Fantasy, Urban Fantasy + Paranormal Romance Recommendations
Cainsville is a finished series of five novels and some novellas to boot. I only read Omens, and it was one of my absolute favorite fantasy novels that I’ve ever read. Pitch perfect. Someday I’ll finish the series. 5 Star Amazingness!
Twenty-four-year-old Olivia Taylor Jones has the perfect life. The only daughter of a wealthy, prominent Chicago family, she has an Ivy League education, pursues volunteerism and philanthropy, and is engaged to a handsome young tech firm CEO with political ambitions.
But Olivia’s world is shattered when she learns that she’s adopted. Her real parents? Todd and Pamela Larsen, notorious serial killers serving a life sentence. When the news brings a maelstrom of unwanted publicity to her adopted family and fiancé, Olivia decides to find out the truth about the Larsens.
Olivia ends up in the small town of Cainsville, Illinois, an old and cloistered community that takes a particular interest in both Olivia and her efforts to uncover her birth parents’ past.
Aided by her mother’s former lawyer, Gabriel Walsh, Olivia focuses on the Larsens’ last crime, the one her birth mother swears will prove their innocence. But as she and Gabriel start investigating the case, Olivia finds herself drawing on abilities that have remained hidden since her childhood, gifts that make her both a valuable addition to Cainsville and deeply vulnerable to unknown enemies. Because there are darker secrets behind her new home and powers lurking in the shadows that have their own plans for her.
The Hollows is one of the absolute best in the game – Kim Harrison is amaze and her character Rachel Morgan is the bees knees, there is nothing to not love about this entire 17+ book series. Get ready to binge-read! In my top ten favorite series of all time, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve re-read them all!
Witches, Vampires, Demons, Elves, Post-Apocalyptic World-building, and SOOOOO much MORE!
The first book in #1 New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison’s Hollows series!
All the creatures of the night gather in “the Hollows” of Cincinnati, to hide, to prowl, to party . . . and to feed.
Vampires rule the darkness in a predator-eat-predator world rife with dangers beyond imagining—and it’s Rachel Morgan’s job to keep that world civilized.
A bounty hunter and a witch with serious sex appeal and an attitude, she’ll bring ’em back alive, dead . . . or undead.
Kate Daniels is a classic for a reason. Fantasy, epic world-building with unique magical properties, romance, spice, action, found family – it’s everything an amazing series should contain and so much more. Finished with spin-offs, and novellas. I’ve read this series too many times to count, at this point, it’s pure comfort.
Ilona Andrews invites you to experience the first novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling series featuring the intriguing fantasy world of mercenary Kate Daniels…
When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it arose, leaving all kinds of paranormal problems in its wake.
Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up these magical problems. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta’s magic circles.
The Masters of the Dead, necromancers who can control vampires, and the Pack, a paramilitary clan of shapechangers, blame each other for a series of bizarre killings—and the death of Kate’s guardian may be part of the same mystery. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she’s way out of her league—but she wouldn’t have it any other way…
More awesomeness from Ilona Andrews. The Edge series still has that magical world-building similar to Kate Daniels but this series is much more driven by romance and the romance is oh, so good. Great finished series.
Synopsis Book One, On the Edge:
Rose Drayton lives on the Edge, between the world of the Broken (where people drive cars, shop at Wal-Mart, and magic is a fairy tale) and the Weird (where blueblood aristocrats rule, changelings roam, and the strength of your magic can change your destiny). Only Edgers like Rose can easily travel from one world to the next, but they never truly belong in either.
Rose thought if she practiced her magic, she could build a better life for herself. But things didn’t turn out how she planned, and now she works a minimum wage, off the books job in the Broken just to survive. Then Declan Camarine, a blueblood noble straight out of the deepest part of the Weird, comes into her life, determined to have her (and her power).
But when a terrible danger invades the Edge from the Weird, a flood of creatures hungry for magic, Declan and Rose must work together to destroy them—or they’ll devour the Edge and everyone in it.
One of my favorite books of 2023, a romantasy filled with tension and of course some possible reverse harem.
Absolutely adore this novel. . .read my review >HERE<
Their games will change her. Their love will ruin her.
Lonnie Skyeborne is a human servant bound to the immortal court, until a cruel fairy tricks her into killing the High Fae King…and she finds herself next in line for the throne.
But in the kingdom of Elsewhere, the heir to the throne must defend their crown in the Wilde Hunts: A series of deadly trials where anyone may hunt down the new queen without consequence.
To survive her coronation, Lonnie must bargain with the ruthless fae princes she just dethroned. Prince Scion is arrogant, violent, and guards his own dark agenda. His cousin, Prince Bael, makes no secret of how much he hates Lonnie…but wants to strike a sinfully tempting deal.
Every full moon, the mortal queen fights for her life…all other nights, she guards her heart.
Masterful. Fantasy/Urban Fantasy that is the best of the best. Superbly crafted and written.
Don’t let the covers fool you though, the spice is fade-to-black but the relationships. . .*chef’s kiss*
Mercedes Thompson, aka Mercy, is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy’s next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she’s fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy’s connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water…
“Mine,” he said.
Adam’s eyes narrowed. “I don’t think so. She is mine.”
It would have been flattering, I thought, except that at least one of them was talking about dinner and I wasn’t certain about the other.
Moon Called, Patricia Briggs
Spin-off of the Mercy Thompson series that plays by the same rules and is just as pitch-perfect as its predecessor.
