- Contemporary Romance
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The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman – 9 Jul (Berkley)
The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.
When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They’re all—or mostly all—excited to meet her! She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It’s a disaster! And as if that wasn’t enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn’t he realize what a terrible idea that is?
Nina considers her options.
1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)
2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).
3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)
It’s time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn’t convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It’s going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.
The Wedding Party (Wedding Date #3) by Jasmine Guillory – 16 Jul (Berkley)
Maddie and Theo have two things in common:
1. Alexa is their best friend
2. They hate each other
After an “oops, we made a mistake” night together, neither one can stop thinking about the other. With Alexa’s wedding rapidly approaching, Maddie and Theo both share bridal party responsibilities that require more interaction with each other than they’re comfortable with. Underneath the sharp barbs they toss at each other is a simmering attraction that won’t fade. It builds until they find themselves sneaking off together to release some tension when Alexa isn’t looking, agreeing they would end it once the wedding is over. When it’s suddenly pushed up and they only have a few months left of secret rendezvouses, they find themselves regretting that the end is near. Two people this different can’t possibly have a connection other than the purely physical, right?
But as with any engagement with a nemesis, there are unspoken rules that must be abided by. First and foremost, don’t fall in love.
Cold Heart, Warm Cowboy (Cold River Ranch #2) by Caitlin Crews – 30 Jul (St Martin’s Paperbacks)
Ty Everett ran off to the rodeo when he turned eighteen and has been riding bulls ever since…until his last fall causes partial amnesia and he must return to Cold River Ranch to figure out what comes next. But how can he pick his next move when he can’t remember how he got here in the first place—much less the beautiful woman who appears at the ranch, claims she knows him, and warms his cold heart for the first time since he woke up in the hospital?
Rodeo Queen Hannah Monroe gave up her crown for Ty Everett, and her innocence. What she wants from Ty now is a divorce. But Ty can’t remember her—or their secret wedding, or even the son she never meant to hide from him—and Hannah is torn. How can she leave the man she can’t forget and still loves despite herself? And even if she’s willing to start over, what will happen when the truth comes out?
Lone Wolf Cowboy (Gold Valley #7) by Maisey Yates – 30 Jul (HQN Books)
Will Gold Valley’s most reclusive cowboy finally find a reason to heal?
As a former EMT and a wildland firefighter, there’s no one Jacob Dalton can’t rescue—except himself. Since his best friend’s tragic death, Jacob has isolated himself…until Vanessa Logan returns to Gold Valley. He saved her life during a medical call years ago, and he’s never forgotten her. The instant jolt of heat between them takes him by surprise, but he knows that giving in to it would only end in disaster…
For Vanessa, returning home was about healing, not about exploring her attraction with Jacob. He is the guardian angel from her past—with strong, capable hands and an irresistible mouth. A temptation she knows she can’t afford. Until the chemistry between them explodes, and unites them in a way they could never have imagined…
Protect the Prince (Crown of Shards #2) by Jennifer Estep – 2 Jul (Harper Voyager)
Everleigh Blair might be the new gladiator queen of Bellona, but her problems are far from over.
First, Evie has to deal with a court full of arrogant, demanding nobles, all of whom want to get their greedy hands on her crown. As if that wasn’t bad enough, an assassin tries to kill Evie in her own throne room.
Despite the dangers, Evie goes ahead with a scheduled trip to the neighboring kingdom of Andvari in order to secure a desperately needed alliance. But complicating matters is the stubborn Andvarian king, who wants to punish Evie for the deaths of his countrymen during the Seven Spire massacre.
But dark forces are at work inside the Andvarian palace, and Evie soon realizes that no one is safe. Worse, Evie’s immunity to magic starts acting in strange, unexpected ways, which makes her wonder whether she is truly strong enough to be a Winter Queen.
But Evie’s magic, life, and crown aren’t the only things in danger—so is her heart, thanks to Lucas Sullivan, the Andvarian king’s bastard son and Evie’s . . . well, Evie isn’t quite sure what Sullivan is to her.
Only one thing is certain—protecting a prince might be even harder than killing a queen…
Spin the Dawn (Blood of the Stars #1) by Elizabeth Lim – 9 Jul (Random House)
Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.
Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.
And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.
The Rage of Dragons (Burning #1) by Evan Wilder – 16 Jul (Orbit)
The Omehi people have been fighting an unwinnable fight for almost two hundred years. Their society has been built around war and only war. The lucky ones are born gifted. One in every two thousand women has the power to call down dragons. One in every hundred men is able to magically transform himself into a bigger, stronger, faster killing machine.
Everyone else is fodder, destined to fight and die in the endless war. Young, gift-less Tau knows all this, but he has a plan of escape. He’s going to get himself injured, get out early, and settle down to marriage, children, and land. Only, he doesn’t get the chance. Those closest to him are brutally murdered, and his grief swiftly turns to anger. Fixated on revenge, Tau dedicates himself to an unthinkable path. He’ll become the greatest swordsman to ever live, a man willing to die a hundred thousand times for the chance to kill the three who betrayed him.
Bonds (Royal States #6) by Susan Copperfield – 16 Jul (Pen & Page Publishing)
In the Royal States of America, magic rules all, but life—and love—always finds a way.
When a sinking oil tanker threatens to destroy the picturesque coastline of France, search and rescue diver Jack Alders and his waveweaving talent stand between France and a record-breaking oil spill.
But what Jack finds on board the dying ship will forever change the course of the Royal States and puts him in the sights of a royal tyrant out for blood.
Tamiko and the Two Janitors (Amaranthine Saga #3) by Forthright – 22 Jul (Twinkle Press)
In doing her part for world peace, she puts one crosser’s whole world at risk.
Conspiracy theories, werewolf scares, and protest rallies have hampered the peace process in America, where social and political unrest keep most Amaranthine from declaring themselves. Those not in seclusion rely heavily on illusion to mask their true nature.
As the newly appointed principal of a small elementary school, Tamiko Reaverson is doing her part for world peace. She rallies her community’s support and applies for Hisoka Twineshaft’s school revitalization project, which will bring Amaranthine to her hometown. Little does Tami realize that Fletching was founded by one of the oldest and largest urban enclaves in the United States. And two of her staunchest supporters—janitors at her school—share a secret neither wants exposed.
The Merciful Crow (Merciful Crow #1) by Margaret Owen – 30 Jul (Macmillan)
A future chieftain
Fie abides by one rule: look after your own. Her Crow caste of undertakers and mercy-killers takes more abuse than coin, but when they’re called to collect royal dead, she’s hoping they’ll find the payout of a lifetime.
A fugitive prince
When Crown Prince Jasimir turns out to have faked his death, Fie’s ready to cut her losses—and perhaps his throat. But he offers a wager that she can’t refuse: protect him from a ruthless queen, and he’ll protect the Crows when he reigns.
A too-cunning bodyguard
Hawk warrior Tavin has always put Jas’s life before his, magically assuming the prince’s appearance and shadowing his every step. But what happens when Tavin begins to want something to call his own?
The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams – 9 Jul (William Morrow)
The Bahamas, 1941. Newly-widowed Leonora “Lulu” Randolph arrives in Nassau to investigate the Governor and his wife for a New York society magazine. After all, American readers have an insatiable appetite for news of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, that glamorous couple whose love affair nearly brought the British monarchy to its knees five years earlier. What more intriguing backdrop for their romance than a wartime Caribbean paradise, a colonial playground for kingpins of ill-gotten empires?
Or so Lulu imagines. But as she infiltrates the Duke and Duchess’s social circle, and the powerful cabal that controls the islands’ political and financial affairs, she uncovers evidence that beneath the glister of Wallis and Edward’s marriage lies an ugly—and even treasonous—reality. In fact, Windsor-era Nassau seethes with spies, financial swindles, and racial tension, and in the middle of it all stands Benedict Thorpe: a scientist of tremendous charm and murky national loyalties. Inevitably, the willful and wounded Lulu falls in love.
Then Nassau’s wealthiest man is murdered in one of the most notorious cases of the century, and the resulting coverup reeks of royal privilege. Benedict Thorpe disappears without a trace, and Lulu embarks on a journey to London and beyond to unpick Thorpe’s complicated family history: a fateful love affair, a wartime tragedy, and a mother from whom all joy is stolen.
