Must-Have Monday #52!

Posted 20th September 2021 by Siavahda in Must-Have Mondays / 0 Comments

This week there are NINE new releases I’m excited about, featuring mages and madness and dangerous tales!

The Tensorate Series: (The Black Tides of Heaven, The Red Threads of Fortune, The Descent of Monsters, The Ascent to Godhood) by Neon Yang
Representation: queernorm world, queer cast incl trans, nonbinary, pansexual
Published on: 21st September 2021
Genres: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Goodreads

The Tensorate Series, which has been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, Locus, and Lambda Literary Awards, is an incomparable treasure of modern epic fantasy.

Across four novellas, Neon Yang established themself as a fantasist in bold defiance of the limitations of their genre. Available now in a single volume, these four novellas trace the generational decline of an empire and unfurl a world that is rich and strange beyond anything you've dreamed.

In the Tensorate Series you will find: rebellious nonbinary scions of empire, sky-spanning nagas with experimental souls, revolutionary engineers bent on bringing power to the people, pugilist monks, packs of loyal raptors, and much, much more.

The Tensorate Series omnibus contains The Black Tides of Heaven, The Red Threads of Fortune, The Descent of Monsters, and To Ascend to Godhood

Maybe you’ve read the Tensorate series and maybe you haven’t, but either way we all need the omnibus. Omnibuses are awesome; that’s just a scientific fact!

Gutter Mage by J.S. Kelley
Published on: 21st September 2021
Genres: Fantasy
Goodreads

J.S. Kelley weaves epic fantasy and hardboiled noir in this fast-paced, twisting tale of magic, mystery, and a whole lot of unruly behavior.

In a kingdom where magic fuels everything from street lamps to horseless carriages, the mage guilds of Penador wield power equal to the king himself. So when Lord Edmund’s infant son is kidnapped by the ruthless Alath Guild, he turns to the one person who’s feared by even the most magically adept: Rosalind Featherstone, a.k.a. the Gutter Mage.

But as Roz delves into the circumstances behind the child’s disappearance, she uncovers an old enemy from her traumatic past and a long-brewing plot that could lead to the death of countless innocents, as well as the complete collapse of Penadorian society itself!

I’m really intrigued by this one – I mean, who doesn’t love an underdog mage? They’re the best kind!

Beasts and Beauty: Dangerous Tales by Soman Chainani, Julia Iredale
Representation: Queer MCs, MCs of colour
Published on: 21st September 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Goodreads

You think you know these stories, don’t you?

You are wrong.

You don’t know them at all.

Twelve tales, twelve dangerous tales of mystery, magic, and rebellious hearts. Each twists like a spindle to reveal truths full of warning and triumph, truths that capture hearts long kept tame and set them free, truths that explore life . . . and death.

A prince has a surprising awakening . . .

A beauty fights like a beast . . .

A boy refuses to become prey . . .

A path to happiness is lost. . . . then found again.

New York Times bestselling author Soman Chainani respins old stories into fresh fairy tales for a new era and creates a world like no other. These stories know you. They understand you. They reflect you. They are tales for our times. So read on, if you dare.

Fairytale retellings are always interesting – and far more so when they take a more diverse form than the original! I’ve only heard good things about this collection, including the fact that it puts BIPOC and queer characters front and center!

Iron Widow (Iron Widow, #1) by Xiran Jay Zhao
Representation: Chinese-coded cast, bisexual love interests, polyamory
Published on: 21st September 2021
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Sci Fi
Goodreads

The boys of Huaxia dream of pairing up with girls to pilot Chrysalises, giant transforming robots that can battle the mecha aliens that lurk beyond the Great Wall. It doesn't matter that the girls often die from the mental strain.

