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Miscellaneous Must Haves

June 2021 Must Haves

BP Note: Happy June, the turning point in the seasons. Summer is rapidly approaching for the northern hemisphere and just as rapidly winter is descending on the southern hemisphere. It has continued to be a turbulent 6 months as some nations start to discover the new reality as vaccination rates rise while sadly other nations are still experiencing horrific infection and death numbers with extreme vaccination challenges. Hopefully this month’s fantasy heavy list includes something which brings you joy to read. And like always…please let us know what we should add to our TBRs. Stay safe, get vaccinated if you can, and take a few moments to enjoy the little things.
~Happy reading!~
E

Contemporary Romance

My Rebound (On My Own #2)My Rebound (On My Own #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan – 8 Jun (Carrie Ann Ryan)

A rebound isn’t supposed to last. Though, sometimes, fate has other ideas in this opposites attract, friends with benefits romance.

It wasn’t supposed to happen this way.

Mackenzie Thomas started planning her future at the age of six. She knew the college she wanted, the career she needed, and the boy she would marry.

Only he wasn’t supposed to break up with her in such a spectacular fashion. Now, she’s tossing her planner and breaking her rules.

First up: Pacey Ziglar.

Mackenzie wants one night of fun. One night to toss out all inhibitions with the sexy Brit across the hall. Too bad she fell for her rebound along the way.

The Professor Next Door (Cidar Bar Sisters #3)The Professor Next Door (Cidar Bar Sisters #3) by Jackie Lau – 8 Jun (Jackie Lau Books)

Friendly neighbors can have their benefits…

Nicole Louie-Edwards enjoys the nightlife and bringing men back to her apartment, although lately, she’s gotten tired of the chase. Her quiet new neighbor, David Cho, isn’t her type, but after they get trapped in an elevator together on her birthday, she develops a friendship with the kind geology professor.

Then, blushing, he tells her that he can hear her having sex but tries not to listen. Except it’s clear he’d like to, and she’s surprisingly turned on. They embark on a friends-with-benefits arrangement hotter than any she’s had before. She didn’t expect him to be so naughty between the sheets.

David becomes a bigger part of her life outside of the bedroom, too, bringing her desserts and going viral on TikTok with her grandmother, but she can’t imagine he wants to be her boyfriend, and it’s not like she wants that, either. She’s convinced she’d lose her identity in a relationship, like she did ten years ago.

Yet she can’t help getting more and more attached to the professor next door…

Reel (Hollywood Renaissance #1)Reel (Hollywood Renaissance #1) by Kennedy Ryan – 8 Jun (Self)

One moment in the spotlight.

For months I stood by, an understudy waiting in the wings,
preparing for my time to shine.
I never imagined he would watch in the audience that night.
Canon Holt.
Famous film director.
Fascinating. Talented. Fine.
Before I could catch my breath, everything changed.
I went from backstage Broadway to center stage Hollywood.
From being unknown, to my name, Neevah Saint, on everyone’s lips.
Canon casts me in a star-studded Harlem Renaissance biopic,
catapulting me into another stratosphere.

But stars shine brightest in the dead of night.
Forbidden attraction, scandal and circumstances beyond my control jeopardize my dream.
Could this one shot—the role of a lifetime, the love of a lifetime—cost me everything?

The Summer of No Attachments (Summer Friends #2)The Summer of No Attachments (Summer Friends #2) by Lori Foster – 22 Jun (HQN)

After putting the brakes on her dead-end relationship, local veterinarian Ivey Anders is ready to soak up this summer on her own terms. The way she sees it, no dating means no disappointment. Why complicate life with anything long-term? But when she meets Corbin Meyer—and his troubled young son, Justin—Ivey’s no-strings strategy threatens to unravel before she can put it into practice.

Trust doesn’t come easy for Ivey’s best friend, Hope Mage, a veterinary-clinic assistant who’s affected by an incident that’s colored every relationship she’s had. Though Hope’s happy for Ivey, she can’t quite open her own heart to the possibility of love. Not just yet… Maybe not ever. Soon, however, she’s faced with a dilemma—Corbin’s older brother, Lang. He’s charming, he’s kind…and he may just be the reason Hope needs to finally tear down her walls.

