Continuing with my theme of favourite book boyfriends, this week I’m counting down my top ten book crushes in New Adult and Adult books. You might notice a couple of guys who could very well qualify for the YA list here, but as that list is well and truly jam-packed, I decided to use a bit of a sneaky loophole to get them onto this one.
- Rhysand – A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Yes, A Court of Thorns and Roses is often categorised as YA fantasy, but if you’ve read it—and if not, why haven’t you?—then you’ll know it’s definitely a bit racier than your average teen read. No fade to black or subtle wording in this series. It’s all very much RIGHT THERE. Which, if you ask me, is nothing to complain about when you’ve got a love interest like Rhys.
If you read last week’s post, you’ll know my top criteria for a good love interest/male lead in a story is that they bring out the best possible version of the heroine. Rhys does this for Feyre without a doubt. He builds her up and lets her shine. Add to that his witty personality, his loyalty to his friends and his people, and—of course—the major hotness factor and you’ve got yourself one pretty tempting book crush. I also love the piecemeal way Sarah J. Maas has revealed aspects of his character—it makes an already intriguing character even more so.
‘If you were going to die, I was going to die with you. I couldn’t stop thinking it over and over as you screamed, as I tried to kill her: you were my mate, my mate, my mate.’ A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2)
- Lothaire – Immortals After Dark by Kresley Cole
Last week I also mentioned Kresley Cole’s talent for creating kinda-unstable-but-superhot alpha heroes…well, Lothaire is definitely the best of the bunch (and it’s a pretty damn good bunch).
A vampire known in The Lore as The Enemy of Old, he’s deadly, manipulative, narcisistic, powerful, brilliant, scary, and pretty damn crazy. Oh and pretty nice to look at, of course. Doesn’t really sound like there’s a whole heap of good about him, does there? But that’s where Kresley Cole’s brilliant writing and excellent character development comes in.
The dynamic Lothaire has with his human Bride, Ellie, is fantastic. She has so much spunk and despite his best attempts to fight it, she draws out a softer, more vulnerable side of him without changing his inherent personality.
“I will fight any battle for you, crush any adversity. Because you are mine, beautiful girl. I love you so madly that the past before you feels sane…” Lothaire (Immortals After Dark #12)
- Ty and Zane – Cut & Run by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban
This is one of those ‘if only they were real and straight and not so messed up’ kinda situations…
Cut & Run is probably my favourite M/M series and the reason for that is Ty and Zane. The stories in themselves are interesting enough to keep the pages turning, but it’s the dynamic between the two leading men and the ever unfolding layers of their characters that really kept me invested in the series and has me going back for rereads every now and then.
It seemed every time I turned a page, depending on the situation, I would change my mind about who I liked more—Zane was frustrating me so I sided with Ty, then Ty did something annoying so I was on Zane’s team, then Ty did something really sweet…and so on. So that’s why they’re in equal place. It’s just impossible to split them.
‘I would have done anything. Anything to get back to you. I can’t say I’m sorry for that.’ – Zane – Cut & Run (Cut & Run #1)
“’I didn’t say it just to get you to jump. I’m in love with you, Zane,’ he admitted in a calm, clear voice. ‘I have been for a while.’” – Ty – Fish & Chips (Cut & Run #3)
- Jamie Fraser – Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Put your hand up if you’re not in love with Jamie Fraser. Okay—if your hand is up, I’m guessing you haven’t read any of the Outlander books yet.
Where to even start? Not only is he gorgeous and Scottish but he is fiercely loyal to his wife, Claire, and would do anything for her, even at the expense of his pride, his life and his country.
If you’ve seen the TV show, then you will probably already know that Sam Heughan has done an outstanding job with Jamie. But as awesome as the show is, it really only scratches the surface of Jamie and Claire and the story as a whole. The novels are a hard slog, I’ll give you that, but they’re definitely worth the read.
