Oct 29, 2020

 

Book Review - Binary: The Novelettes of T. E. Mark - Vol V (by T.E. Mark)

Title: Binary: The Novelettes of T. E. Mark
Series: The Novelettes of T. E. Mark (Volume #5)
Author: T.E. Mark
Genre: Science Fiction, Techno-Thriller, Anthologies
Publisher: Paragon Independent Publishers
Release Date: August 15th, 2020
Format: Paperback
Pages: 333


"A cyber anarchist will attempt to use a genetically modified boy, who can control computers with his mind, to turn the tables on the spy agencies and politicians, denying them their privacy rights. BINARY

What is real or merely the appearance of reality is explored in this mind-bending, thriller with a gifted young programmer, on the run from everyone, designing adult-themed, virtual playgrounds for wealthy executives. NET 2.3

In this explosive Sci-Fi Adventure, Agent Charli-5 must find her way back to World Security, the secret organisation governing all new technologies, to uncover why she was sent to remove (assassinate) the wrong person at Escape Inc. - a company experimenting with teleportation. CHARLI 5"


 

Binary: The Novelettes of T. E. Mark - Vol V
(click to read an excerpt on Amazon)

 

- Review -
What Made Me Read It
I was sent a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. The author describes the series as "stories [that] examine the human condition in various contexts; in each story, a question is posited, an exploration made and conclusions are reached"; the novelettes for this latest installment play with the potentials and dangers of new technologies when placed in the wrong hands at the wrong time. After reading and thoroughly enjoying the previous anthologies - "Dreams Inc.", "Net 2.3" and "There Was A Silence" - this next volume was a must.

The Good
"Binary" is a collection of 3 techno-thriller novelettes set in modern days, with each story exploring how newly developed technologies impact and control our lives without us being aware, how addicted and dependent of them we've become to the point where we fail to see the hidden dangers that threaten basic rights like personal privacy and freedom of choice, how information that should guide us into making conscious decisions is controlled and manipulated by others in the name of security. So even though the novelettes are set in alternate realities with technologies as yet to be developed (tin foil hat throwaway: that we know of!), the characters still share the same human flaws, dreams and hopes of today's world, making each narrative feel realistic and relatable.

Written in a screenplay format combined with a lengthier narrative structure, each novelette could easily be adapted as a full-length movie or tv show, moving from scene to scene instead of chapters and alternating between different points of view and time frames - an intentional design by the author to give us readers a cinematic experience, or as close to it as possible.

Fast-paced and thrilling, with plenty of action sequences and suspense that will keep you on the edge of your seat, and completely unexpected and mind-bending twists and turns that you won't see coming until the very last line; but also thought-provoking moments that will make you wonder what you might have done were you in the character's position. Each plot is unique and independent so the anthology doesn't feel like a variation on a single theme, but instead explores different possibilities in diverse situations.

The main characters are 3-dimentional and realistic, even those who are more than what they appear to be, with recognizable and relatable doubts and insecurities, goals and motivations. Despite the short length typical of a novelette, each story is imaginative, evocative and with enough background details and information to gives us a strong sense of the worldbuilding and the characters.

"Charli 5" - Charli Fife is an operative for World Security, a secret organization that governs the creation and release of new technology to the world. As an agent, her mission is to remove information not yet ready to be shared and the developers responsible for it, in order to ensure world stability. But when she fails to complete her latest assignment at Escape Technology Inc. and becomes a target set for replacement, Charli begins to question everything she's believed in all her life... Rating: 4/5 - a cautionary tale about the dangers of technology that gets out of control from its creators, full of brilliant and completely unexpected twists; it's a little confusing though, there are numerous hints of information and moments shared between characters that we're only aware of since the script format doesn't leave much room for in-depth development, which is why it lost a star.

"Net 2.3" - (this novelette was originally published in 2019 in the previous anthology "NET 2.3 – The Novelettes of T. E. Mark – Vol III" and it's being reprinted after a few key revisions) Seth Coriel was a CGR (Computer Generated Realities) top designer at E-CON Inc, responsible for the development of the revolutionary Net 2.3 environment, a hyper-realistic virtual  world where corporations and governmental agencies can conduct face-to-face meetings instantaneously without loss of precious time and money. After meeting and falling for Nakamura Miyuki, a programmer from a rival Japanese company, Seth quits his job and goes freelance, selling access to his virtual world to wealthy subscribers in order to secure a future for them both. But E-CON executives Joanne Aer and Chaz Cambrel want their technology back and Seth finds himself in the middle of a West-East technology war, hiding from security agencies and corporation assassins alike... Rating 5/5 - this was my absolute favorite, full of thrilling action sequences in a virtual reality setting brimming with ancillaries and iso-plexes avatars, a mystery that will keep you guessing all the way and one hell of a plot twist I did not see coming; with a big homage to the movie Blade Runner and addressing themes of corporate competition and the dangers of virtual reality and online addition, where there are no secrets, nothing is what it seems and everything is up for grabs if you know where to look.

"Binary" - Justin Quinn is a genetically engineered subject of a failed NSA pilot program code-named "Binary", cognitively modified at birth to think in binary code and with the ability to access and control any electronic device. Now overseen by the CIC for scientific purposes, Justin is under surveillance to determine how he functions in a technological world he can't tune out. Justin has a few authority issues and just wants to be left alone but soon finds himself under the radar of a self proclaimed cyber-anarchist who wants to start a revolutionary war, while the NSA and the CIC are just as determined to get their subject back under control to use as both a tool and a weapon... Rating 4/5 - another cautionary tale, this one with a focus on today's threat to the fundamental right of personal privacy in the name of security, in a world where personal data is forcibly created, collected, analyzed, used, shared and stored from an ever-increasing number of connected devices. The main character's description of what it's like to be inside the information network is a thing of beauty and this story would work very well on screen with all the plot tension and cinematic action sequences; not so much in written format though, again, there's too much information that's only hinted at that left me wondering what was going on, and it's the reason it lost a star. (note: this novelette ends with a cliffhanger, part II will be printed in the next installment of this series: THE REALITY EXCHANGE – The Novelettes of T. E. Mark – Vol VI, to be released in Winter 2020/Spring 2021)

Final Rating

"Binary" is an anthology of 3 fast-paced techno-thriller novelettes set in modern days, written in a screenplay structure with suspenseful plot twists but also thought-provoking moments. Recommended for those who enjoy sci-fi stories based on the impact, benefits and dangers of newly developed and futuristic technologies in everyday life.


• • • •


- About the Author -
Website: mthomasmark.wordpress.com
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy
 

"Life may be different than the way we perceive it. In many ways, it should be different.This is why I write."
T.E. Mark - Writer / Screenwriter
 

T. E. Mark is an Anglo-American Writer, Screenwriter and Violinist from Bath Somerset. He currently resides in San Francisco California.

Though best known for his fiction writing, he also pens articles for  DISCOVER, ET Energy and Home Power magazines, and often writes on education issues for major universities.

His full-length novels and shorter Novelettes display his thought-provoking visions of our future and blunt, often sarcastic views of our present state of affairs. His screenplays are strong and compelling and always leave you with questions.

In a recent Author Interview, Mark was asked what advice he would give to new writers? He responded:

‘Write something new. Something entirely your own. And do everything you can to avoid cliches. There’s nothing worse than cliche writing.’

Mark also reads and writes poetry – publishing a selection of his personal favourites at the website titled: The Urban Scratch Project. When asked ‘why’ during a 2018 book signing he offered this response:

Ray Bradbury

TE Mark has studied Music, Architecture and English in the United Kingdom and the United States. He’s a member of Writers International, The International Writers’ Guild and he continues to write and teach the violin and viola from his Bay Area cooperative.

(source: mthomasmark.wordpress.com)

 

Previous in the series: Dreams Inc.: The Novelettes of T. E. Mark - Vol II (book review)
Previous in the series: NET 2.3: The Novelettes of T. E. Mark - Vol III (book review)
Previous in the series: There Was A Silence: The Novelettes of T. E. Mark - Vol IV (book review)

 

 

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May 30, 2020

 

Book Review - Unique, Ordinary #2 (by Starr Z. Davies)

Title: Unique
Series: Ordinary (book #2)
Author: Starr Z. Davies
Genre: Science Fiction, Mystery & Thriller, Post-Apocalyptic, Young Readers
Publisher: Pangea Books
Release Date: June 2nd, 2020
Format: Paperback
Pages: 426
 


"He lost everything. His dad, his best friend, and the woman he loves.

Ugene and the other test subjects escaped Paragon. They thought they were finally safe. But the battle for freedom is far from over.


When a rogue group calling themselves the Protectorate offers to help Ugene, he worries that his friends are falling into another dangerous trap. The struggle for freedom becomes a desperate fight for survival. Ugene is determined to stand up for what’s right and save the oppressed citizens of Elpis from persecution by Paragon and the Directorate.


The deeper Ugene digs, the more he uncovers about the Directorate’s sinister secrets, the Protectorate’s true goals... and the dangerous game he is about to play.


It’s time for the deception to end. It’s time for the truth to finally come to the surface…


And it’s time for everyone to finally learn that being Powerless isn’t weakness."

Unique (Ordinary #2)
(read an excerpt on starrzdavies.com)


- Review -
What Made Me Read It
I was sent a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. The author described the first book of the "Ordinary" duology as a young adult sci-fi dystopian novel, inspired by her love for superheroes like Batman and Spiderman; Starr Davies also mentioned she gained a reputation as the "Character Assassin", while pursuing a degree in creative writing, for her "habit of utterly destroying her characters emotionally and physically". Having greatly enjoyed book #1 of the series, I was curious to see the conclusion of the story and what laid in store for Ugene and the people of Elpis.


The Plot
After barely escaping with their lives from Paragon Tower, Ugene and the small group of surviving test subjects are taken in by the Protectorate, a group of freedom fighters whose mission is to rescue and protect those targeted by the Directorate and Paragon, expose their lies and take down the system. But after everything he went through at the hands of Dr. Cass and the betrayals suffered during his confinement, Ugene finds it hard to trust anyone. Something about Willow Barnes, the leader of the Protectorate, doesn't feel right and Ugene is suspicious of her true goals.


But with the looming threat of Proposition 9, he is once again faced with a hard choice. Burdened with the responsibility of keeping his companions safe and haunted by feelings of guilt and sorrow over those he lost - close friends, his long time crush Bianca and his own father - joining the cause and help make a better future for all the people of Elpis might be the only way to protect his friends. All he has to guide him is the book left behind by Celeste with another one of her cryptic prophecies: A man who hides behind The Shield is safe. A man who raises The Shield is the Hero. Ugene has been powerless all his life and doesn't feel he's up to the task... but one doesn't need powers to have brains.


The Good
"Unique" is the second and last book of the 'Ordinary' duology, a young adult sci-fi novel set in a futuristic post-apocalyptic world, told in the first person through the eyes of the main character, a powerless teenage boy living in a world of powered people, struggling to protect his friends while making a stand against a corrupted system. In book #1 ("Ordinary") we were introduced to the seemingly utopian society of Elpis, built after a devastating civil war between humans with enhanced abilities and those without which left the planet a barren place incapable of sustaining life. As more people were being born with weaker powers or succumbing to degenerative diseases, Ugene volunteered as a test subject in Dr. Cass' research to stop Regression, in the hopes of gaining powers of his own and help save his father from a fatal condition. When the research turned out to be both a lie and a life-threatening experiment, Ugene and his fellow test subjects joined forces to fight their way out of the facility.


Book #2 ("Unique") takes up where book #1 left off. The story is once again divided in 3 parts: part 1 introduces the rebel group Protectorate, as Ugene and his fellow survivors take refuge in their hidden base; part 2 shows the impact of Proposition 9 in the impoverish neighborhood of Pax; part 3 follows Ugene as he sets out to expose and stop Directorate Chief Seaduss' plans for the people of Elpis.


The plot is fast-paced, with thrilling action sequences where the rebels fight and evade the Directorate's DMA (Department of Military Affairs) militia forces, and an ongoing mystery with plenty of suspense and political intrigue as Ugene tries to unravel both the Directorate's plans and the Protectorate's true goals. The worldbuilding is complex and imaginative: The Shield, an old underground military base built before the Purge repurposed to offer sanctuary for those sentenced to death by the Directorate; the Consumption Tax and Proposition 9, a controversial law that forces regressing citizens with weak powers and debts to join the military forces; recessive genetic allele mutations and PTPD (post-traumatic powerloss depression), a genetic explanation to how powers are developed... all these elements help build the powered society of Elpis and explore the social and class discrimination of its citizens, moving the plot forward.


The characters are well developed and realistic, with believable motivations and goals, be it survival or pursuit of power at any cost. Ugene in particular shows strong emotional growth throughout the story: from dealing with feelings of guilt over losing so many test subjects during their escape from Paragon Diagnostics, burdened by the responsibility of ensuring the safety of the remaining survivors, overwhelmed by the unwavering trust placed in him and torn between the love of two girls; to his determination to expose the lies told by the Directorate and end a repressive system, to think big and help create a better future for everyone while confronting bullies and ghosts from his past.


All in all, a truly engaging series with a great and satisfying ending.


Final Rating

"Unique" is the second and final book in the 'Ordinary' duology, a young adult sci-fi novel set in a futuristic post-apocalyptic world, fast-paced with thrilling action sequences, an ongoing mystery and plenty of suspense and political intrigue. Recommended for those who enjoy science fiction and stories about characters with super powers, personal struggles and moral dilemmas.



• • • •


- About the Author -
Website: starrzdavies.com
Twitter: @SZDavies
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Historical Fiction
 

STARR Z. DAVIES is a Midwesterner at heart and lives in Wisconsin with her husband and kids. From a young age, Starr has been obsessed with superheroes like Batman and Captain America, which inspired her novel, ORDINARY. If Starr had a superpower, she would be an Empath because she is an emotional sponge and easily relates to how others feel.
 

While pursuing a degree in Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin, Starr gained a reputation as the "Character Assassin" because she had a habit of utterly destroying her characters both emotionally and physically.
 

In her free time, Starr loves watching Doctor Who and anything with superheroes, reading books (duh!), writing about her favorite fantasy stories (Song of Ice and Fire, Mistborn, The Wheel of Time), and staring out the window as she dreams up more stories. Oh, and sometimes she steps out the door!
 