The stories of two unforgettable women thread together in this extraordinary epic of espionage, sacrifice, human love, and human courage, set against a shocking true crime . . . and the rise and fall of a legendary royal couple.
Someone to Honor (Westcott #6) by Mary Balogh – 2 Jul (Berkley)
Abigail Westcott’s dreams for her future were lost when her father died, and she discovered her parents were not legally married. But now, six years later, she enjoys the independence a life without expectation provides a wealthy single woman. Indeed, she’s grown confident enough to scold the careless servant chopping wood outside without his shirt on in the proximity of ladies.
But the man is not a servant. He is Gilbert Bennington, the lieutenant colonel and superior officer who has escorted her wounded brother, Harry, home from the wars with Napoleon. Gil has come to help his friend and junior officer recover, and he doesn’t take lightly to being condescended to—secretly because of his own humble beginnings.
If at first Gil and Abigail seem to embody what the other most despises, each will soon discover how wrong first impressions can be. For behind the appearances of the once-grand lady and the once-humble man are two people who share an understanding of what true honor means, and how only with it can one find love.
Brazen and the Beast (Bareknuckle Bastards #2) by Sarah MacLean – 30 Jul (Avon)
The Lady’s Plan
When Lady Henrietta Sedley declares her twenty-ninth year her own, she has plans to inherit her father’s business, to make her own fortune, and to live her own life. But first, she intends to experience a taste of the pleasure she’ll forgo as a confirmed spinster. Everything is going perfectly…until she discovers the most beautiful man she’s ever seen tied up in her carriage and threatening to ruin the Year of Hattie before it’s even begun.
The Bastard’s Proposal
When he wakes in a carriage at Hattie’s feet, Whit, a king of Covent Garden known to all the world as Beast, can’t help but wonder about the strange woman who frees him—especially when he discovers she’s headed for a night of pleasure . . . on his turf. He is more than happy to offer Hattie all she desires…for a price.
An Unexpected Passion
Soon, Hattie and Whit find themselves rivals in business and pleasure. She won’t give up her plans; he won’t give up his power . . . and neither of them sees that if they’re not careful, they’ll have no choice but to give up everything . . . including their hearts.
The Pawful Truth (Cat in the Stacks #11) by Miranda James – 16 Jul (Berkley)
In addition to his library duties and his role as doting grandad, Charlie has enrolled in an early medieval history course offered by young, charismatic professor Carey Warriner. Charlie feels a bit out of place- his fellow classmates are half his age- except for Dixie Bell Compton, another ‘mature’ student. When Charlie hears an angry exchange between her and their professor, his interest in piqued. He’s even more intrigued when she shows up at his office asking for a study partner. Charlie turns her down and is saddened to learn just a few days later that Dixie has been killed.
Charlie wonders if Professor Warriner had anything to do with Dixie’s death. Warriner is married to a fellow professor who happens to be a successful author. There are rumors on campus that their marriage was on the rocks. Was Dixie’s death the result of a lovers’ triangle gone bad? Charlie soon discovers that the professor’s wife may have some secrets of her own and his suspect list is only getting longer.
As he and Diesel step further into the tangled web of relationships, someone else is viciously killed. Whose jealousy finally erupted into murderous rage? Was it a crime of passion or is there another more sinister motive? Charlie races to unravel this mystery: and to draw out the culprit, he may just have to put his own life on the line…
Untamed Delights (Phoenix Pack #8) by Suzanne Wright – 16 Jul (Montlake)
Cat shifter Mila Devereaux can’t help but see it as a betrayal. That her one true mate imprinted himself on another female was hard enough to accept. Struggling to be at peace with her loveless fate, she doesn’t fight the suggestion of entering an arranged mating. Then she meets Dominic, a pack enforcer with a notorious reputation. It’s in his very scent. This irresistible playboy—and delicious badass wolf—is making Mila’s fantasies come alive again.
Alarming, compelling, and heady with sensual energy, Dominic is an expert at making women shed their inhibitions. Now everything about him—his killer smile, his perfectly sculpted body, and his smooth-as-honey voice—is drawing in a captivating new catch. But for the first time in his life, Dominic is feeling more than a fling. He finds himself tantalized by a female who makes him think of forever. He wants all of Mila and won’t be satisfied until he has it.
