UTC’s Top Ten Ugly Cry Books

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There is always a book that gets to your soul and guts you completely, leaving you empty and hollow.  Drawing sobs from you as if the knife is really digging into your side.  These are the books that move you and stay with you for a long time after.  The books that stand out from the crowd and you can remember even years after you read them because of HOW they made you feel.  This was not an easy list to narrow down but we’ve tried to do our best.  Hope that you can find some recommendations for when you’re in the mood for a good cry.  Just remember to have the Kleenex handy, this will probably be a hot mess.


Addicted by Charlotte Featherstone

A love doomed by opium, Charlotte Featherstone weaves a beautiful story, with dramatic flair designed it seemed to make me cry like a big ol’ girl. But I still loved every page and have been a fan of her books ever since. And remember kids, just say no.
…I am forever loving, forever waiting, forever yearning…forever yours.”
“Oh God,” she whispered, smothering her tears. “You hurt me when you talk of love, for your love is all I ever wanted, and now that I have it, I cannot accept it. It kills me to know I might have had your love. Oh, Lindsay, opium might have been your weakness, but you, you have always been mine.”


by Charlotte Featherstone
Addicted # 1


Friends since childhood, Anais Darnby and Lindsay Markham have long harbored a secret passion for one another. When they finally confess their love, their future together seems assured, sealed with their searing embrace.But when a debauched Lindsay is seduced by a scheming socialite, a devastated Anais seeks refuge in another man’s bed while Lindsay retreats to the exotic East. There, he is seduced again—this time by the alluring red smoke and sinister beauty of opium.

Back home, Lindsay’s addiction is fed by the vogue for all things Oriental—especially its sensual pleasures—in fashionable London society. In his lucid moments, Lindsay still lusts after Anais, who can neither allow him near nor forget his smoldering touch. Tortured by two obsessions—opium and Anais—Lindsay must ultimately decide which is the one he truly cannot live without.

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9Bear, Otter and the Kid by T.J. Klune

I cried so many times while reading this book. Readers sympathize with the main character on a level that goes beyond the pages. The pain doesn’t seem to stop and the self-deprecation just eats and eats at the protagonist.


“I reach into my pocket for my wallet and pull it out. Inside is a piece of paper I’ve carried for a year and a half. It’s yellowing with age and has ripped in a couple of places from how many times I have opened and read it. I hurl it at him. It bounces off his chin and into his lap. “Read it.”

He doesn’t move.

“Read it!” I shout.

He opens it and I see his face go white. “You….you kept this?” he whispers. “Bear, I –“

That’s it, I can’t take it anymore. I fumble about for the door handle, blinded by tearsfor Christ’s sake, and throw open the door. I am furious. Furious at myself for crying in front of him, furious at Otter for tricking me like he did, furious at myself for thinking of him like that.”


Bear, Otter, and the Kid
by T. J. Klune
Bear, Otter, and the Kid # 1


Three years ago, Bear McKenna’s mother took off for parts unknown with her new boyfriend, leaving Bear to raise his six-year-old brother Tyson, aka the Kid. Somehow they’ve muddled through, but since he’s totally devoted to the Kid, Bear isn’t actually doing much living—with a few exceptions, he’s retreated from the world, and he’s mostly okay with that. Until Otter comes home.

Otter is Bear’s best friend’s older brother, and as they’ve done for their whole lives, Bear and Otter crash and collide in ways neither expect. This time, though, there’s nowhere to run from the depth of emotion between them. Bear still believes his place is as the Kid’s guardian, but he can’t help thinking there could be something more for him in the world… something or someone.

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8Sweet as Sin by Inez Kelley

This isn’t an easy read, there are some really dark places that this book delves into, but if you are looking for a tortured hero, then look no further, no one is as tortured as John Murphy. Similarly, John isn’t always the wickedly charming man. As layers to his character are revealed, other darker sides of him are exposed as well. He says and does some really mean things that I don’t think Livvy deserved but he did what was necessary to push her away. For John, only his monsters are his companions.


