A Sharp Sophomore Novel: The Scratch Daughters by H. A. Clarke

Release Date: October 25, 2022
Series: Scapegracers #2
Publisher: Erewhon
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Description

Sideways Pike is desperate. It turns out that Madeline Kline didn’t want to make out with her; infinitely worse, she was only flirting to get access to Sideways’ specter. Madeline has ripped the magical soul out of Sideways’ throat, and with it, everything that makes a witch feel whole. Madeline would know: the Chantry boys took hers, and she’s going to use Sideways’ specter to hunt them down and get it back.

Sideways Pike, lesbian witch extraordinaire, isn’t going to let little things like a treacherous crush or a brutal family of creepy witch hunters stop her, even if it means tracking down Madeline without the Scapegracers–her best friends, her coven, the girls she’s come to love ferociously above all else. But Sideways and her trusty bike are in for a bumpy ride . . .

In The Scratch Daughters, indie-bestselling author H. A. Clarke crafts a brilliant sequel to their tender, biting debut The Scapegracers: a raw and roiling tribute to queer lineage, to finding oneself, and to the deep love of chosen family.

Continue reading A Sharp Sophomore Novel: The Scratch Daughters by H. A. Clarke

Review: “An Arrow to the Moon” by Emily X.R. Pan

Release Date: April 12, 2022
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA, Fantasy

Description

Romeo and Juliet meets Chinese mythology in this magical novel by the New York Times bestselling author of The Astonishing Color of After.

Hunter Yee has perfect aim with a bow and arrow, but all else in his life veers wrong. He’s sick of being haunted by his family’s past mistakes. The only things keeping him from running away are his little brother, a supernatural wind, and the bewitching girl at his new high school.Luna Chang dreads the future. Graduation looms ahead, and her parents’ expectations are stifling. When she begins to break the rules, she finds her life upended by the strange new boy in her class, the arrival of unearthly fireflies, and an ominous crack spreading across the town of Fairbridge.As Hunter and Luna navigate their families’ enmity and secrets, everything around them begins to fall apart. All they can depend on is their love…but time is running out, and fate will have its way.

An Arrow to the Moon, Emily X.R. Pan’s brilliant and ethereal follow-up to The Astonishing Color of After, is a story about family, love, and the magic and mystery of the moon that connects us all.

Continue reading “Review: “An Arrow to the Moon” by Emily X.R. Pan”

A Story of Imperialism and Identity: Bone Weaver by Aden Polydoros

Release Date: September 20, 2022
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Genre: YA, Fantasy

Description

From the author of The City Beautiful comes a haunting fantasy following Toma, adopted daughter of the benevolent undead, making her way across a civil war-torn continent to save her younger sister as she discovers she might possess magical powers herself.

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.

Continue reading A Story of Imperialism and Identity: Bone Weaver by Aden Polydoros

Mini Review: “Unwieldy Creatures” by Addie Tsai

Release Date: August 2, 2022
Publisher: Jaded Ibis Press
Genre: Science Fiction

Description

Unwieldy Creatures, a biracial, queer, gender-swapped retelling of Mary Shelley’s classic novel Frankenstein, follows the story of three beings who all navigate life from the margins: Plum, a queer biracial Chinese intern at one of the world’s top embryology labs, who runs away from home to openly be with her girlfriend only to be left on her own; Dr. Frank, a queer biracial Indonesian scientist, who compromises everything she claims to love in the name of science and ambition when she sets out to procreate without sperm or egg; and Dr. Frank’s nonbinary creation who, painstakingly brought into the world, is abandoned due to complications at birth that result from a cruel twist of revenge. Plum struggles to determine the limits of her own ambition when Dr. Frank offers her a chance to assist with her next project. How far will Plum go in the name of scientific advancement and what is she willing to risk?

Continue reading “Mini Review: “Unwieldy Creatures” by Addie Tsai”

Mini Review: “One Arm Shorter Than the Other” by Gigi Ganguly

Release Date: April 5, 2022
Publisher: Atthis Arts
Genre: Science Fiction

Description

At Dadaji’s repair shop in Chandni Chowk, every broken object that passes through its seasoned teak doors is being transformed into something much…more.

A two-part novella, One Arm Shorter Than The Other weaves mysteries of fantasy with sci-fi possibilities.

