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Packs O' Men

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Oh, Kindle, what have you done to me?  I used to read “respectable” high fantasy, things with castles on the covers, 800 pages long with 5 sequels and lots of swordplay.  Now I use your anonymous leatherette cover to read vampire and demon lady-porn.  :(  Sigh.

Well, I think I may have reached my saturation point with my secret “oiled-up chests” fetish.  I stumbled on a very popular sub-genre of the sub-genre of paranormal romance and may have burned out on it.  It’s what I like to call the “Packs O’ Men” series.

Examples:

Sherrlyn Kenyon’s “Dark Hunter” Series
JD Ward’s “Black Dagger Brotherhood” Series
Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld Series (Best smutty cover art that makes me laugh)
Laura Adrian’s “The Midnight Breed” Series
Natali Singh’s “Psy-Changeling” Series (Worst smutty cover art. Bubblegum fog machine anyone?)
Christine Feehan’s “Carpathian” Series

I think I’m leaving a few series out, but whatever, I’m tired of linking stuff.  Post more examples in the comments if you have them.   Yes, I read at least 2 novels of each of these series, a lot of them more.   All in the past 5 weeks.  Eep!

Why am I listing these together?  They’re all series featuring an immortal, sexy group of dangerous, Alpha men who, one by one, fall like dominoes to a practical, spunky woman who tames his inner beast.  Because, despite ripping people’s faces off for centuries, they’re all REALLY pining for “The One.” How can one tell they’ve met “the one”?  Loin burning on sight, followed by dangerous bad guy antagonist, followed by graphic sex scenes, that’s how!  And then they talk about their feelings together.  And more sex.  And more rescuing of the woman from evil, because these dudes are protective of their ladies like a dog over a pot roast.  Then more sex.  Happy ever after!

Also, the structure for these (and I’m generalizing because there is some variation within the series I’ve mentioned) is that each book is a standalone romance between two characters, but there’s an overall plot from sequel to sequel involving the same world of characters.  You meet some characters in earlier books as secondary characters, only to get THEIR romance later in the series.  Genius way to sell sequels!

Don’t get me wrong, some of these I really loved (Natali Singh’s world is really interesting and I like her writing a lot).  But the thing is about these books is that, after a girl gets to star in her book and gets her man, the cast-off heroine takes a total tangental role in the world, whereas their sexy, powerful man usually remains more present in the overall intrigue.  I found the whole idea of “now she’s taken, so she’s not interesting to write about anymore” a little crazy, especially when the whole sub-genre is supposed to be aimed towards women!  I’m generalizing of course, but considering the men hold authority positions in most of these worlds, the little ladies seem to get knocked up and start cooking a lot more than I personally like to read about.

Now, I know the other sub-genre of paranormal romance is “kick ass female with emotional problems gets challenged by a dark, immortal and powerful man who is vexing and then ultimately great in bed and they kick ass together”.  That can get annoying too, but in some of these series, the Carpathian is the WORST at this, the girls are “chosen” and the dudes just wear them down into having sex and being with them for eternity whether she’s into it or not, and in the ones I read in the series, SHE WAS NOT!  Total caveman behavior.  NOT SEXY!

What’s the appeal of the Alpha man in romance novels?  Do ladies really want to be dominated and pampered by men who are brutes on the outside and sappy marshmallows on the inside?  Is it some kind of primitive appeal?  I can definitely say that the tall dark and smoldery keeps me coming back to some of these, but the best books had a lady as equally equipped and clever and powerful as the dude.  Pardon me for not rooting for a heroine who’s too stupid to live.

This post was not a review, it was merely an observation.  I am going to list some of my favorite paranormal fantasy series in the next week or so, but I’d love to hear what people think about these kinds of novel.  I’ve migrated back to my more standard fantasy fare and urban fantasy with more PLOT than romance-y stuff.  Will be reviewing more individually down the line.

You can keep up with what I’m reading in this genre by check out my GoodReads vaginal-fantasy and vaginal-urban-fantasy shelves.  I wanted to distiguish modern-day from tradition fantasy settings.  You can thank me later. :)

  • http://rosemary.craftborg.com Rosemary

    Several of those serieses are on the list of things my various friends want me to read.

    Have you not read Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire Series yet? *gasp* Get on that at once!

    Friending you on GoodReads

  • http://www.feliciaday.com Felicia

    YES I’ve read Charlaine Harris’ series, I loved it, haven’t read the last few though. Bill bores the crap out of me, I’m a lover of Erik, hehe. If it’s not on my GoodReads shelf must fix immediately!

    • http://twitter.com/kuddlykitten Mrs.Kincaid

      I agree on the Bill Front. He is rather dull and broody. Have you by chance watched the series. It follows the books better than a few other based on book series’ I’ve watched before?

    • Tracey

      I love all of those books! currently have a lot that im trying to sell or something so that i can increase what i do read. Have you read Laurell K Hamilton? or Jennifer Armintrout? Im not absolutely sure how to spell that last name- but her series are great!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003407168825 Erick

        I think they’d slash him even if Tony was there.There’s so much slash. If you just dig, they slash edbeyrovy to edbeyrovy. *Grins*(off course, for some reason my mind always goes to slash-y place even if watching a freaking documentary or reality Tv. *sigh*)

    • http://twitter.com/aavonarx abby

      Eric is by far the strongest vampire character in the Southern Vampire Series!

      Just checked out your goodreads, think you might really enjoy some of the fabulous young adult literature (like Graceling) currently available.

      Author Tamora Pierce has been around for awhile, but writes feminist medieval fantasy–often skewing younger–but with well developed worlds and characters. Gotta love those lady knights. Also, you can’t go wrong with Ursula K. LeGuin. Her Earthsea Cycle is phenomenal.

      A last bit, there’s a growing trend of post-apocalyptic, dystopian tales surfacing in ya lit. Some of my faves are the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld, Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, and Unwind by Neal Shusterman.

      Happy reading!

    • http://@jackmore38 jackmore

      felicia i agree with u

  • GOTB30 (twitter)

    Have you tried the Highlander series by Karen Marie Moning? It all starts with “Beyond the Highland Mist”, and let me tell you, these time-traveling Druid men are delicious, yeah and it’s pretty smutty. ;)

  • Tina

    My guilty pleasure is Yasmine Galenorn’s Sisters of the Moon series. Half faery sisters and hot magical men lol!

    Have you read any of those?

  • http://billionairewoman.com Nathalie Lussier

    Oh my, you’re describing so much of what attracts me to certain types of fiction! I totally agree though, it’s all about the equally strong and smart female, otherwise it just kind of falls flat for me. I guess that’s why I loved Buffy so much, oh those were the days. ;) But it did suffer from what you mentioned about sort of being forced into it sometimes. Oy.

    This was a great discussion about this sub-genre though! :)

  • Kiki

    I never comment on anything ever, but seeing as how this addresses a topic near and dear to my heart, I had to contribute.

    In terms of sub-genres, I cannot begin to express the wonder and joy that stems from the Scottish Time Travel Romance Novel. Specifically, the Highlander Series, written by Karen Marie Moning. Her books are beyond. I can’t tell if she references the things she does because she knows they are hilarious or because she thinks they are truly the best way to get her point across.

    Such as: the 14th century Scottish Druid who is cursed with the souls of 13 evil druids in his brain, living in present day NYC – “A few feet to his right, the sixty-inch screen was reflected in the glistening glass and David Boreanaz stalked broodingly, playing Angel, the tortured vampire with a soul. Dageus watched long enough to ascertain it was a repeat, then let his gaze drift back to the night.”

    He then goes on to ruminate on the fact that he is facing much greater problems than Angel. The not so subtly implied fact that he is a regular viewer of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and/or Angel is not lost on this reader. Amazing.

    In my struggle to determine if she was actually a mad genius I actually googled “Is Karen Marie Moning a genius?” but got no answers.

  • Dani

    Nothing to add, I’ll just say, once again, that the amount of books (and the speed) that you read scares me.

  • Anita

    You need to read Stephanie Rowe’s ‘Immortally Sexy’ series…if you’ve ever read Katie Macalister, Stephanie Rowe has the same type of thing going where her stories are sexy, well-written AND funny. If you haven’t read Katie MacAlister, you need to read her Dragon Septs series, starting with her Aisling Grey stories. Absolutely fantastic! :) First one is ‘You Slay Me’ ;)

  • Angel Mercury

    If you like the early Anita Blake books or the Dresden books then you should definitely check out Kim Harrison’s ‘Rachel Morgan’ series. I’m actually surprised none of the books were in your lists as they’re highly recommended.

