June First Impressions

Oh Summer time, how lovely it is to see your blue skies and hot weather…from the inside of our homes, next to the AC with a glass of iced coffee and a nice, thick book.

A Song Below Water – Bethany C. Morrow

Tavia is already at odds with the world, forced to keep her siren identity under wraps in a society that wants to keep her kind under lock and key. Never mind she’s also stuck in Portland, Oregon, a city with only a handful of black folk and even fewer of those with magical powers. At least she has her bestie Effie by her side as they tackle high school drama, family secrets, and unrequited crushes.

But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation; the girls’ favorite Internet fashion icon reveals she’s also a siren, and the news rips through their community. Tensions escalate when Effie starts being haunted by demons from her past, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice during a police stop. No secret seems safe anymore—soon Portland won’t be either. 

A Song Below Water, Bethany C. Morrow
June 2nd, 2020

Black Siren Girls! Black Siren Girls! BLACK SIREN GIRLS!

Holy heck, not only is that cover gorgeous (I love a beautifully illustrated cover), but I love any fantasy contemporary where it’s not just white mermaids. I love the concept of sirens being a known thing–and a celebrity revealing that she’s one too!–and it makes me wonder what other type of mythological beings are real in this universe.

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin – Roseanne A. Brown

The first in an fantasy duology inspired by West African folklore in which a grieving crown princess and a desperate refugee find themselves on a collision course to murder each other despite their growing attraction.

For Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to escape his war-stricken home and start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But when a vengeful spirit abducts Malik’s younger sister, Nadia, as payment into the city, Malik strikes a fatal deal—kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, for Nadia’s freedom.

But Karina has deadly aspirations of her own. Her mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated; her court threatens mutiny; and Solstasia looms like a knife over her neck. Grief-stricken, Karina decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic . . . requiring the beating heart of a king. And she knows just how to obtain one: by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition.

When Malik rigs his way into the contest, they are set on a course to destroy each other. But as attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, will they be able to see their tasks to the death? 

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin, Roseanne A. Brown
June 2nd, 2020

The cover drew me in (the colors! the dot mandala! the dress the model is wearing!) and the enemies-to-lovers trope with both trying to assassinate the other kept me waiting with baited breathe.

This might be the second title in this post with “song” in its title, but I can forgive that because I love non-European inspired fantasies and enemies-to-lovers is just *chef’s kiss*.

My Calamity Jane – Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows

Welcome ​to 1876 and a rootin’-tootin’ America bursting with gunslingers, outlaws, and garou.

JANE (a genuine hero-eene)
Calamity’s her name, and garou hunting’s her game—when she’s not starring in Wild Bill’s Traveling Show, that is. She reckons that if a girl wants to be a legend, she should just go ahead and be one.

FRANK (wolf whistle)
Frank “the Pistol Prince” Butler is the Wild West’s #1 bachelor. He’s also the best sharpshooter on both sides of the Mississippi, but he’s about to meet his match. . . .

ANNIE (get your gun!)
Annie Oakley (yep, that Annie) is lookin’ for a job, not a romance, but she can’t deny there’s something about Frank she likes. Really likes. Still, she’s pretty sure that anything he can do, she can do better.

A HAIRY SITUATION
After a garou hunt goes south and Jane finds a suspicious-like bite on her arm, she turns tail for Deadwood, where there’s been talk of a garou cure. But things ain’t always what they seem—meaning the gang better hightail it after her before they’re a day late and a Jane short.

My Calamity Jane, Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows
June 2nd, 2020

Wow, I… uh… have not been keeping up with this series. Maybe I should, because I love a Wild West theme story, especially if it’s got werewolves and such. I guess there’s just a different Jane from a different era of time in each book? Or is it the same Jane just time-hopping?

Cause that would be rad.

You Say It First – Katie Cotugno

Meg has her entire life set up perfectly: her boyfriend Mason is sweet and supportive, she and her best friend Emily plan to head to Cornell together in the fall, and she even finds time to clock shifts phonebanking at a voter registration call center in her Philadelphia suburb. But everything changes when one of those calls connects her to a stranger from small-town Ohio, who gets under her skin from the moment he picks up the phone.

Colby is stuck in a rut, reeling from a family tragedy and working a dead-end job—unsure what his future holds, or if he even cares. The last thing he has time for is some privileged rich girl preaching the sanctity of the political process. So he says the worst thing he can think of and hangs up.

But things don’t end there.…

That night on the phone winds up being the first in a series of candid, sometimes heated, always surprising conversations that lead to a long-distance friendship and then—slowly—to something more. Across state lines and phone lines, Meg and Colby form a once-in-a-lifetime connection. But in the end, are they just too different to make it work?

You Say It First is a propulsive, layered novel about how sometimes the person who has the least in common with us can be the one who changes us most. 

You Say It First, Katie Cotugno
June 16th, 2020

Obligatory Contemporary Shout-out for Dan!

The political subplot is timely, and the romance sounds like it could head somewhere great, but the cover is another in a long series of similar line-less looking art style that seems common in this genre. I don’t hate it, but I wish it stood out a bit more.

Forest of Souls – Lori M. Lee

Danger lurks within the roots of Forest of Souls, an epic, unrelenting tale of destiny and sisterhood, perfect for fans of Naomi Novik and Susan Dennard.

Sirscha Ashwyn comes from nothing, but she’s intent on becoming something. After years of training to become the queen’s next royal spy, her plans are derailed when shamans attack and kill her best friend Saengo.

And then Sirscha, somehow, restores Saengo to life.

Unveiled as the first soulguide in living memory, Sirscha is summoned to the domain of the Spider King. For centuries, he has used his influence over the Dead Wood—an ancient forest possessed by souls—to enforce peace between the kingdoms. Now, with the trees growing wild and untamed, only a soulguide can restrain them. As war looms, Sirscha must master her newly awakened abilities before the trees shatter the brittle peace, or worse, claim Saengo, the friend she would die for. 

Forest of Souls, Lori M. Lee
June 23rd, 2020

Ghosts! Weird soul magic! Royal assassins! I love it!

It also helps that a comp author is my fave, Susan Dennard.

I love the idea of a character suddenly being able to restore life, and then having to go to someone called the Spider King?! That’s just awesome. I can’t wait to get my hands on this one!

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Published by Magdalyn Ann

I'm a 20 something YA/Fantasy author looking to spread my stories around the world. My strengths seem to lie in procrastination, puppies and puns. Apparently alliteration as well.

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