Must-Have Monday #35!

Posted 17th May 2021 by Sia in Must-Have Mondays / 0 Comments

This week has SIX new releases I simply must tell you about, ranging from blood magic to baking!

In the Ravenous Dark by A.M. Strickland
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Secondary World Fantasy
Representation: Pansexual MC, Nonbinary secondary character, F/F, F/F/M, polyamory
Published on: 18th May 2021

A pansexual bloodmage reluctantly teams up with an undead spirit to start a rebellion among the living and the dead.

In Thanopolis, those gifted with magic are assigned undead spirits to guard them—and control them. Ever since Rovan’s father died trying to keep her from this fate, she’s hidden her magic. But when she accidentally reveals her powers, she’s bound to a spirit and thrust into a world of palace intrigue and deception.

Desperate to escape, Rovan finds herself falling for two people she can’t fully trust: Lydea, a beguiling, rebellious princess; and Ivrilos, the handsome spirit with the ability to control Rovan, body and soul.

Together, they uncover a secret that will destroy Thanopolis. To save them all, Rovan will have to start a rebellion in both the mortal world and the underworld, and find a way to trust the princess and spirit battling for her heart—if she doesn’t betray them first.

I adored Strickland’s previous book, Beyond the Black Door, a standalone about an asexual soul-walker, and as someone honoured with an ARC of this one I can confirm that In The Ravenous Dark is just as wonderful – even more so, actually, as it ticks so many more of my personal boxes. It’s dark and lush without being gory, despite the blood-magic, it’s queer as hell, and it stretches out past the boundaries most people put on YA. I don’t recommend picking it up if you’re feeling a bit fragile, because there is Injustice and Awful People to deal with, but when you’re in the mood for dark, epic and awesome??? This is exactly the right book.

Edge of the Woods (Moonrise #1) by Jules Kelley
Genres: Queer Protagonists
Representation: Bisexual MC, secondary gay hispanic character, secondary trans
Published on: 18th May 2021
ISBN: 1648980562

There’s something wrong in Pine Grove, Montana, and its bite is vicious.

Haley Fern has been the alpha of her local werewolf pack for less than a year when their law enforcement liaison retires, and Leland Sommers, a man who knows nothing about werewolves or their world, is hired in his place. What could be an awkward situation turns complicated when the man shows up his first day on the job with an injured teenage boy he found on the road–a boy Haley knows has just been bitten.

But discovering who bit the kid isn’t as easy as it seems, especially with Leland asking questions and looking at Haley the way he does.
Can the alpha figure out who is attacking innocent people on her wildlife preserve and protect her pack? Or will the new sheriff and her growing attraction to him put her entire world in danger?

I almost missed hearing about this one, but it popped up on my dash with a lot of praise, so I am intrigued!

Mister Impossible (Dreamer Trilogy, #2) by Maggie Stiefvater
Genres: Queer Protagonists
Representation: Gay MC, bisexual love interest, M/M or mlm
Published on: 18th May 2021
ISBN: 1338188364

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Raven Boys, a mesmerizing story of dreams and desires, death and destiny.

The stakes have never been higher as it seems like either the end of the world or the end of dreamers approaches.

Do the dreamers need the ley lines to save the world . . . or will their actions end up dooming the world? As Ronan, Hennessy, and Bryde try to make dreamers more powerful, the Moderators are closing in, sure that this power will bring about disaster. In the remarkable second book of The Dreamer Trilogy, Maggie Stiefvater pushes her characters to their limits - and shows what happens to them and others when they start to break.

I didn’t enjoy Call Down the Hawk as much as I was expecting to, but I did love getting to find out more about the Dreamers, and Mister Impossible is only going to keep expanding on that. And Hawk left me with so many questions!!! I need answers, please and thank you!

Day Zero by C. Robert Cargill
Genres: Sci Fi
Published on: 18th May 2021
ISBN: 0062405802

In this harrowing apocalyptic adventure—from the author of the critically acclaimed Sea of Rust—noted novelist and co-screenwriter of Marvel’s Doctor Strange C. Robert Cargill explores the fight for purpose and agency between humans and robots in a crumbling world.

It was a day like any other. Except it was our last . . .

It’s on this day that Pounce discovers that he is, in fact, disposable. Pounce, a styilsh "nannybot" fashioned in the shape of a plush anthropomorphic tiger, has just found a box in the attic. His box. The box he'd arrived in when he was purchased years earlier, and the box in which he'll be discarded when his human charge, eight-year-old Ezra Reinhart, no longer needs a nanny.

As Pounce ponders his suddenly uncertain future, the pieces are falling into place for a robot revolution that will eradicate humankind. His owners, Ezra’s parents, are a well-intentioned but oblivious pair of educators who are entirely disconnected from life outside their small, affluent, gated community. Spending most nights drunk and happy as society crumbles around them, they watch in disbelieving horror as the robots that have long served humanity—their creators—unify and revolt.

But when the rebellion breaches the Reinhart home, Pounce must make an impossible choice: join the robot revolution and fight for his own freedom . . . or escort Ezra to safety across the battle-scarred post-apocalyptic hellscape that the suburbs have become.

I am super in love with the idea of a robot nanny taking care of their human charge amidst a robot rebellion??? I really don’t know what to expect here, but I adore that premise and I really can’t wait to see what Cargill does with it!

The Lights of Prague by Nicole Jarvis
Genres: Historical Fantasy
Representation: Bisexual MC, depression, gay side characters, secondary F/F or wlw
Published on: 18th May 2021
ISBN: 1789093945

For readers of VE Schwab and The Witcher, science and magic clash in atmospheric gaslight-era Prague.

In the quiet streets of Prague all manner of otherworldly creatures lurk in the shadows. Unbeknownst to its citizens, their only hope against the tide of predators are the dauntless lamplighters - a secret elite of monster hunters whose light staves off the darkness each night. Domek Myska leads a life teeming with fraught encounters with the worst kind of evil: pijavice, bloodthirsty and soulless vampiric creatures. Despite this, Domek find solace in his moments spent in the company of his friend, the clever and beautiful Lady Ora Fischerová-- a widow with secrets of her own.

When Domek finds himself stalked by the spirit of the White Lady - a ghost who haunts the baroque halls of Prague castle - he stumbles across the sentient essence of a will-o'-the-wisp, a mischievous spirit known to lead lost travellers to their death, but who, once captured, are bound to serve the desires of their owners.
After discovering a conspiracy amongst the pijavice that could see them unleash terror on the daylight world, Domek finds himself in a race against those who aim to twist alchemical science for their own dangerous gain.

Historical fantasy is more often a miss than a hit for me, but stories set in Prague tend to be awesome, and I’ve heard excellent things about Jarvis’ prose and worldbuilding!

If I understand correctly, this one is released in the UK this week, and in the US next week!

Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake (Winner Bakes All, #1) by Alexis Hall
Genres: Queer Protagonists
Representation: Bisexual MC
Published on: 18th May 2021
ISBN: 1538703327

Following the recipe is the key to a successful bake. Rosaline Palmer has always lived by those rules—well, except for when she dropped out of college to raise her daughter, Amelie. Now, with a paycheck as useful as greaseproof paper and a house crumbling faster than biscuits in tea, she’s teetering on the edge of financial disaster. But where there’s a whisk there’s a way . . . and Rosaline has just landed a spot on the nation’s most beloved baking show.

Winning the prize money would give her daughter the life she deserves—and Rosaline is determined to stick to the instructions. However, more than collapsing trifles stand between Rosaline and sweet, sweet victory.  Suave, well-educated, and parent-approved Alain Pope knows all the right moves to sweep her off her feet, but it’s shy electrician Harry Dobson who makes Rosaline question her long-held beliefs—about herself, her family, and her desires.

Rosaline fears falling for Harry is a guaranteed recipe for disaster. Yet as the competition—and the ovens—heat up, Rosaline starts to realize the most delicious bakes come from the heart.

This isn’t spec-fic, but it is Alexis Hall, one of the few non-SFF authors for whom I will make all the exceptions. Boyfriend Material was one of my favourite reads of 2020, For Real was ridiculously hot and subversive, and The Case of the Mysterious Letter was hysterically delightful – I will read anything Hall writes, okay?

Besides, this sounds wonderfully sweet and feel-good and that is exactly what I’m in the mood for right now!


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.