Must-Have Monday #157

Posted 9th October 2023 by Sia in Must-Have Mondays / 0 Comments

Must-Have Monday is a feature highlighting which of the coming week’s new releases I’m excited for. It is not meant to be a comprehensive list of all books being published that week; only those I’m interested in out of those I’m aware of! The focus is diverse SFF, but other genres sneak in occasionally too.

TWENTY books this week! That is officially a NEW RECORD, beating out Must-Have Monday #76! WOO!

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

An Inheritance of Magic (Stephen Oakwood, #1) by Benedict Jacka
Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary or Urban Fantasy
PoV: 10th October 2023

The super-rich control everything—including magic—in this thrilling and brilliant, contemporary fantasy from the author of the Alex Verus novels.

The wealthy seem to exist in a different, glittering world from the rest of us. Almost as if by... magic.

Stephen Oakwood is a young man on the edge of this hidden world. He has talent and potential, but turning that potential into magical power takes money, opportunity, and training. All Stephen has is a minimum wage job and a cat. 

But when a chance encounter with a member of House Ashford gets him noticed by the wrong people, Stephen is thrown in the deep end. For centuries, the vast corporations and aristocratic Houses of the magical world have grown impossibly rich and influential by hoarding their knowledge. To survive, Stephen will have to take his talent and build it up into something greater—for only then can he beat them at their own game.

This was out in the UK last week, and now it’s the US’ turn! As I said last time, I love it when fantasy takes on classism, and it sounds like that’s the entire premise of Inheritance of Magic!

Sword Catcher (Sword Catcher, #1) by Cassandra Clare
Genres: Fantasy
Representation: Queernorm world
Published on: 10th October 2023

Two outcasts find themselves at the center of world-altering change in the start of a riveting epic fantasy series from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Shadowhunter Chronicles.

In the vibrant city-state of Castellane, the richest of nobles and the most debauched of criminals have one thing in common: the constant search for wealth, power, and the next hedonistic thrill.

Kel is an orphan, stolen from the life he knew to become the Sword-Catcher—the body-double of a royal heir, Prince Conor Aurelian. He has been raised alongside the prince, trained in every aspect of combat and statecraft. He and Conor are close as brothers, but Kel knows he has one destiny: to die for Conor. No other future is possible.

Lin Caster is one of the Ashkar, a small community who still possess magical abilities. By law, they must live behind walls in the city, but Lin, a physician, ventures out to tend to the sick and dying of Castellane. Despite her skills, she cannot heal her best friend Mariam without access to forbidden knowledge.

After a failed assassination attempt brings Lin and Kel together, they are drawn into the web of the mysterious Ragpicker King, the criminal ruler of Castellane’s underworld. He offers them each what they want most; but as they descend into his world of intrigue and shadow, they discover a conspiracy of corruption that reaches from the darkest gutters of Castellane to the highest tower of its palaces. As long-kept secrets begin to unravel, they must ask themselves: Is knowledge worth the price of betrayal? Can forbidden love bring down a kingdom? And will Lin and Kel’s discoveries plunge their nation into war—and the world into chaos?

I wasn’t terribly interested in Sword Catcher until I started hearing intriguing things about the worldbuilding. Since then I’ve enjoyed the excerpts and snippets I’ve found, so sure, I’ll be giving it a go!

Who Lost, I Found: Stories by Eden Royce
Genres: Fantasy, Horror, Speculative Fiction
Representation: Black MCs
Published on: 10th October 2023

Who Lost, I Found is a collection of stories by Eden Royce.

In these Black Southern speculative fiction tales, the author weaves together several subgenres like a sweetgrass basket: Southern Gothic, weird fiction, dark fantasy, and folk horror. All inspired by her Gullah Geechee heritage and its cautionary stories, and the hoodoo that runs throughout, whether everyone acknowledges it or not.

Includes the Shirley Jackson Award finalist story, “Room and Board Included, Demonology Extra” (from the anthology Cooties Shot Required).

An old woman can wake the dead, for a time, bringing families peace when they’ve been denied justice. An elder on death row chooses her last meal, and it isn’t on the menu. A witch learns the real reason behind her ex-husband’s death and decides to do a little hexing of her own. A girl gets more than she bargained for when she sneaks into a room at a historic property...

These are stories written like the South itself: beautiful, dangerous, haunting. Giving the South its due in speculative fiction for reaching further than many realize and for leaving an indelible stain.

“Eden Royce is among the most vital and vibrant voices working in the horror and fantasy genres today. Now with her latest collection, Who Lost, I Found, she once again delves into the haunted lives of women and girls in ways that are by turns surprising, heartbreaking, horrifying, and utterly empowering. Needless to say, every tale in this table of contents is a knockout. Read this incredible book, and then be sure to recommend it to all your friends.” (Gwendolyn Kiste, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The Rust Maidens, Pretty Marys All in a Row, and Reluctant Immortals)

“In Who Lost, I Found, Eden Royce treats readers to a Southern Gothic literary feast. Prose that sings and stories that pluck on all the right heartstrings. This collection is a beautifully nuanced blend of Gothic horror and folklore, the kind of tales that will linger long after you’ve read the last line.” (Veronica G. Henry, author of Bacchanal, The Quarter Storm, and The Foreign Exchange)

“Endlessly absorbing. A charismatic, ensnaring collection of haunted locales and legacies, with a magic both bloody and wondrous. I couldn’t tear myself away. Royce deftly navigates her sea of stories to enchant your imagination, make your skin crawl, and even break your heart.” (Hailey Piper, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Queen of Teeth)

“In Who Lost, I Found, Eden Royce’s lyrical prose invites readers into the lives of Southern conjure women, haints, sentient houses, Mami Watas, and caterers of the dead. A house gets up and moves inland when it senses a hurricane brewing. A death row inmate makes an unusual request for her last meal from a BBQ joint that offers more than meets the eye. A graverobbing rootworker uses tea magic to bring home the lost bodies of lynching victims. A djinn braids hair and changes lives at a salon. And a weaver guards the veil between worlds. Skirting the lines between the surreal, horror, and fantasy, Who Lost, I Found is a triumph of a collection by a supremely gifted writer that deserves nothing but the highest praise.” (Yvette Lisa Ndlovu, author of Drinking from Graveyard Wells)

I know Royce has written some really great MG books, and I’m more then willing to dive in to a Southern Gothic collection!

The Art of Destiny (The War Arts Saga, #2) by Wesley Chu
Genres: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy
Representation: Chinese-coded cast
Published on: 10th October 2023

A hero once believed to be the chosen one must find a new path with the help of a band of unlikely allies in the sequel to The Art of Prophecy, an epic fantasy ode to martial arts and magic from the #1 New York Times bestselling author Wesley Chu.

Once there was a prophecy that a chosen one would rise to defeat the Eternal Khan, an immortal god-king.

But the prophecy was wrong.

Now Jian, the former chosen hero, is just an ordinary young man trying to find his own way. But he may yet have an extraordinary destiny, because he joins forces with Taishi, his grumpy grandmaster, who instructs him in the ways of her family's powerful war art. Jian still has a long way to go before he can become her heir, so she recruits a band of elderly grandmasters who come out of retirement to whip him into shape and help with this one last job.

And there are others who are also seeking their own destiny, like Qisami, an assassin on a secret mission to protect a powerful noblewoman from her enemies. But as Qisami goes undercover to complete her mission, she takes on a new identity that gives her something she never had before: friendship, found family, and new purpose.
Sali also thought her fate was laid before her. She was supposed to be looking for the next Eternal Khan and now finds her clan exiled from everything she's ever known. As she leads the survivors in search of a new home, Sali discovers that she's something she never thought she could be: a leader and a revolutionary.

Because sometimes destiny is grander than any prophecy can foresee. And the greatest destiny of all is the one you choose for yourself.

The second book in the War Arts saga! No spoilers, because I haven’t actually re and the first book yet, but this is a very good nudge to go and do that!

The Bone Roots by Gabriela Houston
Genres: Fantasy
Published on: 10th October 2023

A tale of two mothers, each desperate to protect her child. But only one of them can succeed. And only one of them knows why.
The Bone Roots is a salvic-folklore inspired fantasy that explores how far a mother will go to protect her child…

It’s been 40 years since the Fox took Kada’s brother. Though she ran and kept herself hidden, she fears it may be stalking her again, this time to steal her daughter.

Every year, Vedma Kada gives thanks to the bone roots – those that belong to the child-bearing tree who gave Kada her desperately-wanted baby, Secha. Kada lives her life in service of the bone roots and the goddess Zemya, but they cannot keep her daughter safe. Not when Secha’s emerging powers, both mysterious and brutish, threaten to out her for who she truly is…

Meanwhile Sladyana, a rich noblewoman, has spent the last fifteen years searching for her missing daughter, Luba. She was snatched from their home by the Fox thief and Sladyana has heard nothing from her since. But the one who gave Sladyana her daughter has come within her grasp once again, and so has the secret of her daughter’s fate.

I have a Thing for stories about parents and their children, but this one might be a bit too sad/scary for me? I’m not sure – I plan on giving it a try, so we’ll see!

Nordic Visions: The Best of Nordic Speculative Fiction by Margrét Helgadóttir, John Ajvide Lindqvist, Maria Haskins, Karin Tidbeck, Hannu Rajaniemi
Published on: 10th October 2023

The first true celebration of contemporary Nordic science fiction, fantasy and horror!
A Unique Speculative Fiction Collection From The Nordic Countries
Storytelling has been a major force in the Nordic countries for thousands of years, renowned for its particular sense of dark humour, featuring pacts with nature and a view of the worlds you seldom find in other places.
Perhaps it is the freezing cold winter? The closeness to the Atlantic Ocean and the Arctic? Maybe it’s the huge ancient forests...
Most have heard about Nordic crime fiction with its dark noir flare or the Icelandic Sagas. This anthology combines all that is unique about Nordic speculative fiction, from the darkest dystopian science fiction to terrifying horror. From the rational to the eccentric, these stories combine a deep sense of place with social criticism, themes of loneliness and the concern for humanity's impact on the wilderness.
Featuring 15 stories from the best contemporary speculative authors from Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, and The Faroe Islands, including John Ajvide Lindqvist, Hannu Rajaniemimany, Tor Åge Bringsværd and more, many of which are appearing in English for the very first time. 

Just as Australian SFF has a distinct flavour, so does the Nordic – I recognise a few of the contributor names here and I’m hoping to find some new favourites among the rest!

Okay I put this next cover under a spoiler tag because it is HORRIFYING and I don’t want to look at it. Reveal it at your own peril!

View Spoiler » Brainwyrms by Alison Rumfitt
Genres: Horror, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Queer cast
Published on: 10th October 2023

From Alison Rumfitt, the author of Tell Me I’m Worthless — “a triumph of transgressive queer horror” (Publishers Weekly) — comes Brainwyrms, a searing body horror novel of obsession, violence, and pleasure.

When a transphobic woman bombs Frankie’s workplace, she blows up Frankie’s life with it. As the media descends like vultures, Frankie tries to cope with the carnage: binge-drinking, sleeping with strangers, pushing away her friends. Then, she meets Vanya. Mysterious, beautiful, terrifying Vanya.

The two hit it off immediately, but as their relationship intensifies, so too does Frankie’s feeling that Vanya is hiding something from her. When Vanya’s secrets threaten to tear them apart, Frankie starts digging, and unearths a sinister, depraved conspiracy, the roots of which go deeper than she ever imagined.

Shocking, grotesque, and downright filthy, Brainwyrms confronts the creeping reality of political terrorism while exploring the depths of love, pain, and identity.
“Filthy, searing, and hideously intimate – a modern classic.” —Gretchen Felker-Martin, author of Manhunt

I adored Rumfitt’s debut, Tell Me I’m Worthless – but it was proper horror, and everything (including that cover!!!) is telling me that Brainwyrms is going to be even worse (better? Horror that is more horrifying probably makes it better horror???) I honestly don’t know if I’ll be able to read it (I’m a horror wimp, remember) but damn it, I want to try!

Wolf of Withervale by Joaquín Baldwin
Genres: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Queer MC/s
Published on: 10th October 2023

An ambitious, sweeping saga—as epic as it is queer.

Lago was only a child when the shapeshifter entrusted the wolf-like mask to his care—an artifact so powerful that it could come to shape the entire world of Noss.

