BP NOTE: Welcome to May! Outside my windows it looks and feels more like March which means I have a pot of beans and seperate a pot of rice going on the stove. *Waits for the gasp from the rice cooker loyalists*. Yes, I said stove, it is how I was taught to make rice and as long as I don’t get distracted it always turns out perfectly. Maybe one of these years I will splurge on a fancy cooker but for now pot, water, rice, lid, and stove work for me. This month we have quite the varied list of Must Haves for you so hopefully you will find something new to enjoy. Let us know what we missed. As as always lately take care of yourself, take care of your loved ones, and make time for those you care about.
- Contemporary Romance
- Epic Fantasy
- Historical Fantasy
- Historical Mystery
- Historical Romance
- Paranormal Mystery
- Paranormal Romance
- Space Opera
- Urban Fantasy
- Young Adult Mystery
- Young Adult Romance
Changing Spaces (Clover Hill Romance #8) by Karmen Lee – 2 May (Self)
Unexpected changes are always difficult, but so is ignoring the delicious tension between Anisse and Star. A low-angst, small town, workplace lesbian romance.
Star has spent the past five years making Clover Hill’s Anisse & Clover Diner her home away from home. She’s turned her job there into a fulfilling career and has never felt more content. If her dating life is a little lackluster, well, that’s just how it’ll have to be. But when ownership of the diner changes hands from mother to daughter, Star finds herself scrambling to keep up…and to keep far away from the attractive woman who’s now at the helm.
Anisse moved back home to reconnect with her roots after too many years in the city, and she’s excited to bring the diner her family founded into the current decade. Unfortunately, she might have more to worry about than just reinventing the recipes she grew up with. Star, the gorgeous manager whose cooperation she needs to make the refreshed Anisse & Clover a success, hardly gives her the time of day.
But once Star and Anisse are pushed into sitting down together, their mutual attraction is undeniable. Going from coworkers to dating would be tricky, but neither of them wants to walk away from what might be the relationship they’ve always wanted. Can these two women navigate their burgeoning connection, or will too many changes too fast leave both of them singed beyond repair?
Take a Hike (Lovestruck #3) by Mimi Grace – 17 May (Self)
Falling in love is an uphill battle.
Day-to-day life has grown stale for Raven Coleman, who prefers to fly by the seat of her pants than follow any set plan. So when she unexpectedly inherits an outdoor recreation and tour business in a charming small town, it’s exactly the kind of shakeup she has been asking the universe for.
Instead of selling Mountaintop Adventures right away, Raven decides to step in as the boss for the summer to determine if it’s a position she’d like to hold long-term. Unfortunately, her presence is not well received by the staff, particularly Silas Reynolds, the hardheaded archery instructor.
Silas once had big dreams, but life got in the way. Now he’s making the most of his situation. That is until the bubbly Raven thwarts his plan to buy Mountaintop Adventures. She has no industry experience or interest in the great outdoors but insists she can run the business.
The two butt heads immediately, but attraction and rapport soon soften their exchanges. Can Silas and Raven keep professional lines and their opposing goals intact? Or is love a force too strong to ignore?
Note: This novel can be read as a standalone.
Tessa’s Trust by Rachel Zanetti – 20 May (Raz Ink LLC)
When the shoe drops, it always hits her on the head
Tessa Albertini has spent much of her life guest-starring in other people’s stories. Her older sister is a type-A personality who creates opportunities like other people build hopes, and her younger sister finds trouble like it’s an integral strand of her DNA. Finally Tessa’s hard work and sacrifice allow her to open that restaurant she’s been dreaming about since she was a young teenager working her butt off, regardless of the obstacles now slamming into her.
There’s an advancing enemy who doesn’t want Tessa to succeed in business, while Nonna Albertini is determined she’ll succeed in love, no matter how much meddling it takes. Finally, Nick Basanelli, the most arrogant and sexy man she has ever met, zeroes his formidable focus into actually courting her—and that’s before he discovers she’s in danger and morphs into overprotective alpha male mode.
While a family’s middle child is supposedly a peacemaker, the world is about to discover that when pushed far enough, Tessa is willing to go to war.
Witch King by Martha Wells – 30 May (Tordotcom)
A story of power and friendship, of trust and betrayal, and of the families we choose.
“I didn’t know you were a… demon.”
“You idiot. I’m the demon.”
Kai’s having a long day in Martha Wells’ Witch King….
