Top 25 Paranormal Romance Books

The Best of Romance Meets Fantasy
Top 25 Paranormal Fantasy Books

Bare chests and muscles. Tattoos and fangs. Bad boys and shapeshifters. 

Paranormal romance is fantasy heavy petting lite. It's the genre millions of people turn to when they're looking for a mindless escape from life, literature and love. Because the characters in these books, even when facing the worst the supernatural world/Stephanie Meyer could throw at them, find romance. Often that means that they find acceptance in the most unusual places.

And that's what makes these book so popular: Even if its not an explicit theme, there's a sense that no matter who (or what) a person is, there is always someone willing to love (and grope, or bite) them.

A few things to be aware of: The older titles in the genre, like Anne Rice's Interview With the Vampire haven't aged well. As long as you take these books for what they are, you'll enjoy them. This isn't a genre known for being written well, so when you do find an author with some skill, you appreciate them even more.

For a series to be considered a ‘good' paranormal romance, it has to blend elements of fantasy, horror, romance and humor. More importantly, it has to balance them so that one doesn't overwhelm the others. Because this is a romance genre, the focus is mostly on characters and their interactions.

You'll notice that Twilight isn't on this list. When we write a list about the top 25 Worst Books Of All Time In Any Universe Ever, we promise we'll consider it as a top contender.

Genres That Touch Paranormal Romance

Fantasy is not an inclusive genre. Indeed, many of the subgenres mix and mingle with each other. Paranormal Romance is such an example -- a subgenre of fantasy that takes elements of the romance novel and combines them with the fantasy genre. For example, you may have a romance novel, but the characters are witches or vampires. The truth is that paranormal romance is a very broad genre and one could make the argument that it's not just a subgenre of fantasy, but an entire genre on it's own.

For simplicity sake, we'll shove it under the 'fantasy genre' for now. Note that there's a strong connection between paranormal romance, paranormal fantasy, urban fantasy, fantastic romance, and quite often, young adult fantasy.

Paranormal Romance vs Paranormal Fantasy

Paranormal Romance is distinct from the Paranormal Fantasy genre, though the two are sometimes intermingled...or mangled depending on your view of the genre.

Paranormal fantasy is usually set in the city and includes a magical world hidden from the normal world -- a world that's often filled with vampires, werewolves, ghost, and ghouls. Paranormal fantasy and Urban Fantasy are often mixed together (paranormal fantasy often -- but not always -- takes place in an urban environment), while Urban Fantasy is more open ended (there are no limits to the story, era, or plot as long as it takes place in a city and there's fantastical elements involved).

And of course, the key difference is Paranormal Romance is a romance novel with paranormal elements while paranormal fantasy could be anything (i.e. no romantic elements).

