Thursday, June 14, 2012

My Top 11 Urban Fantasy Series + INT Giveaway



Urban Fantasy is (and I suspect it always will be) my first genre of choice. It’s true that I’ve mostly been reading YA lately, but that’s only because I’ve already gone through everything worth reading in UF, and I have to wait for something new to come out. When you read about 300 books a year, it doesn’t take long to run out of good ones. 
It took me a while to put this together and I had to limit myself to eleven, otherwise it would have been a very long list. (Actually, I tried to limit myself to ten and you all see how well that worked out.) There are so many other series I enjoy and I’ll definitely write about them on some other occasion, but for now, here are my top 11: 

(Obviously, this goes from my least to my most favorite, because it is a Very Important List, and that's how these things are supposed to go.)

11. Jane True series by Nicole Peeler is, pure and simple, fluff, and I mean that in the best possible way. Jane is a half-selkie. She is not a shifter, she always remains in human form, but she draws her magical abilities from the water, and she recharges by swimming, preferably in the ocean. She lives in Rockabill, Maine, a small town with plenty of supernatural creatures. This series is not to be taken seriously, it’s funny, fast-paced and entertaining as hell, but if you’re looking for something with actual emotional depth, you definitely need to look elsewhere. Fortunately, sometimes fluffy and hilarious is exactly what I need. Besides, don’t you just love that cover? 

10. Alpha and Omega series by Patricia Briggs is set in the same universe as her Mercy Thompson series (see no. 4). It’s about Charles, the Marrok’s son, and his mate, Anna. The series is somewhere between Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance – it is written in third person, both from Charles’ and Anna’s POVs, which clearly indicates PNR, but it’s focused on more than just their relationship, and the plots are definitely Urban Fantasy. Regardless of my never-ending love for Mercy Thompson, I think the third Alpha and Omega book, Fair Game, is the best Briggs has ever written. 

9. Corine Solomon series by Ann Aguirre started as urban fantasy, but Aguirre (brilliant as she is) keeps wandering off into other genres. The second book is actually a small-town horror story, and the fourth flirts heavily with high fantasy. Aguirre is an author who is not too lazy to create a new world for each and every book, which means that, aside from the basic set of rules, you never know what to expect. The series will have five installments; the last one, Agave Kiss, is to be released in April 2013. 

8. Charlie Madigan series by Kelly Gay is one of those hidden gems you discover entirely by accident. Like Kate Daniels, it’s set in a post-apocalyptic version of Atlanta and prides itself on detailed worldbuilding. Charlene Elizabeth Madigan is a single mom and a police detective partnered with a male siren, Hank. So far, the series only has three books, but all three are fast-paced, emotional and flawlessly written. 



7. Chicagoland Vampires by Chloe Neill used to be one of my top three, but then Chloe Neill made some odd choices in book four, and at least 60% of my enthusiasm was lost. Nevertheless, this series has it all, and I hope Neill will stop creating soap-opera situations and go back to the awesomeness of the first three books. Btw, ladies, we all know why we really read this, and it’s not because of Merit. 

6. If I had to use a single word to describe The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne, I’d go with ‘intelligent’. The series is about a two-thousand-year old druid, the last druid alive, in fact, and his faithful canine companion Oberon. Thanks to Atticus’s magic, he and Oberon can communicate mentally, and their conversations are often hilarious. Extensive worldbuilding, excellent characterization and superb sense of humor are all present in Hearne’s books. However, as an English professor, sometimes he is unable to stop himself and he goes into lecture mode for just a little too long. 


5. Charley Davidson series by Darynda Jones is the most hilarious thing I’ve ever read. Jones has a way of combining excellent sense of humor and solid plots, which is why I reread her books whenever I need a good laugh. Charley is a private investigator and the grim reaper – she communicates with the dead, but she is also a portal they can use to go into the light. Charley is drawn to the ultimate bad boy (although it’s a bit ridiculous to call him a boy), Alexander Reyes Farrow, but their relationship is anything but simple. 



