Must-Have Monday #55

Posted 11th October 2021 by Sia in Must-Have Mondays / 0 Comments

There are ELEVEN releases-of-interest this week (that I know about), ranging from paperwork-on-supernaturals to Finnish mythology and weird-and-wonderful portal fantasy!

The Quicksilver Court (Rooks and Ruin, #2) by Melissa Caruso
Genres: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Bi/pansexual MC, secondary nonbinary character, queernorm world
Published on: 12th October 2021

The Quicksilver Court continues the wildly original epic fantasy series bursting with intrigue and ambition, questioned loyalties, and broken magic that began with The Obsidian Tower. 

Ryxander, Warden of Gloamingard, has failed. Unsealed by her blood, the Door hidden within the black tower has opened. Now, for the first time since the age of the Graces, demons walk the world. 

As tensions grow between nations, all eyes-and daggers are set on Morgrain, fallen under the Demon of Discord's control. In an attempt to save her home from destruction, Ryx and the Rookery set out to find a powerful artifact. But powerful enemies are on the hunt and they're closing in fast.

I really enjoyed the first book in this series, The Obsidian Tower, and I am VERY INVESTED in finding out what happens next! THAT ENDING. WHAT. HOW DARE. So glad the suspense is almost over!

Along the Saltwise Sea (The Up-and-Under, #2) by A. Deborah Baker
Genres: Fantasy, Portal Fantasy
Published on: 12th October 2021

For readers of Kelly Barnhill and Cat Valente's Fairyland books, adventure and danger lurk Along the Saltwise Sea in this new book by Seanan McGuire's latest open pseudonym, A. Deborah Baker.

Be sure to explore the myriad wonders that can be found Along the Saltwise Sea.

After climbing Over the Woodward Wall and making their way across the forest, Avery and Zib found themselves acquiring some extraordinary friends in their journey through the Up-and-Under.

After staying the night, uninvited, at a pirate queen’s cottage in the woods, the companions find themselves accountable to its owner, and reluctantly agree to work off their debt as her ship sets sail, bound for lands unknown. But the queen and her crew are not the only ones on board, and the monsters at sea aren’t all underwater.

The friends will need to navigate the stormy seas of obligation and honor on their continuing journey along the improbable road

Writing as A. Deborah Baker, New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Seanan McGuire takes our heroes Avery and Zib (and their friends Niamh and the Crow Girl) on a high seas adventure, with pirates and queens and all the dangers of the deep as they continue their journey through the Up-and-Under on their quest for the road that will lead them home....
Welcome to a world of talking trees and sarcastic owls, of dangerous mermaids and captivating queens in this exceptional tale for readers who are young at heart in this companion book to McGuire's critically-acclaimed Middlegame and the sequel to Over the Woodward Wall.

Another sequel, this time to A. Deborah Baker’s (aka Seanan McGuire’s) Over the Woodward Wall, which in turn is a kind of spin-off/tie-in to her novel Middlegame! I really liked Woodward Wall – it was a pretty wonderful mix of whimsy and eerie and pointed, and it’s just a fact that no one has an imagination quite like McGuire’s – so yes, I have this one preordered and can’t wait to get my mitts on it!

The Heartbreak Bakery by A.R. Capetta
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Agender MC, transmasc love interest, assorted queer secondary characters
Published on: 12th October 2021

Teenage baker Syd sends ripples of heartbreak through Austin’s queer community when a batch of post-being-dumped brownies turns out to be magical—and makes everyone who eats them break up.

“What’s done is done.”Unless, of course, it was done by my brownies. Then it’s getting undone.

Syd (no pronouns, please) has always dealt with big, hard-to-talk-about things by baking. Being dumped is no different, except now Syd is baking at the Proud Muffin, a queer bakery and community space in Austin. And everyone who eats Syd’s breakup brownies . . . breaks up. Even Vin and Alec, who own the Proud Muffin. And their breakup might take the bakery down with it. Being dumped is one thing; causing ripples of queer heartbreak through the community is another. But the cute bike delivery person, Harley (he or they, check the pronoun pin, it’s probably on the messenger bag), believes Syd about the magic baking. And Harley believes Syd’s magical baking can fix things, too—one recipe at a time.

I’ve been looking forward to this book for AGES – Capetta is one of my favourite authors; I cannot tell you how much I love their Brilliant Death duology! Unlike Brilliant Death, this story has a modern urban setting, but it sounds like it’s easily as queer, if not possibly more so. And I am ALWAYS here for magic+baking!

