Three Reasons My Husband Hates My E-Reader

My Three Favorite Urban Fantasy Series

I love urban fantasy. When I think about it I realize I always have, ever since my first Fear Street book and all of the wonderful paranormal books that consumed my teenage reading list. But I moved away from U/F for a long while since I didn't have a lot of extra time for reading. That all changed when I bought my e-reader in early 2011. I dove back into the U/F waters, and have been swimming there ever since. I've read dozens of U/F books in the past year-and-a-half, but three of those series stand above the rest for me. These are series that I have read repeatedly, attempted to convince friends and family to try, discussed endlessly, and highlighted extensively. I love these series beyond reason. I hope that you will try them and fall in love them as well! In no particular order (mostly because I can't decide which I love the most!)....

Night Huntress by Jeaniene Frost

Kick-Ass Heroine

Half-vampire, Cat, starts the series as a very naive, innocent young woman who seems much younger than her twenty-two years. While she is strong and crafty enough to take on vampires, those she does are relatively weak and inexperienced. Until she meets Bones.

Bones trains her to be the vampire she was born to be, and helps Cat become fierce and formidable against even very old, fearsome vampires. Over the course of the series, Cat manages to hold her own against vampires, zombies, ghouls, demons, and even Bones's former lovers, through her strength, power, and wit. She is certainly a kick-ass heorine, loyal to those she loves and eager to defend loved-ones and strangers alike, against the bad guys.

Drool-Worthy Hero

Bones is far and away my very favorite U/F hero. He is fiercely loyal, with his own moral code that is perfect in his world.  His difficult human life shaped the vampire he became, and his two centuries of loneliness allowed him to recognize love when it finally came to him. He knew from the beginning that Cat belonged with him, and he was courageous and stubborn enough to go after what was his. Beyond Bones's strength, power, and, toe-curling sexiness, his unfailing confidence and self-awareness make him the ultimate hero. He knows exactly who he is and what he wants, and has no hesitation about Cat's role in his life.

Relatable Love Story

 When Cat met Bones and was blackmailed into agreed to work with him, she believed that vampires were evil demons who all deserved to die a final death (Thanks, Justina! I can't wait to see if JF can redeem Justina for me, like she has done with Ian and Annette.). Sadly, that meant Cat thought she was half evil, too. Bones showed her, time and again, that while vampires have a different standard of behavior than humans, they are certainly no more evil than humans. Bones was self-aware enough that he knew very early on that Cat was his life, but it took losing him for Cat to realize what she walked away from.

These two have the power to make me sob, several times over the course of the series. Happy tears, sad tears, shocked tears. Even laughter through tears. There are so many moments that make me adore these two as a couple, but this quote from Bones is it for me:
"There I met you and fell in love. You can't imagine what that was like after centuries of...emptiness. I hadn't thought I was capable of falling in love , but at last I felt like I had something to give..." ~~One Foot in the Grave
Of course that line occurs just at the end of chapter 31. Which is right before the amazing chapter 32. Enough said.

Fever by Karen Marie Moning

Kick-Ass Heroine

Mac starts the series very pink, pampered, and sheltered in her little, sunny world. I'd wager she'd never even been in a school-yard fight, let alone kicked serious ass. But all that changes when she travels to Dublin seeking justice for her murdered sister, and discovers that she is powerful and fearsome in a world she didn't even know existed. She ends up fighting for justice, not just for her beloved sister, but also for the city she's grown to love, and for people she's never met.

It takes multiple books, and several personal tragedies for Mac to become the woman, the fighter she was born to be, but she gets there. Even if it is kicking and screaming. She is stubborn and spends a fair amount of time, throughout all of the books, trying to convince herself, and sometimes those around her, that she isn't who she is, and she does not want what we all know she wants. Mac is frustrating, and I want to shake her repeatedly over the course of the saga, for her ignorance, for her unwillingness to reach for what she wants, for her blindness to Barrons's actions. But she is fierce and she is, above all, a survivor. She takes everything that life throws at her and keeps standing. Keeps fighting. You've got to love that.


