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Magissa

Magissa by Kassandra Flamouri

For as long as she can remember, Chrysa Markou has longed for Pyrga, her native village in the mountains of Greece. But she never thought she would return like this—an orphan, crushed by grief and wracked with guilt over her parents’ deaths. Even surrounded by family, she feels like a xeni—a foreigner. A stranger All she wants is to belong, but Chrysa instead finds herself beset by vicious gossip, family secrets, and a magical heritage that could derail the future her parents wanted for her. To make matters worse, the one responsible for orphaning Chrysa has returned to unleash a reign of supernatural terror over her new home. With the help of a handsome but moody Seer and a pair of burly guard dogs, Chrysa scrambles to protect her village from an onslaught of dark creatures commanded by her parents’ murderer. As the noose of the killer's malice draws tighter, Chrysa grapples with festering doubts: Is she the victim, the hero...or the true cause of her people's suffering? Triumph over evil seems worth any cost, until it threatens to unravel everything Chrysa believed she was fighting for.


A Canticle of Two Souls

A Canticle of Two Souls by Steven Raaymakers

A magic sword forged of a demon. A broken boy seeking revenge. A grim coming-of-age tale with a Sanderson-esque magic system. Raziel watched the Rhotian Empire slaughter his family. When a sentient sword promises him the head of the emperor, Raziel carves a bloody path in an epic journey across a land filled with banshees and mercenaries in pursuit of his revenge. But forced to travel with a strange young woman with a dark past, will Raziel even reach his destination? Alicia has plans of her own. Gifted with a terrible magic that can bend others to her will, she also has revenge on her mind and Raziel in her sights. Can two enemies put aside their differences to seek a higher goal, or will mistrust and inner-demons condemn their fates? Magic is a dangerous thing. So is hope. The ‘Aria of Steel Trilogy’ is a heavy-metal power ballad of clashing blades, blood-soaked betrayal, and sweet revenge. Will you walk away or join the fight?


The Last Gifts of the Universe

The Last Gifts of the Universe by Rory August

SFFOasis SPSFC 2022 SPSFC Winner Indie Recs Indie

A dying universe. When the Home worlds finally achieved the technology to venture out into the stars, they found a graveyard of dead civilizations, a sea of lifeless gray planets and their ruins. What befell them is unknown. All Home knows is that they are the last civilization left in the universe, and whatever came for the others will come for them next. A search for answers. Scout is an Archivist tasked with scouring the dead worlds of the cosmos for their last gifts: interesting technology, cultural rituals—anything left behind that might be useful to the Home worlds and their survival. During an excavation on a lifeless planet, Scout unearths something unbelievable: a surviving message from an alien who witnessed the world-ending entity thousands of years ago. A past unraveled. Blyreena was once a friend, a soul mate, and a respected leader of her people, the Stelhari. At the end of her world, she was the last one left. She survived to give one last message, one final hope to the future: instructions on how to save the universe. An adventure at the end of a trillion lifetimes. With the fate of everything at stake, Scout must overcome the dangers of the Stelhari’s ruined civilization while following Blyreena’s leads to collect its artifacts. If Scout can’t deliver these groundbreaking discoveries back to the Archivists, Home might not only be the last civilization to exist, but the last to finally fall.


Realm of Hope

Realm of Hope by E.L. Li

In a Mortal Realm plagued by darkness, Skye, a descendant of a powerful Goddess, finds herself caught in the grip of a burdening curse. Possessing extraordinary abilities and marked by a dark power, she battles to save the Realm while grappling with the struggle to retain her own humanity. Accompanied by her unwavering team of Agents, descendants of powerful warriors and revered lineages from throughout history, Skye embarks on a perilous journey. Together, they fearlessly undertake relentless missions, confronting the encroaching darkness and uncovering ancient truths. As they battle inner demons and external foes, they must defy the odds and climb the ranks before it’s too late. In the face of overwhelming darkness, they are the last hope for their worlds. Will they rise above their ancestral legacies and claim victory, or will the consuming darkness prevail, plunging the realms into eternal despair? The battle for humanity begins now, as the Agents dare to challenge destiny itself.


The Dragon That Never Was

The Dragon That Never Was by Timothy S. Currey

Every young woman in the village receives a dragon egg when she comes of age. Young Kleia watched every single egg hatch with a heart full of longing. Raising a dragon of her own was her destiny. Her reason to live. Nothing else could give her life meaning the way a dragon could. When she eventually got a dragon egg of her own, she learned that destiny is not always what it seems. This is no ordinary tale of dragons—the kind with daring adventure, great battles, intrepid heroes, or comforting victories. This is the tale of The Dragon That Never Was.


Empire's Daughter

Empire's Daughter by Marian L Thorpe

SPFBO7

An Emperor's request. A lover's refusal. And a young woman who must choose between them. Lena's world is about to change forever. Harried from north and south by two different enemies, both wanting this last remnant of a greater Empire's land, and with invasion imminent, the military leaders see no choice but to ask the unthinkable: that women learn to fight. In accepting the challenge, Lena is separated from her lover, who chooses banishment rather than break with generations of tradition. Promoted to leadership, drawn into the intrigues of power, Lena must make difficult choices, for herself, for her village, and for her country: a young woman at the heart of both violence and diplomacy, beginning her epic journey to save her land. Eric Hoffer Book Awards Finalist, 2021; Silver Medal, Historical Fantasy Box Set (2019), Coffee Pot Book Club Awards


The Chasm

The Chasm by Branwen OShea

After Bleu, Rana, and their new friends narrowly prevent war between the star beings and humans, they hope the upcoming negotiation will secure the peace. Newly emerged from their subterranean haven, the Northern Haven humans are clearly not suited to Earth's ice age, and require assistance from the enlightened star beings to survive long term on the Surface. But Commander Savas doesn't trust the suspiciously kind star beings and their unexplainable abilities. When both sides reluctantly negotiate a joint mission to find the other Havens, Bleu must somehow cooperate with the manipulative commander to keep his friends safe. As their team confronts unexpected dangers, Bleu and his teammates begin to suspect the star beings don't know as much about the Surface as they claimed, while Rana is torn between remaining true to her nonviolent ways or becoming more human to survive. When an unnatural predator attacks, even the nearly all-knowing Kalakanya can't explain it. Now the team must pull together or their new discovery will pull them apart, limb by limb.