And as the sweet summer months unspool, the two friends discover love won’t give up on them so easily.

Fantasy

The Jasmine ThroneThe Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri – 8 Jun (Orbit)

Imprisoned by her dictator brother, Malini spends her days in isolation in the Hirana: an ancient temple that was once the source of the powerful, magical deathless waters — but is now little more than a decaying ruin.

Priya is a maidservant, one among several who make the treacherous journey to the top of the Hirana every night to clean Malini’s chambers. She is happy to be an anonymous drudge, so long as it keeps anyone from guessing the dangerous secret she hides.

But when Malini accidentally bears witness to Priya’s true nature, their destinies become irrevocably tangled. One is a vengeful princess seeking to depose her brother from his throne. The other is a priestess seeking to find her family. Together, they will change the fate of an empire.

For the Wolf (Wilderwood #1)For the Wolf (Wilderwood #1) by Hannah F. Whitten – 15 Jun (Orbit Books)
Author provided content warnings include: self-harm for magic use (cutting), parental neglect/emotional abuse, mentions of physical symptoms that might be triggering to those with emetophobia, anxiety/panic attacks, parental death, gore, mild audio/visual hallucinations, religious abuse, medium-heat romance (non-explicit)

As the only Second Daughter born in centuries, Red has one purpose-to be sacrificed to the Wolf in the Wood in the hope he’ll return the world’s captured gods.

Red is almost relieved to go. Plagued by a dangerous power she can’t control, at least she knows that in the Wilderwood, she can’t hurt those she loves. Again.

But the legends lie. The Wolf is a man, not a monster. Her magic is a calling, not a curse. And if she doesn’t learn how to use it, the monsters the gods have become will swallow the Wilderwood-and her world-whole.

The Tangleroot PalaceThe Tangleroot Palace by Marjorie M. Liu – 15 Jun (Tachyon)

Briar, bodyguard for a body-stealing sorceress, discovers her love for Rose, whose true soul emerges only once a week. An apprentice witch seeks her freedom through betrayal, the bones of the innocent, and a meticulously-plotted spell. In a world powered by crystal skulls, a warrior returns to save China from invasion by her jealous ex. A princess runs away from an arranged marriage, finding family in a strange troupe of traveling actors at the border of the kingdom’s deep, dark woods.

Concluding with a gorgeous full-length novella, Marjorie Liu’s first short fiction collection is an unflinching sojourn into her thorny tales of love, revenge, and new beginnings.

Beyond (The Founding of Valdemar #1)Beyond (The Founding of Valdemar #1) by Mercedes Lackey – 15 Jun (DAW)

The long-awaited founding of Valdemar comes to life in this new series from a New York Times bestselling author and beloved fantasist.

Within the Eastern Empire, Duke Kordas Valdemar rules a tiny, bucolic Duchy that focuses mostly on horse breeding. Anticipating the day when the Empire’s exploitative and militant leaders would not be content to leave them alone, Korda’s father set out to gather magicians in the hopes of one day finding a way to escape and protect the people of the Duchy from tyranny.

Kordas has lived his life looking over his shoulder. The signs in the Empire are increasingly dire. Under the direction of the Emperor, mages have begun to harness the power of dark magics, including blood magic, the powers of the Abyssal Planes, and the binding and “milking” of Elemental creatures.

But then one of the Duchy’s mages has a breakthrough. There is a way to place a Gate at a distance so far from the Empire that it is unlikely the Emperor can find or follow them as they evacuate everyone that is willing to leave.

But time is running out, and Kordas has been summoned to the Emperor’s Court.

Can his reputation as a country bumpkin and his acting skills buy him and his people the time they need to flee? Or will the Emperor lose patience, invade to strip Valdemar of everything of worth, and send its conscripted people into the front lines of the Imperial wars?

Seven Deaths of an EmpireSeven Deaths of an Empire by G.R. Matthews – 22 Jun (Solaris)

The Emperor is dead. Long live the Empire.