Jade Fire Gold by June C.L. Tan
Genres: Fantasy, High Fantasy
Representation: East-Asian coded cast, sapphic secondary characters, achillean secondary character
Published on: 12th October 2021

Girls of Paper and Fire meets The Tiger at Midnight in June CL Tan’s stunning debut, inspired by Chinese mythology, with rich magic and an epic slow-burn romance.
In an empire on the brink of war . . .

Ahn is no one, with no past and no family.

Altan is a lost heir, his future stolen away as a child.

When they meet, Altan sees in Ahn a path to reclaiming the throne. Ahn sees a way to finally unlock her past and understand her arcane magical abilities.

But they may have to pay a far deadlier price than either could have imagined.

Ferocious action, shadowy intrigue, and a captivating romance collide in June CL Tan’s debut, a stunning homage to the Xianxia novel with a tender, beating heart, perfect for fans of The Bone Witch and We Hunt the Flame.

I have heard nothing but good things about Jade Fire Gold, and you have to admit that it looks pretty epic!

The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera
Representation: Latina MC
Published on: 12th October 2021

From Pura Belpré Honor-winner Donna Barba Higuera—a brilliant journey through the stars, to the very heart of what makes us human.

"Gripping in its twists and turns, and moving in its themes – truly a beautiful cuento."—New York Times

"Clever and compelling . wonderfully subversive."—The Wall Street Journal

★ "This tale packs a wallop. Exquisite."—Kirkus Reviews (starred)

★ "Gripping, euphonious, and full of storytelling magic."—Publishers Weekly (starred)

★ "A strong, heroic character, fighting incredible odds to survive and protect others."—School Library Journal (starred)

Había una vez . . .

There lived a girl named Petra Peña, who wanted nothing more than to be a storyteller, like her abuelita.

But Petra's world is ending. Earth has been destroyed by a comet, and only a few hundred scientists and their children – among them Petra and her family – have been chosen to journey to a new planet. They are the ones who must carry on the human race.

Hundreds of years later, Petra wakes to this new planet – and the discovery that she is the only person who remembers Earth. A sinister Collective has taken over the ship during its journey, bent on erasing the sins of humanity's past. They have systematically purged the memories of all aboard – or purged them altogether.

Petra alone now carries the stories of our past, and with them, any hope for our future. Can she make them live again?

This sounds beautiful and heartbreaking in equal measure, and stories about the power of stories will never not be my thing!

The Cabinet by Un-su Kim, Sean Lin Halbert
Genres: Fantasy
Representation: South Korean cast
Published on: 12th October 2021

Winner of the Munhakdongne Novel Award, South Korea’s most prestigious literary prize.

Cabinet 13 looks exactly like any normal filing cabinet…Except this cabinet is filled with files on the ‘symptomers’, humans whose strange abilities and bizarre experiences might just mark the emergence of a new species.

But to Mr Kong, the harried office worker whose job it is to look after the cabinet, the symptomers are a headache; especially the one who won’t stop calling every day, asking to be turned into a cat.

A richly funny and fantastical novel about the strangeness at the heart of even the most everyday lives, from one of South Korea’s most acclaimed novelists.

Translated by Sean Lin Halbert

This is a novel translated from Korean, and it sounds so – bizarre and delightful??? I don’t know, there’s just something about bureaucrats + supernaturals that always makes me perk up. I think it’s the randomness of the combination. Very excited to give this one a go!

Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World (Aristotle and Dante, #2) by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Genres: Queer Protagonists
Representation: Mexican-American gay MC, Mexican-American bi/pansexual love interest
Published on: 12th October 2021

The highly anticipated sequel to the critically acclaimed, multiple award-winning novel Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is an achingly romantic, tender tale sure to captivate fans of Adam Silvera and Mary H.K. Choi.

In Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, two boys in a border town fell in love. Now, they must discover what it means to stay in love and build a relationship in a world that seems to challenge their very existence.

Ari has spent all of high school burying who he really is, staying silent and invisible. He expected his senior year to be the same. But something in him cracked open when he fell in love with Dante, and he can’t go back. Suddenly he finds himself reaching out to new friends, standing up to bullies of all kinds, and making his voice heard. And, always, there is Dante, dreamy, witty Dante, who can get on Ari’s nerves and fill him with desire all at once.

The boys are determined to forge a path for themselves in a world that doesn’t understand them. But when Ari is faced with a shocking loss, he’ll have to fight like never before to create a life that is truthfully, joyfully his own.

It might not be spec fic, but there’s no way I was going to leave this Aristotle & Dante sequel off this week’s list!

The Moon and the Sun by Vonda N. McIntyre
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy
Published on: 12th October 2021

In seventeenth-century France, Louis XIV rules with flamboyant ambition. From the Hall of Mirrors to the vermin-infested attics of the Chateauat Versailles, courtiers compete to please the king, sacrificing fortune,principles and sacred bonds.

Here, Marie-Josephe de la Croix looks forward to assisting her brother, Yves, in the scientific study of the rare sea monster he has captured. But when Marie-Josephe makes a discovery about the sea creature that threatens all her brother, the courtiers and the King understand, it is left to her to defy the institutions that power her world.

But in the decadent court of King Louis, where morality is skewed and corruption reigns - will anyone listen to a single voice? Somehow, she must find the courage to follow her heart and her convictions - even at the cost of changing her life forever.

This is a re-issue of one of my favourite books! And now with a brand-new, absolutely STUNING cover! Time for a reread, I think!

Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyre
Genres: Sci Fi
Published on: 12th October 2021

A haunting story of an extraordinary woman on a dangerous quest in a far-future post-apocalyptic world.

Snake travels the land with her serpents, the rattlesnake Sand, the cobra Mist and the rare alien dreamsnake called Grass, whose bite can ease the fear and pain of death.

But the blasted landscape of a far-future post-holocaust Earth is a dangerous place, even for such a highly regarded elite healer . . . especially when an unexpected death sends her on a desperate quest to reclaim her healing powers.

Dreamsnake, winner of the Hugo, Nebula and Locus Awards, is back in print at last.

Dreamsnake is another reissue by the same author as The Moon and The Sun, but this one I’ve not read before. A new edition is a great excuse to finally sit down and read it!

Goddess of Limbo (The Forgotten Splinters Chronicles Book 1) by Lea Falls
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: (from the author) LGBTQIA+ (5 lesbians, 4 gay men, 5 bisexuals, 1 nonbinary person, 1 trans man, 1 demisexual man); PTSD/C-PTSD, cerebral palsy, schizoaffective disorder, eating disorder, autism (identity first), main characters of different skin colors and cultural backgrounds
Published on: 14th October 2021

Free will is a relic of the past. Souls have a prewritten path to heaven. If they miss it, they are doomed to roam the lost realm of limbo as splinters of their former selves or worse—as demons.
Their only hope is the reaper Alames, whose own soul shattered when her celestial lover, Balthos, usurped their creators to make them gods. In her absence, he builds a pantheon of monsters and tricks the mortals, whom he blames for his grief, into worshiping him. But when a new generation defies Balthos’s law, Alames’s splinters appear among them.

Brilliant physicist Ally longs for progress and innovation, but the Council controlling her nation strips the “Mad Princess” of power. Pregnant and uncertain, the unrivaled Captain Se’azana abandons her career for the false promises of love. The starving serf Richard makes a deal with a Fae demon to save his son. And teenage rebel Vana trades her guitar for a blade when faced with ruthless nobility.

When worlds tear and hearts break, will they defy the gods’ narrative to create a brighter future or will they obey the lies preached and doom their souls forever?

For fans of THE STORMLIGHT ARCHIVE and THE PRIORY OF THE ORANGE TREE comes an epic rollercoaster ride of demons, rebellion, and dark magic.

From what I can gather from early reviews, this sounds incredibly complicated, but complicated worldbuilding is my jam, and I’m very willing to take a gamble on this one.

Cry of the Firebird (The Firebird Faerie Tales #1) by Amy Kuivalainen
Genres: Fantasy
Published on: 14th October 2021

A firebird is reborn on the borders of Russia, a gate to a world of monsters and magic is breaking, and only a reluctant, untrained shaman stands in the way of a flood of supernatural darkness...

Anya is still reeling from the death of her grandfather when a strange encounter with the Finnish God of the Dead changes her life forever: Her family has been guarding the gates to the Russian otherworld on their farm for centuries, and she’s the new gatekeeper. Worse, if she doesn’t awaken her magical abilities and assume her new role, the gate will break, unleashing a flood of monsters and dark gods into their world.

As Anya struggles to make sense of her changing world, she can’t deny the strange encounters. She’ll need to accept her fate and work with the legendary firebird if she hopes to survive—and protect humanity.

I’ll be honest, I don’t know if this would have caught my attention if not for the mention of Finnish mythology – which hardly ever gets featured in English-language fantasy! So fingers crossed it turns out to be epic!

And that makes 11! Did I miss any books I should know about? Will you be reading any of these? Let me know!

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