Must-Have Monday #183

Posted 22nd April 2024 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.

EIGHT books this week!

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

A Letter to the Luminous Deep by Sylvie Cathrall
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Sci Fi
Representation: MC with clinical anxiety, possibly ace-spectrum MC, sapphic MC, MLM MC, background F/F and M/M, queernorm world
Published on: 23rd April 2024

Dive into the curious correspondence of Sylvie Cathrall’s delightful debut novel, A Letter to the Luminous Deep.

A beautiful discovery outside the window of her underwater home prompts the reclusive E. to begin a correspondence with renowned scholar Henerey Clel. The letters they share are filled with passion, at first for their mutual interests, and then, inevitably, for each other.

Together, they uncover a mystery from the unknown depths, destined to transform the underwater world they both equally fear and love. But by no mere coincidence, a seaquake destroys E.’s home, and she and Henerey vanish.

A year later, E.’s sister Sophy, and Henerey’s brother Vyerin, are left to solve the mystery of their siblings’ disappearances with the letters, sketches and field notes left behind. As they uncover the wondrous love their siblings shared, Sophy and Vyerin learn the key to their disappearance – and what it could mean for life as they know it.

Perfect for fans of A Marvellous Light and TJ Klune, A Letter to the Luminous Deep is a whimsical epistolary fantasy set in a mystical underwater world with mystery and heart-warming romance.

This book is a true delight – it’s even more charming than the blurb makes it sound! I loved it, and strongly recommend it for anyone looking for a sweet, gentle read that is low-plot but never boring!

My review!

The Wings Upon Her Back by Samantha Mills
Genres: Science Fantasy
Published on: 23rd April 2024

[STARRED REVIEW] “A triumphant debut novel.” —Booklist
[STARRED REVIEW] “An absolute must-read.” —Kirkus
[STARRED REVIEW] “Intricate and intriguing." —Publishers Weekly
[STARRED REVIEW] “Complex and haunting.” —Library Journal

In this gripping debut novel from acclaimed Nebula, Sturgeon, and Locus Award-winning author Samantha Mills, a disgraced soldier fights to make sense of her world and the gods who abandoned it. The Wings Upon Her Back is an action-packed, devastating exploration of the brutal costs of zealous loyalty.

Zenya was a teenager when she ran away to join the mechanically-modified warrior sect. She was determined to earn mechanized wings and protect the people of Radezhda, the city she loved. Under the strict tutelage of a mercurial, charismatic leader, Vodaya, Zenya finally became Winged Zemolai.

But after twenty-six years of service, Zemolai is disillusioned with her role as an enforcer in an increasingly fascist state. After one tragic act of mercy, she is brutally cast out and loses everything she worked for. As Zemolai struggles for her life, she is must question her sect, their leader, and even the gods themselves.

I’ve become kind of obsessed with this book – between the premise, the excerpt, and the reviews I’ve read of it, I’ve become so grabby-hands it almost hurts. Pleeeeeeeeease let it live up to my hopes!!!

Necrobane (The Warden, #2) by Daniel M. Ford
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Bisexual MC, F/F
Published on: 23rd April 2024

"Omigosh! I've just found an author to put on my list of I've got to read everything they ever wrote! The Warden is a gem of the first order. Aelis is my hero."—Glen Cook, author of The Black Company, on The Warden series

"These books are addictive and I can’t wait to see what Aelis and the gang get up to next.”—C.L. Clark, author of The Unbroken

Aelis de Lenti, Lone Pine's newly assigned Warden, is in deep trouble. She has just opened the crypts of Mahlgren, releasing an army of the undead into the unprotected backwoods of Ystain.

To protect her village, she must unearth a source of immense Necromantic power at the heart of Mahlgren. The journey will wind through waves of undead, untamed wilderness, and curses far older than anything Aelis has ever encountered. But as strong as Aelis is, this is one quest she cannot face alone.

Along with the brilliant mercenary she's fallen for, her half-orc friend, and a dwarven merchant, Aelis must race the clock to unravel mysteries, slay dread creatures, and stop what she has set in motion before the flames of a bloody war are re-ignited.

The first book in this series, The Warden, was so much fun! I mean, everyone said it was, but I still wasn’t expecting it to be that much fun! And the ending was a hilarious cliffhanger, so I am most eager to dive into book two!

Ocean's Godori by Elaine U. Cho
Genres: Sci Fi
Representation: Korean MC
Published on: 23rd April 2024

Ocean Yoon has never felt like much of a Korean, even if she is descended from a long line of haenyeo, Jeju Island's beloved female divers. She's also persona non grata at the Alliance, Korea's solar system-dominating space agency, since a mission went awry and she earned a reputation for being a little too quick with her gun.

When her best friend, Teo, second son of the Anand Tech empire, is framed for murdering his family, Ocean and her misfit crewmates are pushed to the forefront of a high-stakes ideological conflict. But dodging bullets and winning space chases may be the easiest part of what comes next.

A thrilling adventure across the solar that delivers hyperkinetic action sequences and irresistible will-they-won't-they romance alongside its nuanced exploration of colonialism and capitalism, Ocean's Godori ultimately asks: What do we owe our past? How do we navigate our present while honoring the complicated facets of our identity? What can our future hold?

Everything about this sounds wonderful??? And the excerpt absolutely sold it to me – Ocean already seems like a character I’m REALLY going to get along with!

Dragon Rider (The Soulbound Saga, #1) by Taran Matharu
Genres: Fantasy
Published on: 23rd April 2024

New York Times bestselling author Taran Matharu’s debut adult fantasy series introduces an immersive story written in the tradition of the viral cultivation genre. Discover a rich world of magic, warriors, and dragons, in which a fearless orphan and an ambitious handmaiden flee from the empire that would imprison them, with a dream to return to their homelands and a determination that’s unbreakable…

Can an orphan captive learn the secrets of the Dragon Riders to stand up and avenge his people?

Jai lives as a royal hostage in the Sabine Court—ever since his father Rohan, leader of the Steppefolk, led a failed rebellion and was executed by the very emperor Jai now serves.

When the emperor’s son and heir is betrothed to Princess Erica of the neighboring Dansk Kingdom, she brings with her a dowry: dragons. Endemic to the northern nation, these powerful beasts come in several forms, but mystery surrounds them. Only Dansk royalty know the secret to soulbonding with these dangerous beasts to draw on their power and strength. This marriage—and the alliance that forms—will change that forever.

But conspirators lurk in the shadows, and soon the Sabine Court is in chaos. With his life in danger, Jai uses the opportunity to escape with the Dansk handmaiden, Frida, and a stolen hatchling. Hunted at every turn, he must learn to cultivate magic and become a soulbound warrior if he has any chance of finding safety, seizing his destiny…and seeking his revenge

I’m using the UK cover, because I hate the US one – but the story itself? Sounds EPIC! And the reviews for it have been very promising. It’s been too long since I read a dragon book!

Off With Their Heads by Zoe Hana Mikuta
Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary or Urban Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Sapphic Korean-coded MCs
Published on: 23rd April 2024

Fans of Chloe Gong and Judy I. Lin will devour this Korean-inspired Alice in Wonderland retelling about two very wicked girls, forever bonded by blood and betrayal . . .

In a world where Saints are monsters and Wonderland is the dark forest where they lurk, it’s been five years since young witches and lovers Caro Rabbit and Iccadora Alice Sickle were both sentenced to that forest for a crime they didn’t commit—and four years since they shattered one another’s hearts, each willing to sacrifice the other for a chance at freedom.

Now, Caro is a successful royal Saint-harvester, living the high life in the glittering capital and pretending not to know of the twisted monster experiments that her beloved Red Queen hides deep in the bowels of the palace. But for Icca, the memory of Caro’s betrayal has hardened her from timid girl to ruthless hunter. A hunter who will stop at nothing to exact her On Caro. On the queen. On the throne itself.

But there’s a secret about the Saints the Queen’s been guarding, and a volatile magic at play even more dangerous to Icca and Caro than they are to each other…

Lush, terrifying, and uncanny, Zoe Hana Mikuta—author of Gearbreakers and Godslayers —takes a delicate knife straight through the heart of this beloved surrealist fairytale.

The reviews are a bit mixed on this one, but I’m hopeful – there’s been lots of references to heavy-duty worldbuilding, which we know is my catnip! Also, wildly unlikable characters have been promised me; I intend to collect!

Blood Justice (Blood Debts, #2) by Terry J. Benton-Walker
Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary or Urban Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Black cast, MLM MC
Published on: 23rd April 2024

Blood Justice is the hotly anticipated sequel to Terry J. Benton-Walker’s Most Anticipated debut Blood Debts.

Praise for Blood Debts: “A conjuring of magnificence.” ―NIC STONE • “A force.” ―ROSEANNE A. BROWN • “An extravaganza.” ―CHLOE GONG • “Powerful.” ―AYANA GRAY • “Sings with hope and rage.” ―TJ KLUNE • “An unforgettable thrill ride.” ―J. ELLE • “Steeped in magic.” ―ALEXIS HENDERSON • “Crackles with mystery and ferocity.” ―MARK OSHIRO

Cristina and Clement Trudeau have conjured the impossible: justice.

They took back their family’s stolen throne to lead New Orleans’ magical community into the brighter future they all deserve.

But when Cris and Clem restored their family power, Valentina Savant lost everything. Her beloved grandparents are gone and her sovereignty has been revoked―she will never be Queen. Unless, of course, someone dethrones the Trudeaus again. And lucky for her, she’s not the only one trying to take them down.

Cris and Clem have enemies coming at them from all directions: Hateful anti-magic protesters sabotage their reign at every turn. A ruthless detective with a personal vendetta against magical crime is hot on their tail just as Cris has discovered her thirst for revenge. And a brutal god, hunting from the shadows, is summoned by the very power Clem needs to protect the boy he loves.

Cris’s hunger for vengeance and Clem’s desire for love could prove to be their family’s downfall, all while new murders, shocking disappearances, and impossible alliances are changing the game forever.

Welcome back to New Orleans, where gods walk among us and justice isn’t served, it’s taken.

Most Anticipated from Publishers Weekly, Bookpage, TheGrio, and more!

I have not let myself read the blurb for fear of spoilers – I haven’t finished Blood Debts yet! (I know, I know – major Sia!fail!) But what I’ve read so far has me very sure the sequel will also be worth reading!

A Whisper in the Walls (Waxways, #2) by Scott Reintgen
Genres: Fantasy
Published on: 23rd April 2024

In this sequel to the New York Times bestselling, “pulse-pounding” ( Publishers Weekly ) A Door in the Dark , Ren’s intellect and cunning are stretched to the limit in her quest to take down the system that stole her father’s life.

Ren Monroe is a wolf among lions. After infiltrating one of the greatest Houses in Kathor through her successful bond with Theo Brood, she finds Theo’s father is two steps ahead. He exiles Theo and isolates Ren, strategically working to break her unwelcome grasp on his son—and foiling Ren’s first step to enacting the revenge she’s been planning her whole life.

Ren might have more resources than she’d ever imagined growing up, but she’ll still get nowhere without allies. Enter House Tin’Vori. Years ago, House Brood led an unprecedented raid to destroy a fellow House of Kathor. But a few siblings survived, and they haven’t forgotten the horrors waged against their family. Quietly, they’ve plotted their own revenge, waiting for the right moment to strike. And Ren Monroe might be their best chance.

Like fire, the Tin’Vori siblings are as dangerous as they are useful, both gifted in rare magics. Ren must decide how to unleash them against House Brood without hurting Theo in the process. Her feelings for Theo are growing past the boundaries of their bond, and Ren finds herself balanced on a knife’s edge, a breath away from immense power or utter ruin.

I’m still very surprised – and delighted! – that we’re getting a sequel to Door in the Dark; I was so sure it was a standalone! But I’m so glad it’s not, because I so desperately wanted to know what would happen next – and now we will!!! EEEEEEE!!!

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


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