Romance novels – people hate them or love them. They are a staple to any place that has a shelf for books – your local library, Walgreens, the spinning bookrack at the train station, and of course in your aunt's bathroom are just a few places where you can find them. They're the hidden secret between women in public spaces because books by their very nature seem very safe and intellectual, but surprise! That person is actually reading straight-up smut and nobody's the wiser. When most people think of romance novels, they often imagine the traditional kind with covers full of shirtless Fabio types and passionate moments between two humans. But in the age of Amazon self-publishing, romance novelists of all types are finding a platform to write some really strange stuff that you probably never thought could exist in written form. If you're feeling adventurous, put down that tame copy of Fifty Shades of Grey and pick up one of these gems to read on your commute to work.
15 "Kill or Be Kilt" by Victoria Roberts
There's nothing like a good old objectified Scotsman in a romance novel. They're everywhere, and not very special on their own, but this one stands out with that great pun of a title. Kill or Be Kilt is the third installment in the Highland Spies series, which follows the story of a Scottish spy named Laird Ian Munro who is required to protect a noblewoman named Lady Elizabeth Walsingham. She used to have a crush on Ian when she was younger and eventually got over it, but now as an adult the two of them both find that they have feelings for each other. How could Lady Elizabeth stop crushing on this guy when he's ripped and shirtless in a kilt all the time?
14 "Pounded By The Pound: Turned Gay By The Socioeconomic Implications Of Britain Leaving The European Union" by Chuck Tingle
In Amazon's self-published erotica section, there is one author in particular who stands out among the rest; Dr. Chuck Tingle. He's a mysterious man with an interesting resumé. According to his Amazon author bio, he has a PhD from DeVry University in holistic massage and is a Tae Kwon Do grandmaster (almost a black belt). His novellas are called "tinglers" which is definitely a play on his own name, and they are an experience quite different from the typical romance novel. Tingle specializes in strange pairings like mythical creatures and sentient inanimate objects. In this one for example, a British man and a giant sentient floating pound coin fall in love.
To everyone's surprise, Chuck was nominated for a Hugo award in 2016 for his book Space Raptor Butt Invasion. Unfortunately, he lost the award and in response he wrote several tinglers about the experience of the both the nomination and loss. Within a few days of the breaking news, Chuck Tingle is able to dish out another tingler that took current events and turned them into steamy romances. Some events that weren't safe from the tingler include Leonardo DiCaprio's Oscar win, fake news, and the concept of linear time. There are very few authors this dedicated to their craft. Keep writing those tinglers, Chuck!
13 "Werehipsters: The Surreal Sisters" by Stikki Minaj
First of all, let's take note to the author's name which is both an amazing and gross pun. This story is about a normal woman working a 9-to-5 job who falls in love with two billionaires named Leo and Zane. They're attractive, and they're rich, but they also have a dark secret–they transform into hipsters. The woman wants to be with them, but doesn't know if she can handle the billionaires's dark secret.
The concept of werehipsters is interesting enough, since usually shapeshifters change into something other than a human. Is it really considered shapeshifting if you're just changing human appearances? Even so, a werehipster in the wild must be terrifying–you think you know someone but then they magically grow a beard and a man bun and start talking to you about all the albums they have on vinyl. *shudder*
12 "How to Lose an Extraterrestrial in 10 Days" by Susan Grant
If you ever wanted a sequel to How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days, then this book probably isn't it. It does a riveting love tale of its own, though. Evie Holloway is a chocolate shop owner who needs a bodyguard, which totally makes sense, and to her rescue is a rogue alien fugitive named Reef. Reef is on the run from the feds, lost most of his super alien powers, and is incredibly sexy. When she asks for Reef's help, she tells him she only needs his services for 10 days, which is oddly specific. Even though he tried to kill Evie's soon-to-be brother-in-law–which implies that she's about to get married–she can't resist those hot alien buns. Conveniently for everyone, it seems like aliens from this planet look just like humans, so that's a little bit of a relief.
