Tastes of Him (Coffee Shops of Love #3)

June 2022 Must Haves

BP Note: According to the calendar it is June and therefore almost time for Summer or Winter. According to the weather we have no idea what season it is, will be or is supposed to be. Almost as if the weather feels as unsettled as we do over these last 2.5 years. As I write this I am staring at the remnants of a wave of thunderstorms which cooled off our unseasonably warm temperatures 90+F/32+C and brought hail to some areas in its path. Take care of yourselves, take care of others, read some good books, and share what you are looking forward to.
Happy reading!
~E

Contemporary Romance

As Seen on TVAs Seen on TV by Meredith Schorr – 7 Jun (Forever)

Emerging journalist Adina Gellar is done with dating in New York City. If she’s learned anything from made-for-TV romance movies, it’s that she’ll find love in a small town—the kind with harvest festivals, delightful but quirky characters, and scores of delectable single dudes. So when a big-city real estate magnate targets tiny Pleasant Hollow for development, Adi knows she’s found the perfect story—one that will earn her a position at a coveted online magazine, so she can finally start adulting for real . . . and maybe even find her dream man in the process.

Only Pleasant Hollow isn’t exactly “pleasant.” There’s no charming bakery, no quaint seasonal festivals, and the residents are more ambivalent than welcoming. The only upside is Finn Adams, who’s more mouthwatering than the homemade cherry pie Adi can’t seem to find—even if he does work for the company she’d hoped to bring down. Suddenly Adi has to wonder if maybe TV got it all wrong after all. But will following her heart mean losing her chance to break into the big time?

By the Book (Follow the Money #1)By the Book (Follow the Money #1) by G.B. Gordon – 14 Jun (Carina Press)

A junior accountant at a successful import/export company, Ben Coyne is just beginning his career. His life is nearly perfect—until he finds his boss murdered, unravels a million-dollar embezzling scheme, and becomes the target of a madman. An FBI agent is assigned to protect him, but with Ben looking like the primary suspect, trust is hard to come by.

Nick Marshall excels at his job, but despite a lengthy career as an FBI agent and Interpol liaison, he’s still known in social circles as the playboy with the extravagant trust fund. He stopped trying to prove himself years ago, but lately, it’s been getting under his skin. A protection detail is the last thing he needs, especially when his assignment is distractingly cute, blond and extremely off-limits.

When Ben becomes the target, Nick is determined to protect him. But when a new threat hints at a conspiracy that reaches further than they could have imagined, it’s not just Ben’s life at stake…

Island TimeIsland Time by Georgia Clark – 14 Jun (Atria)

The Kellys are messy, loud, loving Australians. The Lees are sophisticated, aloof, buttoned-up Americans. They have nothing in common…except for the fact that their daughters are married. When a nearby volcano erupts during their short vacation to a remote tropical island off the coast of Queensland, the two families find themselves stranded together for six weeks.

With only two island employees making up the rest of their party, everyone is forced to question what—or who—they really want. Island Time is a sumptuous summer read that dives deep into queer romance, family secrets, ambition, parenthood, and a bird-chasing bromance. This sexy, sun-soaked paradise of white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush rainforest will show you it’s never too late to change your destiny.

Flying SoloFlying Solo by Linda Holmes – 14 Jun (Ballantine)

Smarting from her recently cancelled wedding and about to turn forty, Laurie Sassalyn returns to her Maine hometown of Calcasset to handle the estate of her great-aunt Dot, a spirited adventurer who lived to be ninety. Along with boxes of Polaroids and pottery, a mysterious wooden duck shows up at the bottom of a cedar chest. Laurie’s curiosity is piqued, especially after she finds a love letter to the never-married Dot that ends with the line, “And anyway, if you’re ever desperate, there are always ducks, darling.”

Laurie is told that the duck has no financial value. But after it disappears under suspicious circumstances, she feels compelled to figure out why anyone would steal a wooden duck–and why Dot kept it hidden away in the first place. Suddenly Laurie finds herself swept up in a righteous caper that has her negotiating with antiques dealers and con artists, going on after-hours dates at the local library, and reconnecting with her oldest friend and first love. Desperate to uncover her great-aunt’s secrets, Laurie must reckon with her past, her future, and ultimately embrace her own vision of flying solo.

Tastes of Him (Coffee Shops of Love #3)Tastes of Him (Coffee Shops of Love #3) by Karmen Lee – 15 Jun (Self)

Years of flirting.
Thousands of miles of distance.
One week alone together might send it all crashing down.

Sean Kincaid isn’t afraid of love. He wants it; is actively looking for it even. But his years-long flirtation with his best friend’s older brother, Rod, is nothing more than a little passing fun. Just because he told the guy to put a ring on it, doesn’t mean that’s what he really wants…right?

Roderick ‘Rod’ Davis has been not-so-secretly pining after Sean from afar for years. But now, he’s coming home, and with one last hurrah in place, maybe it’s the best time to come clean about his feelings. Surely their years-long flirtation was more than just for fun…right?

Fake It Till You Bake ItFake It Till You Bake It by Jamie Wesley – 21 Jun (St Martin’s Press)

Jada Townsend-Matthews is the most reviled woman in America after turning down a proposal on a reality dating show. When she comes home to lick her wounds, Jada finds herself working at San Diego’s newest cupcake bakery, Sugar Blitz, alongside the uptight owner and professional football player Donovan Dell.

When a reporter mistakenly believes Jada and Donovan are an item, they realize they can use the misunderstanding to their advantage to help the struggling bakery and rehabilitate Jada’s image. Faking a relationship should be simple, but sometimes love is the most unexpected ingredient.

Don't Go Baking My Heart (Island Bites #2)Don’t Go Baking My Heart (Island Bites #2) by N.G. Geltier – 22 Jun (Self)

Devon King has a plan. An actual with bullet points and everything plan for his life. When he’s called out at work for never participating in any of the office activities he feels compelled to take part in the upcoming office bake off competition to prove he’s a team player, as making partner at his architectural design firm is top on his list of career goals. Only problem, he doesn’t know anything about baking. Failure is not an option so when his first choice for help is unavailable, desperate times lead him to ask Reba Johnson, assistant pastry chef to his brother’s girlfriend.

Reba’s been having fun texting the super serious Devon ridiculous cat pictures, for an entire month, but she’s surprised when he asks for her help with a potential baking crisis, since their conversations have been one sided until now. When her friends make a bet that even she can’t get the stoic Devon to fall for her charms, Reba sets out to prove them wrong and get Devon to have some fun.

As the competition draws closer, their sessions get hotter with a one night stand turning into two nights then three…Reba doesn’t fit into Devon’s carefully crafted life and as he tries to focus on winning the company contest, he discovers that sweet treats aren’t the only thing baking in the kitchen, and all his perfect plans are crumbling.

Sweeter Than Honey (Honey Hill #2)Sweeter Than Honey (Honey Hill #2) by Joy Avery – 28 Jun (Montlake)

Baker extraordinaire Rylee Harris has a recipe for everything—except love. It’s been five years since she lost her husband, but romance is still a struggle for Rylee. In her small hamlet of Honey Hill, North Carolina, Rylee knows she’ll be the talk of the town when she finds someone new.

To ease her mother’s worries about her love life, Rylee impulsively invents a fake relationship with the only man who’s caught her eye: the town sheriff, Canten Barnes. It’s supposed to be a secret, but secrets don’t last long in Honey Hill. One bit of gossip leads to another, and soon the whole town thinks Rylee and Canten are an item.

As Rylee and Canten embark on a make-believe relationship to save face, they slowly realize that their feelings for each other aren’t fake at all. Can Rylee and Canten keep the charade going—or will the town’s prized baker and respected lawman take a real chance on love?

American RoyaltyAmerican Royalty by Tracey Livesay – 28 Jun (HarperLuxe)

Sexy, driven rapper Danielle “Duchess” Nelson is on the verge of signing a deal that’ll make her one of the richest women in hip hop. More importantly, it’ll grant her control over her life, something she’s craved for years. But an incident with a rising pop star has gone viral, unfairly putting her deal in jeopardy. Concerned about her image, she’s instructed to work on generating some positive publicity… or else.

A brilliant professor and reclusive royal, Prince Jameson prefers life out of the spotlight, only leaving his ivory tower to attend weddings or funerals. But with the Queen’s children involved in one scandal after another, and Parliament questioning the viability of the monarchy, the Queen is desperate. In a quest for good press, she puts Jameson in charge of a tribute concert in her late husband’s honor. Out of his depth, and resentful of being called to service, he takes the advice of a student. After all, what’s more appropriate for a royal concert than a performer named “Duchess”?

Too late, Jameson discovers the American rapper is popular, sexy, raunchy and not what the Queen wanted, although he’s having an entirely different reaction. Dani knows this is the good exposure she needs to cement her deal and it doesn’t hurt that the royal running things is fine as hell. Thrown together, they give in to the explosive attraction flaring between them. But as the glare of the limelight intensifies and outside forces try to interfere, will the Prince and Duchess be a fairy tale romance for the ages or a disaster of palatial proportions?

Fantasy

The Last Stand of Mary Good Crow (The Crystal Calamity #1)The Last Stand of Mary Good Crow (The Crystal Calamity #1) by Rachel Aaron – 1 Jun (Aaron/Bach)

Hungry darkness, haunted guns, tunnels that move like snakes—the crystal mines of Medicine Rocks, Montana are a place only the bravest and greediest dare. Discovered in 1866, the miraculous rock known as crystal quickly rose to become the most expensive substance on the planet, driving thousands to break the treaties and invade the sacred buffalo lands of the Sioux. But mining crystal risks more than an arrow in the chest. The beautiful rock has a voice of its own. A voice that twists minds and calls unnatural powers.

A voice that turns men into monsters.

Mary Good Crow hears it. Half white, half Lakota, rejected by both, she’s forged a new life guiding would-be miners through the treacherous caves. To her ears, the crystal sings a beautiful song, one the men she guides would gladly burn her as a witch for hearing. So, when an heiress from Boston arrives with a proposition that could change her life, Mary agrees to push deeper into the caves than she’s ever dared.

But there are secrets buried in the Deep Caves that even Mary doesn’t know. The farther she goes, the closer she gets to the voice that’s been calling her all this time. A voice that could change the bloody story of the West, or destroy it all.

A Mirror Mended (Fractured Fables #2)A Mirror Mended (Fractured Fables #2) by Alix E. Harrow – 14 Jun (Tordotcom)

Zinnia Gray, professional fairy-tale fixer and lapsed Sleeping Beauty, is over rescuing snoring princesses. Once you’ve rescued a dozen damsels and burned fifty spindles, once you’ve gotten drunk with twenty good fairies and made out with one too many members of the royal family, you start to wish some of these girls would just get a grip and try solving their own narrative issues.

Just when Zinnia’s beginning to think she can’t handle one more princess, she glances into a mirror and sees another face looking back at her: the shockingly gorgeous face of evil, asking for her help. Because there’s more than one person trapped in a story they didn’t choose. Snow White’s Evil Queen has found out how her story ends, and she’s desperate for a better ending. She wants Zinnia to help her before it’s too late for everyone. Will Zinnia accept the Queen’s poisonous request and save them both from the hot-iron shoes that wait for them, or will she try another path?

The Final Strife (The Final Strife #1)The Final Strife (The Final Strife #1) by Saara El-Arifi – 21 Jun (Del Rey)

The Empire rules by blood

Red is the blood of the elite, of magic, of control.

Blue is the blood of the poor, of workers, of the resistance.

Clear is the blood of the servants, of the crushed, of the invisible.

The Aktibar – a set of trials held every ten years to find the next Ember rulers of the Empire – is about to begin.

All can join but not just anyone can win; it requires great skill and ingenuity to become the future wardens of Strength, Knowledge, Truth and Duty.

Sylah was destined to win the trials and be crowned Warden of Strength. Stolen by blue-blooded rebels she was raised with a Duster’s heart; forged as a weapon to bring down from within the red-blooded Embers’ regime of cruelty. But when her adopted family were brutally murdered those dreams of a better future turned to dust.

However, the flame of hope may yet be rekindled because Sylah wasn’t made to sparkle, she was born to burn.

And it’s up to her whether she rules the empire or destroys it.

Historical Romance

The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes (Queer Principles of Kit Webb #2)The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes (Queer Principles of Kit Webb #2) by Cat Sebastian – 7 Jun (Avon)

Marian Hayes, the Duchess of Clare, just shot her husband. Of course, the evil, murderous man deserved what was coming to him, but now she must flee to the countryside. Unfortunately, the only person she can ask for help is the charismatic criminal who is blackmailing her—and who she may have left tied up a few hours before…

A highwayman, con artist, and all-around cheerful villain, Rob Brooks is no stranger to the wrong side of the law or the right side of anybody’s bed. He never meant to fall for the woman whose secrets he promised to keep for the low price of five hundred pounds, but how could he resist someone who led him on a merry chase all over London, left him tied up in a seedy inn, and then arrived covered in her husband’s blood and in desperate need of his help?

As they flee across the country—stopping to pick pockets, drink to excess, and rescue invalid cats—they discover more true joy and peace than either has felt in ages. But when the truth of Rob’s past catches up to him, they must decide if they are willing to reshape their lives in order to forge a future together.

Historical Mystery

A Botanist's Guide to Parties and PoisonsA Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons by Kate Khavari – 7 Jun (Crooked Lane)

Saffron Everleigh is in a race against time to free her wrongly accused professor before he goes behind bars forever. Perfect for fans of Deanna Raybourn and Anna Lee Huber, Kate Khavari’s debut historical mystery is a fast-paced, fearless adventure.

London, 1923. Newly minted research assistant Saffron Everleigh attends a dinner party for the University College of London. While she expects to engage in conversations about the university’s large expedition to the Amazon, she doesn’t expect Mrs. Henry, one of the professors’ wives to drop to the floor, poisoned by an unknown toxin.

Dr. Maxwell, Saffron’s mentor, is the main suspect, having had an explosive argument with Dr. Henry a few days prior. As evidence mounts against Dr. Maxwell and the expedition’s departure draws nearer, Saffron realizes if she wants her mentor’s name cleared, she’ll have to do it herself.

Joined by enigmatic Alexander Ashton, a fellow researcher, Saffron uses her knowledge of botany as she explores steamy greenhouses, dark gardens, and deadly poisons. Will she be able to uncover the truth or will her investigation land her on the murderer’s list?

Last Call at the NightingaleLast Call at the Nightingale by Katharine Schellman – 7 Jun (Minotaur)

New York, 1924. Vivian Kelly’s days are filled with drudgery, from the tenement lodging she shares with her sister to the dress shop where she sews for hours every day.

But at night, she escapes to The Nightingale, an underground dance hall where illegal liquor flows and the band plays the Charleston with reckless excitement. With a bartender willing to slip her a free glass of champagne and friends who know the owner, Vivian can lose herself in the music. No one asks where she came from or how much money she has. No one bats an eye if she flirts with men or women as long as she can keep up on the dance floor. At The Nightingale, Vivian forgets the dangers of Prohibition-era New York and finds a place that feels like home.

But then she discovers a body behind the club, and those dangers come knocking.

Caught in a police raid at the Nightingale, Vivian discovers that the dead man wasn’t the nameless bootlegger he first appeared. With too many people assuming she knows more about the crime than she does, Vivian finds herself caught between the dangers of the New York’s underground and the world of the city’s wealthy and careless, where money can hide any sin and the lives of the poor are considered disposable…including Vivian’s own.

Paranormal Women’s Fiction

Mirror Obscure (Vista de Lirio #2)Mirror Obscure (Vista de Lirio #2) by Elizabeth Hunter – 21 Jun (Recurve Press LLC)

Dr. Vivian Wei is juggling multiple life changing events when her aging mother witnesses a violent death on the thirteenth tee. The only problem? There doesn’t seem to be a crime to go along with the witness.

As an empath, Vivian knows her mother is telling the truth, but feelings don’t prove a murder. Can Vivian, her mother, and her friends prove a murderer is stalking the country club before he claims another victim?

Science Fiction Romance

Sweep of the Blade (Innkeeper Chronicles #4)Sweep of the Blade (Innkeeper Chronicles #4) by Ilona Andrews – 15 Jun (Graphic Audio)
BP Note: Full cast recording audio release.

Maud Demille is a daughter of Innkeepers—a special group who provide ‘lodging’ to other-planetary visitors—so she knows that a simple life isn’t in the cards. But even Maud could never have anticipated what Fate would throw at her.

Once a wife to a powerful vampire knight, Maud and her young daughter, Helen, were exiled with him for his treachery to the desolate, savage planet of Karhari. Karhari killed her husband, and Maud—completely abandoned by his family—has spent over a year avenging his debts. Rescued by her sister Dina, she’s sworn off all things vampire.

Except… In helping Dina save the world, she met Arland, the Marshal of House Krahr, one of the most powerful vampire houses. One thing led to another and he asked for her hand in marriage. She declined. Arland is not used to hearing the word ‘no;’ and try as she might, Maud can’t just walk away from Arland. It doesn’t help that being human is a lot harder for Maud than being a vampire.

To sort it all out, she accepts his invitation to visit his home planet. House Krahr is extremely influential and Maud knows that a woman—a human, with a very questionable past—who’s turned down a proposal from its most beloved son won’t get a warm reception. Maybe she’s not sure about marrying Arland, but House Krahr isn’t going to decide for her. Maud Demille has never run from a fight, and House Krahr will soon discover that there’s a lot more to Maud than they’re expecting.

Stay With Me (New World #1)Stay With Me (New World #1) by Lily X. – 21 Jun (Carina Press)

Cedra: Running a farm on your own is exhausting and lonely. The Servana 200 service bot I ordered was expensive, but I need the help—and if it can also hold a conversation, it will be worth the price.
When the bot arrives, though, her hair is curlier than I selected, her skin is surprisingly soft, and she’s curvier and more beautiful than I imagined. But do bots tremble at the lightest touch? Do they smell like a heady mix of flowers and hot, sweet blood, teasing my fangs to life?
Technology is truly a marvel. Or is it?

Twyla: Running from a forced engagement is terrifying. But I’m backed into a corner, and my only escape is to crawl into a packing box for a bot modeled after me.
It’s certainly a panic move, but it got me out of one bad situation… And landed me right in the middle of another.
At first, Cedra isn’t the most welcoming sort, not when she presses a knife to my flesh and threatens to kick me out of her home. I come clean fast, pleading with her to let me stay and be her housekeeper. She’s hesitant, but I can tell she’s warming up to the idea…
Something’s flaring between us—fierce and urgent and insistent. And if these primal desires are mutual, maybe she’ll be the one begging me to stay.

Space Opera

Vows of Empire (Bloodright Trilogy #3)Vows of Empire (Bloodright Trilogy #3) by Emily Skrutskie – 14 Jun (Random House)

Gal and Ettian have never been farther apart. Once, they were roommates and best friends, each suffocating under a secret of galactic consequence. When Gal’s came to light—that he was heir to the Umber Empire and all of its brutal conquest—the two were forced to flee their military academy, fall in with a brewing rebellion to reclaim the Archon Empire from Umber’s grasp, and face their long-held feelings for each other.

Then the rebellion discovered Gal’s identity and to save his life, Ettian had no choice but to unveil his own secret: that he was the long-lost heir to the Archon throne. With Gal as a political prisoner, Ettian began the fight to restore his own empire—and to open Gal’s eyes to the possibility of a galaxy reclaimed from Umber’s greed. But just when Gal was starting to come around, a team of Umber operatives rescued him from Archon’s clutches and dragged him home to take up his crown.

Now, separated for the first time and in full command of the might of their respective forces, the star-crossed rulers find themselves truly at odds. And with the war reaching a tipping point, the time has finally come for Gal and Ettian to confront what they owe their empires, their friends, and each other if they’re ever to forge a universe where the two of them can be together.

Urban Fantasy

Dirty Deeds 2Dirty Deeds 2 by Faith Hunter et. al. – 7 Jun (Pen & Page Publishing)

When the going gets tough, the tough get their hands dirty.

Join NY Times bestselling authors Faith Hunter and Jennifer Estep along with USA Today bestselling authors R.J. Blain, Diana Pharaoh Francis, and Devon Monk on a brand-new romp through magical worlds where the damsels bring the distress, what can go wrong will go wrong, and nothing is as it seems.

Adventure with Eli Younger, Liz Everhart, and Brute in the thrilling world of Jane Yellowrock. Face off against old gods and lost souls at a magical crossroads on Route 66. Become entangled in Ashland’s dark, deadly web with side characters from the Elemental Assassin series. Return to the irreverent world of Beck Wyatt, where disaster waits around every corner and cheesecake makes it all worthwhile. And finally, meet up with the Quinns and friends in the zany world of the Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) series.

In this collection of all-new urban fantasy and paranormal stories, the gloves are off and simply surviving might just be the dirtiest, most difficult deed of all.

Wicked Nights (Techwitch #3)Wicked Nights (Techwitch #3) by M.J. Scott – 28 Jun (Self)

They say magic has a price. In my experience they’re right. Sure, I’m a witch and I’ve even defeated a demon or two. But that doesn’t mean that I’ve got it all figured out. Or that trouble is done with me…

Maggie Lachlan has become a Techwitch in all senses of the world. Once she was just a super geek, taming wild programs with ease, now magic has become part of her repertoire. She never wanted to inherit her mother’s talents—for magic or trouble—but she has no choice but to come to grips with her powers and try to find her happy place.

But the past doesn’t want to rest easy, and demons aren’t the only problem in town. Her lover, Damon Riley, is launching a new high stakes virtual reality gaming contest and there are those who’d love to see him fail. Supporting him means facing her fears and diving back in the virtual worlds that first led a demon to her doorstep.

With gamers and witches converging on San Francisco for the launch, things are getting strange. And Maggie’s past isn’t done with her yet. So when darkness, power, and technology collide, magic might be the only thing that gets her through the night…

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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