General Bordan has a lifetime of duty and sacrifice behind him in the service of the Empire. But with rebellion brewing in the countryside, and assassins, thieves and politicians vying for power in the city, it is all Bordan can do to protect the heir to the throne.

Apprentice Magician Kyron is assigned to the late Emperor’s honour guard escorting his body on the long road back to the capital. Mistrusted and feared by his own people, even a magician’s power may fail when enemies emerge from the forests, for whoever is in control of the Emperor’s body, controls the succession.

Seven lives and seven deaths to seal the fate of the Empire.

The Witness for the Dead (Goblin Emperor #2)The Witness for the Dead (Goblin Emperor #2) by Katherine Addison – 22 Jun (Tor Books)

When the young half-goblin emperor Maia sought to learn who had set the bombs that killed his father and half-brothers, he turned to an obscure resident of his father’s Court, a Prelate of Ulis and a Witness for the Dead. Thara Celehar found the truth, though it did him no good to discover it. He lost his place as a retainer of his cousin the former Empress, and made far too many enemies among the many factions vying for power in the new Court. The favor of the Emperor is a dangerous coin.

Now Celehar lives in the city of Amalo, far from the Court though not exactly in exile. He has not escaped from politics, but his position gives him the ability to serve the common people of the city, which is his preference. He lives modestly, but his decency and fundamental honestly will not permit him to live quietly. As a Witness for the Dead, he can, sometimes, speak to the recently dead: see the last thing they saw, know the last thought they had, experience the last thing they felt. It is his duty use that ability to resolve disputes, to ascertain the intent of the dead, to find the killers of the murdered.

Now Celehar’s skills lead him out of the quiet and into a morass of treachery, murder, and injustice. No matter his own background with the imperial house, Celehar will stand with the commoners, and possibly find a light in the darkness.

Cast in Conflict (Chronicles of Elantra #16)Cast in Conflict (Chronicles of Elantra #16) by Michelle Sagara – 29 Jun (MIRA)

WHO WILL CLAIM THE TOWER?

After the near-destruction of the High Halls, Corporal Kaylin Neya is looking forward to resuming her patrol. But once more an empty Tower stands in Elantra, and Kaylin’s companions won’t let an advantage slip by. They see the Tower as a base to fight Shadow. The Dragon Bellusdeo as a protection for the cohort; Sedarias as a potential hoard. And others are interested as well.

Kaylin knows when she’s in over her head. Claiming a Tower is not the future she wants. And the Tower has strict requirements—ones that daunt even the Dragons and the Barrani. But as the various factions strategize, the Shadows are making their own plans. They still want to cross into Elantra, and this might be the perfect chance.

Fantasy Romance

Neon Gods (Dark Olympus #1)Neon Gods (Dark Olympus #1) by Katee Robert – 1 Jun (Sourcebooks Casablanca)

He was supposed to be a myth. But from the moment I crossed the River Styx and fell under his dark spell… he was, quite simply, mine.

Society darling Persephone Dimitriou plans to flee the ultra-modern city of Olympus and start over far from the backstabbing politics of the Thirteen Houses. But all that’s ripped away when her mother ambushes her with an engagement to Zeus, the dangerous power behind their glittering city’s dark facade.

With no options left, Persephone flees to the forbidden undercity and makes a devil’s bargain with a man she once believed a myth… a man who awakens her to a world she never knew existed.

Hades has spent his life in the shadows, and he has no intention of stepping into the light. But when he finds that Persephone can offer a little slice of the revenge he’s spent years craving, it’s all the excuse he needs to help her—for a price. Yet every breathless night spent tangled together has given Hades a taste for Persephone, and he’ll go to war with Olympus itself to keep her close…

A modern retelling of Hades and Persephone that’s as sinful as it is sweet.

