Must-Have Monday #15!

Posted 17th August 2020 by Sia in Must-Have Mondays / 0 Comments

We have SIX incredible books to look forward to this week! I don’t know about you, but I’ve been absolutely drowning in all the amazing reads we’ve been getting!

Raybearer (Raybearer, #1) by Jordan Ifueko
Genres: Secondary World Fantasy, Epic Fantasy
Representation: Cast of Colour, Major Asexual Character, Minor Gay Character, Minor Lesbian Character
Published on: 18th August 2020

Nothing is more important than loyalty. But what if you’ve sworn to protect the one you were born to destroy?

Tarisai has always longed for the warmth of a family. She was raised in isolation by a mysterious, often absent mother known only as The Lady. The Lady sends her to the capital of the global empire of Aritsar to compete with other children to be chosen as one of the Crown Prince’s Council of 11. If she’s picked, she’ll be joined with the other Council members through the Ray, a bond deeper than blood.

That closeness is irresistible to Tarisai, who has always wanted to belong somewhere. But The Lady has other ideas, including a magical wish that Tarisai is compelled to obey: Kill the Crown Prince once she gains his trust. Tarisai won’t stand by and become someone’s pawn—but is she strong enough to choose a different path for herself?

You can read my review here, but the tl;dr version is that I love this book more than BREATH, and can’t wait to see it out in the world at last!!!

The Faithless Hawk (The Merciful Crow, #2) by Margaret Owen
Genres: Secondary World Fantasy
Representation: Oppressed Minority, Bisexual Love Interest
Published on: 18th August 2020

Dangerous magic, a tormented romance, and lethal betrayals come to a head in the thrilling sequel to Margaret Owen's The Merciful Crow.

As the new chieftain of the Crows, Fie knows better than to expect a royal to keep his word. Still she's hopeful that Prince Jasimir will fulfill his oath to protect her fellow Crows. But then black smoke fills the sky, signaling the death of King Surimir and the beginning of Queen Rhusana's ruthless bid for the throne.

Queen Rhusana wins popular support by waging a brutal campaign against the Crows, blaming them for the poisonous plague that wracks the nation.

A desperate Fie clings onto a prophecy that a long-forgotten god will return and provide a cure to the plague. Fie must team up with old friends? and an old flame? to track down a dead god and save her people.

This might actually be the sequel I’m most anxious about this year – anxious in the sense that I loved the first book, and I don’t know if my heart can take another round of this much epicness! And on the other hand, I am not even a little bit ready to be done with this world and these characters!

The Vanished Queen by Lisbeth Campbell
Genres: Secondary World Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Normalised Queerness, Bisexual MC
Published on: 18th August 2020

When a country is held in thrall to a vicious, despotic king, it’s up to one woman to take him down.

Long ago, Queen Mirantha vanished. King Karolje claimed it was an assassination by a neighboring king, but everyone knew it was a lie. He had Disappeared her himself.

But after finding the missing queen’s diary, Anza—impassioned by her father’s unjust execution and inspired by Mirantha’s words—joins the resistance group to overthrow the king. When an encounter with Prince Esvar thrusts her into a dangerous game of court politics, one misstep could lead to a fate worse than death.

Esvar is the second son to an evil king. Trapped under his thumb and desperate for a way out, a chance meeting with Anza gives him the opportunity to join the resistance. Together, they might have the leverage to move against the king—but if they fail, their deaths could mean a total loss of freedom for generations to follow.

This is a book I’ve been hearing a lot of praise for, and I’m always interested in secondary fantasy worlds where queerness is normalised!

The Notorious Virtues (The Notorious Virtues, #1) by Alwyn Hamilton
Genres: Secondary World Fantasy
Published on: 18th August 2020

A glamorous media darling, a surprise heiress, and the magical competition of a lifetime.

At sixteen, Honora “Nora” Holtzfall is the daughter of the most powerful heiress in all of Walstad. Her family controls all the money–and all the magic–in the entire country. But despite being the center of attention, Nora has always felt like an outsider. When her mother is found dead in an alley, the family throne and fortune are suddenly up for grabs, and Nora will be pitted against her cousins in the Veritaz, the ultimate magical competition for power that determines the one family heir.

But there’s a surprise contestant this time: Lotte, the illegitimate daughter of Nora’s aunt. When Lotte’s absent mother retrieves her from the rural convent she’d abandoned her to, Lotte goes from being an orphan to surrounded by family. Unfortunately, most of them want her dead.

And soon, Nora discovers that her mother’s death wasn’t random–it was murder. And the only person she can trust to uncover the truth of what happened is a rakish young reporter who despises everything Nora and her family stand for.

With everyone against her, Lotte’s last hope is hunting for the identity of her father. But the dangerous competition–and her feelings for Theo, one of the Holtzfalls’ sworn protectors–turns her world upside down.

Incredible tests, impossible choices and deadly odds await both girls. But there can only be one winner.

That’s a truly stunning cover, is it not? I’ll be honest, I haven’t heard much about this one, but what I have heard is very promising!

Love in Colour: Mythical Tales from Around the World, Retold by Bolu Babalola
Representation: Characters of Colour, Queer Characters
Published on: 20th August 2020

Discover love from times long ago...

Join Bolu Babalola as she retells the most beautiful love stories from history and mythology in this stunning collection. From the homoromantic Greek myths, to magical Nigerian folktales, to the ancient stories of South Asia, Bolu brings new life to tales that truly show the vibrance and colours of love around the world.

The anthology is a step towards decolonising tropes of love, and celebrates in the wildly beautiful and astonishingly diverse tales of romance and desire that already exist in so many cultures and communities.

Get lost in these mystical worlds and you will soon realise that humanity - like love - comes in technicolour.

I’m really, really excited for this collection. The idea of taking stories around the world for a single book – rather than, say, only retelling Greek or Egyptian stories – is somehow really cool to me. I’ve not read anything from Babalola before, but my hopes are set high!

The Faerie Hounds of York by Arden Powell
Genres: Historical Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: M/M or mlm
Published on: 20th August 2020

England, 1810. The north is governed by a single rule. Faerie will take as it pleases.

William Loxley is cursed. A pale and monstrous creature haunts his dreams, luring him from London to the desolate, grey landscape of his forgotten childhood. There, it will use him to open a door to Faerie—a fate that will trap Loxley in that glittering, heathen otherworld forever.

His only hope of escaping the creature's grasp lies with John Thorncress, a dark and windswept stranger met on the moors. The longer Loxley stays in Thorncress' company, the harder it becomes to fight his attraction to the man. Such attraction can only end in heartbreak—or the noose.

But Thorncress has his own bleak ties to Faerie. They come creeping in with the frost, their howls carrying on the winter wind. If Thorncress' past catches up with him before they can break the curse, then Loxley will not only lose his soul.

He'll lose Thorncress, too.

I believe this is a self-published novel, but that shouldn’t count against it! I love the fae mythology of the British Isles (no surprise, being an Irish/Welsh hybrid myself) and have my fingers crossed that this will be a great take on it!

That’s it! Did I miss any? Will you be reading any of these? Let me know in the comments!


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