Must-Have Monday #63

Posted 6th December 2021 by Sia in Must-Have Mondays / 0 Comments

SIX showcase-worthy releases this week, ranging from holiday romances to sapphic vampires!

Plum Duff (Greenwing & Dart Book 6) by Victoria Goddard
Genres: Fantasy
Published on: 7th December 2021
Goodreads

Magic is out of fashion.

Except, obviously, at Winterturn.

Winterturn in Ragnor Bella is a holiday for family, feasting, and a few religious festivities.

Jemis Greenwing and Mr. Dart are both quite ready for a quiet week or two after their adventures going to and coming home from Orio City. Jemis in particular is looking forward to the first Winterturn spent with his father since he was a child.

Then the fairy fox shows up.

Wild magic. Family secrets. Gifts from unknown admirers. Sainthood. And that's before the pageant.

Originally scheduled for the 21st, we ended up getting this one early!!! The Greenwing and Dart series has been a complete delight and one of my favourite discoveries of 2021 – just completely wonderful, all the way through. So I can’t wait to curl up and snuggle in with the latest installment!

Where the Rain Cannot Reach (Doman’s Despair #1) by Adesina Brown
Genres: Fantasy, Secondary World Fantasy
Representation: Queernorm world
Published on: 7th December 2021
Goodreads

Tair has never known what it means to belong. Abandoned at a young age and raised in the all-Elven valley of Mirte, the young Human defines herself by isolation, confined to her small, seemingly trustworthy family.

Abruptly, that family uproots her from Mirte and leads her on an inevitable but treacherous journey to Doman: the previous site of unspeakable Human atrocities and the current home of Dwarvenkind. Though Doman offers Tair new definitions of family and love, it also reveals to her that her very existence is founded in lies. Now, tasked with an awful responsibility to the Humans of Sossoa, Tair must decide where her loyalties lie and, in the process, discover who she wants to be... And who she has always been.

In their debut fantasy novel Where the Rain Cannot Reach, Adesina Brown constructs a world rich with new languages and nuanced considerations of gender and race, ultimately contemplating how, in freeing ourselves from power, we may find true belonging.

I’m actually a little unclear on whether the release date for this one is tomorrow, or whether it’s already available – it seems like the ebook, at least, you can already buy! Regardless, I’ve been excited for Where the Rain Cannot Reach since it was featured on LGBTQ Reads, where Brown wrote a great post on queernorm worldbuilding. Queernorm fantasy is right up at the top of Things I Want To Read, so you can bet I’m pouncing on this one!

The Coldest Touch by Isabel Sterling
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: F/F
Published on: 7th December 2021
Goodreads

Elise Beaumont is cursed. With every touch, she experiences exactly how her loved ones will die. And after her brother’s death—a death she predicted but was unable to prevent—Elise is desperate to get rid of her terrible gift, no matter the cost.

Claire Montgomery also has a unique relationship with death, mostly because she’s already dead. Technically, anyway. Claire is a vampire, and she’s been assigned by the Veil to help Elise master her rare Death Oracle powers.

At first, Elise is reluctant to work with a vampire, but when she predicts a teacher’s imminent murder, she’s determined to stop the violent death, even if it means sacrificing her own future to secure Claire’s help.

The trouble is, Claire and Elise aren’t the only paranormals in town—a killer is stalking the streets, and Claire can’t seem to shake the pull she feels toward Elise, a romance that could upend the Veil’s mission. But as Elise and Claire grow closer, Elise begins to wonder—can she really trust someone tasked with securing her loyalty? Someone who could so easily kill her? Someone who might hold the key to unraveling her brother’s mysterious death?

I’ve been seeing more openly queer vampire stories lately, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want more of them! Sterling’s These Witches Don’t Burn was super readable, and I am definitely here for F/F between a vampire and a death-prophet. (Although that sounds like the worst superpower ever, poor thing!)

The Liar's Knot (Rook & Rose, #2) by M.A. Carrick
Genres: Fantasy, Secondary World Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Queer MC, queernorm world
Published on: 7th December 2021
Goodreads

Trust is the thread that binds. And the rope that hangs.

In Nadežra, peace is as tenuous as a single thread. The ruthless House Indestor has been destroyed, but darkness still weaves through the city’s filthy back alleys and jewel-bright gardens, seen by those who know where to look.

Derossi Vargo has always known. He has sacrificed more than anyone imagines to carve himself a position of power and influence among the nobility, hiding a will of steel behind a velvet smile. He'll be damned if he lets anyone threaten what he's built. 

Grey Serrado knows all too well. Bent under the yoke of too many burdens, he fights to protect the city’s most vulnerable. Sooner or later, that fight will demand more than he can give. 

