Titles I've read from Chronicle's Spring 2014 catalog:
Nobody's Secret, by Michaela MacColl:
It’s possible that it could have worked as short fiction, but there’s so little story here that 230 pages feels really, really long. It’s clear that the author has an appreciation for her subject both as a person and a poet, but the characters—including Emily, which is especially unfortunate—never make the shift from two-dimensional characters into three-dimensional people.
The Clockwork Scarab, by Colleen Gleason:
It’s fun, it’s smart, and despite the familiar components, it’s a solidly entertaining steampunk adventure. Most notably, it has a much stronger focus on the relationship between the girls than on any of the various romantic entanglements, and there’s a thought-provoking thread about feminism, and about cultural assumptions about gender roles: how “appropriate” conduct is defined by worldview.
Under Shifting Glass, by Nicky Singer:
Under Shifting Glass is about beginnings (birth, family, new realizations about old relationships) and endings (death, the end of friendship, the end of childhood); it’s about different kinds of families (blood, chosen, kindred spirits), about jealousy and about the realization that there is room in your heart for more than one person at a time. In another book, a convergence of so many storylines that drive the same themes home could easily feel contrived, but in this book, which celebrates connections of all sorts—Jess calls them ‘joinings’—it just...works.
Always Emily, by Michaela MacColl: I wasn't a huge fan of Nobody's Secret, but I'm a sucker for all things Brontë. And really, I have to read it, because otherwise, my Wuthering Heights roundup would be INCOMPLETE.
The Falconer, by Elizabeth May: Revenge and romance in steampunk Scotland. It's the first in a trilogy (obvs, since standalone fantasies are an endangered species), but there are EVIL FAERIES. So, you know: worth a try!
Oh, and also Pittau & Gervais' The Open Ocean, because I love nature books with lift-the-flaps and pop-ups.