Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wanted: Contemporary and Paranormal Fairy Tales

Yes, yes - it's been a Dead Zone around here for the past week.  Chalk it up to Real Life with a healthy dose of Head Cold From Hell mixed in for good measure (and just to keep things lively, Typhoid Wendy gave the plague to My Man). 

Obviously taking pity on my lack of blog-fodder, JamiSings (a fairly regular commenter 'round here) sent me an e-mail desperately looking for some book recommendations.  She gave me permission to post her query on the blog - so here it is!  Here's what she's looking for (and coincidentally, what she's not looking for).
So this all started with a thread on All About Romance - this one actually
It's all discussions of fairy tales we love. Well, it's got me craving some serious fairy tale themed romances. Especially if the fae actually appear in it. Thing is, you know how you're burnt out on Paranormals? Well, right now I'm burnt out on historicals. My recent forays trying to find "plain Jane" and Older Man/Younger Woman romances gave me a lot of historicals. I REALLY want some contemporaries. (Yes, I've read ALL of Karen Marie Monings books, BTW.)
Jami is open to all sorts of fairy tales, but she's sooooo over Cinderella (seriously, girlfriend has exhausted the fairy tale collection at the library - she was telling me about some that I've never even heard of!)  By contemporary she's willing to go pretty much anything 20th century and after.  She'll make an exception for steampunk, but otherwise she wants to stay the hell away from the 19th century and earlier.

She's looking for books with Sexy Times, but buttsecks is a deal-breaker for her.  She's totally cool with Hot Vanilla.

She's open to reading "older" romances (she works at a library, so ILL is always an option for her) - but she doesn't like Rapetastic Bodice Rippers.  Also, no YA recommendations (Google's been spitting out lots of YA recs to her.....)

She really wants to read some human/fae books - but given that she's exhausted Karen Marie Moning, she's willing to go with "just fairy tale-ish."

So Bat Cave Dwellers, what have you got?  I've been on Paranormal Burn-Out for a while now, and my contemporary reading tends to be stuck in Category Romance Land.  Any awesome-sauce single titles out there?  Any smokin' fun paranormals?  Hit us up in the comment section!


Anonymous said...

Has she read Robin Owens "Enchanted No More" that has Fae characters in it?

Regards, Ruth (CO)

Anonymous said...

PS Where is lemon drop

Regards, Ruth (CO)

Elaine said...

Has she tried Mercedes Lackey's Tales of the 500 Kingdoms? I haven't read yes (in my TBR), but each is clearly based on a fairy tale and they are getting good reviews. Titles like: The Fairy Godmother, The Sleeping Beauty, The Snow Queen, Beauty and the Werewolf, etc. Worth a look at the blurb, anyway, to see if it's up her alley!


Wendy said...

Seriously, I'm thinking of getting T-shirts made that say "Lemon Drop's Entourage" on them :)

I know! She's overdue! I'm hoping this weekend....or Monday. Let's say Monday......

JamiSings said...

I'm still waiting for Lemon Drop to do a book review. LOL

And no, I haven't tried any of those. Is Lackey the same one who wrote The Black Swan? Because I loved that book. It was so interesting reading something from the POV of a woman who's always before been seen as a villianess.

If you check out that thread you can see a lot of my favorites and their summaries. A lot are about women who basically save themselves. Except for Sleeping Beauty. I think I like that one because it was the first Disney movie I remember seeing. And one called the Ch'i-Lin Purse which is more of how a good deed done on her wedding day and kindness during a time of tragedy turns into a great reward and a happy ending later on.

And I should add I'm a Phantom Phan and totally Team Erik. I'm talking about Novel Erik, BTW. Because he wanted Christine to keep singing, while Raoul wanted her to give up singing and just be a good little wife and mother and follow his orders.

Reina said...

How about Jane Yolen, Robin McKinley (there are many good YA retellings and such out there) or for heat, Jasmine Haynes has Beauty or the Bitch.
I might be mistaken, but I think Sophie Littlefield's YA books have fae characters. She's an excellent writer as well.

Wendy said...

Geez, I feel pretty dense for forgetting about the Mercedes Lackey series. Duh.

Reina: Jami told me she hit the motherlode on YA recs by Googling - so she's hoping for some adult recs here.

Oooh, and it looks like Haynes serialized Beauty or the Bitch on her blog! Sadly, she didn't tag the posts - but for anybody who is interested, the first chapter starts in August 2011 and she posts the last one in November 2011. Her blog archive is indexed for easy searching.

