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My Top Ten Urban Fantasy Series

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Was thinking yesterday about all the great Urban Fantasy series there are out there, and decided to make a list of my very favorites. I tried to list them in order, and then realized that they tend to shift up and down the list a bit, based on the latest book, or a current favorite plot twist, perhaps. All except one. I’m sure it’s no surprise to those of you who have been following this blog for a while. My number one all time favorite Urban Fantasy series has never changed. Why? Because none of the rest appeal to me quite as much, in spite of the fact that I love some of them like crazy. Here they are, in order from first to…everything else. 🙂

1. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher: The best characters, good and bad, best plot lines, best adventures, best…and longest drawn out…love affair)

2. Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz: Yes, he’s a master of horror, but while the Odd Thomas books can be scary, they are so much more than that…funny, endearing, hopeful, and poised on the edge of redemption, since I haven’t read the last one yet. Been saving it for just the right moment.

3. The October Daye series by Seanan McGuire: Toby Daye’s world of the fae is filled with all the Celtic legends a person could imagine: selkies,  kelpies, mermaids and mermen, The Luidaeg or sea hag, barghests, trolls, and all the high Queens and Kings of the Fae, complete with their courts and the attendant political intrigue and discord. There are banshees and barrow wights, kitsunes and Tylwyth Teg, and best of all for a cat lover, the Cait Sidhe, led by Tybalt, King of Cats. And all set in  San Francisco! *sigh* It’s a world like no other!

4. The Chicagoland Vampires series by Chloe Neill: Talk about political intrigue…those obsessive, control freaks, the vampires, pretty much outdo every other supernatural being when it comes to mind games and power plays. I love how well it’s done in these books, but most of all, I love the liege of Cadogan House, 400-year-old vampire,  Ethan Sullivan. Best. Vampire. EVER. He and his house Sentinel, Merit, are a couple to be reckoned with, though it took them a few books to get to that point. A solidly entertaining and satisfying series.

5. The Alpha & Omega series by Patricia Briggs: This one is a spin-off of the popular Mercy Thompson series, mostly about shifters and skinwalkers, though a few other creatures pop in now and then for good measure. While I very much enjoy the Mercy books, I think the Alpha & Omega books are even better. I’m very partial to Charles and Anna, largely because angsty, somewhat frightening men are interesting (as long as they aren’t actually hurting innocent people or battering their women around, of course), and this was the first series to introduce me to the concept of an Omega wolf. It’s extremely well done and never fails to hold my interest to the last word.

6. The Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews:  This one has it all, too. Shifters and magic, horrible, totally non-sparkly OR sexy vampires, and all sorts of complex shenanigans going on. But mostly, it has Kate and her love, Curran, who just happens to be a lion when the mood strikes him. There’s a healthy dose of humor, which I love, and which Kate uses to keep; “his furriness” in line. I’ve enjoyed every single book in this series, and am always looking for the next one.

7. The Weather Wardens by  Rachel Caine: This one wrapped up a couple of years ago, but it was one of the most original concepts I’ve come across. The weather wardens keep the earth safe and spinning smoothly, controlling rain, storms, floods, fire, earthquakes, etc, to the best of their ability. They can’t eliminate these things, but they can shape them, soften them, steer them a bit, and otherwise try to blunt the trauma wrought by Mother Nature, who is always trying to scrape humanity off  the surface of the planet. And did I mention there are djinn? Oh, I love djinn. Especially David, who is the love interest in this series. It’s a fun, action-packed romp, and the 4-book spinoff series, The Outcast Season, is equally entertaining.

8. The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater: This is a YA series that is profoundly moving and beautiful. Stiefvater’s writing is second to none to my mind. Lyrical, strong, and often heart-wrenching, without being maudlin, it will suck you in and wring you out! I’ve read the first two books, and have the third lying right next to the final Odd Thomas book. I’m torturing myself with them, daily, but soooooon. Sooooooon, my precious! I WILL read them, and mourn them when I’m done. If you’ve never read Maggie Stiefvater, I recommend starting with The Scorpio Races, a book so beautiful and dark, it will speak to your heart in shivery whispers you won’t soon forget.

