• Captain Jess

Recommendations: Urban Fantasy

Urban fantasy is a sub-genre of fantasy that keeps fantasy elements like magic or supernatural creatures, but uses them in a modern setting. Typically, they take place in present day in well known urban areas.


I absolutely love reading urban fantasy! I'm a big fan of high fantasy too (setting is completely made up, not modern), but something about urban fantasy just resonates with me. I think it's easier to get drawn in to and engage with.


Anyways, here's a few of my favorite urban fantasy books!


Some of them are series, and some are stand-alones. All of them are absolutely amazing.




Moon Called (Mercy Thompson series) - Patricia Briggs

From Goodreads: "Mercedes Thompson, aka Mercy, is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy's next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she's fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy's connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water..."


Author's Note: This is my absolute favorite series ever. Period. Of any genre.



Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress World series) - Jeaniene Frost

From Goodreads: "Half-vampire Catherine Crawfield is going after the undead with a vengeance, hoping that one of these deadbeats is her father – the one responsible for ruining her mother’s life. Then she’s captured by Bones, a vampire bounty hunter, and is forced into an unlikely partnership. In exchange for help finding her father, Cat agrees to train with the sexy night stalker until her battle reflexes are as sharp as his fangs. She’s amazed she doesn’t end up as his dinner – are there actually good vampires? Pretty soon Bones will have her convinced that being half-dead doesn’t have to be all bad. But before she can enjoy her status as kick-ass demon hunter, Cat and Bones are pursued by a group of killers. Now Cat will have to choose a side … and Bones is turning out to be as tempting as any man with a heartbeat."


This series has several spin-offs, but the individual series can be read separately. (I recommend every single one of them, but you do you.)



Cry Wolf (Alpha and Omega series) - Patricia Briggs

From Goodreads: "Anna never knew werewolves existed, until the night she survived a violent attack... and became one herself. After three years at the bottom of the pack, she'd learned to keep her head down and never, ever trust dominant males. Then Charles Cornick, the enforcer—and son—of the leader of the North American werewolves, came into her life. Charles insists that not only is Anna his mate, but she is also a rare and valued Omega wolf. And it is Anna's inner strength and calming presence that will prove invaluable as she and Charles go on the hunt in search of a rogue werewolf—a creature bound in magic so dark that it could threaten all of the pack."


A spin-off of the Mercy Thompson series, can be read alone. I recommended you read the prequel "Alpha & Omega" before reading the first book, Cry Wolf.



Magic Bites (Kate Daniels series) - Ilona Andrews

From the Barnes & Noble Review: “Ilona Andrews’s Magic Bites features saber-wielding heroine Kate Daniels, a “magic-touting mercenary” who investigates the brutal murder of her legal guardian only to be pulled into a volatile power struggle between two rival groups within Atlanta’s supernatural community. Atlanta is a city immersed in magic. Like the tides, when the magic is up, modern technology fails (guns don’t fire, cars don’t start, etc.) and magicians and other supernatural beings rule the world. In the midst of all this are organizations like the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid whose mission it is to keep the peace. But when knight-diviner Greg Feldman — the guardian of Daniels — is ripped to shreds by some unknown monstrosity, the butt-kicking heroine vows to avenge his murder at any cost. Her investigation, however, places her directly between the Pack, a powerful clan of shape-changers, and the Masters of the Dead, a group of necromancers who control a virtual army of vampires… [T]he strength of this novel comes from brilliant pacing and atmosphere. The narrative is as fluid as it is direct; and Andrews’s dark and lyrical description of the supernatural underworld of Atlanta — especially at night — masterfully draws the reader into her urban fantasy realm.”



Burn For Me (Hidden Legacy series) - Ilona Andrews

From Goodreads: "Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. Nevada isn't sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire. Then she's kidnapped by Connor "Mad" Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run or surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive. Rogan's after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she's getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world."



Skinwalker (Jane Yellowrock series) - Faith Hunter

From Goodreads: "Jane Yellowrock is the last of her kind—a skinwalker of Cherokee descent who can turn into any creature she desires and hunts vampires for a living. But now she’s been hired by Katherine Fontaneau, one of the oldest vampires in New Orleans and the madam of Katies’s Ladies, to hunt a powerful rogue vampire who’s killing other vamps. Amidst a bordello full of real “ladies of the night,” and a hot Cajun biker with a panther tattoo who stirs her carnal desire, Jane must stay focused and complete her mission—or else the next skin she’ll need to save just may be her own..."


This series is similar to the Mercy Thompson series.



Fire & Heist - Sarah Beth Durst

From Goodreads: "In Sky Hawkins's family, leading your first heist is a major milestone--even more so than learning to talk, walk, or do long division. It's a chance to gain power and acceptance within your family, and within society. But stealing your first treasure can be complicated, especially when you're a wyvern--a human capable of turning into a dragon. Embarking on a life of crime is never easy, and Sky discovers secrets about her mother, who recently went missing, the real reason her boyfriend broke up with her, and a valuable jewel that could restore her family's wealth and rank in their community. With a handpicked crew by her side, Sky knows she has everything she needs to complete her first heist, and get her boyfriend and mother back in the process. But then she uncovers a dark truth about were-dragon society--a truth more valuable and dangerous than gold or jewels could ever be."



