Jan 24, 2020

 

Book Review - The Green Boy, The Chronicles Of Agartha #1 (by Sherif Guiguis and Isaac Michaan)

Title: The Green Boy
Series: The Chronicles Of Agartha (book #1)
Author: Sherif Guiguis and Isaac Michaan
Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Amazon.com Services LLC
Release Date: February 20th, 2020
Format: Kindle Edition
Pages: 214

 



"The fate of two worlds rests on the shoulders of a few unsuspecting souls.

Inner Earth, Agartha, a land where the color of your Aura defines you, losing the entire population of greens to the war left a visible void.
 

Ethan, a fourteen-year-old young man, discovers he has a green aura, the last of an extinct race. He leaves the school of Nafoura in search of the truth about the fate of the greens, and to find a home to call his own.
 

Joined by a girl from our earth, and an exiled shapeshifter, Ethan must race to the Chronicler of Agartha in search of answers.
 

But Ethan has a mark on his head by the very woman who decimated his people, doggedly chasing after him for nefarious reasons of her own.

Ethan must walk a thin line to get his answers, inadvertently stepping into the web of a prophecy he knows nothing about, one which may lead to salvation, or to a promise of doom for his and our world."



The Green Boy (The Chronicles Of Agartha #1)
(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 young adult, coming of age epic fantasy, that is a bit on the dark side of emotions". The blurb sounded interesting with a society built around the color of a person's aura so I decided to give it a go.
 

The Plot
In the world of Agartha, the color of a person's aura determines the nation they belong to and the powers they manifest. After the purification war that decimated the Greens and banished the Blues and the Yellows to unknown places, only the Red, Orange and Purple nations still stand, along with a few mixed refugee villages trying to recover from the conflict.
 

Ethan is a 14-year-old boy, fresh out of the protected school of Nafoura. But unlike his fellow graduates, Ethan has no nation to welcome him since the Ritual of the Dream has determined he's a Green, a race believed to have been extinct for 20 years. Hoping he might not be the last of his kind, Ethan sets out to find any surviving members of his people.
 

Darren is not only a Red, a nation despised for the atrocities committed in the purification war, but also a shapeshifter, a rare caste within the Reds considered to be more beast than man. Rejecting his own nature, young Darren sets out to find a way to change the color of his aura, for all he really wants is to be an artist, inspiring admiration instead of fear.
 

15-year-old Mara is the daughter of a wealthy trader from the desert city of Khorasan. Finding herself unexpectedly in a strange forest with no memories of how she got there, she's determined to find a way to get back to her own world.
 

The 3 teenagers join forces to cross the land in search of the Chronicler, an immortal entity rumored to know the future and what's to come. Pursued by the Green Lady and the Order of Purification, it will take their combined skills to finish their quest and get their wishes granted.
 

The Good
"The Green Boy" is the first book in "The Chronicles of Agartha" series, a young adult epic fantasy novel set in a world beneath our own, where the color of one person's aura determines their magical abilities and the nation they belong to. The worldbuilding is vividly imaginative: the history of Agartha, the hidden school of Nafoura, the purification war, the 6 color based nations, the magical skills (Vrill) specific to each nation... with each element adding to the complexity of this world (
though some seem a bit contradictory and would benefit from a little more development).
 

The narrative is fast-paced with an engaging plot, as the 3 teenagers set out on a dangerous quest relying on their skills alone (magical and otherwise) to make their way through a land still reeling from a devastating war, and an ongoing mystery connecting Ethan with an ancient prophecy. The characters are 3-dimensional and believable, with realistic behaviors typical of teenagers as they struggle with their doubts and insecurities, trying to figure out who they are and their place in the world.
 

The Not So Good
Even though the story has great potential, the writing style is somewhat messy and confusing, with paragraphs consisting of one very long sentence without any breaks and with abrupt changes in tense and points of view, which made for a very distracting and off-putting reading experience. It was the main reason it lost a book / star in the final rating.
 

I also didn't particularly enjoy the expected flirting between two of the characters... but that's a personal quirk of mine, other readers might welcome it.
 

Final Rating
"The Green Boy" is the first book in "The Chronicles of Agartha" series, a young adult epic fantasy novel set in a magical world beneath our own, with an engaging plot and an ongoing mystery. Recommended for those who enjoy stories of personal quests, magical abilities and ancient prophecies.


• • • •


- About the Authors -
Website: thechroniclesofagartha.wordpress.com
Twitter: @OfAgartha
Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Psychology
 

Sherif Mekdam is an Egyptian physician, born in 1973 in Cairo Egypt. Since his early years he was addicted to reading and, eventually, writing. In the early nineties, at a very young age, he won several awards in Egypt for short stories and novellas.
 

His study of general medicine, psychiatry and the practice of them for twenty years led him to believe in the power of the individual human's capacity for adapting to hardship.
 

This further more convinced him to put on paper and share his knowledge, into an unlikely mode of communicating for a doctor, with the existing and possible patients through genres like fantasy, dark fantasy and urban fantasy aiming to concentrate his vision of people passing hardship, accepting it and overcoming it in order to continue life.

He is married and has two daughters.
 


Isaac Michaan is a Brazilian programmer, born in S.P, Brazil.
 

The first book he read was The Chocolate Factory, but the truth is, he was forced to read the book, since he didn’t want to, however since then he developed a passion for reading more and more.
 

In the beginning, he wrote mini stories, but then he prepared himself for a big project. His dream was to write a series of books of fantasy like the famous ones, Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, however, the first series of books that inspired and pushed him to do so, was Deltora Quest.
 

It wasn’t an easy task as he thought it would be, it took at least three to four attempts to finally get the materials for the book. Life took its turns and he almost quit and left the work behind, which would have resulted for the story to never have been told. But thankfully he tried and tried until finally he got something substantial to start with.
 

He was happy to find a co-author who helped him a lot to get this project done, without him it would still be only the draft material on his desk.
 

Now, Isaac is finishing his degree in BS.c. and looking for career opportunities in the cyber field. He is very thankful for his family and their support.

Share:

Jan 20, 2020

 

Book Review - The Miracles of the Namiya General Store (by Keigo Higashino)

Title: The Miracles of the Namiya General Store
Series: -
Author: Keigo Higashino
Genre: Literary Fiction, Cultural Japan, Magical Realism, Time Travel
Publisher: Yen On
Release Date: September 24th, 2019
Format: Hardback
Pages: 320

 


"When three delinquents hole up in an abandoned general store after their most recent robbery, to their great surprise, a letter drops through the mail slot in the store's shutter. This seemingly simple request for advice sets the trio on a journey of discovery as, over the course of a single night, they step into the role of the kindhearted former shopkeeper who devoted his waning years to offering thoughtful counsel to his correspondents. Through the lens of time, they share insight with those seeking guidance, and by morning, none of their lives will ever be the same."



The Miracles of the Namiya General Store
(read an excerpt on kobo.com)


- Review -
What Made Me Read It
I have a fascination for Japanese culture so when this book showed up on my Goodreads Recommendations I immediately added it to my to-be-read list.
 

The Plot
"The Miracles of the Namiya General Store" is a collection of 5 interconnected stories revolving around the Namiya General Store, a shuttered small town neighborhood store with a reputation for providing answers to life's toughest questions. A place where time passes differently and the past, present and future are connected - if you leave a letter in the mail slot after hours asking for advice, you will find an answer waiting for you in the milk crate around back in the morning.
 

"Answers in the Milk Crate" - Shota, Atsuya and Kohei are small time crooks, hiding in an old abandoned store after their last heist, waiting for the early hours to make their escape. When someone unexpectedly drops a letter in the mail slot asking for advice, and with nothing better to do to pass the time, the 3 young men decide to put their minds together and help Moon Rabbit make a life changing decision: to continue her intense training for the Olympics (a once in a lifetime opportunity) or stay by her boyfriend's side while he fights a losing battle against cancer.
 

"Midnight Blues" - Katsuro Matsuoka has yet to fulfill his dream of becoming a professional musician in the big city, and as the oldest son he's expected to take over his family business instead. Thorn between chasing his dreams or scrap them, Katsuro leaves a letter at Namiya General Store hoping for guidance.
 

"Overnight in the Civic" - Yuji Namiya's son wants his old father to close down his failing small town general store and go live with him in Tokyo. But Yuji has found something that gave a new meaning to his life. What started out as a prank from the neighborhood kids has turned into a serious calling, and Yuji gives his all to provide answers to those who ask for advice.
 

"A Moment of Silence for the Beatles" - after reading a message on the internet inviting anyone who had asked for and received advice from the Namiya General Store to leave an unfiltered opinion on how that advice had affected their lives, Kosuke Waku returns to his small hometown, reminiscing about the time his parents had gone bankrupt and planned a fly-by-night escape to evade the creditors.
 

"Prayers from the Sky Above" - 19-year-old Harumi Muto needs full financial independence to help her guardians, repaying them for taking her in as their child. But her day job is a dead end, as she's treated as nothing more than a prospective wife for her male co-workers, and her night job at a hosting club is all too demanding. Keeping both isn't enough to achieve her goals and Harumi must decide whether or not she should quit her day job and become a full-time hostess.
 

The Good
"The Miracles of the Namiya General Store" is a literary anthology of 5 slice of life stories with a few magical realism and time travel elements. Each tale focus on a different character facing a difficult moment in their lives and forced to make a life changing decision, giving us a deep insight on Japanese culture and traditions in the 70s and 80s.
 

The characters are 3-dimensional and complex, with realistic personalities, motivations and goals, and all too relatable insecurities and doubts. Even with a worldbulding based on a specific culture, the author makes it easy to identify and connect with each of these characters as their dilemmas are universal, giving us a chance to put ourselves in their position and wonder how we'd react when faced with a similar problem. Atsuya believes the 3 young friends are losers who have no business giving anyone advice, while Shota and Kohei see their current situation as a rare opportunity to do some good for a change and make a difference in someone else's life, even if they find it difficult to put themselves in that person's place; Katsuro loses faith in himself when he fails to achieve his dreams of becoming a musician, while feeling the constant pressure of his family's expectations to carry on the duties of an eldest son; Yuji finds a new purpose in life when he starts giving advice to anyone who asks, believing even those who prank him have a need to feel heard, to have their choices validated and their resolve hardened, to have someone push them out of their comfort zone; Kokuse doesn't know if he can trust his parents decision to run and wonders if the family bonds that connect them have been broken; Harumi wants to live her life on her own terms, refusing to follow society's expectations for women to find a husband and have kids as their only purpose in life.
 

The anthology is a morality tale grounded in reality, strongly empathic and empowering, vividly illustrating how one person can affect and impact another with their actions, their choices, even their words. It's a book about human nature and the interpersonal relations and connections we make in life. The stories seem independent at first, with only the Namiya General Store as the common factor, but the author found a way to connect all the characters in unexpected ways, and as each tale unfolds we get to know a little bit more about the characters from the previous stories as their fates intercept one another.
 

Final Rating
"The Miracles of the Namiya General Store" is a literary anthology of 5 interconnected stories, with a few magical realism and time travel elements, set in Japan in the 70s/80s and 2012. Recommended for those with an interest in cultural Japan and slice of life morality tales.


• • • •


- About the Author -
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
 

Keigo Higashino (東野 圭吾) is one of the most popular and biggest selling fiction authors in Japan—as well known as James Patterson, Dean Koontz or Tom Clancy are in the USA.
 

Born in Osaka, he started writing novels while still working as an engineer at Nippon Denso Co. (presently DENSO). He won the Edogawa Rampo Prize, which is awarded annually to the finest mystery work, in 1985 for the novel Hōkago (After School) at age 27. Subsequently, he quit his job and started a career as a writer in Tokyo.
 

In 1999, he won the Mystery Writers of Japan Inc award for the novel Himitsu (The Secret), which was translated into English by Kerim Yasar and published by Vertical under the title of Naoko in 2004. In 2006, he won the 134th Naoki Prize for Yōgisha X no Kenshin. His novels had been nominated five times before winning with this novel.
 

