Hello everyone! I am here today to share with y’all an excerpt from the upcoming cli-fi dystopian release from Alison Stine, TRASHLANDS (out on October 26). Thanks again to the publisher for providing me an eARC and letting my join on the blog tour!
TRASHLANDS by Alison Stine
Publication Date: October 26, 2021
Publisher: MIRA Books
A resonant, visionary novel about the power of art and the sacrifices we are willing to make for the ones we love
A few generations from now, the coastlines of the continent have been redrawn by floods and tides. Global powers have agreed to not produce any new plastics, and what is left has become valuable: garbage is currency.
In the region-wide junkyard that Appalachia has become, Coral is a “plucker,” pulling plastic from the rivers and woods. She’s stuck in Trashlands, a dump named for the strip club at its edge, where the local women dance for an endless loop of strangers and the club’s violent owner rules as unofficial mayor.
Amid the polluted landscape, Coral works desperately to save up enough to rescue her child from the recycling factories, where he is forced to work. In her stolen free hours, she does something that seems impossible in this place: Coral makes art.
When a reporter from a struggling city on the coast arrives in Trashlands, Coral is presented with an opportunity to change her life. But is it possible to choose a future for herself?
Told in shifting perspectives, Trashlands is a beautifully drawn and wildly imaginative tale of a parent’s journey, a story of community and humanity in a changed world.
1 Early coralroot Corallorhiza trifida
Coral was pregnant then. She hid it well in a dress she had found in the road, sun-bleached and mud-dotted, only a little ripped. The dress billowed to her knees, over the tops of her boots. She was named for the wildflower which hadn’t been seen since before her birth, and for ocean life, poisoned and gone. It was too dangerous to go to the beach anymore. You never knew when storms might come.
Though they were going—to get a whale.
A boy had come from up north with a rumor: a whale had beached. Far off its course, but everything was off by then: the waterways, the paths to the ocean, its salt. You went where you had to go, where weather and work and family—but mostly weather—took you.
The villagers around Lake Erie were carving the creature up, taking all the good meat and fat. The strainer in its mouth could be used for bows, the bones in its chest for tent poles or greenhouse beams.
It was a lot of fuel for maybe nothing, a rumor spun by an out-of-breath boy. But there would be pickings along the road. And there was still gas, expensive but available. So the group went, led by Mr. Fall. They brought kayaks, lashed to the top of the bus, but in the end, the water was shallow enough they could wade.
They knew where to go because they could smell it. You got used to a lot of smells in the world: rotten food, chemicals, even shit. But death… Death was hard to get used to.
“Masks up,” Mr. Fall said.
Some of the men in the group—all men except Coral—had respirators, painter’s masks, or medical masks. Coral had a handkerchief of faded blue paisley, knotted around her neck. She pulled it up over her nose. She had dotted it with lavender oil from a vial, carefully tipping out the little she had left. She breathed shallowly through fabric and flowers. Mr. Fall just had a T-shirt, wound around his face. He could have gotten a better mask, Coral knew, but he was leading the crew. He saved the good things for the others.
She was the only girl on the trip, and probably the youngest person. Maybe fifteen, she thought. Months ago, she had lain in the icehouse with her teacher, a man who would not stay. He was old enough to have an old-fashioned name, Robert, to be called after people who had lived and died as they should. Old enough to know better, Mr. Fall had said, but what was better, anymore?
Everything was temporary. Robert touched her in the straw, the ice blocks sweltering around them. He let himself want her, or pretend to, for a few hours. She tried not to miss him. His hands that shook at her buttons would shake in a fire or in a swell of floodwater. Or maybe violence had killed him.
She remembered it felt cool in the icehouse, a relief from the outside where heat beat down. The last of the chillers sputtered out chemicals. The heat stayed trapped in people’s shelters, like ghosts circling the ceiling. Heat haunted. It would never leave.
News would stop for long stretches. The information that reached Scrappalachia would be written hastily on damp paper, across every scrawled inch. It was always old news.
The whale would be picked over by the time they reached it.
Mr. Fall led a practiced team. They would not bother Coral, were trained not to mess with anything except the mission. They parked the bus in an old lot, then descended through weeds to the beach. The stairs had washed away. And the beach, when they reached it, was not covered with dirt or rock as Coral had expected, but with a fine yellow grit so bright it hurt to look at, a blankness stretching on.
“Take off your boots,” Mr. Fall said.
Coral looked at him, but the others were listening, knot-ting plastic laces around their necks, stuffing socks into pockets.
“Go on, Coral. It’s all right.” Mr. Fall’s voice was gentle, muffled by the shirt.
Coral had her job to do. Only Mr. Fall and the midwife knew for sure she was pregnant, though others were talking. She knew how to move so that no one could see.
But maybe, she thought as she leaned on a fence post and popped off her boot, she wanted people to see. To tell her what to do, how to handle it. Help her. He had to have died, Robert—and that was the reason he didn’t come back for her. Or maybe he didn’t know about the baby?
People had thought there would be no more time, but there was. Just different time. Time moving slower. Time after disaster, when they still had to live.
She set her foot down on the yellow surface. It was warm. She shot a look at Mr. Fall.
The surface felt smooth, shifting beneath her toes. Coral slid her foot across, light and slightly painful. It was the first time she had felt sand.
The sand on the beach made only a thin layer. People had started to take it. Already, people knew sand, like everything, could be valuable, could be sold.
Coral took off her other boot. She didn’t have laces, to tie around her neck. She carried the boots under her arm. Sand clung to her, pebbles jabbing at her feet. Much of the trash on the beach had been picked through. What was left was diapers and food wrappers and cigarettes smoked down to filters.
“Watch yourselves,” Mr. Fall said.
Down the beach they followed the smell. It led them on, the sweet rot scent. They came around a rock outcropping, and there was the whale, massive as a ship run aground: red, purple, and white. The colors seemed not real. Birds were on it, the black birds of death. The enemies of scavengers, their competition. Two of the men ran forward, waving their arms and whooping to scare off the birds.
“All right everybody,” Mr. Fall said to the others. “You know what to look for.”
Except they didn’t. Not really. Animals weren’t their specialty.
People had taken axes to the carcass, to carve off meat. More desperate people had taken spoons, whatever they could use to get at something to take home for candle wax or heating fuel, or to barter or beg for something else, something better.
“You ever seen a whale?” one of the men, New Orleans, asked Coral.
She shook her head. “No.”
“This isn’t a whale,” Mr. Fall said. “Not anymore. Keep your masks on.”
They approached it. The carcass sunk into the sand. Coral tried not to breathe deeply. Flesh draped from the bones of the whale. The bones were arched, soaring like buttresses, things that made up cathedrals—things she had read about in the book.
Bracing his arm over his mouth, Mr. Fall began to pry at the ribs. They were big and strong. They made a cracking sound, like a splitting tree.
New Orleans gagged and fell back.
Other men were dropping. Coral heard someone vomiting into the sand. The smell was so strong it filled her head and chest like a sound, a high ringing. She moved closer to give her feet something to do. She stood in front of the whale and looked into its gaping mouth.
There was something in the whale.
Something deep in its throat.
In one pocket she carried a knife always, and in the other she had a light: a precious flashlight that cast a weak beam. She switched it on and swept it over the whale’s tongue, picked black by the birds.
She saw a mass, opaque and shimmering, wide enough it blocked the whale’s throat. The whale had probably died of it, this blockage. The mass looked lumpy, twined with seaweed and muck, but in the mess, she could make out a water bottle.
It was plastic. Plastic in the animal’s mouth. It sparked in the beam of her flashlight.
Alison Stine is an award-winning poet and author. Recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and an Ohio Arts Council grant, she was a Wallace Stegner Fellow and received the Studs Terkel Award for Media and Journalism. She works as a freelance reporter with The New York Times, writes for The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The Guardian, 100 Days in Appalachia, ELLE, The Kenyon Review, and others, and has been a storyteller on The Moth. After living in Appalachian Ohio for many years, she now lives and writes in Colorado with her partner, her son, and a small orange cat.
Hello y’all!! This is my first non-review/blog tour post since I don’t know when to be honest. At least since sometime last year, when I started becoming less active on here. I have been wanting to revive my blog again for a long but things happen! Life happens. It gets super hard to manage a blog when you’re working, when the world is burning, and your mental health is shit. I’m hoping to make an official “I’m back from my hiatus (?)” post soon though and talk about things that have happened last year and this year.
In the meantime, I have been dying to talk about some upcoming books!! So here’s a typical anticipated summer releases list for you to enjoy or not. I decided to separate these books into arbitrary categories so do with that what you will. Please enjoy this list and I hope I have convinced some of y’all to look into these for yourself! Let’s have a good summer full of reading, chilling out and also staying 6 feet apart and away from me with a mask still on please.
SCIENCE FICTION / FANTASY / LITERARY FICTION RELEASES (JUNE TO AUGUST 2021)
This is the straight up fantasy category. The lush and descriptive type of fantasy that takes you to a whole other world.
For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten – Release Date: June 1
Woodsy, fantasy romance with a monster boyfriend/husband?? Indulge me please. I’ve been waiting for this book ever since it was announced and I cannot wait to devour it.
The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo – Release Date: June 1
Not only is this a retelling of The Great Gatsby but its also queer, Asian, and magical. I’m also lucky enough to have been given an arc of this 👀👀👀 Review to come obviously for this one!