E.D. Walker said...

Another great fairy-tale retellings series is the Elemental Masters books also by Mercedes Lackey. They are mostly set at the beginning of the 19th century up to WWI. And even though they are a "series" they all stand alone.

The first four are pretty good ("The Serpent's Shadow"-- a Snow White retelling--is one of my absolute favorite books EVER) but then Lackey started losing steam around book 5.

I haven't read any of her stuff yet (and it's supposed to be on the spicy side) but Bettie Sharpe's Cat's Tale, a retelling of Puss in Boots, has gotten very good reviews. It's on my TBR.

Has this reader tried War for the Oaks by Emma Bull? It's the book that sort of spawned the modern paranormal movement. Not a straight fairy-tale retelling but lots of fae folk and fairies and such running around. It is a VERY good book. It's not a straight up romance but there is a very satisfying, albeit somewhat slow-burning, romance. It's set around a war between two factions of fae.

I'm hoping there's a similar deal here as at SBTB where if you recommend several other books you can put in a good word for your own as well? Anyway, my novel "The Beauty's Beast" is a riff on Beauty and the Beast woven with a retelling of the medieval lais "Bisclavret" by Marie de France. It IS a historical (medieval if that matters), but it skews more paranormal. I think someone hankering for a fairy tale retelling might enjoy it.

JamiSings said...

Yeah, what Wendy said, Reina. I'm 35 years old. I can barely tolerate 20 somethings in romance novels anymore. I don't mind reading books like Harry Potter or Artemis Fowl, but YA romances just make me want to scream.

I really wish there were more romances with heroines who are 30+ (and just because I'm into older men, more with heroes who are 50+, even 60+, with big noses, cause I like big noses and I cannot lie! TEAM CYRANO!)

ED - I might give it a try. I'm just burnt out because my last foray looking for certain types of romance novels gave me so many historicals that I just need a break. Though looking for ones involving dogs adopted from shelters gave me some contemporaries. (Reason for this, I adopted a dog that's a former breeder from a puppy mill. I noticed she makes me be more sociable. Thought it would be fun to read some romances where a rescue dog not only brings the heroine and hero together, but actually conspires to do it. But the only one that I got that fit the bill in that sense was the first of those Miss Piggy the corgi books. Only other one I can find like that is an inspirational and while I believe in God, my personal beliefs are closer to Judaism and therefore the heavy Christian theme turns me off.)

Leslee said...

It isn't romance but the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire is chock-a-block with Fae. They are amazing books. I was in Starbucks with one of them, tears running down my face as I read and I didn't give a hoot. They are that good! Not exactly fairy tale retellings just really good stuff!

K said...

I second the Mercedes Lackey books for fairy-tale retellings. I haven't checked out the thread, but there's also Kristine Grayson's books. In addition, in the late eighties, there was a Loveswept series by Kay Hooper called 'Once Upon a Time,' where, if I remember correctly, it was a "modern" take on the fairy tale.

For human/fae romances, Marylyle Rogers's Once Upon a Time and Long Ago and Far Away made my keeper shelf. For newer titles, there is Christine Warren's Prince Charming Doesn't Live Here, and Not Your Ordinary Faerie Tale was just released in print. Laurell K. Hamilton's Merry Gentry series also started out strong before it took a nosedive.

Would she be open to mythological creatures? I can think of a couple of selkie/human, gargoyle/human, and djinn/human titles as well.

K said...

Whoops, forgot about Donna Kauffman (The Cinderella Rules, The Big Bad Wolf Tells All, and Sleeping with Beauty) and Shanna Swendson for fairy-tale-esque. They're more fiction-y than romance-y, but good reads all the same. Unfortunately, Swendson was dropped from her publisher before she released book 5 of the Enchanted Inc series, but book 1 is an absolute must-read.

JamiSings said...

Yes K, I'm open to selkies. I'm actually open to any supernatural being except Hollywood zombies. I'm sick and tired of Hollywood zombies. Voodoo zombies are okay. Hollywood ones, no. Outside of Plants VS Zombies, I want no more flesh eating really just a combo of vampire and ghoul mythology Hollywood zombies.

In fact, I read a myth about selkies that made me wish I was good at writing. I'm good at coming up with characters and plots, but when I try to write them out, they just suck. Like dancing, writing is something that eludes me.

Anyway, the myth is this - if a woman cries seven tears into the ocean, a male selkie will come claim her as his bride.

