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For Readers

Best Fantasy Novels from Female Authors

By: Hidden Gems on November 30, 2021

Hidden Gems Books ARC service.

By: Hidden Gems on November 30, 2021


Today we’re looking at some of the best fantasy novels that have recently been sent to our ARC readers – the ones they’ve raved about, and all of which were written by powerhouse female authors. If you’re looking to visit another world or an alternate reality this winter, add these titles to your holiday wishlist.


Hex Kitchen

Hex Kitchen by Stephanie Fazio

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory meets The Hunger Games in this mouthwatering, magical, and murderous fantasy. Hex Kitchen is a once-a-decade tournament where contestants have to cook magical dishes that are to die…and maybe even to kill…for.

Elizabeth Karmel (best-selling cookbook author, and Chopped and Iron Chef judge) writes in her editorial review, “Hex Kitchen transports you to a delicious world of culinary magic and fantastical, sometimes deadly, competition where every dish keeps you at the edge of your plate—wondering who will win the next move and what bite may be their last.”

“I couldn’t put this book down, I loved it!” raves Laure E. in her 5-star review. “Kenzie and Braxton are well written, and compelling characters forced into a partnership neither wants, and quickly realizing that neither one knows all of the facts of the tragedy that changed their lives forever. Absolutely wonderful and unique characters throughout this book. Dangerous attraction, betrayal, deadly threats from unexpected sources, and some surprising twists in the plot.”

Blood Mark

Blood Mark by JP McLean

Blood Mark is the first in a brand-new paranormal thriller series by JP McLean, author of The Gift Legacy series and whose writing has been described as “. . . deftly crafted, impressively original, and inherently compelling from first page to last.”

“A magical, haunting, and entertaining read, author J.P. McLean’s Blood Mark is a brilliant new paranormal thriller!” writes Anthony A. in his 5-star review. “The pacing and chilling atmosphere the author crafts, along with the heartbreaking backstories and gripping action that takes place make this a standout read, and will leave readers eager to devour more books from this author.”

Pat McDonald, British Crime Author exclaims in his 5-star review, “What an exceptional psychological thriller with a paranormal twist from the author of The Gift Legacies! JP McLean is an amazing writer and storyteller who has moved from a quality series to this extraordinary new book that has kept me awake at night. New readers should be allowed to discover the fate of Jane Walker and her birth marks for themselves, so no spoiler alerts here, just the knowledge that they will not be disappointed. I have read all of the author’s books and to be honest she just gets better and better – where do you go from perfection? Wherever that is I’ll be there.”


Valerie by Brittni Chenelle

If you love reading about scorching second chance romances, sexy valkyries, sexier demons, and unexpected twists that keep you up long after The End, fall into this magical new series that’s Fallen meets Born in Fire! Valerie is Episode 1 of Brittni Chenelle’s Serialized Eleven Wings Series—definitive proof that little books can host colossal stories. This is only 1 out of 6 episodes, meant to be binged. It is not novel-length. Expect cliffhangers!

“In true Brittni Chenelle fashion, we are thrust into the world of Valerie in a first-person perspective,” writes Kit R. in her 5-star review. “The kicker is that Valerie has no clue who or where she is so we start off just as confused and intrigued as she is. Along the way we start to uncover more and more about each of the valkyries and it is so clear that there is A LOT more mystery to uncover. Fabulous characters and world-building. Vivid imagery. You can binge this is one sitting as it’s an episode of the larger series and we are going to get to see a bunch of different perspectives. I already have my favorite characters and we have barely begun! Can’t wait to dive into the rest of the series.”

JLPG explains in their 5-star review, “I’ve come to rely on certain things from a Brittni Chenelle story. Engaging writing style, intriguing characters, action-packed plots, and phenomenal world-building. I was so not disappointed with Valerie as it had all that and the extra fun of a mystery to drive us headlong into the next story. This series is a little different as its shorter serialized episodes, which is fun because we don’t have to wait long for the next one. And you’re not going to want to wait, trust me.”


Legacy by Gail Z. Martin

Legacy is an action-packed urban fantasy paranormal thrill ride full of dark magic, infernal creatures, goblins and demigods, haunted places, pirate ghosts, found family, witch dynasties, loyal friends, Voudon spirits, secret history and plenty of adventure.

Legacy is a wonderful addition to the Deadly Curiosity series and one I devoured in a matter of days after rereading the first 4 books,” raves Love2Read in their 5-star review. “I love how you can just pick any book in the series, and you won’t be confused over anything as each book really stands on its own, but I do recommend reading it in order as each book capitalizes on one another. With each page the reader is drawn into the world of the Deadly Curiosities and how each character’s magic and strength is about to be tested in ways they were not anticipating. If you are looking for a wild, action-packed paranormal series to devour, I highly recommend the Deadly Curiosities series to you. It’s fun, has humor, some romance and a mystery that leaves you guessing till the end. Now the question is, can we get more?”

“Wow! Exciting action, dark magic, pirates, ghosts, goblins, powerful sea creatures, and unexpected twists in the plot,” says Laure E. in her 5-star review. “This book has it all. I love these characters. The realistic interactions between these loyal friends and their powerful acquaintances in an effort to save the city they love and call home make it impossible to put this book down.”

Sentinals Awaken

Sentinals Awaken by Helen Garraway

Sentinals Awaken is the first book in the saga of Remargaren, a vibrant, ancient world of high fantasy suffused with magic and adventure. Ideal for lovers of The Witcher, Tad William’s Shadowmarch or the Belgarion series.

“This is an amazing read, the longing of every epic fantasy reader fulfilled,” writes Elizabeth L. in her 5-star review. “Garraway transports us to a world where evil is rising and the protector of her world has chosen a champion to stop it once again from winning. Her champion is one of the King’s Rangers, Jerrol, and he is everything we enjoy about the epic hero.”

David R. explains in his 5-star review, “I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel. High Fantasy is often a favorite of mine but in this case I found Sentinals Awaken to be a very intelligent and detailed read. The characters are complex, as is their interwoven relationships with society and its varying class structure. Several key factions emerge throughout the novel in a setting most familiar, perhaps something akin to a late Medieval time period in Europe. Although I am often a fan of hack and slash novels this piece was very thoughtful with rich history that painted a very real setting. Ms. Garraway’s style creates a wonderful tapestry of country roads intermingled with small towns and greater cities. At times I felt drawn to these places, as if I could touch and smell them. The relationships developed between characters is believable and the situations they encounter throughout the novel, although driven by otherworldly powers, are realistic and lend an almost folkish sense to a tale of mystery. This is an excellent build up for a series and I look forward to the next installment.”

Hidden Gems readers get a chance to read some of the best fantasy novels first, often before they’re even published, so if you want more imaginative tales to add to your collection, sign up today! Subscribers to Hidden Gems receive invitations to read books like these – plus other titles from any of up to 15 other genres – for free. Authors send these out in the hopes that the readers will write an honest review on Amazon once they’re done.

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