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Books Received, January 6 — January 12

13 Jan, 2024


Bubble Gumshoe

Bubblegumshoe by Emily Care Boss, Kenneth Hite, and Lisa Steele (2016)

Someone stole my kid brother’s bike…

Someone sabotaged the pep rally…

Someone destroyed the Homecoming queen’s reputation…

The world is full of mysteries. It’s up to your group of intrepid teen sleuths to solve them. In Bubblegumshoe, players step into the shoes of high-schoolers solving mysteries in a modern American small town. Discover clues, solve problems, and throw down with enemies in this streamlined RPG based on the GUMSHOE system.

In this stand-alone game, you’ll find:

  • Rules to create your Sleuth’s web of relationships and make the most of GUMSHOE’s resource-management
  • A simple setting system designed for large scale town creation all the way down to scene locations, plus extensive information on Drewsbury, a ready-to-go setting
  • A variety of short mystery starters, including a full introductory mystery: Hey! That’s My Bike!
  • Extensive support to help GMs create their own mysteries using pre-established characters and settings
  • Rules for social Throwdowns as well as physical altercations to reflect the drama of high school noir
  • A slimmed-down list of investigative abilities vs GUMSHOE’s default to make for faster decision making

Bubblegumshoe. The secrets will out.

Demon Daughter

Demon Daughter by Lois McMaster Bujold (January 2024)

A six-year-old shiplost girl draws the kin Jurald family of Vilnoc into complex dilemmas, and sorcerer Learned Penric and his Temple demon Desdemona into conflict — with each other. It will take all of Penric’s wits, his wife Nikys’s wisdom, and the hand of the fifth god’s strangest saint to untangle the threads of their future. 

Atomic Robo

Atomic Robo The Roleplaying Game by Brian Clevinger, Mike Olson, and Scott Wegener (2014)

Action! Science! Robots! Punching! More Science!

Are you ready for some two-fisted science adventure? Then it’s time for the Atomic Robo RPG! Have you ever wanted to face down global conspiracy as an immortal atomic robot or Carl Sagan? The Atomic Robo RPG makes it possible.

The Atomic Robo RPG brings you the most explosive Fate Core System experience yet. This is action science like you’ve never seen it before, coming straight at you from the pages of the popular Atomic Robo comics by Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener. Play as an Action Scientist or immortal robot, super-spy or pulp adventurer — or something stranger still from the hidden corners of super-science!

This is multi-era, pick-up-and-play gaming at its best: get playing in ten minutes, or take your time and make the most of behind-the-scenes rules for added depth. Hop into your Tesladyne jet and travel the globe in one time period, or battle across the decades as a cast of scientifically talented adventurers. Face down demented dinosaurs, rogue government agents, and stolen Tesla-powered technologies!

Are you Action Scientist material? Grab your gear and get ready for full-contact, high-octane, explosive hypothesis testing!

Remain Calm. Trust in Science.
The Atomic Robo RPG is here!

Navigational Entanglements

Navigational Entanglements by Aliette de Bodard (July 2024)

Award-winning author of The Red Scholar’s Wake Aliette de Bodard comes for your heart with a compelling tale of love, duty, and found-family in an exciting new space opera that brings xianxia-style martial arts to the stars. 

Jockeying navigator clans guide spaceships through the Hollows: an area of space populated by the mysterious but deadly creatures known as Tanglers. When a Tangler escapes the Hollows for the first time in living memory, each clan must send a representative to help capture it — but the mission may be doomed and the hearts of two clan juniors may be in danger too. 

Việt Nhi is not good with people. Or politics. Which is a problem when the Rooster clan sends her on the mission against her will, forcing her to work with an ill-matched group of squabbling teammates from rival clans, including one who she can’t avoid, and maybe doesn’t want to. 

Hạc Cúc of the Snake clan has always been better at poisoning and stabbing than at making friends, but she’s drawn to Nhi’s perceptiveness and obliviousness to social conventions — including the ones that really should make Nhi think twice about spending time with her. 

But when their imperial envoy and nominal leader is poisoned, this crew of expendable apprentices will have to learn to work together — fast — before the invisible Tangler can wreak havoc on a civilian city and destroy the fragile reputation of the clans. Along the way, Nhi and Hạc Cúc will have to learn the hardest lesson of all: to see past their own misconceptions and learn to trust their growing feelings for each other. 

Foul Days

Foul Days by Genoveva Dimova (June 2024)

The Witcher meets Naomi Novik in this fast-paced fantasy rooted in Slavic folklore, from an assured new voice in genre fictionAs a witch in the walled city of Chernograd, Kosara has plenty of practice taming rusalkas, fighting kikimoras, and brewing lycanthrope repellent. There’s only one monster Kosara can’t defeat: her ex the Zmey, known as the Tsar of Monsters. She’s defied him one too many times, and now he’s hunting her. Betrayed to him by someone close to her, Kosara’s only hope is to trade her shadow — the source of her powers — for illegal passage across the Wall to Belograd, where monsters can’t follow. 

Life in Belograd should be sweet, but Kosara soon develops a fast-acting version of the deadly wasting sickness that stalks shadowless witches — and only reclaiming her magic can cure her. To trace her shadow, she’ll have to team up with the suspiciously honorable detective investigating the death of the smuggler who brought her across the Wall. 

Even worse than working with the cops is that all the clues point in a single direction: one of the Zmey’s monsters has found a crack in the Wall, and Kosara’s magic is now in the Zmey’s hands. 

