My Top Paranormal/Urban Fantasy Series Picks:
I picked these series based on three things: consistency, re-readability and how memorable the characters and plot lines are. These rankings are flexible and can change over time as I read new series or as new books come out. I’m constantly reading new books and series so this list could change often.
My All Time Favorite:
Kresley Cole – Immortals After Dark
Kresley Cole is one of my favorite authors in general and my favorite in the paranormal/urban fantasy genre. K. Cole is a master of weaving humor, sex and violence seamlessly into her stories. The characters themselves are some of the most memorable that stick out among so many others within this genre. Her characters are from the “Lore”, where the mythical are not mythical but real beings. The Lore is home to Lykae, Valkerie, Witches, Demons, Vampires, and various other mythical creatures. What is somewhat different about this series is each book can be read as a standalone as well as part of the series. I read these books completely out of order and did not feel like I missed anything. Each book has its own agenda. Often with series each book continues based on the previous book and it keeps building. That is not the case for the most part with this series. Consistency is the name of K. Cole’s game. Usually every series has at least one “miss”, but for me this is not the case with this series. Even one of Ms. Coles “misses” is still a solid four moons ranking for me.
Jeaniene Frost – Night Huntress Series
The Night Huntress series follows Cat a young half vampire and Bones a several centuries old master vampire. This is a high octane action Urban Fantasy series, made up primarily of vampires. From the first book you are ensnared in the fast paced action and sarcastic wit of the main characters. The primary characters are Cat and Bones, but there is a recurring supporting cast that is just as memorable as the main characters. These books tend to read like an action movie, constant action and the characters lives are constantly at risk. This series is also very consistent, I don’t think I ranked any book of this series lower then a 4. J. frost keeps me coming back for more. We are currently 6 books deep on this series and waiting on pins and needles for the next installment. There also a couple of spin offs from this series featuring the supporting cast in their own novels.
Larissa Ione – Demonica/Lords of Deliverance
The Demonica Series and now the spinoff of the Lords of Deliverance are technically two different series but they are set in the same world. The Demonica series is only 5 books long which is not nearly enough of you were to ask me, but thankfully we now have the Lords of Deliverance, where the previous Demonica series characters tend to pop up from time to time. This world is a part of the underworld that contains Demons, Angels and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The Demonica series centers around the UGH which is a hospital. The Lords of the Deliverance is all about diverting the Apocalypse. Ione creates an in depth world with colorful characters whom you have a hard time forgetting. Her world building is among the best in this genre you will have no problems envisioning where these books are set. Her reads are incredibly edgy, steamy and funny. She has had me laughing so hard that I was crying, but there is still a harder edge to these books that make them darker and grittier then some of her also humorous counterparts. Ione is not afraid to go places that other authors refuse to go. The women tend to be just as powerful and dangerous as the men, and their men love them for that. I have loved every book written in these two series and the Demonica series is home of one of my favorite book boyfriends Lore. Oh Lore, how sexy you are, I wish you were real and mine. LOL
Gena Showalter – Lords of the Underworld
Lords of the Underworld are a much beloved series; fans of this series tend to love their Lords dedicatedly, even going as far as tattooing the butterfly symbols on their skin. Me personally, I would never go that far, but to each their own. The Lords made up of seriously Alpha immortal males who were punished by the gods and host demons (ex: Wrath, Violence, Death and Pain) within them. Each Lord has to control their inner demon, if they didn’t chaos, blood and death would follow. They learned that the hard way when they first started hosting their demons. When I first started reading this series I remembering thinking that it was refreshing and unique. Fans of this series each have their favorite Lord and protect their claim on him relentlessly. Mine is Aeron who hosts Wrath, he is a tattooed serious Lord who tends to hold himself a little bit apart from the rest. He is seriously lethal and when he gets going carnage follows. Wrath is one of the harder demons to control. What is so great about these books besides the yummy Lords is Gena Showalter’s sense of humor; you can’t help but laugh throughout the books. Showalter uses sarcasm as a weapon and she wields it effectively. This series could almost tie for third place, the only thing that makes this series number four instead of three is I like some of the books more than others, there are a couple of books that are not necessarily “misses” I still liked them, but they were not on the same level as best of the series.
