The book that made you fall in love with a subgenre
Last week we had such fun with our reader posts that we are going to try to continue them. If you have a suggestion, shoot me an email.
I’ve been reading the Anne Bishop Others series (against my better judgment because of how she ruined the entire Black Jewels series for me with the novella following the ending of the series). Despite my fear that she’s going to devastate me in the end, I am completely enthralled with the world she’s creating. It reminded me of when I first fell in love with shifter books.
For me, the iconic shifter book is Kelley Armstrong’s Bitten. When it was first released, it was marketed as literary fiction and had this evocative cover that I still remember today. A woman was dressed in a wispy orange dress and she was lying against a black background.
A review at All About Romance by Rachel Potter brought the book to my attention. It’s not a book I ordinarily would have purchased (and it was in hardcover) but the review sold me on it.
In the review, Rachel notes that Clayton is comfortable with his animal and embraces it. At the time, this presented a different hero archetype in paranormals. Many of the previous paranormals were about men who hated their natures–vampires who wanted to be human, shifters who hated their diseases. Clayton not only enjoyed being wolf, he openly acknowledged that he was a little off.
In a famous line, he tells a taxi cab driver who is trying to warn Elena that there are dangers in the neighborhood that he, Clayton, is the local psychopath. But within Bitten there is a fascinating look at pack dynamics.
Jeremy is the pack alpha and Clayton is his enforcer. Clayton’s strong and fearless but he’s driven by his emotions. Even Clay recognizes he’s not a good leader. Armstrong creates a believable and immersive world of werewolves on others.
Bitten jump started my love for the shifter subgenre. My favorites include the Patricia Briggs’ “Alpha & Omega” series as well as the Mercy Thompson series. Anne Bishop’s “Others” reminds me strongly of the Charles & Anna dynamic.
Bitten, Alpha & Omega, Others, all have a strong underlying romance and I would recommend them to anyone.
What book or books jumpstarted your love within a subgenre or trope?
I maybe the only reader on the planet who didn’t feel Twilight’s Dawn ruined the Black Jewel’s trilogy. lol
I came late to the UF table, which was nice in a way as I had plenty to choose from and most series already had a back list. Full Moon Rising by Keri Arthur was the book that started it all for me. A hybrid shifter/vampire PI? I was hooked.
Amaryllis by Jayne Castle got me reading sci-fi paranormal in the mid-90s.
The Awakening by Christine Feehan was the first shifter book I remember reading.
Well, I just went off and purchased Bitten. It sounds very good based on your description!
I’ll be honest, “Fifty Shades” jumpstarted my love of erotic romance. Say what you will about them, I enjoyed them for all their ridiculousness the same way I loved Twilight for its ridiculousness. The point for me was I had never had access to books like that before. Sure the old skool romances were vaguely around in the library and at home (I read a few Kathleen Woodiwiss books back in the day) but as a twenty-something with no money, my options were limited.
I immediately looked for my next read and discovered Lauren Dane, Shayla Black, Lexi Blake, Maya Banks, Jaci Burton, etc. as I looked for my next fix. I got into Cherise Sinclair, the sort of weak Tara Sue Me (strong point is the constant discussion about D/s withing those books), Jodi Redford, and Sylvia Day. I read suspense and shifters and all sorts of books that finally explored relationships outside of “I basically bought you so lets have sex” old skool romances.
I also picked up Theresa Romain, Courtney Milan, and Sarah MacLean. Sure they aren’t D/s but they had sex in them and relationships that seemed more realistic. I developed a love of romance which basically came out of something that is utterly ridiculous and frankly a little concerning.
By reading that one book that is not the holy grail of D/s regardless of what the fans think, it opened a world of so many other sub-genres. I found this site and SMTB and discovered so many awesome books I’d never been exposed to.
I remember trying the Anita Blake series way back but never got into it. It felt kind of dated by the time I tried it and I thought that the PNR/horror genre probably wasn’t for me. I was never a Rice fan either so I avoided vampires and the like until the 3rd or 4th BDB book came out and nobody would stop talking about it. Finally I got deal with vampires although I only read through book 5/6 and have never gotten into other series with vampire heroes. But it did open me up to trying more PNR and Singh’s psy/changeling series brought me fully over to appreciating shifters.
I remember Bitten with that provocative cover and read it because of that review at AAR too but I didn’t love it enough to keep reading that series. Was there a love triangle? I can’t remember but I think that turned me off.
