K Bird Lincoln, Author of Dream Eater and Black Pearl Dreaming
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
I loved this book so hard. I got a writer crush on Novik for Uprooted (couldn't get into her Temeraire series), but now I'm in full blown love for Spinning Silver. (Here's my full review.) Usually multiple POVs turn me off, but the three women in Spinning Silver: a merchant's daughter, a peasant servant, and the Duke's daughter all come alive in their various ways under Novik's skillfull writing hands. With wonderful twists on various fairy tales, set within an Eastern European locale, and strung through with heart-rending challenges for all three women to overcome with their various strengths-- it's a lovely, lovely emotional read.
Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse, no actually The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline
See what I did there? I actually loved both these books. Rebecca Roanhorse is a Nebula and Campbell Award winning author and her Post-apocalyptic Urban Fantasy set in a Dinetah world featuring a not all-together purely good Maggie and Monster Hunter and others from Navajo myth is exciting and wonderful and you should definitely go read it. (My full review) But she's actually got some pretty good visibility so let me introduce you to Cherie Dimaline, who was recommended by Roanhorse, and who has also created this amazing post-apocalyptic world where Native Americans are on the run from white people because white people capture them and suck their dreams. Its a melancholy, dreamy journey through the woods centering around a small band of survivors who just want to live and create a family. Definitely readable and worth your time. (My full review)
The Last Wolf by Maria Vale
Urban Fantasy is my love, but I also get burned out on. There's so much UF with werewolves and shifters floating around, so in order for me to like your book it can't be hackneyed tropes or super-erotic paranormal romance. Vale has created a compulsively readable heroine and a authentic-feeling society based on wolf packs in this Urban Fantasy. Her main point of view character is a runt in her hidden pack. The lens through which she views the sometimes brutal ways her pack uses to survive, as well as emotion and affection is quite mesmerizing for me. (My full review) The introduction of a historic enemy into their pack lands upsets the power balance. The way Vale manages to portray Silver's fierce heart, both for the Pack and for the enemy, while not flinching away from the uncomfortable implications of what it means to be low on the Pack totem pole totally got me to buy the second book that very night.
Wendy Nikel, Author of The Continuum and The Grandmother Paradox
SPINNING SILVER by Naomi Novik
After enjoying Novik's previous novel, Uprooted, I was eager to see what she'd do with this one, which was meant to be a retelling of Rumplestiltskin. While there's the concept of changing things to gold and powerful oaths and promises that can't be broken (but can be overcome by trickery and careful wording), that's really where the retelling ends, and I was definitely okay with that. This was an intricately woven story with multiple merging plotlines and motivations that weren't all they seemed. It combined so many of my favorite fantasy elements and I appreciated how it all came together in the end.
STAR'S END by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Esme, the eldest daughter of the company's founder and CEO, has been groomed from a young age to take over her father's company when he dies, and she's struggled for years to prepare for that day when she can move the company in a new and better direction. But on his death bed, her father sends her off to complete one final task: convince her three estranged sisters to return and see him one last time before he dies. She knows it won't be an easy task - not after all that he's done to them. Old wounds are reopened, motives are tested, and secrets are revealed in this fascinating family drama set across planets.
WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER by Rae Carson
This YA novel takes place during one of my favorite historical eras: the Gold Rush! So of course I had to pick it up. I really enjoyed this story, especially as Lee sets out on the Oregon Trail. I've always thought this was such a fascinating time in history, and the author captures it well. At the end, there are still some conflicts unresolved; if you pick this one up, you may want to grab the sequel right away.
Jennifer Lee Rossman, Author of Jack Jetstark's Intergalactic Freakshow
The Dragon of Ynys by Minerva Cerridwen
A queer, lighthearted fairy tale for all ages. And I do mean all ages. It has humor and drama that I think adults will appreciate, but is completely "safe" for the little ones. It's a story about the importance of stories and how having access to them can change the world, and I think we need more of that in this timeline.
Baker Thief by Claudie Arseneault
It's super queer and has French puns. Need I say more? Okay, I'm being told I do need to say more. Magical heists and mysteries, inclusive and diverse cast, and luscious worldbuilding make this book an absolute treat to dive into.
Kristina Wojtaszek, Author of Opal and Char
Miranda and Caliban by Jacqueline Carey
Carey has a way of challenging her readers by forcing her deeply relatable characters into pains we can hardly bear. Once again she left me angry and a little bit broken, but all in the best ways! This is a retelling of Shakespeare's classic The Tempest. In Carey's version, Prospero the wizard is warped and darkly determined, while Miranda is so secluded both from the world and the secretive mind of her own father that she must overcome an almost impossible naivety. Meanwhile young Caliban must fight his way out of ignorance and battle ideas of inferiority. Their natural bond blossoms into a painful romance that left me asking--is there a woman alive that doesn't have a Caliban hiding somewhere in the wilds of her heart?
The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohleben
This isn't a fantasy book, but a science-backed work of nonfiction--yet you will have to continually remind yourself that as you read about the strange, almost eerie revelations botanists have made about the lives of trees. My eight year old, attempting to read his own book as he snuggled with me in bed one night, was continuously interrupted by my explanations as more and more hardly believable facts were revealed. I've heard him tell people several times now, "Did you know that trees actually scream when they're dying?" This book will seriously make you question just how human we humans are, and what it might be like to be sentient of a sorts without a central nervous system. Just one more book on my shelf that supports my belief that the natural world is far more fantastic than we know.