ANGST just so happens to be pure catnip for this reader. I gobble it up like the starved addict that I am, and love every hair pulling second of it. If a book can make me feel like I want to throttle someone, scream at the ceiling and rip my hair out by the roots, I know I got myself a winner. What? Like you don’t have your vices? Sheesh. Judgy much?
This month you all voted for my Ultimate List of Angsty Romance, and that’s what I’m giving you. Fair warning, this will quite possibly be my longest list ever! We always chat about these lists in my FB group, so if you haven’t yet, join in on the inappropriate fun HERE.
Since this list will be ridiculously long if I let it, I decided to limit my choices to the uber angsty book picks. These are some of my all time favorites and my go-to recs.
And if you’re new to my blog, this a monthly feature I do on the last Saturday of each month! Check out the previous features here:
As always, I’d love to hear from you all in comments if you don’t see one of your favorites listed. You know I love me some book recs 😉
You’ll notice I’ll list some of these by author because I loved several of their books, some I’ll list by series, and some will be simply individual books. Now let’s do this thing!
“What if I don’t choose you, Kellan? What will you do?”
He looked away, a tear rolling down his cheek. “I’ll leave, Kiera. I’ll leave, and you and Denny can have your happily ever after.” He looked back at me. “You wouldn’t even need to tell him about me. Eventually, the two of you…” his voice broke and another tear fell on his cheek, “the two of you would get married, and have children, and have a great life.”
I fought back a sob. “And you? What happens to you in that scenario?”
“I…get by. And I miss you, every day,” he whispered.”
Sweet mother of hair pulling, wanting to run the heroine over with my car, while rocking myself in a corner somewhere ANGST. GAH! GAH I tells ya! This freaking book. I don’t know how I even survived it. It put me off life triangles for years. And yet when I think of angst, this is the first one that pops into my head. Clearly it left an impression. And let’s be real here for a hot second, because it just doesn’t get much better than Kellan fucking Kyle *pervy sigh*
I knew we were going to be a dangerous combination. Bad things were going to happen if we spent too much time around each other.
First I read book one, and thought, well this isn’t so bad. Then I read book two and thought I’d been hit with a two by four full of feels, and then I barely BARELY survived book three because holy hell!!! I LOVED this trilogy. Absolutely loved it. It spans years and had one of the most memorable love stories I’ve read. The angst was in apoplectic proportions and I loved every single painful second of it. It was utterly delicious!
I convinced myself that it had all been passion, not true love. True love was a myth, a misdirection from the solid things in life. What I’d felt for Tristan had been big and all consuming, but I told myself, like a mantra in my head, that it had never been solid. Even so, every little thing brought him to mind. We’d had too much together, been through too much, felt too much, and every feeling had a memory.
I want you, and I don’t know how to stop wanting you. I want to get deep inside you, and then deeper, until I’m so deep I don’t even know what’s me anymore and what’s you.
What’s better than angst? New Adult kind of angst. Yum yum yum. This is one of my all time favorite duets. These books took me through the emotional wringer and I don’t regret it even a little. I adored the heroine and I loved to hate the hero. But who am I even kidding? I mostly loved him even when I wanted to hate him!
“I could tell you how much I’m hurting, or I could get out of the car, slam the door, hitchhike to the airport because fuck you, fuck you, West, how could you do this to me? How?
What I can’t do is pretend I don’t know what you did,” I say. “Or pretend I don’t still care about you.”
“You were my tempest, my thunder cloud, my tree in the downpour. I loved all of those things, and I loved you. But now? You’re a fucking drought. I thought that all the assholes drove German cars, but it turns out that pricks in Mustangs can still leave scars.”
If you haven’t at least heard of this phenomenal series, odds are you’ve been living under a rock. Well climb on out from under there my friend, because you are seriously missing out. This is easily of my top favorite NA series and the angst is utterly delicious. I have a motto when it comes to books by Penelope Douglas; she writes them, I read them. Period. No exception.
Becoming hard at heart isn’t an intersection in your brain where you have a choice to turn left or right. It’s coming to a dead end, and you just keep going, over the cliff, unable to stop the inevitable, because the truth is you just don’t want to.
There is freedom in the fall.
“ If I’d ever taken the time to wonder about my soul being as black as this town seemed to believe, I knew the moment Ashton stepped out of her little white Jetta looking like an angel from Heaven that my soul was damned to Hell. ”
I have a love hate relationship with Abbi Glines books. No really. See I love to hate them. No I don’t mean that in a hater sort of way. What I mean, is she’s a guilty pleasure author for me. I may not always love every book, I may want to throttle most of the heroines, and yet I still enjoy the ride. Kind sick saying it out loud lol. I’ve read her entire backlist, and I absolutely ADORED her Sea Breeze series. To date, that’s my favorite series by her.
