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Miscellaneous Must Haves

December 2020 Must Haves

BP Note: We have entered the last Julian calendar month of an extremely challenging year and emotionally raw year. I am still thinking it is one long Wednesday March the 18th. We have gone through a lot and we don’t know yet when things will start recovering. The arts while struggling have continued to provide all of us some respite from our daily cares. Thank you to those who created in the past and are pausing now, you provided works we can visit and revisit. Thank you to those who despite *waves hands* all of this continue to create. We have seen movement for change. We have learned things about ourselves and each other. We have experienced loss on so many levels and yet we have witnessed what can happen when communities come together for a common cause. We still have hope. We need to end this year focusing on the good things, not allowing the ongoing challenges to strip us of our capacity to enjoy. We hope you find something good on this list and let us know what you have on your TBR list for this month.
Happy reading,
~E

Contemporary Romance

How to Catch a Queen (Runaway Royals #1)How to Catch a Queen (Runaway Royals #1) by Alyssa Cole – 1 Dec (Avon)

When Shanti Mohapi weds the king of Njaza, her dream of becoming a queen finally comes true. But it’s nothing like she imagined. Shanti and her husband may share an immediate and powerful attraction, but her subjects see her as an outsider, and everything she was taught about being the perfect wife goes disastrously wrong.

A king must rule with an iron fist, and newly crowned King Sanyu was born perfectly fitted for the gauntlet, even if he wishes he weren’t. He agrees to take a wife as is required of him, though he doesn’t expect to actually fall in love. Even more vexing? His beguiling new queen seems to have the answers to his country’s problems—except no one will listen to her.

By day, they lead separate lives. By night, she wears the crown, and he bows to her demands in matters of politics and passion. When turmoil erupts in their kingdom and their marriage, Shanti goes on the run, and Sanyu must learn whether he has what it takes both to lead his people and to catch his queen.

Secret Nights with a Cowboy (Kitttedges of Cold River #1)Secret Nights with a Cowboy (Kittredges of Cold River #1) by Caitlin Crews – 1 Dec (St Martin’s Press)

A man holding on…
Riley Kittredge has always known exactly what he wanted. His land, his horses. His woman. He met and married Rae Trujillo far too young, and their young love combusted right after they said their vows. But their passion has never managed to burn itself out. Yet when Rae shows this time, it’s not a night of pleasure she demands, but a divorce.

A woman letting go…
Rae should have moved on a long time ago. She knows she and Riley just don’t work. They might make great lovers, but that doesn’t make a marriage. And now Rae wants a new life, complete with a baby. But when her husband offers to be a father, to give her the family she’s always secretly desired, she and Riley will both have to face demons from their past—and choose love over fear at last.

Off Limits Attraction (Heirs of Hansol #3)Off Limits Attraction (Heirs of Hansol #3) by Jayci Lee – 1 Dec (Harlequin Desire)

Jihae Park’s icy heiress facade is quickly melting—all because of Colin Song. A fling with the sexy film producer could jeopardize her one shot at achieving her own success—and the movie they’re making together. But resistance to her searing attraction—and Colin’s breathtaking bedroom skills—proves futile. Even as Colin’s ulterior motives threaten to destroy their chance at a picture-perfect ending…

From Our First (Promise Me #4)From Our First (Promise Me #4) by Carrie Ann Ryan – 8 Dec (Carrie Ann Ryan)

Nate Brady and Myra West have been keeping a secret, though not just from their group—also from each other. Getting married when they were barely adults wasn’t in the cards when they made their plans for their future. Divorcing one another amidst pain and heartbreak wasn’t either.
Years have passed, wounds have scabbed over and scarred, but their anger remains.
If the two can open themselves to the impossible, they might be able to take that second chance. Only they’ll also have to fight their fears, the lies between them, and the desire they thought long gone.
Except they aren’t alone in their secrets, and if they aren’t careful, they may just be taking them to their graves.

Her Pretend Christmas Date (Cider Bar Sisters #2.5)Her Pretend Christmas Date (Cider Bar Sisters #2.5) by Jackie Lau – 8 Dec (Jackie Lau Books)

She’s home for the holidays with her starchy fake boyfriend…

Although she’s the fun and outgoing one, Julie Tam has always lived in the shadow of her older sister, Charlotte. Now Charlotte has a good career and a great boyfriend whom their parents love, and Julie has neither of those things.

Her blind date with Tom Yeung is disastrous; however, he’s exactly the sort of guy her parents would like–a methodical, strait-laced pharmacist who even folds his underwear and wears paisley ties. So, she pretends they’re a couple to impress Mom and Dad in their phone conversations. When her mother insists that Julie bring Tom to her hometown for Christmas, Tom, who has no plans for the holidays, agrees.

But Julie doesn’t know how she’ll tolerate a whole weekend in his company, especially when they have to share a bed and participate in a gingerbread house competition together. The man is irritatingly proper and set in his ways.

Except after hours of baking and skating and opening presents, she’s starting to find Tom annoyingly attractive and even endearing. And now, she doesn’t want this holiday weekend to end…

Mine to Keep (Nola Knights #3)Mine to Keep (Nola Knights #3) by Rhenna Morgan – 14 Dec (Carina Press)

She’s in way over her head.
Bonnie Drummond is from the wrong side of the tracks, raised in a family of liars and criminals. No matter how hard she tries to stay on the straight and narrow, she always finds herself sucked back into the family drama, forced to sacrifice everything she’s earned to protect her family.
But this time they’ve gone too far—crossed the wrong people—and to save them she’ll have to put her life on the line.
Roman Kozlov, enforcer for a New Orleans mafiya family, is the poster child for the life Bonnie is struggling to escape. But he’s also as alluring as he is dangerous, and it doesn’t take long for their lives to begin to mesh.
With Roman, Bonnie finds the family she never had.
As their race for answers heats up, so too does the budding romance between them. And with danger nipping at her heels and love threatening her heart, Bonnie must come face-to-face with her past if she wants to have a future.

The Wife He Needs (Westmorelands Legacy- The Outlaws #1)The Wife He Needs (Westmorelands Legacy: The Outlaws #1) by Brenda Jackson – 15 Dec (Harlequin Desire)

he arrangement is simple: a two-week getaway, then a marriage of convenience. Until Garth Outlaw’s potential bride is a no-show. Now family pilot Regan Fairchild is sharing his bed—and he can’t get enough…even though he’s vowed never to love again. Can Regan convince him the wife he needs and the woman he desires are one and the same?

Fantasy

When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain (Singing Hills Cycle #2)When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain (Singing Hills Cycle #2) by Nghi Vo – 8 Dec (Tordotcom)

The cleric Chih finds themself and their companions at the mercy of a band of fierce tigers who ache with hunger. To stay alive until the mammoths can save them, Chih must unwind the intricate, layered story of the tiger and her scholar lover—a woman of courage, intelligence, and beauty—and discover how truth can survive becoming history.

Historical Romance

When a Rogue Meets His Match (Greycourt #2)When a Rogue Meets His Match (Greycourt #2) by Elizabeth Hoyt – 1 Dec (Forever)

Ambitious, sly, and lethally intelligent, Gideon Hawthorne has spent his life clawing his way up from the gutter. For the last ten years, he’s acted as the Duke of Windemere’s fixer, performing the most dangerous tasks without question. Now Gideon’s ready to quit the duke’s service and work solely for himself. But Windermere wants Gideon to complete one last task, and his reward is impossible to resist: Messalina Greycourt’s hand in marriage.

Witty, vivacious Messalina Greycourt has her pick of suitors. When Windermere summons Messalina to inform his niece that she must marry Mr. Hawthorne, she is appalled. But she’s surprised when Gideon offers her a compromise: as long as she plays the complacent wife, he promises to leave her alone until she asks for his touch. Since Messalina is confident that she’ll never ask Gideon for anything, she readily agrees. However, the more time she spends with Gideon, the harder it is to stay away.

An Unexpected Temptation (Townsbridges #5)An Unexpected Temptation (Townsbridges #5) by Sophie Barnes – 8 Dec (Sophie Barnes)

Six years ago, Athena Townsbridge broke up a wedding. This worked out well for her brother and the lady he loved, but Athena has never forgiven herself for what it did to Robert Carlisle. No one has seen him since he fled the church in humiliation, so when she learns of his estate’s proximity to the property she is staying at during a family visit, she sets out, determined to make amends.
When Robert, Marquess of Darlington, is reunited with Athena, she’s no longer the troublesome girl he remembers, but rather a fully grown woman. Trapped with her when a blizzard sets in, he rediscovers her playful side, the laughter and joy she can bring to his life. But it is her willful nature that tempts him, both with the need to tame her and with the dream of making her his.

