References, Recommendations, and Books to be Read

Kristin, a commenter on an older entry today asked, “I like the new trend toward paranormal romance.  It poses some very interesting conflicts. But you need to be a good writer to pull it off.  Can someone suggest to me some paranormal romance authors that are worth reading???”

Pondering this question, and the many, many, other recommendations people have made on this site (thus raising Candy’s and my own TBR piles to such precarious heights that I am told I need a builder’s permit before I attempt to reduce them) has made me realize: collectively, we are among the more well-read romance readers out there, particularly when Candy or I try to stump you with a romance personal ad.

This got me thinking: we should set up a reference section of recommendations by genre and type. So here’s what we’ll do: we will request any and all author/title/series recommendations from you, our knowledgeable and clever readership (don’t ever say kissing up never gets you anywhere), for a specific genre and type of romance. Then, Candy and I will take your names, website links, and recommendations and compile them into reference pages. That way, if you’ve got a hankering for some paranormal romance with a particular type of paranormal activity, you can check out our community recommendations, and check out what other authors a particular person has recommended. Thus, you know who likes what you like, and can take your word that one should stay away from recent Jude Devereauxs in the paranormal department, but run like the wind to find yourself some Anne Stuart.

Kirstin was looking for paranormal recommendations – but that seems a broad request. So for our first reader recommendation request: Paranormal: Vampire romances.

Bring us your tired, your bloodthirsty, your huddled undead yearning to get it on with some hot monkey lovin’!


Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Maili says:

    Would you consider recommended novellas/short stories as well?

  2. 2
    Kerry says:

    I really enjoy Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series.

    My mind is currently stubbornly blank on others, although I know I’ve read more than just these.

  3. 3
    Stephanie says:

    I have been absolutly addicted to paranormal romances the past few months. If you like your romance quirky and laugh-out-loud funny, try MaryJanice Davidson. The first book in her vampire series is “Undead and Unwed”. You might as well pick up the second one, “Undead and Unemployed”, at the same time. You won’t be able to put them down!

    If you like things steamy, try Angela Knight and Nina Banks.

  4. 4
    Alyssa says:

    I love Charlaine Harris’s southern vampires series. It starts with Dead Until Dark, and the next three are Living Dead in Dallas, Club Dead, and Dead to the World. Her next one is coming out this month.

    These stories are written in first-person from the perspective of a telepath named Sookie Stackhouse. I love Sookie’s wry sense of humor.


  5. 5
    HelenKay says:

    So, it’s official, I am the only one who doesn’t like paranormal romance.  It’s going to be a long dry year at B&N for me if this trend continues.

  6. 6
    Meljean says:

    Maggie Shayne’s early Wings in the Night books that were published in the Silhouette Shadows line—TWILIGHT PHANTASIES, TWILIGHT MEMORIES and the BORN IN TWILIGHT single title. I think they’ve all been reprinted in various formats. There are other books in the series, but these three are my favs.

    “The Night Owl” by Emma Holly in the HOT BLOODED Anthology has one of my favorite heroes. These are related to HUNTING MIDNIGHT and CATCHING MIDNIGHT—they are upyrs, which is kind of a vampire/shapeshifter, and the books are set in 15th C. Europe (I think?) although the novella is contemporary. The single titles and the novella have a very different feel to them, although all are, of course, Emma Holly-gorgeous.

  7. 7
    Bron says:

    HelenKay, you’re not alone. While I don’t mind the occasional, small, paranormal element, I just am not tempted by the mass of paranormals out at present. Give me the real world, anyday. It’s much more complex and interesting!

  8. 8
    Jorie says:

    I like shapeshifter paranormal, but vampire romance often doesn’t work for me.  I have a hard time getting around the sucking blood part usually.  However, a huge exception to that is Robin McKinley’s Sunshine.  Though it’s not strictly romance, it’s a wonderful read, imo.

  9. 9
    AngieW says:

    I just finished If Angels Burn by Lynn Viehl and reviewed it on my blog. She managed to put a fresh twist on it!

    For romantica, I would suggest Shiloh Walker’s Hunter series (from Ellora’s Cave) and JC Wilder’s Shadow Dweller series (from LTD books)

    I second the Charlaine Harris Sookie Stackhouse books for humor and fun in your vampire romance.

    For those who enjoy fantasy with just a hint of romance, I have really enjoyed the Dhampir series (that is the name of the first book) by Barb & J.C. Hendee.

    Also, not mentioned is Shannon Drake who writes vampire romance that is quite good.

  10. 10
    Rosario says:

    If the books we like have already been recommended, do we mention them too? So you can put in the info “book X was recommended by readers A, B and C”?

    I case this is so… I add my recs to Stephanie’s for MJD’s Undead and Unwed (haven’t read the rest of the series yet) and to Meljean’s for Emma Holly’s upyrs (I adored Night Owl, and there’s another novella I really liked in the Fantasy anthology. The title’s Luisa’s Desire and it’s set in 15th century Tibet).