But what began the obsession was this book. The Vincent Boys. And to be clear, I’m referring to the uncut edition, because let’s be real, if I’m forced to endure YA angst, I need steam to dilute it. I devour her books in one sitting. I adore every hero she’s written. What can I say? The struggle is real with this addiction I have and I’m not even sorry. Even when I hate the heroines, the heroes more than make up for it.
“I can’t believe I’ve found someone that’s more fucked up than me.”
I don’t remember why I read this book exactly. I think I stumbled on it by pure chance actually. Something about that synopsis just hooked me. I ended up devouring it in one sitting! This author has a signature blend of angst and dry wit and humor that just calls to me. I love it! She’ll add a bit of OTT drama that also somehow just works and at times a dash of suspense and voila! Instant addiction. I went on a Barbara Elsborg binge right after this and the addiction still continues. Not only does she write great angst, but the steam level is through the roof! She writes amazing MM, scorching MMF, and deliciously dirty MF. I can’t recommend her enough!
“I’m your husband…”
“No. You are not my husband,” she interrupted in a voice thickened with hatred and tears. “You have never been my husband. A husband loves, honours and cherishes! A husband is a lover and a champion….Look into the next room if you want to see what a real husband is, because you are no such thing!”
What would happen if you combined Harlequin presents with some crazy angst? This. Book. Holy mother! I loved it! I loved it so freaking much! Natasha Anders definitely has a signature style to her romance. I love watching her heroines grow into their own and stand up for themselves. I love seeing her royal alphaholes of heroes realize their mistakes and perform some epic kind of groveling. All of it just speaks to me and I can’t get enough!
She’d wanted him so badly seventeen years ago. And now that he wanted her, regardless of what anyone said, she wouldn’t come near him.
This was the first book I had read by this author and boy was I kicking myself for it after. Hard. If you love second chance romance and redemption stories, this is an absolute must read. It’s emotional, heart breaking, beautifully written, and completely unforgettable. While it is a part of a long-standing series, it can easily be read as a standalone.
No it’s not exactly the smutty smut that I normally gravitate to so if you’re expecting lots of steam, you’ll be sorely disappointed. But this book was not lacking it for me. Not even a little. The story was so emotionally powerful and the romance was so beautiful with just the right amount of tasteful love scenes, that I fell head over heels for This Heart of Mine.
LIFE CAN CHANGE in as little of fifteen seconds. I know this.
An SUV clips my car, kills my sister, and changes me and my life forever.
The time it takes for a stranger to lift me up and carry me away and save me from the burning wreckage.
The time it takes to fall in love with Lincoln Presley and forge promises that neither of us can keep.
In thirty seconds, a heart can break.
If you like your angst to feel like you’ve been run over by the mac truck of feels, boy do I have a rec for you. Because this book? It will actually physically drain you. I’m not even a little kidding. It was fucking painful, people! I still have no idea how I survived it but I feel like I needed a cookie, a hug, a medal and all of the alcohol after it. In that exact order. This does end on a cliffhanger and I recommend reading the full trilogy to get a much deserved HEA.
“That day, that one day, changed me forever. It taught me that everything you love, everyone you love, even if you love them and hate them at the same time, can be taken away in a moment and there isn’t anything you can do to change it.”
The Beautifully Broken is a series of 4 books, but it wasn’t until this book, IF YOU LEAVE (book 2 in the series), that I fell in love with the series. If You Leave deals with many heart wrenching issues; the biggest being the hero, Gabriel’s, PTSD from his Army Ranger days. It’s an emotional romance filled with angst, feels, and enough steam to keep you panting.
I loved every book in this series, but 2 and 4 have to be my all time favorites. If you haven’t read these yet, I strongly recommend you check them out.
“What do you think I’ve got here that I wouldn’t give up in a heartbeat to be with you? There’s nothing to keep me here: I’ll go anywhere, do anything to be with you.”
What happens when a 30-year-old woman stuck in a loveless marriage has an affair with her 17, soon to be 18-year-old neighbor? One of the most gripping, emotional and powerful romances that I have ever read. Book one is The Education of Sebastian and tells the heart wrenching story of how these two fell in love. The Education of Caroline takes place ten years later, when these two lovers finally reunite. If you haven’t read this series, it’s seriously an absolute must read.
