Must-Have Monday #56

Posted 18th October 2021 by Siavahda in Must-Have Mondays / 0 Comments

Fairytale retellings and ghost stories feature in this week’s SEVEN new releases!

Little Thieves (Little Thieves, #1) by Margaret Owen
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Demisexual-coded MC, demisexual-coded love interest, secondary sapphic characters and F/F or wlw, very minor nonbinary characters, queernorm world
Published on: 19th October 2021
Goodreads


Once upon a time, there was a horrible girl...

Vanja Schmidt knows that no gift is freely given, not even a mother's love--and she's on the hook for one hell of a debt. Vanja, the adopted goddaughter of Death and Fortune, was Princess Gisele's dutiful servant up until a year ago. That was when Vanja's otherworldly mothers demanded a terrible price for their care, and Vanja decided to steal her future back... by stealing Gisele's life for herself.

The real Gisele is left a penniless nobody while Vanja uses an enchanted string of pearls to take her place. Now, Vanja leads a lonely but lucrative double life as princess and jewel thief, charming nobility while emptying their coffers to fund her great escape. Then, one heist away from freedom, Vanja crosses the wrong god and is cursed to an untimely end: turning into jewels, stone by stone, for her greed.

Vanja has just two weeks to figure out how to break her curse and make her getaway. And with a feral guardian half-god, Gisele's sinister fiancé, and an overeager junior detective on Vanja's tail, she'll have to pull the biggest grift yet to save her own life.

Margaret Owen, author of The Merciful Crow series, crafts a delightfully irreverent retelling of "The Goose Girl" about stolen lives, thorny truths, and the wicked girls at the heart of both.

I have to list this one first, because I already know it’s freaking stunning. An incredibly original and insightful take on a lesser-known fairytale, you really don’t want to miss this one!

Flowers for the Sea by Zin E. Rocklyn
Genres: Fantasy
Published on: 19th October 2021
Goodreads

Flowers for the Sea is a dark, dazzling debut novella that reads like Rosemary's Baby by way of Octavia E. Butler.

We are a people who do not forget.

Survivors from a flooded kingdom struggle alone on an ark. Resources are scant, and ravenous beasts circle. Their fangs are sharp.

Among the refugees is Iraxi: ostracized, despised, and a commoner who refused a prince, she’s pregnant with a child that might be more than human. Her fate may be darker and more powerful than she can imagine.

Zin E. Rocklyn’s extraordinary debut is a lush, gothic fantasy about the prices we pay and the vengeance we seek.

I’ve gotta be honest, this sounds kind of dark, but it also sounds pretty incredible, and the early reviews have been full of praise, so I’ll be giving it a go!

Gender Swapped Fairy Tales by Karrie Fransman, Jonathan Plackett
Genres: Fantasy
Published on: 19th October 2021
Goodreads

Discover a collection of fairy tales unlike the ones you've read before . . .

Once upon a time, in the middle of winter, a King sat at a window and sewed. As he sewed and gazed out onto the landscape, he pricked his finger with the needle, and three drops of blood fell onto the snow outside.

People have been telling fairy tales to their children for hundreds of years. And for almost as long, people have been rewriting those fairy tales - to help their children imagine a world where they are the heroes. Karrie and Jon were reading their child these stories when they hit upon a dilemma, something previous versions of these stories were missing, and so they decided to make one vital change . . .

They haven't rewritten the stories in this book. They haven't reimagined endings, or reinvented characters. What they have done is switch all the genders.

It might not sound like that much of a change, but you'll be dazzled by the world this swap creates - and amazed by the new characters you're about to discover.

I would be in love with this book for the beautiful illustrations alone, but I also adore the deceptively simple concept of taking the fairytales ‘everybody knows’ and swapping the genders around. Rapunzel with a beard! How can you not adore that???

City of Shattered Light by Claire Winn
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Sci Fi
Representation: F/F
Published on: 19th October 2021
Goodreads

As darkness closes in on the city of shattered light, an heiress and an outlaw must decide whether to fend for themselves or fight for each other.

As heiress to a powerful tech empire, seventeen-year-old Asa Almeida strives to prove she's more than her manipulative father's shadow. But when he uploads her rebellious sister’s mind to an experimental brain, Asa will do anything to save her sister from reprogramming—including fleeing her predetermined future with her sister’s digitized mind in tow. With a bounty on her head and a rogue A.I. hunting her, Asa’s getaway ship crash-lands in the worst possible place: the neon-drenched outlaw paradise, Requiem.

Gun-slinging smuggler Riven Hawthorne is determined to claw her way up Requiem’s underworld hierarchy. A runaway rich girl is exactly the bounty Riven needs—until a nasty computer virus spreads in Asa’s wake, causing a citywide blackout and tech quarantine. To get the payout for Asa and save Requiem from the monster in its circuits, Riven must team up with her captive.

Riven breaks skulls the way Asa breaks circuits, but their opponent is unlike anything they’ve ever seen. The A.I. exploits the girls’ darkest memories and deepest secrets, threatening to shatter the fragile alliance they’re both depending on. As one of Requiem’s 154-hour nights grows darker, the girls must decide whether to fend for themselves or fight for each other before Riven’s city and Asa’s sister are snuffed out forever.

I have heard only good things about this, and who doesn’t love that cover? I am Intrigued!

Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood
Genres: Fantasy
Representation: Brown MC, Ethopian-coded cast
Published on: 19th October 2021
Goodreads


What the heart desires, the house destroys...

Andromeda is a debtera—an exorcist hired to cleanse households of the Evil Eye. When a handsome young heir named Magnus Rochester reaches out to hire her, Andromeda quickly realizes this is a job like no other, with horrifying manifestations at every turn, and that Magnus is hiding far more than she has been trained for. Death is the most likely outcome if she stays, but leaving Magnus to live out his curse alone isn’t an option. Evil may roam the castle’s halls, but so does a burning desire.

Kiersten White meets Tomi Adeyemi in this Ethiopian-inspired debut fantasy retelling of Jane Eyre.

I hated Jane Eyre in school, and the various retellings I’ve seen haven’t caught my interest – until now. Ethiopian-inspired and with an exorcist Jane?! Hells yes!

Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw
Genres: Queer Protagonists
Representation: Bisexual Chinese MC
Published on: 19th October 2021
Goodreads

Cassandra Khaw's Nothing But Blackened Teeth is a gorgeously creepy haunted house tale, steeped in Japanese folklore and full of devastating twists.

A Heian-era mansion stands abandoned, its foundations resting on the bones of a bride and its walls packed with the remains of the girls sacrificed to keep her company.

It’s the perfect wedding venue for a group of thrill-seeking friends.

But a night of food, drinks, and games quickly spirals into a nightmare. For lurking in the shadows is the ghost bride with a black smile and a hungry heart.

And she gets lonely down there in the dirt.

Let’s not beat around the bush: I am 110% certain this is going to give me nightmares, but after Khaw’s All-Consuming World, I will read anything they write. Even full-on horror!

The Ghost Sequences by A.C. Wise
Published on: 19th October 2021
Goodreads

From A.C. Wise, the acclaimed author of Wendy, Darling, comes a brand new collection of horror stories, The Ghost Sequences.

"A haunting is a moment of trauma, infinitely repeated. It extends forward and backward in time. It is the hole grief makes. It is a house built by memory in-between your skin and bones."

A lush and elegant collection of tales - many having appeared in various "Best Of" anthologies - teeming with frightful and tragic events, yet profoundly and intimately human. These chilling tales will engross and enthrall.

For readers of Kelly Link, Carmen Maria Machado, and Angela Carter, this is a must have collection of ghostly tales set to deliver a frisson of terror and glee.

More horror – but maybe short stories will be easier to deal with? And even if they’re not, this has to be one of my favourite book covers of 2021!

That’s all I’ve got! Have I missed any I should know about? Will you be reading any of these? Let me know!

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