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Miscellaneous Must Haves

October 2020 Must Haves

BP Note: Welcome to October. Some of you might have noticed that we didn’t do a Must Haves post for September. I needed some time to decide if I was going to continue to be involved in a semi-formal way with the book community or not after watching some ugly behavior towards Reviewers of Color. They have been extremely active promoting diverse work and Authors of Color as part of making the romance community stronger. The book community has been my place away from the, sometimes all consuming, day job and its attendant stresses. The separation is needed now more than ever given ALL of 2020, but what I saw on Twitter a month ago brought me right back to the pressure, tension, and anxiety I try to leave behind. As others said it better in the aftermath, their emotional energy, personal time, money, and more generally unpaid is worth far better treatment and respect. The book community was lessened because of the ugly behavior and resulting actions.

As my bio says, my Mom started reading to me at an extremely early age. She let me read whatever I wanted without any outward signs of judgement. She loves getting new recommendations and talking books. She also thoroughly enjoyed the Conferences, Conventions, and Festivals we have attended together. She has seen me light up and get excited talking about books, relaying conversations about books, speculating about books and as such supported my involvement, written reviews, critiqued my reviews. My conversations with her, my sisters, and some others about books this past month reminded me of why I do this. I love discovering new reads. I love to share books I am excited about with other people. I love finding new reads through another person’s excitement so here this post is, books we are looking forward to this month. But the actions last month aren’t forgotten; some of my reading, purchasing, and recommending has forever changed.

Those of you who are still reading, thank you. Now to regularly scheduled business. We have a rather different mix of genres releasing this month. I expected to see a lot more UF or PNR for the US market for October, but then nothing about this year has followed the normal course of things. Hope you find something new to read this month. Let me know what you pick.
~ Happy reading~
E

Contemporary Romance

After Hours Redemption (404 Sound #1)After Hours Redemption (404 Sound #1) by Kianna Alexander – 1 Oct (Harlequin Desire)

Their red-hot reunion

is off the charts!

They made passionate music together.

Has this heartbreaker changed his tune?

Songwriter Eden Voss had the perfect man—sexy, charming, talented and hers. Until record executive Blaine Woodson broke her heart to save his fledging label. Now music’s bad boy is back, begging for her songwriting skills in his studio…and her lovemaking skills after hours. Eden vows to keep things strictly business this time. But there is nothing professional about the heat still between them…

Spoiler AlertSpoiler Alert by Olivia Dade – 6 Oct (Avon)

Marcus Caster-Rupp has a secret. While the world knows him as Aeneas, the star of the biggest show on TV, Gods of the Gates, he’s known to fanfiction readers as Book!AeneasWouldNever, an anonymous and popular poster. Marcus is able to get out his own frustrations with his character through his stories, especially the ones that feature the internet’s favorite couple to ship, Aeneas and Lavinia. But if anyone ever found out about his online persona, he’d be fired. Immediately.

April Whittier has secrets of her own. A hardcore Lavinia fan, she’s hidden her fanfiction and cosplay hobby from her “real life” for years—but not anymore. When she decides to post her latest Lavinia creation on Twitter, her photo goes viral. Trolls and supporters alike are commenting on her plus-size take, but when Marcus, one half of her OTP, sees her pic and asks her out on a date to spite her critics, she realizes life is really stranger than fanfiction.

Even though their first date is a disaster, Marcus quickly realizes that he wants much more from April than a one-time publicity stunt. And when he discovers she’s actually Unapologetic Lavinia Stan, his closest fandom friend, he has one more huge secret to hide from her.

With love and Marcus’s career on the line, can the two of them stop hiding once and for all, or will a match made in fandom end up prematurely cancelled?

The FavorThe Favor by Suzanne Wright – 13 Oct (KU)

Vienna Stratton knew she only had herself to blame. You didn’t let yourself become indebted to a man like Dane Davenport, no matter how badly you needed his help. As his personal assistant, she was very aware that the globally successful CEO was ruthless and unforgiving.

Of course, if she’d known he’d request that she be his wife for twelve months, she’d have hesitated in accepting his help. Because what she’d learned from Dane was that the devil wasn’t ugly and terrorising. He was seductive and captivating. He hummed with whispers of temptation – the temptation to sin and surrender, to let him brand and possess you. He awakened every need and fantasy you had.

He could even make you love him.

Big City Heat (Anthology)Big City Heat (Anthology) by Lucy Eden et al – 15 Oct (Shaking the Tree Press)

The heat is rising and champagne is on ice.