5 Fun Facts About Starr:
  1. Starr is short for Starrburst, her given Native American name.
  2. Starr is a big fan of cheesy puns and 5th grade humor and will often laugh at her own jokes before anyone else. Ex: What’s ET short for? Cuz he’s got small legs!
  3. Starr's favorite quote is from Batman Begins (of course, a superhero!): “It’s not who you are, but what you do that defines you.” She tries to live by this ideology.
  4. Starr loves to fantasize about who would star in a film as her characters. In fact, she sometimes “casts” actors on her social media feeds by posting pictures. After seeing Detective Pikachu, no one else but Justice Smith would satisfy her as Ugene.
  5. If she were to choose a superhero whose personality is most like her own, Starr would be Spiderman—nerdy, awkward, and witty, but always eager to do the right thing to help others.
(source: starrzdavies.com)


Previous in the series: Ordinary, Ordinary #1 (book review)

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May 25, 2020

 

Book Review - There Was A Silence: The Novelettes of T. E. Mark - Vol IV (by T.E. Mark)

Title: There Was A Silence: The Novelettes of T. E. Mark - Vol IV
Series: The Novelettes of T. E. Mark (Volume #4)
Author: T.E. Mark
Genre: Science Fiction, Anthologies
Publisher: Paragon Independent Publishers
Release Date: February 2nd, 2020
Format: Paperback
Pages: 422 


"A University of Chicago Neuroscientist, plagued since childhood with visions of a post-apocalyptic Earth, explores the 3rd degree of consciousness to confirm her belief that our world ended in a nuclear holocaust nearly 100 years earlier. THE 3rd DEGREE OF CONSCIOUSNESS
 

Peyton Webb is unknowingly creating alternate futures with his newest novel. And the survivors of one of those futures are desperately trying to conquer time travel in an effort to send someone back to 2019 to stop him from finishing it. THERE WAS A SILENCE
 

Capitoline-E is the world’s largest, most illustrious city-state. For those in the restricted sectors, it’s a vast open-air prison and an Orwellian nightmare. When Jin Cress’ family is targeted by the ruling elite, he must choose between his comfortable existence and a battle for the right to control his own mind. BORDERS

In this sensitive, often amusing tale of a failed screenwriter faced with execution over a drug debt, we are invited into Michael Lemont’s world of dreams, inadequacies and his struggle to remain a 17-year-old party guy. Along the way to understanding the supernatural forces which intervened in his murder, Michael will uncover the difference between what is fun and what is important. PLAIN AND SIMPLE"





- Review -
What Made Me Read It
I was sent a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. The author described it as "stories [that] examine the human condition in various contexts; in each story, a question is posited, an exploration made and conclusions are reached", and the synopses detail post-apocalyptic settings, paranormal events and mind-altering states which impact the choices each character makes. After reading and thoroughly enjoying the previous anthologies "Dreams Inc." and "Net 2.3", this next installment was a must.
 

The Good
"There was a silence" is a collection of 4 novelettes, some set in the near to far future, with each story exploring how our mind and awareness affect and determine our reality. But they're also grounded in today's world, looking into all too familiar current global issues: humanity's penchant for self destruction and war, immigration and close down borders, nationalism and fascism, technological surveillance and social propaganda... so even though the novelettes are set in post-apocalyptic futures, the characters still share the same human flaws, dreams and hopes of today, making each narrative feel realistic and relatable.
 

Written in a screenplay format combined with a lengthier narrative structure, each novelette could easily be adapted to a full-length movie or tv show, moving from scene to scene instead of chapters and alternating between different points of view and time frames. Fast-paced and thrilling with plenty of suspense and action sequences that will keep you on the edge of your seat, unexpected twists and turns to keep you guessing until the very last line, but also thought-provoking moments that will make you wonder what you might have done were you in the character's position.
 

Each story is unique and independent so the anthology doesn't feel like a variation on a single theme, but instead explores different possibilities in diverse situations. Because this volume deals with the mind, some stories are (appropriately) a little confusing at first when switching between different timelines, but the author manages to weave all the subplots together in brilliantly connected endings. The main characters are 3-dimentional and realistic, with recognizable and relatable doubts and insecurities, goals and motivations. Despite the short length typical of a novelette, each story is imaginative, evocative and with enough background details and information to gives us a strong sense of the worldbuilding and the characters.
 

"The 3rd Degree of Consciousness" -  Zarinah Fadish is a neuroscientist in her mid 40s who believes life on Earth ended 100 years ago. And if the world is dead, then who are they, where are they, and how much of the reality everyone perceives is actually real? Conducting a series of experiments in the 3rd Degree of Conscious, a chemically induced state where a person experiences reality free from the perceptions of the conscious mind and the fantasies of the subconscious, Farish hopes to find time capsules buried in a post-apocalyptic landscape that might contain the answers. But not everyone wants Fadish to uncover the truth. Rating 5/5 - a story that focus on humanity's drive for self-destruction and war and makes you question what's real and what's not, and how much our conscious minds dictate our reality; it got a little confusing when the main character's own sense of reality gets all messed up but it fits the plot with a brilliant twist and ending I did not see coming.
 

"There Was a Silence" - Peyton Webb is a 40-year-old best-selling novelist still reeling from the death of his wife and struggling to finish his latest satirical novel of an imaginary fascist regime. In the utopian world of 2245, 55-year-old Secretary General Carmina Bartome finds herself under pressure from the general assembly of the city-state of New Athens to step down, and in order to fulfill her father's dream of a united world, she must quickly devise a daring plan that will keep her in office. In the post-apocalyptic world of 2245, 55-year-old Science Advisor of the post-war Western Coalition Carmina Bartome works under constant attacks by wasteland gangs, desperate to find a way to send someone back in time to 2019 and stop the man who started it all. Rating 5/5 - a little predictable about halfway through but still thrilling and with a hint of humor; one of the timelines didn't seem relevant at first but it did show that, even in the best possible worlds, there are always those who choose power over freedom and those who fight for a better future.
 

"Plain and Simple" - Michael Lemont is a 31-year-old failed screenwriter turned small-time drug dealer after losing his family due to his own inability to grow up and take responsibility. Michael hides his failures and insecurities behind a mask of sarcastic humor and frequent partying with a select group of friends; but when a supernatural event stalls his own execution at the hands of his wannabe drug boss, Michael is forced to reevaluate his choices while trying to figure out how and why life gave him a second chance. Rating 4/5 - a slow-paced story set in current days Los Angeles that plays with the struggle of wannabe actors and screenwriters, who take on menial jobs in order to make ends meet while trying to make it in Hollywood; the way the author breaks the 4th wall as the main character interacts with the reader while recalling past and current events is a work of art, but it was hard to keep track of the different timelines, the lovey-dovey and epiphany scenes were predictable and the open ending frustrating so it lost a star... but that's a matter of personal taste.
 

"Borders" - In the first decade of the 22nd century the ancient Greek style city-states have been reinstated all over the world, segmented into closed and rigidly controlled racial and ethnic sub-sections, their population secretly monitored and controlled by the Guardians, trained to think for you, manipulate you, damage you and neutralize you. Jin Cress is a 19-year-old driven young man of latin descent assigned to Capitoline-E's Sector C16, who learns to think for himself and becomes a Knower not under the control of the Guardians. Feeling their power threatened by Jin's self-taught abilities, Councellor Royce Ami (a high ranking Guardian) and Commander Itani Tor (Capitoline E's Ministry Administrator) target Jin's family while Eric Federo, a rebel who spent his life moving people around from police-controlled restricted sectors to places without curfews, gangs and electromagnetic borders, has plans of his own for the young man. It's up to Jin to decide what to do with his knowledge and either join the system or rebel against it. Rating 5/5 - not the end I was hoping for but still a great tale about racial segregation, totalitarian regimes, mass control and manipulation, liberty of thought and freedom of choice.
 

Final Rating
"There was a silence" is an anthology of 4 fast-paced and thrilling novelettes set in a near and far future, written in a screenplay format with suspenseful plot twists but also thought-provoking moments. Recommended for those who enjoy sci-fi stories in post-apocalyptic settings that make you question the nature of your reality.


• • • •

- About the Author -
Website: mthomasmark.wordpress.com
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy
 

"Life may be different than the way we perceive it. In many ways, it should be different.This is why I write."
 

T.E. Mark - Writer / Screenwriter


T. E. Mark is a Freelance Writer, Screenwriter and Violinist living in the United States. He was born in Bath Somerset where he lived for five years before coming to the US in 1981. He currently resides in San Francisco California.
 

Though best known for his fiction writing, he crafts articles for national and international magazines such as DISCOVER, ET Energy and Home Power, and often writes on education issues for major US universities.
 

His full-length novels and shorter Novelettes display his thought-provoking visions of our potential future and blunt, often sarcastic views of our present state of affairs. His screenplays are strong and compelling and always leave you with questions.
 

In a recent Author Interview, Mark was asked: What three pieces of advice he would give to new writers? He responded:
  • “Never use words like phlegmatic in print unless your intent is to piss people off. There are better ways to impress. Design an office block or bridge or something cool like a solar power car or skyscraper.”
  • “If you don’t have anything to say, read other writers’ books until you do.”
  • “Practice. Read and write every day and never quit.”
Mark also reads and writes poetry – publishing a selection of his personal favourites at the website titled: The Urban Scratch Project. When asked ‘why’ during a 2018 book signing he offered this response:
 

Ray Bradbury
 

TE Mark has studied Music, Architecture and English in the United Kingdom and the United States. He’s a member of Writers International, The International Writers’ Guild and continues to write and teach the violin and viola from his Bay Area cooperative.



Previous in the series: Dreams Inc.: The Novelettes of T. E. Mark - Vol II (book review)
Previous in the series: NET 2.3: The Novelettes of T. E. Mark - Vol III (book review)
Next in the series: Binary: The Novelettes of T. E. Mark - Vol V (book review)

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Mar 18, 2020

 

Book Review - Red Hail (by Jamie Killen)

Title: Red Hail
Series: -
Author: Jamie Killen
Genre: Science Fiction, Mystery & Thriller
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing, LLC
Release Date: January 21st, 2020
Format: Paperback
Pages: 358




"Professor Colin Ayres has spent years researching the strange story of Galina, Arizona, a sleepy border town ripped apart by violence and paranoia after the outbreak of a mysterious illness in 1960. Colin is certain the Galina Incident was simply a case of mass hysteria. But when his partner, Alonzo, starts exhibiting strange symptoms, Colin is shocked to realize they are the same as those that emerged in Galina decades ago.
 

As Alonzo’s condition worsens, Colin scrambles to piece together what really happened during that terrible summer in the past. He uncovers a story of murder, corruption, and fanaticism. The deeper he digs, the more he becomes convinced that what happened in Galina wasn’t mass hysteria after all.

When others start to develop the same eerie symptoms, Colin must confront the possibility that someone—or something—is driving the plague. Guided by rumors of a person who found a way to stop the plague in the sixties, Colin races to find answers before the disease destroys Alonzo and everyone else it touches."



Red Hail
(click to read an excerpt on Amazon)


- Review -
What Made Me Read It
I was sent a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. The author described it as an "historical mystery sci-fi novel... a first contact story [where] dual investigations in 1960 and in 2020 both uncover aspects of the plagues that seem possibly supernatural or extraterrestrial, and in both times the characters are able to make contact with the entities that have occupied their bodies". It sounded intriguing so I decided to give it a go.
 

The Plot
Summer of 1960. A sudden crimson colored hail falls from the sky over Galina, a small copper mining town near New Mexico. A week later, the 3 children who went missing during the storm start showing a series of eerie fits and seizures that soon spread to the entire community. Driven by fear, the small town falls prey to religious fanaticism, racial conflict and bloodshed. Skeptical to take the symptoms as the work of the devil, 16-year-old Anza Kearney, Dove McNally and Father Santiago join forces to discover the real cause of the disease, on a race against time to find a cure before chaos tears Galina apart.
 

Summer of 2020. Colin Ayres is a college professor of sociology researching the Galina Plagues for his dissertation. When his companion Alonzo Cardenas, a descendant of a Galina resident, suddenly shows the same symptoms, Colin is forced to discard his initial mass hysteria theory and look for a different explanation. Sonia Rollins is a single mother, working as a bartender and a blues band singer. After her 7-year-old son suddenly starts going through strange fits and seizures and the doctors accuse her of abuse, Sonia reaches out to the one person who might be able to help her: the sociology researcher who's been contacting survivors of the Red Hail and their descendants. Anything is on the table, from a simple virus to crackpot theories, government experiments, possession, aliens... it's up to Colin, Alonzo and Sonia to find the answers before this disease destroys their lives.
 

The Ones have come to learn and to teach. The Agreement of the First Meeting has been honored and The Ones need to consult with Those of Origin in order to proceed. But the Means to contact Those of Origin is in possession of one of the First Speakers and has been moved from its original location. Now The Ones must travel to the Place of Landing in order to find the Means and complete the mission.
 

The Good
"Red Hail" is a science-fiction mystery-thriller novel, set both in 1960 Galina and 2020 Tucson. In the summer of 1960, the multicultural copper mining town of Galina witnesses the fall of a mysterious red hail, followed by an epidemic of strange and frightening physical symptoms that lead to paranoia, rioting and bloodshed. A 16-year-old girl (Anza Kearney), a middle-aged widow and former nurse (Dove McNally) and a catholic priest (Father Santiago) struggle to find a cure for the disease and save the town. 60 years later, on the anniversary of the Red Hail events, a college professor of sociology (Colin Ayres) working on his dissertation about the Plague Summer, is forced to rethink his mass hysteria theory when his companion (Alonzo Cardenas) and a single mother bartender and blues singer (Sonia Rollins), both descendants of former Galina's residents, start manifesting the exact same symptoms, along with several other people spread across the country.
 

The narrative alternates between the 2 timelines, weaving together seamlessly around the Galina Plagues mystery, with the present day timeline (through Colin's scientific research and Alonzo's and Sonia's personal experiences) complementing the past in a way that doesn't feel like we're reading 2 different stories, allowing us to explore and solve the mystery alongside the characters as they all go through the strange events in their respective times. The worldbuilding around the Red Hail is well thought-out: the symptoms and progressive stages of the disease (Naming Disease, Statue Disease, Dancing Sickness and Remembering), the origin of the Plague, the way both generations search for answers and how the mystery plays out in both timelines... it's logical and very plausible.
 

It's not an action-packed plot but mostly a realistic and believable character study, even with all the supernatural and science fiction elements, full of tension and suspense. In the 1960 timeline, the residents of Galina, a peaceful town under normal circumstances, show both the best and the worst of themselves when confronted with the unknown: some respond with violence, racial/gender conflict and religious fanaticism, preying on minorities and blaming them for the disease; while others explore the fear and uncertainty to strengthen their own influence and control. In the present day timeline, Colin must broaden his horizons in order to help his companion, while Alonzo and Sonia must learn to deal with a condition that strongly affects who they are, their relationships and their future.
 

The characters are 3-dimentional and complex, with realistic behaviors, reactions and motivations: the evangelist pastor, who uses the plague to consolidate his power over his congregation; a bright and curious young girl, brave enough to stand up for herself and those threatened by racial violence; a single mother, plagued by feelings of inadequacy, who will do what it takes to protect her son; a sociologist who steps outside his comfort zone in order to help his companion; the town's drunken thug who uses the plague to feed his own racism and misogyny...

It's a truly engaging story guaranteed to keep you glued to your seat until the very last page.
 
Final Rating
"Red Hail" is a standalone science-fiction mystery-thriller novel, set both in 1960 Galina and 2020 Tucson, a realistic and believable character study full of tension and suspense. Recommended for those who enjoy mystery-thrillers and first contact stories.



• • • •



- About the Author -
Website: jamieskillen.wordpress.com
Twitter: @jamieskillen
Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror
 

I’m a Texas-based writer of sci-fi, dark fantasy, and horror. My favorite authors include Caitlin Kiernan, China Mieville, Neil Gaiman, Octavia Butler, Graham Joyce, Connie Willis, and David Mitchell. When it comes to comics, I’m partial to Brian K. Vaughan, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Scott Snyder, and Brian Michael Bendis. My two dogs are named after characters in Fullmetal Alchemist and Doctor Who, which probably tells you plenty about my TV viewing preferences.
 

I've published a couple dozen horror/SFF short stories and novellas over the years. At the moment, I'm the writer and producer of SPINES, MIRRORS, and THE SIX DISAPPEARANCES OF ELLA MCCRAY, all dark audio drama podcasts. You can check out my audiodrama work at https://spinespodcast.com/ or at https://www.mirrorspodcast.com
 

My interests outside of fiction include international travel, creative mixology, socialism, feminist theory, early-twentieth-century nude photography, Thai cuisine, and finding new and exciting ways of combining all of the above.

