stories in and

Smoke and Steel

Smoke and Steel by Dax Murray

Kraken Collective

At the Crossroads of Tomorrow Being the youngest of the Sua royals never stopped Saritrah from scheming to take the throne. But violent insurrectionists shattered those plans when they stormed the palace and decimated her family. In the years since, she has amassed an army and will return to claim her crown. However, Ashur, her one remaining sibling, has done the same, and she must act soon if she’s to secure her prize before he snatches it from her claws. After Ashur razes the Temple of Yshuld, the surviving Seers promise her the power to ensure victory. But it will mean abandoning her legion to venture into the endless desert and locate a lost city. Soon, however, she suspects that none of the women are who they claim to be, even to each other. One woman cryptically alludes to a paradisical past; another awakens in the night plagued by dreams of a frightening future; the last woman never speaks. But the more she questions her new companions’ motives, the more she must question her own. Is the vision of calamity an omen of what will happen if she fails? Or a promise of what will come if she succeeds?


Burrows of Blood and Shadow

Burrows of Blood and Shadow by Rebekah L Webb

The dreamers dream all the time, free to go anywhere, to be anything, to see worlds outside themselves, inside themselves and beyond themselves. The Dream Surfer has no past or memory and can only experience life through the dreams and memories of others. He is stuck in a world of doors and windows leading to quiet lives, where pain and tragedy flow like the inevitable path of gentle streams. There is one spot he refuses to go, a dank corner where burrows dive down to dark and brutal depths. He yearns to break free of his cage and create an existence of his own. But nothing he's done so far has brought him closer to freedom. Maybe the key to escape lies where he has so far feared to tread. The Dream Surfer takes the plunge into the depths of the burrows, where he will travel the turbulent current of pain and cruelty intersecting through various narratives. Will this give him the freedom he craves? Or is it just a way to add more chains? Thirty-seven tales weave together to shape multiple plots, some which dig into literal flesh, while others rip at the flesh of the mind. Neither guilty or innocent, young or old, are safe in this twisting path of mental and physical horrors


A Not So Bollywood Meet Cute

A Not So Bollywood Meet Cute by Miya Malai

No, I didn’t meet him by my bangles getting caught in his sleeve. Or by grabbing his hand from a running train. No, instead he met me with a Darcy-like disdain you won’t ever see in a Bollywood movie. Bollywood movies and smutty romance novels are every Desi girl's guilty pleasure. And I had the crazy idea to combine the two... −Miya Malai


The Coven of Ruin

The Coven of Ruin by T. K. Tucker

The merciless God of War, a healer witch, and that meddlesome thing known as Fate. Trista was a healer. But that was before. Before she was dragged to Olympus for a crime she didn’t commit. Before she almost died. And before she made a life debt to the god who saved her. The very god who killed the Mothers and damned all of witchkind centuries before—Ares, the God of War. The Witchbane. Now she can’t stand the sight of blood, and her simple, duty-filled life is upended. When she receives an invite to the capital of Witch Country to attend the social season, though, she is hopeful the time away will help her heal. What she doesn’t expect to find there is something much more sinister than political games and poorly disguised attempts at matchmaking. Between masquerades and tournaments, Trista is pulled farther into the dark and bloody history between witches and gods. And amidst it all is Ares. Since Trista is the only witch in existence who knows who he is, Ares keeps her close. So close that the lines between enemies and allies begin to blur and she doesn’t know who or what to trust. But before she can figure that out, an ill-fated choice and an ancient prophecy may lead them both down a path they can’t survive. The Coven of Ruin series is a Greco-Roman myth-inspired, slow burn, adult romantic fantasy set in a different world.


Ember and Eclipse

Ember and Eclipse by T. K. Tucker

There’s a bounty on her head. After committing a brutal crime against Romul’s prince, Rel fled the mortal-dominated north to Witch Country. She wasn’t welcomed in the covens, though, so she found a sanctuary in an empty swamp instead. And that’s where she’s been hiding ever since. Until the Wolf of Romul, the deadliest witch hunter, somehow finds her after two years. Even as she fights with knives and teeth to get away, the witch hunter continues to hunt her and ruins any of her escape plans. As they journey further from her swamp, they’re forced into situations that reveal more of their truths, and it soon becomes apparent both are more than what they seem. Lines are blurred, morals questioned, and touches stolen until the hunter becomes just as trapped in his snare as she is. And neither of them may survive it. Ember and Eclipse is a steamy, enemies to lovers, witch X witch hunter, adult fantasy romance. As a Coven of Ruin series standalone, it can be read before or after book 1, The Coven of Ruin.


Descent to the Roses of a Family: A Poet's Journey Into Antiracism and Personal Social Healing

Descent to the Roses of a Family: A Poet's Journey Into Antiracism and Personal Social Healing by Judy Grahn

For those courageous enough to explore how family dynamics create and imprint the structures of white supremacy in each of us, Judy Grahn, an iconic voice of the GLBTQ and Women's movements, has used her masterful poem, "Descent to the Roses of a Family," to expose and closely examine her own family's roses (and thorns) of toxic racism and white supremacy. Grahn uses rich back-stories and mythology to guide us in the process of understanding and healing the split psyche that white supremacy causes and requires. "Descent to the Roses of a Family" is especially valuable for getting past endless intellectualizing about one of our most serious and tenacious social problems. Grahn demands more of us; she insists that we understand emotionally and poetically, as well as intellectually, the heart of white supremacy in the family and its consequences when taken unexamined into the larger world. She leads us out of the fog of denial. Recommended for teachers of antiracism, using literature, sociology, and mythology; also for group discussions and individuals wanting to heal themselves and future generations by finding a better way.


Stars Still Fall

Stars Still Fall by Jules Kelley

1995. A young woman. Her boyfriend's ex-girlfriend. The small Alabama town neither of them can escape. And a ghost. Lilly Ann Guthrie is living with a man she isn't married to; she can't hold down a job, and she can't sit in a moving vehicle without having a panic attack. It isn't the life she once imagined for herself, but she can't complain. She has a roof over her head and food on her table, and she doesn't owe either of those things to her only living relative, an aunt whose disdain almost makes her wish she'd died in the same car wreck that claimed her brother and parents. So it could be worse. But in late summer, life decides it has other ideas. Her boyfriend's infamous ex, Jolene, comes back to town and turns everything on its ear, including Lilly's ability to be satisfied by her current circumstances, and strange things start happening around her house. Voices in empty rooms, fleeting glimpses of someone in her peripheral vision. Is she on the verge of losing everything, including her mind, or is she standing on the precipice of having even her most secret wishes granted?


It Will Hurt

It Will Hurt by Anya K. Jordan

In a realistic portrayal of mental illness and sexual repression, not every romance can have a happy ending. Two steps forward, one step back, as they say. But we can laugh and cry together on the way. We don't have to be alone. Nico still has to learn that. It Will Hurt is a contemporary queer story about a young man with bipolar disorder discovering his bisexuality in the underground death metal scene of a university town in 2010s Germany.


The Way We Wind

The Way We Wind by Halli Starling

Twins Bren and Clark have been holding each other up since their mother passed away. It hasn’t been easy. But Bren is running the family greenhouse and Clark has a good job at the local library. Life is quiet, just as Bren likes it. But Clark feels like he’s stagnating. Bren isn’t looking for love when a greenhouse customer dumps water all over her. But Elodie’s cute and bouncy and, it turns out, a folklorist at the local college and has a special interest in plants and their stories. It seems like a perfect match. Clark might have a tiny crush on a patron at the library, but he’s never going to say anything. But when Jasper, that very patron, asks for Clark’s assistance on a research project, Clark can’t say no. To Jasper or the project; Jasper’s researching local “ghost trails”. And Clark is a bit of a believer. But trauma and grief are slippery things, and getting through it isn’t simple or easy. Maybe love needs to find a way to help them both heal.


Beneath the Gods' Tree

Beneath the Gods' Tree by S. Kaeth

Amanah knows all-too-well the dangers of catching the attention of the upper class of Arruk. Using her position as a guard to steal secrets of healing and help other lower class people means she works hard to remain unnoticed. Fellow guard Taunos is boisterous, laughing, larger than life–and always around. He attracts attention as easily as breathing, which makes being associated with him dangerous. Better to stay far away, regardless of her attraction to him and his easy calm. But when Amanah inadvertently insults a magistrate, she must flee the city to avoid his vengeance. She takes a last-minute job escorting a pair of noblemen to another town–a job Taunos is also hired for. Along the way, she’s forced to reveal her stolen healing skills to keep the small group alive, and finds more support from Taunos than she ever would have dreamed. His confident charm becomes hard to ignore as he sees her as no one else has, even when she’s doing her best to be invisible. But opening herself to romance might be as dangerous as the wildlife and bandits they face in the wilderness, and pursuing her dreams of becoming a healer could attract the ire of those in power. This book has: so much banter; strong sibling relationship; strong friendships; friends-to-lovers (low steam); gay side characters; main character anxiety rep; diverse cast with immersive worldbuilding; action and adventure, wilderness survival style; low fantasy (none of the main group displays clear magic on page); single PoV, third person past tense


Phantom and Rook

Phantom and Rook by Aelina Isaacs

Arlo Rook has decided it’s time to move out of Garren Castle, home for orphans of all races, magical or not, at 100 years old. It’s not the first time he’s left home, but after a setback that landed the Hedge Witch in the hospital a year ago, he ended up right back at square one. But now he’s ready to strike out on his own, despite his friend’s worries that he’s not ready for the ‘real world.’ Then, he crashes into a mess of copper curls and bright eyes, sending apothecary goods and his life into a chaotic mess. Thatch is a mysterious and incredibly wealthy benefactor of Levena, only spoken of but never seen. He requests a night of Arlo’s company and a tour of the city, which Arlo immediately declines. But that’s not the last time they see each other, and it certainly wasn’t the first. Arlo doesn’t remember him, no one remembers Thatch after he visits, but Thatch never forgot the Witch with a familiar soulmark on his face. Thatch Phantom is an immortal, the last of his kind and perpetually bored. When he’s not closing inter-dimensional rifts and corralling demons, he’s visiting his favorite city of all, Levena. Centuries ago, when life was particularly dull, he set up a scavenger hunt for a starving village, providing them with a year’s worth of supplies. He anonymously returned year after year, upping the ante and providing less practical things, as the village had become a city and was wealthy beyond belief. Festivals were thrown in his honor, and have continued every year since. Hundreds of years later, The Game is still put on by the fabled ‘Scarlet Illusionist’, but no one has figured out who blesses them with the puzzles. Once again, Thatch is listless and has decided to throw a wild card into this year’s Game. Whoever discovers him will win one wish of their choice, no restrictions. Aside from the obvious, such as no falling in love, murder or resurrection. What he didn’t anticipate was crashing into the one person whose soul mark flares like a beacon when Thatch is around, teasing the immortal with the one thing he wants most. Someone to call home. What follows is a wild chain of events filled with magical coffee shops, villains with vendettas against cheese makers, moving tattoos, grand puzzles, and second chances at love, and life.


