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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.


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.


The Headmistress by Milena McKay

A chance encounter. An unforgettable night. And back home, trouble is brewing on the remote island of Three Dragons, where nothing feels like it used to. Alone and lonely, Sam Threadneedle wishes upon a star, hoping for change. But when said change comes, it’s with a roar and not a whimper. Torn between loyalty and lust, Sam is forced to re-evaluate everything. Can she and the Home of Dragons withstand the storm that is Magdalene Nox, or will any and all crumble? Not everything is as it seems, and as she slowly unravels the mysteries behind the centuries-old walls, Sam realizes that home is much more than oak and stone.


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.


METANOIA The Fifth Yanai: Book One by Juniper Lake Fitzgerald

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.


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.


Cleansing Rain by Holly Ash

Earth is dying and the only way to save it is to eliminate its biggest threat. All Zoe Antos wanted was to make it home from work in time for date night with her fiancé Cole Wilborn, something her research had been preventing a lot recently. After managing to get out the door on time, all hope of making it home is lost when she is kidnapped by a man trying to steal files from her lab. Zoe is thrown into a world of conspiracy theories as her kidnappers reveal that they are trying to stop The Arrow Equilibrium, a powerful eco-terrorism group Zoe has never heard of, from going through with their plan to restore balance to the environment. It doesn’t sound too bad until she realizes the only way to have a shot at doing that would be to eliminate the human factor from the scales. Zoe almost starts to believe them, until it’s revealed that her kidnappers believe the Wilborn family is the behind The Arrows, something she knows can’t be true. Once rescued, Zoe starts to notice irregularities with her future father-in-law that makes her question if her kidnappers might have been right. Zoe must decide who to trust, her fiancé’s family or her kidnappers. Her life, and the fate of humanity, could depend on her making the right choice.


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.


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?


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?


Reverend of Silence by Pamela Sparkman

A coming of age story about faith, love, and overcoming society's prejudices during the American Antebellum period. In 1810, Lucy Hallison suffered from a severe illness at the age of three, and later recovered, a deaf-mute. Unable to relate to the world in which she lives, she’s often ignored and sometimes treated with cruelty. Until a boy, Samuel Burke, steps into her life at the tender age of seven, coloring her world and showing her what it means to be seen, to not be invisible, to be understood. The two become inseparable childhood friends, and as they grow and mature, there is the promise and hope of something more that also grows between them. But the hope of something more is put on hold so she can attend The American Asylum at Hartford for the Deaf and Dumb, the first of its kind, requiring her to leave the only home she’s ever known and the only boy she’s ever loved. But while she is away, tragedy strikes, and Samuel is now the one unable to relate to the world in which he lives, unable to find his own voice, and withdrawing from everyone and everything he’s ever known. When Lucy returns home from school, she has one goal in mind—to put color back into his world the way he had once put color into hers. Because Samuel Burke had been her voice when she had needed him most. Now, she is determined to be his. Note: Inspired by real people and true historical accounts.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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.


The Community by Jacob Klop

For generations, the Community has thrived within a complex cave system, sheltered from a blight that has infected the rest of the world. Despite the seeming perfection of their society, its people want nothing more than to return to the Outside, and so, every ten years, a Hope is chosen to venture forth and discover whether it is now safe for them to emerge from their rocky home. The Hope has never returned.​ Generations of Fathers and Mothers have always guided the Community, and the people are completely devoted to them and their society, but after Bastion's dad is chosen, he questions whether Father is truly the benevolent leader the rest of the Community believes. His lack of faith leads him on a path of self discovery and redemption, but he loses sight of those closest to him. Through his ignorance he sets the Community on a path that teeters between salvation and destruction. Sometimes, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing...


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