    I saw the Patricia Briggs stuff at the book store recently and was curious if they would be worth it. Since you seem to rate it well I’ll have to give the first book a read and see. I’m always looking for more Urban fantasy stuff to read.

    Have you read any of Hamilton’s Meredith Gentry series? It’s as awful as her later Anita Blake stuff but at least you know what to expect going in, and there’s a lot of it going on. Actually for a good laugh you could read the summaries and reviews by readers of her later books on Amazon. There are some pretty good ones.

    Love your book list, it’s great!

  • Marie

    I will admit that I love and read all those series (and many more!) that you listed! And I don’t even try to hide the covers. Haven’t since I graduated from high school.

    Sometimes there’s just something titillating about these men described in these various series. Aw, heck, who am I kidding?? They are real turn ons! LOL

    Not a thing wrong with any of these series, except, perhaps that the authors can’t write them fast enough for me! ;)

  • http://natebrown.wordpress.com Nate b

    Thank you, you’ve just helped me understand all my girl friends. I now must try to figure out what this means as a guy. (1st step, immortality, then lots of oil, and…)

  • http://www.riverswood.com Ellen Crane

    Have you tried Jacqueline Carey’s Kusheil series.. a great read and at least a bit different from Laurel Hamilton and a few others.

    As a PS – I LOVE your THE GUILD series. I’m a long-time female gamer and you totally are right on. Currently playing WOW and have a small guild of great raiders/players – mostly couples and we’re in it for the ‘fun’. Following you on Twitter..

    Hugs – Ellen/Cymbidia (WOW-Doomhammer – resto druid)
    Twitter: riverswood

    • http://www.feliciaday.com Felicia

      Last comment tonight, OMG Kushiel’s series is one of my FAVE’S!!!! I met the author and I was a drooling fan girl hehe. Reading a series by CL Wilson now that’s fantasy/romance. Nowhere near Kushiels in my ardor, but enjoyable.

  • http://www.feliciaday.com Felicia

    I did read Kim Harrison, I liked the first several then I lost the path for some reason. I think it was the main character, but I should give it another whirl. Anita Blake’s first 6 books were great and then…sad clown. Meredith Gentry just seemed like an excuse to get it on with lots of guys at once, never ever could get into it or finish them. :( I do like Patricia Briggs, and Ilona Andrews and Lisa Shearin and Rachel Caine and… Well, I’ll make another blog post :)

    I actually like the books with less smut in them and more action. A little light romance throughout is the best. Tension but mostly adventure plot. This was an interesting side-trip for me :)

    • Tina

      then you would probably like the Yasmine Galenorn ones.. the sisters are Otherworld Intelligence Agents and they of course are battling evil! and they have all manner of fantasy folk; fae, shape shifters, a dragon who can take human form, etc.

    • http://www.twitter.com/angelmercury Angel Mercury

      Part of what I really like about Kim Harrison’s books is her take on the urban-fantasy world. I think the stuff with demons and how she sort of ties a lot of the various races together is pretty cool. Morgan’s not perfect, but I think that’s another part of my appeal to the series. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the later books as much as I do. ^.^

      I agree. I liked a few books past book 6 of Anita Blake, but Hamilton seemed to lose her knack after that. The Meredith books brought out a hope that Anita would return to her former glory but failed to deliver. I tried but eventually even I gave up on her books. A little smut is fine but really a author needs substance to keep me around.

      Right now the Dresden books are my favorite, but Harrison is up there. Really though, I need to go back to widening the reading list.

    • http://synchronistic-catalyst.blogpsot.com Cara-Mae

      Yeah, I also loved the early Anita Blake’s and then they and the Meredith Gentry were just some big bad Mary Sue orgies. :(

  • Rachel

    Ooh! Have you read Anne Bishop’s Dark Jewels Trilogy (+many awesome sequels)? They’re big on the brooding, sexy men, but the story itself is fantastic!

    (I may read them at least once a year. At least. Oh, Daemon and Lucivar…mmm)

    • http://www.errantdreams.com/reviews/ Heather (errantdreams)

      Best. Series. Ever. Seriously, I’ve reviewed hundreds of books and Anne Bishop’s Dark Jewels Trilogy is still pretty much my favorite.

      • http://www.feliciaday.com Felicia

        I agree, I LOVE LOVE this trilogy, I have them in a hardback form on my “to keep forever” shelf :) Isn’t there a new one out?!

        • Rachel

          There is- The Shadow Queen. It reads more like a novella than an actual novel, but I enjoyed it completely. It’s a sequel (in that it’s about Jared and Lia’s descendants) to The Invisible Ring.

        • http://www.friday-knights.net Laura Robinson

          They’re on my shelf too keep too! I liked the new book very much. I thought it got back to the quality of the Trilogy whereas she was just having some fun with Tangled Web.

  • http://wolfenmoondaughter.deviantart.com WolfenM

    I found the whole idea of “now she’s taken, so she’s not interesting to write about anymore” a little crazy, especially when the whole sub-genre is supposed to be aimed towards women!

    See, this is exactly why I want to tear my hair out every time a writer or actor says thatthey can’t have a couple get together in a series because it will “kill the romantic tension” and therefore there won’t be a story anymore. And of course they give Moonlighting as an example — but usually *only* that show — every time of a series where the story was taken past the hook-up and then tanked in the ratings.

    Honestly, no wonder the divrce rate is so high if people think life gets boring after marriage, that a couple doesn’t have any interesting challenges to meet, either in staying together or in facing outside problems together!

    Seriously, these writers need to check ou fanfic sites! If no one is interested in in “post-UST-resolution” stories, they need to see how many “established relationship” series fanfic there are out there!

    I say any writer who can’t write all aspects of a relationship, taking a couple beyond the initial hook-up (and without breaking them up long-term) is lazy and unimaginative, at least in that arena of their work. *Sigh*

    Sorry, I periodically need to get that out of my system. XD

    Incidentally, if you’re looking to try paranormal fiction that’s not so romance-y, even just as a palate cleanser before diving back in, I highly recommend Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, Kelley McCullough’s Ravirn series, and Rob Thurman’s Cal Leandros books. (Thurman is actually a woman, while McCullough is a man, jyst FYI.) The stories are more about angsty character struggles, magic, and violence a little more than romance (not thatthe romance isn’t there, it just takes a back seat), *especially* that last series.

    • http://www.errantdreams.com/reviews/ Heather (errantdreams)

      I second the vote for Thurman’s Leandros Bros. series. It’s my favorite discovery of this season—I received book four as a review book, and immediately had to go buy books one through three. Dark, action-filled stuff!

  • http://jedielf.wordpress.com jedielf

    There was a blog post in the Sydney Morning Herald a while back about why women are attracted to such guys, and thus why these novels are popular. Sorry girls, but the Alpha male attraction thing is written into the genes. However, these genes don’t seem to be very dominant in me (I like my skinny guys – David Tennant fangirl here!)

  • http://wolfenmoondaughter.deviantart.com WolfenM

    Ooh, I like the Yasmine Galenorn books! But then, I was reading her when she was writing books on paganism for Llewellyn. :)

    Ditto from me on Anita Blake — first 6 were great, and then it nosedived. I’m hearing good things about Kelly Armstrong, but haven’t gotten to her yet.

    If you want to get back into something more fantasy, not urban, I adore Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels books — I’ve read the whole series (except the latest — waiting for the paperback) like five times — there’s a “trilogy”, a prequel, a collection of short stories, and a sequel (the one I havenm’t read yet). Since you like Kushiel, you might have the stomach for it (it involves court intrigue and torture). Daemon Sadi is, IMNSHO, the hottest man in fantasy fiction.

    • http://www.friday-knights.net Laura Robinson

      Yasi is competitive for the hottest title. :)

  • http://www.jamesmandrews.com James Andrews

    I didn’t think it was possible, but I think you just became hotter ;-)

    I have a acquaintance who writes vampire po… I mean vampire romance novels, I’ll see if I can find the ebook version and send you the linkies.

  • Chris

    You have some awesome book choices up there on your shelves. I agree that the Meredith Gentry series really turned in to faerie porn(some of the earlier books weren’t too bad) and yeah, the Anita Blake novels have really gone downhill as well. Also, finding out that someone else loves Rachel Caine & Lillith Saintcrow(or even knows who they are) is awesome.

