Monday, January 3, 2011

Welcome to Sunnydale: Home of the Hellmouth

OK, I'm probably dating myself a bit with that title but I made a startling realization when I sat down to write a post on paranormal romance: I have never read one!

I know, I know, where the heck have I been?! I don't really have an excuse so I should creep to the back of the "room" and let y'all tell me what I've been missing. Should, but won't :).

I have an opinion about most everything, (if you've ever chatted with me you'll recognize the truth of that statement!), and this genre is no exception. Researching for this article led me to several e-bookstores. I perused the titles and read quite a few blurbs. My, admittedly brief, research seems to have revealed two very popular themes in the paranormal romance genre right now: vampires and werewolves. That couldn't possibly have anything to do with those Twilight books/movies, could it ;)? I saw a fair amount of shapeshifter novels out there as well.

The vampire thing I understand. As a child I ran home from school to catch the end of Dark Shadows and I'm thinking the secret is out that I'm a HUGE Buffy fan. I also loved 'sweet' witches/magic with shows like Bewitched and I Dream of Jeanie. It is apparent that I really like paranormal themes so I'm not sure why I've not read any paranormal romances.

I probably shouldn't reveal this about myself but ... I can be perverse. If everyone else is on the bandwagon that is the one place I won't be; but I realize that can lead to the loss of my nose so I'm admitting I have a 'problem' and am asking for your help :).

What books should I have not missed? Keep in mind I really loved Buffy; Angel not so much-too much angst! I mentioned my infatuation with Dark Shadows, but I was also raised on a family tradition of the Friday night late show so I enjoy those English "B" movies from the 70's-The Wicker Man ... really cool, ooh and American Gothic, anyone remember that show? Gosh that was good, never understood its cancellation.

So, paranormal romance readers, give me your suggestions for additions to my TBR pile and tell me what you love about paranormal romance. What elements have to be present for you to put a book on your keeper shelf?


  1. Hi Rachel, neither have I! I keep telling myself that I should read a paranormal romance, hey, maybe that will be the genre I love writing more than any other. Who knows?

    I'm going to be popping back and forth to your blog to find out what others recommend.

    Rachel x

  2. I'm a werewolf/shifter lover so most of my reading centers around them.

    One must read Paranormal Romance is Nalini Singh's Psy/Changeling series. In this series, the paranormal are a normal part of life as opposed to a hidden part of society. There is a mix of humans with psi powers and shifters.

    For straight werewolves, try Terry Spear.

    For a bit of the paranormal in your Regency historical, try Lydia Dare. They are good stories but not overwhelming in paranormal elements like most contemporaries. The first 4 books involve werewolves but her releases for 2011 will have vampire heroes.

    Try Virgina Kantra's Children of the Sea for something different in the contemporary paranormal world. She uses Selkies and some other elemental creatures in this series.

    For my keeper shelf, I look at the World Building and Characters. This is true for my fantasy, paranormal, and urban fantasy books. I need to be interested in the world and have characters I can relate to (or even dream about).

  3. OMG Rachel! Where HAVE you been?

    Ok, one thing- Jacob is a shape shifter- NOT a werewolf. Huge difference as he would tell you (and does in Eclipse, the book, not the movie). Lol I love my shifters. They bite, but not to 'change' their prey to one of them like a were. They bite their 'mate' for love, and usually just once is enough.

    I love the mystical, mythical element of 'anything can- and usually does- happen' in paranormal. There's no boundaries to limit the imagination. Though I write contemporary romance by choice, I have determined to finish and submit my wolves this year. Those absolutely belong on anyone's who reads paranormal TBR shelf!
    But I have and enjoy several YA series. LJ Smith's Night World series is one of my faves. Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series, too.

  4. Hi Rachel! Another excellent post and admitting you don't know is the hallmark of true wisdom (or something like that). I am an avid reader of the paranormal genre, though I think my favorite authors are not in the "romance" subgenre. Laurell K. Hamilton introduced me to the romance side of the paranormals and whoo hoo, did she ramp it up in the later books of both the Anite Blake and Meredith Gentry series!Sherrilyn Kenyon writes a good tale (no jokes, please). For excellent non-romance paranormal, don't miss The Dresdin Files, Carrie Vaughn's Kitty series (again, watch the snickering). Well, I'll stop there. And like Rachel, I'll be popping back to see what else is suggested. Thanks again for a fun post!

    Denise Golinowski

  5. Thanks for the recommendations! After reading Beth's comment I realized I have read a paranormal, I just didn't think of it as one: forget the author or the title,(yes, I'm every author's nightmare that way), but it was a Regency that had wizards in it. I liked it, though it's tone was more the "serious" Regency and I prefer Amanda Quick's frivolous tone but the story got me thinking outside the box and showed me that paranormal characters were being excepted into the Regency genre: I have a 3/4 finished paranormal Regency called Magic and the Marquis (a traditional witch as a heroine) and I finished a VERY rough draft of Desired to Death last year during Nano. Desired to Death has a villain that uses a succubus as his weapon. Come to think of it, when I first got the writing bug I outlined a series of contemporary paranormals that involve the various forms of dryads-tree, water, etc. Gosh, thinking about it now I realize I have a lot of paranormal in my blood (absolutely no pun intended :). I also have two romantic suspense novels outlined that have elements of paranormal in them. I guess when I think of paranormal romances I'm thinkng of the Urban fantasy and alternate world stories I hear about. I would probably like those because I, like Denise, am a huge fan of scifi/fantasy and cut my teeth on David Eddings, Mercedes Lackey, Piers Antony, Anne McCaffrey, and don't get me started on Tolkein!
    To be honest, I think I've shied away from some of the paranormal romances I've seen hyped because of the covers: sounds strange even to my ears, but most of them seem to imply the book is going to be like the Lara Croft movies or V for Vendetta (or whatever Kate Beckinsale movie was) and I'm not into those: I'd probably watch one if it came on TV and I happened to be sitting there but I wouldn't make the effort to go see it.
    I'm odd that way :)

  6. Great insights, ladies! Thank you for all the fabulous suggestions - I think I'm going to start with one of Lydia Dare's first!


  7. Rachel that's what I was thinking-love my Regencies!

  8. I've been into the paranormal since I read my first fairytale. I do love my wolf-shifters but my cats are named Buffy & Spike and I saw every episode of Dark Shadows. Hate Twilight but love Susan Squire's Companion series.

  9. LOL, I love the name of your cats! I always wanted Buffy to be with Spike, didn't like Angel, at all. Barnabus Collins was just ... no words, I have no words, coherent anyway. Sexy, mysterious, romantic ... that whole, look into my eyes thing!

  10. If you're shying away from the Urban Fantasy, you might try Ilona Andrew's Kate Daniel's series. There is a single romantic interest throughout the books (unlike other series where they string you along with two or three guys) and Kate is a funny, snarkie character who wins by sheer determination and not overpowering strength.

    I gave my recommendations for pure paranormal romance definitions. Going into Urban Fantasy or paranormal YA, I could list a ton of authors.

  11. Hmmm, I went on Amazon and read the blurbs, Beth, I'm thinking they'd be right up my alley. I also just read a short story by Nicole Hadaway that involves the Dandridge Twins :vampire siblings circa WWII error: I loved the short story and can't wait for the full length novels.