4. Patricia Briggs’s Mercy Thompson series has just about every supernatural creature you can think of, but focuses mostly on werewolves. Mercy is not a werewolf herself, she is a Native American shapeshifter, a coyote raised by werewolves. She is also a Volkswagen mechanic, which I find very refreshing. I think my favorite part of this series (aside from the delicious romance), is how much thought Briggs puts in the behavior of her werewolves. For them, body language speaks louder than words and hierarchy is easily established, that is, until a coyote shifter brings total chaos into their ranks. 

3. Downside Ghosts by Stacia Kane is a series I stayed away from for the longest time. I started the first book a year and a half ago, realized that Chess, the main character, is a drug addict, and abandoned it without a second thought. Fortunately, a good friend pushed me in the right direction and I decided to give the series another chance. (Thanks, Catie, I owe you one!) In a futuristic setting with dystopian elements, organization known as The Church replaced the fallen government. Its main job is to keep the society safe from ghosts, and Chess Putnam works for the Church. Downside Ghosts is all about the characters, and I don’t just mean Chess, Terrible, Lex and others. Downside is a character as well, the entire neighborhood is like a living, breathing thing with a strong personality. So far, the series has five books, and each one is better than the last. 

2. Kara Gillian series by Diana Rowland is a combination of urban fantasy and police procedurals. Rowland worked in law enforcement for many years and her knowledge and experience clearly show in everything her main character does. Kara is a police detective who secretly summons demons in her basement, and we get to see what happens when her two lives collide. This series also has the only love triangle in the known universe I don’t mind in the least: Kara is torn between a gorgeous, but dangerous demonic lord, Rhyzkahl, and Ryan, the FBI agent with the ability to see the arcane. The only flaw the series has are vicious cliffhangers in the last two books. Everything else is just… brilliant. 


1. Kate Daniels series, written by a husband-and-wife writing team Ilona Andrews, has everything I need in Urban Fantasy: detailed worldbuilding, an abundance of mythological creatures, exciting action scenes, wonderful humor, believable romance, and characters I know and love. The story is set in a futuristic, post-apocalyptic version of Atlanta, where magic and tech can’t coexist, but alternate in waves, and all kinds of magical creatures and deities freely walk the Earth. Kate is the ultimate kick ass heroine: she is strong, she is trained and she has a sharp tongue. Fortunately Curran, the Beast Lord and her mate, understands her need to sleep with a sword under their bed. 


And that's it this time!
Because I love you guys, I’m giving you a chance to win the first installment of your choice. The giveaway is, as always, international - anywhere The Book Depository ships. Enter the Rafflecopter below, and if you win, you can choose one of these books:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

59 comments:

  1. I keep meaning to read more urban fantasy since I LOVE the Kate Daniels series but I haven't had a chance to do that because of the giant TBR pile. Aside from the Kate books, I've only read Patricia Briggs' books in this list. Need to check out the others! I'm really curious about Darynda Jones' since I keep hearing that the series is pretty funny. I also want to check out the Toby Daye series.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Kate Daniels and Charlie Davidson are my absolute favorite UF series! I I've been facing the same problem lately, some of the UF books I picked up just don't click and there are some that I couldn't even finish reading.

    Thank you for the great giveaway! :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great list! I'll have to check some of the ones I haven't had a chance to read out.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Maja, I am so glad you posted this list! I've been wanting to read some UF but it all looks the same to me and I couldn't figure out what was worth reading and what wasn't. There is just so much of it. I read Downside Ghosts and I liked it well enough but couldn't figure out why everyone was swooning over Terrible. I didn't find him even a tiny bit attractive! Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In that case, I think you might like Ethan from the Chicagoland series. He is definitely swoon-worthy.

      Delete
  5. Fair Game is my favorite read so far this year. Need to read #s5 and 3

    ReplyDelete
  6. Miss Maja,

    I've been eyeing Hounded for a long time now. Ever since it appeared in the search engine together with the Iron Fey series XD. Thanks for the giveaway. *wipes happy tears*

    ReplyDelete
  7. I've only read a couple of the series you mentioned above.
    I've heard so many wonderful things about the Unholy Ghosts series, mostly about Terrible's hotness :P
    The Kate Daniels series also sounds great ! :)
    Thanks for the giveaway, Maja.
    I'd probably choose the first book in the Kate Daniel series. :D