Paranormal Romance vs Urban Fantasy

Urban fantasy is a setting -- any plot with 'magical' elements that takes place in an urban setting could be labelled as Urban Fantasy. Paranormal Romance is not limited to an urban setting and, as the name indicates, always involves a romantic plot. One could also make the case that Urban fantasy is an aesthetic movement (like steampunk) just as much as it is a setting.Paranormal Romance vs Fantastic RomanceThese two subgenres are often very similar: both may include fantasy elements, both often include similar fantasy elements such as vampires, witches, werewolves, and both strongly feature a romantic plot as a major part of the story -- in some cases, THE entire plot (resolving a romantic conflict).However, the fantastic romance genre often features more exaggerated elements (an over-the-top hero, a bizarre world, fantastical and larger than life events). Fantastic romance is often a more fast pace, move movement orientated plot and may involve plenty of non-romantic elements that drive the story forward; the romance may just be one of many driving forces to the story.Paranormal Romance, on the other hand, is all about the romance. The plot elements are ultimately designed to bring about a romantic resolution between the protagonist and the romantic interest/s.
Before you start Night Huntress, be aware that there's nothing groundbreaking about the series. You're going to be disappointed if you go into it expecting something fresh. While it may not be a literary work of genius, this series is an example of the best kind of paranormal romance âthe elements that fans of the genre look for are present and well written.The most important goal for a paranormal fantasy is to provide a world that is pure escapism. Frost has written a series that achieves this, while balancing the other elements of the genre carefully. And that's the key to separating the good works from the bad: There must be a balance between the paranormal (in Night Huntress this is in the form of vampires) humor and romance.Unlike epic fantasies, paranormal fantasies don't require the author to provide detailed world building elements, but there needs to be some kind of explanation for the existence of the supernatural. The Night Huntress world is well planned and easy to follow and the action moves is relentless. Once you've started reading, it's difficult to put down.In similar series, romance often gets in the way of the action, but Frost hasn't fallen into this trap. Equally important is that she's created characters that you can care about. In a genre where stereotypes and clichés are par for the course, the more of these series you read, the more difficult it is to separate one character from another. Fortunately, Cat and Bones â the central couple of Night Huntress â stand out. These books are effortless reads. They're fun and quick to get through, with just the right amount of quirk, flirt and dirt.
Urban Fantasy excels at creating strong female leads, and this is one of the best. Mercy is a part Native American auto mechanic who also happens to be a walker; one who can turn into a coyote at will. Like the Grimm TV series, she's not the only anomaly and has a werewolf for a neighbor, her boss is a gremlin; you get the idea. Briggs creates awesome bantering dialogue that makes it a fun read. I love that it's realistic; gunshots are LOUD when you forget your ear protection. When you fight werewolves, you might just break your arm. Mercy can hold her own, but knows her limits. She's caring, not a doormat, and she's wicked brave. She makes mistakes, and owns it. Don't be fooled by the Harlequin-looking cover, the romance has a nice organic build, which is refreshing in a genre that's often obsessed paranormal sex scenes. The books are fast-paced, witty, tense, and addictive.

Books in A Mercy Thompson Series (9)

Black Dagger Brotherhood is one of the most well known series in the paranormal romance genre. While it hasn't aged well (many new readers will point out that its clichéd and derivative), but the things that look for in a paranormal romance series are all present and well executed. Before reading this series, it's important to keep in mind that there's Ward was targeting a specific audience. If you're not in this audience, you might not find it as entertaining as other people have.Unlike many authors in the genre, Ward has spent time building this world. (There's even a glossary in the front of the book, which â depending on the reader â is either considered condescending or helpful.)The male characters in the series are typically macho (cars! Guns! Knives! Hip Hop! Muscles!), but not so macho that they're without flaws. If you're sensitive to books where gender stereotypes are par for the course, you might want to give this one a skip. If you do manage to suspend your intellectual and moral beliefs for a few hours, you'll enjoy the fast-paced action of the series.

Books in Black Dagger Brotherhood Series (12)

CONTENT AVERSION ALERT: If you're not a fan of anything fairy-like, this series isn't for you. If you're ok with a world that includes all kinds of flappy, sappy supernatural beings, you'll find this series an addictive read.The world building aspect of this series is its most impressive achievement. It's an enthralling world where magic mixes with a contemporary setting to create a fascinating backdrop to the plot. The story is told in retrospect, but doesn't give too of the plot away. There are vague hints as to where the action is leading, but not so much that the ending is obvious. This makes it a fun ride for the reader because, as it progresses, you're given the opportunity to make predictions â something that's particular to Fever in comparison to other series in the genre.MacKayla Lane â the heroine â is an interesting character and the books are written so that the audience learns about the Fever world at the same time as she does. There's an undercurrent of snarkiness to Mac, which provides a lightheartedness that ensures that you never take the plot too seriously.
Kate Daniels. Tough, smart, and wonderfully mouthy. She's a perennially down-on-her-luck mercenary who cleans up paranormal messes. She's a complete badass, wielding a sword called "Slayer," but remains compassionate and loving. The best part about her is that she's so unpredictable. Except her sarcasm. She's reliably sarcastic. Atlanta becomes home to the paranormal, replete with magic here. Andrews throws in everything from vampires and mages to a gnarly Beast Lord. I admit, the world building is a bit weak, and Magic Bites is not the best intro to what is an enjoyable series, it's merely a functional beginning. I mean, for some unexplained reason there's this pendulum swing between magic and technology and that's out of whack. That's all we get. But the sprightly dialogue, and above all lively characters more than keep it afloat. Sexual tension doesn't dominate the story, but gives it some spice, and the plot pace is propulsive and engaging.