A Simple Tale of Water and Weeping

A Simple Tale of Water and Weeping by Kami King Larsen

In the frigid waters, off a moonlit beach, a magical transformation is occurring. The Girl Aylee is a shop-keeper’s daughter in a nameless coastal town. Kind, thoughtful, and recovering from a broken heart, she yearns for a life she may never have. She would do just about anything to make her parents happy, including perhaps, living a life she doesn’t want. The Stranger On a brisk autumn morning, Aylee stumbles upon Cailean. He’s an outsider—lost, confused, and very much out of place. Cailean has more than a few secrets, but for reasons Aylee can’t quite explain, the two strike up a quick friendship. The Peril Cailean has lost a very valuable item—one that may mean the difference between life and death. As Aylee and Cailean search for answers, they call on friends and enemies alike in the hope of avoiding tragedy. In the process, Aylee must confront danger in many forms—both human and fey—all while learning just as much about herself as the mysterious people and creatures surrounding her. What will she choose for herself in the end, and who will she lose as she fights for her new friend and her own future? Steeped in Celtic folklore, A Simple Tale of Water and Weeping is a timeless tale sure to bring a smile to your heart and possibly a tear to your eye. It is a magical story of love, friendship, and accepting not only ourselves, but also those around us.


The Order of the Key

The Order of the Key by Justine Manzano

WriteHive Book Club Teacup Dragon Coop

Jacklyn Madison never expected to be attacked by a beast on an evening snack run. Add a rescue mission enacted by a trained regiment of teenaged warriors, and her night officially becomes just like a scene from one of her beloved comic books. Turns out, her parents were once members of the Order of the Key, gifted humans that protect humanity from creatures spilling through inter-dimensional rifts. Unable to control her newfound abilities, Jacklyn and her family rejoin the Order. After an attack on their headquarters leaves Jacklyn questioning their leadership, Kyp—the boy who led her initial rescue—reveals a darker secret. The Order’s leader may be corrupt, and Jacklyn’s questions could put her family in danger. Drawn into the search for proof, Jacklyn must use her guts and magical brawn to protect her family, her friends, and herself from the monsters spilling from rifts, and those hiding within the Order.


Starkiller: The Merry Maids Book Three

Starkiller: The Merry Maids Book Three by Stefanie Contreras

Alyvia Tippin is not a fan of big changes, and yet that's all her life has been since leaving the Academy. Now that she's discovered more about her abilities, the Council seems determined to add even bigger changes to her life. Despite The Merry Maids' protests, the Council wants Alyvia to train with the Shadows, to figure out how her Amplifier skills could be useful to their team. At least she can stop worrying about her best friend now that she knows he is one of the Shadows. As The Merry Maids' quest to find the Starkiller pieces nears completion, their course is set to collide again with Maks, and all of the horrors Lyv thought she left behind when she escaped Cayberra. Change is inevitable. Alyvia just hopes her team can survive.


Let Loose the Fallen: Book Two of Children of the Nexus

Let Loose the Fallen: Book Two of Children of the Nexus by S. Kaeth

Teacup Dragon Coop SFFOasis

The priestess searches for her faith. The fire-wielder wrestles with her past. The psion dreams of peace. And the hero is torn between his heart and his duty. While grief scatters the four protectors to the winds, outside forces write history according to their own whims. The fate of the Rinaryns lies twined with that of the boy, Eian, caught in a tug of war the heroes are unaware of. But the evidence lies waiting for Taunos and the others to see, if only they can move past their betrayal.


Lady Vago's Malediction

Lady Vago's Malediction by A.K.M. Beach

SPFBO7

In the blackened heart of a cursed forest, a banshee haunts her crumbling castle with lethal screams. Lady Vago is trapped in this place. She cannot fulfill her purpose as a banshee: to warn her loved ones of their deaths and watch over them while they pass. To solve the mystery of her imprisonment, she must sift through the rubble and ruin that surrounds her. By communing with old paintings, broken furniture, and even the stones themselves, she rediscovers who she was in life. Before she was Lady Vago, she was Rovena Stoddard, a sharp-witted horse merchant's daughter that caught the eye of a charming baron. Lord Kalsten Vago's life as a wandering knight was over, but it inspired visions of a better life for his most vulnerable subjects. Rovena was far less afraid of bold change than his staunch and loyal steward, who saw her presence as a threat to Lord Kalsten's success. Love and shared dreams alone wouldn't overcome the controversy of the couple's hasty and unequal union, as well as the trials of governing a fledgling barony—Rovena knew that. What she failed to recognize was the deeper darkness taking root in Vago lands and hearts... Every memory of what Rovena loved is a reminder of what she lost, but she cannot let grief halt her search. Devoted spectres of ash are begging their lady for an end to their torment, and she will not let their agony–or her own–go unanswered anymore. An intensely atmospheric and emotional story of corrupt magic and lost love, Lady Vago's Malediction is a dark fantasy with gothic flair.


