stories in and

Melancholic Parables by Dale Stromberg

Bellatrix Sakakino has lived many lives. She dampens electricity. She longs for a fruit that went extinct before she was born. She’s radioactive. She’s not above committing a massacre for the sake of a perfect omelet. She crashes through timelines and circumstances, recurring in these flash stories as a tricksterish film director, a pink hedgehog, a simulation of herself, or a child who can only speak in dial-up modem shrieks. Are we the same person we were last year? Or last week? Or last story? Whimsical and dolorous, ironic and absurd, this slippery assortment of stories dances around these questions with ambiguous aplomb.


The Acorn Stories by Duane Simolke

Visit the West Texas town of Acorn! Enjoy the German festival, a high school football game, homemade apple pie from the Turner Street Café, and the cool shade of a hundred-year-old oak tree. Meet dedicated teachers, unusual artists, shrewd business owners, closeted gays, and concerned neighbors. See how lives become intertwined in moments of humor or tragedy. Just be careful, because in Acorn, the sky is always falling! From romantic comedy to razor-sharp satire to moments of quiet reflection, Duane Simolke’s award-winning tales transform a fictional West Texas town into a tapestry of human experiences. “A lush tangle of small-town life branches out in this engrossing collection of short stories.” –Kirkus Reviews “The ability to depict such a wide cross section of humanity, including details of each character’s breadth of knowledge and experience, takes a talented, insightful author, and Duane Simolke is such a writer.” –E. Conley, Betty’s Books


The Outing by Fabian Foley

When nowhere is safe in the world you know, you have to hide... or start making a new one. Robert is eleven when his best friend dies and he learns that if he wants to survive in the world he has to be ‘normal’. He buries his feelings, his awful childhood memories, and his suspicion that he is gay. Even when he falls in love with Johnny, he pretends it isn’t happening, and buries those feelings too, choosing safety in the closet, a career as a lawyer, a wife and kids, and suburban happy ever after… Until Johnny returns needing help, and then disappears, and Robert's façade begins to crack in heartbreaking and dreadful circumstances. Only one other person saw what happened that night, and after being arrested for drunk and disorderly, he disappears. It shares poignant and emotional elements of Douglas Stuart’s Shuggie Bain and Craig Silvey’s trans-coming-of-age novel Honeybee, with the suspense of The Dry by Jane Harper, while drawing on the historical facts leading up to the airing of the dirty linen of the Bjelke-Peterson era with the broadcasting of The Moonlight State-1987 . Trying to keep his secret and himself safe isn’t Robert’s only priority. He wants justice too. But when the police force is corrupt from the top down, justice isn’t merely elusive, it’s an impossibility. Or so it seems when you’re fighting for yourself alone. But other people have been fighting for justice too. If Robert can convince them to help him, together they may set something unstoppable in motion. It will either run down the corrupt police or run over and destroy Robert’s life. Inspired by the true story of a suicide that was reclassified thirty years later as a gay hate-crime murder, The Outing is set in 1980s Queensland, (Australia), where corrupt police and politicians rule together, with an audacious disregard for the law. It shares poignant and emotional elements of Douglas Stuart’s Shuggie Bain and Craig Silvey's trans coming-of-age novel Honeybee, with the suspense of The Dry by Jane Harper, while drawing on the historical facts leading up to the airing of the dirty linen of the Bjelke-Peterson era with the broadcasting of The Moonlight State-1987. Breaking a corrupt system can sometimes break you, and those you love… some, forever


Sweet Baby Mine by Maria Daversa

Set in Paris, Sweet Baby Mine is about the secrets, lies, and mental illnesses that take a toll on two people who once thought they’d found their true love. The tale is brutal, oftentimes heartbreaking, but always hopeful. The message? On the road to self-discovery, you’ll learn that no matter what anyone says, no matter what flawed message you believed about yourself growing up, you are a good person and deserve love.


Death's Pale Flag by Gary Simonds

Brain surgeon and unlikely war hero, Ryan Brenan, has it all. A booming practice, a beautiful home in an idyllic setting, and a happy loving family. Then, the apparitions begin. Subtle at first, but soon there’s no doubt about it, he’s seeing ghosts, spirits, the undead. Of course, he could just be going nuts, cracking under the pressure of his constant exposure to death, mayhem, and tragedy. But, he believes he has proof that the ghosts are very real, and that they are specifically haunting him. We join Ryan as he tends to the sick and injured in his hospitals’ trauma bays, intensive care units, and operating rooms, all the while seeking to understand why he has become a target of the dead. Will he break down? Will he lose all that is precious to him? Will he be drawn to the other side of the great divide? This riveting psychological thriller uniquely blends a detailed peek behind the curtains of modern day neurosurgery with a fantastical journey into the paranormal. Written by a highly experienced neurosurgeon who takes the reader on an immersive journey into the behind the scenes world of the operating room where few people have ever been.


