Last Updated on August 20, 2023 by Louisa
Who doesn’t love to get lost in a good fantasy tale? Even more so if it includes an irresistible hunk that also happens to carry the burden of some unexplainable mystical power.
In paranormal romance books, readers are introduced to breathtaking fallen angels, seductive vampires, ancient lovers, and enchanting shapeshifters.
If those make for a heroic book boyfriend or inspire your interest, then this list has them all captured in one place.
When you wish to escape the mundane world and need to spice up your day with some tantalizing fantasy romances, then read on to find my personal favorite paranormal romance books.
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What To Expect From Paranormal Romance Books?
Paranormal romance books allow readers to get lost in unique worlds filled with love, but also in mystery, and adventure.
These stories mix elements of fantasy, horror, and romance into a perfect recipe for a book that is both unique and captivating. The supernatural setting allows authors to really push the boundaries of their imagination and create worlds far different from our own.
You can expect paranormal romances to include vampires, werewolves, witches, and other mythical creatures, making it easy to forget reality while you’re immersed in their world.
Paranormal romance books often have heightened emotions between characters, as often one of the main characters is a fantastical being, who experiences emotions differently from humans.
While normal romances often focus on traditional relationships between two people, paranormal romances explore how love is complicated and unpredictable.
Many paranormal stories have love triangles, reverse harem elements, or focus on the forbidden love between two beings from different species. The non-human elements tend to add more intensity to the story as the protagonists fight through obstacles.
You can also expect these books to contain deeper meanings and themes of family dynamics, of power, friendship, or political intrigue.
Paranormal romance books are filled with action-packed scenes, mysterious settings, and strong emotions, which is why it’s one of my favorite romance tropes.
The Best Paranormal Romance Books
Whether you enjoy vampire romance novels or ghostly stories, these paranormal romance novels are just what you need for your bookshelf.
1. Dead Until Dark – Charlaine Harris
Published in 2001, Dead Until Dark is the first novel in the popular Sookie Stackhouse series. Written by Charlaine Harris, this peculiar romance story famously inspired the successful HBO original series, True Blood.
This paranormal romance tale unravels from the perspective of Sookie Stackhouse, a cocktail waitress living a quiet life in a small Louisiana town.
There is not much out of the usual in Sookie’s life, aside from the fact that she possesses a secret power – she can read minds.
Things quickly shift out of the ordinary as we meet the mysterious Bill Compton, a handsome stranger with an even deadlier secret.
Sookie cannot help her growing fascination with Bill because he is the only person whose thoughts she fails to reveal. Soon she finds out that Bill has a paranormal secret of his own.
If you love vampire romance books but with more action and adventure than say, Twilight, then this is a great read.
I loved the budding romance between Sookie and Bill, who proves that even though love can be complicated, it can prevail with compassion and empathy toward each other.
2. From Blood and Ash – Jennifer L. Armentrout
The winner of the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Romance, From Blood and Ash is the first book in the Blood and Ash series that is all about action and suspense, as well as a tantalizing enemies-to-lovers romance.
Our captivating heroine, Poppy, is torn between duty and desire. Living the life of the Maiden, she is assigned from birth the difficult task of bringing in a new era for her people.
She awaits the day of her Ascension, preparing to be found worthy by the gods, but her heart yearns for something more.
Filled with longing, Poppy must face the unexpected temptation when her path becomes entangled with another’s.
Hawke is a golden-eyed guard honor confined to ensure her Ascension, but soon he is bound to make Poppy question everything she believes about herself and her destiny.
The very talented Jennifer L. Armentrout delivers an action-packed paranormal romance novel with steaming encounters and exciting surprises at every turn. If you’ve already read From Blood and Ash, perhaps you’d like to read these similar books.
3. Fantasy Lover – Sherrilyn Kenyon
The first book in the Dark-Hunter series, Fantasy Lover, tells the extraordinary love story of Julian and Grace.
This steamy romance, spiced up with elements of Greek mythology, is made to be read in one sitting.
The ancient gods cursed Julian of Macedon to an eternity of slavery in hell. He is summoned through an arcane spell into the life of Grace Alexander, who performs the ritual as a joke.
Now, Grace has to face the consequences of an ancient curse while trying to resist a growing attraction between her and a man of everyone’s dreams.
I loved how the female protagonist in this book is the strong one, seducing the male into her bed. If you’re looking for something a little more feminist, this is a great addition to your TBR!
4. City of Bones – Cassandra Clare
City of Bones represents an introduction to The Mortal Instruments series, consisting of five additional sequels.
