How do animals guard, serve, and care for us? And how and why do we love them so much?

The meaning of animals in our lives
by Anne Coombs
Upswell (Australia), August 2024
(via Black Inc. Books)

Anne Coombs spent a lifetime working to understand the profound answers that come from these two deceptively simple questions. Before her death in late 2021 she researched the topic extensively and reflected deeply on her own experiences with animals, both domestic and in the paddocks. The animals in her life were privy to her deepest and darkest emotions: her despair, her tears and her love. Opening with the story of Anne’s childhood familiar, Elsie the goat—and introducing Lena the donkey, her beloved dogs, Charlie the cat, the cows on the farm, and Vincent the horse—this tender book takes us on an expansive journey that is part personal memoir, part insightful research, and part noble call to action.

In OUR FAMILIARS Anne has left us with a beautiful meditation on the awe-inspiring responsibility we take on with other living creatures: from their containment and loss of freedom, to our intense and mysteriously mutual love. With wit, humour, and insight, she asks us to feel wonder as we watch how our animal companions live, and to empathise deeply with OUR FAMILIARS.

Anne Coombs was a journalist, author, political activist, and philanthropist. She authored five books, including No Man’s Land (Simon & Schuster, 1993), Sex and Anarchy: The life and death of the Sydney Push (Viking, 1996) and Broometime (Hodder Headline, 2001), co-authored with Susan Varga. Her final novel, Glass Houses, was published in 2023 by Upswell. Anne was one of the founders of Rural Australians for Refugees. She was a board member and chair of GetUp! She shared a passion with her partner for a fairer Australia, advocating for refugees and people seeking asylum. In recent years Anne was a frequent essayist and commentator, and a regular contributor to the Griffith Review. She also wrote a feature film script set in Australia’s far north, currently being developed for production. Anne died at her Exeter home in December 2021.


The female heirs of two opposing families must duel to rule the land for the next generation in this dazzling fantasy adventure debut!

(Feast and Famine, Book 1)
by Carina Finn
Sourcebooks Fire, February 2025

Merriment Feast’s life is one constant party, complete with dazzling gowns and delicious pastries. Well, except for her aunt’s physically grueling training. Merri believes it’s her responsibility to protect her family’s traditions and the power they’ve held for generations.

Rue Famine knows that only Feasts benefit from Feast rule. As the heir of House Famine, she spends her days studying potion-making in an enormous, dusty library and learning how to use her magic to help others.

Custom dictates that the heirs of Feast and Famine must duel on their thirteenth birthday. Only one family can rule the land of Fauret, and Merri and Rue have been raised as rivals. But as the contest draws near and dangers escalate, their true enemy may be a shared one.

Carina Finn is a food-obsessed writer, editor, and content creator. She has written for numerous publications including Bon Appetit, Epicurious, Food Network Magazine, Eater, Bustle, and others. THE LAST GREAT HEIR is her debut middle-grade novel. She splits her time between Brooklyn and upstate New York, and loves sharing her adventures in cooking, eating, and writing on social media. Find her everywhere on the internet at @sheneedsasnack.


Life outside the domes is not possible. At least that’s what Insiders are told. A debut fantasy perfect for fans of The Hunger Games, Divergent and The Maze Runner.

by Michelle Kenney
HQ/HarperCollins UK, 2017-
(via Northbank Talent Management)

Book 1: BOOK OF FIRE (August 2017)

Twins Eli and Talia shouldn’t exist. They’re Outsiders.
Their home is a secret. Their lives are a secret. Arafel is a secret.
An unexpected forest raid forces Talia into a desperate mission to rescue her family while protecting the sacred Book of Arafel from those who would use it as a weapon. As Talia and her life long friend Max enter the dome, she makes some unexpected discoveries, and allies, in the form of rugged Insider August, that will change the course of her life forever.

She’ll stop at nothing to save her family but will she sacrifice her heart in the process?

Book 2: CITY OF DUST (October 2018)

The fight is never over.
Life in Arafel is no longer safe. Not since August’s disappearance, and whispers of a ghost controlling Pantheon.
Meanwhile, Talia stands torn between secretive twin, Eli, and best friend, Max.

