Tue
Aug 14 2012 2:00pm

Finished with Patricia Briggs? Here’s What Other Authors to Read

Moon Called by Patricia BriggsI am mighty tired of the phrase “kick-ass heroine,” but I’ll tolerate it for this post because it exactly describes what we usually get with a book from Patricia Briggs. Her heroines are not TSTL (too stupid to live) types who go hunting monsters in the basement when it’s obvious they should be hiding. When a Briggs heroine gets in trouble it’s usually not her fault.

The basement monsters come looking for them.

Not all of them are as tough as Mercy Thompson, but when backed into a corner, her heroines never just close their eyes and scream. Yes, okay, sure, sometimes they go to the aid of their friends and the people they love without stopping to worry about themselves but, even when they do rush forward, at least they are smart enough to be afraid and careful. Not the same thing as TSTL, really.

So. First and foremost, I read Briggs for the heroines. What else do I like about her books?

—World-building. I don’t just mean she’s good at setting up and sticking to the list of rules for magic. When Briggs describes a desert, I feel hot.

—Steamy heroes who’d lay down their lives for their women.

With those qualities in mind, here are five authors I would** read while I wait for the next Alpha and Omega or Mercy Thompson book:

The Hob’s Bargain by Patricia Briggs1. Patricia Briggs. She’s more than those contemporary urban fantasy books. She’s written some excellent straight fantasy too. Check out The Hob’s Bargain. Aren fits the Briggs heroine ticket.

2. Kim Harrison does the urban Fantasy and world building deluxe. At the start of the series, her heroine, Rachel Morgan, occasionally rushed into things without thinking and didn’t fit the mold of “too smart to go to the basement” heroine I look for, but she’s apparently growing up. Even as she gains more power, she seems to be getting smarter and more careful. I appreciate character growth in a series. The books have fun secondary characters, a world of demons running alongside a magical version of Cincinnati which adds up to a rich series. Some of the books are impossible to understand unless you’ve read the others. Some actually do stand-alone. Poor old Rachel had a rocky love life (I’m still not sure if I think she should end up with the guy I’m fairly sure will be her main love interest) but the rest of her life is more than interesting enough.

One Grave at a Time by Jeaniene Frost3. Jeaniene Frost. Her main character, Cat, first struck me as pure TSTL. But oookay, I bought the fact there’s a reason she would go out hunting vampires—she’d been raised to take those chances. I didn’t fall in love with Frost’s books right away, but read them anyway. Now? I love them. I like Cat and I like Bones and want to spend time with them. I’m an addict. I particularly like the books set in Cat’s world that feature other characters.

4. Ilona Andrews. True, the main heroine, Kate Daniels, started out the series looking for trouble, but in this case I forgive her recklessness because she’s good at it and it’s her job as a mercenary. They (Ilona and Andrew, the co-writing wife-and-husband team) portray a really interesting Atlanta that exists after magic flooded the world—a magic that occasionally recedes. The magical creatures and the magical waves are interesting variations on the usual themes. Curran, Kate’s love interest, is majorly kick-ass.

Andrews’s latest book, Gunmetal Magic, is set in the same world with another main character. Andrea seems an awful lot like Kate in that she hates to lose a fight, and also has an intensely competitive, rough relationship with her love interest. A lot of the dialogue and the savage funny way she and her man play tricks on each other echoes Kate and Curran’s. Hey, it works. Must be an alpha shapeshifter thing.

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris5. Charlaine Harris. Even after eleven books, and occasionally inexplicable behavior, her Sookie Stackhouse is still one of my favorite heroines. She’s sensible and does what has to be done. Sookie might mope or get unreasonably angry, but she’s self-aware and snaps out of it. And by now she feels like a relative who can do almost anything and you forgive her because you have history together.

**I would read books by these authors, except I already have. I’m about to start Trinity Feagan’s Mephisto Covenant because a friend who likes Briggs suggested it. I need more names. For some reason, Rachel Caine and Nalini Singh books haven’t grabbed me. Should I try again? As proved by the Frost example, I can be talked into retrying a book.

