Tag Archives: series

LGBTQ Urban Fantasy Series: The Sleepless City and Kate Kane, Paranormal Investigator

2 Sep

Here are two compelling series with LGBTQ characters that will appeal to fans of Tanya Huff’s Smoke Trilogy, Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files, Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter, or Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series.  Since they are both available as ebooks they are just a click away for our Hoboken Library Resident Cardholders.  So check them out now for an enjoyable Labor Day Weekend read or put them on your wish list for October when Halloween and Coming Out Day (October 11) make it the perfect time to read about some out and proud Vampires, Werewolves, and Witches.

The Sleepless City by Anne Barwell and Elizabeth Noble

The Sleepless City is a gay paranormal romance series, written by Anne Barwell and Elizabeth Noble, available to our resident Hoboken Library cardholders through eLibraryNJ.  The series revolves around several roommates and friends, some of whom are vampires.  In the mythology of The Sleepless City vampires have one true soulmate, but just because someone is your soulmate doesn’t mean there is an instant happily ever after and as each of the vampire main characters of the book finds their romantic partner they must navigate relationship issues as well as some suspenseful supernatural dilemmas.  Much like the Hellmouth in Buffy the Vampire series, there is a lot of mystical trouble in the small town of Flint, Ohio.  Besides vampires Jonas, Declan, and Simon, aficionados of werewolves will enjoy the character of Lucas Coate.  I’m usually more a vampire fan myself, but I found Lucas to be one of my favorite characters from the series.

Rather than co-write each book, the authors alternated books in the series.  Barwell wrote the first book Shades of Sepia and the third book Family and Reflection.  Noble wrote the second book Electric Candle and the soon to be released fourth and final book tentatively titled Checkmate.  I was unsure if the series might feel disjointed by having two authors, but I found it had the beneficial effect that their slightly different styles helped delineate the different characters they were focusing on.  If you become a fan of the series you might find yourself wanting to binge read to find out what happens next to the well written and interesting characters.  Although The Sleepless City series ends after book four, the authors will each be working on two separate spinoff series.  The Sleepless City is published by Dreamspinner Press, who specializes in Gay romance titles, some of which are also available to our Hoboken Library Resident Cardholders through eLibraryNJ.

Kate Kane, Paranormal Investigator by Alexis Hall

There are two books so far in Alexis Hall’s Kate Kane lesbian urban fantasy mystery series including Iron & Velvet and Shadows & Dreams.  A third book Fire & Water is planned.  I found myself so immersed in the world of the first book Iron & Velvet that I finished it in two days.  Kate Kane is a terrific character, a half fairy private eye with a biting wit who tries to fight against letting her powers derived from her mother, The Queen of the Wild Hunt, take over her life.  There are so many other wonderful characters in the world including Julian Saint-Germain, an eight hundred year old lesbian vampire prince; Tara Vane-Tempest, the upper class model who is also an alpha werewolf; Nimue, Kate’s ex and a Witch Queen; her assistant Elise, a golem-like “living statue;” and informant Jack who is a part of “the Multitude,” a gestalt mind made up of rats!  Although cleverly original, the book also satirizes some tropes of both the noir mystery and the urban fantasy genre.  Kate has a vampire ex who she met in high school biology class who creepily liked to watch her sleep, is overprotective, and bears other traits that seem reminiscent of a certain sparkly vampire.  LGBTQ publishers Riptide Publishing also have several other series by Alexis Hall including Prosperity, a steampunk series, which is available through Hoopla.  Some of Riptide’s other books are also available there and on eLibraryNJ.

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

Halloween Reads: Urban Fantasy Werewolves, Wizards, Witches, Vampires, Zombies, and Monsters

28 Oct

October is my favorite time of the year with its crisp autumn air filled with the scent of mulled cider and smoky fires and the crunch of vibrant red and orange leaves beneath my feet.  As I put away summer pastels in favor of darker jeweled tones, summer reads also often get shelved for some more serious classic works to linger over during my daily commute.  But Halloween is also the perfect time to catch up with the spookier denizens of the Urban Fantasy realm.  Here is a list of series that will put you in the Halloween spirit!  You can borrow the books from BCCLS libraries and some are even available in ebook format from eBCCLS or eLibraryNJ.