“’You are my courage, as I am your conscience,’ he whispered. ‘You are my heart—and I your compassion. We are neither of us whole, alone. Do ye not know that, Sassenach?’” Outlander (Outlander #1)
- Vadim Krasnorada – Special Forces by Aleksandr Voinov and Marquesate
Anyone who has read Special Forces will currently be thinking one of two things. Either: ‘Omg! Right?’ or: ‘This girl needs serious mental help.’
Special Forces is not the kind of story that would appeal to the masses. It’s dark and gritty and downright disturbing in parts—you need to have a very high threshold for things like torture, abuse and violence in order to keep turning the pages. What kept me turning the pages was Vadim. Not because he was so amazing I fell in love with him on the first page—far from it—but because I found it so incredibly fascinating how the writers managed to take this despicable person I’d met in the first chapter where he committed this unconscionable act (for which he had no remorse) and somehow, not only get me to sympathise with him but actually root for him. Talk about mind fuck! Once some of his vulnerabilities were exposed I was on the downhill slope, fast…
And for the record, no, this isn’t one of those YA plot twists where the false antagonist turns out to be a hero once a different light is shed on his actions. This guy is a monster in every sense of the word, but somehow I just couldn’t help falling for him as he travelled his road to redemption.
‘You broke me up there in the mountains. You cracked something in my head. I don’t know. I have never been obsessed with another person before or after. You just drilled your way in and since then, I’ve been yours. You got to a place that I didn’t know existed…and all that has changed me, taken the stuff away that I thought was true about me. In some weird, weird way, started something that turned me into more than a good-looking bastard.’ Mercenaries (Special Forces #2)
- John Matthew – Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward
It’s not that I didn’t like the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, it’s just that if it weren’t for John Matthew I very much doubt I’d have kept going until book eight. It’s kind of like how I’m still hanging in with Lords of the Underworld because I know Galen will eventually get his own book (the fact he hasn’t yet is the only reason he’s not on this list).
Anyhoo… after slogging my way through a seemingly endless stream of BDB novels (some were reasonably good, some were not so great), I finally made it to Lover Mine—and yes, it was worth it. I’m not sure why J.R. Ward couldn’t make all her books as good as this one, but oh well…
I found JM to be such a fascinating character from the moment he was introduced in book two (well, technically book one, but that’s a bit of a complicated explanation), and I loved following his story from the broken kid to the strong (but still pretty damaged) vampire warrior. Xhex was definitely the perfect match for him, and I thought her story and character was handled really well also in Lover Mine.
Do you know how ridiculously hard it is to find a quote from a character who can’t talk? This moment with Xhex seemed like a fitting one…
“You are so beautiful, he mouthed. But of course she couldn’t see his lips. Guess he was going to have to show her.” – Lover Mine (Black Dagger Brotherhood #8)
- Sebastian St. Cyr – Sebastian St. Cyr Mysteries by C.S. Harris
While the twisting plots in C.S. Harris’s regency-era series are certainly engaging, it’s definitely the hero, Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, that keeps me returning each year for the newest instalment. Originally drawn into a murder investigation in order to clear his own name, each book has Devlin shaking up the London ton as he delves into murders many people would rather see left unsolved.
Devlin’s character is a mystery within a mystery, with bits and pieces unravelling as the series progresses. Even now, ten books in, we still don’t have all the answers to the mysteries surrounding Devlin’s past.
Perhaps my favourite thing about the series and Devlin himself is the dynamic between him and his wife, Hero, who is a fantastic character in her own right.
“’Do you think I don’t worry about you?’
‘Not the same? Because you are a man and I am a woman?’
‘No. Because it’s one thing for me to make the choice to put my own life in danger and something else entirely when my actions endanger someone else.’
She touched her fingers to his lips. ‘I knew what I was letting myself in for when I married you, Devlin.’
