Ten sci-fi books to read for Science Fiction Day Link

Happy Science Fiction Day! What better way to celebrate the day than with a few sci-fi stories that travel across the stars on space voyages filled with political intrigue, suspense, thrills, and the deep connection humans make with each other. These books defy the odds, raise the stakes, and make you wonder what lives beyond the galaxies we see every night.

The Genesis of Misery by Neon Yang 

It’s an old, familiar story: a young person hears the voice of an angel saying they have been chosen as a warrior to lead their people to victory in a holy war.

But Misery Nomaki (she/they) knows they are a fraud.

Raised on a remote moon colony, they don’t believe in any kind of god. Their angel is a delusion, brought on by hereditary space exposure. Yet their survival banks on mastering the holy mech they are supposedly destined for, and convincing the Emperor of the Faithful that they are the real deal.

The deeper they get into their charade, however, the more they start to doubt their convictions. What if this, all of it, is real?

A reimagining of Joan of Arc’s story given a space opera, giant robot twist, the Nullvoid Chronicles is a story about the nature of truth, the power of belief, and the interplay of both in the stories we tell ourselves.

A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine

Ambassador Mahit Dzmare arrives in the center of the multi-system Teixcalaanli Empire only to discover that her predecessor, the previous ambassador from their small but fiercely independent mining Station, has died. But no one will admit that his death wasn’t an accident–or that Mahit might be next to die, during a time of political instability in the highest echelons of the imperial court.

Now, Mahit must discover who is behind the murder, rescue herself, and save her Station from Teixcalaan’s unceasing expansion–all while navigating an alien culture that is all too seductive, engaging in intrigues of her own, and hiding a deadly technological secret–one that might spell the end of her Station and her way of life–or rescue it from annihilation.

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir 

Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission–and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish. Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.

All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.

His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, Ryland realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Hurtling through space on this tiny ship, it’s up to him to puzzle out an impossible scientific mystery–and conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.

And with the clock ticking down and the nearest human being light-years away, he’s got to do it all alone.

Or does he?

Vagabonds by Hao Jingfang

A century after the Martian war of independence, a group of kids are sent to Earth as delegates from Mars, but when they return home, they are caught between the two worlds, unable to reconcile the beauty and culture of Mars with their experiences on Earth in this “thoughtful debut” (Kirkus Reviews) from Hugo Award-winning author Hao Jingfang.

This “masterful narrative” (Booklist, starred review) is set on Earth in the wake of a second civil war…not between two factions in one nation, but two factions in one solar system: Mars and Earth. In an attempt to repair increasing tensions, the colonies of Mars send a group of young people to live on Earth to help reconcile humanity. But the group finds itself with no real home, no friends, and fractured allegiances as they struggle to find a sense of community and identity trapped between two worlds.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Rosemary Harper doesn’t expect much when she joins the crew of the aging Wayfarer. While the patched-up ship has seen better days, it offers her a bed, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and most importantly, some distance from her past. An introspective young woman who learned early to keep to herself, she’s never met anyone remotely like the ship’s diverse crew, including Sissix, the exotic reptilian pilot, chatty engineers Kizzy and Jenks who keep the ship running, and Ashby, their noble captain.

Life aboard the Wayfarer is chaotic and crazy–exactly what Rosemary wants. It’s also about to get extremely dangerous when the crew is offered the job of a lifetime. Tunneling wormholes through space to a distant planet is definitely lucrative and will keep them comfortable for years. But risking her life wasn’t part of the plan. In the far reaches of deep space, the tiny Wayfarer crew will confront a host of unexpected mishaps and thrilling adventures that force them to depend on each other. To survive, Rosemary’s got to learn how to rely on this assortment of oddballs–an experience that teaches her about love and trust, and that having a family isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the universe.

Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich 

The world as we know it is ending. Evolution has reversed itself, affecting every living creature on earth. Science cannot stop the world from running backwards, as woman after woman gives birth to infants that appear to be primitive species of humans. Twenty-six-year-old Cedar Hawk Songmaker, adopted daughter of a pair of big-hearted, open-minded Minneapolis liberals, is as disturbed and uncertain as the rest of America around her. But for Cedar, this change is profound and deeply personal. She is four months pregnant.

Though she wants to tell the adoptive parents who raised her from infancy, Cedar first feels compelled to find her birth mother, Mary Potts, an Ojibwe living on the reservation, to understand both her and her baby’s origins. As Cedar goes back to her own biological beginnings, society around her begins to disintegrate, fueled by a swelling panic about the end of humanity.

There are rumors of martial law, of Congress confining pregnant women. Of a registry, and rewards for those who turn these wanted women in. Flickering through the chaos are signs of increasing repression: a shaken Cedar witnesses a family wrenched apart when police violently drag a mother from her husband and child in a parking lot. The streets of her neighborhood have been renamed with Bible verses. A stranger answers the phone when she calls her adoptive parents, who have vanished without a trace. It will take all Cedar has to avoid the prying eyes of potential informants and keep her baby safe.

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

Spensa’s world has been under attack for decades. Now pilots are the heroes of what’s left of the human race, and becoming one has always been Spensa’s dream. Since she was a little girl, she has imagined soaring skyward and proving her bravery. But her fate is intertwined with her father’s–a pilot himself who was killed years ago when he abruptly deserted his team, leaving Spensa’s chances of attending flight school at slim to none.

No one will let Spensa forget what her father did, yet fate works in mysterious ways. Flight school might be a long shot, but she is determined to fly. And an accidental discovery in a long-forgotten cavern might just provide her with a way to claim the stars.

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

Himba girl with the chance of a lifetime: to attend the prestigious Oomza University. Despite her family’s concerns, Binti’s talent for mathematics and her aptitude with astrolabes make her a prime candidate to undertake this interstellar journey.

