According to my calendar, we are well into the second half of the year. All around me tax free back to school sales are being advertised, people here are trying to squeeze in their last bits of vacation, and I am noticing the shortening of the days. Take time to find joy in the little things, they give us moments of peace and hope in these extremely unsettled times. While our list this month isn’t as wide-ranging across the subgenres as we usually have, we certainly have some long anticipated reads. Hopefully you find something which sparks your interest and brings you joy this month. And as always, share what you think we missed!
- Contemporary Romance
- Fantasy Romance
- Historical Fiction
- Paranormal Romance
- Science Fiction Romance
- Urban Fantasy
Holiday Rogue (The Anna Albertini Files #5) by Rebecca Zanetti – 2 Aug (RAZ INK LLC)
Danger and Mistletoe are a Deadly Combination
Bosco Albertini learned the hard way that focusing on his career is a lot safer than investing in love. So when he meets his sweet new neighbor, he puts her firmly in the friend zone, despite her soft hazel eyes, sharp wit, and tempting curves. It soon becomes difficult to keep her there because his brothers, his Nonna, and even his dog already adore her—and he’s not far behind.
Marlie Kreuk accepts the friend zone from the too sexy soldier because, hey, when a guy puts you there, he’s a moron who doesn’t deserve more. But when danger comes for her and Bosco risks his spectacular body to protect her, she can’t help but wish for romance. Although, he’s going to have to work for it.
With danger all around, Bosco and Marlie must face their explosive attraction while defeating deadly attackers, but even that is nothing compared to handling the Albertini matchmakers during the Christmas season. Busting out of that friend zone and surviving will take all of Bosco’s training, Marlie’s courage, and the magic of the holidays.
Her Unexpected Roommate (Cidar Bar Sisters #5) by Jackie Lau – 9 Aug (Jackie Lau Books)
When electrical engineer and depressed plushie enthusiast Rose Pang decides to go out alone one evening, she certainly doesn’t expect to meet easygoing landscaper Cal. They spend an enjoyable night together, and the next day, romance is on her mind. Cal promises to text…but he never does. Hurt, Rose tries her best to forget about him.
But several months later, in a terrible twist of fate, Rose discovers that her new roommate, Caleb Dempsey, is actually her former one-night stand. He claims he lost her number when his phone got run over. Rose isn’t buying his lies, and Cal offers to find another place to live as soon as he can.
After a few weeks, however, she starts to like having Cal as a roommate—he does all his chores, plus he’s a fun and calming presence—but she swears nothing will happen between them. Except her feelings for him grow as they spend more time together.
Can she risk giving him another chance, especially when her mental health is a little fragile? If it goes badly, she’ll also lose a great roommate. Maybe it would be safer to try dating someone new…
Becoming Family (Dogwood County #3) by Elysia Whisler – 16 Aug (MIRA)
There’s nothing like an important birthday to make a person realize all the things they haven’t accomplished. As Tabitha Steele blows out thirty candles, she makes a wish to take charge of her life. It’s a tall order, considering she doesn’t have much to show for herself since leaving military service. She works at a motorcycle shop but has never even ridden a motorcycle; she’s floundering in massage school; her social life consists of her aunt and her gym buddies; and her closest relationship is with Trinity, the service dog who helps her manage every day. She feels like an imposter in every aspect of her own life.
Playful and wild-hearted gym coach Chris Hobbs is Tabitha’s opposite. He likes to keep things fun and temporary, which is why he’s never tried to move the deepening friendship he has with Tabitha into anything more. But he’s the perfect person to help Tabitha discover her strengths. Then the sudden reappearance of his estranged brother forces Chris to face his past and the vulnerable part of himself behind the party-boy persona…and that means letting Tabitha in.
As difficult as it is for Tabitha and Chris to leave the old definitions of themselves behind, the journey is better with someone special at their sides, becoming who they’re meant to be, together.
Shattering the Glass Slipper by Crystal Saraks & Rhondi Salsit – 1 Aug (Zombies Need Brains LLC)
Fairy tales are as old as time, and yet…
In SHATTERING THE GLASS SLIPPER, fifteen talented authors take on these age-old tales and transform them into bold and brave new visions. Discover worlds where the Seattle Space Needle acts as Rapunzel’s tower; where seven princesses plot their own rescue from the fae; where a magic mirror is connected to an app on your phone…and shows you more than you may be able to handle. Get hired by a giant to climb beanstalks, each with its own problem to solve…or by the Goblin King to turn Tweets into gold. Hunt a firebird for a single feather. Use the internet to find a prince for a princess. And more!
