Oct 31, 2019


Book Review - The Dog on the Acropolis (by Mark Tedesco)

Title: The Dog on the Acropolis
Series: -
Author: Mark Tedesco
Genre: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction
Publisher: Academia Publications
Release Date: June 11th, 2019
Format: Kindle Edition
Pages: 199

"A family living in Greece at the time of the construction of the Parthenon and another family, thousands of years later, eking out a living at the base of the Acropolis.

The repercussions of the meeting of man and dog would unfold in unforeseen ways that would impact the lives around them.

The narrative takes the reader to Greece’s Golden Age, in which one dog, Daria, would scamper up the hill to keep up with Adelino, a stone cutter working on the new temple, and his son Tiro. The lives of Pheidias, the architect of the Parthenon, Adelino and Diana his wife, as well as Tiro their son, would intersect in unexpected ways.

The story then brings the reader back into the present where past and present eventually coincide, transforming the lives of both canines and humans."

The Dog on the Acropolis
(click to read an excerpt on amazon.com)

- 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 "dog based historical novel [that] chronicles the adventures of a dog living on the Acropolis who forms transforming relationships with humans".

The Plot
Draco is a stray dog who makes his home in the Acropolis, sleeping on the steps of the Parthenon. He enjoys visiting the Plaka, a tourist area of cafes and shops where his human friends live and work: Alexander, the owner of a restaurant
who always gives Draco a nice plate of leftovers and knows more about the people living in the Plaka than anyone else; Cynarra, a young woman who bathes him whenever he starts to smell while tending to her parents' flower shop during the day and going to school at night to earn a business degree and make something out of herself; and Akil, with whom Draco forms a special bond, a baker who struggles to make ends meet and fix the strained relationship with his 12-year-old rebellious son Jacob. Draco guides lost tourists up the hill to visit the Parthenon during the day, and at night he dreams of his canine ancestors who performed the same sacred duty on those very stones.

Daria, a small short haired dog, was the first of his ancestors. Her owner Adelino is a stone cutter working on the construction of the Parthenon, a temple to house the statue of the goddess Athena Parthenos. His 12-year-old son Tiro wants nothing more than to work alongside his father but Adelino values his education and wishes a different destiny for his son, until a work accident forces young Tiro to take his father's place.

Centuries apart, both dogs will forge lasting bonds with their human friends and shape the life of the community at the base of the Acropolis, sharing their daily lives and struggles.

The Good
"The dog on the Acropolis" is an historical novel set in both modern days and 5th century Athens. It follows the daily lives and adventures of two dogs, Draco and his ancestor Daria, and the relationships they form with their human friends. Through the eyes of Daria we get to experience life in ancient Greece as a stone cutter and his son work in the construction of the Parthenon, while Draco shows us the way of life in the modern days community of Plaka and the humble shopkeepers who struggle to make a living. Each chapter is very brief, more like a series of vignettes of the daily routines of both dogs and their human families, and the effect and healing powers the presence of both canines have on their respective human communities. The author does a good job describing the behaviors of both dogs and the humans who interact with them as both species try to understand one another.

The Not So Good
The pace of the story is slow, with repeating events and dialogues that drag the plot considerably. We are told of the passage of time, jumping days and weeks at a time, but the daily routines and dog-human interactions remain the same with very little change.

There are also a couple of inconsistencies in the plot: a road that takes a crippled man a single hour to walk, takes a dog with a hyper sense of smell weeks to travel; a family conflict that has lasted for several years, gets resolved instantaneously without effort or explanation.

Readers with a special fondness for dogs will most likely enjoy the book, the behaviors and personalities of both canines are realistic and the bonds forged with their human friends are endearing... unfortunately I was unable to connect with the characters and their struggles, it's the reason I couldn't give the book a higher rating.

Final Rating
"A dog on the Acropolis" is an historical novel set in modern days and 5th century Athens. Recommended for those who enjoy stories that feature dogs and the connections they forge with their human friends and those with an interest in ancient Greece.

• • • •

- About the Author -
Website: www.marktedesco.org
Twitter: @MarkTedesco5
Genre: Historical Fiction, Memoir, Gay and Lesbian

Mark Tedesco is a published author and history teacher in Los Angeles. He was born in California but lived for many years in Europe. There he developed a unique perspective which is apparent in his teaching and writing.

His first book "That Undeniable Longing - My Road to and from the Priesthood" is a memoir of his sojourn in Rome in a Vatican seminary leading to ordination. Readers have been taken aback by his honesty and integrity in recounting his journey. His account continues as he eventually decided to leave the priesthood in order to be "true to himself".

His second book is "Loving Hoping Believing - Poetry to Live By". Poetry comes alive here as the words express the love possible between two persons, the joy of being united, the anguish of loss and the hope of fulfillment.

Mark's third work is a work of historical fiction on the forth century soldiers John and Paul. Mark enjoys drawing the reader into the historical genre especially of the ancient world. "I am John, I am Paul: A Story of Two Soldiers in Ancient Rome" is this work which Tedesco considers to be his greatest.

"Lessons and Beliefs: Seaching for Love in the Gay World" is Tedesco's latest book. Self-help written in the form of a memoir, the book delves into the themes of healthy vs. unhealthy love, emotion and commitment, leading the reader to reflecting on his/her own relationship experiences and the lessons learned.


Oct 27, 2019


Book Review - Every Time He Dies (by Tara East)

Title: Every Time He Dies
Series: -
Author: Tara East
Genre: Mystery & Thriller, Crime, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Release Date: November 5th, 2019
Format: Kindle Edition
Pages: 253

"Daphne Lawrence is haunted. Two years ago, her fiancé died in a terrible accident, her mother passed away from cancer and she stopped speaking to her father. As an embalmer, Daff is used to the company of dead people, but she isn't used to them talking back. In fact, Daff isn't used to anything that could be considered woo-woo including, but not limited to: psychics, crystal, meditation, tarot cards, vision quests and coincidences. Too bad that's everything she's experiencing.

Daff is forced to confront her own long ignored grief when she discovers a haunted watch buried in the sand at Golden Beach. The problem is, her ghost has no memory of his former life or how he died.

As Daff seeks to discover the spectre's identity, dangerous truths and hidden secrets are revealed. Soon, she finds herself in the middle of an on-going homicide investigation led by Detective Sergeant Jon Lawrence, her father. A story about grief, time and identity, Every Time He Dies will leave you wondering whether our dearly beloveds ever really depart."

Every Time He Dies
(click to read an excerpt on taraeast.com)

- 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 novel about "a woman [who] finds a watch that is the same design as her deceased boyfriend's, only it is haunted by a ghost with amnesia. While trying to uncover the ghost's identity she becomes involved in her estranged father's homicide investigation". The crime genre doesn't particularly appeal to me but the premise of the book sounded intriguing: a familiar-looking haunted watch, an amnesiac ghost and a crime case that connects it all.

The Plot
After a tragic car accident that took the life of her fiance, 27-year-old Daphne Lawrence moves to the Sunny Coast to start a new life as an embalmer at Dean & Clayton's funeral home. A science woman who doesn't believe in ghosts, Daff's world is turned upside down when she recovers a familiar-looking watch buried in the sands of Golden Beach and meets the amnesiac smart arse spirit bound to it. It takes a disturbing experience at the morgue
and the well-meant interference from her best friend Peta and psychic Melissa Sweet to accept Liam is more than a mere hallucination brought about by her grief, and as the only person who can see him, Daff must use her newly awaken psychic abilities in order to help Liam recover his lost memories. But the more she digs into his past the more she finds herself uncomfortably close to her estranged father's world of gang violence and murder. 
In Brisbane, Detective Jon Lawrence is 3 months away from retirement from the police force and, after 6 months with his new partner Detective Timothy McPhee, it can't come soon enough. For a long time he had tried to put an end to the Road Dogs, a club of bikers with a history of assault, petty theft and drug dealing in the Valley. But after a veiled threat from the club's president Henry Ernst, Lawrence decided it was best to let the Road Dogs be someone else's problem. Until a double murder case in a shady motel gives Lawrence one last chance of disbanding the motorcycle club for good and make Henry pay for the threat on Lawrence's estranged daughter's life.

The Good
"Every time he dies" is a murder thriller novel with paranormal elements, set in modern days Brisbane and Sunny Coast, Australia. The narrative is told from alternating points of view, Daphne's and Detective Lawrence's, and takes place over the course of 5 days as one character tries to discover one ghost's forgotten identify while the other solves a double murder case connected to biker gang violence. Both seemingly independent storylines gradually merge together into a single plot filled with an intriguing mystery and unexpected twists and turns. The author manages to connect all the dots brilliantly in a way that is logical and realistic, even with all the metaphysical elements woven into the story.

The author mentioned she had interviewed retired detectives, active police officers, embalmers and funeral directors. The amount of research done is clearly evident in the detailed police procedures and funeral practices described throughout the book. The characters are 3-dimentional and complex, with realistic behaviors and motivations, and the novel explores themes of grief, anger, guilt, redemption, forgiveness and identity.

Final Rating
"Every time he dies" is a murder thriller novel with paranormal elements, set in modern days Brisbane and Sunny Coast, Australia. Recommended for those who enjoy crime stories and murder mysteries mixed with the paranormal, ghosts and psychic abilities.

• • • •

- About the Author -
Website: taraeast.com
Twitter: @authortaraeast
Genre: Mystery, Crime, Paranormal

Tara East is a Doctoral candidate with degrees in Journalism, Editing and Publishing and Creative Writing. Her articles on writing, literature, gender and culture have appeared in Writing from Below, Queensland Writers Centre, The Huffington Post and The Artifice and her fiction has appeared in TEXT journal and October Hill Magazine among others. Home is with her partner, Ashley, and their mini-schnauzer, Sadie. She maintains an active writing blog at www.taraeast.com and has a YouTube channel dedicated to writing advice.

Her debut novel, Every Time He Dies, is a murder mystery about a woman who finds a watch that is the same design as her deceased boyfriend’s only it is haunted by a ghost with amnesia. While trying to uncover the ghost’s identity, she becomes involved in her estranged father’s homicide investigation.

Tara has also published a time-travelling, romp called, When Bell Met Bowie. This science fiction novella is a story about identity, paternity, and of course, music.
(source: goodreads.com)


Oct 24, 2019


Book Review - Chaos Drive (by Jamie Brindle)

Title: Chaos Drive
Series: -
Author: Jamie Brindle
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Humor
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Release Date: October 20th, 2019
Format: Kindle Edition
Pages: 518

"Worst.  Honeymoon.  Ever.

Charlotte has just been married.  She was expecting some sand, some sea, and perhaps an occasional tricky decision about which cocktail to have next.  So why is she in a crazy parallel universe, trying to fight off an evil and unlikely race of deranged frogs?

Matt has just been married, too.  His problems have less to do with frogs, and more to do with the strange and incredibly bloody-minded version of Charlotte who seems to have taken the place of his wife.

Both of them just want to get back to their own reality.  But when the Universe itself starts trying to expel the deranged knot of confusion their lives have wound themselves in, Matt and Charlotte find themselves on the run not just from bloodthirsty frogs, but from reality itself.

Why has this happened?  What does it have to do with the strangely feline personality who has gone missing?  And what the hell is the mysterious Chaos Drive, anyway?"

(click to read an excerpt)

- Review -
What Made Me Read It
As a fan of Jamie Brindle's whimsical micro stories (you can read some of them for free on his site and get new ones periodically if you subscribe to his newsletter), I joined the author's beta/arc team for a chance to read and review his novels. So when Chaos Drive was made available I jumped at the opportunity.

The Plot
Charlotte just got married. She remembers the huge cake, the dancing and the happy faces... but when she wakes up on the night of her honeymoon, she finds herself floating inside the good ship Nippy-Whoas, piloted by a real honest-to-god cat and a man that looks almost like her own Matt... but only just. Shot down and kidnapped by a race of deranged alien frogs, Charlotte is now running for her life on the swamps of Froghearth, hunted down, shot at, screamed at and constantly on the verge of being spotted and dismembered by the unrelenting vicious creatures.

Matt remembers the best man's speech, the food, the band playing... but when he wakes up on the night of his honeymoon he finds himself lying with a woman that looks almost like his wife Charlotte... except she's an abrasive impossibly strong super-woman who keeps telling him that he's just part of a story, one of many versions. His own Charlotte is lost out there and to get her back, Matt must journey through the Storystream while hiding from the Story and the Sheriffs.