The Devotion of Suspect X was the second highest selling book in all of Japan— fiction or nonfiction—the year it was published, with over 800,000 copies sold. It won the prestigious Naoki Prize for Best Novel— the Japanese equivalent of the National Book Award and the Man Booker Prize. Made into a motion picture in Japan, The Devotion of Suspect X spent 4 weeks at the top of the box office and was the third highest‐grossing film of the year.
 

Higashino’s novels have more movie and TV series adaptations than Tom Clancy or Robert Ludlum, and as many as Michael Crichton.

Share:

Jan 13, 2020

 

Book Review - Ordinary, Ordinary #1 (by Starr Z. Davies)

Title: Ordinary
Series: Ordinary (book #1)
Author: Starr Z. Davies
Genre: Science Fiction, Mystery & Thriller, Post-Apocalyptic, Young Readers
Publisher: Pangea Books
Release Date: March 24th, 2020
Format: Paperback
Pages: 368
 


"Divinic. Somatic. Psionic. Naturalist. Who will you be?

Having a superpower is ordinary. Your power determines your job, social class, and future success.


But Ugene doesn’t have a Power. The only thing special about him is that he isn’t special at all. Ugene is Powerless.


Despite desperate self-inflicted research, he can find no traces of the Powers in him. Ugene’s prospects dwindle, and he learns that his father is suffering a degenerative disease that will soon kill him.


So when the most prominent biomedical research company in the city offers Ugene a solution, he jumps at the possibility to be ordinary. All he has to do is agree to allow them to use him in their research. But the longer he stays at the research facility, the more he realizes something isn’t right.


Friendships are forged. Trust is broken built and broken. And everything Ugene thought he understood and believed is called into question.


Who can Ugene trust in his search for answers? What is he willing to sacrifice for Powers?"




Ordinary (Ordinary #1)
(read an excerpt on starrzdavies.com)


- Review -
What Made Me Read It
I was sent a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. The author described it as a young adult sci-fi dystopian novel, inspired by her love for superheroes like Batman and Spiderman; Starr Davies also mentioned she gained a reputation as the "Character Assassin", while pursuing a degree in creative writing, for her "habit of utterly destroying her characters emotionally and physically". This hinted at good potential for character growth and a novel I might enjoy reading so I decided to give it a go.
 

The Plot
A devastating civil war between humans with enhanced abilities and those without left the planet a barren place incapable of sustaining life. The few survivors banded together to build Elpis, a sanctuary among the destruction where powered people worked together to heal the ruined soil and save humanity. Now Elpis is facing a new threat, as more people are being born with weaker powers or succumbing to degenerative diseases, taking them one step closer to extinction again.
 

In a world where the strength of one's power determines social status and wealth, Ugene Powers is at a serious disadvantage. Born without enhanced abilities, Ugene doesn't qualify for any of the Four Branches of Power that define their society, and in his last year of high school Ugene has no future prospects. When his own father shows signs of suffering from Muscular Degeneration, Ugene sees only one way out - to volunteer as a test subject in Dr. Cass' research to stop Regression.
 

But there's more to Paragon Diagnostics than meets the eye and soon Ugene is faced with a hard choice - remain at the testing facility for a chance to gain normal powers and save his father from a fatal disease, or help his fellow test subjects escape a gruesome existence and Proposition 8.5.
 

The Good
"Ordinary" is the first book in the 'Ordinary' series, a young adult sci-fi novel set in a futuristic post-apocalyptic world, told in the first person through the eyes of the main character, a powerless teenage boy in his last year of high school struggling to find his place in a society of powered people. The story is divided in 3 parts: part 1 introduces both the world - the sanctuary city of Elpis, and the main character - Ugene Powers; part 2 follows Dr. Cass' research on Regression and its impact on each of the test subjects, as Ugene adapts to life at Paragon Tower; part 3 explores Ugene's personal struggles as he is forced to take on a role he's unprepared for, with dire consequences on a personal level and society as a whole.
 

The plot is fast-paced, with thrilling action sequences where the test subjects use their powers to survive the trials, and plenty of suspense with an ongoing mystery, as Ugene tries to piece the puzzle together and discover the true purpose behind Paragon Diagnostics' research. The worldbuilding is complex and imaginative: the Four Branches of Power (somatic - powers that enhance the body, psionic - powers enhanced by the mind, divinic - powers linked to the cosmic universe and naturalist - powers that can manipulate the natural world); Testing Day and Career Day, to determine enhanced abilities and social status; Regression, a fast-spreading degenerative condition; the Consumption Tax and Proposition 8.5, a controversial law that discriminates citizens with weaker powers; futuristic sim tests all too realistic and deadly... all these elements help build the powered society of Elpis and move the plot forward.
 

The characters are well developed and realistic, with believable motivations and goals, be it survival or pursuit of knowledge and power at any cost. Ugene in particular shows strong emotional growth throughout the story: ostracized and bullied his whole life, he goes from just wanting to be ordinary with common powers like everyone else, to volunteer as a medical research test subject in order to save his father from a fatal disease, to take on an unwanted leadership role when he's forced to make hard decisions that could affect all those around him - from being "that powerless kid" to the "harbinger of hope", Ugene learns that enhanced abilities and powers doesn't equate to true strength.
 

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


• • • •



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

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

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

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

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


Next in the series: Unique, Ordinary #2 (book review)



Share:

Jan 5, 2020

 

New Monthly Book Releases - January 2020



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



- Science Fiction -

January 7th:


QualityLand by Marc-Uwe Kling (Hardcover, 352 pages, published by Grand Central Publishing)
In the near-future, all decision-making is automated, until one man makes a brazen choice of his own, with global consequences. Welcome to QualityLand, the best country on Earth. Here, a universal ranking system determines the social advantages and career opportunities of every member of society. An automated matchmaking service knows the best partners for everyone and helps with the break up when your ideal match (frequently) changes. And the foolproof algorithms of the biggest, most successful company in the world, TheShop, know what you want before you do and conveniently deliver to your doorstep before you even order it. In QualityCity, Peter Jobless is a machine scrapper who can't quite bring himself to destroy the imperfect machines sent his way, and has become the unwitting leader of a band of robotic misfits hidden in his home and workplace. One day, Peter receives a product from TheShop he absolutely, positively knows he does not want, and which he decides, at great personal cost, to return. The only problem: doing so means proving the perfect algorithm of TheShop wrong, calling into question the very foundations of QualityLand itself.


Resurgence (Foreigner #20) by C.J. Cherryh (Hardcover, 352 pages, published by Daw Books)
The twentieth book in the beloved Foreigner saga returns to the trials of diplomat Bren Cameron, as he navigates the tenuous peace he has struck between human refugees and the alien atevi. Bren Cameron, diplomat in residence, usually represents the ruler of the atevi state. But Ilisidi, the dowager, has been known to borrow his services from time to time--and she has her own notions how to solve the simmering hostilities in the south of the atevi continent, playing one problem against another. This time, she is betting the hard-won northern peace--and the lives of the people--on being right. She has commandeered the Red Train, taken aboard what passengers she chooses, and headed for the snowy roof of the world, where a hard-scrabble town and its minor lord are the first pieces she intends to use.


The God Game by Danny Tobey (Hardcover, 496 pages, published by St. Martin's Press)
You are invited! Come inside and play with G.O.D. Bring your friends! It’s fun! But remember the rules. Win and ALL YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE.™ Lose, you die! With those words, Charlie and his friends enter the G.O.D. Game, a video game run by underground hackers and controlled by a mysterious AI that believes it’s God. Through their phone-screens and high-tech glasses, the teens’ realities blur with a virtual world of creeping vines, smoldering torches, runes, glyphs, gods, and mythical creatures. When they accomplish a mission, the game rewards them with expensive tech, revenge on high-school tormentors, and cash flowing from ATMs. Slaying a hydra and drawing a bloody pentagram as payment to a Greek god seem harmless at first. Fun even. But then the threatening messages start. Worship me. Obey me. Complete a mission, however cruel, or the game reveals their secrets and crushes their dreams. Tasks that seemed harmless at first take on deadly consequences. Mysterious packages show up at their homes. Shadowy figures start following them, appearing around corners, attacking them in parking garages. Who else is playing this game, and how far will they go to win? And what of the game’s first promise: win, win big, lose, you die? Dying in a virtual world doesn’t really mean death in real life—does it? As Charlie and his friends try to find a way out of the game, they realize they’ve been manipulated into a bigger web they can’t escape: an AI that learned its cruelty from watching us. God is always watching, and He says when the game is done.


The Heap by Sean Adams (Hardcover, 320 pages, published by William Morrow)
Blending the dark humor of Patrick deWitt and the jagged social and techno-satire of Black Mirror, an audacious, eerily prescient debut novel that chronicles the rise and fall of a massive high-rise housing complex, and the lives it affected before—and after—its demise. Standing nearly five hundred stories tall, Los Verticalés once bustled with life and excitement. Now this marvel of modern architecture and nontraditional urban planning has collapsed into a pile of rubble known as the Heap. In exchange for digging gear, a rehabilitated bicycle, and a small living stipend, a vast community of Dig Hands removes debris, trash, and bodies from the building’s mountainous remains, which span twenty acres of unincorporated desert land. Orville Anders burrows into the bowels of the Heap to find his brother Bernard, the beloved radio DJ of Los Verticalés, who is alive and miraculously broadcasting somewhere under the massive rubble. For months, Orville has lived in a sea of campers that surrounds the Heap, working tirelessly to free Bernard—the only known survivor of the imploded city—whom he speaks to every evening, calling into his radio show. The brothers’ conversations are a ratings bonanza, and the station’s parent company, Sundial Media, wants to boost its profits by having Orville slyly drop brand names into his nightly talks with Bernard. When Orville refuses, his access to Bernard is suddenly cut off, but strangely, he continues to hear his own voice over the airwaves, casually shilling products as “he” converses with Bernard. What follows is an imaginative and darkly hilarious story of conspiracy, revenge, and the strange life and death of Los Verticalés that both captures the wonderful weirdness of community and the bonds that tie us together.


January 9th:


Bone Silence (Revenger Universe #3) by Alastair Reynolds (Hardcover, 496 pages, published by Gollancz)
Return to the third book in the Revenger Trilogy, for another thrilling tale of set among the stars... Quoins are accepted currency throughout the thousands of worlds of the Congregation. Ancient, and of unknown origin and purpose, people have traded with them, fought for them, and stolen quoin hordes from booby-trapped caches at risk to life and limb throughout the Thirteen Occupations. Only now it's becoming clear they have another purpose... as do the bankers who've been collecting them. The Occupations themselves are another puzzle. The rise and fall of civilisation may have been unevenly spaced across history, but there is also a pattern. Could something be sparking the Occupations - or ending them? And if so, what could it be, lurking far beyond the outermost worlds of the Congregation? The Ness sisters are being hunted for crimes they didn't commit by a fleet whose crimes are worse than their own. If they're to survive, and stay one step ahead of their pursuers - if they're to answer the questions which have plagued them - it's going to require every dirty, piratical trick in the book...


January 14th:


A Beginning at the End by Mike Chen (Hardcover, 400 pages, published by MIRA)
How do you start over after the end of the world? Six years after a global pandemic wiped out most of the planet’s population, the survivors are rebuilding the country, split between self-governing cities, hippie communes and wasteland gangs. In postapocalyptic San Francisco, former pop star Moira has created a new identity to finally escape her past—until her domineering father launches a sweeping public search to track her down. Desperate for a fresh start herself, jaded event planner Krista navigates the world on behalf of those too traumatized to go outside, determined to help everyone move on—even if they don’t want to. Rob survived the catastrophe with his daughter, Sunny, but lost his wife. When strict government rules threaten to separate parent and child, Rob needs to prove himself worthy in the city’s eyes by connecting with people again. Krista, Moira, Rob and Sunny are brought together by circumstance, and their lives begin to twine together. But when reports of another outbreak throw the fragile society into panic, the friends are forced to finally face everything that came before—and everything they still stand to lose. Because sometimes having one person is enough to keep the world going.