Nalini Singh – Psy-Changling
The Psy-Changling series which follows the races of the Changlings (animal shape shifting humans primarily wolves and leopards for this series intents and purposes) and the Psy (Human Physics) the two groups are naturally at odds and tend to stay as far from each other as they can, they have had a standing leave us alone and we’ll leave you alone up until recently. The Psy have conditioned all emotion out of themselves, but some of Psy are starting to crack and the repercussions are staggering among the Psy. The Changlings revere emotion and being physical basically everything the Psy have shunned. This series has quite a bit of tension between the two groups and action as the rules of engagement change and warp. Some things I love about this series are that Nalini Singh is one of the few authors that mix up her races. She features characters from every race and often makes them inter racial, I wish more authors would go this route as well. Her books are also ultra steamy and you may need a cold shower after some of the scenes. N. Singh creates a whole new world in the future which is in depth and memorable. The characters are strong personalities that stick out, the males tend to exude confidence and have alpha tendencies and in the cases of Lucas and Hawke are actually Alphas. The men take care of their woman, but the women are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves. The woman tend to be powerful in their own right and can kick some major ass especially Sienna who may just be the most dangerous person male or female in this world. What has this series is at number five instead of higher up is consistency is the same reason as J.R. Wards BDB, some of the books in this series are not as good as others, there are a couple that I really just didn’t necessarily care for. However, the other books range from really good to some of my favorites of all time.
Karen Marie Moning – Fever Series
The Fever series is an Urban Fantasy series about humans and the Fae. Thousands of years ago the Fae retreated from earth to their own realm, but now, those walls are threatening to fall. MacKayla Lane AKA Mac is a 22 year old southern belle whose life is dramatically altered with one phone call. When Mac travels to Ireland to investigate her sisters murder her whole life changes and nothing she thought her whole life is relevant any longer. Why this series is among my favorites is it pulls you in and doesn’t let you go. This series is 5 books long and once I was pulled in the first couple of pages of the first book it did not let me go until I was finished with all five books. I read them all in four days. You are come to care about the characters especially Mac. The Fever series is also home of Barrons, he is one of the most memorable males of all of these series. He is the dark mysterious types where you barely know anything about him but you know that you can’t get enough of him. Every book in this series is good; the fourth book is the best in my humble opinion. They tend to be action packed and swift moving; they also take you on an emotional roller coaster. Moning is planning on revisiting the Fever world for five more books but there will be new trial and tribulations. I can’t wait for this series to continue because 5 books was not enough.
J.R. Ward – Black Dagger Brotherhood
The Black Dagger Brotherhood is the warrior class of the vampire race, where vampires are born not made. They tend to not have anything to do with humans, they don’t even feed off humans. Ward’s take on the vampire race is definitely her own. This series has some serious fanatics for fans, it’s almost scary sometimes, they love their brothers and don’t ever dare to say anything to criticize. LOL. The Brotherhood consists of some of the most memorable characters you will ever come across in this genre especially among vampire series. The Brothers are much beloved and unique they have their own lingo that you will find yourself trying to mimic, true… Each brother has a strong personality, and their own deep seeded issues. The best books of this series you can read over and over again and never tire of the story. An issue with this series is constancy, some of the books of this series really are just not great, but you have to read each book and in order otherwise you will be lost. Each book builds off of the last and there are several plot lines weaving through each book with the various brothers. Also, the female leads in these books don’t really hold their own against their men, honestly they are forgettable to say the least. I have a hard time remembering most of their names or much about them. Some are more memorable than others. Then there are the villains of the series, they really just aren’t that scary or intimidating, I often hear that readers of this series skip over or skim the “Lesser” parts. With the previous book, it was highly disappointing and I am currently waiting to see what direction Ward is going to take us with this series. This series has the potential to fall off this list entirely depending on where it goes. I am on a wait and see with this next book that comes out in March.