Between Sinners and Saints by Marie Sexton and Collision Course were the first two mm I read (thank you Sarah F) and they started me on a big mm glom.
I don’t remember the title of the first category I read at age 14 or the first Blace Lace erotica I read in my mid 20s but I remember how they made me feel – like I wanted MORE!
I probably have more subgenre memories. Fun thread.
@cleo – oops. Meant to say Collision Course by K A Mitchell.
Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh booted me into paranormal fantasy, and I just can’t get enough of her Psy/Changeling books, but interestingly, I cannot get on with her Guild Hunter books.
@Lada: There’s a strange love triangle in that Elena wants to be with this other guy because she wants to have this normal, non werewolf life. But that falls by the wayside after about the first third?
Jean Johnson’s “Soldier’s Duty – Theirs Not To Reason Why” got me reading A LOT of military science fiction. That series just does it for me and I haven’t really found any other that are in the same genre that I love as much. However, I still try! LOL
Local Custom by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller hooked me on the space opera adventures of the Liaden clan. Many years ago I read Frank Herbert’s Dune books and LOVED them and then I did not read science fiction again. I read a review of a Liaden book on SBTB and I thought I would give them a try – wow, I gobbled them up!
It was so long ago and so many books ago that I don’t remember which one pushed me into my fave genre, UF. I started back in the day with what are now the classics of romance, Johanna Lindsey, Kathleen Woodiwiss, Judith McNaught and read only romance for years. I stumbled onto PNR and from there it was UF. Now I read anything, got a note on a napkin, I will read it but I am pretty tired of vampires and werewolves. More and more authors are writing long series so I have to be super picky about what I start. Either the books get meh, the stories get too convoluted with too many characters to keep track of or like Kelly Armstrong, the series ends too soon for me.
@Tsuki – 50 Shades started my bdsm romance glom too, even though I didn’t actually read it. I read all the If You Like type posts in DA and SBTB and tried a couple recs out of curiosity and kept reading. I think early reads were Wicked West by Victoria Dahl, The Masters of Shadowlands series by Cherise St Clair, Joey Hill and Kim Dare
I love so many subgenres that it is hard to choose, but I can absolutely say what started my love of shifter books :). That would be Remus Lupin from Harry Potter books. I love werewolves ever since. I suppose reading Harry Potter fanfiction in general (and specifically slash between Sirius and Snape) is what kicked me into m/m world :).
Jayne Ann Krentz kick started me into romantic suspense books. I remember being excited that her books contained a mystery as well as a love story.
@Cate: Same here – love the Changeling world but her Guild series does nothing for me.
This is going waaaaay back, but I remember finding Sacred Sins (and its sequel Brazen Virtue) by Nora Roberts in the mid 1980s and falling in love with romantic suspense. Much more recently, I couldn’t understand the big fuss about m/m romance until I read Brothers of the Wild North Sea by Harper Fox. I’ve been hooked on the subgenre ever since.
Twilight got me reading more pnr and uf. I read a lot while at high school but as I got older I stopped reading as much. I picked up twilight to see what the fuss was about, and despite the fact that I didn’t love the books they did remind me how much I loved reading, and I realised just how great a resource the Internet was for finding new books :-)
Just remembered, a random comment somewhere on Ilona Andrews website made me read born of night by sherrilyn Kenyon and kickstarted a huge love of scifi romance.
The Dark Highlander by Karen Marie Moning got me into paranormal romance. I had been reading contemporary romance exclusively, but that tricep with the arm cuff and a glimpse of a kilt beckoned me. I read the blurb, then again looked at that tricep for probably way too long, then tossed it into my shopping cart. It’s still one of my favorite books of all time!
And if I’m remembering correctly, I think it was my KMM glomfest that got me into historical, too.
Dark Prince by Christine Feehan kickstarted my love of PNR. I gobbled them up. We broke up a while since I can no longer deal with the whole, “I can do no other than boss you around all the damn time” thing. Now, Nalini Singh is my drug of choice in PNR, though I recently discovered Kate Daniels and enjoyed a might glom of Ilona Andrews with that.
And though I’d read Johanna Lindsay for a while, Judith McNaught’s historicals were the first that really kicked my love of extreme alpha males and dubious consent into gear. I also adore Garwood for her funny heroines. But Lindsay was definitely my gateway into historical romance.
It seems I’ve always loved contemporary romance, as my first was Nora Roberts’ Irish Thoroughbred, which I read when I was 12.