METANOIA The Fifth Yanai: Book One

METANOIA The Fifth Yanai: Book One by Juniper Lake Fitzgerald

SPFBO8

The Fifth Yanai is a story of the value of free will, the triumph of love, and the fight to live life on one's own terms. Metanoia is the first installment. In a world ravaged by famine, kindhearted Cultist Ohkai lives in the wilderness serving his Gods, when he is sent from his Sect on a Calling of divine origin. He travels into the heart of a society that opposes the very existence of his kind. But what he expected to be a simple test of his devotion will bring him face to face with his greatest rival - a Temple assassin. When the life of a friend is in danger, Ohkai must risk not only discovery, but his life, to save his friend and fulfill his Calling. Velyr is a ruthless Temple assassin trained for one thing - to fulfill the will of the Gods. Sent to eliminate a target in the township of Obeaon, he encounters an unexpected obstacle in the form of a Cultist who claims to serve his same Gods - blasphemy on the lips of his enemy. When he nearly loses his life only to be saved by the embodiment of what he hates most, Velyr begins to question everything he's been taught to believe. An unlikely connection forms between cultist and assassin, and little do they know their meeting was fated, meant to be something more than they - or even their all-knowing Gods - could have ever foreseen.


The Legend of Black Jack

The Legend of Black Jack by A. R. Witham

SFFOasis SPFBO9

Thrilling fantasy adventure debut from Emmy-winner A. R. Witham. Jack Swift can tell you every element on the periodic table, recite Treasure Island verbatim, and would remember in perfect detail every word you’d ever say to him. He has been alone for a long time, so he has buried himself in books, using them to plan his escape. But no textbook could ever prepare him for the land of Keymark. At 3:33 a.m. on his fourteenth birthday, Jack is kidnapped by a hideous monster to another sphere of existence. Now there are two moons in the sky, and he is surrounded by grotesque creatures and magical warriors training for battle. They want the impossible: Jack must use his abilities to save a life or be trapped in this bizarre world with no chance of rescue. Jack doesn’t have secret magic, a great destiny, or any experience. So why do they all expect him to become a legend?


Blood Reunion

Blood Reunion by JCM Berne

People are dying, their corpses left savaged and drained of blood. The obvious culprit: vampires. But vampires shouldn’t be able to sneak around Wistful undetected or shadowstep freely inside her body. Soon the station herself becomes oddly uncooperative, leaving Rohan and Wei Li bewildered and all her inhabitants in danger. Finding and defeating the killer will require a deep dive into the ancient history of Wistful and of the il’Drach people. Into the connections between the Ursans, the wormholes, and the races that preceded them. Into the dark past of a tormented space station that yearns only for death. Rohan will be forced to fight, and maybe even to kill. He’ll have to face those who bear grudges from his past, the Empire he once served, and his own reluctance to again become the warrior he sometimes needs to be.


Spirits of Vengeance

Spirits of Vengeance by Rob J. Hayes

SPFBO8

He'll die as many times as it takes. The Ipian Empire was once a land that welcomed dragons and spirits alike, but a century of war and bloodshed saw them all but vanish. Now, the lost things are returning and the Onryo have gathered. Five legendary spirits with mysterious powers, bent on freeing an ancient evil that would wreak havoc on humanity. Haruto swore his soul to the God of Death for the chance to hunt down the vengeful ghost of his wife. Now an onmyoji, he’s tasked by the Imperial Throne to hunt down monsters and malicious spirits. But he knows not all spirits are evil and not all deserve the peace of the sword. Kira is a student at Heiwa, an academy for children with dangerous techniques. But she has a secret, she’s not like the other students. When the school is attacked, she flees with one of the tutors, determined to hide both from those who would kill her, and those who would use her. As a plague of spirits sweeps across the land, the Onryo leave a bloody trail for Haruto to follow. But who’s hunting who? The Mortal Techniques novels are a series of stand-alone stories that can be read entirely independently, set in the award-winning Mortal Techniques universe.


Effigest

Effigest by Amy Campbell

When the sins of the past demand payment, his magic is the price. ​Blaise Hawthorne never wanted to hurt anyone, and he certainly didn’t want to become a weapon. When using his dangerous magic to free his outlaw friends destroys an enemy fortress, the young mage is imprisoned for his crimes. Abused and at the mercy of his tormenters, Blaise’s only ally is a duplicitous man he’s not sure he can trust. ​After escaping his cruel upbringing, politician Malcolm Wells had everything—or so he thought. He didn’t count on falling for Breaker Blaise Hawthorne. And it’s all his fault that Blaise has been captured as a war criminal. The Breaker is running out of time, and Malcolm’s money, power, and influence have proven useless to win his freedom. ​When a magic-slinging outlaw storms into town, Malcolm seizes the opportunity to form an uneasy alliance. The pair hatch a bold gambit to free Blaise, but their enemy is one step ahead. At the mercy of Malcolm’s dark past, everything they fought for unravels. All the magic in the world may not be enough to save any of them from the nightmare to come.


Magdalene Nox (The Headmistress #2)

Magdalene Nox (The Headmistress #2) by Milena McKay

Magdalene Nox doesn't cast wishes upon stars... She simply makes them happen. But for this particular wish, she had waited for thirty years. Her retribution against those who discarded her three decades ago should be swift and simple. Except a chance encounter and an unforgettable night turn her entire life upside down. Torn between vengeance and lust, Magdalene is forced to re-evaluate everything. Can the Home of Dragons and lonely math teacher Sam Threadneedle—who finds herself stranded amidst longing and fury—withstand the storm that is Magdalene Nox, or will any and all be consumed by the flames of revenge? Not everything is as it seems, and as Magdalene returns to the place that left her wounded and lost all those years ago, she realizes that old oak and stone hide more than secrets and pain. They also hold forgiveness and love.


