21 for 2021: My Most Anticipated Books for 2021


Now that 2020 is FINALLY over, it seems like the right time to take a look forward at the year-to-be. As well as a bit of a squint back at the year just ended. Let’s face it, no one is going to want to look back all that hard at 2020 – except the historians who are going to be studying last year FOREVER. But a peek at the books I thought I was going to be reading this year still feels appropriate. Even if this year basically sucked at meeting anyone’s expectations of pretty much anything – including trying to guess what I’d be in the mood for reading.

The look back at last year is well, not good for my average of reading the things that I thought would wow me at the beginning of the year. Out of my 20 most anticipated books from this time last year, I read 14 and have yet to get to 6. Considering that this time last year I looked back to discover I’d only missed one out of 19 – and that only because it didn’t get published – those aren’t good odds leading into this year.

The 6 I missed this year, well, they all got published. One received horrible reviews so I decided that life was just too short to read bad books, even if the first book in the series had been utterly awesome. But the others ran into both the “so many books, so little time” conundrum, along with the special 2020 version of “I just can’t concentrate on anything” headache. Most of them are still books I intend to get to, as they are almost all parts of series that I really enjoyed.

Which leads us to this year that has just begun. I’ve decided to continue listing lots of books in anticipation. I read 250+ books a year so thinking that I’m hoping real hard for 20 or so in particular still seems semi-sensible, even though I did sorta/kinda cut down the best books list. From here, I don’t know which books will be made of win this coming year, but I should have some clue which were the best of the bunch I finished.

So, another drumroll for this list. The books I’m most anticipating in 2021 – even if I don’t have cover pictures for quite all of them. Yet.

Act Your Age, Eve Brown (Brown Sisters #3) by Talia Hibbert
Cast in Conflict (Chronicles of Elantra #16) by Michelle Sagara
Castle Shade (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes #17) by Laurie R. King
Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Chief Inspector Gamache #17 (currently untitled) by Louise Penny
The Dating Plan by Sara Desai
A Desolation Called Peace (Teixcalaan #2) by Arkady Martine
The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams
Fugitive Telemetry (Murderbot Diaries #6) by Martha Wells
Hold Fast Through the Fire (NeoG #2) by K.B. Wagers
The House of Always (Chorus of Dragons #4) by Jenn Lyons
Jade Legacy (Green Bone Saga #3) by Fonda Lee
The Minders by John Marrs
Mother of All (Women’s War #3) by Jenna Glass
Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor
The Scavenger Door (Finder Chronicles #3) by Suzanne Palmer
Someone to Cherish (Westcott #8) by Mary Balogh
Stargazer (Leaphorn, Chee and Manuelito #24) by Anne Hillerman
What the Devil Knows (Sebastian St. Cyr #16) by C.S. Harris
When the Goddess Wakes (Ring-Sworn Trilogy #3) by Howard Andrew Jones
The Witness for the Dead (Goblin Emperor #2) by Katherine Addison

20 for 2020: My Most Anticipated Books for 2020

In this final half-week of 2019 it feels like a good time to look forward to the year-to-be. With just a bit of a look back at the year that was.

Or at least the year that I thought would be this time last year.

I’m surprised to discover that out of the 19 books I said I really, really wanted to read this year, I read all but one. And the one I didn’t, Lady Hotspur, I didn’t because it didn’t happen in 2019. It is, however, definitely happening in January 2020, so it’s a repeat from last year because I still really, really, really want to read it!

Also, looking at the list for 2020, it’s clear that my reading is leaning more towards SF and Fantasy. Or, at least I have better data about forthcoming SF and Fantasy that I know I want to read. (Locus Magazine does a regular feature on Forthcoming Books and there’s an extensive list in the December 2019 issue)

A lot of the books listed are next-in-series, some in series that I’ve been following for years. Sometimes picking up the next book in a series falls victim to the “so many books, so little time” conundrum. But sometimes you just get hooked so hard that you can’t let go. Ever!

