People have asked which are my favorite paranormal, fantasy, urban fantasy, _fill in the blank_, and there are just too many possibilities. This led to the following list. I hope you enjoy it. And if you know someone else who would enjoy it, please share or tweet it! You may also want to take a look at the post on genres.
Urban fantasy and paranormal romance are actually sub-genres under Fantasy. Horror can go in one of two directions: fantasy or science fiction (steampunk is a sub-genre under science fiction). As for the differences between urban fantasy and paranormal romance,
they have coalesced into two simple camps for me And after all that research, it took a dive into a post on genres to set me straight…sigh…:
Fantasy is the overall genre for a story that “uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary plot element, theme, or setting such as an imaginary world where magic and magical creatures are common” as well as races other than humans, such as elves, dwarves, or goblins. — a world completely separate from our own, and includes its own myths and legends. What primarily sets fantasy apart from sci-fi is the medieval style of the world’s technology and culture.
Urban Fantasy is a subgenre with magic as the focus of the story BUT set in a normal world with normal people who aren’t aware that magic exists.
Paranormal Fantasy is set in a normal world with normal people aware of magic.
Paranormal Romance is a subgenre in both Fantasy and Romance with a plot that moves romantically between two characters with true love following at the end of the story and blends the supernatural with reality, using the future, a fantasy world, or paranormal elements as an important part of the plot.
Horror is the overall genre for a story that creates a sense of fear, panic, alarm, and dread in the reader through a portrayal of their worst fears and nightmares, centers on the arrival of evil, and includes a large amount of violence and gore in the storyline.
When you think about it, it’s not so surprising to realize that fantasy, paranormal, and urban fantasy stories were originally spun off from the horror genre. And so, I have added horror and fantasy to the genre mix while I’ve expanded upon target audiences to include children.
I have included a few single books in this, partly due to my hopes that they are only the first in a series the author hasn’t yet named…*grin*…
I’ve tried to categorize the various series by what seems to be an underlying theme or concept. They almost all involve romance. Within each category, there may be a subset of Children, Middle Grade, or YA.
Caveat: These are only series which I have read. It does not include everyone who has ever written a fantasy, horror, paranormal romance, or urban fantasy series!
|NEW (to this list) with the 2016 update.|
Angels and Gods
Apocalyptic / Dystopian / Alternate Worlds
Detectives, Agents, Oh My
Fairy Tale Variations
Funny / Comics
Witches & Wizards
Aliens – YA
Jennifer L. Armentrout‘s Lux is a romantic YA urban fantasy with hot, young aliens living undercover in West Virginia. Supposedly protected by the government, the Luxens are under attack by their enemies and rogue government agents. I’m enjoying this very much. She also has an adult spin-off, standalone novel, Obsession.
Thea Harrison‘s Game of Shadows brings in alien invaders in a complex arrangement of “twins” whom Mary and Michael must hunt down and thwart. It is quite confusing, and enough so that I want to read the second in the series, if only to better understand what’s going on. Lots of action. A paranormal romance.
Angels and Gods
Jenna Black‘s Descendant, a.k.a., Nikki Glass, is an interesting look at war between Greek and Roman gods with Nikki Glass at the center. An urban fantasy + myth subgenre set around Washington, D.C.
Alyssa Day‘s Warriors of Poseidon is a paranormal romance + legend about Atlantis, the god Poseidon, shapeshifters, vampires, and the fae who are starting to appear. The writing is uneven.
Sylvia Day‘s Renegade Angels is an erotic paranormal romance about a cadre of angels tasked with policing the fallen angels—vampires. Interesting series. Another angels series is her Marked urban fantasy with angels who seem to be more corporate-type bad guys. It’s intriguing if a bit confusing.
Lucienne Diver‘s Latter-Day Olympians seems to be a humorous paranormal series that involves gods and monsters.
Dierdre Knight‘s Midnight Warriors incorporates angels, vampires, and controlling time.
NEW Susan Krinard’s Midgard involves Norse mythology in San Francisco.
Shelly Laurenston‘s The Gathering urban fantasy is a friendly conflict between the Fates and Odin through their representatives.
Steve LeBel‘s The Universe Builders is a new series which begins with Bernie and the Putty and will throw you for a loop and a laugh as this nerdy young god creates his own universe and tosses out most of the rules.
Adrian Phoenix‘s The Maker’s Song, a.k.a., Nightfall, is a twist on both angels and vampires with a government conspiracy thrown in. An excellent urban fantasy.
Linda Poitevin‘s Grigori Legacy could become interesting if Poitevin can stop having her characters act stupidly or include stupid events. It’s an interesting concept, and I’m not sure if I’m being pissy about it because of my perception of stupidity or what. This one involves angels and God’s taking away their free will and their ability to love due to Lucifer’s actions. In this modern-day tale, whatever took away those two “abilities” is wearing off. An urban fantasy set in Toronto.
Stephanie Rowe‘s Soulfire is a funny paranormal romance based in Boston involving magic, gods, and demons.
I’ve only read the first in Lexi Ryan‘s Stiletto Girls, and it involves psychics and warring agents in this paranormal romance series.
Sharon Shinn‘s Samaria with a world in conflict and I think angels rule. I’ve only read one short story in this.
Gena Showalter‘s Lords of the Underworld is somewhat like Ward’s BDB in that it’s eventually several groups of muscular he-type men who occasionally use words you would expect to hear in company. A myth-based paranormal romance, J.R. Ward does a much better job.
Nalini Singh‘s Guild Hunter is a paranormal romance based in New York City, which looks at a world where archangels rule and Turn vampires. The rest of the world fears the angels. Even the Guild Hunters who chase down runaway vampires.
Thomas Sniegoski‘s Remy Chandler is an urban fantasy about an angel fed up with the cruelty of his species and has chosen the life of a private detective in Boston with his talking dog. There’s a coziness to this series that I like.
J.R. Ward‘s Fallen Angels dark paranormal romance finds an ex-mercenary-turned-angel battling a demon in a variety of scenarios around Caldwell, New York. There is a very, very tiny connection between this series and Ward’s BDB.
L.A. Weatherly‘s Angel flips our idea of angels on its head with these cruel invaders. I’m thinking it’s magical realism.
Angels & Gods – Middle-Grade Readers
Rick Riordan‘s Percy Jackson and the Olympians is an exploration of Greek myths while the The Heroes of Olympus is a conflict between the Greek and Roman gods (and it follows the Percy series). Both feature kids at camp. Gods training camp! His Kane Chronicles is an adventure with Egyptian gods and completely separate from the other two series, although I’m hearing that Riordan intends to bring Percy and the Kanes together in an upcoming story. (All three are myth-based fantasies.) NEW Now Riordan’s setting forth with the Norse gods in Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard.
Angels & Gods – YA
K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr‘s The Blackwell Pages is an okay adventure with young teen descendants of Norse gods suddenly preparing for Ragnarök in this myth-based fantasy.
NEW Orson Scott Card’s Mither Mages blends gods with a young man trying to get around their feuds and save the worlds.
Tera Lyn Childs‘ Oh. My. Gods is a too, too funny myth-based fantasy about the problems a senior in high school encounters when her mother marries the descendent of a god. One of the things I like is that Childs doesn’t talk down to her readers. Her characters are teens without being clichéd. Takes place on a Greek island.
Jennifer Estep‘s Mythos Academy is a myth-based fantasy revolving around Gwen Frost, a new student to this boarding school which trains the descendants of gods, Vikings, or Spartans to fight the Reapers, followers of Loki. Another one of my favorites.
Kim Harrison‘s Madison Avery is okay; I’m thinking it’s a dark fantasy.
Darynda Jones‘ new YA urban fantasy series, Darklight, is about a sophomore who has just discovered she’s a long-awaited prophet. With a reaper as her companion. I just finished the first book in this, and I doubt I’ll be reading the second.
Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill‘s Shadow Grail legend-based fantasy series for YA is similar to Mythos Academy and Vampire Academy in that it’s another boarding school with danger around every corner. This one focuses on the Celtic legends. Based in Montana. The series has finished.
Jackson Pearce‘s Genies is about wishes and love.
Thomas E. Sniegoski‘s The Fallen series is for a YA audience and revolves around a young man who learns he is the Promised Nephilim come to save Fallen angels. Lots of adventure with a talking dog in this dark fantasy. I must confess I had expected better from Sniegoski; nor had I expected a YA version of Remy Chandler. At least that’s how it feels.
