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‘Fifty Beasts To Break Your Heart’ by GennaRose Nethercott | SFF Pick of the Month

Best SF/Fantasy of 2023


The Frame-Up

Hand Bond’s new crime caper fantasy (which follows her recent espionage-themed paranormal romance Mr. & Mrs. Witch) to readers who like their magic set in the real world or who enjoy heist novels based around a found-family crew.

A Fate Inked in Blood

Jensen (“Bridge Kingdom” series) has rooted the first entry in her “Saga of the Unfated” in Norse mythology, giving readers a glimpse into a cold, violent society, but she doesn’t skimp on the heat. This reads like the love child of Genevieve Gornichec’s The Witch’s Heart and Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Silver Flames. Romantasy fans will be ravenous for more.

The Canopy Keepers

Henry’s (The Foreign Exchange) near-future fantasy world is interesting and beautiful, with lush descriptions of the forest and the fantastical world hidden within.

Cascade Failure

Sagas’s debut combines galactic and personal stakes in an entertaining series starter that leaves plenty of space for future adventures.

The Butcher of the Forest

The latest from Mohamed (No One Will Come Back for Us) is recommended for readers of magical-bargain and forest-journey novels, such as Emily Tesh’s “Greenhollow” duology and Peter S. Beagle’s The Way Home.

A Vicious Game

After a slow start, the latest “Halfling Saga” book returns to form with hard-fought battles, exciting magic, and sexy scenes, all set in Blair’s enchanting faeland. There are also plenty of surprises that will leave readers eager for the next installment.

The Book of Love

Lovers of magical coming-of-age stories will find the protagonists’ journeys compelling, while anyone who believes that love is the greatest magic of all will find the redemptive power of love (of all types) imbued in every single page.

To Cage a God

May’s (Seven Mercies) Russian-inspired fantasy is filled with deadly magic, political machinations, and the balance of familial bonds and desire for power.

The Truth of the Aleke

Utomi’s searing, thought-provoking fantasy novella (the second in “The Forever Desert” series, set in an environment inspired by the Sahara) has heartbreaking parallels in the present and is highly recommended.


Healy’s debut is an excellent read for anyone who has an appetite for fairy tales, folklore, monsters, and stories with women protagonists who stand firmly rooted in their own strength.


Recommended for lovers of goth-tinged speculative fiction like Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir and The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling.

That Time I Got Drunk and Saved a Demon

This a serious fantasy quest that doesn’t take itself so seriously and is perfect for readers who love Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree and Can’t Spell Treason Without Tea by Rebecca Thorne, but who wish that the romances at the heart of those cozy fantasies had been considerably more explicit.

Three Kinds of Lucky

Harrison’s (Demons of Good and Evil) new series has the same delightfully wry heroine her fans expect to see, along with an intriguing new magic system.

The Bezzle

Readers who love heist and caper stories will fall under Marty’s spell.

Fifty Beasts To Break Your Heart: And Other Stories

Sometimes a bit Strange Beasts of China by Yan Ge, sometimes When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill, but consistently reminiscent of the lush language of Patricia A. McKillip.

Starling House

Harrow weaves an intricately plotted gothic fairy tale featuring emotionally complex characters, brought to life through Naudus’s skillful narration. Fans of T. Kingfisher’s gothic fiction, dark academia like Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House, and grim fairy tales in the vein of Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber will find themselves right at home.

A Tidy Armageddon

In this unique twist on postapocalyptic science fiction, the suspense and action seamlessly entwine, capturing the audience’s imagination with every turn. An excellent addition to any audio sci-fi collection.

Dark Water Daughter

A great addition to the recent spate of pirate-themed fantasy, such as S.A. Chakraborty’s The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi.


Jarhead meets All You Need Is Kill in a refreshing look at near-future warfare. A superb recommendation for military sci-fi fans.

Masters of Death

Fans of Christopher Moore who don’t mind sifting through multiple layers of backstory should enjoy the immortal gameplay in this fantastical romp.