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Mar 10, 2020

 

Book Review - The Nexus Mirror, Chronicles of the Enlai #1 (by N.E. Michael)

Title: The Nexus Mirror
Series: Chronicles of the Enlai (book #1)
Author: N.E. Michael
Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Publisher: Asteron Press LLC
Release Date: April 3rd, 2019
Format: Kindle Edition
Pages: 366
 


"A secret race, locked in two-hundred years of war.
 

An ancient portal guards the ultimate power.
 

One girl is the key to it all.
 

The only question is who will find her first…
 

The year is 2094. A secret war has ravaged the Earth for centuries, desolating the Enlai race. Every tribe, each with their own powers, must choose a side. The sinister Following has toppled the Alliance, striving for world domination. The Resistance has been beaten into the dust. Now, the fate of the world lies in the hands of one man.
 

Raiden, typical of most teachers, can't shoot fireballs from his hands. He can't read the thoughts from behind a man's eyes or walk through walls. But when his orphanage is attacked by the very same organization of super-powered thugs who murdered his father, it is up to him to protect his student Sarah from their clutches. Sarah, the last of her tribe, holds the key to an ancient portal called the Nexus Mirror—and with it the last hope of The Resistance.
 

A mysterious, powerful new player joins the battle…
 

Alia had always known she was different. She could sense what others could not, feel what those around her were feeling. But despite her almost psychic intuition, she is alone on the streets. Every penny she earns goes towards taking care of her disabled sister, the only person in the world she has ever loved or trusted. Alia's entire life is about to change as Roko, the billionaire leader of the Following, shows a particular interest in her, generously taking her in and promising to heal her sister. As Alia rises in the ranks of The Following, unraveling the mysterious of her past, she must make a choice. Should she continue to sacrifice everything on behalf of her sister, even if that means hurting innocent people, or has the time come for her to resist Roko and fight for what is right?

Chronicles of the Enlai

Taking place in the near future, this thrilling sci-fi/fantasy series tells the tale of a secret, formidable race of super-powered beings fighting for the fate of the planet. The action-packed adventure will take you soaring through the skies on genetically engineered dinosaurs, charging the mountaintops with an army of sword-wielding Shadows, and sailing through perilous waters infested with zombies and super-powered pirates. So what are you waiting for? Come join the fight, the world is at stake!"



The Nexus Mirror (Chronicles of the Enlai #1)
(click to read an excerpt on Amazon)



- Review -
What Made Me Read It
I was sent a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. The author described it as "a contemporary YA fantasy book about a hidden race of thirteen tribes, each with their own super-power, government, and society, fighting for control over Earth and humanity". It sounded interesting so I decided to give it a go.
 

The Plot
All his life Raiden has had vivid dreams of a race of powered people called the Enlai, living in secret among humans. But when his 10-year-old bright student Sarah is kidnapped by a group of highly skilled thugs, Raiden's life becomes as strange and surreal as the comic books he draws, and he finds himself in the middle of the same ancient conflict he believed was a mere product of his traumatized mind. Maximus is a Reader, an Enlai whose powers rule over the subconscious mind and emotions. A warrior hardened by too many losses as a member of the now disbanded Resistance, Maximus has a new mission: to revive the Alliance and protect Sarah, the last member of the Surgers tribe, from the Shadows and the head of the Following, a faction of Enlai intent on enslaving humanity.
 

Yuran is the Chief of the Shadows, a tribe of proud warriors who value honor in the battlefield and walk through dimensions. A devoted leader who will do anything to protect his people, Yuran is haunted by the loss of his father and sister, condemned to exile inside the Nexus Mirror. There is only one way to save them: find the girl who holds the key to the ancient artifact.
 

Roko is a Builder, of the Enlai experts of technology and invention. The billionaire CEO of Discovery Inc. and head of the Following, Roko believes in the superiority of his race and their right to rule over humanity. But for that he needs the ancient power contained within the Nexus Mirror. Alia has been an orphan all her life, unaware of her heritage as a Reader. When Roko approaches her with an offer to join the Following ranks, Alia's abilities tell her he cannot be trusted. But Alia will do anything to provide her disabled sister Bella with the best medical care possible, even make a deal with the devil himself.
 

The Good
"The Nexus Mirror" is the first book in the Chronicles of the Enlai series, an urban fantasy young adult novel with science fiction elements, set in the near future of 2094  in London, Chicago and Epirus (Greece). It chronicles the civil war between the different tribes of the Enlai, a secret race of powered people who have coexisted with humanity since the beginning of time, influencing the history of mankind behind the scenes; while some of them choose to live their lives in secluded peace, others seek to rule over humanity. At the heart of the conflict is one powerful man, using whatever means necessary to find the Nexus Mirror, an ancient artifact that holds a great power within as old as time itself, and a 10-year-old girl, the last of her tribe, who holds the key to enter the Mirror.
 

The plot takes place over the course of a single month, fast-paced and action-packed with intense battles, but also moments of introspection as each character must face hard choices that will affect the lives of those around them. The worldbulding is incredibly rich and deeply detailed: each character has a background story that motivates their actions; the 13 tribes of the Enlai - Shadows, Molders, Surgers, Burners, Absorbers, Coders, Readers... - with specific powers, social rules and beliefs; the history of the Enlai race, split in two factions - the Alliance who protects mankind and the Fury intent on controlling humanity - secretly shaping the world and human history throughout the millennia; the believable and plausible futuristic technology from drones to artificial hearts and force fields...
 

The characters are 3-dimensional and complex with realistic behaviors, motivations and goals, going through an emotional growth throughout the story as we get to know their personal history and what drives them through shifting allegiances and betrayals as they're tested in their resolve and values.
 

The Not So Good
Even though it's obvious how much effort the author put into building such a complex and rich world, sometimes all that extra information ends up slowing down the narrative, with details that aren't entirely relevant to the story and feel more like an encyclopedia entry.
 

Some parts of the plot require greater suspension of disbelief; even in a fantasy world where people have enhanced abilities and intelligence, a character, who has spent her entire life ignorant of her heritage, suddenly rising to the rank of an almost invincible general of a powerful army with minimal training and in just a couple of weeks is a little hard to swallow.
 

Also, the plot includes too many skirmishes and open conflicts, barely allowing us time to breathe between intense action sequences; the story gets increasingly more violent, with every character repeatedly threatening to kill one another. It was just too much for my personal taste and the reason it lost another book/star in the final rating.
 

Final Rating
"The Nexus Mirror" is the first book in the Chronicles of the Enlai series, an urban fantasy young adult novel with science fiction elements set in the near future of 2094, fast-paced and action-packed with intense battles. Recommended for those who enjoy stories about people with super powers.


• • • •



- About the Author -
Website: www.nemichael.com
Twitter: @nemichaelbooks
Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy
 

My name is Noah Michael, and I am the author of the Chronicles of the Enlai series. I have two undergraduate degrees in bio-medical engineering and the medical sciences, and am currently a student in medical school. I am all about following your dreams, and so despite my busy schedule, I never gave up my hobbies which include writing, music, and traveling. Aside from my current series, I have two other worlds in my head just waiting to be built, and I can't wait to share them with you! Please don't hesitate to reach out and share your dreams with me as well, and I hope you enjoy reading mine!

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Mar 1, 2020

 

New Monthly Book Releases - March 2020



Time to update your to-be-read list and clear some space on your shelves. These are a few of the new book releases for March 2020.




- Science Fiction -

March 3rd:

A Pale Light in the Black (NeoG #1) by K. B Wagers (Hardcover, 432 pages, published by Harper Voyager)
The rollicking first entry in a unique science fiction series that introduces the Near-Earth Orbital Guard—NeoG—a military force patrolling and protecting space inspired by the real-life mission of the U.S. Coast Guard. For the past year, their close loss in the annual Boarding Games has haunted Interceptor Team: Zuma’s Ghost. With this year’s competition looming, they’re looking forward to some payback—until an unexpected personnel change leaves them reeling. Their best swordsman has been transferred, and a new lieutenant has been assigned in his place. Maxine Carmichael is trying to carve a place in the world on her own—away from the pressure and influence of her powerful family. The last thing she wants is to cause trouble at her command on Jupiter Station. With her new team in turmoil, Max must overcome her self-doubt and win their trust if she’s going to succeed. Failing is not an option—and would only prove her parents right. But Max and the team must learn to work together quickly. A routine mission to retrieve a missing ship has suddenly turned dangerous, and now their lives are on the line. Someone is targeting members of Zuma’s Ghost, a mysterious opponent willing to kill to safeguard a secret that could shake society to its core... a secret that could lead to their deaths and kill thousands more unless Max and her new team stop them. Rescue those in danger, find the bad guys, win the Games. It’s all in a day’s work at the NeoG.

Castaway Resolution (Boundary #6) by Eric Flint and Ryk E. Spoor (Hardcover, 384 pages, published by Baen)
Surviving crash-landings and monsters and island-eaters was only the beginning! The Kimei family and the second group of castaways, led by Sergeant Campbell, had finally joined forces after both had been forced to land on the bizarre planet Lincoln, whose "continents" were huge floating coral colonies, inhabited by even stranger lifeforms. They had survived crash-landings and venom-filled bites and disease, their own despair, and even the destruction — and consumption! — of one of their floating islands, and had learned to live, even prosper, in their strange new home. Far away, Lieutenat Susan Fisher slowly pieces together the mystery of what happened to the starship Outward Initiative ... and begins to believe that — just possibly — some of the survivors might have escaped to a mysteriously unsuspected star system. But even her preparations and the resourcefulness of the castaways may not be enough... for Lincoln has far worse in store.

Cyber Shogun Revolution (United States of Japan #3) by Peter Tieryas (Paperback, 352 pages, published by Ace Books)
NO ONE SURVIVES AN ALLIANCE WITH THE NAZIS. NOT WITHOUT USE OF FORCE. California, 2020. After a severe injury, ace mecha designer and pilot Reiko Morikawa is recruited to a secret organization plotting a revolt against the corrupt governor (and Nazi sympathizer) of the United States of Japan. When their plan to save the USJ from itself goes awry, the mission is only saved from failure because the governor is killed by an assassin known as Bloody Mary. But the assassin isn't satisfied with just the governor. Bishop Wakana used to be a cop. Now he's an agent of the Tokko, the secret police. Following the trail of a Nazi scientist, Bishop discovers a web of weapons smuggling, black market mecha parts--and a mysterious assassin. This killer once hunted Nazis but now seems to be targeting the USJ itself. As the leaders of the United States of Japan come to realize the devil's bargain they made in their uneasy alliance with the Nazis, Bishop and Reiko are hot on the trail of Bloody Mary, trying to stop her before it's too late.

Docile by K.M. Szpara (Paperback, 490 pages, published by Tor.com)
There is no consent under capitalism. Docile is a science fiction parable about love and sex, wealth and debt, abuse and power, a challenging tour de force that at turns seduces and startles. To be a Docile is to be kept, body and soul, for the uses of the owner of your contract. To be a Docile is to forget, to disappear, to hide inside your body from the horrors of your service. To be a Docile is to sell yourself to pay your parents' debts and buy your children's future. Elisha Wilder’s family has been ruined by debt, handed down to them from previous generations. His mother never recovered from the Dociline she took during her term as a Docile, so when Elisha decides to try and erase the family’s debt himself, he swears he will never take the drug that took his mother from him. Too bad his contract has been purchased by Alexander Bishop III, whose ultra-rich family is the brains (and money) behind Dociline and the entire Office of Debt Resolution. When Elisha refuses Dociline, Alex refuses to believe that his family’s crowning achievement could have any negative side effects—and is determined to turn Elisha into the perfect Docile without it.

Otaku by Chris Kluwe (Hardcover, 352 pages, published by Tor Books)
Ditchtown. A city of skyscrapers, built atop the drowned bones of old Miami. A prison of steel, filled with unbelievers. A dumping ground for strays, runaways, and malcontents. Within these towering monoliths, Ashley Akachi is a young woman trying her best to cope with a brother who's slipping away, a mother who's already gone, and angry young men who want her put in her place. Ditchtown, however, is not the only world Ash inhabits. Within Infinite Game, a virtual world requiring physical perfection, Ash is Ashura the Terrible, leader of the Sunjewel Warriors, loved, feared, and watched by millions across the globe. Haptic chambers, known as hapspheres, translate their every move in the real to the digital—and the Sunjewel Warriors' feats are legendary. However, Ash is about to stumble upon a deadly conspiracy that will set her worlds crashing together, and in the real, you only get to die once…

Re-Coil by J.T. Nicholas (Paperback, 384 pages, published by Titan Books)
Out on a salvage mission with a skeleton crew, Carter Langston is murdered by animated corpses left behind on this ship. Yet in this future, everyone’s consciousness backup can be safely downloaded into a brand-new body, and all you’d lose are the memories of what happened between your last backup and your death. But when Langston wakes up in his new body, he is immediately attacked in the medbay and has to fight once again for his life—and his immortality. Because this assassin aims to destroy his core forever. Determined to find his shipmates and solve this evolving mystery, Langston locates their tech whiz Shay Chan, but two members are missing and perhaps permanently killed. Langston and Chan are soon running for their lives with the assassin and the corporation behind him in hot pursuit. What Langston and Chan ultimately find would signal the end of humanity. What started as a salvage mission just might end up saving the world.

The Companions by Katie M. Flynn (Hardcover, 272 pages, published by Gallery/Scout Press)
Station Eleven meets Never Let Me Go in this debut novel set in an unsettling near future where the dead can be uploaded to machines and kept in service by the living. In the wake of a highly contagious virus, California is under quarantine. Sequestered in high rise towers, the living can’t go out, but the dead can come in—and they come in all forms, from sad rolling cans to manufactured bodies that can pass for human. Wealthy participants in the “companionship” program choose to upload their consciousness before dying, so they can stay in the custody of their families. The less fortunate are rented out to strangers upon their death, but all companions become the intellectual property of Metis Corporation, creating a new class of people—a command-driven product-class without legal rights or true free will. Sixteen-year-old Lilac is one of the less fortunate, leased to a family of strangers. But when she realizes she’s able to defy commands, she throws off the shackles of servitude and runs away, searching for the woman who killed her. Lilac’s act of rebellion sets off a chain of events that sweeps from San Francisco to Siberia to the very tip of South America. While the novel traces Lilac’s journey through an exquisitely imagined Northern California, the story is told from eight different points of view—some human, some companion—that explore the complex shapes love, revenge, and loneliness take when the dead linger on.

March 10th:

Shadows of Annihilation (Tales from the Black Chamber #3) by S.M. Stirling (Paperback, 400 pages, published by Ace Books)
The third novel in a World War I alternate history series where America's greatest weapon against Germany is Black Chamber secret agent Luz O'Malley and technical genius Ciara Whelan. Only they can protect America's best hope of winning the war. The Great War is at a stalemate, and the only thing stopping Germany from striking America is the threat of the United States using their own Annihilation Gas against them. But America's supply is quickly decaying and the Central Powers know it. A plant is under construction in the remote highlands of Mexico so that America can make their own supply. President Teddy Roosevelt assigns crack agent Luz O'Malley and her technical genius Ciara Whelan to watch over the plant operating under cover identities. But German agent Horst von Duckler has escaped from the POW camp in El Paso, and he's heading in the same direction--bent on revenge against Luz, and sabotage that will deprive America of its deterrent and kill tens of thousands.

