Apologies for the delay! I guess this is more of a look-back of February’s releases now, but I’m hoping to have March’s post coming soon and be back on track shortly. If you think being a look-back means I’ve read these and therefore can provide more specific or personalized commentary, then . . . think again.

Previous months: January

Previous year’s posts can be found here (all linked from the final 2022 post): A Sampling of 2022’s Speculative Fiction Releases (Part 8) (also includes links to 2022 historical fiction posts)

The rules:
1. Books must fall into a category of speculative fiction – science fiction, fantasy, horror, etc.
2. All books must have an actual release date.
3. All books must have a synopsis.
4. All books must have a title.
5. Any sequels will have it noted next to their titles.
6. Books in the UK are released on Thursdays, North America on Tuesdays. So for many of these dates, add an extra two days if they’re in the UK. I will try to make a note of any date discrepancies beyond that though.

Meru by S.B. Divya
Release date: February 1st

Why is it on this list?: I see the words “space opera” and my attention is piqued. This sounds beautiful and thoughtful, and is promised to shine in its world building.

One woman and her pilot are about to change the future of the species in an epic space opera about aspiration, compassion, and redemption by Hugo and Nebula Award finalist S. B. Divya.

For five centuries, human life has been restricted to Earth, while posthuman descendants called alloys freely explore the galaxy. But when the Earthlike planet of Meru is discovered, two unlikely companions venture forth to test the habitability of this unoccupied new world and the future of human-alloy relations.
[continued description under the cut]

For Jayanthi, the adopted human child of alloy parents, it’s an opportunity to rectify the ancient reputation of her species as avaricious and destructive, and to give humanity a new place in the universe. For Vaha, Jayanthi’s alloy pilot, it’s a daunting yet irresistible adventure to find success as an individual.

As the journey challenges their resolve in unexpected ways, the two form a bond that only deepens with their time alone on Meru. But how can Jayanthi succeed at freeing humanity from its past when she and Vaha have been set up to fail?

Against all odds, hope is human, too.

Shield Maiden by Sharon Emmerichs
Release date: February 2nd

Why is it on this list?: Inspired by Beowulf, but about his niece, who has to come to terms with giving up her own dream of being a warrior, and then she meets a dragon – for when you want to revisit your English classes, but not like that.

Both epic and intimate, Shield Maiden is the brilliantly imagined retelling of Beowulf from the perspective of a fierce young woman reclaiming her power.

Fryda has grown up hearing tales of her uncle, King Beowulf, and his spectacular defeat of the monstrous Grendel. Her one desire is to become a shield maiden in her own right, but a terrible accident during her childhood has thwarted this dream. Yet still, somehow, she feels an uncontrollable power begin to rise within herself.
continued description under the cut]

The last thing Fryda wants is to be forced into a political marriage, especially as her heart belongs to her lifelong friend, Theow. However, as foreign kings and chieftains descend upon her home to celebrate Beowulf’s fifty years as the king of Geatland, the partnership begins to seem inevitable.

That is, until, amidst the lavish gifts and drunken revelry, a discovery is made that threatens the safety of Fryda’s entire clan – and her own life. Incensed by this betrayal, Fryda resolves to fight for her people no matter the cost. As a queen should. As a shield maiden would.

And as the perilous situation worsens, Fryda’s powers seem only to grow stronger. But she is not the only one to feel the effects of her new-found battle-magic. For, buried deep in her gilded lair, a dragon is drawn to Fryda’s untamed power, and is slowly awakening from a long, cursed sleep…

The Whispering Muse by Laura Purcell
Release date: February 2nd

Why is it on this list?: You had me at “superstition” and then again at “atmospheric,” and that’s just in the first sentence of the blurb. But also: historical gothic horror, like, this is a very obvious yes for me.

It is said that the lead actress Lilith has made a pact with Melpomene, the tragic muse of Greek mythology, to become the greatest actress to ever grace the stage. Suspicious of Lilith, the jealous wife of the theatre owner sends dresser Jenny to spy on her, and desperate for the money to help her family, Jenny agrees.
[continued description under the cut]

What Jenny finds is a woman as astonishing in her performance as she is provocative in nature. On stage, it’s as though Lilith is possessed by the characters she plays, yet off stage she is as tragic as the Muse who inspires her, and Jenny, sorry for her, befriends the troubled actress. But when strange events begin to take place around the theatre, Jenny wonders if the rumours are true, and fears that when the Muse comes calling for payment, the cost will be too high.

Don’t Fear the Reaper (The Indian Lake Trilogy #2) by Stephen Graham Jones
Release date: February 7th

Why is it on this list?: Stephen Graham Jones’ writing may not be for everyone, but the way he splices classic horror with Indigenous stories always makes his books stand out in my mind. Picking up four years from where My Heart is a Chainsaw, this is bound to be as much of a love letter to the slasher genre as the first book in the series.

