After writing entries about Demonic Goodness, Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Series, Vampire Romances and other reviews, I kept finding great paranormal/supernatural books. All of them are fun, and most have some romance in them. Each world is unique – vampires (for instance) can be evil beings who kill their “prey”, or they can be fun folks who drink bagged blood. Magic can be performed by regular people, or by a separate race of Witches or Wizards. While many books on this list could be also listed as Romances, others are Mysteries, some are Historical Fiction, and others stick straight to the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre. The big thing they have in common is a peek into a world that is outside of our own (as far as I know … ) I’m listing them alphabetical by author, as there is no way I’m going to try to pick favorites! (so don’t ignore the ones that aren’t at the top!)
Keri Arthur has a fabulous series about Riley Jensen – a half-vamp, half-werewolf who works to help keep the paranormal community in check in Australia. This is a world where everyone knows about the paranormal world, and there is a special law enforcement community just to deal with them. The bad guys also have clones and evil bio-tech folks trying to steal samples of DNA. You never really know who’s side someone is on, you have to keep guessing. Plus some great romance. A great combination. Series begins with Full Moon Rising.
Michele Bardsley has started a great series where a small town has been changed into a vampire town – a vampire who was temporarily insane turned an entire town of single mothers into vampires. The kids end up swapping schedules too, so school happens during the night. There are, of course, bad guys who are trying to get rid of some of the good vampires, and there’s always some difficulty getting the right folks to realize they were meant for eachother, but this is a fun & romantic series that will leave you waiting for the next book to come out! Series begins with I’m the Vampire, That’s Why.
Annette Blair’s series of Witch books is set in Salem, MA (near us). She uses some of the landmarks, but also has some poetic license (which she does identify at the end – too many authors don’t do that). These books are a mix of real magic and straight-up romance with pretend magic. There’s enough magic in the air around Salem, though, that these should be on a list of supernatural series! Series begins with The Kitchen Witch.
Jim Butcher created the Harry Dresden series, which was on Sci Fi channel for a while. This is another world where the paranormal has come out of the closet a bit – Harry is a wizard, and he’s in the yellow pages. Harry tries to earn a living as a wizard, and helps out the city’s Special Forces police, plus dealing with vampires, bad wizards, and people who just don’t pay their bills. It’s great to read a series where the wizard is struggling to pay the bills, as opposed to most of the other series where the paranormal hero is independently wealthy. Series begins with Storm Front.
MaryJanice Davidson teams up with her husband, Anthony Alongi for the Jennifer Scales series – a young adult series about a girl who can turn into a dragon. Add in some tension due to normal teen angst AND magical people, and you get a really fun series. Series starts with Jennifer Scales and the Ancient Furnace). Don’t miss MaryJanice’s many other series – Fred the Mermaid (starting with Sleeping with the Fishes), the Undead/Queen Betsy series (starting with Undead and Unwed), and her other great books.
Christine Feehan has written 18 books in her Dark series – all with a mix of romance, suspense, and plenty of paranormal activities. In her world the Carpathians are an ancient race who require blood to survive and (usually) can only come out when the sun is down or obscured. As male Carpathians age, they lose emotions and the ability to see the world in color – this only changes when they turn Vampire (start killing those from whom they take blood) or meet their life-mate (the woman to whom they are destined). The Carpathians are a race worried about extinction, so they search the world for women for their men (either other Carpathians or human women with psychic skills) and for bio-technology to understand how to keep their children alive. The Vampires and various societies out to get Carpathians (thinking that they are vampires) act as the suspense, along with these ancient men having to deal with the strong-willed modern-day women! Series starts with Dark Prince.
Charlaine Harris’s Southern Vampire series will enthrall you – what would happen if vampires came out of the closet after synthetic blood was invented? Our heroine is a waitress in a bar in Northern Louisiana – she’s human, but she can read minds. Vampires show up as “blanks” to her (very appealing to someone who “hears” everything people are thinking!), and so she gets drawn into their world. A fascinating series about humans with special powers, vampires, werewolves, shape shifters, and the politics of the supernatural world – with some great romance, too. Series starts with Dead Until Dark.
In the world of Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan series, humanity and the paranormals are on equal footing after a bio-engineered illness knocked out most of humanity through tomatoes. Humans live with the “Interlanders” – vampires, witches, weres, pixies, etc. I don’t just like the series because the heroine shares my first name, but that doesn’t hurt! This series has a fantastic perspective on how the magic of Witches works, differences between types of vampires, and the inner workings of the new police structure. It’s also a series about friendships, and how important they are. Series starts with Dead Witch Walking.
Dean James has written a completely unique series of supernatural books – his vampire is Simon Kirby-Jones, a gay writer who also solves mysteries. Simon is in England, with an assistant who is titled and a huge flirt. Not only is Simon one of the few gay vampires I’ve read about, he is also one of the few that solves mysteries, rather than romances. In addition to all that, he takes pills to make him not need blood – he still needs very little sleep, but he is also losing out on the cool vampire tricks like changing form and reading minds (and garlic is still deadly). Is it really worth the trade-off? Series begins with Posted To Death.
