Reader Question – Looking for paranormal/fantasy books with a strong storyline and a side of romance…

by Maryse on February 21, 2019 · 21 comments

in Book Recommendations, Reader Questions

Jenna is having other-worldly cravings ;) and she’s hoping our book crew has some recommendations! Right off the bat, I know TONS in our crew here will say Anne Bishops “The Others” series (I read #1 and loved it – here’s my 5-STAR review – and I should totally continue devouring them as our crew have).

She asks:

Hi Maryse!

I was hoping you’d help put me out of my book funk misery by asking your readers for some recommendations?!

Books where the storyline is based purely on romance no longer holds interest for me (sob).

I’m hungry for paranormal/fantasy books with a strong storyline and a side of romance. I’m thinking books similar to these series:

Any recommendations ya’ll could give would be appreciated.

Help!

I KNOW we have a TON of recommendations for her, so let’s make a list! :D

Nay: Jenna–I know of A LOT of PNR that have quite a bit of romance, so I’m trying to stay with what you asked for. Most of these are UF. I’ve marked some of my most favorite, but I really loved (or at least really enjoyed) all of these.

Jenna: Wow, Nay! Thank you soo much for your list. I am so excited to look into these (happy dance).

Maryse: Ohhhh I LOVE this list Nay! I’m going to add it into the post. :D

MichelleS: Knights of Black Swan Series, by Victoria Dannan. First book is FREE. You’ll get hooked. One my all time favorites.

MichelleS: Mercy Thompson Series, by Patricia Briggs. Urban Fantasy. Hottest werewolves EVER. And Fae!

Jan: Nay, that list is sooooo impressive. Great effort! I will add my support for the two series by Patricia Briggs – Alpha and Omega, and also the Mercy Thomson series. Both fab series, with some romance but not too much if that’s what you’re after.

There’s a lot of good stuff out there, Jenna. Enjoy!

MichelleS: Jan – can you believe I never read the psy-changing books? Those were my library book days & they never had first book. Worth going back now? I feel like that ship has sailed. Like Anita Blake, BDB, and Lara Aidrian… I just feel “meh” now about them.

Jan: Michelle I’m not rapt in the later books in the series. I feel as if (to use an Aussie saying) the writer is flogging a dead horse now. She needs to move on to something else.

But, I recently reread the first book, Slave To Sensation, and it still stands up really well IMO. You could give it a try. I remember Kiss of Snow was really good too. Maybe I should try rereading that one and see whether I still like it. The romance is front and centre in these books, but they also have a strong and interesting storyline with good world-building.

But I know exactly what you mean about us moving on from previously loved authors. It definitely happens.

MichelleS: Sons of Rome series, Lauren Gilley. Fantastic writing. Low on romance, big on characters & story building.

MichelleS: The Weaving Man – amazing writing, super cool world building, unforgettable characters. Very light on romance.

MichelleS: Elemental Mysteries series, Elizabeth Hunter. The Tairen Soul Series, by CL Wilson. (My all time favorite fantasy series)

I’m with you on this… story trumps romance. All these stories have stuck with me. Hope you give some of them a try. I could just add to this list all dang day. I’m going to check back for others’ recs so I can check them out too. Woop woop. Love this post!

MichelleS: And Sarah J Maas’s series: Throne of Glass & Court of Thorns and Roses Fantasy? Check. Light romance? Check. Love love loved these books.

Josh: The Chronicles of the Earned by Meraki P. Lyhnne Is an amazing Paranormal Series set in a rich and vivid story world and with excellently developed characters.

Bethany: The Kingmaker Chronicles by Amanda Bouchet

Nay: All I did was go through my PNR/UF shelf on GR and mention the ones I’ve read that I was pretty sure didn’t focus on romance. I didn’t realize how may different series I’d read back when I was mostly reading PnR.

