Countdown to Christmas Day 6

by Michele Fry

I love The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. I’ve never read a novel written wholly in verse before, so that was a treat, as was Xiomara’s strong, fierce, and powerful voice. I fell in love with Xiomara from the very beginning and was willing her on, wanting her to find a way to voice her feelings and questions, her fears and her experiences of being a young black woman who’s talked over, talked down to, or simply ignored at every turn. This book made me cry, made me cheer, and made me happy to have met Xiomara, a beautiful, brave, black girl. I cannot
recommend it highly enough.

I extra love (!) Passing Strange by Ellen Klages a fascinating and compelling historical love story with supernatural/fantastical elements about a bisexual artist and a lesbian singer. Set in San
Francisco in 1940, it looks at the ways in which queer cis and enby women try to express their queerness and/or nonconformity to the gender binary [sic] while still complying with the law. It’s a tragedy with a happy ending.

The Green Man’s Heir is EVERYTHING I love about Juliet McKenna’s work:
a skilful, careful, and seamless blend of folklore, mythology, and fantasy sensibilities with a modern setting and modern concerns regarding ecological & environmental issues, masculinity, news reporting, and policing, but without a single moment of hectoring or lecturing. And all wrapped up in a compelling tale that will make you want to read all night.

The Black God’s Drums by P. Djèlí Clark is totally immersive (I read it in less than a day), full of well-crafted worldbuilding (of the alternate Black history kind), intriguing mythology, engaging and well-rounded characters whom I found utterly fascinating, and it was at once exactly the right length (for the story it told), but far too bloody short (because I need more, more, MORE (please!) about Jacqueline and Captain Ann-Marie of the airship Midnight Robber.

When the Letter Comes by Mx Sara Fox is a story about magic, growing up, being left behind, becoming someone different, with a transgender protagonist whose younger sister gets invited to go to magical school while Henry (she hasn’t decided on a new name yet, but she will one
day) is left behind. Then a war comes, and Henry meets Caden, who’s non-binary and who brings Henry to where her sister Gabrielle is involved in a war between those who think technology is destroying magic, and those who don’t. And all the time Henry is struggling to feel comfortable in her skin, to accept who she is, and struggling with others, particularly her parents’, difficulties with accepting who she is. This is a beautiful, compelling short story that gripped me from the first line.

Petra MacDonald available now!

Leave out a saucer of milk, hang a horse shoe over the door, sprinkle a little iron round your doors and windows. The Queen of the Fae is coming. 

We are delighted to announce the release of the latest novella by Shona Kinsella ‘Petra MacDonald and the Queen of the Fae’ with cover art by Tabatha Stirling.

Petra MacDonald is a bisexual, pagan artist who lives and works on a small Scottish island. While in a trance, she paints a young girl who has been abducted by the Queen of the Fae and it falls to Petra to save her. 
 
She must travel Faery, collect three items for the Queen, escape the sex spell of the Selkie prince and steal the loyalty of her fae guard. 
 
Can she bring the child home before it’s too late?

Opening paragraphs

‘It was dusk when Petra came out of her trance, her arm sore from wielding the brush. Her hands were covered in paint and she could feel speckles drying on her face. She looked at the canvas and frowned. She had painted a young girl, facing away from the viewer, shoulders slumped and head down. That was unusual; Petra rarely painted people during trance work, except those she knew.
Even more notable was the menacing feeling of the painting. Shadows crowded around the child, claw-like shapes reaching towards her. As Petra studied the canvas she noticed the glint of eyes, peering towards the girl who hunched away from them.’