    I’ve actually been loving just about anything coming out of Orbit Books. Have you read much from them? The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks and the new Jaye Wells book “Red Headed Stepchild” were both pretty darn good. I really really like the re-imagining of vampire lore in Wells’ book and I am seriously looking forward to the next two books from her.

    Anywho… love your work… keep on reading entirely too much and let us all know what you think of what you read.

  • http://youngwilliam.livejournal.com William Young

    Re: Kim Harrison

    The first book of her Rachel Morgan series just seemed so “off”, it took some encouragement for me to get around to reading the other ones. Still, they’re nowhere near as dreadful as the Anita Blake books eventually turned out to be, and there’s actually quite a few up-sides to the Rachel Morgan books/world in terms of, “Hmm, that’s an interesting take on things”.

  • http://twitter.com/Captain_Jester Matt McD

    Laurel K Hamilton writes some books about a character named Meredith Gentry that are essentially Girl Porn with (as I recall from the one book I read) a strong female lead. You might dig her.

  • Wiredwizard

    I think you’d get a kick out of the Jaz Parks series by Jennifer Rardin – Magic, Vampires, mayhem and the CIA, and Jazzy right smack in the middle of it all. =)

  • Laur

    oh man, I just read that you’ve read the kushiels books, and that makes me smile so much! they are such huge favourites of mine. ahh you fabulous lady!

  • http://moonwitche.wordpress.com Caitlin

    Okay, so I just wanted to say that most of the women reading these books, at least most of the ones I know, don’t actually want a man like that.
    These books are not about real life, or the struggles a real relationship has. They are about a likable girl (one that you can always relate to yourself and your own faults) getting the gorgous, dominating guy. They are simple fantasy fulfillment.
    So, while I too kind of have a problem with the characterizations of some of the females, I also understand that these books are a good, healthy form of escapism, and that the relationships would probably never really work in real life.
    I think this is an important distinction to have while reading and romance novel, and a lot of other escapist fiction as well.

    • http://www.errantdreams.com/reviews/ Heather (errantdreams)

      I half-agree with you. I think it depends on the book. I love a good escapist fantasy as much as anyone else, and can enjoy anything from dom/sub material (Jory Strong’s “Ghostlands” is amazing) to alpha male fantasies (they get boring if I read too many of them though). However, the one exception I’ve found is the (thankfully very rare) author who goes over the line into both depicting and justifying an emotionally abusive relationship.

      Sorry, but I have this on the brain right now as I just reviewed Christine Feehan’s “Burning Wild”, and it kicked off some really bad memories of a woman I knew who was emotionally abused and manipulated by her husband. I think a book can step over that line, and it’s really sad when that happens. I’m just glad that most authors keep it to the level of enjoyable fantasy.

  • Alexa Blue

    Two words…. Diana Gabaldon. Not anything close to vampire erotica…uh, romance… but the master (shall we say, mistress) of the Scottish time travel universe. Six books to date; none under 800 pages; NY Times Best Sellers all. Oh, and did I mention a seventh book; a compendium explaining the intricacies of the first four books? Anchored by a riveting Alpha-male highlander who’s so transparent you’d swear he was real and his equally strong, time-traveling (eventual) wife who despite being his soul mate; perpetually disturbs the 18th century with her 20th century liberation. Not exactly back-to-back Carpathian coitus but the sex that’s there is graphic and brutally honest. 100% pure medical-grade Scottish crack – if you’re in the mood for a new addiction. It all starts with “Outlander”…. (you can thank me later…)

    • http://shinyshiny.wordpress.com Julie

      “100% pure medical-grade Scottish crack” You summed it up well! ^.^ Its seriously a good read though, even without the sex scenes.

    • Phalangite

      What’s this business with alpha men sometimes being called ‘mysterious’, anyway? I mean, they ooze their alpha all over the place, and that’s about it. Seriously, I can’t see the mystery. But some people do. Or something. (Someone recently called me mysterious, and last time I checked, I have neither excess alpha nor any enigma). My only mystery is why these guys are seen as mysterious.

  • http://www.errantdreams.com/reviews/ Heather (errantdreams)

    I’ve read & reviewed parts of Singh’s and Feehan’s series. I really enjoyed Singh’s, particularly as the heroines tend to come back and still have roles in the later books just as their husbands do. Feehan’s annoyed the heck out of me, both for the reasons you list and because the entire worldbuilding just felt haphazard and silly.

    Feehan’s upcoming “Burning Wild” is far, FAR worse than her Carpathian books. I reviewed it the other day and I swear it made me so mad it made me sick to my stomach. The book glorified emotional abuse.

    I enjoy smutty books, but I didn’t enjoy that!

  • hacksaway

    Just out of curiosity, how much do you spend on books a year? :)

  • hacksaway

    Oh also, have you seen this? It’s unbelievable.

    • http://www.feliciaday.com Felicia

      HOLY CRAP! OMG I LAUGHED SO HARD AT THIS! /capsoff Thxx for that linlk. Holy Hell, how was that ever invented?

  • joan

    Oh, I know. Romance Novels (what a nice and innocent way to say girl-pr0n *g*) can be so addictive!
    Though I have to admit that I usually circumvent the “female-character-is-weaker-than-the-male”-problem by reading slash *clears-throat*

  • Hope

    I’ve got most of those series. I try to get away and read serious fiction but I have a “gotta catch them all” thing so I can’t stop reading a series until its over. Everyone knows I read the vampire porn so I don’t even try to hide the covers anymore.

  • http://www.bookthing.co.uk Grete Evans

    You’ve hit on my guilty pleasures there ;) I call them my supernatural/faerie/vampire/pixie porn books and I love them! I agree with all you have said and definately about the carpathian books, I struggle with them because I just want to hit the men over the head with something solid. I was a long time fantasy/sci-fi reader when I discovered the supernatural porn genre and was as happy as a pig in mud :)

  • Fola Fadahunsi

    I think the later Anitas got a bit of a bad rap. Because it doesn’t follow romance genre formulae, I really truly believe my hands will catch fire if I pick up a romances book. I think there is a reason for the smut, purposeful porn. I still haven’t read Merry Gentry books yet, so I can’t offer opinion on that.

  • http://www.youtube.com/fatalpolitics Pointy

    “I can definitely say that the tall dark and smoldery keeps me coming back to some of these, but the best books had a lady as equally equipped and clever and powerful as the dude.”
    Yeah!

  • http://www.a2millers.com jenifer

    If you would enjoy similar stories without the paranormal aspect, I highly recommend Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooter series. It’s about a Navy Seals team, with the same thing that you meet characters in earlier books who get their own story later (sometimes more than once). Some of her female characters get pretty major roles even after their story is told, too. They don’t all go home, get pregnant, and make sure dinner is on the table when hubby gets home. :)

  • Jim

    I think the most striking example of sexism in fantasy novels is the series Twilight. I’m not sure if you’ve ready it, but it definitely sends a backwards message to kids that read it. Girl with self esteem problems meets insanely attractive boy, and assumes he doesn’t like her. As the series goes on, it becomes clear that Bella is unable to take care of herself, and needs her perfect man to come sweep her off her feet whenever she’s in trouble. What’s even worse about the series is the main lead role is never characterized in any capacity except to say he is perfect in every way.

    Thank you Stephanie Meyer for moving the feminist movement back a generation! :P

    • http://www.feliciaday.com Felicia

      Totally agree, that’s what I thought the whole time I was reading it. Bella is basically incompetent a lot of the time and Edward is controlling, dominating and… whatever.
      And they shoulda gotten it on around page 300. Just sayin’.

  • Renee

    Yet you keep reading…

    I mean, I hate this kind of stuff but obviously it does appeal to many women, because the books are successful. It’s not realistic, but women do want a high quality male to be single mindedly focused on them… and it sometimes makes it even better if she doesn’t want it, because it proves he’s really into her. So much so that he ignores what she wants!

  • RhoRhoOm

    The reason these equal male and female characters get tired after a while is there’s not enough distinction between them. There’s no reason for them to get together because she has no uniquely feminine characteristics to offer him. She basically turns in to a man with breasts. The beauty of romance is the unique strengths femininity brings to the relationship and the unique strengths masculinity brings. If feminism failed in any way it was in taking it too far, stripping women and men of the strengths they each uniquely have.