    ReplyDelete
  8. I adore patrician Briggs books. The fact that mercy is a mechanic is awesome. I have heard amazing this about Hounded it is on my tbr list I would love to win a copy of it.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Ah, I love Mercy Thompson series! I really enjoyed how clean it is for Urban Fantasy LOL! <3 I have to add Southern Vampire series too, because I love Eric. Hopefully the ending wouldn't be very disappointing. Crossing my finger for Sookie and Eric's happy ending! x) Since we have fairly same taste for UF, Maja, your list is definitely a BIG HELP!! Thank you so much lovely! x)

    Anyway, you should check out The Demon Lover, Maja. The main character is a professor in a college, so you may be intrigued to read her story! I also like the literature references in the book and the atmosphere in the story. <3 So curious to hear what you think of the book if you decided to pick it! :)

    Thanks for the awesome giveaway too! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think Magic Bites. Thanks for the giveaway ^^ and nice list!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I have to bow down to the undisputed queen of urban fantasy. I don't know what any of us would do without you to weed out all the bad ones and highlight the good ones for us. (I can't believe I've never even heard of your #2! Where have I been?) I love that your list goes from lowest to highest. That's just pure awesome. And thanks so much for the giveaway!

    Now when do I get to see your review for Downside Ghosts?

    ReplyDelete
  12. My fave by far is the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning. It blows all other books right out of the water! I'm not sure what I'd pick if I won, I've read Unholy Ghosts and Mark of the Demon...probably Moon Called. Not sure yet! Thanks for the giveaway :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Alas, my favorite UF series atm is my ONLY UF series, Kate Daniels. I love it so much, I'm hoping to continue the trend by reading MORE. The one here I want to read most is the Alpha and Omega series, but honestly? I'm with Catie and bow down to you in your UF knowledge. I'm sure I'll be adding everything here that wasn't already on my list to it. :P

    ReplyDelete
  14. Kate Daniels and Kara Gillian's series would be tied for first for me too. But gosh, so many good ones. I love that we love the same ones though. :) I still need to read Stacia Kane's series so I'd probably pick that one...

    ReplyDelete
  15. I found the Kate Daniels and Patricia Briggs series completly by accident by they are two of my favorite series and authors!Nalmot everything else is on my to be read soon pile!!! Thanks for the giveaway ;)

    Haley

    ReplyDelete
  16. I'd love to win Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews as I've heard great things about it.My favorite Urban Fantasy series is the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Wow Maja! I don't know what to comment on first. I think I'll go with, You read 300+ books a year?! Holy Crow! I'm so envious. You must read like Dark Willow, which is to say that you just stick your hands in a book and literally absorb the words. How have you managed to do that?

    Next, I'm sorry to say that UF is a genre I usually struggle with. I usually feel that there is not enough steamy romance in it for me. I know I'm such a skeeze! And the heroines usually irritate the heck out of me. But there are a few on your list that I've read and loved, and I have been hearing great things about the others, so I'm determined to give them a try one day. I think I'll try Kate first. Been dying to meet Curran.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have to add that the Charley Davidson series and the Iron Druid Chronicles are the BEST books I've ever listened to as audiobooks. I recommend them to everyone I know, and those that have tried them have agreed. :)

      Delete
  18. I love most of these series, although I think the Alpha & Omega and Kate Daniels ones are my favorites. The only one I haven't read is the Kelly Gay one, so I'll have to check that out!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Urban fantasy? Hmm... Succubus blues!! I love Geogrina Kincaid :D :D and Mortal Instruments, ofcourse :) :)

    ReplyDelete
  20. I've picked Moon Called by Patricia Briggs. It's a couple of years old but good writing lasts. I'm looking forward to it. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hounded has been on my too read list for a while! It looks AMAZING! Mark of the demon is going on my list now, too. I hadn't seen that one before, but it looks great!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Wow! 300 books a year?! That's hard core. lol! I wish I could read that fast. Anyway, I've been eyeing Hounded by Kevin Hearne for so long and I'm glad to see that it got on your lists.

    Great post, Maja and thanks for the giveaway! :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. I think I'd go with Tempest Rising as it's been on my list of things to read for awhile now. I read a bit of UF as well, since I review for Romantic Times. It's either UF or paranormal romance, so I've found some goodies.