Head Frog 127 is the captain of the Pondwater but he aspires to be so much more; after all, there is always room for a competent scheming ambitious frog in His Majesty's inner circle. But first he needs to catch the Nippy-Whoas, defeat the virtually unstoppable human freebooters famed throughout the galaxy, and get his hands on the Chaos Drive, even if it means consorting with the likes of the shrewd human known as the Prophet.

Philip Frogmore really dislikes being the villain... and not even a very good one at that. And it's all that vile, cheating, stinking person's fault, all versions of him - the Hero, a plague infecting the Storystream. But when there's a will there's a way and Philip Frogmore has the will and more than enough minions to finally be the main character and master of his own fate.

The Good
"Chaos Drive" is a mix of science fiction space opera and fantasy novel, a metafictional narrative that follows the adventures of a newlywed couple, thrown into separate versions of their own Story. Charlotte suddenly finds herself in an alternate universe, hunted down by a race of bloodthirsty frog-like aliens, running for her life alongside NotMatt, a man who looks almost like her husband Matt but not quite right. Head Frog 127, an ambitious scheming frog who dreams of ruling over the Frogopolis Empire, leads the chase, trying to get his greedy hands on the Chaos Drive, an artifact capable of reshaping the normal narrative of reality. Meanwhile Matt wakes up next to a woman that looks almost like her wife Charlotte but only just; this version is much more abrasive, has superhuman strength and keeps telling him they only exist inside a story, one of many versions. To rescue his own Charlotte, Matt and NotCharlotte must join forces with Ninian of the Bracken Court, an 8-feet-tall humanoid wandering scholar, and cross the endless dimensions of Chaos and Order of the Storystream, while avoiding being detected by the Story and its Guardians, the Sheriffs of the Order. Because the Story doesn't like to be messed with and if they're found out they will be expelled and cast out.

Told from alternating points of view, the plot is fast-paced and full of twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The worldbuilding is highly imaginative and full of bizarre elements that challenge your imagination: the Storystream, a sparkling concordance of dancing and shimmering lights of a thousand worlds and storyscapes; the Chaos Drive, a trans-narrative device that shapes stories and moves plots around; the Land Below Stories, filled with raw recycled story-stuff ready to make new stories; the Place Between Stories, a very empty space with at least seventeen extra dimensions and well over two thousand degrees in a circle, where one can make substances out of memories and moonshine.

Even though it's a surreal story that makes no sense whatsoever (where else can multiple versions of a character ride flying manticores and unicorns and space tanks to an epic battle in outer space?), the author has the uncanny ability to weave the story into a coherent whole that still manages to be logical - a story within a story where the characters are fully aware of the fact that they're just fictional, and yet the author finds really clever ways to keep the suspense and mystery throughout the plot, with each new piece of the puzzle slowly revealed only when the time is right, adding new layers and complexity to the narrative. It's also full of witty dry humor and brilliant one-liners that will have you burst into chuckles along the way.

Final Rating
"Chaos Drive" is a  mix of science fiction and action-adventure fantasy novel, set in the metafictional universe of the Storystream. Recommended for those who enjoy space opera with fantasy elements and meta narratives, where the characters are fully aware they're part of the narrative and fully capable of influencing the arc of the story.

• • • •

- About the Author -
Website: www.jamiebrindle.com
Twitter: @mazeman11
Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror

I have been writing stories for pretty much as long as I can remember. Although I have mucked about a bit with a lot of different genres and styles, I think of myself mainly as a fantasy author.

I write a spectrum of fantasy, from light, fluffy, comedic stuff, through more more magical, fairy-tale stuff (often with a post-modern or ‘meta’ slant, and sometimes even with a hint of magical realism), to darker fantasy and grim folk-tale inspired fiction. At the very far end of the spectrum, I do write some fantasy that’s so dark it’s bordering on horror. I tend not to write heroic or epic fantasy (though that said, I do have one idea in the pipeline…)

I have worked various jobs (including driving a tractor, working in a lab, and selling boomerangs at Covent Garden in London); I am now a GP registrar in the East Midlands. I am married to a woman who thinks she is a badger, and have a beautiful young boy called Ben. My parents run a hedge maze in Bedfordshire, which you can visit (though the opening times change with the seasons).

You can follow me on Facebook and Twitter; I’m also on Goodreads.

Sign up for my mailing list to be kept up to date with new releases and get free short stories.

Oct 21, 2019


Book Review - The Epiphany Club (by Andrew Knighton)

Title: The Epiphany Club
Series: -
Author: Andrew Knighton
Genre: Steampunk, Action-Adventure, Thriller
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Release Date: December 1st, 2018
Format: Kindle Edition
Pages: 666

"Dirk Dynamo is used to adventure. He's chased villainous masterminds across the mountains of Europe, stalked gangsters through the streets of Chicago, and faced the terrible battlefields of the Civil War. But now he's on a mission that will really shake his world.

For centuries, the Great Library of Alexandria was thought lost. Now a set of clues has been discovered that could lead to its hiding place. With the learned adventurers of the Epiphany Club, Dirk sets out to gather the clues, track down the Library, and reveal its secrets to the world.

But Dirk and his colleagues aren't the only ones following the trail. Faced with strange machines, deadly assassins, and shocking betrayal, can they survive the perils confronting them? And what will they find when they finally reach their destination?

Roaming from the jungles of West Africa to the sewers beneath London, The Epiphany Club is a modern pulp adventure, a story of action, adventure, and romance set against the dark underbelly of the Victorian age."

The Epiphany Club
(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 Victorian Age doesn't usually appeal to me but the blurb caught my interest, it sounded like something I might enjoy reading.

The Plot
Dirk Dynamo is a muscle-for-hire in the service of the Epiphany Club, the most prestigious gentlemen's club in the whole of the British Empire. A former miner's son and Pinkerton's private investigator during the Civil War, Dynamo lends his tracking skills to help the Epiphany Club's scholars and adventurers get hold of invaluable intellectual and scientific treasures from around the world. His next mission: to find the Great Library of Alexandria. Thought to have been completely destroyed during the Roman Empire, an old manuscript reveals an unexpected truth: all books thought lost in the fire were carted off into the desert and hidden away in a secret hideout.

Together with Sir Timothy Blaze-Simms (a scientist whose inventions tend to far exceed expectations, more often than not with disastrous results), Mrs. Isabelle McNair (a society lady who proves to be more than meets the eye) and Miura Noriko (a no-nonsense ninja warrior), Dynamo sets out to find the 3 encrypted stone tablets that hold the location of the lost Library, while evading the mysterious head of a criminal organization known only as The Dane, secret service agents of rivaling nations and social revolutions.

The Good
"The Epiphany Club" includes all 5 interlinked novelettes that make up the "Epiphany Club" series. In book #1: Guns and Guano, Dynamo and his fellow adventurers travel to the British colony of Hakon, an obscure island in Africa, where one of the missing tablets is rumored to have been lost in a shipwreck. In book #2: Suits and Sewers, the team is forced to chase the group of ninjas Striking Snowflake that stole one of the previously recovered tablets, through the sewer system and the cast-offs of civilization in underground London. In book #3: Aristocrats and Artillery, Dynamo and his friends set out to Paris, a city at war with the Prussian army, to find the last tablet in the middle of a revolt led by the King in Shadow. In book #4: Sieges and Silverware, the team is shaken by mistrust and betrayal while under siege by the Prussian army in a German castle. In book #5: Dead Men and Dynamite, all the gathered clues have led to Egypt, where Dynamo must face tomb robbers and rivaling secret service agents before he can complete his mission and recover the lost treasure of the Great Library.

"The Epiphany Club" is a steampunk anthology set in the 1870s, with all the atmospheric mood of the Victorian Age but including both fantasy elements in the form of angry vengeful ghosts, mutant beasts, revived corpses and walking mummies, and scifi elements in all the inventions created by Blaze-Simms that tend to work better than expected although with highly dubious results. The world building is vividly imaginative, the plot is fast-paced and packed with thrilling action sequences, an engaging mystery with twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the end, political intrigue and suspense but also thought-provoking moment when exploring themes of abolitionism, women's rights movement, colonialism and social class distinction.

The characters are 3-dimensional and complex, each with their own believable goals and motivations and realistic behaviors. The main character Dynamo is the most developed, with a deep background we get to know gradually throughout the novelettes, in a series of flashbacks from his early life and adventures alongside his friend Blaze-Simms.

Final Rating
"The Epiphany Club" is an action-packed steampunk anthology of 5 novelettes set in the 1870s of the Victorian Age, with both fantasy and scifi elements included. Recommended for those who enjoy mysteries and archeological puzzles in a steampunk setting.

• • • •

- About the Author -
Website: andrewknighton.com
Twitter: @gibbondemon
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Steampunk

I’m an author and freelance writer, specialising in writing about history and imaginary worlds. I live in Leeds with my fiercely adorable cat Elmo.

Before writing full time, I worked as a teacher, academic, data analyst, project manager and, in my darkest hour, a call centre employee. I’ve studied medieval history, management and social research. You can call it broad experience or a short attention span – either way, variety suits me.

I indulge in all the best hobbies. Comics, wargames, board games, roleplay games (both live action and tabletop), and of course reading genre fiction. I like to think that it fuels my creativity. Really, it’s all just a big distraction, but isn’t that what life’s all about?

I’m on twitter @gibbondemon where I’m always happy to chat about books, TV and the myriad joys of modern culture.


Oct 10, 2019


Book Review - The Code Hunters (by Jackson Coppley)

Title: The Code Hunters
Series: -
Author: Jackson Coppley
Genre: Action-Adventure, Thriller, Science Fiction
Publisher: Contour Press
Release Date: April 26th, 2019
Format: Paperback
Pages: 410

"Get Ready for Action and Adventure!

Meet Nicholas Foxe and his team of code hunters…

• In Afghanistan, a young boy stumbles into a fierce firefight.
• An Army Ranger makes a snap decision that sets in motion events beyond his imagination.
• In New Mexico, caver Tom Littleton discovers a 10,000-year-old coded tablet far too advanced for ancient people to have created it.
• In Boston, Rachael Friedman, a leading physics professor, unlocks a key to the mysterious code.
• And in Italy, a violin maker and his autistic daughter show the way to a secret chamber where a medieval scholar has locked away more clues.

Wealthy adventurer Nicholas Foxe leads this unlikely team to solve the mystery of the code. But dark forces threaten to destroy The Tablet and the people who know about it…

• The Televangelist who intends to profit from his “religious” interpretation of The Tablet.

• A Washington Senator who secretly serves a powerful constituent.

• The mysterious Texan who foresees extraordinary wealth by owning The Tablet.

• A Bombmaker in Queens who serves the latest in destructive products."

The Code Hunters
(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 "Indiana Jones solves The DaVinci Code". Having enjoyed Dan Brown's Robert Langdon series that caught my interest so I decided to give it a try.

The Plot
Tom Littleton is an experienced caver who, on a dare from a stranger, sets out to explore undiscovered pathways connecting to the Carlsbad Cavern complex in New Mexico. Instead, he finds an impossible artifact buried deep underground: a 10.000-year-old metallic wall engraved with small black dots arranged across its surface. With the help of a former colleague and friend, the socialite scientist Nicholas Foxe, the two try to decipher what at first seemed like simple binary code but which stumped even the best cryptographers in the world.

Rachael Friedman, an assistant physics professor at MIT with a talent for music, sees something in one photo of the now renamed Tablet that might lead to an answer; while Walter Tanner, a former special forces soldier, tells the story of a second tablet found in Afghanistan with a similar code. In Italy, a violin maker named Lorenzo Cristofori owns a set of 800-year-old books that mention legends of an ancient race of people who spoke in music instead of words and who possessed knowledge advanced far beyond their time.

But there are those who want to own the Tablet and others who want to destroy it, for the powerful fear enlightenment unless it turns into a profit. Senator Morrison is in league with a wealthy Texan man who will stop at nothing to get the Tablet for himself. Reverend Josiah Jones, a televangelist with a diminishing congregation, sees the discovery as a way to save his temple and recover the lost flock, while his son Chris has plans of his own that don't include inheriting his father's business.

This group of disparate people will start a chain of events, from a cave in New Mexico to a castle in Italy no one has ever lived in, following the clues to a knowledge the ancients warned would bring danger and death.

