My Top Ten Urban Fantasy Books Of 2013

Now we’re onto the top ten of my favorite urban fantasy books of 2013. Remember – these are books that I discovered and/or read this year, not necessarily ones that were released in 2013 (although most are). I’m starting from ten and working my way down to one, giving you an insight into the book and a link to the author’s website. Enjoy 🙂

10. Burned (Void City #4) – J.F. Lewis
IMMORTAL. INGENIOUS. AND DOWNRIGHT INFURIATING. Void City’s resident badass vampire has a secret to keep, everything to lose, and a plan to win it all. Eric has taken control of the city’s supernatural hierarchy, putting all the deals and contracts that allow Void City to function up for renegotiation. When he installs his insane vampire daughter, Greta, as Void City’s sheriff of the supernatural, bloody mayhem ensues. To further complicate things, the love of Eric’s life is back from the dead, immortally young, at a cost that has put Eric under the thumb of a very powerful demon. The mysterious mouser Talbot, morose mage Magbidion, and all of Eric’s thralls are trying to help him keep things under control . . . But with early onset Alzheimer’s, vampire hunters, demons, a band of chupacabra, a cursed cousin with a serious grudge, and Rachel as his new “handler” . . . there’s just not an app for that.

This series started me off right. Male narrator, sexy females, lots of supernatural action in both literal and in the bedroom. I love the humor and build-up of the stories and characters. Burned is exciting and gripping as it pulls you into the world of vampires and demons.

J.F. Lewis is found here and his Void City novels can be found here – http://authoratlarge.com/

9. Affliction (Anita Blake #22)
Some zombies are raised. Others must be put down. Just ask Anita Blake. Before now, she would have considered them merely off-putting, never dangerous. Before now, she had never heard of any of them causing human beings to perish in agony. But that’s all changed. Micah’s estranged father lies dying, rotting away inside from some strange ailment that has his doctors whispering about “zombie disease.” Anita makes her living off of zombies—but these aren’t the kind she knows so well. These creatures hunt in daylight, and are as fast and strong as vampires. If they bite you, you become just like them. And round and round it goes…
Where will it stop? Even Anita Blake doesn’t know.

Zombies and Micah. Two of my favorite combinations. We join our legendary vampire huntress and animator Anita Blake for the twenty-second installment in the addicting series. This book is emotionally heart-wrenching and filled with all kinds of surprises that’ll leave you craving for more.

Laurel K. Hamilton also writes paranormal romance on the sidhe and her site is here : http://www.laurellkhamilton.org/

8. Sacrificial Magic (Downside Ghosts #4) – Stacia Kane
READING, WRITING, AND RAISING THE DEAD. When Chess Putnam is ordered by an infamous crime boss—who also happens to be her drug dealer—to use her powers as a witch to solve a grisly murder involving dark magic, she knows she must rise to the challenge. Adding to the intensity: Chess’s boyfriend, Terrible, doesn’t trust her, and Lex, the son of a rival crime lord, is trying to reignite the sparks between him and Chess. Plus there’s the little matter of Chess’s real job as a ghost hunter for the Church of Real Truth, investigating reports of a haunting at a school in the heart of Downside. Someone seems to be taking a crash course in summoning the dead—and if Chess doesn’t watch her back, she may soon be joining their ranks. As Chess is drawn into a shadowy world of twisted secrets and dark violence, it soon becomes clear that she’s not going to emerge from its depths without making the ultimate sacrifice. 

I like my heroes/heroines to have flaws. And Chess’s addiction is just one of my favorite ones. Fantastic series set in an apocalyptic world full of magic and menace. This last book just satisfied all my desires.

Stacia Kane and her Downside Ghosts can be found here: http://www.staciakane.com/

7. The Lost (Celestial Blues #2) – Vicki Pettersson
Griffin Shaw and his wife were both murdered fifty years ago. Now a minor angel, Grif’s been granted permission to solve the mystery of his own death… if he helps the Pure angels guide those souls who might otherwise be Lost. Souls like Jeap Yang, a drug addict in his final moments of life. Grif knows that death is coming, but he cannot intervene. However, Grif’s mortal lover, reporter Katherine “Kit” Craig, isn’t constrained by angelic protocol. If she can stop a death, she will. But as Kit is about to find out, there are things more traumatic and evil than murder. A strange new drug is literally eating tweakers’ flesh from their bones, and Kit’s crusade to get it off the streets is set to propel her and Grif into a battle with a vicious drug cartel. They’ll have to scramble to stay alive, stay together, and choose their own fate… before it’s chosen for them.

