New Releases: Virtual Worlds, Amnesiac Dreamers, and a Muse Named Lenore

The Raven’s Tale, by Cat Winters
Gothic tale teller Winters finds inspiration in a very Gothic place: the haunted mind and dissatisfied childhood of Edgar Allan Poe. Her Poe is seventeen years old, intellectually hungry, and counting down the days until he can trade in his wealthy foster family for university and married life. But his life falls apart with the arrival of a Muse named Lenore. Muses are fearsome harbingers of disgrace, that lead artists to misery and ruin. But once Lenore starts making demands of Poe, he has little choice but to heed her…

An Anatomy of Beasts, by Olivia A. Cole
It’s always a delight when great adult SFF authors leap over the YA line, which Cole did with last year’s A Conspiracy of Stars. Now she’s back with the sequel, which finds Octavia in an even more precarious position. Now that she’s uncovered the Council leader’s secrets and helped a kidnapped indigenous man escape, she knows her safety, and peace between the N’Terra and the Faloii, is at risk. When the indigenous Faloii discover the N’Terran’s artificially weaponized creature, Octavia and her friends must embark on the research project to end all research projects in order to make peace and change the planet of Faloiv’s dangerous future.

Last Girl Lied To, by L.E. Flynn
This sophomore stars Fiona, who has just lost her best friend, Trixie, to what’s being ruled a suicide. Fiona doesn’t know about that, or much about anything, since she can’t remember the night in question. But she doesn’t believe Fiona is dead, and is determined to find out the truth for herself. When her hunt leads her to two different boys, one of whom was hooking up with Trixie and the other of whom rejected Fiona, it’s the beginning of discovering that maybe the biggest mystery of all was Trixie herself.

Serious Moonlight, by Jenn Bennett
Jenn Bennett’s contemporary romances are perpetually my most anticipated books in any given year, so of course I’m all over this one between book-loving Birdie and charismatic Daniel, who meet when they end up working at the same Seattle hotel. Birdie’s used to being insular and living in the pages of her novels, especially thanks to her strict upbringing, so she looks forward to the change to get out of her shell at her new job. Thankfully, Daniel is the perfect guide to getting out there, but when he drags them into a mystery, has he gone too far out there? And have her feelings joined him?

The Meaning of Birds, by Jaye Robin Brown
Wanna get punched in the gut real fast? Try to keep your heart from breaking after approximately one chapter of Brown’s third novel, about a girl named Jess whose anger issues flare when the one person who calmed them is taken from her. Alternating between the now, when Jess’s girlfriend Vivi has just passed away after a sudden illness, and the before, when Vivi first waltzed into Jess’s life with her love for birds and her support for Jess’s artistic talent, this is a book that tugs readers in all directions. Jess is trying to get a grip on her temper, but it’ll take getting sent to disciplinary school to find a surprising way back to herself.

Starworld, by Audrey Coulthurst and Paula Garner
Take one author who’s already big in queer YA fantasy but has never published contemporary, and one who specializes in wrenching, brilliant contemps about friends and family but has never published one with a queer lead, and what do you get? Frankly, the best of all worlds. This is a beautiful collaboration about two girls who find the most unlikely escape in each other and the virtual world they create through their texts. But Sam is still figuring out her sexuality (and leaning toward lesbian), while Zoe is straight and has no idea Sam isn’t. Coming from such different worlds, they never seemed to make sense as friends, and when Sam develops romantic feelings Zoe can’t reciprocate, it might spell the end of everything they’ve had.

Nyxia Uprising, by Scott Reintgen
In the final installment of Reintgen’s Nyxia Triad series, former resident of a dystopian Detroit Emmett Atwater wages his final battle against the nefarious Babel Corporation. Having joined forces with the Imago people, his last stand takes him from the surface of their doomed planet back up to the stars, where the fight for control of the Genesis ships—and survival—is on.

The Hummingbird Dagger, by Cindy Anstey
A young lord. A near-fatal accident. And a cipher of a girl, with no memory of who she is or where she comes from. Anstey spins a sinister Regency mystery in which the amnesiac survivor of a carriage crash, convalescing at the estate of the lord who witnessed it, has little but her dark dreams—of a bloody-beaked hummingbird—to unlock the mystery of who she is and why she almost died.

Earth to Charlie, by Justin Olson
After losing his mother to alien abduction—or so he believes—Charlie spends his days waiting to be abducted out of his own miserable life. A nearly friendless bullying victim with a strained relationship with his father, he looks to the stars for an escape route. Then new student Seth hits town, bringing with him the possibility of friendship with a true peer. Now Charlie must decide between dreaming of getting out, or choosing to navigate life as it is, right here on Earth.

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