Must-Have Monday #77

Posted 14th March 2022 by Sia in Must-Have Mondays / 0 Comments

Fewer books this week, but they’ve heavy-hitters! Faeries, kaiju, and story machines – it’s a party!

Dark Sun: A Wicked Lovely Novel by Melissa Marr
Genres: Fantasy
Published on: 14th March 2022

When the bestselling WICKED LOVELY series ended, the Faery Courts were in order. In the years following, peace was still tenuous, but every court seemed devoted to balance.

But now, Urian—son of the former Dark King and the fated Summer Queen, Thelma Foy—has decided to claim his destiny.Urian knew the secrets that protected his relatives--both the mortal and the faery ones--since childhood. After the Summer Queen claimed the throne that should have been his mother’s and a lowly advisor claimed the throne that was his father’s, Uri is done hiding. The Dark Summer Prince is ready to claim one—or both—of the thrones that should rightfully be his.

When Urian discovers Kyla, unaware of her ancestry, he finally has the ally—or general—he’s needed. . . whether or not she agrees.

Far from the world of the fey, Kyla has spent her life aware that her bloodlines aren't as mortal as those around her. When one of the creatures she's been told to hide from discovers her in the desert, she decides to protect her human family by finding her place in the world of the faeries. She can’t trust Uri, but she feels drawn to him in a way she never imagined.

Secrets are revealed. Peace is threatened. And neither family ties nor accidental love can keep the balance between the courts now.

It’s been a long time since I read the Wicked Lovely books, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been keeping track of new releases set in that world! The worldbuilding started out simple and spun out into something that surprised me, and it was one of the first times I encountered the concept of polyamory.

Dark Sun is set quite a while after the main books, it sounds like, but I still want to check it out!

The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi
Genres: Sci Fi
Published on: 15th March 2022

The Kaiju Preservation Society is John Scalzi's first standalone adventure since the conclusion of his New York Times bestselling Interdependency trilogy.

When COVID-19 sweeps through New York City, Jamie Gray is stuck as a dead-end driver for food delivery apps. That is, until Jamie makes a delivery to an old acquaintance, Tom, who works at what he calls "an animal rights organization." Tom's team needs a last-minute grunt to handle things on their next field visit. Jamie, eager to do anything, immediately signs on.

What Tom doesn't tell Jamie is that the animals his team cares for are not here on Earth. Not our Earth, at at least. In an alternate dimension, massive dinosaur-like creatures named Kaiju roam a warm and human-free world. They're the universe's largest and most dangerous panda and they're in trouble.

It's not just the Kaiju Preservation Society that's found its way to the alternate world. Others have, too--and their carelessness could cause millions back on our Earth to die.

I’ve actually never read Scalzi before, but I can’t resist this premise! A planet-sized wildlife preserve, with Godzilla-esque beasties needing preserving? Sign me the hell up!

Lead Me Astray by Sondi Warner
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Black pansexual MC, pansexual love interest, nonbinary love interest, F/M/NB, polyamory
Published on: 15th March 2022

Aurie Edison shouldn't linger in Overlay City, a mystical world of ley lines hidden within New Orleans. Luckily, there's a seductive Empath named Mys who pledges to get her where she needs to be. Then there's Detective Zyr Ravani, the hot werewolf tasked with keeping them safe. But what's the worst that can happen to a Ghost?

See, Aurie's not living her best life. But she COULD be if she accepts the powerful desire swirling between the three of them.

Ready to get away with something different? Solve Aurie's murder with Detective Zyr Ravani and the genderqueer Mx. Mys as you fall head over heels for this threesome along the way. Go ahead. #GetAwayWithIt

Introducing an adventurous tale of self-discovery, magic and menagé a trois. LEAD ME ASTRAY is a fresh new story from an authentic LGBTQ voice. Add this unicorn to your reading list and find out why it's a winner.

I’m That Person who typically skips over sex scenes, but I’ve been trying to read more Romance, and I’ve heard nothing but good things about Lead Me Astray. Plus, that premise? I’m intrigued by the magic and hopeful for the poly!

When We Were Birds by Ayanna Lloyd Banwo
Genres: Fantasy
Representation: Black MC, Black Rastafarian MC
Published on: 15th March 2022

A mythic love story set in Trinidad and Tobago, Ayanna Lloyd Banwo's radiant debut introduces two unforgettable outsiders brought together by their connection with the dead.

You were never the smartest child, but even you should know that when a dead woman offers you a cigarette, the polite thing to do would be to take it. Especially when that dead woman is your mother.

The St. Bernard women have lived in Morne Marie, the house on top of a hill outside Port Angeles, for generations. Built from the ashes of a plantation that enslaved their ancestors, it has come to shelter a lineage that is bonded by much more than blood. One woman in each generation of St. Bernards is responsible for the passage of the city's souls into the afterlife. But Yejide's relationship with her mother, Petronella, has always been contorted by anger and neglect, which Petronella stubbornly carries to her death bed, leaving Yejide unprepared to fulfill her destiny.

Raised in the countryside by a devout Rastafarian mother, Darwin has always abided by the religious commandment not to interact with death. He has never been to a funeral, much less seen a dead body. But when his ailing mother can no longer work and the only job he can find is grave digging, he must betray the life she built for him in order to provide for them both. Newly shorn of his dreadlocks and his past and determined to prove himself, Darwin finds himself adrift in a city electric with possibility and danger.

Yejide and Darwin will meet inside the gates of Fidelis, Port Angeles's largest and oldest cemetery, where the dead lie uneasy in their graves and a reckoning with fate beckons them both. A masterwork of lush imagination and immersive lyricism, When We Were Birds is a spellbinding novel about inheritance, loss, and love's seismic power to heal.

This sounds a bit outside my usual wheelhouse, but again, nothing but praise from the early readers. Definitely want to give it ago!

Mage of Fools by Eugen Bacon
Genres: Fantasy
Representation: African cast + setting
Published on: 15th March 2022

In the dystopian world of Mafinga, Jasmin must contend with a dictator’s sorcerer to cleanse the socialist state of its deadly pollution.

Mafinga's malevolent king dislikes books and, together with his sorcerer Atari, has collapsed the environment to almost uninhabitable. The sun has killed all the able men, including Jasmin’s husband Godi.

But Jasmin has Godi’s secret story machine that tells of a better world, far different from the wastelands of Mafinga. Jasmin’s crime for possessing the machine and its forbidden literature filled with subversive text is punishable by death.

Fate grants a cruel reprieve in the service of a childless queen who claims Jasmin’s children as her own. Jasmin is powerless—until she discovers secrets behind the king and his sorcerer.

I’ve been excited for this one for a while – stories about stories and storytelling will do that! I’m very interested in Jasmin’s story machine, and I am feral for protective parents out to rescue their kids!

Vagabonds! by Eloghosa Osunde
Genres: Speculative Fiction
Representation: Nigerian setting + cast, F/F
Published on: 15th March 2022

Èkó, the spirit of Lagos, and his loyal minion Tatafo weave trouble through the streets of Lagos and through the lives of the ‘vagabonds’ powering modern Nigeria: the queer, the displaced and the footloose.

With Tatafo as our guide we meet these people in the shadows. Among them are a driver for a debauched politician; a lesbian couple whose tender relationship sheds unexpected light on their experience with underground sex work; a mother who attends a secret spiritual gathering that shifts her reality. As their lives begin to intertwine—in markets and underground clubs, in churches and hotel rooms—the vagabonds are seized and challenged by the spirits who command the city. A force is drawing them all together, but for what purpose?

In her debut novel VAGABONDS! Eloghosa Osunde tackles the insidious nature of Nigerian capitalism, corruption and oppression, and offers a defiant, joyous and inventive tribute to all those for whom life itself is a form of resistance.

This sounds weird and strange and beautiful, and I can’t wait to dive into it. I have very little idea of what to expect, but I have high hopes!

The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd
Genres: Speculative Fiction
Published on: 15th March 2022

"A wildly entertaining, imaginative ride with a cinematic plot that keeps the pages turning." —Real Simple

From the critically acclaimed author of The Book of M, a highly imaginative thriller about a young woman who discovers that a strange map in her deceased father’s belongings holds an incredible, deadly secret—one that will lead her on an extraordinary adventure and to the truth about her family’s dark history.

What is the purpose of a map?

Nell Young’s whole life and greatest passion is cartography. Her father, Dr. Daniel Young, is a legend in the field and Nell’s personal hero. But she hasn’t seen or spoken to him ever since he cruelly fired her and destroyed her reputation after an argument over an old, cheap gas station highway map.

But when Dr. Young is found dead in his office at the New York Public Library, with the very same seemingly worthless map hidden in his desk, Nell can’t resist investigating. To her surprise, she soon discovers that the map is incredibly valuable and exceedingly rare. In fact, she may now have the only copy left in existence . . . because a mysterious collector has been hunting down and destroying every last one—along with anyone who gets in the way.

But why?

To answer that question, Nell embarks on a dangerous journey to reveal a dark family secret and discovers the true power that lies in maps . . .

Perfect for fans of Joe Hill and V. E. Schwab, The Cartographers is an ode to art and science, history and magic—a spectacularly imaginative, modern story about an ancient craft and places still

I remember The Memory of M made a huge splash when it was released. This is the author’s sophomore novel, and I’m cautiously interested – this has been majorly hyped, which always makes me wary, but I’ve also seen positive reviews from readers I trust, so I’m probably going to give it a try.

Will you be reading any of these? Did I miss any books I should know about? Let me know!

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