It is no secret that I am a lover of love stories.
I love all kinds of love stories.
Emotional ones. Sweet ones. Seriously angsty ones. Ones that make you want to throw the book across the room, ones that you want to hug tight and swoon in forever, and ones that have every kind of love story in between.
I love every kind of love story, but I have to admit that I find myself having not read enough of certain kinds of love stories. It’s not that I don’t want to read these books, it’s just that I haven’t found myself reading them. I haven’t made the time to read more of them.
But I want to fix that.
I want to read more kinds of love stories. I want to keep finding new authors. I want to keep broadening my love of love stories.
And that is where Dark Reads October was born.
A month dedicated to only reading dark romance novels.
You see, for a long time I’ve really wanted to read more dark romance books. I also love a good theme. Like a lot. (See: Summer of Series) So I decided to dedicate some real time to reading dark romance books. I want to not only read dark romance, I want to find some new to me authors to fangirl something fierce over. I want to experience the unique and dynamic kinds of love stories that you get within dark romance.
Plus with it being October and all, it felt only fitting that this is the time I committed to finding myself some new dark romance to read. So for the next month I will be doing just that. I will only be reading dark romance. And let me tell you, I am ALL kinds of excited for this. I have a good long list of books and authors to read, and I am ready!
Super shoutout by the way to my fellow book lovers on TikTok and Facebook for helping me make my list of books and authors I want to try to read over the next month! I have so many amazing dark romance books to get me started this month. Even though I know there’s no way I’ll get to read them all this month, I’m SO dang excited that I have them so I can go back to them!
I’m ready to finally read some dark romance books that have been on my TBR list for years. I’m ready to experience a bunch of different kinds of dark romance books. I’m ready to fall even more in love with the dark side of romance.
And I’ll be documenting it all right here because that is what the best thing about book love; spreading it around! I truly will never get enough of sharing the book love and connecting with fellow readers about books and love stories. It is the absolute best, and I am beyond looking forward to connecting with y’all about these dark romance reads!
I can’t tell y’all enough how excited I am for this next month of reading! It’s going to be epic. I can feel it. I can’t wait to write about all of the amazing dark romance books I’m going to read. I can’t wait to discover some incredible dark romances. I can’t wait to share all of it with you, and I can’t wait to chat about all of the glorious, angsty, layered and dynamic dark romances.
So are you ready? I know I am.
Let the dark romance reading begin!
Welcome to Dark Reads October.
P.s. If you have a dark romance read recommendation that isn’t on my list, please let me know! I am always eager for more recommendations!
If you’ve been following me or this page for any amount of time, that is probably not a secret. And if you’re new here, welcome! Let me introduce myself. My name is Megan, I am a binge reader and am proud of it.
Like real proud.
I live my life in the midst of binge reads and binge watching TV shows. It’s something I’ve gotten really good at (I say that like it’s a skill you can develop and make stronger) over the years. Depending on what mood I’m in you’ll find me in the middle of a binge read of a certain trope or genre, series, or author. Same with TV shows. Sometimes my binge reads last a few days, other times they last a couple of weeks depending on what I’m reading.
Suffice to say, I am a pretty experienced binge reader. I love binge reading. I love getting so sucked into a series or an author’s backlist that I don’t know which way is up. I love getting to spend an extended amount of time in a certain world or within a certain feeling that books can evoke. I love that for days or weeks of time, all I can think about is that next book in my binge read and what it’ll bring. I also kinda love feeling like I’ve accomplished an Olympic level feat when I finish a binge read, especially a particularly long or large one.
I live for a good binge read. It is one of the things I love as a reader. And honestly, it’s something I highly recommend taking up as a reader because a good binge read can change everything.
And I do mean everything.
Case in point: my latest binge read.
The longest binge read of my life.
Let me set the stage for you.
