I'm done.

I'm done. Through. Finished. That was the final straw. I'm at the end of my rope.

I'm done with paranormal romance.

No joke. I'm finally declaring my independence from a genre which has repeatedly disappointed me. From now on I'm only going to be reading paranormal romances from authors I know and trust.

Is it so much to ask for a story that doesn't depend on sexual tension? A plot that isn't based on on pining? Action that isn't driven by amorous liaisons? No! Good heavens, no! (If you'd like to read my rant that is all about this phenomenon, click here)

I'm like an abused puppy. I read a PR, it disappoints me to no end, and yet I then go out and find another one and think "maybe this time it will be everything I dreamed of. Maybe the paranormal will outweigh the romance." But it never does.

Well, that's a generalization. It sometimes does. But usually not.

I'm sick and tired of writing reviews that say "This book wasn't a paranormal story, it was a romance story." And "This was just like all the other PRs out there." I feel like a broken record. And it terrifies me that the word "paranormal" is slowly starting to imply romance.

I just can't take it anymore!!!!

I'm not asking you to join me. There's nothing wrong with these PRs, and their authors need your support. However, I'm feeling buried under the slew of new PR releases and I just want it to stop. Therefore, I am banning myself. Unless it comes recommended from a trusted source who knows my tastes, or unless it is written by an author that I already know and love, I will no longer be reading paranormal romance. And in case you doubt my seriousness, I made a button (albeit hastily).

How long will this self-proclaimed boycott last? I don't know. Until I have scrubbed my mind with enough non-PRs to be able to enjoy PRs again I suppose.

And since today was the last day of class, and one week from now I will officially be FREE until September, I need your help. I have amassed quite a pile of books that I intend to dig into as soon as finals are over. However, maybe some of these will need to be removed from my list due to my boycott. Can you look my list over and tell me what you think?

I should clarify that it isn't the paranormal romance genre that I'm having trouble with. It's the paranormal romances that are 75%+ ROMANCE. If it's mostly paranormal/action, or even a 50% split between the two, that's fine. I just don't want to spend 300-400 pages reading about some inter-species relationship anymore, ya know? I love romance as a plot element. I don't love romance as the WHOLE plot.

With that said, here's my list:

What say you? Any I should avoid? Any I should move to the top of the pile?

Thank you for reading my rant. I'm done now.

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2011


  1. I'm with you on this one. That being said, my reading has been kind of wonky lately anyway. I can't seem to sit through any new books since I got pregnant, so I'm living on books that I've already read. I *tried* a few paranormal books when I first got pregnant, and I just could not do it.

    Of your list, there is one I've read and enjoyed (A Curse Dark as Gold), but I didn't like (and didn't make it through) her other book, Starcrossed. And I really want to read the two Cassandra Clare's you have on the bottom, but they may have to wait until the baby comes. The rest I don't know anything about.

  2. Daughter of the Flames is a MUST!!!! LOVE it! It's not mostly romance! Promise! And remember, we talked on Twitter about the greatness that is Zoe Marriott!! :)

    Also, Starcrossed is completely worth reading. I really, really enjoyed that book, and I don't recall much romance at all. It's mentioned at the beginning, (an old boyfriend) but I can't remember a new love interest at all. (and let me tell you, it was VERY refreshing! :) )

    A Conspiracy of Kings is good, although I did prefer the previous 3 books.

    A Curse as Dark as Gold is also a good one. You shouldn't run into your PN problems with that one. The romance is there, but not the focal point. :)

  3. The Vespertine's good, but it's pretty romance-y.

    I have White Cat to read and I hear it's amazing - the main character's a guy and while he's got a crush, it's not necessarily a romance. Lots of paranormal things that don't have anything to do with romance. I'd move that one to the top.

    I don't know about the rest - I''m thinking about making a banned button for any YA paranormal that involves a love triangle, especially if one guy has blonde hair and the other dark. I'm about to blow on that one.

    Good luck with your book quest, I think this fall there are going to be some books coming out that will be better tailored to what you're looking for based on some of what's showing up on my Amazon rec list. There's a lot of spooky-looking non-romance stuff coming out.

  4. You should definitely read The Demon King. An awesome series with absolutely minimal "romance" in it, if it can even be called romance.

  5. Barbara,

    Okay. That totally made me laugh. What's up with the hair thing, anyway?

  6. Ha! I love this. Not to say this isn't a sad thing, because it is, but I love this post nonetheless. I wish I could recommend an awesome PR, but I can't think of any right now. Hope some new and great PR comes along that can convince you to change your mind. It's always unfortunate when things like this occur, but I totally get what you mean. My issue isn not with PR, just certain books in general these days. Some just all have the same freaking formula. It's hard to find the really great ones that become instant favorites.