But everything changes when the jellyfish-like Medusae attack Binti’s spaceship, leaving her the only survivor. Now, Binti must fend for herself, alone on a ship full of the beings who murdered her crew, with five days until she reaches her destination.

There is more to the history of the Medusae–and their war with the Khoush–than first meets the eye. If Binti is to survive this voyage and save the inhabitants of the unsuspecting planet that houses Oomza Uni, it will take all of her knowledge and talents to broker the peace.

But even if Binti achieves this remarkable feat, it’s not the end of her story. For this lone Himba woman, now bonded with a Medusa and forever changed by this bond, still must find a way to survive and thrive at Oomza University amid swirling interspecies biases. And eventually, she must return home to test the strength of the fragile peace she worked so hard to win.

August Kitko and the Mechas from Space by Alex White

Jazz pianist Gus Kitko expected to spend his final moments on Earth playing piano at the greatest goodbye party of all time, and maybe kissing rockstar Ardent Violet, before the last of humanity is wiped out forever by the Vanguards–ultra-powerful robots from the dark heart of space, hell-bent on destroying humanity for reasons none can divine.

But when the Vanguards arrive, the unthinkable happens–the mecha that should be killing Gus instead saves him. Suddenly, Gus’s swan song becomes humanity’s encore, as he is chosen to join a small group of traitorous Vanguards and their pilots dedicated to saving humanity.

Do You Dream of Terra-Two? by Temi Oh

A century ago, an astronomer discovered an Earth-like planet orbiting a nearby star. She predicted that one day humans would travel there to build a utopia. Today, ten astronauts are leaving everything behind to find it. Four are veterans of the twentieth century’s space-race.

And six are teenagers who’ve trained for this mission most of their lives.

It will take the team twenty-three years to reach Terra-Two. Twenty-three years locked in close quarters. Twenty-three years with no one to rely on but each other. Twenty-three years with no rescue possible, should something go wrong.

And something always goes wrong.

Best practices for influencers working with publicists

I’ve been a Bookstagram influencer for six years now. Throughout that time, I’ve worked with many different publishing houses, promoted books to my audience, reviewed some lovely and incredible new favorites, and made some strong relationships with publicists. The experience of working with a publishing house to help promote a book is incredible. I feel like I am really helping authors and their books get the recognition and love they deserve.

When I became a publicist, I finally got a chance to see what goes on behind the scenes. I love helping authors promote their books and one of my favorite ways to do it is reaching out to influencers and sending them books in exchange for a post. With platforms and communities like BookTok and Bookstagram, it is a great way to reach a large audience and share some buzz about an upcoming book!

While posting about a book isn’t required, publicists do send books to influencers in the hopes they’ll cover it on their page. There’s a silent exchange between the two groups that all culminate to one big goal: helping an author’s book receive some great coverage online.

Seeing how both sides of the email exchange work, here’s a few helpful best practices for influencers to keep in mind when working with a publicist:

Request books that you’ll want to read and promote

If you’re like me then you probably collect books that you hope to get to in the future. I’m always tempted by all the intriguing blurbs and authors putting out new books I haven’t heard of! But it’s also good practice to remember what you’ll actually want to share with your followers. Request the books you’ll have time to read and review and that will avoid the messy scramble to post when it comes time to post.

If you don’t have time to review the book, a spotlight always helps!

The best part of publicity is that there’s so many kinds. Reading and reviewing the book is always a great option, but life sometimes gets in the way. In those cases, you can always opt to do a spotlight instead! Include a little bit about your excitement for the book, share the book on pub day and congratulate the author on this occasion, or share the synopsis in your caption. The options are endless! You can also share a reading list of books on your TBR or maybe even a book mail post sharing your excitement for a new story.

Stay in contact with the publicist

While most publicists keep an eye out for all the coverage a book receives throughout the campaign, it’s always helpful to share the links with them. This extra step not only helps the publicist out, but also gives the publicist encouragement to share more books with you in the future. Building that working relationship with a publicist will come in handy when you see something you’d like to request!

It’s okay if you’re not able to post on pub day

As an influencer, I have a separate calendar I keep to coordinate all the books and their pub days. This ensures that I share or read the books by that date, but sometimes things fall through the cracks. And that’s okay! The great thing about publicity is that it is ongoing, and while a book may have already published, there’s always room for more promotion!

Share your post across multiple platforms

Another great thing about social media is how you can connect your platforms together. If you’ve posted your review on Goodreads, you can quickly send a tweet telling your followers! Why not also share your Booktok post on your Instagram account or even on your Facebook feed! The more eyes on a book, the better and all that social media sharing helps boost your follower count as well.

Avoid sharing negative book reviews with the author

Not every book is going to be for every reader and sometimes you’ll request a book that you didn’t like. That’s okay and that’s the brilliant part of being an influencer; people trust you for your honest opinion. If you do end up disliking a book, go ahead and share your thoughts. Just keep in mind that the author may not want to see it and avoid sharing those thoughts with them. Book reviews are mainly for readers to find out more about a book!

African-inspired fantasy books for Wakanda Forever

Happy Wakanda Forever, everyone! If you’re like me and you fall madly in love with fictional worlds on the screen, then you’ll probably be searching for fictional books that carry the same vibe. Well, we have a great list of African-inspired fantasy books to hold you over before Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hits the big screen.

The Final Strife by Saara El-Arifi

Sylah dreams of days growing up in the resistance, being told she would spark a revolution that would free the empire from the red-blooded ruling classes’ tyranny. That spark was extinguished the day she watched her family murdered before her eyes.

Anoor has been told she’s nothing, no one, a disappointment, by the only person who matters: her mother, the most powerful ruler in the empire. But when Sylah and Anoor meet, a fire burns between them that could consume the kingdom—and their hearts.

