Must-Have Monday #86

Posted 16th May 2022 by Sia in Must-Have Mondays / 0 Comments

SEVEN amazing-looking books this week, including alternate histories, Black vampires, and New Atlantis!

The Hourglass Throne (The Tarot Sequence, #3) by K.D. Edwards
Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary or Urban Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Gay MC, Bi/pansexual love interest, M/M, secondary asexual character, secondary Indigenous nonbinary character, secondary Indigenous characters, secondary Black character, queernorm culture
Published on: 17th May 2022

As Rune Saint John grapples with the challenges of assuming the Sun Throne, a powerful barrier appears around New Atlantis’s famed rejuvenation center. But who could have created such formidable magic . . . what do they want from the immortality clinic . . . and what remains of the dozens trapped inside?

Though Rune and his lifelong bodyguard Brand are tasked with investigating the mysterious barrier, Rune is also busy settling into his new life at court. Claiming his father’s throne has irrevocably thrown him into the precarious world of political deception, and he must secure relationships with newfound allies in time to keep his growing found family safe. His relationship with his lover, Addam Saint Nicholas, raises additional political complications they must navigate. But he and Brand soon discover that the power behind the barrier holds a much more insidious, far-reaching threat to his family, to his people, and to the world.

Now, the rulers of New Atlantis must confront an enemy both new and ancient as the flow of time itself is drawn into the conflict. And as Rune finds himself inexorably drawn back to the fall of his father’s court and his own torture at the hands of masked conspirators, the secrets that he has long guarded will be dragged into the light—changing the Sun Throne, and New Atlantis, forever.

The climax of the first trilogy in the nine-book Tarot Sequence, The Hourglass Throne delivers epic urban fantasy that blends humor, fast-paced action, and political intrigue.

IT’S FINALLY HERE!!! The finale of the first trilogy of The Tarot Sequence more than sticks the landing; it’s everything all of us could possibly hope for. If you loved the previous books, you have to read this one – and if you haven’t read this series yet, what on earth are you waiting for?!

My (spoiler-free) review!

Uncommon Charm by Emily Bergslien, Kat Weaver
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Lesbian MC, gay Jewish MC
Published on: 17th May 2022

A Champagne Gothic!

Three days after I was expelled from the Marable School for Girls, our poor Simon arrived.

In the 1920s gothic comedy Uncommon Charm, bright young socialite Julia and shy Jewish magician Simon decide they aren't beholden to their families' unhappy history. Together they confront such horrors as murdered ghosts, alive children, magic philosophy, a milieu that slides far too easily into surrealist metaphor, and, worst of all, serious adult conversation.

I’ve been looking forward to this one since I heard about it, and I’m so excited that it’s almost here!

Let the Mountains Be My Grave by Francesca Tacchi
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: M/M
Published on: 17th May 2022

Let the Mountains Be My Grave unfolds at breakneck pace in 1944 Italy, where partisan Veleno thinks of nothing but killing as many Nazis as he can before leaving this world. Beloved by the ancient Italic goddess Angitia, Veleno is the perfect person to recover a strange weapon the Nazis are planning to use against the Allies in the battle of Montecassino, but doing so may force him to confront his death differently than he expects.

Advanced praise for Let the Mountains Be My Grave:
“A touching story about finding hope in times of war and desolation, with a fascinating take on the survival of pagan magic.”—Xiran Jay Zhao, author of Iron Widow

“If you liked Inglorious Basterds but wish there was more kissing and ancient theology, this is the book for you!”—R.J. Theodore, author of Flotsam and Salvage

“A novella that reads like a shot of adrenaline, Let the Mountains Be My Grave is an explosive, high-octane queer Nazi-fighting fantasy packed with tightly-paced action, ancient Gods, and unexpected allies.” —Anya Ow, author of Cradle and Grave

“An intense and thrilling historical fantasy that combines bloody action, sharp character work, ancient gods, and a touch of romance.” —Charles Payseur, author of The Burning Day

Like Uncommon Charm, this is another novella from Neon Hemlock, and another book I very much expect to adore!

From Bad to Cursed (The Witches of Thistle Grove, #2) by Lana Harper
Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary or Urban Fantasy
Published on: 17th May 2022

Opposites attract in this wickedly charming rom-com by Lana Harper, author of Payback’s a Witch.

Wild child Isidora Avramov is a thrill chaser, adept demon summoner, and—despite the whole sexy-evil-sorceress vibe—also a cuddly animal lover. When she’s not designing costumes and new storylines for the Arcane Emporium’s haunted house, Issa's nursing a secret, conflicted dream of ditching her family’s witchy business to become an indie fashion designer in her own right.

But when someone starts sabotaging the celebrations leading up to this year’s Beltane festival with dark, dangerous magic, a member of the rival Thorn family gets badly hurt—throwing immediate suspicion on the Avramovs. To clear the Avramov name and step up for her family when they need her the most, Issa agrees to serve as a co-investigator, helping none other than Rowan Thorn get to the bottom of things.

Rowan is the very definition of lawful good, so tragically noble and by-the-book he makes Issa’s teeth hurt. In accordance with their families’ complicated history, he and Issa have been archenemies for years and have grown to heartily loathe each other. But as the unlikely duo follow a perplexing trail of clues to a stunning conclusion, Issa and Rowan discover how little they really know each other… and stumble upon a maddening attraction that becomes harder to ignore by the day.

I adored the first book in this series, and I’ve been dying to get back to Thistle Grove since I heard we were getting a sequel!

The Stardust Thief (The Sandsea Trilogy, #1) by Chelsea Abdullah
Genres: Fantasy
Representation: Arabic cast & setting
Published on: 17th May 2022

Neither here nor there, but long ago…

Loulie al-Nazari is the Midnight Merchant: a criminal who, with the help of her jinn bodyguard, hunts and sells illegal magic. When she saves the life of a cowardly prince, she draws the attention of his powerful father, the sultan, who blackmails her into finding an ancient lamp that has the power to revive the barren land—at the cost of sacrificing all jinn.

With no choice but to obey or be executed, Loulie journeys with the sultan’s oldest son to find the artifact. Aided by her bodyguard, who has secrets of his own, they must survive ghoul attacks, outwit a vengeful jinn queen, and confront a malicious killer from Loulie’s past. And, in a world where story is reality and illusion is truth, Loulie will discover that everything—her enemy, her magic, even her own past—is not what it seems, and she must decide who she will become in this new reality.

Inspired by stories from One Thousand and One NightsThe Stardust Thief weaves the gripping tale of a legendary smuggler, a cowardly prince, and a dangerous quest across the desert to find a legendary, magical lamp.

I have to admit, this one didn’t work for me – it reads much more like YA than Adult Fantasy – but I know a lot of others are going to love it!

Galaxy: The Prettiest Star by Jadzia Axelrod, Jess Taylor
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Sci Fi
Representation: Queer MC, F/F
Published on: 17th May 2022

It takes strength to live as your true self, and one alien princess disguised as a human boy is about to test her power. A vibrant story about gender identity, romance, and shining as bright as the stars.

Taylor Barzelay has the perfect life. Good looks, good grades, a starting position on the basketball team, a loving family, even an adorable corgi. Every day in Taylor’s life is perfect. And every day is torture.

Taylor is actually the Galaxy Crowned, an alien princess from the planet Cyandii, and one of the few survivors of an intergalactic war. For six long, painful years, Taylor has accepted her duty to remain in hiding as a boy on Earth.

That all changes when Taylor meets Metropolis girl Katherine “call me Kat” Silverberg, whose confidence is electrifying. Suddenly, Taylor no longer wants to hide, even if exposing her true identity could attract her greatest enemies. From the charming and brilliant mind behind the popular podcast The Voice of Free Planet X, Jadzia Axelrod, and with stunningly colorful artwork by Jess Taylor comes the story of a girl in hiding who must face her fears to see herself as others see her: the prettiest star.

I don’t read a lot of comics, but this one hits pretty close to home – definitely going to check it out!

Darknesses (Darknesses #1) by Lachelle Seville
Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary or Urban Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Sapphic MC, Black love interest, F/F
Published on: 19th May 2022

It’s been a year since Oasis stumbled away from Blessed Falls with wings carved into her back and too many scars to count.

A year spent razing delusions of being an angel's vessel, proving to her brother that she doesn’t belong in a psych ward, and mourning the loss of her mother's vinyl pressed ashes.

A year spent struggling to feel human again.

Enter Laura, the mesmerizing stranger who claims to hear Oasis’ heartbeat, who reads her hand-written memoir like scripture, who makes her feel closer to found than lost.
Laura is the most recent face of the eternal Count Dracula, ruler of the shadows, chimera of the Devil, and embittered victim of libel.

The Van Helsing Institute have been waiting for a glimpse of the dragon’s underbelly, and eagerly approach Oasis for her help in a ploy to kill Dracula for good. But not every wound from Blessed Falls has cicatrized, and Oasis realizes she may be a danger to Laura—and to herself.

Yet no one is as dangerous as Laura—the first vampire, the Devil's plaything, and the person with whom Oasis finally feels human.

Oceans of time have passed since she last had a drink, and she will not let Oasis go easily.

I’ve been so looking forward to this one! The excerpt makes me think of Twilight, but grown-up and queer and dark. In other words, freaking awesome.

Will you be reading any of these? Let me know!

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