Wench by Maxine Kaplan is one of those books I picked up because it sounded vaguely interesting, but I ended up liking a lot more than I expected. It is the story of a tavern wench, Tanya, who, after losing the tavern she was supposed to inherit, accidentally bonds with a magical quill that had been stolen. This is the start of a life she has never imagined possible. Wench is funny, addictive and sweet. It is also queer (I think Tanya is either bi or pan and likely poly, but because of the setting it’s not addressed directly). This is YA escapist fantasy how it should be. Don’t expect a deep story but be prepared to disappear into fantasy land for a few hours. Order a copy via Bookshop here (affiliate link).
Now, it’s no secret that I love fairy-tale like stories, especially twisted ones. And The Shadow in the Glass by J.J.A. Harwood is one of the good ones. It is a story in which the main character, Ella, goes from innocent Cinderella-type to the villain in her own story. She is offered a deal by her fairy godmother, but this is no Disney fairy. It corrupts here and unaware, Ella does things she never thought possible of herself. I devoured this deliciously dark story and can’t wait to read more of the author. It is the kind of book you get emotionally invested in and suffer along with the characters. Give this twisty tale a shot! Order a copy from Bookshop here (affiliate link).
Honor Among Thieves by Ann Aguirre and Rachel Caine has been out for a while, but I only read it recently (why am I so terrible with reading books I should read?!). This is a story of a future in which Earth has been contacted by aliens, the Leviathan. Think of them as a sort of giant space whales. Each year, a group of humans gets invited to join the Leviathan on a journey through space, using them as a sort of living spaceship. And now Zara Cole, who grew up on the streets as part of a criminal gang, has been invited. She travels into space on board Nadim, and learns about the universe in ways she did not expect. I read this in a single sitting, it is so addictive. I was very excited because this is a story that focuses on character building and friendship rather than romance. I wouldn’t classify this fully as an asexual series, as it goes a bit into that in the second volume, but I would definitely recommend it as a book that goes in that direction. The authors have managed to build a fascinating world in this series, although I didn’t love book two as much as the first one. Still need to read the third, but I’m really looking forward to it! Order a copy via Bookshop here (affiliate link).