Hassa moves through the world unseen by upper classes, so she knows what it means to be invisible. But invisibility has its uses: It can hide the most dangerous of secrets, secrets that can reignite a revolution. And when she joins forces with Sylah and Anoor, together these grains of sand will become a storm.

As the empire begins a set of trials of combat and skill designed to find its new leaders, the stage is set for blood to flow, power to shift, and cities to burn.

Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

Tarisai has always longed for the warmth of a family. She was raised in isolation by a mysterious, often absent mother known only as The Lady. The Lady sends her to the capital of the global empire of Aritsar to compete with other children to be chosen as one of the Crown Prince’s Council of 11. If she’s picked, she’ll be joined with the other Council members through the Ray, a bond deeper than blood. That closeness is irresistible to Tarisai, who has always wanted to belong somewhere. But The Lady has other ideas, including a magical wish that Tarisai is compelled to obey: Kill the Crown Prince once she gains his trust. Tarisai won’t stand by and become someone’s pawn—but is she strong enough to choose a different path for herself?

The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winters

The Omehi people have been fighting an unwinnable fight for almost two hundred years. Their society has been built around war and only war. The lucky ones are born gifted. One in every two thousand women has the power to call down dragons. One in every hundred men is able to magically transform himself into a bigger, stronger, faster killing machine.

Everyone else is fodder, destined to fight and die in the endless war. Young, gift-less Tau knows all this, but he has a plan of escape. He’s going to get himself injured, get out early, and settle down to marriage, children, and land. Only, he doesn’t get the chance. Those closest to him are brutally murdered, and his grief swiftly turns to anger. Fixated on revenge, Tau dedicates himself to an unthinkable path. He’ll become the greatest swordsman to ever live, a man willing to die a hundred thousand times for the chance to kill the three who betrayed him.

Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray

Magic doesn’t exist in the broken city of Lkossa anymore, especially for girls like sixteen-year-old Koffi. Indentured to the notorious Night Zoo, she cares for its fearsome and magical creatures to pay off her family’s debts and secure their eventual freedom. But the night her loved ones’ own safety is threatened by the Zoo’s cruel master, Koffi unleashes a power she doesn’t fully understand–and the consequences are dire.

As the second son of a decorated hero, Ekon is all but destined to become a Son of the Six–an elite warrior–and uphold a family legacy. But on the night of his final rite of passage, a fire upends his plans. In its midst, Ekon not only encounters the Shetani–a vicious monster that has plagued the city and his nightmares for nearly a century–but a curious girl who seems to have the power to ward off the beast. Koffi’s power ultimately saves Ekon’s life, but his choice to let her flee dooms his hopes of becoming a warrior.

Desperate to redeem himself, Ekon vows to hunt the Shetani down and end its reign of terror, but he can’t do it alone. Meanwhile, Koffi believes finding the Shetani and selling it for a profit could be the key to solving her own problems. Koffi and Ekon–each keeping their true motives secret from the other–form a tentative alliance and enter into the unknowns of the Greater Jungle, a world steeped in wild magic and untold dangers. The hunt begins. But it quickly becomes unclear whether they are the hunters or the hunted.

Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen

Simi prayed to the gods, once. Now she serves them as Mami Wata–a mermaid–collecting the souls of those who die at sea and blessing their journeys back home.

But when a living boy is thrown overboard, Simi goes against an ancient decree and does the unthinkable–she saves his life. And punishment awaits those who dare to defy the gods.

To protect the other Mami Wata, Simi must journey to the Supreme Creator to make amends. But all is not as it seems. There’s the boy she rescued, who knows more than he should. And something is shadowing Simi, something that would rather see her fail . . .

Danger lurks at every turn, and as Simi draws closer, she must brave vengeful gods, treacherous lands, and legendary creatures. Because if she fails, she risks not only the fate of all Mami Wata, but also the world as she knows it.

A Master of Djinn by P. Djeli Clark

Cairo, 1912: Though Fatma el-Sha’arawi is the youngest woman working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, she’s certainly not a rookie, especially after preventing the destruction of the universe last summer.

So when someone murders a secret brotherhood dedicated to one of the most famous men in history, al-Jahiz, Agent Fatma is called onto the case. Al-Jahiz transformed the world 50 years ago when he opened up the veil between the magical and mundane realms, before vanishing into the unknown. This murderer claims to be al-Jahiz, returned to condemn the modern age for its social oppressions. His dangerous magical abilities instigate unrest in the streets of Cairo that threaten to spill over onto the global stage.

Alongside her Ministry colleagues and her clever girlfriend Siti, Agent Fatma must unravel the mystery behind this imposter to restore peace to the city – or face the possibility he could be exactly who he seems….

A Song of Wraith and Ruins by Roseanne A Brown

For Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to escape his war-stricken home and start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But when a vengeful spirit abducts Malik’s younger sister, Nadia, as payment into the city, Malik strikes a fatal deal—kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, for Nadia’s freedom.

But Karina has deadly aspirations of her own. Her mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated; her court threatens mutiny; and Solstasia looms like a knife over her neck. Grief-stricken, Karina decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic . . . requiring the beating heart of a king. And she knows just how to obtain one: by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition.

When Malik rigs his way into the contest, they are set on a course to destroy each other. But as attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, will they be able to see their tasks to the death?

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.

But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.

Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat.

Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

Akata Witch transports the reader to a magical place where nothing is quite as it seems. Born in New York, but living in Aba, Nigeria, twelve-year old Sunny is understandably a little lost. She is albino and thus, incredibly sensitive to the sun. All Sunny wants to do is be able to play football and get through another day of school without being bullied. But once she befriends Orlu and Chichi, Sunny is plunged in to the world of the Leopard People, where your worst defect becomes your greatest asset. Together, Sunny, Orlu, Chichi and Sasha form the youngest ever Oha Coven. Their mission is to track down Black Hat Otokoto, the man responsible for kidnapping and maiming children. Will Sunny be able to overcome the killer with powers stronger than her own, or will the future she saw in the flames become reality?

Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi

In the walled city of Kos, corrupt mages can magically call forth sin from a sinner in the form of sin-beasts – lethal creatures spawned from feelings of guilt.

Taj is the most talented of the aki, young sin-eaters indentured by the mages to slay the sin-beasts. But Taj’s livelihood comes at a terrible cost. When he kills a sin-beast, a tattoo of the beast appears on his skin while the guilt of committing the sin appears on his mind. Most aki are driven mad by the process, but 17-year-old Taj is cocky and desperate to provide for his family.

When Taj is called to eat a sin of a royal, he’s suddenly thrust into the center of a dark conspiracy to destroy Kos. Now Taj must fight to save the princess that he loves – and his own life.

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

In the first novel in Marlon James’s Dark Star trilogy, myth, fantasy, and history come together to explore what happens when a mercenary is hired to find a missing child.

Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter: “He has a nose,” people say. Engaged to track down a mysterious boy who disappeared three years earlier, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group that comes together to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as Leopard.

Drawing from African history and mythology and his own rich imagination, Marlon James has written an adventure that’s also an ambitious, involving read. Defying categorization and full of unforgettable characters, Black Leopard, Red Wolf explores the fundamentals of truths, the limits of power, the excesses of ambition, and our need to understand them all.

Magical expert determined to outsmart mysterious mask

Journey across the U.S. in fast-paced and witty steampunk fantasy

Nashville, TN – Brace for a very wild adventure across the U.S. in Honor Raconteur’s Rise of the Catalyst (Raconteur House LLC, May 31, 2022). Follow Arwen Arnoult, a no-nonsense visually-impaired magical retrieval expert who uses her magical senses to uncover the truth behind magical artifacts. When she’s approached by the director of the Boston Museum with a mysterious mask, she and her companion, Flo McGrath, are baffled by its energy and origins. But they’re not ready to give up sending them off on a journey towards the U.S. Southwest to return it to where it belongs…maybe.

One ancient mask with earth-bending powers searching for a bearer. One magical retrieval expert who is determined to seal it back in its tomb.

At the moment, both are failing at their goals, but Arwen is not about to be bested. So what if she doesn’t know what culture it’s from or where to put it back. She’s smarter than a semi-sentient mask. Hopefully. But if the thrice-cursed mask breaks out of her seal one more time, she’s melting it with prejudice, magical backlash be damned.

“Rise of the Catalyst”
Honor Raconteur | May 31, 2022 | Raconteur House LLC
Steampunk Fantasy
ebook | ASIN: B09VCX18JV | $4.99


HONOR RACONTEUR: Ever since Honor Raconteur was a toddler, she has been making up stories. She would entertain anyone willing to listen to her wild fantasies about unicorns and gargoyles and amazing people. At 13, she started writing the stories down. At 23, she finished the first book that was good enough to publish.

She put Jaunten out as an ebook, created a website and forum so that fans could communicate with her, and spread the word as best she could. Within three months, Jaunten was selling internationally. Within five months, Honor was making enough to quit the day job and sit at home, writing full time.

Honor has continued to write and publish the rest of her books through Raconteur House. When she’s not writing or editing, Honor likes to go out into the community and give presentations of how to be an author. Even if Honor abruptly stopped selling books tomorrow, she would still continue to write. Creating characters and worlds is that much fun. You can find Honor on her website: https://honorraconteur.com

In an interview, Honor Raconteur can discuss:

  • The Case Files of Henri Davenforth series
  • Writing a visually impaired main character
  • Creating a strong female duo in Arwen and Flo and how they help each other through adversity
  • Creating an alternate history from actual events
  • Writing humor without removing the seriousness of the story
  • The importance of found family for Arwen

An Interview with Honor Raconteur

This isn’t your first fantasy novel, but it’s the first one including a lot of historical research to back up your story. What was that process like?

Every story takes a lot of research, really. This one was more arduous than most. I teamed up with a historian and spent six months learning about the Anasazi, what 1907 America was like, etc.

What was your approach with writing a visually impaired character?

I asked a lot of questions of people who are visually impaired. I took what they told me, refined it down to parameters for my character, and hopefully have created someone that is both unique but relatable.

How does creating Rise of the Catalyst differ from the other novels you’ve written?

It’s far more alternate history based than anything else I’ve written. Most of my career, I wrote high fantasy. Steampunk is something I’m relatively new to but I’m enjoying this blend of science and magic very much.

What were some of the challenges of recreating actual historical events?

Not being able to just write my own rules, honestly. That was the real challenge. I had a lot of notes, timelines, maps of that area, all over my desk just to help me keep things straight.

There’s also a lot of humor in this story while still being a serious fantasy. How do you balance the two?

Isn’t that how life really is, though? Nothing is always serious, or always funny, it’s a blend of the two throughout the day. I try to keep that vibe in my writing. I’m really just following my character around and writing up the incident report, so of course she’d do funny things too, or so I’d think.

While Arwen and Flo are work partners, they also seem very close. What was it like to write these two characters and their relationship?

I knew going into the story that Arwen would need a full team, and she’d have to have a female companion according to the rules of society of that time. She wouldn’t have been allowed out of the house otherwise. I created Flo for her as not only a helper, but a friend, as she needed one.

What can we expect from Arwen in the future?

All of the magical shenanigans. Not to mention her sassing ancient artifacts that keep trying to escape her seals.