By the Blood of Rowans

By the Blood of Rowans by Xan van Rooyen

The Sheehy witches are the most feared and detested family on the island of Inisliath, and none more so than Rowan. As a deathwalker, Rowan ferries island souls to the Otherworld, experiencing their deaths and carrying their memories like ghosts within him. It's a fated role he accepts even as it inexorably destroys him. When the magic on the island starts to seep away from the other founding families, everyone blames the Sheehys—especially when islanders start dying. Ash is sick of their father's fists and constantly having to apologize for who they are. Life on Inisliath might be the fresh start Ash and their mum need, and meeting soft-spoken, curly-haired Rowan feels like the ray of sunshine Ash has desperately needed—but everything goes sideways when Ash's mum becomes lead detective on a series of ritualistic murders allegedly tied to island magic, and Ash's family history. The islanders are convinced Rowan is guilty, but Ash refuses to believe it. When Ash does some investigating of their own, they discover Rowan is far more likely to be the next victim. With time running out to save Rowan, Ash will have to choose between a life free of their father or the boy they’re starting to love. Meanwhile Rowan will have to decide just how much he's willing to sacrifice to save his family from the darkness about to be unleashed on the island.


Dog Won't Hunt

Dog Won't Hunt by XM Moon

Milo Nelson has learned plenty of things from necessity: how to tie a tie, how to change a tire, how to shave his face. He’s also learned that the truth may hurt, but the fantasy of a life he can’t have hurts even more, so when Richard Remington Abernathy III waltzes back into his life two years after the end of their definitely-not-a-relationship and says he’s changed, that dog won’t hunt. Remi’s drug of choice is denial, and he’s always been one hell of an addict. The only things he’s ever committed to are the expectations of his good Christian family, and Milo knows those don’t include a trans librarian even in the role of friend or roommate. Despite everything, a part of Milo wants to believe that Remi is capable of change; he’s just not sure that the time it takes to find out is worth the risk of being hurt again.


Tears in the Water

Tears in the Water by Margherita Scialla

A character-driven, slice-of-life contemporary story of love and self-discovery. At White Ravens University, where athletes train to become professional sportspeople, Alex is on the swimming team with her best friend, Xiuying. Having grown up mostly alone, parents absent and brother often busy with his own life, Alex tends not to meet new people unless she and Xiuying are together. After an embarrassing encounter with a boy from the volleyball team Alex soon discovers that the world isn’t so big after all and the universe has a funny way of setting people up, especially when and with whom they’re least expecting. Despite her reserved character, Alex becomes part of a newly formed friend group consisting of four amazing people with different identities and personalities. As she tries to overcome her anxiety and negative past events, Alex finds herself both struggling with romantic feelings for a new acquaintance and a full blown gender crisis.


A Case of Madness

A Case of Madness by Yvonne Knop

Andrew Thomas just got sacked. He's permanently drunk. He's got cancer. Is inescapably gay. Was hit by a bus. And he's fallen in love with a stranger whose life he saved. As a newly-unemployed Sherlock Holmes scholar, Andrew knows only Holmes can help him untangle the madness his life has become, but Holmes isn't real. Except he absolutely appeared in Andrew's house, told him he's in love with a man he just met…and then in a fit of pique Andrew sent him away. Sure Holmes is probably a hallucination or a specter or a ghost, but now Andrew desperately needs his help. So to find the answer to his case and the man of his dreams, Andrew takes to chasing a fictional character through London with his very own Watson.


Cover Story

Cover Story by Valerie Gomez

Two queer thirtysomethings—a buttoned-up art director and a comedian—learn first impressions aren’t forever in Valerie Gomez’s sparkling contemporary romance debut perfect for fans of Alexis Hall and Casey McQuiston. “Don’t panic, just breathe,” Dax Ximénez tells himself after every gig. About to become a household name with the premiere of his own TV show, he should be flying high, and he is…on the surface. But all of the pressure and attention make him want to retreat into the safe cocoon of his warm family home in Queens. The last thing he needs is a prickly art director judging him at his first magazine cover shoot—no matter how handsome he is. The shoot is a huge opportunity for AJ Bond to prove himself worthy of a promotion at The Modern Gentleman, but Dax showing up late is not a good look. The vibe is off, and AJ’s original vision is going down in flames—until Dax lets his natural charisma and gorgeous smile shine. After the shoot wraps, AJ knows they’re both on the verge of something big, not just professionally. Neither AJ nor Dax can stop thinking about the other, hoping their magic wasn’t confined to the studio. As the magazine and show launches approach, they’ll rely on each other for support through the highs and lows of success, fame, anxiety…and maybe even love.


Fallen Divinity

Fallen Divinity by Bri Mooney

Can you outrun fate? Prepare to be immersed once again in the enthralling world of paranormal romance and dark fantasy in "Fallen Divinity," the electrifying sequel to the Descent into Hell Series. As Aradia's journey continues, she finds herself standing at the precipice of an inescapable fate, with the weight of her past and the future of her loved ones resting upon her shoulders. In the wake of her reclaimed memories, Aradia cherishes the love she has found, a kingdom she is willing to sacrifice everything for, and the unwavering support of her loyal friends. But in the depths of Hell, a stirring darkness threatens to unravel the delicate balance she has fought so hard to achieve. As she delves deeper into the enigmatic missing pieces of her memory, Aradia uncovers secrets that could shatter everything she holds dear. Each dangerous question she dares to ask carries the potential for devastating answers, not only endangering her own life but also the lives of those she cherishes most. In "Fallen Divinity," the consequences of Aradia's ignorance loom ominously, with the power to inflict unimaginable pain upon herself and all those she loves. Can she defy the forces that conspire against her, or will the price of her ignorance be too high to bear? Immerse yourself in this spellbinding tale of love, sacrifice, and the relentless pursuit of truth. "Fallen Divinity" will captivate fans of paranormal romance and dark fantasy as it plunges them into a world where the line between destiny and devastation blurs, and the choices made shape the very fabric of existence.