The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri – Release Date: June 8
This is the start of a fantasy trilogy featuring morally grey sapphic characters. I’ve heard so many great things about Tasha Suri’s first series, Empire of Sand & Realm of Ash. She’s also an author that I follow on Twitter and she seems chill. IDK There is something about authors that are just kind of chill and cool on Twitte that makes me want to read their books more.
The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid – Release Date: June 8
Will anyone hate me when I say that I have read this book already? I will have a review up soon for this one because WOW. This book. I hope my review can give this book justice to how damn good it was. I also have the the book itself in person and it is GORGEOUS. I am begging y’all to grab this book that if you want a fantasy story that hits you dark and brutal themes of nationalism, genocide, and ethnic cleansing. I would definitely check into the trigger warnings for this book before going in.
This a mix of contemporary/historical settings and characters.
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston – Release Date: June 1
I haven’t read Red, White & Royal Blue and I KNOW I WILL READ IT EVENTUALLY. But One Last Stop just really sounded more my speed. Queer Kate & Leopold?? This sounds a lot of fun and I need more fun in my life. I’ll more than likely take this as a beach read since I am going to hit the beach at some point this summer. Vaccinated baby!!!
The Temple House Vanishing by Rachel Donohue – Release Date: July 6
Okay so I have to point out that this has not been the only book released this year about boarding schools and specifically all-girls schools. There’s at least 3 others that also fit in this category from this year alone. It’s a sub-genre that I have come to realize that I enjoy reading about because its usually mystery and coming of age all rolled into one. Picnic at Hanging Rock is one of my favorite films and I think that’s where I get my admiration for this type of story.
Afterparties by Anthony Veasna So – Release Date: August 3
This a collection of short stories that is specifically about Cambodian Americans dealing with race, sexuality, and generational trauma from the Khmer Rouge genocide. I’ve been wanting to read more short stories and I think this sounds like it would be interesting.
Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – Release Date: August 17
I have to first address the cover because it is both HOT and COOL. Tell me that isn’t a hot as fuck cover. But also super cool and badass. Moving on from my cover love, this is a historical noir from a new favorite author of mine. Mexican Gothic was one of my favorite reads from last year and I’m super intrigued to see how Silvia Moreno-Garcia goes into historical noir. She’s an author that puts so much work into research and it shows. Plus her writing is so lush and captivating.
I guess this is also like the previous category of books. There are two thrillers and two contemporaries.
Ghost Forest by Pik-Shuen Fung – Release Date: July 13
This sounds like it will be a strong book about grief as well as the experience of immigrants. Also not a book set in the U.S. as its set both in China and Canada. I know its random that I point that out but I also don’t for some reason read many non-US books which I obviously should fucking fix.
The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris – Release Date: June 1
This had me at Get Out meets The Stepford Wives which is quite the comp to make. This about a young Black woman who works a book publishing house in New York where she has been the only Black employee until the new girl arrives. It seems like they’ll get along fine but the new girl starts to leave her hostile messages and things begin to spiral out.
With Teeth by Kristen Arnett – Release Date: June 1
Not going to lie but I actually am kind of wanting to read this because 1) the author is hilarious on Twitter. She’s always trending somehow?? 2) She’s a Florida author and this is set in Florida. I am naturally biased towards books set where I am from. But I mean the book does sound intriguing. The synopsis sounds almost basic but also eerily unsettling??? I guess that’s how I would describe it because it sounds like its going to be a messy ride and I am here for it.
The Comfort of Monsters by Willa C. Richards – Release Date: July 13
Set in the early 1990s during the time Jeffrey Dahmer was caught, a teenage girl also happened to disappear and it follows the sister’s story to piece together what actually happened. Also I saw the name “Gillian Flynn” and immediately added this to my tbr.
This is the “whatever else is left to talk about” category. A mix of genres and authors.
My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones – Release Date: August 31
This is described as Shirley Jackson meets Friday the 13th which sounds cool as hell. I’m also very excited because of the hype and praise surrounding his release from last year, The Only Good Indians (which I am also dying to read). And yeah that title is hardcore.
Star Eater by Kerstin Hall – Release Date: June 22
The synopsis does not at all mention that this book is about cannibalism but it is apparently about cannibalism but fantasy. This sounds fucked up to be honest and I am here for it.
Songs in Ursa Major by Emma Brodie – Release Date: June 22
Another thing I am into, books about music. This book leans into the 1960s/1970s folk music scene which is an era I vibe with. Bob Dylan. Joni Mitchell. James Taylor. This apparently is partially based off James Taylor and Joni Mitchell’s love affair. Sorry Bob.
The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix – Release Date: July 13
Okay this might sound fake but I had a WIP that was also about final girls joining up together to face up against one villain. RIP The Final Girls Club. Damn you Grady Hendrix for also going for the most obvious story idea to tell and doing it before me. But this seriously sounds super cool. It probably will be better than anything I put on paper.
YOUNG ADULT RELEASES (JUNE TO AUGUST 2021)
This category is the YA horror/thriller category and this year it looks strong. I’ll especially love to talk about the ones coming out in the fall/winter season as well. There’s another book that fits here but I am purposely leaving it out for aesthetic reasons.
Darling by K. Ancrum – Release Date: June 22
A dark retelling of Peter Pan which K. Ancrum is known to deliver on dark topics. The synopsis itself is pretty vague and mysterious as to what the hell is happening. But that somehow makes me more excited to read this one. I have an ARC for this and hopefully I will be getting into it soon!
The Devil Makes Three by Tori Bovalino – Release Date: August 10
Demonic books, boarding school, dark academia…what could be better??? I am actually rubbing my hands over the thought of reading this. This is the kind of spooky shit I have been craving.
The River Has Teeth by Erica Waters – Release Date: July 20
I adored Ghost Wood Song, the author’s debut which you should check out! This one is a sapphic Southern gothic/ supernatural book. I crave for more Southern gothic stories TBH.
A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee – August 3
Sapphic dark academia in the house!!! We love to see it!!!
This is a mix of books that have mostly contemporary settings grounded in realism but also two have have fantastical elements.
The Sea Is Salt and So Am I by Cassandra Hartt – Release Date: June 8
This deals with a seaside town during stormy weather season and also deals with depression and suicide. So this could be a difficult read for myself since those issues hit hard for me. But I like the premise enough to want to try to read it.
Me (Moth) by Amber McBride – Release Date: August 17
So this is an interesting mix of novel-in-verse contemporary and ghost story. It sounds like it will be a haunting read and I didn’t look into it any further than that because novels-in-verse are easy for me to go in without knowing too much about them.
Dangerous Play by Emma Kress – Release Date: August 3
I have been wanting to venture into YA sports books which there seems to be a lack of. Not non-existent but just very limited and they don’t seem to get as much coverage as fantasy and romance contemporaries do. I am interested to see how this portrays sexual assault and the trauma of it.
This Poison Heart by Kaylynn Bayron – Release Date: June 29
I believe this is a retelling of The Secret Garden which I story I ADORED in my childhood years but also I recognize that its a story that could use a good retelling and especially one from the perspective of a person of color. I’m also a sucker for plant magic fantasy. Give me all the cottagecore vibes please.
This is the WLW category. HAROLD.
Gearbreakers by Zoe Hana Mikuta – June 29
Aimed at fans of Pacific Rim (that’s me) with a sapphic romance, I really think this could be a fun read. I actually preordered this a while ago so I have been anxiously waiting for the finished copy to show up for a long time now but I also have an ARC and I am dying to find time to read this!! To my knowledge I haven’t read any book with mechas in them, which is honestly such a weird thing because that whole category of cyberpunk/sci-fi is huge in anime, if you’re a fan of Neon Genesis Evangelion or Gundam and of course Pacific Rim.
Girls at the Edge of the World by Laura Brooke Robson – June 8
I actually have no idea what the hell this book is really about. From the synopsis I get the hint of fantasy ~but make it apocalyptic~ which is my absolutely my thing. Also it is of course sapphic. I kind of like that I’m going into this not knowing much tbh.
The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould – August 3
Ghosthunting!! Haunted towns!! Horror!! Sapphics!! *In the tune of Shania Twain’s Man I Feel Like a Woman* Let’s go ghouls!!
Rise to the Sun by Leah Johnson – July 6
This sounds like the perfect summer read, its about two girls at a music festival and falling in love. I personally love books that are about music and about the fans of music. Look at that cover and tell that this isn’t going to be cute af.
That’s my little list, let me know some of your most anticipated summer releases. Also what do you think of this year in books thus far? Has it been a good/okay/bad year for book releases? Have you already found a favorite book of the year or do you expect this next half to have a new favorite in store?
An emotional adventure about two misfits who have extraordinary powers, but have forgotten who they were before. The vigilante and the villain must team up to stop a mad scientist who threatens the city, while trying to figure out who they really are.
Jamie woke up two years ago in an empty apartment with no memory and only a few clues to who he might be, and also with the power to read other people’s memories. In the meantime, he’s become the Mind Robber, holding up banks for quick cash. Similarly, Zoe is searching for her past, and using her new extraordinary abilities of speed and strength…to deliver fast food. And occasionally beat up bad guys, if she feels like it.