Books in Kate Daniels Series (8)

Nalini Singh is one of the most well known paranormal romance authors. And with good reason: She's written two of the most popular series in the genre. Guild Hunter, along with Psy-Changeling, is often talked about as being some of the best paranormal romance out there.Singh's greatest skill as a writer is her ability to write vivid imagery. Considering that this is a series about angels â beings that could be confusing and corny in the hands of a bad writer â it's lucky that she's a master of descriptive writing. None of this detracts from the romance in the series â there are enough well-written sex scenes to satisfy the âromance' requirement of the genre.This series is unapologetically violent. It also features an original take on the vampire creation myth (they're created by angels), which is explained well and doesn't seem as absurd as some of the other creation ideas in the genre. If you're the kind of reader that requires constant action, you might find this a disappointing read. Most of the plot takes place in the last quarter of each book. This means that â with each entry to the series â you have to get through ¾ of the book before you start seeing real developments. If Singh were a less talented writer, this would be very off putting. Fortunately she's gifted enough that this isn't enough of a problem that you won't enjoy the series.Paranormal romance series with more than three books start becoming tired repetitions of the first books. Singh avoids this trap by focusing on a different character in each book. And it's never an arbitrary decision as to which each book focuses on: There's always a reason why a particular book is being told from the point of view of a specific character. This is one of the strengths of the series â there's an overarching plot.
Cry Wolf is a spin-off of Briggs's popular Mercy Thompson series. For Briggs fans, this series is full of the things that make her such a successful author. She excels at writing compelling characters and dialogue and the main characters in Alpha and Omega â Anna and Charles â are great examples of this. Whether an author is successful in creating an intriguing character has a lot to do with how that character grows as the action progresses. This is one of the things that makes this series so popular: Anna's development is realistic, well-written and satisfying. It's possible to enjoy both Mercy Thompson and Alpha and Omega as separate series, but it'd be a pity if you didn't read them both because each adds depth to the universe they share. They also balance each other well because the Mercy books are more action focused, while romance is the central feature of the Alpha and Omega novels.
The greatest strength of this series is that its main character â Rachel â is both entertaining and interesting. This isn't just because she's a well-rounded character, full of sass and determination, but also because her friendships with the two supporting characters Ivy and Jenks are wonderful to read.These relationships are also what make this series stand out. Throughout the series, Rachel's romantic partners come and go, but these friendships remain. A series built on the strength of friendship is unusual in a genre where the main focus is almost always on a couple. Rachel is a tough talking heroine, but she's also flawed and has the kind of insecurities that we can identify with. Even if she's a witch.There's a certain level of cheese that you'll need to accept to enjoy the series and you'll find many plot holes if you look for them, but this series is all about fluff and fun. Paranormal romances aren't known for complex, carefully planned magic systems, but Harrison has created a system that is well thought out. Part of what makes this so enjoyable is that magic in this world requires work. Rachel isn't all-powerful or all knowing â she has to develop her skills as a witch. And who doesn't love a literary training montage?
Nalini Singh is one of the more talented authors in the genre, with an exceptional ability for painting images with words. Psy-Changeling is full of the things that make her books so enjoyable: Detailed, rounded and interesting world-building, angsty romance and an action packed plot.In a genre dominated by the dog-like and the Dracula-like, Singh's Psy-Changeling series stands out. The types of creatures in this series include apathetic psychic beings, determined humans and elemental shape shifters. It's an interesting take on the traditional shape shifting, blood-loving, life-sucking settings you'll find in other series. There's also something intriguing about watching people discover emotions they didn't know they had.The paranormal romance genre isn't known for its depth. And with good reason – fans read these books for escapist reasons and don't expect (or want) to have to think too hard about the content. This has led to most of these series being shallow, surface deep carbon copy romances. Psy-Changeling is one of the exceptions.The romance in the novels – while satisfying – sometimes gets in the way of the fascinating political events in the series. It's not perfect (there are a number of problems with gender stereotyping), but this is a multi-layered world, with new depths appearing as the plot progresses.