After being murdered, his consciousness dormant and unaware of the passing of time while confined in an elaborate water trap, Kai wakes to find a lesser mage attempting to harness Kai’s magic to his own advantage. That was never going to go well.
But why was Kai imprisoned in the first place? What has changed in the world since his assassination? And why does the Rising World Coalition appear to be growing in influence?
Kai will need to pull his allies close and draw on all his pain magic if he is to answer even the least of these questions.
He’s not going to like the answers.
By a Silver Thread (DFZ Changeling #1) by Rachel Aaron – 2 May (KU)
n the world’s most magical metropolis where spirits run noodle shops and cash-strapped dragons stage photo-ops for tourists, people still think fairies are nothing but stories, and that’s exactly how the fairies like it. It’s a lot easier to feast on humanity’s dreams when no one believes you exist. But while this arrangement works splendidly for most fair folk, Lola isn’t one of the lucky ones.
She’s a changeling, a fairy monster made just human enough to dupe unsuspecting parents while fairies steal their real child. The magic that sustains her was never meant to last past the initial theft, leaving Lola without a future. But thanks to Victor Conrath, a very powerful–and very illegal–blood mage, she was given the means to cheat death.
For a price.
Now the only changeling ever to make it to adulthood, Lola has served the blood mage faithfully, if reluctantly, for twenty years. Her unique ability to slip through wards and change her shape to look like anyone has helped make Victor a legend in the DFZ’s illegal-magic underground. It’s not a great life, but at least the work is stable… until her master vanishes without a trace.
With only a handful left of the pills that keep her human, Lola must find Victor before she turns back into the fairy monster she was always meant to be. But with a whole SWAT team of federal paladins hunting her as a blood-mage accomplice, an Urban Legend on a silent black motorcycle who won’t leave her alone, and a mysterious fairy king with the power to make the entire city dream, Lola’s chances of getting out of this alive are as slender as a silver thread.
Scarlet (Scarlet #1) by Genevieve Cogman – 9 May (Ace)
Revolution is a bloodthirsty business . . . especially when vampires are involved.
It is 1793 and the French Revolution is in full swing. Vampires—usually rich and aristocratic—have slaked the guillotine’s thirst in large numbers. The mysterious Scarlet Pimpernel, a disguised British noble, and his League are heroically rescuing dozens of aristocrats from execution, both human and vampire. And soon they will have an ace up their Eleanor Dalton.
Eleanor is working as a housemaid on the estate of a vampire Baroness. Her highest aspiration is to one day become a modiste. But when the Baroness hosts a mysterious noble and his wife, they tell Eleanor she is the spitting image of a French aristocrat, and they convince her to journey to France to aid them in a daring scheme. Soon, Eleanor finds herself in Paris, swept up in magic and intrigue—and chaos—beyond her wildest dreams. But there’s more to fear than ardent Revolutionaries. For Eleanor stumbles across a centuries-old war between vampires and their fiercest enemy. And they’re out for blood. . . .
Scarlet is the first book in a wildly engaging new series from Genevieve Cogman, which reinvents the beloved tale of the Scarlet Pimpernel.
Playing it Safe (Electra McDonnell #3) by Ashley Weaver – 9 May (Minotaur)
As the Blitz continues to ravage London, Ellie McDonnell—formerly a safecracking thief, but currently determined to stay on the straight and narrow to help her country—is approached by British Intelligence officer Major Ramsey with a new assignment. She is to travel under an assumed identity to the port city of Sunderland and there await further instructions. In his usual infuriating way, the Major has left her task as vague and mysterious as possible.
Ellie, ever-ready to aid her country, heads north, her safecracking tools in tow. But before she can rendezvous with the major, she witnesses an unnatural death. A man falls dead in the street in front of her, with a note clutched in his hand. Ellie’s instincts tell her that the man’s death is connected in some way to her mission.
Soon, Ellie and the major are locked in a battle of wits and a race against time with an unknown and deadly adversary, and a case that leads them to a possible Nazi counterfeiting operation. With bombs dropping on the city and a would-be assassin shadowing their every move, it will take all of Ellie’s resourcefulness and Major Ramsey’s fortitude to unmask the spymaster and avert disastrous consequences—for England and for their own lives.
The Benevolent Society of Ill-Mannered Ladies (Ill-Mannered Ladies #1) by Alison Goodman – 30 May (Berkley)
A high society amateur detective at the heart of Regency London uses her wits and invisibility as an ‘old maid’ to protect other women in a new and fiercely feminist historical mystery series from New York Times bestselling author Alison Goodman.