Thinking farther back, I’m sure it was Naked in Death that hooked me into romantic suspense. The series was probably 15 books or more in before I discovered it (again, via reviews on AAR and TRR) but that book was a revelation for me and I remember my first read clearly. What a glom that led to. It’s futuristic but it still led me to discover other authors like Suzanne Brockmann, Karen Rose, Linda Howard and even Nora Roberts whose contemporaries I wasn’t a fan of but whose RS worked better for me.
Tsuki, I hear what you’re saying about 50 shades. I happen to not have read it, but while it’s not the gold standard of erotic romance, it certainly should hold a place of honor as an accepted gateway drug into the genre for millions of women worldwide! Just for that we should all say a big Thank You to EL James.
I started reading erotic romance through a different route. I laugh at myself when I remember how I was once so innocent, thinking writers like Lisa Kleypas were the epitomy of “HOT”. Prior to 50 shades I’d been hearing about these “erotic romances” and I wanted to find out what the hoopla was all about. So I bought Simply Sexual (House of Pleasure series Book 1) by Kate Pearce I think from an AAR review. I loved the book and ended up devouring the whole series. I’m happy I started with that book as my intro to the genre because it started like a normal regency and was very well written, so I was lulled into it, thinking -okay, again, what’s the big deal with this erotic rom, what makes it so different? Well, then there was a sex club…,my eyes widened….and the heroine was NOT a virgin (gasp)…..and then at the end the main couple is having sex and another man (I repeat, ANOTHER MAN) is invited in and joins in. I was so shocked, I dropped the book for a moment. But Kate Pearce is so awesome, the scene played well into the main character’s love and ended up being a tender moment in their love story. Can you believe? LOL I remember that I gave the book a positive rev on GR and Kate was sweet and came on and thanked me. That was back in the day when I was such a newbie that I didn’t even realize authors could see what I wrote about their books on GR, I thought it was strictly for me and my friends. Was I naive or what?!
From there I went on to read Robin Schone and upgraded to Maya Banks and, well you can imagine the rest….I really love an erotic romance with a plot I can sink my teeth into, it’s my favorite. :)
This is a great opportunity for me to bring up a book I never hear mentioned here or at SBTB, yet it was my first introduction to SciFi/Fantasy Romance and I always wonder if anyone else read it. It was back at the dawn of time (1972) and I was about 15 when some fantastic librarian handed me a book called “The Mortal Immortals” by Cristabel. I was already well into adult romance reading, having started with Georgette Heyer for historicals and some Harlequins, I think, but I had never read anything like that book. It was somewhat futuristic, in a strange land that was very reminiscent of Scotland (clan names, tartans, highlands). There were ghosts who were in regular contact with the living, a murdered king, a missing heir, ghosts as part of a castle’s security system, true love, startling revelations; it was wonderful.
I used to check that book out at least once a month, but then the only copy of it disappeared from the library. For years I searched everywhere trying to find a copy, and at long last Amazon came along and I was finally able to find a (rather expensive) used copy. I still love that book. It gave me a taste for books that were outside the everyday; then I found JAK’s three futuristics, Ann Maxwell’s Dancer series and, of course, I think it was Christine Feehan who came along and brought the paranormal to everyone’s attention.
But for me, it all started with “The Mortal Immortals.” Has anyone else read this book?
@Willa: I’m going to third the Psy/Changeling love while unable to get into the Guild Hunters’ books.
My love for paranormals was started by Maggie Shayne’s Twilight Phantasies, which I was lucky enough to find at a UBS in the late 90s. I have never completely left the genre, though I’m much more selective now that I was just a handful of years ago. (Quitting Christine Feehan’s Carpathians was hard, yo!–and don’t get me started on trying to quit JR Ward)
My love for historical romances was started back in the early 80s by Johanna Lindsey–my first non-category romance too. My sister found a translation of Tender Rebel…and the rest is history. At one point I owned all of her back list up, but I broke up with her right at the turn of the millennium.
Suzanne Brockmann’s TDD/Team Ten categories started my interest in military romance and romantic suspense, again something I read a lot of to this day.
@CleoC: No, I haven’t, but now I want to. *off to search*
Rachel Gibson’s Simply Irresistible hooked me on hockey romances but also sports romances in general. I am not a real life sports fan by any means but there is just something about a sports romance I love.
Nalini Singh’s Slave to Sensation and Jaid Black’s Breeding Ground got me into PNR that wasn’t strictly shifter stories.