Becoming Bill by Molly Garcia

Big Bill has featured in the first two Adam & Sarah books as a homeless man who helps the police when their case involves those who are rough sleeping and vulnerable. We learned more about Bill’s background in “Bedding Down,” where he’s left waiting on a placement in temporary accommodation. Bill has decided it’s time to accept a place in sheltered housing after being reunited with his daughter and having health problems. This is Bill’s story. From a successful job as an agent to rough sleeping, his addiction to alcohol and losing his wife and daughter, his job, and his home. This book will detail his journey as Bill is about to settle down and start a new chapter in his life.


Motherhood and Other Magical Realms by Raima Larter

Motherhood can be magical, or it can be trouble. Children, if they come along, can grow up, or not, or even go to the moon. The world is not always what it seems, and salvation can happen in unexpected places—like a copy shop. And sometimes, although not always, there’s a ghost in the cellar.


Unanimity by Alexandra Almeida

"Great for fans of Becky Chambers's A Closed and Common Orbit and Daniel Suarez's Daemon." Booklife The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Shadow is a reluctant god with a broken mind and a death wish. He used to be Thomas Astley-Byron, an affluent young screenwriter whose creativity and idealism saved a world from the brink of collapse. Together with Henry Nowak, an AI expert, Tom created heaven on earth by inventing a Jungian simulated reality that helps humans confront their dark sides. The benevolent manipulation platform turned the two unelected leaders into beloved gods, but now everything is failing. The worlds suffer as a sentimental Tom descends into his own personal hell, becoming the embodiment of everything he despises and a shadow of his former self. His journey from an optimistic, joyful Tom to a gloomy Shadow is paved with heartache and sinister interference from emerging technology. Humans and bots fight for his heart, but their aims differ: some want to own it, some to dissect it, and others to end its foolish beat. Estranged from the love of his life—the activist poet Nathan Storm—Tom fails to realize the biggest threat comes from within. None of the sticky stories that steer his life end well. Now, a young goddess—Estelle Ngoie—has been appointed to replace him, and unlike Shadow, Stella takes no prisoners, and her heart bleeds for no one. Who’s pulling on Shadow’s heartstrings? Are their intentions malign or benign? It’s all a matter of perspective, and Shadow has none left. The Series Themes An epic tale spanning across six days—one per book—and forty past decades of life lived across ten worlds and two universes. Weaving sci-fi elements with social commentary and queer romantic suspense, Spiral Worlds explores the nature of consciousness and how it's connected to a not-so-secret ingredient—story. As software consumes the world, intelligence is nothing but the appetizer; the human heart is the main course. There is no black or white in this story about a contrast-making machine.


I Am My Beloveds by Jon Papernick

Ben Seidel wasn't sure how serious they were when he and his wife, Shira, discussed having an open marriage. But when Shira announces that she is going on a date with Liz, any ambiguity evaporates. Suddenly, every day is new terrain for Ben, navigating between keeping things together with Shira and exploring new partners. And when one of those new partners begins to matter to him more than he ever anticipated, he discovers that the complexities of this new life are only just beginning. Bracingly honest, refreshingly sexy, and deeply empathetic, I Am My Beloveds is the work of a superior storyteller, making real a lifestyle that might be as close as your own bedroom door.


Between Before and After by Jessica Stilling

Between Before and After follows Indie film director Sebastian Foster, son of the famous author Regina Foster, as he embarks on a project to turn his mother’s award-winning novels into films. As he works on his third film in the project, a biographical novel that takes place in Paris and deals with the traumatic death of Sebastian’s five-year-old sister, the project and aspects of Sebastian’s personal and private life start to break down. Sebastian is confronted with a man from his past who holds the purse strings as far as funding for his films is concerned. He also learns that his mother has more secrets than he realized and as he dives deeper into this project, he learns that there was so much more to his sister’s tragic death than he realized. As the past starts to unravel before him, Sebastian must confront his issues with his mother and his desperate need to recreate a past that may not have been as idyllic as he remembered.


The Weary God of Ancient Travelers by Jessica Stilling

Who is Lydia Warren? That’s what she’d like to know. An amnesiac, she vaguely remembers arriving in Santorini with this one-armed man she instinctive trusts but cannot recall his name. She guides us through the fog that is her mind, and her odyssey towards understanding that is even further complicated by memories of a life not her own from before she was born.