In each of these stories, there is a thread of the familiar, spun by magic or technology into something new to achieve the improbable and, often, the impossible. Through ages past and into the future, our writers are traveling roads less traveled with characters that are light, dark, and always unpredictable.
The Bruising of Qilwa by Naseem Jamnia – 9 Aug (Tachyon)
Firuz-e Jafari is fortunate enough to have immigrated to the Free Democratic City-State of Qilwa, fleeing the slaughter of other traditional Sassanian blood magic practitioners in their homeland. Despite the status of refugees in their new home, Firuz has a good job at a free healing clinic in Qilwa, working with Kofi, a kindly new employer, and mentoring Afsoneh, a troubled orphan refugee with powerful magic.
But Firuz and Kofi have discovered a terrible new disease which leaves mysterious bruises on its victims. The illness is spreading quickly through Qilwa, and there are dangerous accusations of ineptly performed blood magic. In order to survive, Firuz must break a deadly cycle of prejudice, untangle sociopolitical constraints, and find a fresh start for their both their blood and found family.
The First Binding (Tales of Tremaine #1) by R.R. Virdi – 16 Aug (Tor Books)
All legends are born of truths. And just as much lies. These are mine. Judge me for what you will. But you will hear my story first.
I buried the village of Ampur under a mountain of ice and snow. Then I killed their god. I’ve stolen old magics and been cursed for it. I started a war with those that walked before mankind and lost the princess I loved, and wanted to save. I’ve called lightning and bound fire. I am legend. And I am a monster.
My name is Ari. And this is the story of how I let loose the first evil.
The Oleander Sword (The Burning Kingdoms #2) by Tasha Suri – 16 Aug (Orbit)
The prophecy of the nameless god—the words that declared Malini the rightful empress of Parijatdvipa—has proven a blessing and curse. She is determined to claim the throne that fate offered her. But even with the strength of the rage in her heart and the army of loyal men by her side, deposing her brother is going to be a brutal and bloody fight.
The power of the deathless waters flows through Priya’s blood. Thrice born priestess, Elder of Ahiranya, Priya’s dream is to see her country rid of the rot that plagues it: both Parijatdvipa’s poisonous rule, and the blooming sickness that is slowly spreading through all living things. But she doesn’t yet understand the truth of the magic she carries.
Their chosen paths once pulled them apart. But Malini and Priya’s souls remain as entwined as their destinies. And they soon realize that coming together is the only way to save their kingdom from those who would rather see it burn—even if it will cost them.
Into the Broken Lands by Tanya Huff – 23 Aug (DAW Books)
From sci-fi and fantasy master Tanya Huff comes a new epic fantasy saga set in a land of dangers and mysteries
Shattered by mage wars, the Broken Lands will test the bonds of family and friendship, strength and sanity. To save their people, the Heirs of Marsan have no choice but to enter, trusting their lives and the lives of everyone they Protect, to someone who shouldn’t exist, who can’t be controlled, and who will challenge everything they believe about themselves.
A Taste of Gold and Iron by Alexandra Rowland – 30 Aug (Tordotcom)
Kadou, the shy prince of Arasht, finds himself at odds with one of the most powerful ambassadors at court—the body-father of the queen’s new child—in an altercation which results in his humiliation.
To prove his loyalty to the queen, his sister, Kadou takes responsibility for the investigation of a break-in at one of their guilds, with the help of his newly appointed bodyguard, the coldly handsome Evemer, who seems to tolerate him at best. In Arasht, where princes can touch-taste precious metals with their fingers and myth runs side by side with history, counterfeiting is heresy, and the conspiracy they discover could cripple the kingdom’s financial standing and bring about its ruin.
Mistress of Birds (Mysterious Powers #7) by Celia Lake – 9 Aug (Celia Lake)
Thalia is a writer who’s not having much success. She loves the artistic community she’s part of in London, but the words aren’t working. When she agrees to stay at her great-aunt’s home at the edge of Dartmoor while her elderly great-aunt is on a rest cure, she hopes that will change.
Adam had a bad War, and things haven’t improved much in the years since. He makes the best of it when he’s sent off to help his uncle after a bad injury.
When they both start spotting odd events – nothing big, just odd – they have to decide what to say, what to keep private, and whether to explore the mystery.
The Fossil Hunter by Tea Cooper – 9 Aug (Harper Muse)
Australia, 1847. The last thing Mellie Vale remembers before the fever takes her is sprinting through the bush with a monster at her heels—but no one believes her. In a bid to curb Mellie’s overactive imagination, her benefactors send her to visit a family friend, Anthea Winstanley. Anthea is an amateur paleontologist convinced she will one day find proof that great sea dragons swam in the vast inland sea that covered her property millions of years ago. Mellie is instantly swept up in the dream.
1919. Penelope Jane Martindale arrives home from the battlefields of World War I intent on making peace with her father and commemorating the deaths of her two younger brothers in the trenches. Her reception is disappointing. Desperate for a distraction, she finds a connection between a fossil at London’s Natural History Museum and her brothers’ favorite camping spot—also the last place they were seen before falsifying their ages to join the army. But the gorge has a sinister reputation: seventy years ago, several girls disappeared from the area. So when P. J. uncovers some unexpected remains, the past seems to be reaching into the present. She’s determined to find answers about what happened all those years ago . . . and perhaps some closure on the loss of her brothers.
The Forty Elephants by Erin Bledsoe – 23 Aug (Blackstone)
London in the 1920s is no place for a woman with a mind of her own. Gang wars, violence, and an unforgiving world have left pickpocket Alice Diamond scrambling to survive in the Mint, the gritty neighborhood her family has run for generations. When her father goes to jail yet again and her scam artist brother finds himself in debt to the dangerous McDonald crime syndicate, Alice takes over. Fighting for power at every turn, she struggles to protect her father’s territory and keep the people she loves safe from some of London’s most dangerous criminals.
Recruited by the enigmatic Mary Carr, Alice boldly chooses to break her father’s edict against gangs and become part of a group of notorious lady shoplifters, the Forty Elephants. Leaving the Mint behind, she and the other girls steal from the area’s poshest department stores, and for the first time in her life, Alice Diamond tastes success. But it’s not long before she wants more–no matter the cost. And when her past and present collide, there’s no escaping the girl from the Mint.
Storm Echo (Psy-Changeling Trinity #6) by Nalini Singh – 9 Aug (Berkley)
Silence has fallen. The Psy are free to feel emotion. Free to love. But Silence was never a prison for Ivan Mercant. The biggest threat to his future lies dormant in his brain—a psychic monster that wants only to feed. And now, the brutal leash he’s kept on that monster is slipping. He prepared for this day, for the end of Ivan Mercant . . . but that was before he met Lei.
As primal as she is human, this wild changeling brings color into his life, laughter to his soul. Then the dream shatters in a rain of blood, in silent bodies in the snow. Lei is gone. Vanished without a trace . . . until he meets strangely familiar eyes across a busy San Francisco street.
Soleil Bijoux Garcia is a healer who has lost everything. She exists in a world of desolate aloneness . . . till the day she finds herself face-to-face with a lethal stranger. The animal who is her other half knows this man, but her memories are tattered fragments. Sorrow and a need for vengeance are all that drive her. Her mission? To kill the alpha of the DarkRiver leopard pack.
But fate has other plans. Soon, a deadly soldier who believes himself a monster and a broken healer might be all that stand between life and death for the entire Psy race.
Paladin’s Kiss (Elemental Covenant #3) by Elizabeth Hunter – 23 Aug (Recurve Press LLC)
It’s the vampire wedding of the century… and maybe the end of an empire.
The upper echelons of immortal society have gathered in New Orleans, all of them curious to witness the joining of Gavin Wallace, the immortal business mogul, to the human woman who captured his heart. But behind the facade of immortal revelry, New Orleans is a city teeming with old rivalries, political maneuvering, and twisted secrets.
Invited to the marriage ceremony of their two old friends, Carwyn ap Bryn and Brigid Connor venture south, ready to relax in the company of Marie-Hélène Charmont, the vampire queen of the Delta, and four hundred of her esteemed immortal guests.
But when Gavin asks Brigid and Carwyn to look into a mysterious man stalking his human employees, they’re unprepared for the tangled web of deception they uncover. Tug on the wrong string and centuries-old alliances might fall apart.
In a tenuously balanced society full of apex predators, even one slip can prove disastrous.
The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna – 23 Aug (Berkley)
As one of the few witches in Britain, Mika Moon knows she has to hide her magic, keep her head down, and stay away from other witches so their powers don’t mingle and draw attention. And as an orphan who lost her parents at a young age and was raised by strangers, she’s used to being alone and she follows the rules…with one exception: an online account, where she posts videos pretending to be a witch. She thinks no one will take it seriously.
But someone does. An unexpected message arrives, begging her to travel to the remote and mysterious Nowhere House to teach three young witches how to control their magic. It breaks all of the rules, but Mika goes anyway, and is immediately tangled up in the lives and secrets of not only her three charges, but also an absent archaeologist, a retired actor, two long-suffering caretakers, and…Jamie. The handsome and prickly librarian of Nowhere House would do anything to protect the children, and as far as he’s concerned, a stranger like Mika is a threat. An irritatingly appealing threat.
As Mika begins to find her place at Nowhere House, the thought of belonging somewhere begins to feel like a real possibility. But magic isn’t the only danger in the world, and when a threat comes knocking at their door, Mika will need to decide whether to risk everything to protect a found family she didn’t know she was looking for….
Science Fiction Romance
Made for Me (New World #2) by Lily X – 9 Aug (Carina Press)
Kit: Oh Goddess, I’m so, so tired of running. But I can’t stop. Not when a mad scientist thinks my genes are the key to a new race of superbeings.
I made it six weeks before a hunter tracked me down—a woman who all but ignores my pleas for mercy.
I should be frightened of her, but my body quakes from something else whenever she’s around. And when she’s not, I long to press her lips to mine and wrap my fingers around her horns.
If only she weren’t luring me back to a living nightmare…
Ana: All my life, I’ve fought to protect the helpless, but I never thought I would have to sacrifice my morals to save my little brother. Yet here I am, hunting the most fiery woman I’ve ever met for the most despicable man in the universe.
What should be a simple mission to retrieve and transport becomes complicated when I learn the taste of her lips and the touch of her fingertips. Is there a way to save my brother and Kit?
Gods damn it, my bleeding heart may just be the death of us all.
Her Alien Spymaster (Haven Colony #4) by Susan Hayes – 9 Aug (Black Scroll Publications Ltd)
She went into cryo-sleep a prisoner and woke up free…
Skye thought freedom meant she could make her own choices. What to eat, where to live, and who she’d love. She’s learning that life doesn’t work that way, and fate has a mind of its own.
The cynical veteran spymaster wasn’t the male she’d have chosen, but he’s the one she’s destined for… Except he doesn’t believe she is his mate. In fact, he’s certain he can’t have one at all.
A spymaster lives for duty – no possessions, no attachments – and absolutely no mate.
Yardan has lived by those rules since the day he took his oath. His duty is to advise and protect Prince Tyran and Haven colony, and lately he’s failed them both. He needs to redeem his honor and uncover the mole in their midst, but first he has to deal with a beautiful cyborg who insists they are destined for each other.
Skye is smart, desirable, and a distraction to his investigation. Could she also be the spy he’s hunting for? Or is she something more dangerous… like the mate he is forbidden to have.
Sweep With Me (Innkeeper Chronicles #4.5) by Ilona Andrews – 1 Aug (Graphic Audio) BP Note: This is the full cast recording audio version.
Thank you for joining us at Gertrude Hunt, the nicest Bed and Breakfast in Red Deer, Texas, during the Treaty Stay. As you know, we are honor-bound to accept all guests during this oldest of innkeeper holidays and we are expecting a dangerous guest. Or several. But have no fear. Your safety and comfort is our first priority. The inn and your hosts, Dina Demille and Sean Evans, will defend you at all costs. [But we hope we don’t have to.]
Every winter, Innkeepers look forward to celebrating their own special holiday, which commemorates the ancient treaty that united the very first Inns and established the rules that protect them, their intergalactic guests, and the very unaware/oblivious people of [planet] Earth. By tradition, the Innkeepers welcomed three guests: a warrior, a sage, and a pilgrim, but during the holiday, Innkeepers must open their doors to anyone who seeks lodging. Anyone.
All Dina hopes is that the guests and conduct themselves in a polite manner. But what’s a holiday without at least one disaster?
Ruby Fever (Hidden Legacy #6) by Ilona Andrews – 23 Aug (Avon)
#1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews is back with the newest book in the exciting Hidden Legacy series—the thrilling conclusion to her trilogy featuring fierce and beautiful Prime magic user Catalina Baylor.
An escaped spider, the unexpected arrival of an Imperial Russian Prince, the senseless assassination of a powerful figure, a shocking attack on the supposedly invincible Warden of Texas, Catalina’s boss… And it’s only Monday.
Within hours, the fate of Houston—not to mention the House of Baylor—now rests on Catalina, who will have to harness her powers as never before. But even with her fellow Prime and fiancé Alessandro Sagredo by her side, she may not be able to expose who’s responsible before all hell really breaks loose.
Soul Taken (Mercy Thompson #13) by Patricia Briggs – 23 Aug (Ace)
The vampire Wulfe is missing. Since he’s deadly, possibly insane, and his current idea of “fun” is stalking me, some may see it as no great loss. But, warned that his disappearance might bring down the carefully constructed alliances that keep our pack safe, my mate and I must find Wulfe—and hope he’s still alive. As alive as a vampire can be, anyway.
But Wulfe isn’t the only one who has disappeared. And now there are bodies, too. Has the Harvester returned to the Tri-Cities, reaping souls with his cursed sickle? Or is he just a character from a B horror movie and our enemy is someone else?
The farther I follow Wulfe’s trail, the more twisted—and darker—the path becomes. I need to figure out what’s going on before the next body on the ground is mine.
Babel, or The Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution by R.F. Kuang – 23 Aug (Harper Voyager)
Traduttore, traditore: An act of translation is always an act of betrayal.
1828. Robin Swift, orphaned by cholera in Canton, is brought to London by the mysterious Professor Lovell. There, he trains for years in Latin, Ancient Greek, and Chinese, all in preparation for the day he’ll enroll in Oxford University’s prestigious Royal Institute of Translation — also known as Babel.
Babel is the world’s center of translation and, more importantly, of silver-working: the art of manifesting the meaning lost in translation through enchanted silver bars, to magical effect. Silver-working has made the British Empire unparalleled in power, and Babel’s research in foreign languages serves the Empire’s quest to colonize everything it encounters.
Oxford, the city of dreaming spires, is a fairytale for Robin; a utopia dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge. But knowledge serves power, and for Robin, a Chinese boy raised in Britain, serving Babel inevitably means betraying his motherland. As his studies progress Robin finds himself caught between Babel and the shadowy Hermes Society, an organization dedicated to sabotaging the silver-working that supports imperial expansion. When Britain pursues an unjust war with China over silver and opium, Robin must decide: Can powerful institutions be changed from within, or does revolution always require violence? What is he willing to sacrifice to bring Babel down?
Pack of Lies (Monster Hunt 1) by Charlie Adhara – 30 Aug (Carina Adores)
Werewolf meets human. Werewolf snubs human. Werewolf loves human?
Julien Doran arrived in sleepy Maudit Falls, North Carolina, with a heart full of hurt and a head full of questions. The key to his brother’s mysterious last days might be found in this tiny town, and now Julien’s amateur investigation is starting to unearth things the locals would rather keep buried.
Perhaps most especially the strange, magnetic manager of a deserted retreat that’s nearly as odd as its staff.
Eli Smith is a lot of things: thief, werewolf, glamour-puss, liar. And now the manager of a haven for rebel pack runaways. He’s spent years cultivating a persona to disguise his origins, but for the first time ever he’s been entrusted with a real responsibility—and he plans to take that seriously.
Even if the handsome tourist who claims to be in town for some R & R is clearly on a hunt for all things paranormal. And hasn’t taken his brooding gaze off Eli since he’s arrived.
When an old skeleton and a fresh corpse turn a grief errand into a murder investigation, the unlikely Eli is the only person Julien can turn to. Trust is hard to come by in a town known for its monsters, but so is time…
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!