Apocalyptic / Dystopian / Alternate Worlds
Ilona Andrews‘ Kate Daniels is an arcanepunk fantasy with Kate as an unknown power—and hoping to keep it that way. She interacts with magic, the weirdest vampires, and shapeshifters…especially Curran!…in Atlanta, Georgia. Her The Edge series is a paranormal romance about an Earth where there are three “worlds”: the Weird where most things and people are powered by magic; the Broken where there is no magic; and the Edge, no-man’s land between the Weird and the Broken where there are no rules. I love ’em all.
Peter V. Brett‘s Demon Cycle is probably epic fantasy…and really good. There are hints being dropped that make me inclined to think apocalyptic thoughts!
Mark Chadbourn‘s Age of Misrule will terrify those of us who can’t live without our computers! Science fiction horror — eek!
Terry Goodkind‘s Sword of Truth epic fantasy is mage against mage with the young Richard Rahl having to grow up and learn too fast to save his world from the power-mad Emperor Jagang.
Mira Grant‘s Newsflesh Trilogy is a zombie horror series that combines the low and the high-tech with Irwins poking at zombies and the bloggers who broadcast the fun in a brand new world of horror.
Barbara Hambly‘s Windrose Chronicles combines computers and magic. I do love this arcanepunk series; Hambly is so creative in it.
NEW Chloe Neill‘s Devil’s Isle is quite the apocalyptic urban fantasy set in New Orleans with supernaturals hunted down and imprisoned.
Kristen Painter‘s House of Comarré takes still another twist on vampires, the fae, and shapeshifters which revolves around a woman bred for her blood in an alternate world in New Florida. I see it as arcanepunk. Her Crescent City series is a spin-off.
Brandon Sanderson‘s Mistborn has an historical air about this epic fantasy with an emphasis on people with the ability to burn metal for super powers against a “story of political intrigue, surprises and magical martial-arts action”.
Sheri S. Tepper‘s Plague of Angels fantasy slowly reveals itself as a terrifying look at what can happen to our world if we don’t change our ways.
J.R.R. Tolkein‘s Lord of the Rings is an epic fantasy trilogy + its prequel written for children, The Hobbit. Yep, I’ve owned this collection of four books for decades. It’s all within the Middle-Earth Universe.
Janny Wurts‘ Wars of Light and Shadow is an apocalypse in an alternate fantastical world of magic. It can be difficult to read due to Wurts’ sentence construction, and there is a cast of thousands.
Apocalyptic / Dystopian / Alternate Worlds – Middle-Grade Readers
Garth Nix‘s Keys to the Kingdom is an urban fantastic adventure for kids and follows Arthur Penhaligon as he’s introduced to an alternate world where he battles villains named for the days of the week. Very good.
Apocalyptic / Dystopian / Alternate Worlds – YA
Jasper Fforde‘s The Chronicles of Kazam, a.k.a., Last Dragonslayer fantasy (arcanepunk? magical realism?) series for young adults about an orphan who believes in standing up for right and vanquishing wrong. It’s a light and fun read of absolute and total nonsense that points up the absurdities of commercialism from product endorsements to the canned content of talk shows, adventure parks to merchandising. Nor does Fforde leave corruption and greed out of the mix.
Julie Kagawa‘s Blood of Eden sci-fi fantasy is a dystopian misadventure with vampires and disease plaguing humanity.
I’ve read a few of Mary Blayney‘s short stories that keep cropping up with the J.D.Robb In Death shorts: 1) Bump in the Night: “Poppy’s Coin”; 2) Dead of Night: “Amy & the Earl’s Amazing Adventure”; 3) Suite 606: “Love Endures”; 4) The Other Side: “Other Side of the Coin”; and, 5) Unquiet: “Her Greatest Treasure”. Very sweet. The primary series theme is a magic coin that makes wishes come true. Historical paranormal romances.
Christine Feehan‘s Drake Sisters is a sweet, homey, psychic series about sisters and she’s just started a new one, Sisters of the Heart, based in the same geographic location (both series are clumped in together as “Sea Haven” and share some characters). Both are paranormal romances. I like ’em.
Robin Hobb‘s Realms of the Elderlings is the master series set in a fantastical kingdom with bastards, politics, betrayal, shifting, and more with the main character acting as the king’s agent. which begins with the Farseer Trilogy and slips into the Tawny Man (also a trilogy) and then into The Fitz and the Fool Trilogy, which is where I started with Fool’s Assassin. It was filled with magic and quite cozy with a feel of the historical in amongst the assassins and murderers. I’ve already ordered up the very beginning of this series, and I can’t wait to dive in!
Lisa Kleypas‘ Friday Harbor is mostly a romance but in the very cozy small town of Friday Harbor. It’s included here because there is some magic and/or psychic ability manifested in the stories.
Erin McCarthy‘s “Murphy Sisters” are in short stories and very sweet paranormal romances: 1) An Enchanted Season: “Charlotte’s Web” and 2) Magical Christmas Cat: “Christmas Bree”. Her Cuttersville is a mild and funny paranormal romance series about ghosts in a small farming community.
NEW Kristen Painter‘s Nocturne Falls is a cozy town where Halloween is every day and a supe can let his fangs out, lol.
Lynsay Sands‘ Argeneau is about a family of vampires. A rather cozy paranormal romance.
Cozies – Under 6
NEW Beatrix Potter‘s Peter Rabbit anthropomorphizes rabbits and other woodland creatures in a sweet series of stories.
Cozies – Middle-Grade Readers
Erin Hunter‘s overall anthropomorphicWarriors Universe, a.k.a., Warrior Cats, which has a slew of subseries in the following order:
- Warriors: Dawn of the Clans
- Warriors: The New Prophecy
- Warriors: Power of Three
- Warriors: Omen of the Stars
I know, Warriors doesn’t seem to fit in a “cozy” category, but I find it very sweet as it anthropomorphizes cats and provides insight into kitty cat culture in the wild.
This list doesn’t include four other categories of related standalones, short story standalones, companion books, and manga adaptations. So if your child likes this series, well, they won’t run out of stories to read for quite awhile.
Cozies – Middle Grade
C.S. Lewis‘ Chronicles of Narnia is a fantasy series of Christian morals in story form.
Cozies – YA
Jenna Black‘s Morgan Kingsley is a completed paranomal fantasy about a professional exorcist and the demons with whom she becomes entangled. Not one of my favorites as I think Morgan is irritating, although I think Adam is HOT.
Amanda Bonilla‘s Shaede Assassin is an urban fantasy that doesn’t really fit in the demons category — I don’t think of the Shaede as demons. I’ve only read the first one in this series, and I thought the writing was terrible. However, I must confess to having events in the story pop into my head, and my subconscious is twitching away at me to read another story…
Meljean Brook‘s The Guardians is a paranormal romance series that has been completed and revolves around angelic-type creatures, demons, and vampires covering a range of scenarios.
Jaci Burton‘s Demon Hunters is a paranormal romance that spans the world. Very shallow writing.
Shannon K. Butcher‘s Sentinel Wars is a dark paranormal romance about two different species: Sentinels and vampires cooperating to keep demons from destroying the world. The writing is uneven.
Jacquelyn Frank‘s Supernatural is, I suspect, more of an excuse for sex, but if the one short story I read is anything to go by, Frank has some good stories in here about a demonic race who lives in the shadows, forbidden to interact with human women.
Kelly Gay‘s Charlie Madigan is an urban fantasy involving demons, angels, and agents in an alternate world Atlanta as the people of Earth come to grips with stories about Heaven and Hell come true in an unexpected manner. The protagonist, Charlie Madigan, seems to be getting stupider as the series progresses.
Heather Graham is just one of the authors in The Keeper L.A. paranormal romance series. I’ve only read the short story prequel and was impressed with the idea of the story. Unfortunately, Graham was too melodramatic and speedy that I haven’t read any further. But if you enjoy a plethora of supes and don’t mind fast, dramatic action, this could be for you.
I found Robert Jordan‘s Wheel of Time epic fantasy series fascinating, and some find it too repetitive. The series ends at #14.
Julie Kenner‘s Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom, a.k.a., Kate Connor – Demon Hunter, is about a demon-hunting soccer mom…talk about multi-tasking! A paranormal fantasy I’ve been enjoying. There’s just something about a soccer mom with stakes…
Marjorie M. Liu‘s Hunter Kiss is a unique supernatural urban fantasy in which the woman protagonist hunts the bad guys with the help of her personal demon tattoos, an ex-priest who runs a homeless shelter, and selected zombies(!) in Seattle.
