Must-Have Monday #50!

Posted 6th September 2021 by Sia in Must-Have Mondays / 0 Comments

This week we have NINE new books to be excited about – featuring such delights as queer clones, immortal tightrope-walkers, hauntings and heists!

The All-Consuming World by Cassandra Khaw
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Sci Fi
Representation: Sapphic MC, queer cast, major nonbinary secondary character, major genderfluid/bigender secondary character
Published on: 7th September 2021

A diverse team of broken, diminished former criminals get back together to solve the mystery of their last, disastrous mission and to rescue a missing and much-changed comrade... but they’re not the only ones in pursuit of the secret at the heart of the planet Dimmuborgir. The highly-evolved AI of the universe have their own agenda and will do whatever it takes to keep humans from ever controlling the universe again. This band of dangerous women, half-clone and half-machine, must battle their own traumas and a universe of sapient ageships who want them dead, in order to settle their affairs once and for all. 

Cassandra Khaw’s debut novel is a page-turning exploration of humans and machines that is perfect for readers of Ann Leckie, Ursula Le Guin, and Kameron Hurley.

I got to read this early, so I can assure you that this is one of the best books of the year, no freaking question! It has gorgeous prose and an amazing queer cast who have to save themselves (and everyone like them) from the AIs who’ve decided they need to be eradicated. It’s vicious and beautiful and I love it, as I said in great detail in my review!

No Gods, No Monsters (The Convergence Saga, #1) by Cadwell Turnbull
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Black bi mc, Puerto Rican American sapphic mc, biracial bi ace trans mc, nonbinary side character, Black bi side character, Black side characters
Published on: 7th September 2021

One October morning, Laina gets the news that her brother was shot and killed by Boston cops. But what looks like a case of police brutality soon reveals something much stranger. Monsters are real. And they want everyone to know it.

As creatures from myth and legend come out of the shadows, seeking safety through visibility, their emergence sets off a chain of seemingly unrelated events. Members of a local werewolf pack are threatened into silence. A professor follows a missing friend’s trail of bread crumbs to a mysterious secret society. And a young boy with unique abilities seeks refuge in a pro-monster organization with secrets of its own. Meanwhile, more people start disappearing, suicides and hate crimes increase, and protests erupt globally, both for and against the monsters.

At the center is a mystery no one thinks to ask: Why now? What has frightened the monsters out of the dark?

The world will soon find out.

This is another one that’s just *chef’s kiss* It’s fast and sharp and has many things to say about race and queerness and intersectionality, but it’s also about, you know, MONSTERS COMING OUT OF THE CLOSET, which is a pitch that will always get me. I’m already dying for the sequel! You can read all my thoughts about it over in my review.

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova
Genres: Fantasy, Magical Realism
Representation: Brown cast
Published on: 7th September 2021

The Montoyas are used to a life without explanations. They know better than to ask why the pantry never seems to run low or empty, or why their matriarch won’t ever leave their home in Four Rivers—even for graduations, weddings, or baptisms. But when Orquídea Divina invites them to her funeral and to collect their inheritance, they hope to learn the secrets that she has held onto so tightly their whole lives. Instead, Orquídea is transformed, leaving them with more questions than answers.

Seven years later, her gifts have manifested in different ways for Marimar, Rey, and Tatinelly’s daughter, Rhiannon, granting them unexpected blessings. But soon, a hidden figure begins to tear through their family tree, picking them off one by one as it seeks to destroy Orquídea’s line. Determined to save what’s left of their family and uncover the truth behind their inheritance, the four descendants travel to Ecuador—to the place where Orquídea buried her secrets and broken promises and never looked back.

This sounds intriguing and lovely, and in combination with that gorgeous cover I am definitely going to be giving it a try!

How to Survive a Human Attack: A Guide for Werewolves, Mummies, Cyborgs, Ghosts, Nuclear Mutants, and Other Movie Monsters by K. E. Flann
Genres: Science Fantasy
Published on: 7th September 2021

Did you know human attacks account for a staggering 100 percent of premature deaths for witches, swamp monsters, cyborgs, and other supernatural, mutant, and exceptionally large beings?

