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If You Like Night Huntress…Read Jane Jameson

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If You Like... feature at Vampire Book ClubA recent Molly Harper binge got me thinking again about the differences between urban fantasy and paranormal romance. Ultimately, I don’t think it really matters. Read what you like. Who cares what they call it? But I’m still a word nerd so I’m compelled to contemplate.

Harper’s Jane Jameson series falls into that awkward space between UF and PNR (VBC’s review of Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs). It’s not technically a romance because the happily ever after is at the end of the series, not at the end of each book. But much like Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series, which actually says paranormal romance on the cover, even though it isn’t (except for the NH World books featuring Spade and Mencheres) the relationship is a huge part of the story. (VBC’s review of Halfway to the Grave)

Jane and Cat each get off to a rough start with their respective older sire/vampire boyfriends though. Cat tries to stake Bones and ends up chained to a wall, while Jane and Gabriel have brawls that destroy the furniture and end with sex on the staircase (or on the living room floor surrounded by pieces of the coffee table). While there’s no Chapter 32, Harper’s characters certainly have more steamy scenes than the average UF.

When they’re not being sexy, Bones and Gabriel share that annoying alpha tendency to withhold information in the name of protecting their mates. And their pasts come back to bite both women anyway. Jane still gets kidnapped by her boyfriend’s old enemy, but Harper doesn’t go as dark and torture-y.

Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs by Molly Harper // VBCIn general, Jane is a kinder, gentler, geekier heroine than Cat. If Cat is the comic book heroine, Jane is the fangirl. Cat battles the supernatural as part of an FBI task force and Jane researches it in a bookstore. I suspect that Austen-obsessed Jane would get a kick out of Bones’ British friends, especially Spade.

Had Ian been born in Kentucky, he might even been a little like Dick Cheney (the vampire not the former Vice President) who drives an El Camino and wears t-shirts with rude sayings on them like “Home is where the pants aren’t.” Ian and Dick share the same let’s call it “a way with women.” Though again, Dick is a kinder, gentler version. He takes Jane out to get in bar fights, but doesn’t actually try to kill her.

Jane and Cat both have dysfunctional families that include eccentric, overbearing and often hilarious mothers. Jane’s sister sues her and steals her knickknacks, while her grandmother disparages her at family gatherings and also steals her knickknacks. Ok, I guess Cat’s father still wins the evil ancestor award.

And both heroines have ghostly relatives who help spy on their enemies when they choose to cooperate. Though Jane’s Aunt Jettie gets distracted making out with other ghosts rather than trying to infiltrate secret government compounds. It’s probably a good thing Cat has Fabian for backup.

If you’re a fan of this sub-genre, which I’m calling sexy urban fantasy (I’d also include authors like Keri Arthur and S.J. Harper), but sometimes you want something that’s not so dark, check out Molly Harper’s Jane Jameson series, starting with Nice Girls Dont Have Fangs.

From VBC/Chelsea: We are having fun with our If You Like… series. If there’s a recommendation you’d like, feel free to leave a comment and we’ll see if we can add a post for you!

5 Responses to “If You Like Night Huntress…Read Jane Jameson”

  1. Amy says:

    I love both of these series. It’s always so interesting when a If You Like…. blog post is done because the similarities are really brought to the foreground. Like your comparison between Ian and Dick. I don’t know if I ever would have thought of these two characters as similar on their own, but side-by-side you really see how they could almost cross over into each other respective series / books.

    Great post!

  2. Ok I was a little confused about you pairing these two series together since they are like apples and oranges but yeah I can see it now. The whole what is this is present in both series. They have elements of both UF and PNR. I don’t care what they are labeled I like both of them!

  3. Thanks for the comparison and for giving a name to the sub-genre. I do prefer darker novels so I’m a huge fan of Cat & Bones, but now I have a good idea what reading Molly Harper would be like so I’ve filed the info away for possible future enjoyment!

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