Download press kit and photos

Six wibbly wobbly timey wimey books to read before the next Dr. Strange movie

There’s nothing that excites me more than a science fiction story that defies the laws of physics. Whether it’s traversing time, space, or even the multiverse, these books will hype you up before Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness comes out May 21.

This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El Mohir and Max Gladstone: Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandment finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading. Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, becomes something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future. Except the discovery of their bond would mean the death of each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win. That’s how war works, right?

Middlegame by Seanan McGuire: Meet Roger. Skilled with words, languages come easily to him. He instinctively understands how the world works through the power of story. Meet Dodger, his twin. Numbers are her world, her obsession, her everything. All she understands, she does so through the power of math. Roger and Dodger aren’t exactly human, though they don’t realize it. They aren’t exactly gods, either. Not entirely. Not yet. Meet Reed, skilled in the alchemical arts like his progenitor before him. Reed created Dodger and her brother. He’s not their father. Not quite. But he has a plan: to raise the twins to the highest power, to ascend with them and claim their authority as his own. Godhood is attainable. Pray it isn’t attained.

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson: Multiverse travel is finally possible, but there’s just one catch: No one can visit a world where their counterpart is still alive. Enter Cara, whose parallel selves happen to be exceptionally good at dying–from disease, turf wars, or vendettas they couldn’t outrun. Cara’s life has been cut short on 372 worlds in total. On this dystopian Earth, however, Cara has survived. Identified as an outlier and therefore a perfect candidate for multiverse travel, Cara is plucked from the dirt of the wastelands. Now what once made her marginalized has finally become an unexpected source of power. She has a nice apartment on the lower levels of the wealthy and walled-off Wiley City. She works–and shamelessly flirts–with her enticing yet aloof handler, Dell, as the two women collect off-world data for the Eldridge Institute. She even occasionally leaves the city to visit her family in the wastes, though she struggles to feel at home in either place. So long as she can keep her head down and avoid trouble, Cara is on a sure path to citizenship and security. But trouble finds Cara when one of her eight remaining doppelgängers dies under mysterious circumstances, plunging her into a new world with an old secret. What she discovers will connect her past and her future in ways she could have never imagined–and reveal her own role in a plot that endangers not just her world but the entire multiverse.

Kindred by Octavia E Butler: Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned to save him. Dana is drawn back repeatedly through time to the slave quarters, and each time the stay grows longer, more arduous, and more dangerous until it is uncertain whether or not Dana’s life will end, long before it has a chance to begin.

Recursion by Blake Crouch: Reality is broken. At first, it looks like a disease. An epidemic that spreads through no known means, driving its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived. But the force that’s sweeping the world is no pathogen. It’s just the first shock wave, unleashed by a stunning discovery–and what’s in jeopardy is not our minds but the very fabric of time itself. In New York City, Detective Barry Sutton is closing in on the truth–and in a remote laboratory, neuroscientist Helena Smith is unaware that she alone holds the key to this mystery . . . and the tools for fighting back. Together, Barry and Helena will have to confront their enemy–before they, and the world, are trapped in a loop of ever-growing chaos.

A Spindle Splintered by Alix E. Harrow: It’s Zinnia Gray’s twenty-first birthday, which is extra-special because it’s the last birthday she’ll ever have. When she was young, an industrial accident left Zinnia with a rare condition. Not much is known about her illness, just that no-one has lived past twenty-one. Her best friend Charm is intent on making Zinnia’s last birthday special with a full sleeping beauty experience, complete with a tower and a spinning wheel. But when Zinnia pricks her finger, something strange and unexpected happens, and she finds herself falling through worlds, with another sleeping beauty, just as desperate to escape her fate.

5 vampire books to read ahead of Morbius release

What’s scarier than a blood-sucking creature that hunts in the dark? With Morbius coming to theaters soon, here’s a list for a little paranormal reading with your favorite vampiric main characters:

Interview with the Vampire, by Anne Rice: Before vampires sparkled in the sun, they wandered the dark streets of New Orleans filled with angst and other morally grey decisions. Anne Rice is famous for the modern definition of vampire, which is why it’s the first book on our list.

Vampires Never Get Old, edited by Zoraida Cordova: If you’re a fan of short stories, we highly recommend this one. You’ll devour these delightful bites told by some of the best modern YA authors. From social media vampires to vampires coming out, you’ll definitely find a story to sink your teeth into.
Follow Zoraida on Twitter and Instagram.

The Coldest Touch by Isabel Sterling: What if you had the ability to touch someone and see how they die? Well, that’s what happens to Elise Beaumont who has the ability to see how someone dies just by touching them. But when she meets Claire Montgomery, a vampire, it’s more than just a partnership that forms between them. After all, you can’t see someone’s death if they’re already dead.
Follow Isabel on Twitter and Instagram.

Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: In Mexico City, Domingo is just a kid living on the streets trying to stay alive while vampires roam the streets. But Atl is a vampire trying to escape the city when she comes across Domingo. Together, they try to find a way to escape the city, the vampires, and narco-vampire clan pursuing them.
Follow Silvia on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris: If you were a fan of True Blood, then you’ll definitely need to read the books that inspired the show. Similarly to Anne Rice, Charlaine Harris brings vampires to Louisiana in this Southern gothic romance. As waitress Sookie Stackhouse meets the vampire of her dreams, she must decide if he’ll make a good boyfriend.

Anti-hero fantasy books to read before Witcher season 2

Toss a coin to your witcher because Season 2 of The Witcher is fast approaching. And we’re all ready for the new adventures of our anti-hero, Geralt. But just before we get into the new season, here’s a few anti-hero fantasy stories to keep your blood pumping before the premiere:

Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski: For over a century, humans, dwarves, gnomes, and elves have lived together in relative peace. But times have changed, the uneasy peace is over, and now the races are fighting once again. The only good elf, it seems, is a dead elf. Geralt of Rivia, the cunning hunter known as the Witcher, has been waiting for the birth of a prophesied child. This child has the power to change the world for good–or for evil. As the threat of war hangs over the land and the child is hunted for her extraordinary powers, it will become Geralt’s responsibility to protect them all. And the Witcher never accepts defeat.

The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter: The Omehi people have been fighting an unwinnable war for almost two hundred years. The lucky ones are born gifted. One in every two thousand women has the power to call down dragons. One in every hundred men is able to magically transform himself into a bigger, stronger, faster killing machine. Everyone else is fodder, destined to fight and die in the endless war. Young, gift-less Tau knows all this, but he has a plan of escape. He’s going to get himself injured, get out early, and settle down to marriage, children, and land. Only, he doesn’t get the chance. Those closest to him are brutally murdered, and his grief swiftly turns to anger. Fixated on revenge, Tau dedicates himself to an unthinkable path. He’ll become the greatest swordsman to ever live, a man willing to die a hundred thousand times for the chance to kill the three who betrayed him.

The Mask of Mirrors by MA Carrick: Arenza Lenskaya is a liar and a thief, a pattern-reader and a daughter of no clan. Raised in the slums of Nadezra, she fled that world to save her sister. Renata Viraudax is a con artist recently arrived in Nadezra. She has one goal: to trick her way into a noble house and secure her fortune. But the deeper she is drawn into the aristocratic world of House Traementis, the more she realizes her masquerade is just one of many. And as corrupt magic begins to weave its way through the city’s streets, the poisonous feuds of its aristocrats and the shadowy dangers of its impoverished underbelly become tangled–with Ren at their heart.

The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie: Logen Ninefingers, infamous barbarian, has finally run out of luck. Caught in one feud too many, he’s on the verge of becoming a dead barbarian — leaving nothing behind him but bad songs, dead friends, and a lot of happy enemies. Nobleman, dashing officer, and paragon of selfishness, Captain Jezal dan Luthar has nothing more dangerous in mind than fleecing his friends at cards and dreaming of glory in the fencing circle. But war is brewing, and on the battlefields of the frozen North they fight by altogether bloodier rules. Inquisitor Glokta, cripple turned torturer, would like nothing better than to see Jezal come home in a box. But then Glokta hates everyone: cutting treason out of the Union one confession at a time leaves little room for friendship. His latest trail of corpses may lead him right to the rotten heart of government, if he can stay alive long enough to follow it. Enter the wizard, Bayaz. A bald old man with a terrible temper and a pathetic assistant, he could be the First of the Magi, he could be a spectacular fraud, but whatever he is, he’s about to make the lives of Logen, Jezal, and Glokta a whole lot more difficult. Murderous conspiracies rise to the surface, old scores are ready to be settled, and the line between hero and villain is sharp enough to draw blood.

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb: Young Fitz is the bastard son of the noble Prince Chivalry, raised in the shadow of the royal court by his father’s gruff stableman. He is treated as an outcast by all the royalty except the devious King Shrewd, who has him secretly tutored in the arts of the assassin. For in Fitz’s blood runs the magic Skill–and the darker knowledge of a child raised with the stable hounds and rejected by his family. As barbarous raiders ravage the coasts, Fitz is growing to manhood. Soon he will face his first dangerous, soul-shattering mission. And though some regard him as a threat to the throne, he may just be the key to the survival of the kingdom.

The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht: The city of Elendhaven sulks on the edge of the ocean. Wracked by plague, abandoned by the South, stripped of industry and left to die. But not everything dies so easily. A thing without a name stalks the city, a thing shaped like a man, with a dark heart and long pale fingers yearning to wrap around throats. A monster who cannot die. His frail master sends him out on errands, twisting him with magic, crafting a plan too cruel to name, while the monster’s heart grows fonder and colder and more cunning. These monsters of Elendhaven will have their revenge on everyone who wronged the city, even if they have to burn the world to do it.

The Unbroken by CL Clark: Stolen as a child and raised to kill and die for the empire, her only loyalty is to her fellow conscripts. But now, her company has been sent back to her homeland to stop a rebellion, and the ties of blood may be stronger than she thought. Luca needs a turncoat. Someone desperate enough to tiptoe the bayonet’s edge between treason and orders. Someone who can sway the rebels toward peace, while Luca focuses on what really matters: getting her uncle off her throne. Through assassinations and massacres, in bedrooms and war rooms, Touraine and Luca will haggle over the price of a nation. But some things aren’t for sale.

A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab: Kell is one of the last Antari–magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black. Kell was raised in Arnes–Red London–and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand. After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure. Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

Second Chance Romances to Read While Listening to RED (Taylor’s Version)

Taylor Swift’s RED was the first album I ever listened to in full by the artist. Mostly, it’s because I’m an older millennial and the years prior to my discovery of Taylor Swift were spent listening to angsty metal and punk rock.

But something happened when I listened to RED. Perhaps it was the nasty breakup I was dealing with or that time period in my life where I felt like I had nothing together, but this album helped me get through the rough patch.

With RED (Taylor’s version) about to release, I couldn’t help waxing nostalgic and looking back at the album. When I think of this album, I think of a lot of second chance romances. Perhaps it’s the theme of this record; looking back at old times, wondering how that person’s been doing, trying not to fall back into old habits, and possibly letting them in once again.

Twice in a Lifetime by Clare Lydon
When her first love walks back into her life, Harriet Locke is thrown – because Sally McCall still looks as gorgeous as ever. The trouble is, Sally doesn’t trust Harriet, and with good reason: she hasn’t forgotten the past. Sally loved her once, but 17 years later, is that still the case? And if it is, there’s just the small matter of living in different states, as well as convincing Sally she’s worth taking a chance on again. Will Harriet and Sally be lucky enough to find love twice in a lifetime?

Once Ghosted, Twice Shy by Alyssa Cole
While her boss the prince was busy wooing his betrothed, Likotsi had her own love affair after swiping right on a dating app. But her romance had ended in heartbreak, and now, back in NYC again, she’s determined to rediscover her joy–so of course she runs into the woman who broke her heart. When Likotsi and Fabiola meet again on a stalled subway train months later, Fab asks for just one cup of tea. Likotsi, hoping to know why she was unceremoniously dumped, agrees. Tea and food soon leads to them exploring the city together, and their past, with Fab slowly revealing why she let Likotsi go, and both of them wondering if they can turn this second chance into a happily ever after.

Beard Necessities by Penny Reid
Billy Winston’s family is going to see him happy and in love if it’s the last thing they do.
No one deserves a happily-ever-after quite as much as the second oldest Winston brother and his lady love, Claire McClure (aka Scarlet St. Claire). Cruelty and circumstance tore them apart almost twenty years ago. Secrecy and bitterness kept them separated. But you know who’s tired of their separation and stubbornness? Everyone. Especially Billy Winston’s family. And now they’re going to do something about it. Well-meaning interference means the star-crossed lovers can’t stop tripping over each other in the hills of Tuscany, the catacombs of Rome, and the waterways of Venice. Billy and Claire find themselves thrown together and at the mercy of the Winston siblings‘ shenanigans.

Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai
One night. No one will know. That was the deal. Every year, Livvy Kane and Nicholas Chandler would share one perfect night of illicit pleasure. The forbidden hours let them forget the tragedy that haunted their pasts–and the last names that made them enemies.
Until the night she didn’t show up. Now Nicholas has an empire to run. He doesn’t have time for distractions and Livvy’s sudden reappearance in town is a major distraction. She’s the one woman he shouldn’t want . . . so why can’t he forget how right she feels in his bed?
Livvy didn’t come home for Nicholas, but fate seems determined to remind her of his presence–and their past. Although the passion between them might have once run hot and deep, not even love can overcome the scandal that divided their families.
Being together might be against all the rules . . . but being apart is impossible.

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
In her twenties, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure. On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever. Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness. That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiancé, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants, while trying to protect the ones she loves. Who is her one true love? What does it mean to love truly? Emma knows she has to listen to her heart. She’s just not sure what it’s saying.

Fumbled by Alexa Martin
A second chance doesn’t guarantee a touchdown in this new contemporary romance from the author of Intercepted. Single-mother Poppy Patterson moved across the country when she was sixteen and pregnant to find a new normal. After years of hard work, she’s built a life she loves. It may include a job at a nightclub, weekend soccer games, and more stretch marks than she anticipated, but it’s all hers, and nobody can take that away. Well, except for one person.
T.K. Moore, the starting wide receiver for the Denver Mustangs, dreamt his entire life about being in the NFL. His world is football, parties, and women. Maybe at one point he thought his future would play out with his high school sweetheart by his side, but Poppy is long gone and he’s moved on. When Poppy and TK cross paths in the most unlikely of places, emotions they’ve suppressed for years come rushing back. But with all the secrets they never told each other lying between them, they’ll need more than a dating playbook to help them navigate their relationship.

Recipe for Persuasion by Sonali Dev
Chef Ashna Raje desperately needs a new strategy. How else can she save her beloved restaurant and prove to her estranged, overachieving mother that she isn’t a complete screw up? When she’s asked to join the cast of Cooking with the Stars, the latest hit reality show teaming chefs with celebrities, it seems like just the leap of faith she needs to put her restaurant back on the map. She’s a chef, what’s the worst that could happen? Rico Silva, that’s what. Being paired with a celebrity who was her first love, the man who ghosted her at the worst possible time in her life, only proves what Ashna has always believed: leaps of faith are a recipe for disaster. FIFA winning soccer star Rico Silva isn’t too happy to be paired up with Ashna either. Losing Ashna years ago almost destroyed him. The only silver lining to this bizarre situation is that he can finally prove to Ashna that he’s definitely over her.
But when their catastrophic first meeting goes viral, social media becomes obsessed with their chemistry. The competition on the show is fierce…and so is the simmering desire between Ashna and Rico. Every minute they spend together rekindles feelings that pull them toward their disastrous past. Will letting go again be another recipe for heartbreak–or a recipe for persuasion…?

 

Eight bookish podcasts to check out on International Podcast Day!

Happy International Podcast Day! As readers, we don’t just read books — we also participate in tons of extracurricular activities involving books. We talk about books, join book clubs, look for great reviews, and writte as well.

One of the biggest ways we discuss books is through podcasts, and not only are there shows about specific books, but there are podcasts on books for your radar, book club podcasts, and even writing podcasts for authors. There’s a little bit for every reader and author on this list, so I hope you give one a listen.

All the Books at Book Riot

If you want to keep up with what’s new and cool in the bookish world, then All the Books from Book Riot is your go-to. With new episodes every week, the hosts share what’s new and trendy that’s being published. With expert recommendations, you’ll definitely keep abreast of what’s publishing at all times.

The Stacks Podcast

If you’re looking to join a book club without the stress of going to meetings, hearing expert author interviews, or discovering books you may not have heard before, then The Stacks Podcast may be the one for you. Offering everything you’d need to be as prolific a reader as you can be, the Stacks Podcast hosted by Traci Thomas has it all.

The Maris Review

If you’re a fan of listening to author interviews, then this is the podcast for you. Hosted by Maris Kreizman, the podcast features some incredible authors of today, includes exciting topics to discuss, and learning a little bit about the authors we all so love and adore.

Minorities in Publishing

Unlike the other podcasts on this list, Minorities in Publishing discusses the deeper and wider expanse of publishing. Specifically, it discusses the diversity (or lack thereof) in publishing, sharing interviews with publishing experts and authors and their experiences within the publishing industry.

Deadline City

Hosted by YA authors Zoraida Cordova and Dhonielle Clayton, get a look into the process of creating a book, expert author interviews, and learning what it’s like to be a popular writer! If you’re an author trying to get your book going, this podcast may give you the encouragement you need.

Beyond the Trope

If you’re a fan of SFF books, then this is the podcast for you. With interviews from today’s greatest SFF authors, you’ll not only find new books to read but completely unraptured by why these authors wrote these books. It’s a great way to dive deeper into the writing process, especially for those massive SFF worlds.

Black Chick Lit

If you’re looking for more diversity in your reading life, check out Black Chick Lit. This bi-monthly podcast covers not only books written by Black women, but also about Black women. Discussing some of the latest novels from BIPOC authors, these two intrepid hosts dive deep into the themes and stories that shape Black women’s narrative in modern literature.

Books and Boba

If you’re looking for a book club that focuses on the Asian American community and experience, look no further than to Books and Boba. With monthly book picks, author chats, and more, the hosts of Books and Boba covers all things coming out from Asian and Asian American authors. Find some great new reads, listen to some interesting author conversations and immerse yourself in the world of Asian American writing.

SFF books that grab you instantly to try for National Read A Book Day

There’s this belief that reading science fiction and fantasy books is super long and super boring. Too much information and too many characters and it all jumbles in your brain with no reprieve.

However, I beg to differ and this National Read a Book day, I encourage you to try and read a science fiction or fantasy book. There have been numerous SFF stories I’ve read over the years that grabbed my attention from page one and didn’t let go until it was done. They were immediate five-star reads for me and some of the books I recommend to this day. Don’t sleep on these SFF books because they’ll maybe change your mind about the genre.

Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko: This is the story of Tarisai, a young girl who’s been told she must head to the palace and become one of the Crown Prince’s elite council of eleven. However, there’s a caveat as her mother, The Lady, wishes her to kill the prince once she’s chosen by him. Filled with an intricate world, inclusive characters, and the will to forge your own path.

All Systems Red by Martha Wells: Never had I read a funnier science fiction novel than when I read All Systems Red. It’s the story of Murderbot, or that’s what it likes to be called. It’s a systems bot that’s main focus is to protect the people it is hired to protect. The only thing is, this bot is a little bit glitched, giving it a personality that loves to take the easy route and watch silly space dramas. You’ll definitely belly laugh at this book, but also get a taste of some hard sci-fi.

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn: If you like retellings, then you’ll love the retelling of King Arthur in Legendborn. Tracy Deonn takes the legend and puts her own spin as young Bree attends one of the most prestigious colleges in the Southeast: UNC-Chapel Hill. Filled with underground societies, mythical swords, and a destiny that only Tracy Deonn could have written!

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir: This is a book that will grab hold from the very first page and doesn’t really let go until you’ve read the entire series. An Ember in the Ashes is the first book in a four-book series about Laia, a young girl who wants to find her brother that’s been kidnapped by the Empire. She finds herself mixed up in a situation that she has no training for, scared and alone, when she comes across Elias, one of the best soldiers training in the Empirical army. He alongside some others help Laia find her brother, but also help to unearth the secrets of her family’s past.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor: This beautifully written story will not only capture you with its gorgeous writing, but also the story of a young librarian, Lazlo, who dreams of a place called Weep. He dedicates his life to the discovery of this place and eventually finds the opportunity to go. What he finds is a city that’s shadowed by a massive angel statue that blocks out the sun and the stars. Within the statue are five beings left over from the days when gods and goddesses lived in the city. That’s where Lazlo, meets Sarai, a goddess with the ability to enter people’s dreams. It’s a sweeping tale filled with magic, love, and beauty. You’ll definitely be sucked into this one.

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir: If you wanted to read a hard science fiction novel that’s full of heart, then this might be the one for you. The story follows a middle school science teacher who goes off into the great unknown that is space to save the world from a microbe that’s slowly eating the sun. Along the way, he makes some unlikely discoveries as well as make some unlikely friends. Also, it gives you a taste of some real world physics theories including the theory of relativity.

Warcross by Marie Lu: If you’ve ever imagined a world where you basically live your life on your phone, then this is the book for you. It follows teen hacker and bounty hunter, Emika, as she accidentally enters the opening games of the international Warcross Championship. Worried that she would be arrested, she instead meets the creator of the Warcross games who propositions her to be a spy to dig up hackers against the game’s security. However, the truth is much different than Emika imagines as betrayal becomes a much more sinister game.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer: If you like a mix of fantasy and science fiction, this YA series is probably the one for you. Combining science fiction themes and fairy tale retellings, Cinder is the beginning of The Lunar Chronicles. As you can probably guess, the first book is based off of Cinderella as a cyborg who’s second-class life is completely turned around when she meets Prince Kai.

The City We Became by NK Jemisin: What if one of the most famous cities in the world came to life? That’s what NK Jemisin explores in The City We Became. It’s the story of New York City, a vibrant place that’s being invaded by a mysterious species. Once the monsters start showing up, it starts to awaken something in five inhabitants of the city; each representing a different borough. Their mission is to awaken the only thing that can save New York from the monsters and that’s New York City itself. What’s most impressive is that despite the city being a diverse and inclusive place, there’s still darkness that hides in the shadows of some of the people who live there and as their nefarious plan comes to fruition, so does the darkness that lurks within them.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber: Imagine a carnival that comes into town filled with tons of mystery and magic behind it. Now imagine yourself as a young person heading into this carnival to play the ultimate game of illusion, mystery, and magic. That’s what happens to Scarlett in Caraval.