“Love him hard. And when he pushes you away – and he will – love him harder.”


Sweet as Sin
by Inez Kelley


John Murphy is tormented by nightmares. A bestselling young-adult author, he writes the ultimate fantasy: stories where good always triumphs. He knows better. His past has shown him the worst in people—and in himself. When he moves next door to the sexy, vibrant Livvy—a woman completely unlike his usual one-night stands—he’s driven to explore every curve of her delicious body.

Pastry chef Livvy knows that giving in to the temptation that is John Murphy won’t lead to anything permanent, but she deserves a passionate summer fling. John discovers she’s as sweet as the confections she bakes while Livvy slowly unravels his secrets. But what will happen when she uncovers them all?

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7Downside Ghosts by Stacia Kane

There are two kinds of tears for the Downside Ghosts series, one my frustrated what the fuck tears when Chess does something particularly ill conceived and two the ugly tears as you see watch life (or rather Stacia Kane, the sadistic bitch) run Chess down and beat the shit out of her. However, both kinds still have my mascara running and me desperately turning the pages praying that life will eventually get better for my favourite Churchwitch.


“If her life had taught her anything, it was that you never really knew what people had going on beneath the surface. People were shit. The only difference between them and animals was people felt the need to hide it.”


Unholy Ghosts
by Stacia Kane
Downside Ghosts # 1



The world is not the way it was. The dead have risen, and the living are under attack. The powerful Church of Real Truth, in charge since the government fell, has sworn to reimburse citizens being harassed by the deceased.

Enter Chess Putnam, a fully tattooed witch and freewheeling ghost hunter. She’s got a real talent for banishing the wicked dead. But Chess is keeping a dark secret: She owes a lot of money to a murderous drug lord named Bump, who wants immediate payback in the form of a dangerous job that involves black magic, human sacrifice, a nefarious demonic creature, and enough wicked energy to wipe out a city of souls.

Toss in lust for a rival gang leader and a dangerous attraction to Bump’s ruthless enforcer, and Chess begins to wonder if the rush is really worth it. Hell, yeah.

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6Dream Lake by Lisa Kleypas

This book has two stories, one in the present, which is Zoe and Alex, and one in the past, which is the ghost that follows Alex.  Both men are a bit tortured.  Alex has his demons and the ghost has unfinished business.  Both their stories, as well as the connection between the two, brought tears to my eyes.  The kind of happy tears that make you say “awww” that even if your eyes are watery as you’re reading, they fill you with happiness.


“No matter what I become…I will love you! No force of heaven or hell could stop me, and damn anyone who tries. I will love you forever”.


by Lisa Kleypas
Friday Harbor # 3


They say that opposites attract. But what happens when one has been devastated by betrayal and the other is so jaded that his heart is made of stone? Enter the world of Friday Harbor, an enchanting town in the Pacific Northwest where things are not quite as they seem and where true love might just have a ghost of a chance….

Alex Nolan is as bitter and cynical as they come. One of the three Nolan brothers who call Friday harbor home, he’s nothing like Sam or Mark. They actually believe in love; they think the risk of pain is worth the chance of happiness. But Alex battles his demons with the help of a whiskey bottle, and he lives in his own private hell. And then a ghost shows up. Only Alex can see him, Has Alex finally crossed over the threshold to insanity?

Zoë Hoffman is as gentle and romantic as they come. When she meets the startling gorgeous Alex Nolan, all her instincts tell her to run. Even Alex tells her to run. But something in him calls to Zoë, and she forces him to take a look at his life with a clear eye and to open his mind to the possibility that love isn’t for the foolish.

The ghost has been existing in the half-light of this world for decades. He doesn’t know who he is, or why he is stuck in the Nolans’ Victorian house. All he knows is that he loved a girl once. And Alex and Zoë hold the key to unlocking a mystery that keeps him trapped here.