“Be happy, Caro, because that’s what you deserve.
I love you, I have always loved you, and where I go after this world, I will always love you.
Sempre e per sempre.”
“Baby,” he said gruffly. “Man like me got no business with a girl like you. You’re nothin’ but a fuckin’ beauty and I’m a while lot of fuckin’ ugly who’s already halfway to hell.”
You want angst? You want grit with a big chunk of dark MC romance? Welcome to your next addiction! While I enjoyed every single book in this series, I have to say that UnBeautifully is easily my absolute favorite. There was just something so powerful about this beauty-and-the-beast romance that just spoke to me. It wasn’t an easy read and far from a light one. But it was an unforgettable ride from beginning to finish.
“No really,” I whispered, letting the sweet, peaceful feeling steal over me. “It only matters if there’s someone to care if you don’t wake up. It’s okay if I don’t wake up because there’s no one to care.”
I have three words for you: Hector OMG Chavez. That is all. No really. That’s all. If you’ve read this book, you know exactly what I mean. And if you haven’t? You need to get to reading it right freaking meow because MAN! So. Good.
This was probably the heaviest and most powerful book in the series for me (right up there with Stella and Mace in ROCK CHICK RECKONING, which is also a HUGE angsty rec). But there was just something about RCR that stayed with me for all these years. Maybe it’s what the heroine went through and watching her grow? Maybe it’s the story as a whole. Whatever the case may be, I simply adored it.
“Maybe it was a mistake leaving you.
And I don’t know how to make it right.
Regret fills me every single day.
So much of it builds up I
Hate myself for
Missing you. Hurting you.
And I want you to know i…
Long for you
Others may come and go in our lives but…
We belong together”
New Adult angst? This has it. In spades. This was the book that made me fall in love with Monica Murphy’s writing. It was the first book that I read by her and I was hooked. I recommend reading them back to back because the cliffhanger in OWG will leave you so ragey, it’ll make you want to slap someone.
“I was obsessed with finding redemption. Destroyed by love. Possessed by hope. Consumed by a past I couldn’t shake.”
So Pepper Winters advertises this as her “gray romance” but please don’t let that fool you. While this is certainly not quite on her usual dark scale it still packs a mean punch….straight to the mother effin feels. My. God. This book tore my heart to shreds and put it back together…barely. I was a damn mess reading it. I don’t remember the last time I cried that hard in a book but DAMN. Just DAMN.
This is a full standalone.
“Heartache doesn’t teach you to be resilient. It teaches you to protect your fragility. It teaches you to fear love. And it draws a bright red circle around all the ways you’ve failed as a person and laughs while you cry.”
Ah…sweet sweet second chance romance angst. How I love thee. Let me count the ways….Liam, Liam, Liam…wait. That’s not right.
While a lot of my friends loved the first two books in this series, I struggled a little with them. But I continued with the series because not only did I love the writing style, but I saw where it was going and I knew it was only a matter of meeting the right characters for me to fall in love with the story. And Wicked Heart? It was exactly that book for me.
You don’t fall in love with the person responsible for your greatest loss. And God help you if you do.
God help you indeed. This book was a crazy rollercoaster of emotion. It was almost physically painful to read at times. But man. MAN. What an incredibly powerful and angsty romance. To date, this is my favorite book by this author. And Elizabeth Finn happens to be one of my go to’s for angst, so I don’t make that statement lightly.
I’ll list some other notable favorites below. All are full standalones.
I craved every little second I got to see her, but I knew I should stay away. It was torment, the two cravings rivaling and constantly churning in me, playing tug-of-war between what my heart wanted and what I knew was best.
I’m seriously obsessed with this New Adult series and can’t recommend every book in it enough. I love it that much. Worth It had some darker undertones to it that the others didn’t. It wasn’t dark, just more emotional and a touch heavier if that makes sense. The whole series packs a good amount of angst and if sexy NA romance is your thing, prepare to binge.
“Nicholas Grayson wasn’t a nice person. In fact one could call him an asshole and he wouldn’t dispute it. He was as jaded as they come, eighteen years old, with a moral compass fixed permanently on diabolical. … His goals in life were to piss off his parents, break a few laws and generally screw his way through life.”
Cruel Intention meets Soap Opera in this deliciously angsty YA romance and I gobbled up each page like the addict that I am. Holy crap, people! This book HURT. Complete with a mother of all cliffhangers. But no worries, because you do get a much deserved HEA in the conclusion, REDEMPTION.
