Nobody's Princess (Wild Wynchesters #3)

July 2022 Must Haves

BP Note: My apologies for this post being a week late. June was, well to put it mildly a rather upsetting month, more upsetting than I anticipated. We have a very mixed bag of titles this month including some genres we don’t tend to mention very often. *ponders* not sure I want to draw any connections between *waves hands* and this list. Keep trying to find joy in the little things and remember your individual actions/choices can make a difference as they add up. Apathy is the enemy of us all.
Happy reading,
~E

Contemporary Romance

Dirty Laundry (Down and Dirty #2)Dirty Laundry (Down and Dirty #2) by Holley Trent – 12 Jul (Self)

Carine Murphy has become so pragmatic about dating that she’ll settle for anyone who can make her feel something beyond mere sufferance.

She may be bleakly self-deprecating in her half-serious request for her longtime fetish club peer to have her way with her, but Heidi Dowd doesn’t think there’s anything funny about the suggestion. Although Heidi had vowed to never again be intimate with women who made her their “exception,” she’s willing to put Carine through her paces.

Heidi is confident she can approach their arrangement with professional detachment. However, she soon learns that Carine has more than just an adventurous spirit. She has audacity. And when she insists that Heidi elevate their status beyond the bedroom, Heidi’s immediate instinct is to break things off.

Carine insists that she’s not afraid for everyone to know who she loves, but Heidi’s been around the block too many times. She’s not going to get her hopes up again. Not even dominatrices are immune to getting broken hearts.

Bet on ItBet on It by Jodie Slaughter – 12 Jul (St Martin’s)

The first time Aja Owens encounters the man of her dreams, she’s having a panic attack in the frozen foods section of the Piggly Wiggly. The second time, he’s being introduced to her as her favorite bingo buddy’s semi-estranged grandson. From there, all it takes is one game for her to realize that he’s definitely going to be a problem. And if there’s anything she already has a surplus of, it’s problems.

In Walker Abbott’s mind, there are only two worthwhile things in Greenbelt, South Carolina. The peach cobbler at his old favorite diner and his ailing grandmother. Dragging himself back after more than a decade away, he’s counting down the days until Gram heals and he can get back to his real life. Far away from the trauma inside of those city limits. Just when he thinks his plan is solid, enter Aja to shake everything up.

A hastily made bingo-based sex pact is supposed to keep this…thing between them from getting out of hand. Especially when submitting to their feelings means disrupting their carefully balanced lives. But emotions are just like bingo callers—they refuse to be ignored.

The BodyguardThe Bodyguard by Katherine Center – 19 Jul (St. Martin’s Press)

he’s got his back.
Hannah Brooks looks more like a kindgerten teacher than somebody who could kill you with a wine bottle opener. Or a ballpoint pen. Or a dinner napkin. But the truth is, she’s an Executive Protection Agent (aka “bodyguard”), and she just got hired to protect superstar actor Jack Stapleton from his middle-aged, corgi-breeding stalker.

He’s got her heart.
Jack Stapleton’s a household name—captured by paparazzi on beaches the world over, famous for, among other things, rising out of the waves in all manner of clingy board shorts and glistening like a Roman deity. But a few years back, in the wake of a family tragedy, he dropped from the public eye and went off the grid.

They’ve got a secret.
When Jack’s mom gets sick, he comes home to the family’s Texas ranch to help out. Only one catch: He doesn’t want his family to know about his stalker. Or the bodyguard thing. And so Hannah—against her will and her better judgment—finds herself pretending to be Jack’s girlfriend as a cover. Even though her ex, like a jerk, says no one will believe it.

What could possibly go wrong???
Hannah hardly believes it, herself. But the more time she spends with Jack, the more real it all starts to seem. And there lies the heartbreak. Because it’s easy for Hannah to protect Jack. But protecting her own, long-neglected heart? That’s the hardest thing she’s ever done.

After Hours on Milagro Street (Joyfully Mexican #1)After Hours on Milagro Street (Joyfully Mexican #1) by Angelina Lopez – 26 Jul (Carina Trade)

Guapo pobrecito her grandmother calls him. The “poor handsome man.”

Professor Jeremiah Post, the poor handsome man, is in fact standing in the way of Alejandra “Alex” Torres turning Loretta’s, her grandmother’s bar, into a viable business. The hot brainiac who sleeps in one of the upstairs tenant rooms already has all of her Mexican American family’s admiration; she won’t let him have the bar and building she needs to resurrect her career, too.

Alex blowing into town has rocked Jeremiah to his mild-mannered core, but the large, boisterous Torres clan is everything he never had. He doesn’t believe Alex has the best interest of her family, their community or the bar’s legacy in mind. To protect all three, he’ll stand up to the tough and tattooed bartender with whom he now shares a bedroom wall—and resist the insta-lust they both feel.