The Good
"The Code Hunters" is an action-adventure and mystery thriller novel, with science fiction elements, set in modern days New Mexico and Italy. A strange artifact is discovered buried deep underground: a 10.000-year-old metallic wall engraved with a code no cryptographer can decipher, and a set of pictograms that connect with several worldwide legends of an ancient civilization that spoke through music and possessed knowledge that could only be revealed when humanity was mature enough to understand the clues. A team of scholars join forces to try to unravel the mystery: Tom Littleton, an expert caver who discovers the artifact; Nick Foxe, a socialite scientist who sponsors the expedition; Rachael Friedman, an assistant physics professor who sees a clue hidden in a photograph; Walter Tanner, a former special forces soldier sent by a Taliban leader on a quest to decipher the code; Lorenzo Cristofori, a violin maker who owns a set of 800-year-old books written by the Arabic mathematician who first decoded the Tablet; his daughter Maria, an autistic young woman who can understand the musical language spoken by the ancient civilization; Fezile Nodada, a geneticist of the WHO with the connections and manpower to help the expedition. But opposing them all are people who wish to use the discovery for personal gain and profit: Senator Morrison and a Texan wealthy man who have plans of their own for the Tablet; Reverend Josiah Jones, a disgraced televangelist who wishes to save his temple and his son Chris who'd rather destroy his father's business.

The narrative is fast-paced, filled with gripping action sequences and an engaging mystery, plenty of suspense and intrigue. The plot is solid and believable: the worldbuilding, legends and clues created by the author are even within the realms of possibility. Some of the elements have been done before: an ancient civilization (that might or might not have been alien) leaving behind a mysterious artifact with an undecipherable code that leads to advanced knowledge, old manuscripts secretly stored deep inside the Vatican library, landmarks with secret passages and legends passed down through generations... but the author added a twist by making this ancient civilization speak in musical tones instead of words. I also enjoyed how the author described the many ways this discovery would affect different people. Instead of the usual one team of heroes united in their quest to outsmart their opponents for the sake of helping mankind, each element of Nick Foxe's team and the various antagonists have their own unique reasons behind their objectives.

All the characters are 3-dimensional and realistic, with believable motivations and goals. Not only does each character bring his or her own set of skills necessary to solve the puzzle, even the secondary characters with only brief appearances have a full background and a purpose in the narrative, helping to move the plot along in one way or another.

The Not So Good
Even though every character ends up being necessary to the plot, there are just too many of them. I frequently lost track of who was who and had to check my notes to remember who a particular character was supposed to be.

Final Rating
"The Code Hunters" is an action-packed adventure and mystery thriller novel, with science fiction elements, plenty of suspense and intrigue, set in modern days New Mexico and Italy. Recommended for those who enjoy stories about decoding secrets left behind by ancient civilizations.

• • • •

- About the Author -
Website: www.jacksoncoppley.com
Twitter: @jcoppley
Genre: Fiction, Thriller, Science Fiction

Jackson Coppley is an award-winning author who weaves stories from a sophisticated knowledge of technology and an understanding of human behavior. Coppley’s resume includes a dynamic career with leading world communications and technology companies and the launching of what the press called “a revolutionary software program.” His sensitivity about human behavior, combined with the understanding of the potential of technology, brings to his writing a glimpse of what is yet to come.

A world traveler and consummate storyteller, Coppley developed an interest in, and an understanding of cultural differences and includes his observations in his books. His YouTube video on the Hmong people of Vietnam, as one example, received thousands of hits and demonstrates how he investigates other cultures and incorporates them into his work.

Coppley was born in Lexington, North Carolina. A smart kid who majored in Physics at N.C. State. Eager to be in an urban environment, Coppley moved to Washington, DC where he pursued a technology career. Coppley now turns his love of storytelling into writing novels.


Oct 1, 2019


New Monthly Book Releases - October 2019

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 October 2019.

- Science Fiction -

October 1st:

Antediluvian by Wil McCarthy (Hardcover, 320 pages, published by Baen)
What if our legends are older than we think? All the Stone Age has left behind are rocks and bones; all other materials have rotted away, leaving no trace. But what if “cave men” never existed, and the Stone Age was a time of great sophistication still preserved in our oldest stories? In a brilliant and dangerous brain hacking experiment, Harv Leonel and Tara Mukherjee are about to discover entire lifetimes of human memory coded in our genes, and reveal ancient legends – from knights and trolls, to flood myths, to the birth of humanity itself – that are as real as they are deadly. Before disaster erased the coastlines and river valleys of the Antediluvian age—before the Flood—men and women struggled and yearned and innovated in a world of savage contrasts into which Harv and Tara are thrust, unprepared. Will their science be enough to save them?

Aurora Blazing (Consortium Rebellion #2) by Jessie Mihalik (Paperback, 400 pages, published by Harper Voyager)
Bianca von Hasenberg did her duty for High House von Hasenberg and ended up trapped in a terrible marriage. When her husband dies unexpectedly and leaves her a happy widow, she vows never to marry again. Instead, she uses her connections to save other young women. Information is power and Bianca has a network that would be the envy of the ’verse—if anyone knew about it. After an attack, Bianca’s oldest brother, the House von Hasenberg heir, disappears from Earth without a trace. Determined to find him, Bianca leaves against orders. When she refuses to return, her father sends Ian Bishop, the director of House von Hasenberg security, to haul her home like a recalcitrant child. Bianca leads Ian on a merry chase across the universe, but when their paths finally collide, she persuades him that they would be far more successful at finding her brother if they worked together. She will do anything to save her sibling, even if it means spending time alone on a small ship with the handsome, infuriating man who once broke her heart. As clues lead them deep into rival House Rockhurst territory, Bianca must decide if she can trust Ian with the one piece of information that could destroy her completely...

Dooku: Jedi Lost (Star Wars Disney Canon Novel) by Cavan Scott (Hardcover, 480 pages, published by Del Rey Books)
Darth Tyranus. Count of Serenno. Leader of the Separatists. A red saber, unsheathed in the dark. But who was he before he became the right hand of the Sith? As Dooku courts a new apprentice, the hidden truth of the Sith Lord's past begins to come to light. Dooku's life began as one of privilege-born within the stony walls of his family's estate, orbited by the Funeral Moon where the bones of his ancestors lie interred. But soon, his Jedi abilities are recognized, and he is taken from his home to be trained in the ways of the Force by the legendary Master Yoda. As he hones his power, Dooku rises through the ranks, befriending fellow Jedi Sifo-Dyas and taking a Padawan of his own, the promising Qui-Gon Jinn--and tries to forget the life that he once led. But he finds himself drawn by a strange fascination with the Jedi Master Lene Kostana, and the mission she undertakes for the Order: finding and studying ancient relics of the Sith, in preparation for the eventual return of the deadliest enemies the Jedi have ever faced. Caught between the world of the Jedi, the ancient responsibilities of his lost home, and the alluring power of the relics, Dooku struggles to stay in the light--even as the darkness begins to fall.

Empire of Lies by Raymond Khoury (Hardcover, 448 pages, published by Forge Books)
Istanbul, 1683: Mehmed IV, sultan of the Ottoman Empire, is preparing to lay siege to Vienna, capital of the Holy Roman Empire, when a mysterious visitor arrives in his bedroom--naked, covered in strange tattoos--to deliver a dangerous, world-changing message. Paris, 2017: Ottoman flags have been flying over the great city for three hundred years, ever since its fall--along with all of Europe--to the empire's all-conquering army. Notre Dame has been renamed the Fatih Mosque. Public spaces are segregated by gender. And Kamal Arslan Agha, a feted officer in the sultan's secret police, is starting to question his orders. Rumors of an impending war with the Christian Republic of America, attacks by violent extremists, and economic collapse have heightened surveillance and arrests across the empire. Tasked with surveying potential threats, Kamal has a heavy caseload--and conscience. When a mysterious stranger--naked, covered in strange tattoos--appears on the banks of the Seine, Kamal is called in to investigate. But what he discovers is a secret buried in the empire's past, a secret the Sultan will do anything to silence. With the mysterious Z Protectorate one step behind, Kamal, together with Nisreen--a fierce human rights lawyer--is caught up in a race across the empire and time itself--a race that could change their world, or destroy it.

Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson (Hardcover, 352 pages, published by Grove Press)
Lake Geneva, 1816. Nineteen-year-old Mary Shelley is inspired to write a story about a scientist who creates a new life-form. In Brexit Britain, a young transgender doctor called Ry is falling in love with Victor Stein, a celebrated professor leading the public debate around AI and carrying out some experiments of his own in a vast underground network of tunnels. Meanwhile, Ron Lord, just divorced and living with his mom again, is set to make his fortune launching a new generation of sex dolls for lonely men everywhere. Across the Atlantic, in Phoenix, Arizona, a cryogenics facility houses dozens of bodies of men and women who are medically and legally dead... but waiting to return to life. What will happen when homo sapiens is no longer the smartest being on the planet? In fiercely intelligent prose, Jeanette Winterson shows us how much closer we are to that future than we realize. Funny and furious, bold and clear-sighted, Frankissstein is a love story about life itself.

Half Way Home by Hugh Howey (Hardcover, 240 pages, published by John Joseph Adams/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
WE WOKE IN FIRE. Five hundred colonists have been sent across the stars to settle an alien planet. Vat-grown in a dream-like state, they are educated through simulations by an artificial intelligence and should awaken at thirty years old, fully-trained, and ready to tame the new world. But fifteen years in, an explosion on their vessel kills most of the homesteaders and destroys the majority of their supplies. Worse yet, the sixty that awaken and escape the flames are only half-taught and possess the skills least useful for survival. Naked and terrified, the teens stumble from their fiery baptism ill-prepared for the unfamiliar and harsh alien world around them. Though they attempt to work with the colony A.I. to build a home, tension and misery are rampant, escalating into battles for dominance. Soon they find that their worst enemy isn’t the hostile environment, the A.I., or the blast that nearly killed them. Their greatest danger is each other.

Trinity Sight by Jennifer Givhan (Hardcover, 288 pages, published by Blackstone Publishing)
Our people are survivors, Calliope's great-grandmother once told her of their Puebloan roots - could Bisabuela's ancient myths be true? Anthropologist Calliope Santiago awakens to find herself in a strange and sinister wasteland, a shadow of the New Mexico she knew. Empty vehicles litter the road. Everyone has disappeared-or almost everyone. Calliope, heavy-bellied with the twins she carries inside her, must make her way across this dangerous landscape with a group of fellow survivors, confronting violent inhabitants, in search of answers. Long-dead volcanoes erupt, the ground rattles and splits, and monsters come to ominous life. The impossible suddenly real, Calliope will be forced to reconcile the geological record with the heritage she once denied if she wants to survive and deliver her unborn babies into this uncertain new world. Rooted in indigenous oral-history traditions and contemporary apocalypse fiction, Trinity Sight asks readers to consider science versus faith and personal identity versus ancestral connection. Lyrically written and utterly original, Trinity Sight brings readers to the precipice of the end-of-times and the hope for redemption.

October 2nd:

Future Tense Fiction: Stories of Tomorrow (Paperback, 240 pages, published by The Unnamed Press)
Future Tense Fiction is a collection of electrifying original stories from a veritable who’s-who of authors working in speculative literature and science fiction today. Featuring Carmen Maria Machado, Emily St. John Mandel, Charlie Jane Anders, Paolo Bacigalupi, Madeline Ashby, Mark Oshiro, Meg Elison, Maureen McHugh, Deji Bryce Olukotun, Hannu Rajaniemi, Annalee Newitz, Lee Konstantinou, and Mark Stasenko—Future Tense Fiction points the way forward to the fiction of tomorrow. A disease surveillance robot whose social programming gets put to the test. A future in which everyone receives universal basic income—but it’s still not enough. A futuristic sport, in which all the athletes have been chemically and physically enhanced. An A.I. company that manufactures a neural bridge allowing ordinary people to share their memories. Brimming with excitement and exploring new ideas, the stories collected by the editors of Slate’s Future Tense are philosophically ambitious and haunting in their creativity. At times terrifying and heartwrenching, hilarious and optimistic, this is a collection that ushers in a new age for our world and for the short story. A partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University, Future Tense explores how emerging technologies will change the way we live, in reality and fiction.

October 8th:

Escaping Exodus by Nicky Drayden (Paperback, 368 pages, published by Harper Voyager)
Escaping Exodus is a story of a young woman named Seske Kaleigh, heir to the command of a biological, city-size starship carved up from the insides of a spacefaring beast. Her clan has just now culled their latest ship and the workers are busy stripping down the bonework for building materials, rerouting the circulatory system for mass transit, and preparing the cavernous creature for the onslaught of the general populous still in stasis. It’s all a part of the cycle her clan had instituted centuries ago—excavate the new beast, expand into its barely-living carcass, extinguish its resources over the course of a decade, then escape in a highly coordinated exodus back into stasis until they cull the next beast from the diminishing herd. And of course there wouldn’t be much of a story if things didn’t go terribly, terribly wrong.

