Rust in the Root

September 2022 Must Haves

BP Note: I don’t know what happened to the Northern Hemisphere’s summer because all of a sudden kids are back in school and Halloween decorations are appearing in stores. The weather hasn’t decided it is fall yet so maybe I can cling to the last gasps of summer for a bit longer. Speaking of the weather, I hope things settle down across the world because too many people have and are suffering from extreme weather conditions and the resulting storms. As always I hope you find something you like on this month’s post and if you have any to share we should try please add them in the comments.
Happy reading!
~E

Contemporary Romance

The Holiday TrapThe Holiday Trap by Roan Parrish – 6 Sep (Sourcebooks Casablanca)

Greta Russakoff loves her tight-knit family and tiny Maine hometown, even if they don’t always understand what it’s like to be a lesbian living in such a small world. She desperately needs space to figure out who she is.

Truman Belvedere has just had his heart crushed into a million pieces when he learned that his boyfriend of almost a year has a secret life that includes a husband and a daughter. Reeling from this discovery, all he wants is a place to lick his wounds far, far away from New Orleans.

Enter Greta and Truman’s mutual friend, Ramona, who facilitates a month-long house swap. Over the winter holidays, each of them will have a chance to try on a new life…and maybe fall in love with the perfect partner of their dreams. But all holidays must come to an end, and eventually Greta and Truman will have to decide whether the love they each found so far from home is worth fighting for.

Underdog (In Vino Veritas)Underdog (In Vino Veritas) by L.A. Witt – 13 Sep (Heart Eyes Press)

Life in foster care wasn’t easy. Life after prison? Unforgiving. But I’m determined to stay out of trouble, and I’m gaining a foothold on the closest I’ve ever known to normal.

Then, thanks to a pair of escape artist dogs from the sanctuary where I’ve found work, I cross paths with my boss’s neighbor, Ty Adams. He’s a horse trainer, and winter is his quiet season. It’s also the season when he gets restless and lonely—two things I know all about. He’s not interested in love or romance. I’m just happy someone’s interested in me at all, even if emotions are strictly forbidden.

When we’re not together, I’m thinking about him. When we are together… Well, I’m definitely thinking about what he does to me and what I want to do with him.

As we keep each other warm through the Vermont winter, this feels a lot more than physical. Somehow he soothes my pain, and I wonder if I’m touching something deep inside him too. But Ty won’t let himself love anyone. I never had a chance. And now, with my past closing in, I could lose the one man I hoped I could count on. The one I thought might be different.

When his present and my history collide, is it too much to hope he’ll choose me?

CW: Sick horse and a minor accident involving a horse—no animal deaths or serious injuries/illnesses.

Drunk on LoveDrunk on Love by Jasmine Guillory – 20 Sep (Berkley)

Margot Noble needs some relief from the stress of running the family winery with her brother. Enter Luke: sexy, charming, and best of all in the too-small world of Napa, a stranger. The chemistry between them is undeniable, and Margot is delighted that she lucked into the perfect one-night stand she’ll never have to see again. That is, until the winery’s newest hire, Luke, walks in the next morning. Margot is determined to keep things purely professional, but when their every interaction reminds her of the attraction still bubbling between them, it proves to be much more challenging than she expects.

Luke Williams had it all, but when he quits his high-salary tech job in Silicon Valley in a blaze of burnout and moves back to Napa to help a friend, he realizes he doesn’t want to tell the world–or his mom–why he’s now working at a winery. His mom loves bragging about her successful son–how can he admit that the job she’s so proud of broke him? Luke has no idea what is next for him, but one thing is certain: he wants more from the incredibly smart and sexy woman he hooked up with–even after he learns she’s his new boss. But even if they can find a way to be together that wouldn’t be an ethical nightmare, would such a successful woman really want a tech-world dropout?

Set against a lush backdrop of Napa Valley wine country, nothing goes to your head as fast as a taste of love–even if it means changing all your plans.

No Image AvailableThe Nanny Catastrophe by Kitt Sterling – 27 Sep (Carina Press Adores)

Fin Marshall loves being a nanny.

He doesn’t love the wealthy and entitled parents who employ him.

Fin’s expecting the worst when he starts a new position in the home of Walker Cameron III, a notoriously aloof and cranky widower with six-year-old triplets. The children have an even worse reputation than their father and are infamous amongst New York City caregivers, but Fin rolls up his sleeves and gets to work.

It doesn’t take long for him to realize that the girls just want more of their father’s time and attention, and that the sweetly clueless Walker is just easily overwhelmed by them. But what Fin isn’t expecting is that the more Walker reveals his wounded, vulnerable side, the more he is charmed.