 


Kate Rothwell writes romance using her own name and the pseudonym Summer Devon. She lives in Connecticut with four men (three of whom are her sons). You can out more about her at KateRothwell.com and SummerDevon.com.

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34 comments
smushybird
1. smushybird
Always amazes me when a list like this doesn't include Rob Thurman. She's got heroes and heroines who kick ass as thoroughly and entertainingly in all her PNR series.
Lege Artis
2. LegeArtis
I'm huge Patty Briggs and Ilona Andrews fan- reread, T-shirts and all...
Another series I got sucked in is Downside Ghosts series by Stacia Kane, so I recommend to try it...
smushybird
3. Hell Cat
I use kick-ass heroine occasionally, but I like the term alpha female because that's what Mercy, Cat, etc are. I'm not a fan of Kate Daniels. I read the first book and wasn't enthused. I think, in part, because I'm from Atlanta. This is my home turf and it felt too strange for it not to be my town. And as much as I liked Sookie in the beginning, she felt a little TSTL multiple times by book 6 and 7.

I tend to read a lot of the strong women type characters. I mean, my teenage years were full of Xena and Buffy. In the written world, you have Moira Rogers' Southern Arcana series, which is full of smart, kicking women who do more than play the ditzy co-ed who runs upstairs and is surprised she's gonna die by window jump. I also like Lily Yu by Eileen Wilks because clearly an alpha character but she's not afraid to ask for help when needed, either. There's nuances. Just as I love Gin Blanco by Estep. At times, she runs into situations rashly but she also knows her limits and skillsets. If she gets caught, if she gets hurt, she waits until she can do more when the body allows. She also has that core group when needed.

I read a Singh for a class and wasn't really into the Psy-Changelings at all. I didn't get the hype and most of my classmates didn't, either. There was something missing there. Kind of like Leigh's books: they're interesting for the world but not the character interactions for the most part. I need strength of character, too.
Jordan R
4. jrojrojro
I'm a die hard, pre-order the books as soon as they come available Briggs fan, so this post was very exciting for me. I would say perhaps to retry the Singh books, especially the archangel series. There is some drama, but I like that Elena develops her own strengths in a world where she starts out as a weaker link.

I also really loved C.L. Wilson's series. It's complete (5 books), and is high fantasy romance. Again, the heroine starts out as a "weaker" person in a world of very strong magical beings, but she grows both emotionally and in magic ability.

I've had many people tell me that Carolyn Crane's books are an awesome UF series, but during the first book I just wanted to shake the main character and tell her to quit being so lame. Anyone want to convince me I should carry on?
smushybird
5. Arthemise
But I've read all these! :) Need more books...
Carmen Pinzon
6. bungluna
Shelly Laurenston has a shifter series and a dragon series, both of which are loaded with alpha females and bawdy humor.
smushybird
7. Nicole1000
love Briggs! have loved all of the mercy books and the rest of her backlist (Dragon Bones/Dragon Blood and Raven's Shadow/Strike also great). you explained her heroines well: they aren't tstl, they know they aren't the biggest/baddest things out there and they try to plan accordingly. Ilona Andrews is very similiar. I also second the Rob Thurman suggestion and would add Dresden Files. I am also looking for similiar books/characters!

Although not exactly similiar (much more hiliarious and over the top), I do like Shelly Laurenston,
Kate Rothwell
8. KateRothwell
Oh of course, Wilks. I've read and enjoyed her books. I've never heard of Rob Thurman or Moira Rogers so this is extremely cool.

And I'm going to have to try Laurenston and Wilson. ... and Jennifer Estep. THANK YOU!

