The Perfect Fake Date (Billionaires of Boston #3)

December 2021 Must Haves

BP Note: Happy December! 2021 is drawing to a close and I am still kinda wondering what happened to 2020. Lots of emotionally stressful events going on in the world lately so please take care of yourselves and look out for others. You matter!


Our list is shorter than usual this month, not sure if it is a reflection of reading moods or world events so more than ever we are looking for your suggestions. I can only augment my book reading with so many ginger based cookie recipes before I turn into gingerbread *grin*.


As the year changes, I wish the best to you and yours.
Happy reading!
~E

Contemporary Romance

My Bad Decisions (On My Own #4)My Bad Decisions (On My Own #4) by Carrie Ann Ryan – 7 Dec (Carrie Ann Ryan)

The first time he kissed me, we kept it a secret.
Tanner and I have been at each other’s throats ever since.
The second time he kissed me, I told myself not to fall.
I should have known something burned beneath the surface and I couldn’t resist him.
The third time led to something more and now one positive test later, neither one of us can walk away.
Only when his past sheds light on every difference we’ve chosen to ignore, we’ll have to fight for each other, or lose everything before we’ve even had a chance.

Too Much Man (Firebirds #1)Too Much Man (Firebirds #1) by Katy James – 7 Dec (Carina Press)

Piper Welborn has created a warm, welcoming space for all in her queer-inclusive coffee shop, even if the long hours came at the cost of her love life. But she’s not ready to welcome one man in particular—a grumpy, muscular former hockey player. His smoldering presence is a temptation and a challenge to her long-standing vow not to date cis men.

Gavin Williams has no business starting a relationship, least of all with a woman he’s not sure even likes him. He can’t resist the Friendly Bean’s hot, pink-haired owner, but a casual fling is all he can commit to. He’s hoping to leave town for the next stage in his career…if he ever gets the call with the job offer.

A friends-with-benefits arrangement is perfect for them both—but neither is ready for the feelings that hit. When the post-hockey life Gavin always dreamed of is suddenly within his grasp, they’ll both have to make a choice: hold tight to what they thought life should look like, or work together to build something new.

Sweet (16th and Main #4)Sweet (16th and Main #4) by Elizabeth Hunter – 14 Dec (Recurve Press LLC)

He survived by always being in control.
She’s about to make him melt.

It’s 2004, and Daisy Rivera knows two things: she’s going to end up disappointing her parents’ fondest hopes and dreams in roughly six months, and somehow she’s going to figure out how to kiss the mysterious tattoo artist two shops down from her grandmother’s cafe that everyone calls Spider.

Spider Villalobos knows one thing: if he gives into temptation and makes a move on Daisy, his fresh start is over.

Their shops may be neighbors in Metlin, but their lives are worlds apart.

A Chef's Kiss (Small Town Secrets #1)A Chef’s Kiss (Small Town Secrets #1) by Nina Crespo – 28 Dec (Harlequin Special Edition)

A welcome second chance…or a recipe for disaster?

After their ill-fated fling quashed her dreams, small-town chef Philippa Gayle’s onetime rival-turned-lover Dominic Crawford upended her life. But when Philippa’s forced together with the celebrity cook on a project that could change her life, there’s no denying that the flames that were lit years ago were only banked, not extinguished Can Philippa trust Dominic enough to let him in…or are they just cooking up another heartbreak?

If You Love SomethingIf You Love Something by Jayce Ellis – 28 Dec (Carina Press)

As executive chef at one of the hottest restaurants in DC, DeShawn Franklin has almost everything he’s ever wanted. He’s well-known, his restaurant is Michelin starred and he can write his own ticket anywhere he wants. Until his grandmother calls him home and drops two bombshells:

1) She has cancer and she’s not seeking treatment.

2) She’s willing half her estate to DeShawn’s ex-husband, Malik.

Make that three bombshells.

3) That whole divorce thing? It didn’t quite go through. DeShawn and Malik are still married.

And when DeShawn’s shady uncle contests Grandma’s will, there’s only one path back to justice: play it like he and Malik have reconciled. They need to act like a married couple just long enough to dispense with the lawsuit.