Now that he is coming of age, Lago is becoming ever more fearful of the ominous relic’s influence, of the empire who has scented its trail and is coming after it. Coming after him.

Aided by his best friend, an enigmatic scout, and his trusty dog, Lago seeks refuge in the vastness of the Heartpine Dome. The eighty-mile-wide structure had remained sealed for centuries, safeguarding more than mere secrets. Now that the dome’s entrails are stirring, the mysteries of the long-vanished Miscam tribes are coming to light, and the shapeshifting animal spirits are making their return.

Powers untold hide behind the blinkless eyeholes of the canid mask, powers that could tip the balance in the war. Lago is barely beginning to learn how to wield the dark visage, but he can already feel its potential.

… And he can feel a different change coming, deep in his marrow.

Riveting in scope and worldbuilding, and exquisitely illustrated by the author, this tale of transformation and self-discovery is filled with unabashed wonder and a lust for places unknown. A profoundly queer adventure that explores sexuality, our connections to other species, unconventional kinds of love, and the very nature of consciousness.

Wolf of Withervale is the first installment of the Noss Saga, an epic LGBTQ+ fantasy series.

‘As epic as it is queer’? Sir, you have my attention! I joined the author’s newsletter to get access to the first three chapters, and they didn’t make me starry-eyed, but I’m very interested in some of the worldbuilding – enough to want to read more than those first three chapters. And, you know, I really want to see how queer Baldwin can make this.

The Cozy Cosmic by Mark Teppo, John Shirley, Kevin Wetmore, Andrew S. Fuller, Paul Jesus, Jonathan Wood, Jessie Kwak, Eric Shanower, Frances Lu-Pai Ippolitto
Genres: Fantasy, Horror
Published on: 10th October 2023

Some argue existence is an exercise in futility. They claim there are no winners in life. Ultimately, we are insignificant in the face of vast cosmic intelligences that were old when the Universe began.

The best minds gibber at the incomprehensibility of it all. Other minds lose themselves in strange geometries because they can't comprehend any alternative.

Whatever. The rest of us have to get up in the morning, feed the cat, and go to work.

The Cozy Cosmic contains 33 stories of the horrors hidden within the micro-aggressions, the horrors trapped beneath the floorboards, and the horrors waiting patiently on the windowsill. This is the horror that forgets to turn off the light at night. This is the horror of waiting for the tea to boil, knowing full well who you just buried-for the second time-in the yard less than a hour ago. This is the horror of knowing where the dark wool comes from, but you wear the sweater anyway because it was a gift—an expression of love—and, well, being alone is worse than the horror of the unknowable, isn't it?

The full table of contents for The Cozy Cosmic is as follows:
John Shirley “Death, in Two”
Tais Teng “On Hearing the First Shoggoth in Spring”
Tyler Battaglia “What the Sea Provides”
Ellis Bray “My Grandmother's Sacristy”
E. E. Marshall “Right and Bright”
Devan Barlow “Dinner, Overlooking the Sea”
Scotty Milder “A Little God in Their Hands”
Maxwell I. Gold “Great Cosmic Itch”
Remy Nakamura “Wet Dreams in R'lyeh”
Andrew S. Fuller “A Perfectly Fine Hobby”
Kiera Lesley “Obsolescent”
Kurt Newton “A Mournful Melancholia of Things Forever Lost”
J. B. Kish “Lo-Fi Chocolate Cake”
Rajiv Moté “Carrisa and Kevin Gaze into the Abyss”
Daniel David Froid “In Another Distant Land, in a Luminescent Land”
Kate Ristau “Shine”
Erik Grove “Fuzzy Fuzzy Kitty Kitties”
William J. Connell “Poe's Guys Respond to Their Significant Others”
Paul Jessup “The Museum of Endless Summer”
Ngo Binh Anh Khoa “Through Life and Death, Forevermore”
Jonathan Wood “Javapocalypse”
L. E. Daniels “Final Cycle”
Ken Hueler “The Unknowable Ones”
Tania Chen “A Study of Metamorphosis Calamity”
Eric Shanower “The Purple Emperor”
Kevin Wetmore “A Child's Christmas in Innsmouth”
Megan Lee Beals “Splinterbone”
Corinne Hughes “The Sheep Rancher's Husband”
Shanna Germain “A Napkin Upon Your Glass”
Simone Cooper “Gnocchi”Jessie Kwak “Blood and Glitter”
Cody T Luff “Den Mother”
R. Ostermeier “The Dark Young”

Cosy cosmic horror?! What??? I absolutely NEED to know what that means, I am equal parts confused and fascinated!

Everything Under the Moon: Fairy tales in a queerer light by Michael Earp (ed), Alison Evans, Helena Fox, Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner, Will Kostakis, Jes Layton, Gary Lonesborough, Amber McBride, Abdi Nazemian, Maggie Tokuda-Hall, Alexandra Villasante, Lili Wilkinson
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Queer MCs
Published on: 10th October 2023

Everything Under the Moon: Fairy tales in a queerer light

Think you know fairy tales?

Think again.

Some damsels don't want to be rescued. Some curses don't need to be broken. And some of the best happy ever afters won't be found in storybooks.

These twelve fairy tales have been spun through a queered lens to reflect our world in stories as old as time. From the furthest reaches of space and the darkest depths of the forest to the street just around the corner, this anthology will excite, challenge and move you.

Featuring stories from some of the biggest names in young adult fiction, Everything Under The Moon is an illuminating celebration of queer love and identity.

Lushly illustrated by up-and-coming talent Kit Fox, this collection includes stories by Michael Earp, Alison Evans, Helena Fox, Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner, Will Kostakis, Jes Layton, Gary Lonesborough, Amber McBride, Abdi Nazemian, Maggie Tokuda-Hall, Alexandra Villasante and Lili Wilkinson.

Edited by Michael Earp, Everything Under the Moon is a spellbinding anthology that spins twelve fairy tales as old as time through a queer lens for an illuminating celebration of love, identity and the LGBTQIA+ community.

The day I turn down a collection of queer fairytales is the day you know I’ve been replaced by the body-snatchers, okay? Okay!

Brooms by Jasmine Walls, Teo Duvall, Bex Glendining, Ariana Maher
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Trans Chinese-American MC, Choctaw MC, Black MC, sapphic MC
Published on: 10th October 2023

It’s 1930s Mississippi. Magic is permitted only in certain circumstances, and by certain people. Unsanctioned broom racing is banned. But for those who need the money, or the's there to be found.

Meet Billie Mae, captain of the Night Storms racing team, and Loretta, her best friend and second-in-command. They’re determined to make enough money to move out west to a state that allows Black folks to legally use magic and take part in national races.

Cheng-Kwan – doing her best to handle the delicate and dangerous double act of being the perfect “son” to her parents, and being true to herself while racing.

Mattie and Emma -- Choctaw and Black -- the youngest of the group and trying to dodge government officials who want to send them and their newly-surfaced powers away to boarding school.

And Luella, in love with Billie Mae. Her powers were sealed away years ago after she fought back against the government. She’ll do anything to prevent the same fate for her cousins.

Brooms is a queer, witchy Fast and the Furious that shines light on history not often told – it’s everything you’d ever want to read in a graphic novel.

I don’t often feature comics or graphic novels here on the blog – not because I think they don’t count as books or anything; I just don’t read a lot of them. But everything about Brooms is just FLAWLESS; an absolute must-have for sure! I’ve seen praise for every aspect of the book, from characters to worldbuilding, and I cannot WAIT to get my hands on a copy!

The Prince and the Coyote by David Bowles, Amanda Mijangos
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Pre-Columbian Mexican cast & setting, queer rep, nonbinary rep
Published on: 10 October 2023

1418 – Pre-Columbian Mexico

Fifteen-year old crown prince Acolmiztli wants nothing more than to see his city-state of Tetzcoco thrive. A singer, poet, and burgeoning philosophical mind, he has big plans about infrastructure projects and cultural initiatives that will bring honor to his family and help his people flourish. But the two sides of his family, the kingdoms of Mexico and Acolhuacan, have been at war his entire life – after his father risked the wrath of the Tepanec emperor to win his mother's love.