The Angel of the Crows by Katherine Addison
Back in Black (McGinnis Investigations #1) by Rhys Ford
A Blight of Blackwings (Seven Kennings #2) by Kevin Hearne
The Burning God (Poppy War #3) by R.F. Kuang
Cast in Wisdom (Chronicles of Elantra #15) by Michelle Sagara
The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin
Crush the King (Crown of Shards #3) by Jennifer Estep
A Desolation Called Peace (Teixcalaan #2) by Arkady Martine
Deal with the Devil (Mercenary Librarians #1) by Kit Rocha
Dragon Age: Tevinter Nights edited by Patrick Weekes
Driving the Deep (Finder #2) by Suzanne Palmer
The Empire of Gold (Daevabad #3) by S.A. Chakraborty
Lady Hotspur by Tessa Gratton
The Last Emperox (Interdependency #3) by John Scalzi
The Memory of Souls (Chorus of Dragons #3) by Jenn Lyons
Network Effect (Murderbot #5) by Martha Wells
Queen of the Unwanted (Women’s War #2) by Jenna Glass
The Relentless Moon (Lady Astronaut #3) by Mary Robinette Kowal
The Secret Chapter (Invisible Library #6) by Genevieve Cogman
Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey

19 for 2019: My Most Anticipated Books for 2019

On this first “regular” blogging day of the year, I take the opportunity to look back at the books I was most looking forward to last year at this time, and see what happened. Whether the books came out or not, whether I read them or not, whether I liked them or not.

And then to look forwards, literally, at the books I’m most looking forward to in the coming year.

For my “best books” list in 2018, I finally stopped letting the number of bests match the year – it was getting both unwieldy and ridiculous. Howsomever, as I generally read 250+ books in a year, that I might be seriously anticipating 19 or 20 of them is considerably less ridiculous.

Or at least I hope so.

Looking back at last year’s list, one book was cancelled. Or maybe it wasn’t. Edelweiss said it was cancelled, so I stopped looking for it. But it actually came out in May – so I just bought it (The Glory of the Empress by Sean Danker)  That’ll teach me to believe what I read. One book, The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty, has been postponed until January of 2019. It has been moved to this year’s list, and I have an eARC, so I’m sure it really is happening this year. There was one book that just didn’t do it for me when I opened it for the first time. That was The Monster Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson. I’m looking for either a long plane ride to try again, or an audiobook. I do want to read it, but the mood just didn’t hit me.

And there was one title change. The voice of common sense, or at least a realization that the title would spark a fair amount of confusion and an endless search for dictionaries, resulting in the second book in John Scalzi’s marvelous Interdependency series changing its name from The Widening Gyre to The Consuming Fire. I contributed just a bit too much to the best seller status on that one, ending up buying the ebook, the audio and a signed print copy when the author was in Athens, GA for a talk and signing.

But here’s what I’m looking forward to reading this year – along with a whole slew of wonderful books that I haven’t met yet!

I read The Consuming Fire and all the other books on my list. As usual, some I loved, some I merely liked, some provided closure and some were visits with old friends.

Now it’s 2019, and here’s this year’s list, with cover pictures for almost everything.

The American Agent (Maisie Dobbs #15) by Jacqueline Winspear
Cast in Oblivion (Chronicles of Elantra #14) by Michelle Sagara
The Dragon Republic (Poppy War #2) by R.F. Kuang
Endgames (Imager Portfolio #12) by L.E. Modesitt, Jr
The Hound of Justice (Janet Watson Chronicles #2) by Claire O’Dell
The Kingdom of Copper (Daevabad #2) by S.A. Chakraborty
Lady Hotspur (Innis Lear #2) by Tessa Gratton
Mahimata (Asiana #2) by Rati Mehrotra
Protect the Prince (Crown of Shards #2) by Jennifer Estep
The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie
The Ruin of Kings (Chorus of Dragons #1) by Jenn Lyons
The Sentence is Death (Hawthorne #2) by Anthony Horowitz
Spaceside (Planetside #2) by Michael Mammay
The Tale Teller (Leaphorn, Chee & Manuelito #5) by Anne Hillerman
Tightrope (Burning Cove #3) by Amanda Quick
Triple Jeopardy (Daniel Pitt #2) by Anne Perry
The True Queen (Sorcerer to the Crown #2) by Zen Cho
Warrior of the World (Chronicles of Dasnaria #3) by Jeffe Kennedy
Wild Country (World of the Others #2) by Anne Bishop

18 for 2018: My Most Anticipated Books for 2018

Due to many too many personal events, I’ve anticipated writing this “Anticipated Books” post for several days, but had a whole host of issues reaching the point where I could actually sit down to write it. But here we are, better a bit late than never.

This post is my annual opportunity to take a look back and a look forward, back to what I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this time last year, and…what actually happened. Some books don’t meet their anticipated publication schedules, and sometimes they do, but just don’t work for me after all – or at least don’t at the time. And both those things happened with last year’s list.

