June is packed with great science fiction and fantasy releases; I honestly had a little bit of trouble narrowing down books to feature. As you’re heading out on vacation, to the beach, or just settling down in (hopefully) nice weather at home, pick up any/all of these books. There are some awesome lady authors on this list, so feel free to explore their other work if you like what you see here. Supporting women and diverse authors in genre by buying their books will ensure more of their stuff gets published, woo!
Crown of Stars - Sophie Jaff (June 6)
Love Is Red was one of the most unexpectedly exciting novels of 2015 for me, so it’s with bated breath that I’m awaiting the release of the second novel in the Nightsong trilogy, Crown of Stars. Two women, living centuries apart but connected by a prophecy. It’s an exciting premise, and honestly, it’s best not to know too much about these books going in, which is why I haven’t provided many details here. Start with Love Is Red and just know you’re in for a sensual, gorgeous and utterly thrilling ride.
The Prey of Gods - Nicky Drayden (June 13)
Sometimes I recommend books without reading them. It happens—after all, there are so many more books than I will ever have time to read. That’s what’s been happening with The Prey of Gods, a queer sci-fi novel written by a black woman (and starring a young Zulu woman), that seems right up the alley of so many of us looking for more diversity in our sci-fi. It actually melds both science fiction and fantasy in an epic tale of robots and goddesses set in a thriving future South Africa—and I am ready to put it in my brain.
The Space Between the Stars - Anne Corlett (June 13)
The Space Between the Stars has been on my radar for a while now, ever since I saw the gorgeous cover unveiled by the publisher months ago. It’s a character-driven novel set in a near future in which the Earth is overpopulated and the main character, Jamie, has set out for a frontier world. But a virus sweeps through the population, and Jamie is left alone, unsure of who else is left out there, or whether there is anything worth fighting for.
Down Among the Sticks and Bones - Seanan McGuire (June 13)
While Down Among the Sticks and Bones is part of McGuire’s Wayward Children fantasy series, this actual novel (barely longer than a novella—it clocks in at just 192 pages) stands by itself in this fantasy world. It takes two of the characters from Every Heart a Doorway, Jack and Jill, and tells a prequel story. Apparently these can be read in any order, so feel free to pick up this book before Every Heart a Doorway. It seems that everyone has been talking about Seanan McGuire lately, so this is a great opportunity to see what all the buzz is about!
Kangaroo Too - Curtis Chen (June 20)
This is another sequel (hey, who doesn’t love a series?), this time to the novel Waypoint Kangaroo, which released in 2016. It follows the story of a spy named Kangaroo who is able to enter an empty parallel universe, and he’s pretty sure the only reason he’s still employed is that he’s the only person who has access to it. In this second novel, chance events put Kangaroo at the center of a conspiracy involving a terror plot—and he’s the only one who can figure out who’s behind all of it.
Magical Girl Raising Project, Vol. 1 - Asari Endou and Maruino (June 20)
A light novel is basically just what it sounds like: a short novel from Japan. Light novels often are accompaniments to anime and/or manga, and Magical Girl Raising Project, Vol. 1 is no different: It’s a novel series that stands alongside a new breakout hit anime. I haven’t read it, but the synopsis—which involves a social network game that grants one lucky girl the power to become an actual magical girl—sounds fun. What happens when there are too many magical girls? A fight to the death, of course. (Seriously. A Hunger Games for magical girls? I'm really curious about this.)
Shattered Minds - Laura Lam (June 20)
The premise of Shattered Minds features a young woman who is a promising biohacker but quits her job when she realizes the consequences of her work and what it’s doing to her. She then becomes addicted to a drug, but the dark deeds of her past catch up with her. It sounds complicated, for sure, but at its core it’s a murder mystery set in a dark, near-future world. I’m a sucker for a good crime story, and a complex sci-fi setting really draws me in, so I’m excited to check this one out.
The Queen of Swords - R.S. Belcher (June 27)
Who’s here for fantasy Westerns? If that sounds like your thing, then you need to check out R.S. Belcher’s Golgotha series. This is a spin-off featuring a character named Maude Stapleton, a fan favorite who was introduced in previous books and now gets to go on her own adventures. The novel is set in an alternate history, in the year 1870; Maude is the descendant of one of the world’s most notorious (lady) pirates and is also a member of an ancient order of assassins called the Daughters of Lilith. Pirates. Assassins. Awesome ladies in a Western who don’t need saving. HERE FOR IT.
The Bear and the Nightingale - Katherine Arden (June 27)
This novel was talked about everywhere when it released in hardcover last year, and now it’s out in paperback. Vasya is a young girl living in the wilds of Northern Russia with her father, Pytor, and to his chagrin, she’s a willful girl who won’t listen to anyone around her. But little does he know that Vasya has a gift, and when evil comes to threaten their village, Vasya might be the only one who can fight to protect everyone and everything she loves.
Spoonbenders - Daryl Gregory (June 27)
Spoonbenders is the story of one family with preternatural abilities, from psychic powers to telekinetic abilities to human lie detectors, and for a while they were a sight to be seen. People traveled from all over to see the Amazing Telemachus Family perform their extraordinary abilities in front of an audience. But after tragedy strikes, everything falls apart. Decades later, members of the Telemachus family are scattered, trying to make ends meet, until one boy with a gift brings them together once again.