Must-Have Monday #39!

Posted 14th June 2021 by Sia in Must-Have Mondays / 0 Comments

There’s only four releases to feature this week, but they all look great, from Regency-esque F/F to Science Fantasy with Black witches!

The Tangleroot Palace: Stories by Marjorie M. Liu
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: F/F and M/M
Published on: 15th June 2021

New York Times bestseller and Hugo, British Fantasy, Romantic Times, and Eisner award-winning author of the graphic novel, Monstress, Marjorie Liu leads you deep into the heart of the tangled woods. In her long-awaited debut story collection, dark, lush, and spellbinding short fiction you will find unexpected detours, dangerous magic, and even more dangerous women.

“The Tangleroot Palace is charming and ruthless. Tales that feel new yet grounded in the infinitely ancient, a mythology for the coming age.”—Angela Slatter, author of The Bitterwood Bible

“Marjorie Liu is magic! Her writing is passionate, lyric, gritty, and riveting. She belongs high on everyone’s must-read list.”—Elizabeth Lowell, author of Only Mine

Briar, bodyguard for a body-stealing sorceress, discovers her love for Rose, whose true soul emerges only once a week. An apprentice witch seeks her freedom through betrayal, the bones of the innocent, and a meticulously-plotted spell. In a world powered by crystal skulls, a warrior returns to save China from invasion by her jealous ex. A princess runs away from an arranged marriage, finding family in a strange troupe of traveling actors at the border of the kingdom’s deep, dark woods.
Concluding with a gorgeous full-length novella, Marjorie Liu’s first short fiction collection is an unflinching sojourn into her thorny tales of love, revenge, and new beginnings.

The amazing cover would have grabbed me anyway, but this is actually by the same author as the Monstress comics! I adore the Monstress world so I’m really excited to see Liu tell stories through prose rather than comics. And allegedly plenty of the stories feature queerness, so – bonus!

Blood Like Magic (Blood Like Magic, #1) by Liselle Sambury
Genres: Science Fantasy
Representation: Black MC, trans love interest, trans side character, lesbian demi side character
Published on: 15th June 2021

A rich, dark urban fantasy debut following a teen witch who is given a horrifying task: sacrificing her first love to save her family’s magic. The problem is, she’s never been in love—she’ll have to find the perfect guy before she can kill him.

After years of waiting for her Calling—a trial every witch must pass in order to come into their powers—the one thing Voya Thomas didn’t expect was to fail. When Voya’s ancestor gives her an unprecedented second chance to complete her Calling, she agrees—and then is horrified when her task is to kill her first love. And this time, failure means every Thomas witch will be stripped of their magic.

Voya is determined to save her family’s magic no matter the cost. The problem is, Voya has never been in love, so for her to succeed, she’ll first have to find the perfect guy—and fast. Fortunately, a genetic matchmaking program has just hit the market. Her plan is to join the program, fall in love, and complete her task before the deadline. What she doesn’t count on is being paired with the infuriating Luc—how can she fall in love with a guy who seemingly wants nothing to do with her?

With mounting pressure from her family, Voya is caught between her morality and her duty to her bloodline. If she wants to save their heritage and Luc, she’ll have to find something her ancestor wants more than blood. And in witchcraft, blood is everything.

Blood Like Magic sounded epic BEFORE I found out that this is a book about witches set in a not-too-distant future, complete with things like gene sequencing and tech that can find your genetic soulmate! We don’t get Science Fantasy very often, and it’s one of my favourite things, so this is ticking all the boxes for me!

The Hellion's Waltz (Feminine Pursuits #3) by Olivia Waite
Genres: Queer Protagonists
Representation: F/F
Published on: 15th June 2021

It’s not a crime to steal a heart... 

Sophie Roseingrave hates nothing more than a swindler. After her family lost their piano shop to a con man in London, they’re trying to start fresh in a new town. Her father is convinced Carrisford is an upright and honest place, but Sophie is not so sure. She has grave suspicions about silk-weaver Madeline Crewe, whose stunning beauty doesn’t hide the fact that she’s up to something.

All Maddie Crewe needs is one big score, one grand heist to properly fund the weavers’ union forever. She has found her mark in Mr. Giles, a greedy draper, and the entire association of weavers and tailors and clothing merchants has agreed to help her. The very last thing she needs is a small but determined piano-teacher and composer sticking her nose in other people’s business. If Sophie won’t be put off, the only thing to do is to seduce her to the cause.

Will Sophie’s scruples force her to confess the plot before Maddie gets her money? Or will Maddie lose her nerve along with her heart?

Okay, no, it’s not SFF, but I’ve been making an exception from the Feminine Pursuits series since book one, so hush. Each of these books stand alone, so you CAN dive straight into Hellion’s Waltz, but I assure you that the previous books, The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics and The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows, are both excellent and you should definitely read them if you’re looking for Regency-esque F/F!

As you may have surmised, I adored Mechanics and Widows very, very much, and have been making grabby hands at Hellion’s Waltz for ages now. Waite writes genuinely gorgeous and clever historical fiction that also manages to be wonderfully escapist, and I can’t wait to read this newest book!

Foxen Bloom by Parker Foye
Genres: Queer Protagonists
Representation: M/M
Published on: 17th June 2021

Season after season, hunters have attempted to capture the white-tailed stag. Local legend holds that its capture promises prosperity, and in a land that is dying—to hunger, to war; to a magical curse, some say—even a whisper of hope is a powerful lure. Yet every hunter who tries fails, never to leave the forest. Fenton, god of the forest, yet imprisoned within its borders, watches from his place in the trees as the hunters first despoil and then fall to his land, dispassionate as his deadwood heart.

Prior doesn't hope to capture the stag or secure prosperity. He has a far bolder hunt in mind: to entreat the god of the forest to save his sister from the sickness sweeping the land. It's a desperate attempt without much hope of success. He doesn't imagine he'll meet the god in person, much less that he'll find himself agreeing to a favour in turn: his sister's life will be spared, and in exchange, Prior will kill the god's sibling. And he certainly hadn't imagined that a god would be so... human.

When Fenton leaves the forest, he has little but revenge on his mind. As he spends more time with Prior, though, he discovers that the world isn't as simple as the hunt, and he's not the only hunter with teeth—but sometimes the chase is worth the risk of being caught.

Content Warnings: contagious magical illness; bloody violence; magical violence; bodily injury; death, including the death of animals for food, and magical animals in battle; abduction; vomiting; minor self-harm; body-horror; sex.

Cover artwork by Tiferet Design with illustration by Mar Espinosa.

This sounds like it has Silver in the Wood vibes, and I am the only person on the planet to hate that book, but this is FOYE so I am willing to give it a go. Foye has an excellent track record writing wild feral queer love stories (you simply MUST check out their Love Has Claws trilogy) and I have yet to be let down by one of their books, so. Bring it on!

That’s all I’ve got for this week! Did I miss any releases I should know about? Will you be reading any of these? Let me know!

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