Don't expect this to be a work of classic literature, but of all the paranormal romance series out there, Immortals After Dark is one of the most fun. There's romance and steam, but the thing readers of the series talk about most is that it's laugh-out-loud funny. There are 15 books in this series – for readers that want to get lost in a world without waiting for authors to release new books, this is perfect. Whether Cole meant this series to be so funny is a mystery. Considering how cheesy these books can be you have to wonder if these authors are taking the mickey.One of the most enjoyable things about this series is that the female characters are all powerful creatures and posses equal parts physical strength and intelligence. (If this is your kind of thing, you'll love the Valkyries.) Equally interesting is that the heroes are flawed individuals with traumatic histories. This is important since their behavior can be off putting and it helps to understand why they do certain things.The idea that fate plays an important role in the characters' lives isn't a unique idea, but it's a decent concept to base a series on.Cole isn't a good writer. But there's a subtle humor to her narrative voice, which is a fortunate because her ability to write original erotic scenes is abysmal. If you're looking for high caliber smut – look elsewhere because you won't find it here.
Night Prince is a spin off series based on Frost's Night Huntress series. While it's not necessary to have read Night Prince, you will benefit from discovering Vlad – the series hero – before Once Burned.Thanks to Steph Meyer and her bedazzled man-boys, vampires have lost their edge. Frost's character Vlad is an old school, powerful and dangerous mega-vamp. In this series, Vlad has inspired a classic story called Dracula. Unless you're a twi-hard, you'll be probably have heard of it. It's a classic or something.It's refreshing to encounter a vampire that is as dangerous as his predatory nature should make him. Even more refreshing is that Frost has managed to write him in a where it's possible to relate to him. This is one of her greatest talents as a writer: The ability to write intriguing, but sympathetic, characters.Frost's books always move at a fast pace and drawn you into the action quickly. And in case the violence of this world gets too overwhelming, there are moments of humor cleverly placed throughout. The romantic parts of the book are also well balanced and never overwhelm the characterization or action. This is something that many authors in the genre should emulate.
If there's one criticism that can be leveled at the entire paranormal romance genre (other than the cover art featuring bare-chested hos and beaus), it's that the writing is subpar. And even if its halfway decent, it's all more of the same. Chloe Neill is an exception to the rule. Her writing style isn't technically good, but it is fresh enough to make Chicagoland Vampires stand out. The heroine of the series – Merit – is a likeable character, with all the required snark, wit and grit required of a protagonist in this genre. She's blunt and to the point, which makes for an interesting personality and steers clear of the whiny weirdness of some of the other females in these types of novels. (Stephanie Meyer, take notes.) Merit's personality is the most enjoyable aspect of this series, but you'll find yourself intrigued by the vampire politics Neill has developed as part of this world. To enjoy the series, it's best to think about it as a Young Adult work so that the aspects of series that are immature don't bother you as much. The relationships in the book are all over the place – an unpredictability that you'll either find refreshing or frustrating. It's also one of the series on this list that has a plot thread that runs through each title. There's just enough of this to keep you reading, but there is always a (mostly) satisfying resolution to each book.
The key to a good paranormal romance is to make sure it doesn't take itself too seriously. Because … vampires. Some of the creatures that appear in these types of series are ridiculous and when an author doesn't keep this in mind, it creates a weird separation between reader perception and author intent. Sherrilyn Kenyon is guilty of this. These books aren't just dramatic, they're Kardashian-level dramatic. Fortunately, Kenyon's gift for writing dialogue makes it worth your time to wade through the hysterics. If that's not enough for you to attempt it, then the way in which she's written the friendships between the female characters should be enough to convince you that the series is worth a try. (Interesting sidenote: Kenyon's audience has the largest percentage of male readers of any paranormal romance author.) She's also not terrible at writing sex scenes and steers clear of awkward metaphors and gross descriptions. And, while the characters are typically traumatized, Kenyon somehow manages to write this as naturally as possible. It's refreshing to find a series where self-diagnosed broken characters don't suddenly become unbroken when they meet their soul mate.