Back in November of last year, I was feeling all kinds of down. Between the craziness of work virtually teaching my tiny humans, feeling isolated from those I love because of the panoramic (or pandemic for those of you not yet obsessed with Tiktok and its pandemic references), and all of the things happening, I was struggling. I was missing my people. I was just not in the best place and I was searching for whatever could be found to cheer me up.
Enter in Kristen Ashely and her amazing, unforgettable, and all-consuming books.
I don’t remember the first time someone told me I needed to read a book by Kristen Ashely, but I do know that the number of times her books have been recommended to me over the years is probably around 67 bajillion. She is a queen in the romance community, and I’m ashamed to say I didn’t listen to those 67 bajillion recommendations for almost 7 years because I am stubborn. Like real stubborn. I tend not to listen, and then find myself regretting that lack of listening for years to come. (Just ask my book friends how many times I’ve told them over the last few months that they was right and I was wrong and so very dumb for waiting to read KA’s novels.)
It’s not that I don’t want to read what’s recommended to me, it’s just that I really am a bad listener. I always think something along the lines of “one day I’ll get to that”, but one day always gets further and further away. I’ve even been known to buy those books recommended to me and hold onto them because I know that I need to read them, even though I have no idea when I’ll actually do just that.
Kristen Ashley is a prime example of that.
I was even lucky enough to meet her in 2018 at Apollycon, but at that point I hadn’t actually read her books. (Remember when I said I was stubborn as hell and didn’t listen?!) But I did know I needed to read her words, so I interpreted that as clearing out a full shelf of her books at my local Books-A-Million. Let’s just say I am equally so thrilled that I did that because I have so many of her books in print, but also so mad at myself that I waited SO long to read her books that I couldn’t properly fangirl over her when I met her.
Can you say holy freaking missed opportunity?!? *smacks head with e-reader again*
When I finally came around to pulling my head out of my butt and starting her books in the fall of 2019, I literally wanted to hit myself with my e-reader because I had waited to read them. I devoured the first 3 books in her Rock Chick Series, simultaneously falling in love with everything I was reading, while also telling myself that I should’ve been reading these books YEARS ago. I had planned to keep reading all of her romance book goodness then, but of course life got in the way and I was pulled away.
Flash forward over a year later, I found myself back to her books because I needed a sure thing. I needed a book I knew I would love, and after having read a few of her books the year prior, I knew I could count on her to deliver what I felt was missing. I went into that book needing a pick me up and needing something to take my mind off the craziness going on around me. I started that first book, Rock Chick Revenge on November 30th, and almost 3 ½ months later I completed the longest binge read of my life.
60 books. Over 3 months of time. Countless 5 star reads. Thousands and thousands and thousands of pages. So many all-consuming series that I will literally treasure forever. So many characters who will forever own pieces of my heart….and so much more.
And you know what? It saved me. In more ways than one.
This binge read, the longest I’ve ever done, saved me. It saved my mental health. Reading these books, living these stories with these characters, and just basking in every moment was my form of self care. This binge read gave me sooooo many things to look forward to. It gave me SO many unforgettable and dynamic characters that each took me on one hell of a ride. It gave me stories that swept me up and that never let me go. It gave me real and fictional worlds that owned me heart and soul. It gave me so many conversations with my book friends and people about these books that just made my heart and soul happy.
It gave me everything.
And let me tell you, after a year of serious craziness these books were the lifesaver I didn’t even know I needed. They not only saved my mental health and brought me back to me. reading them, talking to all my book friends about them over and over again, and experiencing every moment of them was the best. The actual BEST. (Seriously never doubt the power of a good book y’all.)
If I’m being honest though, I didn’t think I’d make it this far in this binge read. I can definitely tell you without a doubt that I definitely didn’t think I’d be sitting here having read 60 books by one author in the last 3 months. But here I am y’all, living the best kind of binge reader dream.