December 12th, 2019, Jade returns to the rural lake town of Proofrock the same day as convicted Indigenous serial killer Dark Mill South escapes into town to complete his revenge killings, in this riveting sequel to My Heart Is a Chainsaw from New York Times bestselling author, Stephen Graham Jones.

Four years after her tumultuous senior year, Jade Daniels is released from prison right before Christmas when her conviction is overturned. But life beyond bars takes a dangerous turn as soon as she returns to Proofrock. Convicted Serial Killer, Dark Mill South, seeking revenge for thirty-eight Dakota men hanged in 1862, escapes from his prison transfer due to a blizzard, just outside of Proofrock, Idaho.
[continued description under the cut]

Dark Mill South’s Reunion Tour began on December 12th, 2019, a Thursday.

Thirty-six hours and twenty bodies later, on Friday the 13th, it would be over.

Don’t Fear the Reaper is the page-turning sequel to My Heart Is a Chainsaw from New York Times bestselling author Stephen Graham Jones.

Seven Faceless Saints by M.K. Lobb
Release date: February 7th

Why is it on this list?: A murder-mystery based off of medieval Italy, with a rebellion against saints, the romance is apparently a standout for many early readers. So if you like any of those things in your YA fantasy, this may be for you.

In the city of Ombrazia, saints and their disciples rule with terrifying and unjust power, playing favorites while the unfavored struggle to survive.

After her father’s murder at the hands of the Ombrazian military, Rossana Lacertosa is willing to do whatever it takes to dismantle the corrupt system—tapping into her powers as a disciple of Patience, joining the rebellion, and facing the boy who broke her heart. As the youngest captain in the history of Palazzo security, Damian Venturi is expected to be ruthless and strong, and to serve the saints with unquestioning devotion. But three years spent fighting in a never-ending war have left him with deeper scars than he wants to admit… and a fear of confronting the girl he left behind.
[continued description under the cut]

Now a murderer stalks Ombrazia’s citizens. As the body count climbs, the Palazzo is all too happy to look the other way—that is, until a disciple becomes the newest victim. With every lead turning into a dead end, Damian and Roz must team up to find the killer, even if it means digging up buried emotions. As they dive into the underbelly of Ombrazia, the pair will discover something more sinister—and far less holy. With darkness closing in and time running out, will they be able to save the city from an evil so powerful that it threatens to destroy everything in its path?

Discover what’s lurking in the shadows in this dark fantasy debut with a murder-mystery twist, perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Kerri Maniscalco.

Stardust in Their Veins (Castles in Their Bones #2) by Laura Sebastian
Release date: February 7th

Why is it on this list?: This is the sequel to a book I have not read, I really have no insight on this. But three princesses and political scheming and sisterly love and/or rivalry and multi-POVs and this series is supposed to be rather good!

Princesses Beatriz and Daphne have lost their older sister, but their mother’s grand scheme of taking the continent of Vesteria is far from complete. With the country of Temarin now under the Empress’s control, only the nations of Cellaria and Friv remain free from her rule. What’s worse, an ominous prophecy has begun to shine through the constellations: the blood of stars and majesty spilled.
[continued description under the cut]

Usurped by conniving cousins Nico and Gigi, Beatriz fears for her life, while in icy Friv, Daphne continues her shaky alliance with the rebels even as she struggles to stay a step ahead of them. But when an unlikely ally offers Beatriz a deal, she finds herself back in her mother’s sights.

With enemies around every corner and the stars whispering of betrayal, Daphne and Beatriz can’t trust anyone–least of all each other. If they’ve learned anything, though, it’s that the Empress’s game is constantly changing. And the arrival of surprise visitors from Temarin just might tip the scales in the princesses’ favor… if they manage to avoid meeting their sister’s fate before they can make their next move.

Immerse yourself in the second book in a fantasy trilogy from the New York Times bestselling author of the Ash Pricess series. The sequel to Castles in Their Bones is the story of three princesses and the destiny they were born for: seduction, conquest, and the crown.

Wild Massive by Scotto Moore
Release date: February 7th

Why is it on this list?: I honestly don’t even know how to translate this synopsis into coherent words here, but it sounds WILD. “But when a mysterious shapeshifter from an ambiguous world lands on top of her elevator” and “where every guest is a VIP, the roller coasters are frequently safe, and if you don’t have a valid day pass, the automated defense lasers will escort you from being alive” are just a couple of eye-catching sentences that made me confused – yet intrigued!

Welcome to the Building, an infinitely tall skyscraper in the center of the multiverse, where any floor could contain a sprawling desert oasis, a cyanide rain forest, or an entire world.

