive following and I have to think she’s a guilty pleasure read for many.
So far I think Mary Calmes is a guilty pleasure read and perhaps Crystal Rose. Both of those had serious writing problems but sucked me into their stories so much I loved them. This could tie into my love of Bravo reality shows but nonetheless I did quite enjoy reading these two authors. I admit feeling some guilt since I could see the numerous problems but I just didn’t care.
So what about you? What are your guilty pleasure reads?
And do you feel guilty at all about liking them? Or are you proud in your choices?
17 thoughts on “Guilty Pleasure reads”
Great topic, Kassa! This is a tricky one for writers because the “guilty pleasure” label can be seen as an insult (the obvious interpretation) and yet as a compliment (something about the fiction, however badly done, is so compelling that it grabs the readers).
So it’s like the fiction isn’t quite good enough to engage the mind, but it’s connecting emotionally with readers — and I guess if you can only have of those connections (heart or mind), it’s better to have the heart because you’re making your readers happy and fulfilling an emotional need of theirs — even while they’ll never admit they read your books, ha, ha!
I think Stephen King struggled with this label for most of his career until maybe the Dark Tower series or his later books gave him intellectual credibility, and it’s obvious in his earlier interviews that this grated on him. Even now, he does a lot of name-dropping about all the literary authors he reads (e.g., Joyce Carol Oates), maybe to show how well-read he is (and he made his alter-ego in Lisey’s Story a National Book Award winner). I want to say, “Dude! Don’t worry about it. You have nothing to prove!”)
Ooo interesting perspective. See if I was an author I’d LOVE to be someone’s guilty pleasure. I understand it may have a negative connotation, but to me the pleasure people get from these addictive reads translates into more fan loyalty than someone just admiring a good book.
A strong positive reaction – even if labeled a guilty pleasure – would seem a coup to me. But then again, I’m just a reader.
I guess if an author is trying for a different approach this label could be negative, but I certainly didn’t mean it that way.
I’m with you on this. I’d be one of those authors who would consider it a huge compliment to be a “guilty pleasure”. Who cares about the connotation of “guilty”? Overall, something in my writing would be addictive to the readers, and that’s what matters.
I’m so weird, I don’t have that. Everything that pulls me in so much is brilliantly done in other ways. If the writing’s shit, but the tension/arch is great and keeps me reading, that’s skill, and I have to respect a colleague who can do that. It’s something to study and learn, too.
I’ve heard borh Dan Brown and JK Rowling mentioned as guilty pleasures.
Hmm I’m not sure I’d put Dan Brown into that category. I mean some of his stuff is good and some is really bad (Digital Fortress.. no no no.) I’ve only read the first JK Rowling book and it didn’t suck me in so I left off on the series but it’s been praised by every corner so I couldn’t comment.
Perhaps your perspective comes from being an author. I know other authors that are pretty picky in their reading and small things that won’t bother most readers can tick them off.
Yet another reason I don’t want to become a writer :D. Love my guilty pleasure reads.
Coincidentally, I was having this conversation with another author last night, and we both touched on this. It’s harder than it used to be to enjoy a ‘guilty read’. Things that I ignored before (or didn’t know about) catch my eye now and separate me emotionally from the story, like mid-scene POV switches.
I’ll admit it. I miss sinking into a story without having part of my brain constantly analyzing it.
Curse of the author 😦
I’m one of those that reads Stormy Glenn’s books and enjoys them, too. They do tend to blur into each other but there is still something about them that’s very entertaining. Similar to Ms Glenn is Carol Lynne. She also publishes frequently and is a bit formulaic but still fun to read. The Jarheads books by Sean Michael are guilty reads for me. Rigger and Rock (not so much Dick) were one of my first, favorite M/M couples and although I skim through a lot of the excessive sex scenes now I still buy them when they come out.
Hi Lily! Thanks for commenting.
I forgot Carol Lynne but you’re right, that’s another author that publishes frequently and has a very big following. There are others too, Sean Michael’s Jarheads a good one.
I have to say the Jarheads series is a big guilty pleasure read for me as well. The latest installments are getting somewhat mind numbing but I do love the original 6 novels even if they are sheer sex. Rock/Rig are some beloved boys.