Once DeShawn is back in Malik’s orbit, it’s not hard to remember why they parted. All the reasons he walked away remain—but so do all the reasons he fell in love in the first place.

The Perfect Fake Date (Billionaires of Boston #3)The Perfect Fake Date (Billionaires of Boston #3) by Naima Simone – 28 Dec (Harlequin Desire)

“It’s just a kiss, Eve…
I’m only holding up my end of the bargain.”

As the secret son of Boston’s wealthiest, most coldhearted billionaire, Kenan Rhodes knows that everyone is watching him when he stakes his family claim. Proving himself won’t be easy and he needs backup. So Kenan makes a deal with his best friend, lingerie designer Eve Burke. She’ll help him professionally, and he’ll help Eve catch his brother’s eye. But soon Kenan wants his gorgeous best friend for himself, crossing that line between fake dates and something dangerously irresistible…

Cyberpunk

Cyber MageCyber Mage by Saad Z. Hossain – 7 Dec (Unnamed Press)

Welcome to Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2089. A city notorious for its extreme population density has found an unexpected way to not just survive a global climate apocalypse, but thrive: pump enough biological nanotech into the neighborhood and all of the bodies together form a self-sustaining, and even temperate, microclimate. Of course, this means that millions of humans have to stay put in order to maintain a livable temperature, and people are getting restless. All of the nanotech has also led to some surprises: certain people no longer need food or water while others can live without functioning organs.

So the mercenary Djibrel has to carry a machete wherever he goes. Only a swift beheading can ensure the job gets done anymore. Djibrel navigates the crowded streets, humans teeming with genetic mutations, looking for answers about what happened to the Djinn, a magical super race of genies who seem to have disappeared, or merged, with humans for survival. What Djibrel doesn’t know is that his every move is being tracked by the infamous Cyber Mage—better known to his parents as Murzak, a privileged snarky teenager who regularly works for a Russian crime syndicate with a band of elite hackers, like his best friend ReGi, who resides in North Africa’s FEZ (Free Economic Zone). Respected and feared online, Murzak is about to embark on one of his biggest challenges: attending high school IRL. But when he discovers a brand new type of AI, operating on a dark web from the abandoned Kingdom of Bahrain that he thought was just an urban myth, Murzak and Djibrel will have to face the unimaginable in an already inconceivable world.

Fantasy

Boundaries (Tales of Valdemar #15)Boundaries (Tales of Valdemar #15) by Mercedes Lackey – 7 Dec (DAW)

This fifteenth anthology of short stories set in the beloved Valdemar universe features tales by debut and established authors and a brand-new story from Lackey herself.

The Heralds of Valdemar are the kingdom’s ancient order of protectors. They are drawn from all across the land, from all walks of life, and at all ages–and all are Gifted with abilities beyond those of normal men and women. They are Mindspeakers, FarSeers, Empaths, ForeSeers, Firestarters, FarSpeakers, and more. These inborn talents–combined with training as emissaries, spies, judges, diplomats, scouts, counselors, warriors, and more–make them indispensable to their monarch and realm. Sought and Chosen by mysterious horse-like Companions, they are bonded for life to these telepathic, enigmatic creatures. The Heralds of Valdemar and their Companions ride circuit throughout the kingdom, protecting the peace and, when necessary, defending their land and monarch.

The Cat Who Saved BooksThe Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa – 7 Dec (HarperVia)

Bookish high school student Rintaro Natsuki is about to close the secondhand bookstore he inherited from his beloved bookworm grandfather. Then, a talking cat named Tiger appears with an unusual request. The feline asks for—or rather, demands—the teenager’s help in saving books with him. The world is full of lonely books left unread and unloved, and Tiger and Rintaro must liberate them from their neglectful owners.

Their mission sends this odd couple on an amazing journey, where they enter different mazes to set books free. Through their travels, Tiger and Rintaro meet a man who leaves his books to perish on a bookshelf, an unwitting book torturer who cuts the pages of books into snippets to help people speed read, and a publishing drone who only wants to create bestsellers. Their adventures culminate in one final, unforgettable challenge—the last maze that awaits leads Rintaro down a realm only the bravest dare enter…

Fantasy Romance

Runaway (Royal States #8)Runaway (Royal States #8) by Susan Copperfield – 21 Dec (Pen & Page Publishing)

Upon His Royal Highness of California becoming His Royal Majesty of New York, Cassandra Ferran descends into a living nightmare. Thanks to a mass exodus of aides, it falls on her shoulders to rein in the new heir’s life while navigating through a Royal mess of a transition.

With the stress piling on and no end in sight, Cassandra dreams of slipping out of the palace and beginning her midlife crisis as a runaway.

Instead of a peaceful escape from the palace, Cassandra is dumped into the murky waters of political intrigue and a gambit for the throne that will forever change her life and determine the fate of California and its royal family.

Historical Mystery

The Deadliest Sin (Crispin Guest #15)BP Note: We missed this one in November. The Deadliest Sin (Crispin Guest #15) by Jeri Westerson – 1 Nov (Severn House)

Crispin Guest is summoned to a London priory to unmask a merciless killer. Can he discover who is committing the deadliest of sins?

1399, London. A drink at the Boar’s Tusk takes an unexpected turn for Crispin Guest, Tracker of London, and his apprentice, Jack Tucker, when a messenger claims the prioress at St. Frideswide wants to hire him to investigate murders at the priory. Two of Prioress Drueta’s nuns have been killed in a way that signifies two of the Seven Deadly Sins, and she’s at her wits end.

Meanwhile, trouble is brewing outside of London when the exiled Henry Bolingbroke, the new Duke of Lancaster, returns to England’s shores with an army to take back his inheritance. Crispin is caught between solving the crimes at St. Frideswide’s Priory, and making a choice once more whether to stand with King Richard or commit treason again.

Observations by GaslightObservations by Gaslight by Lyndsay Faye – 14 Nov (Mysterious Press)

Now Faye is back with Observations by Gaslight, a thrilling volume of both new and previously published short stories and novellas narrated by those who knew the Great Detective.

Beloved adventuress Irene Adler teams up with her former adversary in a near-deadly inquiry into a room full of eerily stopped grandfather clocks. Learn of the case that cemented the lasting friendship between Holmes and Inspector Lestrade, and of the tragic crime which haunted the Yarder into joining the police force. And witness Stanley Hopkins’ first meeting with the remote logician he idolizes, who will one day become his devoted mentor.

From familiar faces like landlady Mrs. Hudson to minor characters like Lomax the sub-librarian, Observations by Gaslight—entirely epistolary, told through diaries, telegrams, and even grocery lists—paints a masterful portrait of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson as you have never seen them before.

Steampunk

The Untold Story (Invisible Library #8)The Untold Story (Invisible Library #8) by Genevieve Cogman – 26 Dec (Ace)

In this thrilling historical fantasy, time-traveling Librarian spy Irene will need to delve deep into a tangled web of loyalty and power to keep her friends safe.

Irene is trying to learn the truth about Alberich-and the possibility that he’s her father. But when the Library orders her to kill him, and then Alberich himself offers to sign a truce, she has to discover why he originally betrayed the Library.

With her allies endangered and her strongest loyalties under threat, she’ll have to trace his past across multiple worlds and into the depths of mythology and folklore, to find the truth at the heart of the Library, and why the Library was first created.

Urban Fantasy

Up in Smoke (Fox Witch #2)Up in Smoke (Fox Witch #2) by R.J. Blain – 2 Dec (Pen & Page Publishing)

Driven by her awareness someone is out to destroy Tulsa, Jade takes Sandro into the heart of New Orleans to seek help from the Voodoo queens. If anyone can wipe out a choir hellbent on destruction, it’s them.

Keeping Sandro on a short leash tests Jade in ways she never imagined possible. In a city where secrets rule, power is won through deceit, and life can be bought or sold at a queen’s whim, they can’t afford to make a single mistake. Should she fail to secure help in the South, those Jade loves will perish or become enslaved to a system that cares nothing for them.

Uncovering the truth about the storms leads them down the dark road of political intrigue, magic, and greed. Without help, the Alley will fall to the machinations of those desiring power at any cost.

The fight for Tulsa’s survival has begun.

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!

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