    -Lauren

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thanks for this great giveaway! I think I would say the Kate Daniels series, it's always so awesome. Is it possible to not love Kate and Curran? I don't think so.

    ReplyDelete
  25. My favorite urban fantasy series by far is Rachel Vincent's Shifters series. I LOVE it. :) I would love to win First Grave on the Right. Thank you for the sweet list and giveaway! Going to have to add a few more to my reading list.

    ReplyDelete
  26. 300 books in a year?! Is that humanly possible? :D I aimed to read half that number this year and even then decided to lower it to 120.

    I love your list of urban fantasy reads. I haven't read many of them but they all sound like books I would happily try. Glad to see Magic Bites up there. Curran sure isn't a character easily forgotten. ;) I'm not the biggest fan of Chicagoland Vampires but I do like Ethan. Ha... it's starting to sound like I read them UF only for the fictional crushes. Which is true to a certain extent... ;)

    ReplyDelete
  27. Oh and I forgot to say - Thanks for the lovely giveaway! :)

    ReplyDelete
  28. I don't think I've ever read an Urban Fantasy book but your wonderful post has just sparked an interest... I hope I'll get the chance to read some of the ones you mentioned as they sound fab! I'm not sure which book I'd pick but if I do win *fingers crossed* just surprise me with whichever book you feel is best suited as a 'starter' UF book :D Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hahahahaha yes, this is TOTALLY a Very Important List, Maja -- caps necessary! x) And I think that urban fantasy is one of my favourite genres too! My absolute favourite used to be The Mortal Instruments series, but I've added so many books to my faves (like Rachel Vincent's Soul Screamers series) that it's very wishy-washy now :') I just have to say that all the covers and worlds of the UF novels you chose are super bad-ass LOL!

    I LOVE your list, Maja! You know how I have an adult book list for future reference? You just added so many to it! x) <3

    ReplyDelete
  30. I can't believe that I've not read a single book of your awesome list! I keep meaning to read the Kate Daniels series, I've had it for so long that it's constantly glaring at me from my shelf, the only reason I still have it is because of the unlimited renewals rule my library has hah! I would probably say the Fever series is my absolute favourite! Thanks for the giveaway lovely! :)

    ReplyDelete
  31. My favorite is definitely the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning! I'm so looking forward to the next books!
    I would like to win Magic Bites because I have yet to read it & I've been really wanting to. :) Thank you for the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  32. There is only 2 or 3 series you presented that i don't know so i really would love to win "the better part of darkness" to discover a new series and author.

    I'm a fan of Patricia briggs and ilona andrews ( and i'm starting to read darynda jones)

    thanks you a lot for this giveaway

    all the best

    ReplyDelete
  33. I really enjoyed the first installments of Charlie Madigan, Downside Ghosts, and the Iron Druid Chronicles, though I need to catch up on the rest of the books in those series! I also really love Mercy Thompson (though I'm two books behind), and I'm listening to the first Charley Davidson book right now and liking it! I also own Magic Bites, though I haven't started it yet. Wow. I'm realizing just how similar our tastes are in urban fantasy! Lol. I need to catch up on all of these SO badly!

    Hmm...if I had to choose a first installment to win, it'd probably be Some Girls Bite. I've been wanting to read that series for awhile now!

    ReplyDelete
  34. I'm a big fan of both the Mercy Thompson and Alpha & Omega series, as well as the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning. Heck, I just love urban fantasy. I'd love to win Magic Bites as it's been on my TBR list for some time.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  35. My favorite series (UF and in general) is Georgina Kincaid by Richelle Mead. I devoured all 6 books!

    ReplyDelete
  36. This list is great! I've only read 3 of the series on your list (Mercy Thompson, Jane True & Iron Druid), but I do have 6 of the others on my TBR on goodreads! Urban Fantasy and PNR are my favorite genres right now.

    So if I were to win, I would choose either of the two I have not heard of yet: #2 Mark of the Demon by Diana Rowland & #8 The Better Part of Darkness by Kelly Gay.

