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BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS > Looking for Recommendations: UF not centered around romance or HEA?

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message 1: by Regina (new)

Regina (reginar) I enjoy the Urban Fantasy genre, and don't get me wrong I do enjoy romance and HEA. I am just wondering if there are books or series you would recommend where the story is centered on a complex plot rather than on the romance or ultimate HEA? I fully enjoy romance and HEA, but sometimes when that is the only focus of the story (or the main focus of the book), it does get boring for me.

For me, it seems like the Shadowfever series is an example of something not just about romance. The Sookie STackhouse series also is not just about romance or HEA. In both of these series -- the story is complex and about something more than romance. I have really enjoyed other series in the UF or paranormal genre (like Lara Adrian or Jeaniene Frost) -- and I do like these, but the fact that the romance and relationship is the center of the book gets boring after awhile and I just want to mix it up. Does this make sense? Any suggestions?


message 2: by DarkHeart "Vehngeance" (last edited Mar 12, 2010 05:00AM) (new)

DarkHeart "Vehngeance" (darkheart) | 113 comments Favorites that immediately come to mind are:


Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels
Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson
Jim Butcher's Dresden Files
Adrian Phoenix's Maker's Song

They all have a romantic interest of one degree or another, but they're not the focus of the series.


message 3: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (dawnpopp) | 1 comments Regina, I haven't read the others listed by DarkHeart (adding them to my to-read list, tho!), but the Mercy Thompson series is what immediately came to mind when I read your question. Mercy is a fantastic female protaganist IMO, and the focus of the books is much more on the story than the sex/romance. I also think it's much better written than the Sookie series (don't get me wrong, I adore that series, but I felt like the not-so-great writing was something I had to "get over" to enjoy the great stories.)


message 4: by VMom (new)

VMom (votermom) | 23 comments I second most of the recs and would like to add

Kim Harrison- Rachel Morgan series (start with Dead Witch Walking)

C.E. Murphy - Walker Papers (start with Urban Shaman) and Negotiator series ( start with Heart Of Stone)

Kat Richardson - Greywalker series


message 5: by Regina (new)

Regina (reginar) Thank you. I am adding these to my TR shelf. I got Dead Witch Walking for free on my Kindle so maybe I will start there.


message 6: by Mrs. (last edited Mar 12, 2010 06:22PM) (new)

Mrs. Badass (mrsbadass) | 20 comments Kim Harrison is OK Rachel bugs me most of the time, but I have read them all. I did like the latest, and felt like Kim was bringing back the goods.

I LOVE Mercy (Patty Briggs) LOVE Kate (Ilona Andrews) I think they are fantastic leads.
Adrian Phoenix books were OK, they are very different from what I normally read, way more dark and dirty, but I liked them.

Also, I know I said it to you already, but Jennifer Rardin's Jaz parks series is really pretty good, and there isn't any real romance, (which I find a little off putting myself, because I do like some romance..lol, but there is a little, and I understand why there isn't any ATM, based on Jaz's previous 14 months)


message 7: by Regina (new)

Regina (reginar) Thank you Erika! I may have to do a new shelf UF/less hea. Lol.


message 8: by VMom (new)

VMom (votermom) | 23 comments Regina wrote: "Thank you Erika! I may have to do a new shelf UF/less hea. Lol."

I sort of class UF as the more mystery types, while the HEAs as Paranormal Romance. Of course some books overlap.


message 9: by Paula (new)

Paula (pauldajo) Mmmmm, what is HEA? I am terrible at figuring out what a bunch of letters mean. I struggle with UF!


message 10: by Sandy (last edited Mar 12, 2010 01:17PM) (new)

Sandy | 122 comments Paula HEA is happily ever after.

A couple of new series which have just started that I would recommend are:

Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep
The Better Part of Darkness by Kelly Gay
Blue Diablo by Ann Aguirre


message 11: by Paula (new)

Paula (pauldajo) I like Happily Ever Afters!


message 12: by Melodie (new)

Melodie (melodieco) Do you like YA? Rachel Caine's Morganville Vampires aren't romance or HEA centered.


message 13: by Mrs. (new)

Mrs. Badass (mrsbadass) | 20 comments Sandy ~ I LOVED Spiders Bite by Jennifer Estep. I thought it was so different from what's out there and it was a great read.