When the two meet in a memory-loss support group, they realize they are each other’s best chance at discovering what happened to them. The quest will take them deep into a medical conspiracy that is threatening to spill out and wreak havoc on their city, and maybe the country. As the two get past their respective barriers, they’ll realize that their friendship is the thing that gives them the greatest power.
Today I’m here to share an excerpt from this fun, fresh superhero story that you definitely need to add to your TBR!!
Jamie stopped, catching himself. He’d gone too far this time. Close eyes, deep breaths, count to five, and then open eyes to see the damage.
Damn it. He’d really done it. He looked at the grout brush, then the lines between the countertop’s tiles, then back at the brush. Yes, he’d gotten the coffee stain out, but he’d also scrubbed too hard, wearing away some of the grout.
Twenty minutes ago, he’d arrived home, throwing his cashfilled backpack on the futon cushion. It landed with a thump, startling Normal out of her cat tuffet next to the window. And though he stopped to give Normal a calming pet, his instincts took over, starting with a meticulous cleaning of the litter box, then a complete vacuum of the small apartment. Then organizing his stack of library books into a preferred reading order, putting away the neatly folded clothes in the laundry basket, cleaning the pour-over coffee carafe and kettle before brewing a fresh cup. As it settled, he noticed some drips of coffee had absorbed into the grout lines adjacent to his row of ceramic mugs, thus kicking off his quest for a completely clean and reset kitchen. All of the fear and concern and guilt from the day funneled into his end-to-end cleaning spree even though it wasn’t Sunday, the day he typically reserved for getting his home in order.
But this. Flecks of dried grout stuck to the brush bristles, and Jamie squinted, examining them as if he tried to break into the memory of the synthetic fibers. He blinked when Normal mewed at him, snapping him back into the present. He had to slow down. He had to regroup. He’d gone too far this time, and though the counter looked clean, a closer examination showed a tiny degradation in the grout.
Damn it. Jamie blew out a sigh and surveyed the room.
So neat. So organized. In fact, it was nearly identical to when he’d woken up here, standing in the middle of a barely furnished apartment two years ago. On that morning, he had blinked as he came to, his eyes adjusting from blurry to focused, taking in the sun shining through the cheap tan drapes onto the futon in the middle of the living space. Once he’d realized where he was, it had dawned on him that he didn’t know who he was. He’d walked methodically through the semifurnished apartment, looking for triggers. Coffee table, bread, water, sink, bed, toothbrush. He knew what those were, their purpose, but none offered clues about himself. Even the mirror produced zero recognition; he didn’t know what history lay behind those eyes, what the story was behind the scar on his palm.
So neat. So organized. In fact, it was nearly identical to when he’d woken up here, standing in the middle of a barely furnished apartment two years ago. On that morning, he had blinked as he came to, his eyes adjusting from blurry to focused, taking in the sun shining through the cheap tan drapes onto the futon in the middle of the living space. Once he’d realized where he was, it had dawned on him that he didn’t know who he was. He’d walked methodically through the semifurnished apartment, looking for triggers. Coffee table, bread, water, sink, bed, toothbrush. He knew what those were, their purpose, but none offered clues about himself. Even the mirror produced zero recognition; he didn’t know what history lay behind those eyes, what the story was behind the scar on his palm.
And now? What he wouldn’t give for that blissful ignorance, free from knowing that the injured woman from today was all his fault.
How could he have been so stupid, so reckless?
As with each of his bank robberies, he’d taken his time, planned a strategy, even wrote out his script beforehand and memorized it. He still lacked in execution, but that was why he had checked out some acting books from the library. The whole goal, the entire focus was to get in and out as quickly, as cleanly as possible. That meant brain-stunning the people in the building in a very specific order under a very specific time frame, all while cackling like a cartoon character and reciting over-the-top lines in a not-quite-there American accent.
If he controlled the entire situation, then no one got hurt and he did his job.
Except when one of them had a medical condition.
Jamie cursed at himself, cursed his fake-it-till-you-make-it attitude, cursed the whole damn situation. Not once, not a single time had he ever considered the possibility of a medical issue.
He finally broke, forcing himself to move. A click on the remote control brought his small TV to life, flashing a news report about electrical surges throughout the city before turning to the bank heist. His fingers fumbled to hit the power button again, taking several tries before the screen thankfully went to black, leaving only the sounds of a hungry cat meowing to remind him that he hadn’t given her dinner or her nightly treat of coconut water yet. Jamie set the grout brush in the sink, and obliged the demanding cat.
Seconds later, the room filled with a content rumbling of purrs.
But even Normal’s happy noises failed to remove the trauma of the day. The sound of the woman’s head hitting the tile. The sight of the blood pooling. The desperate cries of her coworker.
Don’t think about it don’t think about it don’t think about it.
Onward. Next task: the money. He grabbed the backpack and headed to the bedroom. The backpack’s large top zipper got caught as he tugged on it, and the stress of the day gnawed at his patience, skipping past his normal mode of meticulously fixing it and jumping right to forcing it free. On the underside of the zipper, the corner of a hundred-dollar bill clung in between the metal clasps.
Jamie sighed, a sound soon mimicked by Normal yawning at his feet. “You have no idea,” he told the cat before reaching in and starting his post-robbery sorting process for cash.
A buzzing sound rattled the room, causing a handful of loose coins on the end table to dance; it broke his focus, jolting his shoulders and neck in surprise. From the hallway, he heard Normal’s claws catch in the thin carpeting before dashing off to find a hiding spot from the abrupt noise.
He picked up the phone, heart pounding that it might be someone on his trail. But a glance at his screen caused a sigh of relief. Reminder: Support Group. San Delgado East Side YMCA. Six o’clock.
Right. The weekly support group—more specifically, San Delgado Memory Loss & Dementia Support Group.
Not that Jamie cared about the giant gap in his personal life, the big cloud of nothing stemming from the moment he awoke in this apartment all the way back to, well, his birth. Something pulled him away from those thoughts whenever he even approached the matter, like staring into a bright beam of light until the intensity forced his eyes away. Every time. That avoidance happened so frequently it felt instinctive at this point, skirting whatever that was and whoever truly stood behind the impenetrable fog.
It didn’t matter. No, the support group was for learning more about memory loss in general, to guard himself from any further memories vanishing.
The irony of the Mind Robber dealing with all that didn’t escape him.
He resumed unloading the cash, first putting the stacks by denomination from left to right, then counting and rubber-banding any loose ones complete with a Post-it note with the total on each makeshift bundle. In the closet sat a safe—something that had been absolutely terrible to get into his apartment. He pulled off the blanket hiding it and turned the dial. Left with click click clicks. Then right. Then left again.
It opened up, revealing a larger version of the stacks assembled on his bed. Jamie took new bundles, two at a time, and neatly set them in the appropriate spots, making each tower of cash grow until the backpack and the bed were clear of evidence. A notebook leaned on the cash; Jamie pulled it out and opened it to the ledger he’d crafted, filling out the columns with the latest tally of earnings, anticipated expenses, safety-net cash and overall savings.
At the top of that column was a little drawing he’d made of a palm tree and a beach. Based on today’s earnings, he was nearly 80 percent to his goal. Depending on the size of each haul, a few more robberies—especially if he remembered to ask for the stacks of hundreds specifically—would provide enough financial comfort to retire on a tropical beach at a much lower cost of living. He’d read that the coffee in the Caribbean was excellent.
A comfortable permanence, as long as the Throwing Star didn’t track him down. That further complicated things, and Jamie wondered if he’d jinxed it all by invoking her during his bank performance. He gritted his teeth.
So close to a fresh start. For him and Normal, and he wouldn’t let the Throwing Star jeopardize that.
Normal gave an urgent meow, which translated in cat speak to “Where is my bed?” Jamie folded the blanket exactly and draped it over the safe, then put a small cat tuffet back on top of it. A gray-and-orange blur zipped by, and in one leap, landed on the tuffet, turning his trail of crime and/or source of income into the world’s most valuable cat bed.
Jamie exhaled, and his mattress bounced as he flopped on his back, eyes glued to the ceiling but brain refusing to shut off. One blink and he saw the woman fall again. Every time he closed his eyes, the image reappeared, except each instance seemed to intensify in its color and sound, the sheer vibrancy of his mind seemingly taunting him.
He could lift the memory out. He’d done it before as an experiment, including writing a note with steps and details as proof that he’d removed his immediate recall of the moment. It left him with what he presumed to be the same nausea that his victims experienced, and other than a few follow-up trials, he hadn’t done it for any practical purpose.
A small price to pay to be relieved of the guilt.
Jamie raised his hand, this time pointed at himself, and he closed his eyes, digging deep to flip through his own memories. Bright and fresh, full volume and movement, no haziness or missing pockets of moments. One wipe and it’d be gone.
But what would that make him? A possible murderer without a conscience? He treated his villain persona and robberies as a job, an income. Not to hurt people, not with malevolence or sociopathic apathy.
This memory had to stay.
Jamie lowered his hand.
There was a knock at the door, jolting him to his feet.
He closed his eyes and stretched out with his mind, sensing the ghostly silhouette of a single form at his door.
No one ever came to his door.
“San Delgado police. Is anyone home?”
The very idea of having law enforcement at his door caused Jamie’s hands to tremble and a thin layer of sweat to form on his forehead. He could brain-stun the officer and run. He could dive into the officer’s memories, see what happened, why he was here—maybe it was just a fundraiser for the Police Athletic League.