Angels and intrigue, romance and history. This is a wonderful new series from best-selling author Vicki Pettersson. I love the setting and the new take on everything angels and history. Kept me up all night reading.

Vicki Pettersson also writes the Sign Of The Zodiac urban fantasy series. Check her out here: http://www.vickipettersson.com/home.html

6. Ever After (The Hollows #11) – Kim Harrison
The ever after, the demonic realm that parallels the human world, is shrinking. If it disappears completely, so does all magic. It’s up to witch-turned-daywalking-demon Rachel Morgan to avert catastrophe and keep life from changing… for the worse. While saving the world is important, it isn’t Rachel’s only motivation. There’s also the small fact that she caused the ley line to rip in the first place, setting off a chain reaction of unfortunate events. That little mistake has made her life forfeit unless she can fix it. It’s also made her more than a few enemies, including the most powerful demon in the ever after—a terrifying entity who eats souls and now has an insatiable appetite for her. He’s already kidnapped her friend and goddaughter to lure her out, and if Rachel doesn’t give herself up soon, they’ll die. But Rachel has more than a few impressive and frightening skills of her own, and she isn’t going to hand over her soul and her life without one hell of a fight. She’s also got a surprise: elven tycoon Trent Kalamack. With this unlikely ally beside her—a prospect both thrilling and unnerving—she’s going to return to the ever after, kick some demon butt, rescue her loved ones… and prevent an apocalypse before it’s too late. Or, at least that’s the plan..

The Hollows has always been one of my favorite urban fantasy series and Ever After is not a disappointment. Rachel’s powers are growing and so is her confidence. As she shapes up for another epic battle, readers are in for a thrilling ride. Excellent magic, details, and plot.

Kim Harrison’s site – http://www.kimharrison.net/

5. The Darwin Elevator (Dire Cycle #1) – Jason M. Hough
In the mid-23rd century, Darwin, Australia, stands as the last human city on Earth. The world has succumbed to an alien plague, with most of the population transformed into mindless, savage creatures. The planet’s refugees flock to Darwin, where a space elevator—created by the architects of this apocalypse, the Builders—emits a plague-suppressing aura. Syler Luiken has a rare immunity to the plague. Backed by an international crew of fellow “immunes,” he leads missions into the dangerous wasteland beyond the aura’s edge to find the resources Darwin needs to stave off collapse. But when the Elevator starts to malfunction, Skyler is tapped—along with the brilliant scientist, Dr. Tania Sharma—to solve the mystery of the failing alien technology and save the ragged remnants of humanity. 

I admit it. I’m not a huge science-fiction, alien girl. But this trilogy has blown my mind. Filled with danger and adventure, secrets and wonderful heroes, I became a fan of the series almost instantly. It’s an amazing concept that I enjoyed every page by debut author Jason M. Hough. And even though the first one is only listed, the sequels are just as good.

Jason M. Hough can be found here – http://www.jasonhough.com/

4. Clean (Mindspace Investigations #1) – Alex Hughes
A RUTHLESS KILLER—OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND. I used to work for the Telepath’s Guild before they kicked me out for a drug habit that wasn’t entirely my fault. Now I work for the cops, helping Homicide Detective Isabella Cherabino put killers behind bars. My ability to get inside the twisted minds of suspects makes me the best interrogator in the department. But the normals keep me on a short leash. When the Tech Wars ripped the world apart, the Guild stepped up to save it. But they had to get scary to do it—real scary. Now the cops don’t trust the telepaths, the Guild doesn’t trust me, a serial killer is stalking the city—and I’m aching for a fix. But I need to solve this case. Fast. I’ve just had a vision of the future: I’m the next to die.

Telepaths and technology come hand in hand in this detective series. Like I mentioned, I have a craving for wounded, addicted heroes and Adam is no exception. An interesting story that will have you looking at computers and people in a whole new way.

Alexandra Hughes is one of my writing influences and her website is here: http://www.ahugheswriter.com/

3. Trapped (Iron Druid #5) – Kevin Hearne
After twelve years of secret training, Atticus O’Sullivan is finally ready to bind his apprentice, Granuaile, to the earth and double the number of Druids in the world. But on the eve of the ritual, the world that thought he was dead abruptly discovers that he’s still alive, and they would much rather he return to the grave. Having no other choice, Atticus, his trusted Irish wolfhound, Oberon, and Granuaile travel to the base of Mount Olympus, where the Roman god Bacchus is anxious to take his sworn revenge—but he’ll have to get in line behind an ancient vampire, a band of dark elves, and an old god of mischief, who all seem to have KILL THE DRUID at the top of their to-do lists. 

