Thank you Carolyn for inviting me to be a guest on your amazing blog. I feel that its only fair to warn you that I’ve only ever written one guest blog previously. But since inexperience and gross incompetence has never stopped me before…I give you my ‘Books We Love’ post.
In case the title of my site All Things Urban Fantasy didn’t tip you off, I love books that combine paranormal elements with modern characters in contemporary settings (Urban Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Paranormal YA, Contemporary Fantasy etc.)
Since Carolyn isn’t limiting me to just one book, I thought I’d share a favorite YA novel and a favorite adult novel, both paranormal of course.
SHIVER by Maggie Stiefvater
SHIVER is the first book in The Wolves of Mercy Falls Trilogy (Linger is available on July 20, 2010, and Forever will be released in July of 2011). In a sentence, it’s about a girl who falls in love with a wolf who can only resume his human shape during the summer
The deluge of Paranormal YA books that have flooded the market since Twilight came out has produced both good and bad supernatural love stories. In my opinion, SHIVER was one of the few that was actually superior to Twilight. In my review, I described it this way:
“I can count on one hand the number of books that I have physically clasped to my chest upon finishing. As if by that action I could keep that feeling in my heart forever. Shiver is now one of those books.”
And I still feel that way.
SHIVER is told from the alternating point of views of Sam and Grace, beginning each chapter with the temperature. I can’t tell you how that little number nearly made me cry as I watched it drop lower and lower.
Maggie Stiefvater’s werewolf mythology is very different from any you may have read before. Forget the lunar cycle and aversion to silver, in SHIVER, everything depends on temperature. When Autumn fades in to Winter, Sam and the other wolves lose their human form until Spring. That would be a hardship for any relationship, but even just half a year with someone you love is something to cherish. But Sam and Grace don’t get to look forward many half year’s together, they get one. Maggie’s wolfs only change back so many times, for increasingly shorter durations, and by the time Grace meets Sam, it’s his last summer as a human.
The story is gut wrenchingly beautiful, full of tender romance, soulful characters, and lovely prose. SHIVER is one of my favorite books of all time. If you haven’t read it yet, you can’t even comprehend what you’re missing. Go get it now and thank me later.
You can learn all about Sam and Grace and the lovely Wolves of Mercy Falls Trilogy at Maggie Stiefvater’s dedicated site.
MAGIC BITES (Kate Daniels, book 1) by Ilona Andrews
From poignant YA to pulse-pounding urban fantasy, it doesn’t get better then Kate Daniels. This was one of the first true urban fantasy series I read when I stumbled into this genre, and sadly I think it ruined me for most other series.
What do I look for in an urban fantasy series? A complex modern magical world, a main character with an as yet not fully realized magical potential, an alpha male counterpart who provides tons of romantic tension, and a compelling meta narrative that is strong enough to play out over several books. Why do I look for these elements? Because Ilona (aka the dynamic husband and wife writing duo Ilona & Gordon) Andrews showed me the near perfection of what the combination of those elements can look like: MAGIC BITES.
The alternate Atlanta where Kate lives is full of Weres, Vampires, Mages, and a host of other bizarre paranormal creatures.
One moment magic dominates, and cars stall and guns fail. The next, technology takes over and the defensive spells no longer protect your house from monsters. Here skyscrapers topple under onslaught of magic; werebears and werehyenas prowl through the ruined streets; and the Masters of the Dead, necromancers driven by their thirst of knowledge and wealth, pilot blood-crazed vampires with their minds. –From the description of MAGIC BITES
Kate Daniels works as a Knight for the Order of Merciful Aid (aka the paranormal cops). She has a semi mysterious magical heritage that plays out over the course of the series and, according to her bio, she specializes in “Killing things, with much bloodshed. Talking trash, infuriating authority. Driving Beast Lord crazy.”
Who exactly is the Beast Lord? He’s the leader of the Atlanta Shapeshifters Pack. Self control is everything to him and it’s the one thing he can’t maintain in Kate’s presence. Did I mention he’s a werelion? His bio reveals “While Curran’s physical power is overwhelming, he rarely has to use to it. He’s observant and shrewd and tends to use diplomacy and intimidation, breaking into violence only as last resort. He moves extremely quietly and enjoys sneaking up on Kate.”
The relationship between these two is always combustible, increasingly complicated, and imminently compelling. The best part? It gets better with every book. The series to date includes
- Magic Bites
- Magic Burns
- Magic Strikes
- Magic Mourns (novella in Must Love Hellhounds Anthology)
- Magic Bleeds.
Grab them all and get ready to ignore every aspect of your life for the next several days. You’ll love them!
You can learn all about Kate Daniels and this pre-eminent urban fantasy series at Ilona Andrew’s dedicated site.