Must-Have Monday #59

Posted 8th November 2021 by Sia in Must-Have Mondays / 0 Comments

I have SIX books to introduce to you today, ranging from wives solving murders together, to a pink bear, and a mysterious Bluebeard-esque thriller!

A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Asexual Indigenous American MC
Published on: 9th November 2021

Nina is a Lipan girl in our world. She's always felt there was something more out there. She still believes in the old stories.

Oli is a cottonmouth kid, from the land of spirits and monsters. Like all cottonmouths, he's been cast from home. He's found a new one on the banks of the bottomless lake.

Nina and Oli have no idea the other exists. But a catastrophic event on Earth, and a strange sickness that befalls Oli's best friend, will drive their worlds together in ways they haven't been in centuries.

And there are some who will kill to keep them apart.

Darcie Little Badger introduced herself to the world with Elatsoe. In A Snake Falls to Earth, she draws on traditional Lipan Apache storytelling structure to weave another unforgettable tale of monsters, magic, and family. It is not to be missed.

The ebook, at least, seems to be releasing tomorrow, although A Snake Falls to Earth won’t be available in hardcover until a bit later this month. I think? But this sounds like it’s going to be really lovely – unsurprising, since Badger’s debut Elatsoe was seriously beautiful. (THE WORLDBUILDING! *swoons*) Can’t wait to check it out!

Murder Most Actual by Alexis Hall
Genres: Queer Protagonists
Representation: F/F, Black sapphic MC
Published on: 9th November 2021

From the author of Boyfriend Material and Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake comes a cozy mystery that revisits the Golden Age of detective fiction, starring a heroine who’s more podcaster than private eye and topped with a lethal dose of parody -- perfect for fans of Clue, Knives Out, and Only Murders in the Building!

When up-and-coming true crime podcaster Liza and her corporate financier wife Hanna head to a luxurious hotel in the Scottish Highlands, they're hoping for a chance to rekindle their marriage - not to find themselves trapped in the middle of an Agatha Christie-esque murder mystery with no way home. But who better to take on the case than someone whose entire profession relies on an obsession with all things mysterious and macabre? Though some of her fellow guests may consider her an interfering new media hack, Liza knows a thing or two about crime and – despite Hanna’s preference for waiting out the chaos behind a locked door – might be the only one capable of discovering the killer. As the bodies rack up and the stakes rise, can they save their marriage -- and their lives?

Murder Most Actual is a Kobo Original, which means you won’t be able to buy it except through the Barnes & Noble e-store, and you’ll need a Kobo, or the Kobo app, to read it. (The app is free to download and ought to work on any smartphone/tablet/laptop etc; I haven’t heard anything about Murder Most Actual getting a paper edition.) But it’s a new Alexis Hall book, which means it will definitely be worth the extra effort!

Comfort Me With Apples by Catherynne M. Valente
Published on: 9th November 2021

A terrifying new thriller from bestseller Catherynne M. Valente, for fans of Gone Girl and Spinning Silver

Sophia was made for him. Her perfect husband. She can feel it in her bones. He is perfect. Their home together in Arcadia Gardens is perfect. Everything is perfect.

It's just that he's away so much. So often. He works so hard. She misses him. And he misses her. He says he does, so it must be true. He is the perfect husband and everything is perfect.

But sometimes Sophia wonders about things. Strange things. Dark things. The look on her husband's face when he comes back from a long business trip. The questions he will not answer. The locked basement she is never allowed to enter. And whenever she asks the neighbors, they can't quite meet her gaze...

But everything is perfect. Isn't it?

No question, this is the book I’m most excited to read this month. IT’S CATHERYNNE VALENTE, THAT IS SERIOUSLY ALL I NEED TO KNOW. I have been scrupulous about avoiding any possible spoilers, so all I really know is that it’s a thriller, with some Bluebeard vibes. But it could be Valente’s shopping list and I’d still have had it preordered a year ago. GIMME! *grabby hands*

The Undertakers (Murder & Magic #2) by Nicole Glover
Representation: Black cast
Published on: 9th November 2021

Nicole Glover delivers the second book in her exciting Murder & Magic series of historical fantasy novels featuring Hetty Rhodes and her husband, Benjy, magic practitioners and detectives living in post–Civil War Philadelphia.

Nothing bothers Hetty and Benjy Rhodes more than a case where the answers, motives, and the murder itself feel a bit too neat. Raimond Duval, a victim of one of the many fires that have erupted recently in Philadelphia, is officially declared dead after the accident, but Hetty and Benjy’s investigation points to a powerful Fire Company known to let homes in the Black community burn to the ground. Before long, another death breathes new life into the Duval investigation: Raimond’s son, Valentine, is also found dead.

Finding themselves with the dubious honor of taking on Valentine Duval as their first major funeral, it becomes clear that his passing was intentional. Valentine and his father’s deaths are connected, and the recent fires plaguing the city might be more linked to recent community events than Hetty and Benji originally thought.

The Undertakers continues the adventures of murder and magic, where even the most powerful enchantments can’t always protect you from the ghosts of the past . . .  

This is the second book in the Murder & Magic series, so I wouldn’t pick this up if you haven’t read the first one yet – but if you haven’t read the first one yet, you should! It’s post-Civil War USA with Black people looking out for each other, using secret star-magic. For the magic system alone, you ought to be reading these.

The Reckless Kind by Carly Heath
Genres: Queer Protagonists
Representation: Deaf asexual MC, disabled achillean MC with depression, achillean MC, M/M, queerplatonic M/M/F
Published on: 9th November 2021

A genre-defying debut, this queer historical YA centers a wild and reckless trio who fly in the face of small town tradition—full of compassion, love, and determination to live the lives of their choosing.

It's Norway 1904, and Asta Hedstrom doesn't want to marry her odious betrothed, Nils—even though a domestic future is all her mother believes she's suited for, on account of her single-sided deafness, unconventional appearance, and even stranger notions. Asta would rather spend her life performing in the village theater with her friends and fellow outcasts: her best friend Gunnar Fuglestad and his secret boyfriend, wealthy Erlend Fournier.

But the situation takes a dire turn when Nils lashes out in jealousy—gravely injuring Gunnar. Shunning marriage for good, Asta moves with Gunnar and Erlend to their secluded cabin above town. With few ties left with their families, they have one shot at gaining enough kroner to secure their way of life: win the village's annual horse race.

Historical fiction rather than outright SFF, but this managed to make it onto my tbr anyway! I have no idea how a horse race is supposed to resolve things for this queerplatonic triad, but I am VERY INVESTED in finding out!

Capturing the Butterfly by Sharon K. Grosh
Genres: Fantasy
Representation: Japanese MC
Published on: 11th November 2021

Two humans, from different places and times, find themselves together in the cave of an unlikely pink bear. All three, Mina, Claudius, and Pink the bear, yearn to change history, both personal and worldview.

Claudius wants to go back in time and marry his sweetheart, who married Alois Hitler, Adolph Hitler's father. Mina stood 500 feet away from the Hiroshima bomb and woke to find herself in another body, in another place, five years later without her baby, Saki. Pink grieves the loss of his mother and his sister, having spent four years of hibernation without them.

This small book holds a big story. The three together start on an unprecedented journey, covering years and lives, while waiting for time to pass and their circumstances to make sense in a remote cave, the home of a pink bear.

I came across this while browsing BookHype, and…honestly I know nothing about it but what’s in the description. As of this moment, it doesn’t have a Goodreads page for me to link you to, but it’s available for preorder from everyone I checked, and I remain in love with the bizarre but beautiful cover!


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