So this is coming a little late, because the book I was most looking forward to this year (of the books that I believe will actually appear) is already out and is, in fact, currently sitting on the coffee table in my living room, about three quarters read. But what the heck, I'll do it anyway.
1. Victory of Eagles by Naomi Novik, released July 8th. The fifth book in the Temeraire series, one of my favorite new series in a long, long time. The premise is simple: our world, but with dragons. Novik explores all the implications of this change with some fantastic world building, but where she really shines is in the characters. The centerpiece of the story is Will Laurence, an officer in the Royal Navy who by chance becomes captain to Temeraire, an extraordinary dragon, and their relationship. At the end of the last book, Novik left this pair in quite dire straits, and I've been on pins and needles wondering what was going to happen to them. Now I'm working on finding out, and although the story is quite different than I expected, so far, so good. Novik is going to be reading at a local bookstore in a couple of weeks. I am so there.
2. Paper Towns by John Green, coming out in October. I am not quite the rabid John Green fangirl that heyheyrenay is, but I enjoy his writing and I love his vlog, and the particularly interesting thing about this book is that he wrote so much of it during Brotherhood 2.0, so I feel like I know more about what was going on in the author's head than I normally would when reading a book, and I'm really curious about that. Perhaps he will also do a book tour! That would be sweet.
3. A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin, coming out ?? (Amazon says September, but I read grrm, and given his latest comments I trust this release date about as far as I can throw it.) Before Temeraire, I would have said that A Song of Ice and Fire was my favorite fantasy series ever. The change is more a reflection on my love for Temeraire than any diminishment in my love for ASoIaF, although I was less enamored of the fourth book than the first three in the series -- GRRM seems to be succumbing to a form of tl;dr that requires him to tell his story from every single point of view he can think of, and I'm not sure it's adding anything to the books except word count. That said, I am totally hooked, and I'm particularly anticipating this book since it promises to be the missing half of the last book, A Feast for Crows (and I'm fully aware that I'm complaining that the last book was both too long and too short, but if you've read them, you know how both these things can be true). Despite its flaws, this is still a wonderful series, and the next book can't come soon enough. Now if only he would finish writing it...
I think I'm probably forgetting something. There are also books I'm highly anticipating in paperback release (the second Locke Lamora book, the latest Thursday Next...), but that's a whole other question for another day.