In honor of the upcoming holiday of all things love, I’m sharing a few of my favorite paranormal romances that aren’t totally cheesy. These books capture your attention with great characters, amazing stories and a nice side of love that doesn’t overpower the rest. Think classy pecorino rather than stinky blue cheese!
I love a good paranormal love story any month of the year! Sometimes, though, I am just not in the mood for the cheese that goes along with a lot of them. You know what I mean, right? I’m talking about the totally unrealistic “I just met you and I already love you!” stuff that, honestly, is only cute when Dug the Dog says it. The 50 blank pages of I can’t live without you because you went away cheese. Sorry, I liked Twilight as much as the next girl the first time I read it, it has a weird mesmerizing effect. Try reading it a second time though. It breaks the spell.
If you want a good paranormal love story but can’t handle the extra lactose, check out a few of my favorites!
Paranormal Love Stories for the Lactose Intolerant
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I totally wanted that to be my title, but I didn’t know how many people would get it without reading the intro! As you can see, most of these paranormal love stories are actually series. I suggest starting from the beginning with each one, so I’m linking to the first book.
Start with Rosemary and Rue, then work your way through the rest of the eight current books in this fantastic series about a changeling in San Francisco. These aren’t your Bibbity Bobbity Boo fairies, my friends. They’re strange, twisty and occasionally very cruel. While love isn’t the main objective of the story, it does play a strong role, especially in later books. McGuire builds an epic love story that spans the entire series yet never gives you a lactose tummy ache.
If you’ve read the older Kay Hooper books before she started the Bishop series, you may be surprised to see her on a list of paranormal love stories that aren’t cheesy. Granted, her old romances are definitely high on the lactose-intolerant side, but ever since she started writing about her psychic special crimes unit, she’s pulled back more and more on the Brie. If you go ALL the way back to the beginning to Stealing Shadows the romance is a bit heavier handed. Jump ahead to around the Blood Trilogy, with Blood Dreams, and it starts to take a back seat to paranormal action.
Experiments in Terror Series by Karina Halle
One of my all-time favorite paranormal series, this one isn’t for the feint of heart…or the easily offended. The first book, Darkhouse, is rated 16+ for language and gore. Karina doesn’t hold back with her characters Perry and Dex. Throughout nine books, the two battle crazy-evil ghosts, demons and, more often than not, each other. The horizontal love scenes (sex scenes, people, I’m trying to be genteel here) are definitely intense, but far from cheesy. They’re practically an art themselves. The series is over, so you can binge on it before moving on to her other books. Karina is pretty darn diverse. I haven’t read her contemporary romance novels yet because it’s not usually my genre of choice, but I may just give them a try since she wrote them.
Ghost Hunter Mystery Series by Victoria Laurie
This is another of my favorite series. As in, buy the books the moment they come out. Start at the beginning with What’s a Ghoul to Do? and work your way through the next 9 books that are currently out. Laurie knows how to build up a good love story over time, spinning it in a way that complements that real stories in each book rather than distracting from the spooky atmosphere.
Wicked Lovely and its sequels are young adult paranormal stories, so they’re relatively tame (I don’t really know what the term “clean read” means, so I won’t use it, but I thought they were pretty mild). Like October Daye’s fae, Marr’s faerie world is full of cold, calculating creatures with nasty agendas. Aislinn is a terrific character who grows more mature and wonderful throughout every book in the series. She’s torn between two worlds, two loyalties and, in a way, two loves. Yet somehow, Marr pulls it off without turning it into a Team Keenan/Team Seth cheese fest.
Shadow Falls Series by CC Hunter
Another great pick for YA fans, the Shadow Falls series begins with Born at Midnight and focuses on a girl named Kylie and her journey to find out who- and what- she is. Yes, there is a love triangle a la Twilight. It seems that once Belle found herself whining about whether she should choose the guy couldn’t live without two pages ago and the guy who, as it turns out, was destined to marry her infant, every YA book on the planet started tossing in a love triangle. Still, CC Hunter does it a million times better. She doesn’t let it interfere with Kylie’s basic character.
Between these six series, you’ll have enough reading material to last you a year! I know I say they’re all my favorites, but really, they all bring something totally different to the table, even if a few sound similar. Example: Karina Halle’s ghost hunters are completely different than Victoria Laurie’s. Marr and McGuire both write about Faerie, but they couldn’t be more different. Check out the books, see which appeal to you, then get reading!
Do you have a favorite paranormal love story that isn’t totally cheesy? Tell me in the comments!