Must-Have Monday #100!

Posted 29th August 2022 by Sia in Must-Have Mondays / 0 Comments

It’s the HUNDREDTH Must-Have Monday!!!

And the world seems to know it, because we have appropriately awesome books releasing this week!

A Taste of Gold and Iron by Alexandra Rowland
Genres: Fantasy, Secondary World Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Brown cast, gay MC, bisexual/demisexual autistic-coded MC, secondary pansexual character, secondary asexual nonbinary character, tertiary nonbinary characters, queernorm world
Published on: 30th August 2022

Now an Indie Next pick! A Most Anticipated Pick for BookRiot | FanFi Addict | The Nerd Daily | io9 | We Are Bookish | Buzzfeed

“A delicious tangle of romance, fealty, and dangerous politics.”—Tasha Suri

The Goblin Emperor meets "Magnificent Century" in Alexandra Rowland's A Taste of Gold and Iron, where a queer central romance unfolds in a fantasy world reminiscent of the Ottoman Empire.

Kadou, the shy prince of Arasht, finds himself at odds with one of the most powerful ambassadors at court—the body-father of the queen's new child—in an altercation which results in his humiliation.

To prove his loyalty to the queen, his sister, Kadou takes responsibility for the investigation of a break-in at one of their guilds, with the help of his newly appointed bodyguard, the coldly handsome Evemer, who seems to tolerate him at best. In Arasht, where princes can touch-taste precious metals with their fingers and myth runs side by side with history, counterfeiting is heresy, and the conspiracy they discover could cripple the kingdom’s financial standing and bring about its ruin.

Rowland has been a long-time fave of mine, but I’m not going to lie, A Taste of Gold and Iron excited me more than any of their previous works! And there was no let-down; I’ve read this already, and not only is it Rowland’s best book yet, it’s everything I could possibly want. The prose is gorgeous, I loved the worldbuilding, and I adored the characters and their romance (and all the political intrigue going on around their romance!) It’s an unbelievably beautiful book from start to finish.

You can read my review over here!

The Spear Cuts Through Water by Simon Jimenez
Genres: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Secondary World Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Brown cast, amputee MC, M/M
Published on: 30th August 2022

A reluctant warrior goes on the run with an ancient goddess through a lush world full of wild magic, wondrous creatures, and hidden enemies in this beautiful epic fantasy from the author of The Vanished Birds.

In the land of the Strangled Throat, the people suffer under the rule of a despotic Emperor. His sons, the Three Terrors, despoil the countryside and oppress its citizens. When Keema Daware--a fierce warrior who lost his left arm in battle--finds the mythic Empress, who has escaped from her royal imprisonment, at his sentry outpost, he must make a choice: turn her in and evade the wrath of the Three Terrors, or help her overthrow the government and free a nation.

This is another masterpiece, albeit very different from A Taste of Gold and Iron! Jimenez does awe-inspiring things with structure and perspective here, and the result is an epic fantasy that defies description. (In the best way!)

For my full thoughts, you can check out my review!

Be the Serpent (October Daye, #16) by Seanan McGuire
Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary or Urban Fantasy
Representation: Secondary F/F, queernorm culture
Published on: 30th August 2022

October Daye is finally something she never expected to be: married. All the trials and turmoils and terrors of a hero’s life have done very little to prepare her for the expectation that she will actually share her life with someone else, the good parts and the bad ones alike, not just allow them to dabble around the edges in the things she wants to share. But with an official break from hero duties from the Queen in the Mists, and her family wholly on board with this new version of “normal,” she’s doing her best to adjust.

It isn’t always easy, but she’s a hero, right? She’s done harder.Until an old friend and ally turns out to have been an enemy in disguise for this entire time, and October’s brief respite turns into a battle for her life, her community, and everything she has ever believed to be true.

The debts of the Broken Ride are coming due, and whether she incurred them or not, she’s going to be the one who has to pay.

This is the SIXTEENTH book in the October Daye series, and I can’t believe how far Toby (and the rest!) have come since Rosemary & Rue!!! (And how lucky we are as readers. SIXTEEN BOOKS!)

I think this book is the beginning of a new plot arc? Or stuff McGuire has laid the groundwork for ages ago is going to cohere and come up swinging? Maybe both??? Either way, when asked over on Tumblr which books we should reread to prepare for Be the Serpent, McGuire listed

  • Rosemary & Rue
  • An Artificial Night
  • A Killing Frost
  • When Sorrows Come

I have not done my assigned rereading yet, but I do have Be the Serpent preordered and may just jump into it without the refresher…

These Imperfect Reflections: Short Stories by Merc Fenn Wolfmoor
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists, Sci Fi
Representation: Queer MCs
Published on: 30th August 2022

What's the price of revolution backed by artificial intelligence? Can you change the past to free ghosts trapped in endless loops? Do fairy tales always end the same way?

Follow a battle poet on aer quest to save a kingdom; witness the last documentary about alien whales; and travel with the Wolf who is prophesied to eat the sun as they look for alternatives to their fate.

From living trains to space stations populated with monsters, these eleven fantasy and science fiction stories from Merc Fenn Wolfmoor will take you on otherworldly adventures that are tethered to the heart.

Since reading Wolfmoor’s The Wolf and the Wild Hunt (review here) I’ve been pouncing on everything of theirs I can get my hands on – and have yet to be disappointed! So I’m really excited for their latest collection – I can’t wait to dive in!

Moon Dark Smile (Night Shine, #2) by Tessa Gratton
Genres: Fantasy, Secondary World Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Queer MC, nonbinary MC, trans MC, secondary polyamory M/NB/F
Published on: 30th August 2022

The fate of an Empire lies with a headstrong Heir and a restless demon in this lush YA fantasy for fans of Laini Taylor and Girl, Serpent, Thorn.

Ever since she was a girl, Raliel Dark-Smile’s best friend has been the great demon that lives in the palace. As the daughter of the Emperor, Raliel appears cold and distant to those around her, but what no one understands is that she and the great demon, Moon, have a close and unbreakable bond and are together at all times. Moon is bound to the Emperor and his two consorts, Raliel’s parents, and when Raliel comes of age, she will be bound to Moon as well, constrained to live in the Palace for the rest of her days.

Raliel is desperate to see the Empire Between Five Mountains, and she feels a deep kinship with Moon, who longs to break free of its bonds. When the time finally arrives for Raliel’s coming of age journey, she discovers a dangerous way to take Moon with her, even as she hides this truth from her travel companion, the beautiful, demon-kissed bodyguard Osian Redpop. But Osian is hiding secrets of his own, and when a plot surfaces that threatens the Empire, Raliel will have to decide who she can trust and what she’ll sacrifice for the power to protect all that she loves.

This was another of my most anticipated books of the year, and it did not let me down; a beautiful, graceful fantasy about freedom and magic and becoming More, it was an instant favorite.

My review!

A Taste Of Magic (Park Row Magic Academy, #1) by J. Elle
Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary or Urban Fantasy
Representation: Black MC
Published on: 30th August 2022

NYT bestseller J. Elle makes her MG debut in the delightful story of a girl who bakes up a plan to save her inner-city magic school.

Twelve-year-old Kyana has just discovered she’s a witch! This means classes every Saturday at Park Row Magic Academy, a learning center hidden in the back of the local beauty shop, and Kyana can’t wait to learn spells to help out at home. The only downside is having to keep her magic a secret from her BFF, Nae. But when the magic school loses funding, the students must pay huge fees at the fancy school across town or lose their magic! Determined to help, Kyana enters a baking contest with a big cash prize. Will she be able to keep up her grades while preparing for the competition and without revealing her magic? What about when a taste of magic works its way into her cupcakes?

Exciting up-and-coming author J. Elle combines the perfect balance of real-world issues and magical mishaps to create real magic.

This sounds very sweet, and I’ve really enjoyed Elle’s prose in the past, so I’ve been looking forward to meeting Kyana and her friends!

Unraveller by Frances Hardinge
Published on: 1st September 2022

Kellen and Nettle live in a world where anyone can create a life-destroying curse, but only one person has the power to unravel them. But not everyone is happy he can do so and, suddenly, he’s in a race to save both himself and all those who have been touched by magic…
A spell-binding new tale from the master of speculative fiction.

Hardinge is on my list of auto-buy authors, and I can’t envision a future where she isn’t! Even knowing almost nothing about Unraveller, I’ve been pining to get my hands on it!

This is the UK release – I don’t think it’s out in the USA until January – but that’s not gonna stop me!

Timberdark by Darren Charlton
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Sci Fi
Representation: M/M
Published on: 1st September 2022

With the tide turned against the Dead, Peter and the remaining community on Wranglestone prepare to leave for town, where the comforts of the world before await them. Could this be the home that finally brings both safety and unity for all?

Cooper isn't so sure. He harbours feelings from that terrible night on the lake and worse, a secret... codename, Timberdark.

With Cooper's new found connection to the Dead, Peter's suspicions about what he might do next grow. Faced with losing the boy he loves, Peter must uncover the truth about the mysterious Timberdark before their future together and the world around them is placed in danger.

Timbderdark is the sequel to last year’s Wranglestone, which I haven’t read yet but which is waiting for me on my tbr! Hopefully knowing there’s a sequel now will help me get it read, so I can dive into Timberdark!

Will you be reading any of these? Let me know!


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