The Persistence of Vapor by Ralph Clementi

Thomas Marcelli, lead archaeologist at an excavation outside a small town in Jordan, is astonished when his assistant informs him that the local newspaper has just printed a sensationalistic account of their recent find. The article claims that the coprolite that was uncovered the previous day is a holy relic of Jesus. Over the next two days the site becomes overrun by hundreds of curious spectators. Chaos ensues and the coprolite gets stolen. The artifact quickly enters the dark underworld of stolen art and antiquities. Eventually, through a string of murders and deceptions, it is acquired by Michael Steadman, a major dealer of stolen art in the United States. He multiplies his profits substantially by selling counterfeits of "the holy relic of Jesus" that he crudely carved from locally collected rocks. In the meantime the news of the discovery and theft of the coprolite unleashes a flood of conspiracy theories. This misinformation continues to spread despite repeated assertions by the archaeologists that there is no evidence of a connection between the coprolite and Jesus. Then matters worsen. Fraudulent enterprises appear that advertise nonexistent tours to the site where the "the holy relic of Jesus" was found. Religious leaders, deeply troubled by these scams, try to intercede to protect their congregants from being cheated. However, their efforts backfire when the religious leaders become the targets of new conspiracy theories. Set in the U.S. and the Middle East, the novel traces the impact that the coprolite has on the people it touches. The story is part adventure and part intellectual journey and rides on a universal theme that underlies so much of human behavior: facts and logic often take a back seat to a blind hunger for the satisfaction of emotional needs.


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.


Angeline by Angelica Markus and Julianne Snyder

Angeline Moretti is a woman of two different lives. A stunning actress by day and a party girl by night. In the time of the roaring twenties, New York City is hustling and bustling. Angeline has no time to settle down, but for a woman with two lives there are two men who desperately yearn for her heart. The wealthy and charming James Howard, and the speakeasy bad boy Link Cartwell. Be prepared to enter a world of legendary flappers, fabulous parties and dashing gangsters. Once you’ve stumbled into Link’s Wonderland, you can never go back!


Ride Every Stride by Amy Maltman

Jed Carver hopes to put his troubled past behind him. After fleeing across the country, he finds refuge in his new job at a prestigious stable and commits himself to his goal: a spot on the Canadian Equestrian Team. Jed is confident in his riding ability, but the obstacles outside the ring could be his undoing. Will his dark secrets come to light? Can he ride every stride until his dream comes true? Or will his demons unseat him? Jump into this page-turner for the equestrian and non-equestrian alike!


Invention Is a Mother by Rob Brownell

RESPONSIBILITY IS OVERRATED. A recently graduated and happily unemployed engineer, Shaughnessy shirks responsibility whenever possible. He coasts through life, sidestepping every opportunity to follow in his father Walton’s footsteps, until Walton begins to suspect that he has MFD (Mysterious Fatal Disease). The family coerces Shaughnessy to impersonate his father as a senior engineer at Critical Think Inc. There, he is immediately entangled in the development of an irrational consumer product. Pressured to innovate in the face of absurd challenges and fantastical demands, Shaughnessy teeters on the edge between breakthrough and breakdown. In a near future where you are what you wear, can an idling young engineer successfully navigate corporate startup culture, accept his family’s medical crisis, and harness his full creative potential? Fans of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Good Omens will enjoy laugh-out-loud collisions with the limits of reason in Invention Is a Mother.


Mother Figures by Amy Barnes

Amy Barnes has a knack for what Jennifer Pieroni has called “smart surprise”. Each of these mother/daughter stories grabs the attention with its first sentence then continues to wrongfoot the reader willfully as it proceeds. The stories are focused, lean, yet packed with unexpected details – stigmata, plastic eyes, industrial bras, a watermelon called Trudy, vulture balloons. Barnes has a voice that is entirely her own. ―Michael Loveday author of Three Men on the Edge From the first sentence of each story in Mother Figures, Amy Barnes entraps us and stuns, taking us into a variety of worlds, strange and surreal—we embark on a journey involving distorted familial relationships, and through these contorted realities, there is a booming thread of truth, mirroring our need for love and friendship. Magically entertaining, Barnes is on the forefront of breaking barriers in the craft of flash fiction. ―Shome Dasgupta author of Mute Mother Figures both elevates and devastates. In twenty-three tiny stories, Amy Barnes explores the oft-searing complexities of motherhood and mother-daughter relationships through a funhouse lens of pop culture, religion and artifact. Each story is a tightly-woven portrait that exposes our most intimate relational fissures with surprising language and a playfulness that punches to the emotional core. ―Sara Hills author of The Evolution of Birds Reading Mother Figures feels like lifting a band-aid: sharp, ugly, and vulnerable, but tender too: and after, relief: you feel as though the new light and air will heal you. ―Meagan Lucas author of Songbirds and Stray Dogs, and editor, Reckon Review In ‘Mother Figures’ Amy Barnes explores the subtle complexities of female relationships. Each story, steeped in rich detail and nestled between the real and the surreal, will pull you in and keep hold of you long after you’ve finished reading it. An absolute delight. ―Laura Besley author of The Almost Mothers and 100neHundred