How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse (The Thorne Chronicles #1) by K. Eason (Hardcover, 416 pages, published by Daw Books)
Rory Thorne is a princess with thirteen fairy blessings, the most important of which is to see through flattery and platitudes. As the eldest daughter, she always imagined she'd inherit her father's throne and govern the interplanetary Thorne Consortium. Then her father is assassinated, her mother gives birth to a son, and Rory is betrothed to the prince of a distant world. When Rory arrives in her new home, she uncovers a treacherous plot to unseat her newly betrothed and usurp his throne. An unscrupulous minister has conspired to name himself Regent to the minor (and somewhat foolish) prince. With only her wits and a small team of allies, Rory must outmaneuver the Regent and rescue the prince. How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse is a feminist reimagining of familiar fairytale tropes and a story of resistance and self-determination--how small acts of rebellion can lead a princess to not just save herself, but change the course of history.

The Forbidden Stars (Axiom #3) by Tim Pratt (Paperback, 400 pages, published by Angry Robot)
The ancient alien gods are waking up, and there's only one spaceship crew ready to stop them, in this dazzling space opera sequel to The Wrong Stars and The Dreaming Stars. Aliens known as the Liars gave humanity access to the stars through twenty-nine wormholes. They didn't mention that other aliens, the ancient, tyrannical - but thankfully sleeping - Axiom occupied all the other systems. When the twenty-ninth fell silent, humanity chalked it up to radical separatists and moved on. But now, on board the White Raven, Captain Callie and her crew of Axiom-hunters receive word that the twenty-ninth colony may have met a very different fate. With their bridge generator they skip past the wormhole, and discover another Axiom project, fully awake, and poised to pour through the wormhole gate into all the worlds of humanity...

October 15th:

Homesick: Stories by Nino Cipri (Paperback, 216 pages, published by Dzanc Books)
Dark, irreverent, and truly innovative, the speculative stories in Homesick meditate on the theme of home and our estrangement from it, and what happens when the familiar suddenly shifts into the uncanny. In stories that foreground queer relationships and transgender or nonbinary characters, Cipri delivers the origin story for a superhero team comprised of murdered girls; a housecleaner discovering an impossible ocean in her least-favorite clients’ house; a man haunted by keys that appear suddenly in his throat; and a team of scientists and activists discovering the remains of a long-extinct species of intelligent weasels.

Tarnished Are the Stars by Rosiee Thor (Hardcover, 384 pages, published by Scholastic Press)
A secret beats inside Anna Thatcher's chest: an illegal clockwork heart. Anna works cog by cog -- donning the moniker Technician -- to supply black market medical technology to the sick and injured, against the Commissioner's tyrannical laws. Nathaniel Fremont, the Commissioner's son, has never had to fear the law. Determined to earn his father's respect, Nathaniel sets out to capture the Technician. But the more he learns about the outlaw, the more he questions whether his father's elusive affection is worth chasing at all. Their game of cat and mouse takes an abrupt turn when Eliza, a skilled assassin and spy, arrives. Her mission is to learn the Commissioner's secrets at any cost -- even if it means betraying her own heart. When these uneasy allies discover the most dangerous secret of all, they must work together despite their differences and put an end to a deadly epidemic -- before the Commissioner ends them first.

The Rosewater Redemption (The Wormwood Trilogy #3) by Tade Thompson (Paperback, 416 pages, published by Orbit)
Life in the newly independent city-state of Rosewater isn't everything its citizens were expecting. The Mayor finds that debts incurred during the insurrection are coming back to haunt him. Nigeria isn't willing to let Rosewater go without a fight. And the city's alien inhabitants are threatening mass murder for their own sinister ends... Operating across spacetime, the xenosphere, and international borders, it is up to a small group of hackers and criminals to prevent the extra-terrestrial advance. The fugitive known as Bicycle Girl, Kaaro, and his former handler Femi may be humanity's last line of defense.

War Girls (War Girls #1) by Tochi Onyebuchi (Hardcover, 464 pages, published by Razorbill)
The year is 2172. Climate change and nuclear disasters have rendered much of earth unlivable. Only the lucky ones have escaped to space colonies in the sky. In a war-torn Nigeria, battles are fought using flying, deadly mechs and soldiers are outfitted with bionic limbs and artificial organs meant to protect them from the harsh, radiation-heavy climate. Across the nation, as the years-long civil war wages on, survival becomes the only way of life. Two sisters, Onyii and Ify, dream of more. Their lives have been marked by violence and political unrest. Still, they dream of peace, of hope, of a future together. And they're willing to fight an entire war to get there.

October 22nd:

Interference (Semiosis Duology #2) by Sue Burke (Hardcover, 320 pages, published by Tor Books)
Over two hundred years after the first colonists landed on Pax, a new set of explorers arrives from Earth on what they claim is a temporary scientific mission. But the Earthlings misunderstand the nature of the Pax settlement and its real leader. Even as Stevland attempts to protect his human tools, a more insidious enemy than the Earthlings makes itself known. Stevland is not the apex species.

Supernova Era by Cixin Liu (Hardcover, 352 pages, published by Tor Books)
In those days, Earth was a planet in space. In those days, Beijing was a city on Earth. On this night, history as known to humanity came to an end. Eight light years away, a star has died, creating a supernova event that showers Earth in deadly levels of radiation. Within a year, everyone over the age of thirteen will die. And so the countdown begins. Parents apprentice their children and try to pass on the knowledge they'll need to keep the world running. But the last generation may not want to carry the legacy of their parents' world. And though they imagine a better, brighter world, they may bring about a future so dark humanity won't survive.

The Blue Eye (The Khorasan Archives #3) by Ausma Zehanat Khan (Paperback, 448 pages, published by Harper Voyager)
The Companions of Hira have used their cunning and their magic in the battle against the patriarchal Talisman, an organization whose virulently conservative agenda restricts free thought. One of the most accomplished Companions, Arian, continues to lead a disparate group in pursuit of the one artifact that could end the Talisman’s authoritarian rule: The Bloodprint. But after a vicious battle, the arcane tome has slipped once more beyond her reach. Despite being separated and nearly losing their lives, Arian’s band of allies has remained united. Yet now, the group seems to be fracturing. To continue the fight, Arian must make a dangerous journey to a distant city to recruit new allies. But instead of her trusted friends, she is accompanied by associates she may no longer be able to trust.

October 29th:

Alien: Prototype by Tim Waggoner (Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages, published by Titan Books)
When an industrial spy steals a Xenomorph egg, former Colonial Marine Zula Hendricks must prevent an alien from killing everyone on an isolated colony planet. Corporate spy Tamar Prather steals a Xenomorph egg from Weyland-Yutani, taking it to a lab facility run by Venture, a Weyland-Yutani competitor. Former Colonial Marine Zula Hendricks--now allied with the underground resistance--infiltrates Venture's security team. When a human test subject is impregnated, the result is a Xenomorph that, unless it's stopped, will kill every human being on the planet.

Salvation Lost (Salvation Sequence #2) by Peter F. Hamilton (Hardcover, 512 pages, published by Del Rey Books)
The comparative utopia of twenty-third-century Earth is about to go dreadfully awry when a seemingly benign alien race is abruptly revealed to be one of the worst threats humanity has ever faced. Driven by an intense religious extremism, the Olyix are determined to bring everyone to their version of God as they see it. But they may have met their match in humanity, who are not about to go gently into that good night or spend the rest of their days cowering in hiding. As human ingenuity and determination rise to the challenge, collective humanity has only one goal--to wipe this apparently undefeatable enemy from the face of creation. Even if it means playing a ridiculously long game indeed. But in a chaotic universe, it is hard to plan for every eventuality, and it is always darkest before the dawn.

Sisters of the Vast Black by Lina Rather (Paperback, 160 pages, published by Tor.com)
Years ago, Old Earth sent forth sisters and brothers into the vast dark of the prodigal colonies armed only with crucifixes and iron faith. Now, the sisters of the Order of Saint Rita are on an interstellar mission of mercy aboard Our Lady of Impossible Constellations, a living, breathing ship which seems determined to develop a will of its own. When the order receives a distress call from a newly-formed colony, the sisters discover that the bodies and souls in their care—and that of the galactic diaspora—are in danger. And not from void beyond, but from the nascent Central Governance and the Church itself.

• • • •

- Fantasy -

October 1st:

Hex Life: Wicked New Tales of Witchery edited by Rachel Autumn Deering and Christopher Golden (Kindle Edition, 384 pages, published by Titan Books)
These are tales of witches, wickedness, evil and cunning. Stories of disruption and subversion by today’s women you should fear. These witches might be monstrous, or they might be heroes, depending on their own definitions. Even the kind hostess with the candy cottage thought of herself as the hero of her own story. After all, a woman’s gotta eat… Bring out your dread...

The Library of the Unwritten (A Novel from Hell's Library #1) by A.J. Hackwith (Paperback, 336 pages, published by Ace Books)
In the first book in a brilliant new fantasy series, books that aren't finished by their authors reside in the Library of the Unwritten in Hell, and it is up to the Librarian to track down any restless characters who emerge from those unfinished stories. Many years ago, Claire was named Head Librarian of the Unwritten Wing-- a neutral space in Hell where all the stories unfinished by their authors reside. Her job consists mainly of repairing and organizing books, but also of keeping an eye on restless stories that risk materializing as characters and escaping the library. When a Hero escapes from his book and goes in search of his author, Claire must track and capture him with the help of former muse and current assistant Brevity and nervous demon courier Leto. But what should have been a simple retrieval goes horrifyingly wrong when the terrifyingly angelic Ramiel attacks them, convinced that they hold the Devil's Bible. The text of the Devil's Bible is a powerful weapon in the power struggle between Heaven and Hell, so it falls to the librarians to find a book with the power to reshape the boundaries between Heaven, Hell....and Earth.

The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl (The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club #3) by Theodora Goss (Hardcover, 448 pages, published by Gallery / Saga Press)
Life’s always an adventure for the Athena Club... especially when one of their own has been kidnapped! After their thrilling European escapades rescuing Lucinda van Helsing, Mary Jekyll and her friends return home to discover that their friend and kitchen maid Alice has vanished— and so has their friend and employer Sherlock Holmes! As they race to find Alice and bring her home safely, they discover that Alice and Sherlock’s kidnapping are only one small part of a plot that threatens Queen Victoria, and the very future of the British Empire. Can Mary, Diana, Beatrice, Catherine, and Justine save their friends—and save the Empire?

The Waters and the Wild by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill (Hardcover, 240 pages, published by Baen)
Deeply depressed Olivia, whose parents are divorcing, is ripe for manipulation. And swimming star Blake is looking for someone just like her. Although her friend tries to warn her, Olivia falls for his ploys and accepts an invitation to go to the Adirondack resort camp of Lake Endor with him and his family. But all is not as it seems at the hundred year old resort. Not only does Olivia discover that Blake is not the guy she thought he was, there is something sinister afoot at the lake. There is something lying beneath the waters of Lake Endor. Something not of this world. Will Olivia be drawn under or will she allow true friends to draw her from the lure of oblivion?

Whispers of Shadow & Flame (Earthsinger Chronicles #2) by L. Penelope (Paperback, 496 pages, published by St. Martin's Griffin)
The Mantle that separates the kingdoms of Elsira and Lagrimar is about to fall. And life will drastically change for both kingdoms. Born with a deadly magic she cannot control, Kyara is forced to become an assassin. Known as the Poison Flame in the kingdom of Lagrimar, she is notorious and lethal, but secretly seeks freedom from both her untamed power and the blood spell that commands her. She is tasked with capturing the legendary rebel called the Shadowfox, but everything changes when she learns her target’s true identity. Darvyn ol-Tahlyro may be the most powerful Earthsinger in generations, but guilt over those he couldn’t save tortures him daily. He isn’t sure he can trust the mysterious young woman who claims to need his help, but when he discovers Kyara can unlock the secrets of his past, he can’t stay away. Kyara and Darvyn grapple with betrayal, old promises, and older prophecies—all while trying to stop a war. And when a new threat emerges, they must beat the odds to save both kingdoms.

October 8th:

Merlin Redux: The Enchanter General Book Three (The Enchanter General #3) by Dave Duncan (Paperback, 288 pages, published by Night Shade)
King Henry is dead; Richard the Lionheart now rules England. The new king does not believe in magic, and is interested only in a crusade to recapture Jerusalem. But his crusade soon stalls, and while he is away, his brother, John, and his supposed ally, Philip of France, are conspiring to steal his kingdom. Richard’s mother, Queen Eleanor, sends Sir Durwin, Enchanter General of England, out to Palestine, where he must convince the skeptical king that a loyal magician can be a valuable aide. Meanwhile, King Philip has turned all of Europe into a trap for Richard. The moment the Lionheart sets foot there, he will be arrested and imprisoned for life. It is up to Durwin, aided by his old friend William Legier, to see Richard safely home again and to save the kingdom from falling into the hands of the sadistic and treacherous Prince John...

