List-O-Rama: Beginner's Guide to Awesome WTFery
A couple of weeks ago, I detailed my favorite fictional Awesome WTFery. I love explosions, random ghosts and fake relationships with a possibly unhealthy passion. Much of my love of WTFery manifests itself in my movie and television watching, but it creeps into books too.
Are you wanting to delve into a big of Awesome WTFery escapism? Here are a few I dare you not to secretly devour.
The Lux Novels by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Entangled Teen)
Why It's Awesome WTFery: Hot aliens live in West Virginia, hijinks ensue.
Bonus Points: Sex-Positive YA; No Love Triangle
I just blew through the first three Lux novels by Jennifer L. Armentrout, and while I'm not normally one to be embarrassed by my reading, I'm not exactly proud of not being able to put these books down. The plot of these (marginally) sci-fi young adult urban fantasy romance series is incredibly absurd and has continuity issues, but damn... the plot just moves along at a swift clip and Armentrout manages to make the reader care about snarky teen book blogger Katy and her good-looking pain-in-the-ass alien neighbor Daemon.
Rachel Vincent's Shifters Series (Mira)
Why It's Awesome WTFery: Mother Effing Werecats, Y'all!
Bonus Points: Mother Effing Werebears (Rhymes with Care Bears)! Bizarre name spellings.
I am so glad that I discovered Rachel Vincent's six-book series about a 20-something werecat (think werewolves, but, uh... cats) after the last book had been published, otherwise, I would have lost my ever-loving mind. This series has nearly every kind of shape shifter, except of the canine variety. There is an annoying lovel triangle, but I like to pretend it didn't happen. Honestly, these books are full of action and angst, making them incredibly difficult to put down. I regret nothing about the two weekends of my lift I dedicated to these books.
Heart of Steel (Iron Seas #2) by Meljean Brook (Berkley)
Why It's Awesome WTFery: Airships
Bonus Points: Colorful Waistcoats
Meljean Brook's Iron Seas series has been a tremendous mixed bag for me. I hated the first, The Iron Duke (Laura's review); I thought the Riveted (my review) was incredibly moving and innovative; the middle book, however, is a prime example of WTF done right. It features a romance between a badass female airship captain and a colorful, smooth-talking love interest all set against the backdrop of a well-crafted steampunk world. The adventure is way over-the-top, but it all works in its ridiculous fun.
Laura Griffin's Glass Sisters Duology (Pocket Star)
Why It's Awesome WTFery: Crime-Solving Sketch Artist; Hot Cops
Bonus Points: Sibling Angst; Solid Mystery
I had a hard time deciding between two of Laura Griffin's related series, her better-known Tracers series or the pair of Glass Sisters novels. Ultimately I settled on the Glass Sisters books because I so enjoyed the crime-solving sketch artist angle, however, both are solid entries in the romantic suspense sub-category of awesome WTFery.
Perfect Chemistry Novels by Simone Elkeles (Walker Books)
Why It's Awesome WTFery: Shootouts Tinged With Star-Crossed Young Love
Bonus Points: Awkward Spanish
I won't lie, Simone Elkeles' Perfect Chemistry novels are kind of terrible and the last one, Chain Reaction, is so full of plot holes it could easily be mistaken for Swiss cheese. And yet... there's something mortifyingly readable in these novels, despite that they make no sense whatsoever. Each is an opposites attract story and each culminates in a seriously violent situation that the not-so-smart main characters could have easily prevented. Think of these books like Pixie Stix: You know they're not good for you and you're going to feel really, really badly after you're done, but in the moment, it's worth it.
Yours to Keep by Shannon Stacey (Carina/HQN)
Why It's Awesome WTFery: Hell Yeah, Fake Boyfriend/Girlfriend!
Bonus Points: Good Writing; Humor; Family Awkwardness; Penis Jokes
I almost feel badly including Yours To Keep on this list, because I really love it. It's a fun, funny and heartwarming story. However... the premise is absolutely full of WTFery. Basically, rather than face telling her grandmother that she made up her boyfriend, the female lead makes the male lead pretend to be her live-in boyfriend. What could possibly be go wrong?
Eric Garcia's Dinosaur Mafia Series (Ace)
Why It's Awesome WTFery: The Main Character is a Dinosaur and a Detective
Bonus Points: Hello?! Dino Detective!!!
My husband and I devoured Eric Garcia's (of Matchstick Men fame) crazyass series about a dinosaur who works as a private investigator in modern-day Los Angeles. How does Vincent and the rest of the dinos who still walk the Earth pass as human? Why latex bodysuits, of course! Honestly, only the premise of these books is full of WTFery--the rest is solid dark comedy and old-school noir-ish mystery.
(These books were out of print for some time and were recently re-released as ebooks and I'm hoping they find a new audience, because they're so, so weird and entertaining.)