Zoë and Alex are oil and water, fire and ice, sunshine and shadow. But sometimes it takes only a glimmer of light to chase away the dark, and sometimes love can reach beyond time, space, and reason to take hold of hearts that yearn for it…


5Rescue Me Series by Kallypso Masters

Almost every story in this series has gutted me.  They all have deep rooted issues they have to deal with.  No character is left undamaged.  And the Rescue Me series deals with all their healing.  Their stories continue throughout the series instead of wrapping everything up with a nice bow at the end of each book.  And that’s one of the things I love to read.  That connection, that reality that you have to work for your HEA and that some things take time and a lot of effort to work through and get over.  And while touching on some tough subjects, it never made me uncomfortable to read.  The Rescue Me series is the kind of reads that will draw out those tears because of how much you care that the characters you’ve come to love as if they were real are suffering.


“Marisol told me once you’d forgotten you were a princess. I just wanted to make sure you never forget again. You’re my princess, Savita. I’ll never let anything happen to you. I’ll slay your dragons. I’ll chase away the demons that invade your sleep – and, trust me, I know they will come – but they’re no match for me, my love. I’ll be there for you no matter what – if you’ll let me be.”


by Kallypso Masters
Rescue Me # 1


Masters at Arms begins the journey of three men, each on a quest for honor, acceptance, and to ease his unspoken pain. Their paths cross at one of the darkest points in their lives. As they try to come to terms with the aftermath–forging an unbreakable bond–will they ever truly become masters of their own fates? Or would fate become masters of them?

(Book One in the Rescue Me series about the men who own the Masters at Arms BDSM Club)

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is an introduction to the series, but does NOT have the Happily Ever After endings that will come in the next three romance novels in the series. Being the back-story that usually is not told in “real time,” there are some intense themes in the book, including death of a spouse, incest, torture, a battle scene, and amputation.


4Black Dagger Brotherhood by JR Ward

At some point in every damn book the WARDen has dragged a flood of tears from me! She managed to get my heart strings and not just tug on them, but tie a Lamborghini to the fuckers and drive the Autobahn. However, there are a few books that have had me clutching the Kleenex more fiercely than others; Lover Enshrined and Lover Awakened. Those twins bring tragic heroes to a new level, we have Zsadist the tortured psychopath and Phury the brother doomed to love him and let him drag him down into addiction. Brings a tear to the eye just thinking about it.  And we can’t forget about John Matthew and after everything he went through prior to the BDB, he still had so much hurt to experience in Lover Mine.  I don’t think I can think of him hugging a pillow, sobbing, without breaking down and crying myself.


Every day Phury slept alone, if he slept at all. Food gave him little pleasure. Females were out because of his celibacy. And every second he was worried about what Zsadist wouls pull next and who would get hurt in the process. He felt like he was dying from a thousand cuts, slowly bleeding out. A target by proxy for all his twin’s murderous intent.


by J.R. Ward
Black Dagger Brotherhood # 1


In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly turf war going on between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Yet none of them relishes killing more than Wrath, the leader of The Black Dagger Brotherhood.

The only purebred vampire left on earth, Wrath has a score to settle with the slayers who murdered his parents centuries ago. But, when one of his most trusted fighters is killed-leaving his half-breed daughter unaware of his existence or her fate-Wrath must usher her into the world of the undead-a world of sensuality beyond her wildest dreams.


3Anything by Megan Hart

Really cheating here, but there are some authors that will make me cry EVERY SINGLE TIME I read one of their books.  One of those is Megan Hart.  She was the first erotic book I read that moved me to the point of crying.  And one of the reasons why, other than her amazing writing talent, is that her stories are real.  No fantasy romances here.  This may not be the reading to escape and fantasize you want to read about.  These are stories that could’ve happened to any of us.  And the fact that they are so real allows for a deeper and instant connection.  She manages to not only bring me to tears, but to sit and reflect.  “What would I have done?”