Love contemporary romances in the Big City? Say yes and you’ll love this collection of hot and steamy stories set in city high-rises, each perfect for one sitting.

Within these pages, find an exotic cocktail — billionaire, fake, curvy women, older men, interracial, LGBTQ, straight, office, mafia … and more.

Far From Destined (Promise Me #3)Far From Destined (Promise Me #3) by Carrie Ann Ryan – 27 Oct (Carrie Ann Ryan)

Macon Brady remembers every moment he lay on the ground, a bullet in his chest, his life bleeding out with each pulse. Yet his nightmares aren’t the only thing keeping him up at night.

Dakota Bristol left her ex with nothing but the clothes on her back and her child in her arms. She’s been hurt before and wants nothing to do with the shadows in Macon’s eyes. The problem? Her son loves him, and the more time she spends with the man, the more she’s afraid she’ll come to love him just as much.

Danger always comes back to haunt those who run. It was a lesson Dakota learned before. Now, it might be the man she refuses to fall for who makes the greatest sacrifice of all.

His Grumpy Childhood Friend (Cider Bar Sisters #2)His Grumpy Childhood Friend (Cider Bar Sisters #2) by Jackie Lau – 27 Oct (Jackie Lau Books)

It’s been five years since Charlotte Tam had to endure a public proposal at a baseball game—literally the stuff of her nightmares—and realized her ex never really knew her. She hasn’t dated since, afraid that no man will understand her cranky, introverted, coffee-obsessed self, but she wants to try again. Her friend suggests she ask a guy to ease her into the dating game and give her some lessons.

That night at the cider bar, Charlotte runs into Mike Guo, her childhood best friend who lived in the house next door twenty years ago. Surely easygoing Mike, who is now surprisingly handsome, must do well in the world of love. He’s the perfect candidate for this.

But as they go on practice dates around Toronto and even have kissing lessons, Charlotte starts to fall for Mike, and that was never part of the plan. He’s too different from her, just like her ex—how could it work? And she suspects Mike has secrets of his own…

Can their childhood friendship really become love?

If The Boot Fits (Cowboys of California #2)If The Boot Fits (Cowboys of California #2) by Rebekah Weatherspoon – 27 Oct (Dafina Books)

Working as the personal assistant to one of Hollywood’s cruelest divas has left Amanda Queen more determined than ever to sell her screenplay and gain her independence. In the meantime, she’ll settle for a temporary escape. When her employer is felled by the flu on Hollywood’s biggest night of the year, Amanda gets her glam on, struts out the door, and parties with the glitterati. But she never expects to come face to face—and closer than close—with one of the hottest stars in the game . . .

Following up his first Oscar win with a steamy after-hours romp with an enigmatic woman seems like the perfect way for actor Sam Pleasant to celebrate—until she suddenly disappears. Worse, she’s vanished with the wrong swag bag: the one containing his Oscar statue, leaving Sam even more intrigued about the beauty’s identity—and wondering if a repeat performance of their amazing night is in the stars. And when a second chance encounter happens, only a trip to Sam’s family ranch—and revealing the whole, not-always-glamorous, truth about themselves—will give them a chance to turn one magical night into forever . . .

Fantasy

House in Hiding (Uncertain Sanctuary #2)House in Hiding (Uncertain Sanctuary #2) by Jenny Schwartz – 3 Oct (KU)

The drumbeat of war pursues Kira as she sends the House along forgotten Reality paths searching for the grimoire that Carlene believes can stop the conflict. Or rather, the Spell of Amber within the grimoire that she hopes can preserve the Reality paths against the Emperor’s siphoning of their power.

Not everyone in the House agrees with Kira’s choice, or trusts Carlene.

However, Evander is still hoarding his secrets, so why should Kira trust the cyborg elf over Carlene’s well-reasoned arguments?

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRueThe Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab – 6 Oct (Tor Books)

rance, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

Black Sun (Between Earth and Sky #1)Black Sun (Between Earth and Sky #1) by Rebecca Roanhorse – 13 Oct (Saga Press)

A god will return
When the earth and sky converge
Under the black sun

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.

BP Note CW: Cover image and blurb contain references to a hate group so therefore only the basic information is being provided immediately below.
Ring Shout by P. Djeli Clark – 13 Oct (Tor.com)

For cover image and blurb please visit your favorite bookseller or book tracking website.