That’s not to say I didn’t want to read all of Kristen Ashely’s books, but I tend to be a big mood reader, so I often find myself jumping from trope to trope to subgenre to subgenre quite a bit when I am a reader. (Luckily KA has it ALL, so she delivered everything I didn’t even know I needed with her entire backlist.) I also might have a touch of a self-diagnosed focusing issue that can often prevent me from focusing on one type of book for too long. When I started that first book of the binge read back in November I thought I’d finish the Rock Chicks and maybe read some more of the paperback books I owned by Kristen Ashely and call it a day. I figured my reading mood would eventually shift, and one day I’d come back and finish wherever I left off.
Flash forward to mid March and I was practically in tears because I didn’t have any more Kristen Ashely books to read.
For 3 ½ months these books OWNED me, heart and soul. They consumed my every thought and feeling. They gave me life. They took hold of every emotion I had, every part of me, and truly, they never let me go. They were all I could think about. All I could talk about. All I could post about on my social media and blog page. All I wanted and needed to read. Really, just all I wanted and needed.
These books, this binge read, these stories, the writing and characters…they were everything I needed.
Everything and more.
I even named my new succulent plant after a character in these books. That’s how much I couldn’t get enough of everything I was reading and how much I loved these characters. That’s how addicted I was to everything I was reading. (Plus when you meet Frannie in Midnight Soul, you’ll understand why that was the perfect name for my succulent.)
Throughout this binge read I’ve joined the crazy wonderful Rock Chicks, fallen in love with the Dream Men and Dream Team, spent some time on the darker side with some Unfinished Heroes, and joined a motorcycle club named Chaos. I’ve spent my days running away to the Colorado Mountains, a Burg in Indiana, the coast of Maine, small towns and big towns across this country and world, and even a parallel world that doesn’t actually exist. I’ve fallen in love with Moonlight & Motor Oil, The Honey Club, and a blue genie named Fazire who will always own a piece of my heart.
These books encompassed so many moments, so many characters, so many stories that I will forever treasure. Told through some of the best storytelling and writing I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading, these books and stories gave me so many moments that shook me to my core.
Moments that took my breath away. Moments that made me laugh my ass off, cry my eyes out, and feel practically breathless with what these characters gave me. Moments that I will never forget. Moments that I’ve already gone back and reread multiple times. Moments that will go down in my book history as some of my favorite book moments ever.
Moments that I will truly never forget reading or experiencing.
I’ve lived and loved it ALL over the last 3 1/2 months with these books and fictional characters. I’ve traveled to worlds that aren’t real, and worlds that I wish with everything I have, were real. I’ve had some of the best reading experiences EVER.
And honestly? I just wish I could give Kristen Ashley the biggest hug right now because what she gave me within her books. I also want to say thank you to her a million times over. What she so infinitely created with her characters and moments and stories and worlds, what she allowed me to live and feel and breathe with her characters, and what she gave me to experience along the way is something I will treasure for the rest of time. Her writing is on a whole different level, and the moment you read and experience one of her books you will know that with every bone in your body.
You will love it, you will crave it, and you will need as much of it as possible. Trust me on that.
Simply put, Kristen Ashely has firmly cemented herself as one of my all-time favorite authors and reading these books, all 60 plus of them is something I will never forget.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I found myself reading my last Kristen Ashely book. (That is until she writes more romantic goodness, which I cannot wait for!). I purposefully chose her Loose Ends Anthology to end with one last little bit of some of my favorite characters, as well as to get the stories for a few characters that I had been dying for. To celebrate I got me a cinnamon roll the size of my face and a good as hell coffee to accompany me with that last KA book. If you read any of these books you too will have an appreciation for baked goods and coffee from small businesses.
And let me just say, as sad as I was for this binge read to end, I couldn’t be happier that I finally listened to the 67 bajillion people who told me I should’ve been reading these books years ago.
Y’all were right, I was stubborn as hell and didn’t listen, but I got there in the end. And I will be forever grateful that I did.
So there you have it.
The longest binge read of my life.
The best binge read of my life.
The binge read that brought me back to me. The binge read that brought me a multitude of fictional characters and stories and moments I will forever LOVE and cherish. The binge read that brought me to one of my favorite authors ever. The binge read that gave me so many moments that literally took my breath away. The binge read that showed me a million times over that a book, an author, a series can truly give you everything you need and more.
The binge read that truly gave me it all.
Never doubt the power of a good binge read y’all.
It just might be the pick me up you need. It also might be everything you didn’t even know you needed and then some. If you’re really lucky, it just might give you some of the best damn books and reading experiences of your entire life.
I can still remember the first time I read a book by Colleen Hoover.
It was a book I went into blind. It was a book so emotionally gripping, so breathtaking, and so heartbreaking yet utterly beautiful. It was a book unlike anything I’d ever read before.
That book made me cry in the middle of an amusement park ride line, and you know what? I fucking loved it. It was that book that brought me to Colleen Hoover and her books, and that solidified her as one of my favorite authors.
The first time I was lucky enough to meet Colleen Hoover, I told her that story…because it is truly something I will never forget. She gave me something with that book, and every book after, that will stay with me forever. Years later, I can still remember reading each and every one of her books, where I was, how I felt, what I was thinking.
The fact that after over almost 6 years of reading her books they’re all still with me? Well that my friends is the true tell of an amazing writing and storyteller.
And it’s just kind of the best.
Reading that book, Ugly Love, also started one of my favorite binge reads of all time. You see after reading Ugly Love, I went out to the bookstore and bought every book of hers that I could get my hands on. I then spent the next week and a half falling in love with a boy who was taking the lake, falling in love with a boy with a little less Hope, falling in love with finding a missing Cinderella, falling in love with the music of the heart…and it was THE BEST.
Ever since that binge read I have read everything I could get my hands on by Colleen Hoover. Through every new book she has continued to give me some of the most incredible, emotional, and beautiful stories that I have ever read. She has truly given me some of the best books of my reader life.
I have read her books. Lived them all. Felt every word and emotion…and then some. I’ve bought so many of her books for others, telling them “you NEED to read this book”, and talked about them with anyone that I could countless times.
Suffice to say, I’m hooked.
But I have a confession to make. A bad one.
I have been behind on her books for a couple of years now. Like real behind.
*ducks head in all of the reader shame*
But y’all I am making right, or should I say, I made it right.
You see, I realized I had to catch up…I had to right my wrongs….as Dorinda would say I had to make it nice…I had to catch up y’all!
So that’s what I did…and you know what’s funny? When I set out to catch up on her books, I realized that I had 8 books of hers to read. And you remember that first binge read I mentioned at the start of this post? You know the one that brought me to Colleen’s books in the first place? When I did that binge read, almost exactly 6 years ago to the day, I started with, you guessed it, 8 books of hers to read.
It felt like the best kind of kismet y’all.
So it only seemed right to write another post celebrating one of my favorite authors and the extraordinary reading experiences she once again gave me. Because y’all when I tell you you need to read a Colleen Hoover book, you NEED to read a Colleen Hoover book.
They will give you it all. And then some. And then some more. So much glorious more.
And when you reach the end of any or all of her books you will realize over and over again the true talent she has as a writer and storyteller. You’ll also realize that you’ve probably never read a book quite like hers before. That is truly just part of what makes her such a phenomenal author.
So here I am, doing just that. Shouting from the rooftop that if you haven’t read a book by Colleen Hoover, you need to.
You have to. It’s a must.
And in a nod to my first binge read of her books I thought I’d do the same type of write up with a quick summary of each book I read to give you a feel of what you’ll get with them.
You’re welcome in advance for the stellar summaries you’re about to read.
I will also preface these summaries with the note that since I was catching up on many of these books, some of them do relate to other series, so make sure you read them in the correct order whenever you do have the chance to read them.
The Synopsis’ You’ve been Waiting For:
This book has all the YA kind of feels. It’s quirky, definitely unlike any story you’ve read before, and it’s got some twists and reveals in it that will change it all. I loved how different this book felt, and I loved the YA feel to it because YA will always own my heart. And so will Merit and the rest of the crew in this book.