I thank you but my wallet screams noooooooooo.......
smushybird
9. Sharon Hannaford
Keri Arthur does a couple of great series with "Alpha female" leads. Riley Jensen has a definite "Mercy" quality to her, and the romance isn't OTT. Set in Keri's native Australia (over the pond from me in New Zealand), so gives a nice change of scenery. Also give Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter series a bash, it's completely different to the Psy-changelings series, not so much PNR and more UF. I second the Dresden files (even though he occasionally brushes up against TSTL scenarios)
smushybird
10. Sharon Hannaford
Oh yes, and Hell Cat - did you know you have a namesake in the UF book world??? I think you've stolen my kick-ass heroine ;-) Do you have a cat named Razor???
smushybird
11. Hell Cat
Kate,the nice thing with Estep is that her series have little nods to others. Not in the same universe as so much tongue in cheek. Her superheroine series and the world of Elemental Assassins
is mentioned in her Frost series. I like that kind of tongue-in-cheek. Gin is an assassin in a pretty difficult and sometimes miserable world with some Robin Hood tendencies.


Sharon, I didn't know that! I picked the name because I've been called it before by men I know. I thought it was nifty and shelved it for later use. And now I've purchased the book. No cat named Razor but now I'm intrigued. Sounds like a cat ready to bust out some wicked claws. Here kitty, kitty indeed.

And I fail again because I didn't like Dresden, either. I know! I don't understand it either with a character like Murphy around. Dresden himself fell into my Harry Potter character category (good book, annoying lead character).
ain
12. ain020596
I LOVE Briggs's Mercy Series!:)
You should definitely try Jennifer Estep's Elemental Assassin series, and Singh's Guild Hubter series. I adore Elena, and the world Singh create just intrigues me.

Marjorie M. Liu's Hunter Kiss series is less known but terrific. Rachel Caine's Weather Warden series is pretty good too, but the series has completed:)

I love Kate Daniels and Cat's books, but the Sookie Stackhouse series always felt too choppy for me, and I never liked Sookie.
smushybird
13. JenniferH
I recommend the Riley Jenson books by Keri Arthur - unlike Hell Cat, one of the reasons I enjoy these books, apart from the kick-ass heroine, is that they are set in Melbourne, my home town.
smushybird
14. Karen M.
Kelley Armstrong's Otherworld series. Love it!!!

Can't wait to try all these other recommendations. Reading Frost books for first time now. :)
Shiloh Walker
15. shiloh_walker
@hellcat... you might want to try the second KD book. Each book gets so much better. A lot of people didn't love the first, but after the second they were hooked. :)

Ilona Andrews, Stacia Kane, Jeaniene Frost and Patricia Briggs are my go-to reads for UF. :) I do love Carolyn Crane's stuff, too.
smushybird
16. Hell Cat
@KarenM, I can't believe I forgot Armstrong. You're right. Her women are strong, though I'm sad the series is over. (I'm keeping the last two books for a rainy day.)


@Shiloh, you promise they get better? Because I was so bored by the first one that I kinda wanted to rock falls everyone. In the class I took on UF/PR this spring, it was on the list but cut (the first book). Maybe I'll read it later this fall. I'd need to reread the first since it's been a few years.
smushybird
17. Julie Fortier
I loved all of the books --but I'm not a big Cat & Bones fan. I LOVE Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter's books, Jennifer Estep's the Spider assassins, Stacia Kane's Chess series...she's flawed, has a drug problem and to me, the most realistic in a fantasy world. Also love Keri Arthur's, Kim Harrison, and Charlaine Harris.(her other series Lily Bard & Harper Connelly are so good but she's only written a few of them. Hoping she'll write more once Sookie Stackhouse ends.) Kevin Hearne, Jim Butcher's Harry Desmond series,(tho I have to say the men have a comic bookish feel to their books..) Kelly Meding, Ct Adams are pretty good, but love Suzanne McLeod's Spellcracker series and Carrie Vaughn's Kitty series. Oh and one more favorite? Faith Hunter's Jane Yellowrock series. So many favorites here! There are some I can't stand and refuse to read but I am not a critic so in order to preserve authors dignity I won't mention them. I know what I hate, others love...and I am just one person.
Thank you to the people above who have listed other authors -- I fully intend to look them up. I'm always looking for more great authors!
I hope I haven't missed any of my favorites on here...I adore all of them. Authors are my heroes and I get tongue tied and so very excited when they reply to any of my comments on Facebook.
smushybird
18. Julie Fortier
OMG..totally forgot Diana Rowlands!!! Another huge favorite!!.... Like I said, I know I've forgotten some but she definitely needs to be mentioned.
smushybird
19. Lexine Reilly Chapman
I see many of my favorite authors in these comments. Jim Butcher's wife (Shannon K Butcher) also writes a good series... and Harper Blaine, Kat Richardson's Greywalker, is a no nonesense heroine...
smushybird
20. Vannessa V
Love all these series except for Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels series, only because it's on my to-be-read pile and I haven't gotten round to reading it yet.

