Three Graces (Land Mysteries #5.5)

December 2023 Must Haves

BP Note: Welcome to December and the last Must Haves post of this year. This has been quite a year for me personally. It started off rough when I made a quick trip to say goodbye to a family member by choice and then continued with moving cross country, starting a new position in my profession, and the traveling. So much work travel. Then add in all of the world turmoil and everything just seems off. I am hopeful next year will bring some much needed peace and stability.
On a different note, we have a shorter than usual list for you this month. It appears as if everyone is pausing to breath during this last month. Let us know what we missed!
Happy reading and may your year start off positively!


The Gutter Shrike (Birds of Erishum #2)The Gutter Shrike (Birds of Erishum #2) by Gwen DeMarco – 15 Dec (Self)

Vallen, once a member of the king’s shrikes, now stands accused of treason against the Kingdom of Erishum. Alongside four others, he has been condemned to serve as a sacrifice to the monstrous hyva that roam the Dying Wilds.

His only hope for survival is a shadowy map and religious amulet his childhood friend Nyssa slipped him. Despite terrible odds, Vallen manages to escape from the sacrificial mound, but not before uncovering a terrible secret – one that could shatter the very bedrock of Erishum – only known to King Jorek and the Grand Enumerox Berossus. Now he must return to Erishum to save Nyssa from the fate of an irreconcilably corrupt kingdom.

Their quest for escape takes them through the perilous heart of the Dying Wilds in the hopes of finding a new home. Their journey is fraught with challenges that stretch their bravery and resilience. Venturing into the treacherous depths of the corrupt land, Vallen and Nyssa find themselves locked in a relentless struggle against the ever-present dangers of hyvas, treacherous landscapes, unpredictable weather, and startling revelations. They forge on without knowing if there is even life beyond the vast dead lands.

Experience Vallen and Nyssa’s audacious struggle to reshape their world and fight the lurking shadows of the Dying Wilds.

Valdemar (Founding of Valdemar #3)Valdemar (Founding of Valdemar #3) by Mercedes Lackey – 26 Dec (DAW)

The refugees from the Empire have established a thriving city called Haven with the help of the Tayledras and their allies. But the Tayledras have begun a slow withdrawal to the dangerous lands known as the Pelagirs, leaving the humans of Haven to find their own way.

But even with Haven settled, the lands around Haven are not without danger. Most of the danger comes in the form of magicians: magicians taking advantage of the abundant magical energy in the lands the Tayledras have cleansed; magicians who have no compunction about allying themselves with dark powers and enslaving magical beasts and the Elementals themselves.

Kordas, his family, and his people will need all the help they can get. But when a prayer to every god he has ever heard of brings Kordas a very specific and unexpected form of help, the new kingdom of Valdemar is set on a path like nothing else the world has ever seen.

Fantasy Romance

Three Graces (Land Mysteries #5.5)Three Graces (Land Mysteries #6) by Celia Lake – 15 Dec (Celia Lake)

In May of 1945, as the war in Europe is coming to an end, three women can turn their attention to an old and lingering problem. Lizzie never met her brother-in-law, Temple. He died in 1922, in what she and her husband now know was a desperate attempt to stop further damage to the land magic. No one has been able to figure out what damaged Temple’s magic or why he’d insisted on such self-destructive choices. Lizzie hasn’t, her husband Geoffrey hasn’t, and neither have their friends who are experts in a dozen relevant fields.

Now, as the demands of the war begin to ease, Lizzie asks Alysoun and Thesan – their friends and allies – to help her solve the mystery. She hopes that Alysoun’s clear-sighted experience and Thesan’s ability to see hidden patterns will be enough of a help. Perhaps together they can finally find and make sense of long-hidden information and do their best to make sure this sort of tragedy never happens again.

Three Graces is a novella tackling the long-standing question of what happened to Temple Carillon and brought him to his death in 1922. It is full of intelligent friends supporting each other, the changes that come with the end of the war, and navigating a new world. It is best read in series sequence, as it draws on a number of situations during the Second World War and its impact on Albion.

Historical Mystery

Murder Crossed Her Mind Pentecost and Parker #4)Murder Crossed Her Mind Pentecost and Parker #4) by Stephen Spotswood – 5 Dec (Doubleday)
Vera Bodine, an elderly shut-in with an exceptional memory, has gone missing and famed detective Lillian Pentecost and her crackerjack assistant Willowjean “Will” Parker have been hired to track her down. But the New York City of 1947 can be a dangerous place, and there’s no shortage of people who might like to get ahold of what’s in Bodine’s head.

Does her disappearance have to do with the high-profile law firm whose secrets she still keeps; the violent murder of a young woman, with which Bodine had lately become obsessed; or is it the work she did with the FBI hunting Nazi spies intent on wartime sabotage? Any and all are on the suspect list, including their client, Forest Whitsun, hotshot defense attorney and no friend to Pentecost and Parker.