The clock is ticking, the hunt is on, and Kosara’s priorities should be clear — but is she the hunter or the hunted? And in a city where everyone is out for themselves, who can Kosara trust to assist her in outwitting the man — the Monster — she’s never been able to escape alone? 


Fiasco by Constance Fay (June 2024)

Equal parts steamy interstellar romance and sci-fi adventure, Constance Fay’s FIASCO is a perfect wild romp amidst the stars. 

Cynbelline Khaw is a woman of many names. She’s Generosity, a cultist who never quite fit in. She’s Bella, the daughter who failed to save her cousin’s life. And then there’s Cyn, the notorious bounty hunter who spaced a ship of slavers. 

She’s exhausted, lonely, and on her very last legs — but then a new client offers her a job she can’t refuse: a bounty on the kidnapper who killed her cousin. All Cyn has to do is partner with the crew of the Calamity, a scouting vessel she encountered when she was living under a previous alias. One tiny little issue, she’s been given an additional bounty: deliver the oh-so-compelling medic, Micah Arora, to the treacherous Pierce Family or all her identities will be revealed, putting her estranged family in danger. Hunting a kidnapper doesn’t usually mean accidentally taking your sexy new target to dinner at your parent’s house, a local mystic predicting you’ll have an increasingly large number of children, or being accompanied by a small flying lizard with a penchant for eating metal, but, as they field investigative hurdles both dangerous and preposterous, Cyn and Micah grow ever closer. When a violent confrontation reveals that everything Cyn thought about her past is wrong, she realizes that she has the power to change her future. The first part of that is making sure that Micah Arora is around to be a part of it. 

Archangels of Funk

Archangels of Funk by Andrea Hairston (May 2024)

Run from your past. Hide from your future. Protect your present. 

The Water Wars have scrambled the world. Flood refugees are on the run. Disrupters and the nostalgia militia roam the roads wreaking havoc. Invisible Darknet Lords troll the internet solidifying their power, while Cinnamon, her three Circus-Bots, and two dogs work with a community of farmers, Motor Fairies, and Wheel-Wizards to provide housing, health care and education for flood refugees. 

As Cinnamon confronts threats from the Darknet Lords and the nostalgia militia, she must determine how best to honor her elders and her history while building a future for herself and her charges. 

It’s not going to be easy. 

The West Passage

The West Passage by Jared Pechaček (July 2024)

A palace the size of a city, ruled by giant Ladies of a city,of unknowable, eldritch origin. A land left to slow decay, drowning in the debris of generations. All this and more awaits you within The West Passage, a delightfully mysterious and intriguingly weird medieval fantasy unlike anything you’ve read before. 

When the Guardian of the West Passage died in her bed, the women of Grey Tower fed her to the crows and went back to their chores. No successor was named as Guardian, no one took up the fallen blade; the West Passage went unguarded. 

Now, snow blankets Grey in the height of summer. Rats erupt from beneath the earth, fleeing that which comes. Crops fail. Hunger looms. And none stand ready to face the Beast, stirring beneath the poisoned soil. 

The fate of all who live in the palace hangs on narrow shoulders. The too-young Mother of Grey House sets out to fix the seasons. The unnamed apprentice of the deceased Grey Guardian goes to warn Black Tower. Both their paths cross the West Passage, the ancient byway of the Beast. On their journeys they will meet schoolteachers and beekeepers, miracles and monsters, and very, very big Ladies. None can say if they’ll reach their destinations, but one thing is for sure: the world is about to change. 

00 The Electric State RPG Alpha

The Electric State (Alpha) by Simon Stålenhag, Nils Hintze, Tomas Härenstam et al 

A road trip on the verge of reality in visual artist and author Simon Stålenhag’s vision of an apocalyptic alternate 1990s.

Games for Dead Girls

Games for Dead Girls by Jen Williams (April 2023)

In the vein of Jennifer Hillier and Lisa Jewell, Jen Williams melds grisly urban legends and macabre secrets in a haunting and propulsive read that will linger long after the last page.

When Charlie was eleven, she created a monster…

In the seaside town of Hithechurch, England, eleven-year-old Charlotte meets Emily, a clever and secretive girl her own age with a dark family history. In an attempt to get rid of Emily’s abusive father, Charlie and Emily perform a ritual to try and summon the spirit of a Hithechurch girl of urban legend — named Stitch Face Sue by Charlie — who was killed by pirates and supposedly haunts the town in a quest for revenge. When it appears that the macabre game they’ve invented is working, Emily becomes obsessed with Stitch Face Sue, and ropes in another girl — but the game goes tragically wrong when the new girl is killed. Charlie and Emily are caught trying to hide the body, and both are carted away to institutions.

Past meets present when Charlie returns to Hithechurch as an adult to research a book on the folklore of the area, but is drawn into the cases of several girls who have mysteriously vanished. And she has other motives for coming back as well. Emily has published a bestselling memoir on the fateful incident from their childhoods, one that lays the blame squarely at Charlie’s feet. Outraged, Charlie scours the town for evidence to back up her side of the story — and in doing so exposes an older, even darker tale.

Charlie is set on discovering the truth about the girls’ disappearances, but someone is watching, and her own past is nipping at her heels. In a town haunted by tragic disappearances and unrelenting urban legends, Charlie’s determination for truth is laced with secrets buried deep in Hithechurch’s past.