The Neighbor Favor

February 2023 Must Haves

BP Note: My apologies again for a late post. Saying good-bye to a personal friend who was also a light in the romance community left its mark on me. Please as soon as you are eligible, get your preventative medical testing. If you think something isn’t right, push to get tested sooner. Make the time to spend with those you care about and ensure they know how much they matter. 

Our list is lighter this month but still includes some highly anticipated reads.  Let us know what we missed. 
Take care and happy reading,

Contemporary Romance

The Neighbor FavorThe Neighbor Favor by Kristina Forest – 28 Feb (Berkley Books)

Shy, bookish, and admittedly awkward, Lily Greene has always felt inadequate compared to the rest of her accomplished family, who strive for Black excellence. She dreams of becoming an editor of children’s books but has been frustratingly stuck in the nonfiction division for years without a promotion in sight. Lily finds escapism in her correspondences with her favorite fantasy author, and what begins as two lonely people connecting over e-mail turns into a tentative friendship and possibly something else Lily won’t let herself entertain–until he ghosts her.

Months later, still crushed but determined to take charge of her life, Lily seeks a date to her sister’s wedding. And the perfect person to help her is Nick Brown, her charming, attractive new neighbor, whom she feels drawn to for unexplainable reasons. Little does she know that Nick is an author–her favorite fantasy author.

Nick, who has his reasons for using a pen name and for pushing people away, soon realizes that the beautiful, quiet woman from down the hall is the same Lily he fell in love with over e-mail months ago. Unwilling to complicate things even more between them, he agrees to set her up with someone else, though this simple favor between two neighbors is anything but–not when he can’t get her off his mind.


VenCoVenCo by Cherie Dimaline – 7 Feb (William Morrow)

Lucky St. James, a Métis millennial living with her cantankerous but loving grandmother Stella, is barely hanging on when she discovers she will be evicted from their tiny Toronto apartment. Then, one night, something strange and irresistible calls out to Lucky. Burrowing through a wall, she finds a silver spoon etched with a crooked-nosed witch and the word SALEM, humming with otherworldly energy.

Hundreds of miles away in Salem, Myrna Good has been looking for Lucky. Myrna works for VenCo, a front company fueled by vast resources of dark money.

Lucky is familiar with the magic of her indigenous ancestors, but she has no idea that the spoon links her to VenCo’s network of witches throughout North America. Generations of witches have been waiting for centuries for the seven spoons to come together, igniting a new era, and restoring women to their rightful power.

But as reckoning approaches, a very powerful adversary is stalking their every move. He’s Jay Christos, a roguish and deadly witch-hunter as old as witchcraft itself.

To find the last spoon, Lucky and Stella embark on a rollicking and dangerous road trip to the darkly magical city of New Orleans, where the final showdown will determine whether VenCo will usher in a new beginning…or remain underground forever.

The Last Tale of the Flower BrideThe Last Tale of the Flower Bride by Roshani Chokshi – 14 Feb (William Morrow)

Once upon a time, a man who believed in fairy tales married a beautiful, mysterious woman named Indigo Maxwell-Casteñada. He was a scholar of myths. She was heiress to a fortune. They exchanged gifts and stories and believed they would live happily ever after–and in exchange for her love, Indigo extracted a promise: that her bridegroom would never pry into her past.

But when Indigo learns that her estranged aunt is dying and the couple is forced to return to her childhood home, the House of Dreams, the bridegroom will soon find himself unable to resist. For within the crumbling manor’s extravagant rooms and musty halls, there lurks the shadow of another girl: Azure, Indigo’s dearest childhood friend who suddenly disappeared. As the house slowly reveals his wife’s secrets, the bridegroom will be forced to choose between reality and fantasy, even if doing so threatens to destroy their marriage . . . or their lives.

The Crane HusbandThe Crane Husband by Kelly Barnhill – 28 Feb (Tordotcom)

“Mothers fly away like migrating birds. This is why farmers have daughters.”

A fifteen-year-old teenager is the backbone of her small Midwestern family, budgeting the household finances and raising her younger brother while her mom, a talented artist, weaves beautiful tapestries. For six years, it’s been just the three of them—her mom has brought home guests at times, but none have ever stayed.

Yet when her mom brings home a six-foot tall crane with a menacing air, the girl is powerless to prevent her mom letting the intruder into her heart, and her children’s lives. Utterly enchanted and numb to his sharp edges, her mom abandons the world around her to weave the masterpiece the crane demands.

Never Too Old to Save the WorldNever Too Old to Save the World edited by Addie J. King and Alana Joli Abbott – 7 Feb (Outland)

Once every generation there is a Chosen One, who will stand between humanity and darkness.

But why is the Chosen One so often a teenager? Why do only children get swept through portals to save the fantastic world on the other side? Whose idea was it to put the fate of the world in the hands of someone without a fully developed prefrontal cortex?

In Never Too Old to Save the World, nineteen authors explore what would happen if the Chosen One were called midlife. What would happen if the Chosen One were:

a soccer mom
a cat lady
a nosy grandmother
a social worker
a retiree
an aging swordmaster?

