Exploring the Shifter Romance Subgenre: Howling for Love

Wolves, Dragons, and Mermaids, oh my! Romance with a side of alpha possessiveness? We love some Shifter Romance here at Bookstr.

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three shifter romance books on a foggy forest background

Here at Bookstr, we love exploring different romance subgenres you didn’t see coming. Let’s face it– Romance subgenres are plentiful. As you’ve seen in our many articles exploring things from CEO/ Billionaire Romance to Alien Romance (yes, you read that right), we never run out. From contemporary to fantasy, it’s one of the genres with the most diversity in theme. So much so, no subject or theme is left undiscovered. Let’s take a look at the paranormal fantasy subgenre of Shifter Romance. 

What is Shifter Romance?

The term “shifter” refers to the physical transformation of a human body to an animal or mythological creature. These shifters range from the typical wolf trope to dragons and everything in between. They can even shift into a partial version of their animalistic selves or into a third full form that merges the human and animal aspects. Shifters are either born or turned.

Love interests vary within this subgenre; they can intermingle with other shifters or, more commonly, humans. Masculine love interests– alpha’s as they’re usually referred to–  tend to be more dominant, possessive, and protective of their intended lover. This is the novel’s appeal as something so large and powerful is rendered gentle, loving, and tamed by the only person that can, their mate. Relationships vary in their coupling from monogamous to polyamorous. Family dynamics are similar to natural animals but not necessarily the same. They name them the same as animals would, packs, dens, etc… 

Common tropes utilized in the subgenre include: enemies to lovers, rejected mates, the new girl in town, and fated mates. All of our favorites, right? These stories vary in their spice level, so not only is there a theme for everyone, there is a comfortable romance level, too. Shifter Romances tend to have a bit more suspense and danger involved than your average romance novel, be it a danger of human discovery, or warring shifter clans.

We know you’re craving some recommendations, which is why we gathered some for you!

Psycho Shifters by Jasmine Mas


This is a slow-burn polyamorous why-choose shifter romance with the enemies-to-lovers trope. Find inside a quirky female protagonist who secretly shifts into a monster that rooms with three shifter alpha males whom she must train for war with. There are five books in the Cruel Shiferverse series. 

Wolf Gone Wild by Juliette Cross


Werewolf Mateo seeks out the witch Evie in his desperation to unlock his hexed shifting abilities before he tears the city apart from bloodlust. Friendship turns into romance in this sweet and funny show burn. This paranormal romance is set in New Orleans and is filled with supernatural creatures. Many characters are introduced, which will have their own stories as the six-book series unfolds. 

The Dragon of New Orleans by Genevieve Jack


This novel won two awards in 2020 by RONE and Independent Publisher Book Awards for Best Paranormal Romance and Best Romance E-book. An immortal dragon shifter is cursed by an ex-lover and the only cure lies within a woman dying of cancer. Saving Raven from her cancer links her to Gabriel in another prison, not of her making. He must get her to trust and love him before it’s too late. But his Alpha-hole ways might just prove disastrous. 

Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs


Attacked and turned by a rabid werewolf, a human woman is then thrust into a pack that abuses her at every turn for three years. Omegas are rare, and their effect on Alphas is significant. Can Anna heal enough to make something romantic work with Charles? 

Sookie Stackhouse Series by Charlaine Harris


Adapted into the HBO television series “True Blood,” Harris’ 13-book series revolves around waitress and mind-reader Sookie Stackhouse and her supernaturally populated town of Bon Temps, La. Her love interests over the course of the series vary from Vampires to tiger shifters, to vampires, and finally to a shifter once more. 

Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh


Filled with an incredible cast of characters that makes this series continue, it focuses on the cold emotionless Psy and the deeply emotional and physical Changelings (leopards, jaguars, and wolves). Two people from warring factions find themselves developing a bond that could break down the fabric of the world around them. This is book one of a 15-book series that is moderately steamy.

Craving more? Click here to read “5 Crazy Romance Genres and Tropes You Should Check Out Right Now!”