The past millennia or so has seen not only an uptick in human attacks, but also increasingly indiscriminate victim selection. It is understandable to feel overwhelmed. From renowned preternaturalist K. E. Flann, How to Survive a Human Attack provides critical information at a critical time with chapters specifically tailored to their target audience, including:

· A Zombie’s Guide to Filling the Emptiness and Moving Forward

· First-Time Haunter’s Guide for Ghosts, Spirits, Poltergeists, Specters, and Wraiths

· Self-Training 101 for Werewolves: Sit, Don’t Speak, Stay Alive!

· What’s Happening to My Body?: Radioactive Mutants and the Safety of the Nuclear Family

The whole concept of this book delights me – I love silliness that pretends to take itself seriously, and hey, it’s not like monsters don’t need a how-to-survive-humans guide! Poor things are always getting attacked in movies.

It’s also more than a little bit funny that this is coming out in the same week as No Gods, No Monsters. I wonder if that was on purpose?

The Bones of Ruin by Sarah Raughley
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy
Representation: Black MC
Published on: 7th September 2021

An African tightrope walker who can’t die gets embroiled in a secret society’s deadly gladiatorial tournament in this thrilling historical fantasy set in an alternate 1880s London, perfect for fans of The Last Magician and The Gilded Wolves.

As an African tightrope dancer in Victorian London, Iris is used to being strange. She is certainly a strange sight for leering British audiences always eager for the spectacle of colonial curiosity. But Iris also has a secret that even “strange” doesn’t capture…​

She cannot die.

Haunted by her unnatural power and with no memories of her past, Iris is obsessed with discovering who she is. But that mission gets more complicated when she meets the dark and alluring Adam Temple, a member of a mysterious order called the Enlightenment Committee. Adam seems to know much more about her than he lets on, and he shares with her a terrifying revelation: the world is ending, and the Committee will decide who lives…and who doesn’t.

To help them choose a leader for the upcoming apocalypse, the Committee is holding the Tournament of Freaks, a macabre competition made up of vicious fighters with fantastical abilities. Adam wants Iris to be his champion, and in return he promises her the one thing she wants most: the truth about who she really is.

If Iris wants to learn about her shadowy past, she has no choice but to fight. But the further she gets in the grisly tournament, the more she begins to remember—and the more she wonders if the truth is something best left forgotten.

I really don’t know what to make of this one, but I have heard only good things, which is always a good start! I’ll almost certainly be giving this one a go, just because I’m so curious about that premise, and immortality isn’t a magical secret I see too often in the books I read. (And good lord and lady, that COVER!)

Among Thieves by M.J. Kuhn
Representation: Queer cast, F/F or wlw
Published on: 7th September 2021

A high-stakes heist novel set in a gritty world of magic and malice
In just over a year’s time, Ryia Cautella has already earned herself a reputation as the quickest, deadliest blade in the dockside city of Carrowwick—not to mention the sharpest tongue. But Ryia Cautella is not her real name.
For the past six years, a deadly secret has kept her in hiding, running from town to town, doing whatever it takes to stay one step ahead of the formidable Guildmaster—the sovereign ruler of the five kingdoms of Thamorr. No matter how far or fast she travels, his servants never fail to track her down...but even the most powerful men can be defeated.
Ryia’s path now leads directly into the heart of the Guildmaster’s stronghold, and against every instinct she has, it’s not a path she can walk alone. Forced to team up with a crew of assorted miscreants, smugglers, and thieves, Ryia must plan her next moves very carefully. If she succeeds, her freedom is won once and for all…but unfortunately for Ryia, her new allies are nearly as selfish as she is, and they all have plans of their own.

This has been hyped so much that I’m a little wary of it, but so many sources I trust have praised it as well, so yes, I’m going to give it a try. I don’t like heist stories particularly, but this one may have to do with taking down a magic-users slave-trade, and apparently the character dynamics are really great. Also, witty banter has been promised, and that’s always fun.

A Clash of Steel: A Treasure Island Remix by C.B. Lee
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Chinese cast, F/F or wlw
Published on: 7th September 2021

Two intrepid girls hunt for a legendary treasure on the deadly high seas in this YA remix of the classic adventure novel Treasure Island.

