Beware, Here be Dragons
I like shape-shifting stories but I'm afraid they have been taken over by Erotica. Too much sex and not enough story in my mind. My new novel Blazing Blunderbuss has a shape shifting dragon which is strongly influenced by Shelly Laurenston and G.A. Aiken (same person) and Patricia Briggs when it comes to shifter stories. So, to celebrate the release of my own shifting story I thought I would make a list of the best Dragon, Wolf and other shifting stories which might have romance and sex scenes but at least have a decent story.
Shelly Laurenston- Pride Series (not her Magnus series that deteriorates a bit)
These are bears, tigers and all sorts of animals. There are a few wolves and some of those books are all right, especially the later ones. I think she gets funnier as she goes. I rather like the hybrid shifters who are two breeds mixed together and though they might be beautiful as humans they are often ugly as animals. The stories are a bit formulaic but very enjoyable.
G.A. Aiken- Dragon kin Series
Dragons and very arrogant dragons. We follow mostly one family but I believe the humans they interact with truly makes this series stand out from the others out there. Annwyl the Bloody is truly bloody and we have witches and spies and a lot of slurs against family members and the violence is funny and casual as they are all so bloody arrogant. There is less of a formula with these books as we follow the lives of this dragon family.
Patricia Briggs- Mercy Series
I've raved about Briggs before as she has the most dynamic social structure of werewolves I have ever seen. Sex only enters these books much later and it is subtle at first and usually a glimpse at the end of the first few books. Mercy and Anna, from the other series, are just marvelous. They play off perfectly against their werewolf mates and always seem to get into a hell of a lot of trouble. There is no formula to these books except Mercy getting into too much trouble.
Illona Andrews- Kate Daniels Series
Another series I've mentioned before. Kate Daniels is one awesome chick and she catches the eye of a were lion who is the beast lord. This series is much like the Mercy series as there is no formula except Kate getting in way over her head. The story definitely plays center stage and the world building in this is exquisite. This story also has the casual violence that Aiken had in her stories which I enjoyed and the romance is painfully sweet at moments.
Sherrilyn Kenyon- Were hunter Series
I'm particular fan of her dark hunter series but her Were hunter is done equally well. They are cursed as well and can travel through time but that doesn't seem to take them out of trouble and they spend a lot of the time just trying to survive or getting revenge for family members being killed. They have their own prejudices that need to be over come and are a good comment on issues around the world.
Anne Bishop- Other's Series
This is supposed to be aimed at Young Adults but trust me there is enough to engage any aged reader. This is speculative fiction on which we ask the question of what the world would be like if there really were shape-shifters, The Others. They are the wild side of Earth's children and yet that also means they are loyal. There is a very sweet romance happening between one of the Others and Cassandra human. She can see the future when she cuts herself. Anne Bishop has never hidden from dark stories and this is another wonderful example of her dark stories.
Eileen Wilks- World of Lupi Series
I've mentioned the Lupi series as well as I like Lily. The social structure of the werewolves are interesting in this series and it is based on magic and gods like the Kate Daniels series which is also set in the near future where magic suddenly returns to earth. This series also deals with prejudices like Sherrilyn Kenyon's Were hunter series. There isn't a formula to this series either.
Honourable mentions: Christine Warren, Kresley Cole, Lori Handeland, Christine Feehan (Ironically her vampires have less sex and more story line)