Julie Kenner is an Austin writer who penned the fabulous books I reviewed in Demonic Goodness. In addition to those, she has written a 4-book series about superheroes. These are the decedents of the Greek Gods and Goddesses (or the superheroes who the Greeks named as Gods & Goddesses), and much of the tension and story surrounds possessions of their great-great (etc) grandmother Aphrodite. While the supers are special, are Halflings (half-mortal, half super) have powers as great as those with undiluted blood? And who is acting for who – the sides seem to shift a lot. Great fun, suspense, and yes – great romance, too. Series starts with Aphrodite’s Kiss. Don’t miss her Young Adult series about vampires in high school, starting with The Good Ghouls’ Guide to Getting Even.
Susan Krinard has written a couple series about werewolves (or loup-garou as they prefer). She started in the present day, but has moved to a historical werewolf series set in the late 1800s. These are romances, but they are also filled with the paranormal and wonderful bits of information about different eras and areas. The paranormal is still underground in her books, and sometimes the genes for werewolves will skip generations. The modern day books are Prince of Wolves and Prince of Shadows. The historical series starts with Touch of the Wolf.
Kathy Love has written some incredibly unusual, romantic, and fascinating vampire novels. Can YOU picture a vampire in a mobile home working at a bar with karaoke? Or a vampire who has found love, but has given himself amnesia? Much less a vampire night club owner who becomes enthralled with a woman trying to end the vampire’s dependence on blood? Her imagination is impressive! Her four novel series follows a family of vampires in a world where the paranormal is still hidden, but the underground world is strong. The Young Brothers series starts with Fangs for the Memories.
Katie MacAlister is about to release the fourth book in her Aisling Grey series – Holy Smokes. Aisling is a the mate of a dragon (who takes human form), she has a minor demon in dog-form as her pet, and she is also trying to train to become a Guardian. She really has a lot going on, add to that people keep dying near her, so she has to figure out what is happening (or risk getting arrested herself). Aisling is also trying to actually earn a living – something that most supernatural folks aren’t worried about. This underground magical world draws on the world within the Moravian Dark Ones series, but the characters don’t overlap. You should read the Dark Ones series, too, though! Aisling’s series starts with You Slay Me.
Erin McCarthy’s vampires are in Vegas – a sunny city, so they only come out at night, or else they stay in the casinos they own. This is another series where each book focuses on a different character, and you learn their story. This is a world filled with intrigue – vampire politics, drugged blood, and kidnappings. Of course, like any good vampire book there is plenty of romance and fun, too! First book in the series is High Stakes.
Kimberly Raye has written very funny novels about a woman vampire looking for the right man, so she starts up a dating service – for humans and for vampires. Her world of fashion accessories & great shoes, is rocked when she ends up investigating some murders and being under investigation herself because some of her clients are involved. She is also having trouble settling down with the right vamp – she needs a “born” vampire rather than a “turned” vampire, as only the “born” vampires can procreate. Of course, the guy she’s hot for isn’t in the right category! Book 3 (Your Coffin or Mine?) comes out on September 25, 2007, so it’s a short wait to find out what happens next. First book in the series is Dead End Dating
Stephanie Rowe’s books are another series filled with romance and humor. However, in hers there is a dragon stuck in dragon form (they can usually change to human form at will), a guardian of the goblet of eternal life (which is now in the shape of an espresso machine), and Satan, junior. There’s enough in this series to turn your thoughts of the supernatural world on its head, and you’ll be laughing as you do read. And wait for book 4 to be released in November, 2007 … Series starts with Date Me, Baby, One More time
Michelle Rowen’s two novels (of a projected 5) are about a woman who was turned into a vampire by a rogue vampire, and she is trying to learn how to cope with her new life. Her character is different than a lot of new-vampire women, as her “creator” is a bit of a nutcase. She also gets the fun of having vampire hunters coming after her. Of course there is a sexy vampire who acts as her mentor, so it really all balances out in the end. The first book in the series is Bitten & Smitten.
Lynsay Sands has written a fabulous series about the Argeneau family of long-lived vampires – each book follows one of the family members as they find their true love. This is romance writing that really sucks you in (heh). This series is also a different take on vampires and our world than what is usually seen – the vampires drink bagged blood from a blood bank, and they are normal members of society – writers, video game artists, etc. Another difference in her books is that there are female vampires looking for their male mates – very different from the male vamps only norm in paranormal lit. The first book in the series is A Quick Bite. 3 new books will be released in 2008 – 1 each for the first 3 months!
Shanna Swendson has written a series of books that are fabulous fun – a human (Katie) is recruited to work for a magical company. Katie is one of the rare people not affected by magic, so she needs to help the company keep itself safe from other magical people pulling tricks. Not quite enough romance for my hopes, but there’s lots of nice tension, and great characters. The bad guys keep winning enough to make things extra-interesting, and the good guys aren’t perfect – even though it’s supernatural, it all feels very real. I love when I can see the characters in my head as I’m reading! Never mind that Katie’s boss is Merlin – that should be enough to get you to read the books! The series begins with Enchanted, Inc., and the 4th book will come out in 2008.
I hope you can find some books you enjoy on this list – it should keep you going for a while! I’ll be researching a sequel, of course!