Ambrotypes by Amy Cipolla Barnes

We are all slightly askew,” says one of the characters in this delightful and moving collection of innovative stories that bend, at times, toward allegory. Here's a vintage world of cigarette vending machines, Jazzercise, Sears photography studios, McNally road maps, full-service filling stations, and Green Stamps dish sets, a world where a sister with sugar for shoes who desires an octopus lover, giraffes who give funeral eulogies, a student with a backpack wormhole that houses Einstein, and a woman who places a want ad to see if someone has found her name—all highlight our humanity, its losses and its longings, and in moments, the last times we don’t know are the last times. I loved these stories.” — Jill Talbot, author of The Way We Weren’t: A Memoir “Read this collection slowly. Each of these stories unfolds like a palimpsest of images you'll want to spend time unpacking. At the heart of Barnes' prose are the intricacies of human relationships made technicolor by magic realism and the author's expansive imagination.” — Christopher Allen, author of Other Household Toxins “No one aces the first sentence test quite like Amy Cipolla Barnes. Every story in her whimsical debut begins with a zing. With irresistible openers like: "There’s a beach ball in the apartment toilet," "I knew what I was doing when I swallowed the glass piano," "My great grandmother hung the moon," and "My third baby was born an alligator," how can we not keep reading? These may be AMBROTYPES, but Barnes writes in living, breathing color to bring us captivating, quirky family snapshots that engage faith, myth, fairy tale, and a little magic. For all the absurdist delight, there's no shortage of heartache or truth: "I prayed hard that my plastic Jesus would find my daddy either real pants or a job; It felt like too much to ask for both." Barnes is adept at rendering the familiar unfamiliar and the unfamiliar familiar in these sharply observed slices of life that never fail to snap, crackle, and pop.” — Sara Lippmann, author of Doll Palace “Nothing can really prepare you for the people you'll encounter in Amy Barnes's Ambrotypes: little girls with feet made of sugar; alligator babies; wives who grow feathers; fathers made of origami. These stories are surprising, wholly original, and go down easy -- the perfect reading for our current reality.” — Amy Shearn, award-winning author of Unseen City and The Mermaid of Brooklyn


Impress of the Seventh Surge by Jessica Mae Stover

In an outbreak everyone must make choices. What will yours be? With the definitive American pandemic accounting still pending, it’s trailblazing scifi author Jessica Mae Stover who brings the receipts and then sets them aflame in Impress of the Seventh Surge, a novella about a conscientious pandemic evacuee working to free the next victims of a mysterious virus. Familiar and otherworldly, explosive with originality and utterly unconventional, coated in the residue of rage and the red tinge of fever dreams, Impress of the Seventh Surge is a plunge into near-future social bonds, technology, law, love and fascism; a profound story about justice, psychic AIs, and rising body counts that demolishes the borders between literature and technology. In these electric pages Stover ingeniously devises the next evolution in cyberpunk fiction. With her trademark “deep point-of-view” that pierces the veil between reader and character, impressionistic and startling prose, and the surreality of a video game, every twist of phrase in Seventh Surge is a knifing reminder that Stover’s experimental framing is, in fact, all too real. Impress of the Seventh Surge is an astounding work of gravity and furious speculative fiction — a scifi “what if” that doesn’t ask what would you do? but instead demands to know what you will do.


The Garden of the Golden Children by Ashley Hutchison

We all live somewhere. The children of Somewhere attend a prestigious Academy with a spectacular garden that celebrates its finest pupils. The history of the Academy is rich as chocolate, but things are not as they seem. Experimental and emotional, Ashley Hutchison delivers a somber, enchanting, and dark journey in this must-read literary fantasy.


St. Elmo's Fire by Oliver Theakston

1519, the earliest years of European colonialism. After years of planning, Ferdinand Magellan is finally ready to plunge into the uncharted oceans of the New World in his search for a mythical strait and the untold riches beyond. Joining him is Juan de Morales - a physician desperate to break free from the ghosts of his past. But de Morales' hopes of a new beginning are quickly dashed as he discovers the web of treachery into which he has unwittingly entangled himself. From the windswept tundra of Tierra del Fuego to the searing emptiness of the Pacific Ocean, St. Elmo's Fire is a descent into the madness, mutiny and cruelty of the first circumnavigation of the globe.


String of Stardust by James Margaret Rose

"It is a farce for a wildflower, so meek and common, rooted firmly in the Earth, to fall in love with the Moon..." Despite her status as a noblewoman, Suzette always dreamt of becoming a baker; however, she never had the courage to fly away from her gilded cage. But once an ill-arranged marriage pushes her to the brink, she escapes with the help of her dear friend Hikaru, a mysterious man who lonesomely wanders the Earth. By his side, Suzette discovers a magical world unlike any she believed could exist—and most surprising of all, that this is not the first time she has known Hikaru...nor the first time she has been in love with him. But that life ended long ago. Suzette is an entirely new person, and much has changed in their decades of absence. As much as she wishes to recreate the idyllic life of her new memories, there may be no choice but to also recreate its tragedy. Note: Contains mature content that may not be suitable for younger readers.


