Must-Have Monday #44!

Posted 26th July 2021 by Sia in Must-Have Mondays / 0 Comments

This week’s SEVEN new releases range from mer-snakes to an urban fae-spotter’s guide to journalists trying to do their jobs in fantasy-land. It’s going to be a great week!

Once Stolen by D.N. Bryn
Genres: Fantasy, Secondary World Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Autistic queer MC, Nonbinary love interest, multiple queer secondary characters
Published on: 27th July 2021

No one with half a brain would rob the jungle’s most notorious energy cartel. The vibrations of their power-producing stones are the only thing that calms the mer-snake Cacao’s agonizing sensory condition though—and after being banished from his homeland swamps for similar thefts, he’s desperate.

When his attempt fails stunningly, a chaotic escape leaves him chained to a cartel prisoner: a self-proclaimed hero with a hidden stash of power stones so large, Cacao would never need to steal again. He’s determined to get his hands on it, even if it means guiding her home straight through the mist-laden and monster-filled swamp that exhaled him, with scheming poachers and a desperate cartel leader on their tail.

But the selfish and the self-righteous can only flee together for so long before something snaps...

Return to Our Bloody Pearl's steampunk-inspired world of merfolk in this fun, fast-paced adventure with a hate-to-love romance, a boat-load of sass, and even more heart.

Once Stolen comes from the same author as Our Bloody Pearl, which I have heard nothing but praise for and which was featured in a Rainbow Crate box a while back. Our Bloody Pearl is high on my tbr, but I’ll probably end up diving into Once Stolen first, just because one of my best friends, who read it early, hasn’t stopped singing its praises. I’m really looking forward to it!

Far Out: Recent Queer Science Fiction and Fantasy by Paula Guran, Rachel Swirsky, Caitlín R. Kiernan, A.C. Wise, Tristan Alice Nieto, Christopher Barzak, An Owomoyela, G.V. Anderson, Tamsyn Muir, Nino Cipri, Nisi Shawl, Lavie Tidhar, Nalo Hopkinson, Charlie Jane Anders, Seanan McGuire, Vylar Kaftan, Richard Bowes, J.Y. Yang, Amal El-Mohtar, Darcie Little Badger, Ellen Kushner, Naomi Kritzer, Catherynne M. Valente, Sam J. Miller, Shweta Narayan
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists, Sci Fi
Representation: Queer MCs, Queer MCs of Colour
Published on: 27th July 2021

An Anthology of Recent Queer Science Fiction and Fantasy from Award-Winning Editor Paula Guran

Speculative fiction imagines drastically diverse ways of being and worlds that are other than the one with which we are familiar. Queerness is a natural fit for such fiction, so one would expect it to be customarily included. That has not always been the case, but LGBTQ+ representation in science fiction and fantasy—in both short and long form—is now relatively common. Even so, most of the queer science fiction and fantasy anthologies published in the last thirty-five years have been narrowly focused: specifically gay male or lesbian (or, more recently, transgender) themes, or all science fiction or all fantasy, or adhering to a specific theme or subgenre.  Far Out: Recent Queer Science Fiction and Fantasy, on the other hand, features both science fiction and fantasy short fiction from the last decade and includes characters, perspectives, and stories that span the rainbow. With stories from incredible authors ranging from Seanan McGuire to Charlie Jane Anders to Sam J. Miller, it’s an essential read for anyone interested in queer science fiction and fantasy.


Introduction: Over the Rainbow and into the Far Out by Paula Guran
Destroyed by the Waters by Rachel Swirsky
The Sea Troll’s Daughter by Caitlín R. Kiernan
And If the Body Were Not the Soul by A. C. Wise
Imago by Tristan Alice Nieto
Paranormal Romance by Christopher Barzak
Three Points Masculine by An Owomoyela
Das Steingeschöpf by G. V. Anderson
The Deepwater Bride by Tamsyn Muir
The Shape of My Name by Nino Cipri
Otherwise by Nisi Shawl
The Night Train by Lavie Tidhar
Ours Is the Prettiest by Nalo Hopkinson
Don’t Press Charges and I Won’t Sue by Charlie Jane Anders
Driving Jenny Home by Seanan McGuire
I’m Alive, I Love You, I’ll See You in Reno by Vylar Kaftan
In the Eyes of Jack Saul by Richard Bowes
Secondhand Bodies by JY Yang
Seasons of Glass and Iron by Amal El-Mohtar
Né łe! by Darcie Little Badger
The Duke of Riverside by Ellen Kushner
Cat Pictures Please by Naomi Kritzer
The Lily and the Horn by Catherynne M. Valente
Calved by Sam J. Miller
The River’s Children by Shweta Narayan

If you want to sell me a book, hire Judie Dillon to do the cover! But seriously (well, I am serious, I will pick up anything Dillon has illustrated), this has a ridiculously stellar line-up, and it’s all queer SFF!!! I’m ridiculously excited to get to dive into it!

Faeries of the Faultlines: Expanded, Edited Edition by Iris Compiet, Brian Froud, Alan Lee
Genres: Fantasy
Published on: 27th July 2021

Iris Compiet is the rarest of artist: That who invokes a complete and cohesive reality with every image she creates. Beautiful, powerful and contemplative all at once. — Guillermo Del Toro

Let me tell you about Faeries, let me take you away on a journey, an adventure.