Richelle Mead‘s Georgina Kincaid is an urban fantasy about a succubus working in a Seattle bookstore who falls in love with an author. I do enjoy the cast of characters Mead has created. They have very interesting relationships!
Diana Rowland‘s Kara Gillian combines a police procedural with urban fantasy for this series about a demon summoner. Kara works as a homicide detective in a small parish in Louisiana, and this girl is wanted by a lot of people. A fascinating story, and I’m panting at the bit for the next installment!
R.A. Salvatore kicked off this “new era of the Forgotten Realm” series with The Companions, thereby starting a new dark fantasy subseries: The Sundering. The first couple of stories were confusing, but pulled me in after the third one, Erin M. Evans’ The Adversary. I don’t know if it would have been easier if I had read Salvatore’s The Legend of Drizzt series or not. It doesn’t help that each installment is written by a different author with each pursuing a different group of people with their own agendas, that I’m guessing will eventually merge into the same one. It’ll be interesting to read on to the next in the series.
Linda Wisdom‘s Demons is a spin-off from her Jazz Tremaine series. The first novel in this series really confused me as I thought it was carrying on in the JT series since it involved one of the witchy girlfriends, following the JT pattern. If I’d been paying attention and read all the blurbs on the outside of the book, maybe I’d’a realized sooner that Wisdom was spinning…? Who knows. Anyway, it’s another paranormal romance series, which, so far, could almost be standalone stories involving magic and demons. Although, as I think about it, there is a common thread running through the two stories so far…hmmm… Eff 9 Jan 2017: Now I don’t know what to think, as someone at Goodreads claims the publisher is simply trying a new look…whatever…
Detectives, Agents, Oh My
NEW Ben Aaronovitch‘s PC Peter Grant is a terrifically funny paranormal fantasy/police procedural with a newly recruited police constable in London who acts as liaison between humans and the supernaturals.
Cat Adams‘ Blood Singer series is about a non-magical bodyguard who is turned into a vampire and shortly learns how very magical she is with that siren blood. I like this series. Adams has a very different take on vampires in her world as well as a interesting array of supporting characters for the protagonist, Celia Graves. Urban fantasy in L.A.
Cassie Alexander‘s Edie Spence takes a twist on vampires and incorporates a human nurse with a drug-addicted brother. Mmm, the things Edie sees in that hospital where she works!
Jessica Andersen‘s Nightkeepers, a.k.a.,The Final Prophecy, seems to involve demons and the Mayan culture. I’ve only read a short story, so far.
NEW Ilona Andrews‘ Hidden Legacy about the unexpected teaming of a PI who doesn’t know her strengths with a superpowerful Prime who doesn’t understand no. I’m buying it as it comes out.
Alex Archer‘s Rogue Angel is simple writing with lots of urban fantasy adventure revolving around an Indiana Jones-like archeologist who inherits Joan of Arc’s sword. A sword that “insists” on “saving the day”. Think “B” movies on a Saturday afternoon. Definitely an urban fantasy with a dose of magical realism that roams the world.
Keri Arthur‘s Nikki & Michael opens with the first book bringing the two of them together, for Nikki is a private investigator thrown to the streets by her family because of her powers while Michael is a vampire assigned to guard her. This story was so bad that I can’t be bothered to continue. Arthur’s Ripple Creek Werewolf finds two werewolves from opposite sides investigating a series of murders. The writing is really bad, and I don’t think Arthur did more than two books. Arthur’s NEW Souls of Fire series is a twist with vampires and a nasty virus in Melbourne.
Rachel Caine‘s Weather Warden is about a group of people who manipulate earth, wind, fire, and weather sometimes with and sometimes against the djinn. Then there’s her rather neglected, and very short, paranormal suspense series, Red Letter Days that involves the police, the FBI, and magic in Kansas City. Well, it is only two stories long so far. I do hope Caine writes more as I really enjoyed this.
NEW Ann Charles‘ Deadwood involves a struggling real estate agent too fascinated with solving mysteries.
Harry Connolly‘s Twenty Palaces is a dark urban fantasy series about a magic policing agency. They don’t want anyone using magic, and they send agents out to hunt them down. It’s grim and I am so angry that no publisher has picked Connolly up to continue the series!!
Carolyn Crane‘s The Disillusionists Trilogy is an urban fantasy with some scary undertones in its vigilante approach.
Mark Del Franco‘s Connor Grey is a paranormal fantasy set in Boston about a Druid agent who lost his powers. It’s only as you read through the series that you learn how sneaky Del Franco is in his planning of the overall storyline. I was so bummed when the series ended! He has another paranormal fantasy series that is based on the same species and culture as the Connor Grey series, Laura Blackstone, and set in Washington, D.C., but it lacks the warmth.
J.N. Duncan‘s Jackie Rutledge is an urban fantasy set in modern-day Chicago with an FBI agent and her psychic partner teaming up with a sheriff from 1882, and they’re battling ghosts and vampires.
Jennifer Estep‘s Elemental Assassin is a dark paranormal fantasy featuring an assassin as its primary character who runs a barbecue restaurant as her day job. Be sure to have some ribs, beans, and coleslaw handy when you read; I got so hungry…! It’s an alternate world scenario with elementals pretty much running the town in which Gin Blanco lives.
Christine Feehan‘s GhostWalkers paranormal romance series revolves around a group of soldiers who were lied to and illegally enhanced. Now they work to protect the world and themselves. Excellent for those who enjoy a military angle with their romance.
Jasper Fforde‘s arcanepunk Thursday Next is a crack-up! Ms. Next is a Special Operative in literary detection, working hard to keep literature in line through time travel and slipping inside any book ever written…or becoming unwritten!
Jeaniene Frost‘s Night Huntress and Night Huntress World are good and revolve around secret agents and vampires. This is the Bones and Cat paranormal fantasy series. Her Night Prince started well, but the second book was a dog. They are part of the Night Huntress Universe.
Heather Graham is starting a new series with elves, werewolves and revenge in Las Vegas, The Keepers: L.A., that has some promise, if she can find an editor.
I read a short story in Chris Marie Green‘s Vampire Babylon urban fantasy series about a vampire agent. It had a nice homey quality to it, and I’ll be adding this series to my TBR.
Simon R. Green‘s Nightside is R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps—all grownup with an underground city below London teeming with monsters and oddities. It’s a dark urban fantasy, and its primary characters are John Taylor in his ubiquitous white raincoat and the very proper Walker. His Secret Histories, an urban fantasy, is a spoof on James Bond and involves the Drood Family, secret protectors of the world. Who occasionally run amuck themselves. I adore Uncle Jack and his whacky gadgets! The latest is Green’s Ishmael Jones, another dark urban fantasy of black op spies in England.
Charlaine Harris‘ Harper Connelly is a paranormal fantasy about a woman who finds the dead.
Kim Harrison‘s The Hollows, a.k.a., Rachel Morgan, is a paranormal fantasy that has finished and that revolves around The Hollows and the suburb-based detective agency of a witch, a pixie, and a vampire just outside Cincinnati, Ohio, with elves as antagonist/protagonist.
Tanya Huff‘s Blood Books, a.k.a., Vicki Nelson, revolves around Victoria Nelson, a Toronto police detective turned vampire by the vampire Henry Fitzroy, a bastard son of Henry VIII. Our Henry is a writer of historical romances. Huff’s Smoke, aka, “Tony Foster” or just plain “Foster”, follows Blood Books, and it revolves about Tony and his relationship with Henry Fitzroy after they move to Vancouver. Tony had had a CI relationship with Victoria before she was turned. A television series was based on these books and known as Blood Ties. It ran for two seasons starting in 2007. Both are urban fantasies. I do love her NEW Gale Women series, even if I’m still confused by its backstory.
Alex Hughes‘ Mindspace Investigations is somewhat apocalyptic … computers tried to take over and the humans barely got it back. The hero in this is a powerful psychic who was a drug addict, and now he’s working for the police. On probation. A paranormal fantasy based in an alternate reality Atlanta.
Faith Hunter‘s Jane Yellowrock is a paranormal fantasy with a skinwalker/vampire assassin rotating between New Orleans and Asheville, North Carolina. Excellent. Hunter has done a paranormal fantasy spin-off from Jane Yellowrock that I’m enjoying: Soulwood.
Suzanne Johnson‘s Sentinels of New Orleans finds a group policing the supernatural population of New Orleans just before Hurricane Katrina hits. It has a nice twist on agents and brings in Jean Lafite and history.
