Bitter Medicine by Mia Tsai
In this charming xianxia-inspired paranormal adventure, Elle — an immortal descendant of the Chinese god of medicine — crushes on Luc — a half-elf security agent. Though Elle is a powerful magical calligrapher and healer, she hides her powers to protect herself and her older brother from their evil younger brother. Instead, she works as a low-level magical calligrapher for a temp agency and rarely leaves home, hoping her younger brother will never find her. Luc is a regular customer at the agency, and despite only taking on menial magic jobs, Elle finds herself putting in more effort on Luc’s orders, charmed by how handsome and sweet he is. When one of her glyphs saves Luc’s life, he convinces her to help him with a custom order on his newest job — to track down Elle’s evil brother. His request isn’t entirely practical; like Elle, Luc harbors feelings for Elle, but he also has his own baggage to deal with first. This is a lovely, absorbing read with wonderful characters, a perfect romance, and an action-packed plot. —Margaret Kingsbury
Walking Practice by Dolki Min, Translated by Victoria Caudle
In this intriguing and gruesome debut novel by nonbinary South Korean artist and writer Dolki Min, a shapeshifting alien fleeing from war crash lands on Earth. The alien takes on a human shape as they search for food, though they soon find that humans are the only food they can consume. To lure human prey, the alien uses a dating app and shifts their form to match their target’s sexual preferences, striking when their prey is most vulnerable. Their existence is both exhausting and lonely as they spend every day hunting food and shape-shifting. Themes of gender, identity, and cultural alienation are all explored in this surreal, compelling, and unique novel. —Margaret Kingsbury
Feed Them Silence by Lee Mandelo
Scientist Dr. Sean Kell-Luddon has discovered a way to neurologically link humans and animals in this fascinating novella set in the near future. Sean has always loved wolves, so when her research finally receives funding, she neurologically links to a wolf her research team has dubbed Kate. Through the link, Sean can experience what it’s like to be Kate, to sleep in a wolf pack, to hunt, to mate. Sean’s wife, however, thinks it’s immoral to alter a wolf’s brain chemistry since an animal cannot consent. The research project has set their marriage on edge. As Sean becomes increasingly engrossed in the daily life of a wolf, struggling to separate herself from her subject, the marriage becomes rockier and rockier. —Margaret Kingsbury
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