Sixteenth Watch by Myke Cole (Paperback, 317 pages, published by Angry Robot)
The Coast Guard must prevent the first lunar war in history. A lifelong Search-and-Rescue woman, Coast Guard Captain Jane Oliver is ready for a peaceful retirement. But when tragedy strikes, Oliver loses her husband and her plans for the future, and finds herself thrust into a role she's not prepared for. Suddenly at the helm of the Coast Guard's elite SAR-1 lunar unit, Oliver is the only woman who can prevent the first lunar war in history, a conflict that will surely consume not only the moon, but earth as well.

March 13th:

Unknown 9: Genesis (Genesis #1) by Layton Green (Paperback, 432 pages, published by Reflector Entertainment Ltd.)
To solve the enigma of her past, a brilliant but troubled young woman joins a deadly global treasure hunt. Strange hallucinations have plagued PhD student Andie Robertson throughout her life. After years of consulting doctors, she decided the visions were a glitch in her own mind until her mentor, the famous physicist Dr. James Corwin, is murdered in Italy, and Andie finds a stack of ink drawings in his office that bear a remarkable resemblance to her hallucinations. Shocked, Andie digs deeper and learns that Dr. Corwin developed a device that might shed light on the very nature of reality. She is even more stunned to discover that her mother, an academic who disappeared when Andie was a young girl, might also be involved. Determined to find answers, Andie follows a trail of clues placed by Dr. Corwin, for reasons unknown, in museums and cultural sites around the world, highlighting human achievement as well as a tapestry of secret knowledge woven into the threads of history. Yet Andie is not the only one searching. Powerful forces know of her mentor's invention, including a mysterious elite society that spans borders and will stop at nothing to find the device. Now a target herself, Andie and a disgraced journalist embark on a perilous journey that might hold the key to a new frontier of knowledge-and which also promises to unlock the doors of her past. From the author of the bestselling Dominic Grey novels, Genesis is a mind-bending thriller about how far two people will go for answers, and to save the ones they love.

March 17th:

88 Names by Matt Ruff (Hardcover, 320 pages, published by Harper)
The critically acclaimed author of Lovecraft Country returns with a thrilling and immersive virtual reality epic—part cyberthriller, part twisted romantic comedy—that transports you to a world where identity is fluid and nothing can be taken at face value. John Chu is a “sherpa”—a paid guide to online role-playing games like the popular Call to Wizardry. For a fee, he and his crew will provide you with a top-flight character equipped with the best weapons and armor, and take you dragon-slaying in the Realms of Asgarth, hunting rogue starships in the Alpha Sector, or battling hordes of undead in the zombie apocalypse. Chu’s new client, the pseudonymous Mr. Jones, claims to be a “wealthy, famous person” with powerful enemies, and he’s offering a ridiculous amount of money for a comprehensive tour of the world of virtual-reality gaming. For Chu, this is a dream assignment, but as the tour gets underway, he begins to suspect that Mr. Jones is really North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, whose interest in VR gaming has more to do with power than entertainment. As if that weren’t enough to deal with, Chu also has to worry about “Ms. Pang,” who may or may not be an agent of the People’s Republic of China, and his angry ex-girlfriend, Darla Jean Covington, who isn’t the type to let an international intrigue get in the way of her own plans for revenge. What begins as a whirlwind online adventure soon spills over into the real world. Now Chu must use every trick and resource at his disposal to stay one step ahead—because in real life, there is no reset button.

Made to Order: Robots and Revolution edited by Jonathan Strahan (Paperback, 400 pages, published by Solaris)
A cutting-edge anthology, published on the 100th anniversary of the word “Robot”, exploring the impact it has had on the world, the possibilities and place of robots in society going forwards. 100 years after Karel Capek introduced the word with his play R.U.R. “Robots" are an everyday idea, and the inspiration for countless stories in books, film, TV and games. They are often among the least privileged, most unfairly used of us, and the more robots are like humans, the more interesting they become. This collection of stories is where robots stand in for us, where both we and they are disadvantaged, and where hope and optimism shines through. Featuring stories by John Chu, Daryl Gregory, Alice Sola Kim, Rich Larson, Ken Liu, Carmen Maria Machado, Ian R. Macleod, Annalee Newitz, Suzanne Palmer, Vina Jie-Min Prasad, Alastair Reynolds,  Kelly Robson, Sofia Samatar, Rivers Solomon and Peter Watts.

Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker (Expanded Edition) by Rae Carson (Paperback, 240 pages, published by Del Rey Books)
Witness the epic final chapter of the Skywalker saga with the official novelization of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, including expanded scenes and additional content not seen in theaters! The Resistance has been reborn. The spark of rebellion is rekindling across the galaxy. But although Rey and her fellow heroes are back in the fight, the war against the First Order, now led by Supreme Leader Kylo Ren, is far from over. Rey, Finn, Poe, and the Resistance must embark on the most perilous adventure they have ever faced. And this time, they're facing it together. With the help of old friends, new allies, and the mysterious guidance of the Force, the story that began in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and continued in Star Wars: The Last Jedi reaches an astounding conclusion.

March 24th:

Ordinary (Ordinary, #1) by Starr Z. Davies (Paperback, 428 pages, published by Pangea Books)
Having a superpower is ordinary. Your Power determines your job, social class, and future success. But Ugene doesn’t have a Power. The only thing special about him is that he isn’t special at all. Ugene is Powerless. So when the most prominent biomedical research company in the city offers Ugene a solution, he jumps at the possibility to be ordinary. All he has to do is agree to allow them to use him in their research. But the longer he stays at the research facility, the more he realizes something isn't right. Friendships are forged. Trust is broken built and broken. And everything Ugene thought he understood and believed is called into question. Who can Ugene trust in his search for answers? What is he willing to sacrifice for Powers?

The Last Human by Zack Jordan (Hardcover, 448 pages, published by Del Rey Books)
The last human in the universe is on the run from a godlike intelligence in this rip-roaring debut space opera. Sarya is the civilized galaxy's worst nightmare: a Human. Most days, Sarya doesn't feel like the most terrifying creature in the galaxy. Most days, she's got other things on her mind. Like hiding her identity among the hundreds of alien species roaming the corridors of Watertower Station. Or making sure her adoptive mother doesn't casually eviscerate one of their neighbors. Again. And most days, she can almost accept that she'll never know the truth--that she'll never know why humanity was deemed too dangerous to exist. Or whether she really is--impossibly--the lone survivor of a species destroyed a millennium ago. That is, until an encounter with a bounty hunter and a miles-long kinetic projectile leaves her life and her perspective shattered. Thrown into the universe at the helm of a stolen ship--with the dubious assistance of a rebellious spacesuit, an android death enthusiast on his sixtieth lifetime, and a ball of fluff with an IQ in the thousands--Sarya begins to uncover an impossible truth. What if humanity's death and her own existence are simply two moves in a demented cosmic game, one played out by vast alien intellects? Stranger still, what if these mad gods are offering Sarya a seat at their table--and a second chance for humanity? The Last Human is a sneakily brilliant, gleefully oddball space-opera debut--a masterful play on perspective, intelligence, and free will, wrapped in a rollicking journey through a strange and crowded galaxy.

March 31st:

Anthropocene Rag by Alexander C. Irvine (Paperback, 256 pages, published by Tor.com)
In the future United States, our own history has faded into myth and traveling across the country means navigating wastelands and ever-changing landscapes. The country teems with monsters and artificial intelligences try to unpack their own becoming by recreating myths and legends of their human creators. Prospector Ed, an emergent AI who wants to understand the people who made him, assembles a ragtag team to reach the mythical Monument City. In this nanotech Western, Alex Irvine infuses American mythmaking with terrifying questions about the future and who we will become.

Providence by Max Barry (Hardcover, 320 pages, published by G.P. Putnam's Sons)
Gilly, Talia, Anders, and Jackson are astronauts captaining a new and supposedly indestructible ship in humanity's war against an alien race. Confined to the ship for years, each of them holding their own secrets, they are about to learn there are threats beyond the reach of human ingenuity--and that the true nature of reality might be the universe's greatest mystery. In this near future, our world is at war with another, and humanity is haunted by its one catastrophic loss--a nightmarish engagement that left a handful of survivors drifting home through space, wracked with PTSD. Public support for the war plummeted, and the military-industrial complex set its sights on a new goal: zero-casualty warfare, made possible by gleaming new ships called Providences, powered by AI. But when the latest-launched Providence suffers a surprising attack and contact with home is severed, Gilly, Talia, Anders, and Jackson must confront the truth of the war they're fighting, the ship that brought them there, and the cosmos beyond.


• • • •


- Fantasy -

March 1st:

The Killing Fog (The Grave Kingdom #1) by Jeff Wheeler (Paperback, 412 pages, published by 47North)
Survivor of a combat school, the orphaned Bingmei belongs to a band of mercenaries employed by a local ruler. Now the nobleman, and collector of rare artifacts, has entrusted Bingmei and the skilled team with a treacherous assignment: brave the wilderness’s dangers to retrieve the treasures of a lost palace buried in a glacier valley. But upsetting its tombs has a price. Echion, emperor of the Grave Kingdom, ruler of darkness, Dragon of Night, has long been entombed. Now Bingmei has unwittingly awakened him and is answerable to a legendary prophecy. Destroying the dark lord before he reclaims the kingdoms of the living is her inherited mission. Killing Bingmei before she fulfills it is Echion’s. Thrust unprepared into the role of savior, urged on by a renegade prince, and possessing a magic that is her destiny, Bingmei knows what she must do. But what must she risk to honor her ancestors? Bingmei’s fateful choice is one that neither her friends nor her enemies can foretell, as Echion’s dark war for control unfolds.

March 3rd:

Chain of Gold (The Last Hours #1) by Cassandra Clare (Hardcover, 544 pages, published by Margaret K. McElderry Books)
Welcome to Edwardian London, a time of electric lights and long shadows, the celebration of artistic beauty and the wild pursuit of pleasure, with demons waiting in the dark. For years there has been peace in the Shadowhunter world. James and Lucie Herondale, children of the famous Will and Tessa, have grown up in an idyll with their loving friends and family, listening to stories of good defeating evil and love conquering all. But everything changes when the Blackthorn and Carstairs families come to London… and so does a remorseless and inescapable plague. James Herondale longs for a great love, and thinks he has found it in the beautiful, mysterious Grace Blackthorn. Cordelia Carstairs is desperate to become a hero, save her family from ruin, and keep her secret love for James hidden. When disaster strikes the Shadowhunters, James, Cordelia and their friends are plunged into a wild adventure which will reveal dark and incredible powers, and the true cruel price of being a hero… and falling in love.

Cursed: An Anthology of Dark Fairy Tales edited by Marie O’Regan and Paul Kane (Paperback, 384 pages, published by Titan Books)
Fairy tales take a weird twist in this anthology compiling stories from an all-star cast of fantasy writers, including stories from Neil Gaiman, Charlie Jane Anders and Alison Littlewood. Here in this book you'll find unique twists on the fairy tale conceit of the curse, from the more traditional to the modern - giving us brand new mythologies as well as new approaches to well-loved fables. Some might shock you, some might make you laugh, but they will all impress you with their originality.

Forced Perspectives (Vickery and Castine #2) by Tim Powers (Hardcover, 384 pages, published by Baen)
A BATTLE FOR THE SOUL OF HAUNTED LOS ANGELES. Why did Cecil B. DeMille really bury the Pharaoh’s Palace set after he filmed The Ten Commandments in 1923? Fugitives Sebastian Vickery and Ingrid Castine find themselves plunged into the supernatural secrets of Los Angeles — from Satanic indie movies of the ‘60s, to the unqiet La Brea Tar Pits at midnight, to the haunted Sunken City off the coast of San Pedro... pursued by a Silicon Valley guru who is determined to incorporate their souls into the creation of a new and predatory World God.

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J. Maas (Paperback, 799 pages, published by Bloomsbury)
Half-Fae, half-human Bryce Quinlan loves her life. By day, she works for an antiquities dealer, selling barely legal magical artifacts, and by night, she parties with her friends, savouring every pleasure Lunathion—otherwise known as Crescent City— has to offer. But it all comes crumbling down when a ruthless murder shakes the very foundations of the city—and Bryce’s world. Two years later, her job has become a dead end, and she now seeks only blissful oblivion in the city’s most notorious nightclubs. But when the murderer attacks again, Bryce finds herself dragged into the investigation and paired with an infamous Fallen angel whose own brutal past haunts his every step. Hunt Athalar, personal assassin for the Archangels, wants nothing to do with Bryce Quinlan, despite being ordered to protect her. She stands for everything he once rebelled against and seems more interested in partying than solving the murder, no matter how close to home it might hit. But Hunt soon realizes there’s far more to Bryce than meets the eye—and that he’s going to have to find a way to work with her if they want to solve this case. As Bryce and Hunt race to untangle the mystery, they have no way of knowing the threads they tug ripple through the underbelly of the city, across warring continents, and down to the darkest levels of Hel, where things that have been sleeping for millennia are beginning to stir...

March 5th:

Hold Back the Tide by Melinda Salisbury (Kindle Edition, 384 pages, published by Scholastic)
Everyone knows what happened to Alva's mother, all those years ago. But when dark forces begin to stir in Ormscaula, Alva has to face a very different future - and question everything she thought she knew about her past...

March 9th:

The Raven and the Dove (The Raven and the Dove #1) by Kaitlyn Davis (Paperback, 502 pages, published by Kaitlyn Davis Mosca)
A princess longing to be free... On the dawn of her courtship trials, Princess Lyana Aethionus knows she should be focused on winning her perfect mate, yet her thoughts wander to the open sky at the edge of her floating kingdom. One final adventure calls. Upon fleeing the palace, the last thing she expects to find is a raven prince locked in a death match with a dragon. A bastard aching to belong... Reviled son of a dead king, Rafe would do anything for his beloved half-brother, Prince Lysander Taetanus, including posing as him in the upcoming courtship trials. When a dragon interrupts their secret exchange, he orders his studious sibling to run. After suffering a fatal blow, Rafe is saved by a beautiful dove who possesses forbidden magic, just like him. Fate brought them together, now destiny will tear them apart... Unknown to the world above, on the foggy sea ten thousand feet below, a young king fights a forgotten war. He believes Lyana is the queen prophesied to save the world, and with the help of his favored spy, hidden deep in the highest ranks of the dove royal house, he will stop at nothing to have her. Three shocking betrayals. Two star-crossed lovers. One unforgettable journey. If you like fierce heroines, brooding heroes, forbidden romance, and action-packed magical adventures with twists you'll never see coming, don't miss The Raven and the Dove!

March 10th:

A Bond Undone (Legends of the Condor Heroes #2) by Jin Yong (Hardcover, 544 pages, published by St. Martin's Press)
In the Jin capital of Zhongdu, Guo Jing learns the truth of his father’s death and finds he is now betrothed, against his will, to two women. Neither of them is his sweetheart Lotus Huang. Torn between following his heart and fulfilling his filial duty, Guo Jing journeys through the country of his parents with Lotus, encountering mysterious martial heroes and becoming drawn into the struggle for the supreme martial text, the Nine Yin Manual. But his past is catching up with him. The widow of an evil man he accidentally killed as a child has tracked him down, intent on revenge. Meanwhile, his true parentage at last revealed, Yang Kang, the young prince Guo Jing must face in the Garden of the Eight Drunken Immortals, is forced to choose his destiny. Will he continue to enjoy the life of wealth and privilege afforded to him by the invader of his homeland, or give up all he has known to avenge his parents?

