Makaryk’s Robin Hood-inspired debut Nottingham feels like a return to fresh, invigorating storytelling. There is so much to love about this book where captivating plot twists, nuanced characterizations, and superb writing all take center stage. Robin Hood himself is just one of the many characters whose perspectives, choices, and deeds – good or ill – make up the story. In Nottingham nothing is black and white. No one is a complete villain or hero. Makaryk’s layered characters and rich setting ground the story in a realistic and compelling narrative while clever dialogue throughout captures the familiar, jovial spirit of the Robin Hood legend. It’s a rare and special thing to have a novel so steeped in legend and folktale be such a breath of fresh air. An impressive debut and a strong contender for my favorite novel of 2019. – Kelly
This is the zombie apocalypse like you’ve never seen it before! Things go sideways when S.T. the crow’s human, Big Jim, loses an eyeball. Jim’s worsening condition propels S.T. to leave the safety of domestic life, along with the simple, slobbering bloodhound, Dennis. Together they roam the ruins of Seattle, searching for purpose in this new, Cheeto-less world. While Hollow Kingdom mostly follows the foul-mouthed, human-loving crow, Buxton also takes the occasional detour to see how other animals are coping around the world. Not only is our corvid companion a profane delight, she also manages to effortlessly capture the aloof arrogance of a cat, the wise cadence of an elephant, and even the eternal serenity of trees. Hilarious and at times surprisingly poignant, Hollow Kingdom is a must-read for anyone with a sense of humor as black as a crow’s wing.
The Third Poppy War is over - Rin took care of the Nikaran Empire's enemies with a complete and devastating show of power, but not without exacting a terrible cost. She cannot sleep and she cannot quiet the voices screaming in her head, not without a steady stream of opium and a deadly focus on revenge. But when an opportunity presents itself for her to rise above the aimless fog of her mind in the guise of the Dragon Warlord, she jumps at the chance to find purpose. How much will this road cost her, though, and does she enough left in her to pay the price? Brutal and breathtaking in turns, this book won't release you once you've turned the first page. In the stunning sequel to her Nebula Award nominated debut The Poppy War, R. F. Kuang delivers a shocking, twisting tale of an empire, and a woman, crumbling to ashes - only to be reborn in the fire. - Kylie
Emily Eternal begins with the end of the world. The sun is going out, and humanity only has six months left...which is bad news for the revolutionary artificial consciousness-turned-therapist Emily, who is just starting to figure humans, and herself, out. When she comes across an anomaly in her genetic database, her lab is brutally attacked and her servers taken offline. Emily ends up on the run with two new friends, Jason, her crush from the university, and Mayra, a small-town sheriff. Emily wants answers, and not just for what happened at the lab — she wants to figure out how she can save humankind from obliteration, and why anyone in their right mind would want to stop her. With Emily Eternal, M.G. Wheaton raises interesting questions about the nature of memory, perception, and personhood, all against a backdrop of trying to preserve humanity while still staying true to what makes humanity human. Emily’s conversational internal monologue keeps the themes and science accessible, making this perfect for adults and teens alike.
The Swallows is a fantastic book full of mystery and revenge. You are pulled in quickly in the first few chapters, immediately wanting to know what the Darkroom is and why the girls at this school seem to dislike it so much. I have never read anything else by Lisa Lutz so I wasn’t sure what to expect. This story is dark but satirical and fitting for the world we live in now. I loved the strong female characters that are in this book, especially the main character Alex Witt. She has taken the struggles that her life has given her and tried to make the best of a bad situation. The relationships between the schoolgirls is empowering and their actions reflect many women who are sick of the status quo and just want to watch the world burn. – Guest Reviewer Jordan Eaton
R.H. Herron’s story, Stolen Things, begins with an ending. One of the biggest endings in anyone’s life: Innocence. A teenage girl is raped; left scared, alone, and desperate for help. In a weird twist of fate, her mother, a dispatcher at the local police department, is the one that answers the 911 call. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. What begins as a heart wrenching tale of stolen innocence soon evolves into a tale of trust, scandal, police brutality, and murder. Herron is not afraid to confront readers with topics that currently run hot in American society, such as racism and xenophobia. All the while, she manages to keep tensions high and the story’s pace going at dizzying speeds. Despite some awkward hiccups with keeping to consistent characterization, Stolen Things is very much a well-intentioned and thrilling debut novel from a promising author.
"These are stories of magical lyricism, contemporary in their exploration of the obsessions of girls and young women, mythic in their scope and mystery. Remarkable." -- Joyce Carol Oates
A magical love story, inspired by the legend of a woman who vanished from Grand Central Terminal, sweeps readers from the 1920s to World War II and beyond. “Readers who enjoyed The Time Traveler’s Wife will be enchanted.”—Publishers Weekly
The Right Swipe is a perfect summer cocktail of a sizzling romance mixed with all the elements of modern day complexity (apps, activism, social media!). Samson’s family is widely regarded as football royalty, but his father and uncle’s lives were both tragically struck short by CTE. He enters the tech world after the loss of his beloved uncle, but never expected to see the woman he ghosted after one night of passion, on stage with him as the CEO of a major dating app. Rhiannon’s insider knowledge of bad dating behavior and brutal previous break-up has made her wary of men and romance. But Samson’s vulnerability and honesty show her how to trust again, and both learn how to lean on one another. Hot POC, a badass protag, and a love story that addresses (but doesn’t preach) today’s major issues, if you’re looking for a delicious summer beach read, this is it!
— From Jackie's Staff Picks
House of Salt and Sorrow takes the fairy tale of the Twelve Dancing Princesses and twists it into an unnerving story that will keep you turning the pages into the early hours of the morning. Curses, nights of endless dancing, and ghosts weave together to create an intriguing world that feels like the New England coast of many years ago. With gods and magic seamlessly integrated into a tale of murder in a grand house overlooking the sea, I was hooked. Erin harkens to the beautifully haunting atmosphere of Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak and gives readers a unique mythology of a world that would be fascinating, if not terrifying, to visit. With great writing and a plot that truly swept me away, this was a thoroughly enjoyable read. – Constance
It's 1928, and the Jazz Age is in full swing - for everyone except Casiopea Tun. Since her father died and she and her mother were forced to move back to her grandfather's estate in a small Yucatán village, she has been worked to the bone. All her daydreams and secret wishes seemed doomed to fade to nothing, until the day she accidentally releases Hun-Kamé, a Mayan god of death, deposed Lord of Xibalba, from a prison he'd been trapped in by his treacherous brother. She is swept away on a journey to help return Hun-Kamé to his throne, out into a world she has never experienced. She encounters demons, spirits, and a mythic magic that threatens to overturn the world. Gods of Jade and Shadow weaves its own kind of magic with word and symbol, pulling you headlong into the dangers of Casiopea's journey. Brutal and beautiful in turns, this coming-of-age tale will captivate you from the very first page. - Kylie