Under the Whispering Door - Tor/Forge Blog

Which TJ Klune Book Should You Read Next?

by a cat

Look, if TJ Klune is gonna write about two things, they’re gonna be startlingly human non-humans and gay love.

Our little quiz will help you figure out which precise blend of fantasy and romance is your next read!

And while you’ve got books on the brain, In the Lives of Puppets by TJ Klune is available now in paperback. It rocks. Check it out!

Order In the Lives of Puppets in Paperback Here!

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Queer Robots & Real Love: TJ Klune Talks In the Lives of Puppets

in the lives of puppets by tj kluneLast year, TJ Klune’s In the Lives of Puppets released to tremendous acclaim. This year, it’s releasing in paperback, making this story of queer robots and real love available to new readers! TJ’s here to talk his book and explain how he’s going to make you fall in love with a vacuum cleaner named Rambo.

Check it out!

Dear Reader,

Once upon a time, I took you to an island to find a home where one should not exist. After, I invited you to a mysterious tea shop where the living helped the dead find meaning and purpose, joy and acceptance.

For my next trick, I’m going to make you fall in love with a vacuum cleaner named Rambo.

Okay, wait. Let me back up a minute.

I am so thrilled to present In the Lives of Puppets, a queer retelling of Carlo Collodi’s The Adventures of Pinocchio. In the following pages, you’ll be going on an adventure unlike anything you’ve seen from me before. Though this story deals with robotics, androids and machines of all shapes and sizes, it is firmly rooted in fantasy, a fable that explores the ideas of kindness, humanity, and forgiveness, including who has the right to forgive.

This book is not The House in the Cerulean Sea. This book is not Under the Whispering Door. There is no stuffy, bland middlemanager bureaucrat in need of a wake-up call or an attorney who finds life after death. There is no island to discover, no tea shop to make a home. This is the story of an already happy family who built each other up and carved out their place in the world. And this time I’m taking their home away from them. I’m sending them on a journey across a strange and dangerous country to save one of their own and fight to reclaim the happiness they worked so hard to build together.

But in this journey, you will find hints of the familiar: love, life, and the hope for a better future, all wrapped up in a story of loyalty in the face of betrayal and how even the smallest of us can make a difference when called upon to do so. It is also about the heart and soul of Victor Lawson—the main character, and the only human of the bunch. Though he was raised by machines, I set out to show that Victor’s humanity could not be denied, that it wasn’t something that needed to be justified or earned. It just is, and in this unforgiving place, it counts for something. Perhaps everything.

But Vic won’t be going it alone. He will have his friends with him: Rambo, the vacuum who wants only to be loved (so you better get on that, no pressure). Nurse Ratched, a nursing machine who has a few of her wires crossed, sadistically so. And a machine with a dark past. A robot with secrets locked away in his head. An android with blood on his hands and a heart in his chest: Hap, also known as the Hysterically Angry Puppet.

Together, they must do the impossible: travel to the soulless heart of this world and bring the last member of their family home. And in doing so, they will learn the truth about the past, the present, and the future of all things.

Are you ready for an adventure?

TJ Klune

Order In the Lives of Puppets in Paperback Here!

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8 Haunted House Fantasy Reads to Delight with Fright!

The haunted house is a classic horror set piece. What’s supposed to be a place of reprieve is an iron cage; ensnaring you, forcing you to confront a myriad of ghosts, ghouls, and secrets best left buried. Here are eight titles starring houses to contain your worst nightmares—be they demons, a gaggle of ghosts, or unabashed intimacy.

by Kaleb Russell

masters of death by olivie blakeMasters of Death by Olivie Blake

Viola Marek is both struggling real estate agent and vampire, a facet of identity that both presents a range of different problems and solutions in one’s life. Tragically, it won’t help her un-haunt the house she needs to sell. That’s where Fox D’Mora enters the picture. He’s a medium, so he can help with Viola’s ghost dilemma, but he’s also a complicated sham. He’s not really a medium, but he is the godson of Death (entity). As the quantity of immortal and undying beings tangled with Viola’s ghost house rises, the game begins. It’s a special one. One the immortals play. There is only one rule: Don’t lose. 

The Mystery at Dunvegan Castlethe mystery at dunvegan castle by t.l. huchu by T.L. Huchu

Everyone’s favorite fifteen-year-old ghostalker, Ropa, arrives at the worldwide Society of Skeptical Enquirers’ biennial conference just in time to be tied into a mystery—a locked room mystery, if an entire creepy haunted castle on lockdown counts. One of the magical attendees has stolen a valuable magical scroll. That’s bad news. But here’s the good news: Ropa can access a unique network of information and intrigue: the castle ghosts.

Just Like Home by Sarah GaileyJust Like Home by Sarah Gailey

At the behest of her estranged mother, Vera Crowder returns home in spite of the tragic memories it holds; memories of the bodies her beloved father (moonlighting as a serial killer) left buried there. One day, Vera starts finding notes written in her father’s handwriting. If it’s not the leech of an artist her mother has chosen to house leaving them, then who is? To find the truth, Vera must dig deep and uncover secrets she’s been running from all her life.

The Family Plot by Cherie PriestThe Family Plot by Cherie Priest

To save their family’s floundering salvage company, Dahlia Dutton is tasked by her father to oversee the stripping of an esteemed heiress’s family estate. Unbeknownst to Dahlia and her crew, there’s a sinister presence at the aged estate looking to wreak chaos before the job is done. The Family Plot is an atmospheric modern Gothic that will leave you reeling.

The Library of the Dead by T. L. HuchuLibrary of the Dead by TL Huchu

The first book in Huchu’s Edinburgh Nights series contains a bevy of haunted houses as a precocious teen explores the haunted underside of modern Edinburgh, speaking to the dead, looking for leads to find the one responsible for snatching children and leaving them empty husks. Huchu’s rendition of Edinburgh is a lush, evocative one that gives the ghosts in this story an air of wonder in lieu of abject fear.

Mapping the InteriorMapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones by Stephen Graham Jones

One night, a young Blackfoot boy named Junior wakes up to find the ghost of his recently deceased father wandering the house dressed in full Blackfoot regalia. To prove to himself he’s real, Junior takes to meticulously diagramming the house’s interior, recording when and where his father appears. It quickly becomes apparent his father’s reappearance is something deeply sinister. Like much of Jones’ work, there is an ache to the writing that’s impossible to ignore. Espousing a kind of hurt that lingers long after you’ve turned the last page.

The Bone Orchard by Sara A. MuellerThe Bone Orchard by Sara A. Mueller

Sole survivor of a race of necromancers, Charm is a prisoner of the Emperor with nothing but her children and her bone trees to bring her solace. One day, as the Emperor lays in his deathbed, he gives Charm one final command: learn which one of his conniving sons is his murderer. She can succeed and be set free, but that entails betraying the ghosts of her fallen people in the process. Will she follow the will of her dead master or forsake the sanctity of the empire to sate her hunger for vengeance? Trade in a haunted house for a haunted bordello and you

Under the Whispering DoorUnder the Whispering Door by TJ Klune by TJ Klune

Charon House is perhaps the most ideal haunted house one would want to reside in; that is, unless you have a paralyzing fear of intimacy, the kind of warm and kind intimacy Klune’s work is best known for. Charon House is a place where the dead crossover with the help of its good natured owner Hugo and the deliciously sarcastic reaper named Mei, although not before helping themselves to hot tea and the most scrumptious scones. But our protagonist, Wallace Price, isn’t ready to pass on. Due to his dour demeanor and cold-heartedness, he’s missed out on all the goodness life has to offer. So, with the help of Hugo, he attempts to live a lifetime in 7 days. Under The Whispering Door is a heartwarming haunted house book about coming to terms with loss and seeking out new beginnings.


What Does it Mean to Be Human? Big Questions with TJ Klune

In the Lives of Puppets by TJ KluneIn order to properly explore the definition of humanness, TJ Klune wrote a book populated mostly with robots. And just like how humans appear often inherently contradictory, with resolution uncovered by effort and analysis, he also wrote a letter to help explain his thought process in asking this big, big question, and in answering it in his own way.

Enjoy : )

With The House in the Cerulean Sea, I wanted to explore what it meant to be a better human. In Under the Whispering Door, I asked what does it mean to be a good human?

With In the Lives of Puppets, I wanted to try and find the answer to something much more difficult: what does it mean to be human?

We are a bundle of contradictions. We laugh and create and hope for things that might not ever come true simply because we want them. And yet, in the same breath, we can be callous. Cruel. Destructive. That thing we hoped for? That thing we wanted? Sometimes, we will do whatever it takes to get it, even if it’s to our own detriment, or the detriment of others.

But there’s nothing like us, as far as we know. We are war, we are peace, a dichotomy that has been around for as long as we have. That’s the thing about humanity: we have hearts and lungs and blood pumping through our veins—each and every one of us—but we still find reason (illogic though it may be) to tear down, to ruin, to burn.

Why is that?

I don’t know. To say I do would be a lie.

Here is what I do know:

Whatever you believe in, wherever your faith lies, we—as a species—are unique, wonderful, and terrible in equal measure. I love people, even if they continually disappoint. I love our idiosyncratic ways, the way we splash in water even though we can’t hold our breath that long. If we see something or someone in distress, most of us would try and help. We can go to space! We fly. We say ow even if something didn’t hurt (just because we though it would). We put glittery things in our ears and noses and change the color of our hair. We hold hands and hug and get that feeling of unparalleled joy when we come home after a day away and find our dogs or cats or ferrets waiting for us.

Victor Lawson—the main character of In the Lives of Puppets—is human, the only one who can make such a claim in his family. He might, in fact, be the most human character I’ve ever written. He is everything I love about us, and a few of the things I don’t. He makes mistakes, tries to learn from them, and maybe will make the same mistake again.

But he is brave, he is just, and he’s going on a journey that will prove humanity—for all its faults—cannot be denied.

TJ Klune

Pre-order In the Lives of Puppets Here:

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‘Workaholic Gone and Soon Forgotten’: The Obituary of Wallace Price

In TJ Klune’s Under the Whispering Doornow available in trade paperback!—our protagonist, Wallace Price, unfortunately meets an untimely end…and his ex has a LOT to say about the life he left behind. Check out very colorful obituary of the dearly departed Wallace Price below.

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Wallace Price was born on [REDACTED] and passed away on [REDACTED] at the age of forty. While his passing was unexpected, at the very least, he died in the one place he loved more than anything else in the world: his office at the firm of Moore, Price, Hernandez & Worthington, where he was a partner. This is not a compliment.

He is survived by an extended family who have nothing nice to say about him (not their fault—Wallace ignored their existence), and an ex-wife—Naomi Byrne—who has the unfortunate task of trying to find something nice to say about a man who absolutely does not deserve it. He is preceded in death by his mother and father, two people who didn’t know how to show love and affection. While we are a product of our parents, many people have had terrible families and risen above it to become loving, functioning members of society. It makes one wonder what went so terribly wrong with Wallace.

Wallace Price was not a good man. He was selfish, ruthless, and more often than not, forgot he was married to someone who supported him when others thought he would fail. To Wallace’s credit, he did not fail, at least when it came to his position as a lawyer.

For everything else, however, Wallace proved to be quite inadequate. Though he was extraordinarily intelligent, his drive to become the best consumed him, and destroyed any chance he had at happiness. That being said, it’s unclear if Wallace ever knew what happiness was, given that almost every action he performed was self-serving and without a care of who he trampled on.

To avoid this obituary from becoming too critical, it should be noted that Wallace had nice hair and expensive suits.

He was also distant, uncaring, and for the life of him, could not remember important events such as birthdays, holidays, anniversaries or vacations planned six months in advance. But if he was supposed to be in court, you can bet he’d be there, right on time, and fully prepared to get as much money for his rich clients as possible.

The world is not any brighter or darker now that Wallace is gone. It just is. Perhaps, in his passing, Wallace Price will find peace, though it’s doubtful. He’s probably already arguing with whatever deity you believe in, trying to find a loophole so he can return and continue his reign of terror. If that’s to be the case, it’s said that headshots work best for the undead. This is not a call to action, but a reminder that zombies can be taken out quite easily should the need arise.