Eldritch Sparks: Shadows of Otherside Book 2

Eldritch Sparks: Shadows of Otherside Book 2 by Whitney Hill

The deal that secured Arden Finch a measure of freedom came with strings, and now everybody wants to pull them. Arden has carved out a place for herself in Otherside—at a price. Pressure mounts as she juggles her day job as a private investigator with her new obligations, fraying relationships, and growing elemental powers. If that wasn't enough, a lich has appeared in the Triangle, sowing violence and raising zombies. Everyone wants Arden to get rid of it⁠, including the gods. But the lich offers something Arden has always wanted: enough power to stand alone. All she has to do is put herself first for once...and betray everyone she cares about. Urban fantasy and paranormal fans of Kim Harrison, Faith Hunter, Seanan McGuire, and the early Anita Blake series will find a kick-ass heroine in Arden. Praise for Eldritch Sparks: Shadows of Otherside Book 2 "A compelling book of Otherside that goes from strength to strength." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)


Jack of Thorns (Inheritance, 1)

Jack of Thorns (Inheritance, 1) by AK Faulkner

SFFOasis SPFBO8

You’d think seeing the future would make life easy, but Laurence Riley knows better. No matter how hard he tries to master the chaos, everything slips out of control. His violent ex-boyfriend, his supernatural talents, his drug addiction—seeing what’s coming doesn’t help with any of them. He needs help and he knows it. Help that only a god can provide. The answer to his prayers is Jack, who offers aid with reining in his powers and mastering his life. In exchange, all Jack asks is regular offerings of sexual energy from Laurence's conquests. A month ago, that would have been just fine with Laurence. If not for Quentin, it still would be. Devastatingly handsome, incredibly desirable, and so far out of Laurence’s league it’s not even funny, Quentin is the flame to Laurence’s moth. Laurence doesn’t want anyone else, he can’t think of anyone else, and neither Quentin’s frustratingly chaste behavior nor his uncontrollable telekinesis are enough to put him off. Not even if his focus on Quentin means breaking his bargain with Jack and facing the consequences of disappointing a god. Laurence doesn’t need to see the future to know that’s a bad idea, but he has no clue how dangerous Jack really is…


Goodbye to the Sun

Goodbye to the Sun by Jonathan Nevair

SPSFC 2022

A daring rebel pilot. A lost soul pursued by an infamous bounty hunter. One impossible moral choice... On a lone wind-shaped planet, the Motes are on the brink. Razor, a bold and fearless pilot, leads a last-ditch gambit to save her people. The plan - abduct visiting Ambassador Keen Draden and use him as a bargaining chip to restore their independence in the Sagittarius Arm. But when the operation unravels, Razor is forced to renegotiate terms with the arrogant diplomat. GOODBYE TO THE SUN: a nonstop thrill ride across an unstable galaxy, combining moral struggle with character-driven adventure.


The Hidden King (The Coming of Áed #1)

The Hidden King (The Coming of Áed #1) by E.G. Radcliff

SPFBO6 Indie Recs Indie SFFOasis

Hidden truths. Hidden power. Hidden destiny. On the shores of a rusty sea, in the streets of a starving city, a young man named Áed scraps to build a life for himself and the makeshift family he loves. Scarred by a trauma he cannot remember, and haunted by the brutal damage it left behind, he has no idea of the courage his future will demand. When tragedy strikes, a desperate Áed risks a treacherous, life-changing journey in his last chance to save the only family he has left - but an ancient legacy smoldering within him is about to turn deadly. Neither he - nor a kingdom - will ever be the same.


Pallas Lost

Pallas Lost by Jake Morrison

SPSFC 2022 SPSFC 2023

When Ensign Vasyli Nikonov’s ship happened upon a drifting derelict, he had no idea how drastically his life was about to change. Not only had the crew been killed in an impossible manner, the Captain of the ship left a reference to the child’s tale of the lost colony of Pallas. Elsewhere in the Fifteen Systems, scholar Eliot Charter gamely starts his own fool’s quest to prove that Pallas is real. Armed with nothing but naivety and knowledge, he hires mercenary Captain Skadi Ulfsdöttir to help him on his journey. Things quickly spiral out of hand, leaving them all wondering if Pallas was truly Lost...


Fate's Long Shadow

Fate's Long Shadow by Marcela Carbo

SPFBO8

Her power was born of a giant's rage. One wrong word could seal her fate. Jassae is destined to wield the dark sorcery of the Mornae. First, she must master her own goddess gift: the power of peace and harmony.   Enslaved by brutal giants as a child, she finds herself at the center of their political struggle to determine their next chief.   Ancient grudges fester. War is inevitable. Jassae's survival depends on developing her power to manipulate their rage and put her own master on the chieftain's throne. Can she endure their savagery long enough to fulfill her own destiny as a Mornae priestess? A dark coming-of-age story for readers of character-driven stories in a high fantasy setting. This book is a standalone but also part of a larger story world.


They Mostly Come Out At Night

They Mostly Come Out At Night by Benedict Patrick

Semi finalist in Mark Lawrence’s SPFBO (2017) Are you scared of the dark? The villagers of the forest seal themselves in their cellars at night, whispering folktales to each other about the monsters that prey on them in the dark. Only the Magpie King, their shadowy, unseen protector, can keep them safe. However, when an outcast called Lonan begins to dream of the Magpie King’s defeat at the hands of inhuman invaders, this young man must do what he can to protect his village. He is the only person who can keep his loved ones from being stolen away after dark, and to do so he will have to convince them to trust him again. They Mostly Come Out At Night is the first novel from Benedict Patrick’s Yarnsworld series. Straddling the line between fantasy and folklore, this book is perfect for fans of the darker Brothers Grimm stories.


Dragon Mage

Dragon Mage by ML Spencer

SPFBO7

Aram Raythe has the power to challenge the gods. He just doesn't know it yet. Aram thinks he's nothing but a misfit from a small fishing village in a dark corner of the world. As far as Aram knows, he has nothing, with hardly a possession to his name other than a desire to make friends and be accepted by those around him, which is something he's never known. But Aram is more. Much, much more. Unknown to him, Aram bears within him a gift so old and rare that many people would kill him for it, and there are others who would twist him to use for their own sinister purposes. These magics are so potent that Aram earns a place at an academy for warrior mages training to earn for themselves the greatest place of honor among the armies of men: dragon riders. Aram will have to fight for respect by becoming not just a dragon rider, but a Champion, the caliber of mage that hasn't existed in the world for hundreds of years. And the land needs a Champion. Because when a dark god out of ancient myth arises to threaten the world of magic, it is Aram the world will turn to in its hour of need.