Ninth House (Ninth House Series #1) by Leigh Bardugo (Paperback, 448 pages, published by Flatiron Books)
Galaxy "Alex" Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale's freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she's thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world's most elite universities on a full ride. What's the catch, and why her? Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale's secret societies. These eight windowless "tombs" are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood's biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.

The Beautiful (The Beautiful #1) by Renée Ahdieh (Hardcover, 432 pages, published by Hodder & Stoughton)
In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she's forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city's glitzy underworld, known as Le Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group's leader, the enigmatic Sèbastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of Le Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sèbastien's guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret. When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights... and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

The Penguin Book of Mermaids edited by Cristina Bacchilega and Marie Alohalani Brown (Paperback, 368 pages, published by Penguin Books)
Dive into centuries of mermaid lore with these captivating tales from around the world. Among the oldest and most popular mythical beings, mermaids and other merfolk have captured the imagination since long before Ariel sold her voice to a sea witch in the beloved Disney film adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid." As far back as the eighth century B.C., sailors in Homer's Odyssey stuffed wax in their ears to resist the Sirens, who lured men to their watery deaths with song. More than two thousand years later, the gullible New York public lined up to witness a mummified "mermaid" specimen that the enterprising showman P. T. Barnum swore was real. The Penguin Book of Mermaids is a treasury of such tales about merfolk and water spirits from different cultures, ranging from Scottish selkies to Hindu water-serpents to Chilean sea fairies. A third of the selections are published here in English for the first time, and all are accompanied by commentary that explores their undercurrents, showing us how public perceptions of this popular mythical hybrid--at once a human and a fish--illuminate issues of gender, spirituality, ecology, and sexuality.

The Princess Beard: The Tales of Pell (The Tales of Pell #3) by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne (Hardcover, 384 pages, published by Del Rey Books)
Once upon a time, a princess slept in a magical tower cloaked in thorns and roses. When she woke, she found no Prince Charming, only a surfeit of hair and grotesquely long fingernails--which was, honestly, better than some creep who acted without consent. She cut off her long braids and used them to escape. But she kept the beard because it made a great disguise. This is not a story about finding true love's kiss--it's a story about finding yourself. On a pirate ship. Where you belong. But these are no ordinary pirates aboard The Puffy Peach, serving under Filthy Lucre, the one-eyed parrot pirate captain. First there's Vic, a swole and misogynistic centaur on a mission to expunge himself of the magic that causes him to conjure tea and dainty cupcakes in response to stress. Then there's Tempest, who's determined to become the first dryad lawyer--preferably before she takes her ultimate form as a man-eating tree. They're joined by Alobartalus, an awkward and unelfly elf who longs to meet his hero, the Sn'archivist who is said to take dictation directly from the gods of Pell. Throw in some mystery meat and a dastardly capitalist plot, and you've got one Pell of an adventure on the high seas!

The True Bastards (The Lot Lands #2) by Jonathan French (Paperback, 592 pages, published by Orbit)
Fetching was once the only female rider in the Lot Lands. Now she is the leader of her own hoof, a band of loyal half orcs sworn to her command. But in the year since she took power, the True Bastards have struggled to survive. Tested to the breaking point by the burdens of leadership, Fetching battles desperately to stave off famine, desertion, and the scorn of the other half-orc chieftains, even as orcs and humans alike threaten the Lots' very existence. Then an old enemy finds a way to strike at her from beyond the grave--and suddenly only one, faint hope for salvation remains.

Warrior of the Altaii by Robert Jordan (Hardcover, 352 pages, published by Tor Books)
Draw near and listen, or else time is at an end. The watering holes of the Plain are drying up, the fearsome fanghorn grow more numerous, and bad omens abound. Wulfgar, a leader of the Altaii people, must contend with twin queens, warlords, prophets and magic in hopes of protecting his people and securing their future. Elspeth, a visitor from another world, holds the answers, but first Wulfgar must learn to ask the right questions. But what if the knowledge that saves the Altaii will also destroy them?

October 15th:

Forever and a Doomsday by Laurence MacNaughton (Paperback, 288 pages, published by Pyr)
When insidious spirits from beyond the grave try to get their clutches on the apocalypse scroll, Dru Jasper and her misfit friends are the only hope for stopping doomsday. Crystal shop owner and up-and-coming sorceress Dru Jasper is the unwilling guardian of the apocalypse scroll, an ancient instrument of destruction held in check by the last of seven wax seals. If the forces of darkness manage to break the final seal, the world will come to a fiery end. It's up to Dru to keep the scroll safe. No pressure or anything. When a chilling cohort of soul-devouring wraiths breaks free of the netherworld to get their ghostly fingers on the scroll, it's up to Dru and her friends to stop them. These freakishly evil spirits can kill with just a touch. To fight them, Dru needs a rare crystal older than the Earth itself. Her only hope of finding it is to race to a meteorite crater deep in the desert, with the wraiths right on her tail. But as her friends lose their magical powers to the life-draining evil of the wraiths, the fate of the world hangs in the balance. The only chance to stop doomsday is for Dru to descend into the depths of the netherworld. There, she must unearth the secrets of a lost city and overcome a long-lost enemy from her past. Can she find a way to save her friends and safeguard the scroll forever--before the wraiths break the seventh seal and bring on doomsday?

Ormeshadow by Priya Sharma (Paperback, 176 pages, published by Tor.com)
Burning with resentment and intrigue, this fantastical family drama invites readers to dig up the secrets of the Belman family, and wonder whether myths and legends are real enough to answer for a history of sin. Uprooted from Bath by his father's failures, Gideon Belman finds himself stranded on Ormeshadow farm, an ancient place of chalk and ash and shadow. The land crests the Orme, a buried, sleeping dragon that dreams resentment, jealousy, estrangement, death. Or so the folklore says. Growing up in a house that hates him, Gideon finds his only comforts in the land. Gideon will live or die by the Orme, as all his family has.

The Throne of the Five Winds (Hostage of Empire #1) by S.C. Emmett (Paperback, 704 pages, published by Orbit)
Two queens, two concubines, six princes. Innumerable hidden agendas. Yala, lady-in-waiting to the princess of a vanquished kingdom, must navigate their captors' treacherous imperial court. The Emperor's palace -- full of ambitious royals, sly gossip, and unforeseen perils -- is perhaps the most dangerous place in Zhaon. A hostage for her conquered people's good behavior, the lady Komor Yala has only her wits and her hidden maiden's blade to protect herself -- and her childhood friend Princess Mahara, sacrificed in marriage to the enemy to secure a tenuous peace. But the Emperor is aging, and the Khir princess and her lady-in-waiting soon find themselves pawns in the six princes' deadly schemes for the throne -- and a single spark could ignite fresh rebellion in Khir. And then, the Emperor falls ill, and a far bloodier game begins...

October 22nd:

Empress of the Fall (Sunsurge Quartet #1) by David Hair (Paperback, 688 pages, published by Hodder & Stoughton)
The Emperor is dead - long live the Empress! Emperor Constant is dead and his rivals are scrabbling for power - but any misstep could plunge the land, already devastated by the shocking outcome of the Third Crusade, into a calamitous civil war. The Imperial throne is not the only one in jeopardy. Two brothers, imprisoned veterans of the Crusades, finally return home to find their father's kingdom being plundered - but the price of regaining their birthright will have far-reaching implications for the entire empire. In the East, Sultan Salim, peacemaker and visionary ruler, faces his greatest challenge as his people demand an invasion of the West in retribution for the Rondian Crusades And lurking in the darkness, orchestrating both the power struggles and the inevitable conflicts, is a shadowy group threatening to destroy civilisation itself. Once more, Urte stands on the brink of cataclysm.

From Hell to Breakfast by Meghan Tifft (Paperback, published by The Unnamed Press)
Lucinda’s boyfriend Dracula claims to be the Dracula―he sleeps in a coffin, hunts pigeons for blood, and only goes out at night. But is he really? Unsettlingly, there has been a spate of recent disappearances and Dracula may be connected. Lucinda doesn’t know for sure or which is more dangerous: dating an immortal vampire or a UPS driver with a night shift who thinks he’s one? While Dracula sleeps, Lucinda works at a smoothie shop where her boss is a creep, and their neighbor is always either belting out Whitney Houston or yelling in Russian through the walls. Lucinda focuses on the play she’s written that’s being produced by the community theatre and a pair of sibling actors, Rory and Lauren, she’s met there. Rory is clearly infatuated with Lucinda, and while she is out all day Dracula ruminates on next steps. Their other neighbor is a bicycle cop who clearly has it out for him, the landlord claims to have never seen Lucinda, and Lucinda’s brother Warren is constantly asking for Dracula’s help killing birds for his art. As the play’s premiere draws nearer, sinister forces are at work, though it may just be the fault of amateur actors. Meghan Tifft creates an alternate small town America, one brimming with strange delights and dark curiosities, where you can be whoever you want, thought not really, and somebody’s dinner is always another person’s breakfast.

The Burning White (Lightbringer #5) by Brent Weeks (Paperback, 992 pages, published by Orbit)
Stripped of both magical and political power, the people he once ruled told he's dead, and now imprisoned in his own magical dungeon, former Emperor Gavin Guile has no prospect of escape. But the world faces a calamity greater than the Seven Satrapies has ever seen... and only he can save it. As the armies of the White King defeat the Chromeria and old gods are born anew, the fate of worlds will come down to one question: Who is the Lightbringer?

The Girl with No Face (The Daoshi Chronicles #2) by M.H. Boroson (Hardcover, 360 pages, published by Talos)
It’s the end of the Nineteenth Century. San Francisco’s cobblestone streets are haunted, but Chinatown has an unlikely protector in a young Daoist priestess named Li-lin. Using only her martial arts training, spiritual magic, a sword made from peachwood, and the walking, talking spirit of a human eye, Li-lin stands alone to defend her immigrant community from supernatural threats. But when the body of a young girl is brought to the deadhouse Li-lin oversees for a local group of gangsters, she faces her most bewildering—and potentially dangerous—assignment yet. The nine-year-old has died from suffocation... specifically by flowers growing out of her nose and mouth. Li-lin suspects Gong Tau, a dirty and primitive form of dark magic. But who is behind the spell, and why, will take her on a perilous journey deep into a dangerous world of ghosts and spirits. With hard historical realism and meticulously researched depictions of Chinese monsters and magic that have never been written about in the English language, The Girl with No Face draws from the action-packed cinema of Hong Kong to create a compelling and unforgettable tale of historical fantasy and Chinese lore.

October 29th:

A River of Royal Blood (A River of Royal Blood #1) by Amanda Joy (Hardcover, 368 pages, published by Putnam)
Sixteen-year-old Eva is a princess, born with the magick of marrow and blood--a dark and terrible magick that hasn't been seen for generations in the vibrant but fractured country of Myre. Its last known practitioner was Queen Raina, who toppled the native khimaer royalty and massacred thousands, including her own sister, eight generations ago, thus beginning the Rival Heir tradition. Living in Raina's long and dark shadow, Eva must now face her older sister, Isa, in a battle to the death if she hopes to ascend to the Ivory Throne--because in the Queendom of Myre only the strongest, most ruthless rulers survive. When Eva is attacked by an assassin just weeks before the battle with her sister, she discovers there is more to the attempt on her life than meets the eye--and it isn't just her sister who wants to see her dead. As tensions escalate, Eva is forced to turn to a fey instructor of mythic proportions and a mysterious and handsome khimaer prince for help in growing her magick into something to fear. Because despite the love she still has for her sister, Eva will have to choose: Isa's death or her own. A River of Royal Blood is an enthralling debut set in a lush North African inspired fantasy world that subtly but powerfully challenges our notions of power, history, and identity.

Gravemaidens (Gravemaidens #1) by Kelly Coon (Hardcover, 416 pages, published by Delacorte Press)
The start of a fierce fantasy duology about three maidens who are chosen for their land's greatest honor... and one girl determined to save her sister from the grave. In the walled city-state of Alu, Kammani wants nothing more than to become the accomplished healer her father used to be before her family was cast out of their privileged life in shame. When Alu's ruler falls deathly ill, Kammani’s beautiful little sister, Nanaea, is chosen as one of three sacred maidens to join him in the afterlife. It’s an honor. A tradition. And Nanaea believes it is her chance to live an even grander life than the one that was stolen from her. But Kammani sees the selection for what it really is—a death sentence. Desperate to save her sister, Kammani schemes her way into the palace to heal the ruler. There she discovers more danger lurking in the sand-stone corridors than she could have ever imagined and that her own life—and heart—are at stake. But Kammani will stop at nothing to dig up the palace’s buried secrets even if it means sacrificing everything… including herself.