Carissa loves her elevator. Up and down she goes, content with the sometimes chewy food her reality fabricator spits out, as long as it means she doesn’t have to speak to another living person.
[continued description under the cut]

But when a mysterious shapeshifter from an ambiguous world lands on top of her elevator, intent on stopping a plot to annihilate hundreds of floors, Carissa finds herself stepping out of her comfort zone. She is forced to flee into the Wild Massive network of theme parks in the Building, where technology, sorcery, and elaborate media tie-ins combine to form impossible ride experiences, where every guest is a VIP, the roller coasters are frequently safe, and if you don’t have a valid day pass, the automated defense lasers will escort you from being alive.

Wild Massive: The #1 destination for interdimensional war.
Rate us on VacationAdvisor™!

The Twisted Dead (Gravekeeper #3) by Darcy Coates
Release date: February 7th

Why is it on this list?: Another sequel to a series that I haven’t read! But one of my friends will read any Darcy Coates book, and so that’s reason enough for me to put this book on this list. A paranormal horror by a talented writer, what more do you need?

Keira is ready for her life to return to normal. Though, to be fair, normal is a tall ask when your ability to see ghosts has landed you the job of groundskeeper in a small town’s cemetery.

When Keira receives an invitation to dinner at Dane Crispin’s crumbling ancestral estate, she knows she can’t refuse. The last living descendant of the Crispin family is reclusive. Keira only met him once…on the night he tried to kill her.
[continued description under the cut]

The mansion is steeped in history that is equal parts complicated and bloody. Keira senses the presence of restless spirits the moment she steps through its door. And Dane, waiting for her inside, wants to ask for her help.

Wildblood by Lauren Blackwood
Release date: February 7th

Why is it on this list?: The concept and setting of this book seem to be the highlights, and with a sentient Jamaican jungle, I can see why. I mean, “soul-devouring women that shed their skin like snakes” is not a thing I read every day.

Eighteen-year-old Victoria is a Wildblood. Kidnapped at the age of six and manipulated by the Exotic Lands Touring Company, she’s worked as a tour guide ever since with a team of fellow Wildbloods who take turns using their magic to protect travelers in a Jamaican jungle teeming with ghostly monsters.
[continued description under the cut]

When the boss denies Victoria an earned promotion to team leader in favor of Dean, her backstabbing ex, she’s determined to prove herself. Her magic may be the most powerful on the team, but she’s not the image the boss wants to send their new client, Thorn, a renowned goldminer determined to reach an untouched gold supply deep in the jungle.

Thorn is everything Victoria isn’t – confident, impossibly kind, and so handsome he leaves her speechless. And when he entrusts the mission to her, kindness turns to mutual respect, turns to affection, turns to love. But the jungle is treacherous, and between hypnotic river spirits, soul-devouring women that shed their skin like snakes, and her ex out for revenge, Victoria has to decide – is promotion at a corrupt company really what she wants?

Our Share of Night by Mariana Enriquez
Release date: February 7th

Why is it on this list?: Technically, this was first published in 2019, but this is the English translation, and it sounds cool, so I wanted to feature it, original release date be damned. Family bonds and legacy, cults and a bit of a ghost story, to me, this sounds beautiful and intriguing.

A woman’s mysterious death puts her husband and son on a collision course with her demonic family.

A young father and son set out on a road trip, devastated by the death of the wife and mother they both loved. United in grief, the pair travel to her ancestral home, where they must confront the terrifying legacy she has bequeathed: a family called the Order that commits unspeakable acts in search of immortality.
[continued description under the cut]

A woman’s mysterious death puts her husband and son on a collision course with her demonic family.

A young father and son set out on a road trip, devastated by the death of the wife and mother they both loved. United in grief, the pair travel to her ancestral home, where they must confront the terrifying legacy she has bequeathed: a family called the Order that commits unspeakable acts in search of immortality.

VenCo by Cherie Dimaline
Release date: February 7th

Why is it on this list?: It’s a witchy book, it’s on this list. Simple as that. It’s also cool to have a fantasy book with a lead character who is Métis!

Lucky St. James, a Métis millennial living with her cantankerous but loving grandmother Stella, is barely hanging on when she discovers she will be evicted from their tiny Toronto apartment. Then, one night, something strange and irresistible calls out to Lucky. Burrowing through a wall, she finds a silver spoon etched with a crooked-nosed witch and the word SALEM, humming with otherworldly energy.
[continued description under the cut]

Hundreds of miles away in Salem, Myrna Good has been looking for Lucky. Myrna works for VenCo, a front company fueled by vast resources of dark money.

