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Picky reader looking for new books

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Initial post: Nov 17, 2011 5:36:54 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 27, 2011 10:48:50 PM PST
Aymee says:

So, alright, first off. I'm picky. I've read a lot, as I worked in bookstore for more years than we'll say here. And I've no idea where to go next, which is where you guys come in!

I've not read a lot of PNR. I've mostly stuck to fantasy/horror/urban fantasy and anything inbetween, and I decided to start exploring this side a bit more.

Things I'd like to avoid in books:

-The typical strong, female heroine. I'm all for strength, but a lot of authors go the Mary Sue-way, and if they even slap on a flaw at the end of the character-creation, they cop out with a "commitment-issue" that will inevitably be solved by Male Hero's amazing body.

I like vulnerable heroines, women with actual flaws and issues they work through in a believable manner.

-The word "sexy". Yes, I know I'm weird, but if an author can't make the attractiveness of a character come across without using that word, then...well. It just feels a bit blunt, to me. "Look at this, you guys, he's so hawt."-ish.

-Lack of character growth. Example: Rachel in the Hollows. Learn from your mistakes, woman!

-I'm also not big on sex. The build-up's cool, I don't mind a scene or two, but I don't want erotica. (There's a reason I quit reading Anita Blake...)

Even so, I can survive all of these things if the plot, setting and narrative makes up for it. Just so it's mentioned.

To give you an example or three - series/books I adore:
-Patricia Briggs' Alpha and Omega, and the Mercy Thompson-series!
(I really, REALLY love Alpha and Omega. I love the tenderness in their relationship, as well as the (somewhat) slow pacing of it all. More like this would be excellent, if any of you know of some.)
-Ilona Andrews: Kate Daniels (Really wasn't that into book one at first, and then I had the rest of the series the day after. Goes to show.)
-Robin McKinley: Sunshine. (Yes. Just...yes.)
-Seanan McGuire: October Daye.

I've read a lot, as mentioned, but I'll name a few authors that's not my cup of tea in case that'll help with recommendations -
Charlaine Harris
Rachel Caine
Lilith Saintcrow
Nalini Singh
Eileen Wilks
Jeaniene Frost.

So yeah - do you have any suggestions for some PNR for me? Series following the same character would be best, tho one-shots are cool too. I'm not big on series that changes characters as I just end up missing the other ones... :-)
(Women of the Otherworld, for example. Lovely writing and characterization, but I would've prefered it sticking to one or two chars.)

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 17, 2011 5:59:06 PM PST
This is tough because most of the romance series that follow one character are in the list of ones you didn't like. :) The only exception I can think of is JD Robb's In Death series (although I think this is less PNR, more futuristic crime thriller).

Did you try Ilona Andrews Edge series? It still follows a diff couple each book, but characters from previous books do pop up.

CS Wilson's Tairen Soul series (haven't read it, but I believe it follows same couple and I know lots of folks love it).

There's also KMM's Fever series (feels more like UF - the lead character definitely changes through the series).

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 17, 2011 6:07:23 PM PST
Aymee says:
Hehe, I did warn you about the pickyness. :)

Anyway! I've read the Edge-series, yes, and I quite liked it. I've heard of the Fever-series, actually, now that I looked it up. Bought the first book so we'll see how it goes. Never really picked up the Tairen Soul-books due to being more of a Fantasy-nature - I'm a bit full on that right now, but I'll keep them in mind for another time.

Thanks! :)

Posted on Nov 17, 2011 7:03:12 PM PST
KS TBRQueen says:
Oh wow def picky....ummm have you read anything from Nalini Singh? Do you like her Psy/changling series or her Guild hunter series? Also, this is not PNR but what about Sharon Sala? She writes alot of vulnerable females with real issues to work out. Or Anne Stuarts Ice series. The women are strong in the begginning but become very vulnerable and then become strong again.

Oh try reading Kresley Coles A Hunger Like No Other. The h was the most vulnerable h i have ever read but she gets over herself reasonably and becomes very strong at the end.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 17, 2011 7:26:16 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 17, 2011 7:28:11 PM PST
CLB77 says:
Mac really grows up in the Fever series, so if you don't like her in book one (which many readers don't) don't be afraid to give her a chance going forward.

ETA... but thinking about it, maybe Mac is just what you're looking for. She's vulnerable and imperfect and grows significantly through the series.

Posted on Nov 17, 2011 7:26:57 PM PST
Carolina says:
Try J.Carson Black's work. After all youdo get free samples. Murder, vulnerable but very strong, independent main character.