When I Grow Up I Want to Be a Chair by Ryan Rae Harbuck

Her story has (not) defined her. From where she sat, her perspective of the world was both quite ordinary and rivetingly extraordinary—from a paralyzing car accident in her teens to traveling overseas on a journey of self-reflection to becoming a mom. Throughout everything she experienced, she fervently believed in following her given path. She wanted to trust its trajectory. She wanted to be sure. Her story is not about a chair. Her story is about her strengths and how they rose out of her instinctive vulnerabilities. Her story is about her struggles and how they became her victories. Her story is about being willing to hold it all, for herself and the whole of her world. Everyone has a chair. That thing you are bound to or unwillingly defines you. An element that makes you different from the rest. One that you have little choice in the matter. What’s YOUR chair?


L Extreme by JL Civi

A Love Extreme is the greatest double debut album you've probably never heard -- but really should! B is for Benji, an aspiring musician with a bad case of writer’s block and a love story he’s not allowed to tell (but does anyways). C is for Count, Benji’s roommate who wants to help him get his groove back. D is for DJ, C’s love interest who may or may not be D as in dead. E is for Evilon. (He’s the villain, if that wasn’t clear from his name…) F is for Frank, the strong silent neighbor down the hall. G is for genre, a difficult concept to apply here. Is it a) Comedy? b) Romance? c) Fairy Tale? d) Magical Realism? e) Faux Biography? f) Infomercial? g) Album-oriented Fan Fiction? Let’s go with… H) All of the above! IJK are letters we’re skipping in this very absurd blurb. L is for…well, nobody really knows what L stands for. That’s part of the mystery that makes her extreme. M is for Mmmmmm, the title of a dreamy chapter near the midpoint. N is for Narrator. That’s me, your guide on this journey. Oh boy! Presenting Quarkle's ramshackle story the universe values with Xtreme youthful zest. (That rounds out our alphabet, but only scratches the surface of our wild tale.) L EXTREME: An original novel by JL Civi, based on the songs of Benji Hughes A novel based on an album is a book with a killer soundtrack.


Lady, in Waiting by Karen Heenan

She survived exile. He survived a death sentence. Can they survive marriage? Margaery Preston is newly married to a man she barely knows. Proposing to Robin Lewis may have been impulsive, but she wants their marriage to work - she just doesn't know how to be married, and it seems her husband hasn't a clue, either. Treated like a child by everyone from her husband to the queen, lost in the unfamiliar world of the Elizabethan court, Margaery will have to learn quickly or lose any chance at the life she wants. Can a marriage for all the wrong reasons make it to happily ever after?


A Wider World by Karen Heenan

Memories are all he has... now they could save his life. Returning to England after almost five years in exile, Robin Lewis is arrested and charged with heresy by the dying Queen Mary. Over a days-long journey to the Tower of London, Robin spins a tale for his captor, revisiting his life under three Tudor monarchs and wondering how he will be judged—not just by the queen, but by the God he stopped serving long ago. When every moment counts, will the journey—and Robin's stories—last long enough for him to be saved by Mary's heir, the young Queen Elizabeth?


Am I Alone? John K by Stephanie Vlahos

John K hurtles to Mars. He is a chance hero - the first person to travel to Mars. Alone. in a space capsule, lonely in his reflections, yet he finds love. He contemplates Earth - a failing planet with a collapsing ecology. The beautiful green and blue which is fast disappearing. What does the future hold for John K. and all those he has left behind.


Pulsus Cordis Mei-The Pulse of my Heart (Omnia Vincit Amor Book 3) by Maxime Jaz

For when you breathe, I am your air. For when your heart beats, I am its pulse. For when you are far away, look at our star. When events out of their control split the family apart, Marius, Kyle, and Claudia are challenged beyond belief. In the desperate race for power, their enemies will stop at nothing to ensure they destroy Marius and those he loves. Kyle and Claudia have to navigate treacherous waters in Rome to deal with their adversaries, and separate allies from foes, whereas Marius has his own struggles to deal with, far from his loved ones. As an unexpected and shattering blow leaves them reeling, Kyle has to be stronger than ever before to keep them from sinking into despair. Will their enemies finally shatter the small family, or will their love prevail, and conquer all?


