The best urban fantasy books with characters you’d want to have a drink with

Why am I passionate about this?

I love things that go bump in the night, and escaping into a world of magic and mayhem. As a pre-teen I moved from New York to southern California, with a thick accent. I wished I could have blended in with my fellow students as well as some of my favorite supernatural characters could with humanity. I spend time escaping into vivid realistic cities filled with the paranormal. That is, if I can’t find it in the real world. I’ve gone ghost hunting in San Diego and I wrote a scene in Walking Through Fire where hunters try to communicate with Simon only to have him turn the tables. Now, let’s go have a drink…


I wrote...

Walking Through Fire

By CJ Bahr,

Book cover of Walking Through Fire

What is my book about?

Tortured, trapped, he’d risk it all. Simon MacKay, the last Earl of Cleitmuir, was murdered two hundred years ago. Now he’s cursed to haunt his former home until he figures out who killed him and what happened to his family’s lost treasure.

Antiquities expert, Laurel Saville, leaves Chicago to visit her best friend in the romantic Scottish Highlands. When ghostly Simon saves her from a tragic fall, she pledges to help him find his family’s missing artifact. A vow hindered by treasure hunter Alex MacKenzie, a descendant of the clan that murdered Simon. Laurel risks everything to help Simon resolve the issues keeping him earthbound. But will she lose him forever or is there a way Laurel can keep him with her on this earthly plane?

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Storm Front

CJ Bahr Why did I love this book?

In Storm Front I fell in love with Chicago wizard Harry Dresden, who is so hard up for business he advertises in the yellow pages. Finally a character for whom money absolutely is an object!  Harry is awesome; with his sarcasm, bravery, and huge heart, I’d take him home if I could. Who wouldn’t want a little magic in their life? The book (and the rest of the books in the series) is the perfect blend of action, darkness, and pacing broken up with snarky banter. His complex, quirky and flawed characters, along with unexpected plot twists, inspired my own writing.

By Jim Butcher,

Why should I read it?

19 authors picked Storm Front as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the first novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling Dresden Files series, Harry Dresden’s investigation of a grisly double murder pulls him into the darkest depths of magical Chicago…

As a professional wizard, Harry Dresden knows firsthand that the “everyday” world is actually full of strange and magical things—and most of them don’t play well with humans. And those that do enjoy playing with humans far too much. He also knows he’s the best at what he does. Technically, he’s the only at what he does. But even though Harry is the only game in town, business—to put…


Book cover of Burn for Me

CJ Bahr Why did I love this book?

Here’s another amazing case for world building in the real world. Set in Houston, this inspired me when I created my own paranormal rules for my stories. The crafting in Burn For Me is so well-designed I could almost believe this magical world truly existed. But once again, what captivated me the most were the characters, especially Nevada Baylor and “Mad” Conner Rogan. I loved how the two couldn’t be more opposite; Nevada is from a working-class but loving family, while Mad Rogan is a lone-wolf billionaire. Later, as their connection grows, their strengths and weakness complement each other even with their flaws. Heroes and heroines shouldn’t be perfect, that would be boring, and this story is anything but. Filled with action, romance, and magic, I couldn’t put it down.

By Ilona Andrews,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Burn for Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews launches a brand-new Hidden Legacy series, in which one woman must place her trust in a seductive, dangerous man who sets off an even more dangerous desire ...Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career-a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile situation. Nevada isn't sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire. Then she's kidnapped by Connor "Mad" Rogan-a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn…


Book cover of Angels' Blood

CJ Bahr Why did I love this book?

New York City, roughly twenty-minutes into the future, is a dangerous place filled with angels, vampires, and kick-ass humans who hunt the fanged. But these angels aren’t like any you learned about in Sunday school.  They rule the world with an iron fist, until the best hunter in the city lays claim to the Archangel of New York’s dark heart. Raphael doesn’t know what hit him when Elena refuses to bend to his will. Angel’s Blood is filled with danger, action, and romance. Beginning to see a theme? I love a great escape, imagining what our world might be like with some supernatural spins.

By Nalini Singh,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Angels' Blood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

FIRST IN THE GUILD HUNTER SERIES!

Nalini Singh introduces readers to a world of beauty and bloodlust, where angels hold sway over vampires.

Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux is hired by the dangerously beautiful Archangel Raphael. But this time, it's not a wayward vamp she has to track. It's an archangel gone bad.

The job will put Elena in the midst of a killing spree like no other-and pull her to the razor's edge of passion. Even if the hunt doesn't destroy her, succumbing to Raphael's seductive touch just may. For when archangels play, mortals break.


Book cover of The Angel By the Tower

CJ Bahr Why did I love this book?

The Angel By the Tower features Gabriel, a guardian angel who’s kicked out of heaven with no wings and only fuzzy memories of something dangerous coming for his former charge, Abby Campbell. And where would an angel book be without a demon? But in this case, is Gabriel’s ex-lover Evie there to help him, or hinder him?  Angels for me again. They have inspired my own series, which has a small guest appearance by a different Archangel in each book. Once again, the snarky banter between vivid characters I’d love to hang around with in real life is a true inspiration. The edge-of-your-seat action makes for a page-turner.

By Marla A. White,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Angel By the Tower as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Gabriel wakes up naked and alone in the desert with only one clear memory–he must find Abby Campbell before it’s too late. Normally it wouldn’t be a challenge–he is her guardian angel after all. Unfortunately, a dispute with his heavenly Boss has left him busted down to a mere mortal with no wings, no powers, and no idea of exactly what he’s supposed to protect Abby from. Once he convinces Abby he’s not completely bonkers, they work together to find the key to a mysterious tower and the ancient evil locked inside. But the answers force Gabriel to choose between…


Book cover of Halfway to the Grave

CJ Bahr Why did I love this book?

A vampire world once again. Cat Crawfield is a human/vampire hybrid who meets her match in a British vampire, “Bones,” who hunts his own kind. Simply said, I love Bones. He’s a man of contradictions in one body—snarky with no shame, cold-hearted as needed, but would die for the ones he loves. I’d take him home in an instant if I could gain his loyalty. The amazing mix of action, romance, and the paranormal keep me re-reading this series of books whenever I feel the need to go to a sure-fire happy place.

By Jeaniene Frost,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Halfway to the Grave as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Kicking off the sexiest, smartest, most badass paranormal romance series out there. You won't be able to stop turning the pages.

Half-vampire Catherine Crawfield is going after the undead with a vengeance, hoping that one of those deadbeats is her father - the guy responsible for ruining her mother's life.

But when she's captured by Bones, a bounty hunter and a vampire, she finds herself forced into an unholy partnership.

In exchange for his help in finding her father, and still astonished she hasn't ended up as his dinner, Cat agrees to train with the sexy night stalker until her…


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A Beggar's Bargain

By Jan Sikes,

Book cover of A Beggar's Bargain

Jan Sikes Author Of The Edge of Too Late

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Avid reader Lover of Music Astral Traveler Tarot Reader Grandmother

Jan's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Historical Fiction Post WW2.

A shocking proposal that changes everything.

Desperate to honor his father’s dying wish, Layken Martin vows to do whatever it takes to save the family farm.
Once the Army discharges him following World War II, Layken returns to Missouri to find his legacy in shambles and in jeopardy. A foreclosure notice from the bank doubles the threat. He appeals to the local banker for more time—a chance to rebuild, plant, and harvest crops and time to heal far away from the noise of bombs and gunfire.

But the banker firmly denies his request. Now what?

Then, the banker makes an alternative proposition—marry his unwanted daughter, Sara Beth, in exchange for a two-year extension. Out of options, money, and time, Layken agrees to the bargain.

Now, he has two years to make a living off the land while he shares his life with a stranger. If he fails at either, he’ll lose it all.

A Beggar's Bargain

By Jan Sikes,

What is this book about?

A shocking proposal that changes everything.

Desperate to honor his father's dying wish, Layken Martin vows to do whatever it takes to save the family farm.

Once the Army discharges him following World War II, Layken returns to Missouri to find his legacy in shambles and in jeopardy. A foreclosure notice from the bank doubles the threat. He appeals to the local banker for more time-a chance to rebuild, plant, and harvest crops and time to heal far away from the noise of bombs and gunfire.

But the banker firmly denies his request. Now what?

Then, the banker makes an…


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