I tried to read Slave to Sensation and just couldn’t get into it. Nowadays, I probably would though. Same with Kate Daniels. I think I read 3 of those and always felt bad because I didn’t love them like everyone else did.

I’ll also agree the Lauren Gilley is a fantastic writer!

Michelle–I got meh with Anita Blake. I was really loving them in the beginning, and then I felt like things starting happening kinda for shock factor and I had to give it up. But I loved the first 10 or so of them. Same with Lara Adrian. I read the first 11 and then I got stuck on #12, so I abandoned the series. I guess I need to skim through that book just to get it read so that I can continue with a series that I really loved.

And now I’m seeing some series I hadn’t heard of, so more on the tbr–yay!

Ash: Sarah J. Maas Throne of Glass series. The first book takes a bit to get into but books 3 through 6 are absolutely 6 star! I love everything she writes but the amount of plotting she had to do to bring this full circle is impressive. I highly, highly recommend. Its about a female assassin and while there is a romance on the side, it is not the driver of the story by any means.

Also, try The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air Book 1) by Holly Black. Book 2 just released and it will be a trilogy. Awesome writing and unique story!!

marina: The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air Book 2) for sure!

Jenna: I also wanted to give a recommendation to ya’ll – The Graveyard Queen series by Amanda Stevens. Thank you all for your recommendations and to Maryse for posting my request. If you think of any newer books with a fresh storyline, I’d love to hear about it!

Nay: Jenna–I LOVE The Graveyard Queen series! Love the Gothic feel to it. I inhaled the first 3 books, and then while time passed, I started reading many other things besides PnR/UF, so I haven’t read the final 3. So I guess I have something to look forward to! Also, the covers of the first 3 books are some of my favorites, especially The Restorer.

Julie: I don’t normally read a lot of paranormal but this series really pulled me in. I read it about 6 or 7 years ago and it still blows my mind with the ending. Grey Eyes by Quinteria Ramey and Brandon Alston. There are 3 books in the series and first one is free on Amazon.

Grey: I was going to throw in

 

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Nay February 21, 2019 at 3:09 PM

Jenna–I know of A LOT of PNR that have quite a bit of romance, so I’m trying to stay with what you asked for. Most of these are UF. I’ve marked some of my most favorite, but I really loved (or at least really enjoyed) all of these.

**Downside Ghosts by Stacia Kane (FAVE!)
**Charley Davidson by Darynda Jones (FAVE!)
Newsflesh Trilogy by Myra Grant (very unique and about zombies)
The Disillusionists by Carolyn Crane (FAVE!)
Alex Craft by Kalayna Price (FAVE!)
Jane Yellowrock by Faith Hunter (FAVE!)
Scarlett Bernard & Boundary Magic by Melissa Olson
Jane True by Nicole Peeler (FAVE!)
Prospero’s War by Jaye Wells
Chicagoland Vamps by Chloe Neill (love but it’s more YA-ish IMO)
The Bargainer by Laura Thalassa
Blood Singer by Cat Adams (LOVE–unique storyline)
Alpha & Omega and Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs (Fan FAVE)
Shaede Assassin by Amanda Bonilla
Kara Gillian by Diana Rowland (FAVE!)
Charlie Madigan by Kelly Gay (this is one of my faves, but warning–she’s never written the 5th book–and may not every–and there’s a bit of a cliffhanger in book 4.)
October Daye by Seanan McGuire (FAVE!)
Elemental Assassin by Jennifer Estep
Imp by Debra Dunbar
Rylee Adamson by Shannon Mayer
Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams
Arcadia Bell by Jenn Bennett
Mad World by Christine Zolendz (LOVED this but it may have more romance than what you’re looking for. I can’t remember for sure)
Indigo Court by Yasmine Galenorn
Abby Sinclair by Allison Pang
Nikki Glass by Jenna Black
Allay by Susan Wright
Dark Swan by Richelle Mead
Nightshade by Michelle Rowen (FAVE!)
Kate Daniels and The Edge (and others) by Illona Andrews (HUGE fan fave, although these never grabbed me)
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead–this is YA and has less action, but the storylines are great! I don’t usually care for YA and I loved this series!
I also loved Georgina Kincaid by Richelle Mead, but it may have too much romance too. Again, I can’t remember.

