If you like the 'Twilight' saga books, try...

new-moon1.jpg"Twilight: New Moon" is due out in t-minus three days. But how will you pass the time between "New Moon" and "Twilight: Eclipse?" We have some suggestions.

If you like the "Twilight" saga, Zap2it is here to offer you some alternative reading options (alphabetical by author) to help get you through until the "Eclipse" release on June 30, 2010. With all these choices, you'll be reading 'til Edward's old and gray.

pride-prejudice-zombies_l.jpg"Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance - Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem!" by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame Smith
Doesn't the title say it all? England has been overrun by zombies for 50 years, so the wise Bennets have sent their daughters abroad to train in deadly combat. But what about "a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife"? Well, Mr. Darcy is still stuffy and reluctant, but how can he resist Lizzie's spunky nature and zombie slaughtering skills? And from the same publisher, check out "Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters"!

The non-zombie works of Jane Austen
The "Twilight" books often border on -- and more than occasionally tip over into -- self-parody. If you like your satire a little more intentional but still need the longing, the chaste romance and the aloof but nonetheless mercilessly attractive leading man, you could do a lot worse than "Sense and Sensibility," "Pride and Prejudice," "Mansfield Park" et al.

The Blue Bloods series by Melissa de la Cruz
This young adult series by Melissa de la Cruz blows "Twilight" out of the Forks-sodden water. Schuyler Van Alen is a social misfit in her snooty New York City private school, but when she turns 15, she suddenly gains the attention of the most popular boy in school and is accepted into Manhattan's most powerful social circle. Why? Well, it turns out she and the ancestors before her are all part of the inhuman group of Blue Bloods. But hey, what's with the rival Silver Bloods?

The Anita Blake Series by Laurell K. Hamilton
If "True Blood" is the R-rated "Twilight" of TV, Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series is the R-rated (sometimes X-rated) "Twilight" of literature. In fact, Anita Blake has been trapped in a love triangle with a vampire and a werewolf since Bella Swan was just a twinkle in Stephenie Meyer's eye. Anita also has the extra added angst of being a vampire hunter called The Executioner.

We have to warn you: the Anita Blake series is NOT for children or young adults. It veered off too far into Bodice-Ripper Land for a few books, but overall is a solid series that runs the gamut from mystery/crime-solving to angsty romance, all while throwing in healthy doses of the supernatural. It truly is a Buffy-meets-Bella for adults.

DeadUntilDarkSouthernVamp17948_f.jpgSouthern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris
The Southern Vampire series (on which HBO's "True Blood" was based) revolves around bodacious Bon Temps waitress Sookie Stackhouse, who's afflicted with reading people's minds, which makes dating a little difficult. Throw in some vampires who've gone public, ever-changing love interests and a slew of other beings who are still in the supernatural closet, and you have the makings of romance, adventure and mystery ... all with a generous helping of Southern charm.

In addition, Ms. Harris also offers up the "Grave" series featuring Harper Connelly, a lady who makes a living by locating the dead and determining their cause of death through psychic powers that she gained after being struck by lightning.

The Dark Hunter series by Sherilyn Kenyon
Sherilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunters are warriors who've pledged themselves to the goddess Artemis so they may get a chance at vengeance. After they enter her service, they become immortal, shun sunlight and can be killed by being pierced in their double bow-and-arrow mark.

Because they're immortal, Dark Hunters are discouraged from having relationships with humans. But where's the romance in that? Naturally, there's a really over-the-top loophole: Find a true soul who loves you enough to pass Artemis' test and you'll be freed from service.

"Blood and Chocolate" by Annette Curtis Klause

Annette Curtis Klause's young-adult novel takes on the hairy kind -- yup, werewolves or "loups-garoux" in this alternate universe in which they're actually a separate species known as Homo Lupus. They keep their nature on the down-low, though, since humans are all aggro about the unknown. The story centers on Vivian's angst of being 16, a werewolf and in love with a human, aka a "meat boy."

"Sunshine" by Robin McKinley
Robin McKinley (author of the Newbery-winning "The Hero and the Crown" and "Beauty") knows how to create strong female characters in rather convincing magical settings. The story takes place after the Voodoo Wars, when vampires are quickly gaining control of the earth. Rae "Sunshine" Seddon is stolen away by vampires one night and chained in a room with a half-starved vampire named Constantine, who, despite his thirst for her blood, ends up being an ally and mentor when she discovers her rather unusual power.

The novels of Anne Rice
"The Vampire Chronicles," which includes "Interview with a Vampire," is Rice's best-known collection, but she also penned "The Lives of the Mayfair Witches" and several crossovers between the two series. Rice became a born-again Christian about five years, so she has stopped writing supernatural fare, but her previous vampire and witch offerings still stand the test of time.

Shakespeare's plays
Both "Romeo & Juliet" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream" are mentioned in the "Twilight" series and both are excellent, albeit very different, romances. While most people have seen movie adaptations of these plays, reading the original text is a must. "R&J" is definitely for the fans of angsty drama, while "Midsummer" is Shakespeare's best romantic comedy. If supernatural fare is what attracts you to "Twilight," "Macbeth," "Hamlet" and "The Tempest" can all satisfy that interest.

thehunter2.jpgThe Forbidden Game trilogy by LJ Smith
If the Anita Blake series is a little too racy for your taste, please try the Forbidden Game trilogy by "Vampire Diaries" author LJ Smith. We actually prefer this series to the "Vampire Diaries" books. There aren't any vampires or werewolves, but there are ancient runes, parallel worlds and a shadowman in love with a mortal. We're secretly hoping this can be made into a trilogy of movies before James Marsters is too old to play Julian.

The Vampire Diaries series by LJ Smith
If you like the supernatural love triangle, you can't go wrong with LJ Smith's "Vampire Diaries" series. Seventeen-year-old Elena is torn between two vampire brothers, Stefan and Damon. Stefan is the noble, good vampire while Damon is the bad boy vamp. The parallels to "Twilight" are many, including that Elena wants to become a vampire like Bella.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Bella wants to jump Edward Cullen's bones, but he refuses, he knows it's a bad idea... so honorable, yet so frustrating too. "Wuthering Heights" has the same sort of deal going down: a crazy passionate love between Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw which simply cannot be. It'll drive you insane. And it's pretty dark too.

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