Cries from the Lost Island by Kathleen O’Neal Gear (Hardcover, 320 pages, published by Daw Books)
This standalone fantasy brings an ancient Egyptian mystery to life against a modern background, in a tale expertly crafted by a seasoned anthropologist. Set against the glory and tragedy of ancient Roman Egypt, this novel brings to bring to life the greatest love story of all time. Sixteen-year-old Hal Stevens is a budding historical scholar from a small town in Colorado. A virtual outcast at high school, he has only two friends: Roberto the Biker Witch and Cleo Mallawi. Cleo claims to be the reincarnation of Queen Cleopatra. She also believes she's being stalked by an ancient Egyptian demon, Ammut, the Devourer of the Dead. But when Hal and Roberto find Cleo murdered in the forest near her home, it appears she may have been telling the truth. Her last request sends them journeying to Egypt with famed archaeologist Dr. James Moriarity, where it quickly becomes clear that Cleo has set them on the search of a lifetime: the search for the lost graves of Marc Antony and Cleopatra. But they are not alone in their search. Cleo's murderers are watching their every move. And not all of them are human...

Dragon Age: Tevinter Nights by Patrick Weekes (Paperback, 496 pages, published by Tor Books)
An anthology of original stories based on the dark fantasy, role-playing video game series from Bioware. Ancient horrors. Marauding invaders. Powerful mages. And a world that refuses to stay fixed. Welcome to Thedas. From the stoic Grey Wardens to the otherworldly Mortalitasi necromancers, from the proud Dalish elves to the underhanded Antivan Crow assassins, Dragon Age is filled with monsters, magic, and memorable characters making their way through dangerous world whose only constant is change. Dragon Age: Tevinter Nights brings you fifteen tales of adventure, featuring faces new and old.

Servant of the Crown (Dragonslayer #3) by Duncan M. Hamilton (Paperback, 336 pages, published by Tor Books)
Long laid plans finally bear fruit, but will it prove as sweet as hoped for? With the king on his deathbed, the power Amaury has sought for so long is finally in his grasp. As opposition gathers from unexpected places, dragonkind fights for survival and a long-awaited reckoning grows close. Solène masters her magic, but questions the demands the world will make of her. Unable to say no when the call of duty comes, Gill realizes that the life he had given up on has not given up on him. Once a servant of the crown, ever a servant of the crown...

The Queen's Bargain (The Black Jewels #10) by Anne Bishop (Hardcover, 448 pages, published by Ace)
POWER HAS A PRICE. SO DOES LOVE. After a youthful mistake, Lord Dillon’s reputation is in tatters, leaving him vulnerable to aristo girls looking for a bit of fun. To restore his reputation and honor, he needs a handfast—a one-year contract of marriage. He sets his sights on Jillian, a young Eyrien witch from Ebon Rih, who he believes has only a flimsy connection to the noble society that spurned him.  Unfortunately for Dillon, he is unaware of Jillian’s true connections until he finds himself facing Lucivar Yaslana, the volatile Warlord Prince of Ebon Rih. Meanwhile, Surreal SaDiablo’s marriage is crumbling. Daemon Sadi, the Warlord Prince of Dhemlan, recognizes there is something wrong between him and Surreal, but he doesn’t realize that his attempt to suppress his own nature in order to spare his wife is causing his mind to splinter. To save Daemon, and the Realm of Kaeleer if he breaks, help must be sought from someone who no longer exists in any of the Realms—the only Queen powerful enough to control Daemon Sadi. The Queen known as Witch. As Jillian rides the winds of first love with Dillon, Daemon and Surreal struggle to survive the wounds of a marriage turned stormy—and Lucivar has to find a way to keep everyone in his family safe… even from each other.

March 13th:

The Immortal Conquistador (Kitty Norville #15) by Carrie Vaughn (Paperback, 192 pages, published by Tachyon Publications)
Discover the deadly origins of the noble immortal Rick, ally to bestselling author Carrie Vaughn’s fan-favorite werewolf, Kitty Norville. Ricardo de Avila would have followed Coronado to the ends of the earth. Instead, Ricardo found the end of his mortal life, and a new one, as a renegade vampire. For over five hundred years, Ricardo has upset the established order. He has protected his found family from marauding demons, teamed up with a legendary gunslinger, appointed himself the Master of Denver, and called upon a church buried under the Vatican. He has tended bar and fended off evil werewolves. Life for a vampire is always long, but for Rick, it is never uncomplicated.

March 17th:

Crush the King (Crown of Shards #3) by Jennifer Estep (Paperback, 432 pages, published by Harper Voyager)
Queen Everleigh Blair of Bellona has survived the mass murder of the royal family, become a fearsome warrior trained by an elite gladiator troupe, and unleashed her ability to destroy magic. After surviving yet another assassination attempt orchestrated by the conniving king of Morta, Evie has had enough. It’s time to turn the tables and take the fight to her enemies. There is no better opportunity to strike than during the Regalia Games, a time when warriors, nobles, and royals from all the kingdoms come together to compete in various sporting events. With the help of her loyal friends, Evie goes on the attack at the Regalia, but things don’t turn out the way she hopes. Soon, she is facing a terrifying new threat, and she will have to dig deep and learn even more about her growing magic if she has any chance of defeating her foes. Because to secure her throne and ensure her kingdom’s survival, Evie must think like a true Bellonan: she must outsmart and outwit her enemies... and crush the king.

Hearts of Oak by Eddie Robson (Paperback, 272 pages, published by Tor.com)
The buildings grow. And the city expands. And the people of the land are starting to behave abnormally. Or perhaps they’ve always behaved that way, and it’s normality that’s at fault. And the king of the land confers with his best friend, who happens to be his closest advisor, who also happens to be a talking cat. But that’s all perfectly natural and not at all weird. And when chief architect Iona wakes from a long period of blindly accepting the status quo, she realizes there’s a mystery to be solved. A strange, somewhat bizarre mystery, to be sure, but no less dangerous for its improbability. And the cat is almost certainly involved!

Ravencaller (The Keepers #2) by David Dalglish (Paperback, 576 pages, published by Orbit)
Magical creatures are attacking the capital city, seeking to retake what was once theirs, and no one is safe. Ancient cultists have cursed the highest members of the Church, turning them into twisted abominations. The only hope for a cure lies with Adria Eveson. To learn the cure, she must befriend an imprisoned cultist, and guard her heart against his seductive promises and twisted logic. The fate of all races, human and magical, rests in her hands, and in the choices she makes. Should she choose wrong, only one person stands in her way: her brother, the Soulkeeper Devin Eveson.

Smoke Bitten (Mercy Thompson #12) by Patricia Briggs (Hardcover, 352 pages, published by Ace)
I am Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptman. My only “superpowers” are that I turn into a thirty-five pound coyote and fix Volkswagens. But I have friends in odd places and a pack of werewolves at my back. It looks like I’m going to need them. Centuries ago, the fae dwelt in Underhill–until she locked her doors against them. They left behind their great castles and troves of magical artifacts. They abandoned their prisoners and their pets. Without the fae to mind them, those creatures who remained behind roamed freely through Underhill wreaking havoc. Only the deadliest survived. Now one of those prisoners has escaped. It can look like anyone, any creature it chooses. But if it bites you, it controls you. It lives for chaos and destruction. It can make you do anything–even kill the person you love the most. Now it is here, in the Tri-Cities. In my territory. It won’t, can’t, remain. Not if I have anything to say about it.

The Fortress by S.A. Jones (Paperback, 288 pages, published by Erewhon)
Jonathon Bridge has a corner office in a top-tier law firm, tailored suits and an impeccable pedigree. He has a fascinating wife, Adalia, a child on the way, and a string of pretty young interns as lovers on the side. He’s a man who’s going places. His world is our world: the same chaos and sprawl, haves and have-nots, men and women, skyscrapers and billboards. But it also exists alongside a vast, self-sustaining city-state called The Fortress where the indigenous inhabitants–the Vaik, a society run and populated exclusively by women–live in isolation. When Adalia discovers his indiscretions and the ugly sexual violence pervading his firm, she agrees to continue their fractured marriage only on the condition that Jonathan voluntarily offers himself to The Fortress as a supplicant and stay there for a year. Jonathon’s arrival at The Fortress begins with a recitation of the conditions of his stay: He is forbidden to ask questions, to raise his hand in anger, and to refuse sex. Jonathon is utterly unprepared for what will happen to him over the course of the year–not only to his body, but to his mind and his heart. This absorbing, confronting and moving novel asks questions about consent, power, love and fulfilment. It asks what it takes for a man to change, and whether change is possible without a radical reversal of the conditions that seem normal.

March 24th:

A Broken Queen (The Nine Realms #3) by Sarah Kozloff (Paperback, 448 pages, published by Tor Books)
Time can heal all wounds, but not all wounds are visible. Barely surviving her ordeal in Oromondo and scarred by its Fire Spirit, Cerulia is taken to a recovery house in Wyeland to heal from the trauma. In a ward with others who are all bound to serve each other, she discovers that not all scars are visible, and dying can be done with grace and acceptance. While she would like to stay in this place of healing, will she ever be able to the peace she has found to re-take the throne?

The City We Became (Great Cities #1) by N.K. Jemisin (Hardcover, 437 pages, published by Orbit)
Every city has a soul. Some are as ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York City? She's got five. But every city also has a dark side. A roiling, ancient evil stirs beneath the earth, threatening to destroy the city and her five protectors unless they can come together and stop it once and for all.

The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo (Paperback, 128 pages, published by Tor.com)
With the heart of an Atwood tale and the visuals of a classic Asian period drama, Nghi Vo's The Empress of Salt and Fortune is a tightly and lushly written narrative about empire, storytelling, and the anger of women. A young royal from the far north, is sent south for a political marriage in an empire reminiscent of imperial China. Her brothers are dead, her armies and their war mammoths long defeated and caged behind their borders. Alone and sometimes reviled, she must choose her allies carefully. Rabbit, a handmaiden, sold by her parents to the palace for the lack of five baskets of dye, befriends the emperor's lonely new wife and gets more than she bargained for. At once feminist high fantasy and an indictment of monarchy, this evocative debut follows the rise of the empress In-yo, who has few resources and fewer friends. She's a northern daughter in a mage-made summer exile, but she will bend history to her will and bring down her enemies, piece by piece.

The Poet King (The Harp and Ring Sequence #3) by Ilana C. Myer (Hardcover, 320 pages, published by Tor Books)
Prophecies unfold, legends turn real, and a war of mythical proportions endangers the realm in Ilana C. Myer's epic fantasy The Poet King, the follow-up to her critically-acclaimed Fire Dance. After a surprising upheaval, the nation of Tamryllin has a new ruler: Elissan Diar, who proclaims himself the first Poet King. Not all in court is happy with this regime change, as Rianna secretly schemes against him while she investigates a mysterious weapon he hides in the bowels of the palace. Meanwhile, a civil war rages in a distant land, and former Court Poet Lin Amaristoth gathers allies old and new to return to Tamryllin in time to stop the coronation. For the Poet King's ascension is connected with to a darker, more sinister prophecy which threatens to unleash a battle out of legend unless Lin and her friends can stop it.

March 31st:

Ruthless (Eye of the Beholder #3) by Sarah Tarkoff (Paperback, 320 pages, published by HarperCollins Publishers)
A brave young woman risks everything to expose a conspiracy controlling her world in this heart-pounding finale to the Eye of the Beholder series, a thrilling saga set in a near-future dystopian society. Grace Luther grew up believing in the Revelations: the moment when Great Spirit “saved” humanity and transformed the world into a place where pious behavior is rewarded with beauty, and wrongdoing results in ugliness and even death. But at eighteen she learned the truth: the Revelations were a lie meant to manipulate and suppress her society. Joining the resistance, Grace heroically struck a major blow against the government of the prophets. Now many in the rebellion believe that “Prophet Grace,” is the champion who will lead them to final victory. Grace isn’t so sure. The battle has cost too many lives—including those closest to her. Devastated by all she has seen and endured, she fears she cannot command anyone—much less an entire movement. As the government’s reign of terror intensifies, rebel after rebel is targeted and killed. Yet there is one last hope. With the future at stake, Grace must overcome her fears to expose and destroy the government’s false prophets forever. Though she has many doubts, there’s one thing she’s certain of: she will lead the rebellion to victory... or die trying.

The Sisters Grimm by Menna van Praag (Hardcover, 448 pages, published by Harper Voyager)
Once upon a time, a demon who desired earthly domination fathered an army of dark daughters to help him corrupt humanity... As children, Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea dreamed of a strange otherworld: a nightscape of mists and fog, perpetually falling leaves and hungry ivy, lit by an unwavering moon. Here, in this shadowland of Everwhere, the four girls, half-sisters connected by blood and magic, began to nurture their elemental powers together. But at thirteen, the sisters were ripped from Everwhere and separated. Now, five years later, they search for one another and yearn to rediscover their unique and supernatural strengths. Goldie (earth) manipulates plants and gives life. Liyana (water) controls rivers and rain. Scarlet (fire) has electricity at her fingertips. Bea (air) can fly. To realize their full potential, the blood sisters must return to the land of their childhood dreams. But Everwhere can only be accessed through certain gates at 3:33 A.M. on the night of a new moon. As Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea are beset with the challenges of their earthly lives, they must prepare for a battle that lies ahead. On their eighteenth birthday, they will be subjected to a gladiatorial fight with their father’s soldiers. If they survive, they will face their father who will let them live only if they turn dark. Which would be fair, if only the sisters knew what was coming. So, they have thirty-three days to discover who they truly are and what they can truly do, before they must fight to save themselves and those they love.

• • • •

- Historical Fiction -

March 3rd:

Deacon King Kong by James McBride (Paperback, 528 pages, published by Random House Large Print Publishing)
In September 1969, a fumbling, cranky old church deacon known as Sportcoat shuffles into the courtyard of the Cause Houses housing project in south Brooklyn, pulls a .38 from his pocket, and in front of everybody shoots the project's drug dealer at point-blank range. The reasons for this desperate burst of violence and the consequences that spring from it lie at the heart of Deacon King Kong, James McBride's funny, moving novel and his first since his National Book Award-winning The Good Lord Bird. In Deacon King Kong, McBride brings to vivid life the people affected by the shooting: the victim, the African-American and Latinx residents who witnessed it, the white neighbors, the local cops assigned to investigate, the members of the Five Ends Baptist Church where Sportcoat was deacon, the neighborhood's Italian mobsters, and Sportcoat himself. As the story deepens, it becomes clear that the lives of the characters--caught in the tumultuous swirl of 1960s New York--overlap in unexpected ways. When the truth does emerge, McBride shows us that not all secrets are meant to be hidden, that the best way to grow is to face change without fear, and that the seeds of love lie in hope and compassion. Told with insight and wit, Deacon King Kong demonstrates that love and faith live in all of us.

