I am not a romance reader, and double that for paranormal romance.
But, The Iron Duke. Damn, I love that book. Really, if you're over 18 and O.K. with thrusting and heaving, you should totally read it.
So, I thought, maybe, possibly, that I haven't been fair to the genre. That I had dismissed it out of hand. And, I wanted to read more of Meljean Brook's work.
Enter Hot Spell and Burning Up -- two novella compilations that include Brook and some other authors.
I read both of them, and I have come to a conclusion.
I am still not a paranormal romance reader. But, I tried to evaluate these stories on their merits.
The Countess's Pleasure by Emma Holly. Of the stories that I read, this was the best written. A widowed countess engages a "demon" as a consort and the two fall in love. I liked the steam-punky Indo-British setting, I liked that Georgiana (the countess) was seeking to become her own person. The clash of cultures and philosophies was interesting.
Would I read more by this author in this series: Maybe. A quick Google tells me that the others in the series have more of that retro-Victorian sci-fi vibe, and l find that interesting.
The Breed Next Door by Lora Leigh. A genetically engineered feline-man hybrid moves in next door to a "spitfire." The two discover they are genetically destined to be mates and have lots and lots of sex. There's something in here about bounty hunters, but it's an afterthought. This novella is all about the banging. However, the way the sex was described was really unappealing and sexist.
Would I read more by this author in this series: No. This sucked.
Falling for Anthony by Meljean Brook. Demons, and Nosferatu, and vampires and guardians. Who are not angels. But act like them. Wha? This was a confusing mess of ideas. One thing I will say is that this story was one of the few that had a sexually experienced woman in it.
Would I read more by this author in this series: No. I love Brook's Iron Seas books, but this... is not for me.
The Blood Kiss by Shiloh Walker. Evil Vampires. Who fight heroic werewolves. Any story that attempts to frame kidnapping as a romantic act has an uphill battle with me.
Would I read more by this author in this series: No. There wasn't enough new here that I want to know more about.
Whisper of Sin by Nalini Singh. Surprisingly enjoyable. I am not a were/shapeshifter fan, but this read more like a sci-fi/crime mash-up than a paranormal romance. The heroine, Ria, was spunky, and educated and willing to seek out what she wanted.
Would I read more by this author in this series: Maybe. These had more of a sci-fi vibe, and I liked that. I liked that there were women in powerful positions in the Changling universe.
Blood and Roses by Angela Knight. Heroic vampires. And the courtesans who love them. While Knight writes fairly well, this story had the most predictable arc imaginable. And it had a child in danger, which is just cheap.
Would I read more by this author in this series: No. Predictable and bland.
Shifting Sea by Virginia Kantra. Surprisingly, I liked this story more than I was expecting, because...mermaids. However, this is more of a historical fiction story, and I could totally see Major John Harris being played by Colin Firth. Would I want to read a whole novel set in this world, with these characters -- no. But it was a pleasant novella.
Would I read more by this author in this series: No. As I said above, it was pleasant, but the novella was enough.
Here Be Monsters by Meljean Brook. I loved this one. The setting of the Iron Seas has me hooked. Steampunk nanotech. I loved that Ivy was making choices and not letting things happen to her. Would I love it without reading The Iron Duke first? I'm not sure.
Would I read more by this author in this series: Been there, done that.