“There are many things I don’t know, but quite a few I do. I know you can’t be lost if you know where you are. I know that life is full of precious and fragile things, and not all of them are pretty. I know that the sun follows the moon and makes days, one after another. Time passes. The world turns, and we turn with it, and though we can never go back to the beginning, sometimes, we can start again.”


by Megan Hart


This month my name is Mary. My name is different every month—Brandy, Honey, Amy…sometimes Joe doesn’t even bother to ask—but he never fails to arouse me with his body, his mouth, his touch, no matter what I’m called or where he picks me up. The sex is always amazing, always leaves me itching for more in those long weeks until I see him again.

My real name is Sadie, and once a month over lunch Joe tells me about his latest conquest. But what Joe doesn’t know is that, in my mind, I’m the star of every X-rated one-night stand he has revealed to me, or that I’m practically obsessed with our imaginary sex life. I know it’s wrong. I know my husband wouldn’t understand. But I can’t stop. Not yet.


2-1His Very Own Girl by Carrie Lofty

Set during World War II, HIS VERY OWN GIRL is not my usual read.  It’s not a feel good romance, but it’s a beautiful love story.  Two people that come from opposite worlds that are brought together, as well as torn apart, by the ugly times of war.  This is one of those books that every time I think of it, my eyes start watering and my throat starts closing up.  The waterworks were on while I was reading it and writing my review because it’s such a beautifully touching story.


“Never had she imagined seeing him again. His face was unforgettable, like the lyrics to a favorite song. He’d been a beckoning pinpoint of light when her body had liquified and her senses turned traitor.  But more than his surprising calm, then and now, he was undeniably handsome. Hard, tall, simple, guileless — how did one describe an American man? Light brown hair cut close to his skull accentuated the cords of muscle along his neck and the blunt squareness of his jaw. He had substance, solid and strong. Lulu imagined digging her fingers into his wide shoulders and thick biceps until he flinched… if he even would.

Forget Dawson. She wasn’t thirsty anyway.

She was hungry.”


by Carrie Lofty


From the author of Flawless and Starlight comes an emotional, sensual romance set during World War II about a female British civilian pilot and the American paratrooper medic who opens her heart—only available as an eBook.

After the War took the lives of Lulu Davies’s parents and her fiancé, she promised herself she would guard her heart carefully and concentrate on her great love—flying the biggest and best airplanes in the sky. Lulu is a pilot in the British civilian air force, ferrying planes around Great Britain and keeping her eye on a coveted spot in a training program for world-class pilots. She’s perfectly content to strive for greatness in the skies, and dance with a few GIs on the way.

Brawny, quiet American medic Joe Weber signed up with the paratroopers to escape his checkered past; he’s hoping that jumping out of planes and patching up soldiers will earn him respect and a hopeful future. Joe’s first real test of medical skill is on a pilot whose plane takes a hard landing in a training field; after rushing to the crash scene, he is stunned to come face-to-face with a gorgeous Rita Hayworth lookalike. And when the two cross paths at a dance hall a couple weeks later, he can’t resist the urge to find out more about this spirited, dark-haired beauty.

Their flirtation breaks all of Lulu’s rules, but dance by dance, week by week, walk by walk, she finds herself falling in love with this honest, vulnerable man on the run from his demons. But as Lulu and Joe’s undeniable attraction gains momentum, World War II steadily intensifies toward D-Day. The lovers only have one night together before Joe is transported to France for the Battle of the Bulge, where his skills and his instinct for survival will be pushed to their limits. Lulu distracts herself with flight school and the friendships of her colleagues, but she can’t get the handsome medic out of her head. Only time and hope will tell if her love will return unharmed from War, and if the two will be able to overcome their pasts to form a beautiful life together in peace-time.


