When I set out to do Dark Reads October, I knew I needed help in deciding what to read. I knew I needed all of the recommendations because I wasn’t sure where to really start with my dark romance reading. Even though I have read and loved some seriously amazing dark romance books, I also knew that I was really more of a novice in this particular subgenre, so I needed help.
I wanted to read new authors. I wanted to discover new worlds and series. I wanted to find some amazing new dark romance reads that I wouldn’t have been able to find on my own.
And let me tell you, my book friends showed up in the absolute best way. On TikTok and this blog’s Facebook page, I got tons of great recommendations. Some I’d heard of, some were absolutely brand new to me, and some were books I had owned for years.
I also found that many books and series were recommended over and over again by my fellow readers, and I have to say that those were some of the ones I was drawn to most. Not just because so many readers had recommended them, but because so many of the books recommended multiple times were ones that were brand new to me…and I LOVE me a brand new book and author to fangirl over.
If Monsters in the Dark was the number 1 series that was recommended to me for Dark Reads October, then Still Beating by Jennifer Hartmann was the number 1 standalone novel with multiple recommendations, so I knew I HAD to read this book.
And I am damn glad I did because this book was absolutely INCREDIBLE y’all.
It has to be one of the most unique dark romances I have EVER read.
It was exceptionally written, thoughtfully crafted, and brought to life through words and feelings and every emotion under the sun that OWNED me. This book consumed me in every way possible. I read it in one sitting because I literally could not put it down.
I needed answers.
I needed everything with these characters.
I needed more of every single ounce of what this story so authentically and deeply gave me.
I needed everything that this book delivered.
I was obsessed with this book, this story, and these characters. And quite frankly, I think I’m still obsessed with them, and I love it. I haven’t stopped thinking about this book since I finished reading late last night. My mind has been thinking about Cora, about Dean, about their story, about their shared trauma, about their fight for what could be and the possibilities of them.
I haven’t been able to stop thinking and feeling and experiencing what this author creates with them and their story. Hours later, and I’m still hooked. Hours later, and I’m still processing and feeling it all. Hours later, and I’m still enamored and enveloped within this dark, heart wrenching, and deeply emotional story.
So suffice to say, this book is definitely going on my top reads list for the year because all of that is just part of what I LOVED about this phenomenal book.
Still Beating is a dark romance that explores trauma, healing, every step in between, but most of all, what happens after. I think one of my favorite aspects of this standalone dark romance was the fact that it does look at that after. That after is a huge integral part of the story, and honestly, it was that after that made this book for me.
It is what showed me so much about these characters. It is what allowed me to connect so deeply to both Cora and Dean as they attempted to heal and make sense of what they went through together. It is what pulled my heart and soul to those two as they became more vulnerable than they thought possible, as they tried to wade their way through the ocean of feelings and thoughts they had about one another.
This book was absolutely incredible.
From start to finish I was floored in the best way by this author’s writing and storytelling and what she allowed me to get with these characters. She throws you in the thick of it, let’s you feel and breathe and live it all with them, and you hit the ground running with those two. Switching so thoughtfully between their points of view, Jennifer Hartmann does the most exceptional job of allowing these characters to reveal themselves to you.
She let’s you get the simultaneous past, present, and future of these characters in a dark, forbidden, and all-consuming romance that will make you question everything, that will pull your heart to these characters in the most fierce way, and that will have you NEEDING these characters to find the ending they both so deserve.
I truly could go on and on about how much I loved this book and what I got with Cora and Dean. Those two have a complicated relationship from the start, and things only get more complicated with the shared trauma they experience and the battles they’re about to face….But I am telling you, if you stick with them they will make it all worth it. I promise you that. If you go in blind, ready to feel it all, ready to experience darkness, struggle, but also so much light and hope and heart. If you just keep yourself, your heart, and your mind open to what could be, you will not be disappointed in what you get with these two.
Not one little bit.
And in the end, you might just find right along with Cora and Dean that the one person you discounted, the one person you thought you hated most in the world, and the one person you never wanted to be around just might be the exact person you need. That person might be off limits, they might be the last person you expected them to be, but they also might be your salvation from every hurt that’s been thrown your way.
They might just be your lifeline and they also might be the one thing that keeps you going through it all.
Still Beating is a dark, heart wrenching, deeply emotional love story that will make you think and feel and question everything about what is right, what is wrong, and what is possible. It isn’t an easy story to experience, not at all, but that doesn’t take away from the breathtaking beauty and heart and vulnerability these characters will so authentically give you and show you. It will hurt you, it will heal you, and it will make you feel everything, all while showing you that true human connection and heart can save you…if you let it.
I cannot tell y’all enough how glad I am that I picked up this book. The recommendations for it were very well deserved, and I am so glad that I finally listened when y’all told me to read something!!
It was definitely the right choice to read, and it is shooting its way to the top of my favorites list for the year. I can’t recommend it enough, so be sure to check it out!
Thanks again for sticking with me through another installment to Dark Reads October. I already know what I’m planning to read next, and I can’t wait to share it with all of y’all, so stay tuned! I will be back soon with more dark romance read recommendations!
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