1826. The sun is setting on the golden age of piracy, and the legendary Dragon Fleet, the scourge of the South China Sea, is no more. Xiang has grown up with stories about the Dragon Fleet and its ruthless leader, a woman known only as the Dragon Queen, all her life. Xiang desperately wants to set sail and explore—mainly to find her father, a presumed dead crew member of the Dragon Fleet. Her only memento of him is a pendant she always wears, a simple but plain piece of gold jewelry.

But the pendant's true nature is revealed when a mysterious girl named Anh steals it, only to return it to Xiang in exchange for her help in decoding the tiny map scroll hidden inside. Rumor has it that the legendary Dragon Queen had one last treasure—the plunder of a thousand ports—hidden away on an island shrouded in mist that only can be seen once in a blue moon.

Xiang is convinced this map could lead to the fabled treasure. Captivated with the thrill of adventure, she joins Anh and her motley crew off in pursuit of the island. But the girls soon find that the sea—and especially those who sail it—are far more dangerous than the legends led them to believe.

A Clash of Steel is one of the Remixed Classics series where someone smart asked authors of colour to retell some of the classics of English Literature. Since I hate the classics without fail, I am super into this. (I’m pretty sure there’s also a Little Women retelling with Black sisters set during the American Civil War, so, you know, the whole series looks very promising.) This one is Treasure Island, but with Chinese pirates and queer girls and a cover I am very heart-eyes for, and I can’t wait to read it!

Major Detours by Zachary Sergi
Genres: Queer Protagonists
Representation: MC with anxiety, nonbinary MC, M/M or mlm
Published on: 7th September 2021

Choose your path forward in this mystical interactive YA about the powers of friendship, self-discovery, and tarot.

It's the summer before college and four best friends—Amelia, Chase, Cleo, and Logan—are on the first leg of their road trip inspired by the unique tarot deck that Amelia inherited from her grandmother. However, their trip full of visiting occult shops, bonding and sightseeing, takes a major detour as the friends discover that their tarot deck is more valuable—and coveted—than they could've ever imagined. As the friends race to finish this mystical scavenger-hunt across the West coast and uncover the mysteries of their tarot deck, it is you who will decide where to go next and how the story will end. With four possible final and romantic endings, you will get to make actual choices to further the friends’ road trip adventure in this unique interactive novel.

​Will you uncover the mysteries of the tarot deck and the legacy left behind? Will you help Amelia and Chase learn and grow? And will you unravel the secrets these friends keep from each other—and from themselves?

Do you remember those choose-your-own-adventure books, where you got to choose how the story went? This is one of those, but featuring tarot and queerness. It sounds like the digital ARCs were a mess, so it might be wiser to get this as a paper copy instead of an ebook if you’re interested, although there’s a good chance the retail ebook copies will be much better arranged.

The Girls Are Never Gone by Sarah Glenn Marsh
Genres: Queer Protagonists
Representation: Bisexual MC, lesbian love interest
Published on: 7th September 2021

Dare Chase doesn’t believe in ghosts.

Privately, she’s a supernatural skeptic. But publicly, she’s keeping her doubts to herself—because she’s the voice of Attachments, her brand-new paranormal investigation podcast, and she needs her ghost-loving listeners to tune in.

That’s what brings her to Arrington Estate. Thirty years ago, teenager Atheleen Bell drowned in Arrington’s lake, and legend says her spirit haunts the estate. Dare’s more interested in the suspicious circumstances surrounding her death—circumstances that she believes point to a living culprit, not the supernatural. Still, she’s vowed to keep an open mind as she investigates, even if she’s pretty sure what she’ll find.

But Arrington is full of surprises. Good ones like Quinn, the cute daughter of the house’s new owner. And baffling ones like the threatening messages left scrawled in paint on Quinn’s walls, the ghastly face that appears behind Dare’s own in the mirror, and the unnatural current that nearly drowns their friend Holly in the lake. As Dare is drawn deeper into the mysteries of Arrington, she’ll have to rethink the boundaries of what is possible. Because if something is lurking in the lake…it might not be willing to let her go.

This is more horror than fantasy, from the sounds of it, so I probably won’t be picking it up, but I felt like it deserved to be included!

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


Leave a Reply

(Enter your URL then click here to include a link to one of your blog posts.)

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