Gena Showalter – Alien Huntress
From the imagination of Gena Showlater we have the Alien Huntress series. It is the future and aliens are now residing alongside humans on earth. There is an elite force that keeps the Alien population in check, the A.I.R., the females agents are especially vicious! This series features Gena Showalters typical humor and will have you laughing throughout. This series started out a bit rocky, the first few books were ok, but as the series went on the books got better and better. The last two in this series counted among my favorite books of the PNR/UF genre. If this series continues getting better and better it will no doubt climb higher in the ranks, but for now since the first few books were just ok its sticking at number 8. The most recent book came out I believe early September and I’ve already read it three times. Gena Showalter certainly knows how to write an alpha male and a vicious yet vulnerable female that needs no man to take care of her.
Stephanie Rowe – SoulFire
The SoulFire series is set in a whole new wacky world, with unique characters. At first when you are reading, you are kind of like huh, this is so strange and bizarre but as you continue reading because you just can’t stop and then you utterly fall in love; at least I did. This series may not be for everyone, but it’s perfect for me. The supernatural character is not your typical species, or at least they have a unique twist. For example, there are vampires but they are kind of emo hippies lol. Stephanie Rowe is highly entertaining, funny, refreshing and is not afraid to write outside the box. For example her warriors were all tortured for 150 years, so they have the tortured thing going for them but they each have a “girly” hobby that they were forced to undertake as part of their training. Which I guess sounds stupid when I write it but when Stephanie Rowe does it becomes humorous and just a loveable unique part of the character. I really want to rank this series higher, but it only has three published books so far, so that’s not really enough to rank higher. This series could tank in a big way, but somehow I doubt that since I’m already looking forward to the next book.
Molly Harper – Jane Jameson
The Jane Jameson series is about Jane who is a local librarian, or was until she got fired. She was minding her own business getting drunk when she met a very handsome stranger; really he was too good to be true. On her way home her car breaks down and she is mistaken as a deer by one of the town rednecks and shot and “killed”. She wakes up in the handsome stranger’s (Gabriel) house with a thirst for blood. I mean really could her day get any worse? This series is on this list because it is freak’n hilarious! I adore laughing and this series had me rolling. Molly Harper has snarky down to a science, sometimes snarky can get to be too much (read a Betsy Queen of the Vampires – MaryJanice Davidson novel and you’ll understand that statement), but Molly Harper never over uses it and it is properly placed within the story. The series follows Jane Jameson primarily as she navigates the world of vampires, but she has a great supporting cast. Each character has a well developed personality unique to that person. The concept itself is not unique, it’s definitely another vampire series, but it is unique in its humor. There are not many that are this funny. I could re-read any of the books so far and laugh all over again. As far as being memorable, the plot lines themselves aren’t necessarily memorable but the laughing is. If you love to laugh, and enjoy a snark, this is a series for you.
Nalini Singh – Guild Hunter’s
This series is set in New York primarily in a world where angels rule and are not what you typically think of when you think of an angel. These are not the holy type of angels. These angels are ruthless and powerful and could take out an entire country in one swoop. They also “make” vampires which basically become their servants. The Guild Hunters track down and capture rogue vampires for the angels. This series has great potential to move up along this list as more books come out. I am very curious for some of the upcoming series. It was announced that Jason’s story is next and as he is my favorite of the seven I cannot wait for this one.
Anya Bast – Dark Magick
This series is about the Fae who were ousted to humans and the humans responded by rounding up the faeand putting them in a containment area. The Fae are ready to get out and are rounding up artifacts one by one that will bust down their magical wall. This series is a darker edgier series with lots of action and magick.
Chloe Neil – Chicagoland Vampires
This series follows Merit a new very powerful vampire as she navigates this new world of vampires and magic. She is not very good at navigating the politics of being a vampire and often rubs the vamps in charge the wrong way but she was reborn one of the most powerful vampires in existence. The villains in each book can at times be predicable but I read for the story not for the villains. So far Ms. Neil is definitely taking you on a rollercoaster ride of action and emotion. This is a good solid series that would be hard to not enjoy.
What are your favorite series? Any recommendations?