Avis Aurea-The Golden Bird (Omnia Vincit Amor Book 2) by Maxime Jaz

From the ashes of suffering, a new strength can be born. From embracing one’s demons, a new life can be found. Back in Rome after his perilous adventures, Marius makes a shocking discovery about his past. But life must go on. Not only does his child need raising, but he must also resume his duties amidst the plotting of Rome’s elite. To add to that, his love for Kyle burns even brighter, melting the walls behind which so many painful memories are trapped. And as feelings bubble to the surface more and more, Marius and Kyle’s love is revealed without hindrance, slowly and sensually, even though shadows of Kyle’s past come back to haunt him, and the people involved in his suffering are thorns in their emerging love. That, and the fact, Marius also brings home a new wife, Claudia. And as Claudia takes her place within the family, unexpected emotions emerge between them all, lacing themselves into Marius and Kyle’s world, resulting in unexpected bliss. Until shattering news about their enemies leaves all of them grappling for air, facing decisions none of them want to make... caught in the race for power. Will their love surmount the many painful obstacles put in their path? Or will their enemies drive a wedge, an unbridgeable chasm between them all? Are Marius, Kyle, and Claudia nothing more than victims of the cruel world they live in?


Donum-The-Gift (Omnia Vincit Amor Book 1) by Maxime Jaz

Coming home with his legion, Commander Marius receives an unexpected gift when he stops at a countryside noble’s estate for a celebration party. That gift is Kyle, a young Celt, captured by the Romans years ago, and used for pleasure by his callous owner. Marius quickly takes Kyle to Rome, utterly clueless about what to do with him. To Marius’ dismay, the young Celt is terrified, even after having escaped his cruel owner. In truth, Kyle doesn’t know what to expect from Marius, either. Despite all odds, including Marius’ flaming temper and unpredictable nature, and Kyle’s haunting past affecting his every waking moment, love blooms between the two men who find themselves up against the scheming nobles of Rome, and Marius’ inevitable duties to his ambitious father, and conniving family. As they begin to fall deeper and deeper in love, even greater obstacles block their path, leading to some desperate decisions. Can Marius’ and Kyle’s love survive despite the odds against them? Or will the might of Rome grind them into oblivion? For in a life of freedom, one can be trapped without relief. For in a life of servitude, one can find unexpected freedom.


Two Ways to Sunday by Tom Starita

Chris Marcum was a man who had everything. The perfect wife, the perfect job, and the perfect life. He was also sure his belief in God did not depend on those successes. So when an angel appeared to him on his deathbed with a challenge to prove the depths of his faith, Chris immediately accepted. Relive your life, with no recollection. This time however, without the breaks. What happens when instead of going right, you go left? What if there are no happy endings? How much can a man endure before he hits his breaking point? And what happens then?


Strong Heart by Charlie Sheldon

One stormy May night, just as Tom Olsen is about to leave with his Native American friends to visit his grandfather's grave deep in Washington State's Olympic Peninsula wilderness, he answers a knock at his door to find an abandoned thirteen year old girl. The girl announces her name is Sarah Cooley and that Tom is her grandfather. She tells Tom he lives at the end of the earth. All she sees is dripping forest, tall trees, rain and wind. Astonished, all Tom sees is trouble. He knows he should cancel the trip and deal with Sarah, but when his friends suggest bringing Sarah along, Tom reluctantly agrees, hoping a backpacking trip might teach Sarah some sorely needed lessons about character, responsibility and grit. All too soon, Tom and his friends have reason to wonder - are they taking Sarah Cooley on this journey, or is she taking them? Adventure, scientific inquiry, a tinge of mystery, and a hint of the unexplainable infuse this meticulously-imagined tale. In a story matching the breathtaking scope of its Pacific Northwest and North Pacific setting, Sheldon's tale startles, yet challenges us to think.


Coloring Life by Vicki Alexander

Looking at Julie, you would think she has it all. Beauty, a big house, and a successful husband, but everything is not as it seems. Julie's lifelong search for love and acceptance has led her on a journey of self-destruction. What started as a little girl's dream to live behind a picket fence has become the beginning of her undoing. "She steps out of her car; her long, lean legs precede her. Her dark hair is perfectly coiffed, and her designer sunglasses hide her bloodshot eyes. She waves at her neighbors while unstrapping her children from the backseat. Leading them by the hands, she whispers to herself, God, I hate them. "


Good Brave People by Nicholas Trahdal

Whenever acclaimed author Jasper Augustine needs to get inspired for his next book, he goes traveling. That’s what he seeks when he books a flight to San Sebastián for a month in the summer—just a little inspiration. In Spain’s Basque Country, what Jasper discovers is a life-changing exploration of culture, food, drink, human connection, and love that causes him to question the meaning of the word “home”. The culinary and cultural descriptions in Good Brave People will leave you ready to travel.