Anna never knew werewolves existed, until the night she survived a violent attack… and became one herself. After three years at the bottom of the pack, she’d learned to keep her head down and never, ever trust dominant males. Then Charles Cornick, the enforcer—and son—of the leader of the North American werewolves, came into her life.
Charles insists that not only is Anna his mate, but she is also a rare and valued Omega wolf. And it is Anna’s inner strength and calming presence that will prove invaluable as she and Charles go on the hunt in search of a rogue werewolf—a creature bound in magic so dark that it could threaten all of the pack.
It is recommended you read the prequel “Alpha & Omega” before reading Cry Wolf.
“She wondered that hope was so much harder than despair.”
Jennifer Estep is a force to be reckoned with, I don’t know how she pens the number of novels she does and each one is just as good as the next, this trilogy is amazing and no exception to Estep’s writing prowess.
Synopsis for Kill the Queen, Book One:
Gladiator meets Game of Thrones: a royal woman becomes a skilled warrior to destroy her murderous cousin, avenge her family, and save her kingdom in this first entry in a dazzling fantasy epic from the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Elemental Assassin series—an enthralling tale that combines magic, murder, intrigue, adventure, and a hint of romance.
In a realm where one’s magical power determines one’s worth, Lady Everleigh’s lack of obvious ability relegates her to the shadows of the royal court of Bellona, a kingdom steeped in gladiator tradition. Seventeenth in line for the throne, Evie is nothing more than a ceremonial fixture, overlooked and mostly forgotten.
But dark forces are at work inside the palace. When her cousin Vasilia, the crown princess, assassinates her mother the queen and takes the throne by force, Evie is also attacked, along with the rest of the royal family. Luckily for Evie, her secret immunity to magic helps her escape the massacre.
Forced into hiding to survive, she falls in with a gladiator troupe. Though they use their talents to entertain and amuse the masses, the gladiators are actually highly trained warriors skilled in the art of war, especially Lucas Sullivan, a powerful magier with secrets of his own. Uncertain of her future—or if she even has one—Evie begins training with the troupe until she can decide her next move.
But as the bloodthirsty Vasilia exerts her power, pushing Bellona to the brink of war, Evie’s fate becomes clear: she must become a fearsome gladiator herself . . . and kill the queen.
My name is Gin, and I kill people.
They call me the Spider. I’m the most feared assassin in the South — when I’m not busy at the Pork Pit cooking up the best barbecue in Ashland. As a Stone elemental, I can hear everything from the whispers of the gravel beneath my feet to the vibrations of the soaring Appalachian Mountains above me. My Ice magic also comes in handy for making the occasional knife. But I don’t use my powers on the job unless I absolutely have to. Call it professional pride.
Now that a ruthless Air elemental has double-crossed me and killed my handler, I’m out for revenge. And I’ll exterminate anyone who gets in my way — good or bad. I may look hot, but I’m still one of the bad guys. Which is why I’m in trouble, since irresistibly rugged Detective Donovan Caine has agreed to help me. The last thing this coldhearted killer needs when I’m battling a magic more powerful than my own is a sexy distraction… especially when Donovan wants me dead just as much as the enemy.
“Sorry. I was busy talking about my feelings and killing people.”
― Jennifer Estep, Spider’s Bite
Deeply romantic fairytale for adults, these Fae arent’ like any other Fae you’ve encountered before.
I was also lucky enough to meet the Author and she is so sweet.
Once he drove back the darkness.
Once he loved with such passion his name was legend.
Once, driven wild with grief over the murder of his beloved, the majestic Fey King Rain Tairen Soul had laid waste to the world before vanishing into the Fading Lands. Now, a thousand years later, a new threat draws him back into the world—and a new love reawakens the heart he thought long dead.
Ellysetta, a woodcarver’s daughter, calls to Rain in a way no other ever had. Mysterious and magical, her soul beckons him with a compelling, seductive song—and no matter the cost, the wildness in his blood will not be denied.
As an ancient, familiar evil regains its strength, causing centuries-old alliances to crumble and threatening doom for Rain and his people… he must claim his truemate to embrace the destiny woven for them both in the mists of time.
Chicagoland Vampires is snarky, fun, awesomely written, and at its heart – has amazing characters.
I LOVE this series. Complete series with a spin-off.
They killed me. They healed me. They changed me.
Sure, the life of a graduate student wasn’t exactly glamorous, but it was Merit’s. She was doing fine until a rogue vampire attacked her. But he only got a sip before he was scared away by another bloodsucker–and this one decided the best way to save her life was to make her the walking undead.
Turns out her savior was the master vampire of Cadogan House. Now she’s traded sweating over her thesis for learning to fit in at a Hyde Park mansion full of vamps loyal to Ethan Sullivan. Of course, as a tall, green-eyed, four-hundred-year-old vampire, he has centuries’ worth of charm, but unfortunately, he expects her gratitude–and servitude.
But an inconvenient sunlight allergy and Ethan’s attitude are the least of her concerns. Someone’s still out to get her. Her initiation into Chicago’s nightlife may be the first skirmish in a war–and there will be blood.
Radiance is so romantasy, it couldn’t get more romantasy than this. Wonderfully written and plotted. Can be read as a standalone or you can continue with the series, which has three novels and some novellas.
The Prince of no value
Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined.
The noblewoman of no importance
Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light.
Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.