Scorched Feathers

Scorched Feathers by Bri Mooney

One hell of a bargain. One hell of a fight. Aradia finds herself ensnared in a web of celestial intrigue when she is abducted by a group of self-proclaimed guardians—the enigmatic angels. Among them is her forbidden love, Asmodeus, a captivating demon determined to rescue her from their clutches. As Aradia and Asmodeus manage a daring escape, she awakens to a daunting reality: her memories have been ruthlessly erased by the guardians. In a race against time, Aradia grapples with her fragmented past, relentlessly pursuing the truth while clinging to the flickering memories she shares with Asmodeus. In a high-stakes battle against fate itself, Aradia must navigate the treacherous path between love and damnation. Will her relentless efforts defy destiny and avert a nightmarish judgment day? Indulge in the intoxicating blend of dark fantasy and gothic romance that will set your heart ablaze. "Scorched Feathers" is the captivating first installment in the Descent into Hell Series, promising an adrenaline-fueled journey that explores the depths of passion, survival, and the harrowing price of temptation.


Swallow the Moon

Swallow the Moon by Bri Mooney

In a dystopian world ruled by oppression and despair, two individuals find themselves caught in a treacherous web of power and forbidden love. Garrus is determined to salvage the remnants of his shattered world. As the last hope for a dwindling rebellion, he walks a precarious path, his every move shadowed by the ruthless Vampire King and his merciless regime. But when fate intertwined his destiny with that of Sigríð, the infamous killer fueled by a burning vendetta, everything changed. Sigríð, a legendary and deadly Vampire, has long harbored a deep-seated hatred for the Vampire King and his reign of terror. Her heart beats with a single purpose—to avenge the losses she has suffered. When a risky encounter at a livestock auction throws her and Garrus together, their agendas collide with electrifying force. Though their initial encounter is marked by enmity and mistrust, an undeniable connection flickers between them. As they reluctantly embark on a perilous journey, each driven by their own motives, Garrus and Sigríð must navigate a treacherous landscape of danger and deception. Their lives intertwine in unexpected ways, testing the limits of their loyalties and beliefs. Bound by circumstance, they find solace and strength in each other, gradually unraveling the layers of their hardened exteriors to reveal vulnerability and passion. In the face of an oppressive regime, their forbidden love becomes a beacon of hope and defiance, challenging the very foundations of their shattered world. In this dystopian tale of dual perspectives, enemies become unlikely allies, and the line between love and hate blurs amidst the chaos of revolution. ••• STM is the first in a trilogy with dual POV featuring a paranormal tale of vampires and shifters in a dystopian setting. Some tropes are enemies to lovers, forced proximity, one bed, forbidden love, and why choose FFM.


The Fine Line Between Us

The Fine Line Between Us by Ruth Miranda

Jayal Hasen has never had a one night stand, or taken someone home for sex - he's just not that kind of man. Not with his past. But when his best friend introduces him to internationally acclaimed model Lu HaoRan, the attraction is immediate. The chemistry between them is such that, contrary to his character and all the fears he still can't shake, the two end up in bed. And though it was supposed to be just a one-night-stand, Jayal finds himself entertaining unexpected thoughts of something else... Lu HaoRan isn't looking for a relationship - he doesn't believe that's in the stars for him. Not with his life. But after spending the night with Jayal Hasen, he can think of nothing else, the memory of what took place becoming the buyoy he turns to when under stress. After weeks of trying to fight his growing obsession with a man he hardly knows and has never seen again, he's ready to throw caution to the wind and do all he can to meet Jayal again. Still, a fine line stands between them, one that's made of everything they hide from one another, secrets that threaten to break them apart, even before they come together. With neither finding the courage to cross that line, they risk losing each other without ever meeting again. Who will take the first step?


Ace of Hearts

Ace of Hearts by Lucy Mason

Hesper Stalides and Felix Morlan have been best friends for as long as they can remember, bonding over their troubled home lives. When a horrible sports injury derails Felix’s promising career and results in the loss of his scholarship, Hesper offers a proposition: a year-long marriage of convenience so he can get free tuition at the college where she works. It isn’t supposed to be complicated…until they fall in love for real. When Hesper reveals that she’s asexual, Felix must reassess everything he thinks about love and ask himself what he’s willing to sacrifice for a future with Hesper—before the past she’s spent her life running from can take her away from him forever.


Of Death and Divination

Of Death and Divination by Cassandra Diviak

Percy and Cordelia must prepare for the unthinkable. After Oberon's attempt to invade Kaira, many hearts clamor for vengeance. Cordelia stands as the symbol of resistance against Oberon's "great plan", even if playing hero is the last thing on her heart. She struggles to find the balance between rising to the challenge and seeking more personal retribution against the monster of a man. Percy finds himself on the warpath alongside his lover, and somehow he doesn't seem to mind the anger. Many things have changed since he vowed to be a peaceful man. But cryptic messages from the spirit inside of him leave him wondering whether he will make it out of this war alive. Regardless of the demons gathered in the shadows around them, they must return to where the battle first began and make their final stand before Oberon can conquer the Seven Continents for his twisted delusions of power. It ends here.


Of Wild and Witchcraft

Of Wild and Witchcraft by Cassandra Diviak

Cordelia Hale's world hangs by a precarious thread. While she and her loved ones flee from the Ambrose Palace and all the horrors hidden inside its ruined walls, a ghost from the distant past disrupts her already uncertain future. She can't go home, not yet. Revealed secrets and betrayals leave Cordelia stuck walking the thin line between her once unwavering optimism and the rage that threatens to tear her heart asunder. Percival Ashford remains her only tether to the girl she used to be, grounded in her humanity and innocent belief in the goodness of the world. However, when he receives the offer of a lifetime from an untrustworthy source, they must decide if the conditions and traps attached to the promise are worth their trouble. Armed with the support of their family and allies, welcomed and unexpected alike, Percy and Cordelia must piece together the unseemly and broken parts within their hearts and prepare for the danger that lurks outside Kaira's magical wards.