Kelly Gay's book was awesome too, I can't wait for the next one. I Liked Charlie :P

I also really enjoyed Three Days to Dead (Dreg City, #1) by Kelly Meding Kelly Meding's 3 days to dead. It was cool and interesting, and the next one will be out this summer.


message 14: by Leslie (new)

Leslie (funlovinlady) | 19 comments I just finished Skin Hunger (A Resurrection of Magic, #1) by Kathleen Duey and then the second book in the series Sacred Scars (A Resurrection of Magic, Book 2) by Kathleen Duey a third book is coming out soon. (I HOPE)
This is a very, very good series. But, it is really dark. NO HEA.
It is the Anti-Harry Potter.


message 15: by ♥Lynn ♥ (new)

 ♥Lynn ♥ Nightlife, Moonshine, Madhouse, Deathwish, Roadkill all by Rob Thurman. No gooey love stuff. This series is more like the TV show Supernatural with the two brothers facing supernatural beings. I love Cal and Niko. It is not 100 action packed, but still a really good series.


message 16: by Regina (new)

Regina (reginar) I Have added all of these to my TR - thank you!


message 17: by Julia (new)

Julia | 615 comments I have just read the first three Greywalker books by Kat Richardson after loving her novella in Mean Streets. It takes Richardson some time (some books) to catch her stride, so if like me, you didn't much care for the first, keep going. You will be rewarded.GreywalkerKat RichardsonMean Streets


message 18: by ♥Lynn ♥ (new)

 ♥Lynn ♥ I could only get to like page 50 in Greywalker. I am going to try them again at some point.


message 19: by Julia (new)

Julia | 615 comments This is off topic of recommendations for UF that is not centered around romance, but UF series *often* start off weakly, in my experience.

In message 17 I say how Richardson's series begins poorly.

I love Harry Dresden (and Jim Butcher) but Storm Front just isn't very good.

I read Dead Witch Walking and gave up on the series, because that book didn't work for me, at all.

You can sort of understand why Sookie Stackhouse's neighbors think she's not got the whole enchilada special going on in the first book. She does some pretty stupid things.

What's with this first book weakness in uf?

Or do you think I'm wrong?

P.S. And don't get me started on ya uf/ pnr-- that's a whole other thing!


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 237 comments If you don't mind some horror elements, I'd recommend the Nightside books by Simon R. Green. The first one is:

Something from the Nightside (Nightside, #1) by Simon R. Green


message 21: by Archer (new)

Archer I have a few:

Rachel Caine - Weather Warden Series
1. Ill Wind

Also the Outcast Season
1. Undone

Carrie Vaughn: Kitty Norville Series
1. Kitty and the Midnight Hour

Ill Wind (Weather Warden, #1) by Rachel Caine Undone (Outcast Season, #1) by Rachel Caine Kitty and the Midnight Hour (Kitty Norville, #1) by Carrie Vaughn


message 22: by Melodie (new)

Melodie (melodieco) Julia wrote: "This is off topic of recommendations for UF that is not centered around romance, but UF series *often* start off weakly, in my experience.

In message 17 I say how Richardson's series begins poor..."


I just don't like Richardson's books at all. The main character is one of those types that I could not possibly care less about. Agree about the Dresden books. I hated STORM FRONT and only read FOOL MOON because a friend insisted. Boy, would I have missed out on some great stuff if she hadn't pushed! For some reason I read all the Rachel Morgan books except the new one, which I won't read. Don't know why, and I never really liked any of them. Jenks was the only good character. I liked all the Sookie books from the beginning. Lots of UF does suffer from "first book" syndrome. One exception that comes to mind right away is the Anita Blake books. They didn't get bad until about OBSIDIAN BUTTERFLY. Before that all were great, including the first one.


message 23: by Regina (new)

Regina (reginar) For the series that start off week, is it possible to start with #2? I actually never read #1 of Sookie, but I did watch Season #1 of True Blood.


message 24: by ♥Lynn ♥ (new)

 ♥Lynn ♥ Julia, I agree, there are some UF books that have a rough start. I love Kim Harrison's Hollow series, but Dead Witch Walking is the weakest book in the series. I agree about Jim Butcher, his first book in Harry's series is weak. They are good books, but nowhere near as good as the rest of the series. As for Anita, well that charcter just needs to stop having sex with everything that comes in contact with her. It has made the series really annoying to read. I like the Mercy Thompson series as well as Rob Thurman's Cal and Niko series.


message 25: by VMom (new)

VMom (votermom) | 23 comments Oh, I forgot to rec the excellent Carrie Vaughn's Kitty Norville series (starts with Kitty and the Midnight Hour)


DarkHeart "Vehngeance" (darkheart) | 113 comments I will also agree that many series start off fairly weak. Only James Marsters lovely voice kept me going with the Harry Dresden series (I'm now on book 6 and loving it!). The first Sookie book did nothing for me, and as a result I haven't gone back to the series. I enjoyed the first Hollows book, but have yet to read anymore. I also started Greywalker and then put it down. I do plan to go back to it again one day though... =)


message 27: by Melodie (last edited Mar 15, 2010 03:13PM) (new)

Melodie (melodieco) Regina wrote: "For the series that start off week, is it possible to start with #2? I actually never read #1 of Sookie, but I did watch Season #1 of True Blood."