Lady Augusta Colebrook, “Gus,” is determinedly unmarried, bored by society life, and tired of being dismissed at the age of forty-two. She and her twin sister, Julia, who is grieving her dead betrothed, need a distraction. One soon presents to rescue their friend’s goddaughter, Caroline, from her violent husband.
The sisters set out to Caroline’s country estate with a plan, but their carriage is accosted by a highwayman. In the scuffle, Gus accidentally shoots and injures the ruffian, only to discover he is Lord Evan Belford, an acquaintance from their past who was charged with murder and exiled to Australia twenty years ago. What follows is a high adventure full of danger, clever improvisation, heart-racing near misses, and a little help from a revived and rather charming Lord Evan.
Back in London, Gus can’t stop thinking about her unlikely (not to mention handsome) comrade-in-arms. She is convinced Lord Evan was falsely accused of murder, and she is going to prove it. She persuades Julia to join her in a quest to help Lord Evan, and others in need—society be damned! And so begins the beguiling secret life and adventures of the Colebrook twins.
The Bride Wore White (Burning Cove #7) by Amanda Quick – 2 May (Berkley)
Being Madame Ariadne, Psychic Dream Consultant, wasn’t Prudence Ryland’s ideal gig, but it paid well which was reason enough to do the work—until she realizes that her latest client intends to kill her. But Prudence, a master at reinvention, finds a new job and home as far away as possible and is finally able to relax—which turns out to be a big mistake. Letting her guard down means being kidnapped and drugged and waking up in a bloodstained wedding dress in the honeymoon suite next to a dead man. With the press outside the hotel, waiting with their cameras and police sirens in the distance, it’s obvious she’s being framed for the man’s murder. Prudence knows who is responsible, but will anyone believe her?
It doesn’t seem likely that rumored crime boss Luther Pell or his associate, Jack Wingate, believe her seemingly outrageous claims of being a target of a ruthless vendetta. In fact, Prudence is convinced that the mysterious Mr. Wingate believes her to be a fraud at best, and at worst: a murderer. And Jack Wingate does seem to be someone intimately familiar with violence, if going by his scarred face and grim expression. So no one is more shocked than Prudence when Jack says he’ll help her. Of course, his ideas for helping her involve using her as the bait for a killer, but Prudence feels oddly safe with Jack protecting her. But who will protect Prudence from her growing fascination with this enigma of a man?
The House on Prytania (Royal Street #2) by Karen White – 9 May (Berkley)
Nola Trenholm may not be psychic herself, but she’s spent enough time around people who are to know when ghosts are present, and there are definitely a few lingering spirits in her recently purchased Creole cottage in New Orleans. Something, or someone, is keeping them tethered to this world. And not all of them are benign.
But with the sudden return of Sunny Ryan, Beau Ryan’s long-lost sister, Nola has plenty to distract her from her ghostly housemates. Especially when the tempting—yet firmly unavailable—Beau, wanting to mete out justice to those he blames for Sunny’s kidnapping, asks Nola for a favor that threatens to derail her hard-won recovery and send her hurtling backward. He asks her to welcome Michael Hebert back into her life, even though Michael is the reason for Nola’s bruised heart. Beau is convinced that Michael’s powerful family was behind Sunny’s disappearance and that Michael is the key to getting information the police won’t be able to ignore—if Nola is willing to risk everything for which she’s worked so hard.
Torn between helping Beau and protecting herself, Nola doesn’t realize until it’s almost too late why the ghosts are haunting her house—a startling revelation that will throw her and Beau together to fight a common enemy. Assuming Nola can get Beau to listen to what the spirits are trying to tell him, because ignoring them could prove to be a fatal mistake…
Old As the Hills (Land Mysteries #3) by Celia Lake – 5 May (Celia Lake)
What would you risk so others could live?
It is the early months of WWII and Rathna already has an idea of how bad it might get. If she can make the final connections she needs to create a new portal in a matter of weeks rather than years, she might just be able to get a few more people out of Germany’s ever expanding grasp. But she’s also been asked to take on a new apprentice. Rathna has no idea whether he’ll be willing to help, if she can trust him, or if he can trust her enough to do what needs to be done.
Her husband Gabe has a challenge that will use every single one of his skills and then some. He’s been charged by the Council to coordinate magical responses to the war, not only in Albion itself, but among the many esoteric and occult groups of Great Britain. His own apprentice is brilliant, in a different way than Gabe, but this project will ask everything of them both.
