Must-Have Monday #17!

Posted 31st August 2020 by Sia in Must-Have Mondays / 0 Comments

August was a blast, but September promises to be a DELUGE of incredible new releases! Somehow I doubt I’m going to be the only reader craving a time-turner before the month is over!

This week is packed full of so many flavours of queerness. I’m so excited!

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
Genres: Queer Protagonists
Representation: Cast of Colour, Trans latinx MC, M/M or mlm
Published on: 1st September 2020

Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.

When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.

However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie up some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.

Cemetery Boys is one of the most anticipated books of the year – by the general reading community at large, and by me too! I’ve been dying to read this since I heard about its publishing deal years ago: I can’t believe it’s really coming out tomorrow!!!

A Killing Frost (October Daye, #14) by Seanan McGuire
Representation: variety of queer secondary characters
Published on: 1st September 2020

When October is informed that Simon Torquill—legally her father, due to Faerie's archaic marriage traditions—must be invited to her wedding or risk the ceremony throwing the Kingdom in the Mists into political turmoil, she finds herself setting out on a quest she was not yet prepared to undertake for the sake of her future.... and the man who represents her family's past.

A Killing Frost is the 14th book in the (incredible!) October Daye series, so it kind of goes without saying that this is not the place to start reading if you’re new to the books! If you’re a fan, though, I don’t need to tell you why you ought to be excited – unless you haven’t read the last few books; in which case, hurry up and catch up!

Beneath the Moon: Fairytales, Myths, and Divine Stories from Around the World by Yoshi Yoshitani
Representation: PoC
Published on: 1st September 2020

Powerful and universal retellings of seventy-eight divine stories, legends, and myths from around the world, each accompanied by a gorgeous illustration from acclaimed artist Yoshi Yoshitani.

Many of the lessons we learn are shared stories passed among cultures and generations. In this riveting collection of fables and folktales from cultures across the globe, characters from beloved fairytales, cultural fables, ancient mythologies, and inspirational deities are brought to life, including Sleeping Beauty (Italy), Rapunzel (Germany), Jack and the Beanstalk (England), Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mexico), Sun God Ra (Egypt), the Crane Wife (Japan), and dozens more.

Lesser-known stories introduce characters such as the volcano goddess Pele from Hawaii; Mwindo, the wise and powerful king of the Nyanga people; and the strong and resilient Yennenga, mother of the Mossi people in Burkina Faso. The recurring themes of conquering evil, overcoming adversity, and finding love and companionship are woven throughout this collection.

Yoshi Yoshitani's art style is fresh and unique, featuring diverse and multicultural characters. Each story will be featured opposite a correlating illustration, both lush and vibrant.

Beneath the Moon is more than a little unique – although it stands alone as a beautiful artbook chronicling myths and fairy tales from all over the world, it also serves as an in-depth guidebook to Yoshitani’s tarot deck: the cards all feature a fairy tale figure or myth, and to understand the full meaning of Yoshitani’s choices, you’re going to need Beneath the Moon. But if you have no interest in tarot, fear not; you can just enjoy the incredible artwork and the stories within!

And if you are into tarot, you really need Yoshitani’s incredible deck Tarot of the Divine – which you can nab from the creator right here!

The Four Profound Weaves by R.B. Lemberg
Genres: Secondary World Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Trans cast
Published on: 1st September 2020

“Thoughtful and deeply moving, The Four Profound Weaves is the anti-authoritarian, queer-mystical fairy tale we need right now.”-Annalee Newitz, author of The Future of Another Timeline

[STARRED REVIEW] “A beautiful, heartfelt story of change, family, identity, and courage.”-Library Journal

Wind: To match one's body with one's heart
Sand: To take the bearer where they wish
Song: In praise of the goddess Bird
Bone: To move unheard in the night

The Surun' do not speak of the master weaver, Benesret, who creates the cloth of bone for assassins in the Great Burri Desert. But Uiziya now seeks her aunt Benesret in order to learn the final weave, although the price for knowledge may be far too dear to pay.

Among the Khana, women travel in caravans to trade, while men remain in the inner quarter as scholars. A nameless man struggles to embody Khana masculinity, after many years of performing the life of a woman, trader, wife, and grandmother.

As the past catches up to the nameless man, he must choose between the life he dreamed of and Uiziya, and Uiziya must discover how to challenge a tyrant, and weave from deaths that matter.

Set in R. B. Lemberg's beloved Birdverse, The Four Profound Weaves hearkens to Ursula Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness. In this breathtaking debut, Lemberg offers a timeless chronicle of claiming one's identity in a hostile world.

This is the first novella in Lemberg’s Birdverse series (check out the Goodreads page for the full series here) and it sounds absolutely beautiful. I’ve heard nothing but praise for this series, and for this book in particular. It’s another I’ve been looking forward to all year!

The Lost Book of the White (The Eldest Curses, #2) by Cassandra Clare, Wesley Chu
Genres: Queer Protagonists
Representation: PoC Bi MC, Gay MC, mlm or M/M
Published on: 1st September 2020

From #1 New York Times bestselling authors Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu comes the second book in the Eldest Curses series and a thrilling new adventure for High Warlock Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood, for whom a death-defying mission into the heart of evil is not just a job, it’s also a romantic getaway. The Lost Book of the White is a Shadowhunters novel.

Life is good for Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood. They’re living together in a fabulous loft, their warlock son, Max, has started learning to walk, and the streets of New York are peaceful and quiet—as peaceful and quiet as they ever are, anyway.

Until the night that two old acquaintances break into Magnus’s apartment and steal the powerful Book of the White. Now Magnus and Alec will have to drop everything to get it back. They need to follow the thieves to Shanghai, they need to call some backup to accompany them, and they need a babysitter.

Also, someone has stabbed Magnus with a strange magical weapon and the wound is glowing, so they have that to worry about too.

Fortunately, their backup consists of Clary, Jace, Isabelle, and newly minted Shadowhunter Simon. In Shanghai, they learn that a much darker threat awaits them. Magnus’s magic is growing unstable, and if they can’t stop the demons flooding into the city, they might have to follow them all the way back to the source—to the very realm of the dead. Can they stop the threat to the world? Will they make it back home before their kid completely wears out Alec’s mom?

I’m less of a Shadowhunters fan than I used to be – I haven’t read the last two books, although they’re both waiting on my Kindle – but I still think Clare and Chu are doing something important putting a character like Magnus Bane – a biracial, bisexual warlock – front and center in a major franchise. I believe Lost Book of the White takes place either just before or during the Dark Artifices trilogy, since the blurb makes no mention of Rafael, only Max.

Tl;dr – It’s definitely going on my tbr, but I’m not sure when I’ll get to it.

Road Out of Winter by Alison Stine
Genres: Sci Fi, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Queer MC
Published on: 1st September 2020

In an endless winter, she carries seeds of hope

Wylodine comes from a world of paranoia and poverty—her family grows marijuana illegally, and life has always been a battle. Now she’s been left behind to tend the crop alone. Then spring doesn’t return for the second year in a row, bringing unprecedented extreme winter.

With grow lights stashed in her truck and a pouch of precious seeds, she begins a journey, determined to start over away from Appalachian Ohio. But the icy roads and strangers hidden in the hills are treacherous. After a harrowing encounter with a violent cult, Wylodine and her small group of exiles become a target for its volatile leader. Because she has the most valuable skill in the climate chaos: she can make things grow.

Urgent and poignant, Road Out of Winter is a glimpse of an all-too-possible near future, with a chosen family forged in the face of dystopian collapse. With the gripping suspense of The Road and the lyricism of Station Eleven, Stine’s vision is of a changing world where an unexpected hero searches for a place hope might take root.

I’ve no idea how Road Out of Winter made it onto my radar, but it sounds really interesting! I have no details about what form the queerness in this story takes, only that it’s probably the MC who’s queer. Regardless, I’m excited to give it a go.

The Curse of the King by Winnie Lyon
Genres: Queer Protagonists
Representation: Queer MC
Published on: 1st September 2020

Laura Wilson is the heir to an ancient curse.

As a young witch descending from the very powerful trio of witches that had cursed Macbeth, the pressure she faces daily is non-stop. When Laura is forced to participate in her school’s rendition of the classic play, she gives herself a single task: breaking the curse once and for all.

This task proves itself to be more difficult than she ever could have imagined when a miscast spell leads to the summoning of her dead ancestor, Cecily Wilson, one of the very witches that cursed Macbeth.

As Laura attempts to send her resurrected relative back beyond the veil, she is faced with one of the harsh realities of high school—having a crush on her best friend, Holly. However, things only get more complicated as Holly pines after Peter, a lonely, quick-witted vampire.

While she grows closer to Cecily, Laura sees first-hand the true horrors of being a witch in Elizabethan England as demonic forces arise in her little town of Shipley Hollow.

Can Laura break the curse and save her family name before the curtains rise on opening night?

Brought to you by Winnie Lyon, The Curse of the King is an action-packed novel with mysterious and magical twists at every turn.

I can’t believe I didn’t hear about this one until just before it was published! I’m not a huge Shakespeare fan (gasp!!!) but this sounds like it’ll be nice and complicated, not a simple a-b-c style plot where everything is super predictable. For that, I can definitely forgive the focus on Macbeth!

The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker by Lauren James
Representation: Queer MC
Published on: 3rd September 2020

“Congratulations, new kid. Welcome to the afterlife.”

What if death is only the beginning?

When Harriet Stoker dies after falling from a balcony in a long-abandoned building, she discovers a group of ghosts, each with a special power.

Felix, Kasper, Rima and Leah welcome Harriet into their world, eager to make friends with the new arrival after decades alone. Yet Harriet is more interested in unleashing her own power, even if it means destroying everyone around her. But when all of eternity is at stake, the afterlife can be a dangerous place to make an enemy.

This one seems to be coming out in the UK, but I’m not sure if it’s getting a US release just yet? Either way, it’s another one that sounds really different from anything I’m used to. I almost always hate ghosts – especially stories about mediums – but this is a story taking place completely in the afterlife, which sounds like it could be incredibly cool. Fingers crossed the worldbuilding is great!

Orfeia by Joanne M. Harris
Genres: Fantasy
Published on: 3rd September 2020

When you can find me an acre of land,
Every sage grows merry in time,
Between the ocean and the sand
Then will you be united again.

(Inspired by The Child Ballads 2 & 19)

So begins a beautiful and tragic quest as a heartbroken mother sets out to save her lost daughter, through the realms of the real, of dream, and even into the underworld itself.

But determination alone is not enough. For to save something precious, she must give up something precious, be it a song, a memory, or herfreedom itself . . .

Beautifully illustrated by Bonnie Helen Hawkins, this is a stunning and original modern fairytale.

I’ve really enjoyed Harris’ Child Ballads-inspired books – even if Blue Salt Road broke my heart into little pieces. This one sounds like the focus is a mother/daughter relationship, rather than a romance, which I love! I’ll definitely be reading this one.

Stone and Steel by Eboni J. Dunbar
Genres: Secondary World Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: WoC Queer Lead
Published on: 5th September 2020

In Stone and Steel, when General Aaliyah returns triumphant to the city of Titus, she expects to find the people prospering under the rule of her Queen, the stone mage Odessa. Instead, she finds a troubling imbalance in both the citizens’ wellbeing and Odessa’s rule. Aaliyah must rely on all of her allies, old and new, to do right by the city that made her.
This book will be released on September 5th. Part of the 2020 Novella Series. An 8.5” x 5.5” novella.

This is a novella I don’t know much about, but what I have heard is all praise. And for the record, I adore that cover! I want to see so many more illustration-style covers featuring Black women. I’m intrigued, and can’t wait to get my hands on this one – that blurb seems perfectly straightforward, but somehow feels very mysterious and sneaky too…

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

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