Dr. Demonlove: or how I learned to stop worrying and read Urban Fantasy

 

It’s a strange thing to realize that your own reading habits are lacking in one area or another. There’s been a lot of talk about Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance lately. And by lately, I probably mean over the last five years. It’s a hot genre (or genres, depending on how you view them–and I’m not here to get into that discussion…yet) and one that, I’m told, is filled with some pretty talented writers.

But do you see what I just typed there: “[…] one that, I’m told, is filled with some pretty talented writers?” This is where I have to admit a pretty embarrassing reading deficit. I haven’t read that many female authors. Why? I don’t know. And the Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance market, while not exclusively written by women, is pretty firmly dominated by them. So, as a result of my own reading bias (ohhhh…I don’t like having had to have typed that word), I haven’t read much in this genre.

And I’m starting to think that is doing a disservice to myself. So, operating under the “you’ll never know unless you try” principal, I’ve decided to offer myself up to the genre and read through it this year. It’s a resolution of sorts, and I’m choosing a public sphere (Hiya, Unbound Worlds!) to make sure this resolution sticks.

Hello, my name is Kyle and I’m going to be an Urban Fantasy reader. But I need your help. I’ve come up with a list of books that I thought would be a good starting point from which to dive in and I’d like you to pick one for me. Here’s how I figure it’ll work: Every month I’ll offer you a list of books from which you can pick my next read. Then I’ll chronicle my way through the book, the genre, and everything else in a weekly update here on Unbound Worlds. The books that are not selected each month will just go back into the pot and are eligible for selection later on (so don’t worry if you’re favorite isn’t the winner this time around, you can get it in my hands later).
Sound good? I have to admit, I’m kinda excited about this endeavor. Branching out as a reader has always brought me face-to-face with really cool books in the past and introduced me to countless new authors to follow, so I’m probably in for similar. Maybe. But there’s no way to know unless I read.

Finally, I would encourage you to read along with me. I’m not calling this a book club or read along as I don’t want to saddle you with that kind of commitment, but it’d be fun to have you all out there to chat with as the books move along. Just a thought…

Ready to decide what I should read? Check out the contenders below and then place your vote (you only have until noon tomorrow, Jan. 13). Oh, also, if you can think up a cool name for this adventure (of posts), I’m open to ideas; leave them in the comments after the post.

And the list of candidates are…

Spellbent by Lucy A. Snyder
Spellbent.jpgWhat it’s about: In the heart of Ohio, Jessie Shimmer is caught up in hot, magic-drenched passion with her roguish lover, Cooper Marron, who is teaching her how to tap her supernatural powers. When they try to break a drought by calling down a rainstorm, a hellish portal opens and Cooper is ripped from this world, leaving Jessie fighting for her life against a vicious demon that’s been unleashed.

In the aftermath, Jessie, who knows so little about her own true nature, is branded an outlaw. She must survive by her wits and with the help of her familiar, a ferret named Palimpsest. Stalked by malevolent enemies, Jessie is determined to find out what happened to Cooper. But when she moves heaven and earth to find her man, she’ll be shocked by what she discovers–and by what she must ultimately do to save them all.


Mark of the Demon by Diana Rowland
MarkoftheDemon.jpgWhat it’s about: Cop and conjurer of demons, she’s a woman in danger of losing control–to a power that could kill….

Why me? Why now? That’s what Beaulac, Louisiana, detective Kara Gillian was asking herself when an angelic creature named Rhyzkahl unexpectedly appeared during a routine summoning. Kara was hoping to use her occult skills to catch a serial killer, but never had she conjured anything like this unearthly beautiful and unspeakably powerful being whose very touch set off exquisite new dimensions of pleasure. But can she enlist his aid in helping her stop a killer who’s already claimed the lives–and souls–of thirteen people? And should she? The Symbol Man is a nightmare that the city thought had ended three years ago. Now he’s back for an encore and leaving every indication on the flesh of his victims that he, too, is well versed in demonic lore.

Kara may be the only cop on Beaulac’s small force able to stop the killer, but it is her first homicide case. Yet with Rhyzkahl haunting her dreams, and a handsome yet disapproving FBI agent dogging her waking footsteps, she may be in way over her head…


Three Days to Dead by Kelly Meding
ThreeDaystoDead.jpgWhat it’s about: They’ll never see her coming. . . .

When Evangeline Stone wakes up naked and bruised on a cold slab at the morgue–in a stranger’s body, with no memory of who she is and how she got there–her troubles are only just beginning. Before that night she and the two other members of her Triad were the city’s star bounty hunters, mercilessly cleansing the city of the murderous creatures living in the shadows, from vampires to shape-shifters to trolls. Then something terrible happened that not only cost all three of them their lives but also convinced the city’s other Hunters that Evy was a traitor–and she can’t even remember what it was.

Now she’s a fugitive, piecing together her memory, trying to deal some serious justice–and discovering that she has only three days to solve her own murder before the reincarnation spell wears off. Because in three days Evy will die again–but this time there’s no second chance. . . .


The Better to Hold You by Alisa Sheckley
BettertoHoldYou.jpgWhat it’s about: “The sort of book that makes you want to invest in silver bullets before meeting the author.” –Neil Gaiman

SHE KNOWS WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE.

Manhattan veterinarian Abra Barrow has more sense about animals than she has about men. So when her adored journalist husband returns from a research trip to Romania and starts pacing their apartment like a caged wolf, Abra agrees to move with him to a rural mansion upstate in order to save her marriage.

But while there are perks to her new life, particularly in the bedroom, Abra soon discovers that nothing in the bucolic town of Northside is what it seems. The local tavern serves a dangerous, predatory underworld. Her husband has developed feral new appetites and a roving eye, and his lack of humanity isn’t entirely emotional. As the moon waxes full, Abra must choose between trusting the man she married, taking a chance on a seductive stranger, or following her own animal instincts.

You always remember your first: which Urban Fantasy novel should I read?(survey)