I also love the Shifters series by Rachel Vincent, the Sabina Kane series by Jaye Wells. Chicagoland Vampires by Chloe Neill and the first few books of the Anita Blake series by Laurell K Hamilton (before the ardeur sets in!). All have kick ass heroines, although some of them do have TSTL moments as well!

Not tried the Guild Hunter series by Nalini Singh so might give that one a try although I didn't particularly like her Psy-Changeling series - far too predictable and soppy and not nearly enough action, blood and gore for my liking! I need a bit more kick-ass than those books and suffered through 8 of them. Have 2 more to go on my Kindle if I ever get round to reading them, but I doubt it!
Kate Rothwell
21. KateRothwell
Has anyone read the Trinity Faegan book(s) my friend recommended? It's YA and I can't tell if that's because the heroine is young or if the books are better for young people. There's such a difference.

I just read an excellent YA with an alpha heroine that worked for me. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor--I loved the author's imagination. I count it as one of the best reads this month. The only problem: her next one isn't out and I have to wait.

Thank you for all the suggestions. My TBR list is always scary. Now it's terrifying.
Glass Slipper
22. GlassSlipper
If I could only suggest one to try if you haven't, it would be the Downside Ghosts series by Stacia Kane. This is hands-down, my favorite UF series. Chess is kick-butt, but not because she is physically strong. It's because she has not given up, despite all the horrible things that have happened to her. She has kept trudging through. I adore her. And Terrible.

Kalayna Price's Alex Craft series is another favorite. Alex is literally courting Death! And he's dreamy. :)
ann ivey
23. annie
Patricia Briggs' Mery Thompson & Alpha & Omega series along with CE Murphy's The Walker Papers are my absolute faves! I have to have them as soon as they are released. I read them from cover-to-cover in like, 15 seconds, & then I read them again so I can catch what I missed the first time. *grin*

I've read some Nalini Singh psy-changeling books & liked them ok.

I also enjoyed Angela Knight's Mageverse. I think the last book in the series is coming out soon which makes me sad.
smushybird
24. Teresa C
Faith Hunter - Jane Yellowrock series
CE Murphy - The Walker Papers
Michelle Sagara - Chronicles of Elantra (more fantasy)
Wen Spencer - Tinker series (Fantasy with physics thrown in) and the Ukiah Oregon series(UF).
Eileen Wilks - Lupi series

The first 3 series are absolutely wonderful in Audiobook format. The last 2 series aren't available, but are worth buying in paper and ebook.
smushybird
25. Sharon Hannaford
Kate, please don't get too tired of the kick-ass chicks lit - this has been the best thread I've read for ages! Not all KA chicks are bad! Some great recommendations.

Hell Cat: you're not alone disliking characters everyone else seems to love - Stacia Kane's Chess does my head in, I just can't like her and everyone else (see above) does. I also tried Kate Daniels Book 1 years ago and didn't enjoy it, maybe I should give book 2 a bash as I keep seeing people recommending the series. Did you really buy my book? If so, thanks :-) I think you'll like Razor!

Julie: I'm only a new author, but I'll talk to you on Facebook :-) Look me up! Author Sharon Hannaford
smushybird
26. bejeweledcat
I second Carrie Vaughn's Kitty Norville series. Being a werewolf, she is quite literally an alpha female!