Another knock rattled the door.
If he brain-stunned the officer, that wouldn’t exactly be inconspicuous. You couldn’t just leave gawking, unresponsive police on your doorstep. And the officer’s location was probably tracked by SDPD, which meant that lifting memories and sending him on his way would only lead to more trouble.
No, the only way out of this was through it.
Jamie took a deep breath, put on a baseball cap with a logo of the local San Delgado Barons hockey team, then marched to the door. He opened it halfway to find the very serious, very professional face of a plainclothes officer. Despite the fact that he stood shorter than Jamie, his sturdy build made him far more intimidating.
“May I help you?” Jamie held the door ajar. “Sorry,” he said, native English accent in full display, “I have a cat that tries to get out if I open the door all the way.” As if on cue, mews came from behind him and Jamie scooped up the pudgy feline. Mental note: she deserved extra coconut water tonight. “Be nice, Normal.”
The detective tilted his head at the name, then chuckled, sunlight gleaming off the light brown skin of his shaven bald dome. “No problem. Sorry to bother you this evening. Detective Patrick Chesterton. I’m the lead on the Mind Robber case.”
No reaction rippled through Jamie. Which was probably a reaction in itself. He waited, seconds stretching into vast chunks of time, and though he somehow managed to keep a polite expression on his face, the pounding in his chest might have given him away.
“We get anonymous tips all the time about the Mind Robber. Some people even claim to be him. But this one was very specific. And since we know he left on a train heading eastbound about ninety minutes ago, I thought I’d check it out.” He glanced over his shoulder, eyes tracking past the courtyard and toward the parking lot. “Traffic is going to be hell getting back to the station.”
Jamie told himself to laugh, though in a completely different way from the forced maniacal display of the Mind Robber. Calm, quiet, a little nervous—the natural kind of nervous anyone got when questioned by law enforcement. Normal must have agreed, as she continued mewing in his arms.
“Well, aren’t you a nice cat?” the detective said, his voice softening. He reached up to pet Normal’s round head, but the cat replied with a hiss. Before Jamie could stop her, she swatted at Chesterton. The cat kicked out of his arms, and Jamie turned to see a streak of pudgy fur dashing for the bedroom.
“Oh, I’m so—” Jamie stopped himself at the realization that the detective nursed a fresh scratch across the knuckles.
If they weren’t going to get him for being the Mind Robber, what about assault via cat scratch?
“I’m so, so sorry. Normal usually loves strangers.” That was a lie, or it might have been a lie. Normal never met anyone, regular or stranger, so the sample size on that remained small. “But she gets weird occasionally.” That part was true. Jamie held up his hand, palm out. “See this scar across my palm? Normal got me good one time.”
Flat-out lie: Jamie had no idea where that scar came from, though whenever he focused on it for too long, a strange mix of nausea and embarrassment would flood over him.
“It’s okay,” Chesterton said. “I had a cat growing up. They can be temperamental. I should know better than to do that. Anyway, the tip said that someone who fit the build and look of the Mind Robber was in this area. This block, actually.” He looked Jamie up and down. If Jamie decided to risk it, he probably could have poked into the detective’s memories and seen specifically what he was thinking, even the source of the tip. “Have you seen anyone who fits that profile?”
In the courtyard, Jamie caught sight of the old couple across the way trying to get their mini schnauzer puppy to obey commands. They looked over at Chesterton, then Jamie, and Jamie offered a reassuring wave. Despite being a theoretical villain, he still wanted to be a good neighbor. “I, um, actually don’t watch the news much. I find it triggering.”
“Ah, got it. He’s Caucasian. Around six feet tall. Thin build. Strong chin. That’s about it, really, though. His hood and mask obscure everything else.”
“Well,” Jamie said. A response came to mind, and he debated whether or not he was being too clever. His arms extended and a wry smile came over his face a little too easily. Maybe learning to play a villain had turned the gesture into muscle memory. “That sounds like me.” The words came out smooth, just enough of a joking lilt that they threaded the needle between bullshit and levity. It came naturally, almost uncannily so.
For a moment, nothing happened. Neither man blinked, and even Normal stayed quiet. The only noise came from squeaking brakes as a car pulled into the adjacent parking lot.
Then the detective burst out laughing. “I like you,” he said, before reaching into his back pocket. Jamie’s hand moved into position, a subtle gesture that only he could detect should he need to brain-stun. His fingers raised ever so slightly in preparation when a buzz in his back pocket caused both men to stand at attention.
“Sorry, just my reminder,” Jamie said after pulling out his phone. The device’s blinking screen gave him an idea. “My weekly support group. I, uh, need to get going.”
“Oh, of course. Good for you,” he said. “It takes a strong person to seek out help.” Jamie’s head bobbed at the compliment, and the detective finished reaching in his back pocket. He held up a business card. “Do me a favor and call if you see or hear anything that strikes you as suspicious. About him or the Throwing Star. We’re no fan of vigilantes, extraordinary or not. You can’t just run around in a suit beating up people. I don’t care if they’re good or bad. You know, if either of them just called us first and said, ‘Hey, we’ve got these abilities,’ you can bet we’d have found a job for them.” Chesterton glanced at the cat scratch on his hand before letting out a short laugh. “I heard she tripped in the Metro station and let the Mind Robber get away,” he said with a headshake. “I guess ‘extraordinary’ comes in many forms.”
All forms. That skepticism, if not admirable, at least provided some cover. “Right,” Jamie said, taking the card. “I’ll keep an eye out.”
“Even if you hear anything about weird crimes in Hartnell City. Their PD asked us about the Mind Robber. Guess they’re seeing some strange activity too.”
“Of course, Detective.”
Jamie’s exhale was nearly as loud as the slamming of the door. He’d never been that close to getting caught before.
Who could have possibly tipped the police? He’d wiped the memories of any OmegaCars driver that took him close by, and even then, he’d always walked the last few blocks, taking different routes each time. Could the Throwing Star have tracked him? Possibly, but she seemed more like the “punch in the teeth” than “call the cops” type.
Questions circled as Jamie heard the roar of the detective’s car coming to life. Through the blinds, Jamie watched a dark blue sedan pull halfway across the parking lot before pausing for a handful of seconds and then finally rolling away. Chesterton was gone for now, but if he suspected anything, the best course of action would be for Jamie to act as any normal civilian would. In this case, it meant going exactly where the detective expected him to be.
Normal meowed a farewell as Jamie grabbed a jacket—not his black hoodie—and locked the door behind him.
It was almost time for the support group. Even if he didn’t want to go.
Mike Chen is a lifelong writer, from crafting fan fiction as a child to somehow getting paid for words as an adult. He has contributed to major geek websites (The Mary Sue, The Portalist, Tor) and covered the NHL for mainstream media outlets. A member of SFWA and Codex Writers, Mike lives in the Bay Area, where he can be found playing video games and watching Doctor Who with his wife, daughter, and rescue animals. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @mikechenwriter
Author: Alison Stine ISBN: 9780778309925 Publication Date: September 1, 2020 Publisher: MIRA Books
Many thanks to the publisher for letting me participate in this blog tour and granting me access to the ARC for this title.
Surrounded by poverty and paranoia her entire life, Wil has been left behind in her small Appalachian town by her mother and her best friend. Not only is she tending her stepfather’s illegal marijuana farm alone, but she’s left to watch the world fall further into chaos in the face of a climate crisis brought on by another year of unending winter. So opens Alison Stine’s moving and lyrical cli-fi novel, ROAD OUT OF WINTER.
With her now priceless grow lights stashed in her truck and a pouch of precious seeds, Wil upends her life to pursue her mother in California, collecting an eclectic crew of fellow refugees along the way. She’s determined to start over and use her skills to grow badly needed food in impossible farming conditions, but the icy roads and desperate strangers are treacherous to Wil and her gang. Her green thumb becomes the target of a violent cult and their volatile leader, and Wil must use all her cunning and resources to protect her newfound family and the hope they have found within each other.
I used to have dreams that Lobo would be arrested. The sheriff and his deputies would roll up the drive, bouncing on the gravel, but coming fast, too fast to be stopped, too fast for Lobo to get away through the fields. Or maybe Lobo would be asleep, and they would surprise him, his eyes red, slit like taillights. My mama and I would weep with joy as they led him off. The deputies would wrap us in blankets, swept in their blue lights. We were innocent, weren’t we? Just at the wrong place at the wrong time, all the time, involved with the wrong man—and we didn’t know, my mama didn’t know, the extent.
But that wasn’t true, not even close.
I sold the weed at a gas station called Crossroads to a boy who delivered meals for shut-ins. Brown paper bags filled the back of his station wagon, the tops rolled over like his mama made him lunch. I supposed he could keep the bags straight. That was the arrangement Lobo had made years ago, that was the arrangement I kept. I left things uncomplicated. I didn’t know where the drugs went after the boy with the station wagon, where the boy sold them or for how much. I took the money he gave me and buried most of it in the yard.
After his station wagon bumped back onto the rural route, I went inside the store. There was a counter in the back, a row of cracked plastic tables and chairs that smelled like ketchup: a full menu, breakfast through dinner. They sold a lot of egg sandwiches at Crossroads to frackers, men on their way out to work sites. It was a good place to meet; Lisbeth would come this far. I ordered three cheeseburgers and fries, and sat down.