Alice's Adventures under Water by Lenny de Rooy

If you enjoyed Lewis Carroll’s books “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking-Glass and what Alice found there”, this is the book for you! Finally, there is a third story in the ‘Alice’ series – written in Carroll’s familiar style, but packed with a great number of completely new puns, poems, and satire! This time, Alice explores an under-water world, in which she meets new characters who again make her wonder about their strange logic and behaviour. The story can be enjoyed by everyone, even those who have never read Carroll’s tales. However, the more familiar you are with them, the more references you will recognise in this exceptionally clever story…


Wish List by Amanda Pampuro

If Amazon could talk, what would it say about you? Wish List follows woman's life told through things she bought online, as told by the shopping algorithm that sold them to her. ARgurl16 first logs onto Hermes as a teenager and the platform continues to watch over her throughout her life as she transitions from broke college student to single woman looking for love, and eventually into motherhood. Hermes is data-hungry and obsessive, as it struggles to understand its own identity alongside the wants of its millions of users so that it can suggest buying the very best earplugs and coffee mugs. This concise novella is The Death of Ivan Ilyich for the reader with a guilty pleasure for Buzzfeed listicles. Readers haunted by Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle or Niccolò Machiavelli will enjoy this slice of life.


Iep Jāltok by Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner

As the seas rise, the fight intensifies to save the Pacific Ocean’s Marshall Islands from being devoured by the waters around them. At the same time, activists are raising their poetic voices against decades of colonialism, environmental destruction, and social injustice. Marshallese poet and activist Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner’s writing highlights the traumas of colonialism, racism, forced migration, the legacy of American nuclear testing, and the impending threats of climate change. Bearing witness at the front lines of various activist movements inspires her work and has propelled her poetry onto international stages, where she has performed in front of audiences ranging from elementary school students to more than a hundred world leaders at the United Nations Climate Summit. The poet connects us to Marshallese daily life and tradition, likening her poetry to a basket and its essential materials. Her cultural roots and her family provides the thick fiber, the structure of the basket. Her diasporic upbringing is the material which wraps around the fiber, an essential layer to the structure of her experiences. And her passion for justice and change, the passion which brings her to the front lines of activist movements—is the stitching that binds these two experiences together. Iep Jāltok will make history as the first published book of poetry written by a Marshallese author, and it ushers in an important new voice for justice.


The Church of Wrestling by Emily Thomas Mani

Eleven-year-old Jenny Arsenault is an undefeated wrestler, thanks in part to the guiding principle her father has taught her—Strike First. But she’s eager to try another principle. At the 1992 Canada East Championship, she defies Strike First and loses the gold. It’s not the only loss that day. Her mother also dies, launching her father into an intercontinental search for the answer to an impossible question: How do you strike first at death? A bold, inventive novella with unforgettable characters, The Church of Wrestling shows grief and obsession are full-contact sports, and family ties—even when seemingly broken—bind more tightly than a half nelson.


Zero Saints by Gabino Iglesias

Enforcer and drug dealer Fernando has seen better days. On his way home from work, some heavily tattoed gangsters throw him in the back of a car and take him to an abandoned house, where they saw off his friend’s head and feed the kid’s fingers to ... something. Their message is clear: this is their territory now. But Fernando isn’t put down that easily. Using the assisance of a Santerian priestess, an insane Puerto Rican pop sensation, a very human dog, and a Russian hitman, he’ll build the courage (and firepower) he’ll teed to fight a gangbanger who’s a bit more than human.


Toadstones by Eric Williams

Sixteen stories from the Bowels of Hell. You can’t chear death, but death can still cheat you. Gods are real. Monters too. Like sheepoids, creepoids, and landlords. Take the ghost bus to a showing of a haunted film; it really is to die for. Keep your distance from the uncanny residents of a picturesque wasteland. If you forget your wallet at some sketchy jobsite in the middle of nowhere, just leave it. Some things are better lost. Stepped in the history of Time, Earth, and B-Movies, Eric Williams creates worlds where nothing is what it seems, and be you graverobber, podcaster, or small-town veterinarian, there are no magic charms to protect you. A collection where Weird is the norm, where the unreal is all too real, Toadstones is a reminder that we don’t know everything, actually.


Pretty Damned Things by Holly Wade Matter

Fortune is an itinerant musician without a past who braids memories into her hair. Maud is a sheltered small-town girl and an unwitting heir to the notorious McBride family magic. The two young women meet when Fortune is commissioned to bring Maud to a rich man whose grandson she cursed. United by their love of music and their hunger for the road, Fortune and Maud form a friendship ... one that is threatened not only by Fortune’s mission but by their mutual desire for a man called Lightning.


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.