Posted on Nov 17, 2011 7:58:45 PM PST
Aussie Girl says:
My recommendations would be: The Fever Series by Karen M Moning, a really involving plot with twists and turns and cliffhangers... (doesn't matter now because the series is complete) and Downside Ghosts Trilogy by Stacia Kane, dark and gritty with a damaged heroine but really unique world building and an evolving romance which is edge of your seat stuff...

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 18, 2011 5:27:16 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 18, 2011 5:28:40 AM PST
J. L. Yates says:
You seem to like UF, series that focus on a main character. I don't care for such series. I do have a list that I had written down to check out, and decided not to. You could check reviews and ask here about these.

Jeanne C., Stein: Anna Strong series
Karen Chance: Cassandra Palmer series
C. E. Murphy: can't remember the series title, read the first one and didn't like it, but more due to I want a new couple in each book. I felt the setting were a bit off, you can't take as many attacks and not suffer from them, but . . . .

I am sure that there are others that can be suggested.

LOVED N. Singh's Psy/Changling, but different tastes; saw the h in Hollows as TSTL, couldn't even finish the first book, I was starting to cheer for the bad guys to catch her.

hope these help

Posted on Nov 18, 2011 7:50:07 AM PST
Big second (and third) for the Shadowfever series, the Downside Ghost series (these are awesome - flawed h, but tries so hard to do the right thing, usually at a cost to herself - really good!) and loved the Tairen Soul series as well (although they were a but more fantasy).

Posted on Nov 18, 2011 9:42:11 AM PST
Annabelle says:
Here are the lower pnr/higher uf content series that I follow:

Vampire for hire - JR Rain
Iron Druid Chronicles - Kevin Hearne
Kara Gillian - Diana Rowland
Nathaniel Cade - Christopher Farnsworth
The Dresden Files - Jim Butcher

For steampunk:

Iron Seas - Meljean Brook (altho a different H/h in each book)
Vampire Empire - Susan and Clay Griffith (I started the first book, was totally into it, found out it was a trilogy and am holding off finishing the first until all 3 books are out - but definitely one I'll finish)

For something a little lighter (and leaning toward more sex):

Charlie Davidson - Darynda Jones
Chicagoland Vampires - Chloe Neill (well, maybe not lighter, but definitely higher on the romance level)
Jane True - Nichole Peeler
Jane Jameson - Molly Harper

Okay I think all the above have the same h or H/h (except Iron Seas). Hope you find something you like!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 18, 2011 12:41:46 PM PST
C. Stapleton says:
I just discovered the Jane True series and the Iron Druid Chronicles--really great reads. Love the Iron Seas too although I need to read the latest still.

Posted on Nov 18, 2011 3:29:42 PM PST
Aymee says:
@Kimberly Shelt: As mentioned, I don't really like Singh. Her style reads off to me, and...well, not getting into it but she's not my cup of tea. And the Paranormal-aspect is rather important to me while reading romance - which is why I shy away from contemporary/historical/fantasy/etc. I will look into Hunger Like No Other though, thanks!

@CLB77 Hehe, I actually bought the first book after the first commenter's suggestion, and I quite like it so far. I don't mind somewhat superficial and ditzy, that's just fun! I just dislike the whole "hardened cop/investigator/demonkilller/assassin/superwomanindisguise"-thing a lot of UF (and some PNR) goes for. :)

@Carolyn G. Lauffer I will, thanks!

@Aussie Girl Yep, already got the first book and I quite like Mac so far. As for Stacia Kane, I read Personal Demons already, so I'll give her other series a shot too!

@J. L. Yates I've mainly focused on UF because I preferred (at the time) the plot to not be about romance - so I've already looked into all of those series. Thank you anyway!

@Annabelle I'll look into JR Rain, as well as Molly Harper and Darynda Jones - the rest I've already either read or written off. :)

@Stapleton Already poked at those, but thank you nonetheless!

Thanks so much for the replies, everyone! If you have more, keep them coming.

And, uhm. Don't be too hung up on my previously having largely read UF. I don't mind fluff and heavy PNR, I just don't want it to be pure erotica. :p

Posted on Nov 18, 2011 4:29:13 PM PST
KS TBRQueen says:
Sharon sala and Anne Stuart are romantic suspence. They have action in them with a hint of mystery.

Posted on Nov 18, 2011 4:59:50 PM PST
RomanceLover says:
I second Kresley Cole. Have you tried Larissa Ione's Demonica series?