Drool-Worthy Hero

Barrons. I almost don't know where to start with Jericho Barrons. My challenge, when reading from a character's first-person persepctive, is not to take all of that character's observations and thoughts at face value. I have done that with many U/F series, and I almost always end up seeing things differently on rereads, when I look deeper and see beyond the character's perceptions. I definitely did that with Mac.

I took Mac's thoughts and feelings about Barrons at face-value the first time, completely missing his actions for Mac's reaction to his words. Even after he warned us about that! But on rereads I saw beyond Mac to understand that Barrons, who never lies to himself, knew immediately that he wanted Mac and that he was going to have to grow her up in a hurry if he was going to get to keep her.

He is astoundingly wise, fiercely loyal, terrifying, sexy as hell, has his own moral compass, and doesn't give a shit what anyone outside his circle thinks. It is impossible for me to express just how astonishing Jericho Barrons is, without giving away major and minor plotpoints, so I will let JZB's words do the speaking for him:
"One day you may kiss a man you can't breathe without, and find breath is of little consequence."
"There are really only two positions one can take toward anything in life: hope or fear. Hope strengthens, fear kills."
 "In the Serengeti, Ms. Lane, I would be the cheetah. I'm stronger, smarter, faster, and hungrier than everything else out there. And I don't apologize to the gazelle when I take it down."

Relatable Love Story

The first time I read Fever I was enthralled with the story. But I didn't think there was a love story. That, of course, was because Mac worked so hard to convince readers that there wasn't one. She wasn't attracted to Barrons, and he only wanted her for her special detection skills. Well, Mac was very wrong (and lying to herself) and so was I. When you look at Barrons's actions, you know that he fell, hard, long before Mac admitted it, and that what he did, he did because he cared about her. I love that KMM made a conscious choice not to have Mac & Barrons say "I love you" to each other. As often as Barrons reminds us that words are easy, and easily manipulated, it is important for the readers to look at their actions so that we can see the things they do that show how much Mac & Barrons love each other. The beginning of Dreamfever is about how Barrons feels about Mac; and the beginning of Shadowfever is about how Mac feels about Barrons. It takes a long time to get there, but when we finally do, it is worth every painful step of the way.

Chicagoland Vampires by Chloe Neill

Kick-Ass Heroine

Merit is my very favoite heroine ever. Her wit and sarcasm, the way she talks, sounds so very like the way I talk, and I love that. She is unbelievably strong for a baby vampire, and while she spends some time lamenting her change, she eventually accepts her new life and grows into her formidable powers. She is strong yet vulnerable, loyal yet slow to let go of hurts, passionate about life yet afraid to accept love. Merit has such relatable humanity about her, but is powerful enough to take on vampires, shifters, bigoted humans, sorcerers, and even Chicago's most frightening citizens--high society. And she does it all with humor, compassion, and poise. Merit is my kind of heroine, and I would read every word of CLV, just to follow the adventures of this kick-ass chica. But there is also Ethan...

Drool-Worthy Hero

Ethan Sullivan, Master of Cadogan House, infuriated me through the first two books, the first time I read CLV. I kept reading, thinking, "what an ass!" And I don't mean his posterior.  But in book three, Twice Bitten, I completely melted, and even when Ethan screwed up, I easily forgave him because of his amazing words and acts of contrition. The most wonderful thing about Ethan Sullivan is his ability to grow, even after four-hundred years of life. Most other U/F heroes are the anchors of their stories, providing constancy while the heroines grow into the women they are meant to be.  Ethan amazes me, because he learns how to be a better man through the course of the series, and we see him becoming the perfect partner for Merit.

I still believe that we have not yet seen the extent of Ethan's power, but what I love most is his ability to render me speechless through his heartfelt, sincere words:
"You undo me Merit. Wholly and completely. You don't take me at my word. You challenge me at every opportunity. And that means when I am with you, I am less than the head of this House...and I am more than the head of this House. I am a man....."In my very, very long life, I need you more than I have ever needed anything." ~~Twice Bitten

Relatable Love Story

The path to happiness may be difficult and twisty for Merit and Ethan. But I believe that that path will end with them together.  The first time I read these books, I was unsure about who Merit would end up with, and I wasn't sure it should be Ethan. However, on my second read (and third and fourth!) I had no doubt in my mind that these two fools belonged together from the very beginning, from the moment they connected.  Merit was angry with Ethan for changing her life without her permission, and Ethan was hurt, repeatedly, by Merit's rejection of him, both as a Master and as a partner.  Their mutual fear and hurt kept them from accepting one another, and their own feelings. It seemed as thought they had to keep hurting each other in order to get to the place where they could be together.  It took tragedy for Merit to realize and accept what Ethan truly meant to her.  The journey to acceptance may be long and complicated, but it is a fantastic ride for readers.