9. The World of the Lupi series: Eileen Wilks: Shifters with intriguing pack politics, power struggles, and romance, all done better than most, by far. Interesting secondary characters, and complex plotting make this series a solid standout, book after book.

10. Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs: Mentioned above, this is a solid series featuring Mercy, who is a coyote skin-walker, and a host of other interesting characters, including the occasional vampire and troll. Some Native American lore here and there, and enough drama to make it all very interesting, and all of it, very well done.

Ooops…did I say TEN? Surely I meant FIFTEEN? And since they are ALL tied for second place after The Dresden Files, it doesn’t matter too much, anyway.

11. The Rachel Morgan series by Kim Harrison: This one is at the top of most lists, and I admit that I enjoyed it very much, and looked forward to each book, but I can’t put it at the top of mine because there were some things…and some characters…I just didn’t like. Don’t get me wrong…the series was still worth reading every single book, but I can’t quite rate it as highly as I have some others. I’ve reviewed enough of these books that some of you already know the things that annoyed me, so I’m not going into that here. But suffice it to say, no self-respecting list of good Urban Fantasy would be without these books. And Trent Kalamack will always be a favorite character of mine, as will the demon Algaliarept, and the obnoxiously funny pixie, Jenks.

12. The Leandros Brothers by Rob Thurmon: I’m adding a caveat to this series. It was one of my very top favorites…until it wasn’t. Things happened, and I found I wasn’t enjoying the new direction the books seemed to take. So I was hesitant to mention it in this list. However, if I’m honest, I got enough enjoyment, shivers, AND snarky laughs out of the first 7 or 8 books to warrant including it, even if I won’t be reading any more. Cal Leandros was a character I truly adored for a long time, and I won’t forget the books I loved, though I’ll try to forget the ones I didn’t.

13. Tales from the Nightside series by Simon R. Green: These quirky, off-the-wall, sometimes hilarious, sometimes horrifying books are like nothing elses out there. Noir meets Poe meets King, perhaps. Just bizarre, and filled with wonderful characters like John Taylor, Private Eye…who actually HAS a private…EYE. And Dead Boy, and Suzie Shooter. Oh, there’s no way to describe all of them. You’ll just have to visit the Nightside yourself…that world beneath London, where it’s always three o’clock in the morning, the hour of the wolf, when most people die, and most babies are born. You want shivers? Head to the Nightside.

14. The Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine: Another YA series, but one with such a well-done cast of characters, and entertaining plot lines, I just couldn’t leave it out. I devoured every single book, because…hello? Town run by vampires. You can get in, but you can’t get out. And yet, the good guys never give up, and their way of making it all work is totally believable. Assuming you’re the kind who can believe in vampires at all for the duration of a book. Solid writing, unexpected twists, and a very satisfying ending to the series.

15. Monster Hunters International by Larry Correia: Non-stop action from page one right through the series. This is serious, kick-butt and take no names stuff. A manly kinda supernatural series, with plenty of things that go bang and boom and give off a lot of smoke. Manly, yes, but I like it, too! 😉 Fun. That’s it in a nutshell.

And there you have it, folks. Fifteen terrific Urban Fantasy series, with something to please just about everyone. Hope there are one or two in the list you haven’t yet tried. Check ’em out! Tell ’em Marcia sent ya!

😀

Dean Koontz's Odd Thomas Cover

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Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews

 magicbreakssmallMy Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

I’ve said it before, and I’ll no doubt say it again, the husband and wife writing team that goes by the name of Ilona Andrews simply can’t write a bad book. Only varying degrees of good. And this one has managed to vary its way up even higher than the last installment of the series. More action, more drama, more revenge (and so richly deserved), more sturm und drang between Kate, who is finally coming into some major, kick-butt powers, and His Furriness, Curran, the Beast Lord.