Lucky is familiar with the magic of her indigenous ancestors, but she has no idea that the spoon links her to VenCo’s network of witches throughout North America. Generations of witches have been waiting for centuries for the seven spoons to come together, igniting a new era, and restoring women to their rightful power.

But as reckoning approaches, a very powerful adversary is stalking their every move. He’s Jay Christos, a roguish and deadly witch-hunter as old as witchcraft itself.

To find the last spoon, Lucky and Stella embark on a rollicking and dangerous road trip to the darkly magical city of New Orleans, where the final showdown will determine whether VenCo will usher in a new beginning…or remain underground forever.

The Last Tale of the Flower Bride by Roshani Chokshi
Release date: February 14th

Why is it on this list?: Okay, I have actually read this one, and it’s right up my specific alley. Atmospheric, with admittedly-flowery language and gothic vibes, this is a story about friendship (or maybe toxic dependency, you be the judge) and fairy tales, and it’s beautiful.

Once upon a time, a man who believed in fairy tales married a beautiful, mysterious woman named Indigo Maxwell-Casteñada. He was a scholar of myths. She was heiress to a fortune. They exchanged gifts and stories and believed they would live happily ever after—and in exchange for her love, Indigo extracted a promise: that her bridegroom would never pry into her past.
[continued description under the cut]

But when Indigo learns that her estranged aunt is dying and the couple is forced to return to her childhood home, the House of Dreams, the bridegroom will soon find himself unable to resist. For within the crumbling manor’s extravagant rooms and musty halls, there lurks the shadow of another girl: Azure, Indigo’s dearest childhood friend who suddenly disappeared. As the house slowly reveals his wife’s secrets, the bridegroom will be forced to choose between reality and fantasy, even if doing so threatens to destroy their marriage… or their lives.

Combining the lush, haunting atmosphere of Mexican Gothic with the dreamy enchantment of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, The Last Tale of the Flower Bride is a spellbinding and darkly romantic page-turner about love and lies, secrets and betrayal, and the stories we tell ourselves to survive.

Frontier by Grace Curtis
Release date: February 14th

Why is it on this list?: A LGBT Western sci-fi? I don’t think I need to say much more, but the tagline is “The Mandalorian meets Mad Max” so if I need to say anything more, it’s going to be that.

In the distant future most of the human race has fled a ravaged Earth to find new life on other planets. For those who stayed a lawless society remains. Technology has been renounced, and saints and sinners, lawmakers and sheriffs, travelers and gunslingers, abound.

What passes for justice is presided over by the High Sheriff, and carried out by his cruel and ruthless Deputy.
[continued description under the cut]

Then a ship falls from the sky, bringing the planet’s first visitor in three hundred years. This Stranger is a crewmember on the first ship in centuries to attempt a return to Earth and save what’s left. But her escape pod crashes hundreds of miles away from the rest of the wreckage.

The Stranger finds herself adrift in a ravaged, unwelcoming landscape, full of people who hate and fear her space-born existence. Scared, alone, and armed, she embarks on a journey across the wasteland to return to her ship, her mission, and the woman she loves.

Fusing the fire and brimstone of the American Old West with sprawling post-apocalyptic science fiction, FRONTIER is a heartfelt queer romance in a high noon standoff set against the backdrop of our planet’s uncertain future.

The Cage of Dark Hours (The Five Penalties #2) by Marina Lostetter
Release date: February 14th

Why is it on this list?: I mean, maybe it shouldn’t be, because I do find it a bit tough to write about sequels to books that I’ve never read, but this series does sound pretty cool. Fantasy-horror, with serial killers and some apparently strong world building, the series sounds like it has a good deal going for it.

The Cage of Dark Hours is the second novel in the epic fantasy trilogy from acclaimed author Marina Lostetter, where the defeat of a serial killer back from the dead has pulled the mask off the myths and magics of a fantastical city.

Krona and her Regulators survived their encounter with Charbon, the long-dead serial killer who returned to their city, but the illusions of their world were shattered forever.
[continued description under the cut]

Allied with an old friend they will battle the elite who have ruled their world with deception, cold steel, and tight control of the magic that could threaten their power, while also confronting beasts from beyond the foggy barrier that binds their world.

Now they must follow every thread to uncover the truth behind the Thalo, once thought of as only a children’s tale, who are the quiet, creeping puppet masters of their world.

The Girl in the Zoo by Jennifer Lauer
Release date: February 14th

Why is it on this list?: This cover is pretty eye-catching, is that reason enough? If not, this sci-fi about AI in the apocalypse for the last known human promises to be unique – and pretty heart wrenching.

Mirin thought she was the last human on Earth.

