Bookmail – August 29, 2022

Happy bookmail day! Here’s what came in recently. Thanks to the publishers who sent advanced reader copies.

Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn (Legendborn #2) — Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; November 8, 2022

All Bree wanted was to uncover the truth behind her mother’s death. So she infiltrated the Legendborn Order, a secret society descended from King Arthur’s knights–only to discover her own ancestral power. Now, Bree has become someone new:

A Medium. A Bloodcrafter. A Scion.

But the ancient war between demons and the Order is rising to a deadly peak. And Nick, the Legendborn boy Bree fell in love with, has been kidnapped.

Bree wants to fight, but the Regents who rule the Order won’t let her. To them, she is an unknown girl with unheard-of power, and as the living anchor for the spell that preserves the Legendborn cycle, she must be protected.

When the Regents reveal they will do whatever it takes to hide the war, Bree and her friends must go on the run to rescue Nick themselves. But enemies are everywhere, Bree’s powers are unpredictable and dangerous, and she can’t escape her growing attraction to Selwyn, the mage sworn to protect Nick until death.

If Bree has any hope of saving herself and the people she loves, she must learn to control her powers from the ancestors who wielded them first–without losing herself in the process.

The Bone Spindle by Leslie Vedder (The Bone Spindle #1) — Razorbill; January 11, 2022

Fi is a bookish treasure hunter with a knack for ruins and riddles, who definitely doesn’t believe in true love.

Shane is a tough-as-dirt girl warrior from the north who likes cracking skulls, pretty girls, and doing things her own way.

Briar Rose is a prince under a sleeping curse, who’s been waiting a hundred years for the kiss that will wake him.

Cursed princes are nothing but ancient history to Fi–until she pricks her finger on a bone spindle while exploring a long-lost ruin. Now she’s stuck with the spirit of Briar Rose until she and Shane can break the century-old curse on his kingdom.

Dark magic, Witch Hunters, and bad exes all stand in her way–not to mention a mysterious witch who might wind up stealing Shane’s heart, along with whatever else she’s after. But nothing scares Fi more than the possibility of falling in love with Briar Rose.

Set in a lush world inspired by beloved fairytales, The Bone Spindle is a fast-paced young adult fantasy full of adventure, romance, found family, and snark.

The Bone Weaver by Aden Polydoros — Inkyard Press; September 20, 2022

The Kosa empire roils in tension, on the verge of being torn apart by a proletarian revolution between magic-endowed elites and the superstitious lower class, but seventeen-year-old Toma lives blissfully disconnected from the conflict in the empire with her adoptive family of benevolent undead.

When she meets Vanya, a charming commoner branded as a witch by his own neighbors, and the dethroned Tsar Mikhail himself, the unlikely trio bonds over trying to restore Mikhail’s magic and protect the empire from the revolutionary leader, Koschei, whose forces have stolen the castle. Vanya has his magic, and Mikhail has his title, but if Toma can’t dig deep and find her power in time, all of their lives will be at Koschei’s mercy.

Book of Dreams by Kevin Craig — Duet Books; September 13, 2022

Gaige’s curiosity gets the better of him when he discovers a bookstore on an abandoned street where no bookstore should be.

He steps inside and is immediately enthralled by its antiquarian sights and smells. But one book in particular calls to him. It isn’t long before he gets a bad feeling about it, but it’s already too late. The store’s aged bookseller gives him no alternative: once he touches the book, it’s his–whether he wants it or not. It’s bought and paid for and there are no returns.

The book leads Gaige on a horrific descent into the unknown. As he falls into the depths of its pages, he loses blocks of time, and his friends become trapped inside ancient cellars with seemingly no means of escape. Gaige soon learns that the ancient bookseller is a notorious serial killer from previous century, and fears that he has fallen into a predicament from which he may not escape.

When all seems lost, he finds the one person he can turn to for help–Mael, a sweet boy also trapped inside the book who didn’t fall for the bookseller’s tricks.

Together, they race against time to protect Gaige from joining a long string of boys who vanished without a trace inside the Book of Dreams.