W.T.F That is all you need to know about this book….W.T.F. If there is one thing you will take away from this book it will be…..W.T.F. If there is one sentiment you will feel while reading this book, it will be W.T.F. And you will just LOVE it. I still can’t stop thinking about this book and I read it weeks ago!
This book hurt my heart. It broke me at times. It was not a story of rainbows and butterflies, but more so a real, honest story of what happens when a perfect love becomes an imperfect marriage. This book will try to break you at times, but I promise you it will give you it all along the way. It hurts, but it hurts so good…and Colleen Hoover did these characters and their story the justice they deserve.
Finding Perfect is a novella that continues the story from All Your Perfects, but it also connects into Finding Cinderella and the world of Hopeless….so to fully understand the PERFECTION of this novella, you should read Finding Cinderella (And really Hopeless and Losing Hope) and All Your Perfects first, and then you will just melt with what this story gives you.
Too Late is another story that is a bit dark, all kinds of twisty, and that will have you wondering what in the world will happen next. This book was all kinds of consuming and it definitely took me for a wild ride, and I just loved it. I loved how it kept me guessing and wondering through every word, and yet still had that connection and heart that I live for when reading a book.
When I started reading this book, I don’t think I realized how much I needed to go back to the world of Maybe Someday. This book showed me that I really did need to go back. I needed to be back with Maggie, and Ridge and Sydney, and Warren and Bridgett. I needed more time with them, more music, more antics, more answers. I needed more music and the special kind of magic this world delivers. (*Disclaimer* This book does not have literal magic in it, so don’t go expecting rabbits coming out of hats or anything.) This book was the PERFECT amount of more. That being said you have to read Maybe Someday before you read this book, but just trust me when I say you’ll love them both, and that Maybe Now is everything you need.
Boy did I love this book. Hard. Told from alternating perspectives of a mother and daughter going through one of the toughest times of their life, this book explores their journeys of truth, of love, of hate, of understanding, of healing, and so much more. This book has such an incredible dynamic that plays out between its characters that is beyond consuming to read and experience. Plus it feels so real. I’ve never gone though what Clara and Morgan have, but Colleen Hoover lets you get it all. Every high, every discovery, every low, and every raw moment in between. She gives you it all and lets you get it all…and that is just they best.
Heart Bones is Colleen Hoover’s newest book. It takes place on the Bolivar Peninsula in Texas, and I for one have never wanted to go to a place more than after having read this book. Like any Colleen Hoover Book, Heart Bones tackles complicated characters through an emotional story, with some heavy twists and turns thrown in. This book will give you it all and then some. I loved every bit of this book and how it gave me a love story, but more than that, it also gave me a story of finding out who you truly are and who you really want to be. This book combined so many pieces and so much heart to create such an incredible read.
So there you have it y’all. A write up of my binge read of Colleen Hoover’s books.
I have to say that I am so glad I finally caught up on her books because she is one of the best authors I have ever had the chance to read. She has given me stories that I will NEVER forget reading and characters that will always own a piece of my heart. There are still words of her that stick with me to this day. Moments with her characters that will come to my mind and really just remind me again and again why I love her books and everything she’s given me with them.
So really, if you take anything away from this blog post, I hope it’s the understanding that you need to read a book by this author. As soon as humanly possible. You could pick any book of hers to start with, and I guarantee that you will love it, that it will make you laugh, that it will make you feel, that it will just hit you in every way possible.
And honestly, that is just part of what makes a book by her so unforgettable, so consuming, and so utterly incredible.
So don’t be like me and wait 3 years to finally catch up on her books again. Don’t be like me and think that that’s a good choice, because it’s not. (And later on you’ll be like me, kicking yourself for waiting so long to read them!) It would be wrong to miss out on these books and stories and characters.
The moment you start any one of these books, you will get that. You will know that and feel that in your bones. And really, you’ll just be damn glad you read a book by Colleen Hoover.
Be sure to check out more about Colleen Hoover at the links below: