Summer is a curious, nostalgic season. The days when summertime harkened a three-month vacation filled with the promise of adventure, lazy days, and late nights still manages to make us feel we are being granted permission to escape the confines of the ordinary parts of the year. It is an emotional holdover that gives us the illusion that we can cast off the selves we must be for a world that magically ceases to exist, albeit temporarily. Though we no longer follow our childhood patterns, I still feel a pull toward this idea of summer as an escape, even when the trappings of my life haven’t changed along with the seasons.
Autumn comes quietly to wake us up from this haze. Perhaps this is precisely why I appreciate the autumn so much (it is my favorite season, after all); it comes to lift us out of a heat-induced trance into what feels like an awakening even as the natural world around us is going to sleep.
Between the summer and autumn, though—in that liminal time when it is still hot outside, but emotionally you feel the pull towards jumpers and chilled fingertips— kids are sent back into classrooms and told that it is fall, though the sun is still shining brightly with all the promise of warm days and more fun to be had if only...
As much as the summer carries with it the nostalgia of childhood, this transition also brings a sort of longing that calls back in time. With the world in its current throes of turmoil, this liminality is only exaggerated. We have been left to long for the summer as it happens around us—closed up inside in a stifling stasis that has been entirely different from the usual sultry suspension of solstice sentimentality. But we do still have books! And especially for you, dear reader, a list of books to suit the moods of our lives in transition accompanied by a crystal and a tarot card to aid you on your journey (It is dangerous to go alone! Take this!).
For when you are feeling pensive and are looking to explore the truth at the heart of things:
A small town in British Columbia holds a dark secret at its heart, and it drives the townsfolk to unspeakable tragedy. Caught in a repeated cycle, Miya has to unravel how Black Hollow’s past and her future are intertwined while a looming shadow haunts them all. Vrana explores the interplay of trauma, grief, and the violence that is often perpetrated against women and girls to uphold collective beliefs in this immersive world.
The timelessness of a gothic haunted house story is placed within a culture and setting that has not typically been explored in the genre in this alluring and gripping work. Moreno-Garcia weaves elements of Mexican folklore with themes of death, sacrifice, and rebirth, and takes an honest look at the silent violence in these environments.
In an alternative Texas where magic is commonplace and shaped by the ancestors, monsters, legends, and magics of Indigennous peoples (and some not), Little-Badger weaves a gorgeous and haunting tale filled with folklore and legend with a deft hand. Get carried away on the captivating prose through this slightly stranger—and more magical—America.
Crystal: Labradorite - Destiny. Curiosity. Expand your mind and increase your spiritual growth.
Tarot: The High Priestess or The Oracle (for a gender-neutral reading of the card)
For when you are feeling restless like you are struggling against power and have the itch to DO something:
Azure Brimvine’s world is ripped apart as her brother is taken from her and the only home they have ever known deep below the surface in the dark caves of The Below. Unable to let the powers that be dictate her life any longer, she takes her risks in The Above and forges her own destiny. Inspiring and often heartrending, Jacques takes us on an adventure that can determine the course of the entire world.
A ship’s captain and her single passenger, a young blind man who is potentially dangerous, sail toward a distant land—a holy land whose holiest day coincides with a solar eclipses and potential unbalancing of the world. Roanhorse has crafted an expansive and inclusive fantasy world where she explores the decadence of power amidst the weight of the unfolding of history.
A young witch is plagued by what the Mothers in her Coven call an evil magic, a power that she must hide to protect her Sisters. Determined to do so, Mariah struggles against that power until a dark side of her magic takes on a mind of its own, driving her to a choice that might unleash a force strong enough to shatter both the magical and ordinary worlds. Delve into the exchange of personal power and world-bending influence.
Crystal: Tiger’s Eye - Bolster courage. Stay grounded but also expand to step into your power.
Tarot Card: The Chariot
For when you are feeling haunted or plagued by the indescribable:
Enter this historical haunted house nestled in the lush trees of Massachusetts. Once inside, the door to the house disappears. A mysterious shadow looms in the darkness—is it watching you? And then, despite every fiber of your being crying out that it is impossible, the house shifts and morphs, swallowing you deeper within the harder you try to flee. Welcome...Inside.
Seamlessly blending classic horror and a dramatic narrative with sharp social commentary, The Only Good Indians follows four American Indian men after a disturbing event from their youth puts them in a desperate struggle for their lives. Tracked by an entity bent on revenge, these childhood friends are helpless as the culture and traditions they left behind catch up to them in a violent, vengeful way.
What would you do if you found yourself transported into the future possessing a terrifying knowledge of a serial killer? Hannah Priestly finds herself in that exact predicament as her best friend Rory Veer caught up in a web that brings Norman Biggs unexpectedly into their lives. Rory must acknowledge a past he has denied, and Hannah must deal with the haunting terror accompanied by the knowledge of who Norman Biggs really is.
Crystal: Black tourmaline - Feel protected. Face that which follows you and embrace fear.
Tarot: The Hanged Man
For when you are feeling nostalgic and like it equips you to revel in all of the weird and wonderful parts of the world:
Lost Boys meets Twilight in this delightful romp of a novel based on Filipino folklore (aswang). Follow Marcella and her family of aswang vampires after immigrating to the United States in this fantastical tale of monsters coexisting in the weirdest city in America—Portland, Oregon.
Fried Green Tomatoes and Steel Magnolias meet Dracula in this Southern-flavored supernatural thriller set in the '90s about a women's book club that must protect its suburban community from a mysterious and handsome stranger who turns out to be a blood-sucking fiend.
Rent in New Metta is through the cavern ceiling. When Granu barely survives her first gig teaching students who attempt to fillet her for lunch, the baby-eating troll ends up unemployed and facing eviction. Granu's only prospect for income is grueling work in the tar pits. That is, until her playboy best friend devises a perfect, if suicidal, scheme—a heist! Double-Crossing the Bridge is one heck of a good time. Just don’t forget about the billy goats!
Crystal: Bloodstone - Courage, self-esteem, energy, and protection to enjoy living in the now.
For when you don’t know what to feel, and you just need to sit with the state of the world and feel your way through it:
In this beautifully written and perfectly-paved novella, Becky chambers explores what space exploration would be like if terraforming and colonization weren’t the aims, but instead explorers leave no trace in their observation of the solar system and beyond. This book asks us to look at the impacts we have had on our own planet, and instead of transforming the stars, look to transform ourselves.
The Outside is a grimy, blood-soaked and abandoned place that has been left to rot as people turn to the digital paradise of The Inside. As long as you can make rent, you can continue to exist in the trappings of digital eternal life and ignore the human-caused suffering of reality. But what happens when you can’t make rent? Follow Jim as he navigates The Outside and the social politics of the world as the status quo is disrupted and nothing appears to be as it seemed.
Xochital is destined to wander the desert alone, speaking her troubled village's stories into its arid winds. Her only companions are the blessed stars above and enimagic lines of poetry magically strewn across dusty dunes. Her one desire: to share her heart with a kindred spirit. Get carried away in this beautifully told story of Xo and the culmination of her wish, Emilia, as they embark on a magical journey across the desert.
Crystal: Hematite - Root yourself through the cloud of introspection and negativity. Feel your way.
Tarot: The Star
For when you are feeling clever and alive and like you can overcome even the most tangled of mysteries:
Isaac Barrow is perfectly content to be left to his own devices—figuratively and literally. A tinkerer and inventor with proliclivities in the supernatural, he really does not want to be embroiled in a mystery. That is, until a routine maintenance call reveals the gruesome handiwork of the Nightshade Cabal. Barrow finds himself entrenched in murder, mayhem, and mystery in this delicious debut from Carolan!
You read that correctly. Mercenary Librarians. And it is exactly as awesome as you think it is. Nina is an archivist and information broker with a mission to preserve knowledge in a crumbling America. Knox is an ex corporate super soldier trying to save his team. They are on a collision course that heats up and could go one of two ways—destroy each other and the world in the process, or take a risk and succumb to a heat of a different sort. Mystery, bad ass mercenaries, and mayhem are all to be had in this fiery first entry in this series.
The Fae live among us, traversing the liminal spaces. October, or Toby, is half changeling and half human, and doesn’t fit in anywhere. Struggling to leave behind a troubled past, she finds herself embroiled in old alliances and complicated histories. Surrounded by a motley crew of not-exactly-good not exactly-evil characters, Toby realizes that more than her own life will be forfeit if she doesn’t succeed in her mission. McGuire weaves folklore and urban fantasy together seamlessly in this series, and it will have you engrossed in its mysteries from page one.
Crystal: Carnelian - reveal or discover hidden talents by stimulating your curiosity and inquisitiveness.
Tarot: The Magician