If you saw the first season of True Blood they did a pretty good job of mostly following the book with that one, so I would think moving on to book 2 wouldn't hurt a thing. Oh, and if you haven't read the Harry Dresden books and would like to, start with book 2 unless you can get the first one on audio. The first book is pretty bad, IMHO, unless James Marsters is reading it to you.


message 28: by Lisa M (new)

Lisa M | 311 comments I think the weak first book syndrome is something that affects more than UF. I see it all the time in TV series (first seasons). I know I've seen it in other series but my brain has taken a vacation and for the life of me I can't remember any examples. It probably has something to do with them (authors or TV screenplay writers) developing their style and characters.

As for the actually topic of this thread, the only one I can think of that hasn't been mentioned yet is Soulless by Gail Carrigan. It has some romance, but it's not the focus of the book. I loved the Victorian take to UF.

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message 29: by Julia (new)

Julia | 615 comments I have read that tv series that are established have a Bible, so if you're writing an episode for "Lost" or "Firefly" or "Babylon 5" you can look up a character or situation. So these writers needed to think like tv writers and write a Bible or something like it, so their characters, situations aren't so flimsy and transparent.


message 30: by Shannon (new)

Shannon C. | 22 comments Regina,
Here are some I enjoyed that the UF is centered on a complex, interesting plot rather than on a romance.

FAVS (REREAD LOTS OF TIMES)...

Mercy Thompson series and related Alpha & Omega series by Patricia Briggs (Don't miss the anthology in On the Prowl, which is a prequel to Cry Wolf)

Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews

Cassandra Palmer series and related Dorina Basarab Dhampir series by Karen Chance (Don't miss the anthology in On the Prowl, which should be read between Midnight's Daughter and Death's Mistress)


KEEPERS (GOOD ENOUGH TO REREAD)...

Chicagoland Vampires series by Chloe Neill

World of Lupi series by Eileen Wilks


ENTERTAINING (BUT PROBABLY WILL NOT REREAD)....

Soulfinders series by Maria Snyder

Elemental Assassin series by Jennifer Estep

Circle series by Linda Robertson

Abby Cooper: Psychic Eye by Victoria Laurie

October Daye series by Seanan McGuire

Corine Solomon series by Ann Aguirre

Jane Yellowrock vampire hunter series by Faith Hunter


message 31: by ♥Lynn ♥ (new)

 ♥Lynn ♥ Have your tried the Hunger Games?? GREAT BOOKS!!! Easily one of the best series ever written.


message 32: by Jamie (JK) (last edited Mar 18, 2010 11:37AM) (new)

Jamie (JK) (eimajtl) Dresden Files would fit perfectly for this. There's romance very, very subplots here and there, but they're actually really good and fit well with the series. They're not tacked on and don't feel gimmicky. And while things are wrapped up in each novel, there isn't really ever a happy ending.


The first book, Storm Front, isn't very good. It's pretty average and will have you thinking the series is nothing special, but keep reading and you'll see it has a lot to offer.


message 33: by Katrina (new)

Katrina Michaels | 21 comments Definitely recommend Rob Thurman's Cal Leandros series. I've read the first three books and love them.

My own book, Midnight Reflections, has only hints of romance. It is more of a supernatural mystery/thriller.


message 34: by Julia (new)

Julia | 615 comments Lynn,

I agree with you that Hunger Games is a great and fun book. However, it is not urban fantasy, it's dystopian science fiction, it has a signifigant romance thing going.


message 35: by Mrs. (new)

Mrs. Badass (mrsbadass) | 20 comments I really think Kate Daniels is the shit kicker :P LOL I think she is one of the awesomeness. It takes a bit to get the world in the first book, but MAN it is so interesting! I love the shifters, of Course Curran :P But the romance isn't there. (Until a little bit in book 3) But Kate really is awesome.


message 36: by ♥Lynn ♥ (new)

 ♥Lynn ♥ I know the Hunger Games is not UF, it is just a great read.


message 37: by Betelgeuze (new)

Betelgeuze | 114 comments Here are a few more books that don't focus on romance or HEA.

Sins & Shadows by Lynn Benedict
The Devil You Know by Mike Carey
Unshapely Things by Mark Del Franco
Already Dead by Charlie Huston
A Kiss Before the Apocalypse by Thomas E. Sniegoski


DarkHeart "Vehngeance" (darkheart) | 113 comments Betelgeuze wrote: "Here are a few more books that don't focus on romance or HEA.

Sins & Shadows by Lynn Benedict
The Devil You Know by Mike Carey
Unshapely Things by Mark..."