The Emperor's Wolves (Wolves of Elantra #1)The Emperor’s Wolves (Wolves of Elantra #1) by Michelle Sagara – 13 Oct (MIRA)

AT THE EMPEROR’S COMMAND

Multiple races care­fully navi­gate the City of Elantra under the Dragon Emperor’s wing. His Impe­rial Wolves are execu­tioners, the smallest group to serve in the Halls of Law. The popu­lace calls them assas­sins.

Every wolf candi­date must consent to a full exam­i­na­tion by the Tha’alani, one of the most feared and distrusted races in Elantra for their ability to read minds. Most candi­dates don’t finish their job inter­views.
Severn Handred, the newest poten­tial recruit, is deter­mined to face and pass this final test — even if by doing so he’s exposing secrets he has never shared.

When an inter­ro­ga­tion uncovers the connec­tions to a two-decade-old series of murders of the Tha’alani, the Wolves are commanded to hunt. Severn’s first job will be joining the chase. From the High Halls to the Tha’alani quarter, from the Oracles to the Emperor, secrets are uncov­ered, tensions are raised and justice just might be done…if Severn can survive.

The Midnight BargainThe Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk – 13 Oct (Erewhon)

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?

The Once and Future WitchesThe Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow – 13 Oct (Orbit)

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.

The Raven Lady (The Faery Rehistory #2)The Raven Lady (The Faery Rehistory #2) by Sharon Lynn Fisher – 13 Oct (Blackstone Publishing)

In the aftermath of Ireland’s battle with her ancient enemies, Queen Isolde orders her cousin, smuggler Duncan O’Malley, to assume the throne of fairy as King Finvara. He’s a fish out of water when it comes to nurturing the alliance between Ireland’s mortal and fairy peoples. And the queen wants him to wed the daughter of Ireland’s enemy, the king of Icelandic shadow elves, to help keep the peace. But the Irish think of the elves as goblins, and Finvara refuses.

Elven princess Koli, affronted by the king’s rejection—along with his decision to bring her to court as little more than a captive—vows vengeance. Shortly after her arrival, she uncovers a plot that would bring swift satisfaction. A dark and powerful fairy lord, Far Dorocha, wants to take Finvara’s crown and lead both the fairy and elven people to war against the Irish. And he wants Koli to help him.

It’s the perfect setup for revenge, but Koli soon discovers that Finvara’s not the haughty lord she believed him to be. And as she navigates treacherous waters inside the court, she gets glimpses of the magic and passion that have been slumbering inside her. She must choose a side in the new battle for Ireland—will it be the fearsome father she has served for nearly a century, or the fairy king who has helped awaken her to herself?

Historical Fiction

Daughter of Black LakeDaughter of Black Lake by Cathy Marie Buchanan – 6 Oct (Riverhead)

It’s the season of Fallow, in the era of iron. In a northern misty bog surrounded by woodlands and wheat fields, a settlement lies far beyond the reach of the Romans invading hundreds of miles to the southeast. Here, life is simple–or so it seems to the tightly knit community. Sow. Reap. Honor Mother Earth, who will provide at harvest time. A girl named Devout comes of age, sweetly flirting with the young man she’s tilled alongside all her life, and envisions a future of love and abundance. Seventeen years later, though, the settlement is a changed place. Famine has brought struggle, and outsiders, with their foreign ways and military might, have arrived at the doorstep. For Devout’s young daughter, life is more troubled than her mother ever anticipated. But this girl has an extraordinary gift. As worlds collide and peril threatens, it will be up to her to save her family and community.

Historical Mystery

Murder on Cold Street (Lady Sherlock #5)Murder on Cold Street (Lady Sherlock #5) by Sherry Thomas – 6 Oct (Berkley)

Inspector Treadles, Charlotte Holmes’s friend and collaborator, has been found locked in a room with two dead men, both of whom worked with his wife at the great manufacturing enterprise she has recently inherited.

Rumors fly. Had Inspector Treadles killed the men because they had opposed his wife’s initiatives at every turn? Had he killed in a fit of jealous rage, because he suspected Mrs. Treadles of harboring deeper feelings for one of the men? To make matters worse, he refuses to speak on his own behalf, despite the overwhelming evidence against him.

Charlotte finds herself in a case strewn with lies and secrets. But which lies are to cover up small sins, and which secrets would flay open a past better left forgotten? Not to mention, how can she concentrate on these murders, when Lord Ingram, her oldest friend and sometime lover, at last dangles before her the one thing she has always wanted?

The Devil and the Dark WaterThe Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton – 6 Oct (Sourcebooks Landmark)

It’s 1634 and Samuel Pipps, the world’s greatest detective, is being transported to Amsterdam to be executed for a crime he may, or may not, have committed. Travelling with him is his loyal bodyguard, Arent Hayes, who is determined to prove his friend innocent.

But no sooner are they out to sea than devilry begins to blight the voyage. A twice-dead leper stalks the decks. Strange symbols appear on the sails. Livestock is slaughtered.

And then three passengers are marked for death, including Samuel.

Could a demon be responsible for their misfortunes?

With Pipps imprisoned, only Arent can solve a mystery that connects every passenger onboard. A mystery that stretches back into their past and now threatens to sink the ship, killing everybody on board.

A Resolution at Midnight (Lady Dunbridge #3)A Resolution at Midnight (Lady Dunbridge #3) by Shelley Noble – 13 Oct (Forge Books)

Roasted chestnuts from vendor’s carts, fresh cut spruce trees lining the sidewalks, extravagant gifts, opulent dinners, carols at St Patrick’s Cathedral, a warm meal and a few minutes shelter from the cold at one of the charitable food lines . . .

It’s Christmas in Gilded Age Manhattan.

And for the first time ever an amazing giant ball will drop along a rod on the roof of the New York Times building to ring in the New Year. Everyone plans to attend the event.

But the murder of a prominent newsman hits a little too close to home. And when a young newspaper woman, a protégé of the great Jacob Riis and old Vassar school chum of Bev’s, is the target of a similar attack, it is clear this is not just a single act of violence but a conspiracy of malicious proportions. Really, you’d think murderers would take a holiday.

Something absolutely must be done.

Fortune Favors the DeadFortune Favors the Dead by Stephen Spotswood – 27 Oct (Doubleday)

It’s 1942 and Willowjean “Will” Parker is a scrappy circus runaway whose knife-throwing skills have just saved the life of New York’s best, and most unorthodox, private investigator, Lillian Pentecost. When the dapper detective summons Will a few days later, she doesn’t expect to be offered a life-changing proposition: Lillian’s multiple sclerosis means she can’t keep up with her old case load alone, so she wants to hire Will to be her right-hand woman. In return, Will will receive a salary, room and board, and training in Lillian’s very particular art of investigation.

Three years later, Will and Lillian are on the Collins case: Abigail Collins was found bludgeoned to death with a crystal ball following a big, boozy Halloween party at her home–her body slumped in the same chair where her steel magnate husband shot himself the year before. With rumors flying that Abigail was bumped off by the vengeful spirit of her husband (who else could have gotten inside the locked room?), the family has tasked the detectives with finding answers where the police have failed. But that’s easier said than done in a case that involves messages from the dead, a seductive spiritualist, and Becca Collins–the beautiful daughter of the deceased, who Will quickly starts falling for. When Will and Becca’s relationship dances beyond the professional, Will finds herself in dangerous territory, and discovers she may have become the murderer’s next target.

Horror

The Hollow PlacesThe Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher – 6 Oct (Gallery/Saga)

Pray they are hungry.

Kara finds these words in the mysterious bunker that she’s discovered behind a hole in the wall of her uncle’s house. Freshly divorced and living back at home, Kara now becomes obsessed with these cryptic words and starts exploring the peculiar bunker—only to discover that it holds portals to countless alternate realities. But these places are haunted by creatures that seem to hear thoughts…and the more you fear them, the stronger they become.

Plain Bad HeroinesPlain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth – 20 Oct (William Morrow)

Our story begins in 1902, at The Brookhants School for Girls. Flo and Clara, two impressionable students, are obsessed with each other and with a daring young writer named Mary MacLane, the author of a scandalous bestselling memoir. To show their devotion to Mary, the girls establish their own private club and call it The Plain Bad Heroine Society. They meet in secret in a nearby apple orchard, the setting of their wildest happiness and, ultimately, of their macabre deaths. This is where their bodies are later discovered with a copy of Mary’s book splayed beside them, the victims of a swarm of stinging, angry yellow jackets. Less than five years later, The Brookhants School for Girls closes its doors forever—but not before three more people mysteriously die on the property, each in a most troubling way.

Over a century later, the now abandoned and crumbling Brookhants is back in the news when wunderkind writer, Merritt Emmons, publishes a breakout book celebrating the queer, feminist history surrounding the “haunted and cursed” Gilded-Age institution. Her bestselling book inspires a controversial horror film adaptation starring celebrity actor and lesbian it girl Harper Harper playing the ill-fated heroine Flo, opposite B-list actress and former child star Audrey Wells as Clara. But as Brookhants opens its gates once again, and our three modern heroines arrive on set to begin filming, past and present become grimly entangled—or perhaps just grimly exploited—and soon it’s impossible to tell where the curse leaves off and Hollywood begins.

Paranormal Romance

Bane's Choice (Vampire Motorcycle Club #1)Bane’s Choice (Vampire Motorcycle Club #1) by Alyssa Day – 27 Oct (Entangled)

What better way to hide the existence of vampires from humans than in plain sight? Thus, the Vampire Motorcycle Club was born. Bane, the 300-year-old vampire who leads the club, has fought for years to protect his kind. But the truth about vampires is not only that they exist, it is that they are creatures of pure desire. Conscience and restraint has been burned out of them by the process of Turning. Any woman Bane meets is either prey—or food.

Dr. Ryan St. Cloud finds out that vampires exist when one steals her patient out of the hospital right beneath her nose, leading her to question her own sanity. But when the dangerous man whose touch inflames her senses and whose gaze enthralls her comes to her for help, she is unable to refuse. Bane is a dangerous predator, but somewhere beneath his arrogance and power, she can see his heart—and she knows it could belong to her if she is strong enough to claim it. She is bound to a vampire, but loving her would be…

Science Fiction Romance

Pets in Space 5 (Anthology)Pets in Space 5 (Anthology) by Carol van Natta et al – 6 Oct (Cats, Dogs, & Other Worldy Creatures)

Are you ready? Pets in Space® 5 is back for the fifth amazing year!

Twelve of today’s top Science Fiction Romance authors have written 12 original, never-before-released stories filled with action, adventure, suspense, humor, and romance that will take you out of this world.

The giving doesn’t stop there.

For the fifth year, Pets in Space® will be donating a portion of the first month proceeds to Hero-Dogs.org, a non-profit charity that supports our veterans and First Responders. Pets in Space® has donated over $15,000 in the past four years. Together, we can make a difference! Grab your copy today!

Urban Fantasy

Damned Souls and a Sangria (The Guild Codex- Spellbound #8)Damned Souls and a Sangria (The Guild Codex: Spellbound #8) by Marie Annette – 2 Oct (Dark Owl Fantasy Inc)

Once upon a time, I was your average spunky redhead with the lamest employment history ever, a shaky relationship with my only family member, and no idea what I was doing with my life.

Now, I’m a pseudo mythic with the best bartending job in the world, the most amazing (and hot) best friends I never knew I needed, and a guild of misfit magic-users who’ve become my extended family.

And I’m about to lose it all.

In my desperation to save Ezra, I stumbled into a web of ruthless deception—and seriously pissed off a sleeping hydra. Now its every murderous head is turned toward me and my guild, and I don’t know how to stop it. I’m not sure I can.

I’m not sure anyone can.

But if we don’t, we’re all doomed—Ezra, Aaron, Kai, and my beloved guild.

Delivering Evil for Experts (The Guild Codex- Demonized #4)Delivering Evil for Experts (The Guild Codex: Demonized #4) by Marie Annette – 16 Oct (Dark Owl Fantasy Inc)

I promised to avenge my parents.

But their killer is still on the loose, and he’s stolen more than my parents’ lives. Now, as he draws closer to his mysterious goals, he’s poised to destroy what little I have left.

I promised to translate an ancient grimoire.

But it holds the secrets of my family—and the secret history of demon summoning. I fear its answers as much as I need them. Who was the foremother of Demonica…and who am I?

I promised to send my demon home.

But the way he watches me, the way he protects me, the way he touches me⁠—how can I cast him away forever? I swore I would do this for him, but can I? Should I?

But I promised—and I will keep my promises even if they cost me my heart, my soul, and my life.

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!

 

By E_booklover

E is addicted to books. She discovered at an early age that not only were they her transport to far off worlds, adventures, and exotic cultures, but that she ran into far fewer objects if she walked while reading then if she wasn't reading. She reads across several genres, such as: romance, western,mystery, SF/F and its derivatives. She isn't too picky except for good characterization, settings she can imagine, and a story that flows logically... umm so ok -- she wants a good story. Have any to recommend?

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