stories in and

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 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 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 by Jes McCutchen

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 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 cafĂ© 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 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. - Please note that this book depicts issues of mental illness, fantasy violence, self-harm ideation, blood, death, and gore.


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 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 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 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...


Birthright by M.A. Vice

When a young daemon becomes host to his father, the eons-old progenitor of his kind, it seems his only purpose is to kill and kill again, to build a new world fit for the dark to rule. Unseen by humans, the world has long been controlled by the strings of a shadowy secret society of immortal beings, the Order of Azoth. As the organization fractures and begins to unravel, he may be the last hope of the Order to quell the spread of corruption and change the path of the future. Just as they may be his only hope to discover his own humanity.


String of Stardust by J.H. Rose

The noblewoman Suzette always dreamed of starting her own bakery, in spite of her social status. After years of enduring abuse in a loveless marriage, she at last calls upon the help of her best friend, the mysterious wanderer Hikaru, to help her find a better life. Together the two embark on a journey across the continent of SolĂ©iĂą to Hikaru’s long abandoned house, full of valuable paintings that may fund her dream. Along the way, Hikaru and Suzette struggle against an intolerant society, mischievous faeries, a jealous goddess—and most of all their nightly dreams, memories of a past where they were in love once before, a beautiful life severed much too soon. As they come to accept their love in the present, however, a question looms over their heads...can they ever truly recreate the idyllic life of their dreams? Or will it end in tragedy every time?


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?


Structural Strain by Tabitha O'Connell

After realizing how badly he was failing his partner, Yaan promised to do better. Being open and vulnerable with Kel isn’t exactly easy, but it’s worth it for the closeness they now share. Kel, meanwhile, continues to combat his conflict-avoidant nature and be honest about his own wants and needs. The payoff includes not just an increase in affection from Yaan, but also Yaan getting to know his family, and even pledging to help get the old neighborhood theater—the catalyst for their reconciliation—open again. When Yaan begins noticing other ways the city government he works for has failed its working-class residents, his renewed commitment to Kel leads him to push back against his boss’s policies. Kel, however, is concerned Yaan might be taking on too much. When he’s proven right, their relationship will be tested anew, as Yaan is forced to decide what really matters to him and Kel must choose how far he’s willing to go for Yaan’s sake.


Structural Integrity by Tabitha O'Connell

Messenger boy Kel never expected to strike up a romance with a government official. But Yaan lacks the self-important snobbery of the others, seeing Kel as more than just a pretty face. Living with him in the city’s plush government complex is everything Kel could want: no more expenses, kitchen workers and resident animals to befriend, and of course seeing Yaan every day. Even if Yaan does spend most of his time working or worrying about work, and seems to have forgotten that they used to have actual conversations
 When the city decides to tear down the iconic theater building in Kel’s old neighborhood, Yaan’s indifference toward his pleas to help save it forces Kel to confront his growing unhappiness. In the aftermath, both will have to decide whether their relationship is salvageable.


The Skeleton Key by Justine Manzano

Sequel to the award-winning Order of the Key Kyp Franklin can't move on. One year after his mother officially declared war against him, Kyp is still struggling to find his feet as the Order of the Key's new leader. He's far too concerned about tracking her down before she causes even more damage than she already has. In fact, that's all he's been doing. Until one day, after a particularly reckless mission, he returns to find a surprising visitor on his doorstep... Jacklyn Madison can't move on. One year after she left the Order, she has a new team, and a new mission. She's determined to close all the interdimensional rifts between our world and the Dusk, before more people die trying to stop the creatures that pass through them. But a vision she had while on the edge of death leads her to the one place she never intended to return 
 Forced to work together, Jacklyn, Kyp, and their respective teams uncover Lavinia's next plan: an alarming mix of magic and science the likes of which has never been seen before. Jacklyn and Kyp must learn to work together again and confront the demons of their past if they're going to stop Lavinia and those assisting her before their larger plan is put into action--a plan that could bring the monsters of the Dusk to our world...forever.


Pretend to read this book to avoid talking to strangers by Cassie Bailey

Description ‘Pretend to read this book to avoid talking to strangers’ is the new e-book by Cassie Bailey. Six short stories explore love, loneliness, and the human search for connection. ABOUT THIS BOOK: We all seek to belong somewhere. But what does it mean to really feel that sense of belonging? To feel truly connected – to our Earth, and to each other? Wires doesn’t mind being alone when the world ends, but she’d rather be with the girl she loves. Sharon connects with others through her daydreams, even when she can’t talk to them in person. Kelly and Adam seek connection through their art, but is it at the expense of their relationship? And somewhere, deep at the bottom of the ocean, a woman speaks to the sea and stars, as they help her remember where she belongs. Each tale was written at a different point in the author’s 20s, and the scattered but reflective story structures explore the inner workings of her neurodiverse brain. At times humorous, other times devastating, this debut collection fuses poignant poetry and open dialogue. ‘Pretend to read
’ will leave you thinking a little deeper about how the human mind experiences and searches for connection. 24,968 words ADVANCED READER REVIEW: ‘From the moment I began reading dizzy & wires, I was awed by Cassie’s ability to turn her heartfelt thoughts into poetry. Her neurodiverse brain is an absolute gift and the magic, depth, and originality she produces within these pages is a thing to behold. Raw, vulnerable, at times quirky and at other times thought-provoking, these short stories are the kind you’ll want to come back to again and again and you’ll keep discovering fresh delights you missed the first time around.’


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