The Badass Best of Shifter Books


In honor of the February release of Patricia Briggs’ newest Mercy Thompson novel, Frost Burned, the Badass Ladies have put together a list of our favorite (non-wolf) shifters.  See if your favorites made the list, and if not, let us know what we are missing in the comments!



The Mercy Thompson Series

by Patricia Briggs

Of course the Mercy Thompson series makes our list!  The series is chocked full of vampires, werewolves, and fae but it’s Mercy that makes these books something special.  As a coyote shifter, or walker, Mercy is just trying to find her place in the world but she keeps getting dragged into everyone else’s problems.  Here is the synopsis for the first book, Moon Called:

 Mercedes “Mercy” Thompson is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy’s next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she’s fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy’s connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water…

The October Daye Series

by Seanan McGuire

The October Daye series focuses mainly on the faerie world, but it is Tybalt and his Court of Cats that steal the spotlight.  The Cait Sidhe can shift forms into typical housecats and prowl the world unnoticed.  They can also travel the shadow world to get from here to there.  Here is the synopsis for the first book, Rosemary and Rue:

October “Toby” Daye, a changeling who is half human and half fae, has been an outsider from birth. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the Faerie world, retreating to a “normal” life. Unfortunately for her, the Faerie world has other ideas…

The murder of Countess Evening Winterrose pulls Toby back into the fae world. Unable to resist Evening’s dying curse, which binds her to investigate, Toby must resume her former position as knight errant and renew old alliances. As she steps back into fae society, dealing with a cast of characters not entirely good or evil, she realizes that more than her own life will be forfeited if she cannot find Evening’s killer.

The Jane Yellowrock Series

by Faith Hunter

Jane Yellowrock is a skinwalker who can shift into any form she chooses.  Most often she can be found in the form of “Beast,” the animal entity that shares her consciousness.  Jane is a tea-drinking, motorcycle-riding, vampire-killing, shape-shifting badass and she’ll take down anyone who gets in her way.  Here is the synopsis for the first book, Skinwalker:

Jane Yellowrock is the last of her kind-a skinwalker of Cherokee descent who can turn into any creature she desires and hunts vampires for a living. But now she’s been hired by Katherine Fontaneau, one of the oldest vampires in New Orleans and the madam of Katie’s Ladies, to hunt a powerful rogue vampire who’s killing other vamps…

The Psy-Changeling Series

by Nalini Singh

The Psy-Changeling series features an intriguing world filled different races, but it is really all about the Dark River Leopard Pack.  These sexy shifters hold their own not only against the Snow Dancer Wolf Pack, but also against the icy and emotionless Psys.  Here is the synopsis for the first book, Slave to Sensation:

Nalini Singh dives into a world torn apart by a powerful race with phenomenal powers of the mind-and none of the heart.

In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of “rehabilitation” – the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was…

Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy coexistence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion – and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities – or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation…

The Shifters Series

by Rachel Vincent

The shifters series follows Faythe as she is groomed to replace her father as the leader of their Werecat Pride.  The series is full of hot shifters, but Marc and Jace are the two guys competing for Faythe’s affections.  The first book deals with Strays, werecats without a Pride, attacking Faythe and those around her.  Here is the synopsis for the first book, Stray:

There are only eight breeding female werecats left . . .
And I’m one of them.

I look like an all-American grad student. But I am a werecat, a shape-shifter, and I live in two worlds.

Despite reservations from my family and my Pride, I escaped the pressure to continue my species and carved out a normal life for myself. Until the night a Stray attacked.

I’d been warned about Strays — werecats without a Pride, constantly on the lookout for someone like me: attractive, female, and fertile. I fought him off, but then learned two of my fellow tabbies had disappeared.

This brush with danger was all my Pride needed to summon me back . . . for my own protection. Yeah, right. But I’m no meek kitty. I’ll take on whatever — and whoever — I have to in order to find my friends. Watch out, Strays — ’cause I got claws, and I’m not afraid to use them . . .


The Stormwalker Series

by Allyson James

Janet Begay is a half-goddess stormwalker, able to ride the power of thunder and lightening.  Though Janet is powerful, it’s her dragon-shifter boyfriend Mick that really adds the heat to this paranormal series.  Here is the synopsis for the first book, Stormwalker:

Half-Navajo Janet Begay possesses extraordinary power which is tied to the storms that waft across the desert. The only person who can control her when she’s caught in the storm’s evocative power is Mick, a dark-haired, blue-eyed biker Janet can’t seem to touch with her powers. He can wield fire and not get burned, and Janet’s never sure where he goes when they’re not together.