Now it's suppose to do with a sailor's widow, crying for her drowned husband. However, it would be a great set up for a romance between a fat heroine (I hate terms like curvy) and a selkie. Her friends force her to go to the beach. She over hears some cruel remarks about how she looks in her one piece and cries. Hot male selkie seeks her out bound to her. He sees nothing wrong with how she looks as you do need blubber to survive in the cold sea and admits that at certain times of the year he gets rather plump himself.

She sees him being stuck with her as a wife as a curse so she tries to find a way to "break the spell." He learns how to court women the 21st century way rather then the usual selkie dragging them off way. In the meantime he helps repair a badly damaged self esteem and real love rather than enspelled love blooms.

Often wish I knew a writer with writer's block who'd be willing to take these plots off my hands. I also have an idea for a romantic comedy involving a woman going through menopause who's been cursed since childhood to turn into a man once a month instead of having a period.

JamiSings said...

Wendy! *sniffles* Either because I'm really bad at searching or because we don't have them I'm not finding The Beauty's Beast and Not Your Ordinary Faerie Tale in the system.

Yeah, yeah, I know, the budget. Hey, you know folks, money's tight in the library systems. Now Gail Carriger once wrote encouraging those who buy ebooks to buy paper copy of her books for friends and stuff to help get it on the NYT best seller list. And I suggested they also buy copies for the libraries because the libraries are suffering a LOT in this craptastic economy.

Granted, like me your budget is probably tight too. But consider this - donations to libraries are tax deductible.

And you could always get together with friends and all chip in a few bucks together to buy one or more copies of a favorite book by a favorite author. You'd be helping your author out, helping your library out, and maybe helping your author get some new fans. For instance, a lot of foster kids use the library where I work and almost all the girls like to check out romance novels. (They also really want more romances with black heroes and heroines if anyone feels the urge to donate, BTW.)

I have to sit and go through these replies, make a list of the ones I can't get so far, and see if the librarian where I work can get me them via ILL.

But these are some awesome leads and I really thank all of you! Any more suggestions?

And I have to admit ever since I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome I've been seriously hankering for a novel where the heroine has that. Also I'm always open to an Older Male/Younger Female romance since I find older men attractive. Should I mention I also have a thing for big noses on men? Yeah, Team Cyrano!

Yeah, they don't have to be fairy tale or paranormals with those. But it would be nice since I'm hankering so much for some hot fairy tale sex (with no anal - I can take anything except that).

Oh, for those replying who are authors, my boss lets me read at the desk and a lot of library patrons put stuff they see me reading on hold. So if you get a craving to donate a few copies to the library, think of the free advertising you'd get if I can get my hands on them. ;-) LOL I had to try! We need more books!

Wendy said...

Jami: The Beauty's Beast is digital-only, which is out of my control. I'm doing the print-only ordering these days.

Yeah, I think we're spotty on the Warren series. I'll look up all the titles, cross-check, and fill in probably next week....

JamiSings said...

Darn! Because I'm a migraine sufferer I don't own an ereader. Nor do I ever plan on getting one, honestly. I like the "evil dead tree books."

Kathryn said...

I just finished the latest installment of Ilona Andrew's "Edge" series. It has a magic element throughout and I have really liked all three. Action packed and nice romance. Not a fairy tale but if you like magic this might be of interest. I would read in order.

Rosario said...

I second the Lackey recs, which I love. The other books that come to mind are Jasper Fforde's. He's got a series which mixes detective fiction with nursery rhymes, which is fantastic. Granted, it's not quite fairy tales, but I think nursery rhymes have quite a bit in common with them.

PS - JamiSings, you do realise that the screens on e-ink ereaders (like the kindle) are absolutely nothing like computer screens, right? There's no flicker, which is what tires your eyes. They will not cause migraines any more than a piece of printed paper would. Probably even less, as you can make the font bigger, so you need to focus your eyesight even less.

JamiSings said...

Okay, so here's what I've got on hold so far -

The Fairy Godmother

Sea Witch

Prince Charming Doesn't Live Here

War For The Oaks

There's apparently no Donna Kauffman in our system at all. Unless I really suck at searching more than I though. Tried by author and browse instead of exact as for some reason someone will put a period after a person's first name and it messes up searching for it. And some of those according to google are only ebooks. :-(

Rosario - Still don't want an ereader. I like the smell and feel of real books too much. Plus I don't have the money in my budget for one. I just recently replaced my iPod, spent too much on a dress I didn't want or need but mom talked me into and now have to save to have it altered (it's just easier to give into her sometimes, I didn't even want to try on a dress, I just wanted to buy a hair clip!), spent over $100 on comic books, and another $80 on printer ink. Unless someone wants to take pity on me and give me some singing or baby/pet sitting gigs I just can't afford the expense of an ereader now.