    This is an awesome giveaway and list :)

    ReplyDelete
  37. THANK YOU for the list! I see several of my favorite series on this list and I do have Charlie Davidson on my tbr list. I just started the Alpah and Omega series-but need to get my hands on Fair Game. I've added the other titles to try. I'm a noob in this genre so I really appreciate knowing your favorites. :)

    ReplyDelete
  38. Fantastic giveaway! I don't know what I would pick...maybe Kelly Gay because I am not familiar with it. Thanks Maja!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Maja I could not adore you more than I do at this moment. The Kate Daniels series is one of my all time favorite series ever written. Kate and Curran are just absolute and total magic. I also live in Georgia, not even three hours away from Atlanta (I'm actually going there tomorrow) and I relate to these books like!whoa.

    You are made of absolute awesome!

    BeckAlora of Vicariously!

    ReplyDelete
  40. Ooh Maja, this list is epic. I read my first UF this year when I devoured every Mercy Thompson book over a few days, so I've been scared to start another. They're so consuming! But I know this list will be my guide when I do decide to pick one up.

    Maggie

    ReplyDelete
  41. I trust your opinions on books hun, so I'd eventually like to try all of these books/series! I think I need more UF in my life!

    Does Richelle Mead's Succubus series fall under the UF category? If so, that's my fave ;)

    ReplyDelete
  42. War for the Oaks by Emma Bull is an amazing UF novel! It's got fairies and rock music! Awesome, right? It's a standalone, so super quick!

    I'm definitely interested in Hounded, because I've seen lots of bloggers praising that author!

    ReplyDelete
  43. Funny enough, I have virtually all of these books on my TBR list, but own none! I can't wait to read the Mercy Thompson series. Like you, I think that Kate and Curran are the best!

    ReplyDelete
  44. Oh Maja, so glad you broke UF down for us Urban virgins! I'll refer to this list in the future. I would like to try First Grave on the Right. I've wanted to read that series before you wrote this up. If I win, it'll push me to start sooner! Thanks for the amazing giveaway! :)

    ReplyDelete
  45. Well, crap!! I have all those books!!! EXCEPT Blue Diablo or Tempest Rising! But I have Blue Diablo on my TBR so I'd pick that one. I'm trying to think what my favorite UF series is, though. I think I'd have to go with Alpha & Omega b/c Briggs just keeps getting better and better! A very close second would be The Hollows.

    This is an awesome post/giveaway! Thank you!!!

    ReplyDelete
  46. magic bites sounds awesome

    i love hounded

    This is an awesome post/giveaway! Thank you!!!

    ReplyDelete
  47. I really should start the Downside Ghosts series by Stacia Kane. I've had them for a while! Great giveaway, ladies!

    ReplyDelete
  48. Oh, my goodness, Maja! D: 300 books a year?! That's just crazy! Maybe I'm just a slow reader, though, haha. Awesome recommendations, Maja! UF is not one of my absolute favorite genres, so I don't know many books that are in the genre. That makes this post really helpful! Thanks for sharing, Maja. :D

    ReplyDelete
  49. I saw Fever series on amazon awhile back...it looked pretty good i think i might try reading that:)
    -JennyC

    ReplyDelete
  50. I would probably pick Hounded. Thanks for the giveaway! :)

    ReplyDelete
  51. Favorite urban fantasy series (if this counts) is definitely the Mortal Instruments!!! If I won I'd totally want the Charley Davidson book, it looks really awesome(: Thanks for the giveaway!!!

    Bookworm in Love

    ReplyDelete
  52. I'd love to win either Magic Bites or Hounded! Tough decision!

    ReplyDelete
  53. I love Chicagoland Vamps and Georgina Kincaid. Recently I got the fifth instalment of Mercy Thompson so I was planing on buying the rest of the books. So I would probably pick Moon Called.

    ReplyDelete
  54. The Charlie Madigan series by Kelly Gay is my favorite :)

    ReplyDelete
  55. I would love to win Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs. Thanks for the giveaway!

    ~Shannon
    alyssimagination@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  56. It makes me sad when The Dresden Files are not in peoples top. Please do yourself a favor and read Storm Front by Jim Butcher!

    ReplyDelete
  57. What ? No dresden files.... Sacrilege !!! ;)

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I really appreciate it and if you're a fellow blogger, I'll do my best to visit your blog and return the favor as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, this is now an award and tag free blog, but I do thank you for your consideration.