11 "Men In Kilts With Tentacles and The Women Who Love Them" by Suction Cup
There is so much to unpack in just the cover of this book. First, the choice of Word Art is remarkable. The bright color gradients and the fact that all graphic design teachers would have a heart attack just by looking at it – it's truly one of a kind. This is an eight part series, each book focusing on a different character's romance. The backstory of this series is that there was an energy generator that broke through the fabric of space and time, and resulted in a bunch of Scottish soldiers developing tentacles. Now they have to go back home and try to hide these new parts from their ladies. It isn't very clear in the title or the synopsis where they got their tentacles, if they replaced current limbs or just grew elsewhere on their own, but the cover implies that they grew down under the kilt which is...a little appalling. What's even more appalling is the terrible Photoshop job of those tentacles.
10 "Sun God Seeks...Surrogate?" by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff
Nothing starts a book off right quite like a title that isn't sure of itself. This is probably one of the most tame and normal on our list, but the title makes it worthy because not even Mimi Jean knows if she should be writing this book or not. In the book, for some reason the older sister to a sun god named Nick is trying to get the main woman, Penelope, to have a baby with him. Apparently Nick doesn't know about the plan and is mad at his sister until he actually sees Penelope, who is wicked hot, and then doesn't mind anymore. Gods and humans getting it on isn't a new thing–there was that whole Zeus thing after all. But "surrogate" is probably the most unsexy word that could be used to describe this story's situation.
9 "Three Way by the Sea" by Jessica Vane
You heard about werewolves, and now werehipsters, but now get ready for weredolphins! This riveting love tale is about a man named Jerry who is a successful oceanographer with good looks but low self-esteem. He starts to develop a crush on the cute intern, Kevin, AND on the harbormaster, Ron. Lucky for him both of them seem to like him back and they conveniently know each other even though they're very different people. Under the full moon, the two decide to show Jerry their little secret: that they can turn into dolphins. As an oceanographer, Jerry must be intrigued by the transformation of these humans are able to undertake–a scientific marvel! And of course, he must be even more intrigued by these guys' hot bods when they aren't dolphins (or even maybe when they are). This story is quite the concept concept, though weird shapeshifting seems to be quite popular in the romance novel genre.
8 "Taken by the Ghost of Napoleon Bonaparte's Horny Little Brother, Jerome, at Niagara Falls" by Maddie Montrose
The title of this short romance story is quite specific, which makes it seem that not only will it be steamy but also full of trivia of both Napoleon Bonaparte's brother, Jerome, and of Niagara Falls. There's nothing more important than a balance of good sex scenes and fun facts about minor historical figures and beautiful natural wonders. The plot description describes a vampire woman discovering the sexy ghost of Jerome Bonaparte, but it's really hard to imagine him as attractive when on the cover we're just given a clip art of a very round caricature Frenchman with an unsettling smirk. Why is Jerome on the Canadian-US border and not in France where he died? Does this mean that ghosts can travel across oceans? Whatever the answer, this Taken By instalment seems both sexy and informative.
7 "Abraham Lincoln: F**k Lord of the Moon" by Catherine DeVore
This is one title that you would never think actually exists, but yet it does. Good ol' Abe is obviously one of the most attractive U.S. presidents in history, so it's not that surprising that someone wanted to write some historically-inspired erotica about him. This one, though, takes some interesting turns that are definitely not factually correct. This book is the third instalment in a series about this new sexy Lincoln, who trains as a ninja for years to defeat his nemesis, Emperor Komei of Japan. While these two leaders existed in real life at the same time, it's pretty doubtful that they really interacted much at all, let alone to these extremes. It's also good to note that a major plot point in this book is that Abe is trying to claim the entire moon for himself like something straight out of the Cold War. This whole story is one wild ride nobody asked for.
