Must-Have Monday #134

Posted 24th April 2023 by Sia in Must-Have Mondays / 0 Comments

EIGHT marvellous new releases this week!

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

In the Lives of Puppets by T.J. Klune
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Sci Fi
Representation: Asexual MC
Published on: 25th April 2023

New York Times bestselling author TJ Klune invites you deep into the heart of a peculiar forest and on the extraordinary journey of a family assembled from spare parts.

Most Anticipated from BookPage • Goodreads • The Nerd Daily • Paste Magazine • LitReactor • OverDrive • LGBTQ Reads • more

“An enchanting tale of Pinocchio in the end times.” —P. Djèlí Clark

In a strange little home built into the branches of a grove of trees, live three robots—fatherly inventor android Giovanni Lawson, a pleasantly sadistic nurse machine, and a small vacuum desperate for love and attention. Victor Lawson, a human, lives there too. They’re a family, hidden and safe.

The day Vic salvages and repairs an unfamiliar android labelled “HAP,” he learns of a shared dark past between Hap and Gio–a past spent hunting humans.

When Hap unwittingly alerts robots from Gio’s former life to their whereabouts, the family is no longer hidden and safe. Gio is captured and taken back to his old laboratory in the City of Electric Dreams. So together, the rest of Vic’s assembled family must journey across an unforgiving and otherworldly country to rescue Gio from decommission, or worse, reprogramming.

Along the way to save Gio, amid conflicted feelings of betrayal and affection for Hap, Vic must decide for himself: Can he accept love with strings attached?

Inspired by Carlo Collodi's The Adventures of Pinocchio, and like Swiss Family Robinson meets Wall-E, In the Lives of Puppets is a masterful stand-alone fantasy adventure from the beloved author who brought you The House in the Cerulean Sea and Under the Whispering Door.

★ “An epic quest of rescue and discovery [with] the author’s trademark charm, heart, and bittersweetness.” —Library Journal, starred review

I never thought I’d care about a Pinocchio retelling, but here we are! And – is this Klune’s first sci fi? I think it might be? There may well be magic involved too, though – I guess we’ll find out tomorrow!

Silenced by Ann Claycomb
Genres: Speculative Fiction
Published on: 25th April 2023

A powerful feminist fairy tale of four women each cursed by the same abusive man. Gripping and essential, it will captivate readers of Jennifer Saint's Ariadne, Heather Walter's Malice and Menna van Praag's The Sisters Grimm.

Four women. Four enchantments. One man. But he is no handsome prince, and this is no sugar-sweet fairy tale. Jo, Abony, Ranjani, and Maia all have something in common: they have each been cursed by the CEO of their workplace after he abused his power to prey on them. He wants them silent and uses his sinister dark magic to keep them quiet about what he did. But Jo, Abony, Ranjani and Maia are not fairy-tale princesses waiting to be rescued. They are fierce, angry women with a bond forged in pain, and they’re about to discover that they have power of their own.

In this sharply written, bitingly relevant modern fable, the magic is dark and damaging, and the women are determined to rescue themselves.

I’ve had a lot of trouble trying to find out exactly how speculative Silenced is, but I’m cautiously interested. Although given the subject matter I’m going to have to be in exactly the right headspace when I try reading it!

Red Team Blues (Martin Hench) by Cory Doctorow
Published on: 25th April 2023

New York Times bestseller Cory Doctorow's Red Team Blues is a grabby next-Tuesday thriller about cryptocurrency shenanigans that will awaken you to how the world really works.

Martin Hench is 67 years old, single, and successful in a career stretching back to the beginnings of Silicon Valley. He lives and roams California in a very comfortable fully-furnished touring bus, The Unsalted Hash, that he bought years ago from a fading rock star. He knows his way around good food and fine drink. He likes intelligent women, and they like him back often enough.

Martin is a―contain your excitement―self-employed forensic accountant, a veteran of the long guerilla war between people who want to hide money, and people who want to find it. He knows computer hardware and software alike, including the ins and outs of high-end databases and the kinds of spreadsheets that are designed to conceal rather than reveal. He’s as comfortable with social media as people a quarter his age, and he’s a world-level expert on the kind of international money-laundering and shell-company chicanery used by Fortune 500 companies, mid-divorce billionaires, and international drug gangs alike. He also knows the Valley like the back of his hand, all the secret histories of charismatic company founders and Sand Hill Road VCs. Because he was there at all the beginnings. He’s not famous, except to the people who matter. He’s made some pretty powerful people happy in his time, and he’s been paid pretty well. It’s been a good life.

Now he’s been roped into a job that’s more dangerous than anything he’s ever agreed to before―and it will take every ounce of his skill to get out alive.

Doctorow’s books are always worth taking a look at – and I’m massively excited for his other book coming this year, Lost Cause. This one sounds quite different, but I’m still intrigued; Martin Hench sounds like a really fun character to me. And Doctorow is kind of the best at explaining Weird Tech Things in ways I can understand; it’s worth reading for that alone!

That Self-Same Metal (Forge & Fracture Saga, #1) by Brittany N. Williams
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Bisexual Black MC
Published on: 25th April 2023

A stunning YA fantasy debut, perfect for fans of Holly Black and Justina Ireland, about a Black girl (and sword expert) fighting a Fae uprising in Shakespearean London

Sixteen-year-old Joan Sands is a gifted craftswoman who creates and upkeeps the stage blades for William Shakespeare’s acting company, The King’s Men. Joan’s skill with her blades comes from a magical ability to control metal—an ability gifted by her Head Orisha, Ogun. Because her whole family is Orisha-blessed, the Sands family have always kept tabs on the Fae presence in London. Usually that doesn’t involve much except noting the faint glow around a Fae’s body as they try to blend in with London society, but lately, there has been an uptick in brutal Fae attacks. After Joan wounds a powerful Fae and saves the son of a cruel Lord, she is drawn into political intrigue in the human and Fae worlds.

Swashbuckling, romantic, and full of the sights and sounds of Shakespeare’s London, this series starter delivers an unforgettable story—and a heroine unlike any other.

Is there anything about Self-Same Metal that does not sound amazing??? No, no there is not! I will definitely be picking this one up!

This Delicious Death by Kayla Cottingham
Genres: Horror, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Sapphic MC
Published on: 25th April 2023

Four best friends, one music festival, and a cooler filled with human organs: this summer is about to get gory. ​​​

Jennifer’s Body fans will clamor for this new sapphic horror standalone from New York Times bestselling author Kayla Cottingham.

Three years ago, the melting of arctic permafrost released a pathogen of unknown origin into the atmosphere, causing a small percentage of people to undergo a transformation that became known as the Hollowing. Those impacted slowly became intolerant to normal food and were only able to gain sustenance by consuming the flesh of other human beings. Those who went without flesh quickly became feral, turning on their friends and family. However, scientists were able to create a synthetic version of human meat that would satisfy the hunger of those impacted by the Hollowing. As a result, humanity slowly began to return to normal, albeit with lasting fear and distrust for the people they'd pejoratively dubbed ghouls.

Zoey, Celeste, Valeria, and Jasmine are all ghouls living in Southern California. As a last hurrah before their graduation they decided to attend a musical festival in the desert. They have a cooler filled with hard seltzers and SynFlesh and are ready to party.

But on the first night of the festival Val goes feral, and ends up killing and eating a boy. As other festival guests start disappearing around them the girls soon discover someone is drugging ghouls and making them feral. And if they can't figure out how to stop it, and soon, no one at the festival is safe.

All right, this sounds pretty weird, but, as they used to say, I kind of dig it??? Why do I keep running into books about cannibals lately, I’m beginning to suspect a conspiracy.

Through the Fire by C.E. Murphy
Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary or Urban Fantasy
Published on: 28th April 2023

Some things do go bump in the night.

It used to be that run-of-the-mill monsters were the Cassidy brothers’ bread and butter. Then Nick chose college over bounty hunting, and Chris was left to keep up the good fight on his own. They haven’t spoken in years, and resentment seethes between them.

But when solving the mystery of their father’s death draws Nick home and unlocks a freakish magical power within him, the brothers must set aside their differences as they are drawn toward a celestial war that will spill over into the earthly realm—unless their bond is stronger than the powers of Heaven and Hell themselves.
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The author of the Negotiator trilogy taking the opening premise of the show Supernatural and fucking running with it? GIMME! Oh my gods, I want this so bad! And I’m desperately excited to see Murphy’s take on a Heaven vs Hell war – the show bungled it so bad, imo. EEE!

The Best of Catherynne M. Valente, Volume One by Catherynne M. Valente, Alyssa Winans
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists, Sci Fi
Published on: 29th April 2023

The celebrated author of Fairyland, Space Opera, and much more, Catherynne M. Valente is also known for her stunning prose and captivating worldbuilding. From life on Mars to the zombified streets of Augusta, Maine, she has taken readers on unforgettable journeys for two decades.

Subterranean Press is proud to present: The Best of Catherynne M. Valente, Volume One, the first comprehensive collection of Valente’s short fiction, soaring through eighteen years of pushing the edges of storytelling.

Among her award-winning stories, you’ll find everything from melancholy robot girls to Eurydice and Orpheus; from detectives in Purgatory to time-traveling squirrels to a very different Santa Claus; from the grey coast of Washington to Alice’s Wonderland.
Valente’s work is an open, beating heart, ready to welcome you in to its darkness and its light.

Table of Contents:
Left Ventricle
The Consultant The Difference Between Love and Time A Buyer’s Guide to Maps of Antarctica White Lines on a Green Field The Wolves of Brooklyn Reading Borges in Buenos Aires Days of Flaming Motorcycles One Breath, One Stroke Thirteen Ways of Looking at Space/Time Mouse Koan

Right Atrium
The Melancholy of Mechagirl The Future Is Blue The Sin-Eater The Sun in Exile Color, Heat, and the Wreck of the Argo The Perfect Host How to Become a Mars Overlord Fade to White Secretario Twenty-Five Facts About Santa Claus In the Future When All’s Well Planet Lion

Left Atrium
A Great Clerk of Necromancy Urchins, While Swimming L’Espirit D’Escalier The Lily and the Horn The Long Goodnight of Violet Wild Palimpsest The Red Girl The Flame After the Candle The Wedding The Bread We Eat in Dreams The Secret of Being a Cowboy

Right Ventricle
Aquaman and the Duality of Self/Other, America, 1985 A Fall Counts Anywhere A Delicate Architecture Golubash, or Wine-Blood-War-Elegy Badgirl, the Deadman, and the Wheel of Fortune Down and Out in R’lyeh The Shoot-Out at Burnt Corn Ranch Over the Bride of the World No One Dies in Nowhere The Limitless Perspective of Master Peek, Or, the Luminescence of Debauchery Daisy Green Says I Love You Silently and Very Fast What the Dragon Said: A Love Story

HI, YES, THOSE ARE MY SHRIEKS OF DELIGHT YOU HEAR! Catherynne M. Valente is easily my (joint-)favourite storyteller in the world, and you’d better believe I pounced when Sub Press announced this Volume One of her best short stories (and poetry)! I even managed to snag the limited edition (the left-hand cover)! (Although I think the trade hardcover – right-hand image – might be prettier. Here’s hoping the limited edition somehow has both???)

Since it will take a while for my copy to get to me, I’m hoping Sub Press release an ebook copy this week too, so I can dive into it while waiting for my hardcover to arrive. Have I read many of the short stories listed in the contents??? Obviously. Am I eager to read them all again??? Le duh. Am I losing my gods’-damn MIND over the inclusion of out-of-print and never-before-published stories??? What kind of foolish question is that?!

The Blood-Born Dragon (The Everlands Cycle, #1) by J.C. Rycroft
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Lesbian MC
Published on: 30th April 2023

A bond she didn’t choose.
A love she can’t escape.
A creature so powerful it bends the limits of time…

Smart, sassy, and sanguine, Des Mildue is a traveling sellsword in Rescalin, a dry and dusty kingdom full of rogues, opportunists, and thieves. She keeps her nose clean, brazens it out with a blade when she can’t, and keeps others at arm’s length where they can’t mess up her plans.

That is, until a sword fight gone wrong leaves her tied by blood to the first dragon hatched in centuries. Suddenly, Des has to contend with a new voice in her head: haughty, willful Esquidamelion. Des wants to leave Squid by the roadside, but the blood bond has other ideas.

With half the world on their tail - including Liv, her beautiful, faithless ex who Des is definitely over - Des must search for answers for why so many are willing to kill, maim and torture to get their hands on Squid. But she’s beginning to suspect her blood bond has tied her not only to a dragon, but to a fight for Rescalin’s future…

…and no one else even knows it’s at risk.

If you like the kind of story that grabs you by the shirtfront and hauls you through mystery, magic, adventure and betrayal, with a side of sapphic romance, pick up The Blood-Born Dragon, first in a new trilogy from debut author J.C. Rycroft.

This one caught my eye because apparently the setting is inspired by Australia? I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before! Also, is the blurb implying that the dragon can affect the flow of time somehow??? I am intensely curious!

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


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