Wonderful Wizards: Jim Butcher’s the Dresden Files

Jim Butcher’s the Dresden Files is a great read for fans of Urban Fantasy.  There are currently one short story collection and fourteen novels in the series.  Harry Dresden is a Wizard PI in Chicago assisted by “Bob”, a spirit trapped in a human skull, and a human police detective Karrin Murphy.  The novels also involve other creatures of myth including fairies, ghosts, and vampires.  The series has been adapted to many formats including a television series, graphic novels, and even a role playing game.  One of my favorite ways to enjoy the series is the audiobooks, which are masterfully read by James Marsters.  The books are best read in order so start with the Storm Front (the first book) and make your way to Cold Days (the latest).

Find your Inner Beast with Werewolves: Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Series

Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville Series centers around a werewolf ironically nicknamed Kitty.  Kitty works as a DJ and her show The Midnight Hour slowly transforms from a late night music show to a talk radio show where she discusses the supernatural.  Witches, gods, vampires, and other werecreatures populate Vaughn’s World.  There are twelve novels and one short story collection in the series.  Each book often feels to me as if Vaughn is asking a what-if question, such as what if there was a supernatural convention, what if the military used supernatural creatures for war, what if there was a reality show with vampires and werecreature participants, and weaves the concept in to her story.  The first few books in the series are mostly self-contained, but later books build on one another as Kitty explores the long game, a plan for world domination by a mysterious master vampire.  My favorite in the series is Kitty’s Big Trouble.

Spellbinding Witches: Juliet Blackwell’s Witchcraft Mystery Series

Juliet Blackwell’s Witchcraft Mysteries involve Lily Ivory, a witch who owns Aunt Cora’s Closet, a vintage clothing store in San Francisco.  She is able to pick up information about the past from the clothes and other items in her store.  Her sidekick in her adventures is her familiar Oscar who often takes the form of an adorable small pig.  This series is much lighter in tone than many on this list and will appeal to chick lit fans.  Secondhand Spirits is the first in this five book series.  For those who are fans of ghosts, Blackwell is also the author of the Haunted Home Renovations Series.

Bloody Good Reads with Vampires: Cherie Priest’s Cheshire Red Reports

Cherie Priest is perhaps best known for her Clockwork Century Steampunk series. I am a huge fan, however, of her vampire series Cheshire Red Reports which includes two books, Hellbent and Bloodshot.  Raylene is a vampire from the flapper days of the 1920s who makes her living acquiring unusual and hard to find items in a way that might be slightly aside from the law.  Her sidekicks include Adrian de Jesus, a former Navy Seal Drag Queen; Ian Stott, a blind vampire; and two feisty orphans Pepper and Domino.  While Priest has not ruled out additional books, the publisher has no current plans for more “reports”, which is a shame since it is a great action packed series with a strong heroine.  Priest has a link on her site for fans to submit a request to Random House to publish more “reports”.

Quick Reads with Zombies: Kevin J. Anderson’s Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I.

Kevin J. Anderson has written 50 national bestsellers and has been nominated for the Nebula Award, the Bram Stoker Award, and the SFX Readers’ Choice Award.  At the 2012 San Diego Comic Con he was honored with the Faust Grand Master Award for Lifetime Achievement.  His Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I. Series currently includes three books Death Warmed Over, Unnatural Acts, and Hair Raising.  P.I. Dan Chambeaux (aka Shamble) is joined by his ghost girlfriend Sheyenne in New Orleans where the “Big Uneasy” has unleashed all manners of creatures on the world.  This series will be enjoyable for those who like a little zany humor with their mystery and horror.  I would recommend that you read the books in order, unlike me, since otherwise you will encounter spoilers which will ruin some of the twists in the previous books.

Monsters of All Shapes and Sizes: Seanan McGuire’s InCryptid Series

A cryptid is a creature that is claimed to exist, but who has not officially been discovered, which includes sasquatches, chupacabras, and all manners of legendary monsters.  Seanan McGuire’s InCryptid series currently includes two books Discount Armageddon and Midnight Blue-Light Special, with the next Half-Off Ragnarok scheduled for publication on March 4.   The first two books focus on Verity Price who has descended from a family of cryptozoologists but also moonlights as a ballroom dancer.  Currently she is studying the creatures of New York, but when a member of the monster hunting Covenant of St. George, Dominic De Luca, shows up it complicates both her assignment and her love life.  I like that future books will focus on other members of the Price family so that Verity’s character development is not slowed in order to span a long book run.  You may also enjoy McGuire’s urban fantasy faerie series, October Daye, or her post-apocalyptic zombie thriller Newsflesh series written under the pen name Mira Grant.

For more Halloween Reads stop by the book display at the second floor vestibule or the Fall book display in the back of the first floor fiction area.  Wishing you all a Happy Halloween!

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

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