Shadow of the Beast

Shadow of the Beast by Cassandra Diviak

Percival Ashford wants nothing more than a fresh start. He finds his chance in Runswick, a sleepy town situated along the Andervael's southern coast. It's a perfect place for a werewolf to blend in and spend his better days with his newly awarded Lordship. However, his hopes for a new beginning fall apart when disaster strikes in the gruesome murders of several townspeople. Percy must discover who is committing these heinous acts and ensure justice for the deceased, but his investigations are hindered by the haunting suspicion that he, or at least his wolf-self, might be the very culprit he is hunting.


Bloodbound

Bloodbound by Kaija Rayne

An assassin makes a terrible ambassador. Rhian’s greatest skills aren’t based around negotiation but delivering the final word. However, the Dark God Arawn saw something else in her. Or he was desperate. Either way, he assigns his favourite pwca, a Welsh black-dog shapeshifter, as the newest ambassador for Ontario—it’s a thankless job. She needs to preserve the myth that the supernatural is only an illusion. Otherkin are terrible at hiding, and it’s Rhian’s duty to tidy up after them. In between that and keeping the veil in place, she has to investigate her predecessor’s murder, which doesn’t lean into Rhian’s lethal prowess. That means working with her estranged partner, Kai, who was first on the scene. The only man Rhian ever needed, and the one man she can’t forgive. That complicates everything. Acting on the desires she’s repressed for three hundred years will violate her vow of loyalty to Arawn. If she neglects her duty, the veil could fall. War breaking out between humanity and the supernatural would doom the world. And if she breaks her vow of loyalty... well, Arawn is known as the Dark God for a reason


Stars and Soil

Stars and Soil by Dax Murray

Kraken Collective

Caitlin had her whole life planned out until a gruesome murder sets her on a collision course with fate and magic. She would live in the bustling port city of Whick with the reformed pirate she fell in love with and, one day, inherit her fathers' growing trading business. She did not intend to stumble into an anti-monarchy riot and become involved with the revolutionaries determined to overthrow the nobility and create a world without hunger, poverty, and homelessness. A world with justice for all, and not just those with means. She did not want to catch the eye of a spoiled prince. She did not want him to pursue and court her, plunging her into a world of bickering dukes, suspicious foreign ambassadors, and scheming politicians. She did not seek out the attentions of ancient and secret religious orders, intent on controlling the machinations of a kingdom from the shadows. But she did. Caught in a web of deception and conspiracies, she must fight for her life in the coming political chaos.


Shades and Silver

Shades and Silver by Dax Murray

Kraken Collective

The birthright of every Ástfríður is to know each metal in the earth, command it, and bend it to their desires. To hear metal singing, some of it waiting just beneath the surface, so much of it deeper in the earth. If they wanted, they knew they could pluck that metal from the earth, melt it with a thought, and shape it as they pleased with a breath of air and their will. Each Ástfríður must choose which metal they would wear upon their heads, denoting the path they would walk. They craft beautiful horns to wear on their brow, forged with the metal they wish to identify with. But Britt does not know if they can choose the path they want; if they can overcome a past that has stolen their identity. The day has come for them to choose, and they have no idea if they have any right even to try to. And Astrid has never felt the pull of the metal at all. Wearing a forged circlet and horn, they try to navigate a world that they feel has rejected them, all the while fearing someone will learn their secret. The Veil of the Ástfríður has kept them hidden from the world and safe from intruders. Yet Britt and Astrid feel they are imposters in their own homes. Shades and Silver is a duology of novellas about identity, doubt, and acceptance.


A Promise Broken

A Promise Broken by S.L. Dove Cooper

Kraken Collective

It’s a rainy day when four-year-old Eiryn has to say goodbye to her mother. Scared, confused and unwilling to do so, Eiryn tries to summon water to stop the funeral from happening and her life falls apart. Her uncle is always sad and busy; she keeps hearing her mother’s voice asking her to follow; her best friend keeps getting into fights; and some of her classmates hate her for existing. Arèn never wanted children, but he’s desperate to protect his niece from his people’s extreme caution regarding magic and other races. Kerisaoina children aren’t capable of using it and his niece is no exception. Despite being only half-kerisaoina, Eiryn is already starting to show that she’ll be one of her generation’s most talented magic-singers and those who don’t approve of her existence are trying to take advantage of a young girl’s grief. Eiryn is determined to make her uncle happy, but it’s hard to make other people happy when you have to struggle through the day yourself. She’ll find a way, though. She’s promised. And even if her mother won’t keep her word Eiryn will keep hers. She’ll make everything right again. You’ll see.


The Tale That Twines

The Tale That Twines by Cedar McCloud

All we have is now. Forty years before THE THREAD THAT BINDS, Juniper Starstitch returns to Caspora City young and hopeful. Chosen to be Head Librarian Opaline Sweetfrond's last apprentice, June arrives at the Eternal Library looking to discover the magical manuscript art of Illumination—and to recover the memories lost to the trauma of the massive earthquake that killed one of eir parents a decade earlier. June quickly discovers that these memories can be recovered through the ancient art of reading etheric Threads, the spiritual ties that link the world together. But remembering can be painful, and living in the past means missing out on the present. Even to the point that June’s beloved apprenticeship is threatened by eir inability to let go. It will take the help of friends both old and new for June to untangle the knotted threads of time, including the mysterious and stern Aeronwy Greengrove, who June may or may not be falling in love with, one song at a time.