The Faultlines is an ancient name given to those places where the veil between this world and the Other is thinnest. It is the place where faeries dwell, creatures creep, and magic oozes through the cracks. Recently the Faultlines have been stirring, opening up to all who wish to see, and to all who dare to venture...

Faeries of the Faultlines was an instant Kickstarter success in 2017, and this edited, expanded edition includes the complete original documentation from the greenmen to mermaids, with expanded sections and many more faeries to meet!

I missed the original Kickstarter, but you can bet this edition is going straight onto my bookshelf (once I’ve finished devouring it). An imagining of fae creatures in the modern world, illustrated by breathtaking art, I don’t know how you could possibly make it more of a must-have!

The River Has Teeth by Erica Waters
Genres: Fantasy
Representation: Sapphic MCs, F/F or wlw
Published on: 27th July 2021

Lush and chilling, with razor-sharp edges and an iron core of hope, this bewitching, powerhouse novel of two girls fighting back against the violence the world visits on them will stun and enchant readers.

Girls have been going missing in the woods…

When Natasha’s sister disappears, Natasha desperately turns to Della, a local girl rumored to be a witch, in the hopes that magic will bring her sister home.
But Della has her own secrets to hide. She thinks the beast who’s responsible for the disappearances is her own mother—who was turned into a terrible monster by magic gone wrong.

Natasha is angry. Della has little to lose. Both are each other’s only hope.

From the author of Ghost Wood Song, this eerie contemporary fantasy is perfect for fans of Wilder Girls and Bone Gap. 

Waters’ debut was all gorgeous Southern queer darkness, and it sounds like The River Has Teeth is going to check all the same (fabulous) boxes. This sounds just the right amount of creepy and absolutely delicious and I am HERE for it!

Our Own Correspondent by James Hereward
Genres: Fantasy
Published on: 27th July 2021

“I know I frighten you, Mister Grey, but don’t be afraid of me. Be afraid of the man who wants the truth buried.”

It should all have been so simple: travel to the kingdom of Larence, learn more about the rumours of a war about to break out, and get back home to report on it. But Erasmus Grey is finding that his job is anything but simple in a place where newspapers are unheard of, and where the first thought in people’s minds when he goes around asking awkward questions is spy. And that suspicion is just the beginning. Because there are people with a lot invested in this war, and the last thing they want is someone reporting what’s really going on.

…Freedom of the press in a Medieval-fantasy setting??? Um, hells yes??? The author mentioned that he had the idea for Our Own Correspondent after reading about modern journalists being attacked and killed during wartime, which…is awful and dark, but I’m still massively invested in this premise and can’t wait to see what Hereward does with it!

Small Favors by Erin A. Craig
Genres: Fantasy
Published on: 27th July 2021

Ellerie Downing lives in the quiet town of Amity Falls in the Blackspire Mountain range--five narrow peaks stretching into the sky like a grasping hand, bordered by a nearly impenetrable forest from which the early townsfolk fought off the devils in the woods. To this day, visitors are few and rare. But when a supply party goes missing, some worry that the monsters that once stalked the region have returned.

As fall turns to winter, more strange activities plague the town. They point to a tribe of devilish and mystical creatures who promise to fulfill the residents' deepest desires, however grand and impossible, for just a small favor. But their true intentions are much more sinister, and Ellerie finds herself in a race against time before all of Amity Falls, her family, and the boy she loves go up in flames.

I have loved bees since I was a tiny child, so offering me up fantasy + bees is a surefire way to get me on board. I’ve only heard good things about Small Favors, and I’m looking forward to discovering them for myself!

Hold Fast Through the Fire (NeoG #2) by K.B. Wagers
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Sci Fi
Representation: Asexual MC, Bi/pansexual MC, nonbinary secondary characters, queernorm world
Published on: 27th July 2021

The Near-Earth Orbital Guard (Neo-G)—inspired by the real-life mission of the Coast Guard—patrols and protects the solar system. Now the crew of Zuma’s Ghost must contend with personnel changes and a powerful cabal hellbent on dominating the trade lanes in this fast-paced, action-packed follow-up to A Pale Light in the Black.

Zuma’s Ghost has won the Boarding Games for the second straight year. The crew—led by the unparalleled ability of Jenks in the cage, the brilliant pairing of Ma and Max in the pilot seats, the technical savvy of Sapphi, and the sword skills of Tamago and Rosa—has all come together to form an unstoppable team. Until it all comes apart.

Their commander and Master Chief are both retiring. Which means Jenks is getting promoted, a new commander is joining them, and a fresh-faced spacer is arriving to shake up their perfect dynamics. And while not being able to threepeat is on their minds, the more important thing is how they’re going to fulfill their mission in the black.

After a plea deal transforms a twenty-year ore-mining sentence into NeoG service, Spacer Chae Ho-ki earns a spot on the team. But there’s more to Chae that the crew doesn’t know, and they must hide a secret that could endanger everyone they love—as well as their new teammates—if it got out. At the same time, a seemingly untouchable coalition is attempting to take over trade with the Trappist colonies and start a war with the NeoG. When the crew of Zuma’s Ghost gets involved, they end up as targets of this ruthless enemy.

With new members aboard, will the team grow stronger this time around? Will they be able to win the games? And, more important, will they be able to surmount threats from both without and within? 

Book one in this series, A Pale Light in the Black, was one of my favourites of 2020, so I’ve been making grabby-hands at the sequel since I heard we were going to get one! I am INVESTED in this series, okay???

That’s it! Will you be reading any of these? Let me know!


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