The title alone hinted there were about to be some important changes in the story line, and of course, the preceding book set us up for just that. I don’t do reviews that recap plots, so I won’t tell you what things are about to happen, but I will tell you that the dastardly Hugh D’Ambray shows himself once again, in full-on Evil Villain Mode, and the biggest, baddest of them all follows suit. Oh, my. The things that Roland can command are…well, just as awful as you might imagine. Kate and Curran have their work cut out for them, and the choices they make by the end of the book are surprising, but perfect for this time and place in their story.

Personally, I hope to see some of these changes be temporary, but whether they are or not, the story is fantastic, and the two of them, as always, so much fun. They really are doing just what they have to do, and taking names while they’re at it. (And don’t let anyone tell you that the book smacks of the end of the series. In my opinion, it blatantly set us up for the next installment, and left no doubt in my mind that their Happily Ever After hadn’t arrived yet.)

And one more thing. This book includes a Character List in the beginning, to describe each of the man characters in the books to date. I really loved having that reference. It also had a recap of the story line, cleverly told in a way that worked as part of the book. Both of these things were fun, and meant I didn’t have to skim through the last book to refresh my memory of where each character fit into the plot. Genius! I wish this type of thing were in the front of every long-running series out there, because my head is overcrowded, for sure.

In summation, when I read the first book, Magic Bites, I thought, okay, pretty good. Definitely has possibilities. Now, after reading Book 7, I thought, holy moly! It doesn’t get much better than this. My recommendation? If you are already a fan, but haven’t read this one yet, what are you waiting for? You should fix that now! And if you haven’t yet been introduced to the world of Kate Daniels, read that first book, enjoy it for what it is, and know that it gets better and better in each succeeding one.

Magic Breaks

 

What Are You Reading Today?

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It’s that time again…time to tell the world what you are reading. I’ll go first, shall I? 🙂

I just finished Book 2 of The Raven Cycle, The Dream Thieves, by Maggie Stiefvater, and will soon be doing a review on that. Assuming I can find the words to describe how powerful her writing is. She astounds me. I’m on the opening page, literally, of the final Rachel Morgan/The Hollows book, Kim Harrison’s The Witch With No Name. Been holding off on it for a couple of weeks, because I really hate to see the series end. I also have reviews coming up for Magic Breaks (Ilona Andrews), and The Winter Long (Seanan McGuire. Not to give away too much, but all of these rated 5 stars with me, so I can’t wait to get the reviews up for you.

Now it’s YOUR turn! What’s new on your Kindle, or your reading table? As always, inquiring minds wanna know, so share! I’ll be taking notes, here.

Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews

cleansweep

My Rating: 4-1/2 of 5 Stars

“On the outside, Dina Demille is the epitome of normal. She runs a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town, owns a Shih Tzu named Beast, and is a perfect neighbor, whose biggest problem should be what to serve her guests for breakfast.” Of course, you know the husband and wife writing team of Ilona Andrews never settles for worlds where things are as they appear “on the outside,” Read more…

Re-read of the Month: Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews

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My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Do you have books that just call you back for another visit, long after you read them the first time? I do. Classics going back to Jane Eyre & Wuthering Heights, up through Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, and into many newer books, including a lot of recent Urban Fantasy. While looking for something to read at the hospital, as I waited long hours in my mother’s room, I decided Read more…

Long Days of Reading…It Could Be Worse!

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Having spent the last eight days alone in a hospital room, listening to the steady beep, beep, beep of the heart monitor, while waiting for my mother to have her surgery, then wake up again (which she didn’t do for four pretty scary days afterward!), I have found a lot of time to read, as you might imagine. I finished the latest World of the Lupi book, Ritual Magic, which was fantastic, and which I will be reviewing as soon as I catch my breath. And I’m re-reading one of my favorite Urban Fantasy books, Bayou Moon, by Ilona Andrews. It is Book 2 of their On The Edge series, and it is just as good this time around as it was the first. I’m remembering with every page why I fell in love with William Wolf and why he will always be one of my favorite characters in the genre. Maybe in any genre. He’s brilliantly done.