Be A Good Girl by Aella Ray

Marionette Jackson has Borderline Personality Disorder. She just doesn’t know it yet. Marionette clings to her secret in order to survive the unforgiving world of loss, drugs and manipulation. Between handsome stalkers and her unbelievably perfect twin sister, she’ll do whatever it takes to be strong. Drawn to her dark teacher with ties to her past and desperate to escape the cruelty of her mother, can Marionette find stable ground to create a meaningful life for herself in? Can she discover who she is meant to be underneath all the parts she plays for everyone else? Will she ever get out of herself alive? In the first book of its kind, Aella Ray’s debut series is exactly what the world of mental health needs. Be A Good Girl, and it’s companion book, Yes Daddy, illustrate the mind behind this misunderstood disorder and provide a trailblazing perspective that could change the world of mental health as we know it.


The Muse by Amy Ellis

In Georgian London, Elizabeth spends her precious free time painting watercolour flowers at the kitchen table. Art is not only an escape from the monotony of chores but a way to find a suitable husband who can give her security and a stable future. That was all she ever wanted until she met John, a talented painter with connections and patrons, who offered to take her on as a student and model for his new works. Being given the freedom to paint what she likes, Elizabeth is quickly seduced by John’s world: art, beautiful women, wealthy patrons, and the opportunity to earn her own money by becoming London’s premiere erotic portrait artist. But her newfound freedom comes at a cost and when her business is picked up in London’s scandal papers, there’s no way to go back to the stable life she once craved. This novel-in-verse is a scandalous and seductive love story of a young woman thrust into the indulgent world of art, sex, and money.


A Particular Friendship by Paul Van Der Spiegel

Tom Morton is a gay Catholic parish priest in a northern English town. Tom's closeted life is turned upside down when the man he fell in love with comes back into his life. Caught between duty and desire, Tom finds himself confronting the powerful Bishop, Derek Worrell—a dark figure from Tom's past, and the man who has pledged to rid the Church of its troublesome gay clergy.


Buildings Without Murders by Dan Gutstein

When the Civil Illumination Authority of an overbuilt American city solicits bids for a lucrative contract, the ensuing competitive efforts of one multinational corporation eventually unleash a morbid act of violence—one that affects a number of lives orbiting each other, including feisty redhead, LaRousse. A young woman who charges ahead, provokes, and yields to tenderness, LaRousse negotiates the intellectual and physical spaces between her stormy father, Wiry Strength, her activist romantic partner, Vermont Values, and her dopey street-kid chums, Docile and Pockets. The world of Buildings Without Murders subscribes, in part, to James Lovelock’s “Gaia hypothesis,” in that the earth is a living organism, and is trying to decipher how it might repair itself. Phenomena abound, including the ghost rockets, GPS pins, jazz holograms, and loose lightning. En route to turning eighteen, LaRousse encounters the beguiling phenomenon of the God Booth Project, and her trips to this novelty attraction reverse a lifelong assumption in life-changing fashion.


Bit Flip by Mike Trigg

Fortysomething tech executive Sam Hughes came to Silicon Valley to "make the world a better place." He's just not sure he's doing that anymore--and when an onstage meltdown sends him into a professional tailspin, he suddenly sees the culture of the Bay Area's tech bubble in a new, far more cynical light. Just as he's wondering if his start-up career and marriage might both be over, an inadvertent discovery pulls Sam back into his former company, where he begins to unravel the insidious schemes of the founder and venture investors that led to his ouster. Driven by his desire for redemption, he discovers a conspiracy of fraud, blackmail, and manipulation that leads to tragic outcomes--threatening to destroy not only the company but Sam's moral compass as well. Entangled in a web of complicity, how far will he go to achieve his dreams of entrepreneurial success and personal wealth? Bit Flip is a corporate thriller that delivers an authentic insider's view of the corrupting influences of greed, entitlement, and vanity in technology start-ups.


Drummond: Learning to find himself in the music by Patrick R. F. Blakley

Drummond, a thirteen-year-old C student in middle school, is steered into joining the high school’s marching band. He’s far from ready, and his friends help him make several attempts to learn new instruments to try and fit in better. With a little unexpected guidance from the drummers and their instructor, he realizes how well he already fits in. He discovers who he is inside. Homelife deteriorates behind him and pushes him forward into the arms of his new family, the marching band.


Abolish the Rose by Alanna Irving

"Surely I have better things to do with my time." Camille Addison resents the hand life has dealt her. Enrolling in an evening class to distract herself from memories of frustration, she finds herself instead turning to face the tumult of relationships, loss and love that has led her to where she is. Abolish the Rose, by Alanna Irving, takes us on a journey through the past in search of meaning in the present. Through a vivid catalogue of heart-warming and harrowing life experiences, we are drawn to question, along with Camille - how much control do we have over the path our lives take? Would we change the past if we had the chance? What is a life well lived?


DREAMer by Emily Gallo

Kate and Lawrence drive through the desert on their way home from vacation and find a young girl sitting by the side of the road. Who is she? Where is she from and where is she going? Why is she there? When and how did she get there? What can they do to help? The girl won't speak, but that doesn't deter them from embarking on a journey through central and southern California to find the answers.


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