A Little Like Chocolate Covered Pretzels: 3 book to series stories to enjoy

I love stories that have a high degree of both romance and adventure. Rom Coms satisfy my need for a happy ending but can be saccharin. Straight adventures boost my adrenalin, but often leave me feeling annoyed by the improbabilities and/or lack of character development.

The pandemic has given me time to watch a lot more television and read books so I thought I’d share my top three SciFi/Fantasy adventure-romance book/series combos. Like a good bag of Flipz, I found these to have the right combination of intelligent plausibility, interesting characters and relationship development, suspense and thrills. As a plus, all the shows had actors of various ethnicities playing major characters.

The Expanse:

Image owned by Amazon

The Expanse is a (now) Amazon series that is based on a series of books by two D&D masters who turned their love of creating stories to writing novels under the pen name James S. A. Corey. I watched the series before the books, so I’m a little partial to the show, but it’s riveting, smart and the women are kick ass. The costumes that the Indian character Chrisjen Avarasala wears were so cool, I went through my sari and Indian jewelry collection to see what I could copy.

Altered Carbon:

Image owned by Netflix

Though my initial attraction to this cyberpunk series may have been influenced by the abundance of eye candy (hello, Joel Kinnaman) on this Netflix series,

Image from IMDB

I was quickly sucked in by its interesting premise of long gone alien technology modified by humans to allow interchangeable “stacks”– that carry personality and “sleeves”– the body that carries the stack. It’s a rich and complex world set in a gorgeous Blade Runner-esque setting, with very sexy, multicultural characters. Incidentally, Renee Elise Goldsberry, also known for portraying Angelica Schuyler in Hamilton, plays Quellchrist Falconer, the heroine. It’s an impressive range of acting. The romance is a time, space and sleeve spanning love. The edgy costuming by Ann Foley, again had me delving into my closet for combat boots and leather jackets. I devoured the books by Richard K. Morgan, but much preferred the satisfying ending of Season 2 penned by Alison Shapker. In fact it was so satisfying, that I didn’t mind that the show was cancelled. I would have like more, of course, but while there was room for more, there were no annoying cliffhangers.

A Discovery Of Witches:

Image from Amazon

I read this series of books by Deborah Harkness, a USC professor, as they came out. She manages to combine her knowledge of history and modern day university life with a secret world of supernatural Creatures hidden within ours. Witches with astonishing powers, handsome, brooding vampires, forbidden love, English countrysides, libraries full of magic and the ever romantic Venice…does it get more lush than that? I originally watched this on Sundance, but you can now watch it on Amazon. While the series departs slightly from the books, I appreciated upgrade of the Northern European characters of the books to a multicultural cast and the natural way the heart of the story is captured. Medieval history was never this sexy before, and a Season 2 is coming… with time travel.

Are there any books or series you are enjoying? Share below in the comments!