6 "Riding Her Unicorn" by Ever Coming
The cover of this novel just radiates a mystical and sensual experience for all. This is a love story about a Jaguar and a (quoted from the plot description) "smexy billionaire Unicorn" that meet each other in a place called Woodland Creek. Thankfully, they are both shifters so they do assume a human form sometimes. Even though the unicorn on the cover is a majestic being, it's still really weird to imagine a creature like that in any kind of romantic sense. It was a good idea for whoever made that cover to put that set of abs floating in the background to clear that up for anyone who was wondering how human-unicorn sexy times would work. At least nobody has to keep imagining it. Also, can we just appreciate the author's name for a second?
5 "Tentacles of Trump" by Zed Crut
If you ever just wanted to formally and permanently check out from American politics, knowing that this book exists is a good way to know that it's time to do that. Written by someone who definitely is not Ted Cruz (but just shift the first letter of his first name and last letter of his last name and it's pretty incriminating evidence), this book is a tale about a (hopefully) distant planet named Cumquat owned by Donald Trump. This Donald looks to be the same guy we have down here on Earth, except this time, he has tentacles and that just makes it so, so much worse. A woman named Gloria comes to this planet because of a job offer from this planet's supreme ruler and then a lot of weird stuff happens. Only in a post-2016 world could something like this exist.
4 "The Raptor's Bride" by Christie Sims and Alara Branwen
Romance and dinosaurs go well together, right? This is the story about a woman who had lost her whole family, village, and the raptor she raised on her own. She had survived yet another winter on her own, but she still feels a deep loneliness that anyone would get from losing every human they know. Then out of nowhere, a raptor–yes the same raptor she took care of before–flies back into her life and now they're...in love? For one, there's no indication of what time period this is in exactly, but it could be implied this takes place in prehistoric times–but even then dinosaurs were long gone before humans came around so really nobody knows what's going on here. Two, how does a human/raptor interaction even work? If Jurassic Park can be used as a reference point then probably not very well.
3 "Taken By The Toaster: An Inanimate Love Story" by Dick Thumper
You probably never thought that inanimate kitchen appliances could be sexy, but boy you were wrong. Here we have the story of a man named John who receives a toaster from his parents for Christmas. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) this toaster isn't just a normal toaster but is quite the lover, and keeps John coming back for more. The big question here is if this is a specific kind of toaster or if this particular appliance is one of a kind. John's parents were probably not expecting to be giving their son a lover, but alas the toaster turned out to be a pretty well-functioning gift. We gotta ask: we get that this toaster has many special talents, but does it still make toast?
2 "Gnome On The Range" by Jennifer Zane
Before you throw your phone out the window from reading this title, be assured that this is not a lawn gnome/human fantasy. The gnome is only a plot device used in this fabulously titled literary work to bring the two main characters together. Jane buys a lawn gnome at a garage sale, and unbeknownst to her, it's a special gnome. You see, someone is after it, and will do whatever it takes to have this gnome in their possession. Somehow, her hot firefighter neighbor, Ty, helps her out with this gnome mystery that inevitably puts them both in danger, but sexy danger. During all these sexy times, she even has time to take care of her kids, which seem like quite the inconvenience in a steamy danger romance. This is the first book of five, so maybe the gnome does become a lover–I mean, anything could happen.
1 "Fifty Shades of Decay" edited by Stacey Turner
And now to finish with a zombie parody of the most popular romance novel around, Fifty Shades of Grey. 51 authors took on the task of answering the question, "what is sexy about zombies?" It's interesting to see what they come up with because zombies are pretty gross and un-sexy, what with their decaying flesh and hunger for brains. But maybe even zombies are able to find love, or they just give into more carnal desires (besides eating human flesh) than is conventionally believed. Whatever the answer, we know that the sexpocalypse has begun and we need to prepare for it. No matter what subject, now you know that somebody's written erotica about it and they're making money from these crazy, hilarious, and mostly disturbing tales.