50 books like Out of the Ashes

By Keren Hughes,

Here are 50 books that Out of the Ashes fans have personally recommended if you like Out of the Ashes. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Lessons on Seduction

Annabel Allan Author Of Edgeplay

From my list on strong, confident female main characters.

Who am I?

I definitely wouldn’t say I’m an expert…but I definitely have a passion for the topic of dominant, strong women! Especially when it comes to kink and BDSM, but in all aspects of life. I think most readers would agree, we are sick of seeing the Damsel in Distress and want someone who can kick some serious butt. I connect strongly with those stronger, sassier characters, and aim to write the same for other readers to connect with.

Annabel's book list on strong, confident female main characters

Annabel Allan Why did Annabel love this book?

I definitely recommend Lessons On Seduction because not only is main character Julian Richland a perfect book boyfriend, but main character Sapphire Blake is confident, sexy, and whip-smart. She’s not your typical “church mouse” but so relatable to those who have grown up in a sheltered world. She can be both spicy and sweet, unleashing her vulnerability while being dominant in the bedroom. She’s everything you want your heroine to be!

By Estelle Pettersen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lessons on Seduction as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When college student Sapphire Blake finds herself fresh out of a breakup, she is ready to embark on a new journey in her life. A dark, sensual journey. Freeing herself from the expectations set by her family, friends, and church, an innocent and unworldly Sapphire begins experimenting with her new casual lover, Vera Richland. Julian Richland is ridiculously handsome, smart, and intimidating. This university professor finds himself enthralled in a sensual relationship with a woman willing to pay top money for his time in the bedroom. To pay off his debts and continue leading his lavish lifestyle, Julian discovers the…


Book cover of Joshua

Annabel Allan Author Of Edgeplay

From my list on strong, confident female main characters.

Who am I?

I definitely wouldn’t say I’m an expert…but I definitely have a passion for the topic of dominant, strong women! Especially when it comes to kink and BDSM, but in all aspects of life. I think most readers would agree, we are sick of seeing the Damsel in Distress and want someone who can kick some serious butt. I connect strongly with those stronger, sassier characters, and aim to write the same for other readers to connect with.

Annabel's book list on strong, confident female main characters

Annabel Allan Why did Annabel love this book?

Joshua's main character and fiery Italian babe Bella is spot on! She’s got the confidence, she’s sassy, and has that typical Italian hot temper. Not dominant per say, but she’s powerful and has a certain charisma and charm. She’s relatable to those who know what they want and seek it out. I also like her softer side…which you will have to read to find out about!

By Callie Carmen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Joshua as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Bella had watched her friends find the men of their dreams, while she'd wasted the last year with a man that had barely touched her. After meeting the mysterious business man, Joshua, she was hopeful he’d add some passion to her life. Only he kept leaving town, and had his longtime friend, Ava, house sit for him. What was up with that?

Joshua was finishing up a two-year expat assignment overseas and couldn’t wait to get back home to the USA for good. Especially after meeting the sexy Italian beauty, Bella, who he hoped would still be single when he…


Book cover of Paging Dr. Turov

Annabel Allan Author Of Edgeplay

From my list on strong, confident female main characters.

Who am I?

I definitely wouldn’t say I’m an expert…but I definitely have a passion for the topic of dominant, strong women! Especially when it comes to kink and BDSM, but in all aspects of life. I think most readers would agree, we are sick of seeing the Damsel in Distress and want someone who can kick some serious butt. I connect strongly with those stronger, sassier characters, and aim to write the same for other readers to connect with.

Annabel's book list on strong, confident female main characters

Annabel Allan Why did Annabel love this book?

Paging Dr. Turov may seem like an odd choice because it doesn’t feature a dominant woman, but a submissive one. Abby Shea has the vulnerability of a submissive, yes. But what’s important about being a submissive in the BDSM world is having the strength to be one. Though it seems strange to some, being submissive means you’re the stronger of the two in the dynamic. Abby has the softness but shows she’s strong enough to submit to the hero, Victor. It’s definitely one of the better BDSM romances out there!