1-1Anything by Colleen Hoover

Yes, another cheat one.  But really, Colleen Hoover has a way with words.  The way she tells a generally simple story is so beautiful it’s truly art.  She manages to make my chest hurt every single time because I feel the characters pain right along with them.   And it’s always a welcomed pain because I enjoy every tear.


“Fuck all the firsts, Sky. The only thing that matters to me with you are the forevers.”


by Colleen Hoover
Hopeless # 1


Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.


What’s the last book you read
that made you cry until you ran out of Kleenex?

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Taking Chances by Molly McAdams. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Three amazing, snot coming out of your nose, your eyes are swollen shut you cried so much and now you’re dehydrated kind of books! 😉


I think anything Colleen Hoover or Jessica Sorensen writes me ugly cry. I haven’t been able to escape the tears whenever I read those author’s books. And I agree with Maloup’s suggestion about The Fault in Our Stars. I did MAJOR ugly crying in that book.


Great list! I rarely cry when reading books, but Willow Aster’s In the Fields almost killed me! Fantastic book!

Tina F

I love Sweet as Sin. It is still a favorite of mine.

The Fault of Our Stars is definitely a tearjerker. Pushing Limits is also a cry book.

Texas Book Lover

I second the Colleen Hoover books…that woman can wring the tears out of you. The book that has probably made me cry the most was The Fault in Our Stars. Ugly, ugly crying!

I’m reading Unholy Ghosts right now – haven’t gotten to the ugly cry parts yet, but looking forward to them (is that masochistic?). Great list – I need to look up a few of these books for when I’m in the mood for a book that really tears me up. Particularly interested in Addicted, that quote was chilling! Great post!

I keep hearing about Terrible Fever – I think that’s the main reason I decided to start this series. It is a little weird, but I’m starting to get it. Still waiting for Terrible Fever though! LOL

Sandi Fussner

Nothing tops The Reluctant Dom for me!

Kimmie Kim

I agree Reluctant Dom is a box and a half tear jerker

Brandy R.

The best CRY book EVER!!!! I literally couldn’t talk at one point because I was doing that trying to breath and cry at the same time! It is a book to read when you want a GOOD cry!!!
The hubby just looked at me and shook his head. He just doesn’t get it! lol

Amanda P

J.C. Daniels – Night Blade the 2nd in the Kit Colbana Files series had to be my ugliest cry,when she escaped but was so utterly broken my heart just broke for her.

Jessican Sorenson also always makes me cry, not always ugly but every book has brought a tear to the eye.

Kristen Callihan can usually get a cry out of me too.

-Amanda P

Where the Night Kind Roam


I would have to say Left Drowning by Jessica Park. That book tore me up inside to the point where I thought about it for a good 3 weeks after I read it. THE.WORST. BOOK. HANGOVER. EVER!!!! Amazing story <3


The Reluctant Dom by Tymber Dalton. I cried the second time I read it, too.


Glad Kallypso Masters made it !! I was shocked The Reluctant Dom by Tymber Dalton is not there though!!??

Sophia Rose

I cried for Dear Adam by Ava Zavora. I like this list as a reference point. LOL So I’ll know when to read a book that I’m in the mood to cry over. I’ve got a few of these on my TBR pile. Good to know.

Lori Meehan

I loved Dream Lake.

Jen B.

Very few books have ever made me ugly cry. In fact, I can’t remember that last book that made me really fall apart. I just finished Zsadist’s book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward and I got a little teary eyed but not a good ugly cry. I have got to read The Reluctant Dom! It has been on my TBR list forever!


I’ve got a few of these on my tbr pile making a note not to read them when I’m on Christmas break


The last book that made me sob like a baby for an hour afterwards was Where Rainbows End by Cecelia Ahern. If you want to read it dedicate a full day to it, because you won’t be able to put it down!


I second Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. The book got me teared up for a week after finishing it!

Nora Julian

Tear and Tess
Captive in the dark
I WAs blubbery messsssss! I can’t stop crying while reading it.