She was on time. She wore gray sweatpants under her long denim skirt, and not just because of the cold. “You reek, Wil,” she said, sliding onto the chair across from me.
“Lobo says that’s the smell of money,” I said.
“My mama says money smells like dirty hands.”
The food arrived, delivered by a waitress I didn’t know. Crinkling red and white paper in baskets. I slid two of the burgers over to Lisbeth. The Church forbade pants on women, and short hair, and alcohol. But meat was okay. Lisbeth hunched over a burger, eating with both hands, her braid slipping over her shoulder.
“Heard from them at all?” she asked.
“You think he would let her write you? Call?”
“She doesn’t have her own phone,” I said.
Lisbeth licked ketchup off her thumb. The fries were already getting cold. How about somethin’ home made? read the chalkboard below the menu. I watched the waitress write the dinner specials in handwriting small and careful as my mama’s.
“Hot chocolate?” I read to Lisbeth. “It’s June.”
“It’s freezing,” she said.
And it was, still. Steam webbed the windows. There was no sign of spring in the lung-colored fields, bordered by trees as spindly as men in a bread line. We were past forsythia time, past when the squirrels should have been rooting around in the trees for sap.
“What time is it now?” Lisbeth asked.
I showed her my phone, and she swallowed the last of her burger.
“I’ve got to go.”
“Choir rehearsal.” She took a gulp of Coke. Caffeine was frowned upon by The Church, though not, I thought, exclusively forbidden. “I gave all the seniors solos, and they’re terrified. They need help. Don’t forget. Noon tomorrow.”
The Church was strange—strange enough to whisper about. But The Church had a great choir; she had learned so much. They had helped her get her job at the high school, directing the chorus, not easy for a woman without a degree. Also, her folks loved The Church. She couldn’t leave, she said.
“What’s at noon?” I asked.
She paused long enough to tilt her head at me. “Wylodine, really? Graduation, remember? The kids are singing?”
“I don’t want to go back there.”
“You promised. Take a shower if you been working so my folks don’t lose their
“If they haven’t figured it out by now, they’re never going to know,” I said, but Lisbeth
was already shrugging on her coat. Then she was gone, through the jangling door, long braid and layers flapping. In the parking lot, a truck refused to start, balking in the cold.
I ordered hot chocolate. I was careful to take small bills from my wallet when I went up to the counter. Most of the roll of cash from the paper bag boy was stuffed in a Pepsi can back on the floor of the truck. Lobo, who owned the truck, had never been neat, and drink cans, leaves, and empty Copenhagen tins littered the cab. Though the mud on the floor mats had hardened and caked like makeup, though Lobo and Mama had been gone a year now, I hadn’t bothered cleaning out the truck. Not yet.
The top of the Pepsi can was ripped partially off, and it was dry inside: plenty of room for a wad of cash. I had pushed down the top to hide the money, avoiding the razor-sharp edge. Lobo had taught me well.
I took the hot chocolate to go.
In the morning, I rose early and alone, got the stove going, pulled on my boots to hike up the hill to the big house. I swept the basement room. I checked the supplies. I checked the cistern for clogs. The creek rode up the sides of the driveway. Ice floated in the water, brown as tea.
No green leaves had appeared on the trees. No buds. My breath hung in the air, a web I walked through. My boots didn’t sink in the mud back to my own house in the lower field; my footprints were still frozen from a year ago. Last year’s walking had made ridges as stiff as craters on the moon. At the door to my tiny house, I knocked the frost from my boots, and yanked them off, but kept my warm coveralls on. I lit the small stove, listening to the whoosh of the flame. The water for coffee ticked in the pot.
I checked the time on the clock above the sink, a freebie from Radiator Palace.
So here are in the middle of an influenza pandemic and during one of the hottest years ever and I happen to be reading a story about a post apocalyptic society set in an endless winter. Honestly its quite the experience. Just the cool down I needed. So I cranked my AC down to a chilling temperature to get that feel of wintery apocalyptic dread that ROAD OUT OF WINTER delivers on.
This is one of those reads where I felt a bit out of my comfort zone since lately I’ve been reading YA contemporary, so going from that to a climate change apocalypse sci-fi for adults is a stark difference.
Plus this has the fun little addition of having a cult! Cults are very much my thing and I have to say that the one in this story is so well done. It added to the psychological element of this book that slowly creeps on you and it’s characters.
And I adored Wil! She’s a Bi female lead who sells weed to get by. I appreciate this hustle. I also appreciate and was delightfully surprised by this fact since I had no idea it would be here but it was and it was refreshing that the queer rep was well executed. Her character arc is so well done and nuanced. Along with most of the characters the story’s setting and tone help to bring out Wil’s darker and grittier side. The sides of humanity that come out when we are trying to survive.
My biggest draw to any story like this is the survival element and how it affects the characters psychologically. Surviving something makes us act in different ways. These parts where things go bad made it feel so real. Because societal collapse is a very real thing that could happen as soon a tomorrow.
I highly recommend you check this out for yourself if you’re willing to dive into a bleak, gritty story that is hard hitting and hard to put down once you really get into it. It does take its time but I thought it was worth it despite the slow build up.
ALISON STINE lives in the rural Appalachian foothills. A recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), she was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. She has written for The Atlantic, The Nation, The Guardian, and many others. She is a contributing editor with the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.
2020 has certainly been a year. The book world has no doubt been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the most recent Black Lives Matter movement. Book release dates have been delayed or changed to later dates, which pushed a lot of books I wanted to read into the later half of 2020. I have many 2020 releases on my radar and I wanted to share them with y’all.
Also for all of my posts I’ll be sharing this carrd for any who reads to check it out, donate and learn about the things that have happened and are currently happening in the world right now.
And before I get into talking candidly about books on my TBR I want to make my stance clear about who I am and what my blog stands for.
Perfect for fans of The Hate U Give, this unforgettable coming-of-age debut novel explores issues of race, class, and violence through the eyes of a wealthy black teenager whose family gets caught in the vortex of the 1992 Rodney King Riots.
Even though its set during 1992 California, the synopsis of this novel and the themes are still relevant and timely to current day politics and movements. I actually don’t know too much about the Rodney King Riots, which is a damn shame and honestly goes to show how much the U.S. school system fails to teach students about the U.S’s racist history.
THEY WISH THEY WERE US BY JESSICA GOODMAN
Gossip Girl meets One of Us Is Lying with a dash of The Secret History in this slick, taut murder mystery set against the backdrop of an exclusive prep school on Long Island.
Okay so my interest in this mostly lies within its comp to The Secret History but I’m also compelled by the Gossip Girl comp. I really enjoy dark academia and snobby privileged kid stories set in prep schools. It’s kind of a guilty pleasure. I enjoy their pretentious names and attitudes and enjoy that by the end they usually get punished for thinking they are above everyone else. Also this was recently optioned for a TV Series, known as The Player’s Table.
LOBIZONA BY ROMINA GARBER
Some people ARE illegal. Lobizonas do NOT exist. Both of these statements are false.Manuela Azul has been crammed into an existence that feels too small for her. As an undocumented immigrant who’s on the run from her father’s Argentine crime-family, Manu is confined to a small apartment and a small life in Miami, Florida.
A werewolf fantasy series that sounds unique and actually interesting??? Sign me up!! I’ve heard from many raving reviews about this book that this is an amazing start to a new fantasy series. I cannot wait to be a part of this hype train for a fresh and diverse fantasy series from an Argentine author.
THE DARK TIDE BY ALICIA JASINSKA
The Wicked Deepmeets A Curse So Dark and Lonely in this gripping, dark fairy-tale fantasy about two girls who must choose between saving themselves, each other, or their sinking island city.
It’s a sapphic dark fantasy. That just about sums up why I’m interested in reading this. I’m a simple girl. I like witches. I like queer witches.
SIA MARTINEZ AND THE MOONLIT BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING BY RAQUEL VASQUEZ GILLILAND
Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe meets Roswell by way of Laurie Halse Anderson in this astonishing, genre-bending novel about a Mexican American teen who discovers profound connections between immigration, folklore, and alien life.
Y’ALL!!! I’ve been so excited for this book ever since it was announced on Publishers Weekly. It’s already optioned for a TV series! I love alien stuff and I’m interested to see how this author ties alien mythology with that of the current day politics dealing with ICE. Also I’m a sucker for not only beautiful covers, but beautifully BLUE covers.
STAR DAUGHTER BY SHVETA THAKRAR
This gorgeously imagined YA debut blends shades of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust and a breathtaking landscape of Hindu mythology into a radiant contemporary fantasy.
Diving into my most vain reason for adding a book to my TBR, this cover is STUNNINGLY GORGEOUS. But the synopsis is equally as compelling. I adore contemporary fantasy settings and I’m also fascinated with the fact that the MC is the daughter of a mortal and a star. A F*CKING STAR. That’s cool as hell.
WHERE DREAMS DESCEND BY JANELLA ANGELES
Where Dreams Descend is the startling and romantic first book in Janella Angeles’ debut Kingdom of Cards fantasy duology where magic is both celebrated and feared, and no heart is left unscathed.