Your Blood and Bones

Your Blood and Bones by J. Patricia Anderson

SFINCS

Kill the monsters when they’re found. No matter who they used to be. The girl with secret feathers in her skin and strange bones jutting out beneath her clothes is resigned to her fate. Her deformities mark her a monster and the stories say monsters must die. When her family finds out and turns on her, a village boy saves her and leads her on a frantic escape. The girl believes her death has merely been delayed—until he mentions a cure. With the world against them and the monstrous change progressing, they must cross water, forest, and field to chase the rumor that fuels their desperate hope. But is hope enough to keep them going?


Bad Grains

Bad Grains by Susanne Schmidt

SFINCS

Eleven-year-old Jo loves Halloween and all things horror, but she doesn't believe anything bad could ever happen in Fels, her small German hometown. When Hektor, her annoying older brother, disappears on his way home from school, Jo assumes he is playing a prank on her. But then both her father and grandma forget Hektor's name, and his stuff mysteriously disappears from his room. With the adults of no help whatsoever, Jo starts an investigation of her own, uncovering an old legend that has haunted the children of Fels for centuries. A monster lives in the rye fields, and draws children into its world under the roots. With two days until the gate between their worlds closes, and only Hektor's obnoxious best friend to help her, Jo must figure out a way to rescue her brother, or lose him forever.


Dark Star

Dark Star by C. X. Myers

After the events of the Heights Exclusion, Wally, Vess, and the Dispersers of the Sixth Precinct of Colvus find themselves mired in a city torn by civil strife, all while they grieve their own losses. The civilian deaths in the housing projects targeted by the Cult of the Dark Star have left the Colvian people angry, wounded, and lacking faith in the leadership of the Water Serpent Clergy, who have ruled the city for so many years. In the midst of that strife, Wally must find a way to summon Vess once more without the use of the spirit proxy, Jemma Corsivo discovers a kindred spirit where she least expected it, and a new threat wearing a familiar face rises in the heart of the city.


The Thirteenth Hour

The Thirteenth Hour by Trudie Skies

SPFBO8 SPFBO Finalist

When the saints fail, the sinners step up. Cruel gods rule the steam-powered city of Chime, demanding worship and tribute from their mortal subjects. Kayl lost her faith in them long ago, and now seeks to protect vulnerable and downtrodden mortals from their gods’ whims. But when Kayl discovers powers that she didn’t know she had—and destroys a mortal’s soul by accident—she becomes Chime’s most wanted. Quen’s job was to pursue sinners, until the visions started. Haunted by foreboding images of his beloved city’s destruction, Quen hunts soul-sucking creatures made of aether who prey on its citizens—and Kayl is his number one target. To ensure Chime’s future, Kayl and Quen must discover the truth of Kayl’s divine abilities before the gods take matters into their own hands. For a city that bows to cruel gods, it’ll take godless heathens to save it. The Thirteenth Hour is the first book in The Cruel Gods series—a gaslamp fantasy featuring magical portals, gothic cosmic deities, quaint Britishisms, and steampunk vibes. This is an adult book containing strong language and mature themes that some readers may find disturbing. For a full list of content warnings, visit Trudie Skies's website.


The Merry Maids

The Merry Maids by Stefanie Contreras

SPSFC

Alyvia Tippin is done with her training at the Academy, and ready to serve the Order. Her abilities with movement and telekinesis earn her a spot with The Merry Maids, a small black-ops team that works on the Order's behalf to unofficially clean up official messes. As the new Courier for The Merry Maids, Alyvia's training is immediately put to the test when the Order sends them on a mission to collect the disassembled pieces of an artifact called the Starkiller. The pieces are hidden across the galaxy like a deadly scavenger hunt, and the person who hid them wants Alyvia to destroy the Starkiller instead of turning it over to the Order. Luckily, The Merry Maids have her back. She's going to need it.


Three Kings

Three Kings by Freydís Moon

Ethan Shaw—lighthouse keeper and local witch—lives a charmed life in his chilly, coastal hometown. Blessed with a flourishing garden and a stable livelihood, Ethan can’t complain. But when his husband, Captain Peter Vásquez, brings home a wounded leopard seal after an impromptu storm, Ethan is faced with a curious situation: caring for a lost selkie named Nico Locke. As Ethan struggles with the possibility of being infertile, insecurities surrounding his marriage, and a newly formed magical bond with a hostile, handsome selkie, his comfortable life begins to fracture. But could breakage lead to something better? With autumn at their heels and winter on the horizon, Ethan, Peter, and Nico test the boundaries of a new relationship, shared intimacy, and the chance at a future together.


A Handful of Souls

A Handful of Souls by Stephen Rice

SPFBO7

Book One from The Split Sea Mud, gold and lies. That’s all you get in Branera. You’ll find no better expert on these things than Lily Kale-Tollworth. Yet she has no clue of the events already in motion around her. WEEKS AGO, a murderer with a bleeding grin was released from the Mountain Head. Lily doesn’t know this pale-skinned giant has been writing to her. She doesn’t even know he’s coming to find her. But as her father, Husker Tollworth feels like it’s his right. DAYS AGO, a tax patrol was slaughtered. Lily doesn’t know her brother’s corpse was pulled from a ditch, stolen by a man who can raise the dead. Lark Kale-Tollworth will follow this bizarre scholar to the Southlands. He will forget how many times he’s died. HOURS AGO, an informant showed Lily’s stepfather an incriminating note. Branera has taxed its villages too hard. An uprising is massing in the Northlands – and they have a noose with Josef Kale’s name on it. At this very moment, Josef is frantically packing their coach, while Lily is drinking whisky in a brothel. She’s met the arrogant idiot who will be their guide south. She doesn’t know he has a hollow soul, filled with thousands of spirits. She doesn’t know his mouth is filled with as many lies. But if there are three things Lily’s good at, it’s mud, gold and lies. ~ ~~ ~~ ~ ~~ ~ ~~ ~ ~~ ~ ~~ ~ ~~ ~ ~~ ~ ~~ ~ ~~ ~ ~~ ~ ~~ ~ ~~ ~~ ~ Bringing a bright, messy twist to the gritty fantasy genre, fans of Scott Lynch and Terry Pratchett will feel right at home with A HANDFUL OF SOULS, the first of the Split Sea Novels.