The Dragon Reborn

A superior creation to be purchased by libraries that have acquired Pike’s new recordings of the first two books or those looking to provide a version for fans of the popular television series.


Both heart-wrenching and hopeful, this gripping production takes listeners on a nerve-wracking nautical odyssey. A suspenseful and scientifically accurate survival thriller further enhanced by the outstanding audio experience.

Fit for the Gods: Greek Mythology Reimagined

Highly recommended to those who loved Madeline Miller’s Circe, Natalie Haynes’s Stone Blind, or Genevieve Gornichec’s The Witch’s Heart for giving voices to the ignored and maligned.


Brimming with Brown’s cinematically described action and complex, layered characters, this audiobook will appeal to science fiction fans on a scale that matches Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn and George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series.

Labyrinth’s Heart

Recommended for those who enjoy fantasy in the vein of Lee Bardugo’s Six of Crows, Foz Meadows’s “Tithenai Chronicles,” or E.E. Holmes’s “Riftmagic Saga” series.

The Possibilities

Goldstein-Love delivers an inventive and satisfying blend of genres and narrative elements exploring the anxieties of parenthood alongside quantum physics. Recommended for fans of fiction integrating science in a manner similar to Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time or Octavia E. Butler’s Kindred.

The Great Transition

This hopeful and intriguing climate fiction debut makes an impact.

The Water Outlaws

This exciting and often amusing martial-arts adventure is an excellent recommendation for readers interested in high fantasy that addresses wealth disparities and abuse of power. Share with readers of Neon Yang’s The Black Tides of Heaven.

Immortal Longings

Share with adult fans of The Hunger Games who like their stories more graphic; a recommended purchase where tales of dystopian battles and political intrigue are popular.

Medusa’s Sisters

An excellent addition to retellings of ancient myths and perfect for fans of Madeline Miller and Pat Barker.

Shigidi and the Brass Head of Obalufon

Interesting new godpunk with some rough edges.

The Shadow Cabinet

With outstanding narration and a captivating storyline, this is a fantasy audio to treasure. Best for those familiar with the first book in the series.

Fairy Fantasy | Two Novels Featuring Characters from the Fae Realm



This stand-alone story from Dickinson (The Tyrant Baru Cormorant) thrives on the unexpected, and while the characters aren’t necessarily likable, the way they wrestle with doing the right thing versus doing the hard thing is authentic and thought-provoking.

Night for Day

Lim’s (Sophie Go’s Lonely Hearts Club) magical tale is like a cross between Lore by Alexandra Bracken and The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes as it leads readers on a twisted journey that will keep them guessing until the very end.

Tales of the Celestial Kingdom

Tan’s compilation of stories allows readers more insight into the characters from Daughter of the Moon Goddess and Heart of the Sun Warrior, allowing their perspectives to expand the view of this wonderful series.

The Lady in Glass and Other Stories

Recommended for fans who are curious about Bishop’s journey as a writer and are interested in reading about the inspiration and motivation behind her stories.

Display Shelf | Dragons

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SFF Genre Preview | Forthcoming Titles for 2024

Speculative Short Stories

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The Serpent & the Wings of Night

A self-published hit picked up by a big publisher, this series launch from Broadbent (Mother of Death & Dawn) is a haunting, action-packed political fantasy with a doomed romance at its center, full of heartbreak and intrigue.

Twice Lived

West’s (Face) novel will speak to teens and their parents’ anxieties of identity and belonging but is reluctant to settle itself on the emotional aftermath.

The Imposition of Unnecessary Obstacles

Readers of their first outing, The Mimicking of Known Successes, will be thrilled to have Mossa and Pleiti back on the case as it takes its surprisingly cozy mystery into this sci-fi setting and grounds it in an on-the-nose portrayal of academic politics in all of its delicious viciousness.

