The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One by Amanda Lovelace (★★★★★)
Lovelace’s second –and in my opinion superior — poetry collection in the Women Are Some Kind of Magic series is a love letter to feminism and all the nasty women of the world. Once again split into four parts (The Trial, The Burning, The Firestorm and the Ashes), this time around Lovelace takes aim at a broken patriarchal system through the lens of a witch hunt, inspiring and motivating readers through her quotable poetry.
Opal: A Raven Cycle Story by Maggie Stiefvater (★★★★☆½)
This short story follow up to The Raven King focuses on Ronan (the best raven boy), Adam (the okayest raven boy) and their dream made sort of love child Opal as the trio plans to create a brand-new Cabeswater. Told from Opal’s perspective, this is the coda The Raven Cycle deserved, now with 100% more adorably domestic Ronan/Adam moments.
The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw (★★★★☆½)
Every summer in the town of Sparrow three accused witches return from the dead to seek their revenge, taking over the bodies of three young girls and luring men to their deaths. Moody, suspenseful and atmospheric, The Wicked Deep is set in the seemingly magical town of Sparrow (they sell cakes that make you forget), whose dark past is now a successful tourist attraction. One room facing the haunted ocean please!
People Like Us by Dana Mele (★★★★☆)
People Like Us is one of those thrillers that will have you turning pages long into the night so you can learn everyone’s dirty little secrets. Despite being a tad predictable — I guessed the murderer long before the final reveal — this debut is a fun and suspenseful boarding school murder mystery about terrible high schoolers doing even more terrible things.
A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Marlon Bundo and Jill Twiss (★★★★★)
Created by the Last Week Tonight team in response to a different book about Mike Pence’s pet rabbit, A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo is a cute children’s story about spending the rest of your life with somebunny special … regardless of gender. In addition to being a big middle finger to Mike Pence, proceeds from the book also support the Trevor Project and AIDS United. So, you know, win-win.
Moonstruck Vol. 1: Magic to Brew by Grace Ellis (★★☆☆☆½)
I had high hopes for Moonstruck, a fantasy story centered around two lady werewolves falling in love and their gender fluid centaur friend. Unfortunately, a cute premise, adorable illustrations and a cameo from the Babadook could not make up for a disjointed plot, bad storytelling, an unnecessary story within a story and a character who quotes The Room for seemingly no reason.
The Radical Element [edited] by Jessica Spotswood (★★★★☆)
From cross-dressing steamboat workers to high-wire enthusiasts, ladies who have the power to change their faces and girls who drink moonlight, The Radical Element is a collection of short stories about diverse young females throughout history. Written exclusively by women, the young adult anthology focuses on rebellious girls of various races, sexual orientations and religions used to living on the margins on society.
Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves (★★★☆☆½)
I love a good historical fantasy/period piece. Unfortunately, while Blood Rose Rebellion started off strong, things took a decidedly different — and way less interesting — turn when the story moved our heroine to Hungary. Predictable and at times pointless, I appreciated what Eves was trying to do with her commentary on the social classes, but did not find myself invested enough in the characters or their stories to care.