And Ren, daughter of no clan, knows best of all. Caught in a knot of lies, torn between her heritage and her aristocratic masquerade, she relies on her gift for reading pattern to survive. And it shows her the web of darkness that traps her city. 

But all three have yet to discover just how far that web stretches. And in the end, it will take more than knives to cut themselves free...

Worldbuilding is pretty much my favourite thing ever, so huge fantasy tomes written by real-life anthropologists??? Tick all of my boxes. I wasn’t in love with book one of this series, but I’ve decided I still want to try the sequel, especially since I really have no idea where it’s going to go.

Amor Actually by Adriana Herrera, Alexis Daria, Diana Muñoz Stewart, Mia Sosa, Priscilla Oliveras, Sabrina Sol, Zoey Castile
Genres: Queer Protagonists
Representation: BIPOC MCs, Queer MCs
Published on: 7th December 2021
Goodreads

Nochebuena. One party. Nine Happily Ever Afters.

It’s Christmas Eve in New York City, when anything is possible. For these couples, it’s the season to find true love. From second-chances, big leaps, missed connections, and reconnections, this charming collection celebrates the spirit of the holidays and delivers nine perfect HEAs.

From seven acclaimed and bestselling Latina authors—Zoey Castile, Alexis Daria, Adriana Herrera, Diana Muñoz Stewart, Priscilla Oliveras, Sabrina Sol, and Mia Sosa—comes a holiday romance collection like never before.

Make the Yuletide Gay • Adriana Herrera
After a string of broken engagements, an international Latin Pop Star finds love in her sexy and constant manager. Days before her big live holiday special, Vivi wonders if the woman of her dreams could finally be hers.

Only Yours • Sabrina Sol
​​The Mayor of New York embarks on a Christmas Eve search to find the woman he loves before she gets away.

Meet Me Under the Mistletoe • by Priscilla Oliveras
Challenged by his friends to find a plus one to Nochebuena dinner or else, widower Hector Gutierrez isn’t sure he’s still got any good moves left. That is until he strikes the right chord with his son’s music teacher, Cristina.

All I Want for Nochebuena • Alexis Daria
When sparks fly between adult film stars Honey and Julie, Honey must work up the courage to invite Julie to her family’s holiday party or risk losing what she really wants for Nochebuena—a chance at true love.

Santa’s Eager Little Helper • by Mia Sosa
Sarita’s plan to confess her crush on a coworker goes awry when she’s tasked with playing the Sexy Elf to his grumpy Santa. Will she seize the opportunity to make Carlos’s naughty list, or will she spend another Nochebuena alone?

The Nochebuena Dating Dare • by Diana Muñoz Stewart
Eneida Lucero takes a second chance on love with the handsome musical director at her school—even if it means causing some Nochebuena drama with her ex-husband and familia.

Love in Spanglish • Zoey Castile
A heartbroken romance writer gets snowed in with a novel-worthy hero who may just make her believe in love again.

To Us, You Are Perfect • Alexis Daria & Adriana Herrera
Newlyweds Pasquale and Yamilette’s Christmas is just short of perfect. The missing piece is their best friend Marcelo, who has loved them from afar for years. This Nochebuena, they’ll finally complete their happily ever after.

The Great Holiday Escape • Zoey Castile
Gigi is always on the hustle, making sure her little sister has everything she needs including a big Christmas Eve fiesta with all their friends and family. That night, Gigi receives an all-expenses paid trip to a luxe South Beach weekend where not one, but two beautiful strangers steal her heart.

This just sounds like a sweet warm anthology to curl up with, and every story is written by a Latina author!

If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales, Cale Dietrich
Genres: Queer Protagonists
Representation: M/M
Published on: 7th December 2021
Goodreads

Eighteen-year-olds Ruben Montez and Zach Knight are two members of the boy-band Saturday, one of the biggest acts in America. Along with their bandmates, Angel Phan and Jon Braxton, the four are teen heartbreakers in front of the cameras and best friends backstage. But privately, cracks are starting to form: their once-easy rapport is straining under the pressures of fame, and Ruben confides in Zach that he’s feeling smothered by management’s pressure to stay in the closet.

On a whirlwind tour through Europe, with both an unrelenting schedule and minimal supervision, Ruben and Zach come to rely on each other more and more, and their already close friendship evolves into a romance. But when they decide they’re ready to tell their fans and live freely, Zach and Ruben start to truly realize that they will never have the support of their management. How can they hold tight to each other when the whole world seems to want to come between them?

It’s not SFF, but I’ve heard really great things about If This Gets Out from early readers, so I’m willing to give it a go. The premise is certainly pretty cute!

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

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