Must-Have Monday #25!

Posted 22nd February 2021 by Siavahda in Must-Have Mondays / 0 Comments

SEVEN amazing-sounding fantasy and sci-fi books this week!

A Dark and Hollow Star (A Dark and Hollow Star, #1) by Ashley Shuttleworth
Representation: Queer cast, F/F or wlw, M/M or mlm
on 23rd February 2021
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Urban Fantasy

The Cruel Prince meets City of Bones in this thrilling urban fantasy set in the magical underworld of Toronto that follows a queer cast of characters racing to stop a serial killer whose crimes could expose the hidden world of faeries to humans.

Choose your player.

The “ironborn” half-fae outcast of her royal fae family.A tempestuous Fury, exiled to earth from the Immortal Realm and hellbent on revenge.A dutiful fae prince, determined to earn his place on the throne.The prince’s brooding guardian, burdened with a terrible secret.

For centuries, the Eight Courts of Folk have lived among us, concealed by magic and bound by law to do no harm to humans. This arrangement has long kept peace in the Courts—until a series of gruesome and ritualistic murders rocks the city of Toronto and threatens to expose faeries to the human world.

Four queer teens, each who hold a key piece of the truth behind these murders, must form a tenuous alliance in their effort to track down the mysterious killer behind these crimes. If they fail, they risk the destruction of the faerie and human worlds alike. If that’s not bad enough, there’s a war brewing between the Mortal and Immortal Realms, and one of these teens is destined to tip the scales. The only question is: which way?

Wish them luck. They’re going to need it.

This is one of those books I’ve been dying to get my hands on ever since the publication deal was announced! And if the premise isn’t enough to get you interested, who on earth could resist that cover???

Calculated Risks (InCryptid, #10) by Seanan McGuire
on 23rd February 2021
Genres: Urban Fantasy

The tenth book in the fast-paced InCryptid urban fantasy series returns to the mishaps of the Price family, eccentric cryptozoologists who safeguard the world of magical creatures living in secret among humans.

Just when Sarah Zellaby, adopted Price cousin and telepathic ambush predator, thought that things couldn’t get worse, she’s had to go and prove herself wrong. After being kidnapped and manipulated by her birth family, she has undergone a transformation called an instar, reaching back to her Apocritic origins to metamorphize. While externally the same, she is internally much more powerful, and much more difficult to control.

Even by herself. After years of denial, the fact that she will always be a cuckoo has become impossible to deny.

Now stranded in another dimension with a handful of allies who seem to have no idea who she is–including her cousin Annie and her maybe-boyfriend Artie, both of whom have forgotten their relationship–and a bunch of cuckoos with good reason to want her dead, Sarah must figure out not only how to contend with her situation, but with the new realities of her future. What is she now? Who is she now? Is that person someone she can live with?

And when all is said and done, will she be able to get the people she loves, whether or not they’ve forgotten her, safely home?

I’m a few books behind on the InCryptid series, because I am terrible, but it’s Seanan McGuire, which means it’s going to be awesome. If you’re not familiar with this series, then you need to start it; if you are familiar with it, then you don’t need me to tell you how great it is.

Sun-Daughters, Sea-Daughters by Aimee Ogden
Representation: F/F or wlw
on 23rd February 2021
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Sci Fi

Gene-edited human clans have scattered throughout the galaxy, adapting themselves to environments as severe as the desert and the sea. Atuale, the daughter of a Sea-Clan lord, sparked a war by choosing her land-dwelling love and rejecting her place among her people. Now her husband and his clan are dying of an incurable plague, and Atuale’s sole hope for finding a cure is to travel off-planet. The one person she can turn to for help is the black-market mercenary known as the World Witch—and Atuale’s former lover. Time, politics, bureaucracy, and her own conflicted desires stand between Atuale and the hope for her adopted clan.
Sun-Daughters, Sea-Daughters has all the wonder and romance of a classic sci-fi novel, with the timelessness of a beloved fairy tale.

This is a sci-fi retelling of The Little Mermaid, and any hesitation I had in preordering it vanished when I got to read the excerpt. You may now colour me as Very Excited Indeed for this one!

The Shadow War by Lindsay Smith
Representation: Queer cast
on 23rd February 2021
Genres: Historical Fantasy, Queer Protagonists

Inglourious Basterds meets Stranger Things in this dark and thrilling tale of power, shadow, and revenge set during World War II.

World War II is raging, and five teens are looking to make a mark. Daniel and Rebeka seek revenge against the Nazis who slaughtered their family; Simone is determined to fight back against the oppressors who ruined her life and corrupted her girlfriend; Phillip aims to prove that he's better than his worst mistakes; and Liam is searching for a way to control the portal to the shadow world he's uncovered, and the monsters that live within it--before the Nazi regime can do the same. When the five meet, and begrudgingly team up, in the forests of Germany, none of them knows what their future might hold.

As they race against time, war, and enemies from both this world and another, Liam, Daniel, Rebeka, Phillip, and Simone know that all they can count on is their own determination and will to survive. With their world turned upside down, and the shadow realm looming ominously large--and threateningly close--the course of history and the very fate of humanity rest in their hands. Still, the most important question remains: Will they be able to save it?

I still feel like I don’t know what to expect from this one, but the premise is just too amazing not to give Shadow War a go. Queer teens taking down the Nazis??? Um, hell yes?

Symbiosis (Escaping Exodus, #2) by Nicky Drayden
Representation: Queernorm world, F/F or wlw, polyamory
on 23rd February 2021
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Sci Fi

The Compton Crook Award-winning author weaves her trademark blend of science fiction and dark humor in this dazzling story that continues the imaginative saga begun in Escaping Exodus, in which a society lives in the belly of a beast—and an entire civilization's survival depends on a pair of uneasy allies who must come together for one epic battle.

Nearly a thousand years removed from Earth, the remnants of humanity cling to existence inside giant, space faring creatures known as the Zenzee. Abused and exploited by humans for generations, these majestic animals nearly went extinct, but under the command of its newly minted ruler, Doka Kaleigh, life in the Parados I has flourished. Thanks to careful oversight and sacrifice by all of its crew, they are now on the brink of utopia, and yet Doka’s rivals feel threatened by that success. 
 The Senate allowed Doka to lead their people believing he’d fail spectacularly—a disaster that would cement the legitimacy of their long-standing matriarchy. Despite vocal opposition and blatant attacks on his authority, Doka has continued to handle his position with grace and intelligence; he knows a single misstep means disaster. When a cataclysmic event on another Zenzee world forces Doka and his people to accept thousands of refugees, a culture clash erupts, revealing secrets from the past that could endanger their future. For Doka, the stakes are bigger and more personal than ever before—and could cost him his reign and his heart. 

He has fallen for the one woman he is forbidden to love: his wife, Seske. 

Doka and Seske must work closely together to sway the other Zenzee worlds to stop their cycles of destruction. But when they stumble upon a discovery that can transform their world, they know they must prepare to fight a battle where there can be no winners, only survivors. 

The first book in this series made it onto my Best of the Decade list, so obviously I will be pouncing on the sequel as soon as I can get my grubby mitts on it!

Never Have I Ever by Isabel Yap
Representation: Queer MCs
on 23rd February 2021

“Am I dead?”

Mebuyen sighs. She was hoping the girl would not ask.

Spells and stories, urban legends and immigrant tales: the magic in Isabel Yap’s debut collection jumps right off the page, from the joy in her new novella, “A Spell for Foolish Hearts” to the terrifying tension of the urban legend “Have You Heard the One About Anamaria Marquez.”

Isabel Yap wrote Hurricane Heels, which I loved very much when it was published through Book Smugglers a few years ago, so of course I was going to be all grabby-hands at her collection! The reviews have all been glowing, and I can’t wait to dive in.

Paladin's Strength (The Saint of Steel, #2) by T. Kingfisher
on 28th February 2021
Genres: Secondary World Fantasy

He’s a paladin of a dead god, tracking a supernatural killer across a continent. She’s a nun from a secretive order, on the trail of the raiders who burned her convent and kidnapped her sisters.

When their paths cross at the point of a sword, Istvhan and Clara will be pitched headlong into each other’s quests, facing off against enemies both living and dead. But Clara has a secret that could jeopardize the growing trust between them, a secret that will lead them to the gladiatorial pits of a corrupt city, and beyond...

Any week we get a new T. Kingfisher (aka Ursula Vernon) book is a GREAT WEEK! This is the sequel to Paladin’s Grace, a story about a paladin of a dead god and a delightful perfumer getting caught up in politics and murder, with Kingfisher’s signature humour woven throughout. I’m rereading it right now so I can dive into Paladin’s Strength the moment it releases on Sunday! Which is, for the record, exactly what everyone else should be doing!

That’s it for this week! Will you be reading any of these? Let me know in the comments!

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