The best urban fantasy books with marvelous monsters

Why am I passionate about this?

Have you ever pretended to be a superhero? What was your special ability? Mine was always the ability to talk to animals. What an amazing world that would be if I could chat with the squirrel nesting in my shed or the stray cat trotting through my yard! Animals of all kinds have always been part of my world, from my own pets to animals that came through rescue ranches where I volunteered. So it’s no wonder that I seek them out in fiction. For my own books, my love for cats and dogs was easy to translate into a love for dragons and hellhounds. 


I wrote...

Dragons Don't Eat Meat

By Kim McDougall,

Book cover of Dragons Don't Eat Meat

What is my book about?

As a pest controller with a soft heart, Kyra has an apartment full of rescues, including a basilisk who thinks he’s a turkey, a banshee nanny, and a pygmy kraken. She might take care of them, but they also fill her need for family. And when that family is threatened, she’ll risk everything to save them. She’ll even join forces with the handsome and irritating captain of the city’s vigilante Guardians who never fails to show up at her most undignified moments.

When she finds an abandoned baby dragon, Kyra doesn’t want to bring him home, but until she can hunt down the brute who is trying to kill all the dragons and start a civil war among the fae, she’s on babysitting duty.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Magic And The Healing

Kim McDougall Why did I love this book?

Veterinary student BJ Vaughn journeys through the Crossroads to treat amazing creatures such as griffons, centaurs, and unicorns, while dealing with a full course load and all the stresses of being a student. After reading The Magic and the Healing (many, many years ago), I fell in love with supernatural creatures. It made me think, “I want to write something like that!” I’ve never forgotten it.

By Nick O'Donohue,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Magic And The Healing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

About to give up veterinary school because of a family crisis, BJ Vaughan is chosen to join a special group of healers who venture into the mystical world of Crossroads, where unicorns, centaurs, and other magical creatures live. Original.


Book cover of Magic Bites

Kim McDougall Why did I love this book?

Ilona Andrews sets the bar for post-magic apocalypse books with this first novel in the Kate Daniels series, and it is the book that made me fall in love with Urban Fantasy. While Kate tries to keep her unusual talents hidden, she can’t help but make a splash in post-shift Atlanta, among the ruling elites of the creature world. Here, the normal monsters like shifters and vampires take on all new roles with Ilona Andrews’ unique world building. In the fifteen years since its first publication, there still isn’t anything to compare with Kate Daniels.

By Ilona Andrews,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked Magic Bites as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Kate Daniels is about to enter a world of gritty magic and dangerous mystery! Vampires, necromancers and mages abound on the city streets, with one kickass heroine in the middle

Future Atlanta is an interesting place to live: one moment magic dominates, and cars stall and guns fail. The next, technology takes over and the defensive spells no longer protect your house from monsters.

Here skyscrapers topple under the onslaught of magic; the Pack, a paramilitary clan of shapechangers, prowl through the ruined streets; and the Masters of the Dead, necromancers driven by their thirst for knowledge and wealth, pilot…


Book cover of Glimmer of The Other

Kim McDougall Why did I love this book?

Heather G. Harris reimagines fae creatures of all kinds in her Other Realm series. Unflappable Jinx finds herself plunged into a world she didn’t even know existed where political machinations between wizards, dragons, vampires, and werewolves cause deadly consequences. The background world building in Glimmer of the Other is subtle and yet robust. Jinx is a hero that I can truly root for, caught up in a slow-burn romance that was just right. And she has a hellhound for a pet. Who doesn’t love a wickedly cute hellhound?

By Heather G. Harris,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Glimmer of The Other as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

I can tell when you’re lying. Every. Single. Time.

I’m Jinx. As a private investigator, being a walking, talking lie detector is a useful skill – but let’s face it, it’s not normal. You’d think it would make my job way too easy, but even with my weird skills, I still haven’t been able to track down my parent’s killers.

When I’m hired to find a missing university student, I hope to find her propped up at a bar – yet my gut tells me there’s more to this case than a party girl gone wild. Firstly, she’s a bookish…


Book cover of Off Leash

Kim McDougall Why did I love this book?

There just isn’t enough Urban Fantasy written about cats. Off Leash, with its nerdy human guy turned mountain lion, satisfied my craving for kitty lit. This story takes off like a rocket, and what a ride! It’s full of unique magic, talking animal familiars, and snappy one-liners. Daniel Potter really nails the feeling of what it would be like to live as a big cat. If you’re looking for a fast-paced story of the “all slaying, no laying” kind, this is it.

By Daniel Potter,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

We all have bad days.

Ever have one so bad that it changes your entire life?

A day so bad that talking cats, magical inquisitors, and werewolves now seem normal?

For Thomas Khatt that day was today. From one moment jobless to the next being awakened into a brand new form. Now he has a murder to help solve, a girlfriend to help with family problems and a boss that is just a bit more than your normal hothead.

What would you do in his paws?

Click the button and read this adventure today!


Book cover of The House in the Cerulean Sea

Kim McDougall Why did I love this book?

Some books stick with you long after you close the cover. The House in the Cerulean Sea is one of those for me. It’s a deceptively simple story about a man whose job is to inspect orphanages. But when the orphans are a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist, things don’t go smoothly. The creatures come to life on the page in an exploration of the simple pleasures in life and the extraordinary measures we must take to safeguard the liberties of everyone, even those who resemble us the least. I know I will come back to this book time and again when I need something to lift my spirits. 

By TJ Klune,

Why should I read it?

16 authors picked The House in the Cerulean Sea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he's given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not…


You might also like...

The Blade in the Angel's Shadow

By Andy Darby,

Book cover of The Blade in the Angel's Shadow

Andy Darby Author Of Me and The Monkey

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Fantasy lover Psychonaut Cat dad Designer Metalhead

Andy's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Dr Dee has designs for a British Empire that will dominate the world for ages to come ushering in Revelation, and with the aegis of the Angels, he has the power to make it a reality.

But, two elements are missing, and through blackmail and occult ritual, infamous swordswoman Captain Lament Evyngar and her giant Dutch comrade are forced to journey to the war-ravaged Spanish Netherlands on a quest that will reveal the truth about strange entities that use humans to fight out their eternal conflicts and in doing so alter Lament and the course of history forever.

The Blade in the Angel's Shadow

By Andy Darby,

What is this book about?

Infamous swordswoman Captain Lament Evyngar awaits execution in the Tower of London, charged with heresy and attempted regicide, but all is not as it seems. Unwittingly entangled in the schemes of the Angels, she recounts her tale to the Queen's sorcerer, Dr Dee, who is more than a little responsible for her predicament.

Dr Dee has designs for a British Empire that will dominate the world for ages to come, and with the aegis of the Angels, he has the power to make it a reality. But, two elements are missing, and through blackmail and occult ritual, Lament and her…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in orphanages, Atlanta, and cougars?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about orphanages, Atlanta, and cougars.

Orphanages Explore 26 books about orphanages
Atlanta Explore 51 books about Atlanta
Cougars Explore 13 books about cougars