Captured during the AI takeover, she’s being held caged in a zoo, and suspects her guard, Borgie, is becoming sentient. When they introduce a feral man they want her to mate with, she realizes she’s not alone. Now she could be in more danger than ever. When Mirin discovers secrets about the zoo and how she got there, she is determined to survive.
[continued description under the cut]

Aided by a feline companion and an unlikely love, Mirin must face forced proximity, emotional scars, a deranged scientist, and robots gone awry.

Will she finally escape the zoo?

The Thorns Remain by J.J.A. Harwood
Date: February 16th (May 16th NA)

Why is it on this list?: What’s a fantasy book list without a faerie romance in these days? But this one is set in early 1900s Highlands, and apparently depicts its fae as otherworldly and decidedly non-human.

A dance with the fae will change everything

1919. In a highland village forgotten by the world, harvest season is over and the young who remain after war and flu have ravaged the village will soon head south to make something of themselves.
[continued description under the cut]

Moira Jean and her friends head to the forest for a last night of laughter before parting ways. Moira Jean is being left behind. She had plans to leave once – but her lover died in France and with him, her future. The friends light a fire, sing and dance. But with every twirl about the flames, strange new dancers thread between them, music streaming from the trees.

The fae are here.

Suddenly Moira Jean finds herself all alone, her friends spirited away. The iron medal of her lost love, pinned to her dress, protected her from magic.

For the Fae feel forgotten too. Lead by the darkly handsome Lord of the Fae, they are out to make themselves known once more. Moira Jean must enter into a bargain with the Lord to save her friends – and fast, for the longer one spends with the Fae, the less like themselves they are upon return. If Moira Jean cannot save her friends before Beltine, they will be lost forever…

Completely bewitching, threaded with Highland charm and sparkling with dark romance, this is a fairytale that will carry you away.

The Jaguar Path (The Songs of the Drowned #2) by Anna Stephens
Release date: February 16th (April 18th NA)

Why is it on this list?: Well, the cover did catch my eye as it reminded me of one of my favourite fantasy reads of last year, but beyond that, this is a high fantasy series in a Mesoamerican setting, of whichI feel there are too few. An apparently kind of grim and character-driven series with gods and magic, this sounds like a series to get into.

The Empire of Songs reigns supreme. Across all the lands of Ixachipan, its hypnotic, magical music sounds. Those who battled against the Empire have been enslaved and dispersed, taken far from their friends and their homes.
[continued description under the cut]

In the Singing City, Xessa must fight for the entertainment of her captors. Lilla and thousands of warriors are trained to serve as weapons for their enemies. And Tayan is trapped at the heart of the Empire’s power and magic, where the ruthless Enet’s ambition is ever growing.

Each of them harbours a secret hope, waiting for a chance to strike at the Empire from within.

But first they must overcome their own desires. Power can seduce as well as crush. And, in exchange for their loyalty, the Empire promises much.

Arch-Conspirator by Veronica Roth
Release date: February 21st

Why is it on this list?: Written by the author of the Divergent series

This is a sci-fi retelling of the Antigone myth.

Outside the last city on Earth, the planet is a wasteland. Without the Archive, where the genes of the dead are stored, humanity will end.
[continued description under the cut]

Passing into the Archive should be cause for celebration, but Antigone’s parents were murdered, leaving her father’s throne vacant. As her militant uncle Kreon rises to claim it, all Antigone feels is rage. When he welcomes her and her siblings into his mansion, Antigone sees it for what it really is: a gilded cage, where she is a captive as well as a guest.

But her uncle will soon learn that no cage is unbreakable. And neither is he.

Sister, Maiden, Monster by Lucy A. Snyder
Release date: February 21st

Why is it on this list?: Do you like your cosmic body horror with a big side of “what the fuck”? If so, have I got the book for you!

To survive they must evolve.

A virus tears across the globe, transforming its victims in nightmarish ways. As the world collapses, dark forces pull a small group of women together.
[continued description under the cut]

Erin, once quiet and closeted, acquires an appetite for a woman and her brain. Why does forbidden fruit taste so good?

Savannah, a professional BDSM switch, discovers a new turn-on: committing brutal murders for her eldritch masters.

Mareva, plagued with chronic tumors, is too horrified to acknowledge her divine role in the coming apocalypse, and as her growths multiply, so too does her desperation.

Inspired by her Bram Stoker Award-winning story “Magdala Amygdala,” Lucy A. Snyder delivers a cosmic tale about the planet’s disastrous transformation … and what we become after.

Where Darkness Blooms by Andrea Hannah
Release date: February 21st

Why is it on this list?: The trend of “girl’s face obscured by plants” is still here, and I’m still featuring such books. This sounds like a cool sort of mystery with a spooky town, missing mothers, and whispering sunflowers.

