Must-Have Monday #62

Posted 29th November 2021 by Sia in Must-Have Mondays / 0 Comments

This week we have SIX releases-of-interest, mostly Fantasy but with a contemporary Romance thrown in too, because it looks like too much fun not to try!

Wondrous Journeys in Strange Lands by Sonia Nimr, Marcia Lynx Qualey
Representation: Palestinian MC
Published on: 30th November 2021

Award-winning historical fantasy and literary folktale. Winner of the presigious Etisalat award.

In a tent at the foot of a mountain in Palestine, hundreds of years ago, our storyteller and her twin sister are born. Her newlywed parents name her Qamr (Moon) and her sister Shams (Sun). Their small caravan is journeying from the mother's city back to the father's remote ancestral village atop the mountain. This village suffers from isolation and a curse, which her young family tries to undo. But when both her parents' lives are cut short, Qamr and her sister are left orphans. And so, Qamr decides to pursue her mother's and father's dreams of discovering the world--its people and places, ideas and stories.

With the red book in hand that brought her parents together, she sets out on a daring journey, on caravans and ships, across empires. Telling stories to survive, Qamr crosses deserts and seas: to Jerusalem and Gaza; Egypt, Tangier, Andalusia and Genoa; Abyssinia, India, the Maldives and Yemen. Kidnapped by bandits, sold as a slave to the House of a mad King, studying with a polymath, disguising as a man and falling in love for the first time--with a pirate: Qamr searches irrepressibly for life, in endless stories within stories.

Like the famous travel narratives of the 14th century Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta, Sonia Nimr's award-winning Wondrous Journeys in Strange Lands is a richly imagined feminist fable and a captivating, adventure-filled historical novel.

I can’t tell you exactly why, but when I learned of this book I was captivated by it, and I’m so glad and excited that the translated, English edition is going to be an ebook! I plan on diving into this one the moment it downloads tomorrow.

Girls of Fate and Fury (Girls of Paper and Fire, #3) by Natasha Ngan
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Sapphic East Asian-coded MCs, East Asian-coded cast
Published on: 30th November 2021

New York Times bestselling author Natasha Ngan delivers a stunningly beautiful, heartbreaking finale to the epic Girls of Paper and Fire series.

"Don't struggle, Lei-zhi. It's time to take you back to the Hidden Palce. You're going home."

The final pages of Girls of Storm and Shadow brought a jaw-dropping conclusion that had the fates of Lei and Wren hanging in uncertainty. But one thing was certain - the Hidden Palace was the last place that Lei would ever consider home. The trauma and tragedy she suffered behind those opulent walls would plague her forever. She could not be trapped there with the sadistic king again, especially without Wren.

The last Lei saw of the girl she loved, Wren was fighting an army of soldiers in a furious battle to the death. With the two girls torn apart and each in terrorizing peril, will they find each other again or have their destinies diverged forever?

Girls of Fate and Fury is the epic conclusion to the "glittering" and "adrenaline-soaked" series by Natasha Ngan, hailed as "a stunning, new talent" for her "beautiful, lush, lyrical" writing.

If you somehow missed out on this series, this is the final book, and there’s no good excuse for not picking up the series now it’s finished! And if you have been reading these…OMG IT’S GOING TO BE ENDING!!! I officially do not know how to deal.

Jade Legacy by Fonda Lee
Genres: Fantasy
Representation: East Asian-coded cast
Published on: 30th November 2021

"Lee’s series will stand as a pillar of epic fantasy and family drama." Library Journal (starred review)

The Kaul siblings battle rival clans for honor and control over an East Asia-inspired fantasy metropolis in Jade Legacy, the page-turning conclusion to the Green Bone Saga.

Jade, the mysterious and magical substance once exclusive to the Green Bone warriors of Kekon, is now coveted throughout the world. Everyone wants access to the supernatural abilities it provides, from traditional forces such as governments, mercenaries, and criminal kingpins, to modern players, including doctors, athletes, and movie studios. As the struggle over the control of jade grows ever larger and more deadly, the Kaul family, and the ancient ways of the Kekonese Green Bones, will never be the same.

Battered by war and tragedy, the Kauls are plagued by resentments and old wounds as their adversaries are on the ascent and their country is riven by dangerous factions and foreign interference. The clan must discern allies from enemies, set aside bloody rivalries, and make terrible sacrifices… but even the unbreakable bonds of blood and loyalty may not be enough to ensure the survival of the Green Bone clans and the nation they are sworn to protect.

Another mega trilogy is coming to a close with Jade legacy; I guess this is the week for it! There’s been so much love and hype for this series, and I’m willing to bet we’re all going to freak over the ending. (And it’s 700+ pages??? AWESOME!)

Jim Henson's The Storyteller: Tricksters by Jordan Ifueko, Amal El-Mohtar, Jonathan Rivera
Genres: Fantasy
Published on: 30th November 2021

Four tales of the greatest rogues up to mythological mischief inspired by visionary Jim Henson’s beloved television series.

WHO IS THE GREATEST MISCHIEF MAKER OF ALL TIME? Is it the King of Stories, Anansi? Or Eshu, the Nigerian trickster god? Perhaps Thor’s infamous brother, Loki? Or cunning Reynard the Fox? Discover these legendary tricksters and judge for yourself through the lens of The Storyteller as he regales his faithful canine companion… and you!

Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Tricksters showcases four clever tales of mischief makers and the lessons they teach us. Each one inspired by folklore from around the world and told in the spirit of Jim Henson’s beloved television series by some of today’s most exciting voices including New York Times bestselling author Jordan Ifueko (Raybearer) and artist Erin Kubo (The Christmas Creature), Nebula and Hugo Award winning author Amal El-Mohtar (This is How You Lose the Time War) with illustrations by Isa Hanssen, graphic novelist Robin Robinson (The City on The Other Side) and artist A.L. Kaplan (Full-Spectrum Therapy), and comic book writer Jonathan Rivera (Cave Carson has a Cybernetic Eye) and illustrator Jade Zhang.

Collects Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Tricksters #1-4.

This is a collection of comics – graphic stories? – where some of my favourite authors write about trickster gods! The art looks incredible, and though I’m not familiar with the tv show (it aired before I was born!) I’ve been waiting for this collected edition for ages!

Maybe after reading it, I’ll go check out the tv series…

Read Between the Lines by Rachel Lacey
Representation: F/F
Published on: 1st December 2021

From award-winning author Rachel Lacey comes a playful romance about a Manhattan bookstore owner and a reclusive author who love to hate—and hate to love—each other.

Books are Rosie Taft’s life. And ever since she took over her mother’s beloved Manhattan bookstore, they’ve become her home too. The only thing missing is her own real-life romance like the ones she loves to read about, and Rosie has an idea of who she might like to sweep her off her feet. She’s struck up a flirty online friendship with lesbian romance author Brie, and what could be more romantic than falling in love with her favorite author?

Jane Breslin works hard to keep her professional and personal lives neatly separated. By day, she works for the family property development business. By night, she puts her steamier side on paper under her pen name: Brie. Jane hasn’t had much luck with her own love life, but her online connection with a loyal reader makes Jane wonder if she could be the one.

When Rosie learns that her bookstore’s lease has been terminated by Jane’s family’s business, romance moves to the back burner. Even though they’re at odds, there’s no denying the sparks that fly every time they’re together. When their online identities are revealed, will Jane be able to write her way to a happy ending, or is Rosie’s heart a closed book?

This sounds like it could be a lot of sweet fun, and what reader doesn’t enjoy a peak at the lives of booksellers and authors?

Innate Magic by Shannon Fay
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Bi/pansexual MC
Published on: 1st December 2021

From debut author Shannon Fay comes the first novel in the enchanting Marrowbone Spells series featuring Paul Gallagher, a lower-class magician who aspires to high society through spells, wits, and irresistible charm.

Delightfully cheeky, unquestionably charming, and sometimes maddeningly naive, cloth mage Paul Gallagher is desperately trying to make a name for himself in a reimagined postwar London. But in a world where magic is commonplace, sewing enchanted clothes is seen as little more than a frivolous distraction. Paul is hiding a secret, however: he possesses a powerful--and illegal--innate magic that could help him achieve his wildest dreams.

Unfortunately, Paul confides in the wrong person--his latest crush, Captain Hector Hollister--and is drawn into a sinister plot that risks reigniting the machinery of war. To make matters worse, the pretty American gossip reporter Paul just met reveals her personal quest to expose a government cover-up may be related to Hollister's magical goals. When Hollister threatens the life of Paul's dearest friend, he realizes that his poor judgement has put not only his family and friends in danger, but also the whole world.

The only way to set things right may be for Paul to undergo the dangerous ritual to become Court Magician--the most powerful magician in the country. But is becoming part of the institution the best way to enact change in a terribly unjust society?

Having read an excerpt of this a while back, I’m very on board to read the whole thing: the whole concept of cloth magic is both intriguing and whimsical, and I think a lot of us are suckers for that combination of historical fiction + magic. Plus, who doesn’t love an MC that’s cheeky and charming???

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

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