BP Note: Welcome to 2024. The end of a year and the beginning of a next is rather liminal. Endings and beginnings, losses and gains, death and life, the shortening of days and the lengthening of days, memories of the past and thoughts of the future all mixing together in a condensed time period. No wonder cultures have developed rituals to delineate transitions. I was able to enjoy some of my family’s traditions while at the same time missing others. I experienced joy yet also moments of sadness as I looked for people who have gone before. I know I am not the only one in such spaces and that for others this liminal time is a time of new loss. Please give yourself and others grace and space because we never know what is weighing others down.
We have an assortment of different subgenres up this month. Please let us know what else we should be looking for.
- Contemporary Romance
- Fantasy Romance
- Historical Romance
- Paranormal Romance
- Romantic Suspense
- Science Fiction Romance
- Time Travel Romance
- Urban Fantasy
Port in a Storm (Sinners #8) by Rhys Ford – 23 Jan (Dreamspinner Press)
San Francisco SWAT Lieutenant Connor Morgan and Crossroads Gin drummer Forest Ackerman make an odd couple. Connor, an Irish-born cop from a tight-knit family, never imagined he’d find his happily-ever-after with a raised-on-the-streets musician, but Forest had the gentlest soul he’d ever met. After a long, hard road of heartbreak, murder, and trouble, they fell hard in love and married.
Then Fate intervenes and throws their lives into a chaos neither one of them is prepared for. During a brutal SWAT raid, Connor stumbles on Tate, an abused, vulnerable little boy caught in a shoot-out with his father’s drug-running gang. As heavy fire riddles the walls, an injured Connor rescues Tate from the fray… only to be struck numb when a caseworker pries a sobbing Tate from his arms. Scarred from his own childhood experiences, Forest doubts he can be a good enough father, but Connor assures him they can give Tate what he needs and more.
Soon they are on an insane ride where trust and affection are hard-earned, especially when coming from a little boy raised in society’s filthiest gutters. Facing down every challenge thrown their way, they battle to give Tate what Connor treasures and Forest never had—a family to call his own.
A Feast for Starving Stone (Chefs of the Five Gods #2) by Beth Cato – 9 Jan (47North)
Two countries at war. A delicious taste of magic. And a fierce princess comes of age in a rousing adventure by the author of A Thousand Recipes for Revenge.
Princess Solenn’s marriage into royalty should have unified the continental neighbors of Verdania and Solenn’s homeland of Braiz against a common the country of Albion. Thanks to Albion’s cunning sabotage, Verdania is now Braiz’s lethal rival. And the dead Braizian sailors washed ashore near Solenn’s château are just the beginning.
Arriving in the midst of danger, Ada Garland, rogue Chef to the Gods, is desperate to reunite with her daughter, Solenn. Not only has open war begun; it’s become heart-wrenchingly personal. Ada’s long-lost, beloved Braizian musketeer, Captain Erwan Corre, is being held in a Verdanian prison, with execution imminent. And her daughter has been tasked with the near-doomed responsibility of uniting violently adversarial countries in peace. Can Solenn and Ada, coming together, stop their land from descending into all-out war?
What must Solenn become, what more will she sacrifice, to do it? As ambassador between two worlds—one of humans, one of magic—Solenn must now draw from both to prevent the worst of things to come.
That Time I Got Drunk and Saved a Demon (Mead Mishaps #1) by Kimberly Lemming – 2 Jan (Orbit)
All I wanted to do was live my life in peace. Maybe get a cat, expand my spice farm. Really anything that doesn’t involve going on a quest where an orc might rip my face off. But they say the Goddess has favourites. If so, I’m clearly not one of them.
After saving the demon Fallon in a wine-drunk stupor, all he wanted to do was kill an evil witch enslaving his people.
I mean, I get it, don’t get me wrong. But he’s dragging me along for the ride, and I’m kind of peeved about it. On the bright side, he keeps burning off his shirt.
Emily Wilde’s Map of the Otherlands (Emily Wilde #2) by Heather Fawcett – 16 Jan (Del Rey)
Emily Wilde is a genius scholar of faerie folklore—she just wrote the world’s first comprehensive of encylopaedia of faeries. She’s learned many of the secrets of the Hidden Folk on her adventures . . . and also from her fellow scholar and former rival, Wendell Bambleby.