Do not send flowers. Do not send condolences. If you are moved to contribute financially—why, though?—consider making a donation in Wallace’s name to something he’d hate.

There will be a service, but please do not feel obligated to attend. It will be short so we can all finally breathe a sigh of relief that Wallace Price will never again darken any doorway. Hopefully, with him gone, those of us who knew him will find peace once again.

Goodbye, Wallace, and good riddance.

Order Under the Whispering Door here:

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The Music Behind Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune

Placeholder of  -12Do you have a playlist you listen to for writing inspiration? TJ Klune, author of New York Times bestseller Under the Whispering Door, joins us to discuss the musical inspiration behind the book and the role music plays in his writing. Check it out here and don’t forget to snag Under the Whispering Door, now available in paperback!

By TJ Klune

Music has always played a big role in my writing.

This, of course, comes with a caveat. Because I’m weird like that.

You see, when I’m actually writing, I listen to NPR. Yeah, I know how that sounds, but there is something comforting about the low murmur of voices in the background while I’m typing away.

And when I’m editing, I listen to Christmas music. Not necessarily because I have a great love for it (which I do—I’m of the firm belief that there is nothing wrong with putting up Christmas decorations in September), but because of another reason. When I was editing my first book before publication back in 2010, it was around the holidays and all I listened to was old-fashioned Christmas music, particularly the ones recorded in the 1950s-60s. When that first book came out, it sold pretty well, so I decided the music played a role in that (just go with it—superstitions can be dumb like that). So when I edit any book—no matter what time of year it is—I listen to Christmas music.

But when I’m writing the first draft, deep in the story, I tend to curate playlists for the book that remind me of the story. I listen to those playlists constantly when I’m not writing, something that keeps me focused on the world I’m creating. Most of the time, these soundtracks are just for me, something I put together without necessarily thinking about sharing it. I have shared some before for different books, selecting a few out of dozens and dozens that I think really fit with the heart of the novel.

The same is true for Under the Whispering Door, my upcoming novel about ghosts in a teashop. At its heart, Under the Whispering Door is a story about the tremendous power of grief, about looking back on a life through the lens of death, and realizing the opportunities wasted, the chances missed. It’s about trying to become a better person, and giving your all without the expectation of anything in return. It’s about hope and tea and finding a place in the world, even when your heart no longer beats.

The following playlist took me a long time to make, given I needed to pick out these ten songs from a list of hundreds. But these songs are the best representation of the novel and give you a good idea of the journey to come. Please support the artists by streaming their music or purchasing the songs and/or album. Each song I’ve listed is one I’ve bought because creators deserve to be compensated for their hard work. I’ve also included a lyric or two that I feel speaks to me about my ghosts. I hope your ghosts enjoy them too.

video soruce

The Show Must Go On by Queen

Does anybody know what we are living for?
I guess I’m learning
I must be warmer now
I’ll soon be turning, round the corner now
Outside the dawn is breaking
But inside in the dark I’m aching to be free

Stabat Mater by Windborne

Stabat mater dolorósa
juxta Crucem lacrimósa,
dum pendébat Fílius

(Translation: At the Cross her station keeping,
stood the mournful Mother weeping,
close to her Son to the last

Linger Longer by Cosmo Sheldrake

Distant thoughts become cluttered mind
What is a drop in the ocean?
Far and few, but long behind
We’re spun by the heavenly motion

Impossible is Possible by Black Violin

There’s a moment when you understand
You don’t gotta follow all their plans
It’s time to open up your hands
Don’t leave it up to chance
We can do anything

In Your Likeness by Woodkid

I know
I’m not made in your likeness
You’re not made for my darkness
I know
I’m not made in your likeness
I do try, but I’m hopeless

State Lines by Novo Amour

I’ve been awake in every state line
Dyin’ to make it last us a lifetime
Tryin’ to shake that it’s all on an incline
Find me a way, I’ll be yours in a landslide

Stand By Me (cover) by Florence + the Machine

If the sky that we look upon should tumble and fall
Or the mountain should crumble to the sea
I won’t cry, I won’t cry
No, I won’t shed a tear
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

Go Wherever You Wanna Go by Patty Griffin

You can get up on some sunny day and run
Run a hundred miles just for fun now
Heartaches and yesterdays don’t weigh a ton now
You can get up on some sunny day and run

The Parting Glass by Hozier

But since it fell into my lot
That I should rise and you should not
I’ll gently rise and softly call
Good night and joy be to you all

Burning Fire by Camino

I long for the day when I see your face
I know, we’re on a road to a better place
I hope the one I love waits for me
‘Cause I know you will find me

Home by Edith Whiskers

Oh, home, let me come home
Home is whenever I’m with you
Oh, home, let me come home

TJ KLUNE is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling, Lambda Literary Award-winning author of Under the Whispering Door, The House in the Cerulean SeaThe Extraordinaries, and more. Being queer himself, Klune believes it’s important—now more than ever—to have accurate, positive queer representation in stories.

Order Under the Whispering Door Here:

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Every Book Coming From Tor in Winter 2023

It’s a new year and that means new books to keep you warm and cozy this winter! Check out everything coming from Tor Books in Winter 2023.

January 17

Poster Placeholder of - 9Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi; Illustrated by Gris Grimly

Now a Netflix original movie! This edition includes an introduction by Guillermo del Toro.

Once there was a lonely woodcutter named Geppetto-who dreamed of having a boy of his own. So one day he carved a boy out of wood and named him Pinocchio. When the puppet comes to life, it’s Geppetto’s dream come true. Except Pinocchio turns out to be not such a nice boy after all. Pinocchio enjoys nothing better than creating mischief and playing mean tricks. As he discovers, being bad is much more fun than being good. Happily for Pinocchio, he will learn that there is much more to being a real boy than having fun.

January 31

The Terraformers by Annalee NewitzThe Terraformers by Annalee Newitz

Destry’s life is dedicated to terraforming Sask-E. As part of the Environmental Rescue Team, she cares for the planet and its burgeoning eco-systems as her parents and their parents did before her. But the bright, clean future they’re building comes under threat when Destry discovers a city full of people that shouldn’t exist, hidden inside a massive volcano. As she uncovers more about their past, Destry begins to question the mission she’s devoted her life to, and must make a choice that will reverberate through Sask-E’s future for generations to come.

Image Placeholder of - 16Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune

When a reaper comes to collect Wallace from his own funeral, Wallace begins to suspect he might be dead. And when Hugo, the owner of a peculiar tea shop, promises to help him cross over, Wallace decides he’s definitely dead. But even in death he’s not ready to abandon the life he barely lived, so when Wallace is given one week to cross over, he sets about living a lifetime in seven days. Hilarious, haunting, and kind, Under the Whispering Door is an uplifting story about a life spent at the office and a death spent building a home.

February 7

The Cradle of Ice by James RollinsThe Cradle of Ice by James Rollins

To stop the coming apocalypse, a fellowship was formed. A soldier, a thief, a lost prince, and a young girl bonded by fate and looming disaster. Each step along this path has changed the party, forging deep alliances and greater enmities. All the while, hostile forces have hunted them, fearing what they might unleash. Armies wage war around them. For each step has come with a cost—in blood, in loss, in heartbreak. Now, they must split, traveling into a vast region of ice and to a sprawling capital of the world they’ve only known in stories. Time is running out and only the truth will save us all.

February 14

Hopeland by Ian McDonaldHopeland by Ian McDonald

When Raisa Hopeland, determined to win her race to become the next electromancer of London, bumps into Amon Brightbourne—tweed-suited, otherworldly, guided by the Grace—in the middle of a London riot, she sets in motion a series of events which will span decades, continents and a series of events which will change the world. From rioting London to geothermal Iceland to the climate-struck islands of Polynesia, from birth to life to death, from tranquillity to terror to joy, Raisa’s journey will encompass the world. But one thing will always be true. Hopeland is family—and family is dangerous.

Place holder  of - 18The Cage of Dark Hours by Marina Lostetter

Krona and her Regulators survived their encounter with Charbon, the long-dead serial killer who returned to their city, but the illusions of their world were shattered forever. Allied with an old friend they will battle the elite who have ruled their world with deception, cold steel, and tight control of the magic that could threaten their power, while also confronting beasts from beyond the foggy barrier that binds their world. Now they must follow every thread to uncover the truth behind the Thalo, once thought of as only a children’s tale, who are the quiet, creeping puppet masters of their world.

February 21

Image Place holder  of - 79Arch-Conspirator by Veronica Roth

Outside the last city on Earth, the planet is a wasteland. Without the Archive, where the genes of the dead are stored, humanity will end. Antigone’s parents – Oedipus and Jocasta – are dead. Passing into the Archive should be cause for celebration, but with her militant uncle Kreon rising to claim her father’s vacant throne, all Antigone feels is rage. When he welcomes her and her siblings into his mansion, Antigone sees it for what it really is: a gilded cage, where she is a captive as well as a guest. But her uncle will soon learn that no cage is unbreakable. And neither is he.

March 28

Rubicon by J. S. DewesRubicon by J. S. Dewes

Sergeant Adriene Valero wants to die. She can’t. After enduring a traumatic resurrection for the ninety-sixth time, Valero is reassigned to a special forces unit and outfitted with a cutting-edge virtual intelligence aid. They could turn the tide in the war against intelligent machines dedicated to the assimilation, or destruction, of humanity. When her VI suddenly achieves sentience, Valero is drawn into the machinations of an enigmatic major who’s hell-bent on ending the war—by any means necessary.


Slow Burn: Delectable Suffering

By Becky Yeager

Of all of the many romantic tropes in existence, is there any that generates as much suffering and absolute bliss as the slow burn? Many readers will shake their fists at characters who could be so perfect together if only they would realize their burgeoning feelings. Below is a list of six recent books or series that feature slow burn relationships (all of which are queer—sorry, not sorry), some of which are still inching their way to resolution.

Ocean’s EchoPlace holder  of - 19 by Everina Maxwell

This book takes fake dating to the next level. Tennal is a flirtatious socialite and an absolute disaster in his family’s eyes. He also happens to be a neuromodified “reader,” which means a) he can read minds, b) he’s a security threat, and c) an immensely valuable asset for navigating chaotic space.

Lieutenant Surit Yeni is the lawful good son of a notorious traitor, who has dedicated himself to making up for his mother’s past mistakes. He is also a neuromodified “architects,” which means a) he can impose his will onto others and b) if he forms a sync with a reader, they’ll be locked into a permanent bond.

Tennal is forcibly conscripted by the military, and Surit is given orders to merge their minds. Neither is thrilled by the situation. So, logically, their solution is to fake it and desperately try to secretly figure out a way to help Tennal escape. But in the meanwhile, they are roommates. The tension between these two is palpable!

Gideon the NinthThe Locked Tomb Series by Tamsyn Muir

Some may question whether this series constitutes a slow burn. In our optimistic hearts, it does! We have one more book to go and who knows what could happen. Now, to avoid any spoilers, we’ll stick with how the bond between a necromancer and a cavalier is very special. And if you go around saying things like “One flesh, one end, bitch,” and “I cannot conceive of a universe without you in it,” then we’re going to have strong feelings. Be still our beating heart! (Any necromancers who happen to be reading, please don’t take that literally.) Add in the element of how they’re childhood friends (enemies), and hello, we’re sold.

A Taste of Gold and Iron by Alexandra RowlandA Taste of Gold and Iron by Alexandra Rowland

There is nothing like the longing between a prince and his bodyguard. Where is the line between loyal devotion and love? What happens when you’re tempted to cross it? Twist that Yearning Dial up to 100 and sit back to watch the drama.

A Taste of Gold and Iron is set in a fantasy world reminiscent of the Ottoman Empire. Prince Kadou is more capable than he realizes and gifted with the ability to touch-taste metal, but he struggles with anxiety. Evemer is his newly appointed bodyguard whose stoicism makes him nearly impossible to read. The pair of them find themselves drawn into court drama and life-threatening conspiracies that threaten to ruin the kingdom. So, yes, there’s danger and misunderstandings and longing. But just wait until the hair washing scene.