As the passion grows wild, so does the risk. They’re falling in love in the shadows and secrets of their pasts. And it’s threatening to destroy everything Mila and Dominic are fighting for. And are destined for.
Shadows (Dark in You #5) by Suzanne Wright – 30 Jul (Piatkus)
A match made in hell?
Devon and Tanner fight like… well, cats and dogs. Which makes sense since hellcats and hellhounds aren’t exactly a match made in heaven. Unfortunately, their demons’ antipathy towards each other is matched only by the red-hot sexual tension between Tanner and Devon. It’s driving them – and their long-suffering friends Harper and Knox – mad.
When Devon is nearly kidnapped, Tanner’s protective instincts kick into overdrive – he’s sticking by her side, day and night. But staying so close means their hunger can no longer be denied . . . They know their demons won’t accept the match, but after one red-hot night they’ll fight to stay together as long as they can, even though shadows are gathering around them. Devon’s would-be kidnapper is still on the loose, a serial killer carrying rage from a twisted past threatens the lair and, most of all, Tanner and Devon are losing themselves to the heat between them. When this relationship goes up in flames, it could be a blaze that neither of them can walk away from . . .
Lies by Kylie Scott – 21 Jul (Kylie Scott)
Betty Dawsey knows that breaking things off with Thom Lange is for the best. He’s nice, but boring, and their relationship has lost its spark. But steady and predictable Thom, suddenly doesn’t seem so steady and predictable when their condo explodes and she’s kidnapped by a couple of crazies claiming that Thom isn’t who he says he is.
Thom is having a hellish week. Not only is he hunting a double agent, but his fiancé dumped him, and thanks to his undercover life, she’s been kidnapped.
Turns out Thom is Operative Thom and he’s got more than a few secrets to share with Betty if he’s going to keep her alive. With both their lives on the line, their lackluster connection is suddenly replaced by an intense one. But in his line of work, feelings aren’t wanted or desired. Because feelings can be a lethal distraction.
This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar, Max Gladstone – 16 Jul (Saga Press)
Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading.
And thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more.
Except discovery of their bond would be death for each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win that war. That’s how war works. Right?
Medusa in the Graveyard (Medusa Cycle #2) by Emily Devenport – 23 Jul (Tor Books)
Oichi Angelis, former Worm, along with her fellow insurgents on the generation starship Olympia, head deeper into the Charon System for the planet called Graveyard.
Ancient, sentient, alien starships wait for them–three colossi so powerful they remain aware even in self-imposed sleep. The race that made the Three are dead, but Oichi’s people were engineered with this ancient DNA.
A delegation from Olympia must journey to the heart of Graveyard and be judged by the Three. Before they’re done, they will discover that weapons are the least of what the ships have to offer.
Science Fiction Romance
Sweep of the Blade (Innkeeper Chronicles #4) by Ilona Andrews – 16 Jul (NYLA)
Maud Demille was a daughter of Innkeepers. She knew that a simple life wasn’t in the cards, but she never anticipated what Fate would throw at her.
Once a wife to a powerful vampire knight, Maud and her daughter, Helen, had been exiled for the sins of her husband to the desolate planet of Karhari. Karhari killed her husband, and Maud had spent a year and a half avenging his debts. But now all the debts are paid. Rescued by her sister Dina, Maud had swore off all things vampire. Except she met Arland, the Marshal of House Krahr. One thing led to another and he asked for her hand in marriage. She declined.
Try as she might, she can’t just walk away from Arland. It doesn’t help that being human is a lot harder for Maud than being a vampire.
To sort it all out, she accepts his invitation to visit his home planet. House Krahr is a powerful vampire House, and Maud knows that a woman who turned down the proposal from its most beloved son wouldn’t get a warm reception. But Maud Demille never shied from a fight and House Krahr may soon discover that there is more to this human woman than they ever thought possible.
The Queen’s Advantage (Rogue Queen #2) by Jesse Mihalik – 9 Jul (NYLA)
When Queen Samara Rani fulfills the promise she made to Emperor Valentin Kos to visit his court and meet with his advisors, she knows they won’t welcome her with open arms, especially when she’s been tasked with discovering the traitors within their ranks—traitors she tricked out of five million credits.
As soon as Samara begins her investigation it becomes clear that Valentin’s advisors want her gone and they aren’t picky about how. After their tactics turn violent, Samara and Valentin race to unravel the web of treachery and lies before the next attack ends in tragedy.
When the conflict escalates in ferocity and rumors start blaming Samara, she is forced to continue her hunt alone. Uncovering traitors is difficult when courtiers learn to lie before they learn to walk, and one misstep could cost her life. However, Rogue Queens aren’t easy to kill and Samara has more than a few tricks of her own.
Book of Lies (The Last Oracle #4) by Melissa McShane – 2 Jul (Night Harbor Publishing)
For over seventy years, the use of familiars—monsters bound by magic to fight beside humans in the Long War—divided magery into two factions. Now, the monsters strike back.
As Helena prepares for the Conference of Neutralities, reports of familiars breaking their bonds to attack and kill their masters raise tensions between the factions to an unprecedented high. Faced with the challenge of keeping her relationship with Malcolm Campbell secret from more than a hundred of her fellow custodians, Helena must also protect herself from rogue familiars—and they’re closer than she thinks.
Witching Hour (Ante-Fae Adventure #1; Wild Hunt #7) by Yasmine Galenorn – 8 Jul (Nightqueen Enterprises)
Is your house overrun with ghosts? Do you need to contact the dead? Or perhaps, have your fortune read? Come to the Witching Hour, where Raven will take care of all your midnight-of-the-soul needs.
Raven BoneTalker, also known as the Daughter of Bones, is one of the Ante-Fae—the dangerous, unpredictable predecessors to the Fae Races. But Raven is young, and she likes interacting with mortals, so she’s opened a business—the Witching Hour—where she takes on clients with ghostly problems. Mostly she reads cards, boots out the odd poltergeist, or helps grieving families contact their loved ones for closure.
But when Lana, one of her friends, comes begging for help, things take a dark turn. Raven investigates what seems like a simple haunting on the surface. But the more she delves into the case, the more she realizes that this is no simple ghost. As Raven untangles a web of secrets and deceits kept for over fifty years, she finds herself in danger, facing not only a ghostly threat, but also a danger that is very much alive.
Fledgling (Sorcery and Society #2) by Molly Harper – 23 Jul (NYLA)
Days away from becoming completing her first year at Miss Castwell’s Institute for the Magical Instruction of Young Ladies, Changeling-born Sarah Smith might just get away with posing as an upper-class Guardian girl named Cassandra Reed.
But strange visions of a Lightbourne destroyed by Miss Morton’s revenant army keep Sarah from enjoying her achievement. Plus, the Mother Book, Sarah’s one secret advantage and the ultimate entrée in Guardian society, suddenly stops revealing itself to her…putting her in a precarious position with the Guild. On top of all that, her former lady’s maid left Miss Castwell’s, and the new hire is, well, taking some getting used to.
If it weren’t for her two best friends, Alicia McCray and Ivy Cowel, who will do anything to protect her secret, Sarah doesn’t know if she’ll make it another year. When the three girls take summer holiday with Alicia’s family (chaperoned by an exacting and very disapproving Mrs. McCray), a relaxing vacation in Scotland is the last thing they’ll find.
Mrs. Winter is thrilled that Sarah is spending time with the influential McCray family, but Sarah can’t help but feel that her real purpose is to find other Changeling children like her, and free them to realize their own magic. Can she find genuine satisfaction in her accomplishments when she knows there are others like her out there who need her help? Will the three girls uncover the deeply-held secrets they’re looking for in the mysterious mountains of Scotland? Will the Mother Book finally start talking to her again? And will Sarah come to understand the importance of her connection with Ivy and Alicia, and the true nature of her own power…before it’s too late?
The monthly Must Have list is a compilation of the upcoming release titles that we, The Book Pushers, just can’t wait to get our hands on. Don’t see a title you’re excited about listed here? Add it to the comments section below. Let us know what you’re looking forward to!