Everyone has their own lists, but here’s ours: what we’re most looking forward to this month, in chronological order of release, with audiobook information if we know about it. (I tried holding the list to 10 as I managed for last month’s preview, but after a second pass cutting as much as I was close to happy with, I was still in the 30s. Trimming further to 25 was hard enough!)
Searchers After Horror edited by S.T. Joshi (Fedogan and Bremer, June 1) — The first of two anthologies on my list this month includes 21 “New Tales of the Weird and Fantastic” around the theme “the Weird place” and all but one are original to this anthology. Authors include (among others) Melanie Tem, John Shirley, Ramsey Campbell, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Steve Rasnic Tem, and Nick Mamatas (“Exit Through the Gift Shop”), all in a high-end hardcover edition which, granted, has been spotted in the wild a bit ahead of this publication date. Audio: No audiobook news. Buy: [Amazon]
Rayla 2212 by Ytasha Womack (YSolstar, June 1) — Another one which has been seen on the convention circuit a good bit ahead of general availability; from one of the leading voices of Afrofuturism, a novel which “follows Rayla Illmatic, a third generation citizen of Planet Hope, a former Earth colony that’s claimed its independence. But the utopian world has turned upside down and Rayla is on a quest to right the wrongs and end the rule of the Dirk. After her lover and rebel leader Carcine disappears on a mission to find mystical scientist Shakur Moulan, Rayla embarks on a journey to complete the mission. She soon finds herself on a journey to find The Missing, a group of New Age Astronauts who were lost in the teleport project. This story ties reincarnation, space travel, virtual worlds and love as Rayla seeks to make her world a better place.” Audio: No audiobook news. Update: Per the author on Twitter, an audio edition “is in the works! Will be available by June’s end.” More: Read an interview at Bitch Magazine. Buy: [IndieBound | Amazon | Kindle]
The Girls at the Kingfisher Club: A Novel by Genevieve Valentine (Atria Books, June 3) — “From award-winning author Genevieve Valentine, a “gorgeous and bewitching” (Scott Westerfeld) reimagining of the fairytale of the Twelve Dancing Princesses as flappers during the Roaring Twenties in Manhattan.” In his review for Tor.com, Niall Alexander writes: “I have at least three left feet, so I don’t dance these days, but damn it, The Girls at the Kingfisher Club makes me wish I did.” Amal El-Mohtar reviewed the book for NPR: “I’m completely confident in stating, without an ounce of hyperbole, that this is the best fairy tale retelling I’ve ever read.” Personally, I’m excited to compare this retelling with the “Snow White” retellings of Helen Oyeyemi’s Boy, Snow, Bird and Catherynne M. Valente’s Six-Gun Snow White which I enjoyed earlier this year. Audio: Scheduled for June 24 release from Dreamscape Media. Buy: [IndieBound | Amazon | Kobo | Kindle]
On the Steel Breeze by Alastair Reynolds (Ace, June 3) — It’s almost hard to believe that this follow-on to Blue Remembered Earth has been out since September in the UK and we’re only now just getting it over here, but that situation is what it is. Here: “Chiku Akinya, great granddaughter of the legendary space explorer Eunice and heir to the family empire, is just one among millions on a long one way journey towards a planet they hope to call their new home. For Chiku, the journey is a personal one, undertaken to ensure that the Akinya family achieves its destiny among the stars. The passengers travel in huge self-contained artificial worlds—holoships—putting their faith in a physics they barely understand. Chiku’s ship is called Zanzibar—and over time, she will discover it contains an awesome secret—one which will lead her to question almost every certainty about her voyage, and its ultimate destiny.” Audio: US release scheduled for June 12 from Recorded Books, read by Adjoa Andoh. Buy: [Downpour | IndieBound | Amazon | Kobo | Kindle]
The Dark Between the Stars by Kevin J. Anderson (Tor, June 3) — Begins a new series, The Saga of Shadows, set after his star-spanning The Saga of Seven Suns series: “Twenty years after the elemental conflict that nearly tore apart the cosmos in The Saga of Seven Suns, a new threat emerges from the darkness. The human race must set aside its own inner conflicts to rebuild their alliance with the Ildiran Empire for the survival of the galaxy. In Kevin J. Anderson’s The Dark Between the Stars, galactic empires clash, elemental beings devastate whole planetary systems, and factions of humanity are pitted against one another.” Audio: Concurrent release from Audible (digital) and Brilliance Audio (CD and MP3-CD), narrated by Mark Boyett. Buy: [IndieBound | Amazon | Kobo | Kindle]
Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King (Scribner, June 3) — While fans of his supernatural car horror may be disappointed to hear that our car-driving killer’s evil is “limited” to the mundane, a new book from King is always an event. Here: “In a mega-stakes, high-suspense race against time, three of the most unlikely and winning heroes Stephen King has ever created try to stop a lone killer from blowing up thousands. In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes.” Audio: Read by Will Patton for Simon & Schuster Audio; Patton read the Audie Award winning Doctor Sleep last year. Buy: [Downpour | IndieBound | Amazon | Kobo | Kindle]
ALSO: Mark Lawrence’s Prince of Fools, Luke Scull’s Sword of the North, Jeff Salyards’ Veil of the Deserters, Leigh Bardugo’s Ruin and Rising, Mercedes Lackey’s Blood Red, Elizabeth Haydon’s The Merchant Emperor, Deborah J. Ross’s The Heir of Khored, Eric Flint and Charles E. Gannon’s 1636: Commander Cantrell in the West Indies, David Wingrove’s The White Mountain, Nalini Singh’s Shield of Winter, Snorri Kristjansson’s Blood Will Follow, and Jo Anderton’s Guardian.