One of my favorite urban fantasy narrators. Humorous, action-packed, and full of myths, legends, and supernatural creatures. This is also one of my favorite series of all time. I love Atticus and I loved this book in particular; readers will love this comical hero.

Kevin Hearne can be found here: http://kevinhearne.com/

2. Deadly Sting (Elemental Assassin #8) – Jennifer Estep
Red is definitely my color. Good thing, because in my line of work, I end up wearing it a lot. Most people shy away from blood, but for an assassin like me— Gin Blanco, aka the Spider—it’s just part of the job. Still, it would be nice to get a night off, especially when I’m attending the biggest gala event of the summer at Briartop, Ashland’s fanciest art museum. But it’s just not meant to be. For this exhibition of my late nemesis’s priceless possessions is not only the place to be seen, but the place to be robbed and taken hostage at gunpoint as well. No sooner did I get my champagne than a bunch of the unluckiest thieves ever burst into the museum and started looting the place. Unlucky why? Because I brought along a couple of knives in addition to my killer dress. Add these to my Ice and Stone magic, and nothing makes me happier than showing the bad guys why red really is my color.

Another epic installment of Gin Blanco’s saga. An assassin full of revenge, bloodlust, and love for BBQ, this series is addicting and one of my favorites. Although Gin may have the power and guts and glory, she’s also got a dark side that will leave readers understanding why it is she does what she does.

Jennifer Estep also writes young adult paranormal and superhero romance. She’s one of my writing idols. Her website can be found here: http://www.jenniferestep.com/

1. Thieftaker – D.B. Jackson
Boston, 1765: In D.B. Jackson’s Thieftaker, revolution is brewing as the British Crown imposes increasingly onerous taxes on the colonies, and intrigue swirls around firebrands like Samuel Adams and the Sons of Liberty. But for Ethan Kaille, a thieftaker who makes his living by conjuring spells that help him solve crimes, politics is for others…until he is asked to recover a necklace worn by the murdered daughter of a prominent family. Suddenly, he faces another conjurer of enormous power, someone unknown, who is part of a conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels of power in the turbulent colony. His adversary has already killed—and not for his own gain, but in the service of his powerful masters, people for whom others are mere pawns in a game of politics and power. Ethan is in way over his head, and he knows it. Already a man with a dark past, he can ill afford to fail, lest his livelihood be forfeit. But he can’t stop now, for his magic has marked him, so he must fight the odds, even though he seems hopelessly overmatched, his doom seeming certain at the spectral hands of one he cannot even see. 

I don’t think there’s anything I could say that could reveal how much I love this. American Revolution? Yes. Male hero? Yes. Magic? Yes. Originality? YES. This book is such a great start to a series I’ve already fallen madly in love with. New take on magic and the underground of old America. I highly recommend this to anyone with a hankering for history and fantasy combined, sealing it as number one in 2013 in my heart.

D.B. Jackson can be found here with his Thieftaker sequels: http://www.dbjackson-author.com/

And that wraps up my favorites for 2013. I’m ready for another year of good books, how about you?

My Top Ten Young Adult Books Of 2013

I know I don’t post here often but that will change soon enough. I’ve got a project up and coming that I hope will prove interesting. But for now I’d like to post my top ten books of 2013 for genres in Young Adult and Urban Fantasy. Young Adult is listed below for this post. Please note that these are books that I have READ in 2013, but weren’t necessarily published in 2013 (although the majority of them were). I’ll be counting down from ten to one, giving a little insight to the book and links to the author’s page. Feel free to leave comments on your own top ten faves of this year. 

Young Adult 

10. Steelheart – Brandon Sanderson
There are no heroes.Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics.
But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills. Nobody fights the Epics… nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them. And David wants in. He wants Steelheart—the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David’s been studying, and planning—and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience. 
He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

Like all the books on my list, I LOVED this one. Revenge, justice, lots of anger and redemption. The hero has a lot of qualities I adore in stubborn male characters. He has the amount of pride that moves the story along and captures the attention. And since I’ve always been a big fan of the idea of superheroes, it made me love it even more. 

