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 HeroineHalf-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 HeroBones 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 StoryWhen Cat met Bones and
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 GraveOf 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 HeroineMac 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.
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 StoryThe 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 HeroineMerit 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 HeroEthan 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