OMG, the bunny pic looks just like Vincent from Can’t Hurry Love. HEE!
I re-read Emma Holly’s Srtange Attractions, which is really M/M/F but has some a strong M/M relationship at its core. I just loooove that book; it’s the macaroni-and-cheese of the erotica world. 🙂
Isn’t he cute! -tugs his tail-
Ooo I don’t think I’ve read that one. May have to check it out.
I know some readers would rather not have any F interfere with their M/M, so be aware that Strange Attractions has a woman as its main character, though in my opinion, the relationship (sexual and emotional) at the core of the book is between two men. It was the farthest I think Holly has gone in terms of creating a solid M/M relationship in a book, and the fact that this one evolves into M/F and M/M/F doesn’t dilute that, in my opinion.
But since that book, she seems to have veered sharply toward fantasy and historical, and most M/F, to my disappointment!
Hmmm, I’m not sure I have guilty pleasure authors. My brain just won’t shut up enough if the writing isn’t to a certain level of quality, which is kind of sad b/c that means I don’t have those quick, mindless reads to enjoy (b/c I don’t enjoy them, I roll my eyes so much I get a headache and then I look at the author name and swear, “Never again!”)
I have guilty pleasure themes and tropes though, for sure.
oooo good point. I do have those guilty themes I like to see too.
What are yours besides werewolves? 😀
Ha, yes let’s not forget the werewolves. I’m still waiting for more of those.
So guilty about this one, but I love the whole arranged marriage dealie. I know it doesn’t fly much in m/m (though it’s probably the reason why I loved The Devil’s Fire by Sara Bell), but I love it in historical het.
Oh ok, another really guilty one is when the hero is physically scarred (usually from something traumatic, with lots of emotional baggage to go with it). Kind of like a beauty and the beast thing. Can’t think of many (any?) m/m books, but there are so many good het ones I’ve read.
Oh and another really, really guilty pleasure I have in m/m is having the brother of one of the MCs in one book get his own book. And I feel bad about liking it, b/c what are the chances of two brothers being gay? But I love series romances of the type where every sibling gets a book and any brothers get the slash goggles. (Actually, I have this novel out on submission right now, and as I wrote it I had to keep pulling myself back from inserting tension and moments between my protag’s brother and his best friend. It was like I couldn’t help it and I had to pull out a mental bitch slap for myself every once in a while. Lol.)
Well after that long-winded reply, I have to ask you what some of your guilty pleasures are so I won’t feel so…guilty. *g*
oo such good guilty pleasures. There is a beauty and the beast themed m/m story pub’d with Amber Allure but I don’t remember it’s name. Something about one man being scared and the other beautiful. I’ll have to find out the name now.
As for my guilty pleasures.. hmm. Well I love pirates. I know it sounds like such a cliche but when I used to read m/f historical romances (still do sometimes) I love the guy as a pirate. I just think it’s so funny and outrageous and just works! This doesn’t happen too often in m/m sadly unless it’s a pure porn-y book.
Another great one is the best friend hidden crush. I think there’s something sweet, delightful, and sad about a hidden crush between best friends. Especially if one or the other isn’t a total sap and pathetic about it but has some spunk and fire, it makes for some great tension and situations.
I love when brothers get their own books so I’m all for that! It doesn’t happen often unfortunately but I can’t wait for your submission. You -are- making it a series aren’t you? Now that you’ve dropped the hint 😀
Oh! Pirates, you’re right. I don’t see them much in m/m. I’ll admit that I’ve enjoyed many het historicals with pirates who have miraculous hygiene and are usually doing it for all the “right” reasons (Revenge? yes. Greed? No Way) and are probably a secret Earl or something. *g* I could go for one of those right now, actually. Too bad, I have to study. Boo.
You -are- making it a series aren’t you?
You know, honestly? I haven’t decided yet. It would feel very much like Gay For You on the part of the brother, and…I dunno. At the moment, I’ve left it with just enough, erm, tension in the current novel so that it’s there if you’re looking, but maybe not so much if you’re not looking. So I’ve left the door open while I decide whether or not I’m going to yank those characters through it or not.