The Thread That Binds

The Thread That Binds by Cedar McCloud

The books are restless. At the Eternal Library, books are more than the paper, ink, and thread they're made from--they're full of spirits. Only a handful of people will ever be invited to the Bindery to learn the craft of Illumination: the magical creation of intricate illustrated manuscripts, bound with a secret that will make them last forever. Tabby is a dreamwalker, a witch who escapes into the stories of sleep to avoid a birth family that's never loved em enough. Amane is a cartomancer, a medium who speaks for the Unseen, but doesn’t know how to speak her own needs. Rhiannon is a psychic, an archivist who can See into the past, but only has eyes on the future. Their stories intertwine as they discover the secrets of Illumination, the Library's archives, and those of their mentors--the three of whom are competing to be the next Head Librarian, the Speaker for all the books. How do you know who's truly worth being part of your family? Sometimes we must forge connections in order to heal; other times, those bonds must be broken.


Deny Me, The Nightshade Boy

Deny Me, The Nightshade Boy by Mary VanAlstine

A cozy queer romance against the backdrop of wild and dangerous Fae magic. For fans of A Marvellous Light, Holly Black, and TJ Klune. Lilydale, and its dangerous resident faeries, looms over the city of Saint Paul as a constant reminder to Micah Stillwater that he's only half-human. He's been doing well denying his Fae side until he meets Andrew Vidasche and accidentally charms him into a kiss. Andrew suspects that Micah is more than he appears since he already knows the dangers of Lilydale. If Micah wants to protect his human life and his romance with Andrew, then he must stop denying his own Fae nature and harness the magic in his blood.


Tell Me How It Ends

Tell Me How It Ends by Quinton Li

Iris Galacia's tarot cards do more than entertain gamblers. With the flip of her fingers she can predict the future and uncover a person's secrets. Under the watchful eye of her mother, she is already on thin ice for pursuing a passion in the family business, but then cracks start to form, and eventually she falls through. She is given an ultimatum: earn a thousand coins or leave the business, and the family. Enter Marin Boudreau, a charming young person who can scale buildings and break off door knobs, who comes for her help to rescue a witch who's been falsely imprisoned in Excava Kingdom. And Marin is willing to pay a high sum for her talents. But saving a prisoner from royal hands isn't easy, nor is leaving home for the first time in eighteen years. Now Iris must learn to trust in herself, Marin, and this new magical world, while racing the clock before the royals decide the fate of the witch, and before any secrets catch up to her. TELL ME HOW IT ENDS features LGBTQ+, disabled, neurodivergent, cultural, and mental health representation. The main character, Iris Galacia, is a lesbian tarot reader with anxiety and autism. The second main character, Marin Boudreau, is an aromantic asexual non-binary person with ADHD.


As the Light Goes Out

As the Light Goes Out by Olive J. Kelley

A cozy & honest romance novella about mental health and finding the right person. When Boston born and bred Simon Abbott buys an obsolete lighthouse on the coast of Maine, he envisions turning it into a short-term rental with nothing but a HGTV understanding of renovation and heaps of gay audacity. The current caretaker of the lighthouse, Bruce Cadogan, sees right through Simon’s confidence and, in a last ditch attempt to save his quaint New England hometown’s charm, asks for three days to convince Simon not to go through with his plan, or he’ll help him with the renovations himself. What follows is nothing either man expected— A violent ocean storm brings them together for a night, which turns into a day, and another day; by the time Simon’s three days are up, he’s saddled with feelings for the other man, and Bruce can’t help but wish Simon would stay. With the lighthouse standing between them, the two men have to choose between nurturing the new spark into a flame, or their original agreement, returning to the lives they led before.


Open Wound

Open Wound by Shane Blackheart

Continued from Everything Is Wonderful Now ... After the angel that threatened his life, Sean faced his frightening alter, Vexis, who haunted his dreams. With the help of Byleth, Zagan, and Darokin, he thinks his troubles are finally behind him. Little does he know that PTSD is a beast lying dormant in waiting to emerge. It ends up influencing everything, including the way he perceives reality. Vexis was the reason Sean remained in a trauma loop for so long, but something changes within them as they decide to finally work with him; they want to help him heal from trauma after years of prolonging it. Being a sadist who is unable to feel love, it results in a twisted and sexual masochistic relationship that Sean becomes addicted to. As Vexis takes Sean through various liminal space voids and dark memories — theirs included — they reveal that they are something much more frightening and ancient than an angel or a demon. Can Vexis really be trusted? Or are they opening Sean's wounds to let something sinister slip inside...


Lockdown Laureate

Lockdown Laureate by O F Cieri

A 22 tale collection, with 22 illustrations by Soren Häxan. Dark, introspective, grimy, urban, strange. “Like a puddle of blood in a back alley of New York City that whispers to you of what could have been via a static-slathered Bluetooth connection…”


Everything Is Wonderful Now

Everything Is Wonderful Now by Shane Blackheart

When Dark is good and Light is evil... Ten-year-old Sera is isolated and depressed; bullied at school and at home by her father. Her mind gives her no respite, suffering from a panic disorder and a second voice in her head that forces violent, intrusive thoughts. She meets the fallen angel Byleth one night while wanting to end her life. He isn't a fan of kids and intends to leave immediately, but Sera's aura catches his eye. It's dark, and it isn't from her trauma that pulls at his heartstrings. It's also attracted a corrupt angel who wants to rid the world of another Hellspawn child. Sera has a lot on her plate, but as she ages and transitions to Sean, a disabled trans man with C-PTSD, he not only meets more spirit guides from Hell, he realizes that his biggest threat has always been the 'other' that dwells in his own head.