    I also recommend Caridad Piñeiro’s Darkness Calls, which is very dark and gritty, with a kick-ass latina heroine and a hero who’s more human and fallible than the usual all-powerful vamp.

  11. 11
    cw says:

    If novella recs are okay, “Love’s Prisoner” by MaryJanice Davidson in Secrets…6? is a great paranormal re: werewolves, and second (third?) Emma Holly’s “Night Owl” for the upyr-vampire fans.

    Jasmine Cresswell’s PRINCE OF THE NIGHT is a nostalgic rec for a gothic-ish vampire/alien historical, and I remember some old Linda Ladds, I think, with vampires, if anyone wants to go visit vamp roms from pre-Feehan/Kenyon/Davidson et al days.

  12. 12
    AngieW says:


    I have Sunshine on my TBR pile. I’ve heard good things about it and until you mentioned it, had rather forgotten it. It’s not marketed as a romance, but is there a thread of romance in it? I may have to pull it out.

  13. 13
    Sam says:

    Vampires – oh my.
    My Fair Pixie
    (at Ellora’s Cave)
    OK – I wrote it myself, but that’s no reason I can’t flog it. I actually liked it more than most vampire stories I read…
    Warning – it’s a parody and it’s rated E-rotic.
    I also liked Ann Rice’s vampire books.
    And Buffy, of course.

  14. 14
    Candy says:

    Sure, novellas and the like are welcome, as long as the author, title of novella and name of the anthology are included.

    And yes, we’ll be sorting everything by reader name. This means repeat mentions of a book will be included, because besides checking the reader’s other book recommendations to see if they jive with your own likes/dislikes, seeing the same series recommended over and over again also tends to hold some weight.

    For what it’s worth, my vampire book recommendations are The Vampire Viscount by Karen Harbaugh and Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson (qualified recommendation, since it’s not really a romance novel). A really, really great YA vampire novel that has a love story (but no HEA, thus not a romance) is The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause. All the other vampire novels I’ve tried so far have kind of left me cold, but then again it’s not as if I’ve read extensively in this particular sub-sub-sub genre.

    Anyway, thanks for all the responses! We’ll set up an actual page some time soon. Keep the recommendations coming…

  15. 15
    Nicole says:

    I second If Angels Burn by Lynn Viehl.  I think I also talked about it on my blog when it first came out.  This was one of the best vamps that I’d read in awhile.  I have issues with angsty vamp heroes that seem to be so popular, though mostly with the romantica books, so I don’t have many recs for those.

    I also enjoy the Lynsay Sands vamps.  They’re humorous.  Single White Vampire, Love Bites, and Tall, Dark, and Hungry. They’re funny and have some issues, but great when you want that non-deep, funny kind of read.  And sometimes that’s just what I want to read. 

    I also like the Dark-Hunters…but for some reason I don’t consider those vamp books, more paranormal. And I admit they have issues, but the fun factor usually makes me ignore them.  SK isn’t perfect, by any means.

    Undead and Unwed by MJD, but not really a romance, per se.  Funny and chick lit lite. 

    I’m also reading the Nibbles ‘n Bits anthology by Judy Mays, Mardi Ballou, and Delilah Devlin from Ellora’s cave.  I haven’t finished all the stories, so I haven’t blogged about it yet.  But the first story has a redneck vamp named Rusty Nipple and is just hilarious.

    lol I can think of many vamp stories that I didn’t like, but I won’t mention those here since this is recommendations, not “books that sucked”. Or wait…guess it is “books that sucked”…  :-)

  16. 16
    Jorie says:

    Angie, I see Sunshine‘s major relationship as a romance but it is understated.  Think sexual tension, not sex.  If you go in expecting a fully developed sexual relationship, you will be disappointed.  I’ll be curious to know what you think about it.

  17. 17
    AngieW says:

    Okay Jorie, I’m going to move it closer to the top of my TBR pile, which is threatening to topple since my return from RT. I’ll be sure to blog it once I’m finished.

    And since you Smart Bitches are making entries for each poster, I’m also going to second MJD’s Undead books.

    I’m surprised no one mentioned them, but the early LKH Anita Blake books, even though the romance builds through each book and there is no HEA, are still fantastic vampire reads. Especially the early ones.

    Also, I’m surprised no one mentioned Linda Lael Miller’s Vampire Valerian series. I think she was one of the few to be writing vampires at the time, since these came out about ten years ago.

    Does anyone know of any good YA vampire books with even a thread of romance?

    And I’m with Nicole, I could post some vamp books that sucked too ;) Can you tell I’ve been a long time fan of this gnere?

  18. 18
    cw says:

    Oooh, seeing the SILVER KISS rec reminds me—I love Clause’s BLOOD AND CHOCOLATE. YA, romantic (the heroine doesn’t feel too young at all), werewolf heroine. I liked this better than Kelley Armstrong’s BITTEN, fer ex.

