Honorable Mention

Below are Non-PNR books ranging from very well written to average, that didn't quite make it to or fell out of my favorites list for whatever reason.  Too good to ignore.  Others may find these compelling reads as well.
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I have to say I'm a huge fan of the show, but my reading tastes are not always inline with what I enjoy watching.  This fantasy epic/soap opera  is not exactly my cup of tea, but I admit it's very good and enjoyable, once I motivate myself enough to get back into them.  I think the length of these novels is what is most daunting.  In any case, the books are must for anyone who loves the show or reading this type of Fantasy.  

                                 1-A Game of Thrones
                                 2-A Clash of Kings
                                 3-A Storm of Swords
                                 4-A Feast for Crows
                                 5-A Dance With Dragons (July 12, 2011)



Book #1

Mira Grant, or McGuire to Toby Daye fans, is a great writer; which is definitely evident from her eloquently written zombie book-Feed. At 600 pages, the first novel is a bit long, but very strong indeed. Not being a huge fan of its political/news focus, the questionable brother-sister dynamic, or the blog entries for multi-character POV; I can still recognize this book as a must read for any                                              zombie/UF fan.

                                 1-Feed
                                 2-Deadline 
                                 3-Blackout-Final Book (May 2012)


Wicked as they Come
This one isn't like anything I've ever read before. The plot is outlandish, but fun and entertaining. A well written, image filled, easy to read book, that kept me glued, at least at the beginning. A jumble of different genres, Steampunk/Witchpunk, Fantasy, Vampirism, and Romance, makes this one difficult to categorical define.
**************
Trish is a down on her luck, after a rather bad breakup from an abusive and controlling man. After she finds an old beaten up locket at an estate sale, the world as she knows it turns upside down.  Muddled and divided between two realities, Trish has to find her way home before all is lost, including her sick and elderly Grandmother.  But can she leave the wondrous and deliciously handsome Bludman, who is quickly whittling his way into her heart, behind? Alice has nothing on Trish, as she flips between her normal life, as a broken hearted & rather bored hospice nurse to a courted gypsy who has the power of foresight.

In Summary, this book was Incredibly imaginative and well written, but I often found my mind wondering, leading me to put this book down on several occasions. Simply put, the lack of emotion, character ARC (Somewhat Shallow), and heat between the MCs (it just wasn't believable), prevented me from embracing it fully.  Those who aren't looking to commit to a whole series, will be happy to know that this books ends the current MC's story.

Warning: Sexual Content (2 scenes) and a bit on the Gruesome side


God's WarGod's War
Book #1

Talented young author, Kameron Hurley, turns out an ambitious & thought provoking Dark Sci-Fi novel, that examines our current & past global social problems. This author either did an extensive amount of research or knows a great deal about theology & the Islamic culture. A very introspective, yet objective, look into religion & the very real social issues we still face. And although I can appreciate and admire the quality of work that went into writing & constructing this book, I didn't find myself devouring it or desperate for more. Don't get me wrong, this is a very good book, but it may have been a tad too intense & somber for me.  The protagonist is a very hard & unapologetic-godless woman, who I somehow both disliked and sympathized with.

On a brutal desert planet, a centuries-long holy war wages - fought between two Muslim colonists. Nyx, a former government-sponsored assassin or "bel dame," gets by as a bounty hunter. Her assistant is the foreign magician Rhys, who can control the ubiquitous insects that drive the planet's technology. When the government asks them to hunt down an off-worlder who possesses technology that could end the war, they find themselves facing off against foreign agents and their fellow bel dames. Warning:  Extreme Violence / References to Sex & Homosexuality 

                                    1-God's War
                                    2-Infidel  

At 600+ pages, this is one long read, but enjoyable nonetheless. To say this isn't typically my forte, is putting it quite mildly, but a co-worker who spoke of nothing but this series drove me to read it. Hard to describe, this series has bit of everything, history, time travel, romance, mystery..you name it. I got about a quarter of the way through the second book before I lost steam and went back to reading my usual UF/Fantasy books.  Frankly, I missed the UF & fantasy elements, and this book leans more towards historical fiction, even with the time travel thrown in.

Strong-willed and sensual, Claire Randall leads a double life with a husband in one century, and a lover in another. Torn between fidelity and desire, she struggles to understand the pure intent of her heart. But don't let the number of pages and the Scottish dialect scare you. It's one of the fastest reads you'll have in your library.

While on her second honeymoon in the British Isles, Claire touches a boulder that hurls her back in time to the forbidden Castle Leoch with the MacKenzie clan. Not understanding the forces that brought her there, she becomes ensnared in life-threatening situations with a Scots warrior named James Fraser. But it isn't all spies and drudgery that she must endure. For amid her new surroundings and the terrors she faces, she is lured into love and passion like she's never known before.

