It's summer, which means pools, beaches, vacations, and working while longingly staring out the window, wishing you could be outside. This summer, I'll be looking for escapist reads, fun books that take me out of this world and into a different one entirely.
Luckily, we have quite a few great options this month. The author of the beloved Kushiel's Dart series, Jacqueline Carey, is back with an entirely new fantasy series (I'll wait for you to stop screaming). One of our very own FANGRRLS writers makes her debut in a short story collection. And my favorite fantasy series currently being written has a new set of short stories that come out this month. All in all, it's going to be a good month for SFF books.
Bruja Born - Zoraida Cordova (June 5)
Zoraida Cordova does excellent work, which is why I’m so excited that she has a new book out this month. It’s the second in the Brooklyn Brujas series (the first is Labyrinth Lost, about a teenager named Alex who’s the most powerful witch in her family). This book focuses on Alex’s older sister, Lula, who is having trouble adjusting to her sister’s new powers and the consequences that come with them. When her boyfriend and only source of comfort dies, Lula is determined to bring him back with her healing powers. But what will the cost of this drastic action be?
The Book of M - Peng Shepherd (June 5)
All across the world, people’s shadows are disappearing. No one knows why it’s happening. People gain new powers as a result, but the price is too high — they begin losing all of their memories. Called The Forgetting, there’s no way to prevent it and no cure anyone knows of. Ory and Max have managed to avoid The Forgetting so far, but when Max’s shadow disappears, she flees from her husband because she’s afraid she’ll become a threat to him. Ory wants to find Max before it’s too late, and on his journey, he may just find the key to a cure for The Forgetting.
Brief Cases: More Stories from the Dresden Files - Jim Butcher (June 5)
It’s confession time: I love The Dresden Files. If you haven’t heard of this series, it’s about a wizard named Harry Dresden who solves supernatural mysteries in Chicago. The series is really long, and while the world-building is complex and amazing, I don’t love where Butcher is going with the characters (Harry does not need to fall for his barely-out-of-her-teens apprentice OK?) but I’m so hooked I can’t stop reading. This short story collection is a great introduction to the world.
Free Chocolate - Amber Royer (June 5)
What would happen if chocolate became the most valuable commodity in the galaxy? That’s the premise of Free Chocolate, in which a culinary arts student named Bo Benitez is caught stealing cacao from a plantation. It seems as though everyone is against her, from her boyfriend to the cops, but she escapes on a starship. There’s just one problem: the aliens the ship belongs to might be attractive, but they have a reputation for eating people who stowaway. This seems like a fun and silly read, but also a thoughtful one.
Starless - Jacqueline Carey (June 12)
If you’re a fan of Kushiel’s Dart, you may need to sit down if you haven’t heard about Starless. The author of that classic, Jacqueline Carey, is back with a brand new book, and it’s releasing this June. This is a brand new high fantasy series featuring Kahi, who serves as a protector of Princess Zariya. But an exiled god is rising, and Kahi must figure out how to keep his princess safe.
Trail of Lightning - Rebecca Roanhorse (June 26)
It’s becoming harder for me to be interested in dystopian novels simply because more and more, I’m reading for escapism and entertainment from the world around us. But I’m intrigued by Rebecca Roanhorse’s novel, which is a mix between dystopia and fantasy. It’s set in a world that’s been ravaged by climate change when most of the land has been swallowed up by water. The Najavo reservation, now known as Dinétah, has been reborn, and so have gods and monsters. Maggie is a killer who’s gifted with special powers, but when she has to confront a monster that is more powerful than any she’s encountered before, she has to look into her own past to discover how to defeat it.
A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe - Alex White (June 26)
This is a space adventure about two lady smugglers on a quest. If that isn’t enough to hook you, I don’t know what is. Boots Elsworth used to be a famed hunter of treasure, but no longer. Now she is a salvager, but she still dreams of her glory days. Nilah Brio is a famous racer who is witness to a murder and has to go on the run. The only thing she’s got going for her is that the killer after her is also after Boots. Together, these women decide to chase the ultimate treasure, which Boots has a lead on.
Summerland - Hannu Rajaniemi (June 26)
What happens when we die? It’s a popular question, and the fact is that we don’t really have any idea whether there’s life after death. But Hannu Rajaniemi’s latest novel probes this afterlife, imagining that the world of the living has actually been able to conquer the world of the dead, called Summerland. The British Empire has staked its claim to Summerland, but they aren’t the only ones with nefarious plans for the afterlife. Rachel White is an agent intent on protecting Britain’s interests in Summerland and she must find a spy before it’s too late. The only problem is the person she’s searching for may be dead.
A Thousand Beginnings and Endings, edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman
You've probably seen Preeti Chhibber's excellent work here at FANGRRLS, but did you know she writes fiction as well? She's making her debut in A Thousand Beginnings and Endings with a short story based on Hindu mythology but set in the present day, about a teenager who heads to a religious function with her friends and meets a cute boy. There's some misunderstanding, some revenge, and OF COURSE some dancing. This collection of short stories (with a stellar author list) is one of Asian-inspired folk tales reinterpreted, and it's definitely worth picking up.