Cue the heavy eye roll at the laughable title of the first book in the Demonica series. Got that out of your system? Good. It may be corny, but the title should give you some clue as to the nature of this series. If you don't go into this expecting lots and LOTS of sex scenes, you're probably a cave dweller. Or Amish.The sex scenes are inclined to overpower the plot of each book, but if plot is what you're looking for, you're in the wrong genre. As with many of these books, there is an element of rape involved in many of these scenes. It's not something that should be acceptable, but either the authors are blind to what they're writing or readers are so blinded by the hot, hot, hotness of the man-creatures that they're willing to overlook it. But that's a discussion for another time.These scenes are also graphic and don't leave a lot of creative holes for readers to fill, but people who enjoy this kind of heavy-handedness will enjoy the passion that underlies them.One of the more endearing aspects of this series is the importance of family – something that crops up in many of the books in the series. Which leads to an important detail about Demonica: Each title is a separate story with a resolution, but there are enough threads connecting the plots in each book that you should read these in the right order.
This series is adult with a capital A. Don't give this to a fourteen year old as a gift. Don't give it to your mother either. Keep it in the guilty pleasures and midnight binges box that's underneath your bed.Showalter's narrative style isn't great. Her writing is flowery and saccharine – which is jarring considering the dark and violent events that transpire. Be warned: There's almost as much blood spilt in this series as there was during the Red Wedding. (#toosoon #RIPRobb #peoplewhohasthagaredouchebags) You might find it difficult to digest the Tarantino-esque murder sprees in the books, but there is something intriguing about the darkness of this world.This is also a fresh take on the paranormal genre – instead of vamps, tramps and wolves; this series is about Greek gods and demons. It's not for everyone, but if you've run out of options, this is a decent series to sink your teeth (HA) into.
DRAGONS! PLOT! MONSTERS! HUMOR! What more could you want? An interesting heroine with exceptional abilities of some kind? Check. Creatures of myth? Check.Elder Races is one of those series that manages to tick off multiple boxes and appeal to a wide audience. It's also carefully plotted – something that many similar works lack. While the relationship between the main love interest and the heroine – a pre-requisite for the genre – is important, it never overwhelms the story. The balance between the two is always well executed.Whether it's a Marvel movie or a novel, sometimes the secondary characters are as intriguing – if not more so – than the main ones. (Oh, hey Loki, heeey.) While the leads in Elder Races – Pia and Dragos – are great, the other creatures in the book (including goblins, gryphons, raptors and harpies) are what will make you want to learn more about this world.There's not much darkness here and some people have become so accustomed to grit and grimness that they might find this a problem, but if you're looking for something light and easy to read, you'll be very happy with this series. The only criticism you'll have is that there should always be more dragons. There should ALWAYS be more dragons.
Yes, this is a virtual clone of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. No, it's not worth skipping as a result. That's because it's not a patent leather rip-off, but a well-made genuine leather copy. That is, it's well written, fun and fascinating. It's fortunate that Adrian is good at what she does, because if she weren't as talented, she'd be in trouble with hardcore Black Dagger Brotherhood fans. There's nothing surprising or innovative about Midnight Breed. If there were ever a series that epitomized the clichés of paranormal romance, this would be it. Part-time fans of the genre might find this irritating, but for those of you looking for a typical, but enjoyable, series it's a great option. The action and romance are well balanced so that you're never left wanting for either and Adrian writes great dialogue and lovable characters. It's also worth noting that she is good at carrying characters through the series. One of the drawbacks of a genre with many books in one series is that you run one of two risks: If you keep the focus on the same main character, it could get stale. But if you switch the heroes every book, your series loses some of its cohesion. Adrian does an admirable job at keeping the heroines involved in each book, without them becoming boring.