Darynda Jones‘ Charley Davidson, an urban fantasy, is a private detective/grim reaper with the craziest sense of humor, and she’s haunted/protected by the Son of Satan.
Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love‘s Belador urban romance fantasy series is based in Atlanta and involves gods, witches, shapeshifters, and mercenaries with a clashing mix of agents from different groups battling several enemies as well as themselves. Try to read the existing three stories close together as it can get confusing if you allow time to lapse between readings.
Mercedes Lackey‘s Diana Tregarde is an urban fantasy/mystery about a practicing witch who is a romance novelist and Guardian sworn to protect mankind. Loosely connected to her Elves on the Road overall series.
Charles de Lint‘s Jack of Kinrowan finds a faerie agent falling into trouble over and over. Hey, it’s a de Lint. Of course it’s good, and I hope he plans on more than two books.
Jenna Maclaine‘s Cin Craven is one of four vampire agents who keep the peace. Starts in the 1800s.
Melissa Marr‘s “Guns for the Dead” appears to be a prequel for a new series — I hope — Graveminder with possible battles between two groups. The kicker is that this takes place in the world of the dead.
I read a short story in Cheyenne McCray‘s Night Tracker which has intrigued me into adding it to my TBR. The short story was about supernaturals working as agents in New York City.
Suzanne McLeod‘s Spellcasters.com, an urban fantasy, is another of those combos involving vampires, shapeshifters, fairies, and magic users. Based in London, Genevieve Taylor works as a detective. It’s so full of action and characters, and I get very confused in reading this. It’s also an intriguing twist.
C.E. Murphy‘s Walker Papers finds Joanne Walker, a.k.a.,, Siobhan Walkingstick, finding out the hard way that she’s a shaman, falling into one magical adventure after another as a cop in Seattle. It’s an urban fantasy that has finished its run.
Vicki Pettersson‘s Signs of the Zodiac is a paranormal romance which pits the Light against the Dark in Vegas.
Kat Richardson‘s Greywalker is an urban fantasy which pits a supernatural PI, Harper Blaine, who can walk the grey between worlds, and her genius hacker boyfriend against the vampires, demons, and witches in Seattle. The series is complete.
Michelle Sagara‘s Chronicles of Elantra is a fascinating series involving fae-like, arrogant beings; dragon shifters who rule this world; bird, lion, and wolf-like shifters; and, humans. It’s Private Kaylin Neya, the equivalent of a cop, who is evolving into something more that none of the powers-that-be can understand. I love this series and
am buying the books as they fit into my budget have them all…bwha-ha-ha…
Susan Sizemore‘s Laws of the Blood is a paranormal romance revolving around the Enforcers, vampires who ensure that other vampires follow their laws.
Lilith Saintcrow‘s grim dark fantasy Dante Valentine, which is followed by Jill Kismet and both are blends of Faith Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock, Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels , and Julie Kenner’s The Blood Lily Chronicles in that they are all experienced, capable women with a hard past behind them and interesting love lives. Jill copes with religion, vampires, shapeshifters, and demons. I’m classifying them as grimdark fantasy. Her The Watchers paranormal romance series is an interesting concept involving three witches battling various evils, but it’s poorly written. Admittedly, part of my dislike is for how stupid the protagonist is in many of the stories.
Jeanne C. Stein‘s Anna Strong Chronicles is an urban fantasy about a PI and her unexpected vampire role in San Diego.
Jaye Wells‘ Sabina Kane is an assassin, first for the vampires and then the witches. An urban fantasy based in New York City.
Eileen Wilks‘ World of the Lupi is really good although the first two books in the series are confusing chronologically. Lily is an FBI agent with a nullifying power who gets involved with the hunky Rule, Prince of the Lupi. A paranormal romance based in San Diego. This is another “buy” series for me.
Detectives, Agents – Middle-Grade Readers
Detectives, Agents – YA
Jennifer L. Armentrout‘s The Dark Elements is an urban fantasy for young adults and involves a half-demon, half-gargoyle teen who loves two boys who are enemies. Her adopted gargoyle family sees her as a traitor, and yet she believes the two sides can work together. There is a stupid element in this, but I do like and am looking forward to the second book in the series.
Kimberly Derting‘s The Body Finder is about a high school student who can feel the dead, and when the FBI find out about her…
Rachel Hawkins‘ School Spirits introduces us to a young undercover operative who goes from school to school finding naughty magic users. I found this a good-in-a-cozy-armchair sort of a read. There’s only one book so far. Her Rebel Belle series is a bit of a stretch for an “agent” category, but it does find Harper taking on the role of bodyguard for an Oracle in a high school threesome.
NEW Christopher Paolini’s The Inheritance Cycle is a quest for Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, to revive an ancient order of Dragon Riders and defeat the evil king.
Detectives, Agents – YA
NEW Jennifer Estep‘s Black Blade is a paranormal fantasy which finds the very cynical Lila Merriweather becoming one of Devon’s bodyguards and learning too much about her past.
NEW Nicole Peeler‘s The Jinni starts with a jinn struggling to be free.
Kate Douglas‘ Chanku overall series alternates between Wolf Tales, full-length novels, and Sexy Beast, short stories. For some reason, Douglas uses the series names as, well, series names, AND both as titles that she numbers. These paranormal erotica romance series involve wolf shifters.
Christine Feehan‘s Dark (a.k.a., Dark Saga, Carpathians) is a paranormal romance series with a different take on the vampire culture with Carpathian blood drinkers protecting the world from evil vampires. The erotic bit is when the good guy finds his soulmate. Gets to be a bit same-same after awhile. Her Leopard People is fairly similar, but revolves around leopard shifters.
Laurell K. Hamilton‘s Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter involves vampires, shapeshifters, and zombies. An erotic horror/paranormal fantasy based in St. Louis, Missouri. She also has a fae erotic paranormal fantasy, Meredith Gentry about a half-breed fae princess who gets her own back on all those who have hated her. LOTS of adventure in and out of bed.
Emma Holly‘s Tale of the Demon World covers a wide range of time periods with different groups of people. The one cultural commonality is sex. The wilder, the “better”. A paranormal romance not based in any world we’d recognize. Her Hidden cozy paranormal erotica romance series involves a hidden town where supernaturals dwell together. I’ve only read one story, and it was excellent. The rest of the books in this series range from well-done to oh, brother.
Angela Knight‘s Mageverse twists King Arthur and the Round Table with good guy versus bad guy vampires. Wait’ll ya read about Lancelot as a vamp! An erotic fantasy legend switching between the Mageverse, an alternate plane of existence, and Earth.
Eve Langlais‘ Princess of Hell involves Muriel’s sexual misadventures as the daughter of Satan. The one I read was pretty funny if also inane.
Lora Leigh‘s Breeds are not actually shapeshifters but are about humans genetically engineered with animal DNA. A paranormal romance which can range throughout the world. I like this series for the most part; she has an underlying theme running throughout the series with each installment a real story and not just an excuse for sex. Although there is a lot of sex. Her Wizard Twins is fantasy, and very erotic as well.
Jill Myles‘ Succubus Diaries. I only read a prequel on this and she does write well.
Gena Showalter‘s Alien Huntress is a paranormal fantasy series about Mia Snow, a hunter of aliens for the New Chicago PD. The writing was so bad, that I won’t be reading past the first story.
Sunny‘s Demon Princess Chronicles is an erotic fantasy about a demon princess while her Monère: Children of the Moon is another twist with vampires actually being aliens from the moon. The two series do share some characters.
Shiloh Walker‘s Hunters is an erotic paranormal romance with vampires.
Diane Whiteside‘s Texas Vampires is an erotic paranormal romance which revolves around Don Rafael who seems to run the state of Texas. Has some historical overtones.
Kelley Armstrong‘s Cainsville is the start of a compelling urban fantasy dive into the “underbelly” of Cainsville, the town that has drawn Olivia Taylor-Jones with the potential to learn the truth about her real parents. Where she learns more than anyone could ever expect. And it’s barely the tip of this iceberg.
Anya Bast‘s Dark Magick pits the Seelie against the Unseelie—with the Unseelie the good guys! An intriguing idea that doesn’t do enough to offset the bad writing.
Charles de Lint‘s Newford is an urban fantasy whose characters share the various stories and incorporates fairies along with a very gritty urban feel series. His Ottawa and the Valley is more of a shared universe of standalone stories about the fae and humans.
Kevin Hearne‘s The Iron Druid Chronicles is an urban fantasy which finds the last druid in the world on the verge of running and evading evil fairies and pantheons of gods and goddesses along with his lovable sentient dog.
Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill‘s Bedlam’s Bard is an urban fantasy which combines the fae with music and NYC. (Ellen Guon collaborated on one of the stories.) I absolutely adore this. It’s a part of the Elves on the Road Universe which also includes Lackey and Larry Dixon’s collaboration (other stories are written with Mark Shepherd and Holly Lisle) SERRated Edge, an urban fantasy about “hot cars, fast elves, and rock-n-roll with three runaways who are in serious trouble” (it’s not the best written, but it is entertaining). Bedlam’s Bard is of one the series on my buy list along with Bardic Voices, which is also about music but more of a true fantasy in that it has a ye olde worlde feel. Her collaboration with Roberta Gellis on Doubled Edge involves the elves but is more of an historical series.
Seanan Maguire‘s October Daye is an urban fantasy which revolves around Toby Daye, a confused human/fairy (she thinks), and fairies in San Francisco. Another pip.
Melissa Marr‘s Wicked Lovely twists this tale of the fae, giving it a gritty feel with a Summer King torn between duty and love. Mostly good with a couple of iffy installments with uneven writing.
Richelle Mead‘s Dark Swan involves the fae and warring factions. An urban fantasy based in Tucson, Arizona.
George R.R. Martin‘s A Song of Ice and Fire is a vicious, warring time set in a medievalish time with betrayal on every side.
Karen Marie Moning‘s Fever is an urban fantasy set in Dublin, Ireland and revolving around Mac and Baron. Her Dani O’Malley urban fantasy series is for YA and is a spin-off from Fever revolving around a young witch Mac met.
Allison Pang‘s Abby Sinclair is annoying, but I still keep reading it for some reason. Pang does have an interesting take on the fae with Touchstones, etc. It’s an urban fantasy with werewolves, demons, succubi, vampires, elves, and artists of all kinds.
L.A. Weatherly‘s Shadow Reader finds a young college student pulled into the fae world when they learn she can read their shadows.
C.L. Wilson‘s Tairen Soul is a medievalish tale with a touch of the Cinderella and the worshipped fae and their struggle against evil. This is a pip of a tragic romance that will leave you praying and crying.
Fairies – YA
Julie Kagawa‘s The Iron Fey is an urban fantasy about fairies and adapting to humans’ love for technology. Call of the Forgotten is a spin-off within her Iron Fey world and features Meghan’s brother, Ethan.
Mercedes Lackey and Andre Norton‘s Halfblood Chronicles follows the adventures of a halfblood elf whom prophesies say will rescue the elves.
Fairy Tale Variations
Jasper Fforde‘s Nursery Crimes finds Inspector Jack Spratt, head of the Nursery Crime Division, tumbling into the seedy underbelly of nursery crime. Yep, it’ll be Humpty Dumpty, the three bears, and who knows what characters will fall down the hill into…murder!
Simon R. Green indulges in hysterically funny satire of fairy tale tropes in this start to his The Forest Kingdom series. I’m dying to get hold of the next in the series as I think it jumps centuries ahead, and I want to know how Green accomplishes this!
NEW Patricia McKillip is an author of whom everyone should read at least, at least one of her books. Her descriptions are jewels that drip from her pen. Her paragraphs are not always understandable, but…oh, là…her words!! An easier approach, but without the “jewels” *grin* is her Quest of the Riddlemaster series, which is rather epic-ish.
NEW Elizabeth Reeves‘ Cindy Eller is a cozy romance as we follow the witchy magical baker through her life.
Fairy Tale Variations – Middle-Grade Readers
NEW Soman Chainani‘s The School for Good and Evil incorporates magic and King Arthur at a boarding school.
Cornelia Funke‘s Inkworld is a terrible urban fantasy involving magic. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but watch the movie instead.
Ridley Pearson‘s Kingdom Keepers is an urban fantasy and finds five high school students battling evil characters at Disney World in Florida. It’s cute. Although the characters are in high school, it’s very appropriate for kids. They’ll love the Disney aspect of it. His collaboration with Dave Barry in NEW Peter and the Starcatchers takes a different perspective on Peter Pan.
Fairy Tale Variations – YA
Mary Brown‘s Pigs Don’t Fly flies in variations on fairy tales and moral tales as its characters have great adventures.
Alex Flinn‘s Kendra Chronicles is a paranormal romance for YA. I’ve only read the first story, and it did a twist on the Beauty and the Beast fairytale.
Mercedes Lackey‘s Fairy Tales takes on the fairytales I grew up on and gives them that rich Lackey twist. It’s very different from another fairytale series she’s writing, 500 Kingdoms, as this one twists on the “story” requirement of godmothers and expectations. It rather reminds me of Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series.
Funny / Comics
G.A. Aiken‘s Dragon Kin is not particularly well written, but it IS omigod hysterically funny with Aiken promoting the dragon point of view. As whiny as I get about an author’s writing, I
would buy bought this series. It’s a go-to read when life is miserable… (Aiken is a pseudonym for Shelly Laurenston.) A paranormal romance set in a fantasy world.
Amber Benson‘s Calliope Reaper-Jones seems to be a funny urban fantasy about a female grim reaper who inherits the family business.
Robert J. Crane‘s The Girl in the Box is about superheroes battling supervillains. I’ve only read one short story, and it was pretty dramatic.
MaryJanice Davidson‘s Undead (my personal pref for a series title is Queen Betsy) is an urban fantasy about a fashion-obsessed ditz, Betsy, who becomes Queen of the Vampires in Minneapolis. Betsy does drive me crazy with her whining, but Sinclair is hot. Somehow her Wyndham Werewolf series ties in. Davidson’s Fred the Mermaid is an urban fantasy about a marine biologist who is half mermaid.
Carole Nelson Douglas is trying a comic turn in Vegas with Delilah Street, Paranormal Investigator, a paranormal fantasy involving werewolves, vampires, and CinSims.
Jennifer Estep‘s Bigtime is a comic turn about superheroes. A paranormal romance in the city of Bigtime.
Janet Evanovich‘s Lizzy & Diesel is an urban fantasy simply because it does involve magic. I had hopes that this would be as enjoyable as the Diesel shorts in Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, but no cigar.
Angie Fox‘s Demon Slayer is a funny paranormal romance, but the characters make me nuts.
Yasmine Galenorn‘s Otherworld/Sisters of the Moon is a paranormal fantasy based in Seattle involving fairies, vampires, shapeshifters, dragons, demons, incubi, gods and goddesses, sprites, leprechauns, necromancers, etc. and can be very irritating and funny. I do adore her characters! Her Indigo Court series started out well, but went downhill after the third story. It’s an interesting look at a new vampire species that revolves around two young cousins who come from a magical family and must do battle against them. Galenorn is consistent in being a very uneven writer with some stories well-written and others leaving you wondering who let this get into print.
Lexi George‘s Demon Hunting was really funny, really embarrassing, and contained most every cliché about the Deep South you can imagine.
Molly Harper has a more suburban humor with Jane Jameson becoming a book-loving vampire with the family from hell. An urban fantasy. Half Moon Hollow is a spin-off from Jane Jameson. Naked Werewolf, a paranormal romance series, based in Alaska with shapeshifting werewolves is cute as well.
Julie Kenner‘s Superhero Central is practically a comic book gone text. A paranormal romance.
Caitlin Kittredge and Jackie Kessler‘s Icarus Project is a rather gloomy paranormal fantasy written comics-style with superheroes in Chicago.
Seanan McGuire‘s Incryptid is much too funny revolving around a human who gets around New York City via parkour with a self-imposed task to protect the supernaturals. I just adore the Aeslin mice and their religious practices. An urban fantasy. A sort-of spin-off from Incryptid is the sad tale of a family member Rose Marshall in NEW Ghost Stories.
Erin McCarthy‘s Vegas Vampires is a paranormal romance which combines the normal with vampires and a touch of the Mob in Las Vegas.
Nicole Peeler‘s Jane True finds a misfit girl finally learning who/what she is…and that being a misfit was so much safer. An urban fantasy based in Rockabilly, Maine, with creatures of the fae, vampire-like beings, and gods.
Stephanie Rowe‘s Immortally Sexy does a comic take-off on male-female relationships involving witches, supernaturals, and Death.
Linda Wisdom‘s Jazz Tremaine, a.k.a., Hex, a paranormal romance, will find you laughing with a naughty witch dating a vampire…because I say so, damn it! It does go on to include fellow witches, shapeshifters, and more.