The Chosen One could be anyone— because when the universe calls, the real question is whether the hero will take up the mantle and answer their midlife calling. Sometimes the world needs a hero who’s already been in the thick of chaos and survived. In those cases, age does matter.

Historical Fantasy

The Battle of Medicine Rocks (The Crystal Calamity #2)The Battle of Medicine Rocks (The Crystal Calamity #2) by Rachel Aaron – 1 Feb (KU)

Magic in the Great Sioux War!

When Mary Good Crow came out of the crystal into the arms of her sister, the last thing she wanted was another fight. But war is coming to the Great Plains. With crystal on their side, the Lakota are poised to annihilate the town of Medicine Rocks, forcing Mary to choose between the friends she’s found and the family she’s always longed for.

When Rel Reiner accepted her father’s dark bargain to save Josie and the others, the last thing she expected was to survive. But there’s more to the Reiner’s magic than ghosts and bones. Magic Rel will have to embrace if she ever wants to walk in her own skin again.

When Josie Price left the crystal mines one step ahead of death, the last thing she intended to do was quit. But the wolves in town are circling, and with the crystal going crazy and the cavalry riding to war, just finding a way to protect her people might cost her everything she came to Montana to build.

Three women divided by a war none of them wants. But Josie, Mary, and Rel have always been strongest together, and with the world’s magical future on the line, “together” might be the only way anyone survives.

Historical Mystery

The Cliff's Edge (Bess Crawford #13)The Cliff’s Edge (Bess Crawford #13) by Charles Todd – 14 Feb (William Morrow)

In the aftermath of World War I, nurse Bess Crawford is caught in a deadly feud between two families in this thirteenth book in the beloved mystery series from New York Times bestselling author Charles Todd. Restless and uncertain of her future in the wake of World War I, former battlefield nurse Bess Crawford agrees to travel to Yorkshire to help a friend of her cousin Melinda through surgery. But circumstances change suddenly when news of a terrible accident reaches them. Bess agrees to go to isolated Scarfdale and the Neville family, where one man has been killed and another gravely injured. The police are asking questions, and Bess is quickly drawn into the fray as two once close families take sides, even as they are forced to remain in the same house until the inquest is completed.

When another tragedy strikes, the police are ready to make an arrest. Bess struggles to keep order as tensions rise and shots are fired. What dark truth is behind these deaths? And what about the tale of an older murder–one that doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the Nevilles? Bess is unaware that when she passes the story on to Cousin Melinda, she will set in motion a revelation with the potential to change the lives of those she loves most–her parents, and her dearest friend, Simon Brandon…


Sister, Maiden, MonsterSister, Maiden, Monster by Lucy Snyder – 21 Feb (Tor Nightfire)

To survive they must evolve.

A virus tears across the globe, transforming its victims in nightmarish ways. As the world collapses, dark forces pull a small group of women together.

Erin, once quiet and closeted, acquires an appetite for a woman and her brain. Why does forbidden fruit taste so good?

Savannah, a professional BDSM switch, discovers a new turn-on: committing brutal murders for her eldritch masters.

Mareva, plagued with chronic tumors, is too horrified to acknowledge her divine role in the coming apocalypse, and as her growths multiply, so too does her desperation.


Death In Irish Accents (Dublin Driver Mysteries #4)Death In Irish Accents (Dublin Driver Mysteries #4) by Catie Murphy – 21 Feb (Kensington Books)

After a long streak of avoiding murder investigations, Dublin limo driver Megan Malone thought her life had finally settled . . . but even her Irish luck can’t keep her out of trouble forever.

It’s been over a year since Megan found herself entangled in a murder–much to everyone’s relief, including her girlfriend Jelena and Detective Paul Bourke. So when a body of a young woman quite literally lands in her lap at her favorite Dublin caf�, Megan tries to do the right thing and leave the crime-solving to the police so she can enjoy the St. Patrick’s Day weekend. After all, she has no connection to the victim. Or does she?

Megan’s latest client, world-renowned romance novelist Claire Woodward, is fascinated by Megan’s own history of catching killers. Claire also just happens to be the murder victim’s literary mentor. So maybe Megan can just sort of stay on the periphery of the case while trying to help out? Just a wee bit without causing too much fuss? Even Detective Bourke would approve since he has personal reasons not to trust Claire. The investigation leads Megan to the victim’s writing group, who think that Claire has plagiarized the poor young lady’s work. And when another member of the group is found dead, Megan will have to step up her sleuthing before the killer decides to write her off for good.

Paranormal Romance

Bound for Perdition (Mysterious Arts #1)Bound for Perdition (Mysterious Arts #1) by Celia Lake – 11 Feb (Celia Lake)

New magic brings new challenges.

Charged with creating a magical journal that would allow rapid communication during the Great War, Lynet has worked with a papermaker to overcome the technical challenges.

