Lodestone-peddler Melaine is desperate to stop hustling her raw magic for a tuppence. Her rare gift of infusing her magic into a lodestone to sell for another’s use and never keeping any for herself is nothing but a degrading path to an early grave.
Yearning for a better life, Melaine turns to her unconventional childhood idol, the powerful but sinister Overlord, sorcerer-ruler of Centara. When she achieves an audience and arrives at his reclusive retreat of ancient Highstrong Keep, she finds that the compelling, handsome man who conquered a kingdom by the age of twenty is now a weak, shadowed husk, and he needs her lodestones to give him strength. In exchange, he will take her on as his apprentice.
Trapped in Highstrong with a half-crazed prisoner, a strict servant, and the Overlord, Melaine learns that they may all be prey to far more malevolent forces than the Overlord’s black-magic experiments. Faced with menacing apparitions, ancient curses, and an even greater horror that could threaten the entire kingdom if unleashed, Melaine’s penchant for survival is contested by her growing feelings for the Overlord and her path toward finding a deeper meaning to life than the pure power she once craved.
2. The Space Between Two Deaths by Jamie Yourdon
In ancient Sumeria, only a thin veil separates the living from the dead.
The lives of Ziz, her mother, Meshara, and her father, Temen, are disrupted when a mysterious crevasse rends the earth. Temen becomes obsessed with the mystery and, capturing a crow to guide him, he follows a path to the netherworld where he hopes to gain wisdom from his dead father. Yet he soon finds that ancestors don’t always provide the answers we need.
In his absence, a grisly accident occurs on their farm — Meshara and Ziz are forced to flee. Friendless and alone, they must find a way to survive despite the brutalities of their landlord and devotees of the religious nation-state. Will the women revel in their new companionship or seek to find freedom elsewhere?
Written in a crisp, modern style, THE SPACE BETWEEN TWO DEATHS is a fresh take on the ageless problem of finding your voice when the world is trying to take it away.
3. Another Beast’s Skin by Jessika Grewe Glover
After the death of her anthropologist father, Neysa puts her currency trading career on hold to move from Los Angeles to coastal England. The friends she makes in town give her a new sense of self, but quickly entrench her life in a plot to stabilize the Veil which divides both the human world of science and the Fae realm of magic. What Neysa never expected was that this may have been her father’s plan all along, and that perhaps Neysa was designed for more than the human world alone. In this fantastical world, we find Neysa’s anxiety of soldiering through the world, unaware of who she truly is, and the boundaries she surpasses once her true self is realized. Love, death, blood, and friendship all combine in Another Beast’s Skin, taking us from the rugged English coast, throughout Eastern Europe, Peru, Los Angeles, and into Aoifsing, the realm that will suffer along with our world if the Veil cannot be stabilized.
Centuries ago, four crystals of varying strengths and properties were placed in epicenters around the globe. The stones were localized to keep both the human world safe from chemical destabilization, and the Fae realm from the scourge of magic altering physics. In the past century, several stones have been misplaced, causing trans-realm repercussions. Three Fae have been stationed to find the crystals and balance the energies of the Veil. Once Neysa becomes a part of this group, it seems her association with Aoifsing may be mapped in her stars. Strong female friendships, sibling camaraderie, steamy romance, physics, and battle strategy all come together to weave a new tale of intelligent fantasy.
4. The Girl Who Stole the Queen’s Eyes by Marilize Loxton
“What beautiful eyes you have,” is all anyone ever says to Camilla. She feels like no one actually notices the real her. After her eighteenth birthday, Camilla seems to be the only one actually noticing anything at all. There is a castle on the lake, there are some strangers in town, and Camilla suddenly has an unintentional, and unfamiliar control over people when they look into her eyes. Camilla’s mother seems to know more than she leads on but doesn’t want to tell Camilla anything.
Extine is the Queen of Escana, a kingdom which she hides from the world with the power in her eyes. But when the first-born of the royal family becomes of age, the throne – and the power – is no longer hers. The problem is neither of her children are of age just yet when the queen begins to feel her powers slipping. With the kingdom at risk from being revealed to the world, the queen must turn to dark magic to reclaim her stolen eyes, no matter the cost.
5. Queen of all by Anya Leigh Josephs
The only interesting thing about fourteen-year-old Jena is other people. Her mother disappeared when she was a baby, and her best (and only) friend, Sisi, is not just the lost heir to a noble Numbered house, but also the Kingdom’s most famous beauty. Jena herself is just awkward, anxious, and often alone: not exactly heroic material. But when a letter summons Sisi to the royal court, both girls find their own futures, and the Kingdom’s, in Jena’s hands. Sisi, caught between the king and the crown prince, searches for a magical secret the Prince is willing to kill to keep. Jena can save her: but only if she is willing to let her go, maybe forever. It’s hard to do that when she’s in love with Sisi herself.