Woohoo, Betelgeuze, let's hear it for the boys! Male authors in UF don't get enough publicity, IMHO.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 237 comments I love the Male protag UF!


message 40: by VMom (last edited Mar 25, 2010 09:55AM) (new)

VMom (votermom) | 23 comments I just read this and gave it 5 stars. It's really different, but still UF.
Snake Agent (Detective Inspector Chen #1) by Liz Williams


message 41: by Nicole (new)

Nicole (satori1977) | 6 comments I just mentioned these books on another thread, but I will add them here. The Scent of Shadows: The First Sign of the Zodiac by Vicki Pettersson is the first in a series of UF. Strong female lead, some romance, but no HEA (as of yet anyway, I am on book four), and a different type of UF as it deals with superhero types. Excellent reads, and the best UF I have read in a long time.


message 42: by ♥Lynn ♥ (new)

 ♥Lynn ♥ I added this book in one of the challenges I am in. I have 3 of the books. I hope they are good.


message 43: by Simcha (new)

Simcha Lazarus (sclazarus) | 16 comments It's been a while since I found an UF that I managed to finish. While I have tried quite a few different UF series, these are the only ones I've really liked so far:
Most of the Sookie Stackhouse series (except the last couple)
The Ilona Andrew series
All of Patricia Briggs' UF books
Blue Diablo by Ann Aguirre

I also really enjoyed Soulless, by Gail Carriger, but I don't think this can be considered an UF, plus the romance was a central part of the plot.

I enjoyed the first Kim Harrison book but the next couple just seem to repeat the same plot as the first book, plus there were certain repetitive phrases that drove me crazy and distracted me from the story.
The first Dresden File book, by Jim Butcher, didn't impress me much but I really enjoyed the audio version. I haven't gotten around to listening to the rest of the books yet.

It looks like there are some interesting recommendations here that I haven't yet tried and which I'm eager to look into.


message 44: by Susinok (new)

Susinok The Dresden books get better as you go along. He hits his stride in about book 4 or 5. I love the series, but the first few are not as good as the more recent books.


message 45: by Simcha (new)

Simcha Lazarus (sclazarus) | 16 comments Susinok wrote: "The Dresden books get better as you go along. He hits his stride in about book 4 or 5. I love the series, but the first few are not as good as the more recent books."

I've been told that before, but I can't imagine sticking with a series for so long without enjoying it, in order to get to the 4th book, where it apparently gets good. But since I really enjoyed the audio book, for the first book in the series, I might try the rest in audio as well.


message 46: by The Flooze (new)

The Flooze (the_flooze) | 179 comments I'd say the second Dresden book is much better, but falters on the ending, and the third book is so action-packed that you fly through it.


DarkHeart "Vehngeance" (darkheart) | 113 comments Simcha wrote: "...But since I really enjoyed the audio book, for the first book in the series, I might try the rest in audio as well. "

That's how I'm doing it, although for some reason audible doesn't have books 6 & 7, so I'm reading those but then it will be back to Mr. Marsters!


message 48: by Chichipio (new)

Chichipio The Flooze (Michelle M.) wrote: "I'd say the second Dresden book is much better, but falters on the ending, and the third book is so action-packed that you fly through it."

Actually, I thought this was the weakest of the series. For being a first book, I can forgive a lot of things from Storm Front, but in the second book some characters seemed to take some steps backwards instead of evolving.

Murphy with her trust issues was almost insufferable, and Harry had one error in judgment after another. I think that without Harry doing stupid things or Murphy complicating everything just because she could, the book would have ended 100 pages earlier :).

Book #3 isn't much better than #1 and #2 in the decision making department, but at least Murphy came around and we've got Michael. You just can't not like that character.


message 49: by The Flooze (new)

The Flooze (the_flooze) | 179 comments Chichipio wrote: "The Flooze (Michelle M.) wrote: "I'd say the second Dresden book is much better, but falters on the ending, and the third book is so action-packed that you fly through it."

Actually, I thought thi..."


Hmn. I agree with you. Murphy was painfully frustrating. Absolutely. I'm so thankful he lets her in on everything later and she starts working with him instead of against him. Their early relationship made my teeth itch. In terms of character development, I wasn't thrilled, but I don't think Harry will ever improve in the ways I'd like him to: crappy decision-making, needless guilt, foolish remorse. I haven't read them all yet, so I hope I'm proven wrong.

I did think the pacing was showing signs of improvement in book two. More action. Perhaps I was merely lured in by the gorey trail left in the werewolf's wake. I was intrigued by the different kinds of wolves he mixed in. And I freely admit to crushing on the Gentleman Gangster.


message 50: by Inanna (new)

Inanna Mute | 5 comments If you think the first couple of books are bad, don't ever watch the TV series loosely based on the Dresden books. Bob's character is nauseatingly bad, and they manage to take some of the more interesting moments here and there in the books and ruin them, as well as adding in some completely random stuff that never happened and never should have.


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