Okay, it might be a little obvious that I like Kresley Cole. Her Immortals After Dark series is hot, sexy, complex, and action-packed—so what’s not to love! While we’re waiting for the next couple in the IAD series (and I assume you’ve finished the latest book in her Arcana Chronicles), there are a lot of authors who can supplement your shelves while you wait. There’s a lot to love and a lot of authors who offer up some of the same elements, so if you like…
I Can Show You the World…Kresley’s Worldbuilding
All of these books mentioned have spectacular worldbuilding—an element essential for any good paranormal romance. The Lords of the Underworld series by Gena Showalter offers up a world filled with strong warriors possessed with the demons that escaped Pandora’s Box—a box the warriors were charged with, and failed to, protect. For those in the know, Gena and Kresley are best writer buddies in real life. What could this mean, you ask? There has been a lot of overlap between the series which makes reading the two series an even bigger joy—Nix makes an appearance in Gena’s Darkest Whisper, the LotU get a passing mention in Lothaire and Cole’s Carrow has a YouTube video in The Darkest Lie. That alone would be a reason for any Cole fan to read this series, but it’s also worth reading for it’s dark world, captivating and tortured alpha heroes, and the heroines who change them and literally accept their demons.
Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series built a completely different world for us. Switch out the Lykae for Changelings, and imagine the calculating Kaderin the Cold-hearted as the Psy, and you can start to understand the appeal of the Psy-Changelings for Cole fans. The Psy loosen up under the more earthy appetites of the Changelings, and the tensions between the two factions propel the storyline forward.
Let the Good Times Role…Kresley’s New Orleans
I’m relatively new to the world of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark-Hunters, but the thing I've loved most about them is how rich New Orleans culture is in this series. In the first book, Night Pleasures, we meet Amanda Devereaux, a skeptic in a family of psychics…and vampire hunters. As in Kresley’s Immortals After Dark series, Kenyon’s Dark-Hunters series uses much of the built-in mystique of the city to augment the mysteries and paranormal elements found in Dark Hunters.
Another series that really uses New Orleans as a device is the Seven Deadly Sins series by Erin McCarthy. Unfortunately only three books were completed in the series. If that was always the plan, they maybe should have renamed it, but with that tiny wrinkle aside it is a great series. Very dark in comparison to the light rom-coms (both of the contemporary and paranormal variety) McCarthy became famous for, and packed with elements of voodoo, curses, and demons—all perfect for the backdrop of New Orleans.
Turning Up the Temperature…Kresley’s Heat
Cole’s IAD series is known just as much for its heat, as it is for its couples. Larissa Ione’s Demonica Series offers up much of the same dynamic. The series originally was written to follow the loves and lives of three Seminus demons, something like an incubus but more virile (if that can be believed). Larissa was only signed on for a three-book deal and luckily, for her and for all of us adoring readers, the series has expanded to include more of the original Demonica series and a spin-off series, Lords of Deliverance. With a Seminus demon comes sex. And lots of it. Ione also has something in common with Cole—many of her couples are opposites-attract. Pleasure Unbound features a demon and a demon slayer. Desire Unchained focuses on a demon cursed to fade away if he falls in love—and the woman he’s forcibly bonded to, and finally Passion Unleashed finds a vampire/demon who finally found himself wanting to fall in love—with the woman he must kill.
One Bite with a Stranger by Christine Warren introduces us to the world of The Others—vampires, werewolves, witches, and fairies; if it’s magical it’s in The Others. It also introduces us to a group of friends who help each other fulfill their “Fantasy Fixes.” In the first book, Regina is too inhibited to join in the fun with her other friends so she throws out a fantasy she knows her friends will never fulfill—a vampire. Fortunately, Regina’s friends actually do fulfill this fantasy by taking her to the Vampire Ball where she finds Dmitri, not only a real vampire, but also a member of The Council of The Others. The series quickly develops from the fleeting fulfillment of fantasies, to a real world with competing factions, a dangerous realm of fairies, but still maintains the heat that got you to pick up One Bite to begin with. So go ahead, read it…fulfill some fantasies!
Do you agree with these picks? What else would you recommend?
Jennifer Proffitt is a Midwest transplant to New York City. She spends most of her time reading and writing about romance, but you can follow her other adventures on Twitter @JennProffitt. She works for Heroes and Heartbreakers and Criminal Element.