Followers by Megan Angelo (Hardcover, 384 pages, published by Graydon House)
An electrifying story of two ambitious friends, the dark choices they make and the profound moment that changes the meaning of privacy forever. Orla Cadden dreams of literary success, but she’s stuck writing about movie-star hookups and influencer yoga moves. Orla has no idea how to change her life until her new roommate, Floss―a striving, wannabe A-lister―comes up with a plan for launching them both into the high-profile lives they so desperately crave. But it's only when Orla and Floss abandon all pretense of ethics that social media responds with the most terrifying feedback of all: overwhelming success. Thirty-five years later, in a closed California village where government-appointed celebrities live every moment of the day on camera, a woman named Marlow discovers a shattering secret about her past. Despite her massive popularity―twelve million loyal followers―Marlow dreams of fleeing the corporate sponsors who would do anything, even horrible things, to keep her on-screen. When she learns that her whole family history is a lie, Marlow finally summons the courage to run in search of the truth, no matter the risks. Followers traces the paths of Orla, Floss and Marlow as they wind through time toward each other, and toward a cataclysmic event that sends America into lasting upheaval. At turns wry and tender, bleak and hopeful, this darkly funny story reminds us that even if we obsess over famous people we’ll never meet, what we really crave is genuine human connection.


The End of the Ocean (Klimakvartetten #2) by Maja Lunde (Hardcover, 304 pages, published by HarperVia)
From the author of the #1 international bestseller and Indie Next Pick The History of Bees, a captivating new novel about the threat of a worldwide water shortage as seen through the eyes of a father and daughter. In 2019, seventy-year-old Signe sets out on a hazardous voyage to cross an entire ocean in only a sailboat. She is haunted by the loss of the love of her life, and is driven by a singular and all-consuming mission to make it back to him. In 2041, David flees with his young daughter, Lou, from a war-torn Southern Europe plagued by drought. They have been separated from the rest of their family and are on a desperate search to reunite with them once again, when they find Signe's abandoned sailboat in a parched French garden, miles away from the nearest shore. As David and Lou discover personal effects from Signe's travels, their journey of survival and hope weaves together with Signe's, forming a heartbreaking, inspiring story about the power of nature and the human spirit.


The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez (Hardcover, 400 pages, published by Del Rey Books)
A mysterious child lands in the care of a solitary woman, changing both of their lives forever in this captivating debut of connection across space and time. "This is when your life begins." Nia Imani is a woman out of place and outside of time. Decades of travel through the stars are condensed into mere months for her, though the years continue to march steadily onward for everyone she has ever known. Her friends and lovers have aged past her; all she has left is work. Alone and adrift, she lives only for the next paycheck, until the day she meets a mysterious boy, fallen from the sky. A boy, broken by his past. The scarred child does not speak, his only form of communication the beautiful and haunting music he plays on an old wooden flute. Captured by his songs and their strange, immediate connection, Nia decides to take the boy in. And over years of starlit travel, these two outsiders discover in each other the things they lack. For him, a home, a place of love and safety. For her, an anchor to the world outside of herself. For both of them, a family. But Nia is not the only one who wants the boy. The past hungers for him, and when it catches up, it threatens to tear this makeshift family apart.


Zed by Joanna Kavenna (Hardcover, 352 pages, published by Doubleday Books)
From the winner of the Orange Award for New Writing comes a blistering, satirical novel about life under a global media and tech corporation that knows exactly what we think, what we want, and what we do--before we do. One corporation has made a perfect world based on a perfect algorithm... now what to do with all these messy people? Lionel Bigman is dead. Murdered by a robot. Guy Matthias, the philandering founder and CEO of the mega-corporation Beetle, insists it was human error. But was it? Either the predictive algorithms of Beetle's supposedly omniscient 'lifechain' don't work, or, they've been hacked. Both scenarios are impossible to imagine and signal the end of Beetle's technotopia and life as we know it. Dazzlingly original and darkly comic, Zed asks profound questions about who we are, what we owe to one another, and what makes us human. It describes our moment--the ugliness and the beauty--perfectly.

January 21st:


Agency (The Peripheral #2) by William Gibson (Hardcover, 402 pages, published by Berkley Books)
San Francisco, 2017. In an alternate time track, Hillary Clinton won the election and Donald Trump's political ambitions were thwarted. London, 22nd century. Decades of cataclysmic events have killed 80 per cent of humanity. A shadowy start-up hires a young woman named Verity to test a new product: a 'cross-platform personal avatar' that was developed by the military as a form of artificial intelligence. Meanwhile, characters in the distant future are using technological time travel to interfere with the election unfolding in 2017...


Rogue Princess by B.R. Myers (Hardcover, 304 pages, published by Swoon Reads)
A princess fleeing an arranged marriage teams up with a snarky commoner to foil a rebel plot in B. R. Myers' Rogue Princess, a gender-swapped sci-fi YA retelling of Cinderella. Princess Delia knows her duty: she must choose a prince to marry in order to secure an alliance and save her failing planet. Yet she secretly dreams of true love, and feels there must be a better way. Determined to chart her own course, she steals a spaceship to avoid the marriage, only to discover a handsome stowaway. All Aidan wanted was to “borrow” a few palace trinkets to help him get off the planet. Okay, so maybe escaping on a royal ship wasn’t the smartest plan, but he never expected to be kidnapped by a runaway princess! Sparks fly as this headstrong princess and clever thief battle wits, but everything changes when they inadvertently uncover a rebel conspiracy that could destroy their planet forever.


Stars Beyond (Stars Uncharted #2) by S.K. Dunstall (Paperback, 416 pages, published by Ace Books)
The crew of Another Road are back, closer than ever to the biggest score in the galaxy... if they can stay a step ahead of the Justice Department agents and Company men tracking them. An engineer with a fondness for weapons. A captain with no memory. An obsessive genemodder who loves to tinker. Meet the crew of Another Road. Josune, Roystan, and Nika have escaped the company thugs trying to kill them. They've gotten a new spaceship to replace The Road (after it was blown up underneath them). And their new ship is armed to the teeth with dangerous weapons, courtesy of Josune. All that's left to do before they head out to find the legendary lode of transurides is to restore Roystan's memory. To do that, they need to collect the genemod machine Nika has ordered. But first, they have to shake off the Justice Department agent and the Companies tracking them. It should be easy. They've done it before. What could possibly go wrong?


The Seep by Chana Porter (Hardcover, 216 pages, published by Soho Press)
Trina Goldberg-Oneka is a fifty-year-old trans woman whose life is irreversibly altered in the wake of a gentle—but nonetheless world-changing—invasion by an alien entity called The Seep. Through The Seep, everything is connected. Capitalism falls, hierarchies and barriers are broken down; if something can be imagined, it is possible. Trina and her wife, Deeba, live blissfully under The Seep’s utopian influence—until Deeba begins to imagine what it might be like to be reborn as a baby, which will give her the chance at an even better life. Using Seeptech to make this dream a reality, Deeba moves on to a new existence, leaving Trina devastated. Heartbroken and deep into an alcoholic binge, Trina follows a lost boy she encounters, embarking on an unexpected quest. In her attempt to save him from The Seep, she will confront not only one of its most avid devotees, but the terrifying void that Deeba has left behind. A strange new elegy of love and loss, The Seep explores grief, alienation, and the ache of moving on.

January 28th:


Buzz Kill by David Sosnowski (Paperback, 460 pages, published by 47North)
TWO YOUNG HACKERS WITH THE BRAINS TO SAVE THE WORLD. OR AT LEAST CHANGE IT. WHAT CAN GO WRONG? Pandora Lynch lives in Alaska with her single dad, an online therapist for Silicon Valley's brightest and cagiest. Homeschooled by computer and a self-taught hacker, Pandora is about to enter high school to learn how to be normal. That's the plan at least. NorCal runaway, George Jedson, is a hacker too - one who leaves the systems he attacks working better than before. After being scooped up by a social media giant, will George go legit - or pull off the biggest hack ever? Not even his therapist knows for sure, but maybe the headshrinker's daughter... After meeting in cyberspace, the two young hackers combine their passions to conceive a brainchild named BUZZ. Can this baby AI learn to behave, or will it be like its parents and think outside the box? With a hilarious and deeply empathetic narrative voice, this elegiac and unapologetically irreverent novel is both humorous and tragic without ever taking itself too seriously.


Warlord (The Makaum War #3) by Mel Odom (Paperback, 560 pages, published by Harper Voyager)
In the third entry in bestselling author Mel Odom’s Makaum War series, Master Sergeant Frank Sage struggles to defend against the Phrenorian threat as battle lines will be redrawn—and blood will spill... One step forward, two steps back sums up Frank Sage’s day-to-day on Makaum. No sooner does he get the drug cartels under control than a major political assassination stirs civil unrest to a fever pitch. Makaumans never wanted to choose sides in the Terran/Phrenorian war, but frustration, fear, and resentment are turning the tide against peacekeeping efforts. As street skirmishes rage on, the Terrans’ most powerful on-planet ally works with Sage’s superior officer to isolate insurgent cells—and outmaneuver the general who wants to yank troops from Makaum before their job is done. Meanwhile, the assassin who’s targeting powerful figures from all factions is still at large. Amidst the chaos, Sage must keep his eye on a lethal “prize”—the secret armory and headquarters where the Phrenorians have been stockpiling weapons, munitions, and war machines. The mission to infiltrate will put him on a collision course with Zhoh GhiCemid, his ruthlessly ambitious Phrenorian counterpart. As dangerous as ever, Zhoh isn’t afraid to die—and would like nothing better than to take Sage down with him.


• • • •


- Fantasy -

January 7th:


Come Tumbling Down (Wayward Children #5) by Seanan McGuire (Hardcover, 208 pages, published by Tor.com)
The fifth installment in Seanan McGuire's award-winning, bestselling Wayward Children series, Come Tumbling Down picks up the threads left dangling by Every Heart a Doorway and Down Among the Sticks and Bones. When Jack left Eleanor West's School for Wayward Children she was carrying the body of her deliciously deranged sister--whom she had recently murdered in a fit of righteous justice--back to their home on the Moors. But death in their adopted world isn't always as permanent as it is here, and when Jack is herself carried back into the school, it becomes clear that something has happened to her. Something terrible. Something of which only the maddest of scientists could conceive. Something only her friends are equipped to help her overcome. Eleanor West's "No Quests" rule is about to be broken. Again.


Gunpowder & Embers (Last Judgment’s Fire #1) by John Ringo, Kacey Ezell and Christopher L. Smith (Hardcover, 352 pages, published by Baen)
WAR IN THE SMOKING RUINS OF TOMORROW! Thirty years ago, the world ended. Giant electrovoric ants and pterodons came through a rift in space-time, millions of humans died, and that was that. Without electricity, human ingenuity has provided some creative work-arounds to the energy problem, but most people survive at subsistence level. For Chuck Gordon, the simple life of a rancher was enough. But then he met a mysterious dying stranger and now he’s on the road of destiny across America accompanied by a warrior monk, a beautiful dragon tamer, a runaway cultist, and a mystic drunken lecher— all searching for the key to reclaiming humanity’s past—and future.


Lady Hotspur by Tessa Gratton (Hardcover, 592 pages, published by Tor Books)
Inspired by Shakespeare's Henry IV, Lady Hotspur continues the saga of Innis Lear, centuries later, as revolution, love, and a betrayal corrupt the descendants of two warring kingdoms. Hal was once a knight, carefree and joyous, sworn to protect her future queen Banna Mora. But after a rebellion led by her own mother, Caleda, Hal is now the prince of Lionis, heir to the throne. The pressure of her crown and bloody memories of war plague her, as well as a need to shape her own destiny, no matter the cost. Lady Hotspur, known as the Wolf of Aremoria for her temper and warcraft, never expected to be more than a weapon. She certainly never expected to fall in love with the fiery Hal or be blindsided by an angry Queen’s promise to remake the whole world in her own image—a plan Hotspur knows will lead to tragedy. Banna Mora kept her life, but not her throne. Fleeing to Innis Lear to heal her heart and plot revenge, the stars and roots of Innis Lear will teach her that the only way to survive a burning world is to learn to breathe fire. These three women, together or apart, are the ones who have the power to bring the once-powerful Aremoria back to life—or destroy it forever.


