by J.M. Mir"
A dark, deliciously atmospheric historical fantasy set in gaslight-era London and Edinburgh. A small group of children with special powers scattered across the world are brought to a "school" in Scotland for their protection, but this is no Hogwarts. And someone — or something — is hunting the children. Filled with characters you'll care about deeply and one of the best chase scenes in recent memory, "Ordinary Monsters" is my favorite fiction read of the year. It might just be yours, too. (TB)
by Nicola Griffith
A fantastic and inclusive retelling of Arthurian legend, with clever and intricate Welsh and Celtic weavings to boot. Subversive, honest, and engaging; I won't look at the classic stories the same way again. Griffith really did her research, and it feels like an uncovered story that always existed. There's an ancient feel while still affirming both the physically disabled and the non-gender conforming. A rare feat and a new favorite. (AA)
"The High Sierra: A Love Story"
by Kim Stanley Robinson
Celebrated sci-fi author Robinson, who has spent a lifetime hiking and backpacking the Sierras, examines in alternating chapters the history and geology of the range, along with beautifully written travelogues of his own trips into the backcountry. Robinson uses the term "psychogeology" to describe the sublime feelings we sometimes experience in the backcountry, and after reading this book, I'm ready to go find more of those moments of my own. Whether or not you've ever set foot in the Sierras, if you love mountains, consider this a must read. John Muir would be proud. (TB)
"The Devil Takes You Home"
by Gabino Iglesias
A man pushed to the brink takes a decidedly dark Walter White turn in this crime/horror hybrid with a distinctly Mexican flair. By combining a crime story with a "Heart of Darkness" road trip, Iglesias examines what happens to a man when his lines of morality become increasingly blurred. Author Stephen Graham Jones sums it up thusly: "Some nightmares you wake from just leave you in an even worse nightmare. And then Gabino Iglesias holds his hand out from that darkness and takes you home." (TB) Note: publication date is Aug. 2.
"The World as We Knew It"
edited by Amy Brady
Diverse perspectives and backgrounds collaborate to ground the unseeable nature of climate instability in the everyday lives we inhabit. This essay collection does little in the way of giving stats and calls to action. That's not its purpose. Instead, it provides vignettes that feel both intimate and universal. (AA)
by Conner Habib
A harrowing account of a long-lost bully gaslighting his way back into the life of an old victim. But the past is always more complicated than it seems, and as you read, the complicated nuances of repressed attraction and toxic masculine norms reveal themselves. You then start to lose track of who the real bad guy is, and the book takes a dark and abrupt dive into madness. Deft, unflinching, and deeply nuanced, this story will sit with me for a long time. (AA) Note: publication date is July 5.