There’s something magical about fantasy books that goes beyond the presence of witches, vampires, and, yes, actual magical powers. As a genre, fantasy moves readers into worlds very much unlike our own while simultaneously evoking emotions and circumstances that are undeniably, at their core, human.

Summer is usually a time for blockbuster movie releases, but it also heralds the publication of many new and exciting fantasy novels and this season doesn’t look like it will disappoint. Here’s a round-up of some of the most anticipated new releases (not counting entries into existing series) coming to a bookstore near you this August.

Bring Me Your Midnight by Rachel Griffin

Publication Date: August 1, 2023

Tana Fairchild is part of a coven of island-dwelling witches that channel their powers into the sea every full moon to appease threatened mainlanders. Since she was born, Tana was promised in marriage to the mainland governor’s son, Landon, which will cement a critical alliance between the two groups.

After missing the midnight ritual that allows her to release power into the sea, Tana meets Wolfe, a member from a coven that practices dark magic. Wolfe teaches Tana how to use her forbidden powers, a process that creates a strong, seductive bond between the two. As her coven loses control over the ocean’s currents, Tana is trapped between two men that represent very different futures: Landon, the secure match that will bring peace for her coven, and Wolfe, the daring wildcard who could cost her everything.

The Hundred Loves of Juliet by Evelyn Skye

Publication Date: August 1, 2023

William Shakespeare’s star-crossed romance plays out time and time again with the same tragic ending. One couple, one death. Wait…just one?

Sebastien, originally named Romeo, is doomed to love and lose the same woman repeatedly as he skips through time periods and bodies, always and forever being drawn to his beloved Juliet. The latest version of his story happens is set in modern-day Alaska, where Helene, the reincarnation of Juliet, is a romance writer with no former memory of her past lives. From Albrecht and Brigitta, to Marius and Cosmina, this story follows the devastating tale of the two most famous lovers in fiction. But this time, Helene is determined to change the ending for good.

The Narrow by Kate Alice Marshall

Publication Date: August 1, 2023

The Atwood School is located next to an infamous river — the Narrow — which sucks unwary victims into its deep and deadly waters, never to be seen again. That is, except for Delphine Fournier. Eden White, the sole witness to Delphine’s miraculous survival, knows why Delphine has isolated herself from the world and avoided contact with even a single drop of non-purified water since. To cover Atwood tuition, Eden reluctantly moves in with Delphine to work as her companion and assistant, an opportunity that transforms into a deep and surprisingly intimate bond with the reclusive girl.

However, mysterious footprints, ghostly apparitions, and sounds with no apparent source awaken Eden to a dark realization: the last companion who lived with Delphine ended up half-drowned without even stepping foot in the Narrow. Could the same malevolent force have it out for Eden too?

Omen of Ice by Jus Accardo

Publication Date: August 1, 2023

As a druid, Keltania “Tania” Tunne has spent her entire life preparing for a position as a bodyguard for the Winter Fae. After arriving at the Winter Court, however, Tania is stunned to find the heir to the throne, Valen, not even remotely interested in her protection. In fact, he wants her to leave — even though something is clearly very, very wrong at the Winter Court.

From the Winter Lord to kitchen staff, Tania encounters a maze of secrets, including a conspiracy to kill Valen himself. Whether he wants her to or not, Tania is determined to keep her oath and protect Valen, regardless of how her growing feelings for him may complicate this mission. And, like everybody else she encounters at the Winter Court, Valen also has a secret, one that may get them both killed.

The Dark Place by Britney S. Lewis

Publication Date: August 8, 2023

The night her older brother disappeared, Hylee Williams did, too. In truth, she vanished into a twisted alternate reality that forced her to relive the night her brother went missing. Returning suddenly to her regular life, Hylee meets the tall, handsome, and strangely familiar-looking Eilam Roads. And he watches her as she vanishes into thin air…again.

Eilam and Hylee join forces to explore her bizarre connection with time, space, and reality. Her ability to move back and forth between the waking world and the “dark place” causes Hylee to increasingly believe that only she can save her brother — just as long as she is able to conquer the darkness within herself first.

Mister Magic by Kiersten White

Publication Date: August 8, 2023

The five child stars of a classic children’s program, Mister Magic, have been forced to move on from their early brush with stardom. Yet, even thirty years hasn’t deterred the hordes of devoted fans from espousing the lessons of the show. If only the cast members — labeled the Circle of Friends on-set — could summon the happiness they seem to have lost since production stopped.

The fact that no surviving video evidence of the show or its mysterious host — the titular Mister Magic — exists creates an even stronger bond between the cast members, particularly once a twist of fate lands them all back in the remote desert that was once the set’s show. Together, they must face the truth of who Mister Magic really was and whether they can survive the imminent danger that seems to be waiting for them back on the isolated set.

Masters of Death by Olivie Blake

Publication Date: August 8, 2023

From the author of “The Atlas Six”, “Masters of Death” focuses on Viola Marek, a vampire and real-estate agent, who is struggling to sell a home haunted by its murdered resident. To figure out how and why the previous owner was killed, Viola aligns with Fox D’Mora, a fraudulent medium and godson of Death. Both get sucked into an immortal game with only one rule: don’t lose.

A cast of unruly characters help (and hinder) Viola and Fox’s quest to determine how a mysterious lost love relates to an annoying dead body that refuses to Rest In Peace. Perhaps working together will allow them to both discover the killer and sell Viola’s house.

Vampires of El Norte by Isabel Canas

Publication Date: August 15, 2023

In 1840s Mexico, Nena is dealing with both monsters of human and supernatural origin. With Anglo settlers infringing on her property in the north, Nena must investigate the mysterious and brutal deaths occurring on the ranch at night — even though she survived a similar attack nine years before herself.

A wandering vaquero, Néstor, encounters Nina, his childhood sweetheart whom he thought had died from wounds sustained from the strange attack. To make matters worse, both become sucked into the violence of the Mexican-American War. Together, the former (and future?) lovers must fight both humans and monsters in a war where it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between them.

Hellfinder by Paula Stokes

Publication Date: August 29, 2023

Rory Quinn accompanies her treasure-hunter grandmother to Iceland over winter break. In search of a stone covered in blood that supposedly will lead its holder into Hell, Rory and Gram discover that Einar, the grandson of their employer, has the stone in his possession. Worst of all, he’s planning on using the stone in a publicity stunt for his favorite heavy metal band.

Accompanied by Einar’s twin brother, Gunnar, the three adventurers face ice caves, volcanic tunnels, and glaciers to stop Einar. As Rory and Gunnar grow closer, though, Rory realizes that things aren’t all what they seem on the surface, and that the portal to Hell might reside in the most unexpected of places after all.

The Phoenix King by Aparna Verma

Publication Date: August 31, 2023

In the Ravani kingdom, the Ravence bloodline reigns supreme, largely because of its members’ ability to command the Eternal Fire. As the heir to the throne, Elena Aadya is an aberration; she is unable to wield the family’s legendary magic. With the intention of proving herself the kingdom’s rightful heir regardless, she doesn’t account for the presence of Yassen Knight, a reformed assassin who supposedly has declared allegiance to her father and now serves in her royal guard.

The threat of war on the horizon forces Elena and Yassen to work together — even as they attempt to navigate the fragile and simmering bond between them — to protect the Ravence legacy and defend the kingdom from dark forces.

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