By Gibby Campbell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Paging Dr. Turov as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Dr. Victor Turov is at the top of his game. A world-renowned heart surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic, he is also wealthy, good looking, and in complete control of his life. The only problem is he needs the right kind of woman, and a good submissive is hard to find.Enter Abby Shea, a young and beautiful widow, who runs into Dr. Turov while volunteering. Sparks fly between the two, but something about the good doctor scares Abby off. Victor has to aggressively pursue her until she agrees to a date. Now he just needs to convince Abby his lifestyle is…


Book cover of Music for a Merman (Sea of Love Book 2)

Annabel Allan Author Of Edgeplay

From my list on strong, confident female main characters.

Who am I?

I definitely wouldn’t say I’m an expert…but I definitely have a passion for the topic of dominant, strong women! Especially when it comes to kink and BDSM, but in all aspects of life. I think most readers would agree, we are sick of seeing the Damsel in Distress and want someone who can kick some serious butt. I connect strongly with those stronger, sassier characters, and aim to write the same for other readers to connect with.

Annabel's book list on strong, confident female main characters

Annabel Allan Why did Annabel love this book?

We’re going a little paranormal for my last recommendation! Music for a Merman is the second in the Sea of Love series. Our heroine, Charlie, is another who is confident, strong, and definitely has an attitude to boot! But that’s what you want in a main character—you want the flaws, the defiance, going against the grain. Alice captures that with Charlie. You want a main character with their own personality and opinions, to help capture and connect with readers!

By Alice Renaud,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Music for a Merman (Sea of Love Book 2) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Rob Regor knew that humans were trouble. All the shape-shifting mermen of the Morvann Islands knew it. And human women were double trouble, especially when they were lying on the road in front of a digger.”
Rob has a mission. Go to the mainland. Work as a policeman. Find out as much as possible about the mainland humans. Report back to his father, the head of the Regor Clan. It should be easy.
Until he has to arrest Charlie. Rob can’t fight his attraction to the sexy eco-warrior, and it puts him on one hell of a collision course with…


Book cover of Tattooed Heart

Stacy Kristen Author Of Jax: An Age Gap, Second Chance at Love MC Romance

From my list on unforgettable spicy romance reads.

Who am I?

I’m an indie romance author obsessed with all things romance, the spicier the better! I’m all about the happy ending, so all my books feature a happy ever after (HEA) or happy for now (HFN).

Stacy's book list on unforgettable spicy romance reads

Stacy Kristen Why did Stacy love this book?

I loved this book because it has heat and heart. It’s a second chance at love romance with a well-developed plot and extremely likable characters. And did I mention the main character, Bull, is a tattoo artist who owns his tattoo studio? Swoon! I couldn’t put the book down and rooted for Bull and Tarah to get their happy ever after (HEA).

By Mica Rae,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tattooed Heart as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sometimes love is the only way to heal a broken heart.

Bull and Tarah were best friends until they couldn’t deny their feelings any longer. Just when Bull was about to make his move, fate ripped them apart. They were finished before they ever started.

Years later, Bull has given up on the idea of true love, settling for good times only. After waking up in the hospital after his heart attack, he realizes he has another chance at life, and with that, another chance at love. This time he’s not giving up so easily. Tarah will finally be his.…


Book cover of Kiss of Crimson

Tracy Tappan Author Of The Bloodline War

From my list on vampire romance that make you want to get bitten.

Who am I?

What if there was something you absolutely had to do to survive, but you were bound by world rules that prevented you? What would you do? These are the kinds of impossible dilemmas the characters in my Community Series face. Hidden from discovery in a secret, underground town, the vampires of Ţărână struggle against the threat of extinction while trying to forge a difficult path toward love with an unforgiving humanity. Combining the dark intensity of True Blood with the small-town vibe of Virgin River ended up creating—to my utter delight—an award-winning series that has become “wildly popular” (Readers’ Favorite) with paranormal romance fans.

Tracy's book list on vampire romance that make you want to get bitten

Tracy Tappan Why did Tracy love this book?

Looking for a hero who puts his life on the line for others? Then you’ll love Adrian’s Breed Vampires as much as I do!