He smiled against her hand. ‘I’m not sure I did.’” What Darkness Brings (Sebastian St. Cyr #8)
- Dean Heyward-Di Laurentis – The Score (Off-Campus #3) by Elle Kennedy
If you enjoy college romance books and have not yet read Elle Kennedy’s Off-Campus series, then I suggest you go out and read it ASAP. Unlike a lot of NA romances, which are bogged down in angst and drama, the Off-Campus series is light-hearted and fun, while still handling delicate issues in a sensitive and clearly considerate manner.
The series follows a group of guys—hockey teammates—who live together in a house off campus as, one by one (there are four of them), they each throw aside their hockey-hero-playboy ways and settle down with Miss. Right.
Dean is by far the biggest player of them all…until Allie. Yes, it’s a trope that’s been done a trillion times before, but if romance books weren’t allowed to reuse tropes the genre wouldn’t exist. I loved Dean’s character even from the brief glimpses we got of him in the first two books, and when he had me all to himself in book three, I was totally hooked.
“’…I hooked up with someone the other night, and now I can’t get her out of my head.’
‘You’re shitting me.’
‘Nope. God-awful truth.’
Beau continues to gape at me.
‘You think I like this?’ I say defensively. ‘Trust me, I don’t need this headache in my life.’ I swallow a mouthful of beer. ‘Hey. You know Twilight?’
He blinks. ‘Excuse me?’
‘Twilight. The vampire book.’
His wary eyes study my face. ‘What about it?’
‘Okay, so you know how Bella’s blood is extra special? Like how it gives Edward a raging boner every time he’s around her?’
‘Are you fucking with me right now?’
I ignore that. ‘Do you think it happens in real life? Pheromones and all that crap. Is it a bullshit theory some horndog dreamed up so he could justify why he’s attracted to his mother or some shit? Or is there actually a biological reason why we’re drawn to certain people? Like goddamn Twilight. Edward wants her on a biological level, right?’
‘Are you seriously dissecting Twilight right now?’” The Score (Off-Campus #3)
- Kyon – Kricket by Amy A. Bartol
This is another series I used my loophole for. You’ll probably see the Kricket series in the teen section of your library, but like in A Court of Thorns and Roses, very little is left to the imagination when it comes to the romantic scenes, which is not something you usually see in YA.
If you’ve read the series, you might be thinking ‘Kyon? Really?’ and I can see where you’re coming from, because in this series we were lucky enough to be handed not one but two really awesome guys to drool over. I just happened to like Kyon more than Trey—what can I say, I’m a sucker for the underdog. I loved the way the different aspects of Kyon’s character were revealed bit by bit over the course of the three books, and how by the end we were left with a vastly different picture than the one we had when we first met him.
I love when this happens in books. Sometimes I can see it coming and can just sit back and enjoy watching it unfold (as was the case here), other times I’m completely blindsided and am left thinking ‘OMG! What the fuck just happened?!’ like in Shatter Me.
‘You’ve changed me. I want to be the favorite taste that touches your lips.’ Darken the Stars (Kricket #3)
- Jon Snow – A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin
Whether you’ve read the books or not, I’m pretty sure you all know who this guy is. I’ve put him down the bottom of this list because I believe his TV counterpart has officially eclipsed his bookly awesomeness. There are three reasons for this: 1. Kit Harrington…sigh. 2. The narrative of Game of Thrones and Jon’s part in it has now passed where the books left off in A Dance of Dragons. 3. Percentage-wise, there’s no where near as much Jon in the books as there is in the TV series.
But amazing as Game of Thrones is and despite the fact I’d probably be arrested if I ever met Kit Harrington in person, it doesn’t change the fact that the books were where I first fell head over heels for Jon Snow.
“‘I know I want you,’ he heard himself say, all his vows and his honor all forgotten.” A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire #3)
Who are your favourite book crushes of New Adult and Adult? Did they make my list?
Next Week I’ll be counting down (or up as it seems to be) the Top Ten Kickass Heroines of Fantasy.