    You could never deny that Inara of “Firefly” is a smart and strong woman and that she owns her femininity. Although she could use her beauty and sexuality outside of her profession to manipulate (weakness), she doesn’t because she’s solidly self assured. Conversely for Kaylee, even in her coveralls and grease covered face, she holds power in that crew because of the unique feminine qualities she gladly possesses.

    This is not saying women can’t fight. They can. Women have an essential role to play in an adventure but keep her unique femininity. She’s a woman, by god. She earned those breasts!

  • Amelia Rodriguez

    If you liked the Sherrilyn Kenyon books, you have to read the Kinley MacGregor books. They are the Highlander books that Sherrilyn writes. The MacAllister brothers which then go into the Brotherhood of the Sword. There is also the Lords of Avalon series.

  • http://www.world-o-crap.com/blog maryc

    I gotta say, I love all kinds of paranormal romance novels, but one of my absolute favorites is Mary Janice Davison’s “Undead and Un*…” series: a somewhat shallow young woman (from Minnesota, of all places!) is attacked by “rabid” beasts and survives only to be hit by a car and killed soon after. She “wakes” up in the funeral parlor and discovers the beasts were actual feral vampires, and she has joined the undead. Oh, and she apparently is the Queen of the Vampires, because Holy Water and crosses and all that doesn’t affect her.

    Seriously hot hero who wants to be her vampire consort, hilarious best friends and more!

    And yes, it has elements of comedy in it.

  • Sarah

    I am in the same situation with my book reading. I like to read the alpha male books, sometimes…but favorite series are those with kick ass chicks. I like it when the heroine of the book doesn’t necessarily need the guy. THey work well together and they can kick butt together too. I like sex in the books I read, but I don’t like it being the main point. I read one book that was along the same lines and it seemed like they used every chance to have sex. It bugged the crap out of me. THere was actually a scene where they were literally being chased by the bad guys through the woods, but had to stop off for a quickie. Don’t get it.

    I think there is an appeal for the alpha male in women. I know it appeals to me sometimes, because it is fiction. In real life, I wouldn’t want it. Although, I have never ran into a 6 foot something vampire/other paranormal immortal who saw me as THE ONE and wanted me to run off with him to his special man-group. So, I can’t really say how I would react. :)

    Have you ever read the book johnny, Mark of Chaos? It is a newer series. The lady who writes them has created a pretty interesting world of good vs evil and the balance of it. There is some romance in it. I like how he falls for the chick, but he gets annoyed with her innocence. He wants her to step it up. Not be a girl who can’t take care of herself. I find that pretty cool. The second book is from his point of view, so some of his thoughts are awesome to hear.

  • notme

    So before today I had only heard the words sex and child-birth follow the word vaginal. See reading your blog is educational….

    You and Joss should get together and write a ripe off of RedDwarf (New RedDwarf) with you in a staring role. Something totally silly that no one would want, and let FOX run with it. It worked for Matt Groening.

  • http://blog.designedlykristi.com Kristi aka FiberFool

    I’ve recently fallen prey (ahem) to these types of books. Only very recently, so I think all I’ve read so far at the J.R Ward. I’ll be bookmarking this post to help me branch out a bit more in this genre!

  • http://www.alidasaxon.com Ali

    One thing I’m very grateful for is the fact that most book covers give you an idea of what’s inside, so I end up passing on most romance-focused books. I have to get some good recommendations before I’ll make a second pass for consideration. I’m sure I miss a few good ones in the process, though!

    Ilona Andrews is about as close as I enjoy getting to a romance novel. Too many are just a set up for sex and the plot falls flat. I just finished the third in Andrews’ “Magic…” series and it’s excellent. A bit of fire, but nothing that gets in the way of a really excellent story and and the world she’s built is just brilliant.

  • http://www.virgilandbeatrice.com Alana Abbott

    While I agree with your basic synopsis (and half the fun for me in series like these is figuring out who the next heroes/heroines will be), I feel like the women still play a big role in Nalini’s novels, even after they star in their own — at least as much as the men do. I read a lot of paranormal romance, and I feel like Nalini’s and Meljean Brook’s are the sets that are closest to the border between paranormal romance and urban fantasy (with the exception of Jeaniene Frost’s ongoing Night Huntress series–but since those feature the same couple in each novel, they seem just over the line into UF from paranormal romance IMHO).

    If you’re burned out on them, definitely quit for awhile–I go in phases like that myself!

    • http://www.feliciaday.com Felicia

      Like I said, I really liked Nalini’s books, and her new series about the Vamps/Angels is SO GOOD I’ve bought a copy for a few of my friends.
      RE: Comment earlier, Ilona Andrews is one of my faves in the genre, she’ll be on my “favorite series” blog post for sure. Just enough romance but mostly kicking ass :)

  • Amy

    I have read most of these series. I’ve been a reader of Vampire/paranormal Porn for some time and pick up new series often. I may actually read almost as much as you do!

    Kresley Cole’s – Immortals After Dark series has the strong women, Alpha males and “THE ONE”. The women is this series are actually stronger than the men and really do kick ass! They appear in the later books to help each other out. It’s ten times better than Feemans’s series because the backup cast has more women than men.

    Undead and—- series is also knows as Queen Betsy series, and is one of my favorites because Betsy is as ditzy and flawed as she is strong.

    Charlane Harris’s Sookie series is also a favouite here and I agree that Erik is much hotter then Bill. Maybe because Erik seems to need to be loved more than Bill?

    Kelly Armstrong -Women of the Otherworld series is really one of the best I’ve read. The books are narrated in first person by several different women and are more plot less romance. (Very little tear-the-clothes-off-sex).

    I’m sorry if this list enables your addiction! I’ve actually stopped buying many of these and unless I can get them from my local Library I skip them. It’s how I control my spending!!

  • Immortal88

    Thanks for sharing. I’m definitely going to have to unravel some these little treasures that you’ve recommended…

  • Patys

    I am going to second the Kelley Armstrong rec although some of her books are stronger than others. If you read her first two Women books you might be interested in Men of the Otherworld which tells the backstory of the male characters.

  • http://wolfenmoondaughter.deviantart.com WolfenM

    @Jim,

    Re: Twlight, I highly disagree about Edward not getting any characterisation in Bella’s series, but either way, he certainly has characterisation in *his* book, Midnight Sun — I wish Meyer would finish it (you can read what is done of it on her site).

    As for Bella needing to b saved all the time, this is true a lot in the beginning — it’s something about her that I, in factm, found personally annoying and hard to relate to — but she also stands her ground against anyone who tries to tell her what to do — she’s passive agressive, I guess you could say — and finds her own strength and power by the last book, so she’s *not* helpless forever.

    Besides, there are different kind of women out there — just because we should be free to be strong and self-sufficent doesn’t mean a woman should *have* to be like that — or a man, for that matter. And those who don’t want to be strong and do it all, thos who want to be saved by a guy (I’m not one of them, mind) should be free to write and enjoy that sort of fiction if they wish. Besides, just because I read and ejoy a story doesn’t mean that I want to be like the people in it — the same goes for teens. Give then some credit for deciding what they want out of life on their own and don’t assume they will be brainwashed so easily. But even if they do decide that’s the life they want — well, that’s their choice. Isn’t that part of what feminism is about? A woman’s right to choose her own destiny, including to be a housewife and mother? That’s not the path for me at all, but some of my dearest friends are housewives/stay-at-home mothers, and they are just as fantastic of people as my career-woman friends.

    Personally, I really liked the series, feeling it got better with each subsequent book but to each their own. :)

  • http://www.faceofthecookie.com Kiala

    I love the Jennifer Roberson Tiger and Del Sword dancer/singer/whatever series even though it is incredibly sexist.

    Also, her Lady of Sherwood about Maid Marian is my FAVORITE. I mean, LOOK at this cover.

    There. Now the internet knows what a fantasyspaz I am.

    Again.

  • http://www.emanagr.com John

    “Loin burning on sight, followed by dangerous bad guy antagonist, followed by graphic sex scenes, that’s how! And then they talk about their feelings together. And more sex. And more rescuing of the woman from evil, because these dudes are protective of their ladies like a dog over a pot roast. Then more sex. Happy ever after!”

    To be fair, that DOES sound like kind of a fun date.

    What I find weird is the very presence of the “bore the babe to death” camp. I’ve seen guys who try to use that approach, and it’s sorta painful to watch in person, so I can’t even imagine how unpleasant it might be to read about. Whew!

  • http://myspace.com/carmenp07 Carmen

    I think its interesting that you’re reading these after the drizzt series: where the women who want the men just TAKE them. Men are subservient to the women. I know you said you like that series but what did you think about the whole Menzoberranzan women controlling the men completely?