Born Andromeda by K.M. Watts — Duet Books; November 15, 2022

Being eighteen is difficult, especially when you’re a cyborg and heir to the entire kingdom of the Moon. Disillusioned with royal life, Princess Andromeda dreams of nothing but freedom and adventure outside the protective dome of royalty. But when her parents arrange her marriage to an Earthen prince, she is forced to put her kingdom before her dreams of independence. While traveling to Earth, Andromeda’s ship is attacked by galactic pirates led by her father’s sworn enemy, the Lord Captain Bran. Taken prisoner, Andromeda realizes that her captors are unaware of her true identity and sees an opportunity: To best her enemies, she may have to join them.

Death In The Mouth: The Best of Contemporary Horror edited by Sloane Leong, Cassie Hart — October 1, 2022

What is horror to those living in the margins?

Where terror is systematized and in the very air everyone happily breathes?

A misheard word.

The thud of boots.

An impossible color.

A foreign growth.

DEATH IN THE MOUTH is a horror anthology showcasing BIPOC and other ethnically marginalized writers and artists from around the world. It will feature twenty prose stories spanning from the distant past to the far future, real and fictive worlds, all while exploring new and unique manifestations of horror. Each story will also be accompanied by an original black and white illustration by a unique artist.

The Depths by Nicole Lesperance — Razorbill; September 13, 2022

A tropical island full of secrets. Two Victorian ghosts, trapped for eternity. And a seventeen-year-old girl determined not to be next.

Eulalie Island should be a paradise, but to Addie Spencer, it’s more like a prison.

Forced to tag along to the remote island on her mother’s honeymoon, Addie isn’t thrilled about being trapped there for two weeks. The island is stunning, with its secluded beaches and forests full of white flowers. But there’s something eerie and unsettling about the place.

After Addie meets an enigmatic boy on the beach, all the flowers start turning pink. The island loves you, he tells her. But she can’t stop sleepwalking at night, the birds keep calling her name, and there’s a strange little girl in the woods who wants to play hide-and-seek. When Addie learns about two sisters who died on the island centuries ago, she wonders if there’s more to this place, things only she can see.

Beneath its gorgeous surface, Eulalie Island is hiding dark, tangled secrets. And if Addie doesn’t unravel them soon, the island might never let her go.

Direwood by Catherine Yu — Page Street Kids; September 20, 2022

In this velvet-clad 1990s gothic horror, Aja encounters a charming vampire who wants to lure her into the woods–just like her missing sister.

No one ever pays attention to sixteen-year-old Aja until her perfect older sister Fiona goes missing. In the days leading up to Fiona’s disappearance, Aja notices some extraordinary things: a strange fog rolling through their idyllic suburban town, a brief moment when the sky seems to rain blood, and a host of parasitic caterpillars burrowing their way through the trees. Aja’s father, the neighbors, and even her ex-friend Mary all play down this strange string of occurrences, claiming there must be some natural explanation. It seems everyone is willing to keep living in denial until other teens start to go missing too.

Aja is horrified when she meets Padraic, the vampire responsible for all the strange occurrences. His hypnotic voice lures her to the window and tells her everything she’s longed to hear–she’s beautiful and special, and he wants nothing more than for Aja to come with him. Aja knows she shouldn’t trust him, but she’s barely able to resist his enthrallment. And following him into the woods may be the only way to find Fiona, so she agrees on one condition: He must let her leave alive if she is not wooed after one week. Though Aja plans to kill him before the week is out, Padraic has his own secrets as well.

In the misty woods, Aja finds that Padraic has made his nest with another vampire in a dilapidated church infested by blood-sucking butterflies. Within its walls, the vampires are waited on and entertained by other children they’ve enthralled, but there is no sign of Fiona. Before her bargain is up, Aja must find a way to turn her classmates against their captors, find her sister, and save them all–or be forced to join the very monsters she wants to destroy.

Felix Silver, Teaspoons & Witches by Harry Cook — Duet Books; August 30, 2022

After his parents announce that his bizarre, emerging abilities are getting in the way of their divorce, Felix Silver relocates to Dorset Harbor and becomes the charge of his Grandma Aggie.

