Must-Have Monday #57

Posted 25th October 2021 by Sia in Must-Have Mondays / 0 Comments

This week I have SEVEN books on my radar, including several that are being self-pubbed or released by indie presses, and a couple that are outside of my usual comfort zone, but that I really want to read anyway!

Miss Percy's Pocket Guide to the Care and Feeding of British Dragons (A Miss Percy Guide #1) by Quenby Olson
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy
Published on: 26th October 2021

Miss Mildred Percy inherits a dragon.

Ah, but we’ve already got ahead of ourselves…

Miss Mildred Percy is a spinster. She does not dance, she has long stopped dreaming, and she certainly does not have adventures. That is, until her great uncle has the audacity to leave her an inheritance, one that includes a dragon’s egg.

The egg - as eggs are wont to do - decides to hatch, and Miss Mildred Percy is suddenly thrust out of the role of “spinster and general wallflower” and into the unprecedented position of “spinster and keeper of dragons.”

But England has not seen a dragon since… well, ever. And now Mildred must contend with raising a dragon (that should not exist), kindling a romance (with a humble vicar), and embarking on an adventure she never thought could be hers for the taking.

Regency settings with dragons?! YES PLEASE! Olson apparently wrote this book during the pandemic, publishing it a chapter at a time on her Patreon, and a book written as an act of escapism with dragons is sure to be my cup of tea. I can’t wait to start reading it tomorrow!

Tink and Wendy by Kelly Ann Jacobson
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Pansexual MC
Published on: 26th October 2021

What happens when Tinker Bell is in love with both Peter Pan and Wendy?

In this sparkling re-imagining of Peter Pan, Peter and Wendy’s granddaughter Hope Darling finds the reclusive Tinker Bell squatting at the Darling mansion in order to care for the graves of her two lost friends after a love triangle gone awry. As Hope wins the fairy’s trust, Tink tells her the truth about Wendy and Peter—and her own role in their ultimate fate. Told in three alternating perspectives—past, present, and excerpts from a book called Neverland: A History written by Tink’s own fairy godmother—this queer adaptation is for anyone who has ever wondered if there might have been more to the story of Tinker Bell and the rest of the Peter Pan legend.

Peter Pan is not my favourite classic, but that only makes me more interested in retellings and reimaginings. A pansexual Tinkerbell in love with both Peter AND Wendy is a sure way to get my attention. Although the early reviews are a bit mixed, there’s been a lot of talk about lyrical prose, which obviously not everyone enjoys, but I Very Much Do. So I’m excited!

Sacaran Nights (The Masque Duology Book 1) by Rachel Emma Shaw
Genres: Fantasy
Published on: 28th October 2021

"Sacara is decaying. The dead walk the streets, fungi light the night, and Dagner must fight to keep the rot at bay."

Legacy is everything in Sacara. Those few who inherit live only to keep theirs alive, protecting the ghosts of their ancestors from the corruption seeping into every corner of the city.

Dagner longs to leave - to create a legacy for himself and see the world beyond - but he is trapped by an inheritance that was never meant to be his. When a figure from his past returns to claim the legacy Dagner has sworn to protect, he must decide if he will forge his own path, or stay and make the sacrifices needed to save the city of the dead.

From SPFBO finalist author, Rachel Emma Shaw, comes a new take on dark fantasy, one that's built from the legacies of the dead.

I know almost nothing about this book, but Shaw’s been on my radar for a while, and I’m in love with the Aesthetic of this book – a whole city illuminated by bioluminescent fungi?! YES PLEASE. Plus, it’s definitely the right time of year for some dark fantasy.

Total Creative Control (Creative Types, #1) by Joanna Chambers, Sally Malcolm
Genres: Queer Protagonists
Published on: 28th October 2021

Sunshine PA, meet Grumpy Boss ...

When fanfic writer Aaron Page landed a temp job with the creator of hit TV show, Leeches, it was only meant to last a week. Three years later, Aaron’s still there ...

It could be because he loves the creative challenge. It could be because he’s a huge Leeches fanboy. It’s definitely not because of Lewis Hunter, his extremely demanding, staggeringly rude ... and breathtakingly gorgeous boss.

Is it?

Lewis Hunter grew up the hard way and fought for everything he’s got. His priority is the show, and personal relationships come a distant second. Besides, who needs romance when you have a steady stream of hot men hopping in and out of your bed?

His only meaningful relationship is with Aaron, his chief confidante and indispensable assistant. And no matter how appealing he finds Aaron’s cute boy-next-door charms, Lewis would never risk their professional partnership just to scratch an itch.

But when Lewis finds himself trapped at a hilariously awful corporate retreat, Aaron is his only friend and ally. As the professional lines between them begin to blur, their simmering attraction starts to sizzle

… And they’re both about to get burned.