The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey (Orbit, June 10) — US release for this raved-over book published in the UK earlier this year: “Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her “our little genius”. Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh. Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.” Audio: Concurrent, read by Finty Williams for Hachette Audio. Buy: [Downpour | IndieBound | Kobo ]
Koko Takes a Holiday by Kieran Shea (Titan Books, June 10) — “Five hundred years from now, ex-corporate mercenary Koko Martstellar is swaggering through an early retirement as a brothel owner on The Sixty Islands, a manufactured tropical resort archipelago known for its sex and simulated violence. Surrounded by slang-drooling boywhores and synthetic komodo dragons, the most challenging part of Koko’s day is deciding on her next drink. That is, until her old comrade Portia Delacompte sends a squad of security personnel to murder her.” Audio: Concurrent, read by Hillary Huber for Brilliance Audio. Buy: [Downpour | IndieBound | Kobo | Kindle]
Memory of Water: A Novel by Emmi Itäranta (Harper Voyager, Jun 10, 2014) — “An amazing, award-winning speculative fiction debut novel by a major new talent, in the vein of Ursula K. Le Guin. Global warming has changed the world’s geography and its politics. Wars are waged over water, and China rules Europe, including the Scandinavian Union, which is occupied by the power state of New Qian. In this far north place, seventeen-year-old Noria Kaitio is learning to become a tea master like her father, a position that holds great responsibility and great secrets. Tea masters alone know the location of hidden water sources, including the natural spring that Noria’s father tends, which once provided water for her whole village.” More: There’s an excerpt up at Harper Voyager. Audio: No audio news. Buy: [IndieBound | Kobo | Kindle]
The Silent History by Eli Horowitz, Matthew Derby, and Kevin Moffett (FSG Originals, June 10) — “Originally conceived and serially published as an award-winning iPhone/iPad app by Eli Horowitz, the former publisher of McSweeney’s, and the developer Russell Quinn, along with acclaimed authors Matthew Derby and Kevin Moffett, The Silent History is an innovative literary thriller about a generation of children born unable to create or comprehend language.” Audio: No audio news. Buy: [IndieBound | Kobo | Kindle]
California Bones by Greg van Eekhout (Tor, Jun 10, 2014) — I’ve loved GvE’s short fiction (particularly “Carnival Park” at PodCastle) and have been eagerly anticipating his first novel for adults since his 2009 debut novel Norse Code. (In between, he’s published the fantastic middle grade novels Kid Vs. Squid and The Boy at the End of the World.) Here: “When Daniel Blackland was six, he ingested his first bone fragment, a bit of kraken spine plucked out of the sand during a visit with his demanding, brilliant, and powerful magician father, Sebastian. When Daniel was twelve, he watched Sebastian die at the hands of the Hierarch of Southern California, devoured for the heightened magic layered deep within his bones. Now, years later, Daniel is a petty thief with a forged identity. Hiding amid the crowds in Los Angeles—the capital of the Kingdom of Southern California—Daniel is trying to go straight. But his crime-boss uncle has a heist he wants Daniel to perform: break into the Hierarch’s storehouse of magical artifacts and retrieve Sebastian’s sword, an object of untold power.” Audio: No audio news. Buy: [IndieBound | Kobo | Kindle]
The Madonna and the Starship by James Morrow (Tachyon, June 10) — “New York City, 1953. The golden age of television, when most programs were broadcast live. Young Kurt Jastrow, a full-time TV writer and occasional actor, is about to have a close encounter of the apocalyptic kind. Kurt’s most beloved character (and alter ego) is Uncle Wonder, an eccentric tinkerer whose pyrotechnically spectacular science experiments delight children across the nation. Uncle Wonder also has a more distant following: the inhabitants of Planet Qualimosa. When a pair of his extraterrestrial fans arrives to present him with an award, Kurt is naturally pleased—until it develops that, come next Sunday morning, these same aliens intend to perpetrate a massacre.” Audio: No audio news. Buy: [IndieBound | Kobo | Amazon]