Continue reading “Mini Review: “One Arm Shorter Than the Other” by Gigi Ganguly”

Sexy, Sapphic Gothic Horror: Alexis Henderson’s House of Hunger

Release Date: September 27, 2022
Publisher: Ace Books
Genre: Gothic, Fantasy

Description

WANTED – Bloodmaid of exceptional tasteMust have a keen proclivity for life’s finer pleasures. Girls of weak will need not apply.

A young woman is drawn into the upper echelons of a society where blood is power in this dark and enthralling Gothic novel from the author of The Year of the Witching.

Marion Shaw has been raised in the slums, where want and deprivation are all she know. Despite longing to leave the city and its miseries, she has no real hope of escape until the day she spots a peculiar listing in the newspaper seeking a bloodmaid.Though she knows little about the far north–where wealthy nobles live in luxury and drink the blood of those in their service–Marion applies to the position. In a matter of days, she finds herself the newest bloodmaid at the notorious House of Hunger. There, Marion is swept into a world of dark debauchery. At the center of it all is Countess Lisavet.The countess, who presides over this hedonistic court, is loved and feared in equal measure. She takes a special interest in Marion. Lisavet is magnetic, and Marion is eager to please her new mistress. But when she discovers that the ancient walls of the House of Hunger hide even older secrets, Marion is thrust into a vicious game of cat and mouse. She’ll need to learn the rules of her new home–and fast–or its halls will soon become her grave.

Continue reading Sexy, Sapphic Gothic Horror: Alexis Henderson’s House of Hunger

Electric and Enticing: Last of the Talons by Sophie Kim

Release Date: September 27, 2022
Series: Talons #1
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Description

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.

Continue reading Electric and Enticing: Last of the Talons by Sophie Kim

Feature: “A Fractured Infinity” by Nathan Tavares

Release Date: November 22, 2022
Publisher: Titan Books
Genre: Science Fiction

Description

Film-maker Hayes Figueiredo is struggling to finish the documentary of his heart when handsome physicist Yusuf Hassan shows up, claiming Hayes is the key to understanding the Envisioner – a mysterious device that can predict the future.
 
Hayes is taken to a top-secret research facility where he discovers his alternate self from an alternate universe created the Envisioner and sent it to his reality. Hayes studies footage of the other him, he discovers a self he doesn’t recognize, angry and obsessive, and footage of Yusuf… as his husband.
 
As Hayes finds himself falling for Yusuf, he studies the parallel universe and imagines the perfect life they will live together. But their lives are inextricably linked to the other reality, and when that couple’s story ends in tragedy Hayes realises he must do anything he can to save Yusuf’s life. Because there are infinite realities, but only one Yusuf.
 
With the fate of countless realities and his heart in his hands, Hayes leads Yusuf on the run, tumbling through a kaleidoscope of universes trying to save it all. But even escaping into infinity, Hayes is running out of space – soon he will have to decide how much he’s willing to pay to save the love of his life.

Continue reading “Feature: “A Fractured Infinity” by Nathan Tavares”

Mini Review: “Love from Mecca to Medina” by S. K. Ali

Release Date: October 18, 2022
Series: Love From A to Z series
Publisher: Salaam Reads
Genre: Young Adult

Description

Adam and Zayneb. Perfectly matched. Painfully apart.

Adam is in Doha, Qatar, making a map of the Hijra, a historic migration from Mecca to Medina, and worried about where his next paycheck will come from. Zayneb is in Chicago, where school and extracurricular stresses are piling on top of a terrible frenemy situation, making her miserable.

Then a marvel occurs: Adam and Zayneb get the chance to spend Thanksgiving week on the Umrah, a pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina, in Saudi Arabia. Adam is thrilled; it’s the reboot he needs and an opportunity to pray for a hijra in real life: to migrate to Zayneb in Chicago. Zayneb balks at the trip at first, having envisioned another kind of vacation, but then decides a spiritual reset is calling her name too. And they can’t wait to see each other–surely, this is just what they both need.

But the trip is nothing like what they expect, from the appearance of Adam’s former love interest in their traveling group to the anxiety gripping Zayneb when she’s supposed to be “spiritual.” As one wedge after another drives them apart while they make their way through rites in the holy city, Adam and Zayneb start to wonder: was their meeting just an oddity after all? Or can their love transcend everything else like the greatest marvels of the world?

Continue reading “Mini Review: “Love from Mecca to Medina” by S. K. Ali”