Funny / Comics – Middle Grade
John Connolly‘s Samuel Johnson vs. the Devil is too, too funny. It’s the book(s) you want to pick up when you need a good laugh as young Samuel and his dog, Bosworth, battle the devil with the help of criminally-oriented dwarves, beer-sipping demons, stoic policeman, supportive friends, and a long-suffering mum, amongst others.
NEW Kim Donovan‘s St. Viper’s School for Super Villains is a comic mix-up of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps and Roald Dahl that twists on bad guys who are…sort of good guys. A whole different perspective, lol.
Stacia Kane‘s Downside Ghosts features a junkie-exorcist and ghosts in an alternate world in which religion rules. A gritty urban fantasy.
Dean Koontz‘s Odd Thomas is more of a horror lite in this paranormal thriller revolving around a boy christened Odd with whom the dead communicate. In some ways, he becomes their agent, finding closure for them. The series has ended.
Ghosts – YA
Darynda Jones‘ new YA urban fantasy series, Darklight, is about a sophomore who has just discovered she’s a long-awaited prophet. With a reaper as her companion. I just finished the first book in this, and I doubt I’ll be reading the second.
Jeri Smith-Ready‘s Shade is a threesome conflict between the dead Logan and the gorgeous, living Zachary. And Aura needs both to learn about her past and future.
Jenn Bennett‘s Roaring Twenties introduces us to the Magnussons who encounter all sorts of supernatural problems during Prohibition in the 1920s in San Francisco.
Jaid Black‘s Vikings Underground uses an intriguing twist on Viking history (set in modern days) as an excuse to write erotic stories. I love the idea, but the writing is juvenile. I beg, plead, whine for Black to get an editor. Please god!
Jim Butcher‘s Codex Alera combines Ancient Rome with magic.
Kristen Callihan‘s Darkest London is a paranormal romance involving demons, vampires, werewolves, and magic revolving around three sisters in Victorian London.
Orson Scott Card‘s Tales of Alvin Maker is folksy philosophy in its exploration of magic revising frontier history with Gifts.
P.N. Elrod has a great 1920s series about vampires and the Mob in Chicago, Vampire Files: Jack Fleming. An historical urban fantasy. Jonathan Barrett, Gentleman Vampire is an urban fantasy set in colonial days about another vampire whose life has an effect on Jack’s future.
Colleen Gleason‘s Gardella Vampire Chronicles is about a rather repressive vampire society. It’s an urban fantasy based in London. And not a series I could get into.
Emma Holly‘s Midnight, a.k.a., the FitzClare Chronicles, “follows” various upyrs (vampires) and ranges from medieval to current-day. It seems to bunch up in fits and starts with the early part of the series hanging together and the closer the stories come to modern times, they more separate they become. Although, some of them do hang together in twos and threes. Your best bet is to read them in order.
Lynn Kurland has two cozy historical paranormal romances that involve time travel and ghosts: De Piaget and MacLeod. Both share characters, and I would recommend reading it chronologically as all the time travel can make things very confusing. Her Nine Kingdoms is strictly fantasy with a history-like atmosphere.
Mercedes Lackey‘s Elemental Masters is a cozy paranormal fantasy set in Victorian times while her Doubled Edge (part of the Elves on the Road Universe) is an urban fantasy with a different take on how Queen Elizabeth I ascended her throne…with the help of the fae. Her Heirs of Alexandria, written with Eric Flint and Dave Freer, is a fantasy twist on Venetian history.
Stephen R. Lawhead‘s The Song of Albion is a Christian fantasy that incorporates Celtic mythology with lots of violence that goes back in time to a world being torn apart. Lawhead’s The Dragon King follows the “adventures of Quentin, the young temple acolyte as he battles against the evil medieval realm of the Dragon King”.
Karen Marie Moning‘s Highlander is an historical paranormal romance, obviously set in Scotland, and has some sort of tie-in with her Fever series. The writing is incredibly uneven; you’d never believe this is the same author who wrote the Fever series.
Lucy Monroe‘s Children of the Moon is set in Scotland and is an historical paranormal romance with werewolves.
NEW Naomi Novik‘s Temeraire finds Captain Laurence in partnership with Temeraire, a dragon who knows his own mind in this alternate world war against Napoleon.
Kate Pearce‘s The Tudor Vampire Chronicles finds vampires taking over the Court of Henry VIII with plots and counterplots between vampires and humans, humans and humans, and vampire killers tossed in with them all.
Ronda Thompson‘s Wild Wulfs of London was good. Another historical romance with wolves.
Historical – Young Adult
I’m not sure how I managed to miss adding Mercedes Lackey‘s Valdemar and Tales of Valdemar anthologies to this list. There are tons of books, but don’t be daunted by that. They’re well worth reading if you like fantasy. They are excellent for your kids as they brim over with honor, loyalty, friendship, and girls get as much attention as the boys! I’m not sure where to categorize her Dragon Jousters. I’m considering it an historical simply because it involves knights and jousting…a’dragonback. Not one of her best, but enjoyable. Then there’s her overall Obsidian Universe series written with James Mallory. It’s actually three trilogies: Obsidian Mountain, Enduring Flame, and The Dragon Prophecy. It’s a more intellectual read than her other books and very good. It’s one of those that lingers in the back of my mind. You must read these in order or it gets very confusing, and I must warn you that the third trilogy is only one book long so far and is actually a prequel to Obsidian Mountain.
Historical – Middle-Grade Readers
John Flanagan‘s Ranger’s Apprentice is a series which follows a young man through a series of adventures as he learns to become a royal ranger policing the kingdom. There’s an offshoot series from Ranger’s Apprentice, the Brotherband Chronicles, which follows a young group of misfit Viking boys who are determined to retrieve their honor. Both series take place in a fantasy past that incorporates aspects of our own world. Excellent, excellent stories with good models for kids.
Tamora Pierce‘s overall Tortall Universe has a number of subseries. It starts with:
- Beka Cooper precedes them all by at least 100 years with a young girl who has joined the Provost Guard in Corus, the capital city of Tortall. She’s an asset with her abilities to to pass in the tougher neighborhoods and to listen to the words of the dead.
- Protector of the Small when Keladry tests the decree that females can train for knighthood.
- Heartened by Kel’s experiences and desperate to avoid a girl’s fate, Alanna of Trebond is determined to become a knight in Song of the Lioness.
- The Immortals is a side step in the Tortall Universe in which we meet Daine with her magical knack with animals.
- When Alanna’s daughter, Aly, reaches teenhood, an argument with her parents finds her running away in Daughter of the Lioness, and she learns to appreciate what she had (more YA than children’s). I think of it as a simpler Valdemar. Parents will love the values promoted in this.
As for Tamora Pierce’s Emelan Universe currently has three subseries within it (Pierce is still writing it):
- The Circle of Magic
- The Circle Opens
- The Circle Reforged
Rachel Caine‘s Revivalist horror fantasy series is seriously creepy with a disgusting scientific experiment run amuck and revolving around a revived funeral home director.
Julie Kenner‘s Codebreaker Trilogy is about an online RPG. A paranormal romance.
Dean Koontz‘s Odd Thomas is more of a horror lite in this urban fantasy revolving around a boy christened Odd with whom the dead communicate. In some ways, he becomes their agent finding closure for them.
Jesse Petersen‘s Monstrosity is more chick lit mystery than horror with its monsters meeting for their monsters anonymous meeting. It’s a crack-up as you read through monster issues.
S.M. Stirling‘s Shadowspawn is all about vampires who secretly run our world, and it is horrifying!! Compelling to read with a very definite twist on incredibly cruel families at odds with each other.
Manly Wade Wellman‘s Silver John is a folksy fantasy series that finds Silver John, a paranormal troubleshooter, vanquishing evil wherever he roams.
Horror – Middle-Grade Readers
NEW David Lubar‘s Weenies is a series of short stories with hilarious monster encounters.
Horror – YA
Kelley Armstrong‘s Age of Legends is a Young Adult series of betrayal and horror as two girls attempt to hold together against trouble within the empire and supernatural beings. I was very unimpressed with the first book in this series, and I doubt I’ll make any effort to read the next one when it’s released. Armstrong has created an interesting twist on the guardian idea, and it could be an interesting story, but there were too many stupid tropes running amuck.
I couldn’t figure out where to categorize them…
Anne Aguirre‘s Corine Solomon is about a woman Gifted with psychometry. An urban fantasy set in the Southwest and Mexico that has been completed.
Kresley Cole is kinda out there with her paranormal romance, Immortals After Dark. Sort of a cross between Gena Showalter and J.R. Ward.