Andrea Hannah’s Where Darkness Blooms is a supernatural thriller about an eerie town where the sunflowers whisper secrets and the land hungers for blood.

The town of Bishop is known for exactly two things: recurring windstorms and an endless field of sunflowers that stretches farther than the eye can see. And women—missing women. So when three more women disappear one stormy night, no one in Bishop is surprised. The case is closed and their daughters are left in their dusty shared house with the shattered pieces of their lives. Until the wind kicks up a terrible secret at their mothers’ much-delayed memorial.
[continued description under the cut]

With secrets come the lies each of the girls is forced to confront. After caring for the other girls, Delilah would like to move on with her boyfriend, Bennett, but she can’t bear his touch. Whitney has already lost both her mother and her girlfriend, Eleanor, and now her only solace is an old weathervane that seems to whisper to her. Jude, Whitney’s twin sister, would rather ignore it all, but the wind kicks up her secret too: the summer fling she had with Delilah’s boyfriend. And more than anything, Bo wants answers and she wants them now. Something happened to their mothers and the townsfolk know what it was. She’s sure of it.

Bishop has always been a strange town. But what the girls don’t know is that Bishop was founded on blood—and now it craves theirs.

Nocturne by Alyssa Wees
Release date: February 21st

Why is it on this list?: The name, the cover(s), the description as “haunting” and “lyrical” – all good reasons to me. A ballerina in the Great Depression with a mysterious benefactor, I can’t say I’m not intrigued.

In this haunting, lyrical fantasy set in 1930s Chicago, a talented ballerina finds herself torn between her dreams and her desires when she’s pursued by a secretive patron who may be more than he seems.

Growing up in Chicago’s Little Sicily in the years following the Great War, Grace Dragotta has always wanted to be a ballerina, ever since she first peered through the windows of the Near North Ballet Company. So when Grace is orphaned, she chooses the ballet as her home, imagining herself forever ensconced in a transcendent world of light and beauty so different from her poor, immigrant upbringing.
[continued description under the cut]

Years later, with the Great Depression in full swing, Grace has become the company’s new prima ballerina—though achieving her long-held dream is not the triumph she once envisioned. Time and familiarity have tarnished that shining vision, and her new position means the loss of her best friend in the world. Then she attracts the attention of the enigmatic Master La Rosa as her personal patron, and realizes the world is not as small or constricted as she had come to fear.

Who is her mysterious patron, and what does he want from her? As Grace begins to unlock the Master’s secrets, she discovers that there is beauty in darkness as well as light, finds that true friendship cannot be broken by time or distance, and realizes there may be another way entirely to achieve the transcendence she has always sought.

The Shadow of Perseus by Claire Heywood
Release date: February 21st

Why is it on this list?: Look, I’ve never pretended that I’m not drawn in by a pretty cover, and I do like this style of covers for mythology retellings – it’s very eye-catching! I know it’s perhaps overdone, but I also like the feminist take on mythology retellings. I’m a simple woman like that.

Danae: Banished from her homeland thanks to a prophecy foretelling that her unborn child will one day cause the death of her father, the king of Argos, Danae finds herself stranded, pregnant, and alone in a remote fishing village. It’s a harsh new world for a young woman who grew up as a coddled princess, and forging a new life for herself and for her young son Perseus will be the hardest thing she’s ever done.
[continued description under the cut]

Medusa: As a member of a reclusive band of women who live deep in the woods, known as the Gorgons, Medusa has eschewed all contact with the outside world. That is, until the day she finds an injured boy named Perseus in the forest.

Andromeda: When a harsh sandstorm threatens to destroy her nomadic desert tribe’s way of life, Andromeda knows that a sacrifice will be required to appease the gods and end the storm. But when a forceful young Perseus interferes, Andromeda’s life is set on an entirely new path.

As Perseus becomes increasingly obsessed with the promise of his own destiny, his heroic journey casts a shadow of violence and destruction across all three women’s lives. But even as he tries to silence them, the women may find that reclaiming their voices is their only hope for lifting themselves into a better future.

Nationally bestselling author of Daughters of Sparta Claire Heywood returns with an imaginative and female-centered reinterpretation of the myth of the great hero Perseus, told through the voices of three women who are sidelined in the traditional version–his mother, Danae; his trophy, Medusa; and his wife, Andromeda–but whose viewpoints reveal a man who is not, in fact, a hero at all.

The Magician’s Daughter by H.G. Parry
Release date: February 28th

Why is it on this list?: This has been one of my most-anticipated books and I don’t even know if I can articulate why! I like the merging of fantasy and historical fiction, I like the description of the “lush and lyrical” prose, I like the idea of a cosy coming-of-age tale, and yeah, I like the cover. There’s just a lot here to hopefully like!