Not Your Mountain

Not Your Mountain by Greg Yates / AJ Alexanders

He wanted to be an adventurer, but adventure could cost him his home. Matty has spent his whole life working in the mines, it's all he's ever known to do: sing to the stone, extract its riches, and learn its properties. But after an unexpected visit from a dwarven adventurer, his life takes a seismic shift. Dwarves never leave Craig'n Dell and guests never visit, but now Matty wants to change all of that. With his cunning, bravery, and will, Matty sets off with his left foot forward... and stumbles. Join Matty as he embarks on a comedic fantasy adventure meant to captivate and amuse; where monsters, adventure, and unlikely companionship await!


Elevated Inferno

Elevated Inferno by Carlotta Ardell

Monet Parker wasn't a sucker for a man in uniform. Even if he was a firefighter with dimples deep enough to swim in and ebony skin painted by the gods. She was just trying to get her dream internship and prepare herself for a career in social robotics. She had no idea how her life would change with the simple push of a button. When the elevator taking her to her interview at Real World Robotics stops, Monet isn't sure if she will live, let alone make her interview. She's rescued by Rhys Banks: the gorgeous hunk of a fireman. As much as their magnetism is palpable, Monet is trying to ignore her feelings. Focusing on her career and navigating her chaotic family drama is more than enough excitement for her. Still, it's hard to ignore #FiremanBae when her sister is hosting an Instagram Live video of the rescue and getting the whole internet buzzing. What happens when the internet becomes a third wheel in Monet's love life? What happens when past hurts, career goals, and family baggage are in conflict with their desires? Will these distractions win out and quash the elevated inferno? Can Monet have it all, including love?


Aestus, Book 1: The City

Aestus, Book 1: The City by S. Z. Attwell

SPSFC 2022

An underground city, built centuries ago to ride out the devastating heat. A society under attack. And a young solar engineer whose skills may be the key to saving her city…if she doesn’t get herself killed first. When Jossey was ten, the creatures of the aboveground took her brother and left her for dead, with horrible scars. Now, years later, she’s a successful solar engineer, working to keep her underground city’s power running, but she’s never really recovered. After she saves dozens of people during a second attack, she is offered a top-secret assignment as a field Engineer with Patrol, but fear prevents her from taking it…until Patrol finds bones near where her brother disappeared. She signs on and finds herself catapulted into a world that is far more dangerous, and requires far more of her, than she ever imagined. The creatures and the burning heat aboveground are not the only threats facing the City, and what she learns during her assignment could cost her her life: one of the greatest threats to the City may in fact lie within. With thousands of lives at stake, can she act in time? Aestus is an adult dystopian science-fiction series set centuries after climate change has ravaged much of Earth. An epic story of vengeance, power, shifting loyalties, and survival that looks at just how far people will go to protect what they love, brought to you by science writer S.Z. Attwell, Aestus paints a picture of a world in which far too little has changed.


Ringlander: The Path and the Way

Ringlander: The Path and the Way by Michael S. Jackson

SPFBO7

The first book in the Ringlander Series: a fast-paced, epic fantasy adventure full of games, grit and magic. Holes between worlds are tearing through Rengas. Firestorms are raging as multiple realities battle for control of the elements. Even the Way, the turbulent channel that separates Nord, Határ and Kemen, the lifeblood of the city of Tyr, has turned. Kyira’s search for her missing brother draws her away from the familiar frozen lines of Nord and south into the chaotic streets of Tyr where games are played & battles fought. As reality tears Kyira must choose between her family or her path before the worlds catch up with her.


Doppelganger

Doppelganger by S. L. Phanes

Oasis Utterson and Elliot Warlow endeavor to remake Dr. Jekyll’s formula and prove that it is safe in order to secure funding for their Institute of Lysology, an institute created by the late Jekyll and his husband, John Gabriel Utterson, to further the understanding of the soul. Of course, no one is willing to be the test subject of such experimentation. So Elliot decides to test it on himself. Elliot uncovers his past traumas through his soul and Oasis must balance Elliot’s life against the growth of her Institute.


Aestus: Book 2: The Colony

Aestus: Book 2: The Colony by S. Z. Attwell

An underground city. A deadly project. And an Intelligence agent who can help Jossey take down the City...if she can trust him again.Jossey grew up believing the Onlar, creatures of the aboveground, were monsters. But when they kidnapped her, she found out terrible secrets about her city and her family. Her choice to help the Onlar against the City almost cost her her life. And the Intelligence agent she'd thought was her friend was the one tasked with carrying out her execution.But he didn't quite succeed.Now Jossey, barely alive, has been sent to the Onlar by a mysterious figure from the City. And time is of the essence - her solar network project could mean disaster not only for the Onlar, but for thousands of citizens as well. She can’t do much from the Onlar camp, but Gavin, Jossey’s Patrol leader and longtime friend, isn’t convinced she’s dead. And Patrol has started to learn the truth.As tentative alliances form, Jossey begins to think this might be easier than she’d thought. But a terrible miscalculation has been made, one that may cost her and her friends both the City and their lives. Can she see it before it’s too late?Aestus is an adult dystopian science-fiction series set centuries after climate change has ravaged much of Earth. An epic story of vengeance, power, shifting loyalties, and survival that looks at just how far people will go to protect what they love, brought to you by science writer S.Z. Attwell, Aestus paints a picture of a world in which far too little has changed.