Because Bambleby is more than infuriatingly charming. He’s an exiled faerie king on the run from his murderous mother, and in search of a door back to his realm. So despite Emily’s feelings for Bambleby, she’s not ready to accept his proposal of marriage. Loving one of the Fair Folk comes with secrets and danger.
And she also has a new project to focus a map of the realms of faerie. While she is preparing her research, Bambleby lands her in trouble yet again, when assassins sent by Bambleby’s mother invade Cambridge. Now Bambleby and Emily are on another adventure, this time to the picturesque Austrian Alps, where Emily believes they may find the door to Bambley’s realm, and the key to freeing him from his family’s dark plans.
But with new relationships for the prickly Emily to navigate and dangerous Folk lurking in every forest and hollow, Emily must unravel the mysterious workings of faerie doors, and of her own heart.
Always Remember (Ravenswood #3) by Mary Balogh – 16 Jan (Berkley)
Left unable to walk by a childhood illness, Lady Jennifer, sister of the Duke of Wilby, has grown up to make a happy place for herself in society. Outgoing and cheerful, she has many friends and enjoys the pleasures of high society—even if she cannot dance at balls or stroll in Hyde Park. She is blessed with a large, loving, and protective family. But she secretly dreams of marriage and children, and of walking—and dancing.
When Ben Ellis comes across Lady Jennifer as she struggles to walk with the aid of primitive crutches, he instantly understands her yearning. He is a fixer. It is often said of him that he never saw a practical problem he did not have to solve. He wants to help her discover independence and motion—driving a carriage, swimming, even walking a different way. But he must be careful. He is the bastard son of the late Earl of Stratton. Though he was raised with the earl’s family, he knows he does not really belong in the world of the ton.
Jennifer is shocked—and intrigued—by Ben’s ideas, and both families are alarmed by the growing friendship and perhaps more that they sense developing between the two. A duke’s sister certainly cannot marry the bastard son of an earl. Except sometimes, love can find a way.
The Missing Witness (Quinn & Costa #5) by Allison Brennan – 23 Jan (MIRA)
Detective Kara Quinn is back in Los Angeles to testify against a notorious human trafficker, finally moving past the case that upended her life. But when the accused is shot by a masked man in broad daylight, the chaotic scene of the crime turns up few reliable bystanders. And one witness—a whistleblower who might be the key to everything—has disappeared.
After the prosecuting DDA is stabbed to death, it’s clear that anyone who knows too much about the investigation is in danger, and tracking down the witness becomes a matter of life or death. With government corruption running rampant and someone on the inside trying to pin anything they can on Kara, she trusts nobody except FBI special agent Matt Costa and a handful of allies.
But when explosive secrets begin to surface within the LAPD and FBI, Kara questions everything she thought she knew about the case, her colleagues and the life she left behind months ago.
Now Quinn and Costa must race to find the missing witness and get to the bottom of the avalanche of conspiracies that has rocked LA to its core…before it’s too late.
The Night Island (Lost Night Files #2) by Jayne Ann Krentz – 9 Jan (Berkley)
Talia March, Pallas Llewellyn, and Amelia Rivers, bonded by a night they all have no memory of, are dedicated to uncovering the mystery of what really happened to them months ago—an experience that brought out innate psychic abilities in each of them. The women suspect they were test subjects years earlier, and that there are more people like them—all they have to do is find the list. When Talia follows up on a lead from Phoebe, a fan of the trio’s podcast, she discovers that the informant has vanished.
Talia isn’t the only one looking for Phoebe, however. Luke Rand, a hunted and haunted man who is chasing the same list that Talia is after, also shows up at the meeting place. It’s clear he has his own agenda, and they are instantly suspicious of each other. But when a killer begins to stalk them, they realize they have to join forces to find Phoebe and the list.