Posted on Nov 21, 2011 7:03:39 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 21, 2011 7:07:43 AM PST
Willread says:
Oh, I love the fact that you`re picky and I agree with you on a lot of your dislikes (though I absolutely love Charlaine Harris). I see that the Jane True series has already been mentioned here Tempest Rising (Jane True) but I would really give it a shot. I loved that series. It`s about a woman living with her father who finds out she`s half supernatural. Her mother disappeared when Jane True was six but circumstances has her venturing into her mother`s world. Jane True is a strong heroine but not flawless by far and definitely not a superwoman. She has depth and is well written. This is not like all those series out there that are just copies of each other. Oh, and the series has humor - I liked that :-)

Also, another series (though it`s only one book now - the next will come in the spring I think) I`ve enjoyed is the Arcadia Bell series Kindling the Moon: An Arcadia Bell Novel.
This is the book description given by Amazon: Being the spawn of two infamous occultists (and alleged murderers) isn't easy, but freewheeling magician Arcadia "Cady" Bell knows how to make the best of a crummy situation. After hiding out for seven years, she's carved an incognito niche for herself slinging drinks at the demon-friendly Tambuku Tiki Lounge.

But she receives an ultimatum when unexpected surveillance footage of her notorious parents surfaces: either prove their innocence or surrender herself. Unfortunately, the only witness to the crimes was an elusive Æthyric demon, and Cady has no idea how to find it. She teams up with Lon Butler, an enigmatic demonologist with a special talent for sexual spells and an arcane library of priceless stolen grimoires. Their research soon escalates into a storm of conflict involving missing police evidence, the decadent Hellfire Club, a ruthless bounty hunter, and a powerful occult society that operates way outside the law. If Cady can't clear her family name soon, she'll be forced to sacrifice her own life . . . and no amount of running will save her this time.

Posted on Nov 27, 2011 5:41:17 PM PST
Aymee says:
@Kimberly Shelt: As mentioned, the paranormal-part of the whole plot is kinda the big thing for me - usually. I actually got a bit intruiged when reading about The Searchers, so I'll look into that when I finish Hunger Like no Other. :)

@RomanceLove: I have not! (Unless I forgot it. This happens more often than you would think.) I'm not big on that "hungering for pleasure"-thing the blurb mentions, but I'll give book one a shot anyway. We'll see!

@Willreadindarkwinternights Already read Jenn Bennett! Regarding Jane True, I've looked at it a couple of times. TBH, the whole "if you love sookie stackhouse"-thing turns me off like nothing else can, because I really loathe that series and the author. It's been recommended several times now, though, so I guess I shall stop judging it by, well, what other people who likes it also likes, haha. :p


I finished KMM's fever-series the other day. As far as Mac goes, I quite enjoyed the transformation from bubbly barbie-doll to, well, a grown-up woman handling a sucky situation. While it's probably not going to be one of the series I can reread several times, it was quite good. Anything more along these lines would be welcome!

I do tend to prefer my main character to be purely human - this isn't an absolute demand in any way, but I've found it lessens the chance for superstrong assassinwitchshiftereverythingawesomeinonepackage-heroine. To be perfectly honest: I don't really find such characters interesting. An alpha-woman is not something I wish to read much about, which is partly the reason I've started shying away from a lot of UF in the later years. Again, not an absolute. I do enjoy reading about the road there, like with Mercy Thompson who is undeniably kick-ass these days, but didn't really start out that way. :) (It is part of the reason I didn't take to Singh's Guild Hunter-series. When you start out utterly kick-ass I don't really empathize with you much. This is not to say I'd like to read about Bella Swan EITHER - but there's something between "teenager without personality" and "superwoman", surely.)

Starting on Kresley Cole next, with high hopes! Also have the Strangely Beautiful-series by Leanna Renee Hieber lined up, which looks promising, and the Highlander-series by KMM.

Any more recs out there? It should be mentioned that I rather enjoy the forced-together-scenario as well, as long as it's not lust-based. (The whole "Oh, you're so hot, take me now"-thing moments after you meet only works if one of you is a death by sex-fae. :p)

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 27, 2011 8:25:16 PM PST
Darn. I was going to suggest Illona Andrews Kate Daniels series.

