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Dark Woods, Deep Water

Dark Woods, Deep Water by Jelena Dunato

In the depths of a remote forest, an enchanted castle preys on unwary travellers. The servants of the Goddess Morana sacrifice to their dark mistress every soul who crosses its threshold . One terrible night, three people who should never have met find themselves trapped there: a spoiled lady escaping an unwanted marriage, an aging warrior-prince on a deadly mission, and a resourceful rogue caught up in a botched heist. As their destinies entwine and the dawn approaches, the solution to the castle’s riddle becomes clear: if they want to escape, one of them must die. A dark fantasy tale inspired by Slavic folklore, Dark Woods, Deep Water is the debut novel by Croatian author Jelena Dunato. Set in an intricately imagined world that staggers the line between fairytale and brutality, this novel will appeal to fans of Katherine Arden and Naomi Novik, as well as lovers of classic Gothic fiction.


Mary, Everything

Mary, Everything by Cassandra Yorke

A young woman born in the wrong reality. A destiny that will lead her into the past. And a love so enduring it reaches across time - and existence itself - to bring her home. A gripping tale of best friends and romance, sorcery and survival, at the dawn of the Roaring 20s. Courtney is a lonely undergrad at secluded Braddock College in 2004, working a drowsy summer job in the Archives. Assigned to a new project, she becomes haunted by a college yearbook from the 1920s - filled with familiar faces and memories of times she never experienced. A chance encounter with a mysterious girl named Sadie - dressed in long-outdated clothes - alters her reality. But if you were never meant to be born, that reality can expel you like an infection - or kill you outright. While Courtney struggles against forces she cannot comprehend, a psychopathic stalker smells blood and closes in for the kill. Sadie, now in 1921, races against the clock to save her friend, joined by some remarkable allies - an American combat sorceress and veteran of World War I, an enigmatic professor who specializes in piercing the veil between realities, and two young women who insist they’re Courtney’s oldest friends - one of them even claiming to be her truest love. Time is running out for Courtney, and a terrifying wilderness - haunted by the dead from centuries past - may hold the key to her salvation. But none who enter have ever returned... Cassandra Yorke's groundbreaking debut brings Magical Realism home to the Midwest in an explosive new style, blending Midwestern Gothic and historical fiction with a warm lesbian love story to create a riveting, deeply immersive epic you won't be able to put down. It's the world of Boardwalk Empire and Gatsby, with an urgent, immersive narrative about what it means to belong, what it means to be hated, what it means to be loved, and ultimately what it means to come home.


Unbroken

Unbroken by Alli Temple

A pirate’s home is the sea, sailing beyond the horizon with her true love. Aboard the Crimson Siren, Captain Cinder finally has the life she’s always dreamed of. Her freedom is restored, her crew is a trustworthy bunch, and the princess who holds her heart is by her side. But trouble brewing back in Redmere threatens to pull Cinder and Princess Georgina apart before their future can truly begin. Georgina feels a responsibility to help, while Cinder is vehemently against returning to their former home. Instead, she embarks on a dangerous treasure hunt that could cost her everything. Faced with a deadly threat, Cinder pushes everyone around her away just when she needs them most. Friendships are tested. Risky alliances forged. Yet as storm clouds darken Cinder’s future, one thing becomes painfully clear: Her home is taking on water, and time to save the people she loves is running out.


In the Shadow of Truth (Shadow #3)

In the Shadow of Truth (Shadow #3) by J.E. Leak

She thought she wanted the truth. Now she’d give anything to forget it. New OSS trainee Jenny Ryan is brimming with equal parts excitement and fear. She is one step closer to serving her country overseas, but when her ambition costs her dearly, she realizes the fight has come to her and love has turned to lies. OSS instructor Kathryn Hammond is no stranger to sacrifice. But when doing her job means sending the woman she loves into the churn of war, her devotion to duty is tested like never before. When shocking revelations and the cruel march of time threaten their love, will Kat and Jenny embrace the truth and find each other again before it’s too late?