But brilliant magical innovation isn’t enough. When she returns from a leave after the death of her father, Lynet is told they have to make more journals, cheaper and faster. The last thing she needs is a set of unskilled hands assigned to help her at this impossible task, and she’s dubious that a man will be more of a help than a hinderance given her ongoing problems with most of the men of the research department.

Reggie is recently invalided out of the Army but has no relevant skills other than being a magically trained Schola man. When he’s assigned to help Lynet, he’s not sure how much use he’ll be. He’s soon swept up in Lynet’s ambitious project and fascinated by her skills and knowledge.

Together, Reggie and Lynet must figure out how to get the magical materials they need for the project and move forward despite unexpected obstacles. Their mission is quickly complicated by odd goings on with other research in the department, something that might change the War itself!

Bound for Perdition is the first book in the Mysterious Arts series. A cosy historical fantasy romance set in 1917 in the magical city of Albion, Britain’s magical community, it is a great entry to Celia Lake’s Albion books. Bound for Perdition is full of bookbinding, coming to grips with injury, navigating class differences, and making a new future in a rapidly changing world.

The Wolf and the Wallflower (Wolves of the Ton #1)The Wolf and the Wallflower (Wolves of the Ton #1) by Devin Harnois – 22 Feb (October Night Publishing)

Lord Jasper Thorne is the most eligible bachelor of the season, but he chafes against the expectation to marry a suitable lady and forge a strong alliance for his pack. Acting polite and proper at balls makes him want to take his wolf form and flee into the woods. Then he meets shy wallflower Ambrose and suddenly social events are much more tolerable.

Ambrose Linfield is hopelessly smitten the moment he meets handsome, charming Jasper. They discuss books they aren’t supposed to be reading, chat with each other at balls when Jasper should be dancing with ladies, even shift together under the full moon.

When Ambrose takes a bold chance and Jasper discovers the truth of his own feelings, everything changes. Secret kisses and stolen moments consume them, but the end of the season draws closer. Soon Jasper will have to do his duty, unless both of them are willing to defy their parents, their packs, and all of society.

Romantic Comedy

Full ExposureFull Exposure by Thien-Kim Lam – 21 Feb (Avon)

Boudoir photographer Josie Parks never ever takes a vacation. But when a client cancels a New Orleans shoot at the last minute, she decides to fly out from her Washington, D.C., studio anyway. Maybe the trip will reawaken her recently stagnant muse. After all, it’s Mardi Gras season…

Spencer Pham has come home after twelve soul-sucking years in corporate hell to pursue his passion: making a docu-film on his family’s history as the first Vietnamese Mardi Gras krewe. The last thing he expects is getting whacked in the head by a beautiful woman trying to snag some parade beads.

During a long night at urgent care, Spencer and Josie connect over their artistic pursuits. He offers to show her the real New Orleans, if she’ll help him with the camerawork for his film. Despite Josie’s type-A personality clashing with Spencer’s laissez-faire attitude, they seem to make a great team, and soon, the good times are rolling both on and off camera. But Josie has a life in D.C., and they both have big dreams they’re chasing. When this Big Easy fling starts feeling awfully serious, can they find a way to choose between personal and professional passion?

Urban Fantasy

Against All Odds (Sophie Feegle #4)Against All Odds (Sophie Feegle #4) by Gwen DeMarco – 17 Feb (KU)

Sophie has come back home to try and come to grips with her new reality: She’s a Fae, not human, and her memories have been stolen. Oh, and she’s a shard – a fractured piece of… someone.

All Sophie knows is that the ‘someone’ she used to be angered the Fae queen, who then split her into five separate beings and scattered them on earth. But why? And why take their memories?

The Odd Ones, now including Ruby – who Sophie thought was a long-long twin sister but is actually also one of the shards – are on a quest to find all the missing shards. The question is: How will they find the other three?

And if that wasn’t enough, a new important death vision leads Sophie, Mac, and Ruby on a new mission to Las Vegas. Posing as high rollers, the crew must track the killers and shut down the illegal shifter fight club where the murder took place. At least that will take Sophie’s mind off how truly bizarre her life has become.

While on the case, new visions and new friends give Sophie some hope that she can figure herself out. But the Odd Ones will need to hurry – they aren’t the only ones trying to find the lost shards.

Women’s Fiction

The Direction of the WindThe Direction of the Wind by Mansi Shah – 1 Feb (Lake Union)

Nita Shah had everything most women dreamed of in her hometown of Ahmedabad, India—a loving husband, a doting daughter, financial security—but in her heart, she felt like she was living a lie. Fueled by her creative ambitions, Nita moved to Paris, the artists’ capital of the world—even though it meant leaving her family behind. But once in Paris, Nita’s decision and its consequences would haunt her in ways she never expected.

Now that Sophie knows the truth, she’s determined to find the mother who abandoned her. Sophie jets off to Paris, even though the impulsive trip may risk her impending arranged marriage. In the City of Light, she chases lead after lead that help her piece together a startling portrait of her mother. Though Sophie goes to Paris to find Nita, she may just also discover parts of herself she never knew.

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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