August has arrived and with it the annual OH MY GOD THE YEAR IS ALMOST GONE I NEED TO READ ALL THE THINGS Panic Season. This is when I realise that I only have a few more months till December to catch up with not only all the books published in the first half that I didn’t get around to reading but also all the books coming out in August and September (also known as the Twin Months of Doom in publishing).

Like for example, I am really stoked to read these three anthologies that came out earlier this year:

Unnatural Creatures with stories (most of them previously published) selected by Neil Gaiman “about the fantastical things that exist only in our minds”; The Collection featuring short fiction from the Transgender Vanguard which includes a story by one of my favorite writers, Susan Jane Bigelow ; and The Lowest Heaven, an anthology of science fiction stories written by tons of awesome people including Adam Roberts, Kameron Hurley, Mark Charan Newton and Kaaron Warren and published by Jurassic London in collaboration with AscensionThe Royal Observatory Greenwich with each story themed around a body in the Solar System. Actually, speaking of Jurassic London, this reminds me that they also have another thematic anthology called The Book of the Dead coming out in October, this one in collaboration with the Egypt Exploration Society and with stories by folks like Paul Cornell, Sarah Newton and Gail Carriger, among others, all featuring mummies. Seriously, how cool does that sound?

On the topic of “cool” things awaiting to be read: Martian Sands by Lavie Tidhar (Time Travel! World War II) has been staring at me since it came out in March (March!) as is the more recently released The Glass Republic, Tom Pollock’s sequel to the excellent The City’s Son, which features a dystopian society where the biggest commodity is your face itself. The promising premise, the fact that this book features my favorite character from the first book and the discussion about the idea of “beauty” are too alluring for me to pass. Worst even on the “why haven’t I read this yet” is God’s War by Kameron Hurley, a book that has been out since 2011 in the U.S. and whose recent release in the U.K. has put it right back on my radar (well, that and the fact that every single reviewer I trust loves this book like whoa).

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Then we have this July release, a sci-fi novel called Ascension by Jacqueline Koyanagi about a sky surgeon (a space ship engineer) featuring a PoC LGBT MC and all I can say is OMG followed by LOOK at that COVER. Another July release I really want to read soon is Vera Nazarian’s self-published novel Cobweb Bride, which appears to be a retelling of the Persephone myth. 

But enough with the past! How about what is ahead of us? Some of my MUST-READS for the second half of 2013: 

More Than This by Patrick Ness which may or may not be Speculative Fiction about a young boy’s final moments Two Serpents Risebut which will definitely be read by me.

Drakenfeld by Mark Charan Newton, inspired by classical Rome, this is Fantasy AND crime fiction AND I can’t wait because Newton is a very thoughtful writer and I have been following his career with delight.

Meg Rosoff has a new book and I don’t even care what is about (just joking: It seems to be a supernatural mystery); I just know I will read Picture Me Gone no matter what. Color me excited, Meg Rosoff  is a brilliant writer who has yet to let me down. 

The Real Boy by Anne Ursu is a Middle Grade Fantasy Adventure and fingers crossed this is as great as the author’s previous book Breadcrumbs.

Speaking of follow-ups, I am highly anticipating Two Serpents Rise by Max Gladstone, whose 2012 release Three Parts Dead was a huge surprise that ended up a top-10 pick last year.

Guardian Demon by Meljean Brook, the book to conclude this incredibly engaging and superhot series. I’ve been reading the Guardians series for years and years and years and I almost can’t bring myself to read this last book and say goodbye to this world.  

John Scalzi says everything that I wanted to say about The Incrementalists by Steven Brust and Skyler White: “Secret societies, immortality, murder mysteries and Las Vegas all in one book? Shut up and take my money." Indeed. 

And I will close this (kind of) list with three more sci-fi novels written by women and featuring female protagonists: Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach featuring a mercenary; Inheritance by Malinda Lo, the sequel to Adaptation and, lastly, satire meets sci-fi in The Perpetual Motion Club by Sue Lange (one of Book View Café’s founding members).

So…how about you? What’s the state of your TBR mountain?

Thea James and Ana Grilo are The Book Smugglers, a website for speculative fiction and YA. You can also find them on Twitter.