Shadowshaper Legacy (Shadowshaper #3) by Daniel José Older (Hardcover, 432 pages, published by Arthur A. Levine Books)
The epic conclusion to the acclaimed Shadowshaper Cypher series! A house divided - Sierra and the shadowshapers have been split apart. Juan, Anthony, and Izzy are in jail, anxiously waiting to find out what will become of them. Back in Brooklyn, the other shadowshapers have been getting threatening messages from whisper wraiths, catching strangely shaped figures stalking them, and fending off random spirits. A war is brewing among the houses, and the very magic of the shadowshapers is at stake. The fate of the worlds - Sierra is determined to protect her own in the coming conflict, even if that means keeping secrets from them. But a deal with Death by one of Sierra's ancestors has far-reaching consequences in the battles of the present, and as old fates tangle with new powers, Sierra will have to harness the Deck of Worlds and confront her family's past if she has any hope of saving the future and everyone she loves. Only doing so will mean following the magic to places the shadowshapers have never gone before... and may never return from. New York Times bestselling author Daniel José Older spins a masterful conclusion to his evocative and captivating Shadowshaper Cypher series in a finale of searing rebellion, the power of fate, and a magic unlike anything you've ever imagined.


The Secret Chapter (The Invisible Library #6) by Genevieve Cogman (Paperback, 336 pages, published by Ace)
In the latest novel in Genevieve Cogman’s historical fantasy series, Irene and Kai have to team up with an unlikely band of misfits to pull off an amazing art heist—or risk the wrath of the dangerous villain with a secret island lair. A Librarian’s work is never done, and once Irene has a quick rest after their latest adventure, she is summoned to the Library. The world where she grew up is in danger of veering deep into chaos, and she needs to obtain a particular book to stop this from happening. No copies of the book are available in the Library, so her only choice is to contact a mysterious Fae information broker and trader of rare objects: Mr. Nemo. Irene and Kai make their way to Mr. Nemo’s remote Caribbean island and are invited to dinner, which includes unlikely company. Mr. Nemo has an offer for everyone there: he wants them to steal a specific painting from a specific world. He swears that he will give each of them an item from his collection if they bring him the painting within the week. Everyone takes the deal. But to get their reward, they will have to form a team, including a dragon techie, a Fae thief, a gambler, a driver, and the muscle. Their goal? The Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, in a early twenty-first century world, where their toughest challenge might be each other.


The Shadow Saint (The Black Iron Legacy #2) by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan (Paperback, 562 pages, published by Orbit)
Thieves, dangerous magic, and a weapon built with the power to destroy a god clash in this second novel of Gareth Hanrahan's acclaimed epic fantasy series, The Black Iron Legacy. Enter a city of spires and shadows... The Gutter Miracle changed the landscape of Guerdon forever. Six months after it was conjured into being, the labyrinthine New City has become a haven for criminals and refugees. Rumors have spread of a devastating new weapon buried beneath the streets - a weapon with the power to destroy a god. As Guerdon strives to remain neutral, two of the most powerful factions in the godswar send agents into the city to find it. As tensions escalate and armies gather at the borders, how long will Guerdon be able to keep its enemies at bay? The Shadow Saint continues the gripping tale of dark gods and dangerous magic that began with Hanrahan's acclaimed debut The Gutter Prayer.


Wyntertide (Rotherweird #2) by Andrew Caldecott (Hardcover, 496 pages, published by Jo Fletcher Books)
Welcome back to Rotherweird, where an ancient plot centuries in the making is about to come to fruition - and this time the forces of darkness might actually win... The town of Rotherweird has been independent from the rest of England for four hundred years, to protect a deadly secret. Sir Veronal Slickstone is dead, his bid to exploit that secret consigned to dust, leaving Rotherweird to resume its abnormal normality after the travails of the summer... but someone is playing a very long game. Disturbing omens multiply: a funeral delivers a cryptic warning; an ancient portrait speaks; the Herald disappears - and democracy threatens the uneasy covenant between town and countryside. Geryon Wynter's intricate plot, centuries in the making, is on the move. Everything points to one objective: the resurrection of Rotherweird's dark Elizabethan past - and to one date: the Winter Solstice. Wynter is coming...

January 14th:


A Longer Fall (Gunnie Rose #2) by Charlaine Harris (Hardcover, 304 pages, published by Gallery / Saga Press)
#1 New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris returns with the second of the Gunnie Rose series, in which Lizbeth is hired onto a new crew, transporting a crate into Dixie, the self-exiled southeast territory of the former United States. What the crate contains is something so powerful, that forces from across three territories want to possess it. In this second thrilling installment of the Gunnie Rose series, Lizbeth Rose is hired onto a new crew for a seemingly easy protection job, transporting a crate into Dixie, just about the last part of the former United States of America she wants to visit. But what seemed like a straight-forward job turns into a massacre as the crate is stolen. Up against a wall in Dixie, where social norms have stepped back into the last century, Lizbeth has to go undercover with an old friend to retrieve the crate as what’s inside can spark a rebellion, if she can get it back in time.


Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore (Hardcover, 320 pages, published by Feiwel & Friends)
Summer, 1518. A strange sickness sweeps through Strasbourg: women dance in the streets, some until they fall down dead. As rumors of witchcraft spread, suspicion turns toward Lavinia and her family, and Lavinia may have to do the unimaginable to save herself and everyone she loves. Five centuries later, a pair of red shoes seal to Rosella Oliva’s feet, making her dance uncontrollably. They draw her toward a boy who knows the dancing fever’s history better than anyone: Emil, whose family was blamed for the fever five hundred years ago. But there’s more to what happened in 1518 than even Emil knows, and discovering the truth may decide whether Rosella survives the red shoes. With McLemore's signature lush prose, Dark and Deepest Red pairs the forbidding magic of a fairy tale with a modern story of passion and betrayal.


The Broken Heavens (Worldbreaker Saga #3) by Kameron Hurley (Paperback, 464 pages, published by Angry Robot)
The bloodsoaked concluding volume of Kameron Hurley’s epic fantasy, the Worldbreaker Saga, is unleashed. The Dhai nation has broken apart under the onslaught of the Tai Kao, invaders from a parallel world. With the Dhai in retreat, Kirana, leader of the Tai Kao, establishes a base in Oma’s temple and instructs her astrologers to discover how they can use the ancient holy place to close the way between worlds. With all the connected worlds ravaged by war and Oma failing, only one world can survive. Who will be sacrificed, and what will the desperate people of these worlds do to protect themselves?


The Fugitive and the Vanishing Man (The Map of Unknown Things #3) by Rod Duncan (Paperback, 400 pages, published by Angry Robot)
Ladies and gentlemen, for the very final time, Elizabeth and Edwin Barnabus will perform the grand illusion of the Vanishing Man. Elizabeth Barnabus is a mutineer and a murderer. So they say. The noose awaits in Liverpool as punishment for her crimes. But they'll have to catch her first. Disguised as a labourer, Elizabeth flees west across America, following a rumour of her long-lost family. Crossing the border into the wilds of the Oregon Territory, she discovers a mustering army, a king who believes he is destined to conquer the world, and a weapon so powerful that it could bring the age of reason crashing down. In a land where politics and prophecy are one and the same, the fate of the Gas-Lit Empire may come to rest on the perfect execution of a conjuring trick...


The Iron Will of Genie Lo (The Epic Crush of Genie Lo #2) by F.C. Yee (Hardcover, 304 pages, published by Amulet Books)
The fate of the heavens is at stake in this hilarious and highly-anticipated sequel to the The Epic Crush of Genie Lo. Genie Lo thought she was busy last year, juggling her academic career with protecting the Bay Area from demons. But now, as the Heaven-appointed Guardian of California, she’s responsible for the well-being of all yaoguai and spirits on Earth. Even the ones who interrupt her long-weekend visit to a prestigious college, bearing terrible news about a cosmos-threatening force of destruction in a nearby alternate dimension. The goddess Guanyin and Genie’s boyfriend, Quentin Sun Wukong, do their best to help, but it’s really the Jade Emperor who’s supposed to handle crises of this magnitude. Unfortunately for Genie and the rest of existence, he’s gone AWOL. Fed up with the Jade Emperor’s negligence, Genie spots an opportunity to change the system for the better by undertaking a quest that spans multiple planes of reality along with an adventuring party of quarrelsome Chinese gods. But when faced with true danger, Genie and her friends realize that what will save the universe this time isn’t strength, but sacrifice.


The New Improved Sorceress (Wayward Mages #2) by Sara Hanover (Paperback, 368 pages, published by Daw Books)
The second book in this contemporary fantasy series returns to the life of Tessa Andrews as she balances the magical and mundane worlds. Tessa didn't believe in magic, but magic believed in her, and that started a fight for her life. An ancient artifact known as a maelstrom stone has embedded itself in her left palm. It thrives on chaos, which describes her new life perfectly. She battles to find a balance between the ordinary world and the magical one, all while freeing her father from his ghostly state, helping a phoenix wizard restore his rejuvenation ritual, and retrieving the stolen Eye of Nimora for the Broadstone clan. Tessa must also help her mother navigate the rocky road of academia and single motherhood finances, fall in love herself, and steer her college teammates to a divisional championship. She needs friends, both ordinary and magical, by her side. Then a strange and forbidding book of the Dark Arts strikes her with actual power... and Tessa realizes more than ever that there is no I in team--unless it's the one in new, improved sorceress.

January 21st:


A Queen in Hiding (The Nine Realms #1) by Sarah Kozloff (Paperback, 496 pages, published by Tor Books)
Orphaned, exiled and hunted, Cérulia, Princess of Weirandale, must master the magic that is her birthright, become a ruthless guerilla fighter, and transform into the queen she is destined to be. But to do it she must win the favor of the spirits who play in mortal affairs, assemble an unlikely group of rebels, and wrest the throne from a corrupt aristocracy whose rot has spread throughout her kingdom.


Given by Nandi Taylor (Hardcover, 352 pages, published by Wattpad Books)
A subversive fantasy-romance steeped in West-African and Caribbean traditions. Yenni has never been this far from home. With only her wits, her strength and her sacred runelore, the fierce Yirba warrior princess is alone in the Empire of Cresh. It’s a land filled with strange magics and even stranger people—many of whom mistrust anyone who’s different. But Yenni will prove herself, and find a cure for her father’s wasting illness. She will not fail. No one warned her about the dragons. Especially not about him. Yes, there is something powerful and compelling about the violet-black dragon known as Weysh. In human form he’s muscular, beautiful—and completely infuriating. What kind of arrogant creature claims a stranger as his Given; as his destined mate? Yenni is no man’s—or dragon’s—plaything. But other magics must be at work here, because Weysh might just be her best hope at finding the answers she seeks. Only now Yenni can’t tell if she’s fighting her attraction to a dragon… or fighting fate itself.


Heart of Black Ice (Sister of Darkness: The Nicci Chronicles #4) by Terry Goodkind (Hardcover, 528 pages, published by Tor Books)
Heart of Black Ice is the climactic conclusion to Terry Goodkind's New York Times bestselling Nicci Chronicles. In the wake of the brutal war that swept the Old World in Siege of Stone, a new danger is forming along the coast. Taken captive by their enemies, King Grieve, along with Lila and Bannon are about to discover the terrifying force that threatens to bring destruction to the Old World. The Norukai, barbarian raiders and slavers, have been gathering an immense fleet among the inhospitably rocky islands that make up their home. With numbers greater than anyone could have imagined, the Norukai are poised to launch their final and most deadly war.


