Must-Have Monday #87

Posted 30th May 2022 by Sia in Must-Have Mondays / 0 Comments

This week is PACKED full of witches, but we also have faeries, dragons, and merboys to enjoy!

Her Majesty's Royal Coven (Her Majesty's Royal Coven, #1) by Juno Dawson
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Black lesbian MC, sapphic Black secondary character, trans secondary character, queer Latina trans secondary character, nonbinary BIPOC secondary character
Published on: 31st May 2022
Goodreads

A Discovery of Witches meets The Craft in this the first installment of this epic fantasy trilogy about a group of childhood friends who are also witches.

If you look hard enough at old photographs, we’re there in the background: healers in the trenches; Suffragettes; Bletchley Park oracles; land girls and resistance fighters. Why is it we help in times of crisis? We have a gift. We are stronger than Mundanes, plain and simple.

At the dawn of their adolescence, on the eve of the summer solstice, four young girls--Helena, Leonie, Niamh and Elle--took the oath to join Her Majesty's Royal Coven, established by Queen Elizabeth I as a covert government department. Now, decades later, the witch community is still reeling from a civil war and Helena is now the reigning High Priestess of the organization. Yet Helena is the only one of her friend group still enmeshed in the stale bureaucracy of HMRC. Elle is trying to pretend she's a normal housewife, and Niamh has become a country vet, using her powers to heal sick animals. In what Helena perceives as the deepest betrayal, Leonie has defected to start her own more inclusive and intersectional coven, Diaspora. And now Helena has a bigger problem. A young warlock of extraordinary capabilities has been captured by authorities and seems to threaten the very existence of HMRC. With conflicting beliefs over the best course of action, the four friends must decide where their loyalties lie: with preserving tradition, or doing what is right.

Juno Dawson explores gender and the corrupting nature of power in a delightful and provocative story of magic and matriarchy, friendship and feminism. Dealing with all the aspects of contemporary womanhood, as well as being phenomenally powerful witches, Niamh, Helena, Leonie and Elle may have grown apart but they will always be bound by the sisterhood of the coven.

Her Majesty’s Royal Coven sounds like everything I ever wanted, and I can’t wait to dive in!

How to Be Eaten by Maria Adelmann
Published on: 31st May 2022
Goodreads

A darkly funny and provocative debut novel that reimagines classic fairy tale characters as modern women in a PTSD support group In present-day New York City, Ruby (Little Red Riding Hood), Gretel, Bernice (Bluebeard’s widow), Marlena (the miller’s daughter from Rumplestiltskin), and Ashlee (the winner of a Love Island-esque dating show, a new kind of fairy tale heroine) all meet in a basement support group to process their traumas. Though they start out wary of one another, judging each other’s stories, gradually these women begin to realize that they may have more in common than they supposed…What brought them here? What will they reveal? And is it too late for them to rescue each other?   Dark, edgy, and wickedly funny, this debut for readers of Carmen Maria Machado, Kristen Arnett, and Kelly Link takes our coziest, most beloved childhood stories, exposes them as anti-feminist nightmares, and transforms them into a new kind of myth for grown-up women.

This sounds like a really interesting premise, and I’m hopeful that the book’s going to live up to it!

Deep in Providence by Riss M. Neilson
Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary or Urban Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Black-Filipina sapphic MC, Latina MC, Black MC with anxiety, queer Black side character, various Black, Latine and Filipine side characters
Published on: 31st May 2022
Goodreads

"Haunting, intimate, and beautifully told: a magical debut novel from a writer to watch.” —Emily M. Danforth, national bestselling and award-winning author of The Miseducation of Cameron PostA spellbinding young adult fantasy debut following three best friends who turn to magic when they're haunted by a friend's death...and perhaps her spirit, combining the atmospheric thrills of The Hazel Wood with the nuanced realism of Erika L. Sanchez.

For best friends Miliani, Inez, Natalie and Jasmine, Providence, Rhode Island has a magic of its own. From the bodegas and late-night food trucks on Broad Street to The Hill that watches over the city, every corner of Providence glows with memories of them practicing spells, mixing up potions and doing séances with the help of the magic Miliani’s Filipino grandfather taught her.

But when Jasmine is killed by a drunk driver, the world they have always known is left haunted by grief...and Jasmine's lingering spirit. Determined to bring her back, the surviving friends band together, testing the limits of their magic and everything they know about life, death, and each other.

And as their plan to resurrect Jasmine grows darker and more demanding than they imagined, their separate lives begin to splinter the bonds they depend on, revealing buried secrets that threaten the people they care about most. Miliani, Inez and Natalie will have to rely on more than just their mystical abilities to find the light.

Thrilling and absorbing, Deep in Providence is a story of profound yearning, and what happens when three teen girls are finally given the power to go after what they want.