One of the many upcoming YA retellings of Phantom of the Opera, but honestly bring them all on!!! I’m here for it! This one especially because it’s diverse and has some Moulin Rouge elements that make my filthy Phantom heart flutter. Can’t wait to consume this.
ELATSOE BY DARCIE LITTLE BADGER & ILLUSTRATED BY ROVINA CAI
Imagine an America very similar to our own. It’s got homework, best friends, and pistachio ice cream. There are some differences. This America been shaped dramatically by the magic, monsters, knowledge, and legends of its peoples, those Indigenous and those not. Some of these forces are charmingly everyday, like the ability to make an orb of light appear or travel across the world through rings of fungi. But other forces are less charming and should never see the light of day. Elatsoe lives in this slightly stranger America. She can raise the ghosts of dead animals, a skill passed down through generations of her Lipan Apache family. Her beloved cousin has just been murdered, in a town that wants no prying eyes. But she is going to do more than pry. The picture-perfect facade of Willowbee masks gruesome secrets, and she will rely on her wits, skills, and friends to tear off the mask and protect her family.
An Indigenous graphic novel that sounds beautiful and magical. I can’t wait to read this. I also love the art style from Rovina Cai.
THE COMPANION BY KATIE ALENDER
The other orphans say Margot is lucky. Lucky to survive the horrible accident that killed her family. Lucky to have her own room because she wakes up screaming every night. And finally, lucky to be chosen by a prestigious family to live at their remote country estate. But it wasn’t luck that made the Suttons rescue Margot from her bleak existence at the group home. Margot was handpicked to be a companion to their silent, mysterious daughter, Agatha. At first, helping with Agatha–and getting to know her handsome older brother–seems much better than the group home. But soon, the isolated, gothic house begins playing tricks on Margot’s mind, making her question everything she believes about the Suttons . . . and herself. Margot’s bad dreams may have stopped when she came to live with Agatha – but the real nightmare has just begun.
This sounds delightfully creepy. I’m probably going to wait to read this for Halloween season.
HARROW LAKE BY KAT ELLIS
A can’t-put-down, creepy thriller about the daughter of a horror film director who’s not afraid of anything–until she gets to Harrow Lake.
This is everything I’ve ever wanted. This is giving me Friday the 13th and I Know What You Did Last Summer vibes. Being teen slasher stories back!
THE INSOMNIACS BY MARIT WEISENBERG
A sharp and romantic novel about two suburban teens who can’t sleep uncovering the secrets of their neighborhood by night. Think The Summer I Turned Pretty with flashes of Rear Window
This combination of YA romance and Hitchcock thriller sounds so impressive and wild. Like romance with some freaky shit going down? I’m in.
NONE SHALL SLEEP BY ELLIE MARNEY
The Silence of the Lambs meets Sadie in this riveting psychological thriller about two teenagers teaming up with the FBI to track down juvenile serial killers.
Two things I am obsessed with SADIE (one of my favorite YA thrillers ever) and THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (one of my favorite films ever). How could I not like the sound of this???
THROWAWAY GIRLS BY ANDREA CONTOS
Caroline Lawson is three months away from freedom, otherwise known as graduation day. That’s when she’ll finally escape her rigid prep school and the parents who thought they could convert her to being straight. Until then, Caroline is keeping her head down, pretending to be the perfect student even though she is crushed by her family and heartbroken over the girlfriend who left for California. But when her best friend Madison disappears, Caroline feels compelled to get involved in the investigation. She has her own reasons not to trust the police, and she owes Madison — big time.
Uhhh prep school + murder. Gimme this now. Also this is apparently sapphic 👀👀👀
WE ARE NOT FREE BY TRACI CHEE
Fourteen teens who have grown up together in Japantown, San Francisco. Fourteen teens who form a community and a family, as interconnected as they are conflicted. Fourteen teens whose lives are turned upside down when over 100,000 people of Japanese ancestry are removed from their homes and forced into desolate incarceration camps.
Another part of US history that the US school system actively tries to pretend never happened, Japanese internment camps during WWII era. Like I said regarding the Rodney King riots, I don’t have much knowledge about the topic of Japanese interments camps. I’m not expecting this story to teach me everything about this topic but it’s a start for me to actually learn more about this time and also the horrific treatment of Japanese American citizens.
THE UNRAVELING OF CASSIDY HOLMES BY ELISSA R. SLOAN
In vein of Daisy Jones & The Six and Everything I Never Told You, this debut novel probes the dark side of fame after a former pop star ends her own life.
It’s not everyday I get to say that I’ve interacted with an author because I am timid as hell and have made the most lukewarm author interactions on Twitter. But this author happens to be a fellow book blogger!!! I’m so excited to read this not just because I’ve interacted with them but also it sounds awesome!
CEMETERY BOYS BY AIDEN THOMAS
Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.
We love to see when necromancy goes wrong!!! One of the most up and coming hyped books of the year, CEMETERY BOYS is going to be a ride!
FLYY GIRLS – LUX: THE NEW GIRL & MICAH: THE GOOD GIRL BY ASHLEY WOODFOLK
Meet the Flyy Girls. The group of girls who seem like they can get away with anything. Veteran author Ashley Woodfolk pens a gorgeous and dynamic series of four Harlem highschoolers, each facing a crossroads of friendship, family, and love.
There’s TWO books coming out at the same time from this new series. They’re both contemporary and aimed at a younger teenage audience. I’ve also seen where these will be released in paperback first off meaning it will be more accessible to its intended audience. I haven’t talked about it yet but I think YA novels should make paperbacks available from the start because from remembering when I was a young teen I could. never afford a hardback. MAKE YA MORE ACCESSIBLE TO ITS AUDIENCE!!!
ROAD OUT OF WINTER BY ALISON STINE
Urgent and poignant, Road Out of Winter is a glimpse of an all-too-possible near future, with a chosen family forged in the face of dystopian collapse. With the gripping suspense of The Road and the lyricism of Station Eleven, Stine’s vision is of a changing world where an unexpected hero searches for a place hope might take root.
I’ve been craving a near future dystopian for a while. I mean we are basically living in a dystopian so I want to escape into another one. At least one that doesn’t involve anything related to the one we’re going through.
TRANSCENDENT KINGDOM BY YAA GYASI
Yaa Gyasi’s stunning follow-up to her acclaimed national best seller Homegoing is a powerful, raw, intimate, deeply layered novel about a Ghanaian family in Alabama.
HOMEGOING was very good. One of my favorite reads and I’ve been waiting desperately for Yaa Gyaasi’s next novel and it’s finally here!!!
WHO I WAS WITH HER BY NITA TYNDALL
Corinne struggles to make sense of her grief and what she truly wants out of life, she begins to have feelings for the last person she should fall for. But to move forward after losing Maggie, Corinne will have to learn to be honest with the people in her life…starting with herself.
I know this sounds sad but I’m here for sad. Also for bi rep! I actually don’t know too much about this one besides looking at the GR synopsis.
GROWN BY TIFFANY D. JACKSON
Korey Fields is dead. When Enchanted Jones wakes with blood on her hands and zero memory of the previous night, no one—the police and Korey’s fans included—has more questions than she does. All she really knows is that this isn’t how things are supposed to be. Korey was Enchanted’s ticket to stardom
Tiffany D Jackson is well known for her hard hitting thriller contemporary stories like ALLEGEDLY and MONDAY’S NOT COMING. Stories that explore racial issues and the nuances that involve Black lives. This sounds sort of like a murder mystery with a character that sounds like R. Kelly, so this will be on the darker side. I have to mention that I love the cover. It’s minimalist but stands out so vibrantly.
HORRID BY KATRINA LENO
From the author of You Must Not Miss comes a haunting contemporary horror novel that explores themes of mental illness, rage, and grief, twisted with spine-chilling elements of Stephen King and Agatha Christie.
One of my most anticipated this year. Everything about HORRID sounds like my nice spooky cup of tea. And can we talk about that cover?? It’s hauntingly beautiful.
LEGENDBORN BY TRACY DEONN
Filled with mystery and an intriguingly rich magic system, Tracy Deonn’s YA contemporary fantasy Legendborn offers the dark allure of City of Bones with a modern-day twist on a classic legend and a lot of Southern Black Girl Magic.
I’m calling it now that this will be the next big YA series. It’s Arthurian mythology but with a Black Girl lead. I’ve been following this author on Twitter and I trust her vision and she’s a Loki fan. I just have a feeling that this will be the YA series that I fully immerse myself into.
WATCH OVER ME BY NINA LACOUR
Watch Over Me is another stunner from Printz Award-Winning author Nina LaCour, whose empathetic, lyrical prose is at the heart of this modern ghost story of resilience and rebirth.
You had me at ghost story! This seems like it won’t be as much as much horror as it will be more of a quiet horror story that focuses more on the psyche and emotions vs spooky, which I’m okay with. I adore the cover and I think this will be a beautiful read.
WHITE FOX BY SARA FARING
After their world-famous actor mother disappeared under mysterious circumstances, Manon and Thaïs left their remote Mediterranean island home—sent away by their pharma-tech tycoon father. Opposites in every way, the sisters drifted apart in their grief. Yet their mother’s unfinished story still haunts them both, and they can’t put to rest the possibility that she is still alive. Lured home a decade later, Manon and Thaïs discover their mother’s legendary last work, long thought lost: White Fox, a screenplay filled with enigmatic metaphors. The clues in this dark fairytale draw them deep into the island’s surreal society, into the twisted secrets hidden by their glittering family, to reveal the truth about their mother—and themselves.