Betrayal forces Talia to leave the sanctuary of her forest home as she pursues the stolen Book of Arafel. A book which could destroy the freedom of all those she loves if it falls into the wrong hands. And when she enters the ancient ruined city of Isca, she fights to protect the vulnerable from the iron grip of the Pantheon, while learning to fight for the man she loves.

But with the shadow of the Black Aquila looming ever closer, will she put the freedom of others above her own, or will she follow her heart?

Book 3: STORM OF ASH (December 2019)

As Talia treks back through the treacherous North Mountains, she knows only three things:

Pantheon has stolen nearly everyone she loves;
Her blood is the only control over the Voynich’s oldest secret;
And Cassius won’t stop hunting Arafel until every last outsider is destroyed.

Will Talia finally face her legacy and defeat Cassius before it is too late?


Michelle Kenney is a firm believer in magic, and that ancient doorways to other worlds can still be found if we look hard enough. She is also a hopeless scribbleaholic and, when left to her own devices, likes nothing better than to dream up new fantasy worlds in the back of a dog-eared notebook. Doctors say they’re unlikely to find a cure any time soon. She holds a LLB (hons) degree, an APD in Public Relations and is an Accredited Practitioner with the CIPR (with whom she’s won awards for Magazine & PR work). But she’s definitely happiest curled up against a rainy window, with her nose in a book.


Against the backdrop of a sunlit Greek landscape, author L. C. Rosen masterfully weaves together adventure, romance, and magic in a celebration of the power of claiming your queer legacy.

(Tennessee Russo Book 1)
by L.C. Rosen
Union Square & Co., May 2023
(via David Black Literary)

Seventeen-year-old Tennessee Russo’s life is imploding. His boyfriend has been cheating on him, and all his friends know about it. Worse, they expect him to just accept his ex’s new relationship and make nice. So when his father, a famous archaeologist and reality show celebrity whom he hasn’t seen in two years, shows up unexpectedly and offers to take him on an adventure, Tennessee only has a few choices:

1. Stay, mope, regret it forever.
2. Go, try to reconcile with Dad, become his sidekick again.
3. Go, but make it his adventure, and Dad will be the sidekick.

The object of his father’s latest quest, the Rings of the Sacred Band of Thebes, is too enticing to say no to. Finding artifacts related to the troop of ancient Greek soldiers, composed of one-hundred-and-fifty gay couples, means navigating ruins, deciphering ancient mysteries, and maybe meeting a cute boy.

But will his dad let Tennessee do the right thing with the rings if they find them? And what is the right thing? Who does queer history belong to?

KING’S LEGACY, Book 2 in the Tennessee Russo series, will be published April 1, 2025.

A New York Public Library Best Book of 2023
Booklist Editors’ Choice 2023: Books for Youth

“Flirtatious friendships and a fun summer romance, Indiana Jones-esque booby traps, and the logistics of filming reality TV mesh seamlessly with heavier discussions of rightful ownership of historical artifacts, erasure of queer history, and the power of an actual apology. Rosen emphasizes the importance between connecting the historical existence and contributions of queer people to the queer community in the present and includes many small tidbits of queer history throughout . . . . [A]ction-packed and illuminative.” —Booklist, starred review

Rosen has balanced a thrilling adventure with a flirtatious queer romance, while highlighting moments from history most won’t learn about in school and discussing what responsible archeology entails. While the magic rings are not real, the Sacred Band of Thebes was, and readers who enjoy Greek mythology and history will be riveted by this adventure . . . . A page-turning action-adventure that highlights the importance of reclaiming queer history and culture.—School Library Journal

“This action-packed adventure inspired by history and legend engages in a conflict-driven exploration of the ethics of archaeology. Tennessee grapples with tangled emotions about his relationship with his father, his longing for community, and what it means to be in love . . . . An entertaining, emotional rush tackling critical subjects.” —
Kirkus Reviews