Three words to describe the Black Jewels Trilogy: Over the top. Terrible things happen in this book, but they're written with so much drama that you can't take them too seriously or you'd go batshit.This trilogy is original in an unusual way: The protagonist's story is told through the eyes of another. (Think, Gatsby. Minus the depth, world-class writing and classic status.) Janaelle, the trilogy's heroine, is only ever seen through the perspective of her family and loved ones. It's an interesting way to watch a story unfold, and it's enhanced by a clever magic system and well-developed world. It's not always very well balanced – there should be more detail about how the magic system works, for example – but the relationships that underlie the plot are believable.There's a lot wrong with these books, which is unfortunate because her idea to invert standard fantasy tropes is a great one. In the hands of a better writer and without having to adhere to expectations of a paranormal romance, this could have been a fascinating springboard for a series. Unfortunately, Bishop's melodramatic writing style and flimsy plots ruin this promise and has the opposite effect of making it seem like a childish attempt at writing something subversive.This isn't one of those books you'll want to dwell on for too long – the way in which the terrible things that happen is written makes it a jarring experience. And one that, if you think about it too hard, could evoke some intense anger toward Bishop's inability to write with any kind of gravitas.One last thing. The only time it's ok to force people to read a spoiler is when it should come with a trigger warning. There's a brutal rape scene in the book. It's not treated delicately either.
It's next to impossible to write an original vampire story. Blame RPatz or Spike, but the best and worst has all been done. Enter S.C. Stephens. The Conversion trilogy is about as original as anything else you'll find in this genre.The main reason for this originality? It's domesticity. That sounds bizarre, but in a genre where most of theses stories revolve around a couple that's a) angsty about how they feel about each other b) deliberately kept apart by The Plot Device c) kept apart by The Third Wheel or d) in a violent love/hate cycle, a relationship that's so normal is refreshing. Teren and Emma – our heroes – like each other, love each other and are with each other. And that's the premise of the book. Everything else is secondary to their relationship, which will provide you with the fluffy kind of enjoyment you get from the best of rom(p)-com.It's also very easy to jump into this world. There's nothing so complex that you need help orienting yourself to things that have happened already. It's not a complicated world to understand either.This series is like a pair of fuzzy slippers: Warm, ridiculous if worn in public and the perfect end to a tough day.
You get a sex scene! You get a sex scene! Everybody gets a sex scene! We've talked about fluffy escapist books, funny heroes and interesting mythologies. Now let's talk passion. More specifically, the kind that is as likely to cause a book to burst into flames as it is to make you blush for the rest of your life. Interested? (DOH!) Introducing Christine Feehan and her Dark Prince series. A general problem with paranormal romances is that many of the series play into damaging gender roles. It's not something to dwell on too much since it's a genre that should be taken with a p(u)nch of salt. But it's something that authors should be more responsible about – especially for younger, impressionable readers. Feehan is one of these writers. There's a level of obsessive possession that's repulsive and disturbing. It does lighten up and, as long as you suspend your intelligence, you'll be able to look past it. Probably. There's so much intensity to the romance in this series that you'll need to take water breaks. No, really. It's unadulterated cheese and if you go in expecting anything more, you'll hate what you're reading. It's nothing new or exceptional, but if you're looking for smut that's better than Twilight fan fiction, this will work well for you.
HBO created must-see television with True Blood. The same can't be said for the series it's based on. Harris is one of the worst writers on this list. Her abilities with words are about as good as a mediocre high school student's. What she has done with Sookie Stackhouse is create a world where the paranormal, politics and the South have combined in a heady mix.Harris is a methodic writer. Her books follow a similar formula in each novel, but these books are still fun to read, fast paced and interesting. And, while there are a million plot holes, there's something quite addictive about a vampire noir whodunit set it the South.One of the things this series has going for it is that the characters are never wholly good or bad – they're complex creatures with agendas and motivations that will keep you interested much longer than you thought you would be. In addition, Harris makes some very George R.R.-esque decisions with regard to you know, killing and death and stuff. Don't expect your favorite characters to survive. This adds a level of unpredictability to a series that wouldn't warrant your attention if it didn't have some shock value.