This sounds cool as hell. Combing film with an eerie thriller/horror! I don’t want to look too heavily into this, this genre is IMO meant to be gone into with no knowledge of what’s to come.
VAMPIRES NEVER GET OLD EDITED BY ZORAIDA CORDOVA & NATALIE C. PARKER
Eleven fresh vampire stories from young adult fiction’s leading voices!In this delicious new collection, you’ll find stories about lurking vampires of social media, rebellious vampires hungry for more than just blood, eager vampires coming out―and going out for their first kill―and other bold, breathtaking, dangerous, dreamy, eerie, iconic, powerful creatures of the night.
Just right after witches, vampires are my second favorite supernatural being. Vampires are so cool and alluring. I’m very excited to read this anthology and see what kind of vampires we’ll get to see. Vampires are making a comeback baby!!!!
EVERY BODY LOOKING BY CANDICE ILOH
Every Body Looking is a debut novel in verse in the style of Elizabeth Acevedo and Jason Reynolds. Candice Iloh’s book tells the story of Ada–daughter of an immigrant father and an African American mother–and her struggle to find a place for herself in America and in her own family.
I’ve discovered by reading THE POET X and BLOOD WATER PAINT that I actually enjoy novels in verse (?) Which was something I never expected to enjoy but now I want to read all the novels in verse out there. This even has a comp to Elizabeth Acevedo. Also this is going to be a duology and there’s something that compels me about contemporary duologies and series in general much more than fantasy ones now. I feel like it much rarer to get a contemporary set series. Unless it’s on the more romance side.
MISS METEOR BY TEHLOR KAY MEJIA & ANNA-MARIE MCLEMORE
There hasn’t been a winner of the Miss Meteor beauty pageant who looks like Lita Perez or Chicky Quintanilla in all its history. But that’s not the only reason Lita wants to enter the contest, or why her ex-best friend Chicky wants to help her. The road to becoming Miss Meteor isn’t about being perfect; it’s about sharing who you are with the world—and loving the parts of yourself no one else understands. So to pull off the unlikeliest underdog story in pageant history, Lita and Chicky are going to have to forget the past and imagine a future where girls like them are more than enough—they are everything.
Two of the biggest names in YA, both queer Latinx authors. This is the collaboration we didn’t know we needed. I’ve read AMM and I love their magical realism writing and stories.
A DEADLY EDUCATION BY NAOMI NOVIK
A Deadly Education is set at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death (for real) — until one girl, El, begins to unlock its many secrets. There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate… or die! The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere. El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students.
Listen I loved UPROOTED and SPINNING SILVER. I even bought Illumicrate’s 90 something dollar worth special cover editions for both of them. I’ll read whatever Ms. Novik throws my way. But besides my adoration for her work, this sounds cool as hell. Dark wizard school with maybe a villainous/morally grey female protagonist? I fuck so much with that shit.
BURNING ROSES BY S.L. HUANG
When Rosa (aka Red Riding Hood) and Hou Yi the Archer join forces to stop the deadly sunbirds from ravaging the countryside, their quest will take the two women, now blessed and burdened with the hindsight of middle age, into a reckoning of sacrifices made and mistakes mourned, of choices and family and the quest for immortality.
Uhhh this sounds badass as fuck. I don’t know much else to say. I’m here for it though.
HUSH BY DYLAN FARROW
A stunning and timely debut from activist Dylan Farrow, Hush is a powerful feminist fantasy full of surprising insights, that casts a ray of light into the shadows of a society based on silencing and lies.
Anything that’s most likely a big fuck you to that scumbag W*ody A*len is something I like to see.
THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE BY V.E. SCHWAB
A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget.France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.
Truth be told, I haven’t read anything from Victoria Schwab. So there’s a good chance this will be the first one form her that I pick up. What can I say? I love a good Faustian deal story and a story where someone falls for the literal devil.
WE WERE RESTLESS THINGS BY COLE NAGAMATSU
From debut author Cole Nagamatsu comes an atmospheric contemporary fantasy about three teens coming of age in the wake of a mysterious death.
I swear I saw a Twin Peaks comp for this book and Twin Peaks is the magic phrase to make me pick up anything. A perfectly haunted read for October.
A CUBAN GIRLS’S GUIDE TO TEA AND TOMORROW BY LAURA TAYLOR NAMEY
Teenage master of Cuban cuisine, Lila Reyes, is eager to inherit her family’s Miami bakery along with her sister, Pilar. But between spring and graduation, Lila’s abuela dies, her best friend abandons her, and her long-time boyfriend dumps her. Fearing Lila’s emotional health, her parents defy her wishes and entrust her summer to family and their Winchester, England inn. Even though she’s given a space to cook at the inn, she longs for Miami, the seat of her Cuban roots. Being a Miami Cuban baker is her glorified past and destined future, forged by years of training by her loving abuela.
Possibly the fluffiest of reads on my radar, I have to some fluffy romance and this promises it. The cover is so cute! Also I love Cuban food so much so I can’t wait to have my mouth water.
THE MIDNIGHT BARGAIN BY C.L. POLK
Beatrice Clayborn is a sorceress who practices magic in secret, terrified of the day she will be locked into a marital collar that will cut off her powers to protect her unborn children. She dreams of becoming a full-fledged Magus and pursuing magic as her calling as men do, but her family has staked everything to equip her for Bargaining Season, when young men and women of means descend upon the city to negotiate the best marriages. The Clayborns are in severe debt, and only she can save them, by securing an advantageous match before their creditors come calling.
Sorcery is a topic of interest as I have a story idea about sorcery so it makes sense that I would want to read a story similar to what I’m writing. With this being an October release, magic will be in the air.
THE ONCE AND FUTURE WITCHES BY ALIX E. HARROW
In 1893, there’s no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.
Witches during the time of suffragettes sounds interesting! I haven’t read from this author yet but I have heard wonderful things about The Ten Thousand Doors of January, but also some valid critique about that novel having a mixed race MC and the author being white. So while I am interested in this novel in particular, I’ll keep my ear and eyes open on anything that seems provlematic
BLACK SUN BY REBECCA ROANHORSE
From the New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Resistance Reborn comes the first book in the Between Earth and Sky trilogy, inspired by the civilizations of the Pre-Columbian Americas and woven into a tale of celestial prophecies, political intrigue, and forbidden magic.
Rebecca Roanhorse is an author that’s been on my radar since I heard of Trail of Lightning and the praises I’ve seen everywhere on Book Twitter I am so excited to read a series from a Black Native author.
A GOLDEN FURY BY SAMANTHA COHOE
In her debut novel A Golden Fury, Samantha Cohoe weaves a story of magic and danger, where the streets of Oxford and London come to life, and the curse of the Philosopher’s Stone will haunt you long after the final chapter.
Alchemy, Philosopher’s Stone, and ~magic~? Possibly my most anticipated October release. I just my October to be filled with a book full of magical alchemy.
THE TRUTH PROJECT BY DANTE MEDEMA
Seventeen-year-old Cordelia Koenig was sure of many things going into her last year of high school. For one, she wasn’t going to stress over the senior project all her peers were dreading—she’d just use the same find-your-roots genealogy idea that her older sister used for hers. Secondly, she’d put all that time spent not worrying about the project toward getting reacquainted with former best friend and longtime crush Kodiak Jones who, conveniently, gets assigned as Cordelia’s partner. All she has to do is mail in her DNA sample, write about her ancestry results and breeze through the rest of senior year. Done, done and done But when Cordelia’s GeneQuest results reveal that her father is not the man she thought he was but a stranger who lives thousands of miles away, Cordelia realizes she isn’t sure of anything anymore—not the mother who lied, the life she was born into or the girl staring back at her in the mirror. If your life began with a lie, how can you ever be sure of what’s true.
It’s about time someone wrote a hard hitting contemporary about ancestry and DNA tests. I think the concept is so compelling and it’s one that may not get attention with it being released alongside a lot of hyped fantasy titles but I hope it gets some recognition.
BEYOND THE RUBY VEIL BY MARA FITZGERALD
A dark, queer YA fantasy that’s perfect for fans of the Three Dark Crowns series and Wicked Saints. After Emanuela Ragno kills the one person in Occhia who can create water, she must find a way to save her city from dying of thirst.
I’ve seen this novel mentioned so much on Book Twitter and I had waited in anticipation for its cover reveal, so I have high expectations for this book.
WINTER, WHITE AND WICKED BY SHANNON DITTEMORE
Mad Max: Fury Road meets Frozen in this striking YA fantasy about a rig driver’s journey to save her friend
By solely mentioning MAD MAX FURY ROAD, I have HIGH expectations for this to be epic and grandiose while also exploring the themes that MMFR portrayed so well. With a comp like that I can’t help but expect nothing but excellence
YOU KNOW I’M NO GOOD BY JESSIE ANN FOLEY
From Printz Honor winner and William C. Morris Award finalist Jessie Ann Foley comes the story of one girl’s battle to define herself as something other than her reputation.
Aside from the fact that this shares the title of a great Amy Winehouse song, the story of a troubled teen girl is up my alley. I haven’t seen much talk around this so I hope it doesn’t end up being a overlooked because it sounds like it could actually be good.