    Wait, you asked for vamp recs.

    Crap. *scratches out MJD werewolf novella rec*

    Although the Angela Knight novella in the same antho (SECRETS 6), “Candidate for the Kiss”, is not bad. Secret agent vampire guy. Sort of like Robert McCammon’s THE WOLF’S HOUR with an American and erotic romance take.

  19. 19
    Irysangel says:

    I’m extremely picky when it comes to paranormal (I think I pretty much detest most everyone listed already so far) except I *HEART* Charlaine Harris.  Please go buy her Sookie Stackhouse books.  Please.  Love those, and she writes some hot & nasty sex scenes. ;)

  20. 20
    Monica says:

    Nancy Gideon’s Midnight Gamble.  T’was good.

  21. 21
    Darlene says:

    I’m not crazy about paranormals with fantasy elements, but I do like romantic sf.  I’d recommend all of Sharon Shinn’s work, Catherine Asaro’s novels, and SHARDS OF HONOR by Lois McMaster Bujold.  Heck, I highly recommend _all_ of Bujold’s “Miles Vorkosigan” novels, including the romatic comedy of manners A CIVIL CAMPAIGN, but SHARDS is the closest to a true romance novel and it can stand alone.

  22. 22
    Stephanie says:

    I’ll second AngieW’s suggestion of LKH’s Anita Blake books, the early one’s anyway. The later ones…well, let’s just say I like a little story between my sex scenes. Those are some really great sex scents though!

    Also Darlene is right about Sharon Shinn. Try JENNA STARBORN. It’s a wonderful retelling of JANE EYRE.

    Love Sookie, too!

    I’m moving SUNSHINE to the top of my TBR list. This is the third time I’ve seen it recommended.

  23. 23
    Sarah says:

    I am so with you on the early LKH’s – later editions just amounted to collecting powers like charms on a bracelet (TM JenFu) and humping anything that wasn’t nailed down. But earlier ones had some serious romance and attraction.

    So question: where did the series Jump the Shark? Up to what title should I post recommendations of the Anita Blake series?

  24. 24
    Monica says:

    Sarah, I’d think up to (and including Blue Moon)

  25. 25
    Darlene says:

    Um, I just re-read the original “Smart Bitches” post and realized the ladies were asking specifically for vampire paranormal romances.  So of course I screw up by recommending romantic SF.  But I can wholeheartedly second all the recommendations for SUNSHINE.  A wonderfully written novel, one that made me hungry for cinnamon rolls _and_ the hero.  I hope there will be a sequel soon.

    And the early Chelsea Quinn Yarbro “St. Germain” novels are still swoonworthy.  HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA is the first, and they’re good for the first half dozen or so as the vampire St. Germain travels through history, loving and losing them along the way.

  26. 26
    Kristin says:

    Oh, my!  I woke up this morning having no idea that my request had been used for a post on your marvelous site.  Thanks for running with a new idea.  I am already overwhelmed with the recommendations here.

    I have read one other paranormal by some author I can’t remember.  It was about telepaths.  And it had some pretty erotic stuff in it.  I am not sure if I like paranormal or not…that is why I am looking for a good author.  Then, I feel I can pass judgment.

    I look forward to your list of recommendations!  Or whatever comes out of this.

  27. 27
    Gabrielle says:

    I’m a huge fan of Keri Arthur’s various series, released by ImaJinn books. She does great vampire romance, as well as werewolves and shapeshifters. She’s got a FANTASTIC urban fantasy series coming out from Bantam early next year—keep an eye out for them.

    I also really like Charlain Harris’s Southern Gothic books, and Karen Harbaugh’s Night Fires and The Vampire Viscount.

  28. 28
    PS says:

    Katie MacAlister has a great vampire series.  Her website is hysterical.  (Mondays are Dishy Guy picture day.) All of her heroines are funny and warped.  She even has a young adult series to go with the vamp stories.  Lots and Lots of giggling occurs while reading her stories.

  29. 29
    Deb says:

    No one has mentioned Linda Lael Miller’s vampire series that spanned about 4 or 5 books back in the early 90s. They are no where near as steamy as some of the ones out today, but they were the first vampire romances I read, so that made them pretty hot to me.

    Also, Katie MacCalister has several vampire based novels out there that are hit or miss – depends if you like her writing style.

  30. 30
    Diva says:

    Love, love, love the Anita Blakes (all of ‘em)as well as the Dark Hunters (a vamp thrown in here & there). More loving for the Undeads by MJ Davidson.

    I’m looking forward to seeing this completed list. My TBR pile is sadly bereft of anything remotely interesting right now. I need some more “sucky” books.

    BTW, adore this bitchy site. I know I can ALWAYS find a chuckle here, especially the cover commentaries.

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