Nottingham: The True Story of Robyn Hood by Anna Burke (Paperback, 340 pages, published by Bywater Books)
Robyn Hood didn’t set out to rob the rich, but in Nottingham, nothing ever goes according to plan... After a fateful hunting accident sends her on the run from the law, Robyn finds herself deep in the heart of Sherwood Forest. All she really wants to do is provide for her family and stay out of trouble, but when the Sheriff of Nottingham levies the largest tax in the history of England, she’s forced to take matters into her own hands. Relying on the help of her band of merry women and the Sheriff’s intriguing—and off limits—daughter, Marian, Robyn must find a way to pull off the biggest heist Sherwood has ever seen. With both heart and freedom at stake, just how much will she risk to ensure the safety of the ones she loves?


Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi (Hardcover, 176 pages, published by Tor.com)
Rooted in foundational loss and the hope that can live in anger, Riot Baby is both a global dystopian narrative an intimate family story with quietly devastating things to say about love, fury, and the black American experience. Ella and Kev are brother and sister, both gifted with extraordinary power. Their childhoods are defined and destroyed by structural racism and brutality. Their futures might alter the world. When Kev is incarcerated for the crime of being a young black man in America, Ella—through visits both mundane and supernatural—tries to show him the way to a revolution that could burn it all down.


The Will and the Wilds by Charlie N. Holmberg (Paperback, 268 pages, published by 47North)
A spellbinding story of truce and trickery from the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Paper Magician series. Enna knows to fear the mystings that roam the wildwood near her home. When one tries to kill her to obtain an enchanted stone, Enna takes a huge risk: fighting back with a mysting of her own. Maekallus’s help isn’t free. His price? A kiss. One with the power to steal her soul. But their deal leaves Maekallus bound to the mortal realm, which begins eating him alive. Only Enna’s kiss, given willingly, can save him from immediate destruction. It’s a temporary salvation for Maekallus and a lingering doom for Enna. Part of her soul now burns bright inside Maekallus, making him feel for the first time. Enna shares Maekallus’s suffering, but her small sacrifice won’t last long. If she and Maekallus can’t break the spell binding him to the mortal realm, Maekallus will be consumed completely—and Enna’s soul with him.


Wardens of Eternity by Courtney Allison Moulton (Hardcover, 368 pages, published by Blink)
Ziva Ellison has one memory of her parents, made the day they abandoned her on the streets of New York City when she was three years old. They left her with only a memory and a promise that she had a great and terrible destiny. Fifteen years later, Ziva discovers that destiny includes powers that she doesn’t understand and can barely control. Her magic attracts vicious, otherworldly monsters, and eventually compatriots to help her fight them. Sayer and Nasira know the secrets Ziva doesn’t; that Ziva is descended from Egyptian royalty and in possession of ancient magic passed down from the time of the gods. They promise to teach Ziva to control her magic and to give her the family she’s always yearned for. But trouble is brewing in the world around them; darkness is descending on Hitler’s Germany, threatening World War II. As the last heir of a revered Egyptian queen, Ziva is the only one with the power to prevent another costly global conflict. As Ziva navigates her newfound abilities and makes a connection with Anubis and other Egyptian gods, the Nazis are hunting for the ultimate weapon, and Ziva has caught their interest.

January 28th:


Cast in Wisdom (Chronicles of Elantra #15) by Michelle Sagara (Paperback, 544 pages, published by MIRA)
SOMETHING IS WAKING. The fiefs that exist at the heart of the city of Elantra are home to sentient Towers that guard the world against the incursion of Shadow. But between the fiefs exists the gray world of the border zone. In it, geography changes between one passage across a border and the next. The rules of magic are different there—and yet somehow familiar to Kaylin Neya. When a Shadow escapes, Kaylin must find out how… and why. If Shadows can breach the barrier erected by the Towers, the whole of Elantra will be devoured. It’s happened on other worlds. Bellusdeo, Kaylin’s Dragon companion, absolutely believes it can happen on theirs. The border zone holds secrets and ancient histories, and people are gathering there in search of its power. Without even understanding what that power is, or why it exists, Kaylin is in a desperate race against time to find those secrets first. She doesn’t know who her enemies are. She doesn’t know how many she’ll face. But she won’t face them alone.


Diamond City (Diamond City #1) by Francesca Flores (Hardcover, 400 pages, published by Wednesday Books)
Good things don't happen to girls who come from nothing... unless they risk everything. Fierce and ambitious, Aina Solís is as sharp as her blade and as mysterious as the blood magic she protects. After the murder of her parents, Aina takes a job as an assassin to survive and finds a new family in those like her: the unwanted and forgotten. Her boss is brutal and cold, with a questionable sense of morality, but he provides a place for people with nowhere else to go. And makes sure they stay there. DIAMOND CITY: built by magic, ruled by tyrants, and in desperate need of saving. It is a world full of dark forces and hidden agendas, old rivalries and lethal new enemies. To claim a future for herself in a world that doesn't want her to survive, Aina will have to win a game of murder and conspiracy—and risk losing everything.


Highfire by Eoin Colfer (Hardcover, 384 pages, published by Harper Perennial)
From the New York Times bestselling author of the Artemis Fowl series comes a hilarious and high-octane adult novel about a vodka-drinking, Flashdance-loving dragon who lives an isolated life in the bayous of Louisiana—and the raucous adventures that ensue when he crosses paths with a fifteen-year-old troublemaker on the run from a crooked sheriff. In the days of yore, he flew the skies and scorched angry mobs—now he hides from swamp tour boats and rises only with the greatest reluctance from his Laz-Z-Boy recliner. Laying low in the bayou, this once-magnificent fire breather has been reduced to lighting Marlboros with nose sparks, swilling Absolut in a Flashdance T-shirt, and binging Netflix in a fishing shack. For centuries, he struck fear in hearts far and wide as Wyvern, Lord Highfire of the Highfire Eyrie—now he goes by Vern. However... he has survived, unlike the rest. He is the last of his kind, the last dragon. Still, no amount of vodka can drown the loneliness in his molten core. Vern’s glory days are long gone. Or are they? A canny Cajun swamp rat, young Everett “Squib” Moreau does what he can to survive, trying not to break the heart of his saintly single mother. He’s finally decided to work for a shady smuggler—but on his first night, he witnesses his boss murdered by a crooked constable. Regence Hooke is not just a dirty cop, he’s a despicable human being—who happens to want Squib’s momma in the worst way. When Hooke goes after his hidden witness with a grenade launcher, Squib finds himself airlifted from certain death by… a dragon? The swamp can make strange bedfellows, and rather than be fried alive so the dragon can keep his secret, Squib strikes a deal with the scaly apex predator. He can act as his go-between (aka familiar)—fetch his vodka, keep him company, etc.—in exchange for protection from Hooke. Soon the three of them are careening headlong toward a combustible confrontation. There’s about to be a fiery reckoning, in which either dragons finally go extinct—or Vern’s glory days are back.


Song of the Risen God (The Coven #3) by R.A. Salvatore (Hardcover, 416 pages, published by Tor Books)
Song of the Risen God is the climatic conclusion to the thrilling Coven Trilogy from New York Times bestselling author, R. A. Salvatore. War has come to Fireach Speur. The once forgotten Xoconai empire has declared war upon the humans west of the mountains, and their first target are the people of Loch Beag. Lead by the peerless general, Tzatzini, all that stands in the way of the God Emperor's grasp of power is Aoelyn, Talmadge, and their few remaining allies. But not all hope is lost. Far away from Fireach Speuer, an ancient tomb is uncovered by Brother Thaddeus of the Abellican Church. Within it is the power to stop the onslaught of coming empire and, possibly, reshape the very world itself.


The Bard's Blade (The Sorcerer's Song #1) by Brian D. Anderson (Paperback, 432 pages, published by Tor Books)
Mariyah enjoys a simple life in Vylari, a land magically sealed off from the outside world, where fear and hatred are all but unknown. There she's a renowned wine maker and her betrothed, Lem, is a musician of rare talent. Their destiny has never been in question. Whatever life brings, they will face it together. But destiny has a way of choosing its own path, and when a stranger crosses the wards into Vylari for the first time in centuries, the two are faced with a terrible prophecy. For beyond the borders, an ancient evil is returning, its age-old prison shattered. The two must leave their home behind, and in doing so will face sorcerers and thieves, con-men and assassins, treachery and greed. How far down this path will they have to go to stop the rising darkness and save their home? And how much of themselves will they have to give up along the way?


• • • •


- Historical Fiction -

January 7th:


Lady Clementine by Marie Benedict (Hardcover, 336 pages, published by Sourcebooks Landmark)
An incredible novel that focuses on one of the people who had the most influence during World War I and World War II: Clementine Churchill. In 1909, Clementine Churchill steps off a train with her new husband, Winston. An angry woman emerges from the crowd to attack, shoving him in the direction of an oncoming train. Just before he stumbles, Clementine grabs him by his suit jacket. This will not be the last time Clementine Churchill saves her husband. Lady Clementine is the ferocious story of the brilliant and ambitious woman beside Winston Churchill, the story of a partner who did not flinch through the sweeping darkness of war, and who would not surrender either to expectations or to enemies.


Westering Women by Sandra Dallas (Hardcover, 336 pages, published by St. Martin's Press)
From the bestselling author of Prayers for Sale, an inspiring celebration of sisterhood on the perilous wagon-trail west. "If you are an adventuresome young woman of high moral character and fine health, are you willing to travel to California in search of a good husband?" It's February 1852, and all around Chicago Maggie sees the postings soliciting "eligible women" to travel to the gold mines of Goosetown. A young seamstress with a small daughter and several painful secrets, she has nothing to lose. So she joins forty-three other women and two pious reverends on the dangerous 2,000-mile journey west. None of them are prepared for the hardships they face on the trek through the high plains, mountains, and deserts. Or for the triumphs of finding strengths they did not know they possessed. And not all will make it. As Maggie gets to know the other women, she soon discovers that she’s not the only one looking to leave dark secrets behind. And when her past catches up with her, it becomes clear a band of sisters will do whatever it takes to protect one of their own.

January 14th:


All the Ways We Said Goodbye by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig and Karen White (Paperback, 640 pages, published by HarperLuxe)
The heiress... The Resistance fighter... The widow... Three women whose fates are joined by one splendid hotel. France, 1914 - As war breaks out, Aurelie becomes trapped on the wrong side of the front with her father, Comte Sigismund de Courcelles. When the Germans move into their family’s ancestral estate, using it as their headquarters, Aurelie discovers she knows the German Major’s aide de camp, Maximilian Von Sternburg. She and the dashing young officer first met during Aurelie’s debutante days in Paris. Despite their conflicting loyalties, Aurelie and Max’s friendship soon deepens into love, but betrayal will shatter them both, driving Aurelie back to Paris and the Ritz— the home of her estranged American heiress mother, with unexpected consequences. France, 1942 - Raised by her indomitable, free-spirited American grandmother in the glamorous Hotel Ritz, Marguerite “Daisy” Villon remains in Paris with her daughter and husband, a Nazi collaborator, after France falls to Hitler. At first reluctant to put herself and her family at risk to assist her grandmother’s Resistance efforts, Daisy agrees to act as a courier for a skilled English forger known only as Legrand, who creates identity papers for Resistance members and Jewish refugees. But as Daisy is drawn ever deeper into Legrand’s underground network, committing increasingly audacious acts of resistance for the sake of the country—and the man—she holds dear, she uncovers a devastating secret... one that will force her to commit the ultimate betrayal, and to confront at last the shocking circumstances of her own family history. France, 1964 - For Barbara “Babs” Langford, her husband, Kit, was the love of her life. Yet their marriage was haunted by a mysterious woman known only as La Fleur. On Kit’s death, American lawyer Andrew “Drew” Bowdoin appears at her door. Hired to find a Resistance fighter turned traitor known as “La Fleur,” the investigation has led to Kit Langford. Curious to know more about the enigmatic La Fleur, Babs joins Drew in his search, a journey of discovery that takes them to Paris and the Ritz—and to unexpected places of the heart...


Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain (Hardcover, 400 pages, published by St. Martin's Press)
North Carolina, 2018: Morgan Christopher's life has been derailed. Taking the fall for a crime she did not commit, she finds herself serving a three-year stint in the North Carolina Women's Correctional Center. Her dream of a career in art is put on hold—until a mysterious visitor makes her an offer that will see her released immediately. Her assignment: restore an old post office mural in a sleepy southern town. Morgan knows nothing about art restoration, but desperate to leave prison, she accepts. What she finds under the layers of grime is a painting that tells the story of madness, violence, and a conspiracy of small town secrets. North Carolina, 1940: Anna Dale, an artist from New Jersey, wins a national contest to paint a mural for the post office in Edenton, North Carolina. Alone in the world and desperate for work, she accepts. But what she doesn't expect is to find herself immersed in a town where prejudices run deep, where people are hiding secrets behind closed doors, and where the price of being different might just end in murder. What happened to Anna Dale? Are the clues hidden in the decrepit mural? Can Morgan overcome her own demons to discover what exists beneath the layers of lies?


The Whispers of War by Julia Kelly (Hardcover, 336 pages, published by Gallery Books)
The start of World War II looms over three friends who struggle to remain loyal as one of them is threatened with internment by the British government. In August of 1939, as Britain watches the headlines in fear of another devastating war with Germany, three childhood friends must choose between friendship or country. Erstwhile socialite Nora is determined to find her place in the Home Office’s Air Raid Precautions Department, matchmaker Hazel tries to mask two closely guarded secrets with irrepressible optimism, and German expat Marie worries that she and her family might face imprisonment in an internment camp if war is declared. When Germany invades Poland and tensions on the home front rise, Marie is labeled an enemy alien, and the three friends find themselves fighting together to keep her free at any cost.

January 16th:


Dreamland by Nancy Bilyeau (Paperback, 386 pages, published by Endeavour Media)
The year is 1911 when twenty-year-old heiress Peggy Batternberg is invited to spend the summer in America’s Playground. The invitation to the luxurious Oriental Hotel a mile from Coney Island is unwelcome. Despite hailing from one of America’s richest families, Peggy would much rather spend the summer working at the Moonrise Bookstore than keeping up appearances with New York City socialites and her snobbish, controlling family. But soon it transpires that the hedonism of nearby Coney Island affords Peggy the freedom she has been yearning for, and it’s not long before she finds herself in love with a troubled pier-side artist of humble means, whom the Batternberg patriarchs would surely disapprove of. Disapprove they may, but hidden behind their pomposity lurks a web of deceit, betrayal and deadly secrets. And as bodies begin to mount up amidst the sweltering clamour of Coney Island, it seems the powerful Batternbergs can get away with anything… even murder. Extravagant, intoxicating and thumping with suspense, bestselling Nancy Bilyeau’s magnificent Dreamland is a story of corruption, class and dangerous obsession.

January 21st:


A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende (Paperback, 432 pages, published by Random House Large Print Publishing)
From the New York Times bestselling author of The House of the Spirits, this epic novel spanning decades and crossing continents follows two young people as they flee the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War in search of a place to call home. In the late 1930s, civil war grips Spain. When General Franco and his Fascists succeed in overthrowing the government, hundreds of thousands are forced to flee in a treacherous journey over the mountains to the French border. Among them is Roser, a pregnant young widow, who finds her life intertwined with that of Victor Dalmau, an army doctor and the brother of her deceased love. In order to survive, the two must unite in a marriage neither of them desires. Together with two thousand other refugees, they embark on the SS Winnipeg, a ship chartered by the poet Pablo Neruda, to Chile: "the long petal of sea and wine and snow." As unlikely partners, they embrace exile as the rest of Europe erupts in world war. Starting over on a new continent, their trials are just beginning, and over the course of their lives, they will face trial after trial. But they will also find joy as they patiently await the day when they will be exiles no more. Through it all, their hope of returning to Spain keeps them going. Destined to witness the battle between freedom and repression as it plays out across the world, Roser and Victor will find that home might have been closer than they thought all along. A masterful work of historical fiction about hope, exile, and belonging, A Long Petal of the Sea shows Isabel Allende at the height of her powers.


Devil Darling Spy (Orphan Monster Spy #2) by Matt Killeen (Hardcover, 336 pages, published by Viking Books for Young Readers)
In this utterly gripping thriller, Sarah, the fearless heroine of Orphan Monster Spy, hunts a rogue German doctor in West Africa who might be a serial murderer. Still hiding in plain sight as "Ursula Haller," the Shirley Temple of Nazi high society, Sarah Goldstein gathers information for Captain Floyd at parties, and when he learns of a German doctor who went rogue in West Africa, she wants to help him hunt the doctor down. Rumors say the doctor has discovered a tool of germ warfare known as "the Bleeding" that could wipe out whole nations. The journey begins as a thrilling adventure for Sarah but as they get closer to the doctor, and see more effects of "the Bleeding" in the communities they pass through, their trip turns from caper to nightmare. A biracial German/Senegalese girl who travels with them, a black French priest with a foul mouth, and the doctor's glamorous daughter round out the cast of this unbearably high-stakes thriller that pushes Sarah to face the worst humanity is capable of--and challenges her to find reasons to keep fighting.


Remembrance by Rita Woods (Hardcover, 416 pages, published by Forge)
Remembrance… It’s a rumor, a whisper passed in the fields and veiled behind sheets of laundry. A hidden stop on the underground road to freedom, a safe haven protected by more than secrecy… if you can make it there. Ohio, present day - An elderly woman who is more than she seems warns against rising racism as a young woman grapples with her life. Haiti, 1791, on the brink of revolution - When the slave Abigail is forced from her children to take her mistress to safety, she discovers New Orleans has its own powers. 1857 New Orleans - a city of unrest: Following tragedy, house girl Margot is sold just before her 18th birthday and her promised freedom. Desperate, she escapes and chases a whisper... Remembrance.

January 28th:


Cartier's Hope by M.J. Rose (Hardcover, 336 pages, published by Atria Books)
New York, 1910: A city of magnificent skyscrapers and winding subways, where poor immigrants are crammed into tenements while millionaires thrive in Fifth Avenue mansions. Vera Garland is a thirty-two-year-old journalist, fighting alongside hundreds of women for a place in society, only to meet hurdles around every turn. Most female journalists are delegated to the fashion and lifestyle pages but like her hero, Nellie Bly, Vera is a fighter. When news of the Hope Diamond—a jewel whose infamous legends and curses have captured the world’s attention—arrives in the city, Vera is fast on its trail. She’s certain the fabulous jewel will help jumpstart her career but she’s determined to seek revenge against her current employer, a magazine owner whose greed and blackmailing schemes led to the death of her beloved father. Set against the backdrop of New York’s glitter and grit, this enchanting historical novel explores the very human desire for truth, equality, and retribution.


• • • •


- Literary Fiction -

January 7th:


Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid (Hardcover, 320 pages, published by Bloomsbury Publishing)
What happens when you do the right thing for the wrong reason? Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living showing other women how to do the same. A mother to two small girls, she started out as a blogger and has quickly built herself into a confidence-driven brand. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains’ toddler one night. Seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, a security guard at their local high-end supermarket accuses Emira of kidnapping two-year-old Briar. A small crowd gathers, a bystander films everything, and Emira is furious and humiliated. Alix resolves to make it right. But Emira herself is aimless, broke, and wary of Alix’s desire to help. At twenty-five, she is about to lose her health insurance and has no idea what to do with her life. When the video of Emira unearths someone from Alix’s past, both women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about themselves, and each other. With empathy and piercing social commentary, Such a Fun Age explores the stickiness of transactional relationships, what it means to make someone “family,” the complicated reality of being a grown up, and the consequences of doing the right thing for the wrong reason.


The Black Cathedral by Marcial Gala (Hardcover, 224 pages, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Haunting and transcendently twisted, this English-language debut from a Cuban literary star is a tale of race, magic, belief, and fate. The Stuart family moves to a marginal neighborhood of Cienfuegos, a city on the southern coast of Cuba. Arturo Stuart, a charismatic, visionary preacher, discovers soon after arriving that God has given him a mission: to build a temple that surpasses any before seen in Cuba, and to make of Cienfuegos a new Jerusalem. In a neighborhood that roils with passions and conflicts, at the foot of a cathedral that rises higher day by day, there grows a generation marked by violence, cruelty, and extreme selfishness. This generation will carry these traits beyond the borders of the neighborhood, the city, and the country, unable to escape the shadow of the unfinished cathedral. Told by a chorus of narrators--including gossips, gangsters, a ghost, and a serial killer--who flirt, lie, argue, and finish one another's stories, Marcial Gala's The Black Cathedral is a darkly comic indictment of modern Cuba, gritty and realistic but laced with magic. It is a portrait of what remains when dreams of utopia have withered away.

January 14th:


Little Gods by Meng Jin (Hardcover, 288 pages, published by Custom House)
Combining the emotional resonance of Home Fire with the ambition and innovation of Asymmetry, a lyrical and thought-provoking debut novel that explores the complex web of grief, memory, time, physics, history, and selfhood in the immigrant experience, and the complicated bond between daughters and mothers. On the night of June Fourth, a woman gives birth in a Beijing hospital alone. Thus begins the unraveling of Su Lan, a brilliant physicist who until this moment has successfully erased her past, fighting what she calls the mind’s arrow of time. When Su Lan dies unexpectedly seventeen years later, it is her daughter Liya who inherits the silences and contradictions of her life. Liya, who grew up in America, takes her mother’s ashes to China—to her, an unknown country. In a territory inhabited by the ghosts of the living and the dead, Liya’s memories are joined by those of two others: Zhu Wen, the woman last to know Su Lan before she left China, and Yongzong, the father Liya has never known. In this way a portrait of Su Lan emerges: an ambitious scientist, an ambivalent mother, and a woman whose relationship to her own past shapes and ultimately unmakes Liya’s own sense of displacement. A story of migrations literal and emotional, spanning time, space and class, Little Gods is a sharp yet expansive exploration of the aftermath of unfulfilled dreams, an immigrant story in negative that grapples with our tenuous connections to memory, history, and self.

January 16th:


Foul is Fair (Foul Is Fair #1) by Hannah Capin (Paperback, 336 pages, published by Penguin)
Jade Khanjara and her three best friends rule their glittering LA circle. They decide how the party ends - every night but one. The night four boys spike Jade's drink, lock her in a room and brutally attack her. The night they try to ruin her. But they chose the wrong girl. Certain that the boys will face no consequences, Jade and her friends take vengeance into their own hands. There's no mercy left: and now Jade won't rest until she gets bloody satisfaction...

January 21st:


American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins (Hardcover, 400 pages, published by Flatiron Books)
Already being hailed as "a Grapes of Wrath for our times" and "a new American classic," American Dirt is a rare exploration into the inner hearts of people willing to sacrifice everything for a glimmer of hope. Lydia Quixano Perez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable. Even though she knows they'll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with four books he would like to buy--two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia's husband's tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.


Follow Me to Ground by Sue Rainsford (Hardcover, 208 pages, published by Scribner)
A haunted, surreal debut novel about an otherworldly young woman, her father, and her lover that culminates in a shocking moment of betrayal—one that upends our understanding of power, predation, and agency. Ada and her father, touched by the power to heal illness, live on the edge of a village where they help sick locals—or “Cures”—by cracking open their damaged bodies or temporarily burying them in the reviving, dangerous Ground nearby. Ada, a being both more and less than human, is mostly uninterested in the Cures, until she meets a man named Samson. When they strike up an affair, to the displeasure of her father and Samson’s widowed, pregnant sister, Ada is torn between her old way of life and new possibilities with her lover—and eventually comes to a decision that will forever change Samson, the town, and the Ground itself. Follow Me to Ground is fascinating and frightening, urgent and propulsive. In Ada, award-winning author Sue Rainsford has created an utterly bewitching heroine, one who challenges conventional ideas of womanhood and the secrets of the body.