When 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, it's to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister's death. But she gets her vengeance in a way nobody expected—she kills him through the psychic link between pilots and emerges from the cockpit unscathed. She is labeled an Iron Widow, a much-feared and much-silenced kind of female pilot who can sacrifice boys to power up Chrysalises instead.​

To tame her unnerving yet invaluable mental strength, she is paired up with Li Shimin, the strongest and most controversial male pilot in Huaxia​. But now that Zetian has had a taste of power, she will not cower so easily. She will miss no opportunity to leverage their combined might and infamy to survive attempt after attempt on her life, until she can figure out exactly why the pilot system works in its misogynist way—and stop more girls from being sacrificed.

I’m heartbroken that this one didn’t work for me, but it’s going to work for a LOT of other people, and if it sounds at all interesting to you I hope you give it a try! Especially if you want properly ruthless anti-heroines, because it’s been a long time since I saw one as genuinely borderline-dark as this.

Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune
Representation: Bi/pansexual MC, Black gay love interest, Asian-American secondary character, Black secondary character, M/M or mlm
Published on: 21st September 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Goodreads

When a reaper comes to collect Wallace Price from his own funeral, Wallace suspects he really might be dead.

Instead of leading him directly to the afterlife, the reaper takes him to a small village. On the outskirts, off the path through the woods, tucked between mountains, is a particular tea shop, run by a man named Hugo. Hugo is the tea shop's owner to locals and the ferryman to souls who need to cross over.

But Wallace isn't ready to abandon the life he barely lived. With Hugo's help he finally starts to learn about all the things he missed in life.

When the Manager, a curious and powerful being, arrives at the tea shop and gives Wallace one week to cross over, Wallace sets about living a lifetime in seven days.

Under the Whispering Door is a contemporary fantasy about a ghost who refuses to cross over and the ferryman he falls in love with.

I reviewed this book, but the tl;dr version is that it’s going to break your heart – but you will definitely enjoy it.

The Escapement by Lavie Tidhar
Published on: 21st September 2021
Genres: Fantasy
Goodreads

Into the Escapement rides the Stranger, a lone gunman on a quest to rescue his son in a strange parallel reality. But it is easy to lose one’s way on an endlessly shifting, unpredictable landscape. Especially in a place full of dangerous mirror-images of a child's beloved things: lawless heroes, giants made of stone, downtrodden clowns, spectacular symbol storms, and an endless war between gods and shadowy beings.

As the Stranger has learned, the Escapement is a dreamscape of deep mysteries, unlikely allies, and unwinnable battles. Yet the flower the he seeks still lies beyond the Mountains of Darkness. Time is running out as the Stranger journeys deeper into the secret heart of an unimaginable world.

I’ve never managed to get through a Tidhar book before, but Catherynne Valente said this about it

“Lavie Tidhar is a voice to be reckoned with. With The Escapement, he fearlessly crests the wave of the New New Weird with a wild, decadent hybrid of The Dark Tower and Carnivale. A vivid beach read, if the beach was made of greasepaint and gunpowder.”

–which means I’ve just got to try it now, don’t I?

City of Thieves (Battle Dragons #1) by Alex London
Representation: MC with ADHD, nonbinary secondary character
Published on: 21st September 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Goodreads

In a modern mega-city built around dragons, one boy gets caught up in the world of underground dragon battles and a high-stakes gang war that could tear his family apart.

Once, dragons nearly drove themselves to extinction. But in the city of Drakopolis, humans domesticated them centuries ago. Now dragons haul the city’s cargo, taxi its bustling people between skyscrapers, and advertise its wares in bright, neon displays. Most famously of all, the dragons battle. Different breeds take to the skies in nighttime bouts between the infamous kins—criminal gangs who rule through violence and intimidation.

Abel has always loved dragons, but after a disastrous showing in his dragon rider’s exam, he's destined never to fly one himself. All that changes the night his sister appears at his window, entrusting him with a secret...and a stolen dragon.

Turns out, his big sister is a dragon thief! Too bad his older brother is a rising star in Drakopolis law enforcement...

To protect his friends and his family, Abel must partner with the stolen beast, riding in kin battles and keeping more secrets than a dragon has scales.
When everyone wants him fighting on their side, can Abel figure out what's worth fighting for?

Please point to the part of that book description that DOESN’T sound mindblowingly epic?!

Love All Year 2021: A Holidays Anthology by K.D. Casey, Kosoko Jackson, Hudson Lin, Jasmine Luck, Elsie Marrone, October Rhea, Soumi Roy, Elizabeth Kahn
Representation: MCs of Colour, Queer MCs
Published on: 21st September 2021
Genres: Queer Protagonists
Goodreads

Love All Year is a romance anthology featuring non-Christian holidays and cultural celebrations from around the world.

"The Koufax Curse" by KD Casey: On Tu Bishvat, former baseball rivals—now teammates—plant the seeds of a new romance.

"Kwanzaa Kiss" by Kosoko Jackson: After a breakup, Anthony Jenkins returns home to Atlanta to lick his wounds and help his parents with their annual Kwanzaa scavenger hunt and is paired with his high school crush. Markus Kennedy. Over the next 12 hours, the two men will try to win the scavenger hunt, where finding the pillars of Kwanzaa might be the goal, but love might find its way into their hearts.

"Their Dragonboat" by Hudson Lin: When OB Julie agrees to join the queer women/enby dragon boat team, she didn't expect to fall in love. But team captain Rae, with their ever-changing hair color, a silver lip ring, and sleeve of flower tattoos is too fascinating to resist.

"Yes, Chef" by Jasmine Luck: A lawyer finds himself in hot water when his injured mother can't cook the Lunar New Year feast. He needs lessons, fast. Can new London resident Zoey help him turn up the heat in his kitchen?

"Spiraling Closer" by Elsie Marrone: When recently divorced Jenny accidentally lobs a bread roll at her rabbi's single, hot nephew, the last thing she expects is to find romance. But in the new year, anything can happen--that is, if she can silence her inner critic long enough to give love a second chance.

"Heart and History" by October Rhea: Liberty Stanley is ready to love herself again after leaving a toxic relationship. Black Love Day is the perfect holiday to put her plan into action. Isaac Golden sees Black Love Day as just another thing to teach his students. He likes to run his classroom in his own way, but he won't admit to his new co-teacher Liberty that he is both fumbling the lesson plan and falling for her. As they get to know each other, Isaac discovers that Black Love Day may have something for him after all.

"A Tangled Truce" by Soumi Roy: Rohini should be thrilled when the hottie on the plane to Kolkata turns out to be the man her parents want her to marry. Hridan came to sell his grandma's house, not to fall for a girl whose fear of commitment outweighs their attraction. Hridan has five days of Durga Puja to win her over, while Rohini must decide if he is worth risking her heart for.

This sounds incredibly sweet and soft, and I’m absolutely in love with the idea of an anthology featuring non-Christian holidays! Can’t wait to curl up with this one!

Traitors of the Black Crown (Black Crown, #1) by Cate Pearce
Representation: Sapphic MCs, F/F or wlw
Published on: 22nd September 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Goodreads

Three women will betray the black crown. A Knight. A Duchess. A Queen.

Raena Schinen narrowly escaped when the Queen’s guard murdered her entire family. If Raena’s survival is exposed, she’ll be next. For fifteen years Raena has hidden as a male Knight, “Sir Rowan”, consumed by her vengeful desire to assassinate the Queen.

The moment Raena is close enough to exact her revenge, she is unexpectedly exiled to a foreign land. There she serves the common-born Duchess Aven Colby, whose suspicious kinship with the Queen further threatens Raena’s delicate secrets.

Just as they become united in a common goal to curb a looming invasion, unexpected heat and romance blossoms between “Sir Rowan” and Aven. The peril demands they set out on a journey to form clandestine political alliances, risking the Queen’s wrath, and drawing Raena and Aven closer together.

But no one in the kingdom could have imagined the sinister foe rising from below the surface. In order to save themselves and those they love, Raena, Aven, and the Queen must recognize who are the oppressors and who will unite against the Black Crown.

I’m excited for this one – fierce sapphic women in a Game of Thrones-esque setting??? HI YES I’LL TAKE 12 PLEASE AND THANK YOU

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

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