Jenna February 21, 2019 at 3:40 PM

Wow, Nay! Thank you soo much for your list. I am so excited to look into these (happy dance).

Maryse February 21, 2019 at 3:55 PM

Ohhhh I LOVE this list Nay! I’m going to add it into the post. :D

MichelleS February 21, 2019 at 5:18 PM

Knights of Black SwanSeries, by Victoria Dannan. First book is FREE. You’ll get hooked. One my all time favorites.

MichelleS February 21, 2019 at 5:20 PM

Mercedes Thompson Series, by Patricia Briggs. Urban Fantasy. Hottest werewolves EVER. And Fae!

Jan February 21, 2019 at 5:23 PM

Nay, that list is sooooo impressive. Great effort! I will add my support for the two series by Patricia Briggs – Alpha and Omega, and also the Mercy Thomson series. Both fab series, with some romance but not too much if that’s what you’re after.

There’s also Nalini Singh’s psy-changeling series. Sexy shifter sci-fi/ fantasy/romance mix. IMO the earlier books in the series are the best ones. She has also written the popular Archangels series. They’re a a bit vampirey for me but you might love them – many do.

I also really liked the Seven series by Dannika Dark. A shifter series with a really different feel from some others. Well-written. And her Cross-breed series is popular too.

Lauren Gilley’s Sons of Rome series. Fascinating, but another one that’s a bit too vampirey for me. Also not too heavy on the romance element. But she is a fantastic writer.

I liked The Snowfang Bride by Merry Ravenell but I’m *still* waiting for the sequel :(

Thea Harrison’s Elder Races

Grace Draven’s Wraith Kings

There’s a lot of good stuff out there, Jenna. Enjoy!

MichelleS February 21, 2019 at 5:23 PM

Sons of Rome series, Lauren Gilley. Fantastic writing. Low on romance, big on characters & story building.

The Weaving Man – amazing writing, super cool world building, unforgettable characters. Very light on romance.

Jan February 21, 2019 at 5:27 PM

Ha ha Michelle. Great minds…….

MichelleS February 21, 2019 at 5:29 PM

Elemental Mysteries series, Elizabeth Hunter.

The Tairen Soul Series, by CL Wilson. (My all time favorite fantasy series)

I’m with you on this… story trumps romance. All these stories have stuck with me. Hope you give some of them a try. I could just add to this list all dang day. I’m going to check back for others’ recs so I can check them out too.

Woop woop. Love this post!

MichelleS February 21, 2019 at 5:35 PM

And Sarah J Maas’s series: Throne of Glass & Court of Thorns and Roses

Fantasy? Check. Light romance? Check. Love love loved these books.

MichelleS February 21, 2019 at 5:38 PM

Jan – can you believe I never read the psy-changing books? Those were my library book days & they never had first book. Worth going back now? I feel like that ship has sailed. Like Anita Blake, BDB, and Lara Aidrian… I just feel “meh” now about them.

josh dale February 21, 2019 at 8:14 PM

The Chronicles of the earned. Meraki P. Lyhnne Is an amazing Paranormal Series set in a rich and vivid story world and with excellently developed characters.

Jan February 21, 2019 at 8:21 PM

Michelle I’m not rapt in the later books in the series. I feel as if (to use an Aussie saying) the writer is flogging a dead horse now. She needs to move on to something else.

But, I recently reread the first book, Slave To Sensation, and it still stands up really well IMO. You could give it a try. I remember Kiss of Snow was really good too. Maybe I should try rereading that one and see whether I still like it. The romance is front and centre in these books, but they also have a strong and interesting storyline with good world-building.