Lore - Alexandra Bracken

From Goodreads: "Every seven years, the Agon begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality. Long ago, Lore Perseous fled that brutal world in the wake of her family's sadistic murder by a rival line, turning her back on the hunt's promises of eternal glory. For years she's pushed away any thought of revenge against the man--now a god--responsible for their deaths. Yet as the next hunt dawns over New York City, two participants seek out her help: Castor, a childhood friend of Lore believed long dead, and a gravely wounded Athena, among the last of the original gods. The goddess offers an alliance against their mutual enemy and, at last, a way for Lore to leave the Agon behind forever. But Lore's decision to bind her fate to Athena's and rejoin the hunt will come at a deadly cost--and still may not be enough to stop the rise of a new god with the power to bring humanity to its knees.


Read my review of Lore here.



Wicked (Wicked Trilogy) - Jennifer L. Armentrout

From Goodreads: "Twenty-two year old Ivy Morgan isn’t your average college student. She, and others like her, know humans aren’t the only thing trolling the French Quarter for fun… and for food. Her duty to the Order is her life. After all, four years ago, she lost everything at the hands of the creatures she’d sworn to hunt, tearing her world and her heart apart. Ren Owens is the last person Ivy expected to enter her rigidly controlled life. He’s six feet and three inches of temptation and swoon-inducing charm. With forest-green eyes and a smile that’s surely left a stream of broken hearts in its wake, he has an uncanny, almost unnatural ability to make her yearn for everything he has to offer. But letting him in is as dangerous as hunting the cold-blooded killers stalking the streets. Losing the boy she loved once before had nearly destroyed her, but the sparking tension that grows between them becomes impossible for Ivy to deny. Deep down, she wants… she needs more than what her duty demands of her, what her past has shaped for her. But as Ivy grows closer to Ren, she realizes she’s not the only one carrying secrets that could shatter the frail bond between them. There’s something he’s not telling her, and one thing is for certain. She’s no longer sure what is more dangerous to her—the ancient beings threatening to take over the town or the man demanding to lay claim to her heart and her soul."



Sin & Chocolate (Demigods of San Francisco series) - K.F. Breene

From Goodreads: "Some people are ordained for greatness… Those people usually have a lot of drama in their life. Drama I happily do without. I live in a forgotten corner of nowhere for a reason: there is safety in anonymity. I have enough problems just trying to get by. But when Kieran, a sinfully sexy demigod at the pinnacle of power, crashes into my life, suddenly my whole world is turned upside down. He’s harboring a deadly secret, one that could destroy all he holds dear. He thinks I’m the key to his salvation, and he wants me to help him claim vengeance. He also wants me with a passion that burns my body from the inside out. To ignore him is impossible, but to give in to my desires, even for a night, would thrust me into danger I might not survive. Can I resist the temptation?



Dead Witch Walking (The Hollows series) - Kim Harrison

From Goodreads: "All the creatures of the night gather in "the Hollows" of Cincinnati, to hide, to prowl, to party... and to feed. Vampires rule the darkness in a predator-eat-predator world rife with dangers beyond imagining - and it's Rachel Morgan's job to keep that world civilized. A bounty hunter and witch with serious sex appeal and an attitude, she'll bring 'em back alive, dead... or undead."









Rosemary and Rue (October Daye series) - Seanan McGuire

From Goodreads: "October "Toby" Daye, a changeling who is half human and half fae, has been an outsider from birth. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the Faerie world, retreating to a "normal" life. Unfortunately for her, the Faerie world has other ideas... The murder of Countess Evening Winterrose pulls Toby back into the fae world. Unable to resist Evening's dying curse, which binds her to investigate, Toby must resume her former position as knight errant and renew old alliances. As she steps back into fae society, dealing with a cast of characters not entirely good or evil, she realizes that more than her own life will be forfeited if she cannot find Evening's killer.


This series has a similar vibe to Mercy Thompson and Jane Yellowrock.



Half-Resurrection Blues (Bone Street Rumba series) - Daniel Jose Older

From Goodreads: “Because I’m an inbetweener—and the only one anyone knows of at that—the dead turn to me when something is askew between them and the living. Usually, it’s something mundane like a suicide gone wrong or someone revived that shouldn’ta been.” Carlos Delacruz is one of the New York Council of the Dead’s most unusual agents—an inbetweener, partially resurrected from a death he barely recalls suffering, after a life that’s missing from his memory. He thinks he is one of a kind—until he encounters other entities walking the fine line between life and death. One inbetweener is a sorcerer. He’s summoned a horde of implike ngks capable of eliminating spirits, and they’re spreading through the city like a plague. They’ve already taken out some of NYCOD’s finest, leaving Carlos desperate to stop their master before he opens up the entrada to the Underworld—which would destroy the balance between the living and the dead. But in uncovering this man’s identity, Carlos confronts the truth of his own life—and death…




Have you read any of these books/series? Do you like reading urban fantasy?


Let me know in the comments!


Connect with me on Goodreads and Instagram too!


Happy reading!

Captain Jess


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