Must-Have Monday #121

Posted 23rd January 2023 by Sia in Must-Have Mondays / 0 Comments

Only FOUR books this week, but they’re all ones I’m extremely excited for!!!

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

The Infinite (The Outside #3) by Ada Hoffmann
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Sci Fi, Science Fantasy
Representation: Sapphic autistic MC, F/F, secondary nonbinary characters
Published on: 24th January 2023

Final instalment from Philip K Dick Award-nominated series from Ada Hoffmann

Time is running out for the planet Jai. The artificially intelligent Gods who rule the galaxy have withdrawn their protection from the chaos-ravaged world, just as their most ancient enemy closes in. For Yasira Shien, who has devoted herself to the fragile planet's nascent rebellion, it's time to do or die – and the odds are overwhelming.

Enter Dr. Evianna Talirr. Talirr, the visionary who decimated the planet and began its rebellion, is not a woman to be trusted. But she's returned with an unsettling prophecy: the only way to save Jai is for Yasira to die.

Yasira knows it can't be that simple. But as she frantically searches for other options, what she finds will upend everything she knew about the Gods, the galaxy she lives in, and herself.

The Infinite is the final installment in Hoffman’s Outside trilogy, which I’ve adored from the first chapter of the first book! And I am DELIGHTED to be able to assure you that it is a gods-damn epic finale! (You can find links to reviews of books 1 and 2 at the link!)

The Buried and the Bound by Rochelle Hassan
Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary or Urban Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Lebanese-American MC, bi/pansexual MC, gay MC
Published on: 24th January 2023
ISBN: 1250822203

A contemporary fantasy YA debut from Rochelle Hassan about monsters, magic, and wicked fae, perfect for fans of The Darkest Part of the Forest and The Hazel Wood.

As the only hedgewitch in Blackthorn, Massachusetts—an uncommonly magical place—Aziza El-Amin has bargained with wood nymphs, rescued palm-sized fairies from house cats, banished flesh-eating shadows from the local park. But when a dark entity awakens in the forest outside of town, eroding the invisible boundary between the human world and fairyland, run-of-the-mill fae mischief turns into outright aggression, and the danger—to herself and others—becomes too great for her to handle alone.

Leo Merritt is no stranger to magical catastrophes. On his sixteenth birthday, a dormant curse kicked in and ripped away all his memories of his true love. A miserable year has passed since then. He's road-tripped up and down the East Coast looking for a way to get his memories back and hit one dead end after another. He doesn't even know his true love's name, but he feels the absence in his life, and it's haunting.

Desperate for answers, he makes a pact with Aziza: he’ll provide much-needed backup on her nightly patrols, and in exchange, she’ll help him break the curse.

When the creature in the woods sets its sights on them, their survival depends on the aid of a mysterious young necromancer they’re not certain they can trust. But they’ll have to work together to eradicate the new threat and take back their hometown... even if it forces them to uncover deeply buried secrets and make devastating sacrifices.

I fell in love with Hassan’s prose and deceptively simple worldbuilding, to say nothing of a really wonderful cast! The Buried and the Bound really deserves a whole lot of love – I’m already pining for the sequel! – so I really hope lots of people pick this one up!

You can read my full review here!

Spice Road (Spice Road Trilogy, #1) by Maiya Ibrahim
Genres: Fantasy
Representation: Arabic-coded cast and setting
Published on: 24th January 2023

In the hidden desert city of Qalia, there is secret spice magic that awakens the affinities of those who drink the misra tea. Sixteen-year-old Imani has the affinity for iron and is able to wield a dagger like no other warrior. She has garnered the reputation as being the next great Shield for battling djinn, ghouls, and other monsters spreading across the sands.

Her reputation has been overshadowed, however, by her brother, who tarnished the family name after it was revealed that he was stealing his nation's coveted spice--a telltale sign of magical obsession. Soon after that, he disappeared, believed to have died beyond the Forbidden Wastes. Despite her brother's betrayal, there isn't a day that goes by when Imani doesn't grieve him.

But when Imani discovers signs that her brother may be alive and spreading the nation's magic to outsiders, she makes a deal with the Council that she will find him and bring him back to Qalia, where he will face punishment. Accompanied by other Shields, including Taha, a powerful beastseer who can control the minds of falcons, she sets out on her mission.

Imani will soon find that many secrets lie beyond the Forbidden Wastes--and in her own heart--but will she find her brother?

The first book in an epic fantasy series set in an Arabian-inspired land with secret spice magic. Raised to protect her nation from the monsters lurking in the sands, sixteen-year-old Imani must fight to find her brother, whose betrayal is now the country's greatest threat.

I’m a sucker for food-related magic, and spice magic definitely qualifies! Plus, there’s been so much hype and love for Spice Road from early readers that I’m pretty excited to dive in myself!

Queer Fires (Flint and Tinder #2) by Gregory Ashe
Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary or Urban Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Bisexual MC, gay MC, M/M
Published on: 27th January 2023

Emmett might not have a job. He might not be going to school. He might not have any friends. Heck, he might not even be all that happy. But he’s clean; that’s the important thing. And all that spare time? It means he can really focus on screwing up his friendship (and absolutely nothing more than friendship) with Jim, who just happens to be the most important person in his life.

When their friend Chloe shows up at their apartment, being chased by men with guns, Emmett and Jim find themselves dragged into a conflict they don’t understand. A year ago, they saved Chloe’s life from a band of supernatural killers. Now, it seems someone is after her again. It’s up to Emmett and Jim to stop them, which might be easier if they could figure out why everyone wants her.

It won’t be that easy, of course. When Chloe’s on-and-off-again girlfriend gets taken hostage, Emmett and Jim will have to race to save her. But an invisible war is raging all around them, and they’ve just stepped into the crossfire.

YESSSSSSS, FINALLY! Queer Fires is the sequel to Ember Boys, which I adored – not least because this series, Flint and Tinder, is the follow-up/spin-off of the Hollow Folk books, and expands the worldbuilding as well as the story of one of my favourite characters!

If you’re unfamiliar with these books, you’re in for a TREAT; see here for my review on the Hollow Folk series, and here for my thoughts on Ember Boys! THEN JUMP IN AND JOIN ME IN ADORING THIS VERSE!

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


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