I will post a reminder tomorrow about my free promo for my own book, Summer Magic, and will get back in the swing of things here soon, I hope. My mother has taiken a turn for the better in the last two days, and we are all very encouraged about her progress from this point forward. Thanks to everyone who has written or posted, sending well-wishes to her, and to me, with my vision problem. (I’m coping. It’s not changing very much, but I’m learning how to deal with it better.)

Can’t wait for life to be back to something akin to normal again. I’ve missed you guys!!

The Literary Cat #7

murphylegs3Sgt. Karrin Murphy, alias “Murph,” 
Showing off her Mismatched Front Legs

“Cats randomly refuse to follow orders to prove they can.”
― Ilona Andrews, Magic Strikes

Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews

magicrises

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Finally! Found a few minutes to finish this book. All I can say is, wow! Maybe I’ll say it twice. Wow. Louder this time. WOW! Are you getting my drift, here? I loved this book! It had everything I wanted in it, and then some.

I’ve been a fan of the Kate Daniel’s series for some time, and an even bigger fan of Read more…

Steel’s Edge by Ilona Andrews

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My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

I have often said that the husband and wife team of Ilona Andrews simply can’t  write a bad book–just varying degrees of good ones.  There was nothing in Steel’s Edge to change my mind about this.  The only thing about it I didn’t enjoy Read more…

My Ever-Growing “To Be Read” Pile!

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Can You See Me?  I’m Standing Right Behind The Pile!

Oh, all right, already!  You caught me!  I’m not really in this picture.  And that really isn’t my To Be Read pile.  But it might as well be.  Geeesh, I’ve gotten behind!  And the worst part of it is Read more…

My “To Be Read” Stack

Jim Butcher's Cold Days Cover

Do you have one?  A place where you gather all the new books you are getting ready to read?  I do.  I’m not a happy camper when it gets low on books, either.  I feel RICH when Read more…

Just A Reminder!

Jim Butcher's Cold Days Cover

Cold Days Coming November 27

Hey, all you Jim Butcher, Ilona Andrews, and Janet Evanovich fans out there!  Just a heads up, in case you forgot to check my Milestones widgets.  These guys have books coming out soon.  Be ready to pre-order, or to head to your local bookstore on Release Day, if you are anxious to keep up with these three series.  To wit: Read more…

An Apple For The Creature edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni P. Kelner

Charlaine Harris & Toni P. Kelner's An Apple for the Creature Cover

My Rating:  4 of 5 Stars

I’m sure it’s well-known by anyone following my blog that I love good anthologies, and An Apple for the Creature definitely qualifies for that designation.  I really enjoyed this collection of short stories featuring tales of “Unnatural Education.”  There were quite a few Read more…

Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews

Ilona Andrews' Gunmetal Magic Cover

My Rating: 3-1/2 Stars of 5

Fans of the Kate Daniels Magic series will enjoy this tale centering on Kate’s best friend, Andrea Nash.  Andrea is a feisty, independent young woman with a secret she’s been hiding for years… Read more…

New Books! I’m RICH!

Dean Koontz's Odd Apocalypse Cover

It’s a banner day at my house when the postman arrives with a box full of new books!  I always have to do a happy dance around the kitchen when I get the box unwrapped and take a look at the treasures within.  Tuesday, three books I’ve had marked for MONTHS on my release date calendar finally arrived, and I’m still Read more…

Hex Appeal Edited By P. N. Elrod

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MY RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars

I love anthologies. They make the perfect break between “bigger” books. After I finish a good book, and before I start another one, I like to read a few short stories…a mental cleansing of the palate, more or less. Anthologies also let me visit with favorite authors between new releases from them. And even better, they often introduce me to writers I’ve never checked out before. For these reasons, Read more…

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