“Magic runs like a glittering thread through this densely woven tale of friendship, grief, and identity, and what begins as a backbeat of creeping dread deftly builds into a landscape of supernatural terrors. Neilson balances her page-turning fantasy narrative against the coming of age of a trio of bereaved best friends with grace, delicacy, and startling humanity.” —Melissa Albert, New York Times-bestselling author of the Hazel Wood series and Our Crooked Hearts

I’ve heard nothing but adoring praise for Deep In Providence, and it sounds absolutely wonderful (if also sad). I love stories about teen witches, and all signs point to this being an excellent one!

The Fae Keeper (The Witch King, #2) by H.E. Edgmon
Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary or Urban Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Trans gay MC, brown achillean love interest, queer BIPOC secondary cast
Published on: 31st May 2022
Goodreads

In the heart-stopping sequel to The Witch King, Wyatt and Emyr attempt to rebuild Asalin despite unexpected new enemies within their kingdom.

Two weeks after the door to Faery closed once more, Asalin is still in turmoil. Emyr and Wyatt are hunting Derek and Clarke themselves after having abolished the corrupt Guard, and are trying to convince the other kingdoms to follow their lead. But when they uncover the hidden truth about the witches' real place in fae society, it becomes clear the problems run much deeper than anyone knew. And this may be more than the two of them can fix.

As Wyatt struggles to learn control of his magic and balance his own needs with the needs of a kingdom, he must finally decide on the future he wants—before he loses the future he and Emyr are building…

There was no way I was leaving the sequel to Witch King off a Must-Have list! The Fae Keeper is also the finale of the duology, so I can’t be the only one expecting serious fireworks!

Together We Burn by Isabel Ibañez
Genres: Fantasy
Representation: Latin-America-esque setting and cast
Published on: 31st May 2022
Goodreads

Eighteen-year-old Zarela Zalvidar is a talented flamenco dancer and daughter of the most famous Dragonador in Hispalia. People come for miles to see her father fight in their arena, which will one day be hers.

But disaster strikes during their five hundredth anniversary show, and in the carnage, Zarela’s father is horribly injured. Facing punishment from the Dragon Guild, Zarela must keep the arena—her ancestral home and inheritance—safe from their greedy hands. She has no choice but to take her father’s place as the next Dragonador. When the infuriatingly handsome dragon hunter, Arturo Díaz de Montserrat, withholds his help, she refuses to take no for an answer.

But even if he agrees, there’s someone out to ruin the Zalvidar family, and Zarela will have to do whatever it takes in order to prevent the Dragon Guild from taking away her birthright.

An ancient city plagued by dragons. A flamenco dancer determined to save her ancestral home. A dragon hunter refusing to teach her his ways. They don't want each other, but they need each other, and without him her world will burn.

Besides an utterly stunning cover, Together We Burn also has a brilliant premise – dragonadors! I absolutely need to know more. (And if I’m rooting for the dragons, well… Le duh!)

Out of the Blue by Jason June
Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary or Urban Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: M/M
Published on: 31st May 2022
Goodreads

Crest is not excited to be on their Journey: the monthlong sojourn on land all teen merfolk must undergo. The rules are simple: Help a human within one moon cycle and return to Pacifica to become an Elder--or fail and remain stuck on land forever. Crest is eager to get their Journey over and done with: after all, humans are disgusting. They've pollluted the planet so much that there's a floating island of trash that's literally the size of a country.

In Los Angeles with a human body and a new name, Crest meets Sean, a human lifeguard whose boyfriend has recently dumped him. Crest agrees to help Sean make his ex jealous and win him back. But as the two spend more time together and Crest's pespective on humans begins to change, they'll soon be torn between two worlds. And fake dating just might lead to real feelings...

This sophomore novel from Jason June dives into the many definitions of the world home and shows how love can help us find the truest versions of ourselves.

This sounds super sweet and cute, and I’m looking forward to adorable merboy escapism!

All Signs Point to Yes by Cam Montgomery, Adrianne White, g. haron davis, Tehlor Kay Mejia, Mark Oshiro, Eric Smith, Emery Lee, Byron Graves, Karuna Riazi, Roselle Lim, Alexandra Villasante, Lily Anderson, Kiana Nguyen
Representation: BIPOC MCs, queer MCs
Published on: 31st May 2022
Goodreads

a YA anthology of love stories for each of the star signs that will showcase multicultural characters and celebrate the myriad facets of love, from meet-cutes to the lesser-explored love expressed by aromantic people, featuring 13 bestselling and award-winning multicultural authors.

Supposedly this jumps around a bunch of different genres, but I most perked up at the inclusion of aromantic relationships! Also, I’m a sucker for a punny title and I love this one.

Bad Gays: A Homosexual History by Huw Lemmey, Ben Miller
Genres: Queer Protagonists
Published on: 31st May 2022
Goodreads

Too many popular histories seek to establish heroes, pioneers and martyrs but as Huw Lemmey and Ben Miller argue, the past is filled with queer people whose sexualities and dastardly deeds have been overlooked. We all remember Oscar Wilde, but who speaks for Bosie? What about those ‘bad gays’ whose unexemplary lives reveals more than we might expect?

Part revisionist history, part historical biography and based on the hugely popular podcast series, Bad Gays subverts the notion of gay icons and queer heroes and asks what we can learn about LGBTQ history, sexuality and identity through its villains and baddies. From the Emperor Hadrian to notorious gangster Ronnie Kray, the authors excavate the buried history of queer lives. This includes fascist thugs, famous artists, austere puritans and debauched bon viveurs, imperialists, G-men and architects.

Together these amazing life stories expand and challenge the mainstream assumptions of sexual identity. They show that homosexuality itself was an idea that emerged in the nineteenth century and that its interpretation has been central to major historical moments of conflict from the ruptures of Weimar Republic to red-baiting in Cold War America.

Amusing, disturbing and fascinating, Bad Gays puts centre stage the queer villains and evil twinks in history.

Honestly, I don’t need to hear anything but the title. GIMME.

The Last Stand of Mary Good Crow (The Crystal Calamity, #1) by Rachel Aaron
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy
Representation: Biracial Lakota MC
Published on: 1st June 2022
Goodreads

Deadwood meets The Lord of the Rings in this Epic Fantasy of the West!

Hungry darkness, haunted guns, tunnels that move like snakes—the crystal mines of Medicine Rocks, Montana are a place only the bravest and greediest dare. Discovered in 1866, the miraculous rock known as crystal quickly rose to become the most expensive substance on the planet, driving thousands to break the treaties and invade the sacred buffalo lands of the Sioux. But mining crystal risks more than an arrow in the chest. The beautiful rock has a voice of its own. A voice that twists minds and calls unnatural powers.

A voice that turns men into monsters.

Mary Good Crow hears it. Half white, half Lakota, rejected by both, she’s forged a new life guiding would-be miners through the treacherous caves. To her ears, the crystal sings a beautiful song, one the men she guides would gladly burn her as a witch for hearing. So, when an heiress from Boston arrives with a proposition that could change her life, Mary agrees to push deeper into the caves than she’s ever dared.

But there are secrets buried in the Deep Caves that even Mary doesn’t know. The farther she goes, the closer she gets to the voice that’s been calling her all this time. A voice that could change the bloody story of the West, or destroy it all.

Rachel Aaron is one of my favourite authors, and The Last Stand of Mary Good Crow sounds wildly different from anything she’s previously published – but that just makes it exciting! Very much grabby-hands for this one!

The Peacekeeper (The Good Lands, #1) by B.L. Blanchard
Genres: Speculative Fiction
Representation: Ojibwe cast + MC
Published on: 1st June 2022
Goodreads

Against the backdrop of a never-colonized North America, a broken Ojibwe detective embarks on an emotional and twisting journey toward solving two murders, rediscovering family, and finding himself.

North America was never colonized. The United States and Canada don’t exist. The Great Lakes are surrounded by an independent Ojibwe nation. And in the village of Baawitigong, a Peacekeeper confronts his devastating past.

Twenty years ago to the day, Chibenashi’s mother was murdered and his father confessed. Ever since, caring for his still-traumatized younger sister has been Chibenashi’s privilege and penance. Now, on the same night of the Manoomin harvest, another woman is slain. His mother’s best friend. The leads to a seemingly impossible connection take Chibenashi far from the only world he’s ever known.

The major city of Shikaakwa is home to the victim’s cruelly estranged family—and to two people Chibenashi never wanted to see again: his imprisoned father and the lover who broke his heart. As the questions mount, the answers will change his and his sister’s lives forever. Because Chibenashi is about to discover that everything about those lives has been a lie.

I love the premise of a North America that was never colonised SO MUCH, and I can’t wait to see what Blanchard does with it!

To Catch a Moon by Rym Kechacha
Genres: Fantasy
Representation: Hispanic MC
Published on: 2nd June 2022
Goodreads

Mexico City, 1955. The painter Remedios Varo sits in her kitchen with her friend, the artist Leonora Carrington. Together they let their imaginations soar beyond their canvases to create new worlds.

In the surreal landscape of her imagination, Varo’s creations take on a life and power of their own. A wheeled spirit of the earth kidnaps a baby star; a woman who is half owl draws herself a daughter; a juggler entrances a crowd of grey-cloaked men, a lion and a goat. The rules that govern this world bend and creak, old alliances break, and an impending apocalypse forges the most unlikely of friendships.

To Catch a Moon popped up on my radar just recently, and it sounds strange and gorgeous and incredibly magical! I keep refreshing the publisher’s page looking for the ebook preorder, but they probably won’t go live until pub day. I AM MOST IMPATIENTLY WAITING!

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

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