I’ll just come right out and say it: reading paranormal romance novels has made me a better husband, a better lover, a better man.


Let’s look at the Shifters Unbound saga (Pride Mates, Primal Bonds, Wild Cat, and the recently released Mate Claimed) by Jennifer Ashley, a series that is set in a world where shapeshifters – after almost being hunted to extinction – have recently been “accepted” into human society and now live in poverty stricken Shiftertowns on the periphery of urban areas. Forced to wear collars that allegedly repress their violent tendencies, these Shifters are almost universally feared and secretly envied by more than a few humans – most males are well over six feet tall, incredibly well endowed, undeniably sexy, and fiercely loyal to their prides or packs.



When it comes to paranormal romance, I’d rank the Shifters Unbound saga as the hottest series on the shelves. Ashley can choreograph a supernatural sex scene like no other writer I’ve read. Here are a few examples:


“Kim laughed. Liam growled and sprinted up the last of the stairs, slammed into the bedroom and tossed her on the bed. As her clothes came off, then his, Kim gave in. For one night of her life, she was going to enjoy making wild, crazy love with a man who promised to make it unforgettable, no matter what might come in the morning...” – Pride Mates


“The scent of their lovemaking, sweet, heavy, and exciting, blended with the scent of pine and old leaves. The night air brushed frigid fingers over them, but Iona was toasty warm with Eric inside her.” – Mate Claimed



So the Shifters Unbound novels are exceptionally erotic paranormal romance. What can a male reader learn in these books that may make him a better man, lover, human being?


1. Believe in true, everlasting love. In this series, Shifters experience a mate bond with their lovers, a “magical binding between true mates” that is all encompassing – body and soul – and lasts until death.



3. Find passion in your life. Ashley’s male Shifter leads are, above all else, passionate. Passionate about their lives, their families, their causes, and their lovers. At one point early on in Mate Claimed, Eric tells Iona: “When we make love, it will be like the world exploded.” Enough said.


Maybe I’m completely wrong about this but I firmly believe that men who regularly read paranormal romance will ultimately find themselves better off for it.


I would love to hear what other paranormal romance readers – male and female – have to say about this!



Paul Goat Allen has been a full-time book reviewer specializing in genre fiction for the last two decades and has written thousands of reviews for companies like Publishers Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, Kirkus Reviews, and BarnesandNoble.com. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. You can follow him on Twitter at @paulgoatallen and get all the latest Barnes & Noble book news from @BNBuzz.

by BryanThomasS on ‎10-18-2012 09:39 AM

Actually, I've been impressed with PR I've read by Jean Johnson and Claire Ashgrove. They were my first entrants into that and you can find some good storytelling and fantasy stuff going on there, which surprised me. I had a pretty stereotypical view of romance and what to expect and it rather surprised me how much I enjoyed the reads. I think it varies by author. There was sex stuff and I found the male leads a bit unrealistic at times, but then they are writing men women will lust after and wish they had, so of course they idealize them a bit. I suppose male writers do that with our heroines a bit, too. But there's some decent reading to be found for sure and a lot more substance than sex in many cases.

by Moderator dhaupt ‎10-18-2012 10:31 AM - edited ‎10-18-2012 10:40 AM

PGA, my hero, paranormal or not.

I love Paranormal romance, the reason I started reading it was because as a woman of a certain age I was getting tired of reading romance novels that starred people younger than my children, it made me feel like a voyeur at times. Then came paranormal, urban fantasy and sci-fi some very much romance novels and some with romance as a side dish. And I found my new loves, why, because these folks were immortal, or almost, they sprang from Titans, Greeks and dragons and suddenly age didn't matter any more because these authors really know how to write between the sheet shenanigans.


My favs are as follows- JR Ward her Black Dagger Brotherhood, and Fallen Angels

Deborah Cooke/Claire Delacroix- her Pyr Dragon shape shifter series as Cooke and her Urban Fantasy Fallen Angels as Delacroix

Claire Ashgrove-Her Templar series

Angie Fox- both her Demonslayer series and her brand new Paranomal M*A*S*H series

Jessica Andersen-Her Myan end of days Nightkeeper series

Aimee Carter and her Goddess Legacy YA novels

And New kid on the Block Alma Katsu and her trilogy starting with The Taker, The Reckoning and a third novel to be upcoming.

So what started out as an age related matter became a new obsession for me, now I don't care how old the characters are because it's fantasy, it's an escape from my own rather boring existance, it's a way to learn history, it's a way to think outside the box.


Thanks Paul for another great article and it takes a real man to admit he loves romance :smileyhappy:


by MThomas1975 ‎10-18-2012 10:53 AM - edited ‎10-18-2012 10:54 AM

What a great article!  I am a huge fan of Jennifer Ashley's Shifters Unbound series and agree with everything you said.  As far as PNR goes, these books truly do have it all.  Hunky, drool worthy heroes, sassy, take no crap heroines, fantastic storyarcs and smokin' hot sex.  I am an avoid PNR/UF reader and this is by far my favorite world.  If I could choose to open a book and jump into a world and live there, this would be the one.  I'm curious about something.  I see that you've listed the books but not the novellas; have you read them?  Bodyguard and Hard Mated are incredible.  I actually ditched work the day Hard Mated came out because it's Spike's book and well, he's my favorite in the series.


I also want to add I think it's fantastic that you are male and see the worth in these books.  I have a male friend who reads Jeaniene Frost and gets a lot of flack from his buddies for it. 


Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.