  7. I've always been more of a contemporary fan but I totally recommend StarCrossed (basically no romance but amazing fantasy) and A Curse Dark as Gold (fairy tale!). Heist Society is cute and also has very little romance. Enjoy your reading!

  8. Looks like I need to try Star Crossed again, too, after my brain is functioning again.

  9. Oh My Gosh you have The Demon King! Love that book! I loved it even more after I read the sequel but back to The Demon King. It has just the right amount of romance and full of action! The "girl" (sorry can't remember her name at the moment) is such a strong character! Love that book!

  10. I second Kira! The Demon King and The Exiled Queen were so awesome. Loved them. Can't wait for The Grey Wolf Throne this fall!

  11. Completely agree. I gave up on it quite a long time ago & only read it if it has great reviews and even then sometimes I don't.

    In my opinion you should read:
    - White Cat (not much romance)
    - Conspiracy of Kings (good)
    - City of Fallen Angels (romance, but it's good)
    - Clockwork Angel (of course! and almost no romance)
    - Heist Society (it's not only romance, as a matter of fact, it almost has no romance at all or at least I don't remember it to be)
    - A curse as Dark as Gold (has romance, but it's good)

    Don't read:
    - Need (it's good, but it kind of gets generic as the story goes)
    - prophecy of the sisters (read the first one and didn't liked it, so i wouldn't recommended this one)

    Those are the only ones I've read, hope you enjoy them! And I love your button!!

  12. I really enjoyed The Vespertine. It's pretty romance-y, but not the sexual tension type. It's really sweet old fashioned romance.
    That's the only one I have read on your list though, so I can't really be of more help.
    Hope you find some good books though!

  13. The only book on your list I can comment on is Need. I didn't even make it half-way through before I had to put it down (for so many reasons). *spoiler* It pretty much followed the same storyline as many other PRs out there - girl living her life, mysterious guy shows up and stalks her, instant attraction, oh my - he's not human!, etc. I do enjoy a little romance thrown in, but I would recommend you take Need off your list.

  14. I'm pretty tired of paranormal romance, too. Maybe I should give up on trying as well because in the end, almost every book in the genre disappoints. :/

  15. You should definitely read The Naming!! I really enjoyed it, and there's lots of actions/ classic coming of age story stuff! :D Not big on romance though.

  16. I love this list Enna! I think I just might be joining you soon. I already screen potential books really strictly but I still find that I'm disappointed.
    However, I am about THIS CLOSE (thumb and index finger almost touching) to declaring my independence from dystopians. You say that paranormal books almost always mean "paranormal romance," and you're right, but for me, it seems like every dystopian has some really pronounced love story, and often, a vomit-inducing love triangle.

    With your list, I would get rid of WHITE CAT completely. I may get flack for this, but Holly Black is pretty much incapable of writing a book that doesn't have the "F" word in it. I know language is something you pay attention to...and in the book's sequel, RED GLOVE, there is a lot of sexual content (like, the MC sleeps with a freaking string of girls...color me grossed out).
    I know it's uber-popular, and induces drooling with most readers, but I would NOT recommend you waste your time on it! Some of the images from those two books, I cannot get out of my head. Seriously.

  17. I would be careful about the Sweep series if I were you, whole lot of nonsensical romance going on in there. Heist Society should be at the top of your list (loved it!) and consider Prophecy of the Sisters next.

  18. Amelia,

    I could give you a list of dystopians that would hopefully change your mind. But I do agree that dystopias seem to be entering the romance genre more and more.

    And THANK YOU about the advice on WHITE CAT. I really disliked TITHE, and was nervous to read this one. Sounds like WHITE CAT isn't that bad, but if RED GLOVE is gross then I don't think I'll suffer through both. I think I'll give it away.

  19. Conspiracy of Kings. To the top of the pile.

    (MWT went to my school; did you know?)

    I also really liked Heist Society.

  20. Your high school, or college? 'Cause I'd be really excited if she went to your HS. College... that's only cool for you. ;)

    CoK is working it's way to the top. I'm listening to QoA right now, then KoA.

  21. "Heist Society" might be a nice, fun read after all the crazies of finals. I liked "Star Crossed" but the beginning was pretty slow. No red flags as far as too much romance from the list!

    (And I agree. I've been having a hard time with romance-heavy PRs myself).

  22. I have only read A Curse Dark As Gold. I really enjoyed that one. The romance is very minimal. There were a couple of slower parts but over all it was well written and kept my interest. I would definitely recommend reading it.

