Fantasy and Science Fiction
The Winter of the Witch by Katherine ArdenStarring: witch and warrior maiden Vasilisa "Vasya" Petrovna, who -- aided by frost demon Morozko -- must save Russia from foes both mortal and immortal.
Series alert: The Winter of the Witch concludes the Winternight trilogy, which began with The Bear and the Nightingale.
Try this next: Leigh Bardugo's YA Grisha trilogy is a similarly lush and descriptive fantasy series inspired by Russian folklore.
King of the Road by R.S. BelcherWhat it is: the eerie sequel to urban fantasy adventure The Brotherhood of the Wheel.
Featuring: the Brethren, the secret society descended from the Knights Templar that protects travelers on U.S. highways from shadow people, alchemist-led cults, killer clowns, and other paranormal menaces.
You might also like: Seanan McGuire's Ghost Stories series, which combines Americana and supernatural intrigue.
Abandoned by W. Michael GearWhat it's about: Despite the best efforts of a mining company and the military, the planet Donovan (so named for its first fatality) refuses to be colonized.
Why you might like it: This sequel to Outpost offers nuanced depictions of cultural conflict and a richly detailed setting.
About the author: With his wife Kathleen O'Neal Gear, author W. Michael Gear also writes well-researched historical fiction about North America's native peoples.
How Long 'til Black Future Month? by N.K. JemisinWhat it is: a collection of new and previously published short stories by award-winning science fiction and fantasy writer N.K. Jemisin.
Contains: 22 tales, including "proof of concept" pieces that would become the author's Broken Earth trilogy ("Stone Hunger") and Dreamblood duology ("The Narcomancer").
Why you might like it: Diverse in style and subject matter, the stories display Jemisin's lyrical prose and talent for world-building.
The Guns Above by Robyn BennisWhat it's about: Josette Dupre of Garnia's Royal Aerial Signal Corps takes command of an experimental prototype ship and embarks on a dangerous mission, accompanied by a skeptical crew and an ensign sent to spy on her.
Why you might like it: Like a Steampunk Honor Harrington, the heroine of this 1st Signal Airship novel perseveres in the face of long odds and powerful enemies.
For fans of: action-packed military fantasies such as Jim Butcher's The Aeronaut's Windlass or Naomi Novik's Temeraire series.
Dark Run by Mike BrooksIntroducing: Captain Ichabod Drift and the crew of the Keiko, a rogues' gallery of smugglers, swindlers, and soldiers of fortune.
The situation: Blackmailed into accepting a dangerous (but potentially lucrative) commission, Ichabod and his crew find themselves in over their heads when the job (predictably) goes south.
For fans of: science fiction caper novels such as Andy Weir's Artemis or Kieran Shea's Off Rock.
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky ChambersWhat it's about: Fleeing trouble at home, Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, an aging ship with an eccentric and friendly crew.
Why you might like it: This upbeat novel features a diverse cast of likable misfits who form a family of sorts during a deep space mission.
Series alert: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is the 1st novel in the Wayfarer series, although each installment can be read on its own.
Deadmen Walking: A Deadman's Cross Novel by Sherrilyn KenyonWhat it is: the opening installment of a historical fantasy trilogy loosely linked to author Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark-Hunter series.
Starring: Devyl Bane, an ancient warlord reincarnated as an 18th-century pirate captain, and his crew of the damned, whose redemption depends on defeating powerful evil forces.
Contains: "swashbuckling, death, glory, and just the tiniest hint of romance" (Booklist).
The Bastard Legion by Gavin SmithWhat happens: Former special forces operative Miska Corbin hijacks the prison ship Hangman's Daughter and sets to work turning the inmates into her own private army of mercenaries. Like you do.
Is it for you? Miska's sociopathic tendencies may not endear her to some readers, but fans of action-packed novels full of plot twists and double dealing should check out this gritty military SF adventure.
For fans of: Suicide Squad, Demolition Man, and The Dirty Dozen.
A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe by Alex WhiteMeet: Pan Galactic Racing Federation superstar Nilah Brio and con artist Elizabeth "Boots" Elsworth.
What happens: As their pursuers close in on them, Nilah and Boots are rescued by the salvage ship Capricious, where they encounter the captain Boots once double-crossed. Awkward.
Read it for: compelling characters, breakneck pacing and an action-packed plot, plus futuristic technology powered by magic.
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