The rocky investigation leads Talia and Luke to a rustic, remote retreat on Night Island in the Pacific Northwest. The retreat promises to rejuvenate guests with the Unplugged Experience. Upon their arrival, Talia and Luke discover guests are quite literally cut off from the outside world because none of their high-tech devices work on the island. It soon becomes clear that Phoebe is not the first person to disappear into the strange gardens that surround the Unplugged Experience retreat. And then the first mysterious death occurs…
The Omega’s Prize (Timberwolf Lodge #3) by Vivian Arend – 16 Jan (Arend Pubishing Inc.)
BREAKING THE RULES IS WHAT OMEGAS DO BEST
Moving to Timberwolf Lodge didn’t shake up Stephanie Nix’s life much. She’s content to spend time with her best friend and sister while keeping an eye out for any mystical truths hidden in plain sight. Werewolves? Not surprising. Falling in love? That’ll require more than a touch of magic.
Enter Blue Carter, the eccentric Omega of the Jasper wolf pack. With his bright clothes and irrelevant ways, something about Blue captivates Stephanie. After four months together, she wonders if there might be something more than friendship brewing.
From the moment they met, Blue sensed a possible bond with Stephanie. But untangling the complexities of mating with a human Omega isn’t easy, even for a patient wolf. Add in storms, rivals, and the return of an evil nemesis—this time even Blue might be in over his head.
When the fate of Timberwolf Lodge is tossed into their laps, Steph and Blue will need to dig deep to find a way out. No worries—they’ll make it up as they go.
The Nightmare in Him (Devil’s Cradle #2) by Suzanne Wright – 18 Jan (Piatkus)
The Ancients and the Aeons. Two groups of powerful immortals that have not seen eye to eye for millennia. And right now, at the heart of their conflict, stands Wynter Dellavale.
Wynter is a witch who sought safe haven for herself and her coven in Devil’s Cradle. Founded by seven Ancient beings, the Home of Monsters provides protection, shelter, and will never give you up to outsiders . . . providing you pay the Ancients’ substantial fee. Wynter already wears the brand of Cain – the mark that she is in his service and that her soul partly belongs to him. But as their relationship deepens, Wynter has to make a choice from which there’s no turning back.
Cain cannot reveal the nightmare which lives inside him, the beast that could tear apart the woman who means more to him than he ever thought possible. But with his brother Abel out for revenge, and the suspicious reappearance of his parents Adam and Eve, Cain sees that Devil’s Cradle is on the verge of war. As the stakes are raised, Cain knows he needs more than anything to keep Wynter safe and by his side – forever.
Zachary (Demons-In-Law #3) by Louise Masters – 31 Jan (Self)
A dragon with endless secrets meets a demon with nothing to hide…
I’m the easygoing one. The fun one. The rare member of my family who gets along with anyone. Except there’s a chance I may have got off on the wrong foot with our new dragon liaison, Ronan. In my defense, he rubs everyone the wrong way. The only thing he’s got going for him is his looks… if the miserable frown weren’t there to mar them. But he seems to be trying harder to connect, and I guess I should do the same. Even if his arrival here was the beginning of all my problems.
When I cross the line and guilt compels me to apologize, I get my first glimpse of a different Ronan. Someone who enjoys baking, thinks glitter is amazing, and wants people to like him. Someone I could be friends with. And when that frown disappears? I want more than just friendship.
But there’s something going on with him, something he’s been carrying for a long time. He’s been hurt before, and the secrets he’s keeping are the kind that eat you inside. How can we take things to the next step if he can’t be open with me?
It’s only when he steps up to make all my dreams come true that I realize some secrets need to stay that way… and that loving Ronan means accepting him for who he really is.
Random in Death (In Death #58) by J.D. Robb – 23 Jan (St. Martin’s Press)
Jenna’s parents had finally given in, and there she was, at a New York club with her best friends, watching the legendary band Avenue A, carrying her demo in hopes of slipping it to the guitarist, Jake Kincade. Then, from the stage, Jake catches her eye, and smiles. It’s the best night of her life.
It’s the last night of her life.
Minutes later, Jake’s in the alley getting some fresh air, and the girl from the dance floor comes stumbling out, sick and confused and deathly pale. He tries to help, but it’s no use. He doesn’t know that someone in the crowd has jabbed her with a needle—and when his girlfriend Nadine arrives, she knows the only thing left to do for the girl is call her friend, Lieutenant Eve Dallas.