The clock is ticking to get Bodine back alive, but circumstances conspire to pull both investigators away from the case. Will is hot on the trail of a stickup team who are using her name–and maybe her gun–for their own ends. While Lillian again finds herself up against murder-obsessed millionaire Jessup Quincannon, who has discovered a secret from her past–something he plans to use to either rein the great detective in . . . or destroy her.

To solve this mystery, and defeat their own personal demons, the pair will have to go nose-to-nose with murderous gangsters, make deals with conniving federal agents, confront Nazi spies, and bend their own ethical rules to the point of breaking. Before time runs out for everyone.


Fall (Detective Harriet Foster #2)Fall (Detective Harriet Foster #2) by Tracy Clark – 5 Dec (Thomas Mercer)

The Chicago PD is on high alert when two city aldermen are found dead: one by apparent suicide, one brutally stabbed in his office, and both with thirty dimes left on their bodies—a betrayer’s payment. With no other clues, the question is, Who else has a debt to pay?

Detective Harriet Foster is on the case before the killer can strike again. But even with the help of her partner, Detective Vera Li, and the rest of their team, Harriet has little to go on and a lot at risk. There’s no telling who the killer’s next target is or how many will come next.

To stop another murder, Harriet and her officers will have to examine what the victims had going on behind the scenes to determine who could be tangled up in this web of betrayal…and who could be out for revenge

Death in the Dark Woods (Monster Hunter Mystery #2)Death in the Dark Woods (Monster Hunter Mystery #2) by Annelisa Ryan – 12 Dec (Berkley)

A potential Bigfoot sighting is linked to a vicious murder, but skeptical cryptozoologist Morgan Carter is on the case in this new Monster Hunter Mystery by USA Today bestselling author Annelise Ryan.

Business has been booming since Morgan Carter solved the case of the monster living in Lake Michigan. The Odds and Ends bookstore is thriving, of course, but Morgan is most excited by the doors that were opened for her as a cryptid hunter.

Recently, there have been numerous sightings of a Bigfoot-type creature in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest area of Bayfield County, Wisconsin. After a man is found dead from a vicious throat injury in the forest, the conservation warden asks Morgan to investigate.

When Morgan and her dog, Newt, go there to investigate, they uncover a trail of lies, deception, and murder. It seems a mysterious creature is indeed living in the forest, and Morgan might be its next target.

Paranormal Romance

Fated Mates and How to Woo Them (Fated Mates #1)Fated Mates and How to Woo Them (Fated Mates #1) by A.J. Sherwood – 8 Dec (Self)

Chase is crazy busy behind the scenes at the fraternity get together, so when an alumni comes in, he just notes a hot man in his vicinity and goes right back to work.

When Ronan gets hurt, and Chase feeds him, Chase’s reaction opens up a whole new world of possibilities. Ones that Ronan wants to explore.

Is Chase compatible with vampires? Or could he possibly be something more?

Vampire story, same universe as Max and Zander, because yes the plot bunnies absolutely ran wild with this one, I am not in charge of this trainwreck, just along for the ride like you are, Chase has his airheaded moments, there is absolutely no chill where Ronan is concerned, bad guys have human sacrifice written all over them, whole story is mindless violence and fluff, sorry not sorry for this

Whiskers on Kittens (Magical Romantic Comedy with a Body Count #22)Whiskers on Kittens (Magical Romantic Comedy with a Body Count #22) by R.J. Blain – 19 Dec (Pen & Page Publishing)

The next time a friend dared her to steal something, Kelsie would say no. Should the friend also be a succubus, not only would she say no, she would run for the nearest border faster than a bat fleeing the dark depths of hell.

Under normal circumstances, she didn’t even mind serving community service. It added spice to an otherwise boring day and gave her something productive to do.

Hoping to contain her prankster ways, the judge teams her up with a grouchy wolf of a cop with an attitude problem. According to her virus, Kelsie needs to get the good officer out of his pants. According to her common sense, the last thing she needs or wants is a goody-goody hampering her style and getting in her way.

When they’re assigned to help rescue six kidnapped kittens, Kelsie knows one thing for certain: to create a Christmas miracle, she’ll do a lot more than bend the law—she’ll break it over her knee and unleash hell on Earth while she’s at it.

Science Fiction

The Good, the Bad, & the UncannyThe Good, the Bad, & the Uncanny by Jonathan Maberry (editor) – 19 Dec (Outland Entertainment)

Gunslingers. Lawmen. Snake-oil Salesmen. Cowboys. Mad Scientists. And a few monsters. The Old West has never been wilder! THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UNCANNY presents sixteen original and never-before-published adventures by some of today’ s most visionary writers who have spun wildly offbeat tales of gunmen, lawmen, magic, and weird science. Saddle up with Josh Malerman, Scott Sigler, Keith DeCandido, Cullen Bunn, R.S. Belcher, Greg Cox, Jeffrey Mariotte, Laura Anne Gilman, Aaron Rosenberg, Maurice Broaddus, John G. Hartness, Carrie Harris, James A. Moore, Marguerite Reed, C. Edward Sellner, Carrie Harris, and Jennifer Brody! These tales twist the American West into a place of darkness, shadows, sudden death, terror in the night, bold heroism, devious magic, and shocking violence. Each story blazes a new trail through very strange territory – discovering weird science, ancient evil, mythic creatures, and lightning-fast action. Edited by Jonathan Maberry, NY Times bestselling author of A DEADLANDS NOVEL, the Joe Ledger Thrillers, V-WARS, and KAGEN THE DAMNED.