The Dragons of Deepwood Fen

Provided readers can ignore its flaws, the first entry in the “Book of the Holt” series is worth the attention of those seeking an epic fantasy experience. Recommended for fans of Brandon Sanderson and Robert Jordan.

To Challenge Heaven

This is thrilling and philosophical military science fiction, in which vampires become saviors and aliens become allies. It will appeal to fans looking for a more fantastic take on what Star Trek could have become.

Grievar’s Blood

This remains a solid and innovative sci-fi fantasy series, and the precarious ending will leave readers hungry for more.

The Bitter Crown

The second entry in this saga is fast-paced, action-packed, and maintains its DnD and RPG undertones. Great for fans of Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan.

The Tusks of Extinction

Nayler’s (The Mountain in the Sea) compelling sci-fi thriller contemplates human greed and de-extinction through science. Highly recommended for readers of ecoterrorism thrillers and climate fiction.

River Mumma

Fans of magical realism, Jamaican folklore and culture, and the rediscovery of ancestral roots will enjoy this novel from the author of the award-winning Frying Plaintain.


Within an intricately built fantasy world, Porter takes a character that had all agency unwillingly taken away from her and gives her an incredible voice.

The Warm Hands of Ghosts

Like the fiddler himself, Arden’s (The Winter of the Witch) gripping historical fantasy will draw readers in and keep them engaged.

The Good, the Bad, and the Uncanny: Tales of a Very Weird West

Recommended for readers of Charlaine Harris’s “Gunnie Rose” series and Gilman’s “Huntsmen” series and those who appreciated Wild, Wild West, as the stories in this collection take that wild and run with it.

A Feast for Starving Stone

The sequel to A Thousand Recipes for Revenge is an intriguing intersection of culinary magic and political machinations.

Emily Wilde’s Map of the Otherlands

In this historical fantasy of manners, Fawcett brings readers back to a beautifully atmospheric world in which faeries exist in the regular human realm. Recommend to fans of Marie Brennan’s A Natural History of Dragons and R.F. Kuang’s Babel.

The Tainted Cup

Highly recommended for lovers of fantasy and steampunk mystery and readers searching for magically engineered combinations of alchemy and corruption in the same vein as Age of Ash by Daniel Abraham and In the Shadow of Lightning by Brian McClellan.


An intriguing start to a new series from El-Arifi (The Battle Drum).

Exit Black

Pitkin’s (Stranger Bird) science fiction thriller is fast-paced and, with multiple points of view, shows off the unusual twists of individual perspectives. Fans of the movies Knives Out and Die Hard, plus authors such as Blake Crouch and Andy Weir, may want to add this to their to-be-read list.

A Quantum Love Story

Combining the sweet redemption and understated romance of Groundhog Day with the multiple explosive resets of Edge of Tomorrow, this novel from Chen (Vampire Weekend) loops its way through a charming story about opposites attracting, the human ability to reset expectations and emotions against all the odds, and the power of one woman willing to make a big sacrifice for a small change that might just save the universe.

Salt & Broom

A pleasant, atmospheric romp that fantasy or romance fans will enjoy. There’s no need to be familiar with Brontë’s novel to enjoy this one.

The Longest Autumn

An ambitious debut into romantic godpunk.

The Surviving Sky

Despite the imbalanced narration, Rao’s strong, multifaceted debut shines.

A River of Golden Bones

Mulford’s (The Evergreen Heir) romantic fantasy plays with fairy tales, explores gender roles and societal expectation, and starts a delightful trilogy of wolf royalty.


Mislaid in Parts Half-Known

The ninth book of the “Wayward Children” series once again peels back the innocence and depths of desires and the need to belong somewhere. This delightful portal fantasy will stick in readers’ hearts.

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Uncanny Vows

The follow-up to Uncanny Times continues to build Gilman’s delightful world. Fans of gaslamp fantasy, Sherlock Holmes, and wry siblings should take a look.


A gripping, fast-paced, genre-bending novel full of heart and wonder. Give this one to fans of Ben H. Winters and Dan Chaon.

