Must-Have Monday #115

Posted 5th December 2022 by Sia in Must-Have Mondays / 0 Comments

SEVEN books on my radar this week!

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

More Than Utopia (The Cognate Coefficient #1) by Benjanun Sriduangkaew
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Sci Fi
Representation: Sapphic MCs
Published on: 5th December 2022

The aliens came to uplift humanity—and brought with them quantum computation that allows chosen humans, called cognates, to travel between parallel universes.

Jirayu’s wife Yvette disappeared when the aliens arrived. When Yvette returns, she’s an artifact of the future, a soldier from another timeline . . . and she carries with her the answer to why Jirayu is targeted by killers who have snuffed out every other version of Jirayu.

Yvette lost her wife Jirayu once before, and she’s determined to keep this version alive at any cost. But as she learns more and more of the aliens’ plans, she realizes she has a choice to make. She can continue being their weapon, or escape with her wife to a world where there is no war, no aliens, and where both of them can set the terms of their fate—forever.

I’ve yet to read a book by Sriduangkaew that I have not adored (including the books she co-writes under the penname Maria Ying), and I’m excited to see her starting a brand-new series! Plus, it’s out TODAY – I plan on pouncing on it the moment I’m finished with this post!

Where it Rains in Color by Denise Crittendon
Genres: Sci Fi
Representation: Black cast
Published on: 6th December 2022

Lileala has just been named the Rare Indigo – beauty among beauties – and is about to embrace her stardom, until something threatens to change her whole lifestyle and turn the planet of Swazembi upside down.

Colonized by the descendants of Earth’s West African Dogon Tribe, the planet of Swazembi is a blazing, color-rich utopia and famous vacation center of the galaxy. No one is used to serious trouble in this idyllic, peace-loving world, least of all the Rare Indigo.

But Lileala’s perfect, pampered lifestyle is about to be shattered. The unthinkable happens and her glorious midnight skin becomes infected with a mysterious disease. Where her skin should glisten like diamonds mixed with coal, instead it scabs and scars. On top of that, she starts to hear voices in her head, and everything around her becomes confusing and frightening.

Lileala’s destiny, however, goes far beyond her beauty. While searching for a cure, she stumbles upon something much more valuable. A new power awakens inside her, and she realizes her whole life, and the galaxy with it, is about to change…

I admit the writing style of this one did not work for me, but the premise and worldbuilding are SO COOL, and so many people are going to love it.

The Ivory Tomb (Rooks and Ruin, #3) by Melissa Caruso
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Bisexual MC
Published on: 6th December 2022

The Rooks and Ruin series concludes with this epic fantasy bursting with intrigue and ambition, questioned loyalties, and broken magic as Ryx fights to defeat the demons and save everything she loves.

The Dark Days have returned. The Demon of Carnage mercilessly cuts through villagers and armies. The Demon of Corruption rots the land. The Serene Empire and the Witch Lords race towards war. And in the middle of it all stands Rxyander, the Warden of Gloamingard.    Burdened by conflicting loyalties and guilt, Ryx searches desperately for a way to defeat the demons before the world she loves is completely destroyed. To find answers, she’ll have to return to where it all started…the black tower at the heart of Gloamingard. 

By blood the Door was opened and only by blood will the Dark Days end. 

Ivory Tomb is the epic finale of the Rooks and Ruin trilogy, and I haven’t let myself read the blurb, because spoilers! I need to reread the earlier books in the series before diving into this one, but it’s Caruso so you KNOW it’s going to be brilliant!!!

Monster Girls Don't Cry: short stories by Merc Fenn Wolfmoor
Genres: Fantasy, Horror, Queer Protagonists, Sci Fi
Published on: 6th December 2022

A collection of dark short fiction that spans the gamut of horror, fantasy, and science fiction.

Listen, when it’s a Wolfmoor book, I don’t need a proper synopsis, okay? Whatever Wolfmoor writes, I’m gonna read: it’s that simple! (And isn’t that one hell of a title?!)

A Fractured Infinity by Nathan Tavares
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Sci Fi
Representation: Hispanic gay MC, autistic-coded Egyptian gay love interest, M/M, major Japanese character
Published on: 6th December

A thrilling race across the multiverse to save the infinite Earths – and the love of your life – from total destruction for fans of The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, The Time Traveller's Wife and Rick and Morty.

Film-maker Hayes Figueiredo is struggling to finish the documentary of his heart when handsome physicist Yusuf Hassan shows up, claiming Hayes is the key to understanding the Envisioner – a mysterious device that can predict the future.

Hayes is taken to a top-secret research facility where he discovers his alternate self from an alternate universe created the Envisioner and sent it to his reality. Hayes studies footage of the other him, he discovers a self he doesn’t recognize, angry and obsessive, and footage of Yusuf… as his husband.

As Hayes finds himself falling for Yusuf, he studies the parallel universe and imagines the perfect life they will live together. But their lives are inextricably linked to the other reality, and when that couple's story ends in tragedy Hayes realises he must do anything he can to save Yusuf's life. Because there are infinite realities, but only one Yusuf.

With the fate of countless realities and his heart in his hands, Hayes leads Yusuf on the run, tumbling through a kaleidoscope of universes trying to save it all. But even escaping into infinity, Hayes is running out of space - soon he will have to decide how much he’s willing to pay to save the love of his life.

This released in the UK a little while ago, but today it’s out in the US as well! And I can confirm that it is utterly brilliant!

Fired by Darren Allen
Genres: Fantasy
Published on: 10th December 2022

A modern burlesque epic.

A gently anarchic oddbod loses a succession of jobs while slowly being drawn into an epic battle between the forces of good and evil.

Fired is a burlesque epic set in a world out of joint. It is a heroic journey of self-discovery, a study of contemporary minds at the end of their tether, a salt-in-the-eye satire of the dystopian modern world, a heartbreaking outpouring of grief for the condition of creatures in existence and a good old fashioned supernatural love-story.

From Darren AllenA brilliant communicator; Russell Brand
A follower of love, empathy and creativity; Alain de Botton
…made me laugh, drew me in, [bent me] stupid; Chris Morris
One of our most vital contemporary essayists; Irvine Welsh
A very funny, brilliantly talented and seriously disturbed writer; Terry Gilliam

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t able to find out anything about this book beyond the official synopsis…which is pretty light on details. But ‘a burlesque epic’? Even if I’m not 100% what that looks like in practice, I definitely need to find out!

The Silk Empress by Josef Matulich
Genres: Fantasy
Representation: Chinese secondary characters
Published on: 11th December 2022

The boy called “Pig”, grew up reading stories of airships and boy adventurers in penny dreadfuls. At twelve he finds himself orphaned and apprenticed to Feng Po McLaren, semi reformed air-pirate, first mate of the airship Wu Zetian along the High Silk Road between China and Europe. Now he is facing air pirates, rebels, five unusual women of dangerous abilities, and a clockwork dragon.

This seemed all so much easier in the books.

I can’t quite tell if Silk Empress is going to be silly fun or take itself seriously, but either way I’m very interested in clockwork dragons!

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


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