I love everything Cassandra Clare writes, but if you’re new to her work, this is the first series you should start with.
This fantasy-driven romance centers around a young Clary Fray who, against her will, becomes a witness to a strange and seemingly unexplainable murder.
She knows what she saw- three teenagers embellished with peculiar tattoos and armed with even more peculiar weapons. She also saw a body, a boy who vanished into thin air.
Clary meets the Shadowhunters, whose mission is to rid the earth of demons. She must also come to terms with the company of the Shadowhunter named Jace, taunting her with his angel face and devilish manners.
Cassandra Clare is excellent at writing love triangles and relationships that are complicated and yet feel so realistic (despite being fantasy).
I was always routing for the main characters, Clary and Jace, and wishing it would all work out for them, but also fell in love with the adventure they were on and the mysteries they had to solve.
Related Post: Cassandra Clare Novels in Order
5. Hush, Hush – Becca Fitzpatrick
This successful 2009 publication is the first of four books in the Hush, Hush series, penned by Becca Fitzpatrick.
It’s a classic young adult fantasy romance, but instead of vampires or werewolves, in this case, it’s the charm of a fallen angel that lures our human heroine, Nora Grey.
When Patch walks into her life, Nora faces several unexplainable situations that make her question everyone she trusts. She is bent on unraveling the dark secrets that surround her, but the question is- is she prepared for the truth?
Hush, Hush stands out as a must-read for all Twilight enthusiasts, as the dynamic between Patch and Nora greatly resembles that of the beloved Edward and Bella.
6. Undead and Unwed – MaryJanice Davidson
Undead and Unwed is a paranormal romance book with a first-rate sense of humor. If you’re looking for a mix of badass and funny, Betsy Taylor is your ideal leading lady.
Betsy is going through a rough patch lately. Not only has she lost her job, but she also got killed in a car accident. Don’t you just hate when that happens?
Death seems to be only the beginning, as her new friends theorize that she must be the long-prophesied vampire queen no less.
Now, that’s the kind of support we all seek from our gang!
7. You Slay Me – Katie MacAlister
Smart, sexy, witty, and completely and utterly bonkers. This summary seems undeniably fitting for Katie MacAlister‘s unconventional fantasy love tale.
When she is not busy resisting the charms of a dashing Parisian dragon in human form (yes, you read that right), Aisling Grey finds herself entangled in a murder mystery.
After a precious demonic artifact is stolen from her by the shape-shifting Casanova, Drake Vireo, Aisling decides to play detective and wraps herself even deeper into this paranormal puzzle.
Although the title suggests this is going to be an erotic and sizzling shapeshifter romance novel, it is actually more romantic comedy-based than I was expecting when I picked it up.
It has less substance than the Sookie Stackhouse series mentioned earlier, but it was still a really enjoyable read.
8. Witcha Gonna Do? – Avery Flynn
If you love enemies-to-lovers fantasy books, then you are going to swoon over this one! It’s a paranormal romantic comedy series about a double agent with a huge ego.
Tilda Sherwood can’t seem to catch a break. She is the only one in a family of witches with no magical powers.
She is also constantly set up with Gil, a gorgeous enchanter with an ego to match.
When she unintentionally causes a glitch in her sister’s spell, she has no choice but to team up with the pompous Gil to set things straight.
And, of course, try not to fall under his spell- if you catch my drift.
I loved this book. I was sometimes laughing out loud and sometimes crying. I felt an affinity towards the characters who were so relatable I felt like I knew them. This is one book that you will be thinking about long after you put it down.
9. First Grave on the Right – Darynda Jones
If you’re looking for something with a more urban fantasy element, then how about reading about a full-time grim reaper?
Charley Davidson also operates as a private investigator by demand when the dead she handles pass on under suspicious circumstances.
She also finds herself frequently provoked by recurring dreams of an entity that has pursued her for as long as she can remember. The question is: will she give in to a forbidden romance? And what happens then?
Darynda Jones is an NYTimes and USA Today Bestselling Author, and rightfully so, as she provides an engaging and humorous story brimming with delicious paranormal suspense.
First Grave on the Right is a forbidden romance book you will devour in a heartbeat and certainly the one you’re bound to revisit. It’s not as steamy as the others on this list, but the storyline will have you hooked.
10. Soulless – Gail Carriger
If you’re looking for something with a little more “Victorian” vibes, then Soulless is a great read. It’s both funny and witty, charming and cute, and sexy – all in one.