  • Thought

    There’s an interesting tie-in to the Jewish / Christian Bible here, of all things – specifically, the whole “Virtuous Woman” thing in Proverbs, which describes a “Virtuous Woman” as being one who manages not just a household, but also vineyards, and buys and sells land. Clearly praising a solid equal to any man as something to be striven for. And then there’s the whole, “Do not be unequally yoked” thing, clearly stating that your partner should be able to pull an equal amount of weight in the relationship with you, whether it’s marriage or business.

  • Osirri (twitter)

    I really like Toni Andrews, Patricia Briggs, Karen Chance, and Jim Butcher. Jenna Black is a new author I like too. Well, new to me, anyway. I also recommend Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti. It is kind of steampunk, and a totally different type of fantasy for me.

  • http://tdcellardoor.blogspot.com Terri Day

    Okay, to start this ball rolling; You are my cousin. I make it my official policy to claim anyone who shares my last name as my cousin. You are officially the most famous one, though not the palest, congratulations. Also, I have never read any of these books BUT (wait for it), I was in Borders (or something), and I did see one that caught my eye. The Dark Hunter ones look mighty interesting. I guess women always have their guilty little pleasures. As for problems you have with the plot; none of these books are winning the nobel prize, they’re just for fangirls (and some guys) to get their jolly rogers off of, no biggie.

  • http://www.madeofawesome.net JimK

    I still want to know if vaginal urban fantasy was already a category or did you make it up? either way it’s genius.

    Are the Eve Dallas books in that category? Because I have a penis and I can’t stop reading them. In fact i read the first fifteen or so *twice*.

  • Deviija

    That entry was too cute and yet so true. Who doesn’t love the tall, dark and steamy Alpha mentality, that will swoop down in and beat other people up violently and then surrender to marshmellow lovetimes by you afterwards? It must be an epidemic. Or, we must have some genetic malady that is increasing at a dangerous rate.

    The big difference is that I prefer to wear the pants in the relationship. Calling the social shots and the relationship. No being utterly boring and helpless and domestic Mary Sue for me, thanks! Guess that’s why I love Joss’ work so much. Layers. And also, the media pioneer for ‘steamy supernatural/vampire bad boy in love with seemingly but not so ordinary girl’ relationships.

  • http://laurasaysstuff.blogspot.com/ Laura

    Hi there–

    First time commenter/reader.

    I’m a big fan from Buffy to Horrible to my disappointment that we won’t see you in that 13th episode of Dollhouse.

    I’m not a fan of romance, otherworldly or otherwise, but I love a little sexual tension. I’ve been reading Wake by Lisa McMann (on the second book now) such great stuff. She falls into people’s dreams — fun premise.

    Anyway, all of that to say, I write (I’m a teacher, doing some journalism work right now and working on my first novel) and was curious what sort of thing you like to write. Screenplays, short stories, or book-length fiction? Supernatural or mainstream literary?

    Nice to “meet” you. :)

  • Panda

    Regarding the Alpha male in Harlequin’s digital steamy-fantasy imprint …

    The Harlequin writer’s guidelines actually demand him.
    I quote from:
    http://www.eharlequin.com/articlepage.html?articleId=1336&chapter=0

    “Many of the elements that make a Silhouette Nocturne book successful remain true for the Nocturne Bites series. Stories should deliver a dark, highly sensual read that will entertain readers and take them from everyday life into an atmospheric, complex world filled with characters struggling with life and death issues. A strong alpha hero is of utmost importance—he should be powerful, mysterious and totally attractive to the heroine.”

    It’s quite fascinating to read over all of their writing guidelines for the various imprints,
    to see what is expect and non-negotiable:
    http://www.eharlequin.com/articlepage.html?articleId=538&chapter=0

  • http://www.realtidings.com Lee

    RE: The appeal of “Alpha Males” vs. the subjugation of female characters

    I think that this is a fantastic observation, and indicative of the popular culture we live in. Its changing, but things take time.

    The masculine side of humanity is very well developed – especially since there have been centuries of male-dominated culture an thought. This means that its “easy” to know how to be strong in a macho/testosterone way… whether its a male or female that is expressing this masculinity is secondary.

    However, the feminine side of humanity has not been developed as deeply – ESPECIALLY amongst males! And, some feminist philosophies of the past have made the mistake of claiming masculine “power” over feminine “power”… thus reinforcing the very cultures they wanted to change.

    Make no mistake – having babies, cooking, cleaning, nurturing, sharing, caring, etc. are strongly feminine activities. That doesn’t mean that only women “should” do them – its just that its the feminine side of humanity.

    Perhaps its telling that this culture doesn’t value these activities or find them as interesting as it does the masculine activities (fighting, hunting, racing, building, leading, etc.). BTW – if you feel your feathers getting ruffled, I suggest you check yourself…

    masculine man
    feminine woman

    PERSONALLY – I don’t find “weak” characters very interesting, and I don’t find “weak” women very sexy. My wife is a strong leader that is also very nurturing and flexible… thats just right :) Also – I do my share of cleaning, changing diapers, grocery shopping, laundry, putting the baby to sleep, etc… and I am much better than her at several of these tasks.

    QUESTION – do you suppose its that the author has a cultural bias towards “weak” females OR is it that the cultural bias exists in the readers, and the books that sell follow that trend?

    Considering how good TV is canceled and crap TV is not… I am inclined to believe the later.

    FWIW,
    Lee

    • http://www.realtidings.com Lee

      Whoops… above SHOULD READ:
      masculine < > man
      feminine < > woman

      OR

      masculine does not equal man
      feminine does not equal women

  • http://blog.dogmawglass.com Jo

    Whew! Now I don’t feel so bad. I also would have never ever read these books before the kindle. I think it is just that no one can tell what I’m reading, and the darn things are like potato chips!

  • Pob

    The real question is whether any of the dark, powerful, immortal men are wearing kilts. The beginning of this had me laughing from Highland hunk fantasy flashbacks. :)

  • Valerie

    You’ve got to check Blood Ties by Jennifer Armintrout. Really awesome vampire serie (4 books) and fantastic characters! I recently got into that genre and I am loving it. It’s such a nice way to escape real life and (boring) men! lol

  • http://3donthewebcheap.blogspot.com len

    They are to novels what Second Life sex is to worlds: a masturbatorium. I get the eternal yearning. I don’t subscribe. Chick service.

    Otherwise, a multi-arc sequel system. If you build that in real-time, it is also multi-arc where you can only learn the entire story by either navigating the entire world, or attaching to the characters one at a time and seeing what they see. Think simultaneous Rashomon. Linearly, a series.

    Has anyone here ever heard of Cecile Chaminade? How is it that one of the most famous women composers of her age is forgotten a mere 72 years to the day she died?

    The facts are bare. The details nowhere. Her music is incredible. A story there.

  • Solkatt

    Hi Felicia!
    I spent the last night watching all the guild episodes on xbox live and the extras and now i ended up here.. just want to thank you for a incredibly entertaining and absolutly fantastic series.. I was on my way to bed when I found the series and ended up ROFLing the whole night instead.. :P

    I have not read anything in this genre before but figure I give a try on one book just for the fun of trying something new.. but since you said you burnt out on it now.. I wanted to recommend an author that you maby already read but if you haven’t you realy have to.. or you don’t have to ofcourse but I think you’ll love it.. ;) it’s Robin Hobb.. the Farseer Trilogy, The Liveship Traders trilogy and the Tawny Man trilogy.. they are all in the same world and the Farseer and Tawny Man is written from the same characters perspective and The Liveship traders are in the same world (just a little bit to the south).. but
    the plots are interconnected and absolutly fantatic..

    I figure it’s quite the opposite of the “vaginal urban fantasy”.. (more like the respectable high fantasy with castles on the cover genre) but it is so full of deep passionate emotions (accualy the whole emotional spectra conveyed in very vivid and beautifull language) and the relationship you build with the character over the whole 9 books make you truly fall in love when they do and also cry and laugh and be on tension and feel relief etc.. more than any other fantasy I have ever read..

    hehe so this was somehow a little of topic but since your series gave me such an incredible good time the other night i just wanted to share something that hopefully give you an good time also.. :D thanks again and hope to see more of your wonderfull work in the future.. :) wish you all the best.. <3 //Solkatt

  • Solkatt

    Hi again!
    now I just saw that you already have them (5 star rated in your bookshelf :D) so no need to recommend them.. hehe.. anyway thanks again and best wishes.. //Johan

  • http://nothing Erin Leigh

    Yea, Kindle has done the same thing for me. Now I purchase all the “self-help” books I was always curious about but too embaressed to be caught dead reading or purchasing.

