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A very belated happy new year to all you bookworms! I’m a little late with my 2017 recommendations for your to-read pile/piles (remember, piles should be no taller than you are for health and safety reasons) but frankly it’s taken this long for me to remember my login. You know how it is.

Anyway, I know you all just got a load of books for Christmas, but there is no such thing as too many, so here’s my pick of the next six months just to get you started!

January

It seems only appropriate to kick 2017 off with a book which is being compared to Stephen King’s The Stand. Defender by GX Todd is the first in an epic four part post- apocalyptic series about what happens after the end of the world is brought about when people start listening to the voices in their heads.

If you’re not scared enough after this, try supernatural thriller Under A Watchful Eye by the consistently excellent Adam Nevill. Seb Logan is being stalked by someone from his murky past, and fears it means a wider conspiracy around the mysterious doorways in our world which lead to unknown places.

Both are out now.

February

You might need cheering up after the doom and general gloom of January, and luckily we have the perfect pick me up along with a couple of sequels you may be waiting for…

The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams is first in a new swords and sorcery trilogy. The people of Sarn are plagued by nightmares of a recurring evil and the warriors of Ebora who defeated it in the past are dead or dying. Sarcastic scholar Vintage, Eboran muscle for hire Tor, and witch Noon must prevent the evil from rising again. Terrific fun with some fantastically nasty touches of horror.

The Burning World by Isaac Marion follows the events of Warm Bodies and explores what happens post post-apocalypse. We find out what happens when the unlikely romantic lead R and other zombies like him begin to recover from death. Warm Bodies was an unexpectedly uplifting, lyrical book, so I’m looking forward to more of the same.

The Bear and the Serpent is the second in Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Echo of the Falls series. Maniye is of dual heritage, being of the Wolf and Tiger clans she is able to assume both forms but does not belong to either. She wants to find her place in the world but instead becomes the heart of a political storm. I loved the rich world of The Tiger and the Wolf, so I’m really excited for this.

Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor is the follow up to the wonderful and award winning Binti. If you haven’t read it yet, please rectify this immediately; it’s a novella of 96 pages so you really have no excuse! Where Binti was about a young girl’s decision to leave her home for university on a faraway planet, Binti: Home is about her return and the consequences of her life-changing decision.

March

Brother’s Ruin is first in a new “gaslamp fantasy” series by Emma Newman. Set in a world where the industrial revolution was brought about by magic rather than science, those who are lucky (or unlucky enough) to display magical abilities are immediately whisked away from their families. Charlotte wants a normal life and must hide her skills as well as protecting her father from a shady loan shark who has magical connections.

Thunderbird by Chuck Wendig is the fourth instalment in the sweary psychic Miriam Black series. Miriam can tell by touch when and how you’re going to die. She goes looking for help with her curse only to find even more trouble. If you’re a fan of black humour, inventive swearing and supernatural horror, Miriam is your new best mate.

April

Chalk by Paul Cornell is the brutal but powerful story of Andrew Waggoner, an unremarkable schoolboy until a terrible act unleashes a strange power which seeks revenge on his behalf. Chalk isn’t always an easy read, but I can tell you now it is likely to be one of the best stories of the year. Don’t miss it.

Final Girls by Mira Grant is an inventive horror. New tech runs simulations out of horror movies and nightmares to enable clients to heal psychological wounds. Focusing on a sisterly bond which develops while running from a simulated bogeyman, Final Girls explores how surviving horrors may define us. A limited print run, pick it up while you can.

Gareth Powell, creator of potty-mouthed sharpshooting monkey Ack Ack Macaque, collects some of his best loved short stories along with some shiny new work which has never before been in New Ships.

The End of the Day by Claire North is about death. At the end of the day, Death visits everyone. Right before that, Charlie does. Charlie is both an everyman character and the harbinger of death, and through him and his relationships with other people as well as supernatural beings we explore the nature of humanity.

Aliette de Bodard follows her award winning The House of Shattered Wings with standalone sequel The House of Binding Thorns in the Dominion of the Fallen saga. Here we revisit Paris to see the aftermath of the devastating arcane war. Peace between the Houses is precarious as they must resist giving into to fear, hate and magic.

May

Ezekiel Boone follows 2016’a arachnopocalyptic (yes this is a word now) horror The Hatching with the itchily titled Skitter. The first wave of deadly spiders may have finished, but unfortunately for the world, much worse is yet to come. One for fans of 80s nasties such as The Rats, if you aren’t afraid of spiders before reading, you will be afterwards.

All Systems Red by Martha Wells is first in the marvellously titled The Murderbot Diaries, and promises to combine the best of Westworld with Iain M Banks’ Culture books. On a distant planet, a team of scientists and their self-aware droid must find out the truth when a neighbouring mission goes dark.

June

Shattered Minds by Laura Lam is a standalone story set in the same world as the fantastic False Hearts. Biohacker and drug addict Carina making a choice which will change everything when she is sent clues into the murder of a former coworker and incriminating evidence against the corporation.

Refrigerator Monologues by Catherynne Valente is a series of six linked stories from the perspectives of the wives and girlfriends of superheroes, female heroes. and anyone who’s ever been “refrigerated” (please google women in refrigerators if you aren’t sure what this means) in a new and original superhero universe.

Down Among The Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire is a standalone story set in the same world as Every Heart A Doorway. Twins Jack and Jill refuse to fit the rigid moulds their parents have tried to squeeze them into when they walk through a magical doorway into another world. Like all the best fairy tales, this is a warning as well as a story.

July

The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana is a romantic coming of age fantasy tale steeped in Indian folklore. Princess Amrita finds herself a fugitive, caught between an unknown future and the possibility of reversing all their fates at the Library of All Things, rescuing herself and her people from the Emperor Sikander.

The Apartment by SL Grey is a slow burning psychological horror. A South African couple, eager to escape their demons after they are broken into and terrorised, agree to a houseswap arranged online. However, when they arrive in Paris, it all goes horribly wrong and they find a darkness there which follows them.

Killing is My Business  by Adam Christopher is the second in the robot noir LA Trilogy and sees the return of former hitman turned PI and last robot in working order Raymond Electromatic. A search for a missing movie star swiftly turns into something much darker and takes Ray beyond the silver screen.

The hardback of The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher was of course out last year, but I thought it worth mentioning that the paperback is out later this year. The actress and author shares the diaries she kept as a teenager making Star Wars – at turns hilarious and heartbreaking but always intimate, it’s a reminder of what a huge loss she is.

August

Iron Gold by Pierce Brown is the first in a new trilogy set in the world of his Red Rising Trilogy (and if you haven’t read it yet, you should because it’s like The Hunger Games in space, but better) this focuses on the consequences of hero Darrow’s actions and the impact on those growing up in a galaxy where the empire has been destroyed almost overnight.

Terminal Alliance by Jim C Hines is the first volume in the Janitors of the Post Apocalypse series, and if that title alone doesn’t sell you then I don’t know what will. Aliens arrive after a zombiepocalypse and help re-build the human race. But a bioattack on the spaceship Pufferfish sees head janitor Mops fending off zombies, trying to fly the ship and get to the bottom of a conspiracy.

 

Well, that’s all from me for now! May your 2017 bring you happy memories and many excellent books. Peace out!
GS Blogger: Michaela Gray (@bookiesnacksize)

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