C.L. Wilson got me into high fantasy stories-I’d always avoided Mage tropes.
Lora Leigh got me into the more erotic stories after her Bound Hearts series.
Suzanne Brockmann was the first military romance I read – The Unsung Hero – and then I glomped on. I had been unsuccessfully writing time travel/western romances, and actually “on break” from writing, when I read her books. And kept reading b/c she has a lot! And her writing inspired me to find a new voice for myself, and I started writing military romances too. (Duh – I’m a veteran – what was up with me not even thinking about that? I don’t know how I managed to not see that whole subgenre for so long. I guess I was reading almost only historicals for a very long time.)
I was never much for contemporary but Julie James’s books have been changing my mind!
There are 3 books that stand out to me : I had stopped reading romances for about 10 or so years in the 2000s and for that time period I was only reading espionage thrillers (Ludlum, Clancy), Historical Fiction (C.J Sansom series about Matthew Shardlake the hunchback Tudor lawyer for example) and Fantasy (Robert Jordan, Terry Goodkind). The only exception during that time was continuing Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series but other than that I was pretty much done with romance. Then in 2012 I saw Joanna Bourne’s The Spymaster’s Lady at my library (this is book 1) and picked it up, read the synopsis, decided to give it a go, and have not looked back since. I immersed myself in historical romance (Elizabeth Hoyt, Meredith Duran, Sherry Thomas) and found Goodreads, where I started looking at what people were reading that had similar tastes as I did. From there I wound up back in the world of contemporary and erotic romance, new adult and more recently paranormal.
Through the erotic romance genre I found Nicole Edwards and her Alluring Indulgences series. Her book Ethan was the first m/m book I had ever read and I was astonished (honestly!) to find that I really liked it. So that’s book 2, and certainly a genre I never thought I would be interested in but one that I find more and more to my liking (especially after reading The Understatement of the Year by Sarina Bowen).
And finally, though I haven’t read 50 shades either, I’ve definitely read many others in the subgenre because of it , so I have to give kudos to it for getting erotic romance for women out in the open where it belongs.
ooh, fun! I spent years reading contemporary and historical romances, and sure there were some I liked a lot, but it wasn’t my catnip. And I longed for fantasy and would compensate by re reading Tolkein or Tamora Pierce or other stuff like that.
I was reading Jayne Ann Krentz’s contemporaries, and then went on to her paranormals. Suddenly there was stuff a lot more to my taste, but not quite perfect. So I looked for “authors like Jayne Ann Krentz” and found Robin Owens whose books are blurbed by JAK.
I really loved Owens’ Celta series and from there found Nalini Singh’s Psy Changeling series.
And my mind was blown. There were books with fantasy and political intrigue and huge series arching plots *and* romances? Discovering PNR was great because it was exactly what I never knew I was looking for. Later Ilona Andrews led me onto UF which I also love, and by finding DA and other blogs and finding reviewers with similar taste I nowadays have become much, much better at finding books I enjoy.
I later realized that Cindy Hwang edits JAK, Singh, and Owens, so really I should say that she was the editor who led me into a whole subgenre.
@CleoC: Wow! I thought I was the only one who had ever read (or heard of) Cristabel. My gateway into SF Romance (when I was about 12/13) was her book Manalacor of Veltakin that I found in a box of books my grandmother bought at a sale. The cover showed a naked lady from the back and I really wanted to know what was inside that book! Turned out the cover was more risque than the book.
It was years and years later before I was able to find the connecting title, The Cruachan and the Killane, at a used book store — I did such a happy dance!!!
Using Amazon and Ebay, I was finally able to purchase The Mortal Immortals and The Golden Olive by her a few years ago.
Did you know that she wrote one book under the name Kathleen Westcott? A gothic called Bride of Kilkerran. I actually found that at a yard sale about 8-9 years ago.
In doing some research on her, I found out she was born in Oak Hill, WV, was a registered nurse and died in 1995. The 5 titles listed were the only books she ever wrote.
@azteclady: I wanna cry. Amazon lists the Cristabel book only used–and it starts at $60+
@Tsuki: Amen! Funny how one little domino will start a chain reaction that twists and turns and splits into so many different, wonderful paths.
@azteclady: Would you like to borrow my copy of Mortal Immortals?