Honorable Mention: Downside Ghosts by Stacia Kane

Downside Ghosts is one of the most unique and moving book series I have ever read. They are dark and gritty, disturbing and often difficult to read. Chess is such a broken heroine, and an unlikely savior, and Terrible is nearly as unlikely as hero. But there is such hope and  hidden beauty in these books, that they have taken my breath away, left me with sleepless nights, and have me begging for more. I am eagerly awaiting the next installment in the DG series, and while we don't know yet when it will be coming, I would strongly encourage every lover of U/F to give this truly awesome series a try. They are not easy, by any means, but Chess and Terrible are worth every page, every word, every ounce of angst! Truly wonderful.

 

 

What are your favorite book series, U/F or otherwise? Why do you love them so much?

Comments

  1. LOL my hubby really doesn't like my e-reader either, especially when I get stuck in it for hours and I got to say that Fever, NH and CLV really sucked me in for days when I read them. For now Fever and CLV are my all time favorites. I love NH too, especially books 1-4.
    Loved what you said about the books and characters!

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    1. OMG, Beta, I didn't know you counted CLV among your top two! That makes me so happy!

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  2. I am a huge fan of urban fantasy. Thank you for recommending these series! I now have more things to add to my neverending reading list!

    Probably the only urban fantasy I've read recently is in the teen lit category: Divergent by Veronica Roth and the Mortal Instruments series and prequel series by Cassandra Clare. Divergent takes place in "Chicago", which is what drew me in, and while I was drawn to the MI prequel due to its Victorian England setting, I found that I enjoyed the present-day MI series (set in New York, primarily) even more. I know a locale does not make a book, but that seems to be what pulls me in first!

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    1. Welcome to our Book Club, Abby! We're so glad you could join us, and I am THRILLED that my post added books to your list. You will not be disappointed with any of these books.

      I've heard great things about both Divergent and Mortal Instruments. I am actively avoiding YA books for now, and thoroughly enjoying adult U/F. One day I'll relent and read these two series, as well as The Hunger Games, I'm sure. But for now, it's all grown ups for me!

      I know what you mean about being drawn to locales! I just agreed to read a Wench favorite series, simply because the author lives near me! It wasn't the rave reviews from the Wenches that drew me in, it was the author's locale! So silly! :)

      Thank you again for joining us! We hope you keep coming back and enjoying your visits!

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    2. I keep hearing that Divergent is good and meaning to check it out. I’m glad you mentioned it. I haven't read much YA in recent years, but I loved The Hunger Games trilogy, and I know a lot of HG fans like Divergent.

      And I don't usually think about looking for specific locales when I select books, but I do especially love reading good books that are set in the area where I live, or grew up, or visited and especially liked, or would like to spend some time.... When the locale strikes a chord, it definitely enhances the experience. Sometimes I bond via book with a locale that I'm not familiar with, and then I suddenly begin to look for more books set there or maybe a vacation. If (When) I ever get to visit Ireland and Scotland (and England again), I have a loooooooong list of book-related places to see!

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  3. Love the JZB quotes! As a matter of fact, I think I'll go post one on my FB page today. :-)

    My husband despises my E-Reader. I'm sure it's one Christmas present he's regretting.

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  4. Congrats Ms. Bones on an awesome post! I don't have an e-reader for my hubby to despise, but I frequently tell him how much I love the iPad he gave me for my birthday last year.

    Abby: I've read Divergent and Insurgent (the follow up) and really enjoyed them. I also blew through the Mortal Instruments series. I thought both were really good YA series. I have a teenaged daughter and am not ashamed to pinch her books.