I don’t see the future; I just notice shit. When you’re seven years old and scared of your own shadow, too scared to get close to anyone like I used to be, you learn to pay attention. To study people’s loves because it’s the only way to feel like you’re living and to think about how differently you’d be doing if you had the balls to man up. Or, hell, if you hadn’t been given such a shitty hand to begin with.
While I loved the entire Games series, Facade was easily my favorite. I couldn’t even tell you why exactly. It just was. Something about a broken boy finding love in the girl he least expected. I just loved it.
I know almost instantly- this is it- I’m done. This woman will either be my salvation or the death of me. There is no question. I’ve lost control now that I’ve touched her. There’s no going back, and she’s the most spectacular thing I’ve ever experienced.
Rockstars. Betrayals. Redemptions. Second chances. This book had it all. This was my first book by Selena and I was hooked. A Lush Betrayal is still free on amazon, so if you like the sounds of this one, you need to grab it quick!
He could do anything, survive anything, but he couldn’t turn away from Jazz. She would sustain him where every other drug had failed.
It’s no secret that I love everything these authors write. I first fell in love with their Love In Oblivion series when I stumbled on ROCKED by pure chance. And from then, it was as they say, history. While each book focuses on a different member of the band, I don’t recommend reading it out-of-order. There is a story arc that continues throughout the series that you wouldn’t be able to appreciate having read the books out-of-order. I highly recommend starting with the prequel (SEDUCED) first. It really introduces the characters and gives you a taste of things to come.
“Just breathe,” my mom would say.
“Ten tiny breaths…Seize them.
Feel them.Love them.”
Does this book even need an introduction or an explanation for being on my list? C’mon now!
“I don’t hate you. I could never hate you. Give me your heart, Kacey. I’ll take everything that comes with it.”
“I don’t want easy. I want the impossible. I want love so thick, I drown in it; it’s the only thing worth having and, I’m sorry Kona, you’re a nice guy when you’re not acting like an entitled jackass, but I really don’t think you’re capable of being anything more than that.”
To date, this is still one of my favorite second chance romances. The angst is in epic proportions and I do mean epic. This book will make you rip your hair out, it will make you sob hysterically, it will make you scream like a lunatic, but ultimately it will make you feel every single emotion right along with the characters and love every second of it.
I was ripped from heaven with an angel, and tossed into the fiery pit of hell by myself with no way out. I wouldn’t ever allow myself to be released from its relentless grip.
If you ask me how this book first came on my radar, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. All I remember is reading that synopsis and knowing that I had to read it. And boy was I glad that I did because I absolutely loved it! I mean….just read this:
Kane Archer hasn’t always been tormented; he hasn’t always hated himself or been full of rage. He hasn’t always lived his life with an overpowering sense of guilt that threatens to destroy him. There was a time when his life was different. He was optimistic; he smiled and laughed; he loved passionately; he had it all. Kane was content—until the unthinkable took it all away. Two and a half years later and still reeling from his fiancée’s death, Kane returns to the one place he vowed he’d never visit again—Camden—with the promise to find the men who killed her and bring them to justice, regardless of the cost. Emotionally numb, stricken by guilt, and haunted by the events preceding Aimee’s death, the last thing Kane wanted was to meet someone he connected with; someone who made him feel again. As Kane gets closer to those responsible for Aimee’s death, he is thrown a curveball when he discovers a secret so devastating it rocks his world and threatens to destroy his chance at happiness. Whitney Jareau packed up her life when tragedy struck her family, leaving everything behind. Finally free from the persistent and domineering family that insisted she do the one thing she couldn’t, Whitney found peace in Camden. Two years later, her family wants her to come home and will stop at nothing to get her there. Wearing her heart on her sleeve for Kane Archer, a man so gorgeous it hurts to see the pain he carries, Whitney fights her family and refuses to return home to carry out their wishes. Can Whitney stay strong without giving in to the demands of her family? Can Kane let go of the past and move forward with the woman who brought him back to life? Or, will he walk away from her and carry the burden of UNBEARABLE GUILT
This is book 2 in the Breathe Again series, but easily enjoyed as a standalone
I almost want to laugh at how messed up we are.
Two completely shattered souls doing a weird approach-and-recoil dance around each other.
A New Adult take on beauty and the beast by the super amazing Lauren Layne? Hell. Yes.
Lauren Layne first hit my radar when I read ISN’T SHE LOVELY which funnily enough turned out to be the prequel to this amazing series. But don’t be fooled, it’s not a novella. It’s a full length novel that introduces the characters, so I think that’s why it’s not considered the prequel? But it has its own fabulous HEA. Each book in the series is easily enjoyed as a standalone.