  23. Conspiracy of Kings, definitely. But I'd recommend reading the first 3 books first -- King of Attolia is my favorite: there's political intrigue and subtle romance that all romances should aspire to.

  24. Oh man I'm totally with you on the paranormal thing. In fact, when asked what types of books I review lately, I rarely include paranormal in the list anymore because it seems to me that it's all 'paranormal ROMANCE' and that the 'romance' portion of it is implied. I like for there to be love interests. I am just sick of the magnetism, the unexplained connection, the feeling drawn to someone but not knowing why. Ugh. Give me a freakin break, already. Is relationship development too much to ask? I don't want to see 'relationships' based on sexual attraction alone. I like the innocence and strength of relationships that grow and develop and feel real.

    As for what I've read so far of your list:
    Heist Society has almost no lovey stuff and is really fun.
    The Demon King has a little flirty type fun but nothing like 'omg, soulmates!' and it's all secondary to the other stuff; the relationship in this series happens slowly, and not really at all in the first book.
    Clockwork Angel - there's some attraction, but it's hardly acted upon. I think Clare is pretty good about letting relationships actually develop.
    A Conspiracy of Kings has no romance; this one is about Sophos, what's been happening to him, and what he decides to do about it.
    The Vespertine is good with beautiful language, but it does revolve around a romance.

    I haven't read any of the others yet. I've heard good things about several, but don't know if there's any sexual tensions involved.

  25. Your anti-paranormal romance button is the funniest thing I've seen today! I love this post. It's so true.

    Amy // amyismyfriend at aol dot com

  26. Well, I'm going to be captain obvious here but, have you tried Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Urban Fantasy rather than Paranormal Romance?

    Because in the name carries the definition, and some people would argue that the romance and HEA of the characters is equally if not more important than the paranormal elements.

    Maybe you're just looking at the wrong genre/sub genre/ label.

  27. I'm dying!! This is hilarious!! You probably have a pretty good idea now, but I'll second some things.

    The Vespertine: Good, but almost entirely romance.

    Impossible: Good, but strange, no action at all. Almost all about a relationship, although it wasn't really a flowery romance.

    Prophecy of the Sisters: Fantastic!! Not much romance at all, but quite a lot of creepiness!

    White Cat: Mobsters with a kick! Haha! Very little romance, though there's more in the sequel. It's not the main focus, though. Lots of mystery and plot twists. Very good!

    Possession: Not my book at all. Lots of icky romance where the mc's are making out one minute and punching and insulting each other the next.

    The Naming: A minor hint at a romance. Very slow moving, Lord of the Rings-ish. I liked it ok, but didn't make it to the last book.

    Heist Society: Loved it SO MUCH!! (and very clean, too) Romance plays a minor role, it's mostly about the thieving! Love, love, love....and so cute!

    The Demon King: Took me a couple of chapters to get into, but then I devoured it! Very little romance, all action and plotting and magic! I loved it!!

    Clockwork Angel: Lots of action. Not as much romance as in The Mortal Instruments. I adored this book. There's some tension between Tessa and Will, but hardly any kissing etc. I don't know if that will change in the next books.

    Hope this helps!!

    And if I can recommend a good paranormal, non-romance, I would recommend Crusade by Nancy Holder. I really loved it, and there's only a minor amount of romance! Lots of Vampire killing! :D

    Amy did a PBR on the Sweep series and she said the sexual content was heavy. Check it out here:


  28. Oh, p.s. if you're interested in content of White Cat/Red Glove, you can check them out here: (or anything else we've done) https://sites.google.com/site/parentalbookreviews/shadow

    They are NO WHERE NEAR as bad as the Tithe series, which was insane. Especially the language!! But they do have some stuff....

    The rest of the books I mentioned are pretty clean. Cassies TMI series has some stuff in them, but Clockwork has very little.



  29. The only two I've read are Conspiracy of Kings and A Curse Dark as Gold, but I really liked both of them.

    I'm very reluctant to pick up any dystopians or paranormals for the reasons that have been listed.

    I did read Toads and Diamonds today though. :)

  30. *High Five!* I'm with you on this. I find the stories with 75% of the plot only Romance boring. Sometimes they're good, of course, but sometimes they're too much.
    As for your list, what I read and loved are The Clockwork Angel and City of Fallen Angels, The Vespertine and Possession sound good too. But I truly recommend White Cat. It was so refreshing for me! Brilliant writing, unique and captivating story, adorable main character and the romance is very subtle (if there is any). I had an "aha! so originality isn't dead after all!" moment after reading it.:))
    Good luck and happy reading!