The Fall That Saved Us

The Fall That Saved Us by Tamara Jerée

Cassiel has given up the family tradition of demon hunting, leaving behind her sacred angelic duty and fated sword. What she can’t leave behind are the scars. To cope, she spends her days immersed in work, pouring all her attention into New Haven Books, her small bookstore and anchor in the new world she’s carved for herself. But the past hasn’t let go of Cassiel yet. When a succubus named Avitue arrives to claim her angel-touched soul, Cassiel’s old hunter instincts flare, forcing her to choose between old knowledge and her truth. What should be a fatal seduction becomes a bargain neither woman expects. As they grow closer, Avitue is surprised to find her own pain reflected in Cassiel, a nephilim deemed fallen by her own family’s standards. By choosing trust, they reveal the lies that bind them. Falling for each other begins a path towards healing. But exorcising the effects of trauma is harder than naming it, and to explore the unfettered possibility Avitue represents, Cassiel must find a way to reclaim and redefine her angelic heritage.


The Thirteenth Key

The Thirteenth Key by Cara Nox

The chaotic crew of heisting misfits in Leigh Bardugo's SIX OF CROWS meets the familiar yet fantastical, modern landscape found in Robert Jackson Bennett's CITY OF STAIRS. “The thirteen emblems given to the original rulers weren’t just symbols. They’re keys to the Vault—one that no one’s ever opened.” Noa has lived her life as an unsuspecting, ID-burning, face in the crowd that disposes of “problems” for her miscellaneous, secretive employers. So, when Noa’s surrogate father—a Seer—hands her a long-lost emblem, telling her with his dying breath that it's her responsibility to reignite magic, she laughs at the idea that the fate of their world rests on the shoulders of a killer. Instead, she uses his words and the key he gave her as an excuse to go on one final suicide mission to seek out the power supposedly waiting for her to annihilate his murderer. Prince Glacier Caelius has lived his life trapped inside a gilded cage, pushed down by the ever-present threat of death as the bastard son of Amarais’s late king. But when the rebels attack during a nationalist party, Glacier’s rescued by none other than Noa and her merry band of thieves, who are scrambling to salvage a failed attempt at stealing his country’s emblem: the Soul of Amarais. When the dust settles, he’s the only person left alive to unlock the palace vault and give the Soul to Noa in exchange for saving his life. Well, once they’re able to formulate a plan to take the palace back. Struggling with their tentative, newfound freedom, Noa and Glacier must learn to work together to survive the urban landscape of Avaria’s greatest cities fortified by technology in the wake of dwindling magic. The goal: steal as many keys as they can before their pasts catch up. But the further they go, the more they realize that something worse may be lurking on the horizon, and they may very well be the only ones able to stop it.


The Kings of Nowhere

The Kings of Nowhere by C.G. Drews

Avery Lou has given up stealing houses — now he’s meant to build them. Forced to stay with the De Lainey family until Sam’s return from juvie, Avery feels like he’s drowning. He hates that Sam chose the De Laineys instead of running away with him. And he hates working in their construction company while Vin, the thief who hurt Sam, still walks free. Avery wants revenge. Swapping the sharp-edged world of burglary and car theft for the homey chaos of big family life is a wild adjustment, and Avery’s determined to sabotage his time with the De Laineys and get locked up with Sam instead. Avery just has to stay immune to Jeremy’s charming shenanigans. Easy…sort of. But Avery’s war against Vin has brought trouble to the De Lainey door and he can’t survive this fight alone.


Starlight Jewel

Starlight Jewel by E.L. Lyons

SPFBO9

Gifts of the Auldtree is a world of mythology, glamor, mud, blood, civilizations in conflict, and hints of distant powers. In the center of this is the mysterious Starlight Jewel of Minalav. Axly, the Starlight Company's premier seductress-thief and assassin, will do whatever it takes to keep her human brother hidden. The secrets of his origin could tear their world apart, and keeping them has driven her to lies and murder. Her people, the sprygan-human hybrids that live under the city of Minalav, aren't keen on allowing their most skilled asset to roam free. A job with a human offers a chance to get her brother out of danger, but it comes at a price. Divided loyalties, duty, romance, and the twisted hands of fate intertwine in this epic fantasy adventure.


FEVER

FEVER by Shilo Niziolek

A memoir made up of essay fragments, Fever, examines what it is to desire throughout all phases and states of life and being. Niziolek mixes plain language with poetic prose to interrogate trauma from domestic violence and illness, sexuality, and the different ways we can and do love despite these things. All of this comes together to create a keen focus on the many ways one can experience desire and its intersection with love.


The Heretic's Guide to Homecoming, Book One: Theory

The Heretic's Guide to Homecoming, Book One: Theory by Sienna Tristen

“Life is transformation. You change or you die.” Ashamed of his past and overwhelmed by his future, Ronoah Genoveffa Elizzi-denna Pilanovani feels too small for his own name. After a graceless exit from his homeland in the Acharrioni desert, his anxiety has sabotaged every attempt at redemption. Asides from a fiery devotion to his godling, the one piece of home he brought with him, he has nothing. That is, until he meets Reilin. Beguiling, bewildering Reilin, who whisks Ronoah up into a cross-continental pilgrimage to the most sacred place on the planet. The people they encounter on the way—children of the sea, a priestess and her band of storytellers, the lonely ghosts of monsters—are grim and whimsical in equal measure. Each has their part to play in rewriting Ronoah’s personal narrative. One part fantasy travelogue, one part emotional underworld journey, The Heretic’s Guide to Homecoming is a sumptuous, slow-burning story about stories and the way they shape our lives.