Together, Gabe and Rathna have built their lives to bend their passions, talents, and magics to making things better for the world around them, including their three growing children. Now their war work is going to separate them, certainly for months, possibly for much longer. As they tangle with ancient magics, seeking new ways forward, there are more unanswerable questions, tremendous risks, and a few glimmers of hope.
Old As The Hills follows Gabe and Rathna’s adventures from the autumn of 1939 through the summer of 1940, a time of desperate plans to save lives and hold back invasion. It is full of ancient fae magic, the power of place, urgent witchcraft rituals, and unexpected encounters. The Land Mysteries series explores the Second World War in the magical community of Albion and is best read in order.
Heart Stings (Elemental Assassin #19.5) by Jennifer Estep – 9 May (Self)
Heart stings can be the most dangerous wounds of all . . .
Lorelei Parker has had plenty of “heart stings” in her life—moments that are both happy and sad. With her grandmother’s recent marriage, Lorelei has had far more good times than bad lately.
That all changes when a ruthless Ashland underworld boss starts threatening her, but Lorelei is determined to figure out why the other crime boss is so interested in her thriving business. She vows to use her elemental Ice and metal magic to do whatever it takes to defend herself and her family.
Also in the mix is the mercurial Hugh Tucker. Lorelei doesn’t know what the vampire is up to, or if he’s a friend or an enemy. Tucker might even be something else, something more—if Lorelei can stay alive long enough to figure out whose side he’s really on . . .
Note: Heart Stings is a 38,000-word novella from the point of view of Lorelei Parker. It takes place after the events of Last Strand, book 19 in the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series. Heart Stings first appeared in the Dirty Deeds 2 anthology in 2022.
Doggone Mess (Magical Romantic Comedy with a Body Count #20) by R.J. Blain – 16 May (Pen & Page Publishing)
Originally in anthology Dirty Deeds Published 1-12-21.
This edition expanded from novella in Dirty Deeds
Single, female lycanthrope: check.
Bills to pay: check.
A bounty for the hottest single lycanthrope on the block: check.
As the sole holdout of the corporate buyout of her apartment building, Joyce Gray is determined to transform her stubborn pride into a masterpiece in order to stay off the streets. Dipping her hands into the dark world of bounty hunting would give her the funds needed to find a new home, somewhere safe from the wolf who’d infected her with the lycanthropy virus.
On the surface, the job is simple. For a period of three days, she must keep Wayne Barnes from returning to the New York City area. The owner of the corporation determined to reduce her apartment complex to rubble has a reputation of being straitlaced and playing for keeps. Worse, her virus is ready to roll over to have her belly rubbed and enjoy some positive and intimate attention.
But with twenty thousand on the table and a chance to get ahead for once in her life, she’s prepared to get her hands dirty no matter the cost.
What she doesn’t know will change her life and plunge her into the murky depths of the black market, where secrets are worth more than money, life is cheap, and anything can be purchased for a price.
The Blighted Stars by Megan F. O’Keefe – 23 May (Orbit)
When a spy is stranded on a dead planet with her mortal enemy, she must first figure out how to survive before she can uncover the conspiracy that landed them both there in the first place.
She’s a revolutionary. Humanity is running out of options. Habitable planets are being destroyed as quickly as they’re found and Naira Sharp knows the reason why. The all-powerful Mercator family has been controlling the exploration of the universe for decades, and exploiting any materials they find along the way under the guise of helping humanity’s expansion. But Naira knows the truth, and she plans to bring the whole family down from the inside.
He’s the heir to the dynasty. Tarquin Mercator never wanted to run a galaxy-spanning business empire. He just wanted to study rocks and read books. But Tarquin’s father has tasked him with monitoring the mining of a new planet, and he doesn’t really have a choice in the matter.
Disguised as Tarquin’s new bodyguard, Naira plans to destroy his ship before it lands. But neither of them expects to end up stranded on a dead planet. To survive and keep her secret, Naira will have to join forces with the man she’s sworn to hate. And together they will uncover a plot that’s bigger than both of them.
Bewicched (The Sea Wicche Chronicles #1) by Seana Kelly – 2 May (NYLA)
We here at The Sea Wicche cater to your art-collecting, muffin-eating, tea-drinking, and potion-peddling needs. Palmistry and Tarot sessions are available upon request and by appointment. Our store hours vary and rely completely on Arwyn—the owner—getting her butt out of bed.
I’m Arwyn Cassandra Corey, the sea wicche, or the wicche who lives by the sea. It requires a lot more work than I’d anticipated to remodel an abandoned cannery and turn it into an art gallery & tea bar. It’s coming along, though, especially with the help of a new werewolf who’s joined the construction crew. He does beautiful work. His sexy, growly, bearded presence is very hard to ignore, but I’m trying. I’m not sure how such a laid-back guy got the local Alpha and his pack threatening to hunt him down and tear him apart, but we all have our secrets. And because I don’t want to know his—or yours for that matter—I wear these gloves. Clairvoyance makes the simplest things the absolute worst. Trust me. Or don’t. Totally up to you.
Did I mention my mother and grandmother are pressuring me to assume my rightful place on the Corey Council? That’s a kind of governing triad for our ancient magical family, one that has more than its fair share of black magic practitioners. And yes, before you ask, people have killed to be on the council—one psychotic sorceress aunt comes to mind—but I have no interest in the power or politics that come with the position. I’d rather stick to my art and, in the words of my favorite sea wicche, help poor unfortunate souls. (Good luck trying to get that song out of your head now.)
Nightfall’s Prophet (Aileen Travers #6) by T.A. White – 16 May (Self)
How long can a vampire hold a grudge? The answer, it turns out, is an eternity.
Aileen Travers is about to get a lesson in the nature of vendettas and how far some will go to avenge any slight. When a representative of the vampire council sweeps into town, he brings with him a deadly conspiracy that could wind up threatening the very foundation of Aileen’s life.
With strange dreams plaguing her days and an ancient creature stalking her nights, Aileen soon finds the vampire’s motivations for being in her city are far more sinister than she could have ever imagined. An infestation of hunters points to a conspiracy whose roots lie in the far past.
As the danger deepens, Aileen will need to unravel the mystery behind her dreams and their connection with her stalker or risk losing everything she’s built.
One thing is clear—when you live as long as vampires do, you’re bound to make a few enemies.
Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley – 2 May (Henry Holt & Co)
Perry Firekeeper-Birch was ready for her Summer of Slack but instead, after a fender bender that was entirely not her fault, she’s stuck working to pay back her Auntie Daunis for repairs to the Jeep.
Thankfully she has the other outcasts of the summer program, Team Misfit Toys, and even her twin sister Pauline. Together they ace obstacle courses, plan vigils for missing women in the community, and make sure summer doesn’t feel so lost after all.
But when she attends a meeting at a local university, Perry learns about the “Warrior Girl”, an ancestor whose bones and knife are stored in the museum archives, and everything changes. Perry has to return Warrior Girl to her tribe. Determined to help, she learns all she can about NAGPRA, the federal law that allows tribes to request the return of ancestral remains and sacred items. The university has been using legal loopholes to hold onto Warrior Girl and twelve other Anishinaabe ancestors’ remains, and Perry and the Misfits won’t let it go on any longer.
Using all of their skills and resources, the Misfits realize a heist is the only way to bring back the stolen artifacts and remains for good. But there is more to this repatriation than meets the eye as more women disappear and Pauline’s perfectionism takes a turn for the worse. As secrets and mysteries unfurl, Perry and the Misfits must fight to find a way to make things right – for the ancestors and for their community.
Her Good Side by Rebekah Weatherspoon – 30 May (Razorbill)
Sixteen-year-old Bethany Greene, though confident and self-assured, is what they call a late-bloomer. She’s never had a boyfriend, date, or first kiss. She’s determined to change that but after her crush turns her down cold for Homecoming–declaring her too inexperienced–and all her back-up ideas fall through, she cautiously agrees to go with her best friend’s boyfriend Jacob. A platonic date is better than no date, right? Until Saylor breaks up with said boyfriend.
Dumped twice in just two months, Jacob Yeun wonders if he’s the problem. After years hiding behind his camera and a shocking summer glow up, he wasn’t quite ready for all the attention or to be someone’s boyfriend. There are no guides for his particular circumstances, or for taking your ex’s best friend to the dance.
Why not make the best of an awkward situation? Bethany and Jacob decide to fake date for practice, building their confidence in matters of the heart.
And it works–guys are finally noticing Bethany. But things get complicated as their kissing sessions–for research of course!–start to feel real. This arrangement was supposed to help them in dating other people, but what if their perfect match is right in front of them?
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!