Science fiction-Catspaw by Joan Vinge
PNR- Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
Steampunk -The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook
Time travel Romance -A Knight in Shining Armour by Jude Deveraux
Historical romance -something by Barara Cartland
Contemporary Romance – See Jane Score by Rachel Gibson
@azteclady: When I found out that you could buy used books through Amazon in 2002, the first thing I looked for was The Mortal Immortals. At that time, there was only one used copy available; it was $75.00! I had a deep discussion with my husband, justifying how much I wanted that book (more to myself than to him–his response was “If you want it, buy it”), and I still remember dancing around the house the day it arrived.
I live in the Los Angeles area and out of curiosity just checked the public library; they actually have two copies on the shelf.
@Lynn Pauley: I’m so happy that somebody else has read that book! I haven’t read her other works; are they as good?
Joey W Hill’s ‘Natural Law’ was one of the first BDSMs I read and that was it. I fell in love with her work and the Nature of Desire series. While I’ve enjoyed others in this sub-genre, no one has ever come close to the power of this series for me. Her work is amazing.
@Lynn Pauley: I had never heard of her book written as Kathleen Westcott; I just ordered a copy. I used to love the old gothics.
@azteclady: There’s a used copy of Mortal Immortals on ebay for only $19.50 + free shipping.
I’ve had good luck finding favorite old books on ebay.
I went through a phase of devouring YA and teen novels with gritty supernatural themes because of Holly Black’s TITHE some years ago.
And oddly enough Jane Emerson’s sci-fi novel CITY OF DIAMOND made me get into Georgette Heyer, and Heyer then was my gateway into the romance genre.
@Lynn Pauley: That’s incredibly generous, thank you so much–but no. If I like it half as much as you guys, I’m gonna want to keep it.
Katie, that’s much better–though still a bit too rich for my wallet.
I’m going to see if my library happens to have it, and go from there.
Thank you so very much, ladies!
@Cate: Add me to that list. Love the Psy-Changeling books, DNF’d the second Guild Hunters and never looked back. I think I missed the warmth of the changelings that wasn’t there to counter-balance the coldness of the Guild Hunters series.
@Michele Mills: You remind me of old me, Michelle. Check out my review of Backstage Pass from my days of innocence. ;-) https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/162492938
You had to mention the Others in the same breath as Alpha & Omega. I *love* Charles and Anna. And I really didn’t want to read the Others series.
Romantic suspense: Not counting the Sidney Sheldons during high school, the hook had to be UGLY DUCKLING by Iris Johansen (although the story leaned towards suspense more). Then Linda Howard happened, followed by LMR and Shannon McKenna. These days, I read Cynthia Eden and Elle Kennedy for my RS fix.
Then, there’s PNR. Not counting Anne Rice’s vampire chronicles eons ago, Kresley Cole’s IAD is the only series that I still follow. I have since dropped (and I don’t want to use the word “abandoned”, which is sooo negative) Maryjanice Davidson, Nalini Singh, J.R. Ward…
Since this is a trip down memory lane: First “hook” in historical was Johansen’s Golden Barbarian/Wind Dancer (can’t really remember which was the actual first now, because I was too engaged in binge reading her backlist!); first in comedy (contemporary) was SEP’s NOBODY’S BABY BUT MINE; first in erotic romance was LMR’s MIDNIGHT MAN which in today’s standard is rather tame.
Lastly, because of an aversion to first person narratives in general, I never ventured (read: not even tempted) the popular TWILIGHT, 50 SHADES, BOUND…etc. Not even when I enjoyed quite a few of Sylvia Day’s works, across genres.
Sorry, (this should the real “lastly”) but I didn’t actually mention my PNR hook–DARK PRINCE by Feehan.
Georgette Heyer and Barbara Cartland started me off on historical romances; second-hand copies of King Country by Margaret Way and Brand of Possession by Carole Mortimer led me to contemporary romances. Dark Prince by Christine Feehan was my introduction to PNR, Sherrilyn Kenyon; JR Ward and others followed. While I don’t read Sherrilyn Kenyon or JR Ward anymore, I do still read Christine Feehan. My Fair Captain by JL Langley was my started me on the m/m genre, and I’ve read many more authors and sub-genres since then.
I can see I’m going to have to move Written in Red up the TBR queue because I adore Alpha & Omega. So many people have recommended The Others series.
My first foray into erotic romance was Marly’s Choice by Lora Leigh. Let’s just say it was a baptism of fire. I didn’t have an ereader and I can’t read on a computer so I printed the whole thing out and hid it under the bed! These days I don’t hide my erotic romance, even though I avoid the brotherly menages. (I’d recently read On a Wicked Dawn by Stephanie Laurens and thought that was pretty racy. I felt vaguely guilty about it. Then Marly’s Choice blew my head off.)
