Updated: Feb 19
To celebrate Pride Month I've compiled a MEGA LIST of speculative fiction reads either written LGBTQ+ authors from Australia and New Zealand or featuring a main point of view character from the rainbow community. From epic to opera, steampunk to cyberpunk, browse this collection to find your next read!
Note: this list is live and I will periodically add to it as new titles become available.
To help navigate this list, I've tagged each book with appropriate tags to its genre/sub genre. Simply search this blog using one of the tags below to find books that fall under its category.
Fantasy tags: dark fantasy, urban fantasy, contemporary fantasy, epic fantasy, portal fantasy, high fantasy, YA fantasy, science-fantasy, steampunk, paranormal, mythology.
Science fiction tags: YA sci-fi, soft sci-fi, space opera, superhero, futuristic, time travel, alternate history, dystopia, cyberpunk, science-fantasy, space exploration.
Horror tags: horror, gothic, paranormal.
Other tags: historic, mystery, crime, detective, romance, retelling, short story collection, novella, web comic.
No Man’s Land – A.J. Fitzwater (NZ)
Tags: contemporary fantasy, historic
No Man’s Land is a historical fantasy and a love story set in the golden plains of North Otago, in the South Island of Aotearoa New Zealand.
Dorothea ‘Tea’ Gray joins the Land Service and is sent to work on a remote farm, one of many young women left to fill the empty shoes left by fathers and brothers serving in the Second World War.
But Tea finds more than hard work and hot sun in the dusty North Otago nowhere—she finds a magic inside herself she never could have imagined, a way to save her brother in a distant land she never thought she could reach, and a love she never knew existed.
Inspired by feminist and LGBTQ+ history and family memories of North Otago in wartime, A.J Fitzwater has turned a piece of forgotten women’s history into a tapestry of furious pride and love that crosses cultures, countries and decades.
The Voyages of Cinrak the Dapper — AJ Fitzwater (NZ)
Tags: short story collection
Dapper. Lesbian. Capybara. Pirate.
Cinrak the Dapper is a keeper of secrets, a righter of wrongs, the saltiest capybara on the sea and a rider of both falling stars and a great glass whale. Join her, her beloveds, the rat Queen Orvilia and the marmot diva Loquolchi, lead soprano of the Theatre Rat-oyal, her loyal cabin kit, Benj the chinchilla, and Agnes, last of the great krakens, as they hunt for treasures of all kinds and find adventures beyond their wildest dreams.
Let Sir Julius Vogel Award-winning storyteller A.J. Fitzwater take you on a glorious journey about finding yourself, discovering true love and found family, and exploring the greatest secrets of the deep. Also, dapperness.
The Dark Tide — Alicia Jasinska (AU)
Tags: YA fantasy, dark fantasy
Every year on St. Walpurga's Eve, Caldella's Witch Queen lures a boy back to her palace. An innocent life to be sacrificed on the full moon to keep the island city from sinking.
Lina Kirk is convinced her brother is going to be taken this year. To save him, she enlists the help of Thomas Lin, the boy she secretly loves, and the only person to ever escape from the palace. But they draw the queen's attention, and Thomas is chosen as the sacrifice.
Queen Eva watched her sister die to save the boy she loved. Now as queen, she won't make the same mistake. She's willing to sacrifice anyone if it means saving herself and her city.
When Lina offers herself to the queen in exchange for Thomas's freedom, the two girls await the full moon together. But Lina is not at all what Eva expected, and the queen is nothing like Lina envisioned. Against their will, they find themselves falling for each other as water floods Caldella's streets and the dark tide demands its sacrifice.
The Midnight Girls — Alicia Jasinska (AU)
Tags: horror, dark fantasy, YA fantasy
The Wicked Deep meets House of Salt and Sorrows in this new standalone YA fantasy set in a snow-cloaked kingdom where witches are burned, and two enchantresses secretly compete for the heart of a prince, only to discover that they might be falling for each other.
It's Karnawał season in the snow-cloaked Kingdom of Lechija, and from now until midnight when the church bells ring an end to Devil's Tuesday time will be marked with wintry balls and glittery disguises, cavalcades of nightly torch-lit "kuligi" sleigh-parties.
Unbeknownst to the oblivious merrymakers, two monsters join the fun, descending upon the royal city of Warszów in the guise of two innocent girls. Newfound friends and polar opposites, Zosia and Marynka seem destined to have a friendship that's stronger even than magic. But that's put to the test when they realize they both have their sights set on Lechija's pure-hearted prince. A pure heart contains immeasurable power and Marynka plans to bring the prince's back to her grandmother in order to prove herself. While Zosia is determined to take his heart and its power for her own.
When neither will sacrifice their ambitions for the other, the festivities spiral into a wild contest with both girls vying to keep the hapless prince out of the other's wicked grasp. But this isn't some remote forest village, where a hint of stray magic might go unnoticed, Warszów is the icy capital of a kingdom that enjoys watching monsters burn, and if Zosia and Marynka's innocent disguises continue to slip, their escalating rivalry might cost them not just the love they might have for each other, but both their lives.
We All Fall — Helen Vivien (NZ)
Tags: horror, paranormal
Myra fell from the trapeze, and then she fell in love. Which one will hurt her the most?
Something is not right at the circus. Since Myra’s accident, there have been an unexplainable number of falls, and a strange, hot wind whispering through the tents.
Then, a new fortune teller arrives.
Myra meets Giselle, the beautiful, blind, child fortune teller, who often speaks of spirits in a way which may or may not be a joke. Myra finds herself drawn to her, despite the fact that she doesn’t believe in psychics.
When someone she cares about becomes the next victim of the falls, Myra must face the unnatural cause behind them. Will Myra be able to save the people she loves, or will she be the next one to drop?
Waycaller, Keysong (The Faeden Chronicles) — DJ McPhee (AU)
Tags: portal fantasy, high fantasy
Seventeen year old Jack Gordon thinks he’s going mad, just like his mother who believed in mythical beings like elves, dragons and monsters. He’s even started hearing voices. But then he and his little sister Harriett are attacked by a monster that is definitely real.
Jack and Harriett find themselves magically transported to the hidden realm of Anwynn. In Anwynn, Jack learns that elves, dragons and Druids are very real and that he is a Waycaller: he has the power to part the veil between the hidden realm of Anwynn and the human realm.
Jack faces the challenges that come with being in an unfamiliar world that is as dangerous as it is magical. To survive, he must overcome his doubts and fears and learn to accept and use the power that resides within him. That might be a little easier if he weren't also struggling with his feelings for the mysterious Anarra, a part-elvish girl whose beauty is matched only by her skill with a sword.
Waycaller is Book 1 of The Faeden Chronicles. For lots of extra, free material about Waycaller (including a map of the magical realm of Anwynn) go to: www.waycaller.com
Cold As Hell — Neen Cohen (AU)
Tags: dark fantasy, urban fantasy
The town of OpenFields is cold as hell...
Magic exists in OpenFields, and everyone but Adie plays their part. So what happens when murder and strangers visit the secret town?
Adie's normal isn't "normal." Cameras watch her sleep, the eyes of the townsfolk narrow at her sight, and when she discovers her bosses' office in disarray, and a stranger who makes her heart thunder, her world changes forever.
Author Neen Cohen's Cold as Hell is an Urban Dark Fantasy like no other.
What secrets do OpenFields hold?
Adie's journey will rock the town to its foundation.
Flight, Veil, Crest (Call of The Rift) – Jae Waller (AU)
Tags: epic fantasy, YA fantasy
Seventeen-year-old Kateiko doesn’t want to be Rin anymore — not if it means sacrificing lives to protect the dead. Her only way out is to join another tribe, a one-way trek through the coastal rainforest. Killing a colonial soldier in the woods isn’t part of the plan. Neither is spending the winter with Tiernan, an immigrant who keeps a sword with his carpentry tools. His log cabin leaks and his stories about other worlds raise more questions than they answer.
Then the air spirit Suriel, long thought dormant, resurrects a war. For Kateiko, protecting other tribes in her confederacy is atonement. For Tiernan, war is a return to the military life he’s desperate to forget.
Leaving Tiernan means losing the one man Kateiko trusts. Staying with him means abandoning colonists to a death sentence. In a region tainted by prejudice and on the brink of civil war, she has to decide what’s worth dying — or killing — for.
Winter Masquerade — Kevin Klehr (AU)
Tags: magic realism, romance
Ferris wakes on the Sea Queen, an enchanted cruise ship sailing on a chocolate sea. He has no idea how he got here, but he desperately wants to go home to his boyfriend.
The alchemist is the only person who can help Ferris, but he’s been kidnapped. The ransom is high tea with scones and jam.
Meanwhile, the passengers are gearing up for the Winter Masquerade, a ball where love and magic reign.
With a murderous musician, an absent boyfriend, and a mystical party, Ferris soon learns that Wednesday is not the day to fall in love.
Drama Queens with Love Scenes, Drama Queens and Adult Themes, Drama Queens and Devilish Schemes (Actors and Angels) — Kevin Klehr (AU)
Tags: magic realism, romance
Close friends Allan and Warwick are dead. They’re not crazy about the idea, so to help them deal with this dilemma are Samantha, a blond bombshell from the 1950s, and Guy, an insecure angel.
Allan also has a secret. He has a romantic crush on his friend, Warwick, but shortly after confiding in his new angel pal, his love interest falls for the cock-sure playwright, Pedro.
Not only does Allan have to win the heart of his companion, he also has to grapple with the faded memory of how he actually died.
Social Media Central — Kevin Klehr (AU)
Tags: futuristic, dystopia
In an age where everyone lives their lives through a screen, no one has more celebrity status than fashion blogger extraordinaire, Madeline Q. And in a chance meeting, loner geek, Tayler, is introduced to her world of parties, fan worship and seduction.
But as his own star rises, Madeline Q is arrested for murder. There’s just one problem – there is no corpse. Tayler soon learns that fiction blurs with reality on Social Media Central.
Finding Aurora — Rebecca Langham (AU)
Tags: retelling, YA fantasy
Aurora Rose slumbers in the city of Oldpass, a cursed kingdom once allied with Grimvein. The victim of a malicious spell, she is powerless to control her own fate. At least, that’s how the story goes.
Now, as Grimvein faces attack, Prince Amir has been tasked with the life-threatening rescue of Aurora, his parents hopeful he will marry the princess and secure safety for their kingdom. Talia, the strongest spellcaster in the known lands, protects and guides the prince in his quest to save a woman that threatens to change their lives forever.
In finding Aurora, the pair will realise the truth about themselves and each other, coming to understand just what – and who – they really want in life.
Beneath the Surface, Breaking the Surface (Outsider Project Series) – Rebecca Langham (AU)
Tags: YA sci-fi, futuristic
When a change in collective conscious sends the Outsiders, a group of aliens, to the shadows below the city, humans reason that the demonization of their peers is simply more “humane.” There’s no question, nor doubt. Just acceptance.
Lydia had embraced that sense of “truth” for as long as she can remember. The daughter of a powerful governor, she has been able to live her life with more comforts than most. Comforts can be suffocating, though, and when the opportunity to teach Outsider children in their private, “humane” community becomes available, she takes it.
What she finds beneath the city is far from the truth she had grown to know. There she meets Alessia, an Outsider with the knowledge and will to shake the foundation of all those who walk above ground. The two find a new and unexpected connection despite a complete disconnect from the technological world. Or perhaps in spite of it.
Still, it takes a lot more than an immutable connection to change the world. Lydia, Alessia, and a small group of Outsiders must navigate a system of corruption, falsehoods, and twists none of them ever saw coming, all while holding on to the hope to come out alive in the end. But it’s a risk worth taking, and a future worth fighting for.
From a Shadow Grave — Andi C. Buchanan (NZ)
Tags: urban fantasy, crime, mystery, alternate history
This is no ordinary ghost story.
Wellington, 1931. Seventeen-year-old Phyllis Symons' body is discovered in the Mt Victoria tunnel construction site.
Eighty years later, Aroha Brooke is determined to save her life.
Succulents and Spells — Andi C. Buchanan (NZ)
Tags: urban fantasy, novella
Laurel Windflower is a witch from a family of magic workers - but her own life is going nowhere. Living in the damp, sunless side of Aro Valley, she works in a café, unable to produce anything more powerful than the most basic herbal potions. Until, one winter morning, Marigold Nightfield knocks on her door.
Marigold is a scientist, but she knows plenty about magic. There are strange things happening in her house, and her future discoveries require careful negotiation with monsters.
Laurel can’t walk away from a mystery – and she can’t walk away from Marigold either. But what lies ahead could reveal all of her shortcomings to the woman she's trying to impress… or uncover the true nature of her power.
Riverwitch — Rem Wigmore (NZ)
Tags: urban fantasy, novella
Ashley Robinson, self-taught witch, considers it her duty to protect her hometown of Hamilton. She spends her time on community work and picking up litter by the Waikato River.
But something is badly wrong with the river, a sickness deeper than mere pollution can explain. Magic must be the cause, but is it a curse or something else entirely? Ash has to get to the bottom of it, armed with nothing more than the support of her best friend Mikaere and a pocketful of crystals.
Then there’s Bryony Manu, the town’s only other witch. A charismatic practitioner of dark magic, Bryony is infuriating … and captivating. Ash needs their help to track down the source of the spell draining life from the river. Can she balance her work with her attraction to Bryony, and master her magic along the way?
The Wind City — Summer Wigmore (NZ)
Tags: urban fantasy, paranormal
Wellington. The wind city. New Zealand’s home of art and culture, but darker forces, forgotten forces, are starting to reappear. Aotearoa’s displaced iwi atua – the patupaiarehe, taniwha, and ponaturi of legend – have decided to make Wellington their home, and while some have come looking for love, others have arrived in search of blood.
A war is coming, and few can stand in their way. Saint (lovably fearless, temporarily destitute, currently unable to find a shirt) may be our only hope.
Tony, suddenly unemployed and potentially a taniwha herself, has little choice but to accept the role her bloodline dictates. And Hinewai, who fell with the rain? If she can’t find her one true love, there’s a good chance that none will live to see the morning. Wellington will never be the same again.
Overdues and Occultism — Jamie Sands (NZ)
Tags: urban fantasy, novella
A witch in the broom closet probably shouldn’t be so interested in a ghost hunter, right?
That Basil is a librarian comes as no surprise to his Mt Eden community. That he’s a witch?
Yeah. That might raise more than a few eyebrows.
The Other Side of the Mirror — Jamie Sands (NZ)
Tags: urban fantasy, contemporary fantasy, detective, paranormal
The case: a grandmother who vanished from a locked room.
The best lead: a psychic who’s as mysterious as she is cute.
Detective Jack Donovan is the one called upon when weird cases hit Auckland. A fierce loner with a reputation for solving the unsolvable, she is the perfect choice for the latest odd mystery: the locked-room disappearance of a beloved grandmother, who has vanished without trace and, seemingly, without suspects or a motive.
This time around, though, Jack has also been assigned a partner. The fresh young detective Piper, who has transferred in with a difficult history, is determined to prove themself. Smart, perky, and inexperienced. They are exactly the kind of partner Jack manages to scare away.
As they dig deeper into the mystery, though, Jack has to put her own reluctance in the back seat and help Piper navigate a whole different world — because the beloved grandmother has her own mysterious past, one that has already cost lives… and souls.
With the help of the enigmatic and beautiful psychic Emmaline, Jack and Piper must confront the strange world on the other side of the mirror. Some mysteries can only be solved with magic!
The Suburban Book of the Dead — Jamie Sands (NZ)
Tags: horror, paranormal
No one expected the last night of the Summer holidays to be deadly.
Rain and her best friends Rachel and Jackie head to the carnival. Rain's plan was to chat up Jake, who runs the Ferris Wheel, and maybe get a kiss or two.
But then Rachel's killed in mysterious circumstances, and none of them will ever be the same again.
When Rachel returns as a ghost insisting Rain find out who killed her and why, she turns to Jake, who knows more than he seems to. In fact, he's encountered weird stuff like ghosts and monsters before.
So now she just has to grieve for a friend who she's still talking to, try not to fall deeper in love with Jake, keep her family off her back, decide who to trust, infiltrate the funfair and find Rachel's killer. Piece of cake, right?
Holloway Witches — Isa Pearl Ritchie (NZ)
Tags: urban fantasy, contemporary fantasy, novella
Ursula escapes to Holloway Rd, leaving her former life in tatters, following a bad break-up.
She’s looking forward to a quiet respite in a cozy cottage with a lush garden and lots of bookshelves, but instead she can’t shake the eerie feeling she’s being followed. The tomato plants are growing back out of season, and she’s seeing unusual visions of a purple-haired woman who’s a lot more intriguing than Ursula would expect.
Then there’s gorgeous Rowan with his quirky house truck; she barely knows him yet, but he seems to know more about the weird things going on than Ursula does and she can’t deny she’s drawn to him as well…
When a creepy and bewitching stranger appears, Ursula has to learn more about magic, her family history, and herself, if she wants to protect the people who are most important to her.
Euphoria Kids — Alison Evans (AU)
Tags: urban fantasy, contemporary fantasy
Ever since the witch cursed Babs, she turns invisible sometimes. She has her mum and her dog, but teachers and classmates barely notice her. Then, one day, Iris can see her. And Iris likes what they see. Babs is made of fire.
Iris grew from a seed in the ground. They have friends, but not human ones. Not until they meet Babs. The two of them have a lot in common: they speak to dryads and faeries, and they're connected to the magic that's all around them.
There's a new boy at school, a boy who's like them and who hasn't found his real name. Soon the three of them are hanging out and trying spellwork together. Magic can be dangerous, though. Witches and fae can be cruel. Something is happening in the other realm, and despite being warned to stay away, the three friends have to figure out how to deal with it on their own terms.
Anyone who loves the work of Francesca Lia Block and delights in Studio Ghibli films will be entranced by this gorgeous and gentle young adult novel about three queer friends who come into their power.
Heart of Brass, Silver and Stone, Iron Lights (The Antipodean Queen series) – Felicity Banks (AU)
Tags: steampunk, historic
Emmeline Muchamore is a well-bred young lady hiding explosive family secrets. She needs to marry well, and quickly, in order to keep her family respectable. But when her brass heart malfunctions, she makes a desperate choice to steal the parts she needs to repair it and survive.
She is unable to explain her actions without revealing she has a steam-powered heart, so she is arrested for theft and transported to Victoria, Australia – right in the midst of the Gold Rush.
Now that she’s escaped the bounds of high society, iron manacles cannot hold her for long.
The only metal that really matters is gold.
The Dawnhounds — Sascha Stronach (NZ)
Tags: urban fantasy, science-fantasy, horror
A ship rolls through the fog, its doomed crew fallen victim to an engineered plague. Yat Jyn-Hok—disgraced cop, former thief, long lost love to a flame-haired street girl—stumbles across its deadly trail, but powerful men will do anything to keep it secret.
They kill Yat.
It doesn’t stick.
An ancient intelligence reanimates her, and sends her out to enact its monstrous designs. She has her own plans: to find her lost love, and solve her own murder before the plague tears the city to pieces. But what are the golden threads she sees running through the city walls? What does her inhuman saviour want from her? Why can’t she die?
Set in Hainak Kuay Vitraj—where lost gods live in the cracks in the sidewalk, where the miracle of alchemical botany makes flesh as malleable as clay—The Dawnhounds.
Gideon the Ninth, Harrow the Ninth (The Locked Tomb trilogy) — Tasmyn Muir (NZ)
Tags: space opera, science-fantasy
The Emperor needs necromancers.
The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.
Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead bullshit.
Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won't set her free without a service.
Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon's sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die.
Of course, some things are better left dead.
Conversion — Cambrey Payne (AU)
Tags: urban fantasy
The Conversion Stone was supposed to be a myth. A stone that can turn humans into mages couldn’t possibly be real. So when Callum DeRossi hires a treasure hunter to find it, Inspector Araiah Walker of the Anti Terrorism and Organised Crime Division (ATOC) smells a rat. The most wanted mage in the developed world, head of the terrorist organisation The Outcast Sons, chasing a legend? Not likely. Drugs, possibly. Weapons, probably. Whatever DeRossi wants to smuggle into the country, Araiah knows it’s not going to be good.
The only upside is that DeRossi’s little venture has brought Richard Cleveland, the talented antiquities smuggler, onto her radar. Her team could finally have a chance to get an informant right in DeRossi’s inner circle. For the first time in more than thirty years, they could have a chance to bring down his whole organisation. Until, that is, Araiah’s team loses Cleveland.
With no informant and no leads on his whereabouts, the team are assigned a new case. Half-breeds are going missing all over the city and it seems DeRossi is behind it. Worse, there are suggestions that the powers of the Conversion Stone might not be so mythical after all.
The Sons aren’t going to give in without a fight, and with the body count rising, Araiah needs all the help she can get to stop DeRossi creating his own private army. But with betrayal lurking around every corner, is there anyone she can trust?
The Highwayman's Legacy — Natasja Rose (AU)
Tags: horror, paranormal.
Being a Psychic sucks.
It would probably be worse if Tina Barnes had to listen to every random thought that crossed people's mind, but witnessing the death of every person who died in a spectacularly gory fashion is no picnic,either. Being on a tour of Historically Significant (read: haunted) locations isn't really helping.
Oh, and did she mention the supernatural soap opera of two ghosts possessing random people in their bid for a Happily Ever After that usually ends with the hosts dying? Because that's happening, too.
In a chilling tale of ghostly romance, friendship and fed-up psychics, what was meant to be a normal holiday tour takes a potentially deadly turn into a race against time.
Cinderella Grows a Spine — Natasja Rose (AU)
Cinderella didn't know exactly what prompted her to break free of the cycle of abuse from her step-mother, but one thing was certain: nothing is ever accomplished by waiting for someone else to magically fix things.
After all, Cinderella was a pretty, educated young lady of high birth and good breeding, and her Step-mother didn't control the world, no matter what the woman thought.
It wasn't like she didn't have options...
In a delightful reinvention of the classic fairytale, Cinderella takes charge of her own destiny, and through the power of friendship, courage and liberal applications of common sense, finds her own Happily Ever After
Between Darkness and Light — Natasja Rose (AU)
It wasn't Jason's fault that his father's Ultimate Sacrifice hadn't resulted in Martyrdom, but in a Villainous reputation. His classmates were intent on punishing him for it regardless.
It wasn't Evanna's fault that she had been in the wrong place at the wrong time, and wound up with Superpowers a la toxic waste. She was forced into Superhero Training anyway.
It wasn't Stretch's fault that his teachers focused more on using his powers than on the ethics of doing so. Sidekicks had to do what Superheroes told them to, and why shouldn't he use his powers to get what he wanted?
In a world where Superpowers are common, and those gifted with them a facet of everyday life, the lines between Hero and Villain are not always so easily drawn.
As though being a teenager wasn't hard enough!
The Time Traveller's Seamstress — Natasja Rose (AU)
Tags: time travel
Time Travel is easy. Fitting in while surfing the time-space continuum is harder.
A big part of the Time Agency's success was due to their costuming department, a variety of men and women who made fantastic clothing... and who really wished that the Agents would pay more attention to details like what year and geographical region they were heading to, and the policy on advanced notice for anything pre-1920s. Honestly, do they think all of that hand-stitched embroider and beading is easy?
A humorous read likely to make you a lot more sympathetic to the costuming department, "The Time-Traveller's Seamstress" is an entertaining book that will keep readers engaged to the end.
The Way of the Exiled — Natasja Rose (AU)
Tags: epic fantasy
Owain was a boy when he witnessed the massacre of his family and the loss of his home.
Fleeing into exile with his infant brother and a scattered handful of survivours, Owain must somehow keep them safe and alive as he grows from a traumatised child to a man able and prepared to reclaim his home.
In a tale of loss, hope and the bonds of friendship, family and destiny are what you make of them.
The Queen's Blade — Natasja Rose (AU)
Tags: historical, romance
The al-Aziz Clan were the most successful and dangerous assassins in the world, and they never failed to eliminate a target.
Desperate to prove herself, Sayfiya al-Aziz goes after the young Queen Alexandra, determined to succeed where others have failed.
Instead, Queen Alexandra offers her a new life, ripe with opportunity. Accepting the offer is a risk, one that may cost Sayfiya more than she ever suspected.
Or it may lead her to something greater than she could have dreamed…
Champagne Charlie and the Amazing Gladys — B.G. Hilton (AU)
Tags: steampunk, mystery
Hungover aristocrat Edward "Charlie" Decharles awakens in the back of a steam-cab, only to discover that the driver has been murdered. Unused to feeling responsible for anything, he feels compelled to find the killer. As he investigates, he meets "The Amazing" Gladys Dunchurch, a stage magician's assistant whose employer has disappeared – and not in a good way. They form an alliance – Charlie will help Gladys with his considerable resources and Gladys will help Charlie with her even more considerable brains.
Soon they discover that their respective mysteries are not only connected to each other, but related to other seemingly unrelated strangeness transpiring in London – the murder of an astronomer, an attack on a patent medicine factory, a mysterious cult in an idyllic town, and reports of deadly creatures in the London sewers.
Charlie and Gladys find themselves pitted against dead-eyed assassins, murderous pirates, wingless flying machines, and perhaps even creatures from beyond this Earth. And lurking behind it all lies a sinister cabal that knows the secret origin of the steam-powered society that powers their world. Can our heroes save the day, or will the fallout from that secret destroy two worlds?
Champagne Charlie and the Amazing Gladys is a fun, witty Steampunk adventure yarn, featuring a cast of eccentric characters.
Dispossessed — Piper Mejia (NZ)
Tags: YA fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal
Nobody likes you when you're the ugly new kid. A hoodie and a new foster home won't hide the creeping dread that you are dangerous. So, when you're offered the chance to meet a grandfather you never knew, you jump on a plane to the bush-covered mountains of New Zealand.
Slate longs for a home when he finds himself living among an ancient race masquerading as travelling performers. Dispossessed and disillusioned, Slate fears being trapped in a life hiding from the world; one his own father had to run from.
However, the decision to stay or leave is taken from him when he is held captive by hunters on the trail of the ultimate game trophy. Tortured and alone Slate fears that the only way to escape is to become the monster he never wanted to be.
Graced, Captive, Survivor, Bitten, Ashes, Freedom (Graced Series) — Amanda Pillar (AU)
Tags: urban fantasy, paranormal, romance
Enter the world of the Graced – where LJ Smith’s Nightworld series meets Anne Bishop’s The Others in a clash of power and secrets.
In a family of psychics, Elle Brown is a failure and she’s just fine by it. Especially since being gifted means being a target, and Elle has enough on her plate trying to keep her little sister safe from the surrounding vampires and shifters.
Clay is a shape-shifter who was just meant to be passing through town. But when the enigmatic Elle Brown crosses his path, he's unable to turn away; even though pursuing Elle could result in a death sentence - for the both of them.
Be prepared for the sparks to fly in this plot driven forbidden romance! Graced is an urban fantasy and paranormal romance genre-merge that provides a whole new spin on the vampire and werewolf legend.
Each book in the Graced Series is a standalone romance and features new aspects of the larger Graced world, but it is recommended the books are read in order, for the best reading experience.
For We Are Young and Free — Maddison Stoff (AU)
Tags: cyberpunk, short story collection
For We Are Young and Free is a collection of meta-fictional cyberpunk and supporting documents set in a pseudo-libertarian dystopian Australia. It extends the familiar tropes of cyberpunk to unfamiliar settings, including towns and small Australian cities, using the 'high-tech, low-life' aesthetic of the genre as a tool for comment on the economic and political realities of life in contemporary Australia. Neither strictly sci-fi nor experimental literature, unambiguously satirical or entirely dystopian, For We Are Young and Free creates a hybrid space between the genres, designed to make us speculate on the similarities between the world we live in and the worlds of science fiction, and what that might imply about the future of Australia.
Tackling everything from metadata retention to philosophy of language, and income inequality to computer games, For We Are Young and Free is a bristling attack on the ideology of neoliberal capitalism, inspired by the Federal Australian government's continual attempts to re-define reality in the service of our privileged upper classes. Inspired by a combination of contemporary sci-fi, late-stage capitalism, and modernist dystopias like Brave New World and 1984, it simulates its fictional society at every level, showing the subcultures, social issues, and popular culture of a very dark portrayal of Australia in 2069. It also shows us how we got there, and hopefully what we can do to stop it happening.
Next Curious Thing — Ephiny Gale (AU)
Tags: contemporary fantasy, dark fantasy, soft sci-fi
An otherworldly banquet of contemporary fantasy, dark fairy tales and soft science fiction, Next Curious Thing collects some of Gale’s best short fiction from 2013 to 2018, including ‘In the Beginning, All Our Hands Are Cold’ (Syntax & Salt Editor’s Award winner) and ‘Wrecked’ (Tangent Online Recommended Reading List). Known for her ability to mix the extraordinary with the relatable, darkness with splendour, and heartache with hope, Gale showcases a wide cast of fascinating female and queer characters in the most curious of situations. In addition to its previously published stories, Next Curious Thing features six brand new tales original to this collection.
Guardian of the Dead — Karen Healey (NZ)
Tags: YA fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal, mythology
"You're Ellie Spencer."
I opened my mouth, just as he added, "And your eyes are opening."
Seventeen-year-old Ellie Spencer is just like any other teenager at her boarding school. She hangs out with her best friend, Kevin; she obsesses over Mark, a cute and mysterious bad boy; and her biggest worry is her paper deadline.
But then everything changes. The news headlines are all abuzz about a local string of killings that share the same morbid trademark: the victims were discovered with their eyes missing. Then a beautiful yet eerie woman enters Ellie's circle of friends and develops an unhealthy fascination with Kevin, and a crazed old man grabs Ellie in a public square and shoves a tattered Bible into her hands, exclaiming, "You need it. It will save your soul." Soon, Ellie finds herself plunged into a haunting world of vengeful fairies in an epic battle for immortality.
Debut author Karen Healey introduces a savvy and spirited heroine with a fresh, strong voice. Full of deliciously creepy details, this incredible adventure is a deftly crafted story of Māori mythology, romance, and betrayal.
The Shattering — Karen Healey (NZ)
Tags: YA fantasy, paranormal, mystery, horror
"If you want to find out who murdered your brother, follow me."
Keri, Janna, and Sione have one thing in common: Their older brothers are dead. Each death was ruled a suicide, but there were no notes, no warnings, and no explanations.
So they've worked out a theory: Their brothers were murdered – and weren't the only victims.
As the search for the serial killer goes on, mysterious forces are unearthed and suspicion is cast on the those the three trust most. When secrets shatter around them, can they save the next victim? Or will they become victims themselves?
This supernatural thriller from award-winning author Karen Healey (Guardian of the Dead) teems with suspense, loss, revenge, and magic.
When We Wake, While We Run — Karen Healey (NZ)
Tags: YA sci-fi, futuristic, dystopia, time travel, mystery
Sixteen-year-old Tegan is just like every other girl living in 2027 – she's happiest when playing the guitar, she's falling in love for the first time, and she's joining her friends to protest the wrongs of the world: environmental collapse, social discrimination, and political injustice. But on what should have been the best day of Tegan's life, she dies - and wakes up a hundred years in the future, locked in a government facility with no idea what happened.
Tegan is the first person to be cryonically frozen and successfully revived, which makes her an instant celebrity - though all she wants is to rebuild some semblance of a normal life . including spending as much time as possible with musically gifted Abdi, even if he does seem to hate the sight of her. But the future isn't all she hoped it would be, and when appalling secrets come to light, Tegan must make a choice: Does she keep her head down and survive, or fight for a better future?
Award-winning author Karen Healey has created a gripping tale of an inspiring heroine living in a not-so-distant future that could easily be our own.
Ruahine: Mythic Women — Ngahuia Te Awekotuku (NZ)
Tags: short story collection, paranormal, retelling
"Everything has changed."
Hinemoa, Mahinaarangi, Muriwai, Wairaka, Huritini, Kakara, Rona, Haumapuhia and Kurungaituku are women of mana in Maori myths and histories.
Their traditional stories are presented here alongside beautiful and fresh retellings. Ngahuia Te Awekotuku brings a subtle trickster's voice to this steamy, sometimes shocking collection othat journeys from alien abduction to vampirism via love, revenge and sexual trespass.
The Silver Path — Caitlin Spice (NZ)
Tags: short story collection
An illustrated collection of short stories from author Caitlin Spice, also known as C.M. Scandreth and Cymoril_Melnibone.