Together they investigate mysterious disappearances, which Janet fears are tied to her mother’s people, the mythical gods from below the earth. They are helped along the way by Coyote and Crow, but these shapeshifting gods have their own agendas.

The Aisling Grey: Guardian Series

by Katie MacAlister

If you’re looking for a little more humor to go with your hot dragon men, then the Aisling Grey series is just what you need.  Though the original Green Dragon series is complete, Katie MacAlister continued the adventures with offshoots into the Silver Dragon and Light Dragon septs.  Here is the synopsis for the first book, You Slay Me:

The author of The Corset Diaries returns to the realm of the paranormal in this sexy, funny romance that pits Seattle-based Aisling Grey against Drake Vireo, a seriously handsome Parisian dragon in human form. In her job as courier, Aisling is to deliver a precious demonic artifact to a Mme. Deauxville in Paris, but she finds Madame freshly dead, surrounded by a circle of ash. The artifact is then stolen by the fast-talking Drake, who claims that Aisling is no mere courier but in fact a demon lord and his destined mate. Determined to play detective, Aisling summons up a demon only to find herself saddled with one, in the form of a slobbering Newfoundland who wants to go walkies. Drake wants to show her the way dragons mate, and then bodies seem to pile up all over Paris, making Aisling a corpse magnet and top suspect. It’s going to take every screwy new ally she’s got to solve this murder and adjust to her new life in a strange new world.

The Drakon Series

by Shana Abé

The Drakon series puts on a twist on dragon shifters by setting the story in the 1750s.  Each book focuses on a different couple, but it’s half-drakon Rue and sexy, alpha Kit that heat things up in debut.  Here is the synopsis for the first book, The Smoke Thief:

For centuries they’ve lived in secret among northern England’s green and misted hills. Creatures of extraordinary beauty, power, and sensuality, they possess the ability to shape-shift from human to dragon and back again. Now their secret–and their survival–is threatened by a temptation that will break every boundary….

Dubbed the Smoke Thief, a daring jewel thief is confounding the London police. His wealthy victims claim the master burglar can walk through walls and vanish into thin air. But Christoff, the charismatic Marquess of Langford, knows the truth: the thief is no ordinary human but a “runner” who’s fled Darkfrith without permission. As Alpha leader of the dra´kon, it’s Kit’s duty to capture the fugitive before the secrets of the tribe are revealed to mortals. But not even Kit suspects that the Smoke Thief could be a woman.

Clarissa Rue Hawthorne knew her dangerous exploits would attract the attention of the dra´kon. But she didn’t expect Christoff himself to come to London, dangling the tribe’s most valuable jewel–the Langford Diamond–as bait. For as long as she could remember, Rue had lived the life of a halfling–half dra´kon, half mortal–and an outcast in both worlds. She’d always loved the handsome and willful Kit from the only place it was safe: from afar. But now she was no longer the shy, timid girl she’d once been. She was the first woman capable of making the Turn in four generations. So why did she still feel the same dizzying sense of vulnerability whenever he was near?

From the moment he saw her, Kit knew that the alluring and powerful beauty was every bit his Alpha equal and destined to be his bride. And by the harsh laws of the dra´kon, Rue knew that she was the property of the marquess. But they will risk banishment and worse for a chance at something greater. For now Rue is his prisoner, the diamond has disappeared, and she’s made the kind of dangerous proposition a man like Kit cannot resist….In this bewitching novel, Shana Abé transports us into a world of exhilarating romance and magic.

The Elder Races Series

by Thea Harrison

The Elder Races is a steamy paranormal romances series with dragon shifters, called wyrkind, at the forefront.  This alternate world includes faeries, demons, and shifters/wyrs sharing realities while also overlapping the human state and country boundaries. Each book is a stand alone although an overarching plot keeps all the previous heroes and heroines present in the background.  Here is the synopsis for the first book, Dragon Bound:

Half-human and half-Wyr, Pia Giovanni spent her life keeping a low profile among the Wyrkind and avoiding the continuing conflict between them and their Dark Fae enemies. But after being blackmailed into stealing a coin from the hoard of a dragon, Pia finds herself targeted by one of the most powerful—and passionate—of the Elder Races.

As the most feared and respected of the Wyrkind, Dragos Cuelebre cannot believe someone had the audacity to steal from him, much less succeed. And when he catches the thief, Dragos spares her life, claiming her as his own to further explore the desire they’ve ignited in each other.

Pia knows she must repay Dragos for her trespass, but refuses to become his slave—although she cannot deny wanting him, body and soul.