A young woman raised on an isolated island by a magician discovers things aren’t as they seem and must venture into early 1900s England to return magic to the world in this lush and lyrical historical fantasy.

It is 1912, and for the last seventy years magic has all but disappeared from the world. Yet magic is all Biddy has ever known.
[continued description under the cut]

Orphaned as a baby, Biddy grew up on Hy-Brasil, a legendary island off the coast of Ireland hidden by magic and glimpsed by rare travelers who return with stories of wild black rabbits and a lone magician in a castle. To Biddy, the island is her home, a place of ancient trees and sea-salt air and mysteries, and the magician, Rowan, is her guardian. She loves both, but as her seventeenth birthday approaches, she is stifled by her solitude and frustrated by Rowan’s refusal to let her leave.

One night, Rowan fails to come home from his mysterious travels. To rescue him, Biddy ventures into his nightmares and learns not only where he goes every night, but that Rowan has powerful enemies. Determination to protect her home and her guardian, Biddy’s journey will take her away from the safety of her childhood, to the poorhouses of Whitechapel, a secret castle beneath London streets, the ruins of an ancient civilization, and finally to a desperate chance to restore lost magic. But the closer she comes to answers, the more she comes to question everything she has ever believed about Rowan, her own origins, and the cost of bringing magic back into the world.

The Crane Husband by Kelly Barnhill
Release date: February 28th

Why is it on this list?: Are we getting to the section of the list where all I talk about is the covers? I mean, maybe. This sounds kind of stunning, a folk horror novella retelling of The Crane Wife with a side of generational trauma.

“Mothers fly away like migrating birds. This is why farmers have daughters.”

A fifteen-year-old teenager is the backbone of her small Midwestern family, budgeting the household finances and raising her younger brother while her mom, a talented artist, weaves beautiful tapestries. For six years, it’s been just the three of them—her mom has brought home guests at times, but none have ever stayed.
[continued description under the cut]

Yet when her mom brings home a six-foot tall crane with a menacing air, the girl is powerless to prevent her mom letting the intruder into her heart, and her children’s lives. Utterly enchanted and numb to his sharp edges, her mom abandons the world around her to weave the masterpiece the crane demands.

In this stunning contemporary retelling of “The Crane Wife” by the Newbery Medal-winning author of The Girl Who Drank the Moon, one fiercely pragmatic teen forced to grow up faster than was fair will do whatever it takes to protect her family—and change the story.

A Day of Fallen Night (The Roots of Chaos #0) by Samantha Shannon
Release date: February 28th

Why is it on this list?: Okay, yes, COVER, obviously. This beast of a book has a lot of hype behind it, as a prequel to The Priory of the Orange Tree, and features four women and also DRAGONS. And it sounds pretty great.

In A Day of Fallen Night, Samantha Shannon sweeps readers back to the universe of Priory of the Orange Tree and into the lives of four women, showing us a course of events that shaped their world for generations to come.

Tunuva Melim is a sister of the Priory. For fifty years, she has trained to slay wyrms – but none have appeared since the Nameless One, and the younger generation is starting to question the Priory’s purpose.
[continued description under the cut]

To the north, in the Queendom of Inys, Sabran the Ambitious has married the new King of Hróth, narrowly saving both realms from ruin. Their daughter, Glorian, trails in their shadow – exactly where she wants to be.

The dragons of the East have slept for centuries. Dumai has spent her life in a Seiikinese mountain temple, trying to wake the gods from their long slumber. Now someone from her mother’s past is coming to upend her fate.

When the Dreadmount erupts, bringing with it an age of terror and violence, these women must find the strength to protect humankind from a devastating threat.

Immortality (The Anatomy Duology #2) by Dana Schwartz
Release date: February 28th

Why is it on this list?: The sequel to last year’s Anatomy, which I didn’t read, so I have no insight, and am instead just going to list jot notes that sound cool about this series. Gothic! Lady surgeon! Frankenstein-esque! Edinburgh! Grave-robbing! I mean, not that grave-robbing is cool, but . . . Vibes?

Hazel Sinnett is alone and half-convinced the events of the year before—the immortality, Beecham’s vial—were a figment of her imagination. She doesn’t even know whether Jack is alive or dead. All she can really do now is treat patients and maintain Hawthornden Castle as it starts to decay around her.
[continued description under the cut]

When saving a life leads to her arrest, Hazel seems doomed to rot in prison until a message intervenes: She has been specifically requested to be the personal physician of Princess Charlotte, the sickly daughter of King George IV. Soon Hazel is dragged into the glamor and romance of a court where everyone has something to hide, especially the enigmatic, brilliant members of a social club known as the Companions to the Death.