We Leave Together (Dogsland #3) by J.M. McDermott (Word Horde, June 15, 2014) — the eagerly-awaited conclusion to McDermott’s dark fantasy Dogsland trilogy (Never Knew Another and When We Were Executioners) — “In a city where the rich stage decadent parties as the poor suffer in squalor, where assassins prowl and king’s men keep order with truncheons and force, where gangs of children run like dogs and addicts die in the streets, a demonic strain has taken hold. The shape shifting priestess and priest of Erin have come to Dogsland stalking a fugitive, half-breed Senta Rachel Nolander, and plot to burn her to cleanse the world of her demon-tainted blood. Led ever onward by Rachel’s corrupted lover’s crying skull, Erin’s agents seek their hapless quarry, a frightened girl guided by one promise, one hope, one prayer… We Leave Together.” Audio: No audio news. Buy: [Kobo | Kindle]
ALSO: K.V. Johansen’s The Leopard, Daniel H. Wilson’s Robogenesis, Michael R. Underwood’s Shield and Crocus, Jervey Tervalon’s Monster’s Chef, Diana Gabaldon’s Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, and Lydia Millet’s Pills and Starships.
The Quick: A Novel by Lauren Owen (Random House, Jun 17, 2014) — “An astonishing debut, a novel of epic scope and suspense that conjures up all the magic and menace of Victorian London. 1892: James Norbury, a shy would-be poet newly down from Oxford, finds lodging with a charming young aristocrat. Through this new friendship, he is introduced to the drawing-rooms of high society and finds love in an unexpected quarter. Then, suddenly, he vanishes without a trace. Alarmed, his sister, Charlotte, sets out from their crumbling country estate determined to find him. In the sinister, labyrinthine London that greets her, she uncovers a hidden, supernatural city populated by unforgettable characters: a female rope walker turned vigilante, a street urchin with a deadly secret, and the chilling ‘Doctor Knife.’” Audio: Concurrent release, read by Simon Slater for Random House Audio. Buy: [Downpour | IndieBound | Amazon | Kobo | Kindle]
Spell or High Water (Magic 2.0, Book 2) by Scott Meyer (47North, June 17) — I’m hoping for more laughs and witty, pop-culture-laden banter from Meyer’s follow-on to Off to Be the Wizard, not the least reason being Luke Daniels’ fantastic narration. “The adventures of an American hacker in Medieval England continue as Martin Banks takes his next step on the journey toward mastering his reality-altering powers and fulfilling his destiny. A month has passed since Martin helped to defeat the evil programmer Jimmy, and things couldn’t be going better. Except for his love life, that is. Feeling distant and lost, Gwen has journeyed to Atlantis, a tolerant and benevolent kingdom governed by the Sorceresses, and a place known to be a safe haven to all female time-travelers. Thankfully, Martin and Philip are invited to a summit in Atlantis for all of the leaders of the time-traveler colonies, and now Martin thinks this will be a chance to try again with Gwen. Of course, this is Martin Banks we’re talking about, so murder, mystery, and high intrigue all get in the way of a guy who just wants one more shot to get the girl.” Buy: [IndieBound | Amazon | Kindle]
The Long Mars by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter (Harper, June 17) — The conclusion to Pratchett and Baxter’s The Long Earth trilogy: “2040. The Long Earth is in chaos. . . . The cataclysmic Yellowstone eruption is shutting down civilization. Whole populations flee to the relative safety of myriad stepwise Earths. Sally Linsay, Joshua Valiente, and Lobsang have all been involved in the perilous post-eruption clean-up. But Joshua faces a crisis close to home. From a long childhood hidden deep in the Long Earth, a new breed of young, super-bright post-humans is emerging—but “normal” human society is turning against them, driven by ignorance and fear. For Joshua, caught up in the conflict, a dramatic showdown seems inevitable. Meanwhile, US Navy Commander Maggie Kauffman embarks on an incredible journey, leading an expedition to the unexplored limits of the far Long Earth.” Audio: Concurrent from Harper Audio, with the fantastic Michael Fenton Stevens reprising his role as narrator from the first two books in the series. Buy: [Downpour | IndieBound | Kobo | Kindle]