                                     1-Outlander
                                     2-Dragonfly in Amber
                                     3-Voyager
                                     4-Drums of Autumn
                                     5-The Fiery Cross
                                     6-A Breath of Snow & Ashes
                                     7-A Echo in the Bone
                                     8-TBD


A pretty good UF series, that's worth the notice, but not exactly my #1 pick.  Joanne Walker, born Siobban Walkingstick - a mechanic-cop for the Seattle PD, is returning to Seattle from her Mother's funeral in Ireland. On the plane home, as pilots are making a final pass into the city, she sees a woman being attacked at a church.  In "Urban Shaman" Joanne must quickly learn to accept and adapt to her new powers--as lives depend on her. 

                                 1-Urban Shaman
                                 2-Thunderbird Falls
                                 3-Coyote Dreams
                                 4-Walking Dead
                                 5-Demon Hunts
                                 6-Spirit Dances 
                                 7-Raven Calls  (TBD)


The Emperor's EdgeThe Emperor's Edge
This self-published Steampunk/Fantasy series isn't bad by any stretch, but it lacks the necessary amount of romantic tension for me. I enjoyed the prequel, Encrypted, a bit more because of this and because the pace and story was a bit more exciting.
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Imperial law enforcer Amaranthe Lokdon is good at her job: she can deter thieves and pacify thugs. But when ravaged bodies show up on the waterfront, an arson covers up human sacrifices, and a powerful business coalition plots to kill the emperor, she feels a tad overwhelmed.

Worse, Sicarius, the empire's most notorious assassin, is in town. He's tied in with the chaos somehow, but Amaranthe would be a fool to cross his path. Unfortunately, her superiors order her to hunt him down. Either they have an unprecedented belief in her skills... or someone wants her dead.

                                      1-Emperor's Edge
                                      Ice Cracker II (Short)
                                      2-Dark Currents


The Willow - The Magical Sword Book OneThe Magical Sword
I'm not sure where this one has been hiding. Not well known, but a pretty good UF series, comparable to Chicagoland & Kate Daniels. Lots of great UF action, fantasy, and romantic tension, the first book grabbed me right from its prologue.  Some aspects of the plot and protagonist's character annoyed me at times, but the pace and story kept me engaged throughout.I can't say I recommend any books in this series, besides the first.  The Wicked has very little in the way of UF action and intrigue, and seems more akin to a slow daytime soap. 
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A tragic car accident claims the lives of Nexi's adoptive parents. Now, without them, her reason to live has vanished and she is determined to end her pain. The problem with that, it's not heaven she wakes up to, it's the Otherworld. Nexi must reconcile the truth about her past, and her heritage as part guardian/part witch.

                                 1-The Willow
                                 2-The Wicked
                                 3-The Devil's Kiss
                                 4-First and Last


Grave Illusions (Jess Vandermire, Vampire Hunter)Jess Vandermire, Vampire Hunter
Low-rent covers aside, this is a pretty good UF/Vamp series. The books lean a bit more towards UF than PNR, but there is a strong romantic element.  The first book has a couple of issues like: cheesy villain dialogue, mediocre writing, typos, & plot inconsistencies, which seemed to cheapen a relatively good book.  The writing is greatly improves & the editing is much tighter as the series progresses, but a few typos & mistakes still remain.

John Brittain has been a man down on his luck, ever since being kicked off the police force for killing his partner.  Life takes an unexpected turn, when he gets the opportunity to return to the job to serve in a unconventional way of riding NYC of vamps.  Jes Vandermire, 50yr veteran of the force-& vampire, is charged in leading this covert Special OPs team, and pushing others to their limit.  Hopefully, she won't inadvertently push Britt completely away in the process.. This stories is told in multiple 3rd person POV.   

                                      1-Grave Illusions
                                      2-Beyond the Grave
                                      3-Grave New Day


A pretty decent Fantasy about Eilidh, an exiled faerie unjustly sentenced to death. Just as she grows accustom to exile, local police discover a mutilated body outside the abandoned church where she lives. Recognizing the murder as work of one of her own kind, Eilidh must choose to either flee or learn to tap into the forbidden magic that cost her everything. The first book has a good mix of UF/Fantasy/PNR and the 2nd leans more towards Fantasy. The series follows Eilidh and her druid love interest, as they become embroiled in a fae racial war.

