Read a physical ARC from the publisher Content warning: death of a parent (father), ableism, body horror, misogyny, gun violence, realities of pregnancy, dead baby
Magdala is an eleven-year-old with a club foot, on the run from her settlement with her father across the Sonoran desert, where desert sickness overtakes more organic matter, turning them into horrifying corpse-cactuses. It’s a little bit Annihilation (the movie) and a little bit Red Dead Redemption with a creepy atmosphere and unexpected but delightfully unnerving Christian religious overtones. Where faith in humanity clashes with faith in the divine, it’s a great perambulation through a nightmare scape where everyone kind of sucks, but the supernatural dangers aren’t much better.
Read an advanced copy on NetGalley Content warning: kidnapping, murder, queerphobia, parental abuse, drug use, attempted school shooting, school lockdown, eating an eyeball, arson Gentle spoilers for The Scapegracers
The queer witch gang is back in the second installment of The Scapegracers trilogy. It picks up where the previous book left off, with Sideways without her specter, and the only clues anyone has are Sideways’ mental connection with Madeline, the girl who stole it. The Chantry boys remain a threat, on top of the typical teenage foibles of finals and catching up on one’s studies.
Intense in its magic and its love for queer women and teen friendships, this second entry is a triumph, and I have several fears for Sideways and gang in book three.
Read an advanced copy on NetGalley Trigger/Content warning: alcoholism, death of a relative, vomiting, harm against animals, death, grief
Jean March protects her village from the dead while the paw at her, begging to be heard, begging for more of their own. Her grandma was to supposed to teach her in the abilities to combat the supernatural forces threatening Casement Rise, but when a mysterious from the calamity called Furnace arrives, it’s time to speed run an education in magic and the hungry forces wanting to bring the world to ruin.
This book definitely scratched the itch that constantly chases the vibes of The Old Kingdom series by Garth Nix. Gothic, decaying but not bleak, with an ending that draws on hope that can only be pulled from a community’s strong bonds.
Read an Advanced Bound Manuscript obtained from ALA AC 2022 Trigger/Content warning: suicide, burnout, gun violence, beating, alcoholism, drug abuse
In the year 2043, the world has passed through a plague like any other, one that rendered a quarter of the population Sleepless. We follow Jamie Vega, a reporter, who didn’t develop hyperinsomnia via the illness. He got it by biohacking, and it leads to some serious problems. Like forgetting the details of what happened the night before he found his boss, Simon, dead. Mysteries and a global conspiracy unravel, with twists on twist on twist.
This sharp examination of the cost of non-stop productivity at a personal and a global level includes a personal character journey as Jamie tries to clear his own name and get to the truth of what really happened that night.
An interview with the author will be going up on release day, August 23rd, 2022.
The All-Consuming World is a queer science fiction novel about a splintered group of mercenaries trying to unravel what went so wrong on a job decades ago. But it’s also about the cost of functional immortality and surviving an abusive relationship. The balance between heart-wrenching prose and awesome action set pieces with sci fi tech sprinkled throughout is impeccable Several weeks before its release, I’m thrilled to feature author Cassandra Khaw to talk about the craft behind this multi-layered work and what you can look forward to reading next.
Read an ARC from the publisher Content warning: gore, partner abuse, self-surgery,gun violence, death
A small fraction of a band of mercenaries called the Dirty Dozen get together for one last job which will hopefully bring closure to the disaster which tore the group apart several years ago. Rita leads, but it’s unclear if she can be trusted. Maya wants to, though everyone else seems to disagree. Meanwhile, an AI searches for the same planet and an epic clash is on the horizon.
Aesthetically and thematically science fictional with profane prose that pulls and prods the feelings, Cassandra Khaw’s debut novel is a queer treat.
Excuse me, but where did April go? This month went by so quickly, I cannot wrap my head around it. And what a roller coaster of a ride it was.
The big thing that happened to me was that my beloved Eclectus parrot, Investor, had to be put to sleep due to poor health. He was in our family for 20 years. I try to smile through the happy memories, but mostly it’s just tears.
Read an ARC from the publisher Content warning: parental death, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, hate crimes, discrimination
Physicist Elsa Park returns from a research trip to Antarctica when she founds out that her catatonic mother had died. All Elsa has left of her is a collection of stories and an uncanny ghost who follows her around. Then begins a search for discovery as Elsa reconnects with the stories she inherited from her mother and what it means for the rest of her adult life. There’s physics, there’s ghosts.
Hypnotic in its exploration of mythology, culture, and family, this literary contemporary fantasy shows how family and mythology have lines that might not at all be clearly defined.
Read an ARC from the publisher Content warning: violence against children, plague, medical experimentation, violence
Set in South Asia, this cyberpunk science fiction dystopia has everything: a ruthless technocratic government, a deadly plague, mechanical augmentations, mechs, a shiny chrome utopia for the upper class, crowded slums for everyone else, a splinter group of revolutionaries, and hackers working from the inside.
Told in crisp, matter-of-fact prose by complex characters, this science fiction debut is not one to miss.
Read a physical ARC from Erewhon Books
Content warnings: Parental death (in flashbacks), blood magic
Outcast teenage lesbian Sideways Pike performs magic at a killer party and gains a coven. What ensues is an exploration of identity, magic, and female friendship while trying to do normal teen things like go to class, have crushes, and run away from witch hunters.
The voice in this novel is powerful. There’s a bit of stream of consciousness, but Sideways has such a distinct POV and way of phrasing that feels authentic. Clarke makes this look effortless, especially as bits of witch lore and plot have to happen. The way Clarke depicts Sideways griefs and traumas don’t flinch from either the details or the underlying emotional journey. It’s so raw. And I liked the way it showed up within the narrative. What really stuck with me was how Sideways opens up to the reader as her new friends let her further and further into their circle. It’s endearing, it’s powerful, it gave a kind of joy that can only come from finding family-like friendships.
Magic within this novel implied stricter rules and more world-building, but since we’re discovering it as Sideways uses it for party tricks and later, teaching Daisy, Jing, and Yates how to cast spells, it made sense to me that it was mostly shown through the experience. The way Clarke ties it into the experience of queerness and teenhood felt powerful, especially as it relates to the trials and tribulations of leaving oneself vulnerable to let friends in. There was never a doubt that her friends would be her life line, even if Sideways herself didn’t quite know it yet.
On September 15th, join a coven of queer disasters as they discover magic and the power of friendship, told through a ferocious, fun voice all its own.