COME ON IN EDITED BY ADI ALSAID
This exceptional and powerful anthology explores the joys, heartbreaks and triumphs of immigration, with stories by bestselling and beloved YA authors who are themselves immigrants and the children of immigrants.
Another anticipated anthology of mine. I can’t wait to read these stories!
PLAIN BAD HEROINES BY EMILY M. DANFORTH
The award-winning author of The Miseducation of Cameron Post makes her adult debut with this highly imaginative and original horror-comedy centered around a cursed New England boarding school for girls—a wickedly whimsical celebration of the art of storytelling, sapphic love, and the rebellious female spirit.
There’s something surprising to me that this book isn’t already being hyped up? It’s from the author of The Miseducation of Cameron Post and it’s not being talked about already?? Maybe because it’s aimed at adults but even established YA authors who venture into adult lit get some attention (Schwab, Bardugo, etc.) but it sounds like it would have strong crossover appeal. I also love the title. PLAIN BAD HEROINES. We always need those ❤️
AMONG THE BEASTS & BRIARS BY ASHLEY POSTON
Here there are no droughts, disease, or famine, and peace is everlasting. It has been this way for hundreds of years, since the first king made a bargain with the Lady who ruled the forest that borders the kingdom. But as Aloriya prospered, the woods grew dark, cursed, and forbidden. Cerys knows this all too well: when she was young, she barely escaped as the woods killed her friends and her mother. Now Cerys carries a small bit of the curse—the magic—in her blood, a reminder of the day she lost everything. The most danger she faces now, as a gardener’s daughter, is the annoying fox who stalks the royal gardens and won’t leave her alone.
No lies. I love the cover. But maybe there will be something about this that ends up drawing my attention further. I enjoy a good curse story. So there’s something with more substance that I can give for putting this on my to read list.
As a new queen is crowned, however, things long hidden in the woods descend on the kingdom itself. Cerys is forced on the run, her only companions the small fox from the garden, a strange and powerful bear, and the magic in her veins. It’s up to her to find the legendary Lady of the Wilds and beg for a way to save her home. But the road is darker and more dangerous than she knows, and as secrets from the past are uncovered amid the teeth and roots of the forest, it’s going to take everything she has just to survive. Less
KINGDOM OF THE WICKED BY KERRI MANISCALCO
From the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Stalking Jack the Ripper series comes a new blockbuster series… Two sisters. One brutal murder. A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself…And an intoxicating romance
No I haven’t read her best known series (I promise to get to it one day!!). Yes I am here because I heard this serves some excellent enemies to lovers romance. Which I am trash for. That’s all folks!
THE VALLEY AND THE FLOOD BY REBECCA MAHONEY
Debut author Rebecca Mahoney delivers an immersive and captivating novel about magical places, found family, the power of grief and memory, and the journey toward reconciling who you think you’ve become with the person you’ve been all along.
I’ve yet to hear anyone mention this title and I think it deserves some mention. It promises a beautiful, thoughtful and magical look into PTSD and grief, which are things that I can relate to.
MAGIC DARK AND STRANGE BY KELLY POWELL
The Bone Witch meets Sherlock Holmes in this thrilling historical fantasy about a girl with the ability to raise the dead who must delve into her city’s dangerous magical underworld to stop a series of murders.
This sounds like the PERFECT October read! Necromancy + murder mystery!!! I can’t believe more people aren’t talking about this one.
THOSE WHO PREY BY JENNIFER MOFFETT
Sadie meets The Girls in this riveting debut psychological thriller about a lonely college freshman seduced into joining a cult—and her desperate attempt to escape before it’s too late.
Say the word cult and I am yours. Also the YA marketing team is really using that SADIE comp loosely and dangerously. But I love this sound of this novel.
THE QUEEN’S COUNCIL: REBEL ROSE BY EMMA THERIAULT
Happily ever after is only the beginning as Belle takes on the responsibility of becoming queen and learns to balance duty, love, and sacrifice, all while navigating dark political intrigue—and a touch of magic
Yes yes yes. It’s yet another YA Beauty & The Beast retelling. This one seems to be a more of a “what happens after happily ever after” scenario and I’m a sucker for B&TB. It all depends on the execution for me and I hope this succeeds in winning me over.
THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS BY CHLOE GONG
Perfect for fans of The Last Magician and Descendant of the Crane, this heart-stopping debut is an imaginative Romeo and Juliet retelling set in 1920s Shanghai, with rival gangs and a monster in the depths of the Huangpu River.
This sounds like it’ll be a *delight* haha It’s been a while since I’ve read a Romeo & Juliet retelling and this one will bring on a fresh new voice and take on that classic tragic love story. I also have to shoutout the author’s Twitter account has the best content!
THE BRIGHT AND BREAKING SEA BY CHLOE NEILL
Chloe Neill brings her trademark wit and wild sense of adventure to a stunning seafaring fantasy starring a dauntless heroine in a world of magic and treachery.
So this was added to my TBR because of the cover (Rovina Cai’s art is GORGEOUS) and I have been craving some pirate/seafaring adventure stories with female leads, thanks to the resurgence of Pirates of Caribbean I’ve seen lately on my Twitter timeline. I loved Elizabeth Swann!!! PIRATE KING!!!
HOW THE KING OF ELFHAME LEARNED TO HATE STORIES BY HOLLY BLACK
This new installment in the Folk of the Air series is a return to the heart-racing romance, danger, humor, and drama that enchanted readers everywhere. Each chapter is paired with lavish and luminous full-color art, making this the perfect collector’s item to be enjoyed by both new audiences and old.
I still need to finish The Folk of the Air series by reading THE QUEEN OF NOTHING, but I have to say that I’m excited for this bonus novel. It’s definitely fan service material but honestly I crave more of this series and it’s characters particularly Jude and Cardan.
RUINSONG BY JULIA EMBER
In Julia Ember’s dark and lush LGBTQ+ romantic fantasy Ruinsong, two young women from rival factions must work together to reunite their country, as they wrestle with their feelings for each other.
The other Phantom of the Opera retelling I’m excited for. Mostly because it’s f/f.
A CURSE OF ROSES BY DIANA PINGUICHA
Based on Portuguese legend, this #OwnVoices historical fantasy is an epic tale of mystery, magic, and making the impossible choice between love and duty…
Possibly one of the most gorgeous and compelling curses I’ve ever heard of. Turning things into flowers by touching or swallowing them? Sounds nice but I would still love some food. In all seriousness this sounds lovely and it’s also a sapphic fairytale from an OwnVoices Portuguese author.
THE GOOD GIRLS BY CLAIRE ELIZA BARTLETT
Everyone has a label, whether they like it or not–and Emma was always known as a good girl. But appearances are never what they seem. And the truth behind what really happened to Emma may just be lying in plain sight. As long-buried secrets come to light, the clock is ticking to find Emma’s killer–before another good girl goes down.
Unlikeable female characters!!! That’s all I really need to be interested in a story like this. And add some murder. I’m sold!
I’ve you ever made it this far here’s a gold star for you ⭐️ and I appreciate you 🙂
Thanks for reading and let me know what 2020 releases coming up yp
Science-Fiction & Fantasy are some of my most favorite genres and in these recent years there have been many names thrown out whenever someone mentions their favorite SFF series or standalone. Many of those names are the ones I’ll be talking about today. These are some of most hyped SFF authors, specifically female SFF authors.
She mainly writes YA, specifically in magical realism / fantasy genre. I’ve heard absolutely nothing but AMAZING things about her books. Her writing and characters are highly praised and she also writes great queer rep. I already own When the Moon Was Ours, ordered Wild Beauty recently, and if I do enjoy them, I’ll will definitely be looking forward to Blanca & Roja, but it already looks like a book I’d enjoy anyways. ALSO THESE COVERS!! Whoever makes her covers should get a raise.
Nnedi Okorafor is a Nigerian-American author and I’ve heard many incredible things about her stories. I’m interested in reading more SFF that isn’t by white people and/or based off of Western-oriented folklore & mythology. Also Black Panther‘s Afro-Futuristic themes really got me excited to see more themes like that and I saw some posts saying that Nnedi Okorafor’s books are filled with it. I own Who Fears Death & Binti(#1).
Victoria Schwab (a.k.a V.E. Schwab)
She mainly writes fantasy for YA and New Adult audiences and her most known book series are the Darker Shades of Magictrilogy & Monsters of Verity duology. She’s a pretty big name right now and I still can’t believe I haven’t read anything by her yet. I currently own Vicious (#1).
Yet another YA writer whose writing has been described by many as beautiful and gorgeous. Also pretty hyped about these, because the synopsis for both books below seem so bizarre and I LOVE BIZARRE SHIT. Like give me that weirdness. I currently own the entire Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy. Strange the Dreamer (#1) is at my library, so I might be getting that very soon!
I only know of her duology, which features The Star-Touched Queen & A Crown of Wishes. Both, from what I’ve read and been told about them, have lyrical and gorgeous writing and worldbuilding and that’s all I can ask for in a great fantasy story. Also I believe that this is based on Indian mythology which is refreshing to read since there’s so much Western / European centric fantasy series out there. She also has another series that is also based on Indian mythology, Aru Shah and the End of Time, which looks cute and is a middle-grade. I may pick it up but I’m not really into middle-grade, TBH. Also these covers are STUNNING.