Top 10 Must-Read Titles of January 2013 (Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Horror)

This is my list of must-reads of January 2013 in the Spec. Fiction/Fantasy/UF/Scifi category (in order of release date). You can click on the pics to preorder, and I’ll be posting a separate list in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category in the coming days. It was really hard to only choose 10, because there are a ton of awesome titles on the way in January, but here it is! What new releases are you looking forward to in January?

First up is The Crossing by Mandy Hager (PYR 1/8). This one won the 2010 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards in Young Adult Fiction and is finally being released in the US by PYR.  Here’s the synopsis (via PYR Books): Maryam refused to play by the Rules, and now they’re out to get her blood. . .

The people of Onewere, a small island in the Pacific, know that they are special—
chosen by the great Apostles of the Lamb to survive the deadly Tribulation that consumed the Earth. Now, from their Holy City in the rotting cruise ship Star of the Sea, the Apostles control the population—manipulating texts from the Holy Book to implant themselves as living gods. But what the people of Onewere don’t know is this: the white elite will stop at nothing to meet their own bloodthirsty needs . . .

When Maryam crosses from child to woman, she must leave everything she has ever known and make a Crossing of another kind. But life inside the Holy City is not as she had dreamed, and she is faced with the unthinkable: obey the Apostles and very likely die, or turn her back on every belief she once held dear.

The Uninvited by Liz Jensen, out from Bloomsbury on Jan. 8th, looks to be a trip through a dystopian nightmare, so, you know, for me, perfect reading. Here’s the synopsis: A seven-year-old girl puts a nail gun to her grandmother’s neck and fires. An isolated incident, say the experts. The experts are wrong. Across the world, children are killing their families. Is violence contagious? As chilling murders by children grip the country, anthropologist Hesketh Lock has his own mystery to solve: a bizarre scandal in the Taiwan timber industry.

Hesketh has never been good at relationships: Asperger’s Syndrome has seen to that. But he does have a talent for spotting behavioral patterns and an outsider’s fascination with group dynamics. Nothing obvious connects Hesketh’s Asian case with the atrocities back home. Or with the increasingly odd behavior of his beloved stepson, Freddy. But when Hesketh’s Taiwan contact dies shockingly and more acts of sabotage and child violence sweep the globe, he is forced to acknowledge possibilities that defy the rational principles on which he has staked his life, his career, and, most devastatingly of all, his role as a father.

The Aylesford Skull by James P. Blaylock (Titan Books 1/15) is definitely on my radar and looks like a cornucopia of steampunk awesomeness. Synopsis: It is the summer of 1883 and Professor Langdon St. Ives – brilliant but eccentric scientist and explorer – is at home in Aylesford with his family. However, a few miles to the north a steam launch has been taken by pirates above Egypt Bay; the crew murdered and pitched overboard. In Aylesford itself a grave is opened and possibly robbed of the skull. The suspected grave robber, the infamous Dr. Ignacio Narbondo, is an old nemesis of Langdon St. Ives.

When Dr. Narbondo returns to kidnap his four-year-old son Eddie and then vanishes into the night, St. Ives and his factotum Hasbro race to London in pursuit…

The first new steampunk novel in over twenty years from one of the genre’s founding fathers!

Next up is Ever After by Kim Harrison (Harper Voyager 1/22), which is the 11th book in the Hollows series featuring Rachel Morgan. Looks like the ever-after is shrinking, and Rachel has to fix it. All in a days work for Rachel and the gang, though, right? Here’s the synopsis: The ever-after, the demonic realm that parallels our own, is shrinking, and if it disappears, so does all magic. It’s up to witch-turned-daywalking-demon Rachel Morgan to fix the ever-after before the fragile balance between magic users and humans falls apart.

Of course, there’s also the small fact that Rachel is the one who caused the ley line to rip in the first place, and her life is forfeit unless she can fix it. Not to mention the most powerful demon in the ever-after—the soul-eater Ku’Sox Sha-Ku’ru—has vowed to destroy her, and has kidnapped her friend and her goddaughter as leverage. If Rachel doesn’t give herself up, they will die.

Forced by circumstance, Rachel teams up with elven tycoon Trent Kalamack—a partnership fraught with dangers of the heart as well as betrayal of the soul—to return to the ever-after and rescue those she loves. One world teeters on the brink of interspecies war, the other on the brink of its very demise—and it’s up to Rachel to keep them both from being destroyed.

Look for my review of Ever After (and A Perfect Blood) on SF Signal soon!

One I’m especially looking forward to is The Six-Gun Tarot by R.S. Belcher (Tor 1/22). The Civil War? Frankenstein? Zombies? I’m there! The synopsis: Nevada, 1869: Beyond the pitiless 40-Mile Desert lies Golgotha, a cattle town that hides more than its share of unnatural secrets. The sheriff bears the mark of the noose around his neck; some say he is a dead man whose time has not yet come. His half-human deputy is kin to coyotes. The mayor guards a hoard of mythical treasures. A banker’s wife belongs to a secret order of assassins. And a shady saloon owner, whose fingers are in everyone’s business, may know more about the town’s true origins than he’s letting on.

A haven for the blessed and the damned, Golgotha has known many strange events, but nothing like the primordial darkness stirring in the abandoned silver mine overlooking the town. Bleeding midnight, an ancient evil is spilling into the world, and unless the sheriff and his posse can saddle up in time, Golgotha will have seen its last dawn…and so will all of Creation.

Between, the debut novel by Kerry Schafer (Ace 1/29) looks like an intriguing urban fantasy offering! The synopsis: Vivian Maylor can’t sleep. Maybe it’s because she just broke up with her boyfriend and moved to a new town, or it could be the stress of her new job at the hospital. But perhaps it’s because her dreams have started to bleed through into her waking hours.

All of her life Vivian has rejected her mother’s insane ramblings about Dreamworlds for concrete science and fact, until an emergency room patient ranting about dragons spontaneously combusts before her eyes—forcing Viv to consider the idea that her visions of mythical beasts might be real.

And when a chance encounter leads her to a man she knows only from her dreams, Vivian finds herself falling into a world that seems strange and familiar all at once—a world where the line between dream and reality is hard to determine, and hard to control…

The 2nd novel in the wonderful Shadow Ops series (after Control Point) by Myke Cole is Fortress Frontier (Ace 1/29) and follows a brand new character, Colonel Alan Bookbinder. Look for my review of this one and Control Point soon! Here’s the synopsis: The Great Reawakening did not come quietly. Across the country and in every nation, people began to develop terrifying powers—summoning storms, raising the dead, and setting everything they touch ablaze. Overnight the rules changed…but not for everyone.

Colonel Alan Bookbinder is an army bureaucrat whose worst war wound is a paper-cut. But after he develops magical powers, he is torn from everything he knows and thrown onto the front-lines.

Drafted into the Supernatural Operations Corps in a new and dangerous world, Bookbinder finds himself in command of Forward Operating Base Frontier—cut off, surrounded by monsters, and on the brink of being overrun.

Now, he must find the will to lead the people of FOB Frontier out of hell, even if the one hope of salvation lies in teaming up with the man whose own magical powers put the base in such grave danger in the first place—Oscar Britton, public enemy number one…

I reviewed Dead of Winter by Lee Collins recently,and loved it, so I’m really looking forward to She Returns From War, out on Jan. 29th from Angry Robot Books! I’m really looking forward to returning to the Wild West with heroine Cora Oglesby! Synopsis: Four years after the horrific events in Leadville, a young woman from England, Victoria Dawes, sets into motion a series of events that will lead Cora and herself out into the New Mexico desert in pursuit of Anaba, a Navajo witch bent on taking revenge for the atrocities committed against her people.

The Mad Scientist’s Daughter: A Tale of Love, Loss, and Robots by Cassandra Rose Clarke is out on Jan. 29th (Angry Robot Books), and it’s the second novel by the author of the young-adult fantasy, The Assassin’s Curse (which got LOTS of love!). I’m really looking forward to this one, and do keep an eye out for my review soon! Synopsis: “Cat, this is Finn. He’s going to be your tutor.”

Finn looks and acts human, though he has no desire to be. He was programmed to assist his owners, and performs his duties to perfection. A billion-dollar construct, his primary task now is to tutor Cat. As she grows into a beautiful young woman, Finn is her guardian, her constant companion… and more.

But when the government grants rights to the ever-increasing robot population, however, Finn struggles to find his place in the world.

Last up but certainly not least is Shattered Souls by Delilah Devlin (Montlake 1/29). This one looks like a fun and sexy paranormal about a psychic ex-cop, Caitlyn O’Connell! Here’s the scoop: Caitlyn O’Connell had it all: a career with the Memphis PD, a passionate marriage, and the satisfaction that her work made a difference in the world. But she also had a secret, a supernatural “gift” that cost her everything. Now she scrapes by as a private investigator, taking cases the cops won’t touch and counting down the minutes until happy hour.

But when Sam Pierce, her former partner and estranged ex-husband, comes to her for help with a bizarre murder case, Cait can’t say no. And not just because Sam is still as irresistibly sexy as he was on the day they met. Something sinister—and demonic—is terrorizing Memphis, leaving a bloody trail of bodies and clues only Cait can read. Together she and Sam will venture into a dark world of magic and unholy terror, hunting a killer who will lead them to the brink of reality as they know it—and back into the thrall of their stormy past.


  1. Oh man! They all look so good. And I said my New Years resolution would be slimming down my TBR. Looks like I might not keep that one!
    I have to have both of Lee Collin’s books and The Uninvited is too good to resist.
    All of them sound great! Thanks for sharing. Now off to Goodreads:)

  2. What a great list! I’ve definitely got some ideas for yet more to add to my TBR pile–“Shattered Souls” sounds great, and I’m definitely awaiting the next Kim Harrison. That cover is dynamite!


  3. Oh there are a few new ones to me. Sounds like a great list there. Thanks for sharing as I’ll have to look into them.

  4. Those are some really fantastic releases! I think I have The Uninvited, but I can’t remember. I have GOT to go look so I can buy it if not. I’ve preordered The Six Gun Tarot and The Mad Scientist’s Daughter, so I’m crossing my fingers that they’re good. 😀

    Thanks for sharing, Kristin!

  5. You posted the plot for A Perfect Blood (The Hollow’s book 10), not the one for Ever After

  6. Thanks for bringing these to my attention. The Uninvited looks really cool!

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