Cibola Burn by James S.A. Corey (Orbit, June 17) — From the initial publication of Leviathan Wakes as a new voice in noir-tinged space opera, James S.A. Corey (a pseudonym for co-authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) has become a go-to name for science fiction. With Cibola Burn, the ongoing solar-system-spanning The Expanse series now comprises four full-length novels, along with multiple short stories and novellas. Here: “The gates have opened the way to a thousand new worlds and the rush to colonize has begun. Settlers looking for a new life stream out from humanity’s home planets. Ilus, the first human colony on this vast new frontier, is being born in blood and fire.” More: An excerpt is available at Orbit Books. Audio: Coming concurrent from Hachette Audio, read by Erik Davies, replacing Jefferson Mays as the voice of the series. Buy: [Downpour | IndieBound | Kobo]
Shattered: The Iron Druid Chronicles, by Kevin Hearne (Del Rey, June 17) — Though I’m well behind in this seven-novel series, another chance to hear Luke Daniels as Atticus O’Sullivan and the colorful cast around him is always welcome. Here: “For nearly 2,000 years, only one Druid has walked the Earth – Atticus O’Sullivan, the Iron Druid, whose sharp wit and sharp sword have kept him alive as he’s been pursued by a pantheon of hostile deities. Now he’s got company. Atticus’ apprentice Granuaile is at last a full Druid herself. What’s more, Atticus has defrosted an archdruid long ago frozen in time, a father figure (of sorts) who now goes by the modern equivalent of his old Irish name: Owen Kennedy. And Owen has some catching up to do.” Audio: Concurrent from Random House Audio, read by Luke Daniels. Buy: [IndieBound | Kobo | Kindle]
Rogues edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois (Bantam, June 17) — I had originally thought this was scheduled for a fall release, so seeing it in mid-June is a welcome surprise. The latest of the fantastic line of Martin/Dozois anthology collaborations (Warriors and Dangerous Women among many others) includes new original short fiction from the likes of fantasy superstars Patrick Rothfuss, Joe Abercrombie, and Scott Lynch, as well as Neil Gaiman, Cherie Priest, Connie Willis, and! one I’m exceedingly curious about: Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn. Oh yeah, and there’s a new Song of Ice and Fire story from Martin as well. Audio: No audio news. Buy: [IndieBound | Kobo | Kindle]
ALSO: Susan Klaus’ Flight of the Golden Harpy, Richard Woolley’s Sekabo, Marcus Sakey’s A Better World, Jon Wallace’s Barricade, Alexey Pehov’s Chasers of the Wind, Anne Tibbets’ Carrier, Megan Abbott’s The Fever, and Janie Chang’s Three Souls.
Mammals by James Robert Herndon (Omnidawn, June 23) — a 40-page chapter book, winner of the Omnidawn Fabulist Fiction Contest — “A unique tale of love, commitment and redemption. In Mammals, an orphaned teenager sent to juvenile detention because of a violent crime becomes part of an odd experiment to see if he can learn about compassion and also teach it to another living creature. The story displays sensitivity without sentimentality and a sense of the strange that is grounded in very real emotions. A thoughtful and unusual gem.” (Jeff VanderMeer, City of Saints and Madmen, and judge for the Omnidawn Fabulist Fiction Chapbook Contest). Audio: No audio news. Buy: [UPNE | IndieBound | Amazon]
Unexpected Stories by Octavia E. Butler (Open Road Media, June 24) – My social media networks exploded with anticipatory joy when this title was announced: “Two never-before-published stories from the archives of one of science fiction’s all-time masters. The novella “A Necessary Being” showcases Octavia E. Butler’s ability to create alien yet fully believable “others.” Tahneh’s father was a Hao, one of a dwindling race whose leadership abilities render them so valuable that their members are captured and forced to govern. When her father dies, Tahneh steps into his place, both chief and prisoner, and for twenty years has ruled without ever meeting another of her kind. She bears her loneliness privately until the day that a Hao youth is spotted wandering into her territory. As her warriors sharpen their weapons, Tahneh must choose between imprisoning the newcomer—and living the rest of her life alone. The second story in this volume, “Childminder,” was commissioned by Harlan Ellison for his legendary (and never-published) anthology The Last Dangerous VisionsTM. A disaffected telepath connects with a young girl in a desperate attempt to help her harness her growing powers. But in the richly evocative fiction of Octavia E. Butler, mentorship is a rocky path, and every lesson comes at a price.” Audio: No audio news. Buy: [Kobo | Kindle]