  • http://wordmagix.blogspot.com Carolie

    Interesting perspective….thanks for that, and for the recommendations (and warnings!) I went to Amazon to check out some of this mind-candy, and maybe make some purchases. Then I realized I’d be spending almost the same money for an e-book that I’d spend on a paperback, but the e-book couldn’t be lent to my friends. So much for that!

    My biggest issue right now is with Kindle PRICE. I mean, I know the author does not get a larger share of the profits for a Kindle version of a book. Yet the Kindle version of a $6.99 paperback is $5.49? How is THAT fair? The publisher does not have to spend on paper, labor and shipping, so obviously the profit margin is much higher for the publisher. And unlike a “real” book, I can’t share my electronic book with my friends, can’t sell it, can’t give it away. I’d understand all those caveats if Kindle books were 1/4 to 1/3 the price of a hardcopy book, but they aren’t!

    I love my Kindle, and my deployed Sailor husband sure does love his (no need to fill his very limited storage space with books, since the Kindle can contain an entire library for him!) but I really do hope either the price per book comes down, or they loosen up on the strings enough that e-books can be lent more easily. E-library, anyone?

    Sorry for the tangent. This is just a real hot button for me!

  • feliciaday

    Testing out this Disqus.

  • http://www.smalldotcomplex.com Carl

    Not sure if you’ve heard of him or not but China Mieville is fantastic.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_Mieville

    Like Mr. Whedon, he tends to write pretty realistic characters (of both sexes) who just happen to live in odd “alternate reality” worlds where insect and human biology tend to mix.

  • Lisa

    I have to throw down with Cole’s Immortals After Dark. I love the world she has created and can’t wait to see if Nix actually gets a story. This is a great series if you need a little more then just the vamps. Strong women and strong men. Also when you see them again in other stories, the couples are still themselves and fighting it out (like Mari and Bowen when she does a “job” for Neomi in Dark Deeds).

    Speaking of couples that don’t lose their edge, J.D. Robb’s (Nora Roberts) in Death series. I know it might not strictly follow your sub-genre as it is only set in 2059 NY, but Eve is a really strong woman and I have yet to meet a woman who doesn’t want Roarke. They are a married couple that keeps the hot sex hot and the tension high. So good. So good.

    In regards to Feehan and the Carpathians: they are good in small doses every other week.
    However, everyone should read her Ghoastwalker series. They aren’t vamps but they are real men with extraordinary gifts who find women just like them.

    Moning’s Highlanders/Druids smoke off the page.

    But if you haven’t experienced the greatness of Cole or Robb, you should start.

  • http://www.mojoshivers.blogspot.com mojo shivers

    I used to work at a bookstore. Every month I would bring my then current girlfriend that month’s castoffs from the romance section. It would be literally a cardboard box filled with fifty or sixty paperback romances.

    Inevitably, she would sucker me into reading one she thought was especially good.

    And the funny thing is, Miss Felicia, I always liked the pack-of-men romances the best. It wasn’t because I especially enjoyed the romance aspect, but I was thought it was kind of cool how they could match like the seven lonely lumberjacks with the absolute seven perfect women for their truly disparate personalities. “Oh, this guy’s zany so we’ll pair him up with the strait-laced business woman.” Or “this guy’s an artist so we’ll match him up with the blind girl and he’ll show her what beauty is”.

    Not only that, but all the girls would be related somehow even though they weren’t sisters. I swear to the gods, in one of the series I read over the years the girls were named Violet, Rose, Lily, Fern, and Daisy and they weren’t even related at all.

    Romance novels are evil.

    Addictive and evil. LOL

  • Liam

    Alright, time for you to read one of the best written books -ever-.

    http://www.amazon.com/Lies-Locke-Lamora-Scott-Lynch/dp/055358894X

    This is one of the best written books. No it’s no romance, instead it is witty, sharp, at times crude, and most of all, brilliant.

    I guarantee you’ll love it and um, if not I’ll … uh…. draw you… a …. puppy…

    Enjoy :)

  • http://www.saramharvey.com Sara M. Harvey

    Umm, how about demon-hunters in corsets? No Alpha Males (that they have sex with).
    Kindle edition found here: http://www.amazon.com/Convent-Pure-ebook/dp/B0024NLC0S/ref=ed_oe_k

    Also, in full disclosure, this is SHAMELESS, and I mean REALLY shameless self-promotion.

    Also, of tired of Alpha males but still want some super sexy supernatural fantasy, might I suggest the Kushiel’s Series by Jacqueline Carey?
    The first trilogy featuring Phedre starts with Kushiel’s Dart: http://www.amazon.com/Kushiels-Dart/dp/B001Q3LB5S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=digital-text&qid=1239989725&sr=1-1

    She’s on her third trilogy starting this summer. I am ever-so-thrilled!!

  • http://www.saramharvey.com Sara M. Harvey

    On a related note, were my book ever made into a movie, you could so play Imogen. ^_^

  • http://www.saramharvey.com Sara M. Harvey

    Bleh I think my first comment got et!

    OK let’s try this again….
    Victorian/Steampunk demon-hunters in corsets! http://www.amazon.com/Convent-Pure-ebook/dp/B0024NLC0S/ref=ed_oe_k
    No Alpha Males! No sex! But lots of sexual tension!
    (This is fairly shameless self-promotion here, but I am a shameless hussy).
    Might I also recommend the Kushiel’s Series by Jacqueline Carey. Supersexy fantasy without Packs o Men.
    The first (of three) trilogies starts with Phedre in the book Kushiel’s Dart:
    http://www.amazon.com/Kushiels-Dart/dp/B001Q3LB5S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=digital-text&qid=1239990217&sr=1-1

    • http://www.saramharvey.com Sara M. Harvey

      I see you already love Jacqueline! Yay! I knew you were cool! ^_^
      Are you looking forward to the new trilogy??

  • http://3donthewebcheap.blogspot.com len

    “I was thought it was kind of cool how they could match like the seven lonely lumberjacks with the absolute seven perfect women for their truly disparate personalities”

    “the bluest eyes you’ve ever seen are in Seattle”…

    It’s amazing how well the sabine women theme still does. The bad-boy-come-steal-the-perfect-woman-because-she-won’t-choose-for-herself theme seems oddly out of place in the Age of the Cougar, but there we are: Archetypes At Work And Play.

  • Joshua (Feste on Guild site)

    I will always suggest David Gemmell’s work for people looking for a good read. Especially the Drenai series (no it’s not about the WoW race:) ). If you want to read good fantasy about well made 3 dimensional character I always go with him. He’s done a tone of other series too. I was sad about him passing away in 2006.

    Here’s a quick link of what he’s done.

    http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/g/david-a-gemmell/

  • Joshua (Feste on Guild site)

    Oh. You might also like Kat Richardson.
    “Greywalker”
    “Poltergeist”

    Both are about a femail PI that literally has one foot in the spirit world (the Grey) and one in the mortal. She’s got another coming out soon, “Underground.”

    http://www.katrichardson.com/fiction/books.html

  • http://twitter.com/Captain_Jester Matt McD

    It’s not smutty but you should read some of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files. You’ll thank me for recommending them. Jim Butcher is to the written word what Joss Whedon is to TV/Movies.

  • http://twitter.com/brucedkelly Bruce Kelly

    Felicia,

    I’m the husband of a romance writer and have been on the “inside” for more than ten years now. If you ever want the scoop on romance novels from a guy who’s been an embedded reporter – I’m your man. I’m delighted to hear that you read romance novels. It’s particularly refreshing given all the negative comments about the genre I’ve heard over the years.

    A couple of people have already mentioned her but I’ll second (or third) the recomendation of Kresley Cole’s Immortals series. She’s created a complex world and she writes hot.

    I’d also recommend Julie Leto, particularly her Phantom series. She a dear friend and also writes…well, hot. If you want a bit of a quicker read and don’t mind delving into category romance I highly recommend the Harlequin Blaze line. They’re not all paranormal but there are some excellent writers turning out some great books. Julie had a paranormal out in February called “Something Wicked”.