Image Place holder  of - 39Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune

Imagine if Scrooge was a middle-aged lawyer who died, and his ghost was sent to a tea shop run by a man who helps the dead cross over. And now…imagine if the two of them fell in love. Wallace was The Worst in life. He should know. He attended his own funeral. Hugo, meanwhile, spends his days brewing tea and making pastries on top of working with a reaper and a mysterious manager to assist ghosts with moving on.

Under the Whispering Door manages to be both hilarious and heart-wrenching. It’s so hard when your OTP can’t physically touch each other, but one can’t help being touched as Wallace and Hugo are gradually drawn to each other despite their circumstances.

The Cemeteries of Amalo SeriesThe Grief of Stones by Katherina Addison by Katherine Addison

Thara Celehar is a Witness for the Dead. It is his job to help speak with the recently dead. Sometimes this is to assist with resolving disputes. Other times it is to track down murderers. He is a quiet and solemn individual and far kinder than anyone realizes. Tragedy has befallen him in the past, and his current life is rather lacking in romance. And yet one cannot help hoping there could be a cherished companion waiting in the wings for him.

“I put the honey spoon in the second cup (which the staff of the River-Cat could not be trained out of bringing—unlike at the Hanevo Tree, where you had to specify if you wanted more than one) and briefly tormented myself by imagining a companion who would smile across at me and happily lick the spoon clean. Neither of my lovers had had such a sweet tooth—that was the only thing that made my imaginings even remotely safe. A purely made-up lover was foolish; conjuring the dead was something else entirely.”

And then, y’all, in the course of an investigation he meets someone who uses honey liberally. This is among the slowest of slow burns, but it’s sweet and heartwarming.

Winter's Orbit by Everina MaxwellWinter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell

Now, here’s a case where the two main characters end up married right at the start of the book and then spend the rest of the story playing will they or won’t they about whether they’ll actually fall in love. Prince Kiem isn’t very important in his family. In fact, he’s the Emperor’s least favorite grandchild. Now he’s under orders to marry Count Jainan, a widower (and murder suspect), who is vital for maintaining a planetary alliance. The two tie the knot, pose for the paparazzi, and prepare for a marital relationship lacking in anything resembling affection.

But their hearts have other plans as they are gradually drawn together to deal with court intrigue, the machinations of war, and the ghosts of Jainan’s past. As The New York Times Book Review put it so aptly, you’ll be yelling “Now kiss!” before you realize it.


SFF Books That’ll Make You Cry, But You Won’t Be Mad About It

Are you looking for a book that’ll give you the good, cathartic cry you need? Heart-wrenching, beautiful, and all around spectacular? Don’t worry, we have exactly the books for you. Check out our recommendations here!

Placeholder of  -62Arch-Conspirator by Veronica Roth

Outside the last city on Earth, the planet is a wasteland. Without the Archive, where the genes of the dead are stored, humanity will end. Antigone’s parents – Oedipus and Jocasta – are dead. Passing into the Archive should be cause for celebration, but with her militant uncle Kreon rising to claim her father’s vacant throne, all Antigone feels is rage. When he welcomes her and her siblings into his mansion, Antigone sees it for what it really is: a gilded cage, where she is a captive as well as a guest. But her uncle will soon learn that no cage is unbreakable. And neither is he.

A Strange and Stubborn Endurance by Foz MeadowsA Strange and Stubborn Endurance by Foz Meadows

Velasin vin Aaro never planned to marry at all, let alone a girl from neighboring Tithena. When an ugly confrontation reveals his preference for men, Vel fears he’s ruined the diplomatic union before it can even begin. But while his family is ready to disown him, the Tithenai envoy has a different solution: for Vel to marry his former intended’s brother instead. Caethari Aeduria always knew he might end up in a political marriage, but his sudden betrothal to a man from Ralia, where such relationships are forbidden, comes as a shock. With an unknown faction willing to kill to end their new alliance, Vel and Cae have no choice but to trust each other. Survival is one thing, but love—as both will learn—is quite another.

The Atlas Paradox by Olivie BlakeThe Atlas Paradox by Olivie Blake

Alliances will be tested, hearts will be broken, and The Society of Alexandrians will be revealed for what it is: a secret society with raw, world-changing power, headed by a man whose plans to change life as we know it are already under way.