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson (Paperback, 336 pages, published by HarperLuxe)
Lillian and Madison were unlikely roommates and yet inseparable friends at their elite boarding school. But then Lillian had to leave the school unexpectedly in the wake of a scandal and they’ve barely spoken since. Until now, when Lillian gets a letter from Madison pleading for her help. Madison’s twin stepkids are moving in with her family and she wants Lillian to be their caretaker. However, there’s a catch: the twins spontaneously combust when they get agitated, flames igniting from their skin in a startling but beautiful way. Lillian is convinced Madison is pulling her leg, but it’s the truth. Thinking of her dead-end life at home, the life that has consistently disappointed her, Lillian figures she has nothing to lose. Over the course of one humid, demanding summer, Lillian and the twins learn to trust each other—and stay cool—while also staying out of the way of Madison’s buttoned-up politician husband. Surprised by her own ingenuity yet unused to the intense feelings of protectiveness she feels for them, Lillian ultimately begins to accept that she needs these strange children as much as they need her—urgently and fiercely. Couldn’t this be the start of the amazing life she’d always hoped for?

Shattered Bonds (Jane Yellowrock #13) by Faith Hunter (Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages, published by Ace)
Jane Yellowrock is a shapeshifting skinwalker, and vampire killer-for-hire, but her last battle with an ancient arcane enemy has brought her low. She seeks retreat in the Appalachian Mountains to grieve the loss of her friends, and to heal--or to die--from the disease brought on by her magic. But malevolent elements in the paranormal community still seek to destroy Jane, and the younger Son of Darkness stalks her, even into the safety of the hills. With nowhere to run and her body failing, the rogue-vampire hunter and her inner Beast must discover a way to defeat this new threat, and find a form that gives her a chance to fight another day.

Shield of the People (Maradaine Elite #2) by Marshall Ryan Maresca (Paperback, 400 pages, published by DAW)
The second novel in the Maradaine Elite series blends fast-paced high fantasy and political intrigue. After stopping Tharek Pell and saving the Druth Parliament, Dayne Heldrin and Jerinne Fendall find themselves on the margins of the Tarian Order: lauded as heroes in public but scorned and ignored in private, their future in the Order hazy. Dayne is given an assignment that isolates him from the Order, and Jerinne is hazed and bullied at the bottom of the initiate rankings. But it’s a grand holiday week in the city of Maradaine, celebrating over two centuries of freedom and the foundation of the reunified modern nation, and with that comes parades, revelry… and protests and demonstrations. A dissident group called The Open Hand–and their mysterious, charismatic leader, Bishop Ret Issendel–seeks to disrupt the Parliament elections with their message of secession and dissolution. Despite orders to stay out of the public eye, Dayne and Jerinne are drawn into the intrigue of the Open Hand and kept apart by dark powerful conspiracies that brew around them. Dayne and Jerinne must fight for their own principles, and protect the will of the people as the election is thrown into chaos.

The Name of All Things (A Chorus of Dragons #2) by Jenn Lyons (Hardcover, 592 pages, published by Tor Books)
You can have everything you want if you sacrifice everything you believe. Kihrin D'Mon is a wanted man. Since he destroyed the Stone of Shackles and set demons free across Quur, he has been on the run from the wrath of an entire empire. His attempt to escape brings him into the path of Janel Theranon, a mysterious Joratese woman who claims to know Kihrin. Janel's plea for help pits Kihrin against all manner of dangers: a secret rebellion, a dragon capable of destroying an entire city, and Kihrin's old enemy, the wizard Relos Var. Janel believes that Relos Var possesses one of the most powerful artifacts in the world―the Cornerstone called the Name of All Things. And if Janel is right, then there may be nothing in the world that can stop Relos Var from getting what he wants. And what he wants is Kihrin D'Mon.

• • • •

- Historical Fiction -

October 1st:

Cilka's Journey (The Tattooist of Auschwitz #2) by Heather Morris (Hardcover, 352 pages, published by St. Martin's Press)
Her beauty saved her life - and condemned her. Cilka is just sixteen years old when she is taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, in 1942. The Commandant at Birkenau, Schwarzhuber, notices her long beautiful hair, and forces her separation from the other women prisoners. Cilka learns quickly that power, even unwillingly given, equals survival. After liberation, Cilka is charged as a collaborator for sleeping with the enemy and sent to Siberia. But what choice did she have? And where did the lines of morality lie for Cilka, who was sent to Auschwitz when still a child? In a Siberian prison camp, Cilka faces challenges both new and horribly familiar, including the unwanted attention of the guards. But when she makes an impression on a woman doctor, Cilka is taken under her wing. Cilka begins to tend to the ill in the camp, struggling to care for them under brutal conditions. Cilka finds endless resources within herself as she daily confronts death and faces terror. And when she nurses a man called Ivan, Cilka finds that despite everything that has happened to her, there is room in her heart for love.

Ribbons of Scarlet: A Novel of the French Revolution's Women (Paperback, 560 pages, published by William Morrow Paperbacks)
Six bestselling and award-winning authors bring to life a breathtaking epic novel illuminating the hopes, desires, and destinies of princesses and peasants, harlots and wives, fanatics and philosophers—six unforgettable women whose paths cross during one of the most tumultuous and transformative events in history: the French Revolution. Ribbons of Scarlet is a timely story of the power of women to start a revolution—and change the world. In late eighteenth-century France, women do not have a place in politics. But as the tide of revolution rises, women from gilded salons to the streets of Paris decide otherwise—upending a world order that has long oppressed them. Blue-blooded Sophie de Grouchy believes in democracy, education, and equal rights for women, and marries the only man in Paris who agrees. Emboldened to fight the injustices of King Louis XVI, Sophie aims to prove that an educated populace can govern itself--but one of her students, fruit-seller Louise Audu, is hungrier for bread and vengeance than learning. When the Bastille falls and Louise leads a women’s march to Versailles, the monarchy is forced to bend, but not without a fight. The king’s pious sister Princess Elisabeth takes a stand to defend her brother, spirit her family to safety, and restore the old order, even at the risk of her head. But when fanatics use the newspapers to twist the revolution’s ideals into a new tyranny, even the women who toppled the monarchy are threatened by the guillotine. Putting her faith in the pen, brilliant political wife Manon Roland tries to write a way out of France’s blood-soaked Reign of Terror while pike-bearing Pauline Leon and steely Charlotte Corday embrace violence as the only way to save the nation. With justice corrupted by revenge, all the women must make impossible choices to survive--unless unlikely heroine and courtesan’s daughter Emilie de Sainte-Amaranthe can sway the man who controls France’s fate: the fearsome Robespierre.

The Dressmaker's Gift by Fiona Valpy (Paperback, 287 pages, published by Lake Union Publishing)
A gripping story of three young women faced with impossible choices. How will history – and their families – judge them? Paris, 1940. With the city occupied by the Nazis, three young seamstresses go about their normal lives as best they can. But all three are hiding secrets. War-scarred Mireille is fighting with the Resistance; Claire has been seduced by a German officer; and Vivienne’s involvement is something she can’t reveal to either of them. Two generations later, Claire’s English granddaughter Harriet arrives in Paris, rootless and adrift, desperate to find a connection with her past. Living and working in the same building on the Rue Cardinale, she learns the truth about her grandmother – and herself – and unravels a family history that is darker and more painful than she ever imagined. In wartime, the three seamstresses face impossible choices when their secret activities put them in grave danger. Brought together by loyalty, threatened by betrayal, can they survive history’s darkest era without being torn apart?

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys (Paperback, 512 pages, published by Philomel Books)
Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming promise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of an oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother's birth through the lens of his camera. Photography--and fate--introduce him to Ana, whose family's interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War--as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel's photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of difficult decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city. Master storyteller Ruta Sepetys once again shines light into one of history's darkest corners in this epic, heart-wrenching novel about identity, unforgettable love, repercussions of war, and the hidden violence of silence--inspired by the true postwar struggles of Spain. Includes vintage media reports, oral history commentary, photos, and more.

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes (Paperback, 480 pages, published by Michael Joseph)
Inspired by a remarkable true story, the unforgettable journey of five extraordinary women living in extraordinary and perilous times. Alice Wright has travelled halfway across the world to escape her stifling life in England. Handsome American businessman Bennett Van Cleve represents a fresh start. But she soon realises that swapping the twitching curtains of suburbia for newlywed life in the wild mountains of Kentucky isn't the answer to her prayers. But maybe meeting Margery O'Hara is. The heart and backbone of the small community of Salt Lick, a woman who isn't afraid of anything or anyone, Margery is on a mission. Enlisting Alice, along with three other women, all from very different backgrounds, to join her, the band of unlikely sisters battle the elements and unforgiving terrain - as well as brave all manner of dangers and social disapproval - to ride hundreds of miles a week to deliver books to isolated families. Transforming the lives of so many is all the impetus they need to take such risks. And for Alice, her new job and blossoming friendships become an unexpected lifeline, providing her with the courage she needs to make some tough decisions about her marriage. Then a body is found in the mountains, rocking the close-knit community and tearing the women apart as one of them becomes the prime suspect. Can they pull together to overcome their greatest challenge yet?

October 8th:

One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow by Olivia Hawker (Paperback, 496 pages, published by Lake Union Publishing)
Wyoming, 1870. For as long as they have lived on the frontier, the Bemis and Webber families have relied on each other. With no other settlers for miles, it is a matter of survival. But when Ernest Bemis finds his wife, Cora, in a compromising situation with their neighbor, he doesn’t think of survival. In one impulsive moment, a man is dead, Ernest is off to prison, and the women left behind are divided by rage and remorse. Losing her husband to Cora’s indiscretion is another hardship for stoic Nettie Mae. But as a brutal Wyoming winter bears down, Cora and Nettie Mae have no choice but to come together as one family—to share the duties of working the land and raising their children. There’s Nettie Mae’s son, Clyde—no longer a boy, but not yet a man—who must navigate the road to adulthood without a father to guide him, and Cora’s daughter, Beulah, who is as wild and untamable as her prairie home. Bound by the uncommon threads in their lives and the challenges that lie ahead, Cora and Nettie Mae begin to forge an unexpected sisterhood. But when a love blossoms between Clyde and Beulah, bonds are once again tested, and these two resilient women must finally decide whether they can learn to trust each other—or else risk losing everything they hold dear.

• • • •

- Literary Fiction -

October 3rd:

Grand Union: Stories by Zadie Smith (Hardcover, 304 pages, published by Hamish Hamilton)
In the summer of 1959, an Antiguan immigrant in north west London lives the last day of his life, unknowingly caught in someone else's story of hate and division, resistance and revolt. A mother looks back on her early forays into matters of the human heart - and other parts of the human body - considering the ways in which desire is always an act of negotiation, destruction, and self-invention. A disgraced cop stands amid the broken shards of his life, unable to move forward into a future that holds no place for him. Moral panic spreads like contagion through the upper echelons of New York City - and the cancelled people look disconcertingly like the rest of us. A teenage scion of the technocratic elite chases spectres through a premium virtual reality, trailed by a little girl with a runny nose and no surviving family. We all take a much-needed break from this mess, on a package holiday where the pool's electric blue is ceaselessly replenished, while political and environmental collapse happen far away, to someone else. Interleaving ten completely new and unpublished stories with some of her best-loved pieces from the New Yorker and elsewhere, Zadie Smith presents a dizzyingly rich and varied collection of fiction. Moving exhilaratingly across genres and perspectives, from the historic to the vividly current to the slyly dystopian, Grand Union is a sharply alert and prescient collection about time and place, identity and rebirth, the persistent legacies that haunt our present selves and the uncanny futures that rush up to meet us.

October 8th:

Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia (Hardcover, 368 pages, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
A dying billionaire sends one woman and a cast of dreamers and rivals on a citywide treasure hunt in this irresistible novel by the author of Bellweather Rhapsody. Tuesday Mooney is a loner. She keeps to herself, begrudgingly socializes, and spends much of her time watching old Twin Peaks and X-Files DVDs. But when Vincent Pryce, Boston’s most eccentric billionaire, dies—leaving behind an epic treasure hunt through the city, with clues inspired by his hero, Edgar Allan Poe—Tuesday’s adventure finally begins. Puzzle-loving Tuesday searches for clue after clue, joined by a ragtag crew: a wisecracking friend, an adoring teen neighbor, and a handsome, cagey young heir. The hunt tests their mettle, and with other teams from around the city also vying for the promised prize—a share of Pryce’s immense wealth—they must move quickly. Pryce’s clues can't be cracked with sharp wit alone; the searchers must summon the courage to face painful ghosts from their pasts (some more vivid than others) and discover their most guarded desires and dreams.

