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The Chronicles of Spoony, Vols. 1-3 by Jim Larsen

Spoony is a kid with a heart of gold. He loves hugs, he loves affection, and he values friendship and family. But there is something about him that isn’t quite right. He can’t kick a ball, he can’t play Duck Duck Goose, and he confuses regular people for clowns. He thinks a fictitious character on an old TV show is his dad, and he just has a general way of ruining things for other people while remaining blissfully unaware. His mom isn’t much better. Embarrassed by the drunken one-night stand that created Spoony, she has perpetrated numerous lies to save face and avoid humiliation over the truth that Spoony’s father real father is the lanky Burt Peppermill, and that an overindulgence of lime flavored Jell-O shooters led her to lower her standards enough to let him touch her in that way. All her lies, however, come crashing down on them both the day Spoony finally kicks a ball in P.E. class, resulting in a trip to the emergency room where a number of surprises await. The Chronicles of Spoony, Vols. 1-3 offer delightfully dark reminders of how our words and actions around children shape their beliefs and affect their lives in profound and often invisible ways.


The Thirteenth Hour by Trudie Skies

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 Order of the Key by Justine Manzano

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.


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

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.


The Last Gifts of the Universe by Rory August

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.


In the Shadow of Love by J. E. Leak

She was prepared to lose her life. She was not prepared to lose her heart. Reporter Jenny Ryan didn’t believe in love at first sight. Until it happened to her. An encounter with a sultry nightclub singer led to a secret job at the Office of Strategic Services and an unlikely romance with the woman of her dreams. OSS agent Kathryn Hammond knows she doesn’t deserve love or happiness. But having fallen for her former assignment, she’ll do anything to keep her safe—including staying away. When ghosts from her past emerge, and Jenny waltzes into headquarters as a new recruit, all of Kathryn’s fears materialize. With Jenny’s protection out of her hands, and society, the war, and time against them, will their love survive? In the Shadow of Love is the second book in this lesbian historical romance series. If you like secrets, spies, and love against all odds, you'll love this emotionally sweeping love story. Buy In the Shadow of Love and lose yourself in a page-turning night of desire and intrigue today!


Sending Love Letters to Animals and Other Totally Normal Human Behaviors by Chase Connor

Ryan Offsteader had one major problem, but now that he’s out of the closet and no one in his family or school actually cares, his problems are few. Life is a cycle of family, school, homework, Journalism Club, his friends, hanging out, and waiting for life to begin. It’s a simple, boring life at times, but his problems are few. When Ms. Tabatabai, his English teacher and Journalism Club mentor, announces to the class that there will be a project where students pair up, Ryan and his best friend, Jules, assume they will work together. Ms. Tabatabai has other plans. Students will be paired off randomly. Ryan is left without a partner since his English class has an odd number of students. However, Ms. Tabatabai assures him that he will have a partner since a new student is enrolling. It’s not an ideal situation for Ryan since he is used to working with Jules on every project, but it’s not the worst. Until the new student shows up and Ryan realizes this isn’t their first time meeting. Ms. Tabatabai announces to the students that they are to get to know each other and write a paper about their partner. An oral report in front of the class will be expected once the project deadline arrives. There’s just one caveat—the pairs must get to know each other without speaking. How they do this is up to them. Points will be given for creativity. Ryan’s partner does everything he can to make the project impossible, Ms. Tabatabai assigns Ryan to a new project in Journalism Club, his friends want to occupy all of his time, and, if all that wasn’t enough, he’s tasked with helping the Drama teacher, Mr. Melvin, organize the spring singing recital, A Night on Broadway. Unless Ryan can confront his history and right a wrong, his whole world could fall apart. Will he choose to confront his past, or will history repeat itself?


Fear and Fury by Jamie Jackson

Meet Megaera, Meg for short. She’s like Deadpool, except for funner. For a girl with the power of fear the recruitment attempts from both sides are never-ending. A self-described not-a-hero, villain-leaning humanoid, Meg just wants to live her life, work her dead-end job and have everyone else (especially the heroes) leave her alone. But when a bigger fish who can turn superpowers back on their users enters the picture and threatens the person Meg loves the most (herself), she must turn to the last group of people she would admit she needs help from. Forced to team up with the heroes she despises (but won’t murder, because let’s face it, orange is not the new black), Meg will have to face the choices from her past that she won’t get therapy for. Self-centered, snarky, sarcastic and a little bit dramatic, she’s going to have to save the world, even if that wasn’t her intention. And try not to get shot in the process. Because that shit hurts.


