Urban Fantasy Autumn Reads

I’ve almost made it through my stack of summer reading…and just in time. The new crop of autumn urban fantasy releases starts hitting shelves in about a week and boy, oh boy, are there some books I’m excited to read.

A whopping five of my favorite series have new titles coming out in the next three months. Here’s what’s in the queue:

Shifting ShadowsMercy Thompson. Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson is one of my favorite heroines. She’s a tattooed, martial artist, Volkswagen mechanic, who also happens to be a Native American coyote shapeshifter. Briggs has built a nuanced world for Mercy—an alternative American West, filled with werewolves, Fae, shamans, and witches. Regardless of any individual book’s plot, the realistic politics and complex relationships in Mercy’s life make the whole series worth reading. The upcoming installment, Shifting Shadows, is a short story collection, including four never-before-published pieces. It’ll be out September 2.

The Winter LongOctober Daye. Seanan Mcguire’s coffee-guzzling changeling, Toby Daye, straddles two worlds—a modern, fae-infused San Francisco and the classical, storybook kingdoms of Faerie. Mcguire’s characterization and world-building are impeccable. I binge-read the first seven books in this series without so much as a pause, and then promptly sought out the rest of her books, as well. The eighth Toby Daye book, The Winter Long, comes out on September 2.

The Witch With No NameThe Hollows. I almost can’t think of this release without crying. For twelve books, I’ve been following Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan on her voyage of self-discovery through a magic-broken Cincinnati. Even her sidekicks (Ivy, a sexually-charged living vampire, and Jenks, a high-strung and smartass pixie) have grown and changed over the course of the series, with story arcs almost as big and important as Rachel’s own. Harrison’s Witch With No Name, out September 9, will be the last Hollows book. It’s time to say goodbye, and I’m so not ready.

Broken SoulJane Yellowrock. Jane is a vampire-hunter working for vampires in post-Katrina New Orleans. It’s not so hard to wrap your mind around. In Jane’s world, the vampires police their own, just as humans police other humans. Of course, vampire justice is a bit more swift than its human counterpart. Jane also has an advantage when it comes to bounty-hunting. Not only does she have her own, ancient shape-changing magic, she shares her body with the soul of a real mountain lion. I love Jane Yellowrock and all her motorcycle-riding badassness. And, book after book, the master plot keeps getting more satisfying. Book number eight, Broken Soul, comes out October 7.

Black WidowElemental Assassin. Jennifer Estep actually released another Elemental Assassin book over the summer, and I neglected to mention it, because I’d only just discovered the series. My bad. Seriously, Estep’s Gin Blanco is the ultimate anti-heroine. She’s a retired assassin with elemental powers over ice and stone. The woman kicks five kinds of ass, knows what she’s good at, and is utterly unapologetic about it. And yet, there’s no question about whether to root for her, because from page one, I liked Gin. Let’s face it, my real life friends aren’t particularly nice either. I’m still not entirely caught up on the Elemental Assassin books, but you better bet I will be by the time Black Widow comes out November 25.

There’s already a nip in the morning air here in Colorado, and soon it’ll be high time to curl up with a cup of tea and get lost in a good book. What’s on your autumn list?

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Urban Fantasy Summer Reads

Okay, I mentioned earlier that I think it’s important to read widely. And I do. I try to venture out of my comfort zone on a regular basis. That being said, I do have my favorites, and summer is, hands-down, the best time to indulge in some awesome urban fantasy. Summer days (and summer nights) are perfect for digging into a long series and devouring paperbacks without the slightest smidge of guilt.

Not that I feel much guilt about that any other time of year.

Summer also means new releases from some of my favorite authors, so here’s a rundown of some series I love that have new installments this summer. Every single one of these books is either on my iPad, waiting to be read, or pre-ordered for a release-day delivery.
By the way, all the links below go to Powell’s, but I won’t get any affiliate dollars. I just wanted you to have a convenient place to buy if you wanted to!

 

9780451464392The Dresden Files. Jim Butcher’s long-running series is on its fifteenth installment, so if you’re one of the few fantasy readers who hasn’t yet discovered Harry Dresden, you’re in for a binge-read of epic proportions. Luckily, Dresden inhabits a gritty, magical Chicago underworld with enough vampires, fae, werewolves, and cultists to keep the city’s only wizard-for-hire busy for a very, very long time. The most recent book in the series, Skin Game, came out on May 27.

 

9780345548481The Iron Druid Chronicles. When this series started, Atticus O’Sullivan was the last living Druid on earth and he and his Irish wolfhound, Oberon, were running for their lives. A lot has changed over the course of seven books, and number eight, Shattered, was just released on June 17. Author Kevin Hearne’s take on Irish and Norse mythology is what makes this series for me, but if you’re an animal lover, you’ll enjoy it even more for Oberon’s dog’s-eye-view of the world.

 

9780425256220Kate Daniels. If I had to pick my favorite UF series, let’s face it, it would be whatever I was currently reading. But if you gave me a little more time, I’d probably come around to Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels. Kate lives in an alternate-history Atlanta, where technology and magic flow in and out of influence like tides—erratic, unpredictable, random tides. While the series falls firmly on the urban fantasy side of the UF/paranormal romance divide, the relationship between Kate and her mate, Beast Lord, Curran, is what makes these books so hard to put down. Trust me, you’ll fall in love with both of them. The seventh Kate Daniels novel, Magic Breaks, will be out on July 29.

 

0451415205.01._SY200_SCLZZZZZZZ_Chicagoland Vampires. What can I say? I grew up in Illinois, so Chicago-based novels have a special place in my heart. Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampires are especially appealing because their story is told by Merit, a bookworm graduate student turned badass bloodsucker. If urban fantasy has offered up a more relatable undead narrator, I have yet to meet her. Throw in some scary-powerful mages, a gang of motorcycle-riding shifters, and a level of political intrigue that could only happen in Chicago, and you have a series that I will drop everything to read when the tenth installment, Blood Games, comes out on August 5.

 

031622846X.01._SY200_SCLZZZZZZZ_Prospero’s War. Last but not least, the Prospero’s War series only has one book out so far, but that first one was a doozy. Take a gritty police procedural, add fantasy-weird informants, wizard gangs, and potions more addictive than drugs and that will give you a good idea of the problems facing Jaye Wells’ decaying metropolis of Babylon, Ohio. The second book, Cursed Moon, drops on August 12. It’s especially important to pre-order this one, as Wells is a Hachette author. That publisher’s well-publicized battle with Amazon could put the longevity of this series at risk, if readers don’t step up and order from other sources.

 

This is just the tip of the iceberg for my summer reading list, but I can’t wait for these new releases to arrive. What’s in your to-be-read pile for the next few months?