When a power struggle leaves his father dead and his mother and siblings in exile, Acolmiztli must run for his life, seeking refuge in the wilderness. After a coyote helps him find his way in the wild, he takes on a new name – Nezahualcoyotl, or "fasting coyote" ("Neza" for short).
Biding his time until he can form new alliances and reconnect with his family, Neza goes undercover, and falls in love with a commoner girl, Sekalli. Can Neza survive his plotting uncles' scheme to wipe out his line for good? Will the empire he dreams of in Tetzcoco ever come to life? And is he willing to risk the lives of those he loves in the process?

This action-packed tale blends prose and poetry – including translations of surviving poems by Nezahualcoytl himself, translated from classical Nahuatl by the author. And the book is packed with queer rep – queer love stories, and a thoughtful of pre-Columbian understandings of gender that defy the contemporary Western gender binary.

From Pura Belpré honoree David Bowles comes a young adult epic about one of the greatest minds of the Americas (honored to this day on Mexico's 100-peso bill).

I’ve been looking forward to The Prince and the Coyote for ages, and I’ve heard such amazing things about it. I’m so excited to finally be able to pounce on it tomorrow!

How to Get Over the End of the World by Hal Schrieve
Representation: Gay trans MC, trans love interest, queer secondary cast
Published on: 10th October 2023

Boldly weird, cool, and confident, this YA novel of LGBTQ+ teen artists, activists, and telepathic visionaries offers hope against climate and community destruction. From the National Book Award–longlisted author of Out of Salem.

James Goldman, self-described neurotic goth gay transsexual stoner, is a senior in high school, and fully over it. He mostly ignores his classes at Cow Pie High, instead focusing on fundraising for the near-bankrupt local LGBTQ+ youth support group, Compton House, and attending punk shows with his friend-crush Ian and best friend Opal. But when James falls in love with Orsino, a homeschooled trans boy with telepathic powers and visions of the future, he wonders if the scope of what he believes possible is too small. Orsino, meanwhile, hopes that in James he has finally found someone who will be able to share the apocalyptic visions he has had to keep to himself, and better understand the powers they hold.

How to Get Over the End of the World confirms Hal Schrieve as a unique and to-be-celebrated voice in LGBTQ+ YA fiction with this multi-voiced story about flawed people trying their hardest to make a better world, about the beauty and craziness of hope, about too-big dreams and reality checks, and about the ways in which human messiness—egos, jealousy, insecurity—and good faith can coexist. It also about preserving the ties within a chosen family—and maybe saving the world—through love, art, and acts of resistance.

How To Get Over the End of the World looks very different from Out of Salem – Schrieve’s incredible debut, which made my Best SFF of the Decade list – but still very, very awesome: queerness everywhere, punks, telepaths, and even aliens, according to Schrieve’s website (which also mentions a rock opera fundraiser gala??? Um, YES PLEASE!) And given my experience with Out of Salem, I’m willing to bet it’ll all end up being even weirder – and more wonderful – than it already sounds!

Being Ace: An Anthology of Queer, Trans, Femme, and Disabled Stories of Asexual Love and Connection by Madeline Dyer, Linsey Miller, Rosiee Thor, Moniza Hossain, Akemi Dawn Bowman, Emily Victoria, Sam Taylor, Ayida Shonibar, RoAnna Sylver, Kat Yuen, K. Hart, Jas Brown, Zaquira C., Sarah Anderson, Lara Ameen, Yasmin Benoit
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists, Sci Fi
Representation: Asexual-spectrum MCs
Published on: 10th October 2023

Discover the infinite realms of asexual love across sci-fi, fantasy, and contemporary stories

From a wheelchair user racing to save her kidnapped girlfriend and a little mermaid who loves her sisters more than suitors, to a slayer whose virgin blood keeps attracting monsters, the stories of this anthology are anything but conventional. Whether adventuring through space, outsmarting a vengeful water spirit, or surviving haunted cemeteries, no two aces are the same in these 14 unique works that highlight asexual romance, aromantic love, and identities across the asexual spectrum.

I’m much more comfortable with my autism than my asexuality, so I figure it can only do me good to read an ace-positivity anthology. (At least, that’s how I interpret the blurb.) And I’m just happy more and more books like this EXIST.

Wrath Becomes Her by Aden Polydoros
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy
Representation: Jewish MC
Published on: 10th October 2023

Frankenstein meets Inglourious Basterds in this stunning Jewish historical horror novel from the award-winning author of The City Beautiful

Vera was made for vengeance.

Lithuania, 1943. A father drowns in the all-consuming grief of a daughter killed by the Nazis. He can’t bring Chaya back from the dead, but he can use kishuf — an ancient and profane magic — to create a golem in her image. A Nazi killer, to avenge her death.

When Vera awakens, she can feel her violent purpose thrumming within her. But she can also feel glimpses of a human life lived, of stolen kisses amidst the tragedy, and of a grisly death. And when she meets Akiva, she recognizes the boy with soft lips that gave warm kisses. But these memories aren’t hers, and Vera doesn’t know if she gets—or deserves —to have a life beyond what she was made for.

Vera’s strength feels limitless—until she learns that there are others who would channel kishuf for means far less noble than avenging a daughter’s death. As she confronts the very basest of humanity, Vera will need more than what her creator gave Not just a reason to fight, but a reason to live.  

Polydoros has written some great YA fantasy, and I expect this is going to be fantastic. Monster-girls taking on the Nazis? Oh HELL yes!!!

Sancta Sanctorum by Gilbert Gallo, Giulia De Gasperi
Genres: Fantasy
Published on: 10th October 2023

Teenaged Sabino is rebellious, full of life, and fond of rap music— all normal traits in a word that's far from normal. In Italy’ s cities, reawakened Saints of the Christian tradition roam as superheroes in the fight against evil. The pontiff, a mysterious young man at the head of a new religion, brought them back to life. Under his guidance, the Saints freed the world from the threat of Luciferals, diabolical and bloodthirsty creatures. But the pontiff may have ulterior motives— something Sabino only discovers by being on the wrong side of the new church's operatives. When Sabino finds a holy relic, he's arrested and condemned, only to be rescued by the Martyrs, superpowered members of a secret society fighting to save humanity from something worse than the Luciferals. The apocalypse may be coming, and Sabino is now right in the middle of the fight to save the world.

I can’t find any mentions of an ebook edition for this one, so I may not be able to read it myself, but it sounds far too interesting not to include! This has been translated from its original Italian, and I cannot get enough of that mindblowingly gorgeous cover!

Bittersweet in the Hollow (Bittersweet in the Hollow, #1) by Kate Pearsall
Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary or Urban Fantasy
Published on: 10th October 2023

In this beautifully dark and enthralling YA, four sisters with unusual talents investigate a mysterious disappearance in their secluded Appalachian town. For fans of House of Hollow and Wilder Girls!

In rural Caball Hollow, surrounded by the vast National Forest, the James women serve up more than fried green tomatoes at the Harvest Moon diner, where the family recipes are not the only secrets.

Like her sisters, Linden was born with an unusual ability. She can taste what others are feeling, but this so-called gift soured her relationship with the vexingly attractive Cole Spencer one fateful night a year ago . . . A night when Linden vanished into the depths of the Forest and returned with no memories of what happened, just a litany of questions--and a haze of nightmares that suggest there's more to her story than simply getting lost.

Now, during the hottest summer on record, another girl in town is gone, and the similarities to last year's events are striking. Except, this time the missing girl doesn't make it home, and when her body is discovered, the scene unmistakably spells murder.
As tempers boil over, Linden enlists the help of her sisters to find what's hiding in the forest . . . before it finds her. But as she starts digging for truth--about the Moth-Winged Man rumored to haunt the Hollow, about her bitter rift with Cole, and even about her family--she must question if some secrets are best left buried.

I’ll be honest, as much as I love witches, what I’m really here for with this one is the Moth-Winged Man. MORE MOTHMAN STORIES PLEASE AND THANK YOU.

A Fire Born of Exile by Aliette de Bodard
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Sci Fi
Representation: Vietnamese-coded cast, sapphic MCs
Published on: 12th October 2023

The Scattered Pearls Belt is a string of habitats under tight military rule . . . where the powerful have become all too comfortable in their positions, and their corruption. But change is coming, with the arrival of Quynh: the mysterious and enigmatic Alchemist of Streams and Hills.

To Minh, daughter of the ruling prefect of the Belt, Quynh represents a chance for escape. To Hot, a destitute engineer, Quynh has a mysterious link to her own past . . . and holds a deeper, more sensual appeal. But Quynh has her own secret history, and a plan for the ruling class of the Belt. A plan that will tear open old wounds, shake the heavens, and may well consume her.

A beautiful exploration of the power of love, of revenge, and of the wounds of the past, this fast-paced, heart-warming space opera is set against a backdrop of corruption, power and political scheming in the far reaches of the award-winning Xuya universe.

Bodard’s imagination never fails to astound, and I’m sure the latest book in her Xuya Universe will continue the trend! It’s a standalone – you don’t have to have read the other book set in this universe, The Red Scholar’s Wake, to enjoy this one – and though I’ve featured the UK cover here, it’s out in the UK and US this week! That doesn’t always happen, so – yay!

Twelve Bones by Rosie Talbot
Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary or Urban Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Disabled queer MC, M/M
Published on: 12th October 2023

Prepare for more spooky, swoony YA from BookTok star @Merrowchild! Charlie Frith and his new love, Sam, have just saved the dead from the living! Now it's time to focus on being a normal couple - if such a thing exists?

But when a new threat lurks in the shadows, this time to the living, and all who Charlie and Sam hold near, they must put everything on the line - including their lives - to work out who is behind it. And even then, it may not be enough!

Perfect for fans of Cemetery Boys, Becky Albertalli and V E Schwab Sixteen Souls was an instant YA bestseller and this is the second book in the series Dubbed by Book Tok as "Heartstopper with Ghosts"  
Praise for Sixteen Souls:
"Delivers fun and frights in equal measure. A fantastically spooky, thrilling adventure!" - Kat Ellis, author of Wicked Little Deeds
"Flawless twists, this book immediately pulled me in." - H.M Long, author of Hall of Smoke

"A captivating take of loss, friendship and love that had me gripped from first to last." - Menna van Praag, author of The Sisters Grimm

"Absolutely gripped." - Amy McCaw, author of Mina and the Undead

"The writing is rich; the characters sharply drawn." - K.D Edwards, author of The Tarot Sequence Series

"Sixteen Souls is a boundlessly clever, heartfelt queer take on the story of a sensitive young man who sees dead people. Talbot has crafted something chillingly delightful! Perfect for any ghoul-lover's shelf!" - Adam Sass, author of Surrender Your Sons and The 99 Boyfriends of Micah Summers

"Deliciously dark" - Cynthia Murphy, author of Last One to Die, Win Lose Kill Die and The Midnight Game

"A delectable mystery" - Dawn Kurtagich, author of The Dead House

"An outstanding debut" - Bex Hogan, author of Isles of Storm and Sorrow series

Twelve Bones is the sequel to Talbot’s Sixteen Souls, which was released last year – and if you’re new to this series, Halloween-season is the perfect time to dive in!

Creepy Court: A Monster Mall Anthology by Evangeline Priest, Beatrix Hollow, Clio Evans, Ashley Bennett, Sabrina Day, Y.D. La Mar, Vera Valentine, C. Rochelle, Latrexa Nova
Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary or Urban Fantasy
Published on: 13th October 2023

Bright neon lights are humming. Tunes are cranked to the max. And everyone from preppies to punk rockers are chilling out at the Creepy Court Mall—the happening place in town. But behind the glam, things are stranger than they seem. Gnarly monsters hide in plain sight, and they’re on the prowl for their perfect mate. So mallrats, tease out those bangs and tight roll those jeans, and bounce to the mall today.

Featuring creepy tales of horrifying love Clio Evans Beatrix Hollow Vera Valentine Latrexa Nova Sabrina Day SJ Sanders Evangeline Priest Maeve Black C. Rochelle Wren K. Morris Elle M. Drew YD La Mar Ashley Bennett Lily Mayne

Not gonna lie, it’s entirely the cover that sold me on this one. So many pretty colours! I think this is a collection of paranormal romance stories, which is usually not my thing at all…but for that aesthetic, I’ll totally give it a go!

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


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