Child of a Hidden Sea by A.M. Dellamonica (Tor, June 24) — “One minute, twenty-four-year-old Sophie Hansa is in a San Francisco alley trying to save the life of the aunt she has never known. The next, she finds herself flung into the warm and salty waters of an unfamiliar world. Glowing moths fall to the waves around her, and the sleek bodies of unseen fish glide against her submerged ankles. The world is Stormwrack, a series of island nations with a variety of cultures and economies—and a language different from any Sophie has heard.” Audio: No audio news. Buy: [IndieBound | Amazon | Kobo | Kindle]
Thorn Jack: A Night and Nothing Novel by Katherine Harbour (Harper Voyager, June 24) — “Combining the sorcery of The Night Circus with the malefic suspense of A Secret History, Thorn Jack is a spectacular, modern retelling of the ancient Scottish ballad, Tam Lin—a beguiling fusion of love, fantasy, and myth that echoes the imaginative artistry of the works of Neil Gaiman, Cassandra Clare, and Melissa Marr. In the wake of her older sister’s suicide, Finn Sullivan and her father move to a quaint town in upstate New York. Populated with socialites, hippies, and dramatic artists, every corner of this new place holds bright possibilities—and dark enigmas, including the devastatingly attractive Jack Fata, scion of one of the town’s most powerful families. As she begins to settle in, Finn discovers that beneath its pretty, placid surface, the town and its denizens—especially the Fata family—wield an irresistible charm and dangerous power, a tempting and terrifying blend of good and evil, magic and mystery, that holds dangerous consequences for an innocent and curious girl like Finn. To free herself and save her beloved Jack, Finn must confront the fearsome Fata family . . . a battle that will lead to shocking secrets about her sister’s death.” Audio: Concurrent release, read by Kate Rudd for Brilliance Audio. Buy: [IndieBound | Kobo | Kindle]
Deadly Curiosities by Gail Z. Martin (Solaris, June 24, 2014) — Begins a new urban fantasy series from the author of the epic fantasies Chronicles of the Necromancer and Ice Forged. Here: “Welcome to Trifles & Folly, and antique and curio shop with a dark secret. Proprietor Cassidy Kincaide continues a family tradition begun in 1670 – acquiring and neutralizing dangerous supernatural items. It’s the perfect job for Cassidy, whose psychic gift lets her touch an object and know its history. Together with her business partner Soren, a 500-year-old vampire and former jewel thief, Cassidy makes it her business to get infernal objects off the market. When mundane antiques suddenly become magically malicious, it’s time for Cassidy and Soren to get rid of these Deadly Curiosities before the bodies start piling up.” Audio: No audio news. Buy: [IndieBound | Kobo | Amazon]
The Silkworm by J.K. Rowling, writing as Robert Galbraith (Mulholland Books, June 19) — A sequel for The Cuckoo’s Calling, Rowling’s (as Galbraith) well-received foray into crime fiction. “When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days–as he has done before–and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home. But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine’s disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives–meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced. When Quine is found brutally murdered under bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before…” Audio: Concurrent release by Hachette Audio. Buy: [IndieBound | Kobo]
ALSO: Craig Cormick’s The Shadow Master, Andrzej Sapkowski’s Baptism of Fire, and James A Moore’s The Blasted Lands.