I have been dipping my toe into the Romance genre bit by bit this year, and this is the next example I’m looking forward to! It’s queer and cute, one of the MCs writes (or wrote?) fanfic, and apparently it has as many feel-good vibes as sprinkles on a sundae!

Duskborn Radiance: A Mother's Question (Duskborn Radiance, #1) by Pasquale di Falco
Genres: Fantasy, Sci Fi
Published on: 28th October 2021

As the forces of tyranny run rampant, the Universe needs a hero, and a mysterious sorceress is almost ready to answer the call. But first, she needs answers to her oldest questions. Without them, she cannot hope to prevail. Strange, then, that with so much on her shoulders, she takes such keen interest in three ordinary teenagers.

Dominic, Caterina, and Amadeus live a simple life in a little village. All they want is to tend the gardens and fall in love, yet as they grow older, they begin to notice peculiarities in their environment. Further, they're aware of something brewing inside themselves: an indescribable feeling in their minds, hearts, and guts. Nonetheless, their people's power has long since faded, so the sensations that the three share, well, they simply can't be signs of magic.

With Duskborn Radiance, author Pasquale di Falco rewrites the rulebook. Forget what you know about fantasy and sci-fi; about genre fiction, literary fiction, and the novel form; about reality and time; A Mother's Question shows us that they are so much more. Di Falco tells an epic and symbolic tale while leading readers on a journey into our own selves. Read Duskborn Radiance, and discover your own magic.

Rewriting the rulebook? Forget what you think you know about fantasy and sci fi??? Duskborn is talking a pretty big talk here, and I really want to see if it walks the walk. The early reviews have been pretty positive, but vague, so I have very little idea of what to expect from this one!

Tell Me I’m Worthless by Alison Rumfitt
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Trans MC, queer cast
Published on: 29th October 2021

A dark, unflinching haunted house novel that takes readers from the well of the literary gothic, up through Brighton’s queer scene, and out into the heart of modern day trans experience in the UK.

The House spreads. Its arteries run throughout the country. Its lifeblood flows into Westminster, into Scotland Yard, into every village and every city. It flows into you, and into your mother. It keeps you alive. It makes you feel safe. Those same arteries tangle you up and night and make it hard for you to breathe. But come morning, you thank it for what it has done for you, and you sip from its golden cup, and kiss its perfect feet, and you know that all will be right in this godforsaken world as long as it is there to watch over you.

Three years ago, Alice spent one night in an abandoned house with her friends Ila and Hannah. Since then, things have not been going well. Alice is living a haunted existence, selling videos of herself cleaning for money, going to parties she hates, drinking herself to sleep. She hasn’t spoken to Ila since they went into the House. She hasn’t seen Hannah either.

Memories of that night torment her mind and her flesh, but when Ila asks her to return to the House, past the KEEP OUT sign, over the sick earth where teenagers dare each other to venture, she knows she must go.

Together Alice and Ila must face the horrifying occurrences that happened there, must pull themselves apart from the inside out, put their differences aside, and try to rescue Hannah, who the House has chosen to make its own.

Cutting, disruptive, and darkly funny, Tell Me I’m Worthless is a vital work of trans fiction that confronts both supernatural and real-world horrors as it examines the devastating effects of trauma and the way fascism makes us destroy ourselves and each other.

Even more tentative than my dips in the Romance pool have been my tries with Horror this year, but Tell Me I’m Worthless sounds so amazing that I just can’t not. I can’t put my finger on exactly why; I just know that I’ve been looking forward to it all month!

Cascade Hunger (The DuPage Parish Mysteries Book 2) by Gregory Ashe
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Published on: 29th October 2021

Eli and Dag survived a monster.

Two monsters, in fact.

A year later, though, they’re still trying to settle into a ‘regular’ life. Dag is working hard in school. It’s not going great. Eli is working hard at…being a better Eli. He’s eating right. Most of the time. He’s thinking about exercise in healthy ways. He’s ok with how he looks, as long as he doesn’t walk past any mirrors.

He goes out some nights, though. He goes across the lake, back to Bragg, where the monsters were. And he’s not sure why. He’s not sure what keeps calling him back.

When a woman is brutally murdered and an eyewitness claims to have seen the killer transform into a mysterious light, Eli and Dag are forced to set aside their own problems and face a difficult truth: there is another monster out there. Worse, there doesn’t seem to be anybody else who can stop it from killing again.

But not all monsters are the same, as Eli and Dag discover. And the most dangerous monster might be the one who can give you what you’ve always wanted.

Gregory Ashe is one of my favourite authors (just check out my review for his Hollow Folk series) and Cascade Hunger is the sequel to last year’s Stray Fears, which I enjoyed the hell out of. Ashe has a real gift for characters, and I am EXTREMELY INVESTED in what happens next for Eli and Dag!

That’s all I’ve got! Will you be reading any of these? Did I miss a book you think I should know about? Let me know!


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