As Felix adjusts to life in a new school, Aggie decides that it’s time he learn The Silver Way, and teaches him all she knows about sorcery and magical arts. When Felix and his new friends decide to solve the mystery of local teenagers who have gone missing, Felix learns that his crush, Aero, has a big secret.

Is dark magic creeping into the town, and can Felix learn enough from Aggie and the witches of Dorset Harbor to combat it?

A Girl’s Guide to Love & Magic by Debbie Rigaud — Scholastic Press; August 2, 2022

Cicely Destin lives for the West Indian Day Parade, the joyous celebration of Caribbean culture that takes over the streets of her neighborhood. She loves waving the Haitian flag, sampling delicious foods, and cheering for the floats. And this year? She’ll get to hang with her stylish aunt, an influencer known for dabbling in Haitian Vodou.

And maybe spot her dreamy crush, Kwame, in the crowd.

But fate has other ideas. Before the parade, a rogue, mischievous spirit seems to take possession of Cicely’s aunt during a spiritual reading. Cicely hardly knows anything about Vodou, or how to get someone un-possessed. But it’s up to her to set things right–and the clock is ticking. She’ll have to enlist the help of her quick-thinking best friend, Renee, and, as luck would have it…Kwame.

Cicely, her friends, and the reckless spirit who is now their charge set off on a thrilling scavenger hunt to gather the ceremonial items they need. And along the way, will Cicely discover surprising powers of her on?

House of Yesterday by Deeba Zargarpur — Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); November 29, 2022

Taking inspiration from the author’s own Afghan-Uzbek heritage, this contemporary YA debut is a breathtaking journey into the grief that lingers through generations of immigrant families, and what it means to confront the ghosts of your past.

Struggling to deal with the pain of her parents’ impending divorce, fifteen-year-old Sara is facing a world of unknowns and uncertainties. Unfortunately, the one person she could always lean on when things got hard, her beloved Bibi Jan, has become a mere echo of the grandmother she once was. And so Sara retreats into the family business, hoping a summer working on her mom’s latest home renovation project will provide a distraction from her fracturing world.

But the house holds more than plaster and stone. It holds secrets that have her clinging desperately to the memories of her old life. Secrets that only her Bibi Jan could have untangled. Secrets Sara is powerless to ignore as the dark truths of her family’s history rise in ghostly apparitions–and with it, the realization that as much as she wants to hold onto her old life, nothing will ever be the same.

Told in lush, sweeping prose, this story of secrets, summer, and family sacrifice will chill you to the bone as the house that wraps Sara in warmth of her past becomes the one thing she cannot escape…

How to Succeed in Witchcraft by Aislinn Brophy — G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers; September 27, 2022

Shay Johnson has all the makings of a successful witch. As a junior at T.K. Anderson Magical Magnet School, she’s determined to win the Brockton Scholarship–her ticket into the university of her dreams. Her competition? Ana freaking Álvarez. The key to victory? Impressing Mr. B, drama teacher and head of the scholarship committee.

When Mr. B asks Shay to star in this year’s aggressively inclusive musical, she warily agrees, even though she’ll have to put up with Ana playing the other lead. But in rehearsals, Shay realizes Ana is . . . not the despicable witch she’d thought. Perhaps she could be a friend–or more. And Shay could use someone in her corner once she becomes the target of Mr. B’s unwanted attention. When Shay learns she’s not the first witch to experience his inappropriate behavior, she must decide if she’ll come forward. But how can she speak out when her future’s on the line?

Last of the Talons by Sophie Kim (Talon #1) — Entangled: Teen; September 27, 2022

After the destruction of her entire Talon gang, eighteen-year-old Shin Lina–the Reaper of Sunpo–is forced to become a living, breathing weapon for the kingdom’s most-feared crime lord. All that keeps her from turning on her ruthless master is the life of her beloved little sister hanging in the balance. But the order to steal a priceless tapestry from a Dokkaebi temple incites not only the wrath of a legendary immortal, but the beginning of an unwinnable game…

Suddenly Lina finds herself in the dreamlike realm of the Dokkaebi, her fate in the hands of its cruel and captivating emperor. But she can win her life–if she kills him first.

