In no particular order:
Starling House – Alix E. Harrow
Of all of Alix Harrow’s books that I’ve read (which is all of them), this is definitely my favorite so far! It features a girl and her brother, a boy and his haunted house, a cat and a lot (a LOT) of mysterious, troubled family history.
This read is perfect for the darker months of the year: it is moody and gritty, quite dark and a little gory at times, but with such a big heart and plenty of wholesome moments to keep you going. Highly recommended for anyone who’s into the darker side of urban fantasy.
Some Desperate Glory – Emily Tesh
A massive departure from the cozy, folkloric novella duology I’ve read from this author before, Some Desperate Glory is an ambitious sci-fi dystopian story that weighs in at almost 500 pages. The main character, Kyr, comes from a small, militaristic human colony and has been trained as an elite fighter pretty much from birth. She’s fast and proud and honestly pretty ruthless, and she knows she’s destined to avenge the destruction of Earth. Until some things happen that turn everything upside down, and Kyr starts to wonder… what if her people are not the good guys after all?
Nothing But the Rain – Naomi Salman
In a drizzle-covered town where the rain makes people lose their memories, a grumpy old lady is dealing with the situation as best she can: imposing experiments on herself, keeping a record of her days and abiding by a buddy system, even though she dislikes the one assigned to her. But when she doesn’t trust the things her buddy is getting involved with, everything changes….
It is no secret that I have a deep and abiding love for novellas, and this is another winner. This book is only 96 pages long, but it packs a punch many full-length novels don’t manage. The twist ending in particular had me screaming out loud.
The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi – Shannon Chakraborty
When this author’s debut novel came out, I was lucky enough to get my hands on an ARC (advanced reader copy). But for some reason, I didn’t like that one as much as I’d hoped; it just wasn’t for me.
Having read the synopsis of this title, I found that it sounded right up my street, but I still went in with a little apprehension, wondering if I’d be disappointed again. I needn’t have worried because this book is GREAT!
It’s a celebration of kickass women, (found) family, living by your own rules and fighting for what you believe in, even against all odds. I love that the main characters are older, definitely not the stereotypical young heroes, and have lived through many adventures before embarking on this one. It gives the story a sense of solidity and groundedness, even though it’s also full of mystique and mythology.
I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a different kind of swashbuckling story!
The Mimicking of Known Successes – Malka Older
Another science fiction novella, because we all know I can never resist them. This one is set on Jupiter, where Mossa, the main character, is an investigator who is sent to look into a man’s disappearance. Her investigation leads her to reunite with Pleiti, a former college friend who might have been a little bit more than that. The steampunky feel of the Jupiter settlement, the cozy academia vibes and the dynamic between Mossa and Pleiti make this a delightful read for a rainy evening. And good news: a second part is coming in February!