But when an old enemy threatens Loretta’s and the surrounding neighborhood, Alex and Jeremiah must combine forces. It will take her might and his mind to save the home they both desperately need.

Stirring Up LoveStirring Up Love (Taste of Love #2) by Chandra Blumberg – 26 Jul (Montlake)

After doing her time in corporate Chicago, Simone Blake returns to small-town Illinois to tackle a new venture: her grandfather’s barbecue restaurant. The secret, as they say, is in the sauce. Simone’s plan is to sell Honey and Hickory’s signature sauce to put her hometown on the map.

But she’s not the only one with a recipe and a plan: chef Finn Rimes from nearby Springfield has a similar vision. To jump-start his dream of opening a culinary school, he shows up at the local farmers’ market with his own barbecue sauce.

When Simone’s plan to outsell Finn falls flat, she auditions for a reality show to pitch her brand. But she’s horrified to discover Finn’s had the same idea. As Simone and Finn wage barbecue war on television, their feud turns into an undeniable attraction.

With their livelihoods on the line, it may not be so much about making the best sauce—but finding their way to each other.

Booked on a Feeling (A Sweet Mess #3)Booked on a Feeling (A Sweet Mess #3) by Nadia Lee – 26 Jul (St. Martin’s Griffin)

Lizzy “Overachiever” Chung, Esq. has her life mapped out neatly:
* Become a lawyer. Check.
* Join a prestigious law firm. Check.
* Make partner. In progress.

If all goes to plan, she will check off that last box in a couple years, make her parents proud, and live a successful, fulfilled life in L.A. What was not in her plans was passing out from a panic attack during a pivotal moment in her career. A few deep breaths and a four hour drive later, Lizzy is in Weldon for three weeks to shed the burnout and figure out what went wrong. And what better place to recharge than the small California town where she spent her childhood summers with her best friend, Jack Park.

Jack Park didn’t expect to see Lizzy back in Weldon, but now he’s got three weeks to spend with the girl of his dreams. Except she doesn’t know of his decades-long crush on her–and he intends to keep it that way. She’s a high-powered attorney who lives in L.A. and he’s a bookkeeper at his family’s brewery who never left his hometown. He can’t risk their friendship on a long shot. Can he? When Lizzy decides that the local bookstore needs a little revamp, of course, Jack is going to help her bring it back to life. But the more time they spend together, the harder it becomes to ignore there might be more than just friendship among the dusty shelves and books…

Sometimes the path to the rest of your life has been in front of you all along.

The Nanny Game (The Eddington Heirs #2)The Nanny Game (The Eddington Heirs #2) by Zuri Day – 26 Jul (Harlequin Desire)

he’ll solve his nanny problem

And maybe his playboy problem, too…

When a casual weekend romp ends with an unexpected baby on his doorstep, CEO Desmond Eddington needs Ivy Campbell’s nanny help pronto! Ivy dotes on the precious little girl.Her powerful playboy single father? Not so much. She’s instantly smitten, but struggles to guard her heart. Painful pasts have left both her and Desmond wary of love. But will their undeniable attraction—and growing attachment—be a nanny game win after all?

Historical Fiction

A Dress of Violet TaffetaA Dress of Violet Taffeta by Tessa Arlen – 5 Jul (Berkley)

A sumptuous novel based on the fascinating true story of Belle Epoque icon Lucy, Lady Duff Gordon, a woman determined to shatter the boundaries of the fashion world and support herself and her young daughter with her magnificent designs.

Lucy Duff Gordon knows she is talented. She sees color, light, fabric, and texture in ways few other people do. But is the world ready for her? A world dominated by men who would try to control her and use her art for their own gain?

After being deserted by her wealthy husband, Lucy is desperate to survive. She turns to her one true talent to make a living. As a little girl, the dresses she made for her dolls were the envy of her group of playmates. Now, she uses her courageous innovations in Belle Époque fashion to support her own little girl. Lucile knows it is an uphill battle, and a single woman is not supposed to succeed on her own, but she refuses to give up. She will claim her place in the fashion world; failure simply is not an option.

Then, on a frigid night in 1912, Lucy’s life changes once more, when she becomes one of 706 people to survive the sinking of the Titanic. She could never have imagined the effects the disaster would have on her career, her marriage to her second husband, and her legacy. But no matter what life throws at her, Lucile will live on as a trailblazing and fearless fashion icon, never letting go of what she worked so hard to earn. This is her story.

Historical Mystery

The Unkept Woman (Sparks & Bainbridge #4)The Unkept Woman (Sparks & Bainbridge #4) by Allison Montclair – 26 Jul (Minotaur)

The Right Sort Marriage Bureau was founded in 1946 by two disparate individuals – Mrs. Gwendolyn Bainbridge (whose husband was killed in the recent World War) and Miss Iris Sparks who worked as an intelligence agent during the recent conflict, though this is not discussed. While the agency flourishes in the post-war climate, both founders have to deal with some of the fallout that conflict created in their personal lives. Miss Sparks finds herself followed, then approached, by a young woman who has a very personal connection to a former paramour of Sparks. But something is amiss and it seems that Iris’s past may well cause something far more deadly than mere disruption in her personal life. Meanwhile, Gwendolyn is struggling to regain full legal control of her life, her finances, and her son – a legal path strewn with traps and pitfalls.

Together these indomitable two are determined and capable and not just of making the perfect marriage match.

Historical Romance

Remember Love (Ravenswood #1)Remember Love (Ravenswood #1) by Mary Balogh – 12 Jul (Berkley)

The handsome and charismatic Earl of Stratton, Caleb Ware, has been exposed to the ton for his clandestine affairs—by his own son.

As a child, Devlin Ware thought his family stood for all that was right and good in the world. They were kind, gracious, and shared the beauty of Ravenwood, their grand country estate, by hosting lavish parties for the entire countryside. But at twenty-two, he discovered his whole world was an elaborate illusion, and when Devlin publicly called his family to account for it, he was exiled as a traitor.

So be it. He enlisted in the fight against Napoleon and didn’t look back for six years. But now his father is dead, the Ware family is broken, and as the heir he is being called home. It’s only when Gwyneth Rhys—the woman he loved and then lost after his family banished him—holds out her hand to help him that he is able make the difficult journey and try to piece together his fractured family.

It is Gwyneth’s loyalty, patience, and love that he needs. But is Devlin’s war-hardened heart even capable of offering her love in return?

Nobody's Princess (Wild Wynchesters #3)Nobody’s Princess (Wild Wynchesters #3) by Erica Ridley – 26 Jul (Forever)

Nothing happens in London without Graham Wynchester knowing. His massive collection of intelligence is invaluable to his family’s mission of aiding those most in need. So when he deciphers a series of coded messages in the scandal sheets, Graham’s convinced he must come to a royal’s rescue. But his quarry turns out not to be a princess at all… The captivating Kunigunde de Heusch is anything but a damsel in distress, and the last thing she wants is Graham’s help.

All her life, Kuni trained alongside the fiercest Royal Guardsmen in her family, secretly planning to become her country’s first Royal Guardswoman. This mission in London is a chance to prove herself worthy without help from a man, not even one as devilishly handsome as Graham. To her surprise, Graham believes in her dream as much as she does, which makes it harder to resist kissing him…and falling in love. But how can she risk her heart if her future lies an ocean away?

Horror

What Moves the DeadWhat Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher – 12 Jul (Tor Nightfire)

When Alex Easton, a retired soldier, receives word that their childhood friend Madeline Usher is dying, they race to the ancestral home of the Ushers in the remote countryside of Ruritania.

What they find there is a nightmare of fungal growths and possessed wildlife, surrounding a dark, pulsing lake. Madeline sleepwalks and speaks in strange voices at night, and her brother Roderick is consumed with a mysterious malady of the nerves.

Aided by a redoubtable British mycologist and a baffled American doctor, Alex must unravel the secret of the House of Usher before it consumes them all.

Paranormal Romance

Reaper (The Dark in You #8)Reaper (The Dark in You #8) by Suzanne Wright – 7 Jul (Piatkus)

Blurb: Falling in love can be a nightmare . . .

Piper’s always been aware of Levi. He’s the kind of man who it’s impossible to ignore. With his broad, muscular frame and gunmetal grey gaze he makes a statement without saying a word. But it’s not until her psyche brushes his in an unguarded moment that they both realise: they are anchors.

It’s a shock. Neither Piper nor Levi are used to needing anyone, the crackling attraction between them is making both their demons crazy and to make matters worse, Piper’s narcissistic stepsister is Levi’s ex – and she’s not ok with the situation. The whole thing is like a bad dream – and Piper knows all about them since she’s a Nightmare, a demon with the ability to trap people in their worst memories and fears forever.

The situation escalates as an old terror appears from Levi’s past – a serial killer they’d all believed was dead. They are cold, ruthless, and will stop at nothing to achieve their twisted ends. It feels like time is running out – will Piper, used to putting everyone else first, learn to fight for what – and who – she wants?

Science Fiction

A Prayer for the Crown Shy (Monk and Robot #2)A Prayer for the Crown Shy (Monk and Robot #2) by Becky Chambers – 12 Jul (Tordotcom)

After touring the rural areas of Panga, Sibling Dex (a Tea Monk of some renown) and Mosscap (a robot sent on a quest to determine what humanity really needs) turn their attention to the villages and cities of the little moon they call home.

They hope to find the answers they seek, while making new friends, learning new concepts, and experiencing the entropic nature of the universe.

Becky Chambers’s new series continues to ask: in a world where people have what they want, does having more even matter?

Science Fiction Romance

Eclipse the Moon (Starlight's Shadow #2)Eclipse the Moon (Starlight’s Shadow #2) by Jessie Mihalik – 12 Jul (Harper Voyager)

Kee Ildez has been many things: hacker, soldier, bounty hunter. She never expected to be a hero, but when a shadowy group of traitors starts trying to goad the galaxy’s two superpowers into instigating an interstellar war, Kee throws herself into the search to find out who is responsible—and stop them.

Digging up hidden information is her job, so hunting traitors should be a piece of cake, but the primary suspect spent years in the military, and someone powerful is still covering his tracks. Disrupting their plans will require the help of her entire team, including Varro Runkow, a Valovian weapons expert who makes her pulse race.

Quiet, grumpy, and incredibly handsome, Varro watches her with hot eyes but ignores all of her flirting, so Kee silently vows to keep her feelings strictly platonic. But that vow will be put to the test when she and Varro are forced to leave the safety of their ship and venture into enemy territory alone.

Cut off from the rest of their team, they must figure out how to work together—and fast—because a single misstep will cost thousands of lives.

Thriller

The Binding Room (Inspector Anjelica Henley #2)The Binding Room (Inspector Anjelica Henley #2) by Nadine Matheson – 12 Jul (Hanover Square)

When Detective Anjelica Henley is called to investigate the murder of a popular preacher in his own church, she discovers a second victim, tortured and tied to a bed in an upstairs room. He is alive, but barely, and his body shows signs of a dark religious ritual.

With a revolving list of suspects and the media spotlight firmly on her, Henley is left with more questions than answers as she attempts to untangle both crimes. But when another body appears, the case takes on a new urgency. Unless she can apprehend the killer, the next victim may just be Henley herself.

Drawing on her experiences as a criminal attorney, Nadine Matheson deftly explores issues of race, class and justice through an action-packed story that will hold you captive until the last terrifying page.

Women’s Fiction

The Edge of SummerThe Edge of Summer by Viola Shipman – 12 Jul (Graydon House)

Devastated by the sudden death of her mother—a quiet, loving and intensely private Southern seamstress called Miss Mabel, who overflowed with pearls of Ozarks wisdom but never spoke of her own family—Sutton Douglas makes the impulsive decision to pack up and head north to the Michigan resort town where she believes she’ll find answers to the lifelong questions she’s had about not only her mother’s past but also her own place in the world.

Recalling Miss Mabel’s sewing notions that were her childhood toys, Sutton buys a collection of buttons at an estate sale from Bonnie Lyons, the imposing matriarch of the lakeside community. Propelled by a handful of trinkets left behind by her mother and glimpses into the history of the magical lakeshore town, Sutton becomes tantalized by the possibility that Bonnie is the grandmother she never knew. But is she? As Sutton cautiously befriends Bonnie and is taken into her confidence, she begins to uncover the secrets about her family that Miss Mabel so carefully hid, and about the role that Sutton herself unwittingly played in it all.

YA Fantasy

Nura and the Immortal PalaceNura and the Immortal Palace by M.T. Khan – 5 Jul (Little/Brown & Patterson)

Nura longs for the simple pleasure of many things—to wear a beautiful red dupatta or to bite into a sweet gulab. But with her mom hard at work in a run-down sweatshop and three younger siblings to feed, Nura must spend her days earning money by mica mining. But it’s not just the extra rupees in her pocket Nura is after. Local rumor says there’s buried treasure in the mine, and Nura knows that finding it could change the course of her family’s life forever.

Her plan backfires when the mines collapse and four kids, including her best friend, Faisal, are claimed dead. Nura refuses to believe it and shovels her way through the dirt hoping to find him. Instead, she finds herself at the entrance to a strange world of purple skies and pink seas—a portal to the opulent realm of jinn, inhabited by the trickster creatures from her mother’s cautionary tales. Yet they aren’t nearly as treacherous as her mother made them out to be, because Nura is invited to a luxury jinn hotel, where she’s given everything she could ever imagine and more.

But there’s a dark truth lurking beneath all that glitter and gold, and when Nura crosses the owner’s son and is banished to the working quarters, she realizes she isn’t the only human who’s ended up in the hotel’s clutches. Faisal and the other missing children are there, too, and if Nura can’t find a way to help them all escape, they’ll be bound to work for the hotel 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!

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