Now a terrible game of life and death has begun, and even Lina’s swift, precise blade is no match for the magnetic Haneul Rui. Lina will have to use every weapon in her arsenal if she wants to outplay this cunning king and save her sister…all before the final grain of sand leaks out of the hourglass.

Because one way or another, she’ll take Rui’s heart.

Even if it means giving up her own.

The Love Match by Priyanka Taslim — Salaam Reads; January 3, 2023

Zahra Khan is basically Bangladeshi royalty, but being a princess doesn’t pay the bills in Paterson, New Jersey. While Zahra’s plans for financial security this summer involve working long hours at Chai Ho and saving up for college writing courses, Amma is convinced that all Zahra needs is a “good match,” Jane Austen style.

Enter Harun Emon, who’s wealthy, devastatingly handsome, and…aloof. As soon as Zahra meets him, she knows it’s a bad match. It’s nothing like the connection she has with Nayim Aktar, the new dishwasher at the tea shop, who just gets Zahra in a way no one has before. So, when Zahra finds out that Harun is just as uninterested in this match as she is, they decide to slowly sabotage their parents’ plans. And for once in Zahra’s life, she can have her rossomalai and eat it too: “dating” Harun and keeping Amma happy while catching real feelings for Nayim.

But life–and boys–can be more complicated than Zahra realizes. With her feelings all mixed up, Zahra discovers that sometimes being a good Bengali kid can be a royal pain.

Seton Girls by Charlene Thomas — Dutton Books for Young Readers; August 30, 2022

Seton Academic High is a prep school obsessed with its football team and their thirteen-year conference win streak, a record that players always say they’d never have without Seton’s girls. What exactly Seton girls do to make them so valuable, though, no one ever really says. They’re just the best. But the team’s quarterback, the younger brother of the Seton star who started the streak, wants more than regular season glory. He wants a state championship before his successor, Seton’s first Black QB, has a chance to overshadow him. Bigger rewards require bigger risks, and soon the actual secrets to the team’s enduring success leak to a small group of girls who suddenly have the power to change their world forever.

Spell Bound by F.T. Lukens — Margaret K. McElderry Books; April 4, 2023

Edison Rooker isn’t sure what to expect when he enters the office of Antonia Hex, the powerful sorceress who runs a call center for magical emergencies. He doesn’t have much experience with hexes or curses. Heck, he doesn’t even have magic. But he does have a plan–to regain the access to the magical world he lost when his grandmother passed.

Antonia is…intimidating, but she gives him a job and a new name–Rook–both of which he’s happy to accept. Now all Rook has to do is keep his Spell Binder, an illegal magical detection device, hidden from the Magical Consortium. And contend with Sun, the grumpy and annoyingly cute apprentice to Antonia’s rival colleague, Fable. But dealing with competition isn’t so bad; as Sun seems to pop up more and more, and Rook minds less and less.

But when the Consortium gets wind of Rook’s Spell Binder, they come for Antonia. All alone, Rook runs to the only other magical person he knows: Sun. Except Fable has also been attacked, and now Rook and Sun have no choice but to work together to get their mentors back…or face losing their magic forever.

Youngblood by Sasha Laurens — Razorbill; July 19, 2022

Kat Finn and her mother can barely make ends meet living among humans. Like all vampires, they must drink Hema, an expensive synthetic blood substitute, to survive, as nearly all of humanity has been infected by a virus that’s fatal to vampires. Kat isn’t looking forward to an immortal life of barely scraping by, but when she learns she’s been accepted to the Harcote School, a prestigious prep school that’s secretly vampires-only, she knows her fortune is about to change.

Taylor Sanger has grown up in the wealthy vampire world, but she’s tired of its backward, conservative values–especially when it comes to sexuality, since she’s an out-and-proud lesbian. She only has to suffer through a two more years of Harcote before she’s free. But when she discovers her new roommate is Kat Finn, she’s horrified. Because she and Kat used to be best friends, a long time ago, and it didn’t end well.

When Taylor stumbles upon the dead body of a vampire, and Kat makes a shocking discovery in the school’s archives, the two realize that there are deep secrets at Harcote–secrets that link them to the most powerful figures in Vampirdom and to the synthetic blood they all rely on.

(affiliate links)

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