I've read every book you've mentioned and tend to agree. Gasp! I'm picky too. ::Sighes:: But I already knew that--I'm so going to read this thread to see if anything is suggested I haven't given a go. might like Sarah Gilman's Out in Blue. (I did like Wren, the hero. The only draw back is the case of near-instant love between him and his lady love.) I've got a real soft spot for wings, though. (He's an arch angel)

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2011 12:53:49 PM PST
C. Stapleton says:
Reading your comment about the Jane True Series regarding Sookie Stackhouse. I read a few of the Sookie Stackhouse books--they were just ok for me. I've never been wild about them, never a must read and I finally gave up on them. The Jane True series is not like that for me. There is a lot of humor in them, which I really enjoy. The first book is the best IMO but I have enjoyed all the rest.

I, and others, have mentioned the Iron Druid Chronicles and I really can't recommend them enough. Wasn't sure that I would enjoy them because there is
not really a romance going on there, although there is potential. I ended up enjoying them so much and can't wait for his next book to come out next year.
There is a lot of humor although some pretty serious stuff going on too. A lot of mythology which I enjoyed. This is one of my favorite series of the year.
Your reply to C. Stapleton's post:
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Posted on Nov 29, 2011 1:14:48 PM PST
Willread says:
I absolutely love the Sookie Stackhouse series and did understand why the Jane True series was compared to it. Mainly because they are the only two series I`ve truly enjoyed without hesitations. In all the other series I`ve read I`ve always had hesitations.

But the Sookie Stackhouse and the Jane True series are very different from each other too. Very different universes, very different heroines (though they both balance that not too meek and not too "perfect warrior" knive`s edge perfectly IMO) and they leave you with a very different set of emotions. Sookie Stackhouse is a much darker series than the Jane True series.

Posted on Nov 29, 2011 3:53:01 PM PST
Aymee says:
@C.Stapleton As I've mentioned, I've already looked into the Iron Druid Chronicles. I quit towards the end of book one, and while I understand why a lot of people like it, it's simply not what I'm looking for right now. Already got book one of Jane True. (my "stop judging"-comment did, in fact, mean that I was going to give it a go.) It looks interesting enough - I just hope it's OTHER people writing the blurb and continually using the word "sexy" and that the author doesn't actually do it herself. We shall see!

@Willreadindarkwinternights Regarding Sookie Stackhouse - I don't mind dark (In fact, I rather like it). My main problem consists of finding Sookie rather annoying as far as a narrator goes, as well as disliking Harris' general style of writing overall. I've sampled a lot of her other series, and it's very clear she's grown as a writer (naturally) as she went along. The Harper Connely Mysteries were far better, for example, but it still irks me. I can see her growth in the Stackhouse-books as well, but there are very few characters in that series I actually like. I dunno, I find them mostly obnoxious and annoying.
However, as mentioned, I am trying out Jane True regardless of this, and hope that it'll fit in with what I'm looking after.

Posted on Dec 1, 2011 6:30:29 PM PST
Barbara S says:
Have you tried Linda Robertson's Persephone series? The first book is Vicious Circle and I've really enjoyed them. I'll also throw out Jaye Wells' series starting with Red-Headed Stepchild. This one isn't exactly a recommendation - it's on my TBR list, but I haven't gotten to it yet.

Posted on Dec 2, 2011 9:00:56 AM PST
Aymee says:
@Barbara S I've read Robertson already, quite liked them! Jaye Wells is a new name for me, gonna look her up - thank you! :)

Posted on Dec 3, 2011 6:43:02 PM PST
Bea Reader says:
C.E. Murphy's Neg. Series
Faith Hunter Jane Yellowrock series

Posted on Dec 3, 2011 8:50:24 PM PST
Shannon C. says:
I just came across this in the Wicked Scribes blog:
"Not sure how many are interested, but when I was trying to put together a post about books being made into movies a couple weeks back I came across this very helpful website. The Page to Premier Network ( keeps you up to date on what books have been optioned, who will be staring, and also provides still images and trailers for the films. There is quite a bit behind the scenes stuff I haven't found around in other places - and it is nice to have all of the info in one place. If you are a book and movie fan, you just might find something you like."

The Page to Premier site has some cool info and some of the types of books we read are mentioned. I hadn't realized that Ender's Game and John Carter are being made into a movie. Also looks like Hunger Games features prominently.

Posted on Dec 15, 2011 8:08:22 PM PST
Tiger Lily says:
Try D.D. Barant
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Discussion in:  Paranormal Romance forum
Participants:  17
Total posts:  25
Initial post:  Nov 17, 2011
Latest post:  Dec 15, 2011

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