Dark Prince by Christine Feehan was my first PNR and it kickstarted a fierce love for the sub genre. I don’t read as much PNR these days, I’m a little burnt out on it, but I remember loving Dark Prince so hard.
I can’t remember the exact book that first hooked me into historical romance, but I’m pretty sure it was a Jude Devereaux that a summer playhouse actress my family was housing gave me when I was 14. Abandoned the whole romance genre for yonks, and then a random tweet by Felicia Day about one of Eloisa James’ Duchess books sounded intriguing and down the rabbit hole I went! Eloisa James led to Julia Quinn and then I circled back around to Jude Devereaux. I found a Suzanne Brockmann (Flashpoint) shelved in the mystery section (???) of my local used book store and that led me down a path of romantic/suspense for quite a while. According to my Goodreads shelves it was Charlie Cochrane’s Lessons in Love that kicked off a m/m mystery glom. Cochrane led to Josh Lanyonand then Z.A. Maxfield’s ePistols at Dawn (can I sidetrack and say how much I HATE THAT TITLE) and K.A. Mitchell’s Collision Course pushed me from m/m mystery into a rather epic glom of m/m contemporary. Good memories all!
A twitter conversation reminded me that The Bride and the Beast by Teresa Medeiros was the book that got me seriously reading romance again *and* it was my first loved non-traditional Regency — ie with sexytimes.
I think it was SEP who got me reading contemporaries, Brockmann romantic suspense… though interestingly, thinking back, I didn’t love either first book by either author. Back then, I was so new to the genre, and so in need of books I liked, I was willing to devote time to an author and see if they grew on me. It’s kinda sad that I don’t have the time or energy for that much anymore.
Irish Thoroughbred by Nora Roberts was my first ever romance novel. I was at the lake with my family and had finished all the books I brought with me (mostly summer reading for high school), and somebody had left that book—actually one book including the whole trilogy—at the lake house so I took it out on the boat with me the next day. That kick started my love of great romance novels. My most recent favorites are Julie James (those FBI/US Attorney books are awesome—smart, funny, great dialogue…), Shannon Stacey (whose first book, funny enough, is very reminiscent of my family trips to the lake—just sub boats for ATVs and swimming in the lake for the pool), Laura Florand (her Amour et Chocolat series makes me want to hop on a plane to Paris and eat only chocolate for weeks—and maybe kiss a chocolatier or two), Kristen Ashley (not all of her books work for me, and I’m not touching the Unfinished Hero series because I heard one of the “heroes” is a pimp—no thanks!—but a few of the Rock Chick books were good, and I loved the Dream Man series and the first four Colorado Mountain books)…
Lisa Kleypas kicked off my adoration for historical romance. I think the first of her books that I read was Mine ‘Til Midnight, but I quickly found and read the Wallflowers series after that and loved every word. Simon Hunt and Lord St. Vincent are still some of my favorite historical male characters, and I adored the friendship between the women. Since then I’ve discovered Julie Garwood, Mary Balogh, Julia Quinn, Courtney Milan, Elizabeth Hoyt, Maya Banks, Tessa Dare and so many other great authors.
Also, the Sookie Stackhouse series introduced me to PNR. I only read the first two and a half books in that series (I lost interest in the series around the time that True Blood came on, oddly enough), but it led me to Thea Harrison, Molly Harper, Patricia Briggs (Alpha & Omega—I’ve never read Mercy Thompson), Marjorie Liu, Jeaniene Frost, Sherrilyn Kenyon and so many others. These books led me, somehow, to some sci-fi romance; Linnea Sinclair and Marcella Burnard, mostly.
As a teenager (many years ago), I read mainly romance, SciFi, and the occasional “sympathetic” vampire book, although back then, those were pretty much limited to Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Fred Saberhagen, and a few others. In my 30’s I stopped reading those genres and read almost exclusively LitFic, and NonFic. I was a huge Buffy fan, but I completely missed the start of UF and PNR, until one day, a friend was telling me about a new series she was watching on HBO called True Blood and asked if I’d heard of it. I told her that I preferred to read and didn’t have HBO, and she said, “you know, True Blood is based on a book series by an author named Charlaine Harris. How about if we read the first book together?” That was it. Thanks to Sookie Stackhouse, I became completely hooked on paranormals, fell back in love with romance also, and now don’t read much of anything outside of romance and UF.