BONUS SECTION: NEW IN AUDIO
Here are six additional June titles I’m very, very much looking forward to that, while they aren’t new US releases, are new in US audio this month. Hey, this is The AudioBookaneers, after all:
The Science of Discworld by Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart, and Jack Cohen, read by Michael Fenton Stevens and Stephen Briggs (Random House Audio, June 3) — OK, fine, this actually somehow is a new US release, but as it’s been out in the UK for 15 years, it gets shifted down here: “When a wizardly experiment goes adrift, the wizards of Unseen University find themselves with a pocket universe on their hands: Roundworld, where neither magic nor common sense seems to stand a chance against logic. The universe, of course, is our own. And Roundworld is Earth. As the wizards watch their accidental creation grow, we follow the story of our universe from the primal singularity of the Big Bang to the Internet and beyond. Through this original Terry Pratchett story (with intervening chapters from Jack Cohen and Ian Stewart) we discover how puny and insignificant individual lives are against a cosmic backdrop of creation and disaster. Yet, paradoxically, we see how the richness of a universe based on rules has led to a complex world and at least one species that tried to get a grip of what was going on.” Buy: [Downpour]
Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne M. Valente, read by Julia Whelan (Dreamscape Media, June 3) — Valente’s Hugo-nominated January 2013 novella from Subterranean Press gets an audio edition: “A plain-spoken, appealing narrator relates the history of her parents – a Nevada silver baron who forced the Crow people to give up one of their most beautiful daughters, Gun That Sings, in marriage to him. With her mother’s death in childbirth, so begins a heroine’s tale equal parts heartbreak and strength.” Buy: [Downpour]
The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison, read by Kyle McCarley (Tantor Audio, June 10) — Just a month after its print/ebook publication by Tor in May, a book called “Challenging, invigorating, and unique.” by Scott Lynch, author of The Lies of Locke Lamora. So there’s that. “The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. But when his father and three sons in line for the throne are killed in an “accident,” he has no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir. Entirely unschooled in the art of court politics, he has no friends, no advisors, and the sure knowledge that whoever assassinated his father and brothers could make an attempt on his life at any moment. Surrounded by sycophants eager to curry favor with the naïve new emperor, and overwhelmed by the burdens of his new life, he can trust nobody. Amid the swirl of plots to depose him, offers of arranged marriages, and the specter of the unknown conspirators who lurk in the shadows, he must quickly adjust to life as the Goblin Emperor. All the while, he is alone, and trying to find even a single friend…and hoping for the possibility of romance, yet also vigilant against the unseen enemies that threaten him, lest he lose his throne—or his life.”
The Devil in the Marshalsea by Antonia Hodgson, read by John Lee (Tantor Audio, June 10) — The debut novel (March 2014, Hodder & Stoughton UK) from the editor-in-chief of Little, Brown UK, performed by the always masterful John Lee: “It’s 1727. Tom Hawkins is damned if he’s going to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a country parson. Not for him a quiet life of prayer and propriety. His preference is for wine, women, and cards. But there’s a sense of honor there too, and Tom won’t pull family strings to get himself out of debt—not even when faced with the appalling horrors of London’s notorious debtors’ prison: The Marshalsea Gaol. Within moments of his arrival in the Marshalsea, Hawkins learns there’s a murderer on the loose, a ghost is haunting the gaol, and that he’ll have to scrounge up the money to pay for his food, bed, and drink. He’s quick to accept an offer of free room and board from the mysterious Samuel Fleet—only to find out just hours later that it was Fleet’s last roommate who turned up dead. Tom’s choice is clear: get to the truth of the murder—or be the next to die.” And, yes, this is concurrent with the first US release from Mariner, but I didn’t know that until I already had everything locked in at 25 picks. So, well. Here you go.
Half-Off Ragnarok by Seanan McGuire, read by Ray Porter and Emily Bauer (Audible, June 17) — InCryptid, Book 3: “What do gorgons, basilisks, and frogs with feathers all have in common? They’re all considered mythological by modern science, and some people are working very hard to keep them that way. Alexander Price is a member of a cryptozoological lineage that spans generations, and it’s his job to act as a buffer between the human and cryptid worlds – not an easy task when you’re dealing with women who have snakes in place of hair, little girls who may actually be cobras, and brilliant, beautiful Australian zookeepers.”
The Barrow by Mark Smylie, read by Michael Page for Tantor Audio (June 25) — Out in print/ebook in March from Pyr, performed by one of the best in the business of epic fantasy audiobooks: “Action, horror, politics, and sensuality combine in this debut epic fantasy novel set in the world of the Eisner Award-nominsted Artesiacomic books. When a small crew of scoundrels, would-be heroes, deviants, and ruffians discover a map that they believe will lead them to a fabled sword buried in the barrow of a long-dead wizard, they think they’ve struck it rich. But their hopes are dashed when the map turns out to be cursed and then is destroyed in a magical ritual. The loss of the map leaves them dreaming of what might have been, until they rediscover the map in a most unusual and unexpected place.”
FINALLY: No preview of “June is Audiobook Month” would be complete without a mention of Spoken Freely Presents: Summer Shorts ’14, a joint project of the Spoken Freely narrators and the Going Public Project in support of ProLiteracy. Check it out! (And check out a fantastic video on trying to put together a group photo for the project!)