Charlaine Harris has created a winner in her “Sookie Stackhouse” series, which is winsome, sexy, scary, and romantic. The audio versions are wonderful. You can buy them, or check for them at your local library. (The boxed set contains the first eight books which you also can buy separately.)
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For a different take on the Sookie Stackhouse stories, check out the HBO cable series, True Blood. It’s a lot of fun and visually beautiful in its own right. (Sex, violence, lots of blood)
List of HBO’s True Blood Videos (all formats)
I have it on excellent authority that Jeaniene Frost‘s “Night Huntress” vampire hunter series is tons of fun. I haven’t gotten to it yet, but it’s on my list to check out.
Cherie Priest writes gothic and so-called “steampunk” fiction, but this series is a fast-paced crime series in which some of the characters are…guess what? Vampires! Cheshire Red is the alias of Raylene, a former flapper and now a professional thief. She’s got a great, sassy sense of humor.
Werewolf and Shapeshifter Fiction
Lauren Dane has written ten or more series in every conceivable genre, one of which is her Cascadia Wolves series. Jacob Black fans take note: the Quileute wolves are Olympic (were)wolves, living west of Seattle on the Olympic peninsula. These (were)wolves live in the Cascade Mountains east of Seattle. Though Jacob won’t show up in these books, you still might enjoy this popular series. Besides, check out the book cover for Reluctant...hot is hot. (This is shapeshifter romance for adults.)
The “Mother of all Vampire Fiction,” Anne Rice, is still the best writer in the genre. Her work is highly erotic, but there’s no actual sex in most of the books. (The links here are for the Kindle, but you can select hardback, paperback, or audio on the same page.)
Anne Rice’s classic vampire series comprises ten novels.
The first book in this group is a collection of three novels, which you also can get separately: Interview with the Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, Queen of the Damned. She wrote the first book in 1976 and didn’t write the second in the series until 1985. The first one’s a classic, but you can tell she honed her skill between the first and second. Each is different, but related to the others.
The Mayfair Witches
My other favorite series by Anne Rice is about a family of hereditary witches in New Orleans and the supernatural forces at work in their lives from one generation to the next. It’s easy to jump from the vampires to the witches because the ambiance and some of the settings are the same.
To read things in order, start this series after The Vampire Armand, then return to the final three vampire novels in which the vampires and witches collide!
Second Vampire Series
The history presented in Pandora predates the first series, though it begins in present-day Paris. I enjoyed Pandora, but never got around to Vittorio, which seemed unrelated to the others. It’s set in Renaissance Italy.
Ghosts & Werewolves
Two of Rice’s later novels look promising as she reportedly returns to the style that has made her a writer for the ages.
Violin is about a ghost who uses his demonic violin to seduce a woman into madness and how she fights back.
Jacob Black fans take note—Anne Rice’s most recent novel, The Wolf Gift is about a man violently transformed into a werewolf and what his life then becomes as he is relentlessly hunted.
Early Erotic Novels
Anne Rice foreshadowed the current popularity in BDSM and romantic erotica with five novels she wrote in the 1980s under pseudonyms. Exit to Eden takes place at a BDSM vacation club and it’s the only modern book I’ve read in which a Dominant woman possesses a submissive man. (Don’t be put off by the crappy movie that was made based on the book. Just hope that the Fifty Shades movie is much, much better.)
Belinda is Anne Rice’s version of Nabokov’s Lolita in which an older man is bewitched by a sensuous child.
Anne Rice wrote a trilogy of BDSM books utilizing the classic “Sleeping Beauty” fairytale. In her version, Beauty’s awakening is a sexual one. The third book is hard to find, but you can buy the entire trilogy in a single volume (the fourth image below). Or try your library.
Warning: Anne Rice has written lots of other books, quite a few of which I couldn’t finish. I can’t recommend her books about her religious conversion (which she’s since abandoned) or her fiction about angels on earth (the “Songs of the Seraphim”). The former is not my thing (especially since she takes it all back in later works) and the latter I simply found unreadable, full of religious overtones that felt more like proselytizing than good literature, though the guardian-angel premise is interesting.
You can get most of these books in digital form, download them, and have them to read in a matter of minutes. No waiting!