[Note from Folic: We are so excited to have paranormal romance author Jenn Burke guest post for us today! Be sure to get her new book Not Dead Yet out now!]
As long I can remember, I’ve loved reading about traditionally “bad” magical creatures—werewolves, witches, vampires, and more—who were actually the good guys. I think it might have started when I was a teen reading Tanya Huff’s Vicki Nelson series with Henry the vampire helping Vicki solve crimes…or maybe it was the witch Diana saving lives and kicking occult ass in Mercedes Lackey’s Diana Tregarde series. Although I’d categorize both of those series as urban fantasy rather than paranormal romance, they opened my eyes to the possibility of the magic in a contemporary setting. And then I found the Silhouette Shadows series of category paranormal romances in my local used bookstore, and that, as they say, was that. I was hooked on the paranormal.
Paranormal romance continues to be a favourite genre of mine, to both read and write—particularly those with queer pairings! Here are a few books I highly recommend.
Wolfsong by T.J. Klune
Type of paranormal: Werewolves
Summary: Ox is a young man in a small town, who loves his mom, was abandoned by his dad, kind of adopted by the local mechanic, and encourages the new, traumatized boy in town to start talking again without doing anything special at all. The new boy, Joe, says that Ox smells like candy canes and pinecones and epic and awesome—and he would know, since he and his entire family are werewolves. They take Ox into their pack and Ox grows up alongside Joe, and eventually into a relationship with him. He finally feels like he has a true family…until it all falls apart.
Why you should read it: T.J. Klune is a master at weaving heartwrenching tales that nonetheless have a happily-ever-after. He has a talent for lyrical prose that’s still very readable, and that talent is fully engaged in Wolfsong. Ox’s voice matures as the story progresses, growing as he does from a not-so-bright 12-year-old boy to a man in his 20s who’s experienced heartache and loss, but still has hope for the future. This is a really compelling, page-turner of a book, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Blackbird in the Reeds by Sam Burns
Type of paranormal: Fae, werewolves, witches, and more
Summary: Blackbird in the Reeds is the first book in the Rowan Harbor series, which comprises nine short novels, with three books for each of the main three couples. In this opening story, Devon discovers that his grandmother’s small town is home to all manner of paranormal creatures, including the very hot and very werewolf Deputy Wade Hunter. Devon finds himself at the centre of a number of mysteries and needs to figure out what role he’s supposed to play to protect the town.
Why you should read it: Each entry in this series is novella or short-novel length, which makes them quick reads. But don’t think that quick equals lacking in worldbuilding or plot! Because the story arches over nine books, Sam Burns has plenty of time to draw you into each relationship and tease out bits of the history, plot, and mythos of this world she’s created. The overall arc is very satisfying and compelling, and definitely worth checking out!
The Wolf at the Door by Charlie Adhara
Type of paranormal: Werewolves
Summary: Cooper is an FBI agent who got on the wrong end of a werewolf’s claws, and found himself working for the secretive Bureau of Special Investigations. It’s been a difficult adjustment, going from an investigator to essentially a bounty hunter tracking down rogue werewolves, but he has the chance to stretch his investigative muscles when he’s handed the case of mysterious possible werewolf-related deaths in Maine. The catch? He needs to work with a werewolf agent to track down the killer.
Why you should read it: This is Charlie Adhara’s debut novel, and it’s an incredible first effort. Cooper is a great investigator, but prickly and more than a little socially inept. Park, his werewolf partner, is self-contained, controlled, and difficult for Cooper to understand, which makes their pairing very push-pull and an exciting ride for the reader. The mystery is solid, the worldbuilding is mysterious, and best yet, book two is already out and book three will be here this spring!
Hunter of Demons by Jordan L. Hawk
Type of paranormal: Vampire (kinda), magic users, demons
Summary: Caleb is an unregistered telekinetic paranormal who’s trying to track down the demon who murdered his brother. Gray is a bodiless spirit who’s jumped from dead host to dead host for millennia to hunt down demons and drink their blood—except, this time, he ends up accidentally in Caleb’s very much alive body. Which leaves Caleb dealing with federal exorcist, John Starkweather, who wants to banish Gray from Caleb’s body before the possession ends up a permanent condition. But Caleb needs Gray’s help to track down his brother’s killer…if he can keep him under control.
Why you should read it: This is such a fantastic take on the vampire trope. Rather than feeding on humans, Gray feeds on demons—he drinks their blood, but he feeds on the essence of them, essentially destroying them. Of course, there’s the added difficulty of everyone thinking Gray is a demon like all the others that terrorize humans, which means a lot of people trying to control or contain Caleb and his metaphysical passenger. And what happens when Caleb and Gray both develop feelings for John? This is the first book of 11 novellas, with more on the way, and believe me, when you start reading, you won’t want to stop.
A Ferry of Bones and Gold by Hailey Turner
Type of paranormal: Werewolves, demons, gods, oracles, and more
Summary: Patrick is an agent for the Supernatural Operations Agency, and his history is filled with war, blood, and pain. He’s sent to New York City to investigate a missing immortal, and almost immediately things start to go sideways—a spate of ritual murders are only the beginning. The Fates provide help in the form of Jono, a werewolf from London residing in the city, who Patrick wants but definitely shouldn’t have. Between the two of them, they might just stand a chance at saving the world.
Why you should read it: Hailey Turner writes fantastic adventure-style romance. Her previous series featured futuristic military superheroes, and this one is through-and-through paranormal, but they share a similar feeling. There’s danger, and sexy times, and more danger, and snarky banter, and more danger, and exciting plot twists and developments, which all adds up to a fun, fast-paced and highly enjoyable read. Patrick and Jono make a great pair, and the stakes are as high as they get. I can’t wait for book two!
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About the Author:
Jenn Burke has loved out-of-this-world romance since she first read about heroes and heroines kicking butt and falling in love as a preteen. Now that she’s an author, she couldn’t be happier to bring adventure, romance, and sexy times to her readers.
Jenn is the author of a number of paranormal and science fiction romance titles, including the critically acclaimed Chaos Station science fiction romance series (authored with Kelly Jensen) from Carina Press.
She’s been called a pocket-sized and puntastic Canadian on social media, and she’ll happily own that label. Jenn lives just outside of Ottawa, Ontario, with her husband and two kids, plus two dogs named after video game characters…because her geekiness knows no bounds.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/jeralibu/
Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/295814398039168/ (Jenn Burke’s Epic Adventurers)
Newsletter sign-up: http://bit.ly/jennburkenewsletter
Not Dead Yet by Jenn Burke out now!
Dying isn’t what it used to be.
Wes Cooper was dead. Then he wasn’t—though he’s not exactly alive, either. As an immortal not-ghost, he can transition between this world and the otherplane, which makes him the perfect thief for hire. For seventy years he’s made a “living” returning items to their rightful owners, seeing his fair share of the bizarre in the process. But he’s never witnessed murder. Until now.
His latest mission brings him more than he bargained for: a very-dead actor who is definitely going to stay that way. It’s just Wes’s luck that his ex-boyfriend, Detective Hudson Rojas, is assigned to the case. Hudson broke Wes’s heart years ago—and could again, given he’s rocking a hot silver-fox look that shouldn’t be legal.
As they work together to track down the murderer before anyone else gets hurt, it becomes clear Wes and Hudson have unfinished business. And when a secret Hudson’s been keeping threatens more than just their happiness, it might mean the end of their not-life together—permanently.