Looking back, there are two books on last year’s list that not only didn’t come out last year, but still don’t have scheduled publication dates. Admittedly, when I listed both Chronicles of Promise Paen #3 by WC Bauers and Sorcerer Royal by Zen Cho, I knew I was listing my hopes based on no data whatsoever, and so it proved.

There turned out to be a few books on the list that were supposed to come out in 2017, but are now scheduled for 2018; Frenchman and Rampart (now titled Frenchmen Street) by Suzanne Johnson, #13 in the Chronicles of Elantra by Michelle Sagara (Cast in Deception) and the 15th Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes story by Laurie R. King (Island of the Mad).

And, last but hopefully, eventually, not least, although the 6th book in the Craft Sequence by Max Gladstone did come out in 2017 under the title Ruin of Angels, when I picked it up it turned out to not be the right book for me, or at least not at the right time for me. I haven’t abandoned it, but I have set it aside for a bit.

I did read (and generally love) the other books I looked so forward to this time last year. Here’s hoping I fare as well (or even better) with this year’s list!

By Fire Above (Signal Airship #2) by Robyn Bennis
Cast in Deception (Chronicles of Elantra #13) by Michelle Sagara
Cave of Bones (Leaphorn, Chee & Manuelito #22) by Anne Hillerman
City of Ink (Li Du #3) by Elsa Hart
Frenchmen Street (Sentinels of New Orleans #6) by Suzanne Johnson
Gift of Griffins (Faraman Prophecy #2) by V.M. Escalada
The Glory of the Empress (Evgardian #3) by Sean Danker
Head On (Lock In #2) by John Scalzi
Hurts to Love You (Forbidden Hearts #3) by Alisha Rai
Into the Fire (Vatta’s Peace #2) by Elizabeth Moon
Island of the Mad (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes #15) by Laurie R. King
The Kingdom of Copper (Daevabad #2) by S.A. Chakraborty
Lake Silence (The Others #6) by Anne Bishop
The Lost Plot (Invisible Library #4) by Genevieve Cogman
The Monster Baru Cormorant (Baru Cormorant #2) by Seth Dickinson
The Privilege of Peace (Peacekeeper #3) by Tanya Huff
Someone to Care (Westcott #4) by Mary Balogh
The Widening Gyre (Interdependency #2) by John Scalzi

17 for 2017: My Most Anticipated Books of 2017

2017 in candle flames

And we’re back with another edition of “as the page turns”. It’s time to look forward to the fantastic new books that are scheduled to come out this year, and take a look back at the books that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this time last year. Mostly to see whether I actually did get my hands on them.

Out of last year’s 16 books. There were only three that I didn’t get around to, and two of those are because they didn’t get around to being published. A Peace Divided was on last year’s list as Peacekeeper #2, but it looks like more of a sure thing this year. Four Arts #2 was iffy last year and looks iffy this year as well.

One book, Children of Earth and Sky by Guy Gavriel Kay, didn’t get read simply because I really, really need a round tuit for this one. I love his books, but I’m a couple behind, and I want to get caught up. Maybe this year?

There’s no review for Jane Steele from last year’s list because it turned out to be a disappointment, and I DNF’ed it. Hopefully the author’s return to Sherlock Holmes this year will work better for me. Lots of people loved Jane Steele, but it just turned out not to be for me.

As always, there are books in this list that I am relatively sure are going to be published this year. There are even a handful that I already have ARCs for. But there are also several that are more rumored, or occasionally simply wished for, than have covers, publication dates or even titles. Hopefully most will arrive in the months ahead.

I can hardly wait!

Assassin’s Price (Imager Portfolio #11) by LE Modesitt Jr.
The Burning Page (Invisible Library #3) by Genevieve Cogman
Cat Shining Bright (Joe Grey #20) by Shirley Rousseau Murphy
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #13 by Louise Penny
Chronicles of Elantra #13 by Michelle Sagara
Chronicles of Promise Paen #3 by WC Bauers
Cold Welcome (Vatta’s Peace #1) by Elizabeth Moon
The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi
Echoes in Death (In Death #44) by JD Robb
Etched in Bone (The Others #5) by Jacqueline Carey
Frenchman and Rampart (Sentinels of New Orleans #6) by Suzanne Johnson
In This Grave Hour (Maisie Dobbs #13) by Jacqueline Winspear
Mary Russell #15 by Laurie R. King
A Peace Divided (Confederation #7, Peacekeeper #2) by Tanya Huff
Silver Silence (Psy-Changeling Trinity #1, Psy-Changeling #19) by Nalini Singh
Six Feet Over (Craft Sequence #6) by Max Gladstone
Sorcerer Royal #2 by Zen Cho