Erin McCarthy‘s Seven Deadly Sins is fun. Each one seems to be a standalone, making it a paranormal romance, I guess. I’m thinking they’re supposed to explore sin, but only the first one made any sense in that respect for me.
NEW Patricia McKillip‘s Winter Rose is a very grown-up tale that includes romance.
Romance – YA
Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory‘s One Dozen Daughters is about pirates and young women making their way in the world. The series is only one book long so far. As the series name suggests, I suspect eleven more are planned. The first, The House of the Four Winds, is a good story for young women to read as it reinforces the idea that they can do anything.
Rachel Vincent‘s Soul Screamers revolves around Kaylee Cavanaugh, a banshee in high school, who is obsessed with her boyfriend, Nash. It doesn’t prevent “adventures” happening all around her. Something of a combination of urban fantasy and paranormal romance.
Yvonne Woon‘s Dead Beautiful is a young adult paranormal romance.
NEW Piers Anthony‘s Xanth is too, too funny as Anthony rips and plays with words.
NEW Sir Terry Pratchett‘s Discworld is a total crack-up. He would definitely be with whom someone I’d love to have had dinner, although I wouldn’t have been able to keep up, lol.
Keri Arthur‘s Myth & Magic involves dragons in San Francisco. Riley Jenson Guardian is an urban fantasy based in Melbourne, Australia with a female wolfshifter as the protagonist. She works for the supernatural powers-that-be; Dark Angels follows it and features Riley’s “niece”, part-shifter, part-Aedh. Another urban fantasy, but not as good as Riley Jenson.
Jennifer Ashley‘s Shifters Unbound is something of a cozy paranormal romance. Oh, it has all the issues in its storylines that worry shifters, but in the one short story I read, it seems as though family is very important in this anti-shifter-obsessed world. I’m looking forward to starting at the beginning — and getting comfy.
Patricia Briggs‘ Alpha & Omega is about werewolves and their work at fitting in and policing themselves and it tends to intertwine with the Mercy Thompson series about a Volkswagen mechanic who is a skinwalker. I’d definitely call them both paranormal fantasies. Really excellent, and I’ve bought them all.
Jaci Burton‘s Devlin Dynasty is a paranormal romance revolving around the Devlin family of werewolves. It’s politics, power, and sometimes erotic romance.
Karen Chance‘s Lia de Croissets consists of three short stories so far that combines witches and shapeshifters: 1) Wolfsbane and Mistletoe: “Rogue Elements, 2) Strange Brew: “Vegas Odds”, and 3) Inked: “Skin Deep”. I’ve recently learned that they are actually a spin-off of Chance’s Cassandra Palmer series, but in the CP series’ future.
MaryJanice Davidson‘s Wyndham Werewolves connects occasionally with Davidson’s Undead series. It’s a paranormal romance.
NEW Charles de Lint‘s Wildlings is a paranormal horror as an infection spreads through teens, changing them.
Glen Duncan‘s The Last Werewolf could also be considered a horror paranormal series as an enforcement organization is eliminating every last werewolf on the planet. I’ve only read the first book, and it was quite philosophical with the action beginning about a third of the way in.
Donna Grant‘s Dark Kings is a series about dragonshifters in Scotland and a spin-off series from the Dark Warriors Series and Dark Sword Series. They’re a cautious, suspicious bunch after a woman betrayed them millennia ago, but a war that is not their own is forcing them into action…and love.
Thea Harrison‘s Elder Races focuses on dragons and includes fairies, griffins, a thunderbird, and more. It reminds me of Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series. A paranormal romance based in New York City.
Allyson James‘ Stormwalker is actually about a Dine woman who can manipulate weather but her boyfriend is a dragon. A paranormal fantasy set in New Mexico. I’d never believe she could write something like Dragon.
Sherrilyn Kenyon‘s Dark-Hunterverse incorporates a number of series: Dark-Hunter starts well and gets a bit same-same after awhile and is generally based in New Orleans; then there’s her Dream-Hunter series which focuses more on the gods and dreams although it shares characters between them; the Were-Hunter subseries; and, the Hellchaser offshoot. All are paranormal romances with a lot of sex. She’s currently veering of into Native American mythology; I think she’s getting bored. Her Chronicles of Nick runs parallel with these and provides a backstory on Nick, Ash’s human friend. This one is an urban fantasy. Supposedly, Lords of Avalon is another subseries within the Dark-Hunterverse, but it’s about King Arthur.
Marjorie M. Liu‘s Dirk & Steele, a paranormal romance, is a conflict between three related organizations and the shapeshifters who work for or are experimented on by them.
Katie MacAlister‘s various dragon series — the Dragon Septs interconnect, starting with Aisling Grey: Guardian (Green Dragons), sliding into Silver Dragons, and then into Light Dragons. They are funny, but the female protagonists are so stupid that I stopped reading them.
Nalini Singh‘s Psy-Changeling is a paranormal romance set in an alternate world where psychic people have essentially taken over the world and the shifters are fighting for equality. Based in Northern California and San Francisco. Another excellent series.
Vicki Lewis Thompson‘s Wild About You is a series of sweet paranormal romances revolving around the Wallace Pack of werewolves.
Carrie Vaughn‘s Kitty Norville is about a radio talk show host and her “Midnight Hour” in which she answers and commiserates with fellow supernaturals. A paranormal fantasy based in Denver, Colorado, and involving vampires, witches, and, naturally, werewolves.
Rachel Vincent‘s Shifters is about a spoiled, “rich” girl and the werecat pack. An urban fantasy. I could only get three books in before the female protagonist drove me too nuts for how stupid she was.
Rebecca York‘s Moon is about werewolves and the first two books were great. It’s been a steady downhill in the writing quality ever since. I’ve struck her out of my TBR pile.
Shapeshifters – Middle Grade
Shannon Delany‘s 13 to Life is a cute paranormal fantasy and incorporates a young teen and an orphaned family of teen werewolves.
Jennifer Donnelly‘s Waterfire Saga is a tale of betrayal and war as mermaids struggle to save their world. There are some odd bits here and there, but in general, it’s an adventurous tale that kids will enjoy.
George Hagen‘s Gabriel Finley and the Raven’s Riddle is a story I recently read, and the way in which Hagen ended it makes me suspect he plans a series. At least I hope he does. It’s a fun story with a bit of a challenge in the riddles with young Gabriel searching for his missing father with the help of a “shapeshifting” raven.
Shapeshifters – YA
NEW Nichole Chase‘s Flukes is a sweet romance with mermaids at a dolphin sanctuary.
Andrea Cremer‘s Nightshade is a werewolf Romeo and Juliet. A YA urban fantasy, I’m not impressed.
Chloe Neill‘s Dark Elite is a paranormal fantasy about magic and shapeshifters at a boarding school in Chicago. It’s very similar to her Chicagoland Vampires.
Erica Hayes‘ Shadowfae Chronicles appears to be a very gritty situation in which everyone is bad and a different female supe is searching for a way out. I’ve only read one short story which I found fascinating. Paranormal romance.
Charlie Huston‘s Joe Pitt is a good-hearted vampire who continues his enforcer career in NYC.
Larissa Ione‘s Demonica has a unique twist with its Underground Demon General hospital located under New York City. Who knew? There are good demons out there…! Lords of Deliverance sort of carries on from there but revolves around the Four Horsemen, well, Three Horsemen and One Horsewoman, of the Apocalypse. Each horseman is finding the love of their life while battling demons trying to make them go bad and bring about the end of the world. Both are paranormal romances.
Julie Kenner‘s The Blood Lily Chronicles finds a girl turning assassin for what she thinks are the forces of good.
Caitlin Kittredge‘s Black London involves Jack Winter, a crow mage who sees the dead—overwhelmingly. So he takes refuge in heroin to block it out. When Pete comes back into his life, she forces him to go cold turkey and now they have a private investigator gig going on ousting the supernaturals. An urban fantasy based in London. I can’t get excited about her Nocturne City where a homicide detective tries to solve murders amongst the werewolves, black magicians and witches while living life as a werewolf.
Rob Thurman‘s Cal Leandros has a part demon protagonist with a human partner/brother who usually end up partnering with Robin Goodfellow. Funny and gritty. Her Trickster series revolves around Las Vegas bar owner, Trixa Iktomi, who deals in information. And in a city where unholy creatures roam the neon night, information can mean life or death. Not that she has anything personal against demons. They can be sexy as hell, and they’re great for getting the latest gossip. But they also steal human souls and thrive on chaos. So occasionally Trixa and her friends have to teach them manners. d, is also gritty but more about psychic powers. It reads a lot like a Cal Leandros story as it involves two brothers except that they’re trying to escape a mad scientist-type eager to experiment on the younger brother. All three are urban fantasies.