Science Fiction Mystery

Sunset, Water City (Water City Trilogy #3)Sunset, Water City (Water City Trilogy #3) by Chris McKinney – 5 Dec (Soho Crime)

Year 2160: It’s been ten years since the cataclysmic events of Eventide, Water City, where 99. 97 percent of the human population was possessed or obliterated by Akira Kimura, Water City’s renowned scientist and Earth’s former savior.

Our nameless antihero, a synesthete and former detective, and his daughter, Ascalon, navigate through a post-apocalyptic landscape populated by barbaric Zeroes—the permanent residents of the continent’s biggest landfill, The Great Leachate—who cling to the ways of the old world. They live in opposition to Akira’s godlike domination of the planet—she has taken control of the population that viewed her as a god and converted them into her Gardeners, zombie-like humans who plod along to build her vision of a new world.

What that world exactly entails, Ascalon is not entirely sure, but intends to find out. Now nineteen, she, a synesthete herself, takes over this story while her father succumbs to grief and decades of Akira’s manipulation. Tasked with the impossible, Ascalon must find a way to free what’s left of the human race.

Urban Fantasy

Witchcraft in the Woods (Where the Wild Things Grow #3)Witchcraft in the Woods (Where the Wild Things Grow #3) by Auryn Hadley – 1 Dec (Spotted Horse Productions)

Wild things have tails, hatred always fails, and the forest knows me too well, that’s why I need this magic…

Magic is a gift. A pretty miraculous one, in my opinion. It also comes with responsibilities – things like protecting the town that made this possible. Sadly, that means my last battle with the evil coven may have caused a tiny little problem.

The spell that protects this place is fading. My power is fine, but a magical ritual like that takes six wixen to make possible. That means I have two choices: I can either let it fade or work with the assholes I just pissed off.

Or, maybe I can find a third option?

Because the old coven wants me gone. Worse, they’re after Zane as well. With the spell fading, the only safe place left is in the forest. And while my house is starting to get a little crowded, the things happening inside are a very different kind of magic. The kind that makes me realize all of this is worth fighting for.

Who cares if I don’t like confrontation? If I want to keep the idealistic life I’ve been offered, I need to get over that. Otherwise, someone’s going to die – and it might be one of my guys.

The battle lines are drawn.
It’s my coven against theirs.
So let it be.

Fangs, Frost, and Folios (Elemental Mysteries World #13)Fangs, Frost, and Folios (Elemental Mysteries/World #13) by Elizabeth Hunter – 5 Dec (Recurve Press LLC)

Giovanni and Beatrice left vampire conspiracies and supernatural adventures for a peaceful family life. But peace only lasts so long for a vampire assassin and an undying scribe.

The death of an old friend leaves Giovanni with a rare opportunity. He knows that Lady Penelope’s library hides more than one rare book, but can he break into her family’s ancestral home without raising alarms? Giovanni and Beatrice are looking for literary treasure. Other immortals might be searching for a different and more dangerous haul.

Back in Los Angeles, Ben and Tenzin were put in charge of protecting the family. But can two powerful vampires survive the mercurial mood swings of a preteen girl? Ben and Tenzin could be facing the end… of their sanity.

The Lies of Vampires and Slayers (Magic on Main Street #1)The Lies of Vampires and Slayers (Magic on Main Street #1) by K.M. Shea – 15 Dec (Self)

By night, they fight in a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse. By day, they are friendly next-door neighbors. Neither of them know that their alter egos are archenemies.

I’ve spent my life training in the family business of slaying vampires, but I’m tired of all the death. I want to prove we slayers can help society, not just break it.

I start my new life by joining the Magiford supernatural task force, which exists to protect humans and supernaturals from harmful magic.

There’s just one problem.

All of my teammates who work the night shift with me are scared of me since slayers are the assassins of the supernatural world. Worse yet, even though I’m doing my best at pretending to be a human during the day—a necessity as a lone slayer can quickly become a dead slayer—I’ve utterly failed to win over any of the humans in my apartment complex since I have the charisma of an overdue investigation report.

That changes when a handsome vampire moves in next door. Connor may not be willing to try any of my failed attempts at baking, but he’s charming and not afraid of me. Plus, he’s the first friend I’ve made who has the time to hang out with me after work.

Things are looking up, or they would be, except a mysterious and extremely powerful vampire has declared downtown his nightly hunting ground. I’m the only one on my team who can match him in a fight, something he finds endlessly entertaining. That isn’t a good sign for my general life expectancy.

My greatest goal might be to win over my squad, but if this vampire doesn’t back off I might not live long enough to achieve it.

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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