Trail Markers

Trail Markers by Cym Aros

Indie Recs Indie

This tale - the first in a series of three - opens in the summer of 1874, in a prison camp south of Carson City. Falsely accused and incarcerated, two half-brothers find themselves in a losing battle to survive corrupt and brutal conditions. Cole Franklin, twenty-nine, is the privileged scion of the late, much-lionized patriarch of a wealthy California family. Jesse, twenty-four, is that patriarch's bastard son, a fact unknown to Jesse or the surviving Franklins until a scant year and a half before. Jesse had come to the Franklins as an itinerant cowboy. He is the younger of the two men, but he had ridden a long, hard trail of poverty, prejudice, and violence in his few years. Jesse had grown up a dirt-poor, hard-working, fatherless boy in a dying Sierra mining town; by age sixteen, he had seen three years of combat as a scout and sharpshooter for the Union Army, and spent the last eight months of the war interred in a Confederate prisoner-of-war camp. Cole is a strong man, and brave, but their current predicament is unlike any battlefield he has ever faced. Jesse understands too well where they are, and what might lie ahead. He takes desperate action to ensure Cole's freedom. The consequences of that action, for Jesse and the Franklin family, are severe and far-reaching. Trail Markers begins with the brothers' struggle against raw criminality - first, for simple survival; ultimately, for justice. Jesse faces bigotry, mob violence, and the shattering of his own mental health as he battles to regain his freedom and find an honorable path home to family and to the woman he loves.


Neglected Merge

Neglected Merge by Eve Koguce

SPFBO7

“Neglected Merge” is an inspirational thought-provoking futuristic fantasy romance novel. The story of fated lovers developed against a backdrop of a new post-apocalyptic world painted in bright tones. A fortuitous meeting of Tauria, an independent woman living in one utopian-style world, and Doron from high society of the other world, is destined to be the new beginning for both worlds. Tauria, aged 32, lives in the society that seems to believe that happiness is a universal concept. People, who had survived the near apocalyptic experience, have built a whole new world full of pleasure and easiness. It is designed to make everyone feel happy every minute of their lives. Work brings satisfaction, hobbies are encouraged, relationships are supposed to bring out only positive emotions. Does it matter that things that don’t fit into the general happy pattern get discarded and disappear? Things like friendship and commitment. Things like true love. It is supposed to be enough with lightness and never-ending joy. But there are two worlds now. They are forced to exist side by side. Can they find a way to live together? The Chinese proverb says: “When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.” What will the people of two worlds, so utterly different and at the same time so similar, choose?


Scarlett and the Dark Woods

Scarlett and the Dark Woods by Mary Mecham

She is one of the protected elect. He is a shunned shapeshifter. Can Scarlett rescue her grandmother before her own heart is stolen? When her grandmother is cast out as unworthy after facing Hamelin’s annual Shunning, Scarlett knows she must brave the dangers of Darkwood Forest if she’s to have any chance of saving her. Her perilous adventure becomes a race against time; she needs to find Gran before the previously shunned get to her first. Scarlett’s efforts come too late. As her magic dwindles the farther into the forest she ventures, she becomes hopelessly lost and is forced to accept help from Greyson, the shapeshifting wolf who is stalking her every footstep—and who Scarlett suspects of knowing Gran’s location. If she manages to save her grandmother, Scarlett will be faced with an impossible choice: join Gran and live her life as an outcast or return to the rest of the elect, safe but alone. As she struggles to find the right path forward, Scarlett realizes that more than her grandmother’s future is at stake. Her heart is too. Can Scarlett resist her inexplicable attraction to the shunned wolf she despises long enough to protect the woman who raised her?


Savage Seas

Savage Seas by Monica Boothe

An attack by a mythical sea monster leaves a young woman and a brooding pirate stranded on a lonely island and fighting for their survival. Prim, Puritan-raised Eleanor set out on this voyage to reunite with the love of her life. What she got instead was a pirate attack followed by near devouring by an enormous kraken. Now, stranded with Julien, a surly French pirate boy—one of the very ruffians who, just hours before, threatened her life—Eleanor must learn to overcome her prejudices. But Julien has secrets of his own, and Eleanor comes to suspect that it may not be coincidence that led the two of them to this island together. Can Eleanor and Julien work together to not only survive the wilds of the Caribbean but to find their way home? Savage Seas is a 17th century swashbuckling adventure and enemies to lovers romance with just a splash of magic. Perfect for readers who liked Daughter of the Pirate King or Fable. Beneath the Black Flag is a series of interconnected standalone adventure novels that can be read in any order.


The Misadventures of Myndil Plodostirr

The Misadventures of Myndil Plodostirr by Michelle Franklin

"Life happened to most people, but Myndil Plodostirr happened to everybody else." When the abbot of the newly made Rogha an dá Dhíogha abbey meets Myndil Plodostirr, an orphan who thinks God speaks to him, he quickly decides that a talkative young man like Myndil is best left to himself. In the hopes of ridding the abbey of Myndil's company forever, the abbot sends him out on an impossible mission: to make himself a missionary and unite all the surrounding kingdoms under the banner of one god. What begins as a jape ends in infamy as Myndil's cheerfulness and goodwill accidentally bring about the Great War of the Dark Age. Will Myndil heed the abbot's will and convert the warring kings, or will he listen to the mysterious voice that plagues him and cause chaos across the British Isles?