October 15th:

Olive, Again (Olive Kitteridge #2) by Elizabeth Strout (Hardcover, 304 pages, published by Random House)
Olive, Again will pick up where Olive Kitteridge left off, following the next decade of Olive's life - through a second marriage, an evolving relationship with her son, and encounters with a cast of memorable characters in the seaside town of Crosby, Maine. The iconic Olive struggles to understand not only herself and her own life but the lives of those around her in the town of Crosby, Maine. Whether with a teenager coming to terms with the loss of her father, a young woman about to give birth during a hilariously inopportune moment, a nurse who confesses a secret high school crush, or a lawyer who struggles with an inheritance she does not want to accept, the unforgettable Olive will continue to startle us, to move us, and to inspire moments of transcendent grace.

October 22nd:

All This Could Be Yours by Jami Attenberg (Hardcover, 304 pages, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
 “If I know why he is the way he is then maybe I can learn why I am the way I am,” says Alex Tuchman, strong-headed lawyer, loving mother, and daughter of Victor Tuchman—a power-hungry real estate developer and, by all accounts, a bad man. Now that Victor is on his deathbed, Alex feels she can finally unearth the secrets of who he is and what he did over the course of his life and career. She travels to New Orleans to be with her family, but mostly to interrogate her tightlipped mother, Barbra. As Barbra fends of Alex’s unrelenting questions, she reflects on her tumultuous life with Victor. Meanwhile Gary, Alex’s brother, is incommunicado, trying to get his movie career off the ground in Los Angeles. And Gary’s wife, Twyla, is having a nervous breakdown, buying up all the lipstick in drug stores around New Orleans and bursting into crying fits. Dysfunction is at its peak. As each family member grapples with Victor’s history, they must figure out a way to move forward—with one another, for themselves, and for the sake of their children. All This Could Be Yours is a timely, piercing exploration of what it means to be caught in the web of a toxic man who abused his power; it shows how those webs can tangle a family for generations and what it takes to—maybe, hopefully—break free.

October 29th:

Find Me (Call Me By Your Name #2) by André Aciman (Paperback, 256 pages, published by Faber Faber)
In Find Me, Aciman shows us Elio's father, Samuel, on a trip from Florence to Rome to visit Elio, now a gifted classical pianist. A chance encounter on the train upends Sami's visit and changes his life forever. Elio soon moves to Paris, where he, too, has a consequential affair, while Oliver, a New England college professor with a family, suddenly finds himself contemplating a return trip across the Atlantic. Aciman is a master of sensibility, of the intimate details and the nuances of emotion that are the substance of passion. Find Me brings us back inside the world of one of our greatest contemporary romances to show us that in fact true love never dies.

Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett (Paperback, 352 pages, published by Penguin)
Simone Garcia-Hampton is starting over at a new school, and this time things will be different. She's making real friends, making a name for herself as student director of Rent, and making a play for Miles, the guy who makes her melt every time he walks into a room. The last thing she wants is for word to get out that she's HIV-positive, because last time... well, last time things got ugly. Keeping her viral load under control is easy, but keeping her diagnosis under wraps is not so simple. As Simone and Miles start going out for real--shy kisses escalating into much more--she feels an uneasiness that goes beyond butterflies. She knows she has to tell him that she's positive, especially if sex is a possibility, but she's terrified of how he'll react! And then she finds an anonymous note in her locker: I know you have HIV. You have until Thanksgiving to stop hanging out with Miles. Or everyone else will know too. Simone's first instinct is to protect her secret at all costs, but as she gains a deeper understanding of the prejudice and fear in her community, she begins to wonder if the only way to rise above is to face the haters head-on...

• • • •

- Young Adult -

October 1st:

Angel Mage by Garth Nix (Hardcover, 560 pages, published by Katherine Tegen Books)
More than a century has passed since Liliath crept into the empty sarcophagus of Saint Marguerite, fleeing the Fall of Ystara. But she emerges from her magical sleep still beautiful, looking no more than nineteen, and once again renews her single-minded quest to be united with her lover, Palleniel, the archangel of Ystara. A seemingly impossible quest, but Liliath is one of the greatest practitioners of angelic magic to have ever lived, summoning angels and forcing them to do her bidding. Liliath knew that most of the inhabitants of Ystara died from the Ash Blood plague or were transformed into beastlings, and she herself led the survivors who fled into neighboring Sarance. Now she learns that angels shun the Ystaran’s descendants. If they are touched by angelic magic, their blood will turn to ash. They are known as Refusers, and can only live the most lowly lives. But Liliath cares nothing for the descendants of her people, save how they can serve her. It is four young Sarancians who hold her interest: Simeon, a studious doctor-in-training; Henri, a dedicated fortune hunter; Agnez, an adventurous musketeer cadet; and Dorotea, an icon-maker and scholar of angelic magic. They are the key to her quest. The four feel a strange kinship from the moment they meet, but do not know why, or suspect their importance. All become pawns in Liliath’s grand scheme to fulfill her destiny and be united with the love of her life. No matter the cost to everyone else...

Crier's War (Crier's War #1) by Nina Varela (Hardcover, 448 pages, published by HarperTeen)
After the War of Kinds ravaged the kingdom of Rabu, the Automae, designed to be the playthings of royals, usurped their owners’ estates and bent the human race to their will. Now Ayla, a human servant rising in the ranks at the House of the Sovereign, dreams of avenging her family’s death…by killing the sovereign’s daughter, Lady Crier. Crier was Made to be beautiful, flawless, and to carry on her father’s legacy. But that was before her betrothal to the enigmatic Scyre Kinok, before she discovered her father isn’t the benevolent king she once admired, and most importantly, before she met Ayla. Now, with growing human unrest across the land, pressures from a foreign queen, and an evil new leader on the rise, Crier and Ayla find there may be only one path to love: war.

Cursed by Thomas Wheeler (Hardcover, 416 pages, published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
Whosoever wields the Sword of Power shall be the one true King. But what if the Sword has chosen a Queen? Nimue grew up an outcast. Her connection to dark magic made her something to be feared in her Druid village, and that made her desperate to leave… That is, until her entire village is slaughtered by Red Paladins, and Nimue’s fate is forever altered. Charged by her dying mother to reunite an ancient sword with a legendary sorcerer, Nimue is now her people’s only hope. Her mission leaves little room for revenge, but the growing power within her can think of little else. Nimue teams up with a charming mercenary named Arthur and refugee Fey Folk from across England. She wields a sword meant for the one true king, battling paladins and the armies of a corrupt king. She struggles to unite her people, avenge her family, and discover the truth about her destiny. But perhaps the one thing that can change Destiny itself is found at the edge of a blade.

Now Entering Addamsville by Francesca Zappia (Hardcover, 368 pages, published by Greenwillow Books)
Zora Novak has been framed. When someone burns down the home of the school janitor and he dies in the blaze, everyone in Addamsville, Indiana, points a finger at Zora. Never mind that Zora has been on the straight and narrow since her father was thrown in jail. With everyone looking for evidence against her, her only choice is to uncover the identity of the real killer. There’s one big problem—Zora has no leads. No one does. Addamsville has a history of tragedy, and thirty years ago a similar string of fires left several townspeople dead. The arsonist was never caught. Now, Zora must team up with her cousin Artemis—an annoying self-proclaimed Addamsville historian—to clear her name. But with a popular ghost-hunting television show riling up the townspeople, almost no support from her family and friends, and rumors spinning out of control, things aren’t looking good. Zora will have to read between the lines of Addamsville’s ghost stories before she becomes one herself.

Rebel (Legend #4) by Marie Lu (Hardcover, 384 pages, published by Roaring Book Press)
Respect the Legend. Idolize the Prodigy. Celebrate the Champion. But never underestimate the Rebel. With unmatched suspense and her signature cinematic storytelling, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Marie Lu plunges readers back into the unforgettable world of Legend for a truly grand finale. Eden Wing has been living in his brother’s shadow for years. Even though he’s a top student at his academy in Ross City, Antarctica, and a brilliant inventor, most people know him only as Daniel Wing’s little brother. A decade ago, Daniel was known as Day, the boy from the streets who led a revolution that saved the Republic of America. But Day is no longer the same young man who was once a national hero. These days he’d rather hide out from the world and leave his past behind. All that matters to him now is keeping Eden safe―even if that also means giving up June, the great love of Daniel’s life. As the two brothers struggle to accept who they’ve each become since their time in the Republic, a new danger creeps into the distance that’s grown between them. Eden soon finds himself drawn so far into Ross City’s dark side, even his legendary brother can’t save him. At least not on his own...

Scars Like Wings by Erin Stewart (Paperback, 368 pages, published by Simon & Schuster)
Everyone has scars. Some are just easier to see... 16-year-old Ava Gardener is heading back to school one year after a house fire left her severely disfigured. She’s used to the names, the stares, the discomfort, but there’s one name she hates most of all: Survivor. What do you call someone who didn’t mean to survive? Who sometimes wishes she hadn’t? When she meets a fellow survivor named Piper at therapy, Ava begins to feel like she’s not facing the nightmare alone. Piper helps Ava reclaim the pieces of Ava Before the Fire, a normal girl who kissed boys and sang on stage. But Piper is fighting her own battle for survival, and when Ava almost loses her best friend, she must decide if the new normal she’s chasing has more to do with the girl in the glass—or the people by her side.

Shadow Frost (Shadow Frost #1) by Coco Ma (Hardcover, 400 pages, published by Blackstone Publishing)
IN THE KINGDOM OF AXARIA, a darkness rises. Some call it a monster, laying waste to the villagers and their homes. Some say it is an invulnerable demon summoned from the deepest abysses of the Immortal Realm. Many soldiers from the royal guard are sent out to hunt it down. Not one has ever returned. When Asterin Faelenhart, Princess of Axaria and heir to the throne, discovers that she may hold the key to defeating the mysterious demon terrorizing her kingdom, she vows not to rest until the beast is slain. With the help of her friends and the powers she wields — though has yet to fully understand — Asterin sets out to complete a single task. The task that countless, trained soldiers have failed. To kill it. But as they hunt for the demon, they unearth a plot to assassinate the Princess herself instead. Asterin and her companions begin to wonder how much of their lives have been lies, especially when they realize that the center of the web of deceit might very well be themselves. With no one else to turn to, they are forced to decide just how much they are willing to sacrifice to protect the only world they have ever known. That is, of course… if the demon doesn’t get to them first.

Supernova (Light Years #2) by Kass Morgan (Hardcover, 352 pages, published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
With a galaxy on the brink of war and loyalties divided, the friendship of four Quatra Fleet cadets will be tested as their greatest enemy closes in. Arrested for espionage, Orelia's future is looking bleak... until the Quatrans make her a surprising offer that could save her life -- and the lives of everyone in the galaxy. Reeling from a betrayal, Arran finds comfort in a sympathetic boy from Loos, someone who understands how hard it can be to fit in. But is it enough for Arran to forget his heartbreak? Meanwhile, Cormak's position at the Academy is in jeopardy when someone discovers his own treasonous secret, putting everything he's fought for in peril. And Vesper is on the brink of becoming the superstar officer she always dreamed she'd be... until she uncovers a conspiracy that shakes her faith in the Quatra Fleet to its core. As secret machinations come to light, these cadets will be forced to overcome their differences and band together to restore peace to their worlds.

The End And Other Beginnings: Stories From The Future by Veronica Roth (Hardcover, 272 pages, published by Harper Collins Children’s Books)
No world is like the other. Within this masterful collection, each setting is more strange and wonderful than the last, brimming with new technologies and beings. And yet, for all the advances in these futuristic lands, the people still must confront deeply human problems. In these six stories, Veronica Roth reaches into the unknown and draws forth something startlingly familiar and profoundly beautiful. With tales of friendship and revenge, plus two new stories from the Carve the Mark universe, this collection has something for new and old fans alike. Each story begins with a hope for a better end, but always end with a better understanding of the beginning. With beautifully intricate black-and-white interior illustrations and a uniquely designed package, this is the perfect gift for book lovers.