Piecefinder: The Merry Maids Book Two by Stefanie Contreras

Alyvia Tippin is slowly finding her way as the Courier for The Merry Maids but their last mission on Jubilee broke open something in her memories that couldn't stay buried. It's time to tell her team where their Courier came from, and the truth isn't pretty. She isn't the only one with stories to tell. For The Merry Maids, the past can't seem to stay in the past as the team is targeted by people they know. Their deadly scavenger hunt in search of the disassembled Starkiller pieces is being haunted by people The Merry Maids used to trust. When Alyvia left behind the safety of the Academy, she didn't realize how risky it would be to follow her dream of flying among the stars. Now that The Merry Maids are becoming the family she always wanted, there is nothing she wouldn't risk for them. Even if the risk is to herself.


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

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.


The Rust Maidens by Gwendolyne Kiste

Something’s happening to the girls on Denton Street. It’s the summer of 1980 in Cleveland, Ohio, and Phoebe Shaw and her best friend Jacqueline have just graduated high school, only to confront an ugly, uncertain future. Across the city, abandoned factories populate the skyline; meanwhile at the shore, one strong spark, and the Cuyahoga River might catch fire. But none of that compares to what’s happening in their own west side neighborhood. The girls Phoebe and Jacqueline have grown up with are changing. It starts with footprints of dark water on the sidewalk. Then, one by one, the girls’ bodies wither away, their fingernails turning to broken glass, and their bones exposed like corroded metal beneath their flesh. As rumors spread about the grotesque transformations, soon everyone from nosy tourists to clinic doctors and government men start arriving on Denton Street, eager to catch sight of “the Rust Maidens” in metamorphosis. But even with all the onlookers, nobody can explain what’s happening or why—except perhaps the Rust Maidens themselves. Whispering in secret, they know more than they’re telling, and Phoebe realizes her former friends are quietly preparing for something that will tear their neighborhood apart. Alternating between past and present, Phoebe struggles to unravel the mystery of the Rust Maidens—and her own unwitting role in the transformations—before she loses everything she’s held dear: her home, her best friend, and even perhaps her own body.


Goodbye to the Sun by Jonathan Nevair

A rebel intent on justice. A lost soul pursued by an infamous bounty hunter. One impossible moral choice... Tucked away in the remote dunes of Kol 2, the Motes are on the brink of cultural collapse. Razor, a bold and daring pilot, leads a last-ditch gambit against their local oppressors, the Targitians. The plan: Abduct visiting Ambassador Keen Draden and use him as a bargaining chip to restore her people's independence in the Sagittarius Arm. But when the operation unravels, Razor is forced to renegotiate terms with the arrogant diplomat. Light years away on Heroon a radical resistance blossoms. The alluring rainforest planet haunts Keen. All his problems started there during the Patent War, but it's where Razor's troubles may find a solution. The moral tide ebbs, exposing an impossible choice that links their futures together more tragically than they ever thought possible. Goodbye to the Sun: A space opera inspired by the Greek tragedy, Antigone.


The Merry Maids by Stefanie Contreras

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.


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.


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)


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?


Dawnstar (Starchaser Saga Book 2) by Renee Dugan

A missing friend. A hunt for answers. A path to vengeance. With her Warden stolen, her hopes of an easy alliance thwarted, and her trust in her own kingdom shattered, Princess Cistine Novacek faces her greatest challenge yet: using wit and steel to bring down a wicked Chancellor and prove herself to the cabal's tentative allies in the Courts. As friendships are tested, bonds broken, and love put to the test, the princess must face the growing threats within the Northern Kingdom – and learn to rise a queen. Locked away in a desert prison, Asheila Kovar faces the struggle of her life: surviving the ruthless Blood Hive, returning to her princess, and avenging a betrayal against the heart of her kingdom. But there are more secrets and schemes than just hers lurking in the catacombs…and the struggle between powerful forces above and below the sands will test Ashe’s loyalty in dangerous ways. Ways that may spell death for people the cabal cannot afford to lose.


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