The Debt

The Debt by T. C. Parker

El Gardener is used to telling lies – as a con-artist, she’s made a career of it. But when she takes on what seems to be a routine job as a favour to the woman who trained her, she finds herself plunged into the most personal con of her career – taking down the man who killed her mother 20 years before. Joining forces with a team of talented but enigmatic con-women, all with their own reasons for wanting payback, El plots his downfall. But it isn’t long before she’s questioning their motivations, the secrets they’re keeping… and what she thinks she knows about her past. How much is she willing to gamble for revenge? And how far can she trust the women she’s thrown in with? Who do you trust, when everybody lies?


In the Shadow of Victory (Shadow #4)

In the Shadow of Victory (Shadow #4) by J.E. Leak

Victory isn’t always the end of the story. Paris, 1944. As OSS agents Kathryn Hammond and Jenny Ryan navigate the dangerous world of espionage, they are faced with the ultimate test of love and loyalty. Can their love overcome the obstacles in their path, or have time and the shadows of the past cost them a second chance at happiness? Join Kathryn and Jenny on their journey of forgiveness, healing, and devotion, as they discover the strength of their love in the thrilling conclusion to the sapphic noir Shadow series.

 Note: This is the fourth and final book in the Shadow series. Reading the books in order is highly recommended.


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


Deathborn

Deathborn by C. E. Page

SPFBO7

Corruption is a disease with no cure that ends with a rapid descent into madness and violence. And until now it only targeted mages. When an infected warden shows up challenging everything Margot thought she knew she is thrown into the chase to find the impossible cure. But to understand this new revelation she needs someone who knows possession ... She needs Nea and lucky for Margot, her warden friend Garret has been tasked with tracking the rogue necromancer down. Garret is used to dealing with deadly mages so this should be like any other job: find the mage and deliver her to the king. But from the moment he finds Nea he is dragged into a deadly game of dark secrets and brutal machinations. Now he must make a choice: deliver Nea as promised and place a weapon in the hands of a mad man or deny his king and change the lives of wardens and mages forever.


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.


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.


Poison from a Scorpion's Sting

Poison from a Scorpion's Sting by R. Ramey Guerrero

The Nez’kali has failed. Slate’s actions are to blame. Without Adahai to advocate for fire’s return, no one protested in the streets. There is only one day before the Age of Fire, and the Nez’kali is near death and under the scrutiny of the Council of Elders. Can Slate convince Wasii Pon Ruwa that Nokhum is not a danger to the people? “We run. We hide. We lie.”


The Call for Finis: Pride

The Call for Finis: Pride by A.J. Torres

Seven sins. Seven hosts. One city purged. After everything you’ve learned, can you still stand with your faith, or finally rise up against it? Salvia VerdaderaFe has signed a pact with Ultor, a demon of Infernos, to enact the end of all and purge the world of sin. Ultor and six others were granted permission to enter the middle world of Eldara, bound to mortals by the Seraphim of Hevellum. Upon his arrival a messenger of Hevellum should have been waiting to assign him his task, unfortunately the messenger did not appear and thus his mission is a mystery. Along their journey through the country of Marlela, they are set upon by a group of Templar Equitums, bearers of virtue and enforcers of the Cirine faith. From their encounter their destination is revealed. Their journey to Lumen Magnum begins.


No Rest for Wicked Thieves

No Rest for Wicked Thieves by Jonathan Pembroke

SFFOasis

For Kayla Tanglebrush--the fabled thief known as the Nightcat--life just doesn't get any easier. After botching a high-profile job and seeing other opportunities dry up, Kayla is forced to take on the most dangerous task of her career: infiltrate the remote fortress known as the Ice God's Retreat and steal the Rime Diamond from under the nose of the Lord of Frost and his worshipers. Except ... she has no idea how she's going to do it. With few options, Kayla is forced to accept the help of a naive but powerful priestess and a dashing rogue. Kayla's past and present collide as she and her companions rush towards a perilous confrontation. And all the while, greater forces stir and awaken. Pieces are moved on the cosmic chess board as the Gods watch ... and wait ...


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