    My wife writes mostly contemporary romance as Leslie Kelly but she had a paranormal story out in a Blaze anthology also in February called Blazing Bedtime Stories and she has another full-length Blaze later this year that’s tied to it. If you’re at all interested in romantic suspense Leslie is shifting gears with a different publisher and will have a three book series about an FBI team that investigates Internet related murder out in July, August, and September this year under the name Leslie Parrish. Sorry for the plug but, hey, she’s my wife and I’m proud.

    Sound’s like you have some reading ahead of you. Enjoy!

  • Josh

    Even (especially?) as a guy, I must agree! Cute heroines are all well and good, but what truly makes a girl interesting is when she’s…well, interesting! Is she capable? Smart? Creative? There needs to be something about her that stands out, something to make us like and respect this person! (This is doubly true in print, where a girl simply can’t get by just by providing eye candy!) What’s more, without logic, a story is just random words. We need plausibility. To achieve suspension of disbelief – indeed, IMMERSION, the story has to be believable. As you point out… savage powerful undead killing randomly falling for a mortal he’s just met, who has nothing going for her but looks? Not plausible. (Oh, and I’m sure he’s seen his share of lookers over the century. And seen them get wrinkles too.)

    Additionally, as readers, we want more than to believe the story. The reason we want to believe it is because we want to live it, to BE the protagonist, at least in our imaginations. What attraction is there in fantasizing about being someone’s decorative wife? Not the wife part – that makes sense – but wouldn’t any healthy person prefer to be an equal? Not just in terms of rights, but in contribution, in effectiveness as well. To look at said powerful handsome immortal and subconsciously think “yes, he’s awesome… and that makes him just right for me, because so am I?”

    Yes, I’m passionate about this topic. Can you tell? :)

  • Josh

    eek! I accidentally double posted trying to correct a wording error. My bad!

  • http://johnsheppardluv.livejournal.com Sharma S.

    Hullo Felicia! :)

    Howdy do! :) Very insightful this pondering of yours indeed was. :)

    I think for me urban fantasy equates to Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series. It takes place in modern-day Chicago, but with a few extra beings, if you know wat I mean. ;) You’ve got all sorts of women in there though, who are in BOTH leadership and non-leadership positions. Karrin Murphy is a strong police detective character, but she’s not stereotypical. Not really. Then, there’s a regular-reporter-girl-turned-vamp-girl in the person of Susan Rodriguez, who literally kicks butt AND saves it too. And ususally, it’s Harry’s (aka the eponymous hero’s) butt that she’s saving. (And he’s a WIZARD too, so you’d think he wouldn’t need saving, yah?) ;)

    And then there’s the Archive. A little girl who knows everything there is to know about everything. LITERALLY. It’s all in her head. Then there’s Queen Mab, the ruler of Winter in the Faerie Courts…

    And those are just a few of the examples. :)

    You should really check this series out if you can! :)

    Here’s the complete and chronological list of them:

    1 Storm Front 2000 April
    2 Fool Moon 2001 January
    3 Grave Peril 2001 September
    4 Summer Knight 2002 September
    5 Death Masks 2003 August
    6 Blood Rites 2004 August
    7 Dead Beat 2005 May
    8 Proven Guilty 2006 May
    9 White Night 2007 April
    10 Small Favor 2008 April
    11 Turn Coat 2009 April
    12 Changes 2010 April

    ~Sharma,
    who’s just lookin’ out. :)

  • Cathy

    Just stumbled across your blog, via Penny Arcade. I’m a fan of yours from Dr. Horrible, too.

    Anyway, just wanted to echo the suggestions for Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series. Book 1 was okay, books 2 and 3 better, but the series really takes off with #4. I’d actually recommend skipping ahead and starting with 4 (can’t remember the title, but it’s Conrad and Neomi’s story). The books are standalone enough that you won’t miss out on much.

    Also, Patricia Brigg’s Alpha and Omega was a great paranormal.

    Finally, wanted to draw your attention to “Beyond Heaving Bosoms, the Smart Bitches’ Guide to Romance Novels.” It just came out last week, and is a look at the romance genre by the writers of the Smart Bitches, Trashy Books blog. Insightful and incredibly funny. All those romance tropes you love to secretly love are mentioned in all their cliched glory.

    Glad to run across someone who has also been corrupted by the anonymous nature of reading on the Kindle. (By the way, for great 800-page castle-covered fantasy epics, Melanie Rawn is incredible.)

  • http://feliciaday.com felicia

    Cathy,
    thanks so much for that suggestion! I actually read 1 and was meh about it, but I will download #4 for my Kindle for the plane tomorrow!

    And I TOTALLY love that blog, I need to get the book, those ladies crack me up a lot. I read all of her dragon books as a college girl, but I hear she has a new series coming out this summer, more urban fantasy? I remember pre-ordering something by her recently.

  • Ohako

    a) not a lady…sorry
    b) stumbled on here from Penny Arcade – blame them, or just claim your free tickets to their con, whatever
    c) used to work in a sci-fi/fantasy bookstore

    My favorite work in this genre is Sunshine by Robin McKinley. Oh heck, you may also like Tinker and the sequel Wolf Who Rules by Wen Spencer.

  • Steph

    >> What’s the appeal of the Alpha man in romance novels?

    Personally, for me, it’s sort of a trainwreck quality enjoyment. It’s like watching a Lifetime Channel original movie, in which you are constantly reinforced the notion that the woman is always the VICTIM and the cause of and solution to all of her woes is a big, strong man! It’s so bad … it’s pretty amusing.

    I think that’s why I opt for the historical romance smut. The vast majority seems to have been written between the mid-80s and early-90s, consistantly featuring beautiful (always seems to be over-emphasized), “strong-willed” women who are for some reason perfect in every way and loved by everyone, even the characters who start out hating them.

    The males must be very alpha and mysterious and despite the fact that their previous history is spent “taking” women in a very caddish nature, this time is different because she is THE ONE. Oh yes, because even though he steals you away on his pirate ship, or some sort of clan raid … he just wants to argue with you and talk about his feelings! … and THEN the graphic sexings! o/

    I really wish there was real character development to women in these novels besides generic spunk that’s supposed to make the heroine seem capable, but makes for a poorly developed, unintersting character. Or that the only archetype available for the male lead is more than “douchebag with a heart of gold!”

    But … as the blog post detailing Mr. Miller’s metaphoric writting has shown, bad fiction can be pretty funny to read!

    Oh yes, and I found this link through Penny Arcade too! I’ve seen Dr. Horrible before, but I had no idea about “The Guild” before I came here!

  • Matthew

    I’ve never been particularly drawn to this sub genre but had a girlfriend who loved reading these books so I’ve read a few back covers. They’ve always stricken me as having recycled the plots from the worst episodes of Highlander: the Series.

  • http://www.boardsireland.net spannerotoole

    Packs Of Men series….

    Sounds like you’re into gay porn :) (Couldn’t Resist it. Sorry :-) )

  • Lynn

    I also find the lack of power in the female heroine after copulation very disturbing. There are some books where I can ignore it, but I have been known to discard a book for overtly caveman attitudes.

    Thanks for the commentary – I loved it! :)

    I also have a book suggestion: The Chronicles of Elantra Series
    It doesn’t have any smutty scenes (so far) but I still found it enjoyable.
    The same problem exists with the heroine getting less aggressive and more submissive in the latter books but not so much that I couldn’t enjoy the rest of the book.

    The first book in the series is “Cast in Shadow” by Michelle Sagara.

  • erin

    Rosemary is right. Read the Sookie Stackhouse novels. The scenes with the faeries make me pee myself. Given that there are 7 novels currently (with the 8th soon to be released, eep!) I would have had to buy myself a new couch (if I were being literal).

    Try also the Aisling Grey, Guardian series by Katie MacAlister. Aisling takes a while to get to the aha! moments sometimes but it rules my world that she won’t give up her dream of being a guardian to a portal to hell just because some sexy dragon claims her as his mate. I’m only halfway through the series (I started yesterday, just give me to tomorrow night, I’ll be done) and it appears she gets married at the end so I hope it doesn’t just all crumble into disappointment. Here’s hoping.

  • http://www.misscassie.yourpassionconsultant.com Miss Cassie

    Several things:

    One: I heart the BDB and DH series’ THIS MUCH!!!

    Two: Big fan of you.

    Three: I love how you actually respond to your readers. How very considerate.

    /impressed
    //bigger fan now
    ///slashies!!!

  • Alicat

    I’m totally on board with the Sookie Stackhouse books. She’s a bit of a Mary Sue as heroines go, but it’s totally worth it.