The warriors of the Order are pressed upon to fight their own kind whenever a vampire goes dangerously rogue, making for some angst-ridden clashes. Kiss of Crimson earned a spot at the top of my list once again for the dark, sexy hero.

“Dante…was wearing biker’s leathers and a fitted tank that showcased both his inked tattoos and his more elaborate Breed markings. His thick biceps were banded with intricate scrollwork, which, to human eyes would seem oddly abstract… Vampire eyes would see the symbols for what they truly were; dermaglyphs…like living tattoos, the glyphs changed hues according to a vampire’s emotional state.”

Top-notch world-building here! 

By Lara Adrian,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Kiss of Crimson as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With one reckless, irresistible kiss, Dante binds Tess to himself for eternity...

He comes to her more dead than alive, a huge black-clad stranger mortally wounded and rapidly losing blood. As she struggles to save him, vet Tess Culver is unaware that the man calling himself Dante is no man at all but one of the Breed, vampire warriors engaged in a desperate battle. But in a single erotically-charged moment Tess is plunged into his world - a shifting, shadowed place where bands of Rogue vampires stalk the night, cutting a swathe of terror.

Haunted by visions of a dark…


Book cover of Inked

Megan Haskell Author Of The Last Descendant

From my list on unconventional fantasy heroines by female authors.

Who am I?

I've been a fantasy reader since the fourth grade when my father introduced me to The Hobbit. As I grew older, I found myself drawn to female-led fantasy stories. Before I started writing fiction, I reviewed books on a (now defunct) blog, learning from those authors as I critiqued what worked and what didn’t. Now, as a fiction author in my own right, I’ve focused on the story elements that truly speak to me; characters who live and breathe on the page, adventures through magical lands and diverse cultures, myths that feel so true they could almost be real, and heart-pounding action that breaks me out of my own safe little world.

Megan's book list on unconventional fantasy heroines by female authors

Megan Haskell Why did Megan love this book?

The first chapter is titled "Butt Cobras". That was enough of a recommendation for me! I loved the sense of humor throughout this book, including the over-the-top Jewish mother and the fact that our heroine, Talia, is a tattoo artist who’s afraid of needles and has no tattoos of her own. Add in magical tattoos that come to life—including the titular butt cobra and a rainbow-colored bird named Biscuit—a trek through the fae lands where carnivorous magical plants try to eat her, vampires are real, and a siren saves her life in exchange for a vial of her blood... and well, you have an action-packed adventure that’s nearly impossible to put down.

By Rachel Rener,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Inked as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Zayn, your smoking hot boss, tells you never to touch the cache of deluxe tattoo ink locked away in his office, you listen to him… until the day you run out of your own ink, your squirming client is on the verge of peeing his pants, and your boss is nowhere to be found. Desperate times call for desperate measures, right?

I fully expected Zayn to yell at me when he returned to the shop. What I didn't expect was the fresh cobra tattoo on my client’s butt magically springing to life. Or the interdimensional filing cabinet hiding in…


Book cover of Sweet

Kate Berberich Author Of Picture Imperfect

From my list on unpredictable protagonists.

Who am I?

I’m going to date myself horribly here, but…I’m an old-school fan of the guy in the grey hat. Think Kerr Avon of Blake’s 7. The guy you could never quite predict. Or Han Solo until about halfway through The Empire Strikes Back. Are they going to do the right thing? Are they going to follow their heart? And it’s so satisfying when they do! Of course, it’s equally satisfying when they go right ahead and sucker punch the bad guy, ‘cuz hey—only the good guys give warnings, right?

Kate's book list on unpredictable protagonists

Kate Berberich Why did Kate love this book?

Sweet is a novella set in the universe of Love Stories on 7th and Main. A friend recommended it to me and I gobbled up the whole series in a week or two.

Spider Villalobos settled in Metlin to escape life in a gang. When his past catches up with him, which choice will he make? Run away? Return to the gang? Or follow his heart?

I love this entire series because the town of Metlin is so vividly detailed. The characters feel like people I’d like to know, and I definitely want to go browse in INK or grab a slice of pie from Café Maya!

By Elizabeth Hunter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sweet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sweet is a standalone romance novella from USA Today Bestselling author, Elizabeth Hunter.