Historical Fiction

Daughter of SpartaDaughter of Sparta by Claire Heywood – 22 Jun (Dutton)

Seventeen-year-old Daphne has spent her entire life honing her body and mind into that of a warrior, hoping to be accepted by the unyielding people of ancient Sparta. But an unexpected encounter with the goddess Artemis—who holds Daphne’s brother’s fate in her hands—upends the life she’s worked so hard to build. Nine mysterious items have been stolen from Mount Olympus and if Daphne cannot find them, the gods’ waning powers will fade away, the mortal world will descend into chaos, and her brother’s life will be forfeit.

Guided by Artemis’s twin-the handsome and entirely-too-self-assured god Apollo-Daphne’s journey will take her from the labyrinth of the Minotaur to the riddle-spinning Sphinx of Thebes, team her up with mythological legends such as Theseus and Hippolyta of the Amazons, and pit her against the gods themselves.

The Personal LibrarianThe Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray – 29 Jun (Berkley)

In her twenties, Belle da Costa Greene is hired by J. P. Morgan to curate a collection of rare manuscripts, books, and artwork for his newly built Pierpont Morgan Library. Belle becomes a fixture on the New York society scene and one of the most powerful people in the art and book world, known for her impeccable taste and shrewd negotiating for critical works as she helps build a world-class collection.

But Belle has a secret, one she must protect at all costs. She was born not Belle da Costa Greene but Belle Marion Greener. She is the daughter of Richard Greener, the first Black graduate of Harvard and a well-known advocate for equality. Belle’s complexion isn’t dark because of her alleged Portuguese heritage that lets her pass as white–her complexion is dark because she is African American.

The Personal Librarian tells the story of an extraordinary woman, famous for her intellect, style, and wit, and shares the lengths to which she must go–for the protection of her family and her legacy–to preserve her carefully crafted white identity in the racist world in which she lives.

Historical Mystery

A Rogue's Company (Sparks & Bainbridge #3)A Rogue’s Company (Sparks & Bainbridge #3) by Allison Montclair – 8 Jun (Minotaur)

In London, 1946, the Right Sort Marriage Bureau is getting on its feet and expanding. Miss Iris Sparks and Mrs. Gwendolyn Bainbridge are making a go of it. That is until Lord Bainbridge—the widowed Gwen’s father-in-law and legal guardian—returns from a business trip to Africa and threatens to undo everything important to her, even sending her six-year-old son away to a boarding school.

But there’s more going on than that. A new client shows up at the agency, one whom Sparks and Bainbridge begin to suspect really has a secret agenda, somehow involving the Bainbridge family. A murder and a subsequent kidnapping sends Sparks to seek help from a dangerous quarter—and now their very survival is at stake.

Castle Shade (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes #17)Castle Shade (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes #17) by Laurie R. King – 8 Jun (Bantam)

The queen is Marie of Roumania: the doubly royal granddaughter to Victoria, Empress of the British Empire, and Alexander II, Tsar of Russia. A famous beauty who was married at seventeen into Roumania’s young dynasty, Marie had beguiled the Paris Peace Conference into returning her adopted country’s long-lost provinces, single-handedly transforming Roumania from a backwater into a force.

The castle is Bran: a tall, quirky, ancient structure perched on high rocks overlooking the border between Roumania and its newly regained territory of Transylvania. The castle was a gift to Queen Marie, a thanks from her people, and she loves it as she loves her own children.

The threat is…now, that is less clear. Shadowy figures, vague whispers, the fears of girls, dangers that may only be accidents. But this is a land of long memory and hidden corners, a land that had known Vlad the Impaler, a land from whose churchyards the shades creep.

When Queen Marie calls, Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes are as dubious as they are reluctant. But a young girl is involved, and a beautiful queen. Surely it won’t take long to shine light on this unlikely case of what would seem to be strigoi?

Or, as they are known in the West…vampires.

The Abduction of Pretty Penny (Daughter of Sherlock Holmes #5)The Abduction of Pretty Penny (Daughter of Sherlock Holmes #5) by Leonard Goldberg – 15 Jun (Minotaur)

Joanna and the Watsons are called in by the Whitechapel Playhouse to find Pretty Penny, a lovely, young actress who has gone missing without reason or notice. While on their search, the trio is asked by Scotland Yard to join in the hunt for a vicious murderer whose method resembles that of Jack The Ripper. It soon becomes clear that The Ripper has reemerged after a 28-year absence and is once again murdering young prostitutes in Whitechapel.

Following a line of subtle clues, Joanna quickly reasons that Pretty Penny has been taken capture by the killer. But as Joanna moves closer to learning his true identity, the killer sends her a letter indicating her young son Johnny will be the next victim to die. Time is running out, and Joanna has no choice but to devise a most dangerous plan which will bring her face-to-face with the killer. It is the only chance to protect her son and rescue Pretty Penny, and save both from an agonizing death.

Historical Romance

The Queer Principles of Kit WebbThe Queer Principles of Kit Webb by Cat Sebastian – 8 Jun (Avon)

Kit Webb has left his stand-and-deliver days behind him. But dreary days at his coffee shop have begun to make him pine for the heady rush of thievery. When a handsome yet arrogant aristocrat storms into his shop, Kit quickly realizes he may be unable to deny whatever this highborn man desires.

In order to save himself and a beloved friend, Percy, Lord Holland must go against every gentlemanly behavior he holds dear to gain what he needs most: a book that once belonged to his mother, a book his father never lets out of his sight and could be Percy’s savior. More comfortable in silk-filled ballrooms than coffee shops frequented by criminals, his attempts to hire the roughly hewn highwayman, formerly known as Gladhand Jack, proves equal parts frustrating and electrifying.

Kit refuses to participate in the robbery but agrees to teach Percy how to do the deed. Percy knows he has little choice but to submit and as the lessons in thievery begin, he discovers thievery isn’t the only crime he’s desperate to commit with Kit.

But when their careful plan goes dangerously wrong and shocking revelations threaten to tear them apart, can these stolen hearts withstand the impediments in their path?

The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels (Dangerous Damsels #1)The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels (Dangerous Damsels #1) by India Holton – 15 Jun (Berkley)

A prim and proper lady thief must save her aunt from a crazed pirate and his dangerously charming henchman in this fantastical historical romance.

Cecilia Bassingwaite is the ideal Victorian lady. She’s also a thief. Like the other members of the Wisteria Society crime sorority, she flies around England drinking tea, blackmailing friends, and acquiring treasure by interesting means. Sure, she has a dark and traumatic past and an overbearing aunt, but all things considered, it’s a pleasant existence. Until the men show up.

Ned Lightbourne is a sometimes assassin who is smitten with Cecilia from the moment they meet. Unfortunately, that happens to be while he’s under direct orders to kill her. His employer, Captain Morvath, who possesses a gothic abbey bristling with cannons and an unbridled hate for the world, intends to rid England of all its presumptuous women, starting with the Wisteria Society. Ned has plans of his own. But both men have made one grave mistake. Never underestimate a woman.

When Morvath imperils the Wisteria Society, Cecilia is forced to team up with her handsome would-be assassin to save the women who raised her–hopefully proving, once and for all, that she’s as much of a scoundrel as the rest of them.

Someone to Cherish (Westcott #8)Someone to Cherish (Westcott #8) by Mary Balogh – 29 Jun (Berkley)

When Harry Westcott lost the title Earl of Riverdale after the discovery of his father’s bigamy, he shipped off to fight in the Napoleonic Wars, where he was near-fatally wounded. After a harrowing recovery, the once cheery, light-hearted boy has become a reclusive, somber man. Though Harry insists he enjoys the solitude, he does wonder sometimes if he is lonely.

Lydia Tavernor, recently widowed, dreams of taking a lover. Her marriage to Reverend Isaiah Tavernor was one of service and obedience, and she has secretly enjoyed her freedom since his death. She doesn’t want to shackle herself to another man in marriage, but sometimes, she wonders if she is lonely.

Both are unwilling to face the truth until they find themselves alone together one night, and Lydia surprises even herself with a simple question: “Are you ever lonely?” Harry’s answer leads them down a path neither could ever have imagined…

Mystery

Death of an Irish Mummy (The Dublin Driver Mysteries #3)Death of an Irish Mummy (The Dublin Driver Mysteries #3) by Catie Murphy – 29 Jun (Kensington Books)

Squiring a self-proclaimed heiress around Dublin has got limo driver Megan Malone’s Irish up—until she finds the woman dead . . .

American-born Cherise Williams believes herself to be heir to an old Irish earldom, and she’s come to Dublin to claim her heritage. Under the circumstances, Megan’s boss Olga at Leprechaun Limos has no qualms about overcharging the brash Texas transplant for their services. Megan chauffeurs Cherise to the ancient St. Michan’s Church, where the woman intends to get a wee little DNA sample from the mummified earls—much to the horror of the priest.

But before she can desecrate the dead, Cherise Williams is murdered—just as her three daughters arrive to also claim their birthright. With rumors of famine-era treasure on the lands owned by the old Williams family and the promise of riches for the heirs, greed seems a likely motive. But when Olga surprisingly becomes the Garda’s prime suspect, Megan attempts to steer the investigation away from her boss and solve the murder with the help of the dashing Detective Bourke. With a killer who’s not wrapped too tight, she’ll need to proceed with caution—or she could go from driving a limo to riding in a hearse . . .

Urban Fantasy

Practical Boots (The Torn #1)Practical Boots (The Torn #1) by C.E. Murphy – 4 Jun (Miz Kat Productions)

These boots are made for walking…

The disappointing daughter of a Lord of the Torn, Cat Sharp was dumped in the shapeless Waste to prove herself or die. Seven years later, she’s honed the Artificer magic that saved her in the Waste, and her courier business is booming: after all, no one else can step from one location to another almost instantaneously, as Cat can with her seven league boots.

Each passage through the Waste takes her one step closer to the only thing she’s ever wanted to find…but even the Torn-born become careless at times. When Cat’s father catches up with her again, Cat must make a choice between her own dreams and an innocent’s future…or try once more to forge her own way through two worlds, neither of which she quite belongs in….

Reborn (Kaliya Sahni #4)Reborn (Kaliya Sahni #4) by K.N. Banet – 15 Jun (Self)

My name is Kaliya Sahni. Obsession is a part of who I am. It’s a fatal character flaw I have a hard time overcoming. Before Raphael, before the mysteries surrounding him, I had another obsession.

Who killed my family and why? Who wants my people extinct? I might finally have a chance to find the answers to those questions that have plagued me for over a century. Questions that have kept me up at night and ruined my friendships. That have woken me up, screaming as the nightmares haunted me.

But it would be too easy to just walk away from a man like Raphael and he’s not ready for me to walk out of his life completely. A mate like no other, a cambion of great power, and an intelligent man who knows me too well, he figures out exactly how to pull me back in. Others have taken notice of the connection between us. Even my own people are asking about my relationship with the Warlord of the cambions and it scares me to think who else might see what’s brewing between us.

Desert storms wash the world away and leave it reborn…
And a storm is coming for me.

Becoming Crone (Crone Wars #1)Becoming Crone (Crone Wars #1) by Lydia M. Hawke – 17 Jun (Michem Publishing)

She wanted purpose. She found dark magick and war.

For Claire Emerson, there is nothing ordinary about turning sixty.

First, there are the crows. Then, a pendant that unlocks a gate to a house in the woods–which comes with a snarky gargoyle, an entirely too-sexy wolf shifter claiming to be Claire’s protector, and a legacy that turns her reality upside down.

Because divorced, menopausal grandmothers with creaky hips and hot flashes? They don’t just randomly discover they’re next in a long line of powerful women protecting the world from the dark magick of Mages.

Claire’s first instinct is to turn tail and run back to the safety of baking cookies and reading bedtime stories. But when it becomes clear the Mages have targeted her, she may have no choice but to accept her calling. There’s just one problem: she never got the lifetime of training she was supposed to have, and her magick is… well, unreliable would be an understatement.

With the Mages threatening everything she loves, can Claire learn what she needs to in time to become Crone? Or will she be the one to lose an ancient war—and her 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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