The Good Luck Girls (The Good Luck Girls #1) by Charlotte Nicole Davis (Paperback, 384 pages, published by Hot Key Books)
Aster. Violet. Tansy. Mallow. Clementine. Sold as children. Branded by cursed markings. Trapped in a life they never would have chosen. When Aster's sister Clementine accidentally murders a man, the girls risk a dangerous escape and harrowing journey to find freedom, justice, and revenge - in a country that wants them to have none of those things. Pursued by the land's most vicious and powerful forces - both living and dead - their only hope lies in a bedtime story passed from one girl to another, a story that only the youngest or most desperate would ever believe. It's going to take more than luck for them all to survive.

The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake (Hardcover, 400 pages, published by Disney-Hyperion)
The Larkin family isn't just lucky—they persevere. At least that's what Violet and her younger brother, Sam, were always told. When the Lyric sank off the coast of Maine, their great-great-great-grandmother didn't drown like the rest of the passengers. No, Fidelia swam to shore, fell in love, and founded Lyric, Maine, the town Violet and Sam returned to every summer. But wrecks seem to run in the family: Tall, funny, musical Violet can't stop partying with the wrong people. And, one beautiful summer day, brilliant, sensitive Sam attempts to take his own life. Shipped back to Lyric while Sam is in treatment, Violet is haunted by her family's missing piece-the lost shipwreck she and Sam dreamed of discovering when they were children. Desperate to make amends, Violet embarks on a wildly ambitious mission: locate the Lyric, lain hidden in a watery grave for over a century. She finds a fellow wreck hunter in Liv Stone, an amateur local historian whose sparkling intelligence and guarded gray eyes make Violet ache in an exhilarating new way. Whether or not they find the Lyric, the journey Violet takes-and the bridges she builds along the way-may be the start of something like survival.

The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy (Hardcover, 320 pages, published by Blink)
In the city of Craewick, memories reign. The power-obsessed ruler of the city, Madame, has cultivated a society in which memories are currency, citizens are divided by ability, and Gifted individuals can take memories from others through touch as they please. Seventeen-year-old Etta Lark is desperate to live outside of the corrupt culture, but grapples with the guilt of an accident that has left her mother bedridden in the city’s asylum. When Madame threatens to put her mother up for auction, a Craewick practice in which a “criminal's" memories are sold to the highest bidder before being killed, Etta will do whatever it takes to save her. Even if it means rejoining the Shadows, the rebel group she swore off in the wake of the accident years earlier. To prove her allegiance to the Shadows and rescue her mother, Etta must steal a memorized map of the Maze, a formidable prison created by the bloodthirsty ruler of a neighboring Realm. So she sets out on a journey in which she faces startling attacks, unexpected romance, and, above all, her own past in order to set things right in her world.

October 3rd:

The Places I've Cried in Public by Holly Bourne (Paperback, 368 pages, published by Usborne Publishing Ltd)
Amelie loved Reese. And she thought he loved her. But she’s starting to realise love isn’t supposed to hurt like this. So now she’s retracing their story and untangling what happened by revisiting all the places he made her cry. Because if she works out what went wrong, perhaps she can finally learn to get over him.

The Secret Commonwealth (The Book of Dust #2) by Philip Pullman (Hardcover, 656 pages, published by Penguin and David Fickling Books)
It is twenty years since the events of La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One unfolded and saw the baby Lyra Belacqua begin her life-changing journey. It is seven years since readers left Lyra and the love of her young life, Will Parry, on a park bench in Oxford's Botanic Gardens at the end of the ground-breaking, bestselling His Dark Materials sequence. Now, in The Secret Commonwealth, we meet Lyra Silvertongue. And she is no longer a child... The second volume of Sir Philip Pullman's The Book of Dust sees Lyra, now twenty years old, and her daemon Pantalaimon, forced to navigate their relationship in a way they could never have imagined, and drawn into the complex and dangerous factions of a world that they had no idea existed. Pulled along on his own journey too is Malcolm; once a boy with a boat and a mission to save a baby from the flood, now a man with a strong sense of duty and a desire to do what is right. Theirs is a world at once familiar and extraordinary, and they must travel far beyond the edges of Oxford, across Europe and into Asia, in search for what is lost - a city haunted by daemons, a secret at the heart of a desert, and the mystery of the elusive Dust.

October 8th:

A Kingdom for a Stage (For a Muse of Fire #2) by Heidi Heilig (Hardcover, 464 pages, published by Greenwillow Books)
Jetta is a prisoner. A prisoner of the armee, a prisoner of fate, and a prisoner of her own madness. Held captive in Hell’s Court—now the workshop of Theodora, the armee engineer and future queen of Chakrana—Jetta knows she needs to escape. But Theodora has the most tempting bait—a daily dose of a medication that treats Jetta’s madness. But the cost is high. In exchange, Jetta must use her power over dead spirits to trap their souls into flying machines—ones armed with enough firepower to destroy every village in Chakrana. And Theodora and her armee also control Le Trépas—a terrifying necromancer who once had all of Chakrana under his thumb, and Jetta’s biological father. Jetta fears the more she uses her powers, the more she will be like Le Trépas—especially now that she has brought her brother, Akra, back from the dead. Jetta knows Le Trépas can’t be trusted. But when Akra teams up with Leo, the handsome smuggler who abandoned her, to pull off an incredible escape, they insist on bringing the necromancer along. The rebels are eager to use Le Trépas’s and Jetta’s combined magic against the invading colonists. Soon Jetta will face the choice between saving all of Chakrana or becoming like her father, and she isn’t sure which she’ll choose.

Into the Crooked Place (Into the Crooked Place #1) by Alexandra Christo (Paperback, 496 pages, published by Hot Key Books)
Magic rules the city of Creije Capital and Tavia Syn knows just how many tricks she needs up her sleeve to survive. Selling dark magic on the streets for her kingpin, she keeps clear of other crooks, counting the days until her debt is paid and she can flee her criminal life. But then, one day, with her freedom in sight, Tavia uncovers a sinister plot that threatens to destroy the realm she calls home. Desperate to put an end to her kingpin's plan, Tavia forms an unlikely alliance with three crooks even more deadly than her: Wesley, the kingpin's prodigy and most renewed criminal in the realm; Karam, an underground fighter with a penchant for killing first and forgetting to ask questions; and Saxony, a Crafter in hiding who will stop at nothing to avenge her family. With the reluctant saviours assembled, they embark on a quest to put an end to the dark magic before it's too late. But even if they can take down the kingpin and save the realm, the one thing they can't do is trust each other.

The Burning Shadow (Origin #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Hardcover, 432 pages, published by Tor Teen)
When Evelyn Dasher crossed paths with Luc, she was thrown headfirst into the world of the Lux—only to discover that she was already far more involved in their world than she ever suspected. Because the Luxen aren’t the only ones with a hidden past. There’s a gap in Evie’s memory, lost months of her life and a lingering sense that something happened, something she can’t remember and nobody is willing to tell her. She needs to find out the truth about who she is—and who she was. But every answer she finds only brings up more questions. Her search for the truth brings her ever closer to Luc, the Origin at the center of it all. He’s powerful, arrogant, inhumanly beautiful, extremely dangerous… and possibly in love with her. But even as Evie falls for him, she can’t help but wonder if his attraction is to her, or to the memory of a girl who no longer exists. And all the while, a new threat looms: reports of a flu-like, fatal virus that the government insists is being spread by Luxen. A horrifying illness that changes whoever it touches, spreading panic across a country already at its breaking point.

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett (Hardcover, 416 pages, published by Wednesday Books)
Survive the year. No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden. In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive. Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for a chance to grab one of the girls in order to make a fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other. With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between.

October 15th:

Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle #1) by Rosaria Munda (Hardcover, 448 pages, published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers)
Annie and Lee were just children when a brutal revolution changed their world, giving everyone—even the lowborn—a chance to test into the governing class of dragonriders. Now they are both rising stars in the new regime, despite backgrounds that couldn’t be more different. Annie’s lowborn family was executed by dragonfire, while Lee’s aristocratic family was murdered by revolutionaries. Growing up in the same orphanage forged their friendship, and seven years of training have made them rivals for the top position in the dragonriding fleet. But everything changes when survivors from the old regime surface, bent on reclaiming the city. With war on the horizon and his relationship with Annie changing fast, Lee must choose to kill the only family he has left or to betray everything he’s come to believe in. And Annie must decide whether to protect the boy she loves... or step up to be the champion her city needs. From debut author Rosaria Munda comes a gripping adventure that calls into question which matters most: the family you were born into, or the one you’ve chosen.

The Never Tilting World (The Never Tilting World #1) by Rin Chupeco (Hardcover, 400 pages, published by HarperTeen)
Generations of twin goddesses have long ruled Aeon. But seventeen years ago, one sister’s betrayal defied an ancient prophecy and split their world in two. The planet ceased to spin, and a Great Abyss now divides two realms: one cloaked in perpetual night, the other scorched by an unrelenting sun. While one sister rules Aranth—a frozen city surrounded by a storm-wracked sea —her twin inhabits the sand-locked Golden City. Each goddess has raised a daughter, and each keeps her own secrets about her sister’s betrayal. But when shadowy forces begin to call their daughters, Odessa and Haidee, back to the site of the Breaking, the two young goddesses —along with a powerful healer from Aranth, and a mouthy desert scavenger —set out on separate journeys across treacherous wastelands, desperate to heal their broken world. No matter the sacrifice it demands.

October 22nd:

Lifestyles of Gods and Monsters by Emily Roberson (Hardcover, 352 pages, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Sixteen-year-old Ariadne’s whole life is curated and shared with the world. Her royal family’s entertainment empire is beloved by the tabloids, all over social media, and the hottest thing on television. The biggest moneymaker? The Labyrinth Contest, a TV extravaganza in which Ariadne leads fourteen teens into a maze to kill a monster. To win means endless glory; to lose means death. In ten seasons, no one has ever won. When the gorgeous, mysterious Theseus arrives at the competition and asks Ariadne to help him to victory, she doesn’t expect to fall for him. He might be acting interested in her just to boost ratings. Their chemistry is undeniable, though, and she can help him survive. If he wins, the contest would end for good. But if she helps him, she doesn’t just endanger her family’s empire―the monster would have to die. And for Ariadne, his life might be the only one worth saving. Ariadne’s every move is watched by the public and predestined by the gods, so how can she find a way to forge her own destiny and save the people she loves?

October 29th:

Beyond the Black Door by A. M. Strickland (Hardcover, 400 pages, published by Imprint)
Kamai was warned never to open the black door, but she didn't listen... Everyone has a soul. Some are beautiful gardens, others are frightening dungeons. Soulwalkers―like Kamai and her mother―can journey into other people's souls while they sleep. But no matter where Kamai visits, she sees the black door. It follows her into every soul, and her mother has told her to never, ever open it. When Kamai touches the door, it is warm and beating, like it has a pulse. When she puts her ear to it, she hears her own name whispered from the other side. And when tragedy strikes, Kamai does the unthinkable: she opens the door. A.M. Strickland's imaginative dark fantasy features court intrigue and romance, a main character coming to terms with her asexuality, and twists and turns as a seductive mystery unfolds that endangers not just Kamai's own soul, but the entire kingdom...

The Light at the Bottom of the World (The Light at the Bottom of the World #1) by London Shah (Hardcover, 320 pages, published by Disney-Hyperion)
Hope had abandoned them to the wrath of all the waters. At the end of the twenty-first century, the world has changed dramatically, but life continues one thousand feet below the ocean's surface. In Great Britain, sea creatures swim among the ruins of Big Ben and the Tower of London, and citizens waver between fear and hope; fear of what lurks in the abyss, and hope that humanity will soon discover a way to reclaim the Earth. Meanwhile, sixteen-year-old Leyla McQueen has her own problems to deal with. Her father's been arrested, accused of taking advantage of victims of the Seasickness-a debilitating malaise that consumes people,often claiming their lives. But Leyla knows he's innocent, and all she's interested in is getting him back so that their lives can return to normal. When she's picked to race in the action-packed London Submersible Marathon, Leyla gets the chance to secure his freedom; the Prime Minister promises the champion whatever their heart desires. The race takes an unexpected turn, though, and presents her with an opportunity she never wanted: Leyla must venture outside of London for the first time in her life, to find and rescue her father herself. Now, she'll have to brave the unfathomable waters and defy a corrupt government determined to keep its secrets, all the while dealing with a secretive, hotheaded companion she never asked for in the first place. If she fails, or falls prey to her own fears, she risks capture-and her father might be lost forever.
barnes&noble 1 2, tor.com 1 2 3 4 5, goodreads 1 2 3 4 5 6)