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Monday, January 4, 2016


     Here are my nominations for the top 10 traditional urban fantasy novels of the year. My choices for the best 2015 novels in other fantasy sub-genres will be listed in a separate post that will be published in the next few days. 

     First on my "Best" list is my favorite urban fantasy novel of the year: Kitty Saves the World, Carrie Vaughn's final novel in her highly successful KITTY NORVILLE SERIES. If haven't read this terrific series, I highly recommend that you give it a look, but don't  start with this novel. Go back to the beginning so that you can enjoy Kitty's full story. The remaining "top" books on my list are arranged alphabetically, by author. 

         To read my full review of each book on this list, click on the PINK-LINK SERIES TITLE in each entry below. All of my review posts for series books are ongoing and all-inclusive. That means that each series post contains a reading-order list of all the novels, stories, and novellas; an overview of the world-building; and reviews (or sometimes, summaries) of all of the books/stories published in that series to date, with the newest review at the top of the post. 

     If you are a romance fan, click HERE to read my list of Top 10 Paranormal Romance Novels for 2015.

         ****     *****     ******     ******     *****     ****         

Carrie Vaughn: Kitty Saves the World—14th and final novel in the KITTY NORVILLE SERIES
From my review: O.K., folks…This is the big one—the suspense-filled, action-packed finale of this terrific series. Of course, the title is a bit of a spoiler, but didn't we always know in our hearts that Kitty and her allies are unbeatable when it comes to ending evil and saving humanity?...The story is engrossing because there are so many players with so many different agendas that Kitty is never sure which of the newest ones are on her side, or why they are helping…Vaughn has done a masterful job of weaving together all of the...loose ends to create a riveting thriller that brings the series to a satisfying conclusion. 

Ilona Andrews: Magic ShiftsNovel 8 in the KATE DANIELS SERIES 
From my review: This is another enthralling tale that kept me turning the pages into the wee hours of the night...This series continues to hold my interest all the way through each and every book. In one of the final chapters, Kate muses about her life: "There was a moment…when I wondered if it was ever not going to be like this. But then I decided I was crazy. It would always be like this, riding to certain death every few months, trying to protect people we would never meet. Some people painted. Some people baked. We did this, was. I just didn't want to die. I didn't want Curran to die…I wanted there to be a stretch of normal, if not for a few months, than at least for a few weeks." Unfortunately for Kate and Curran (but luckily for readers), the authors foreshadow even more perilous adventures in their future. 

Kelley Armstrong: DeceptionsNovel 3 in the CAINSVILLE SERIES 
From my review: For me, this is a must-read series simply for the masterful storytelling and the wonderfully complex characters and relationships. Once I started reading, I just couldn't put it down. In this compelling plot, Armstrong has her characters wrestle with the complexities of friendship vs. love, free will vs. fate, and good vs. evil—all wrapped up in a fascinating, enthralling, suspenseful story. Each of the three main characters—Liv, Ricky, and Gabriel—deal with new information about their mythological past in an entirely different manner, making the story rich with future possibilities. This plot offers up a full range of well-written scenes brimming with fulfilled and unfulfilled desire, tension-filled action, treacherous deception, and heartbreaking pathos, and it deserves a prominent place on your to-read shelf. 

M. L. Brennan: Dark AscensionNovel 4 in the GENERATION V/AMERICAN VAMPIRE SERIES 
From my review: Fortitude Scott is a wonderful protagonist—an optimist in a pessimistic family; a soft heart in a cold-hearted (and cold-blooded) world; and a believer in liberty and justice—not just for his family, but also for all of the supernaturals in the territory. As Fort finally begins to stand up for himself and his principles, his methods are always heartfelt and frequently quite touching…This is a terrific book in a great series, and I highly recommend it—but only after you have read the first three books, because you need to see how much Fort has changed from the person/vampire he was back in book one when he was attempting to deny his vampire nature and live an entirely human life. 

Elliott James: FearlessNovel 3 in the PAX ARCANA SERIES 
From my review: One of the best things about this book is the complexity of its villain. This is not a power-mad psychopath (wait...he is a psychopath), but he is also a clever, layered character with a horribly skewed code of honor and a wish for immorality that drives him to do terrible things. The other "best thing" about the book is—as always—John's sardonic, self-aware voice. Now that he is in a forced-socialization situation, his attempts at compromise and negotiation are fascinating to watch…I love this series. Even though this book is 400+ pages long, I read it in just one day because I couldn't put it down. 

Suzanne Johnson: Pirate’s AlleyNovel 4 in the SENTINELS OF NEW ORLEANS SERIES 
From my review: As DJ tries to walk the thin line between listening to her gut and listening to Alex and the Elders, she gets into many dangerous situations that, as usual, result in physical injuries and emotional trauma. This is a fast-paced adventure that kept me turning the pages deep into the night. The suspense level is high; the action is continuous; the emotional undercurrents are relentless; and the cliffhanger ending left me eagerly looking forward to the next book. This is a fine addition to a terrific series...I do want to caution you that this is definitely not a stand-alone book because it is driven by the complicated political wheeling and dealing that developed in previous books. 

Charlaine Harris: Day ShiftNovel 2 in the MIDNIGHT, TEXAS, TRILOGY 
From my review: Harris does a great job in this book as she spins a suspense-filled murder mystery while revealing a few more secrets about the supernatural denizens of Midnight…I will admit up front that I have a positive bias toward Harris's fiction, and this book doesn't budge me from that stance. She always tells a great story by finely balancing suspenseful drama with quirky characters to concoct stories that draw in and engross the reader, stretching out the tension until the final scenes of resolution. By the end of this book, two of the story lines are resolved, which still leaves a number of mysteries yet to be revealed. 

Karen Marie Moning: BurnedNovel 2 in THE DANI O’MALLEY TRILOGY  
From my review: This is another fast-paced, action-filled novel filled with well-developed characters, creative story turns, and a surprising ending that sets the stage for the next novel. If you're a regular series reader, you'll want to read this one because it moves the story line along some all-new pathways. FYI: This book has many graphic sex scenes; everybody seems to be doing it and having a great time... Let's hope that the gap between Burned and Played is much shorter than the one between Iced and Burned. Whenever the next book arrives, I'm looking forward to the resolution of some old story lines and the development of new ones. 

Chloe Neill: The Veil—Novel one in the DEVIL’S ISLE SERIES 
From my review: Based on this first novel, my feelings about this series are very positive. The characters are engaging; the overarching story line is engrossing; and the story telling is top-notch. I believe that this series can grow to be just as successful as Neill's CHICAGOLAND VAMPIRES…This is a terrific book written by an author who is an excellent world-builder and a creative plotter. Give this one a try. I believe that you will enjoy meeting Claire, Liam, and their friends and enemies. I'm looking forward to more of their adventures in the second novel.

Jaye Wells: Deadly SpellsNovel 3 in the PROSPERO’S WAR SERIES 
From my review: Every time I pick up a book by Jaye Wells I know that I am on the verge of a great reading experience, and that is definitely true with Deadly Spells. The story pulled me in from the very first page, keeping me engrossed right through to the dramatic ending. Wells is a master of character development and plot construction. All of the characters, even the minor ones, are fully drawn—from physical appearance to attitudes and motivations. The plot begins as a simple, if gruesome, murder, but it gradually becomes more and more complex, with new discoveries appearing naturally as the investigation continues…All of the plot action evolves so artlessly that it would be easy to overlook how much skill went into the planning and execution. This is another terrific addition to a strong series. 

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