Tip top, very favorite of ALL my reading lists is Gini Koch's Kitty Katt, heroine of Touched by an Alien. Koch's Kitty is smart, sarcastic, unconventional and a great foil for more conventional males surounding her. Really funny books, the series never fails to make me smile.
smushybird
27. Coleen K
You list is outstanding! I love all these authors and they are all on my auto buy list.
No one has mentioned Devon Monk's Allie Beckstrom series yet, so let me be the first. This series is fantastic and just the kind of heroine you're looking for. The series is going to be 9 books and book 8 will be released in October I believe.

I'm also surprised that Karen Marie Moning's Fever series is not mentioned, it's located in PNR but it really is more UF. Makalya starts off as a very weak heroine (and sometimes annoying) but by the end of ther series she is awesome. This series is complete so you can read all 5 books in a row, which is good becasue a few of them end on cliff hangers! It was so painful waiting for the next book in the series.

Also, Karen Chance's Cassie Palmer series is excellent.

I will also second the nods to:

Chloe Neill's Chicagoland Vampires
Keri Arthur's Riley Jensen
Carrie Vaughn's Kitty Norville
Jay Wells' Sabina Kane
Kalayna Price's Alex Croft

I've read all the above and love them all.

I also like Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series (the sex get's crazy in book 10 but I have stuck with the series becasue it's the first UF that I read and the last few books have been very good - there are now 20 books in ther series). LKH also writes another series, her Merry Gentry books which are about the fey, I really like those too, but then again there is a LOT of sex in those.
smushybird
28. Hell Cat
@Sharon Hannaford, I did indeed buy the book. I really liked the premise. Plus, cat named Razor and a Hellcat of your own.

I've never read Kane based on the reviews I read. They weren't for me after I looked up the books after said reviews. Not my cuppa. Glad to know I'm not alone. And that Kate Daniels was off-putting someone else. I'm also the girl who doesn't like Ward's books. They don't fit well. I'm pretty picky.


@ColeenK, I forgot about Cassie and Dory. I really love both of the strong women. Cassie does what's needed, no matter what. And Dory doesn't use her family name to survive; she's scary on her own. Both have no problem taunting the various councils without care.
smushybird
29. Staceyb
Great list! I would add Kelly Gay's Charlie Madigan Series, Jenna Maclaine's Cin Craven series, Jocelynn Drake's Dark Days Series, Richelle Meade's Georgina Kincaid Series and Dark Swann Series, Sierra Dean's Secret McQueen Series, and Jill Myles Succubus Diaries. :)
smushybird
30. jendex
I'd add one more to the list that I haven't seen yet...Seanan Mcguire's October Daye series. She tries to keep her head down and do the right thing, but it usually doesn't work out that well for her!

I'll second (third? fourth? tenth??) the recommendations for Shelly Laurenston - LOL funny alpha females who know exactly who they are and what they want. LOVE her stuff!!

Kelley Armstrong and the women of the Otherworld - brilliant.

And more sci fi than UF, but the entire Liaden Universe by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. I reread the entire series every couple of years without fail. Absolutely brilliant.

Thanks for all the suggestions! Pulled some new names out of the lists which is only a problem because I do actually have to work! :)
smushybird
31. kim dupre
Try Thea Harrison. She has great kick ass heroines and heroes. Love her books!!
Chrissy Woodall
32. paganchick75
Totally agree with Richelle Meade's Georgina Kincaid! Also Kendall Grey, she's more PNR than UF and she's super sweet on Facebook! Still love Hamilton, Harris. Also love Liu, Singh, Briggs etc.
Kate Rothwell
33. KateRothwell
I'm just now reading Jennifer Estep. Other than the mention of her eye color too often, I'm loving the books.
smushybird
34. Klc12
Tamara Pierce is great, her stuff is mostly classified as YA but she does great world building and her heroines are impressive. Her Tortall universe consists of 5 different series plus shorts. Her Cirlce of Magic and Circle Opens series connect and have 2 more books after those.
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