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Jim Butcher, Heather Blake

If Paranormal Romance is a guilty pleasure, then books like Succubus Blues are the guiltiest of them all. There's an element of Vampire Diaries to this series, but that shouldn't put you off – succubi make for much interesting characters than permanent high school students of the fanged variety.Unlike many of the books on this list, this series has thematic depth. The idea of redemption – more specifically, how difficult it is to find it – plays an important role in the development of the characters. And they're well realized characters that are easy to connect with.Mead uses words economically, but always manages to communicate the action effectively. This is a rare gift to find in a writer – it's much easier to overwrite than to use language carefully. It's something that adds to the way the sex scenes are written: Well, without over embellishing.
There's less raunch in the first parts of this series than you'll find in similar ones in the genre, but that's not a reason to avoid them. The common consensus aboutAnita Blake is that the first books are incredible, but the later ones are all kinds of awful. Some advice: Once you get to a book that starts to irritate you more than intrigue you… let go of the series because it's guaranteed to get worse from there.If you ignore the bad books in the series, you'll enjoy reading about Anita Blake. She's tough, but flawed and powerful but vulnerable. Unfortunately, her character never grows beyond an all-beautiful, all-powerful creature. The first 10 books are full of mystery and action and interesting plots.This is a classic case of too much of a good thing and by the end of this series Anita Blake does so much whining that she could put Bella Swan to shame. If you're a fan of the genre and have read everything else, then give the first few books a go. If anything, they'll give you the chance to bury your head in the sand for a few hours.

Books in Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Series (24)

There was Dracula. And then there was Brad Pitt… err… Louis – the main character in what is one of the founding books of the genre. Before you read this book, you need to keep in mind that it was published in 1976. At the time, it was ground breaking, but if you're a well-read fan of the paranormal romance genre, you'll find that it hasn't aged well. The language is old-timey-wimey and the vampires are infinitely creepier than the ones you'll find in the other series on this list. It's kind of like reading the Iliad. You should read it because it's a classic, but it's not a painless experience.This is also the first book where vampires – despite being evil – have motivations that can be understood. There are more books in the series and whether you find them an improvement on the first or not will depend on whether you enjoy Rice's writing style or not.What you will find fascinating is how deeply Rice delves into vampire psychology – she takes great pains to create backstories that explain their actions, however evil they may be.

Books in The Vampire Chronicles Series (13)

It's not easy to pick the last entry on a list like this. Especially since, by this point, there's not much meat left on the bone. And by meat, we meat something you'll enjoy. From this point onwards there's a rapid descent into bonfire material. If you do a quick Google search for A Discovery of Witches, you'll find that – despite being a bestseller – opinions on the book are divided into two camps: Those that'd prefer to read a kama sutra book written by Edward Cullen and those that enjoyed it. The consensus is that the book is difficult to read, but will charm you into liking it. If you let it. Naturally, there's a vampire. And naturally, there's a girl who falls for said vampire. The interesting thing about the plot is that the action happens after the main character – Diana Bishop – discovers a Book Of The Magicknesses and Things. There's some actual research (!) behind the plot and enough twists to provide you with a more than satisfactory reading experience. If nothing else, it'll appeal to your inner love of reading – that love affair with the written word that has the power to cause great change.