Walker can’t help but melt as Fin wins over the triplets—and the rest of the household. As the once-distant businessman’s heart thaws, Walker suspects he might be able to fall in love again…if he can prove to Fin he’s so much more than just another self-absorbed, rich jerk.

No Image AvailableReckless by Lauren Dane – 27 Sep (TBA)

Blurb TBA

Epic Fantasy

Soul of the Deep (Skin of the Sea #2)Soul of the Deep (Skin of the Sea #2) by Natasha Bowen – 27 Sep (Random House Books for Young Readers)

One life.
One choice.
One sacrifice.

To save those closest to her, Simi traded away everything: her freedom, her family, and the boy she loves. Now she is sworn to serve a new god, watching over the Land of the Dead at the bottom of the ocean.

But when signs of demons begin to appear, it’s clear there are deeper consequences of Simi’s trade. These demons spell the world’s ruin . . . and because of Simi, they now have a way into the human realm.

With the fate of the world at stake, Simi must break her promise and team up with a scheming trickster of a god. And if they succeed, perhaps Simi can also unbreak her heart along the way, and find herself again.

Fantasy Mystery

Steeped to Death (Witches' Brew #1)Steeped to Death (Witches’ Brew #1) by Gretchen Rue – 6 Sep (Crooked Lane Books)

Phoebe Winchester’s beloved aunt Eudora has a taste for adventure—and a knack for making magical tea. It’s even rumored that she just might be a witch. So when Eudora passes away and leaves everything to her niece—her Victorian mansion, her bookshop/tea store, The Earl’s Study, and one very chubby orange cat named Bob—Phoebe gets more than she bargained for. And she knows she’s in deep when a dead man is found on the shop’s back step, apparently killed while trying to break in.

Two suspects immediately emerge among the townspeople of Raven Creek, Washington. There’s village busybody Dierdre Miller, who seems desperate to buy Eudora’s house, and handsome PI Rich, one of Phoebe’s childhood friends—but how well does she really know him after all these years apart?

Phoebe knows she should leave it to the professionals, but as she starts to dig into the underbelly of Raven Creek, she begins to uncover the truth about Eudora. What’s more, her aunt might not have been the only witch in the family, as Phoebe soon discovers she has unique and unexpected gifts of her own.

Now, it’s just a matter of putting her newfound power to the test and cast a spell that could catch a killer.

Fantasy Romance

Sweetwater and the Witch (Harmony #16)Sweetwater and the Witch (Harmony #16) by Jayne Castle – 20 Sep (Berkley)

If there’s something Ravenna Chastain knows, it’s when to end things. And after she almost winds up the victim of a cult that believes she’s a witch, it’s easy to walk away from her dead-end career, ready for a new start. But where to find a job that would allow her to use her very specialized skill set? The answer is clear: she becomes a matchmaker.

But even a successful matchmaker can’t find someone for everyone, and Ravenna considers Ethan Sweetwater her first professional failure. After nine failed dates, Ravenna knows it’s time to cut Ethan loose. But Ethan refuses to be fired as a client—he needs one final date to a business function. Since Ravenna needs a date herself to a family event, they agree to a deal: she will be his (business) date if he will be her (fake) date to her grandparents’ anniversary celebration.

What Ethan fails to mention is that attending the business function is a cover for some industrial espionage that he’s doing as a favor to the new Illusion Town Guild boss. Ravenna is happy to help, but their relationship gets even more complicated when things heat up—the chemistry between them is explosive, as explosive as the danger that’s stalking Ravenna. Lucky for her, Ethan isn’t just an engineer—he’s also a Sweetwater, and Sweetwaters are known for hunting down monsters…

Historical Romance

Angelika Frankenstein Makes Her MatchAngelika Frankenstein Makes Her Match by Sally Thorne – 6 Sep (Avon)

For generations, every Frankenstein has found their true love and equal, unlocking lifetimes of blissful wedded adventure. Clever, pretty (and odd) Angelika Frankenstein has run out of suitors and fears she may become the exception to this family rule. When assisting in her brother Victor’s ground-breaking experiment to bring a reassembled man back to life, she realizes that having an agreeable gentleman convalescing in the guest suite might be a chance to let a man get to know the real her. For the first time, Angelika embarks upon a project that is all her own.

When her handsome scientific miracle sits up on the lab table, her hopes for an instant romantic connection are thrown into disarray. Her resurrected beau (named Will for the moment) has total amnesia and is solely focused on uncovering his true identity. Trying to ignore their heart-pounding chemistry, Angelika reluctantly joins the investigation into his past, hoping it will bring them closer. But when a second suitor emerges to aid their quest, Angelika wonders if she was too hasty inventing a solution. Perhaps fate is not something that can be influenced in a laboratory? Or is Will (or whatever his name is!) her dream man, tailored for her in every way? And can he survive what was done to him in the name of science, and love?

How the Wallflower was WonHow the Wallflower was Won by Eva Leigh – 27 Sep (Avon)

Finn Ransome is an expert on Lady Luck, which is why he refuses to take a chance on love. Experience has taught him that he’s happier at a gaming table than around people he will, inevitably, disappoint. However, the clock is ticking on his father’s matrimonial demands. But the only woman to catch his eye is a bluestocking who would never consider a rogue like him.

After a disastrous first Season, Tabitha Seaton decided to focus on books instead of ballrooms. She hopes to join the Sterling Society, a collective of the most brilliant, influential minds in London. Except, they will never admit an unmarried lady. Now Tabitha needs a husband, and a notorious, handsome gambler may be her best bet.

Finn and Tabitha are opposites who have no intention of wagering on a love match, and a calculated marriage of convenience solves all their problems–with no risk to their hearts. Once married, however, their potent attraction boils over into a deep passion that neither expected. When a painful mistake drives the new lovers apart, Finn will risk it all to prove a scoundrel and a wallflower are a winning pair…

Mystery Thriller

Back to the GardenBack to the Garden by Laurie R. King – 6 Sep (Bantam)

A magnificent house, vast formal gardens, a golden family that shaped California, and a colorful past filled with now-famous artists: the Gardener Estate was a twentieth-century Eden.

And now, just as the Estate is preparing to move into a new future, restoration work on some of its art digs up a grim relic of the home’s past: a human skull, hidden away for decades.

Inspector Raquel Laing has her work cut out for her. Fifty years ago, the Estate’s young heir, Rob Gardener, turned his palatial home into a counterculture commune of peace, love, and equality. But that was also a time when serial killers preyed on innocents–monsters like The Highwayman, whose case has just surged back into the public eye.

Could the skull belong to one of his victims?

To Raquel–a woman who knows all about colorful pasts–the bones clearly seem linked to The Highwayman. But as she dives into the Estate’s archives to look for signs of his presence, what she unearths begins to take on a dark reality all of its own.

Everything she finds keeps bringing her back to Rob Gardener himself. While he might be a gray-haired recluse now, back then he was a troubled young Vietnam vet whose girlfriend vanished after a midsummer festival at the Estate.

But a lot of people seem to have disappeared from the Gardener Estate that summer when the commune mysteriously fell apart: a young woman, her child, and Rob’s brother, Fort.

The pressure is on, and Raquel needs to solve this case–before The Highwayman slips away, or another Gardener vanishes.

The Bullet that Missed (Thursday Murder Club #3)The Bullet that Missed (Thursday Murder Club #3) by Richard Osman – 15 Sep (Viking)

It is an ordinary Thursday, and things should finally be returning to normal.

Except trouble is never far away where the Thursday Murder Club are concerned. A local news legend is on the hunt for a sensational headline, and soon the gang are hot on the trail of two murders, ten years apart.

To make matters worse, a new nemesis pays Elizabeth a visit, presenting her with a deadly mission: kill or be killed…

While Elizabeth grapples with her conscience (and a gun), the gang and their unlikely new friends (including TV stars, money launderers and ex-KGB colonels) unravel a new mystery. But can they catch the culprit and save Elizabeth before the murderer strikes again?

Space Opera

Only Bad Options (Galactic Truebond #1)Only Bad Options (Galactic Truebond #1) by Jennifer Estep – 20 Sep (Self)

A WOMAN WHO SEES EVERYTHING . . .

Few people know the name Vesper Quill. To most folks, I’m just a lowly lab rat who designs brewmakers and other household appliances in the research and development lab at the powerful Kent Corp. But when I point out a design flaw and a safety hazard in the new line of Kent Corp starcruisers, everyone knows who I am—and wants to eliminate me.

I might be a seer with a photographic memory, but I don’t see the trouble headed my way until it’s too late. Suddenly, I’m surrounded by enemies and fighting for my life.

I don’t think things can get any worse until I meet Kyrion Coldren, an arrogant Regal lord who insists that we have a connection, one that could be the death of us both.

A MAN WHO CAN’T FORGET HIS PAST . . .

The name Kyrion Coldren strikes fear in the hearts of people across the Archipelago Galaxy. As the leader of the Arrows, the Imperium’s elite fighting force, I’m used to being a villain, as well as the personal assassin of Lord Callus Holloway. Even the wealthy Regals who live on the planet of Corion are afraid of me.

But everything changes when I meet Vesper Quill. I might be a powerful psion with telepathic, telekinetic, and other abilities, but Vesper sees far too many of my secrets.

Thanks to an arcane, unwanted quirk of psionic magic, the two of us are forced to work together to unravel a dangerous conspiracy and outwit the dangerous enemies who want to bend us to their will.

Facets of Revolution (Firebird Chronicles #4)Facets of Revolution (Firebird Chronicles #4) by T.A. White – 27 Sep (Self)

The line between loyalty and betrayal has never been so fine.

Chasing the trail of the woman who was once considered her best friend, Kira Forrest returns to the planet of her birth. When a near deadly incident jeopardizes her arrival, Kira will find the secrets she’s worked so hard to hide bubbling to the surface one by one.

Her only hope to control her destiny and protect the ones she loves is to embark on a dangerous rite of passage that may require far more of her than she’s willing to pay. For a hidden menace stalks her from the shadows—it’s target those closest to her.

With the help of her lover and the allies she’s made, Kira will have to fight for her future—and her past.

A reckoning is coming. The Phoenix will have to rise from her ashes to decide once and for all where she belongs.

Suspense

Killers of a Certain AgeKillers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn – 6 Sep (Berkley)

Older women often feel invisible, but sometimes that’s their secret weapon.

They’ve spent their lives as the deadliest assassins in a clandestine international organization, but now that they’re sixty years old, four women friends can’t just retire – it’s kill or be killed in this action-packed thriller.

Billie, Mary Alice, Helen, and Natalie have worked for the Museum, an elite network of assassins, for forty years. Now their talents are considered old-school and no one appreciates what they have to offer in an age that relies more on technology than people skills.

When the foursome is sent on an all-expenses paid vacation to mark their retirement, they are targeted by one of their own. Only the Board, the top-level members of the Museum, can order the termination of field agents, and the women realize they’ve been marked for death.

Now to get out alive they have to turn against their own organization, relying on experience and each other to get the job done, knowing that working together is the secret to their survival. They’re about to teach the Board what it really means to be a woman–and a killer–of a certain age.

Urban Fantasy

Odd Times for Sophie Feegle (Sophie Feegle #3)Odd Times for Sophie Feegle (Sophie Feegle #3) by Gwen DeMarco – 20 Sep (KU)

Welcome to the Mythical town of Murias – a quaint little town in Cascadia where fairytale creatures quietly live among humans. When a series of unsolved and bizarre murders occurs, it threatens to expose the Mythicals in town. And the timing couldn’t be worse: Murias’s Hunter’s Moon Festival – Cascadia’s largest Mythical event – is less than a week away.

Sophie’s unique powers are called into action once more. Marcella, head of the Fae Conclave, has a vested interest in ensuring Murias’s is a success and sends Sophie and Mac to find the murderer. This has the added benefit of getting Sophie out of San Francisco, where a local wolf shifter pack has her in their sights after the death of their alpha.

Much to Sophie’s chagrin, the Conclave also wants her to work closely with her newly discovered twin sister Ruby. While Ruby has her own unique supernatural abilities, she is everything that Sophie is not: bubbly, cheerful, and a “reformed” serial killer.

At least Sophie gets to bring her fox shifter boyfriend Mac on the trip, meet Mac’s family, and, if all goes well, maybe even experience the Hunter’s Moon Festival. But as always with Sophie, things start to get odd in the town of Murias.

YA Urban Fantasy

Rust in the RootRust in the Root by Justina Ireland – 20 Sep (Balzar & Bray/Harperteen)

It is 1937, and Laura Ann Langston lives in an America divided—between those who work the mystical arts and those who do not. Ever since the Great Rust, a catastrophic event that blighted the arcane force called the Dynamism and threw America into disarray, the country has been rebuilding for a better future. And everyone knows the future is industry and technology—otherwise known as Mechomancy—not the traditional mystical arts.

Laura disagrees. A talented young mage from Pennsylvania, Laura hopped a portal to New York City on her seventeenth birthday with hopes of earning her mage’s license and becoming something more than a rootworker

But six months later, she’s got little to show for it other than an empty pocket and broken dreams. With nowhere else to turn, Laura applies for a job with the Bureau of the Arcane’s Conservation Corps, a branch of the US government dedicated to repairing the Dynamism so that Mechomancy can thrive. There she meets the Skylark, a powerful mage with a mysterious past, who reluctantly takes Laura on as an apprentice.

As they’re sent off on their first mission together into the heart of the country’s oldest and most mysterious Blight, they discover the work of mages not encountered since the darkest period in America’s past, when Black mages were killed for their power—work that could threaten Laura’s and the Skylark’s lives, and everything they’ve worked for.

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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