Brandon Sanderson also writes the fantasy series Mistborn and The Stormlight Archive. He can be found here: http://brandonsanderson.com/

9. Quintana of Charyn – Melina Marchetta
There’s a babe in my belly that whispers the valley, Froi. I follow the whispers and come to the road . . .Separated from the girl he loves and has sworn to protect, Froi must travel through Charyn to search for Quintana, the mother of Charyn’s unborn king, and protect her against those who will do anything to gain power. But what happens when loyalty to family and country conflict? When the forces marshalled in Charyn’s war gather and threaten to involve the whole of the land, including Lumatere, only Froi can set things right, with the help of those he loves.

The third installment to the Lumatere chronicles satisfies my lust for high fantasy quite well. Froi and Quintana are magnetic and pull you under their spell so you desperately crave for that happy ending. 

Melina Marchetta is a wonderful Australian writer and can be found here – http://melinamarchetta.wordpress.com/ 

8. The Pirate’s Wish – Cassandra Rose Clarke
After setting out to break the curse that binds them together, the pirate Ananna and the assassin Naji find themselves stranded on an enchanted island in the north with nothing but a sword and their wits. But Naji has unseen enemies, and Ananna must face the wrath of the Pirate Confederation. Together, they must travel afar, defeat their foes and break the mother of all curses. With all this going on, falling in love would be such a bad idea… All of this and much, much more await, in the swashbuckling sequel to The Assassin’s Curse.

Pirates…romance…sword fights….Damn, this was a good one. I love the author’s writing style and how her characters have such strange chemistry. It’s a very original, unique follow up to the Assassin’s Curse and I’m eagerly awaiting to read the third installment. 

Cassandra Rose Clarke can be found here – http://www.cassandraroseclarke.com/

7. The Collector – Victoria Scott
He makes good girls…bad. Dante Walker is flippin’ awesome, and he knows it. His good looks, killer charm, and stellar confidence have made him one of hell’s best—a soul collector. His job is simple: weed through humanity and label those round rears with a big red good or bad stamp. Old Saint Nick gets the good guys, and he gets the fun ones. Bag-and-tag. Sealing souls is nothing personal. Dante’s an equal-opportunity collector and doesn’t want it any other way. But he’ll have to adjust, because Boss Man has given him a new assignment: Collect Charlie Cooper’s soul within ten days. Dante doesn’t know why Boss Man wants Charlie, nor does he care. This assignment means only one thing to him, and that’s a permanent ticket out of hell. But after Dante meets the quirky Nerd Alert chick he’s come to collect, he realizes this assignment will test his abilities as a collector…and uncover emotions deeply buried.

Stepping away from high fantasy for a bit to highlight a 2013 debut author Victoria Scott. Her Collector series, featuring the super-sexy Dante Walker, is full of laughs and great plot. This is a series that left me giggling and waiting eagerly for the second. The third and final installment to the trilogy is set to release in 2014. (Remind me again why it can’t be today? I mean, come on, early Christmas present?!) 

Join Victoria Scott and her V-Mafia here: http://www.victoriascottya.com/

6. The Art Of Wishing – Lindsay Ribar
He can grant her wishes, but only she can save his life. Margo McKenna has a plan for just about everything, from landing the lead in her high school play to getting into a good college. So when she finds herself in possession of a genie’s ring and the chance to make three wishes, she doesn’t know what to do. Why should she put her life into someone else’s hands? But Oliver is more than just a genie — he’s also a sophomore at Margo’s high school, and he’s on the run from a murderer. As he and Margo grow closer, she discovers that it will take more than three wishes to save him. A whole lot more.

I wants the sequel. I admit it. I’m lame and tend to get tired of the same old “boy/girl meets girl/boy and one has a secret power that brings the other into their world full of prophecies and secrets and all that” but this refreshed my mind. I love Margot and her budding relationship with Oliver. The romance is sweet and just what I was looking for.

