Making the Paranormal Romance Starter Kit


VBC wants to know...Last week we asked for your help in assembling the ultimate urban fantasy starter kit — those books that are musts for the genre. And, wow, did you ever have suggestions. We loved it. (And we know we weren’t alone in adding tons of great books to our to-read list.) From the quintessential Charles de Lint to Kim Harrison and Rachel Vincent to Jaye Wells and Nicole Peeler. You were all over the place, and it was fantastic. We’ll give it a little more time, and then we’ll tally up the responses and give you the top suggestions for the UF starter kit, but right now we’re turning our attention to paranormal romance.

While lots of favorite urban fantasy novels have romantic elements, we’re focusing on the books where the main plot of the story is a love story influenced by the preternatural. So, help us put together the must-list of books for the Paranormal Romance Starter Kit.

The Darkest Night by Gena ShowalterTo get things going, here are

1. Dark Lover by J.R. Ward
The first novel in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series sets up the world. Each following book has one “never going to settle down” vampire warrior finding his mate and putting her above all else. Throughout the series there’s fighting, steamy sex, real relationship issues (overcoming one’s past, etc.) and deep unyielding love. (Our favorite book in the series is Lover Awakened.)

2. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
It’s been out for 20 years and this time-traveling romance stands the test of time. Instead of summing up the novel, we’ll give you our friend Smash Attack Ash’s take on its hero: “So many people talk about Jamie Fraser, and I just couldn’t resist the hype anymore. I will admit to being totally over the top in love with the young Scot, and he is possibly the ideal man. Too good to be true perfect. I can’t recall ever coming across such fire, passion, commitment and bravery in a character. He’s attractive (I love redheads!), strong, wise, smart, witty, courageous, chivalrous beyond belief, thoughtful, compassionate, and fair. I mean, I could continue….” (Read Ash’s five-star review of Outlander)

3. A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole
An alpha werewolf who’s been tortured by vampires finds out his destined mate is half-vampire. Heightened tension leads to epic love. Plus, Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series is filled with precise writing and intense characters. Oh, and she may have a knack for sex scenes, too, if we’re being forthright.

4. Pleasure Unbound by Larissa Ione
A demon slayer has her life saved by a surgeon who just happens to be a demon. Chemistry ignites. Then they realize they’re on opposite sides of one hell of a fight. He’s trying to protect his people, she may be the one killing them. Both will be crucified if they make moves for one another, but love is worth it. Pleasure Unbound is the first in Larissa Ione’s tantalizing Demonica series.

5. The Darkest Night by Gena Showalter
Gena Showalter creates powerful, cursed alpha heroes in her Lords of the Underworld series. The hero and heroine in The Darkest Night find solace in each other. Their instant attraction brings consequences though and expect some serious tests of their love.

Oh, and as we were scolded via email and Twitter last time, you can purchase copies of Dark Lover, Outlander, A Hunger Like No Other, Pleasure Unbound and The Darkest Night from Amazon.

Now, tell us what other books are must-reads for new paranormal romance fans. We know there are so many excellent novels out there with impressive characters and exhilarating HEAs. Hit the comments with your suggestions!

17 Responses to “Making the Paranormal Romance Starter Kit”

  1. Natasha J says:

    Amazing choices!
    The Accidental Werewolf by Dakota Cassidy!! It’s a paranormal romance, but also chick-lit.. it’s hilarious and a must read! hehe

    Bitten by Kelley Armstrong is another MUST! hehe:)

  2. Missy says:

    I agree with Natasha about Bitten! Also, I have just started reading the Tarien Soul series by C.L. Wilson. The world she has created, the characters in it are a definite MUST READ! Lord Of The Fading Lands will start you on your journey there. Enjoy!

  3. Heather says:

    WOW, you took two of my favorites, and two others I would have included.

    But you must include:
    Dark Prince by Christine Feehan
    Fantsay Lover by Sherrilyn Kenyon

    And maybe:
    The Sword by Jean Johnson
    Morrigan’s Cross by Nora Roberts
    Magic in the wind by Christine Feehan

  4. Smash Attack says:

    Love this idea. Thanks for featuring my over-the-top love for Jamie. Great books to start with. Some I have yet to read! I just got the Demonica series, and haven’t read Kresely Cole either. :/

  5. Maggie James says:

    Great Idea…and great titles too. But I think you definitely need to add Lara Adrian to the list-Love her Midnight Breed Series!

  6. JillyJameson says:

    I absolutely love every book by J.R Ward so that was a great choice. But I would have to add Jeaniene Frost’s Halfway to the Grave to this list.

  7. I highly highly recommend The Dark Hunter series by Sherrilyn Kenyon and The Warriors of Poseidon by Alyssa Day

  8. jowanna says:

    You have to read The Highlander Series by Karen Moning and the Dark Hunter Series by Sherrilyn Kenyon

  9. Ren Puspita says:

    Slave To Sensation by Nalini Singh, the first book of Psy Changeling 🙂

    But, my most favorite is Angel’s Blood from Guild Hunter series (same author), this series getting better and better 😀

  10. Monique says:

    I think this is a great starter kit. Great job.

  11. Must have Christine Feehan’s “Dark” series and Lori Handeland’s “Nightceature”. These two series marked my beginning of paranormal reading.

  12. I agree with several of the other commenters above about Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter Series. These are some great books.

  13. Sarah F says:

    Molly Harper is a wonderful author. Her Nice Girls series is excellent and quite humorous. The first book in the series is Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs.

    Also, Patricia Briggs Alpha and Omega series is very good.

  14. I agree with Natasha, Bitten by Kelley Armstrong is one of my favorite werewolf novels of all time.

  15. Betty says:

    any of the dark hunter h=books by Sherrilyn Kenyon are a must read She makes you laugh, cry, and wanting to live in her world

  16. Louisa says:

    I agree with all of the previous suggestions but wanted to find something new. Then i found the Silver Series, i have just finished the Silver Alpha by Samantha Bates, i really enjoyed this and have now downloaded the second in the series.

  17. thora says:

    i agree about kelley armstrong, but all her otherworld series are amazing. and also lara adrian 😀 and to add something f.e heatons prophecy triologi

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