The Princess and the Rogue (Bow Street Bachelors #3)The Princess and the Rogue (Bow Street Bachelors #3) by Kate Bateman – 29 Dec (St. Martin’s)

Bow Street agent Sebastien Wolff, Earl of Mowbray, doesn’t believe in love―until a passionate kiss with a beautiful stranger in a brothel forces him to reconsider. When the mysterious woman is linked to an intrigue involving a missing Russian princess, however, Seb realizes her air of innocence was too good to be true.

Princess Anastasia Denisova has been hiding in London as plain ‘Anna Brown’. With a dangerous traitor hot on her trail, her best option is to accept Wolff’s offer of protection―and accommodation―at his gambling hell. But living in such close quarters, and aiding Wolff in his Bow Street cases, fans the flames of their mutual attraction. If Anya’s true identity is revealed, does their romance stand a chance? Could a princess ever marry a rogue?

Paranormal Romance

License to Kill (Balancing the Scales #2)License to Kill (Balancing the Scales #2) by R.J. Blain – 22 Dec (Pen & Page Publishing)

Being the mate of Jake Thomas isn’t what Karma expected. He wants to keep her safe. She wants to find out the truth behind the kidnapping of baby Annabelle Greenwich, the case that had resulted in their marriage.
The truth can only be found in murky waters, and with a betrayer in their midsts, Karma is forced to choose between the man she loves and justice.
In order to untangle the web of lies destroying her life, Karma partners with a rogue wolf who faces execution should she be caught by the Inquisition. On the run from the authorities, her mate, and those who would kill her to protect their secrets, Karma has one chance to discover the truth before her former allies and mate are forced to make use of their license to kill.

Murder Mittens (Magical Romantic Comedy with Body Count #13)Murder Mittens (Magical Romantic Comedy with Body Count #13) by R.J. Blain – 25 Dec (Pen & Page Publishing)

Becoming a bounty hunter and taking on the call sign of Murder Mittens wasn’t Harri’s brightest move, but what’s a lynx to do with millions of debt while working a customer service gig? The scars deforming her face won’t remove themselves, and she’ll bag and tag every criminal in the United States to get rid of them if necessary.
Being assigned a handler could make or break her, but did the powers that be really have to toss Sebastian Sumners her way? The lion with a stubborn streak as wide as hers tests her patience on a good day, but nothing makes her purr more than goading him into roaring.
Add in a protective family, a serial killer on the loose, and more trouble than any one cat needs, and it’s going to take a miracle for Harri to get through the most important job of her life.

Paranormal Women’s Fiction

Starlight Web (Moonshadow Bay #1)Starlight Web (Moonshadow Bay #1) by Yasmine Galenorn – 7 Dec (Nightqueen Enterprises)

Moonshadow Bay…where magic lurks in the moonlight, and danger hides in the shadows.
One month before January Jaxson turns 41, her husband ditches her for a trophy wife. Adding insult to injury, he steals the business she helped build, and kicks her out during the holidays. So when her best friend Ari suggests she move back to Moonshadow Bay—a quirky, magical town near Bellingham WA—January decides to take the plunge.
Born into a family of witches, January accepts a job at Conjure Ink, a paranormal investigations website. The job’s right up her alley but she doubts that everything reported to Conjure Ink really exists. That is, until she’s sent out on her first case.
An abandoned asylum once housed a murderer, who killed an entire family one Yuletide Eve. It’s rumored that every December he returns to haunt the woodland around the asylum, seeking to add new members to his supernatural family. January’s sure it’s an urban legend, but when new victims show up with no logical explanation for their deaths, Conjure Ink sends her in to investigate. Suddenly January finds herself in over her head, staring directly into the shadowed world of the Veil.
Now, January must not only navigate the new life she’s trying to build, but the paranormal beasties she’s sent out to explore, as well as a hot new neighbor, who seems to be hiding a shadowed past of his own.

Fate Actually (Moonstone Cove #2)Fate Actually (Moonstone Cove #2) by Elizabeth Hunter – 15 Dec (KU)

Toni Dusi grew up knowing everyone’s business and everyone knowing hers, because in Moonstone Cove, you can’t pass a restaurant, farm, or winery that doesn’t have at least one Dusi involved. Despite that, Toni has managed to carve out a private niche for herself. She has a car shop she loves, a country cottage all to herself, and has carefully avoided any long-term romantic commitments.
Then fate handed Toni a shot of supernatural empathy that threw all that out the window of her prized vintage Ford.
Now she’s feeling the mood swings of everyone from her parts guy to her reluctant crush to her second cousin going through a messy divorce. She’s losing her temper; she’s crying a river; and she’s definitely giving in to temptation.
For a woman who prides herself on always being prepared, Toni has no idea how to handle a supernatural storm of emotion.
Which is not to say empathy doesn’t have its advantages. When the body of a long-time family rival turns up on a back acre of her cousin’s winery, Toni realizes that her inconvenient feelings magic has turned her into one heck of a lie detector. Along with her new friends, Katherine and Megan, she might be the only one who can clear her cousin’s name.
When fate throws a final curveball in Toni’s direction, will she drop everything with disastrous consequences? Or can a forty-one-year-old empath learn enough new tricks to keep the life she’s built without sacrificing her happiness?

Post-apocalyptic

Heartless (Steel Demons MC #6)Heartless (Steel Demons MC #6) by Crystal Ash – 4 Dec (KU)

Hope is blooming in Four Corners. A family, torn apart for years, has been reunited. I’m falling in love again. The Steel Demons are finding a sense of home and purpose in their new surroundings.
More is at stake now than ever before. We don’t just have our club to protect, but our new friends, family members, and neighbors. And privately, Reaper is determined to protect me at all costs, due to a cryptic vision from his brother.
Our enemies are always lurking. What’s worse, they’re already inside our borders.
The gods work in mysterious ways. They are here to guide us, but cannot alter our destinies. They will nudge us along our path, yet will never tell us what we aren’t meant to know.
But I’m only human, and the heartless acts that unfold might break me.

Romantic Suspense

Bailed Out (Anna Albertini Files #2)Bailed Out (Anna Albertini Files #2) by Rebecca Zanetti – 15 Dec (RAZ INK LLC)

The Past Never Stays Buried

Anna Albertini is settling into a routine while ignoring the fact that the blue-eyed Irishman she’d allowed into her bed has up and disappeared on her. Two weeks without a phone call is no big deal, but still. With her hottie Italian boss goofing up the prosecuting attorney’s office, she at least has something to fix. Until she appears in court, across from her sister Tessa’s dirtbag ex. Then she has a mission.

Unfortunately, Anna isn’t the only person who wants the ex put behind bars…or in the ground. Which is not a problem until she and a local cop find the ex-boyfriend deader than dead…with both her sister and Aiden standing over the body.

As a prosecuting attorney, it’s Anna’s job to build a case against Tessa and Aiden. As a sister, it’s SO her job to get Tess out of this mess. As Aiden’s…what? Lover—girlfriend—friend from the past—it’s Anna’s job to figure out who the heck he really is. She has to dig out the truth, regardless of her ambitious boss or the cranky cop trying to thwart her every move. Sometimes a woman has to take matters into her own hands, regardless of the consequences.

Space Opera

Trader's Leap (Liaden Universe #23)Trader’s Leap (Liaden Universe #23) by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller – 1 Dec (Baen)

The only bridge between past and future is a leap of faith.

Pursued by enemies, exiled Liaden clan Korval is settling into a new base on backworld Surebleak. Moving is expensive, as is war, and Korval is strapped for cash. Delm Korval has therefore instructed Master Trader Shan yos’Galan to design and implement new trade routes, quickly.

But this is no easy task. Dutiful Passage is targeted by Korval’s enemies, denied docking at respectable ports, and cheated at those less respectable. Struggling to recuperate from an attack on his life, while managing daughter Padi’s emerging psychic talents, Shan is running out of options—and time. His quest to establish the all-important trade route puts him at odds with his lifemate, while doubting crew desert the ship. Facing the prospect of failure, Shan accepts the assistance of chancy allies and turns the Passage toward a port only just emerging from Rostov’s Dust and awash with strange energies.

Without trade, Clan Korval will starve. Will a trader’s leap of faith save everything—or doom all?

The Queen's Triumph (Rogue Queen #3)The Queen’s Triumph (Rogue Queen #3) by Jesse Mihalik – 8 Dec (NYLA)

Queen Samara Rani knows she’s likely walking into a trap, but agreeing to meet with Commander Adams is the fastest way to get within striking distance of the Quint Confederacy’s biggest traitor and her sworn enemy. Adams attacked her home and destroyed her ship, and if he’s not stopped, he will ruin the tentative peace between the Kos Empire and the Quint Confederacy—and Samara’s chance at future with Emperor Valentin Kos.

Samara is determined to serve up some well-deserved payback, but she is no longer a lone assassin, and despite her protests, her friends and allies refuse to let her undertake such a perilous mission without them. Even Valentin, usually the voice of reason, refuses to stay behind. Samara is loath to put her friends in danger, and taking a team carries its own risks, so she makes plans to keep them safe, no matter what the cost.

When Adams threatens that safety, and everything she holds dear, Samara vows to show him exactly how she earned her deadly reputation—and why one should never cross the Rogue Queen.

Threshold of Annihilation (Firebird #3)Threshold of Annihilation (Firebird #3) by T.A. White – 15 Dec (Self)

Traveling to the planet of Jettie in the hopes of finding safe harbor for her niece, Kira arrives only to find their destination host to the quorum—a series of dangerous contests that hold the power to decide the fate of empires.

With little choice but to participate, it doesn’t take long for Kira to find herself knee deep in enemies. Surrounded on all sides, Kira will have to face her worst fear. Trusting others with the truth.

Because it’s becoming clear the tsavitee are no longer content to exist in the shadows. War is coming—and everything Kira thought she once knew is about to change.

Colonyside (Planetside #3)Colonyside (Planetside #3) by Michael Mammay – 29 Dec (Harper Voyager)

A military hero is coming out of disgrace—straight into the line of fire…

Carl Butler was once a decorated colonel. Now he’s a disgraced recluse, hoping to live out the rest of his life on a backwater planet where no one cares about his “crimes” and everyone leaves him alone.

It’s never that easy.

A CEO’s daughter has gone missing and he thinks Butler is the only one who can find her. The government is only too happy to appease him. Butler isn’t so sure, but he knows the pain of losing a daughter, so he reluctantly signs on. Soon he’s on a military ship heading for a newly-formed colony where the dangerous jungle lurks just outside the domes where settlers live.

Paired with Mac, Ganos, and a government-assigned aide named Fader, Butler dives head-first into what should be an open and shut case. Then someone tries to blow him up. Faced with an incompetent local governor, a hamstrung military, and corporations playing fast and loose with the laws, Butler finds himself in familiar territory. He’s got nobody to trust but himself, but that’s where he works best. He’ll fight to get to the bottom of the mystery, but this time, he might not live to solve it.

Urban Fantasy

Cash in HandCash in Hand by TA Moore – 15 Dec (Dreamspinner)

The last monster died a hundred years ago. At least, that’s what the monsters want you to think.
Half-monster Cash just wants to keep his head down and raise his daughter, Ellie, to be an upstanding member of monstrous society. Even if she’d rather spend the summer with her human friends than learn the art of man traps at Camp Dark Hollow.
So the last person Cash wants to see is her uncle Arkady Abascal, who’s also Cash’s ex-boyfriend.
Arkady has more than Ellie’s summer plans on his mind. He’s there to enlist Cash to find out who’s been selling monster secrets. Cash hasn’t gotten any better at telling Arkady no, but it’s not just his weakness for Arkady that makes him agree. The Prodigium thinks an Abascal exposed them to humans, and now the whole family is at risk—including Ellie.
Recruited to help Arkady identify the culprit—or frame a scapegoat—Cash finds the machinations of monstrous power easier to navigate than his feelings for Arkady. At least, at first. But when things get bloody, he wishes romantic disasters were all he had to worry about….

Crown of Moonlight (Crown of Midnight and Deception #2)Crown of Moonlight (Crown of Midnight and Deception #2) by K.M. Shea – 18 Dec (KU)

Blurb to be released later due to spoilers for Book 1, Crown of Shadows.

The Dark Archive (Invisible Library #7)The Dark Archive (Invisible Library #7) by Genevieve Cogman – 29 Dec (Ace)

A professional spy for a mysterious Library which harvests fiction from different realities, Irene faces a series of assassination attempts that threaten to destroy her and everything she has worked for.
Irene is teaching her new assistant the fundamentals of a Librarian’s job, and finding that training a young Fae is more difficult than she expected. But when they both narrowly avoid getting killed in an assassination attempt, she decides that learning by doing is the only option they have left – especially when the assassins keep coming for them, and for Irene’s other friends as well…
In order to protect themselves, Irene and her friends must do what they do best: search for information to defeat the overwhelming threat they face and identify their unseen enemy. To do that, Irene will have to delve deeper into her own history than she ever has before, face an ancient foe, and uncover secrets that will change her life and the course of the Library forever.

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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