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

By JP McLean,

Book cover of Blood Mark

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.

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The books I picked & why

Nearly Departed in Deadwood

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

Book cover of Nearly Departed in Deadwood

Why did I love 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!

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

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nearly Departed in Deadwood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEARLY DEPARTED IN DEADWOOD, the Top-Rated #1 Kindle Bestseller in BOTH Women Sleuth and Ghost genres!

WINNER of the 2010 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense
WINNER of the 2011 Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart Award for Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements

"Full of thrills and chills, a fun rollercoaster ride of a book!" ~Susan Andersen, New York Times Bestselling author of Burning Up

"Ann Charles has written an intriguing mystery laced with a wicked sense of humor. Watch out Stephanie Plum, because Violet Parker is coming your way." ~Deborah…

Spirit Legacy

By E.E. Holmes,

Book cover of Spirit Legacy

Why did I love 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.

By E.E. Holmes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Spirit Legacy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Experience the paranormal like never before...

"The Gateway is open."

These cryptic words wake college student Jess Ballard from a terrifying dream into an even more terrifying reality. Jess’ life has never been what anyone would call easy; doing damage control in the wake of your nomadic, alcoholic mother doesn't exactly make for a storybook childhood.

But now her world has fallen apart just when it should be coming together: her mother gone—dead under mysterious circumstances; her life uprooted to stay with estranged relatives she’s never met; and there’s something odd about some of the people she’s been meeting at…

Book cover of Three Mages and a Margarita

Why did I love 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.

By Annette Marie,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Three Mages and a Margarita as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Broke, almost homeless, and recently fired. Those are my official reasons for answering a wanted ad for a skeevy-looking bartender gig.

It went downhill the moment they asked me to do a trial shift instead of an interview — to see if I'd mesh with their "special" clientele. I think that part went great. Their customers were complete dickheads, and I was an asshole right back. That's the definition of fitting in, right?

I expected to get thrown out on my ass. Instead, they… offered me the job?

It turns out this place isn't a bar. It's a guild. And…

Dead Until Dark

By Charlaine Harris,

Book cover of Dead Until Dark

Why did I love 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.

By Charlaine Harris,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Dead Until Dark as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sookie Stackhouse is a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. She's quiet, keeps to herself, and doesn't get out much - not because she's not pretty - she's a very cute bubbly blonde - or not interested in a social life. She really is ...but Sookie's got a bit of a disability. She can read minds. And that doesn't make her too dateable. And then along comes Bill: he's tall, he's dark and he's handsome - and Sookie can't 'hear' a word he's thinking. He's exactly the type of guy she's been waiting all her life for. But Bill has…

Red Queen

By Victoria Aveyard,

Book cover of Red Queen

Why did I love 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).

By Victoria Aveyard,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Red Queen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first novel in the #1 bestselling RED QUEEN series by Victoria Aveyard.


The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of…

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