Daylight Chasers

Daylight Chasers by Rue Sparks

"I wish this day would never end" - One heart's desire leads to a tumultuous journey for an unlikely pair. Keenan, a guide at Daylight Chasers, is hired to lead Isabella through a day that "nearly" never ends. As the top agent, he excels at calming the excitable and inspiring the timid, as they journey across the globe one time zone at a time. Despite his years of experience, Keenan soon realizes that he is going to need a lot more than his familiar script when it comes to Isabella's expedition. When the planned activities all start going south, Keenan finds himself struggling to respond to Isabella's mercurial moods. With each adventure sending them further from the planned path, Keenan begins to wonder how can he be the guide when even he is feeling lost? This short story is a modern fable on mortality, bravery, and acceptance. ---- Content Warning: This book covers the many nuanced emotions surrounding death and loss.


Chronicles of My Alien Invasion Life

Chronicles of My Alien Invasion Life by Jes McCutchen

SPSFC 2022

Chuck and her friends lost a good one last summer, but none of them are convinced that Ghost is truly gone. Once she recovers from her accident, she's ready to find the truth behind where he went. With the help of her friends, Bailey, Corrin, and Pacey, Chuck will do what she can to track down Ghost, even if it means she maybe kinda gets abducted. It's complicated. Will Chuck be able to reunite her crew, and, more importantly, will she do it without embarrassing herself? Probably not, but she's gotta try.


Song of Phoenix and Ink

Song of Phoenix and Ink by Margherita Scialla

[new adult fantasy novel with polyamory themes.] All Nadzia Kaminski wanted was to finish writing her novel. When she finally finished the manuscript for Crimson Mayhem, she did what any writer would: gave it to her best friend to read. Her friend’s reaction, however, wasn’t what she had expected and, upset by her criticism, Nadzia left her at the café where they had met. Waking up the next morning, Nadzia was no longer in her bedroom, finding herself in a world of her creation, surrounded by dangerous magic and vaguely familiar settings. With a country at war and no clear way home, time is running out and Nadzia has to find a way to gain the trust of the very people she created and figure out her confusing feelings for two of her own characters. She soon realizes stories aren’t perfect when there is no one left to write them.


Paper Forests

Paper Forests by Tegan Anderson

“While your children and grandchildren are away, I like to think that they’re visiting a fantastic place, somewhere where they aren’t restrained by an illness or held back by their own emotions, a place where there is nothing but health and happiness to greet them.” Once upon a time, Oliver wakes up in a Forest full of magic and monsters, not quite dead, but not quite alive either. He wakes with three other people whose lives have been cut short, each more tragically than the last. Together, they embark on a journey that will take them deep into the heart of the Forest, where they will have to face the ghosts of their pasts and their long-hidden secrets. Secrets that will force Oliver to choose between finding a new life in the trees and finding a way home. Welcome to the Paper Forest.


The Stars Will Guide Us Back

The Stars Will Guide Us Back by Rue Sparks

The special ability of a jellyfish may be one man's only hope to save his husband. In a world where the gods have returned, their only folly was not expecting humanity to fight back. When trauma disconnects someone's soul from their body, one person has the ability to reunite them. A family gift of reading the spirits in flames has taken everything from her, but can it give her everything she needs? In The Stars Will Guide Us Back, thirteen short stories encapsulating the elements of speculative fiction and magical realism travel the themes of mental health, loss, mortality, self-confidence, and finding hope through difficult circumstances. Explore the immersive worlds within, along with a range of peculiar, distinct, and queer characters. Sometimes confidence comes from knowing we have no other choice, and the ones who rescue us come from the strangest places. Dark and light collide in this collection that highlights the liminal spaces of the human experience. --- Content Warnings: Apocalypse/End of the World Scenario Brief Mentions of Toxic Masculinity Depression & Anxiety Cosmic Events Domestic Violence (Off-screen/Implied) Gaslighting Grief & Loss Homophobia (Verbal) Mentions of Unsupportive Parenting Terminal Illness


A Canticle of War

A Canticle of War by Steven Raaymakers

When the world is threatened with total destruction, can warchildren unite to save it? A grim story of trauma and power with a Sanderson-esque magic system. In this epic conclusion, all bets are off as Raziel and his rag-tag crew must finally come together against the rising dark power. If death doesn’t find them first. The city of Archehan lies in ruins, banshees circle the crumbling towers. Famine and violence spread across the fallen kingdom. An empire marches its armies to war. Ancient magics are stirring, woken by Raziel’s choices. With the fate of the world in their hands, will Raziel and his companions find the way forward through the darkness, or will they be the architects of their own doom? The ‘Aria of Steel Trilogy’ is a heavy-metal power ballad of clashing blades, blood-soaked betrayal, and sweet revenge. Join the fight today!


A Canticle for the Fallen

A Canticle for the Fallen by Steven Raaymakers

How far would you go to change the past? After four years in exile, Raziel is forced to return to his homeland, Renas. Meeting a companion who shares his abilities, he sets off to find the rumoured ‘Lady in White’, an enigmatic woman who promises an end to the persecution of their kind. Raziel is soon faced with a terrible choice over life and death. He bears serious wounds, and the path ahead grows ever more violent. Wracked with indecision, and with his soul in turmoil, he sets off on a bloody mission. Will his pain lead him to the light, or will the shadows claim his scarred soul? Set in a grim world of emotion-based magic and twisted fates, this is the second book in the Aria of Steel trilogy.


Nightfall

Nightfall by M.A. Vice

A bitter war with Raazenia has seized Sylva. Beaten-down revolutionaries fight for survival in the dark world. As the Order searches for a way forward in the face of rampant uncertainty, Mianna is forced to confront dark secrets about the Order she has served all her life that will shake the foundation of everything she has ever known. As Z'xolkuloth's iron grip increases on the dark world of Hatheg Kla, the last scraps of revolt may at last find the leader they have long searched for...


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