 These books are fairly well written, paced well, and the worldbuilding is interesting enough to get caught up in. The only issue I with these books is the mild content and the little miss innocent routine played by our 120yr old protagonist. I would describe these books a little YAish, with no sex being described and a majority of the violence being skimmed over or omitted completely. However, there are a couple graphic violent scenes in the first book, so I caution recommending these books to young teens.
Warning: Some Violence, Very Light Sexual Content/YAish.

                                    1-Blood Faerie
                                    2-Azuri Fae
                                    3-Enemy of the Fae


Meding's writing is good and the story is compelling, if a bit complicated.  Could use better story/character development and editing; but enjoyable regardless.
4-Wrong Side of Dead  (Jan 31, 2012)


This one is about a edgy ex-assassin who can control elements.  A very gritty & sexy story that is well worth the notice.  Word of warning, the first couple of books are the best out of the lot.  The plot seems to dry up and get a little silly around the 4th book.

                                 3-Venom 
                                 4-Tangled Threads 
                                 5-Spider's Revenge 
                                 6-By a Thread 
                                 7-Widow's Web (Aug 21, 2012)


A female shifter/mechanic who often finds herself in trouble w/ vamps, fae, and her cute alpha-wolf neighbor.  Okay for 15+.
                                   5-Silver Borne
                                   6-River Marked
                                   7-Frost Burned  (Spring 2013)


Blood Destiny
Yes, yet another "How I became a vampire", story, but this one isn't at all bad.  Lissa is a middle-aged woman, down on her luck, with a terminally ill husband, who was just taken off life support.  Drowning in her sorrows at a local bar, she unwittingly gets caught-up with two wagering vamps.  Turned by rogues who wager her life, Lissa is running from her maker who is determined to kill her, hunted by the Council who has branded her a rogue and blackmailed by werewolves, who utilize her newly-developed talents for their own gain.  One word of warning.  This series is highly addictive, which I quickly found out after finishing the first four in record time.  A couple of things still bother me about this series and is keeping me from recommending it enthusiastically.  One being the heavy handedness of the men in these books, and two,  how the author defines what a "mate" is.

                                  1-Blood Wager
                                  2-Blood Passage
                                  3-Blood Sense
                                  4-Blood Destiny
                                  5-Blood Royal
                                  6-Blood Queen
                                  7-Blood Rebellion (TBD)
                                  8-Blood War (TBD)
                                  9-Blood Redemption (TBD)      


Afterlife  (standalone)
A futuristic gritty UF that is well written in multiple POVs. Chaz helps integrate the recently deceased into their new lives. A thriller mystery ensues when a Newbie's past lives start to catchup with her. Don't miss this page-turning southern Gothic futuristic/Blade Runner type thriller.
                         


One very good, albeit one of the more emotional draining series I've read. Succubus, Georgina, is continually haunted by her past & future.  One word of warning is that the last book may be the most predictable and weakest of them all.

                                 3-Succubus Dreams
                                 4-Succubus Heat
                                 5-Succubus Shadows
                                 6-Succubus Revealed-Final Book 


Great Vamp series, about Merit, who incidentally becomes a vampire, and her hot sire. This is a mystery series that also revolves around one of my favorite couples.

1-Some Girls Bite
2-Friday Night Bites
3-Twice Bitten
                                 4-Hard Bitten 
                                 5-Drink Deep 
                                 6-Biting Cold  (Aug 07, 2012)
                                 7-TBD 

Book#1

I felt compelled to read this book, after numerous recommendations from friends and glowing reviews by readers. Well, I should have trusted my initial instincts, because this book really didn't do anything for me. Don't get me wrong, I'm a sucker for a great Zombie read, but this just didn't compare to any that I've read in the past. It truly wasn't for me, because even though it was a rather short read, I kept on wishing for it to be over already. I found to be rather pedestrian and cliched throughout. Everything you would find in a "B" Zombie movie, along with bickering spouses. But instead following the "B" movie paradigm in offing the most annoying characters first, we are subjected to them until the bitter end.  There is no dept or originality here, and little in the way of character ARC.   However, since so many people give these books high marks, there must be something I missed or failed to recognize during my read.


Unholy Ghosts
Book #1

I've avoided reading this highly popular UF book for quite some time for multiple reasons. My instincts again were spot on, because this book really didn't do anything for me.  I didn't find the book all that engaging, and I found it to be chock full of unlikable characters.  I also couldn't bring myself to like or relate to the protagonist either, with her her self-destructive, low self-worth, drug addictted personality. The mystery subplot was hard to get into and the street dialogue was truly difficult to understand at times. Overall, I had a very difficult time keeping my focus solely on this book. Suffice it to say, I won't be reading more of this series. It's just not my cup of tea I guess.