Birth of the Storm

Birth of the Storm by Valerie Storm

A bolt of lightning. And a dream of vengeance. For wolf-demon Kari, these define her every waking moment. Her parents are dead, slaughtered by human hands, forcing their only daughter to masquerade among their killers to save her own skin. Now she dwells among them, hiding her lightning-based abilities and plotting a terrible revenge, believing her schemes are all she's good for now. But when she discovers unexpected solace among a group of humans who look past her monstrous nature, Kari finds herself questioning everything. Her mission. Her dreams. Even the hatred festering in her heart. Is it possible for a creature like Kari to find happiness in a world that despises her? Or will the specters of her past force her down the path of vengeance in the end?


The Dryad's Crown

The Dryad's Crown by David Hopkins

SPFBO10

Four titans sleep beneath the earth. Only one fae can keep them from waking. Silbrey is an orphaned wood nymph, taken from her forest home and raised in the corrupt city of Penderyn. The fae child grows up unaware of who she is, what she can do, and the calling of her kind. Under the control of a cruel guildmaster, Silbrey is trained as an assassin. As an adult, she escapes her violent past to start a new life and a family. But a tragic death brings her back to the familiar cobbled streets to seek revenge. This dark path leads Silbrey to uncover an even darker secret: An ancient evil will wake the titans and break the world. Silbrey must travel with her daughter across a war-torn land to defeat that evil. What begins as a fairy tale transforms into a multi-generational epic fantasy about love and loss—and a woman with a strange connection to nature. The Dryad's Crown is an emotional, coming-of-age fantasy debut. The first volume in a gritty saga, set in the immersive world of Efre Ousel. Booklife describes the story as "a fantasy unlike any other."


Blind Man's Wolf

Blind Man's Wolf by Amelia Faulkner

A night-blind vampire. A werewolf with lousy self-confidence. And a whole hell of a lot of danger... Ellis O'Neill is an art dealer with too many problems: his eyesight has deteriorated to the point of night-blindness; he's estranged from his family, to whom he owes a considerable sum of money; and his guide dog went right off him the night Ellis died. Without his dog, Ellis is trapped in a life bouncing between home and work, dependent on his personal assistant. Werewolf Randall Carter has problems of his own. He loves his pack, he really does, but as their Omega he's always the one to bear the brunt of their rage. It's a role he can't avoid, and Randall isn't sure he can take it for much longer, so he buries himself in his day job. Randall's the best dog trainer in the city, and when he's offered a client who needs him to work evenings he'd be a fool to turn it down. Soon Randall is falling for someone he should despise. Everything about the undead is anathema to his kind, but Ellis is exactly the kind of guy Randall would want to ask out on a date - if he were still breathing. Worse, they may not have too long to figure their feelings out. Someone or something is gunning for Ellis and anyone else who gets in the way; they won't rest until the vampire is destroyed.


Reign & Ruin

Reign & Ruin by J. D. Evans

SPFBO7 SPFBO Finalist SPFBO Winner

“All magic is beautiful...and terrible. Do you not see the beauty in yours, or the terror in mine? You can stop a heart, and I can stop your breath.” She is heir to a Sultanate that once ruled the world. He is an unwanted prince with the power to destroy. She is order and intellect, a woman fit to rule in a man's place. He is chaos and violence and will stop at nothing to protect his people. His magic answers hers with shadow for light. They need each other, but the cost of balance may be too high a price. Magic is dying and the only way to save it is to enlist mages who wield the forbidden power of death, mages cast out centuries ago in a brutal and bloody war. Now, a new war is coming. Science and machines to replace magic and old religion. They must find a way to save their people from annihilation and balance the sacred Wheel—but first, they will have to balance their own forbidden passion. His peace for her tempest, his restlessness for her calm… Night and day, dusk and dawn, the end, and the beginning.


A Circle of Stars

A Circle of Stars by Craig Montgomery

SPFBO10

Sometimes you have to leave home to find it… All Casper Bell has ever wanted is to belong. But now, abandoned by his friends and family after being outed, he has nothing left to lose when the people of Novilem abduct him. Except Earth. Teleported to a world where stars grant humans magic, Casper discovers he has the rare ability to draw power from all twelve astrological signs — a gift that makes him a political pawn for the Estellar Council. But Novilem’s inhabitants seem as hard and cold as the stone their city is carved from, and Casper’s new role leaves him more isolated than ever. Until he meets the grandson of the council’s most powerful woman. Helix is kind, playful, and heartbreakingly handsome, yet it’s how Helix makes him feel that gives Casper hope. As rebellion brinks in the city, even the Council starts to fracture, reaching for extreme measures that could cost Casper not only his newfound abilities, but the first place he has ever wanted to call home. Together with Helix, he must uncover the secrets of his full potential — because the survival of Novilem hinges on Casper’s powers, whether he’s using them or not. Set inside a hidden lunar city, where astrology is magic and your birth sign defines your social status, A Circle of Stars is a queer young adult fantasy filled with political intrigue and romance.


The Wildflowers at the Edge of the World

The Wildflowers at the Edge of the World by Shaylin Gandhi

Yukon Territories, 1898. When circus sharpshooter Sophia Bellerose flees from heartbreak in search of a new life, she doesn’t intend to find work in a Yukon brothel. But she's not the sort of woman to refuse that kind of cash—or the freedom that comes with it. ​ For Sophia, the remote wilds of Canada’s Far North provide the perfect setting to bury old heartbreaks. Up there, memories are short, days are long, and gold dust flows freely for any woman bold enough to make the trip. Even better? She gets to keep her guns. Yet when the warmth of her newfound sisterhood begins to thaw her icy heart, Sophia wonders if she’s stumbled across the perfect life—until she clashes with the local Reverend, whose angel face hides a dangerously devious mind. Not only is he conning the whole town, he’s after both the brothel and her, though she can't tell whether his interest is genuine or just another clever ploy to gain control of her earnings. Determined to preserve her newfound freedom—and ignore the Reverend’s devastating kissing in the process—Sophia unholsters her revolvers and takes aim, ready to do whatever it takes to keep her new life in one piece.


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