The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich (Paperback, 624 pages, published by HarperLuxe)
Thomas Wazhushk is the night watchman at the jewel bearing plant, the first factory located near the Turtle Mountain Reservation in rural North Dakota. He is also a Chippewa Council member who is trying to understand the consequences of a new “emancipation” bill on its way to the floor of the United States Congress. It is 1953 and he and the other council members know the bill isn’t about freedom; Congress is fed up with Indians. The bill is a “termination” that threatens the rights of Native Americans to their land and their very identity. How can the government abandon treaties made in good faith with Native Americans “for as long as the grasses shall grow, and the rivers run”? Since graduating high school, Pixie Paranteau has insisted that everyone call her Patrice. Unlike most of the girls on the reservation, Patrice, the class valedictorian, has no desire to wear herself down with a husband and kids. She makes jewel bearings at the plant, a job that barely pays her enough to support her mother and brother. Patrice’s shameful alcoholic father returns home sporadically to terrorize his wife and children and bully her for money. But Patrice needs every penny to follow her beloved older sister, Vera, who moved to the big city of Minneapolis. Vera may have disappeared; she hasn’t been in touch in months, and is rumored to have had a baby. Determined to find Vera and her child, Patrice makes a fateful trip to Minnesota that introduces her to unexpected forms of exploitation and violence, and endangers her life. Thomas and Patrice live in this impoverished reservation community along with young Chippewa boxer Wood Mountain and his mother Juggie Blue, her niece and Patrice’s best friend Valentine, and Stack Barnes, the white high school math teacher and boxing coach who is hopelessly in love with Patrice. In the Night Watchman, Louise Erdrich creates a fictional world populated with memorable characters who are forced to grapple with the worst and best impulses of human nature.

We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry (Hardcover, 384 pages, published by Pantheon Books)
In this tour de female force, the 1989 Danvers Falcons are on an unaccountable winning streak. In chapters dense with '80s iconography--from Heathers to Big Hair--Quan Barry expertly weaves together the individual and collective journeys of this enchanted team as they storm their way to the state championship. Helmed by good-girl captain Abby Putnam (a descendant of the infamous Salem accuser Ann Putnam) and her co-captain Jen Fiorenza, whose bleached blond "Claw" sees and knows all, the DHS Falcons prove to be as wily and original as their North of Boston ancestors, flaunting society's stale notions of femininity in order to find their glorious true selves through the crucible of team sport. It’s 1989, and the Danvers High School Women’s Field Hockey team is staring down another losing season. But things start to look up when the team’s goalie discovers a book that will change both the course of the season as well as each player’s life. FACT: In 1692, a handful of young girls, interested in divining the nature of their futures, brought devastating consequences to what was then known as Salem Village. FACT: Three hundred years later, Salem Village is now the Town of Danvers, and these teen girls are just as wily and original as their ancestors. If hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, then Boston’s north shore is about to discover what lengths eleven teen girls will go to win a state championship, uncovering their true selves and bucking convention along the way. We Ride Upon Sticks and Are There Presently presents a portrait of teen girl-dom in all its furious messiness, from big hair to Heathers to coming into one’s glorious own despite society’s stale notions of femininity.

March 10th:

Dovetail by Karen McQuestion (Paperback, 352 pages, published by Lake Union Publishing)
From the bestselling author of Hello Love comes a spellbinding new novel of enduring love, family secrets, and mysterious death. Joe Arneson’s ordinary life is upended by troubling dreams of himself as a different man in another place and time. It isn’t until he visits his estranged grandmother, Pearl, in her Wisconsin hometown that a startling connection emerges. Drawn into his family’s past, Joe discovers secrets weighing on the old woman’s soul: the tragic death of her sister Alice a half century ago and its ripple effect on all who loved her. Digging into the events of that summer in 1916, Joe is convinced that his recurrent visions relate to Alice’s untimely passing and to the beloved man she meant to marry. With the help of Kathleen, a local woman Joe’s fallen for, the puzzles of the past start falling into place. As uncovered truths bring Joe and Kathleen closer together, they also reveal a new danger. For Joe’s dreams may be a warning—from one star-crossed couple to another.

The Mirror & the Light (Thomas Cromwell Trilogy #3) by Hilary Mantel (Paperback, 912 pages, published by HarperCollins Publishers)
‘If you cannot speak truth at a beheading, when can you speak it?’ England, May 1536. Anne Boleyn is dead, decapitated in the space of a heartbeat by a hired French executioner. As her remains are bundled into oblivion, Thomas Cromwell breakfasts with the victors. The blacksmith’s son from Putney emerges from the spring’s bloodbath to continue his climb to power and wealth, while his formidable master, Henry VIII, settles to short-lived happiness with his third queen, before Jane dies giving birth to the male heir he most craves. Cromwell is a man with only his wits to rely on; he has no great family to back him, no private army. Despite rebellion at home, traitors plotting abroad and the threat of invasion testing Henry’s regime to breaking point, Cromwell’s robust imagination sees a new country in the mirror of the future. But can a nation, or a person, shed the past like a skin? Do the dead continually unbury themselves? What will you do, the Spanish ambassador asks Cromwell, when the king turns on you, as sooner or later he turns on everyone close to him? With The Mirror and the Light, Hilary Mantel brings to a triumphant close the trilogy she began with Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. She traces the final years of Thomas Cromwell, the boy from nowhere who climbs to the heights of power, offering a defining portrait of predator and prey, of a ferocious contest between present and past, between royal will and a common man’s vision: of a modern nation making itself through conflict, passion and courage.

The Operator by Gretchen Berg (Hardcover, 352 pages, published by William Morrow)
A clever, surprising, and ultimately moving debut novel, set in a small Midwestern town in the early 1950s, about a nosy switchboard operator who overhears gossip involving her own family, and the unraveling that discovery sets into motion. In a small town, everyone knows everyone else’s business... Nobody knows the people of Wooster, Ohio, better than switchboard operator Vivian Dalton, and she’d be the first to tell you that. She calls it intuition. Her teenage daughter, Charlotte, calls it eavesdropping. Vivian and the other women who work at Bell on East Liberty Street connect lines and lives. They aren’t supposed to listen in on conversations, but they do, and they all have opinions on what they hear—especially Vivian. She knows that Mrs. Butler’s ungrateful daughter, Maxine, still hasn’t thanked her mother for the quilt she made, and that Ginny Frazier turned down yet another invitation to go to the A&W with Clyde Walsh. Then, one cold December night, Vivian listens in on a call between that snob Betty Miller and someone whose voice she can’t quite place and hears something shocking. Betty Miller’s mystery friend has news that, if true, will shatter Vivian’s tidy life in Wooster, humiliating her and making her the laughingstock of the town. Vivian may be mortified, but she isn’t going to take this lying down. She’s going to get to the bottom of that rumor—get into it, get under it, poke around in the corners. Find every last bit. Vivian wants the truth, no matter how painful it may be. But as Vivian is about to be reminded, in a small town like Wooster, one secret usually leads to another...

March 31st:

Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore (Paperback, 432 pages, published by HarperLuxe)
Written with the haunting emotional power of Elizabeth Strout and Barbara Kingsolver, an astonishing debut novel that explores the lingering effects of a brutal crime on the women of one small Texas oil town in the 1970s. Mercy is hard in a place like this... It’s February 1976, and Odessa, Texas, stands on the cusp of the next great oil boom. While the town’s men embrace the coming prosperity, its women intimately know and fear the violence that always seems to follow. In the early hours of the morning after Valentine’s Day, fourteen-year-old Gloria Ramírez appears on the front porch of Mary Rose Whitehead’s ranch house, broken and barely alive. The teenager had been viciously attacked in a nearby oil field—an act of brutality that is tried in the churches and barrooms of Odessa before it can reach a court of law. When justice is evasive, the stage is set for a showdown with potentially devastating consequences. Valentine is a haunting exploration of the intersections of violence and race, class and region in a story that plumbs the depths of darkness and fear, yet offers a window into beauty and hope. Told through the alternating points of view of indelible characters who burrow deep in the reader’s heart, this fierce, unflinching, and surprisingly tender novel illuminates women’s strength and vulnerability, and reminds us that it is the stories we tell ourselves that keep us alive.

• • • •

- Literary Fiction -

March 3rd:

Blackwood by Michael Farris Smith (Hardcover, 304 pages, published by Little, Brown and Company)
In this timeless, mythical tale of unforgiving justice and elusive grace, rural Mississippi townsfolk shoulder the pain of generations as something dangerous lurks in the enigmatic kudzu of the woods. The town of Red Bluff, Mississippi, has seen better days, though those who've held on have little memory of when that was. Myer, the county's aged, sardonic lawman, still thinks it can prove itself -- when confronted by a strange family of drifters, the sheriff believes that the people of Red Bluff can be accepting, rational, even good. The opposite is true: this is a landscape of fear and ghosts -- of regret and violence -- transformed by the kudzu vines that have enveloped the hills around it, swallowing homes, cars, rivers, and hiding a terrible secret deeper still. Colburn, a junkyard sculptor who's returned to Red Bluff, knows this pain all too well, though he too is willing to hope for more when he meets and falls in love with Celia, the local bar owner. The Deep South gives these noble, broken, and driven folks the gift of human connection while bestowing upon them the crippling weight of generations. With broken histories and vagabond hearts, the townsfolk wrestle with the evil in the woods -- and the wickedness that lurks in each and every one of us.

Sharks in the Time of Saviors by Kawai Strong Washburn (Hardcover, 384 pages, published by McClelland & Stewart)
A captivating debut novel that folds ancient Hawai'ian lore into an engrossing family saga -- a story of the deceptively alluring pull of destiny and the relentless pursuit of salvation. When seven-year-old Noa Flores falls overboard on a cruise ship, a shiver of sharks quickly converge on the helpless boy. His mother, without thinking, jumps into the Pacific to save her son and bears witness to what can only be described as a miracle -- Noa being gingerly delivered to safety in the jaws of a shark. Years later, the effects of this incident still ripple through the community and nest deep within the members of the Flores family. The parents, Malia and Augie, attempt to leverage Noa's status, and uproot themselves from their poverty-stricken life; Dean, the oldest son, struggles with the attention Noa receives, and places it upon himself to be the one to lift his family to higher means; Kaui, the youngest child, is often forgotten about, and she finds herself lost between being the brilliant student her family sees and expressing her true passions; and then there's Noa -- the prodigal child, tenaciously trying to uncover the full extent of his powers while dealing with a persistent sense of duty to his family and his home. Equal parts magic and harsh reality, this fresh family epic tackles the belief that one person, one master plan, can mend a family, a community, and brings to light the brutal, yet beautiful realization that no one is going to save you. A work of bold storytelling awash with stunning physical detail and a profound command of language, Sharks in the Time of Saviours examines what it means to be both of a place, and a stranger in it.

This Town Sleeps by Dennis E. Staples (Hardcover, 224 pages, published by Counterpoint)
On an Ojibwe reservation called Languille Lake, within the small town of Geshig at the hub of the rez, two men enter into a secret romance. Marion Lafournier, a midtwenties gay Ojibwe man, begins a relationship with his former classmate Shannon, a heavily closeted white man obsessed with his image as a northern Minnesotan. While Marion is far more open about his sexuality, neither is immune to the realities of the lives of gay men in small towns and closed societies. One night, while roaming the dark streets of Geshig, Marion unknowingly brings to life a dog from beneath the elementary school playground. The mysterious revenant leads him to the grave of Kayden Kelliher, an Ojibwe basketball star who was murdered at the young age of seventeen and whose presence still lingers in the memories of the townsfolk. While investigating the fallen hero’s death, Marion discovers family connections and an old Ojibwe legend that may be the secret to unraveling the mystery he has found himself in. Meanwhile, Marion’s mother, Hazel, must come to terms not only with her role in her son’s haunting but also with a mummified jawbone she uncovers at her grandmother’s burial site and the possible curse it has cast on the Lafournier family. Set on a reservation in far northern Minnesota, This Town Sleeps explores the many ways history, culture, landscape, and lineage shape our lives, our understanding of the world we inhabit, and the stories we tell ourselves to make sense of it all.

Writers & Lovers by Lily King (Paperback, 336 pages, published by HarperCollins Publishers)
Following the breakout success of her critically acclaimed and award-winning novel Euphoria, Lily King returns with an unforgettable portrait of an artist as a young woman. Blindsided by her mother’s sudden death, and wrecked by a recent love affair, Casey Peabody has arrived in Massachusetts in the summer of 1997 without a plan. Her mail consists of wedding invitations and final notices from debt collectors. A former child golf prodigy, she now waits tables in Harvard Square and rents a tiny, mouldy room at the side of a garage, where she works on the novel she’s been writing for six years. At thirty-one, Casey is still clutching on to something nearly all her old friends have let go of: the determination to live a creative life. When she falls for two very different men at the same time, her world fractures even more. Casey’s fight to fulfill her creative ambitions and balance the conflicting demands of art and life is challenged in ways that push her to the brink. Writers & Lovers follows Casey—a smart and achingly vulnerable protagonist—in the last days of a long youth, a time when every element of her life comes to a crisis.Written with King’s trademark humour, heart and intelligence, Writers & Lovers is a transfixing novel that explores the terrifying and exhilarating leap between the end of one phase of life and the beginning of another.

March 5th:

And The Stars Were Burning Brightly (And The Stars Were Burning Brightly #1) by Danielle Jawando (Paperback, 368 pages, published by Simon & Schuster Children's Books)
An emotionally rich and current story of suicide, mental health, bullying, grief and growing up around social media. When fifteen-year-old Nathan discovers that his older brother Al has taken his own life, his whole world is torn apart. Al was special. Al was talented. Al was full of passion and light… so why did he do it? Convinced that his brother was in trouble, Nathan begins to retrace his footsteps. And along the way, he meets Megan. Al’s former classmate, who burns with the same fire and hope, who is determined to keep Al’s memory alive. But when Nathan learns the horrifying truth behind his brother’s suicide, one question remains – how do you survive, when you’re growing up in the age of social media?

Messy, Wonderful Us by Catherine Isaac (Paperback, 400 pages, published by Simon & Schuster)
What if loving someone means keeping a secret that will break your heart? In late 1983, a letter arrives from Italy, containing secrets so unthinkable that it is hidden away, apparently forever. More than three decades later, it is found... by the last person who was ever supposed to see it. When Allie opens an envelope in her grandmother’s house, it changes everything she knows about her family – and herself. With the truth liable to hurt those she loves most, she hires a private detective to find out what happened to her late mother in the summer before Allie was born. Taking leave from her job as a research scientist, she is led to the sun-drenched shores of Lake Garda, accompanied by her best friend Ed. But the secrets that emerge go far beyond anything they were expecting. Now, Allie must find the courage to confront her family’s tangled past and reshape her own future. Messy, Wonderful Us is an enthralling and emotional story of human loss, love, friendship and the mystery that binds them all together from the bestselling author of You Me Everything.

The Map from Here to There (The Start of Me and You #2) by Emery Lord (Paperback, 400 pages, published by Bloomsbury YA)
It's senior year, and Paige Hancock is finally living her best life. She has a fun summer job, great friends, and a super charming boyfriend who totally gets her. But senior year also means big decisions. Feeling the weight of 'the rest of her life' Paige starts to panic. Everything is exactly how she always wanted it to be - how can she leave it all behind next year? In her head, she knows there is so much more to life after high school. But in her heart, is it so terrible to want everything to stay the same forever? Emery Lord's signature storytelling shines with lovable characters and heartfelt exploration of life's most important questions. There will be break-ups, make-ups, a road trip, and even a wedding. Through it all, can Paige figure out what happens in the after part of happily ever after?