After everyone on the scene is interviewed, lab results show a toxic mix of substances in the victim’s body—and for an extra touch of viciousness, the needle was teeming with infectious agents. Dallas searches for a pattern: Had any boys been harassing Jenna? Was she engaging in risky behavior or caught up in something shady? But there are no obvious clues why this levelheaded sixteen-year-old, passionate about her music, would be targeted.
And that worries Dallas. Because if Jenna wasn’t targeted, if she was just the random, unlucky victim of a madman consumed by hatred, there are likely more deaths to come.
Science Fiction Romance
Sublime Target (Darkstar Mercenaries #7.5) by Anna Carven – 14 Jan (Self)
erik Garul wants a mate.As a former High Commander in the Kordolian Imperial Military, he’s used to getting his way. Blunt-spoken and gruff, he has a tendency to shoot first and ask questions later.He doesn’t know anything about humans and their mating customs. And he’s mystified at how several of his battle-brothers—hard, ruthless, and lethal—have succeeded in securing their own females.
Apparently, there’s a method to this madness. A way to seduce a human woman; to make her come willingly.He just needs to figure it out—and he’s determined to do it his way.Sublime Target is a light novella set in the Dark Planet Warriors/Darkstar Mercenaries world. It features a grumpy Kordolian ex-commander, mild office drama, and a hint of spice.
Time Travel Romance
A Quantum Love Story by Mike Chen – 30 Jan (MIRA)
Grieving her best friend’s recent death, neuroscientist Mariana Pineda’s ready to give up everything to start anew. Even her career— after one last week consulting at a top secret particle accelerator.
Except the strangest thing a man stops her…and claims they’ve met before. Carter Cho knows who she is, why she’s mourning, why she’s there. And he needs Mariana to remember everything he’s saying.
Because time is about to loop.
In a flash of energy, it’s Monday morning. Again. Together, Mariana and Carter enter an inevitable life, four days at a time, over and over, without permanence except for what they share. With everything resetting—even bank accounts—joy comes in the little a delicious (and expensive) meal, a tennis match, giving a dog his favorite treat.
In some ways, those are all that matter.
But just as they figure out this new life, everything changes. Because Carter’s memories of the time loop are slowly disappearing. And their only chance at happiness is breaking out of the loop—forever.
Mislaid in Parts Half-Known (Wayward Children #9) by Seanan McGuire – 9 Jan (Tordotcom)
Antsy is the latest student to pass through the doors at Eleanor West’s School for Wayward Children.
When her fellow students realize that Antsy’s talent for finding absolutely anything may extend to doors, she’s forced to flee in the company of a small group of friends, looking for a way back to the Shop Where the Lost Things Go to be sure that Vineta and Hudson are keeping their promise.
Along the way, temptations are dangled, decisions are reinforced, and a departure to a world populated by dinosaurs brings untold dangers and one or two other surprises!
A story that reminds us that finding what you want doesn’t always mean finding what you need.
The Games of Enemies and Allies (Magic on Main Street #2) by K.M. Shea – 12 Jan (K.M. Shea)
Sweep of the Heart (Innkeepers Chronicles #5) by Ilona Andrews – 18 Jan (Graphic Audio)
From the New York Times #1 bestselling author, Ilona Andrews, comes a fun and action-packed new adventure in the Innkeeper Chronicles! We invite you to relax, enjoy yourself, and above all, remember the one rule all visitors must obey: the humans must never know.
Life is busier than ever for Innkeeper, Dina DeMille and Sean Evans. But it’s about to get even more chaotic when Sean’s werewolf mentor is kidnapped. To find him, they must host an intergalactic spouse-search for one of the most powerful rulers in the Galaxy. Dina is never one to back down from a challenge. That is, if she can manage her temperamental Red Cleaver chef; the consequences of her favorite Galactic ex-tyrant’s dark history; the tangled politics of an interstellar nation, and oh, yes, keep the wedding candidates from a dozen alien species from killing each other. Not to mention the Costco lady.
They say love is a battlefield; but Dina and Sean are determined to limit the casualties!
Adapted from the novel and produced with a full cast of actors, immersive sound effects and cinematic music!
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!