Tamora Pierce's Tortall booksIt can be tricky to get into this fantasy universe, because there are, oh, five series and they work in chronological order. But my goodness, are they worth it. Each features a kick-ass heroine who lives in a knights-and-castles-and-magic realm. And reading them out of order won't leave you in a muddled pit of confusion, but it'll spoil the fun of seeing who ends up with who, and in what profession.... etc. If you are a purist, read them in this order:
- Song of the Lioness (4 books)
- The Immortals (4 books)
- Protector of the Small (4 books)
- The Trickster books (2)
- Beka Cooper (2+ books)
Meg Cabot's The MediatorI read these books while I was in Buffy withdrawal, and they were wonderful in filling the gaps. Suze sees ghosts, and since they won't leave her alone until she helps with "unfinished business," of course she's going to get into trouble. So when she moves to California and discovers a hot, Spanish ghost haunting her room, of course I had to keep reading. It helps that her "mediation" skills err on the side of violence, and she has snappy come-backs to rival Buffy herself.
I've tried reading other books by Meg Cabot, but I like this series far more than her realistic fiction. And at 200-ish pages a book, it's easy to whip through the whole series. If you're interested, start with book 1: Shadowland.
Patrica Briggs' Mercy Thompson & Alpha and Omega series
What's the plural of "series," anyways? Patricia Briggs has created a fantastic werewolf culture that can't be confined to a single storyline. First, there's Mercy. She's a coyote among werewolves, but she'll do as she pleases - including tick her favorite wolves off - rather than submit to dominance games. All that independence gets her into trouble, though, with the wolves and the vampires and the fae. There are six books and counting; start with Moon Called.
Running parallel to Mercy's story is Anna's. She is Omega, a rare werewolf who provides peace and calm in the normally rigid pack. But she doesn't know this until Charles, son of the leader of the werewolves, rescues her from an abusive Alpha. Anna is completely different from Mercy. She is meek where Mercy is strong, quiet where Mercy is vocal... and yet, I think I may like her story even more. The two books so far have focused on her relationship with Charles; although there is some action, much more of Anna's struggles are internal. The two series reference each other, but run independently. Alpha and Omega starts with a short story by the same name, but you can also begin with the novel Cry Wolf.
That should be enough to start with, right? If you've read them, if you want to read them, of if you have a recommendation, leave a comment. My favorite part about being obsessive about a book is knowing that I'm not the only one.