The City of Stardust

An engrossing, fast-paced read.

Sun of Blood and Ruin

Lares’s debut is an action-filled historical fantasy set in an alternate 16th-century Mexico, featuring Mesoamerican mythology and a unique blend of magic and adventure.

The Oxygen Farmer

With a fascinating fictional scenario that connects history with the future, Holmes once again tackles conspiracy, subterfuge, and murder, but he takes it out of this world in his latest novel. Readers who enjoy Andy Weir’s novels, books like The Manchurian Candidate and 2001: A Space Odyssey, and TV shows such as Babylon 5 will want to put this one on their to-read lists.

The Parliament

Must-read fantasy for readers who appreciate the catharsis of horror; perfect for fans of Whalefall by Daniel Kraus and Such Sharp Teeth by Rachel Harrison.


Evocative and a little mysterious, this literary fantasy is immersive and full of Nigerian mythology. Recommend this lustrous coming-of-age story to those who like to read across genres.

After World

This novel upends the typical postapocalyptic format and provides a fresh, compelling new perspective.

The Lost Cause

Doctorow (Red Team Blues) tells a thought-provoking story, with a message of hope in a near-future that looks increasingly bleak.


Fay’s debut is highly recommended for fans of pulse-pounding combos of sci-fi with sympathetic characters and melting hearts, like that from Valerie Valdes, K.B. Wagers, Rachel Bach, and Cat Rambo.

Warrior of the Wind

The second “Nameless Republic” book builds on a complex story of rising power, secrets, and unique magic in an African-inspired landscape.

Annie Bot

Unflinching in its examination of humanity, Greer’s debut novel is a must-buy for libraries.

The Olympian Affair

Butcher’s long-awaited sequel to The Aeronaut’s Windlass is an exciting epic fantasy, set in the sky and filled with airships, magic, and the connections of blood and found family.

The Princess of Thornwood Drive

A contemporary fantasy debut that draws on Trinidadian culture, modern medical concerns, and family bonds. Fans of magical realism will find this tale engrossing.

Werewolf at Dusk and Other Stories

Small’s fluid linework and exceptional visual storytelling result in a compelling, deeply affecting collection.

Tonight, I Burn

With polyamory and a strong, queer main character, this is a breathtaking must-read for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Jennifer L. Armentrout.

The Silmarillion

Though complex and intricate, this foundational history is a winner for listeners looking to learn more about the origins of Tolkien’s iconic worlds.

Science Fiction & Fantasy | Prepub Alert, April 2024 Titles


A Stroke of the Pen: The Lost Stories

Fans of Pratchett (The Shepherd’s Crown) will love questing through these stories for bits of Ankh-Morpork.

The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2023

Although all of the stories here have been previously published, this is always a much anticipated collection, and readers of SF/F in short form will be glad to have so many standout stories, some already award-winners, in a single volume.

The Wolfe at the Door

Wolfe (1931–2019) has always been considered one of the most literary of SFF writers; though he hewed closely to genre tropes, he also sent them in directions no one had imagined. This collection picks up where 2009’s The Best of Gene Wolfe left off and will be appreciated most by readers and scholars of the author’s work.

‘These Burning Stars’ by Bethany Jacobs | SFF Debut of the Month


Shards of Glass

Recommended for readers who have been caught up in the fantasy mystery trend, anyone looking for a way into Elantra without wading through its vast lore, and those who fell away from the series and are looking for a route back.

The Star and the Strange Moon

Readers who love timeslip fiction and twisty, puzzling stories will appreciate the latest from Sayers (The Ladies of the Secret Circus).

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‘Bookshops & Bonedust’ by Travis Baldree | SFF Pick of the Month


The Witch’s Lens

A delicious foray into a new series that melds history with the supernatural, from the author of The Raven Song. Smith’s fans, as well as new readers, will delight in the heady mixture of historical fiction, fantasy, and horror.

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