But I know exactly what you mean about us moving on from previously loved authors. It definitely happens.

Nay February 21, 2019 at 8:43 PM

All I did was go through my PNR/UF shelf on GR and mention the ones I’ve read that I was pretty sure didn’t focus on romance. I didn’t realize how may different series I’d read back when I was mostly reading PnR.

I tried to read Slave to Sensation and just couldn’t get into it. Nowadays, I probably would though. Same with Kate Daniels. I think I read 3 of those and always felt bad because I didn’t love them like everyone else did.

I’ll also agree the Lauren Gilley is a fantastic writer!

Michelle–I got meh with Anita Blake. I was really loving them in the beginning, and then I felt like things starting happening kinda for shock factor and I had to give it up. But I loved the first 10 or so of them. Same with Lara Adrian. I read the first 11 and then I got stuck on #12, so I abandoned the series. I guess I need to skim through that book just to get it read so that I can continue with a series that I really loved.

And now I’m seeing some series I hadn’t heard of, so more on the tbr–yay!

Ash February 21, 2019 at 9:24 PM

Sarah J. Maas Throne of Glass series. The first book takes a bit to get into but books 3 through 6 are absolutely 6 star! I love everything she writes but the amount of plotting she had to do to bring this full circle is impressive. I highly, highly recommend. Its about a female assassin and while there is a romance on the side, it is not the driver of the story by any means.

Also, try Cruel Prince by Holly Black. Book 2 just released and it will be a trilogy. Awesome writing and unique story!!

Jenna February 21, 2019 at 10:31 PM

I’m with you Michelle that some of the more traditionally popular book series that I used to love have “sailed” for me. They might have held my interest when I was first devouring paranormal-type books because the genre was new to me, but now they just seen so formulaic and mainstream. And like Nay, I was into the Anita Blake series for quite awhile, but as her “harem” grew, my interest diminished. I’ve gone back to Black Dagger Brotherhood a few times; I like, but no longer love it, but do wish other authors wrote their heroes/heroines like she does – with imperfections (I prefer a heroine who isn’t “beautiful”). I also wanted to give a recommendation to ya’ll – The Graveyard Queen series by Amanda Stevens. Thank you all for your recommendations and to Maryse for posting my request. If you think of any newer books with a fresh storyline, I’d love to hear about it!

Nay February 21, 2019 at 11:27 PM

Jenna–I LOVE the Graveyard Queen series! Love the Gothic feel to it. I inhaled the first 3 books, and then while time passed, I started reading many other things besides PnR/UF, so I haven’t read the final 3. So I guess I have something to look forward to! Also, the covers of the first 3 books are some of my favorites, especially The Restorer.

Julie February 21, 2019 at 11:52 PM

I don’t normally read a lot of paranormal but this series really pulled me in. I read it about 6 or 7 years ago and it still blows my mind with the ending. Grey Eyes by Quinteria Ramey and Brandon Alston. There are 3 books in the series and first one is free on Amazon. Here is the link. https://www.amazon.com/Grey-Eyes-Forever-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B004UGM69S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1550810791&sr=8-1&keywords=brandon+alston

Grey February 22, 2019 at 9:51 AM

I was going to throw in The Bargainer series by Laura Thalassa (I just finished this series.)
The Black Daggar Brotherhood (at least the first 6 or so) by J.R. Ward
The Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris
A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas.
I read a great Fantasy this past summer, but the next book doesn’t come out until this summer and I’m kind of dying a little inside waiting for it. The Raging Ones by Krista & Becca Ritchie.

Merry Taina February 22, 2019 at 11:17 PM

Hi Maryse
I am looking for books that deal with a open marriage or swinging lifestyle that goes wrong…like the couples fall in love with the other swinging
Partner.

marina February 24, 2019 at 9:34 PM

Cruel Prince and Wicked King for sure!

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