Apr 13 2011 11:00am

You Are What You Like to Read: A Book-Selling Savant’s Recs, Pt. 2

Gentlemen Prefer Succubi by Jill MylesIn the first section of this post, I discussed how I discovered my true calling—that of a book-selling savant—and offered recommendations for non-romance. Now I move to another section of the store and offer some thoughts on romance books. 

This next grouping of series is shelved in the romance section, so you may have heard of or read some if not all of these books. If you’ve read a lot of these hybrid titles, you know many—but not all—feature very intense sexuality. These are definitely not your mother’s paranormal romance.

I loved selling to readers who were willing to go back and forth between sections of the bookstore. Some of these books I put into the hands of those cross-over readers. Others I recommended to romance readers so that perhaps down the line they might cross over into urban fantasy. Still others I recommended to urban fantasy readers who were open-minded enough not to let stereotypes about romance stop them from discovering a whole new world of books. Chances are that if you like one or more of the more popular series listed, you might like some of the lesser-known ones as well.

Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson

  • Jill Myles’ Succubus Diaries (I’m not sure why these are housed in romance as the heroine has two gorgeous preternatural males at her disposal)
  • MaryJanice Davidson’s Queen Betsy, Wyndham Werewolves, and Fred the Mermaid series (my favorite series by her is actually her Alaskan Royal Family alternate history trilogy)
  • Marjorie M. Liu’s Dirk and Steele series
  • Rhyannon Byrd’s Primal books (particularly for BDB and Dirk & Steele lovers)
  • J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood and Fallen Angels series
  • Angela Knight’s Mageverse series
  • Sarah McCarty’s Shadow Wranglers and Dark Haven series
  • Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld
  • And for those who don’t mind getting their full freak on, Lora Leigh’s Breeds (SF romance rather than urban fantasy, but I couldn’t resist including it—how often does one get the chance to talk about freaking fully?—even though I think it’s just about run out of steam).

Which of these series/books have you read...and liked? Which do you think you might try? Oh, before I forget, I've got another tentative series to add to my list. I've not read enough of Jennifer Lyon's Wing Slayer Hunter series to commit fully to it, but based on the just-released Night Magic, which I liked tremendously, I'd try to hand-sell it like mad were I still at B&N.

Based on my selections, what would you recommend to me, one savant to another?


Laurie Gold cannot stop reading and writing about romance—she’s been blabbing online for years. She remains a work in progress. Be one of the few who visits her at Toe in the Water or follow her may-be-too-political-for-you tweets at @laurie_gold.

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Rachel Hyland
1. RachelHyland
Great list! Special big ups for MaryJanice Davidson and Gena Showalter, along with Dirk and Steele -- and the BDB, of course. Plus Lora Leigh... hoo boy.

For you, I'd suggest Carrie Vaughn's Kitty Norville, Katie MacAlister's Dark Ones and Silver Dragon, Lynsay Sands's Argeneau Vampires, Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Underworld and Larissa Ione's Demonica.

I have yet to read any of the Wing Slayer Hunter series, but based on your rec, I look forward to checking it out. Although, wait... am I reading you right? Does this mean that you've read the series out of order? Isn't Night Magic the third book? How were you able to start with it? I simply cannot do this. It makes me feel all weird, and then I need to have a lie down.
Donna Cummings
2. Donna Cummings
I hope I'm not adding one that you mentioned earlier, but I'm a huge Kresley Cole fan, and her Immortals After Dark series makes me very happy. I will probably go into a decline if she ever stops writing books for it. LOL
Megan Frampton
4. MFrampton
Like @RachelHyland, I need to go lie down if you're reading series out of order. Almost as bad as pulling the cotton out of medicine bottles (eek!, and my own weirdness).

I need to read the Jill Myles now. I also think the Byrd sounds intriguing. Thanks for the recs, Laurie.
Laurie Gold
5. LaurieGold
Rachel and Donna -

Sometimes I have no choice but to read a series out of order, although I prefer to start with the first in these types of series. I had to start the D&S series with a book very far in; the same with the BDB and Mercy Thompson books. I take it as a very good sign when I am able to jump in mid-stream like that. Other series did not fare nearly as well when I was assigned a book mid-stream. As a book-seller, I always recommended started at the beginning, which is why it was so hard with the Lori Handeland series I mentioned in part one; I tried to keep each of the books on-hand at all times so I could try and sell them as a unit.

I've read a few of the Armstrong books, but find I like her best when there's a strong romantic component. As for Lynsay Sands, I've read a number of her historicals and liked them, yet have read just one of her vampire books. I'll be on the lookout for more. Thanks for the other recs, you two. So many books, so little time.
6. VickiJ
I like that you included Jill Myles' Succubus Diaries :) and I second the suggestion of Larissa Ione's Demonica series and third Kresley Cole's IAD, but I would also suggest Karen Marie Moning's Highlander series (she moved into Urban Fantasy with her Fever series - which I love - but the Highlanders are Para Romance).
7. bungluna
Of all the writers mentioned, I've read 5. I'm currently only reading one of them; the other series stopped holding my interest somewhere along the way.

