Must-Have Monday #165

Posted 4th December 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.

SEVEN books this week!

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

All the Hidden Paths (The Tithenai Chronicles, #2) by Foz Meadows
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Brown achillean MCs, M/M, major mute character, brown queernorm culture, multiple minor nonbinary characters
Published on: 5th December 2023

The follow-up to Foz Meadows's A Strange and Stubborn Endurance , a sultry political & romantic fantasy exploring gender, sexuality, identity, and self-worth.

With the plot against them foiled and the city of Qi-Katai in safe hands, Velasin and Caethari have begun to test the waters of their relationship. But the wider political ramifications of their marriage are still playing out across two nations, and all too soon, they’re summoned north to Tithena’s capital city, Qi-Xihan, to present themselves to its monarch.

With Caethari newly invested as his grandmother’s heir and Velasin’s old ghosts gnawing at his heels, what little peace they’ve managed to find is swiftly put to the test. Cae’s recent losses have left him racked with grief and guilt, while Vel struggles with the disconnect between instincts that have kept him safe in secrecy and what an open life requires of him now.

Pursued by unknown assailants and with Qi-Xihan’s court factions jockeying for power, Vel and Cae must use all the skills at their disposal to not only survive, but thrive – because there’s more than one way to end an alliance, and more than one person who wants to see them fail.

The sequel to last year’s A Strange and Stubborn Endurance and officially one of my favourite books of the year, All the Hidden Paths is a gorgeous book full of intrigue and Feels, with that magic x factor that just makes you happy. I loved it so much I read the arc twice, and I plan on reading the fininished version too!

My review!

Paladin's Faith (The Saint of Steel, #4) by T. Kingfisher
Genres: Fantasy
Published on: 5th December 2023

Marguerite Florian is a spy with two problems. A former employer wants her dead, and one of her new bodyguards is a far too good-looking paladin with a martyr complex.

Shane is a paladin with three problems. His god is dead, his client is much too attractive for his peace of mind, and a powerful organization is trying to have them both killed.

Add in a brilliant artificer with a device that may change the world, a glittering and dangerous court, and a demon-led cult, and Shane and Marguerite will be lucky to escape with their souls intact, never mind their hearts. . .

WHO HAS NOT BEEN WAITING FOR A NEW WORLD OF THE WHITE RAT BOOK??? Especially after how Paladin’s Hope ended!!! I cannot WAIT to dive into this one!!!

Yours for the Taking by Gabrielle Korn
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Sci Fi
Representation: Sapphic MC, F/F
Published on: 5th December 2023

The year is 2050. Ava and her girlfriend live in what's left of Brooklyn, and though they love each other, it's hard to find happiness while the effects of climate change rapidly eclipse their world. Soon, it won't be safe outside at all. The only people guaranteed survival are the ones whose applications are accepted to The Inside Project, a series of weather-safe, city-sized structures around the world.

Jacqueline Millender is a reclusive billionaire/women’s rights advocate, and thanks to a generous donation, she’s just become the director of the Inside being built on the bones of Manhattan. Her ideas are unorthodox, yet alluring—she's built a whole brand around rethinking the very concept of empowerment.

Shelby, a business major from a working-class family, is drawn to Jacqueline’s promises of power and impact. When she lands her dream job as Jacqueline’s personal assistant, she's instantly swept up into the glamourous world of corporatized feminism.

Also drawn into Jacqueline's orbit is Olympia, who is finishing up medical school when Jacqueline recruits her to run the health department Inside. The more Olympia learns about the project, though, the more she realizes there's something much larger at play.

As Ava, Olympia, and Shelby start to notice the cracks in Jacqueline's system, Jacqueline tightens her grip, becoming increasingly unhinged and dangerous in what she is willing to do—and who she is willing to sacrifice—to keep her dream alive.

At once a mesmerizing story of queer love, betrayal, and chosen family, and an unflinching indictment of cis, corporate feminism, Yours for the Taking holds a mirror to our own world, in all its beauty and horror.

This is likely to be the wrong kind of stressful to me, so I’ll probably skip it, but it seemed worth including for other readers!

A River of Golden Bones (The Golden Court, #1) by A.K. Mulford
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Sapphic nonbinary MC
Published on: 5th December 2023

From bestselling author and TikTok sensation A.K. Mulford comes the first riveting, enchanting book in the all-new Golden Court romantasy trilogy—A River of Golden Bones begins a journey of self-discovery, romance, and adventure for a young heir as she/they comes out of hiding to save her sister from a malicious, powerful sorceress and her dangerous sleeping curse.

A sleeping curse. A fallen court. A secret twin.

Twins Calla and Briar have spent their entire lives hiding from the powerful sorceress who destroyed their kingdom…and from the humans who don’t know they are Wolves. Each twin has their own purpose in life: Briar’s is to marry the prince of an ally pack and save the Golden Court. Calla’s purpose is to remain a secret, her twin’s shadow . . . the backup plan.

No one knows who Calla truly is except for her childhood friend—and sister’s betrothed—the distractingly handsome Prince Grae. But when Calla and Briar journey out of hiding for Briar’s wedding, all of their well-made plans go awry. The evil sorceress is back with another sleeping curse for the last heir to the Golden Court.

Calla must step out of the shadows to save their sister, their kingdom, and their own legacy. Continuing to hide as a human and denying who she truly is, Calla embarks on a quest across the realm, discovering a whole world she never knew existed. Outside the confines of rigid Wolf society, Calla begins to wonder: who could she be if she dared to try?

Full of adventure, love, gender exploration, and self-discovery, A River of Golden Bones follows Calla’s journey through treacherous Wolf kingdoms, monster-filled realms, and the depths of their own heart in this thrilling romantic fantasy.

This is another that probably isn’t for me, but I’m kind of delighted to see a trad-pubbed romantasy with a trans/nonbinary MC!

Him by Geoff Ryman
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Sci Fi
Representation: Nonbinary or trans MC
Published on: 5th December 2023

“Women, of course, can not be sons of God.”

In the village of Nazareth, virgin Maryam and the wife of Yosef barLevi gives birth to a miracle: a little girl. She is named Avigayil, after her grandmother. But as Avigayil grows, it’s clear she believes that she is destined to be someone greater than just the daughter of Maryam. From fighting with the village boys to challenging the priests in the temple, Avigayil is determined to find her way. And then comes the day when Avigayil declares that not only is she a boy, but she is also the Son of God. A gripping, thoughtful sci-fi novel, tackling family, the multiverse and the survival of love through immense change and crisis.

This sounds extremely up my alley, but from the glimpse I took of the arc (I refused to read the whole thing because of formatting issues) the writing is quite dry… I’m willing to give the finished version a shot, though.

Dazzling by Chịkọdịlị Emelụmadụ
Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary or Urban Fantasy
Representation: Nigerian cast & setting
Published on: 5th December 2023

The Girl with the Louding Voice meets The Water Dancer in Chịkọdịlị Emelụmadụ’s magical, award-winning literary debut, Dazzling, offering a new take on West African mythology.

Treasure and her mother lost everything when Treasure’s father died. Haggling for scraps in the market, Treasure meets a man who promises to change their fortunes, but his feet are hovering just a few inches above the ground. He’s a spirit, and he promises to bring Treasure’s beloved father back to life if she’ll do one terrible thing for him first.

Ozoemena has an itch in the middle of her back. It’s an itch that speaks to her patrilineal destiny, an honor never before bestowed upon a girl, to defend the land and protect its people by becoming a Leopard. Her father impressed upon her what an honor this was before he vanished, but it’s one she couldn’t want less—she has enough to worry about as she tries to fit in at a new boarding school.

But as the two girls reckon with their burgeoning wildness and the legacy of their missing fathers, Ozoemena’s fellow students start to vanish. Treasure’s obligations to the spirit escalate, and Ozoemena’s duty of protection as a Leopard grows. Soon the girls’ destinies and choices alike set them on a dangerous collision course. Ultimately, they must ask themselves: in a world that always says no to women, what must two young girls sacrifice to get what is theirs?

This was out in the UK earlier this year, and now it’s time for its US release! I know it plays with the mythology of the Leopard Men – leopard shapeshifters in West Africa – and I suspect it does a bunch of other great stuff too.

A Death at the Dionysus Club (Julian Lynes and Ned Mathey, #2) by Melissa Scott, Amy Griswold
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: M/M
Published on: 7th December 2023

Secrets, Magic and Murder…The gentleman’s clubs of Scott and Griswold’s Gaslamp fantastical London are full of secrets and the ones that Julian Lynes and Ned Mathey and their circles are even hidden than most. Beneath their respectable, or less respectable, façades, they are a haven…or a torment for men who desire each other’s company. Now someone is leaving a trail of murder victims, each one found without a heart. Each one somehow connected to Lynes, Mathey, their friends, their enemies and the communities that they belong to. Finding the murderer could reveal everything, leading to certain ruin for some, and the loss of all they hold dear for Julian and Ned. How far will they go to solve the mystery and stop a killer?

The second book in the Julian Lynes and Ned Mathey series! I loved these books, and I’m so glad they’re being republished by Queen of Swords. I hope this raises the chance of us getting more books with these characters!

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


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