Must-Have Monday #112

Posted 14th November 2022 by Sia in Must-Have Mondays / 0 Comments

TWELVE new books to feast on this week!

(Books are listed in order of pub date, then Adult SFF, Adult Other, YA SFF, YA Other, MG SFF.)

Africa Risen: A New Era of Speculative Fiction by Sheree Renée Thomas, Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, Zelda Knight, Dilman Dila, W.C. Dunlap, Steven Barnes, Joshua Omenga, Russell Nichols, Nuzo Onoh, Franka Zeph, Yvette Lisa Ndlovu, Wole Talabi, Sandra Jackson-Opoku, Aline-Mwezi Niyonsenga, Alex Jennings, Mirette Bahgat, Timi Odueso, Maurice Broaddus, Tlotlo Tsamaase, Tobias S. Buckell, Somto Ihezue Onyedikachi, Tananarive Due, Ytasha Womack, Oyedotun Damilola Muees, Alexis Brooks De Vita, Tobi Ogundiran, Moustapha Mbacke Diop, Akua Lezli Hope, Mame Bougouma Diene, Woppa Diallo, Shingai Njeri Kagunda, Ada Nnadị, Ivana Akotowaa Ofori, Chinelo Onwualu, Danian Darrell Jerry, Dare Segun Falowo
Genres: Fantasy, Sci Fi
Representation: African MCs
Published on: 15th November 2022

From an award-winning team of editors comes an anthology of thirty-two original stories showcasing the breadth of fantasy and science fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora.

A group of cabinet ministers query a supercomputer containing the minds of the country’s ancestors. A child robot on a dying planet uncovers signs of fragile new life. A descendent of a rain goddess inherits her grandmother’s ability to change her appearance—and perhaps the world.

Created in the legacy of the seminal, award-winning anthology series Dark Matter, Africa Risen celebrates the vibrancy, diversity, and reach of African and Afro-Diasporic SFF and reaffirms that Africa is not rising—it’s already here.

If you’re not excited for Africa Risen then you are DOING IT WRONG! This has been on my Unmissable SFF of 2022 list since I first heard about it, and I’m VIBRATING with excitement that it’s almost here!!!

To Each This World by Julie E. Czerneda
Genres: Sci Fi
Published on: 15th November 2022

From an Aurora Award-winning author, a new sci-fi novel follows three intrepid humans caught up in a conflict that stretches across time and space.

Biologist Julie E. Czerneda's new standalone science fiction novel, To Each This World follows a desperate mission to reconnect with long lost sleeper ships, sent centuries earlier from Earth to settle distant worlds.

A trio of Humans must work with their mysterious alien allies to rescue any descendants they can find on those worlds. Something is out there, determined to claim the cosmos for itself, and only on Earth will Humans be safe.

Or will they?

The challenge isn't just to communicate with your own kind after generations have passed. It's to understand what isn't your kind at all.

And how far will trust take you, when the truth depends on what you are?

I’ve been meaning to start reading Czerneda for AGES, and a standalone seems like a good place to start. Especially since I’m fascinated by the generation/sleeper ship trope, and love the idea of trying to track down lost ships that (presumably) aren’t needed any more!

Rainbear!!!!!!!!! by Never Angeline Nørth
Genres: Fantasy
Published on: 15th November 2022

Rainbear!!!!!!!!! is the story of a woman who lives in a coffee shop where she makes a job out of loving people while inventing worlds in her dreams. The coffee shop is staffed by a barista-cum-border-guard who people show up to stab every week. Later, the narrative channels 18th century Jewish folktales as she is told a bedtime story about two queer lovers, who are themselves then told a dreamlike, quasi-erotic tale of a pagan prophet without a home. In this way, narratives eat each other and turn inside out as stories are found within stories and new adventures are told by unexpected rainbow bears that are also mountains and pages of journals are found papered inside the nests of vomitbirds.

I’ll be honest, I have no idea what’s going on with this book, but I really want to find out!

The End of All Skies by Vincent C. Sales
Genres: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy
Representation: Southeast Asian-coded cast + setting
Published on: 15th November 2022

A tyrant’s cruel reign comes to an end in a mythical Southeast Asian Sultanate where the powerless rise up against gods and monsters

The final days of Sun Girna Ginar have arrived. The old witch in the marketplace knows it, but no one believes her. How could the Sultanate fall when the God-Sultan rules over the earth and Skyworld? How could anyone ever defeat General Marandang, the giant slayer, and the city’s champion, Lam-Ang?

Entering into a wager with the gods, the old witch promises to destroy the city. And by granting the most insignificant the ability to make their dreams come true, it all comes to pass. We witness the fall of the Sultan’s great city through their stories: the hunter who seeks revenge, the one-handed thief who wants justice, and the exiled datu searching for redemption.

Together, they bring about the destruction of the city of Sun Girna Ginar. Its walls are breached by the six-headed giant of Gawi-Gawen as fire consumes the Palace and the never-ending rain swallows the city in flood.

Um, this sounds amazing??? High/Epic Fantasy pulled from Southeast Asia??? ALL THE YES PLEASE???

The Ghost of Danny McGee by Quinlan Grim
Genres: Sci Fi
Published on: 15th November 2022

Camp Phoenix is a controversial and expensive summer camp program that transfers adults’ consciousness into a clone of their childhood selves. On the surface, it’s an ordinary summer camp. Twelve-year-old Logan has come to have a relaxing, carefree summer. She wants to ride horses, make new friends, and she loves listening to ghost stories. Sam is a twenty-year-old counselor, taking on the responsibility of the kids’ care by day, and riding the rollercoaster of a summer romance after hours.

As Logan faces the ups and downs of puberty, Sam watches over her and struggles with the bizarre truth: the campers in her care are not kids at all, but wealthy adults immersed in the ultimate escape from reality.

What Logan doesn't know—or at least, can't remember—is that she and her friends will all have to return to their grownup bodies once the summer is over. Logan will again be a successful, middle-aged woman, and the popular boy she has a crush on? He will return to his life as a celebrity suspect at the center of a high-profile murder case.

This sounds unbelievably weird, but it’s so weird that I’m just going to have to give it a go. (Although I, for one, would not swap being an adult for being a kid again if you paid me.)

Pulling the Wings Off Angels by K.J. Parker
Genres: Fantasy
Published on: 15th November 2022

Pulling the Wings Off Angels is a madcap adventure brimming with the ethical quandaries and sardonic wit of The Good Place by World Fantasy Award-winning author K. J. Parker

Long ago, a wealthy man stole an angel and hid her in a chapel, where she remains imprisoned to this day.

That’s the legend, anyway.

A clerical student who’s racked up gambling debts to a local gangster is given an ultimatum—deliver the angel his grandfather kidnapped, or forfeit various body parts in payment.

And so begins a whirlwind theological paradox—with the student at its center—in which the stakes are the necessity of God, the existence of destiny—and the nature of angels.

Parker is another author who’s been on my Seriously-Sia-Sit-Down-and-Read-Them list, and given that I’m fascinated by angels and angelic mythology, this seems like an excellent place to start!

Moonlight and the Magician (The Moonlight Curse, #1) by Evelynn Carver
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: M/M
Published on: 15th November 2022

Spoiled pretty boy, Valentino, a revered fire mage of singular talent, finds himself pressured into a political marriage with a sadistic noblewoman he barely knows. He’s desperate to find a way out, even if it means leaving his gilded life in the spotlight behind.

​Brand, a mysterious roguish vagabond, approaches Val and charms him into a deal: he will help him escape his problems in exchange for his assistance in breaking a vicious magical curse. What that curse entails is only revealed in the light of the full moon. Is Brand really who he says he is?

What begins as a romantic runaway adventure soon turns out to be much more than they bargained for. It seems that Valentino’s magic isn't worth as much as he thought when it comes to dealing with a willful demon, gunslinging bounty hunters, and his own fickle heart. He might be falling in lust with a monster, but will he sell his very soul just to run away from responsibility?

Spoiled pretty boys getting hit hard by reality are nearly always way too fun, and I’m intrigued by the potential for worldbuilding implied in the premise. Also, here’s hoping the selling of souls is meant literally!

The Six Deaths of the Saint (Into Shadow) by Alix E. Harrow
Genres: Fantasy
Published on: 15th November 2022

The Saint of War spares the life of a servant girl so she can fulfill her destiny as the kingdom’s greatest warrior in this short story of love and loyalty by New York Times bestselling author Alix E. Harrow.

Always mindful of the debt she owes, the girl finds her worth as a weapon in the hand of the Prince. Her victories make him a king, then an emperor. The bards sing her name and her enemies fear it. But the war never ends and the cost keeps rising—how many times will she repeat her own story?

Rather than releasing them in a single volume, Amazon is publishing the stories of the Into Shadow collection as individual ebooks. Since all the stories are by very impressive names, you’ll probably want to check them all out, but I’m listing the three I’m most interested in – which very much includes Harrow’s! I mean, really. Anything by Alix E. Harrow, I am there!

What the Dead Know (Into Shadow) by Nghi Vo
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy
Published on: 15th November 2022

A woman posing as a medium who can channel the spirit world comes face to face with the truth in this short historical fantasy by Hugo Award–winning author Nghi Vo.
The Fogg River Seminary, a girls’ school in a small Illinois town, is supposed to be just another stop on Maryse and Vasyl’s endless travels. They’ve made lucrative use of Maryse’s “foreign” looks in their melodramatic séance act—and an act is all it is. Then, during their performance, a blizzard sweeps in and cuts them off from town completely. In the freezing halls, there’s a voice speaking the secrets of the dead, and Maryse has no choice but to listen…because this time, the voice is real.

Do I usually care about ghosts and seances? Nope. But I will always read anything and everything Vo writes!

Undercover (Into Shadow) by Tamsyn Muir
Genres: Fantasy
Published on: 15th November 2022

When a stranger comes to town, secrets are sure to come out. New York Times bestselling author Tamsyn Muir spins a twisty—and twisted—short story of revenge and survival.

A fresh-faced newcomer arrives in an isolated, gang-run town and soon finds herself taking a job nobody else wants: bodyguard to a ghoul. Not just your average mindless, half-rotted shuffler, though. Lucille is a dancer who can still put on her own lipstick and whose shows are half burlesque, half gladiator match. But the stranger is no stranger to this particular ghoul. Both women are undercover in their own way. And both have something to lose if their connection comes to light.

Every book of the Locked Tomb series has been so different from the others that it’s clear Muir’s far from a one-trick pony, and her novella Princess Floralinda and the Forty-Flight Tower proved she can write short-forms too, so although I have no real idea what to expect, I’m very excited for Undercover!

Wicked Little Things by Justin Arnold
Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary or Urban Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Gay MC
Published on: 15th November 2022

Join a coven.
Catch a killer.
Get a makeover...?

When his cousin is murdered, recently outed 16-year-old Dane Craven is forced to return to his unbearably small hometown of Jasper Hollow. It would be easy enough for him to keep his head down if it weren't for three inescapable facts.

One, Dane is a witch with fiery powers he has little ability to control.
Two, Dane thinks he's responsible for the death of his cousin.
And three, he's already been claimed by a coven of fashion-forward 'mean girls' desperate to give him a makeover.

Being the gay best friend to a trio of teenage witches wasn't ever high on Dane's list of aspirations, but fortunately for him these girls have the necromantic powers he needs to figure out who killed his cousin. Plus, he could do with some new clothes.

While on the hunt for his cousin's killer Dane discovers life in Jasper Hollow isn't all bad. There's the cute boy who works at the local coffee shop and enjoys long walks in the woods, for one.

But when the rabbit-faced killer comes for Dane, he'll be forced to come to terms with who he is and where he belongs before it's too late for him and everyone in Jasper Hollow.

Not gonna lie, I’m way too interested in mean-girl witches, and fire-magic’s one of my favourites. So far this publisher has been publishing Very Good Things, so I see no reason to break my streak by not picking up their newest release!

Three Kings by Freydís Moon
Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary or Urban Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Transmasc MC, M/M/M
Published on: 22nd November 2022

Ethan Shaw—lighthouse keeper and local witch—lives a charmed life in his chilly, coastal hometown. Blessed with a flourishing garden and a stable livelihood, Ethan can’t complain. But when his husband, Captain Peter Vásquez, brings home a wounded leopard seal after an impromptu storm, Ethan is faced with a curious situation: caring for a lost selkie named Nico Locke.

As Ethan struggles with the possibility of being infertile, insecurities surrounding his marriage, and a newly formed magical bond with a hostile, handsome selkie, his comfortable life begins to fracture. But could breakage lead to something better?

With autumn at their heels and winter on the horizon, Ethan, Peter, and Nico test the boundaries of a new relationship, shared intimacy, and the chance at a future together.

Although the official release date isn’t until next week, I’m including Three Kings here because if you preorder from the publisher (like I have) you’ll get it on the 18th. And who wouldn’t want to get one of Moon’s books early?! This one even has a SELKIE!

If you need more convincing, you can read an excerpt of the book at the publisher link!

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


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