As Hazel’s work entangles her more and more with the British court, she realizes that her own future as a surgeon isn’t the only thing at stake. Malicious forces are at work in the monarchy, and Hazel may be the only one capable of setting things right.

She Is a Haunting by Trang Thanh Tran
Release date: February 28th

Why is it on this list?: May I point you to that cover? This YA horror sounds pretty fantastic – atmospheric horror and a very, very haunted house in Vietnam, and honestly, this tagline just does it for me: “A house with a terrifying appetite haunts a broken family in this atmospheric horror.”

A house with a terrifying appetite haunts a broken family in this atmospheric horror, perfect for fans of Mexican Gothic.

When Jade Nguyen arrives in Vietnam for a visit with her estranged father, she has one goal: survive five weeks pretending to be a happy family in the French colonial house Ba is restoring. She’s always lied to fit in, so if she’s straight enough, Vietnamese enough, American enough, she can get out with the college money he promised.
[continued description under the cut]

But the house has other plans. Night after night, Jade wakes up paralyzed. The walls exude a thrumming sound, while bugs leave their legs and feelers in places they don’t belong. She finds curious traces of her ancestors in the gardens they once tended. And at night Jade can’t ignore the ghost of the beautiful bride who leaves her cryptic warnings: Don’t eat.

Neither Ba nor her sweet sister Lily believe that there is anything strange happening. With help from a delinquent girl, Jade will prove this house—the home her family has always wanted—will not rest until it destroys them. Maybe, this time, she can keep her family together. As she roots out the house’s rot, she must also face the truth of who she is and who she must become to save them all.

The Monsters in Our Shadows by Edward J. Cembal
Release date: February 28th

Why is it on this list?: A dystopian horror, I’m going to quote one particular reviewer who provided some information about the creatures called the Shivers: “Take your mental health and project it onto your own personal monster that stalks you endlessly. Make it so everyone can see your monster, judges you for its existence, and avoids making eye contact or discussing anything to do with it. It makes you an unfit parent or partner, suicide risks the lives of everyone you know, and death is inevitable; just wait for the Reaper to show up and escort you out of town. At which point your monster devours you, one limb at at time, slowly savouring its meal, before moving on to anyone nearby.” Have fun!

It’s been a century since “the great consumption.” Humanity has been devoured to the edge of extinction by the ever-ravenous Shivers – terrifying, shapeless creatures that latch onto their hosts, tormenting them over time before consuming them all at once. The last of civilization lives in the crumbling city of Atlas, where they subsist on processed insects and await their inevitable fate.
[continued description under the cut]

Anthem is the city Exilist, tasked with trapping the Shivers and banishing them to the malevolent Deadlands outside the city walls. But Anthem is ailing and destined to soon fall victim to his own Shiver, a fate he’s reluctantly accepted. As Anthem begins to withdraw from his world, a threat he’s unprepared for comes hurtling home. If he is to save anyone, he will have to travel into the Deadlands in search of a remedy to tame these creatures. But no Atlas dweller has ever made it back alive, and Anthem must confront his own darkness before humankind is forever lost to the monsters in our shadows..

The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi by Shannon Chakraborty
Release date: February 28th

Why is it on this list?: First of all, I’d be remiss not to mention that both the UK cover (shown here) and the US are stunning, so, you know. Secondly, this is written by Shannon Chakraborty, author of my beloved Daevabad trilogy, so it was always going to be featured here. But lady pirates and adventure and demons and cats and supernatural and found family? This is another of my personal highly-anticipated books, I have to say.

Amina al-Sirafi should be content. After a storied and scandalous career as one of the Indian Ocean’s most notorious pirates, she’s survived backstabbing rogues, vengeful merchant princes, several husbands, and one actual demon to retire peacefully with her family to a life of piety, motherhood, and absolutely nothing that hints of the supernatural.
[continued description under the cut]

But when she’s tracked down by the obscenely wealthy mother of a former crewman, she’s offered a job no bandit could refuse: retrieve her comrade’s kidnapped daughter for a kingly sum. The chance to have one last adventure with her crew, do right by an old friend, and win a fortune that will secure her family’s future forever? It seems like such an obvious choice that it must be God’s will.

Yet the deeper Amina dives, the more it becomes alarmingly clear there’s more to this job, and the girl’s disappearance, than she was led to believe. For there’s always risk in wanting to become a legend, to seize one last chance at glory, to savor just a bit more power… and the price might be your very soul.

Shannon Chakraborty, the bestselling author of The City of Brass, spins a new trilogy of magic and mayhem on the high seas in this tale of pirates and sorcerers, forbidden artifacts and ancient mysteries, in one woman’s determined quest to seize a final chance at glory—and write her own legend.

sources: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29

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