“I gave you up, walking through fire to do it but I did…
I did it in the end. I gave you everything.”
Holy mother of ugly cries!!! I was a pathetic mess reading this book. Utterly pathetic I tells ya! I don’t remember the last time a book made me ugly cry to quite this caliber. I’m talking crocodile tears level here, people!
You already know I love me a second chance romance and Walk Through Fire had an absolutely epic one. As a matter of fact, I’ve re-read one particular scene in this book at least 4 times now and each time the water works start. It’s just that powerful. So. Good.
He wasn’t supposed to show up on that bridge.
He wasn’t supposed to fill me with a slither of hope, for more, for different. But he did.
I first discovered Ivy Stone when I read the first book in her Unguarded series, EXPOSED. I fell in love with her writing style, her broken characters, and I knew I found myself a new author to stalk.
While each book in this series focuses on a different couple and their HEA, I highly recommend reading them in order because the backstory starts in the very beginning and you’d appreciate the story that much more having read each book.
To an outsider, I have it all- the job, the husband, and the house- but inside I’m nearly empty.
I’ll be honest, I was afraid to read this book. Utterly terrified. I’m not typically a reader that enjoys reading about a heroine that cheats, no matter what the circumstance. It’s a horrible double standard I have and I own it, because I’ll forgive the hero but not the heroine *hangs head in shame*
But this book is nothing like what I thought. It’s incredibly unpredictable, erotic, and utterly unputdownable. If you read any book by this author, please make it this one. Trust me. Take a chance on something outside your comfort zone. You will not regret it.
“How would you describe the #feeling of #love in 140 or less characters?
Answer : Like somebody is gripping your heart, but you don’t want them to let go because the ache would worsen without them.”
You already know that second chance romance is my crack of choice, so are you even a little surprised to see this book on my list? Really? Are you? Of course you’re not! I adored Kaleidoscope Hearts, but I loved Paper Hearts even more. If you’re a fan of angsty second chance romance and you haven’t read these books yet, you need to get on them right now. RIGHT. NOW.
“Fuck all the firsts, Sky. The only thing that matters to me with you are the forevers.”
Um…I’m sorry, but do I even need to say anything here? I don’t think so. Carry on…
“The moment my lips touch yours, it will be your first kiss. Because if you’ve never felt anything when someone’s kissed you, then no one’s ever really kissed you. Not the way I plan on kissing you.”
“I live you, Sky,” he says against my lips. “I live you so much.”
I’m going to fix this. I have to fix this… I hate every moment that I’m away from her, but I will do whatever it takes to find the man she once loved and bring him back to her.”
Yet another second chance romance that I adored! I seriously loved every single angsty page of this! One of my top reads of that year.
How do I get that back when the darkness is hell bent on taking over, holding me in its clutches and making sure I never see the sunshine again?
He wasn’t just any boy- he was “the boy”. The only one I never should have met, and the one I’d never trade meeting for the world.
And since we’re on a second chance romance angst kick, how can I not mention this deliciousness?
I loved him once, even though I’d never told him I did. And as I looked at him, everything I’d ever felt for him came rushing back.
“You should know whatever game you’re playing, you can’t win. Not against all of us.
If you leave now, you won’t be hurt. If you stay, we’ll break you so bad that you’ll be crawling away.”
Warning: this book will cause nervous break downs, eye ticks, random screaming episodes, cause you to perve on a 17 yr old alphahole and be glued to your kindle from beginning to finish. That is all. You’ve been warned.
This will never be my home. I don’t belong in splendor, I belong in squalor. That’s what I know. It’s what I’m comfortable with because squalor doesn’t lie to you. It’s not wrapped up in a pretty package. It is what it is.
I’d pushed her aside for so long that there was no foundation to build on. Just a mess of shattered pieces that I’d crushed with a sledgehammer every time she’d grown closer than I was comfortable with.
Quite easily my favorite angsty romance I’ve read all year. ALL OF THE ANGST!!! Oh man! If you love serious alphaholes, angst so thick you can choke on it, and a story so addicting that you can’t stop reading it for even a second? Read. This. Book.
For the past couple of nights when I’d lain down beside her, after she’d called asleep and I knew she couldn’t hear me, I’d promised her that she’d never have to forgive me again if she could do it one last time.
OTHER DGR ANGSTY FAVORITES
The following are all book recommendations I’ve received (thanks to my favorite angst pusher, Carolin Jache)