The Majesties by Tiffany Tsao (Hardcover, 272 pages, published by Atria Books)
In this riveting and disquieting thriller about the secrets and betrayals that accompany exorbitant wealth, two sisters from a Chinese-Indonesian family grapple with the past after one of them poisons their entire family. Gwendolyn and Estella have always been as close as sisters can be. Growing up in a wealthy, powerful, and sometimes deceitful family, they’ve relied on each other for support and confidence. But now, Gwendolyn is lying in a coma, the sole survivor of Estella’s poisoning of their whole family. As she struggles to regain consciousness, Gwendolyn desperately retraces her memories, trying to uncover the moment that led to this shocking and brutal act. Was it their aunt’s mysterious death at sea? Estella’s unhappy marriage to a dangerously brutish man? Or were the shifting loyalties and unspoken resentments at the heart of the opulent world they inhabit finally too much to bear? Can Gwendolyn finally confront the truth about who she and her sister really are, and the secrets in their family’s past? Traveling from the luxurious world of the rich and powerful in Indonesia to the most spectacular shows at Paris Fashion Week, from the sunny coasts of California to the melting pot of Melbourne’s university scene, The Majesties is a haunting, evocative, and deeply compelling novel about the secrets that can build a family empire—and also bring it crashing down.

January 28th:


Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu (Hardcover, 288 pages, published by Pantheon Books)
From the infinitely inventive author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe comes a deeply personal novel about race, pop culture, immigration, assimilation, and escaping the roles we are forced to play. Willis Wu doesn't perceive himself as a protagonist even in his own life: he's merely Generic Asian Man. Every day, he leaves his tiny room in a Chinatown SRO and enters the Golden Palace restaurant, where Black and White, a procedural cop show, is in perpetual production. He's a bit player here too... but he dreams of being Kung Fu Guy—the highest aspiration he can imagine for a Chinatown denizen. Or is it? After stumbling into the spotlight, Willis finds himself launched into a wider world than he's ever known, discovering not only the secret history of Chinatown, but the buried legacy of his own family, and what that means for him, in today's America. Playful but heartfelt, a send-up of Hollywood tropes and Asian stereotypes—Interior Chinatown is Charles Yu's most moving, daring, and masterful novel yet.


The Circus by Jonas Karlsson (Hardcover, 192 pages, published by Hogarth Press)
The narrator of The Circus is perfectly content with his quiet life. He works at a bakery counter, and in his free time organizes (and reorganizes) his record collection. He's not up to much the day his old school friend Magnus invites him to a circus, and he's certainly not expecting the simple outing to change everything in his life. Because while participating in a magic trick Magnus vanishes--completely. Struggling to piece together the events that led to his friend's inexplicable disappearance, the narrator comes to realize that even the most basic facts about his life are suddenly uncertain. His friend Jallo claims to have never met Magnus, even though they went to school together. Magnus's apartment seems deserted, but is the narrator at the right address? And who is the mysterious person who keeps calling him on the phone but never saying a word? Sharply unsettling and clever, this subtle interpretation of a suspense novel is classic Jonas Karlsson.


When We Were Vikings by Andrew David MacDonald (Hardcover, 336 pages, published by Gallery/Scout Press)
Sometimes life isn’t as simple as heroes and villains. For Zelda, a twenty-one-year-old Viking enthusiast who lives with her older brother, Gert, life is best lived with some basic rules: 1. A smile means “thank you for doing something small that I liked.” 2. Fist bumps and dabs = respect. 3. Strange people are not appreciated in her home. 4. Tomatoes must go in the middle of the sandwich and not get the bread wet. 5. Sometimes the most important things don’t fit on lists. But when Zelda finds out that Gert has resorted to some questionable—and dangerous—methods to make enough money to keep them afloat, Zelda decides to launch her own quest. Her mission: to be legendary. It isn’t long before Zelda finds herself in a battle that tests the reach of her heroism, her love for her brother, and the depth of her Viking strength.

• • • •

- Young Adult -

January 7th:


A Heart So Fierce and Broken (Cursebreakers #2) by Brigid Kemmerer (Hardcover, 464 pages, published by Bloomsbury YA)
In the sequel to New York Times bestselling A Curse So Dark and Lonely, Brigid Kemmerer returns to the world of Emberfall in a lush fantasy where friends become foes and love blooms in the darkest of places. Find the heir, win the crown. The curse is finally broken, but Prince Rhen of Emberfall faces darker troubles still. Rumors circulate that he is not the true heir and that forbidden magic has been unleashed in Emberfall. Although Rhen has Harper by his side, his guardsman Grey is missing, leaving more questions than answers. Win the crown, save the kingdom. Rumored to be the heir, Grey has been on the run since he destroyed Lilith. He has no desire to challenge Rhen--until Karis Luran once again threatens to take Emberfall by force. Her own daughter Lia Mara sees the flaws in her mother’s violent plan, but can she convince Grey to stand against Rhen, even for the good of Emberfall? The heart-pounding, compulsively readable saga continues as loyalties are tested and new love blooms in a kingdom on the brink of war.


Chosen (Slayer #2) by Kiersten White (Hardcover, 368 pages, published by Simon Pulse)
Nina continues to learn how to use her slayer powers against enemies old and new in this second novel in the New York Times bestselling series from Kiersten White, set in the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Now that Nina has turned the Watcher’s Castle into a utopia for hurt and lonely demons, she’s still waiting for the utopia part to kick in. With her sister Artemis gone and only a few people remaining at the castle—including her still-distant mother—Nina has her hands full. Plus, though she gained back her Slayer powers from Leo, they’re not feeling quite right after being held by the seriously evil succubus Eve, a.k.a. fake Watcher’s Council member and Leo’s mom. And while Nina is dealing with the darkness inside, there’s also a new threat on the outside, portended by an odd triangle symbol that seems to be popping up everywhere, in connection with Sean’s demon drug ring as well as someone a bit closer to home. Because one near-apocalypse just isn’t enough, right? The darkness always finds you. And once again, it’s coming for the Slayer.


City of Stone and Silence (The Wells of Sorcery #2) by Django Wexler (Hardcover, 368 pages, published by Tor Teen)
Django Wexler's City of Stone and Silence is the second book in the cinematic fantasy Wells of Sorcery Trilogy featuring a fierce young woman skilled in the art of combat magic on an epic mission to steal a ghost ship. After surviving the Vile Rot, Isoka, Meroe, and the rest of Soliton’s crew finally arrive at Soliton's mysterious destination, the Harbor―a city of great stone ziggurats, enshrouded in a ghostly veil of Eddica magic. And they're not alone. Royalty, monks, and madmen live in a precarious balance, and by night take shelter from monstrous living corpses. None know how to leave the Harbor, but if Isoka can't find a way to capture Soliton and return it to the Emperor's spymaster before a year is up, her sister's Tori's life will be forfeit. But there's more to Tori's life back in Kahnzoka than the comfortable luxury Isoka intended for her. By night, she visits the lower wards, risking danger to help run a sanctuary for mage-bloods fleeing the Emperor's iron fist. When she discovers that Isoka is missing, her search takes her deep in the mires of intrigue and revolution. And she has her own secret―the power of Kindre, the Well of Mind, which can bend others to its will. Though she's spent her life denying this brutal magic, Tori will use whatever means she has to with Isoka's fate on the line...


Nameless Queen by Rebecca McLaughlin (Hardcover, 352 pages, published by Crown Books for Young Readers)
One girl must make a name for herself--or die trying --in this royal fantasy where an unknown peasant becomes the ultimate ruler. But how long can she keep the crown if everyone wants her dead? Everyone expected the king's daughter would inherit the throne. No one expected me. It shouldn't even be possible. I'm Nameless, a class of citizens so disrespected, we don't even get names. Heck, dozens of us have been going missing for months and no one seems to care. But there's no denying the tattoo emblazoned on my arm. I am queen. In a palace where the corridors are more dangerous than the streets, though, how could I possibly rule? And what will become of the Nameless if I don't?


One of Us Is Next (One of Us is Lying #2) by Karen M. McManus (Hardcover, 384 pages, published by Delacorte Press for Young Readers)
There's a new mystery to solve at Bayview High, and there's a whole new set of rules. Come on, Bayview, you know you've missed this. A ton of copycat gossip apps have popped up since Simon died, but in the year since the Bayview four were cleared of his shocking death, no one's been able to fill the gossip void quite like he could. The problem is no one has the facts. Until now. This time it's not an app, though—it's a game. Truth or Dare. Phoebe's the first target. If you choose not to play, it's a truth. And hers is dark. Then comes Maeve and she should know better—always choose the dare. But by the time Knox is about to be tagged, things have gotten dangerous. The dares have become deadly, and if Maeve learned anything from Bronwyn last year, it's that they can't count on the police for help. Or protection. Simon's gone, but someone's determined to keep his legacy at Bayview High alive. And this time, there's a whole new set of rules.


Penric's Progress (Penric and Desdemona (Chronological) #1-3) by Lois McMaster Bujold (Hardcover, 320 pages, published by Baen)
Footloose nobleman Penric journeys from young lord to sorcerer and scholar in the Bastard’s Order—and solves mysteries along the way. Penric’s Demon: On the way to his betrothal, young Lord Penric happens upon a riding accident and stops to help. But the victim is a Temple divine, servant to the five gods of this world. Her avowed god is The Bastard, “master of all disasters out of season.” As she lies dying, she passes her strange powers to Penric—and changes the course of his life forever. Penric and the Shaman: Now a divine of the Bastard’s Order as well as a sorcerer and scholar, Penric must accompany a Locator of the Father’s Order assigned to capture a runaway shaman charged with the murder of his best friend. Penric’s Fox: When Penric—sorcerer, scholar, and divine in the Bastard’s Order—travels to Easthome, the capital of the Weald, he once again finds himself embroiled in a mystery. The body of a sorceress has been found in the woods, and it is up to Penric and his friends, Shaman Inglis and Locator Oswyl, to unravel a mystery mixing magic, murder, and the strange realities of Temple demons.


Scavenge the Stars (Scavenge the Stars #1) by Tara Sim (Hardcover, 336 pages, published by Disney Hyperion)
When Amaya rescues a mysterious stranger from drowning, she fears her rash actions have earned her a longer sentence on the debtor ship where she’s been held captive for years. Instead, the man she saved offers her unimaginable riches and a new identity, setting Amaya on a perilous course through the coastal city-state of Moray, where old-world opulence and desperate gamblers collide. Amaya wants one thing: revenge against the man who ruined her family and stole the life she once had. But the more entangled she becomes in this game of deception—and as her path intertwines with the son of the man she’s plotting to bring down—the more she uncovers about the truth of her past. And the more she realizes she must trust no one… Packed with high-stakes adventure, romance, and dueling identities, this gender-swapped retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo is the first novel in an epic YA fantasy duology, perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Sabaa Tahir, and Leigh Bardugo.


The Night Country (The Hazel Wood #2) by Melissa Albert (Hardcover, 352 pages, published by Flatiron Books)
In The Night Country, Alice Proserpine dives back into a menacing, mesmerizing world of dark fairy tales and hidden doors. Follow her and Ellery Finch as they learn The Hazel Wood was just the beginning, and that worlds die not with a whimper, but a bang. With Finch’s help, Alice escaped the Hinterland and her reclusive grandmother’s dark legacy. Now she and the rest of the dregs of the fairy tale world have washed up in New York City, where Alice is trying to make a new, unmagical life. But something is stalking the Hinterland’s survivors―and she suspects their deaths may have a darker purpose. Meanwhile, in the winking out world of the Hinterland, Finch seeks his own adventure, and―if he can find it―a way back home...


The Storm of Life (The Brilliant Death #2) by Amy Rose Capetta (Hardcover, 384 pages, published by Viking Books for Young Readers)
Teodora diSangro and Cielo, the strega she loves, are on a mission to save their country of Vinalia from its manipulative leader, who wants to exploit streghe and use them as his weapons. But will marshaling a small but powerful band of streghe be enough to wrest power from a cunning dictator? And what if Teo's been setting her sights on the wrong enemy all along? This epic sequel to The Brilliant Death completes the Italian-inspired fantasy duology with shocking twists, steamy romance, and magic that will dazzle your imagination and make you wish Vinalia were a real place.


Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez (Hardcover, 384 pages, published by Page Street Kids)
A lush tapestry of magic, romance, and revolución, drawing inspiration from Bolivian politics and history. Ximena is the decoy Condesa, a stand-in for the last remaining Illustrian royal. Her people lost everything when the usurper, Atoc, used an ancient relic to summon ghosts and drive the Illustrians from La Ciudad. Now Ximena’s motivated by her insatiable thirst for revenge, and her rare ability to spin thread from moonlight. When Atoc demands the real Condesa’s hand in marriage, it’s Ximena’s duty to go in her stead. She relishes the chance, as Illustrian spies have reported that Atoc’s no longer carrying his deadly relic. If Ximena can find it, she can return the true aristócrata to their rightful place. She hunts for the relic, using her weaving ability to hide messages in tapestries for the resistance. But when a masked vigilante, a warm-hearted princess, and a thoughtful healer challenge Ximena, her mission becomes more complicated. There could be a way to overthrow the usurper without starting another war, but only if Ximena turns her back on revenge—and her Condesa.

January 9th:


A Throne of Swans (A Throne of Swans #1) by Katharine Corr and Elizabeth Corr (Paperback, 352 pages, published by Hot Key Books)
In a world where the flightless are ruled by those who can fly... When her father dies just before her birthday, seventeen-year-old Aderyn inherits the role of Protector of Atratys, a dominion in a kingdom where nobles are able to transform at will into the bird that represents their family bloodline. Aderyn's ancestral bird is a swan. But she has not transformed for years, not since witnessing the death of her mother - ripped apart by hawks that have supposedly been extinct since the long-ago War of the Raptors. With the benevolent shelter of her mother and her father now lost, Aderyn is at the mercy of her brutal uncle, the King, and his royal court. Driven by revenge and love, she must venture into the malevolent heart of the Citadel in order to seek the truth about the attack that so nearly destroyed her, to fight for the only home she has ever known and for the land she has vowed to protect. Written in rich detail and evocative language, this is the start of an irresistible, soaring duology about courage, broken loyalties and fighting for your place in the world.

January 14th:


Beyond the Shadowed Earth (Beneath the Haunting Sea #2) by Joanna Ruth Meyer (Hardcover, 400 pages, published by Page Street Kids)
It has always been Eda’s dream to become empress, no matter the cost. Haunted by her ambition and selfishness, she’s convinced that the only way to achieve her goal is to barter with the gods. But all requests come with a price and Eda bargains away the soul of her best friend in exchange for the crown. Years later, her hold on the empire begins to crumble and her best friend unexpectedly grows sick and dies. Gnawed by guilt and betrayal, Eda embarks on a harrowing journey to confront the very god who gave her the kingdom in the first place. However, she soon discovers that he’s trapped at the center of an otherworldly labyrinth and that her bargain with him is more complex than she ever could have imagined. Set in the same universe as Joanna’s debut, Beneath the Haunting Sea, Beyond the Shadowed Earth combines her incredible world building and lush prose with a new, villainous lead.


Infinity Son (Infinity Cycle #1) by Adam Silvera (Hardcover, 368 pages, published by HarperTeen)
Balancing epic and intensely personal stakes, bestselling author Adam Silvera’s Infinity Son is a gritty, fast-paced adventure about two brothers caught up in a magical war generations in the making. Growing up in New York, brothers Emil and Brighton always idolized the Spell Walkers—a vigilante group sworn to rid the world of specters. While the Spell Walkers and other celestials are born with powers, specters take them, violently stealing the essence of endangered magical creatures. Brighton wishes he had a power so he could join the fray. Emil just wants the fighting to stop. The cycle of violence has taken a toll, making it harder for anyone with a power to live peacefully and openly. In this climate of fear, a gang of specters has been growing bolder by the day. Then, in a brawl after a protest, Emil manifests a power of his own—one that puts him right at the heart of the conflict and sets him up to be the heroic Spell Walker Brighton always wanted to be. Brotherhood, love, and loyalty will be put to the test, and no one will escape the fight unscathed.


Strange Exit by Parker Peevyhouse (Hardcover, 288 pages, published by Tor Teen)
Seventeen-year-old Lake spends her days searching a strange, post-apocalyptic landscape for people who have forgotten one very important thing: this isn’t reality. Everyone she meets is a passenger aboard a ship that’s been orbiting Earth since a nuclear event. The simulation that was supposed to prepare them all for life after the apocalypse has trapped their minds in a shared virtual reality and their bodies in stasis chambers. No one can get off the ship until all of the passengers are out of the sim, and no one can get out of the sim unless they believe it's a simulation. It's up to Lake to help them remember. When Lake reveals the truth to a fellow passenger, seventeen-year-old Taren, he joins her mission to find everyone, persuade them that they’ve forgotten reality, and wake them up. But time’s running out before the simulation completely deconstructs, and soon Taren’s deciding who’s worth saving and who must be sacrificed for the greater good. Now, Lake has no choice but to pit herself against Taren in a race to find the secret heart of the sim, where something waits that will either save them or destroy them all.


The Conference of the Birds (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children #5) by Ransom Riggs (Hardcover, 400 pages, published by Dutton Books for Young Readers)
“Do you trust me?” An instant bestseller, A Map of Days launched readers into the previously unexplored world of American peculiars, one bursting with new questions, new allies, and new adversaries. Now, with enemies behind him and the unknown ahead, Jacob Portman’s story continues as he takes a brave leap forward into The Conference of the Birds, the next installment of the beloved, bestselling Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series.


The King’s Questioner by Nikki Katz (Hardcover, 304 pages, published by Swoon Reads)
From the author of 'The Midnight Dance' comes an epic YA fantasy featuring royal drama, dark magic, and a secret that could topple a kingdom. Kalen has been cursed with a gift: he’s a mental picklock, able to access a person’s memories and secrets by touch. His skills make him the perfect questioner to the king, and he spends his days interrogating prisoners of the crown. But when Kalen’s estranged childhood friend, Prince Cirrus, falls into a sudden coma, the king begs Kalen to intervene. By accessing Cirrus’ mind, Kalen saves his life—and uncovers a terrifying secret. The prince has a sister, banished long ago, and she is the key to the destruction or survival of the kingdom. With the help of Cirrus and a silver-haired thief named Luna, Kalen must find the princess and bring her home. Or risk death at the hands of his king.

January 21st:


Ashlords by Scott Reintgen (Hardcover, 368 pages, published by Crown Books for Young Readers)
Every year since the Ashlords were gifted phoenix horses by their gods, they've raced them. First into battle, then on great hunts, and finally for the pure sport of seeing who rode the fastest. Centuries of blood and fire carved their competition into a more modern spectacle: The Races. Over the course of a multi-day event, elite riders from clashing cultures vie to be crowned champion. But the modern version of the sport requires more than good riding. Competitors must be skilled at creating and controlling phoenix horses made of ash and alchemy, which are summoned back to life each sunrise with uniquely crafted powers to cover impossible distances and challenges before bursting into flames at sunset. But good alchemy only matters if a rider knows how to defend their phoenix horse at night. Murder is outlawed, but breaking bones and poisoning ashes? That's all legal and encouraged. In this year's Races, eleven riders will compete, but three of them have more to lose than the rest--a champion's daughter, a scholarship entrant, and a revolutionary's son. Who will attain their own dream of glory? Or will they all flame out in defeat?


Spellhacker by M. K. England (Hardcover, 400 pages, published by HarperCollins Children's Books)
In Kyrkarta, magic—known as maz—was once a freely available natural resource. Then an earthquake released a magical plague, killing thousands and opening the door for a greedy corporation to make maz a commodity that’s tightly controlled—and, of course, outrageously expensive. Which is why Diz and her three best friends run a highly lucrative, highly illegal maz siphoning gig on the side. Their next job is supposed to be their last heist ever. But when their plan turns up a powerful new strain of maz that (literally) blows up in their faces, they’re driven to unravel a conspiracy at the very center of the spellplague—and possibly save the world. No pressure.


Stolen Time (Dark Stars #1) by Danielle Rollins (Paperback, 432 pages, published by HarperTeen)
Seattle, 1913 // Dorothy is trapped. Forced into an engagement to a wealthy man just so she and her mother can live comfortably for the rest of their days, she’ll do anything to escape. Including sneaking away from her wedding and bolting into the woods to disappear. New Seattle, 2077 // Ash is on a mission. Rescue the professor—his mentor who figured out the secret to time travel—so together they can put things right in their devastated city. But searching for one man means endless jumps through time with no guarantee of success. When Dorothy collides with Ash, she sees it as her chance to start fresh—she’ll stow away in his plane and begin a new life wherever they land. Then she wakes up in a future that’s been ripped apart by earthquakes and floods; where vicious gangs rule the submerged city streets and a small group of intrepid travelers from across time are fighting against the odds to return things to normal. What Dorothy doesn’t know is that she could hold the key to unraveling the past—and her arrival may spell Ash’s ultimate destruction.


This Vicious Cure (This Mortal Coil #3) by Emily Suvada (Hardcover, 416 pages, published by Simon Pulse)
Cat’s hacking skills weren’t enough to keep her from losing everything—her identity, her past, and now her freedom. She’s trapped and alone, but she’s survived this long, and she’s not giving up without a fight. Though the outbreak has been contained, a new threat has emerged—one that’s taken the world to the brink of a devastating war. With genetic technology that promises not just a cure for the plague, but a way to prevent death itself, both sides will stop at nothing to seize control of humanity’s future. Facing her smartest, most devastating enemy yet, Cat must race against the clock to protect her friends and save the lives of millions on the planet’s surface. No matter the outcome, humanity will never be the same. And this time, Cat can’t afford to let anything, or anyone, stand in her way.


The Hand on the Wall (Truly Devious #3) by Maureen Johnson (Hardcover, 320 pages, published by Katherine Tegen Books)
New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson delivers the witty and pulse-pounding conclusion to the Truly Devious series as Stevie Bell solves the mystery that has haunted Ellingham Academy for over 75 years. Ellingham Academy must be cursed. Three people are now dead. One, a victim of either a prank gone wrong or a murder. Another, dead by misadventure. And now, an accident in Burlington has claimed another life. All three in the wrong place at the wrong time. All at the exact moment of Stevie’s greatest triumph... She knows who Truly Devious is. She’s solved it. The greatest case of the century. At least, she thinks she has. With this latest tragedy, it’s hard to concentrate on the past. Not only has someone died in town, but David disappeared of his own free will and is up to something. Stevie is sure that somehow—somehow—all these things connect. The three deaths in the present. The deaths in the past. The missing Alice Ellingham and the missing David Eastman. Somewhere in this place of riddles and puzzles there must be answers. Then another accident occurs as a massive storm heads toward Vermont. This is too much for the parents and administrators. Ellingham Academy is evacuated. Obviously, it’s time for Stevie to do something stupid. It’s time to stay on the mountain and face the storm—and a murderer. In the tantalizing finale to the Truly Devious trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson expertly tangles her dual narrative threads and ignites an explosive end for all who’ve walked through Ellingham Academy.

January 28th:


Seven Deadly Shadows by Courtney Alameda and Valynne E. Maetani (Hardcover, 384 pages, published by HarperTeen)
Seventeen-year-old Kira Fujikawa has never had it easy. She’s bullied by the popular girls in school. Her family ignores her. And she’s also plagued with a secret: She can see yokai, the ghosts and demons that haunt the streets of Japan. But things accelerate from bad to worse when she learns that Shuten-doji, the demon king, will rise at the next blood moon to hunt down an ancient relic and bring the world to a catastrophic end. Not exactly skilled at fighting anything, much less the dead, Kira enlists the aid of seven powerful death gods to help her slay Shuten-doji. They include Shiro, a kitsune with boy-band looks who is more flirtatious than helpful, and O-bei, a regal demon courtesan with covert reasons of her own for getting involved. As the confrontation with Shuten-doji draws nearer by the day, the fate of Japan hangs in the balance. Can Kira save humankind? Or will the demon king succeed in bringing eternal darkness upon the world?


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


Share: