Emma and the Weeping Spirit by Matthew S. Cox

Cox reframes the classic haunted house trope for middle grade readers without sacrificing the complexities and uncertainties of spectral visitations. This is the fifth book in Cox’s Tales of Widowswood series. Potential spoilers for previous volumes lurk past this point. When a harpy attack drives ten-year-old Emma deep into unknown forest, her experiences help her … Continue reading Emma and the Weeping Spirit by Matthew S. Cox

Janna of Castle Ambrose by Jordan Elizabeth

Elizabeth riffs on the classic image of the monster in the lake to create an accessible fantasy tale about the difference between the clarity of stories and the reality of life. As the daughter of the Earl’s butler, Janna had a happy life at Castle Ambrose playing with the Earl’s children—until a conquering army sacked … Continue reading Janna of Castle Ambrose by Jordan Elizabeth

First Stone by Gary Ballard

Ballard fuses the viscerality of serial killer investigation with the mentality of Lovecraftian cosmology to create a gestalt that captures the shattering of mind and body without becoming tedious rubbery spatterpunk or abstract statements of indescribability. Forensic psychologist Jack Carter awakens in a mental hospital suffering from amnesia and prime suspect in his wife’s disappearance. … Continue reading First Stone by Gary Ballard

Of Myth and Shadow by Matthew S. Cox

Cox combines accessible characters and sweeping plots to create epic fantasy that has breadth and depth without feeling dense. The Kingdom of Aegaan has been at peace for decades. However, a growing number of towns and villages along one border report attacks by small bands of elves. For Anrael, a half-elf, this is just one … Continue reading Of Myth and Shadow by Matthew S. Cox

The Gryphon and the Mountain Bear by Stephanie Flint

Flint redresses a classic confidence trick in fantastical raiments to create a short story that is likely to appeal to fans of both cunning ploys and mystical worlds. After a card player cheats Nuaka, she uses her shapeshifting magic to steal a treasure map from his room and heads straight for the ruins. Her expedition … Continue reading The Gryphon and the Mountain Bear by Stephanie Flint

Bad Dreams and Broken Hearts: The Case Files of Erik Rugar by Misha Burnett

Burnett fuses the possibility of weird fiction with the solidity of crime noir to create a collection that is both a gritty detective story and a baroque urban fantasy. Dracoheim is a human city, but abuts the Realms of Nightmare. Ancient treaties and modern laws define the appropriate uses of magic, mysticism, and migration. Mostly … Continue reading Bad Dreams and Broken Hearts: The Case Files of Erik Rugar by Misha Burnett

A Vampire’s Guide to Surviving Holidays by Matthew S. Cox

Continuing his exploration of how a vampire might balance their new life and their old, Cox demonstrates that sometimes a vampire hunter backed by technology and magic can be less of a challenge to handle than that one relative who always spoils family gatherings. This novel is the eighth in Cox’s Vampire Innocent series. Probable … Continue reading A Vampire’s Guide to Surviving Holidays by Matthew S. Cox

Cirsova: Heroic Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine, Volume 1, Issue 5, ed. P. Alexander

Alexander gathers a series of tales that suggest what might happen if people of violence and cunning rather than book-learning faced Lovecraftian threats. This edition contains eight short stories, one novelette, and one poem, The majority of the prose works are set in the Eldritch Earth, an alternate prehistoric era that blends classic swords-and-sorcery with … Continue reading Cirsova: Heroic Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine, Volume 1, Issue 5, ed. P. Alexander

Treasure, Darkly by Jordan Elizabeth

Elizabeth blends cowboy action with a touch of steampunk technology and magic to create a tale that might appeal to both fantasy and western fans. Clark grew up in the brothel where his mother works, sneaking the occasional valuable from her clients’ clothes while they’re distracted. However, when the flask of absinthe he steals from … Continue reading Treasure, Darkly by Jordan Elizabeth