Pub Day Picks // October 13, 2020

Ah, another glorious morning with some great books being published that I can’t not talk about! I’m actually very excited about today’s pub day because there’s some really great stories on my TBR that are also on this list. Some I’m reading this month and others in the coming months ahead. Here’s what I’m excited about publishing today:

The Puppetmaster’s Apprentice by Lisa DeSelm

I’m really excited about this one because it doesn’t sound like the regular fantasy story with a strong female lead trying to overcome the odds to win her family or war or whatever. This was a little bit different and I appreciate that every once in a while. Also, I really love fairy tale retellings and I haven’t seen one for Pinnochio yet, so that’s even more exciting.

Pinocchio meets Frankenstein in this dark fairy tale retelling where a young girl is commissioned to build an assassin for a dark-hearted tyrant.

Impressed by the work of the puppetmaster and his apprentice, Tavia’s ruler, The Margrave, has ordered dozens of life-size marionette soldiers to be sent to Wolfspire Hall. When the orders for more soldiers come in with increasingly urgent deadlines, the puppetmaster’s health suffers and Pirouette, his daughter and protégé, is left to build in his stead. But there is something far more twisted brewing at Wolfspire—the Margrave’s son wants Pirouette to create an assassin. And he wants her to give it life.

With Tavia teetering on the brink of war and her father dying in the dungeons, Pirouette has no choice but to accept. Racing against the rise of the next blue moon—the magic that will bring her creations to life—she can’t help but wonder, is she making a masterpiece…or a monster?

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E Harrow

I wasn’t the biggest fan of Ten Thousand Doors of January, but I really loved Alix E Harrow’s writing. Being a debut novel, I gave it the benefit of the doubt and wanted to see what she comes up with next. I think this might be on my level. Also, I’m developing a love for historical fantasies and I know Harrow will deliver.

In 1893, there’s no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.

But when the Eastwood sisters–James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna–join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women’s movement into the witch’s movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote-and perhaps not even to live-the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.

There’s no such thing as witches. But there will be.

Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

I heard about this one through bookstagram when folks were sharing Indigenous authors to read. When I heard it was a fantasy novel, well, that definitely peaked my attention.

In the holy city of Tova, the winter solstice is usually a time for celebration and renewal, but this year it coincides with a solar eclipse, a rare celestial event proscribed by the Sun Priest as an unbalancing of the world.

Meanwhile, a ship launches from a distant city bound for Tova and set to arrive on the solstice. The captain of the ship, Xiala, is a disgraced Teek whose song can calm the waters around her as easily as it can warp a man’s mind. Her ship carries one passenger. Described as harmless, the passenger, Serapio, is a young man, blind, scarred, and cloaked in destiny. As Xiala well knows, when a man is described as harmless, he usually ends up being a villain.

Crafted with unforgettable characters, Rebecca Roanhorse has created an epic adventure exploring the decadence of power amidst the weight of history and the struggle of individuals swimming against the confines of society and their broken pasts in the most original series debut of the decade.

Ring Shout by P Djeli Clark

First, I have to say that I really love P Djeli Clark’s writing. He’s only written a few novellas (and I think he’s publishing a full length novel soon), but I absolutely love his Alternate Cairo books. When I heard he wrote a book about a young Black woman who has magical powers and kicks the KKK’s ass (who are using nefarious black magic to do their dirty dealings), I got a little excited lol. I have to admit, this sounds like one of those stories that will have you rooting for the heroine the entire way through.

D. W. Griffith is a sorcerer, and The Birth of a Nation is a spell that drew upon the darkest thoughts and wishes from the heart of America. Now, rising in power and prominence, the Klan has a plot to unleash Hell on Earth.

Luckily, Maryse Boudreaux has a magic sword and a head full of tales. When she’s not running bootleg whiskey through Prohibition Georgia, she’s fighting monsters she calls “Ku Kluxes.” She’s damn good at it, too. But to confront this ongoing evil, she must journey between worlds to face nightmares made flesh–and her own demons. Together with a foul-mouthed sharpshooter and a Harlem Hellfighter, Maryse sets out to save a world from the hate that would consume it.

The Midnight Bargain by CL Polk

I heard that this one was a fantasy romance, which if I’m being honest, I haven’t read much of. Does Sarah J Maas count? Either way, I want to get into that genre because it’s a mix of two of my favorites. I’m hoping to read this one this month because it sounds so interesting and I can definitely do with a little romance.

Beatrice Clayborn is a sorceress who practices magic in secret, terrified of the day she will be locked into a marital collar that will cut off her powers to protect her unborn children. She dreams of becoming a full-fledged Magus and pursuing magic as her calling as men do, but her family has staked everything to equip her for Bargaining Season, when young men and women of means descend upon the city to negotiate the best marriages. The Clayborns are in severe debt, and only she can save them, by securing an advantageous match before their creditors come calling.

In a stroke of luck, Beatrice finds a grimoire that contains the key to becoming a Magus, but before she can purchase it, a rival sorceress swindles the book right out of her hands. Beatrice summons a spirit to help her get it back, but her new ally exacts a price: Beatrice’s first kiss . . . with her adversary’s brother, the handsome, compassionate, and fabulously wealthy Ianthe Lavan.

The more Beatrice is entangled with the Lavan siblings, the harder her decision becomes: If she casts the spell to become a Magus, she will devastate her family and lose the only man to ever see her for who she is; but if she marries—even for love—she will sacrifice her magic, her identity, and her dreams. But how can she choose just one, knowing she will forever regret the path not taken?

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