Alexia Tarabotti has no soul. She is also a spinster and, most recently, a vampire killer. I don’t know about you, but she seems like my kind of woman.
Following this deadly incident, our leading lady must deal with Lord Maccon (gorgeous and a werewolf in disguise), as he is sent by Queen Victoria herself to uncover the perpetrator.
There is no reason to hesitate if you’re fond of the Victorian era, dazzling vampires, and decisive heroines.
Soulless is bound to become your new favorite, with a handful of witty dialogue and seductive men to gush upon.
11. Enchanted, Inc. – Shanna Swendson
Another urban fantasy paranormal book I love is Enchanted, Inc, mostly because it gave me Harry Potter vibes (and I had a huge crush on Harry when I was a kid. Not Daniel Radcliffe, Harry).
A Texas gal Katie Chandler is lost and lonesome in a strange wonderland called New York City. She cannot help but wonder, has she bitten off more than she can chew when it comes to the Big Apple?
When she receives a job offer from Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc., an organization focusing on the magic community, her averageness becomes an asset.
Thriving at her new job, Katie now must find a way to capture the attention of her office crush, the head of the R&D department, who is a little distracted at the moment regarding an evil competitor threatening to sell black magic on the street.
This is a small town romance novel with a tantalizing story of spells and illusions. If you want to excite your inner child, this is going to satisfy a craving you didn’t know you had.
12. The Lost Witch – Paige Crutcher
The mystery of time travel and paranormal elements weave into the very fiber of Evermore, a small town on a forgotten isle in Ireland.
The magical story of The Lost Witch follows the adventures of Brigid Heron as she shifts between 1922 and 2022.
In 1922, our heroine holds the title of a powerful witch and healer, longing more than anything to have a child.
Her wish comes true when she gives birth to her daughter alongside the mysterious Luc Knightly, head of the Knightly Coven.
When her daughter falls ill, Brigid taps into the forbidden magic practices out of desperation.
Unfortunately, the wild charm takes her daughter away, simultaneously waking her up in a new reality with no recollection of how she traveled into the future.
I loved how this was not so much focused on the romance but on the mystery. I enjoyed the world-building and I liked the characters and how they connected to one another. A great all-around time travel romance book.
13. The King’s Captive – K.M. Shea
Perhaps one of the most imaginative paranormal romance books on my list is The King’s Captive, which captures the reader’s hearts with a touching slow-burn love story and a cleverly-written fantasy world.
Chloe lives a life of an outcast in a world overflowing with supernatural beings. She can transform into a housecat which is pretty adorable, but unfortunately, her mystical community doesn’t seem to agree.
While trying to escape the torment of the local faes in her cat form, Chloe stumbles upon Noctus, the most badass of the elves – a ruling race of supernaturals.
He takes her with him as a pet, and now Chloe must figure out how to keep her true identity a secret.
This is a fast-paced book about elves with likable characters and a well-developed storyline.
14. Moon Called – Patricia Briggs
For all the fans of truly badass female characters out there, Moon Called is a must-read.
The author Patricia Briggs introduces us to our fearless leading lady, Mercedes (Mercy) Thompson, whose life is nothing short of extraordinary.
Mercy is a skillful Volkswagen mechanic by day and a magical, shape-shifting being by night. Her neighbor is a werewolf, her former boss is a gremlin, and she’s now repairing a vampire’s bus.
On top of that, stranger things are lurking just around the corner.
I really enjoyed the plot of this book, it has many twists and turns that kept me hooked. The characters are strong and complex.
15. Magic Bites – Ilona Andrews
Magic Bites is the first novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling series exploring the breathtaking fantasy world from the mind of Ilona Andrews.
Kate Daniels tries to navigate the dark and unforgiving Atlanta magic circles as she is assigned to revise the community’s magical misfortunes.
Following the murder of her guardian, Kate must reveal the one responsible for wreaking havoc among the supernatural clans.
Magic Bites will surely satisfy your craving for good fantasy, as the book is abundant with all kinds of unearthly beings.
If I had one critique, is that I felt the cover art was a bit badly photoshopped and felt kinda cheesy – but you should never judge a book by the cover!
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Final Word on Paranormal Romance Books
I hope you enjoyed my paranormal romance picks and, hopefully, discovered some new titles to add to your reading list.
Whether you prefer witches, werewolves, or some other spellbinding creatures of the night, I hope you’ll find your ideal paranormal romance book in this list.
If you’re familiar with some other essential fantasy fiction I missed off this list, or that I should read in general, let me know in the comments below!