    • http://shinyshiny.wordpress.com Julie

      I got bored with Sookie too… but maybe I should keep reading. >.>

  • http://shinyshiny.wordpress.com Julie

    At least you have a blank Kindle cover to hide them behind! >.<

    I’ve read some of those too, its a sickness I tell you! But… men have porn and women have romance novels. And with that comparison, most guys don’t actually /want/ the women in those things, as most women (I hope) don’t really want the men in those books.

    My problem with romance novels is that the man is indefinitely flawed and the woman indefinitely “fixes” him.
    Reality: People are flawed and they usually stay that way.

    Fab observations, thanks for sharing! ^.^

  • Nyla

    Hi

    I just finished reading the Lora Leigh “The Breeds Series” and if you want Hot Sex scenes and interesting plot you should check out this series. Its more fantasy/paranormal/romance.

  • Camillionaire

    Have you read anything from Mercedes Lackey’s series of Valdemar? Romance doesn’t really play a mega-huge role in her books, but she definitely sets up most of her characters in a romantic subplot, and it’s not incredibly graphic or anything, it’s just cute stuff that makes you go awww. The relationships in her stories basically play out like a romantic comedy in a fantasy world. Her stories and basically the entire world she’s created within her books is amazing. I wasn’t really into the fantasy genre until my friend made me read a few books. I’m utterly obsessed.

    But hey, they’re not really romance novels. I just thought I’d recommend some readin’.

    • Camillionaire

      Oh, yuck. I really need to work on my subject-verb agreement.

  • Joel

    And Felicia,
    It’s because of these romance books that I was able to laugh so much when I worked at Barnes and Noble. I worked in shipping and receiving, I got to open all of the boxes of books before they hit the floor, so that meant that I typically would get the romance dumps – which means there were some days like Mondays when ALL of the romance novels would arrive. So, my boss and I would have a contest every day to see who could receive the funniest and most absurd book title, and most laughable cover art as well. You do have to admit, they can get a bit silly.

    In addition to that, we also tried to guess trends in the books, as there was an Irish phase, then a Scottish highlander phase, and then a Mediterranean phase and so on. We’ve also seen the addition of vampires and pirates to the lineup, but we always joked about why they won’t add zombies.

    -Joel

  • http://mistyforest.net Ena

    Now I know what you mean by vaginal-fantasy among your bookshelves. And why it took me to read this post to figure it out. It’s because this genre bores me to death, I simply cannot stand it till finishing the book. Twilight saga took all my patience to finish.

    I’d rather Robin Hobb stabs me with her too-real-to-be-fantasy-harsh plots than …well… what you summed up above. Though, I have no problem people who love this stuff. But even when I seek something light-hearted to read, I will prefer something else other than these. But again, I’ve always had a low tolerance for romance genre in general.

  • Merlin Ma

    Hello! I’m your fan from Taiwan! I just saw your web show “The Guild” and “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog”, and it’s all fabulous! I especially like the song in both show, such as the theme for “The Guild” and “On The Rise” in “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog”. Thank you for bring us such wonderful shows!

    And I love Fantasy, too! In fact, I’m studying graduate school right now, and my thesis is about Taiwan’s Fantasy Literature and Science Fiction! It’s a little bit difficult to me, because I used to be a reader, not a researcher. Most of the novels you introduce isn’t publish in Taiwan. How sad!

    Sorry, my English isn’t well, and that’s all I can translate for what I want to say. It’s very nice to meet you! Your show influence me a lot!

  • http://www.janebled.com/masterseries.html Who Let That Moose In?

    Long time reader, first time commenter. I love “The Guild” as I’ve been playing MMORPGs since EverQuest 1 and our server’s ridiculous drama is still archived even years after everyone quit.

    Anyway. This entry was particularly amusing to me because, even though I am a total nerd and will usually read any fantasy/modern supernatural/sci-fi/whatever that sounds vaguely interesting, I’ve always scoffed at the erotic subgenre as mere fap material barely a step above NC-17 fanfiction.

    But then someone bought this e-book Master for me and I’ve had something of a turn around. Apparently all it took was intelligent, snarky dialogue between an blasé, annoyed rock star trying to hide his vampiric nature and the snobby, preening, closeted TV star he accidentally turns into a vampire. I didn’t know that homoerotic sexual tension was hot either, and the fact that it’s mostly about two guys means there is no cast-off female lead who ends up taking the backseat after she gets her man.

    Since it’s an e-book and apparently in a PDF format that doesn’t mesh with your Kindle, I don’t suppose you’ll ever get around to it but since, given it is classified as erotic urban fantasy and thus it surprised me by being clever and entertaining, I thought I’d at least mention it.

  • http://www.feliciaday.com Felicia

    I will try to check out that e-book! I just read a book by Devon Monk with an interracial romance and very interesting magic system, I will be getting the second book soon, definitely a good one in the genre (that I’m getting a bit bored of myself :) )

    • http://www.janebled.com/masterseries.html Who Let That Moose In?

      Having my comment acknowledged and my recommendation actually considered is an absolute treat. Thank you.

  • redlipsmack

    Hey, just wanted to make sure you add Marjorie M. Liu to your list of books. http://marjoriemliu.com/ She is a fantastic fantasy writer & I love every minute of her books. Her “Dirk & Steele” novels never make me feel cheated or that I could have written it better. They have plot, are well written, and have characters you can get behind with so much more to them than lust. She’s on Twitter too, and a very fun follow. I read a lot of this fantasy crap just in the hopes of finding that one series that makes it worth it and she did. Well, thanks for the say & I love the shows. Keep up the good work.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/pub/gene-declark/8/1bb/518 Gene

    Have you read any of the Psion series by Joan D. Vinge (Psion, Catspaw, and Dreamfall)? Aliens, instead of vampires, but still, there’s sex! And good story telling. They center on a young, orphaned half-alien (16 at the start of the series) who gets forced into service because of his latent telepathic abilities. It’s essentially dark cyberpunk fantasy (1984 meets Metropolis?). The main character is male and it’s written in the first-person, but the author pretty much nails the voice, something I always found impressive. (I’m a bit of a hack, er, writer, when I have time and tried the same thing in the opposite direction. It’s really not easy to suppress your own gender-biased responses without descending into stereotype.)

    Speaking of 1984, of course, there’s a great book in itself– my favorite ever novel in fact.

  • http://michael.bearfootden.com Michael

    Just wanted to point you in the direction of a twitter feed you might like. @heavingbosoms.

    It’s hilarious. :)

  • http://wealthyaffiliatereviewbonus.com Jonny

    You know, my wife just got sucked into the “vampire” novels… I’m hoping the romance novel smut is not next! ;)

  • Cherrie Jefferson

    Very good site thank you so much for your time in writing the posts for all of us to learn about.

  • http://rohibook.com Shah Dil Awan

    I found this website from twitter. This is great site with very informative posts. Felicia you are really good.
    Follow me @rohibook if possible

  • alex

    Hey Felicia!
    I wanted to say Hi and take FULL CREDIT (!!!) for the name “The Flog”! I doubt you still have your old website info stored somewhere (so I can backup my big claim) but back before you blew up with The Guild, I recall trading comments with you and our merry band of misfits (I wanna say Edgar and a couple others) and I implored you to call your blog, “The Flog.” Then you changed your website theme like a million times and ended up with this scary Halloweeny thing with black and white skeletons.

    Anyway, it was fun to be able to communicate with you back in the day…now I’m just a blip in the mass of craziness that is Felicia Day, the phenom. So congrats on all the success!! And the name, “The Flog” will forever be my weak-ass claim to fame!! Yes, that’s pretty weak sauce on my part. :) Have a great weekend!

  • John

    If you like those you might just like The Parasol Protectorate books Felicia. There are 5 total written by the tallented Gail Carriger. I love the blurb on the front cover.

    ‘A book about Vampires, Werewolves and Parasols’

    Very intertaining descriptions with witty, memorable characters.

    Here’s the Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Soulless-Parasol-Protectorate-Gail-Carriger/dp/0316056634

  • Daniel André Johansen

    Hey Felicia :o)

    Not a really respond to your post, but…

    I gotta say, The Guild is awesome.. And so is the “Do you wanna date my avatar” and “Game on” music videos! :D

  • http://blog.laptopmag.com/google-launches-movie-service-for-xoom-tablet-and-browsers-froyo-phones-next Raman William

    hi,there

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