  31. I totally agree with you as well. I don't like when the romance becomes the plot line or whatever. I like it as a side element. Basically why I read Urban Fantasy, although some books I buy are shelved in romance so then it makes me wonder if that one should be a paranormal romance, but then authors say I don't know why my book's there. It's UF.

    Then other stores shelve it elsewhere too. Mighty confusing sometimes!

  32. I avoid the genre for the most part too. But I can't resist Patricia Briggs and read all of hers. But her books are mostly action. Mercy Thompson is a great character.

    I loved "A Curse as Dark as Gold" which isn't really a romance. It's a retelling of the Rumplestiltskin fairytale. I thought it was very creative. I downloaded Anastasia's secret because it was free. I haven't read it yet though.

  33. I hear you! I read Heist Soceity because I wanted to read something different. It's so good, so well plotted!

  34. Impossible is one of my favorite books of all time.

  35. I vote for Sweep! It was one of my favourite series' when I was a teenager. It's very different to YA nowadays..a a lot of people get frustrated at the lack of cliffhangers in some of the books and the fact that they're short and there's so many of them (13). I loved them though.

  36. Out of the books on your list, I'd recommend these:

    Double Helix: there is some romance, but it's not the focus of the book.

    A Conspiracy of Kings: I really really love this book. MWT is a great author, and good for very subtle romance. The focus of this book is very far from romance.

    A Curse Dark as Gold: while there is romance here, it isn't the primary focus of the book. Plus it's based off of a fairy tale! I found this one really interesting.

    Hope you find some books you love this summer!

  37. Keep Cassandra Clare, Holly Black and Cinda Chima. Do it.

  38. LOL! This rant was great.

    Well Conspiracy of Kings is great and if you read the previous you know the romance is light, this is Sonny POV and his quest to take control of his kingdom, but Euginedes is a little absent even when you know he's behind the scenes.
    Stay away from Need, is like 80% romance and the inter species one.
    Also Cassandra Clare's, city of fallen angels should have never seen the light of day and I'm a mortal instruments fan. I haven't read Clockwork angel because I'm boycotting the love triangles plot (can you make a button for me? LOL) and people say it's that kind of book.
    Love the seven realms, so the demon King is wonderful, the romance is almost non-existent, but you can see there will be love, in this case she uses a love triangle, but is really real and that kind I can bare.
    Hope this help you.

  39. With that rant, I would say you should put Holly Black at the top of your to-read list. She is a very gifted author, and I extremely enjoy her fey romances (Tithe, Valiant, Ironside). There is no pining. There is no whining. It's just a kick-ass heroine raising her banner to save the day... or not.

    White Cat is told from a male's perspective, and she does a VERY good job with that.

    With that said, you should stay far away from The Vespertine, Need, Sweep, and Anastasia's Secret.

    (The Naming is also very good, if not a bit long-winded.)

  40. "I''m like an abused puppy."

    Enna, my love, you crack me up!

    I'm "done" too. Stephenie Meyer wrote a phenomenon, anything after is going to under-weigh, Twilight was just that HUGE.

    People need to move forward.

    Read Anastasia's Secret, I really loved it, heard the Vespertine is slow and I was not a big fan of Impossible

  41. I've read The Naming(I own it) and A Curse Dark as Gold. The Naming really has very little romance, more of a friendship with possible romance in the future books.
    Curse has romance but its not too reliant on the plot, so you can keep those on your list. :)

  42. I am willing to take them off your hands if you decide you don't want them! :)

    I love paranormal romance, but in truth, I prefer ANY book that is more romance than other plot line, so you and I would be yin and yang on that!


  43. I hear you. I'm getting really tired of constantly having to read all these PRs. I think it must have started after the Twilight rage. Not sure though, 'cause I wasn't that deep into the reading world back then.

    I think you should definitely push City of Fallen Angels, Clockwork Angel, White Cat, and The Vespertine to the top of your list. (Ha, you can tell that I love YA.) I've read CA and WC (and I *adore* them), but I haven't read CoFA or The Vespertine - but I've heard that those two are AMAZINGLY good. So try them.

  44. I totally agree... I don't want romance with a side of paranormal. I want paranormal with a side of romance! :) I would keep White Cat and Demon King on your reading list. I loved both of those. :)

  45. I agree, romance has taken over! If it's a nice addition to the story but not central to the plot, woohoo!! You'll love The Demon King, the romance is mostly implied and it's very, very well written. It just gets better with the sequels. :)

  46. I love this post! I barely pick up a PNR with a nice cover and interesting description anymore. 90% of the time they disapoint me =(


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