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  5. I love each of these series. Bones is one of my favorite heroes as well. But, Ethan still hasn't grown on me. I adore Merit, but I'm just sort of meh about Ethan.

    And, my husband hates my Nook too. He's got one of his own, but he doesn't spend nearly as much time on it as I do.

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  6. Your description of experiencing Fever the second time around makes me want to re-read Fever right now! It's on my list, as is a first read of CLV. So many books, so little time.

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    1. The second Fever read was the best! I understood so much that I missed the first time. And the third and fourth reads were pretty great, too. I'm looking forward to my fifth read in October! ;)

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    2. ITA Veronica! This excellant post is making me seriously crave Fever. I have officially read it all through only one time, and I re-read the first book. However, I skipped around re-reading different scenes so much that surely I can count that as a re-read! This is one series, open to any page in any book, and I could get completely sucked right back in.

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  7. I'm still in Dublin as a matter f fact, I can't seem to stop reading Shadowfever!!

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  8. Kat, when are you not in Dublin? ;)

    Veronica, I have to re-read Fever as well. I've only read them the one time.

    CLV are really great, my dislike for Ethan aside. When you've got the time you should give them a shot.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. You are so right. I always have one foot in Dublin. I adore those books and Barrons will forever be my number 1!!

      And I totally 100% agree with you on Ethan. Merit is one of my favorite heroines, but Ethan? Meh. Sorry Barb and Beta :-(

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    1. Ooooh, now I'm so curious what sauciness you deleted, Merit!

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    2. Barb,graet post,CLV and FEVER are on top of my favorite books list together with Outlander (top of the top).It is very crowded there at the top,I have so many books I love,Night Huntress,Kate,Archangel series,Daniels,Gone with the Wind,Discovery of Witches,Downside...
      And Barb,nothing to be curious about,my computer was against me and the comment was blurred.

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  10. As I recall, it took me months to leave Dublin! And I think I might need to go back so I can properly prepare for the new Dani book coming out next month.

    And chapter 32! Probably one of the most reread chapters on many of our ebook readers. I will never forget the first time you read it, Ms. Bones, with no warning! LMAO!!!

    I just reread CLV before the new book came out, so Ethan and Merit's new developments are fresh on my mind. I love where those books seem to be headed.

    You did a great job of summing up the reasons these have been my favorite books, too! Though I have yet to read your honorable mention and you have yet to read my new obsession. Will be interesting to see how all the new books we are discovering will affect our various “favorites” lists over the next few months.

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    1. That is why I always warn new readers when I know they are in the middle of OFITG!

      I am SO excited about where CLV looks to be headed! Unsurprisingly, I am already counting down to House Rules!

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  11. Great post Barbara :)
    I'm not that into NH, although I did love Once Burned. But I L.O.V.E. Fever and CVL! Haven't found any other series that top them.
    Totally agree with you on the reread. I'm doing a reread on Fever for the first time and there was so much I missed at first read that I see clearly now. There is a great love story in Fever and not just in the last one, like I felt it was at first read. The tension between these two is explosive from their first meeting. Through Mac's "eyes" I can now see how much Barrons was falling for her and how much he struggled with it at first. And the underlying tone in Mac's thoughts that she was falling too but struggled just as much against these feelings as Barrons did (if not more).

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  12. Great post, Barbara!

    Fever is definitely one of my top favorite UF series. I need to get around to re-reading it sometime. That series has quotes you can live your life by.

    I wanted to love the NH series, but I just didn't go crazy over it. I liked it a lot, loved some of the characters (Ian...mmmmm) but just not enough to place it into my top favorites list.

    CLV...I haven't got to that one yet. Maybe I'll get there one day. :)

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  13. "I took Mac's thoughts and feelings about Barrons at face-value the first time, completely missing his actions for Mac's reaction to his words. Even after he warned us about that!" ME TOO!!!!!

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  14. I'm so glad that Stacia Kane tweeted this blog post. I love your blog. Subbed!

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    1. Welcome Krista!! Glad you are enjoying the blog! and Barb's AWESOME post!

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    2. Awww, Krista, welcome! We are so glad you found us, and thrilled that you are following. The fun is just getting started!

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