The Jane True Series

by Nicole Peeler

Jane True is a half-selkie. She didn’t inherit the power to shift, but her world is filled with powerful beings that can. Number one among those powerful friends is Anyan, a barghest or dog-like shifter. From dragons to nahuals, Ms. Peeler has created a world with almost any type of shifter you can imagine. Here is the synopsis for the first book, Tempest Rising:

Living in small town Rockabill, Maine, Jane True always knew she didn’t quite fit in with so-called normal society. During her nightly, clandestine swim in the freezing winter ocean, a grisly find leads Jane to startling revelations about her heritage: she is only half-human.

Now, Jane must enter a world filled with supernatural creatures alternatively terrifying, beautiful, and deadly- all of which perfectly describe her new “friend,” Ryu, a gorgeous and powerful vampire.

It is a world where nothing can be taken for granted: a dog can heal with a lick; spirits bag your groceries; and whatever you do, never-ever rub the genie’s lamp.

The Kate Daniels Series

by Ilona Andrews


Kate Daniels wields a badass sword and an incredible amount of magic, not to mention she has plenty of powerful allies.  Many of those friends are wolf shifters, but her world is populated with almost any type of were-animal you can think of (and let’s not get started on the animal-weres!).  Some of her nearest and dearest include a bouda, or were-hyena, a were-jaguar, and, oh yeah, just a were-lion!  Here is the synopsis for the first book, Magic Bites:

When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it arose, leaving all kinds of paranormal problems in its wake.

Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up these magical problems. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta’s magic circles.

The Masters of the Dead, necromancers who can control vampires, and the Pack, a paramilitary clan of shapechangers, blame each other for a series of bizarre killings—and the death of Kate’s guardian may be part of the same mystery. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she’s way out of her league—but she wouldn’t have it any other way…

The Skindancer Series

by Anthony Francis

The Skindancer series focuses on tattooist Dakota Frost, whose magic is able to bring her designs to life.  Witches, vamps, and shapeshifters of all kinds wander this dark, alternate version of Atlanta.  The second book finds Dakota adjusting to life as the adopted mother of genius, were-tiger Cinnamon.  A bonus for Amazon Prime members, the first e-book is free to borrow through their Lending Library program.  Here is the synopsis for the first book, Frost Moon:

In an alternate Atlanta where magic is practiced openly, where witches sip coffee at local cafes, shapeshifters party at urban clubs, vampires rule the southern night like gangsters, and mysterious creatures command dark caverns beneath the city, Dakota Frost’s talents are coveted by all. She’s the best magical tattooist in the southeast, a Skindancer, able to bring her amazing tats to life. When a serial killer begins stalking Atlanta’s tattooed elite, the police and the Feds seek Dakota’s help. Can she find the killer on the dark fringe of the city’s Edgeworld? Among its powerful outcasts and tortured loners, what kind of enemies and allies will she attract? Will they see her as an invader, as a seducer, as an unexpected champion … or as delicious prey?

FROST MOON is Book One of the SKINDANCER fantasy series by debut author Anthony Francis. Filled with unforgettable characters, spine-tingling action, kinky rebellion and edgy love, FROST MOON is classic storytelling at its best, and Dakota Frost is an irresistible new star of fantasy fiction.

We’ve told you our favorites, now it is your turn! What books did we forget from our list?

© 2013 – 2015, Badass Book Reviews. All rights reserved.

Comments 11

  • You guys have the best features! I’m delighted to see all these series that are new to me. Just can’t beat a great shifter novel.

    To add to the ones you mention, I certainly would recommend Cherise Sinclair’s Hour of the Lion. It ties in with a book about wolf shifters, which aren’t the focus of your list, but Winter of the Wolf is also a delightful read.

    Lexxie Couper’s dragons from Down Under, How to Love Your Dragon and Ty the Sexy Dragon are wonderful, too.

  • Clay & Elena’s stories from Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld are the best shifter books I’ve ever read. I’ve re-read the debut, Bitten, more times than any other book on my shelf. Kresley Cole’s “A Hunger Like No Other” is another favorite of mine. Thanks for sharing this list!

  • Nice list. I liked how you included Anthony Francis’ books as well. Shana Abe has a new book in her Drakon series coming out in April – The Sweetest Dark. It is a wonderful read.

    • Thanks, I actually got the idead for Anthony Francis’ series from you shifter shelves and then just got lucky that the first book is a freebie on Amazon Prime. I never would have known about it if I hadn’t looked at your books. 🙂

  • How could you miss out Shelly Laurensten’s shifter books and her alter ego, G.A. Aiken’s dragon shifters? Laugh aloud funny, but still touching and with great stories.