Bone Weaver tells the story of a girl raised by benevolent undead, a tsar on the run, and a boy witch helping each other survive in a secondary world fantasy inspired by imperial Russia. Its layered world-building, examination of monstrosity, sisterly love, and queer characters make this an enchanting read that will delight any fan of historically-grounded Slavic dark fantasy.
Today, Aden tells me a bit about putting this dark fantasy adventure together, from its open image to the research behind the tale. He also shares how the story evolved and what he’s working on next.
August saw me flying from New York City back to Texas and spending a bunch of time recovering from psychic damage I’m not going to get into. I also did a bunch of painting, had a weird episode with my Instagram, and just. What a ride of a month it was!
I am nearing the end of my revision journey, and then I’m going to be doing more focused reading lists that I may or may not share as part of the recovery phase after finishing an intense project.
Read an advanced copy on NetGalley Content warning: on-page murder and violence, decapitation, gun violence, body horror, off-page dismemberment, reference to the mutilation of corpses, religious and ethnic persecution, death of a parent (off-page)
Toma lives in the wilderness with her benevolent upyri parents and younger sister. A dirigible erupts near their home, where the found family nurses a boy back to help. He turns out to Mikhail, the tsar who is on the run from violent revolutionaries. The two run off to find Toma’s sister, Galina, stolen by enemies, and pick up a snarky boy witch on the way.
With layered world-building that examines monstrosity and otherness with an endearing cast, this one is a must-read for fans of historically-grounded Slavic dark fantasy.
An interview with the author is going up on September 20th, release day.
Read an eGalley courtesy of the publisher Trigger/Content warning: death of a sibling, body horror, blood, bleeding, kidnapping, hazing
In the middle of the night when she’s supposed to be away at her prestigious summer camp, Mars’ sister Caroline attacks them within their family home. The encounter ends in tragedy, with a tidy explanation, but Mars suspects the camp itself might have had a hand in the violence. They take her spot, and they start learning about what lurks within bucolic Aspen Conservancy Summer Academy.
I had a fun time getting lost in the haze of La Sala’s prose which deftly takes the reader from summer’s bliss to a trippy nightmare. It’s entertaining and really fun for folks who have seen films like Hereditary and Annihilation, but stars a badass genderfluid teen determined to find out the truth about his sister’s death.
July was…heavy, to say the least. There was some writing professional news that netted out less than positively, a meteor of a personal emergency that is still unfolding, and I think I finally figured a writing time management system that works for me (and a realization that I definitely write to run away, and there is a lot I want to run from).
I also went to NYC to see my family and catch up with some friends. Equally restful and stressful. I’ve stayed safe from disease the best I can, and wish the same for you and yours.
My birthday month has come and past. Have I caught up on my reading goal? No. How is the writing going? It’s going. The highlight of this month was absolutely attending ALA AC 2022 in Washington D.C. with one of my best friends, Elliott, as part of the Zine Pavilion. Many zines were peddled, authors met, and despite the masking, things felt normal. I also accomplished holding a plank for a minute straight! It’s been a good time.
Read an Advanced Bound Manuscript obtained from ALA AC 2022 Content warning: racism, colorism, transphobia, queerphobia, 1920’s sexism, vomiting, PTSD
I will continue to read every and any retelling of The Great Gatsby. With McLemore being one of my auto-buy authors, this seems like a match in heaven. In this spin, Nick and Daisy are Latinx cousins, with Daisy abandoning her background to pass as white among the East Coast elite. Nick and Gatsby are both trans, giving them something else in common aside from a history with Daisy.
While the plot matches its source material approximately beat by beat, the character development and interpersonal relationships in the context of societal expectations makes this retelling shine bright like a chandelier at one of Gatsby’s parties.
Genre: Adult Nonfiction Year Release: 2022 Source: Library Audiobook
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Listened to the audiobook Content warning: religious trauma, misogyny, dead parent (mother), dead dog, attempted sexual assault, suicide (mentioned), vomiting, gore
Extasia takes place in a post apocalypse where supposedly the last bastion of humanity is a village called Haven, run by patriarchal fundamentalists who believe that a woman’s role is to be a pure baby maker. The main character, whose saint name is Amity, has wanted nothing more than to be a saint, especially after her mother was ousted from the village. But she catches two other girls wandering off to a coven of literal witches, and suddenly, she has an idea to put an end to the increasingly mysterious and gory deaths of the men in Haven once and for all.
The magic is very real and the cult seems omnipotent, this book is a little less The VVitch and little more like The Village, but definitely in conversation with works like The Grace Year by Kim Liggett.
Hell Followed With Us came out this week, and if you’re a fan of Resident Evil and The Last of Us, but want more books with trans and autistic characters, you’re in a for a treat. Benji is a trans boy raised by a cult to become the ultimate monster weapon, Seraph. But he wants none of that, and instead runs away to find a survivor community of other queer kids. They team up to take down the cult which also ushered in the apocalypse in the first place.
Join me in celebrating this gory debut in this interview with author Andrew Joseph White. Learn more about the inspiration behind this ferocious book, outlining versus pantsing, what he’s working on now, and what he looks forward to reading later.
My May goals were fairly modest: get new glasses, start the process of renewing my passport, and continue working on the revision. I did all that! And I worked out 3-4 times a week, and I feel like things are steadily trucking along. I think I can finally listen to audiobooks again, and I super missed it.
There was an author interview practically every week. Take a look: