cross posted from Blog for a Beer over at Fantasy Magazine

*****ETA, Oh well, apparently NOT cross posted as I can’t seem to make it work.

I would like to make a confession. I’m a romance junkie. In high school, I fairly gulped down bodice rippers and Harlequins.

Then I went to college and I became ashamed. I stopped reading books with racy covers in favor of Garcia Marquez and Austen.

But then I discovered the The Smart Bitches and found permission to start reading again.

But what I discovered was that what I truly yearned for, what I wanted to gobble down like potato chips, was Fantastical Romance. I never gave up reading books with faeries and goblins on the cover, and now I wanted the best of both worlds.

So what kind of Fantastical Romance does a junkie like me go for? Well, Vampire Paranormals, of course.

I started with Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series, just because you kind of have to, but gave up after the first three books.

I fell in love with Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse (and still wait with baited breath for each subsequent volume).

Then Robin Mckinley blew me away with Sunshine. (not your average romance, but it hit all those buttons for me nonetheless)

But then I got bogged down in the glut of Erotic/Romantic paranormals that are currently available. And I found myself a little sick to the stomach with all of them. They were romantic, yes, paranormal, yes, but they were also formulaic and sketchily written.

So let me say that after slogging through the Vampire Paranormal swamp for a year or so, there are three new series out there that show promise:

Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series (more of a werewolf thing, but the second book is about vampires)

Jeanine Frost’s Halfway to the Grave

Ilona Andrews’ Magic Bites

All three of these authors have well-developed mythos, kick-ass main characters who aren’t just all tough bitch, and enough of a romance to satisfy me without going erotically overboard.

I recommend them 🙂