Place holder  of - 92Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune

When a reaper comes to collect Wallace from his own funeral, Wallace begins to suspect he might be dead. And when Hugo, the owner of a peculiar tea shop, promises to help him cross over, Wallace decides he’s definitely dead. But even in death he’s not ready to abandon the life he barely lived, so when Wallace is given one week to cross over, he sets about living a lifetime in seven days. Hilarious, haunting, and kind, Under the Whispering Door is an uplifting story about a life spent at the office and a death spent building a home.

Image Place holder  of - 67Dead Country by Max Gladstone

Since her village chased her out with pitchforks, Tara Abernathy has resurrected gods, pulled down monsters, averted wars, and saved a city, twice. She thought she’d left her dusty little hometown forever. But that was before her father died. As she makes her way home to bury him, she finds a girl, as powerful and vulnerable and lost as she once was. Saving her from raiders twisted by the God Wars, Tara changes the course of the world. Dead Country is the first book in the Craft Wars Series, a tight sequence of novels that will bring the sprawling saga of the Craft to its end, and the perfect entry point to this incomparable world.


Black Friday eBook Sale!

Deals on deals on deals, y’all! Buy before midnight tonight, because these hot deals won’t last until tomorrow!

(Deals valid Friday, 11/25/22)

Under the Whispering DoorUnder the Whispering Door by TJ Klune by TJ Klune — $3.99

Welcome to Charon’s Crossing. The tea is hot, the scones are fresh, and the dead are just passing through.

When a reaper comes to collect Wallace from his own funeral, Wallace begins to suspect he might be dead.

And when Hugo, the owner of a peculiar tea shop, promises to help him cross over, Wallace decides he’s definitely dead.

But even in death he’s not ready to abandon the life he barely lived, so when Wallace is given one week to cross over, he sets about living a lifetime in seven days.

Hilarious, haunting, and kind, Under the Whispering Door is an uplifting story about a life spent at the office and a death spent building a home.

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The Atlas Six by Olivie BlakeThe Atlas Six by Olivie Blake — $4.99

Each decade, only the six most uniquely talented magicians are selected to earn a place in the Alexandrian Society, the foremost secret society in the world. The chosen will secure a life of power and prestige beyond their wildest dreams.

But at what cost?

Each of the six newest recruits has their reasons for accepting the Society’s elusive invitation. Even if it means growing closer than they could have imagined to their most dangerous enemies— or risking unforgivable betrayal from their most trusted allies— they will fight tooth and nail for the right to join the ranks of the Alexandrians.

Even if it means they won’t all survive the year.

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Nettle & Bone by T. KingfisherNettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher — $2.99

Marra never wanted to be a hero.

As the shy, convent-raised, third-born daughter, she escaped the traditional fate of princesses, to be married away for the sake of an uncaring throne. But her sister wasn’t so fortunate—and after years of silence, Marra is done watching her suffer at the hands of a powerful and abusive prince.

Seeking help for her rescue mission, Marra is offered the tools she needs, but only if she can complete three seemingly impossible tasks:

  • build a dog of bones
  • sew a cloak of nettles
  • capture moonlight in a jar

But, as is the way in tales of princes and witches, doing the impossible is only the beginning.

Hero or not—now joined by a disgraced ex-knight, a reluctant fairy godmother, an enigmatic gravewitch and her fowl familiar—Marra might finally have the courage to save her sister, and topple a throne.

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The Kaiju Preservation Society by John ScalziThe Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi — $2.99

When COVID-19 sweeps through New York City, Jamie Gray is stuck as a dead-end driver for food delivery apps. That is, until Jamie makes a delivery to an old acquaintance, Tom, who works at what he calls “an animal rights organization.” Tom’s team needs a last-minute grunt to handle things on their next field visit. Jamie, eager to do anything, immediately signs on.

What Tom doesn’t tell Jamie is that the animals his team cares for are not here on Earth. Not our Earth, at least. In an alternate dimension, massive dinosaur-like creatures named Kaiju roam a warm, human-free world. They’re the universe’s largest and most dangerous panda and they’re in trouble.

It’s not just the Kaiju Preservation Society who have found their way to the alternate world. Others have, too. And their carelessness could cause millions back on our Earth to die.

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