The best urban fantasy series with kickass heroines

Who am I?

I’ve been mesmerized by paranormal stories since grade school when I first read The Chrysalids by John Wyndham. Paranormal, supernatural, and magical books capture my imagination, probably because I’ve always wished I could fly like I can in my dreams. But since gravity is real, I make the magic happen in my writing. I especially enjoy when the magic takes place in a contemporary setting but is hidden to all but the reader and the ones who possess it. It feels like being in on a very big secret. The books I’ve recommended are a mix of secretive and outed magic. I hope you enjoy them.


I wrote...

Blood Mark: A Dark Dreams Novel

By J.P. McLean,

Book cover of Blood Mark: A Dark Dreams Novel

What is my book about?

What if your lifelong curse is the only thing keeping you alive?

Jane Walker survives the back alleys of Vancouver, marked by a chain of blood-red birthmarks that snake around her body. During her tortured nights, she is gripped by agonizing nightmares when she sees into the past. It isn’t until, one-by-one, the marks begin to disappear that she learns the deadly truth: She’s being stalked by a killer, and her marks are the only things keeping her alive.

The books I picked & why

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Nearly Departed in Deadwood

By Ann Charles, C.S. Kunkle (illustrator),

Book cover of Nearly Departed in Deadwood

Why this book?

Ann Charles is someone I want to shoot tequila with, and I don’t shoot tequila. But I would with Ann. Her deadwood series had me laughing out loud. She writes characters so well that you’ll feel like you know them right down to their roots. You’ll be cheering on the good guys, hightailing it away from the scary ones, and cringing when you just know someone’s heading in the wrong direction. I’m immensely impressed that with each new book, Ann presents an original twisty mystery with a wicked sense of humour. And not only is she a talented, award-winning, and best-selling author, but she’s down-to-earth, and also organizes an annual fan party for her readers. I’m one of those fans and eagerly await her next book!


Spirit Legacy: Book 1 of the Gateway Trilogy

By E.E. Holmes,

Book cover of Spirit Legacy: Book 1 of the Gateway Trilogy

Why this book?

It was Spirit Legacy’s cover that drew me in, but it was the ghosts that kept me reading. I love the paranormal and I especially enjoy unique stories with strong characters. Holmes created both with this series. Her pairing of the protagonist, free-spirited Jess Ballard, with Tia, an ultra-organized and grounded roommate, makes for some hilarious situations. I love these two together. As the story progresses, intrigue builds, strange phenomena occur, and motives are questioned. Someone has deadly intentions, but who? No one’s beyond suspicion. Not even Jess’s friends or her family. Holmes kept me guessing right to the end. Thankfully, this is a series, so I have more books to enjoy.


Three Mages and a Margarita

By Annette Marie,

Book cover of Three Mages and a Margarita

Why this book?

I lived in Vancouver for many years, so I really enjoyed the familiar Vancouver setting of Three Mages and a Margarita, not that you have to know Vancouver to enjoy the books (Vancouver is much like any other big city). Marie writes like a troublemaker, tosses in a dash of romance, and spices it up with sassy dialogue. Her use of magic guilds and their brands of magic is unique and imaginative: two of my favourite things in an urban fantasy. The heroine, Tori Dawson, kicks butt, but she’s also big-hearted. The mages, who practically live at the bar where Tori works, court trouble and are easy on the eyes. Thankfully, there are many more books—and now comic books—to read in this series.


Dead Until Dark

By Charlaine Harris,

Book cover of Dead Until Dark

Why this book?

The True Blood TV series was based on Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse books, though the TV version veered off the books’ path, which is to be expected. If you’ve only watched the series, you owe it to yourself to read the books. Harris has created in Sookie Stackhouse a charming southern character full of grace and humour. Sookie also has telepathy, which I’d always thought might be fun to have, until I met Sookie. And Harris doesn’t pull her punches—she puts Sookie through the ringer in every book. Each successive novel adds new twists and depth to the story, always upping the stakes and complicating Sookie’s life. I blew through this series and was sad to see it end.


Red Queen

By Victoria Aveyard,

Book cover of Red Queen

Why this book?

Aveyard’s magical imagination is second to none. I’d never encountered books with so much magic wielded in so many unique ways. I consider these books lessons on how to write magic well. Although the Red Queen books feature a strong kickass heroine in Mare Barrow, they are different from the others that I’ve recommended in that they are set in an imaginary world. They also don’t have the same level of humour. But those differences don’t matter one bit. Aveyard’s characters evoke empathy, indignation, and hatred in equal measure. The pace is solid, and the stakes are high for the heroine, Mare Barrow. You won’t want this series to end (I know I didn’t).


5 book lists we think you will like!

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