Shiloh Walker‘s Rafferty—I think belongs here. I first knew it as Fragile.
J.R. Ward‘s The Black Dagger Brotherhood is yet another twist on vampires. I just love the dialog between the boys! Ward has a good voice for it.
I know, this is kind of a hold-all for the series I couldn’t figure out somewhere else for…
Anya Bast‘s Embraced urban fantasy series. Okay, I’ve read at least the initial story in three different series by this author. She’s terrible. Borrow it from the library if you must read a Bast; don’t waste your money. Of course, I feel that way about Gena Showalter as well, so take my opinion with a grain of salt!
Karen Chance‘s Cassandra Palmer is about a woman who becomes Pythia against almost everyone’s wishes. Another twist on vampire culture with time-traveling and demons. Dorina Basarab interrelates and is about a dhamphir whose father is one of the main characters in Cassandra Palmer.
Jeaniene Frost‘s Night Prince is a spin-off from her Night Huntress series and features Vlad. An urban fantasy. The first book was incredible; the second was a dog.
Claudia Gray‘s Evernight is about vampires in a boarding school. I’ve only read a short story, and it was intriguing.
Charlaine Harris‘ Sookie Stackhouse is a soap opera urban fantasy of a drama with vampires, shapeshifters, and fairies revolving around a woman psychic who works in a bar. It’s currently on HBO as True Blood. Based in Louisiana.
Larissa Ione‘s newest series, MoonBound Clan Vampires, has an interesting twist on the vampire, but the first book is so badly written, it’s hard to believe it’s an Ione.
Alexandra Ivy‘s Guardians of Eternity is a paranormal romance based in Chicago and has a different twist on vampires.
Piper Maitland‘s Acquainted with the Night is an urban fantasy revolving around a newly discovered dhampir who’s clueless about her new role. I wasn’t impressed with this first book and doubt I’ll go any further with it.
Devin Morgan‘s Infinity Diaries Trilogy is an intriguing (I do like that word, don’t I…?) twist on vampires with this psychological exploration of a young man possessed.
Anne Rice‘s Vampire Chronicles that began with Louis and progressed to Lestat.
L.J. Smith has a number of series about vampires and it’s been so long since I’ve read them that I’m not sure where to stick ’em: Wildworld, Vampire Diaries (the series info page on Goodreads has a list of four other series associated with this one), Night World, The Forbidden Game, and Dark Visions.
Kerrelyn Sparks‘ Love at Stake is mostly about vampires in this paranormal romance with the occasional shapeshifter story thrown in.
Susan Squires‘ Companion is a paranormal romance that twists the concept of vampires.
Vampires – Middle-Grade Readers
James Howe‘s Bunnicula is for kids and sees life from the dogs and cat’s point of view. With the cat terrified of the vampire bunny!!! Very funny. Tales from the House of Bunnicula are written from Howie’s POV (he’s the dachshund puppy). There’s also Bunnicula and Friends and Harold and Chester which seems to focus on holidays. Why they couldn’t simply keep to the one series, I don’t know.
Vampires – YA
Rachel Caine‘s Morganville Vampires is an urban fantasy about four roommates in a vampire-controlled college town. I love this series, very creative, and I’m so sad that Caine finished it.
Lucienne Diver‘s Vamped is an urban fantasy about students battling against a vampire takeover. Lots of shopping and clothes.
Susan Griffith and Clay Griffith‘s Vampire Empire Trilogy is an intriguing vampire-military romance in an apocalyptic world. An urban fantasy for YA readers.
Julie Kenner‘s Beth Frasier is sort of funny, but mostly annoying about a high school girl turned into a vampire. Very high school-y. Would probably appeal to young teen girls.
Richelle Mead‘s Vampire Academy is a boarding school urban fantasy revolving around Rose Hathaway, a half-vampire bodyguard for a vampire princess; her new series, Bloodlines, branches off from VA following Sydney Sage, an uptight human guardian against the vampires, who is conflicted with what she learns about vampires and the lies she’s grown up with. An intriguing and annoying urban fantasy.
Stephenie Meyer‘s Twilight is an urban fantasy about vampires and shifters.
Chloe Neill‘s Chicagoland Vampires is an urban fantasy also set at a boarding house, albeit in a mansion, in Chicago. Yeah, I know Chicagoland Vampires claims to be for an adult audience.
Lili St. Crow‘s Strange Angels is another boarding school and vampire urban fantasy twist. I hated the protagonist…
Witches & Wizards
Kelley Armstrong‘s Women of the Otherworld includes psychics as well as wolves, vampires, witches, and sorcerers. An excellent series that I can’t figure out if it’s an urban fantasy or a paranormal romance as everyone is so entwined. This series has finished.
Emily Croy Barker‘s The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic has just got to be the first in a series…*fingers crossed* I simply enjoyed Barker’s interpretation of the fae, magic, and an alternate world too much! It starts out very like Deborah Harkness’ All Souls series.
Anya Bast‘s Elemental Witches is an urban fantasy.
Jenn Bennett‘s Arcadia Bell has an amazing introduction to this series about a mage, Arcadia Bell, who is hiding out from assassins who are after her parents. The series is set in California and includes demons.
Jim Butcher‘s The Dresden Files, a paranormal fantasy, features Harry Dresden as a rogue-type wizard in Chicago battling different groups of vampires, fairies, witches and wizards, and monsters. Another favorite.
Karina Cooper‘s Dark Mission takes place in an apocalyptic Seattle with a witch on the run and hunted by the Church.
Deborah Harkness‘ All Souls Trilogy is a rich combination of history, time travel, vampires, witches, and scholarship. I love it. The series is now complete. Dang it.
Benedict Jacka‘s Alex Verus is an urban fantasy set in modern-day London about an independent mage who has found the bad on both sides of magic. I am enjoying it, even if does seem to be cliché as Jacka combines the clichéd in such interesting ways.
Adrian Phoenix‘s Hoodoo is an urban fantasy set in the bayous of Louisiana and involve a Cajun hoodoo apprentice and her family and friends. I’m enjoying this with the twisty tweaks Phoenix has given her characters.
Kalayna Price‘s Alex Craft is an urban fantasy about a witch who communicates with the dead. It’s a very interesting twist on magic and the fae, and Price has introduced weaknesses that affect Alex badly. I’m enjoying this series very much.
Nora Roberts‘ The Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy finds a family split apart over the centuries only to come back together in our time to battle a dread mage. Interesting twist and a lovely setting in Ireland for these three cousins.
Witches & Wizards – Middle-Grade Readers
Skye Obert‘s Pillage is an interesting concept, but I found it poorly written. A kid’s urban fantasy.
J.K. Rowling‘s Harry Potters!!!!
NEW Angie Sage‘s Septimus Heap series is excellent, although you really want to read the first two to three books rather quickly, as things are tricky in young Septimus’ life.
Witches & Wizards – YA
Kelley Armstrong‘s Darkest Powers finds teens on the run from a evil corporation intent on imprisoning them and conducting experiments. The sequel series to Darkest Powers is Darkness Rising and both have a slight link to her Women of the Otherworld. Darkness Rising finds a small group of children on the run when their company is destroyed while they’re out in the woods. It’s good on its own, and even more interesting when you pick up the clues that pull in the Cabals.
Mira Grant‘s Newsflesh Trilogy is an paranormal fantasy/horror series that combines the low and the high-tech with Irwins poking at zombies and the bloggers who broadcast the fun in a brand new world of horror.
Rachel Caine‘s mini urban fantasy series —hey, I call it a series if there is more than one tale about the same characters!—that I’ve titled “Holly and Andy” after the two protagonists who keep appearing in these shorts: 1) Strange Brew: Death Warmed Over; 2) Hex Appeal: Holly’s Balm; and, 3) Kicking It: “Forked Tongues” about a witch PI and her lover, a revived zombie-witch-gunslinger from the Old West.
Diana Rowland‘s White Trash Zombie is funny, scummy, and hopeful with a young lady who learns she can do anything she wants from getting a job, a G.E.D. to a boyfriend. A decent boyfriend!
Zombies – YA
Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill‘s Dead Reckoning is only one story in the steampunk tradition (and I’m hoping it will become a series). It finds a odd collection of characters battling zombies in the Old West.