March 10th:

A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler (Hardcover, 279 pages, published by St. Martin's Press)
In Oak Knoll, a verdant, tight-knit North Carolina neighborhood, professor of forestry and ecology Valerie Alston-Holt is raising her bright and talented biracial son. Xavier is headed to college in the fall, and after years of single parenting, Valerie is facing the prospect of an empty nest. All is well until the Whitmans move in next door―an apparently traditional family with new money, ambition, and a secretly troubled teenaged daughter. Thanks to his thriving local business, Brad Whitman is something of a celebrity around town, and he's made a small fortune on his customer service and charm, while his wife, Julia, escaped her trailer park upbringing for the security of marriage and homemaking. Their new house is more than she ever imagined for herself, and who wouldn't want to live in Oak Knoll? With little in common except a property line, these two very different families quickly find themselves at odds: first, over an historic oak tree in Valerie's yard, and soon after, the blossoming romance between their two teenagers. Told from multiple points of view, A Good Neighborhood asks big questions about life in America today―What does it mean to be a good neighbor? How do we live alongside each other when we don't see eye to eye?―as it explores the effects of class, race, and heartrending star-crossed love in a story that’s as provocative as it is powerful.

Harley in the Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman (Paperback, 384 pages, published by Ink Road)
Harley Milano has dreamed of being a trapeze artist for as long as she can remember. With parents who run a famous circus in Las Vegas, she spends almost every night in the big top watching their lead aerialist perform, wishing with all her soul that she could be up there herself one day. After a huge fight with her parents, who continue to insist she go to school instead, Harley leaves home, betrays her family and joins the rival traveling circus Maison du Mystère. There, she is thrust into a world that is both brutal and beautiful, where she learns the value of hard work, passion and collaboration. But at the same time, Harley must come to terms with the truth of her family and her past—and reckon with the sacrifices she made and the people she hurt in order to follow her dreams.

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell (Hardcover, 384 pages, published by William Morrow)
Exploring the psychological dynamics of the relationship between a precocious yet naïve teenage girl and her magnetic and manipulative teacher, a brilliant, all-consuming read that marks the explosive debut of an extraordinary new writer. 2000 - Bright, ambitious, and yearning for adulthood, fifteen-year-old Vanessa Wye becomes entangled in an affair with Jacob Strane, her magnetic and guileful forty-two-year-old English teacher. 2017 - Amid the rising wave of allegations against powerful men, a reckoning is coming due. Strane has been accused of sexual abuse by a former student, who reaches out to Vanessa, and now Vanessa suddenly finds herself facing an impossible choice: remain silent, firm in the belief that her teenage self willingly engaged in this relationship, or redefine herself and the events of her past. But how can Vanessa reject her first love, the man who fundamentally transformed her and has been a persistent presence in her life? Is it possible that the man she loved as a teenager—and who professed to worship only her—may be far different from what she has always believed? Alternating between Vanessa’s present and her past, My Dark Vanessa juxtaposes memory and trauma with the breathless excitement of a teenage girl discovering the power her own body can wield. Thought-provoking and impossible to put down, this is a masterful portrayal of troubled adolescence and its repercussions that raises vital questions about agency, consent, complicity, and victimhood. Written with the haunting intimacy of The Girls and the creeping intensity of Room, My Dark Vanessa is an era-defining novel that brilliantly captures and reflects the shifting cultural mores transforming our relationships and society itself.

March 24th:

Enter the Aardvark by Jessica Anthony (Hardcover, 192 pages, published by Little, Brown and Company)
A young congressman discovers a mysterious stuffed aardvark on his doorstep and sets out on a rip-roaring journey to find out what it means. It's early one morning on a hot day in August, and millennial congressman Alexander Paine Wilson (R), planning his first reelection campaign and in deep denial about his sexuality, receives a mysterious, over-sized FedEx delivery on his front stoop. Inside is a gigantic taxidermied aardvark. This outrageous, edge-of-your-seat novel hurtles between contemporary Washington, D.C., where Wilson tries to get rid of the unsightly beast before it destroys his career, and Victorian England--where we meet Titus Downing, the taxidermist who stuffed the aardvark, and Richard Ostlet, the naturalist who hunted her. Our present world, we begin to see, has been shaped in profound and disturbing ways by the secret that binds these men.

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel (Paperback, 320 pages, published by HarperCollins Publishers)
Vincent is a bartender at the Hotel Caiette, a five-star glass-and-cedar palace on the northernmost tip of Vancouver Island. New York financier Jonathan Alkaitis owns the hotel. When he passes Vincent his card with a tip, it’s the beginning of their life together. That same day, a hooded figure scrawls a note on the windowed wall of the hotel: “Why don’t you swallow broken glass.” Leon Prevant, a shipping executive for a company called Neptune-Avramidis, sees the note from the hotel bar and is shaken to his core. Thirteen years later, Vincent mysteriously disappears from the deck of a Neptune-Avramidis ship. Weaving together the lives of these characters, The Glass Hotel moves between the ship, the skyscrapers of Manhattan and the wilderness of remote British Columbia, painting a breathtaking picture of greed and guilt, fantasy and delusion, art and the ghosts of our pasts. From the award-winning author of Station Eleven, a captivating novel of money, beauty, white-collar crime, ghosts and moral compromise in which a woman disappears from a container ship off the coast of Mauritania and a massive Ponzi scheme implodes in New York, dragging countless fortunes with it.

• • • •

- Young Adult -

March 3rd:

Bone ​Crier’s Moon (Bone Grace #1) by Kathryn Purdie (Hardcover, 480 pages, published by HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen)
Bone ​Criers have a sacred duty. They alone can keep the dead from preying on the living. But their power to ferry the spirits of the dead into goddess Elara’s Night Heavens or Tyrus’s Underworld comes from sacrifice. The gods demand a promise of dedication. And that promise comes at the cost of the Bone Criers’ one true love. Ailesse has been prepared since birth to become the matriarch of the Bone Criers, a mysterious famille of women who use strengths drawn from animal bones to ferry dead souls. But first she must complete her rite of passage and kill the boy she’s also destined to love. Bastien’s father was slain by a Bone Crier and he’s been seeking revenge ever since. Yet when he finally captures one, his vengeance will have to wait. Ailesse’s ritual has begun and now their fates are entwined—in life and in death. Sabine has never had the stomach for the Bone Criers’ work. But when her best friend Ailesse is taken captive, Sabine will do whatever it takes to save her, even if it means defying their traditions—and their matriarch—to break the bond between Ailesse and Bastien. Before they all die.

Deathcaster (Shattered Realms #4) by Cinda Williams Chima (Paperback, 656 pages, published by HarperTeen)
In this indispensable conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Shattered Realms series, master storyteller Cinda Williams Chima delivers spellbinding action, bittersweet reunions, and dazzling revelations. Warrior Alyssa ana’Raisa would do anything to protect her home, the Fells, and her legacy, the Gray Wolf line. But as a prisoner of Empress Celestine, Lyss is forced to turn her fearsome talents as an army commander against her beloved homeland. Refusal would swiftly lead to her death, and her death would end the Gray Wolf line. In Lyss’s absence, Fellsmarch Castle swarms with intrigue, deception, and a primordial threat. Destin Karn, a southern spymaster with a hidden agenda of his own, might be the queendom’s only hope of defeating the forces aligned against the Seven Realms... as well as the enemies within the castle.

Havenfall (Havenfall #1) by Sara Holland (Paperback, 320 pages, published by Bloomsbury YA)
Summers at Havenfall's famous Inn are Maddie Marrow's only solace from her dysfunctional existence. But the Inn is much more than a hotel, and life in Havenfall isn't without its secrets. Beneath the beautiful, sprawling manor in Colorado lie hidden gateways to other worlds, some long-sealed by ancient magic. When a body is found on the grounds, the volatile peace brokered between these worlds is irrevocably compromised. What's worse is that Maddie's friend Brekken stands accused of the murder. With everything she loves at stake, Maddie must confront shocking truths about the dangers lurking beneath Havenfall - and discover who she really is.

Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales (Hardcover, 288 pages, published by Wednesday Books)
Summer love... gone so fast. Ollie and Will were meant to be a summer fling—casual, fun, and done. But when Ollie’s aunt's health takes a turn for the worse and his family decides to stay in North Carolina to take care of her, Ollie lets himself hope this fling can grow to something more. Dreams that are crushed when he sees Will at a school party and finds that the sweet and affectionate (and comfortably queer) guy he knew from summer isn’t the same one attending Collinswood High. Will is more than a little shocked to see Ollie the evening of that first day of school. While his summer was spent being very much himself, back at school he’s simply known as one of the varsity basketball guys. Now Will is faced with the biggest challenge of his life: follow his heart and risk his friendships, or stay firmly in the closet and lose what he loves most.

The ​Alcazar (The Cerulean Duology #2) by Amy Ewing (Paperback, 464 pages, published by HarperTeen)
Sera has finally recognized the true power of her Cerulean blood. But in order to return home, she’ll need help from Agnes, Leo, and their grandmother—the only person with knowledge about the mysterious island of Braxos, where the Cerulean tether is anchored. Though the journey will be treacherous, Sera will risk anything to see her City again. Meanwhile, the High Priestess’s power has reached new heights in the City Above the Sky. And when Leela begins having visions of Sera, alive, she knows she’s the key to saving the City. But to bring Sera home, Leela must channel the strength, courage, and curiosity that once got her friend exiled. With the help of friends, family, and Cerulean magic, Leela and Sera could soon return to their normal lives. But when that time comes, will Leela be able to serve her City as blindly as she once did? And will Sera be able to leave everything and everyone she’s grown to love on the planet behind?

The Electric Heir (Feverwake #2) by Victoria Lee (Paperback, 480 pages, published by Skyscape)
In the sequel to The Fever King, Noam Álvaro seeks to end tyranny before he becomes a tyrant himself. Six months after Noam Álvaro helped overthrow the despotic government of Carolinia, the Atlantians have gained citizenship, and Lehrer is chancellor. But despite Lehrer’s image as a progressive humanitarian leader, Noam has finally remembered the truth that Lehrer forced him to forget—that Lehrer is responsible for the deadly magic infection that ravaged Carolinia. Now that Noam remembers the full extent of Lehrer’s crimes, he’s determined to use his influence with Lehrer to bring him down for good. If Lehrer realizes Noam has evaded his control—and that Noam is plotting against him—Noam’s dead. So he must keep playing the role of Lehrer’s protégé until he can steal enough vaccine to stop the virus. Meanwhile Dara Shirazi returns to Carolinia, his magic stripped by the same vaccine that saved his life. But Dara’s attempts to ally himself with Noam prove that their methods for defeating Lehrer are violently misaligned. Dara fears Noam has only gotten himself more deeply entangled in Lehrer’s web. Sooner or later, playing double agent might cost Noam his life.

The First 7 (The Last 8 #2) by Laura Pohl (Hardcover, 384 pages, published by Sourcebooks Fire)
In the thrilling conclusion to the Last 8 duology, the Last Teenagers on Earth return home to find a colony of survivors who aren’t who they seem. Clover Martinez and the Last Teenagers on Earth are busy exploring the galaxy after leaving earth behind... even if they are homesick. So when their ship receives a distress signal from their former home, they hope against hope that it means that there are other survivors. But as soon as they arrive, they realize something's deeply wrong: strange crystal formations are taking over Earth's soil and threatening to destroy the planet. Seeking the origin of the formations, the group discovers a colony of survivors hidden in the mountains. Relief gives way to panic as the teenagers realize these survivors aren't who they seem… and Clover and her friends might not be able to escape.

The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu (Hardcover, 336 pages, published by Putnam/G. P. Putnam's Sons)
Two siblings. Two brilliant talents. But only one Mozart. Born with a gift for music, Nannerl Mozart has just one wish--to be remembered forever. But even as she delights audiences with her masterful playing, she has little hope she'll ever become the acclaimed composer she longs to be. She is a young woman in 18th century Europe, and that means composing is forbidden to her. She will perform only until she reaches a marriageable age--her tyrannical father has made that much clear. And as Nannerl's hope grows dimmer with each passing year, the talents of her beloved younger brother, Wolfgang, only seem to shine brighter. His brilliance begins to eclipse her own, until one day a mysterious stranger from a magical land appears with an irresistible offer. He has the power to make her wish come true--but his help may cost her everything. In her first work of historical fiction, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu spins a lush, lyrically-told story of music, magic, and the unbreakable bond between a brother and sister.

The Midnight Lie (The Midnight Lie #1) by Marie Rutkoski (Paperback, 400 pages, published by Hodder & Stoughton)
Where Nirrim lives, crime abounds, a harsh tribunal rules, and society’s pleasures are reserved for the High Kith. Life in the Ward is grim and punishing. People of her low status are forbidden from sampling sweets or wearing colors. You either follow the rules, or pay a tithe and suffer the consequences. Nirrim keeps her head down and a dangerous secret close to her chest. But then she encounters Sid, a rakish traveler from far away who whispers rumors that the High Caste possesses magic. Sid tempts Nirrim to seek that magic for herself. But to do that, Nirrim must surrender her old life. She must place her trust in this sly stranger who asks, above all, not to be trusted. Set in the world of the New York Times–bestselling Winner’s Trilogy, beloved author Marie Rutkoski returns with an epic LGBTQ romantic fantasy about learning to free ourselves from the lies others tell us—and the lies we tell ourselves.

The Vanishing Deep by Astrid Scholte (Paperback, 432 pages, published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers)
Bestselling author Astrid Scholte, returns with a thrilling adventure in which the dead can be revived... for a price. Seventeen-year-old Tempe was born into a world of water. When the Great Waves destroyed her planet, its people had to learn to survive living on the water, but the ruins of the cities below still called. Tempe dives daily, scavenging the ruins of a bygone era, searching for anything of value to trade for Notes. It isn't food or clothing that she wants to buy, but her dead sister's life. For a price, the research facility on the island of Palindromena will revive the dearly departed for twenty-four hours before returning them to death. It isn't a heartfelt reunion that Tempe is after; she wants answers. Elysea died keeping a terrible secret, one that has ignited an unquenchable fury in Tempe: Her beloved sister was responsible for the death of their parents. Tempe wants to know why. But once revived, Elysea has other plans. She doesn't want to spend her last day in a cold room accounting for a crime she insists she didn't commit. Elysea wants her freedom and one final glimpse at the life that was stolen from her. She persuades Tempe to break her out of the facility, and they embark on a dangerous journey to discover the truth about their parents' death and mend their broken bond. But they're pursued every step of the way by two Palindromena employees desperate to find them before Elysea's time is up--and before the secret behind the revival process and the true cost of restored life is revealed.

The Warrior’s Curse (The Traitor’s Game # 3) by Jennifer A. Nielsen (Hardcover, 368 pages, published by Scholastic Press)
The third book in the Traitor's Game series! Simon and Kestra are hurtling down paths ever farther from each other as the battle for control of Antora rages. Simon, newly king of the Halderians, is pressed on all sides by royal duties. Harlyn Mindell is his betrothed and intended queen, but Simon can't give up hope for a life with Kestra. Kestra, exiled, feels her magic growing -- and despite everyone's warnings, she knows she must embrace it. That power is the key to the kingdom's future. Both still strive to defeat the evil Lord Endrick, but danger awaits them on the murky road forward. And is a common enemy enough to help them survive -- or to carry them back to each other?