Learn more about Lindsay Ribar’s books and life here: http://lindsayribar.com/

5. The Trials Of Renegade X – Chelsea Campbell
Can a half villain ever be a full hero? Damien Locke didn’t choose for his supervillain mom to disown him — just because he sort of defied her and ruined her evil plans to take over Golden City — and he didn’t choose for his superpower to be flying, a superhero ability that involves his least favorite thing: heights. But now that he’s living with his dad’s superhero family and enrolling at Heroesworth Academy, he’s ready to embrace his new life, get his H, and finally belong somewhere. But belonging isn’t as easy as signing up for classes, and Damien finds himself struggling to fit in more than ever.
Just when he’s sure his fate as a hero has been decided, though, he gets a new villain power that he can’t control. And things only get worse when he accidentally screws up one of his sidekick Sarah’s gadgets, altering her personality and turning her into a crazed, anti-supervillain vigilante — leaving him no choice but to team up with her annoying superhero boyfriend if he hopes to have any chance of getting the old Sarah back, before she captures — or kills — another supervillain like him.

Aaaannd superhero/villain love. Damien – oh Damien – you angsty goofball. If you’re looking for some action, humor, and a tinge of romance, Renegade X is what you need. This series is full of explosive danger, evil villains, and laser-shooting mamas. 

Chelsea M. Campbell and her comic book hero can be found here: http://www.chelseamcampbell.com/

4. Grave Mercy – Robin LaFevers 
Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf? Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others. Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

When I first read the back cover for this book, my brain went….”WHAT? ASSASSIN NUNS YOU SAY?” To say the least, I bought it. So glad I did. This book will hook you from page one. Full of intrigue and beautiful, weapon-wielding characters, this is one book that had me up way past my bedtime. Such a unique, fresh idea and great story line to match. 

R.L. La Fevers and her books can be found here: http://www.robinlafevers.com/

3. Falling Kingdoms – Morgan Rhodes
In a land where magic has been forgotten but peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms grapple for power—brutally transforming their subjects’ lives in the process. Amidst betrayals, bargains, and battles, four young people find their fates forever intertwined: Cleo: A princess raised in luxury must embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of a magic long thought extinct. Jonas: Enraged at injustice, a rebel lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country impoverished—and finds himself the leader of a people’s revolution centuries in the making. Lucia: A girl adopted at birth into a royal family discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield. Magnus: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, a firstborn son begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword. . . . The only outcome that’s certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

Yes, yes, yes, yes, and more yes. Every time I think of this book, my whole day just gets better. I love high fantasy and I love this series. The characters are so wonderfully done (my heart currently belongs to Magnus) and this plot line is just one of the best I’ve seen. They say the series is the Game Of Thrones for teens and well, with all the action, betrayal, politics, and magic, I can see why. But I feel it’s much more than that – a wonderful story that blends genres so beautifully, this book will have you emotional for days. 

Morgan Rhodes is one of my writing muses. http://www.fallingkingdoms.com/ is her pseudonym site. (She also writes under Michelle Rowen.)

2. Deception – C.J. Redwine
While the other girls in the walled city-state of Baalboden learn to sew and dance, Rachel Adams learns to track and hunt. While they bend like reeds to the will of their male Protectors, she uses hers for sparring practice. When Rachel’s father fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the city’s brutal Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector: her father’s apprentice, Logan—the boy she declared her love to and who turned her down two years before. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father’s survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can’t be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.

I’m not even sure I can come up with words to describe how much I love number one and two on my list. But C.J. Redwine is like my hero. This is just the kind of book I love – the characters have a history, the females are badass, and it’s got fantasy, magic, and danger. If I could see a movie come to life based on a book, this would be in the top three. Rachel has a beautiful soul that just shines when she’s with Logan and her father. I adore this series.

C.J. Redwine is also one of my writing influences. Her site is here: http://cjredwine.blogspot.com/

1. The Burning Sky – Sherry Thomas
It all began with a ruined elixir and an accidental bolt of lightning…Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she’s being told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the greatest mage tyrant the world has ever known. A suicide task for anyone let alone a sixteen-year-old girl with no training, facing a prophecy that foretells a fiery clash to the death. Prince Titus of Elberon has sworn to protect Iolanthe at all costs but he’s also a powerful mage committed to obliterating the Bane to avenge the death of his family—even if he must sacrifice both Iolanthe and himself to achieve his goal. But Titus makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the Bane closing in, he must choose between his mission and her life.

Holy shit. Just yes. Hooked me from the first page. Wonderful, vivid imagery. Beautiful characters. Blazing romance. Magic, deception, danger… Man, this is all I wanted for Christmas. Such an epic story. When is the sequel coming out again? 

Sherry Thomas writes romance for teens and adults. Her website is here: http://www.sherrythomas.com/

And there you have it. My top ten choices for young adult in 2013. The urban fantasy list will be posted later today.