“[G]ripping series kickoff from Rosen (Lavender House) that’s both thrilling escapade and simmering romance . . . . Through Ten and Leo’s visits to a museum of queer history and culture, and the meticulous detail with which the author recounts underreported events in Grecian history, Rosen makes an insistent case for recognizing and teaching LGBTQ history and understanding legacy.” —
Publishers Weekly

Lev AC Rosen writes books for people of all ages, including the Evander Mills series, which began with the Macavity Award winning Lavender House, and continues with The Bell in the Fog. His most recent young adult novels are Emmett, Lion’s Legacy, and Camp. Rosen’s books have been nominated for Anthony and Lambda Awards and have been selected for Best of lists from The Today Show, Amazon, Library Journal, Buzzfeed, Autostraddle, Forbes, and many others. He lives in NYC with his husband and a very small cat. 


A tantalizing novel of two women bound by blood but divided by a long-buried secret, and the island that holds the key to the fateful summer that changed everything forever.

by Michael Callahan
Mariner, May 2024
(via Dystel Goderich & Bourret)

In 1959, Hollywood ingenue Mercy Welles seems to have the world at her feet. Far removed from her Nebraska roots, she has crafted herself into a glamorous Oscar-nominated actress engaged to an up-and-coming director. Until she shockingly vanishes without a trace, just as her career is taking off.

Almost sixty years later, Kit O’Neill, a junior television producer in Manhattan, is packing up her recently deceased grandmother’s attic only to discover a long-lost box of souvenirs that reveal that the grandmother who raised her and her sister was, in fact, the mysterious Mercy Welles.

Putting her investigative skills to use, Kit is determined to solve the riddle of her grandmother’s missing life, and the trail eventually leads to Martha’s Vineyard.

Mercy retreats to the island nursing a broken heart, only to be drawn to the roguish Ren Sewards, who is not just the simple oysterman he appears to be but a scion of one of the island’s wealthy founding families. With her attraction to Ren quickly growing, Mercy soon finds herself entangled in the intrigues of the tightly knit community—and the secrets of the Sewards

Alternating between Mercy and Kit’s timelines, including excerpts from letters Mercy wrote the summer she disappeared, THE LOST LETTERS FROM MARTHA’S VINEYARD unfurls into a heart-stopping story of love, betrayal, and even murder.

A Publishers Marketplace 2024 Highly Anticipated Buzz Book

Compelling and evocative, THE LOST LETTERS FROM MARTHA’S VINEYARD is a page turner of the highest order. Michael Callahan’s novel does what few books do; it glued me to my seat. It is a great mystery with great insight into the secrets everybody keeps. » — Michael Connelly, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Resurrection Walk

I was completely captivated by Michael Callahan’s THE LOST LETTERS FROM MARTHA’S VINEYARD. It’s a history mystery you won’t be able to put down, with strong female characters and plenty of secrets. Plus, it takes you behind the scenes in vintage Hollywood and Martha’s Vineyard. A perfect beach read!” — Lisa Scottoline, #1 bestselling author of Loyalty and The Truth About the Devlins

Michael Callahan’s THE LOST LETTERS FROM MARTHA’S VINEYARD grabs from the first line and doesn’t let go until the last. This delicious mystery will be a particular treat for fans (guilty!) of vintage Hollywood and Nancy Drew.” — Louis Bayard, author of The Pale Blue Eye and The Wildes

« Callahan skillfully blends notes of mystery and romance in this layered story of family secrets. Readers will have a hard time putting it down. » — Publishers Weekly

Callahan blends mid-century Hollywood glamour and family secrets in this fast-paced, dual-period novel. He captures the historical era in colorful detail, and both women are determined, appealing characters who struggle with their personal and professional lives. Readers who enjoy Beatriz Williams and Crystal Smith Paul will be enthralled.” — Booklist

« A breezy, atmospheric novel dripping with secrets… smooth and suspenseful—and hard to stop reading once you’ve begun. » — Kirkus Reviews

Michael Callahan is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Searching for Grace Kelly and The Night She Won Miss America, as well as a coffee-table history of the famed Musso & Frank Grill restaurant in Hollywood. A contributing editor at Vanity Fair, his work has been published in EsquireTown & Country, and the New York Times, among others. He lives in Los Angeles.