The others I can't seem to get are Rosemary And Rue by Seanan McGuire, Once Upon A Time and Long Ago And Far Away by Marylyle Rogers but they look old enough to try for an ILL. (While we can still do those. Grr! Razzen-frazzen economy!)

JamiSings said...

Oh, forgot to add I've got Golden Threads right in front of me. I like to read series in order even if the books can stand alone. Too many times the couple from the previous become minor characters in the next.

Wendy said...

Jami: Oh, there's Donna Kauffman. We've got several - but of the fairy tale variety - Dear Prince Charming, The Cinderella Rules and The Big Bad Wolf Tells All. We also have Rosemary and Rue. When doing the search, skip browse and exact in favor of the keyword button. I tend to avoid browse and exact altogether unless I'm searching for a book with an annoyingly common one word title ("The Help" is my new favorite example).

Try to do it today to - because they're indexing on Sunday and the catalog is going to be all jacked up until that's finished. Ugh. I know it has to be done, but on the Sunday that I have to work? Really?!

(Oh, and re: the Rogers books - I *think* those may be out of print, so shoot for ILL....)

JamiSings said...

Yeah I found them this time around. Except for Once Upon A Time, Long Ago And Far Away, and Sleeping With Beauty. I did, however, find one called Dear Prince Charming. I'll put in ILLs for the rest.

Like I said, I tend to use browse because of the people who insist on putting a . after the name. Even when they use the full first name. Makes searching a pain in the tuchus!

Bad enough they have three different birth years listed for Betty White. Yes, all THAT Betty White. And even though I did the research that proves only one of those years is correct, the librarian here refuses to call HQ to see about getting it corrected.

JamiSings said...

Alright, got my holds on, got my ILLs in. Now just have to sit paitently and wait for them to come in so I can read some hot fairy tale inspired sex! LOL

I want to thank everyone who suggested something. If you have any other ideas or want to know about my favorite fairy tales like say The Sammurai's Daughter or The Way Meat Loves Salt, feel free to drop me a line at

Wendy, I adore you for posting this for me. You have earned the title Super Librarian.

JamiSings said...

Okay, incase anyone's still reading this - absolutely loved Sea Witch, totally devoured it.

A bit on the fence about The Cinderella Rules. Loved the romance but the scandal, I kept thinking "WHO CARES?!" At the risk of giving spoilers - women go to gay men for advice all the time. I've known women who are total homophobics who look to gay men for advice. Who better to advise women who want to make a commitment to a man then a man looking for the same? It would've been better if it turned out that Prince Charming was a woman, a teenage boy who is just really smart, or even some Amish guy on Rumspringa and about to rejoin his community. However I wish Glass Slipper did exist because I totally want to hang out with the Godmothers. Seriously, if anyone knows three women like them who hang out together and make over gals like me IRL let me know because I totally want to spend time with them! They were more interesting to me then the hero and heroine.

Golden Threads was - ICK! Sorry, but both characters were too stupid to live. Also, and maybe this is just me - but I hate it when a heroine sleeps with a guy she barely knows. I can handle it in historicals and paranormals. But anything set after people know about HIV/AIDS as well as the other STDs and where both characters are humans, then I hate it. She has three dates with him, sleeps with him, THEN finds out he's an FBI agent and says she's in love with him. When she doesn't know if he has any diseases, what his family is like, or even his favorite color.

I can see him being in love with her as he read her file and probably knows her better then she knows herself. But she knows NOTHING about him.

I can't be the only gal out there who gets creeped out when a heroine sleeps with someone she barely knows, right? Doesn't anyone else pause and think "Hey, wait a minute, what if this hot guy taking you in the dressing room of your store has herpes?" (Granted, that was in one of Sherilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter books - the one with Bride. But it was the first thing I thought of even though it was a paranormal.)

Had this discussion over on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. Never could get anyone to answer why they find virgins over 30 "creepy" (and there were some real life over 30 virgins who posted to that same thread!) but why they don't find women who have unprotected sex with strange men creepy with all we know about things like HIV and genital warts.

JamiSings said...

Oops! Mixed up The Cinderella Rules with Dear Prince Charming. (Have I read TCR yet? I suddenly can't remember.)