Other writers I'd recommend not mentioned already are:
- Shelley Laurenston (dragons, shifters, basically anything by her!)
- Patricia Briggs (Alpha & Omega)
- Ilona Andrews (The Edge and Kate Daniels)
- Jim Butcher (Dresden files; I know it's not paranormal but it's great!)
- Eileen Wilks (World of the Lupi series)
- Mercedes Lakey (500 kingdoms)

I'm currently following something like 50 series. Readaholic, who me?
Amber Lovvorn
8. vannahboosmom
Love,love, love my Black Dagger Brotherhood. I also love Shelly Laurenston. I know there are quite a few other series I've read that aren't mentioned but I will have to go check my Goodreads account and report back.
Laurie Gold
9. LaurieGold
Part one of my piece, which went online yesterday, featured Patricia Briggs for both the Alpha & Omega books and her Mercy Thompson books. Yesterday's recommendations were for books in the SFF section of the bookstore. Today's recommendations are for books in the Romance section.

I've tried Laurenston a couple of times. For me her humor is somewhat forced, but I still have some of her stuff TBR.

If you like Jim Butcher, check out part one of my piece...there's a recommendation that works really well for fans of his work
Amber Lovvorn
10. vannahboosmom
I checked what I've read on my GoodReads account (this is the only way to keep up with what I've read) and i would also recommend :

•Vivian Andrews - Forces of Nature series
•Sydney Croft - ACRO Series
•Nora Roberts - Circle Trilogy

Out of these three authors my favorite would be Sydney Croft.
Ivy D. Truitt
11. ivydtruitt
I've read both articles & enjoyed them. I do the same thing, recommend books based on authors people enjoy. It's so special when they come in & tell you how they enjoyed the book(s). Talking books w/ the customers is my favorite part of the job.
I like Richelle Mead's Succubus series. Another series is Thomas Sniegoski's Remy Chandler series, though they put those in SciFi/Fantasy. I've read most of what you've listed. Some I like & some I didn't care for. Love LL but don't like the Breeds, not into the genetic engineering stuff. That's why I don't much care for that series of Feehan's.
I actually got hooked on vampires years ago w/ Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's St. Germain series and P.N. Elrod's Jack Fleming. Have you read either of those?
So many great books out there, old & new, just waiting to be read....
Carrie Strickler
12. DyslexicSquirrel
I've read MJD's Fred the mermaid series (first two books) and Angela Knight's Mageverse series (I can't remember which book I stopped at), but kind of got derailed on those. I got distracted by other series by other authors...

I kind of forgot about Gena Showalter's Lords of the Underworld series for a while, but I just picked up the last two to catch myself up (I'm reading them inbetween Larissa Ione's Demonica series- I keep skipping back and forth).

I think I may have read one of the Breed books, but it didn't really capture my attention for some reason. It was a while ago and I can't really remember why...

Oh, but the BDB series holds a special place in my heart. I await the books releases like a crack addict, dive into them so deep I can't breath and come up for air only when I'm done lol
Donna Cummings
13. Donna Cummings
@Ivy -- I completely forgot about Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, but I loved her books! I always felt like I learned so much about history, too. I need to go on an archeological dig in my keeper book boxes. There's so much good stuff in there I've forgotten about! (Not that I have time to read any of it. LOL)
Carrie Strickler
14. DyslexicSquirrel
Gah, I got a little carried away and forgot to say anything about recommendations. Who is full of winning? Not me!

I am a recent addict (no pun intended) to Stacia Kane's Downside Ghost series. It's full of urban fantasy goodness. There are currently three books out right now and the series is going to end with six books total.

Also, I absolutely love Lynn Viehl's Darkyn/Kindred series and Karen Marie Monings Fever series (or, pretty much, anything she's ever written- Mmm hunky Highland Druids).
Ivy D. Truitt
15. ivydtruitt
@ Donna Cummings - She's a keeper for me too. One comes out every now & again. Did you read her 3 wives of Dracula trilogy?
I love BDB & Moning, they're keepers too. I've been leery of reading the Angels though..I've heard so many mixed reviews on them. I've got the first 2 in the Estep series. I love Viehl's Darkyn series also..My TBR mountain is a double deep, double wide book case & a few baskets around my chair..better too much to read than too little...
16. CindyS
I've read Ward (but need to catch up), MJD's Undead series and have just bought Gena Showalter's series to see how they work for me.

I would third (fourth?) Kresley Cole and I can't see if anyone has mentioned Nalini Singh's Psy-Changeling series. I have not loved every title of the Singh's series but when she hits, she hits it out of the park!

Laurie Gold
17. LaurieGold
Some terrific recommendations here...thank you! For those who enjoy MJD, I forgot one of my favorites by her, an anthology called Really Unusual Bad Boys. All three stories are hers, and they're set on another world. Funny as hell.
18. wsl0612
Love Immortals After Dark and Lords of the Underworld. I believe that Showalter and Cole are good friends and for some time I suspected they were doppelgangers :-)

It looks like Darynda Jones may be hitting some home runs in this area too, I've got First Grave on the Right in my TBR mountain. I'll probably move it up to the summit this weekend.

I didn't care for Lora Leigh's breeds series. I was seriously irritated by all the "mine, my mate, my, my, my" I really wanted one of the non-breeds to kick a breed in the teeth, it just seemed like the "mates" were all too easily overwhelmed by the breeds.
Carrie Strickler
19. DyslexicSquirrel

Showalter and Cole are indeed friends. I think Nix showed up in one of Showalter's Lords of the Underworld books, but I can't remember which one and if it was actually corroberated lol

I didn't so much care for Leigh's breed series, either. It wasn't the possessiveness, there was just comething... off for me.
Bailey Martin
20. baileynkm
Molly Harper's new series (and all of her work) is great - check out How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf and The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf. I love Harper's writing voice. And the books have naked werewolves in them - need I say more?
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