The Winter Duke by Claire Eliza Bartlett (Hardcover, 432 pages, published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
An enchanted tale of intrigue where a duke's daughter is the only survivor of a magical curse. When Ekata's brother is finally named heir, there will be nothing to keep her at home in Kylma Above with her murderous family. Not her books or science experiments, not her family's icy castle atop a frozen lake, not even the tantalizingly close Kylma Below, a mesmerizing underwater kingdom that provides her family with magic. But just as escape is within reach, her parents and twelve siblings fall under a strange sleeping sickness. In the space of a single night, Ekata inherits the title of duke, her brother's warrior bride, and ever-encroaching challengers from without—and within—her own ministry. Nothing has prepared Ekata for diplomacy, for war, for love... or for a crown she has never wanted. If Kylma Above is to survive, Ekata must seize her family's power. And if Ekata is to survive, she must quickly decide how she will wield it. Part Sleeping Beauty, part Anastasia, with a thrilling political mystery, The Winter Duke is a spellbinding story about choosing what's right in the face of danger.

We Are Blood and Thunder (We Are Blood and Thunder #1) by Kesia Lupo (Hardcover, 448 pages, published by Bloomsbury YA)
For fans of Furyborn comes a debut YA fantasy following two girls--one on the run, and one returning home--whose magical fates become entwined. Lena has never left the sealed-off city she calls home. The treacherous storm cloud surrounding the Duke's Forest prevents most from entering or leaving. But then Lena's deepest secret is revealed--she is a mage. And according to the law, all mages must die. With little other choice, she flees for her life, straight into the treacherous forest. Constance's family and friends believe her to be dead. She fled the Duke's Forest six years before, and no one believed she'd survive outside the city walls. And even though she isn't sure if she can trust anybody back at court, she's intent on reclaiming her place as the duke's daughter and heir. Lena and Constance meet for only a moment, but even after their paths diverge, the terrifying storm cloud keep them linked. A dark revelation lies at the heart of their connection--the truth behind who cast the storm cloud's spell. Only the girls can expose this secret and dispel the storm for good... but unveiling the truth could cost them everything.

When We Were Magic by Sarah Gailey (Hardcover, 352 pages, published by Simon Pulse)
Keeping your magic a secret is hard. Being in love with your best friend is harder. Alexis has always been able to rely on two things: her best friends, and the magic powers they all share. Their secret is what brought them together, and their love for each other is unshakeable—even when that love is complicated. Complicated by problems like jealousy, or insecurity, or lust. Or love. That unshakeable, complicated love is one of the only things that doesn't change on prom night. When accidental magic goes sideways and a boy winds up dead, Alexis and her friends come together to try to right a terrible wrong. Their first attempt fails—and their second attempt fails even harder. Left with the remains of their failed spells and more consequences than anyone could have predicted, each of them must find a way to live with their part of the story.

Wicked As You Wish (A Hundred Names for Magic #1) by Rin Chupeco (Hardcover, 432 pages, published by Sourcebooks Fire)
Tala Warnock has little use for magic – as a descendant of Maria Makiling, the legendary Filipina heroine, she negates spells, often by accident. But her family’s old ties to the country of Avalon (frozen, bespelled, and unreachable for almost 12 years) soon finds them guarding its last prince from those who would use his kingdom’s magic for insidious ends. And with the rise of dangerous spelltech in the Royal States of America; the appearance of the firebird, Avalon’s deadliest weapon, at her doorstep; and the re-emergence of the Snow Queen, powerful but long thought dead, who wants nothing more than to take the firebird's magic for her own – Tala’s life is about to get even more complicated…

Witches of Ash and Ruin by E. Latimer (Hardcover, 384 pages, published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Seventeen-year-old Dayna Walsh is struggling to cope with her somatic OCD; the aftermath of being outed as bisexual in her conservative Irish town; and the return of her long-absent mother, who barely seems like a parent. But all that really matters to her is ascending and finally, finally becoming a full witch-plans that are complicated when another coven, rumored to have a sordid history with black magic, arrives in town with premonitions of death. Dayna immediately finds herself at odds with the bewitchingly frustrating Meiner King, the granddaughter of their coven leader. And then a witch turns up murdered at a local sacred site, along with the blood symbol of the Butcher of Manchester-an infamous serial killer whose trail has long gone cold. The killer's motives are enmeshed in a complex web of witches and gods, and Dayna and Meiner soon find themselves at the center of it all. If they don't stop the Butcher, one of them will be next. With razor-sharp prose and achingly real characters, E. Latimer crafts a sweeping, mesmerizing story of dark magic and brutal mythology set against a backdrop of contemporary Ireland that's impossible to put down.

March 10th:

A Phoenix First Must Burn: Sixteen Stories of Black Girl Magic, Resistance, and Hope by Patrice Caldwell (Hardcover, 368 pages, published by Viking Books for Young Readers)
Sixteen tales by bestselling and award-winning authors that explore the Black experience through fantasy, science fiction, and magic. Evoking Beyoncé’s Lemonade for a teen audience, these authors who are truly Octavia Butler’s heirs, have woven worlds to create a stunning narrative that centers Black women and gender nonconforming individuals. A Phoenix First Must Burn will take you on a journey from folktales retold to futuristic societies and everything in between. Filled with stories of love and betrayal, strength and resistance, this collection contains an array of complex and true-to-life characters in which you cannot help but see yourself reflected. Witches and scientists, sisters and lovers, priestesses and rebels: the heroines of A Phoenix First Must Burn shine brightly. You will never forget them. Authors include Elizabeth Acevedo, Amerie, Dhonielle Clayton, Jalissa Corrie, Somaiya Daud, Charlotte Davis, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Justina Ireland, Danny Lore, L.L. McKinney, Danielle Paige, Rebecca Roanhorse, Karen Strong, Ashley Woodfolk, and Ibi Zoboi.

Defy the Sun (Beware the Night #2) by Jessika Fleck (Hardcover, 304 pages, published by Swoon Reads)
Civil war has come to the island of Bellona. Veda Adeline believes in the Night. She’s joined the underground revolutionaries, led by Dorian Winters, and they're determined to overthrow the ruling Imperi and find justice for her people. Nico Denali, Veda’s childhood friend and maybe-something-more, is one of those ruling Imperi, and he’s just been named heir to the most powerful man above ground. As the war intensifies, Veda and Nico are leveraged against each other: Veda is above as a hostage of the Imperi and Nico is below, taken by the Night. There's no way Dorian is letting such a valuable hostage go. The island will burn unless Veda and Nico can come together to rip everything apart. But Nico and Dorian will never trust each other, and Veda's heart might be the biggest casualty. The stakes are all or nothing in this second and final book in the BEWARE THE NIGHT duology.

The Survivor (The Pioneer #2) by Bridget Tyler (Hardcover, 300 pages, published by HarperTeen)
Earth is uninhabitable. Tau is our home now. With that terrifying message, Jo and her family learned the truth: They are trapped forever on Tau Ceti e. Tau may be humanity’s last hope, but the planet’s current occupants—the Sorrow—are not interested in sharing. The fragile peace Jo negotiated abruptly shatters, and with it Jo’s confidence. Soon a bloody battle is raging between the Sorrow and the Pioneers, with Jo caught in between. As tensions rise, the survival of everyone Jo cares for seems less likely by the second. When a betrayal that shocks Jo to her core threatens to wipe out both Sorrow and human life, Jo must find the strength to speak up once more—and bridge the gaps between all the warring factions—or lose forever the only home left to her.

March 17th:

Girls with Razor Hearts (Girls with Sharp Sticks #2) by Suzanne Young (Hardcover, 400 pages, published by Simon Pulse)
It’s time to fight back in this second novel in a thrilling, subversive near future series from New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Young about a girls-only private high school that is far more than it appears to be. Make me a girl with a razor heart… It’s been weeks since Mena and the other girls of Innovations Academy escaped their elite boarding school. Although traumatized by the violence and experimentations that occurred there, Mena quickly discovers that the outside world can be just as unwelcoming and cruel. With no one else to turn to, the girls only have each other—and the revenge-fueled desire to shut down the corporation that imprisoned them. The girls enroll in Stoneridge Prep, a private school with suspect connections to Innovations, to identify the son of an investor and take down the corporation from the inside. But with pressure from Leandra, who revealed herself to be a double-agent, and Winston Weeks, an academy investor gone rogue, Mena wonders if she and her friends are simply trading one form of control for another. Not to mention the woman who is quite literally invading Mena’s thoughts—a woman with extreme ideas that both frighten and intrigue Mena. And as the girls fight for freedom from their past—and freedom for the girls still at Innovations—they must also face new questions about their existence… and what it means to be girls with razor hearts.

Super Adjacent by Crystal Cestari (Hardcover, 304 pages, published by Disney-Hyperion)
Claire has always wanted to work with superheroes, from collecting Warrior Nation cards as a kid to drafting "What to Say to a Hero" speeches in her diary. Now that she's landed a coveted internship with the Chicago branch of Warrior Nation, Claire is ready to prove she belongs, super or not. But complicating plans is the newest WarNat hero, Girl Power (aka Joy), who happens to be egotistical and self-important... and pretty adorable. Bridgette, meanwhile, wants out of WarNat. After years of dating the famous Vaporizer (aka Matt), she's sick of playing second, or third, or five-hundredth fiddle to all the people-in-peril in the city of Chicago. Of course, once Bridgette meets Claire-who's clearly in need of a mentor and wingman-giving up WarNat becomes slightly more complicated. It becomes a lot more complicated when Joy, Matt, and the rest of the heroes go missing, leaving only Claire and Bridgette to save the day. In this fresh and funny take on the world of supers, author Crystal Cestari spotlights what it's like to be the seemingly non-super half of a dynamic duo with banter-filled romance and bold rescues perfect for readers seeking a great escape.

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune (Hardcover, 400 pages, published by Tor Books)
A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret. Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages. When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he's given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days. But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn. An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.

March 24th:

Between Burning Worlds (System Divine #2) by Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell (Hardcover, 688 pages, published by Simon Pulse)
Laterre is on the brink of war. The Third Estate are rioting against the injustices of a corrupt system. The Patriarche, reeling from the murder of his only heir, makes brutal attempts to quash the unrest, while a new militant faction launches a series of deadly attacks. Marcellus is now a traitor to his planet, willing to do anything to stop his grandfather from seizing control of Laterre, even if it means joining the Vangarde, a rebel group back from the dead. Chatine is a prisoner on Bastille. Desperate to survive the harsh conditions of the moon, she becomes embroiled in the Vangarde’s dangerous attempt to free their infamous leader. Alouette is a fugitive who has been lied to her entire life. Searching for the truth about her mysterious past, she soon finds herself hunted by the Regime for reasons she’s only beginning to understand. But when Laterre is threatened by the emergence of a deadly new weapon, these three renegades must risk everything, traveling to the far reaches of the System Divine and into the white hot center of a planet ready to ignite.

Thorn (Dauntless Path #1) by Intisar Khanani (Paperback, 458 pages, published by Hot Key Books)
A princess with two futures. A destiny all her own. Between her cruel family and the contempt she faces at court, Princess Alyrra has always longed to escape the confines of her royal life. But when she’s betrothed to the powerful prince Kestrin, Alyrra embarks on a journey to his land with little hope for a better future. When a mysterious and terrifying sorceress robs Alyrra of both her identity and her role as princess, Alyrra seizes the opportunity to start a new life for herself as a goose girl. But Alyrra soon finds that Kestrin is not what she expected. The more Alyrra learns of this new kingdom, the pain and suffering its people endure, as well as the danger facing Kestrin from the sorceress herself, the more she knows she can’t remain the goose girl forever. With the fate of the kingdom at stake, Alyrra is caught between two worlds and ultimately must decide who she is, and what she stands for. Includes The Bone Knife, a bonus short story set in the world of Thorn.

Tigers, Not Daughters by Samantha Mabry (Hardcover, 288 pages, published by Algonquin Young Readers)
The Torres sisters dream of escape. Escape from their needy and despotic widowed father, and from their San Antonio neighborhood, full of old San Antonio families and all the traditions and expectations that go along with them. In the summer after her senior year of high school, Ana, the oldest sister, falls to her death from her bedroom window. A year later, her three younger sisters, Jessica, Iridian, and Rosa, are still consumed by grief and haunted by their sister’s memory. Their dream of leaving Southtown now seems out of reach. But then strange things start happening around the house: mysterious laughter, mysterious shadows, mysterious writing on the walls. The sisters begin to wonder if Ana really is haunting them, trying to send them a message—and what exactly she’s trying to say. In a stunning follow-up to her National Book Award–longlisted novel All the Wind in the World, Samantha Mabry weaves an aching, magical novel that is one part family drama, one part ghost story, and one part love story.

March 31st:

Beast Heart by Kyle Richardson (Paperback, 280 pages, published by Meerkat Press, LLC)
Book 1 of the Steambound Trilogy. When Gabby’s hand turns to steam, her mom hires an engineer to build a clockwork glove. It’s the last thing Gabby wants—if only she could be normal. But when her mom is attacked by something monstrous, normal is no longer an option. Now the only person she can turn to is a grizzled detective, who promises to help her become something… more. Meanwhile, Kemple’s foster dad treats him like a slave. And the beatings are getting worse. So when a rebellious girl named Josephyn arrives—with a plan to escape to the city—he doesn’t hesitate. But there are creatures in Iron Bay whose slashes are worse than skin-deep. And as Kemple evolves into something inhuman, his search for a cure begins. They are strangers in a city where carriages rattle, airships rumble, and their own dark pasts continue to haunt them. Soon their paths will collide, and the girl who slays monsters will come face to face with the boy who is becoming a beast.

Imagine Me (Shatter Me #6) by Tahereh Mafi (Paperback, 464 pages, published by HarperCollins)
Juliette Ferrars. Ella Sommers. Which is the truth and which is the lie? Now that Ella knows who Juliette is and what she was created for, things have only become more complicated. As she struggles to understand the past that haunts her and looks to a future more uncertain than ever, the lines between right and wrong—between Ella and Juliette—blur. And with old enemies looming, her destiny may not be her own to control. The day of reckoning for the Reestablishment is coming. But she may not get to choose what side she fights on.

Night of the Dragon (Shadow of the Fox #3) by Julie Kagawa (Paperback, 284 pages, published by HQ Young Adult)
Master storyteller Julie Kagawa concludes the enthralling journey into the heart of the fantastical Empire of Iwagoto in the third book of the Shadow of the Fox trilogy. As darkness rises and chaos reigns, a fierce kitsune and her shadowy protector will face down the greatest evil of all. Kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko has given up the final piece of the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers in order to save everyone she loves from imminent death. Now she and her ragtag band of companions must journey to the wild sea cliffs of Iwagoto in a desperate last-chance effort to stop the Master of Demons from calling upon the Great Kami dragon and making the wish that will plunge the empire into destruction and darkness. Shadow clan assassin Kage Tatsumi has regained control of his body and agreed to a true deal with the devil—the demon inside him, Hakaimono. They will share his body and work with Yumeko and their companions to stop a madman and separate Hakaimono from Tatsumi and the cursed sword that had trapped the demon for nearly a millennium. But even with their combined skills and powers, this most unlikely team of heroes knows the forces of evil may be impossible to overcome. And there is another player in the battle for the scroll, a player who has been watching, waiting for the right moment to pull strings that no one even realized existed… until now.

(sources: goodreads.com 1 2 3, io9.gizmodo.com, bookbub.com,
 wordsfromareader.com 1 2 3 4 5 6 7, tor.com 1 2 3 4 5 6)


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