16 for 2016: My Most Anticipated Books of 2016

2016 neon numbers

Looking back at last year’s list, it is always good to discover that the stuff I wanted to read last year isn’t still on my TBR pile for this year, either because I didn’t get around to reading it, or because the author didn’t get around to finish it.

Diana Gabaldon’s Written in My Own Heart’s Blood stayed on the list for a couple of years due to a delay in publication. The next book in that series hasn’t been announced yet, so while I definitely want to read it when it happens, first I have to know it’s going to happen.

Also like last year, most of the books are the “next” book in ongoing series that I follow. If I like something a lot, I tend to keep going. On my other hand, there are more non-series books on here than usual. Generally that’s because I’m familiar with the authors, but in the case of Reader, I Married Him, I’m looking forward to that book as kind of a mirror reflection of Jane Steele, which itself is a funhouse mirror reflection of Jane Eyre. We’ll see.

And there are three books in the list that either have no titles or even tentative titles. Likewise, they have no cover pictures. No publication dates either. Which has no influence whatsoever on the amount of bated breath that I am waiting for them with!

The Alchemy Wars #3 by Ian Tregillis
The Blockade (First Salik War #3) by Jean Johnson
Brotherhood in Death (In Death #42) by J.D. Robb
Cat Shout for Joy (Joe Grey #19) by Shirley Rousseau Murphy
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #12 by Louise Penny
Children of Earth and Sky by Guy Gavriel Kay
Confederation #7/Peacekeeper #2 by Tanya Huff
The Fate of the Tearling (Queen of the Tearling #3) by Erika Johansen
The Forbidden Heir (Four Arts #2) by M.J. Scott
Four Roads Cross (Craft Sequence #5) by Max Gladstone
Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye
The Murder of Mary Russell (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes #14) by Laurie R. King
Reader I Married Him by Tracy Chevalier et al.
The Shattered Tree (Bess Crawford #8) by Charles Todd
Treachery’s Tools (Imager Portfolio #10) by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
The White Mirror (Li Du #2) by Elsa Hart

15 for 15: My Most Anticipated Books for 2015


I took a look at last year’s list, and was surprised and pleased to discover that I read almost everything I was looking forward to, and even better, liked them! (I have the other two books, but just haven’t gotten a round tuit yet. This is what TBR piles are made of.)

It’s also hard not to miss the trend. The books I’m looking forward to are sequels to things I read last year or new pieces of ongoing series. It is difficult to anticipate something if you don’t know that it exists.

And even though these books aren’t being released until sometime in 2015, I already have arcs for a few of them, and have even read a couple. So far, the stuff I’m looking forward to is every bit as good as I’m hoping it will be.

Speaking of hopes, the dragon book is for Cass (Surprise, surprise!) She adored the first book in the series, liked the second one a lot, and has high hopes for the third one. Because, dragons.

So what books can’t you wait to see in 2015? 


Most anticipated in 2015:
Ancillary Mercy (Imperial Radch #3) by Ann Leckie
Dreaming Spies (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes #13) by Laurie R. King
The End of All Things (Old Man’s War #6) by John Scalzi
Flask of the Drunken Master (Shinobi Mystery #3) by Susan Spann
The Invasion of the Tearling (Queen of the Tearling #2) by Erika Johansen
Last First Snow (Craft Sequence #4) by Max Gladstone
Madness in Solidar (Imager Portfolio #9) by L.E. Modesitt Jr.
Obsession in Death (In Death #40) by J.D. Robb
A Pattern of Lies (Bess Crawford #7) by Charles Todd
Pirate’s Alley (Sentinels of New Orleans #4) by Suzanne Johnson
Ryder: American Treasure (Ryder #2) by Nick Pengelley
Shards of Hope (Psy-Changeling #14) by Nalini Singh
The Talon of the Hawk (Twelve Kingdoms #3) by Jeffe Kennedy
The Terrans (First Salik War #1) by Jean Johnson
The Voyage of the Basilisk (Memoir by Lady Trent #3) by Marie Brennan