Feature: “The Girl” by Victory Witherkeigh

Release Date: December 6, 2022
Publisher: Cinnabar Moth Publishing
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Description

The parents knew it had been a mistake to have a girl. At birth, the girl’s long, elegant fingers wriggled and grasped forward, motioning to strangle the very air from her mother’s lungs. As she grew older, she grew more like her father, whose ancestors would dream of those soon to die. She walked and talked in her sleep, and her parents warded themselves, telling the girl that she was evil, unlovable, their burden to bear only until her eighteenth birthday released them.

The average person on the streets of Los Angeles would look at the girl and see a young woman with dark chocolate eyes, curly long hair, and tanned skin of her Filipina heritage. Her teachers praised her for her scholarly achievements and extracurricular activities, from academic decathlon to cheer.

The girl knew she was different, especially as she grew to accept that the other children’s parents didn’t despise them. Her parents whispered about their pact as odd and disturbing occurrences continued to happen around her. The girl thought being an evil demon should require the skies to bleed, the ground to tremble, an animal sacrifice to seal the bargain, or at least cause some general mayhem. Did other demons work so hard to find friends, do well on their homework, and protect their spoiled younger brother?

The demon was patient. It could afford to wait, to remind the girl when she was hurt that power was hers to take. She needed only embrace it. It could wait. The girl’s parents were doing much of its work already.

Continue reading “Feature: “The Girl” by Victory Witherkeigh”

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.

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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.

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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