Haunted Houses and Magic Brownies: New Young Adult SFF/H September & October 2021

Summer is waning and the season of pumpkin spice, jack o’lanterns, and 12-foot skeletons is right around the corner. Autumn brings with it a host of intriguing new young adult speculative fiction stories. We’ve got books that will give you goosebumps, books that will give you feels, and books that will make you want to jump out of your seat in excitement. Dust off that library card, friendos. Your TBR is about to grow…

Read the rest of this spotlight on Tor.com.

Feature: “Rites” by Savannah Johnston

Release Date: September 27, 2021
Publisher: Jaded Ibis Press
Genre: Literary, Short Stories

Description

Set in Oklahoma, this collection of short stories documents the quiet sorrow of everyday life as Johnston’s characters traverse the normalized, heartbreaking rites of passage such as burying a grandfather, mother, or husband, becoming a sex worker, or reconnecting with family after prison; the effects are subtle, yet loud, and always enduring. Johnston delivers this economy of loss and resilience with biting, captivating prose.

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Review: “The Necessity of Stars” by E. Catherine Tobler

Release Date: July 20, 2021
Publisher: Neon Hemlock Press
Genre: Dystopia, Science Fiction

Description

Plagued by the creeping loss of her memory, diplomat Bréone Hemmerli continues to negotiate peace in an increasingly climate-devastated world, ensconced in the UN-owned estate Irislands alongside her longtime friend and companion Delphine.

The appearance of the alien Tura in the shadows of Bréone’s garden raises new questions about the world’s decline. Perhaps, together, Tura and Bréone will find a way forward… if only Bréone can remember it.

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Review: “Comfort Me with Apples” by Catherynne M. Valente

Release Date: October 26, 2021
Publisher: Tordotcom
Genre: Fantasy

Description

Sophia was made for him. Her perfect husband. She can feel it in her bones. He is perfect. Their home together in Arcadia Gardens is perfect. Everything is perfect.

It’s just that he’s away so much. So often. He works so hard. She misses him. And he misses her. He says he does, so it must be true. He is the perfect husband and everything is perfect.

But sometimes Sophia wonders about things. Strange things. Dark things. The look on her husband’s face when he comes back from a long business trip. The questions he will not answer. The locked basement she is never allowed to enter. And whenever she asks the neighbors, they can’t quite meet her gaze…

But everything is perfect. Isn’t it?

Continue reading “Review: “Comfort Me with Apples” by Catherynne M. Valente”

Review: “And What Can We Offer You Tonight” by Premee Mohamed

Release Date: July 20, 2021
Publisher: Neon Hemlock Press
Genre: Dystopia, Fantasy

Description

In a far future city, where you can fall to a government cull for a single mistake, And What Can We Offer You Tonight tells the story of Jewel, established courtesan in a luxurious House. Jewel’s world is shaken when her friend is murdered by a client, but somehow comes back to life. To get revenge, they will both have to confront the limits of loyalty, guilt, and justice.

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Review: “Flowers for the Sea” by Zin E. Rocklyn

Release Date: October 19, 2021
Publisher: Tordotcom
Genre: Dark Fantasy

Description

We are a people who do not forget.

Survivors from a flooded kingdom struggle alone on an ark. Resources are scant, and ravenous beasts circle. Their fangs are sharp.

Among the refugees is Iraxi: ostracized, despised, and a commoner who refused a prince, she’s pregnant with a child that might be more than human. Her fate may be darker and more powerful than she can imagine.

Zin E. Rocklyn’s extraordinary debut is a lush, gothic fantasy about the prices we pay and the vengeance we seek.

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Review: “Nothing But Blackened Teeth” by Cassandra Khaw

Release Date: October 19, 2021
Publisher: Tor Nightfire
Genre: Horror

Description

A Heian-era mansion stands abandoned, its foundations resting on the bones of a bride and its walls packed with the remains of the girls sacrificed to keep her company.

It’s the perfect wedding venue for a group of thrill-seeking friends.

But a night of food, drinks, and games quickly spirals into a nightmare. For lurking in the shadows is the ghost bride with a black smile and a hungry heart.

And she gets lonely down there in the dirt.

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Must-Read Short Speculative Fiction: August 2021

In August, I was in the mood for stories with teeth, stories with characters who refused to settle for less than what they are owed, stories that looked at trite endings and said, “No thanks, I’ll pass.” I read so many great science fiction, fantasy, and horror stories last month that it was very difficult to whittle it down to my ten favorites, but here we are. Get ready for some darkly fun reading…

Read the rest of this spotlight at Tor.com.

This Way Madness Lies: A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee

Release Date: August 3, 2021
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: Young Adult, Dark Academia

Description

The history of Dalloway School lives in the bones it was built on. Five violent deaths in the first ten years of its existence. Sometimes you can still smell the blood on the air.

It wasn’t until Felicity enrolled that she fell in love with the dark. And now she’s back to finish her senior year after the tragic death of her girlfriend. She even has her old room in Godwin House, the exclusive dormitory rumored to be haunted by the spirits of the five Dalloway students who died there–girls some say were witches.

It’s Ellis Haley’s first year at Dalloway. A prodigy novelist at seventeen, Ellis is eccentric and brilliant, and Felicity can’t shake the pull she feels to her. So when Ellis asks for help researching the Dalloway Five for her second book, Felicity can’t say no.

Dalloway’s occult lore is everywhere, and the new girl won’t let Felicity forget it. But when the past begins to invade on the present, Felicity needs to decide where she stands. The soil under her feet is bloody with Dalloway’s history. But so is the present. Is it Dalloway–or is it her?

Continue reading “This Way Madness Lies: A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee”