Empress by Shan Sa
A ravishing historical novel of one of China’s most controversial historical figures: its first and only female emperor, Empress Wu, who emerged in the Tang Dynasty and ushered in a golden age.
In seventh–century China, during the great Tang dynasty, a young girl from the humble Wu clan entered the imperial gynaecium, which housed ten thousand concubines. Inside the Forbidden City, she witnessed seductions, plots, murders, and brazen acts of treason. Propelled by a shrewd intelligence, an extraordinary persistence, and a friendship with the imperial heir, she rose through the ranks to become the first Empress of China. On the one hand, she was a political mastermind who quelled insurrections, eased famine, and opened wide the routes of international trade. On the other, she was a passionate patron of the arts who brought Chinese civilization to unsurpassed heights of knowledge, beauty, and sophistication.
And yet, from the moment of her death to the present day, her name has been sullied, her story distorted, and her memoirs obliterated by men taking vengeance on a women who dared become Emperor. For the first time in thirteen centuries, Empress Wu flings open the gates of her Forbidden City and tells her own astonishing tale–revealing a fascinating, complex figure who in many ways remains modern to this day.
The Demonologist by Andrew Pyper
A stolen child.
An ancient evil.
A father’s descent.
And the literary masterpiece that holds the key to his daughter’s salvation.
Professor David Ullman is among the world’s leading authorities on demonic literature, with special expertise in Milton’s Paradise Lost. Not that David is a believer—he sees what he teaches as a branch of the imagination and nothing more. So when the mysterious Thin Woman arrives at his office and invites him to travel to Venice and witness a “phenomenon,” he turns her down. She leaves plane tickets and an address on his desk, advising David that her employer is not often disappointed.
That evening, David’s wife announces she is leaving him. With his life suddenly in shambles, he impulsively whisks his beloved twelve-year-old daughter, Tess, off to Venice after all. The girl has recently been stricken by the same melancholy moods David knows so well, and he hopes to cheer her up and distract them both from the troubles at home.
But what happens in Venice will change everything.
First, in a tiny attic room at the address provided by the Thin Woman, David sees a man restrained in a chair, muttering, clearly insane . . . but could he truly be possessed? Then the man speaks clearly, in the voice of David’s dead father, repeating the last words he ever spoke to his son. Words that have left scars—and a mystery—behind.
When David rushes back to the hotel, he discovers Tess perched on the roof’s edge, high above the waters of the Grand Canal. Before she falls, she manages to utter a final plea: Find me.
What follows is an unimaginable journey for David Ullman from skeptic to true believer. In a terrifying quest guided by symbols and riddles from the pages of Paradise Lost, David must track the demon that has captured his daughter and discover its name. If he fails, he will lose Tess forever.
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
The year is 1806. England is beleaguered by the long war with Napoleon, and centuries have passed since practical magicians faded into the nation’s past. But scholars of this glorious history discover that one remains: the reclusive Mr Norrell, whose displays of magic send a thrill through the country.
Proceeding to London, he raises a beautiful woman from the dead and summons an army of ghostly ships to terrify the French. Yet the cautious, fussy Norrell is challenged by the emergence of another magician: the brilliant novice Jonathan Strange.
Young, handsome and daring, Strange is the very antithesis of Norrel. So begins a dangerous battle between these two great men which overwhelms that between England and France. And their own obsessions and secret dabblings with the dark arts are going to cause more trouble than they can imagine.
The Memoirs of Cleopatra by Margaret George
Bestselling novelist Margaret George brings to life the glittering kingdom of Cleopatra, Queen of the Nile, in this lush, sweeping, and richly detailed saga. Told in Cleopatra’s own voice, this is a mesmerizing tale of ambition, passion, and betrayal, which begins when the twenty-year-old queen seeks out the most powerful man in the world, Julius Caesar, and does not end until, having survived the assassination of Caesar and the defeat of the second man she loves, Marc Antony, she plots her own death rather than be paraded in triumph through the streets of Rome.
Odd Spirits by S.T. Gibson
It takes a lot of commitment to make a marriage between a modern ceremonial magician and a chaos witch work, but when a malevolent entity takes up residence in Rhys and Moira’s home, their love will be pushed to the limits.
Brewing up a solution is easier said than done when your magical styles are polar opposites; throw a psychic ex and a secret society in the mix, and things are bound to get messy.
Fans of The Raven Cycle and The Haunting of Hill House will devour this diverse paranormal romance novella from the author of “Hosanna Americana”!
Content Warning: This book addresses biphobia.
Himself by Jess Kidd
Blending strange kindnesses, casual violence and buried secrets: an unforgettable debut from a dark new voice in Irish fiction
When Mahony returns to Mulderrig, a speck of a place on Ireland’s west coast, he brings only a photograph of his long-lost mother and a determination to do battle with the village’s lies.
His arrival causes cheeks to flush and arms to fold in disapproval. No one in the village – living or dead – will tell what happened to the teenage mother who abandoned him as a baby, despite Mahony’s certainty that more than one of them has answers.
Between Mulderrig’s sly priest, its pitiless nurse and the caustic elderly actress throwing herself into her final village play, this beautiful and darkly comic debut novel creates an unforgettable world of mystery, bloody violence and buried secrets.
Dracula, My Love: The Secret Journals of Mina Harker by Syrie James
Who is this magnetic, fascinating man? And how could one woman fall so completely under his spell?
Mina Harker is torn between two men. Struggling to hang on to the deep, pure love she’s found within her marriage to her husband, Jonathan, she is inexorably drawn into a secret, passionate affair with a charismatic but dangerous lover. This haunted and haunting creature has awakened feelings and desires within her that she has never before known, which remake her as a woman.
Although everyone she knows fears him and is pledged to destroy him, Mina sees a side to him that the others cannot: a tender, romantic side; a man who is deeply in love, and who may not be evil after all. Yet to surrender is surely madness, for to be with him could end her life. It may cost Mina all she holds dear, but to make her choice she must learn everything she can about the remarkable origins and sensuous powers of this man, this exquisite monster, this … Dracula!
The Various Flavours of Coffee by Anthony Capella
1895. Robert Wallis, would-be poet, bohemian & dandy, accepts a commission from coffee merchant Samuel Pinker to categorise the different tastes of coffee & encounters Pinker’s free-thinking daughters, Philomenia, Ada & Emily. As romance blossoms with Emily, Robert realises that the muse & marriage may not be incompatible after all.
The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?
Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…
But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.
The Dark Chorus by Ashley Meggitt
Oblivio salvationem Angelis opperitur
Oblivion awaits the Angel’s salvation
The Boy can see lost souls.
He has never questioned the fact that he can see them. He thinks of them as the Dark Chorus. When he sets out to restore the soul of his dead mother it becomes clear that his ability comes from within him. It is a force that he cannot ignore – the last shard of the shattered soul of an angel.
To be restored to the kingdom of light, the shard must be cleansed of the evil that infects it – but this requires the corrupt souls of the living!
With the help from Makka, a psychotically violent young man full of hate, and Vee, an abused young woman full of pain, the Boy begins to kill.
Psychiatrist Dr Eve Rhodes is seconded to assist the police investigation into the Boy’s apparently random ritualistic killings. As the investigation gathers pace, a pattern emerges. When Eve pulls at the thread from an article in an old psychology journal, what might otherwise have seemed to her a terrible psychotic delusion now feels all too real…
Will the Boy succeed in restoring the angel’s soul to the light? Can Eve stop him, or will she be lost to realm of the Dark Chorus?
The Beautiful Land by Alan Averill
Takahiro O’Leary has a very special job…
…working for the Axon Corporation as an explorer of parallel timelines—as many and as varied as anyone could imagine. A great gig—until information he brought back gave Axon the means to maximize profits by changing the past, present, and future of this world.
If Axon succeeds, Tak will lose Samira Moheb, the woman he has loved since high school—because her future will cease to exist. A veteran of the Iraq War suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, Samira can barely function in her everyday life, much less deal with Tak’s ravings of multiple realities. The only way to save her is for Tak to use the time travel device he “borrowed” to transport them both to an alternate timeline.
But what neither Tak nor Axon knows is that the actual inventor of the device is searching for a timeline called the Beautiful Land—and he intends to destroy every other possible present and future to find it.
The switch is thrown, and reality begins to warp—horribly. And Tak realizes that to save Sam, he must save the entire world…
The Music of Razors by Cameron Rogers
In nineteenth-century Boston, a young doctor on the run from the law falls in with a British confidence artist. Together–and with dire consequences–they bring back to the light something meant to be forgotten.
A world away in London, an absent father, haunted by the voice of a banished angel, presents his daughter with an impossible friend–a clockwork ballerina.
For two centuries, a bullet-removal specialist has wielded instruments of angel bone in service to a forgotten power . . . and now he vows to find someone else to shoulder the burden, someone with a conscience of their own, a strong mind, and a broken will. For a hundred years he has searched for the perfect contender, and now he has found two: a brother and a sister. Walter and Hope. Either will do.
Last night something stepped from little Walter’s closet and he never woke up. Now he travels the dark road between worlds, no longer entirely boy nor wholly beast, but with one goal in mind: to prevent his sister from suffering the same fate as he. Only the creature he has become can save Hope. But is it too late to save himself?
Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake
Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.
Yet she spares Cas’s life.
Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
It’s been months since the ghost of Anna Korlov opened a door to Hell in her basement and disappeared into it, but ghost-hunter Cas Lowood can’t move on.
His friends remind him that Anna sacrificed herself so that Cas could live—not walk around half dead. He knows they’re right, but in Cas’s eyes, no living girl he meets can compare to the dead girl he fell in love with.
Now he’s seeing Anna everywhere: sometimes when he’s asleep and sometimes in waking nightmares. But something is very wrong…these aren’t just daydreams. Anna seems tortured, torn apart in new and ever more gruesome ways every time she appears.
Cas doesn’t know what happened to Anna when she disappeared into Hell, but he knows she doesn’t deserve whatever is happening to her now. Anna saved Cas more than once, and it’s time for him to return the favor.
The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow by Rita Leganski
Conceived in love and possibility, Bonaventure Arrow didn’t make a peep when he was born, and the doctor nearly took him for dead. No one knows Bonaventure’s silence is filled with resonance – a miraculous gift of rarified hearing that encompasses the Universe of Every Single Sound. Growing up in the big house on Christopher Street in Bayou Cymbaline, Bonaventure can hear flowers grow, a thousand shades of blue, and the miniature tempests that rage inside raindrops. He can also hear the gentle voice of his father, William Arrow, shot dead before Bonaventure was born by a mysterious stranger known only as the Wanderer.
Bonaventure’s remarkable gift of listening promises salvation to the souls who love him: his beautiful young mother, Dancy, haunted by the death of her husband; his Grand-mere Letice, plagued by grief and long-buried guilt she locks away in a chapel; and his father, William, whose roaming spirit must fix the wreckage of the past. With the help of Trinidad Prefontaine, a Creole housekeeper endowed with her own special gifts, Bonaventure will find the key to long-buried mysteries and soothe a chorus of family secrets clamoring to be healed.
Over a God’s Dead Body by Joel Spriggs
Three gods walk onto a college campus looking for a dead body. A bad joke, a bad day, or both? Esmy Hansen is about to find out.
Esmy is stuck in a rut and frustrated by a lack of pockets on women’s pants. Meeting Loki ignites her life like a powder-keg. This simple, seemingly innocuous encounter leads her and Jake to discover the college campus’s mysterious depths, involving sasquatches, vampires, and much more. In a crudely comedic high-stakes game of maneuvering, Loki’s freedom and Esmy’s survival come down to a fight over a God’s dead body.
Over a God’s Dead Body is the first book in a humorous supernatural series! If you like insane action, hilarious dialogue, and gods behaving badly, then you’ll love the first installment in Joel Spriggs’s magical comedy.
Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan
A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.
A prince in danger must decide who to trust.
A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.
Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.
In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy.
Bloodlaced by Courtney Maguire
Kanjin hardly view their servants as human. Even less so when they are different.
Asagi is different. Both a man and a woman.
In the wake of his failure to protect a boy he saw as a son from their abusive master, Asagi is sold into the house of a young nobleman, Mahiro, who is the opposite of everything Asagi has ever known—gentle, kind, and generous.
Mahiro bonds with Asagi and their friendship blooms into a deep and profound love. But when Asagi is poisoned out of jealousy, Mahiro reveals himself to be youkai, a demon who feeds on blood, and he has no choice but to turn Asagi to save their life.
Asagi awakes reborn, strong, and eternally youthful. But the price for Asagi’s new life is high.
The blood of the innocent. Just as Asagi’s trust in Mahiro falters, the boy he failed to protect, now a man, reappears.
New master, same threat.
With both a literal and proverbial monster at the door, Asagi must decide what it means to be human to protect what they love most.
Content Warnings: physical abuse, sexual abuse (off-page), self-harm, blood, graphic violence
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doeer
A blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II. Marie-Laure lives in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where her father works as the master of the locks (there are thousands of locks in the museum). Open your eyes, and see what you can with them before they close forever. Marie-Laure has been blind since the age of six. Her father builds a perfect miniature of their Paris neighbourhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate the real streets with her feet and cane. When she is twelve, the German Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure’s agoraphobic reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.
In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner Pfennig grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio they find that brings them news and stories from places they have never seen or imagined. Werner becomes an master at building and fixing these crucial new radios, a talent that wins him a place at an elite and brutal military academy and, ultimately, makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure. The story Illuminates the ways, against all odds, that people try to be good to one another.
At the same time, far away in a walled city by the sea, an old man discovers new worlds without ever setting foot outside his home. But all around him, impending danger closes in.
River by Ryen Lesli
Does she have a secret life? One even SHE doesn’t know about?
Seventeen-year-old River has always felt like she doesn’t belong. It doesn’t help that she sees a light around people that reveals their true nature. When a new kid shows up at school who she can’t read, something inside her breaks open, unleashing a wave of raw emotion and faint visions of an emerald-eyed boy that she doesn’t remember. Soon, River’s world changes and everything she thought was real fades away. Taken from the life she knows, River is forced into a dangerous, beautiful world that has been impatiently awaiting her return.
The Stars Within Us by Ime Atakpa
Andi Winters has always been beautiful. At least that’s what she’s been told by the countless boys who have tried and failed to win her affection. She’s young when she learns that she can’t be friends with boys who only want her around for a chance to kiss her, and she carries the weight of that revelation into middle school where she’s tormented by a boy from her past: Will Mason. He’s pined after her since elementary school and will stop at nothing to win her over, even if it means making her miserable in the process. And she is miserable, until she meets Cassie Burroughs, a girl with a pure heart who puts Andi on the path towards navigating love, friendship, and discovering the self-confidence she needs to become content with her place in the world.
The Fire in My Blood by Chapel Orahamm
A few millennia into the future, on a different planet, in aging biodomes, the human race grapples with a new threat, or maybe a new gift – humans with fire in their blood. Nigrae Lunam, ex-soldier and current co-leader for the Caeruleum gang, finds himself ensnared in a fire fight when he rescues a pair of children, Sam and Abby from the Aurantiaco gang, and a man with cognac-colored eyes, Sanctus, from the Rubrum gang. This would be any average day, save for the fact Sanctus is a rare Providentia, a person who can boost a fire-user’s powers ten fold. A priceless, coveted treasure in the city of Urbs Aquarum. As Lunam shows the man and children what it means to be safe, he develops a fondness for Sanctus that he swears he will never reveal. When Sam and Abby are threatened and Sanctus is kidnapped, Lunam must face the responsibility of taking over another gang’s territory, his true feelings for Sanctus, and the chance it all blows apart in a fiery inferno.
In a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
Nora hasn’t seen Clare for ten years. Not since the day Nora walked out of her old life and never looked back.
Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen party arrives. A weekend in a remote cottage – the perfect opportunity for Nora to reconnect with her best friend, to put the past behind her.
But something goes wrong.
And as secrets and lies unravel, out in the dark, dark wood the past will finally catch up with Nora.
The Kick-Ass Writer: 1001 Ways to Write Great Fictions, Get Published, and Earn Your Audience by Chuck Wendig
The journey to become a successful writer is long, fraught with peril, and filled with difficult questions: How do I write dialogue? How do I build suspense? What should I know about query letters? How do I start?
The best way to answer these questions is to ditch your uncertainty and transform yourself into a kick-ass writer. This new book from award-winning author Chuck Wendig combines the best of his eye-opening writing instruction – previously available in e-book form only – with all-new insights into writing and publishing. It’s an explosive broadside of gritty advice that will destroy your fears, clear the path, and help you find your voice, your story, and your audience.
You’ll explore the fundamentals of writing, learn how to obtain publication, and master the skills you need to build an army of dedicated fans. No task is too large or small for the kick-ass writer.