Books Received, March 11 — March 17
The Scarlet Alchemist by Kylie Lee Baker (October 2023)
New from the author of The Keeper of Night comes a YA fantasy duology set in an alternate Tang Dynasty China, where a poor biracial girl with the ability to raise the dead gets caught up in the dangerous political games of the royal family.
Zilan dreams of becoming a royal alchemist, of providing for her family by making alchemical gold and gems for the wealthy to eat in order to stay young forever. But for now, she’s trapped in her impoverished village in southern China, practicing an illegal form of alchemy to keep food on the table — resurrecting the dead, for a price.
When Zilan finally has the chance to complete her imperial exams, she ventures to the capital to compete against the best alchemists in the country in tasks she’ll be lucky to survive, let alone pass. On top of that, her reputation for raising the dead has followed her to the capital, and the Crown Prince himself seeks out her help, suspecting a coming assassination attempt.
The more Zilan succeeds in her alchemy, the more she gets caught in the dangerous political games of the royal family. There are monsters lurking within the palace walls, and it’s only a matter of time before they — and secrets of Zilan’s past — catch up with her.
Don’t miss the Keeper of Night duology!The Keeper of NightThe Empress of Time
Gods of the Wyrdwood by RJ Barker (June 2023)
Cahan du Nahare is known as the forester — a man who can navigate the dangerous Deepforest like no one else. But once he was more. Once he belonged to the god of fire.
Udinny serves the goddess of the lost, a goddess of small things; when she ventures into the Deepforest to find a lost child, Cahan will be her guide. But in a land where territory is won and lost for uncaring gods, where temples of warrior monks pit one prophet against another — Cahan will need to choose the forest or the fire — and his choice will have consequences for his entire world.
Nestlings by Nat Cassidy (October 2023)
Ana and Reid needed a lucky break.
The horrifically complicated birth of their first child has left Ana paralyzed, bitter, and struggling: with mobility, with her relationship with Reid, with resentment for her baby. That’s about to change with the words any New Yorker would love to hear―affordable housing lottery.
They’ve won an apartment in the Deptford, one of Manhattan’s most revered buildings with beautiful vistas of Central Park and stunning architecture.
Reid dismisses disturbing events and Ana’s deep unease and paranoia as the price of living in New York―people are odd―but he can’t explain the needle-like bite marks on the baby.
The Shadow Cabinet by Juno Dawson (June 2023)
All is not as it seems within the halls of Her Majesty’s Royal Coven… Despite thinking they’ve thwarted the prophecy, the witches are still reeling from the events of the past few months. Ciara now occupies her twin sister’s body as she prepares to take on the role of High Priestess. But why are the sinister government agents of the Shadow Cabinet so invested in her coronation? And then there’s the small matter of Dabney Hale: freshly escaped from Grierlings prison, he’s on the hunt for a mythical object that will give him unimaginable power. Leonie’s brother is on the trail, but doesn’t know the danger he now faces, and so she sets off to bring him home and bring Hale to justice. Meanwhile, Theo and Holly are left to their own devices. Theo to work out how her miraculous transformation took place and Holly to discover what’s going on with her mum and dad. Elle’s Instagram-perfect world is about to come crashing down in the most terrifying way. Payback’s a witch as Ciara, Leonie, Elle, Theo and Holly are about to find out.
Fire With Fire by Candice Fox (May 2023)
A pair of desperate parents. A man on the run. A rookie cop.
Four people with everything on the line.
What will be left in the ashes of the next 24 hours?
Following their daughter’s mysterious disappearance, Ryan and Elsie Delaney have taken the LAPD forensic lab hostage, and have given law enforcement an ultimatum: Find their daughter, Tilly, or they will destroy all the evidence they can find to other cold cases.
Detective Charlie Hoskins has been undercover in a deadly motorcycle gang for five years. With his cover blown, he has no choice but to find Tilly himself, or lose everything he’s worked for as the lab burns.
Lynette Lamb was a police officer — until yesterday, when she was fired before her first beat. Figuring out what happened to Tilly is her one and only chance at rejoining the career she’s prepared her whole life for.
Hoskins and Lamb will have to team up to solve this cold case, and will have to move fast — before the situation explodes.
Silver Nitrate by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (July 2023)
Montserrat has always been overlooked. She’s a talented sound editor, but she’s left out of the boys’ club running the film industry in ’90s Mexico City. And she’s all but invisible to her best friend, Tristán, a charming if faded soap opera star, though she’s been in love with him since childhood.
Then Tristán discovers his new neighbor is the cult horror director Abel Urueta, and the legendary auteur claims he can change their lives — even if his tale of a Nazi occultist imbuing magic into highly volatile silver nitrate stock sounds like sheer fantasy. The magic film was never finished, which is why, Urueta swears, his career vanished overnight. He is cursed.
Now the director wants Montserrat and Tristán to help him shoot the missing scene and lift the curse … but Montserrat soon notices a dark presence following her, and Tristán begins seeing the ghost of his ex-girlfriend.
As they work together to unravel the mystery of the film and the obscure occultist who once roamed their city, Montserrat and Tristán may find that sorcerers and magic are not only the stuff of movies.
The Song of Wrath by Sarah Raughley (April 2023)
Iris Marlow can’t die. For years, she was tormented by her missing memories and desperate to learn her real identity. So when the mysterious Adam Temple offered to reveal the truth of who she was in exchange for her joining his team in the Tournament of Freaks, a gruesome magical competition, it was an offer she couldn’t refuse. But the truth would have been better left buried.
Because Adam is a member of the Enlightenment Committee, an elite secret society built upon one fundamental idea: that the apocalypse known as Hiva had destroyed the world before and would do it again, and soon. But what the Committee — and Iris — never guessed is that Hiva is not an event. Hiva is a person— Iris.
Now, no matter how hard Iris fights for a normal life, the newly awakened power inside her keeps drawing her toward the path of global annihilation. Adam, perversely obsessed with Iris, will stop at nothing to force her to unlock her true potential, while a terrifying newcomer with ties to Hiva’s past is on the hunt for Iris.
All Iris wants is the freedom to choose her own future, but the cost might be everything Iris holds dear — including the world itself.
Knock Knock, Open Wide by Neil Sharpson (September 2023)
Driving home late one night, Etain Larkin finds a corpse on a pitch-black country road deep in the Irish countryside. She takes the corpse to a remote farmhouse. So begins a night of unspeakable horror that will take her to the very brink of sanity.
She will never speak of it again.
Two decades later, Betty Fitzpatrick, newly arrived at college in Dublin, has already fallen in love with the drama society, and the beautiful but troubled Ashling Mallen. As their relationship blossoms, Ashling goes to great lengths to keep Betty away from her family, especially her alcoholic mother, Etain.
As their relationship blossoms, Betty learns her lover’s terrifying family history, and Ashling’s secret obsession. Ashling has become convinced that the horrors inflicted on her family are connected to a seemingly innocent children’s TV show. Everyone in Ireland watched this show in their youth, but Ash soon discovers that no one remembers it quite the same way. And only Ashling seems to remember its star: a small black goat puppet who lives in a box and only comes out if you don’t behave. They say he’s never come out.
When the door between the known and unknown opens, it can never close again.
At the Coffee Shop of Curiosities by Heather Webber (August 2023)
A mysterious letter. An offer taken. And the chance to move forward.
When Ava Harrison receives a letter containing an unusual job listing one month after the sudden death of her ex-boyfriend, she thinks she’s being haunted. The listing — a job as a live-in caretaker for a peculiar old man and his cranky cat in Driftwood, Alabama — is the perfect chance to start a new life. A normal life. Ava has always been too fearful to even travel, so no one’s more surprised than she is when she throws caution to the wind and drives to the distant beachside town.
On the surface, Maggie Mae Brightwell is a bundle of energy as she runs Magpie’s, Driftwood’s coffee and curiosity shop, where there’s magic to be found in pairing the old with the new. But lurking under her cheerful exterior is a painful truth — keeping busy is the best way to distract herself from the lingering loss of her mama and her worries about her aging father. No one knows better than she does that you can’t pour from an empty cup, but holding on to the past is the only thing keeping the hope alive that her mama will return home one day.
Ava and Maggie soon find they’re kindred spirits, as they’re both haunted — not by spirits, but by regret. Both must learn to let go of the past to move on — because sometimes the waves of change bring you to the place where you most belong.