He survived by always being in control. She’s about to make him melt.

It’s 2004, and Daisy Rivera knows two things: she’s going to end up disappointing her parents’ fondest hopes and dreams in roughly six months, and somehow she’s going to figure out how to kiss the mysterious tattoo artist two shops down from her grandmother’s cafe that everyone calls Spider.

Spider Villalobos knows one thing: if he gives into temptation and makes a move on Daisy, his fresh start is over.

Their shops may be…


Book cover of The Foxhole Court

Emily Rooke Author Of The Dying Light

From my list on LGBTQ+ found family guaranteed to break your heart.

Who am I?

As a survivor of child sexual abuse, I endured many years with my voice stolen. Growing up, books offered a sanctuary from a world of cruelty and violence. Yet I never saw myself in fiction—not only as a young person battling to survive, but as a vulnerable teen questioning their sexuality. Now, I’m determined to support fellow survivors. 100% of the proceeds of my books are donated to charities supporting sexual abuse survivors, particularly victims of child trafficking. Living with CPTSD means I have a particular interest in trauma narratives, and an intense desire to do justice to abuse survivors in fiction. No one should feel alone or unseen.

Emily's book list on LGBTQ+ found family guaranteed to break your heart

Emily Rooke Why did Emily love this book?

Neil Josten is a runaway. A survivor. Determined to stay hidden from his murderous father, the last thing he needs is a national spotlight. But that’s exactly what he risks by signing for the Palmetto State Foxes. Thrown into a team of outcasts, last chancers, and no-hopers, The Foxhole Court is the story of one broken, battered boy and his fight to find something worth living for, and someone who deserves his truth. Neil transcends the page, blossoming slowly and resentfully as his teammates chip away at the icy walls barricading his heart. In a genre full of hopeless adults, I found it refreshing and heartwarming to have Coach Wymack as the gruff yet dedicated foster father to all these damaged kids. A violent, vicious, yet heartfelt comfort read.

By Nora Sakavic,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Foxhole Court as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Neil Josten is the newest addition to the Palmetto State University Exy team. He's short, he's fast, he's got a ton of potential — and he's the runaway son of the murderous crime lord known as The Butcher. Signing a contract with the PSU Foxes is the last thing a guy like Neil should do. The team is high profile and he doesn't need sports crews broadcasting pictures of his face around the nation. His lies will hold up only so long under this kind of scrutiny and the truth will get him killed. But Neil's not the only one…


Book cover of Mud Vein

Emma Scott Author Of Full Tilt

From my list on romance whose authors go outside the box.

Who am I?

I’m a writer who values telling difficult stories that don’t always cohere to the idea of the “light, fluffy” romance. I write about social issues, grief, trauma, and do my utmost to research whatever topics my characters endure in order to do justice to readers who share these experiences. Having suffered a major trauma myself (my eldest daughter passed away at the age of ten), I’m very interested in stories that deal with characters overcoming tremendous obstacles in order to reach their happily ever afters. I love writing (and reading) stories that go outside the box, that give the reader something more than what they were expecting, couched in solid writing, and possessing all the feels.

Emma's book list on romance whose authors go outside the box

Emma Scott Why did Emma love this book?

I could actually list all of Fisher’s romances or her newer psychological thrillers under this banner of writing that is outside the box. She has taken the idea of “writing fearlessly” and run with it. Lives by it. There is nothing typical about Mud Vein, with prose that feels like mild electric shocks to the brain one minute and brings you to tears the next. It reads as though Fisher doesn’t waste time questioning herself or second-guessing her words—they’re alive and vibrant, and that’s highly aspirational. I have "write fearlessly" literally tattooed on my body, so I take it seriously. ;) 

By Tarryn Fisher,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Mud Vein as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When reclusive novelist Senna Richards wakes up on her thirty-third birthday, everything has changed. Caged behind an electrical fence, locked in a house in the middle of the snow, Senna is left to decode the clues to find out why she was taken. If she wants her freedom, she has to take a close look at her past. But, her past has a heartbeat…and her kidnapper is nowhere to be found. With her survival hanging by a thread, Senna soon realizes this is a game. A dangerous one. Only the truth can set her free.


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