May’s New Releases, Part One

May 1, 2020

If you’re new to Hide Your Wallet, this is where we list new releases we’re pretty excited for in the coming month.

Each reviewer has a book maximum (five per person), but we’ve separated HYW into two parts. The first HYW of the month will cover books that release from the 1st to the 14th. The second HYW will cover books released from the 15th to the end of the month.

We also think this will help us feature books from smaller publishers who don’t have buy links up as quickly as the big five.

As always, if we missed any books that you’re particularly looking forward to, tell us all about them in the comments.

Beauty

Beauty by Christina Chiu

Author: Christina Chiu
Released: May 1, 2020 by 2040 Books
Genre:

Amy Wong is an up-and-coming designer in the New York fashion industry; she is young, beautiful, and has it all. But she finds herself at odds with rival designers in a world rife with chauvinism and prejudice. In her personal life, she struggles with marriage and motherhood, finding that her choices often fall short of her traditional family’s expectations. Derailed again and again, Amy must confront her own limitations to succeed as the designer and person she wants to be.

Sneezy: I’m relating hardcore with Amy already.

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Love’s Recipe

Love’s Recipe by Mila Nicks

Author: Mila Nicks
Released: May 1, 2020
Genre: ,

Can two strangers down on their luck discover the flavor of love?

Rosalie Underwood is a broke, recently divorced single mother. After she’s forced to return to her hometown St. Aster, Louisiana, she lands a waitressing job at Ady’s Creole Café. Life’s not done giving her lemons just yet, though. Ady’s Creole Café is on the brink of going out of business. If Rosalie hopes to recover from her disastrous marriage and keep her job, she must figure out a way to save the restaurant. But the only question is how?

When Nicholas Fontaine hires Rosalie Underwood, he doesn’t expect his newest waitress to stir the pot. He was hoping to keep up the charade he’s created since his mother’s passing. Soon he realizes that Rosalie refuses to let Ady’s fail. She cooks up a plan to salvage the business—including the part where she enters the restaurant in a food competition to generate town-wide buzz.

There’s no time for butting heads. The clock is ticking and the business is tanking. Nick’s stuck teaching Rosalie how to cook the one-of-a-kind menu. Rosalie’s trying her best to learn the delicious recipes. In order to succeed, they must come together and work as a team, but brewing feelings between them only complicates matters. Is this a recipe for disaster or a recipe for love?

Catherine: This was such a lovely, gentle romance, full of SO MUCH FOOD YOU WILL BE HUNGRY.

Sneezy: Cat nip all around!!! Especially the food. If I can’t have Creole food, I’ll read about it!!!

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Clap When You Land

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Released: May 5, 2020 by Quill Tree Press
Genre: ,

In a novel-in-verse that brims with grief and love, National Book Award-winning and New York Times-bestselling author Elizabeth Acevedo writes about the devastation of loss, the difficulty of forgiveness, and the bittersweet bonds that shape our lives.

Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people…

In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.

Separated by distance—and Papi’s secrets—the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered.

And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.

Aarya: Acevedo has written her first novel-in-verse since The Poet X and I am so excited. She narrates her own audiobooks and the results are always phenomenal.

Maya: I LOVED The Poet X and randomly started listening to With the Fire on High right before we went into quarantine. I feel immediately in love and have been waiting since then for my copy from the library to come in. So much Acevedo!!

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Close Up

Close Up by Amanda Quick

Author: Amanda Quick
Released: May 5, 2020 by Berkley
Genre: , ,
Series: Burning Cove #4

Welcome to Burning Cove, California where 1930s Hollywood glamour conceals a ruthless killer…

Vivian Brazier never thought life as an art photographer would include nightly wake-up calls to snap photos of grisly crime scenes or headshots for aspiring male actors. Although she is set on a career of transforming photography into a new art form, she knows her current work is what’s paying the bills.

After shooting crime scene photos of a famous actress, the latest victim of the murderer the press has dubbed the “Dagger Killer,” Vivian notices eerie similarities to the crime scenes of previous victims—details that only another photographer would have noticed—details that put Vivian at the top of the killer’s target list.

Nick Sundridge has always been able to “see” things that others don’t, coping with disturbing dreams and visions. His talent, or as he puts it—his curse—along with his dark past makes him a recluse, but a brilliant investigator. As the only one with the ability to help, Nick is sent to protect Vivian. Together, they discover the Dagger Killer has ties to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood royalty and high society. It is a cutthroat world of allure and deception that Vivian and Nick must traverse—all in order to uncover the killer who will stop at nothing to add them to their gallery of murders.

Catherine: I enjoyed this enormously – it’s a 1930s-set mystery, centering around art and photography, and it’s very well done.

Ellen: I really enjoyed the first book in this series and the description for this one has me thinking about catching up with the rest…

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Goldilocks

Goldilocks by Laura Lam

Author: Laura Lam
Released: May 5, 2020 by Orbit
Genre:

The Earth is in environmental collapse. The future of humanity hangs in the balance. But a team of women are preparing to save it. Even if they’ll need to steal a spaceship to do it.

Despite increasing restrictions on the freedoms of women on Earth, Valerie Black is spearheading the first all-female mission to a planet in the Goldilocks Zone, where conditions are just right for human habitation.

The team is humanity’s last hope for survival, and Valerie has gathered the best women for the mission: an ace pilot who is one of the only astronauts ever to have gone to Mars; a brilliant engineer tasked with keeping the ship fully operational; and an experienced doctor to keep the crew alive. And then there’s Naomi Lovelace, Valerie’s surrogate daughter and the ship’s botanist, who has been waiting her whole life for an opportunity to step out of Valerie’s shadow and make a difference.

The problem is that they’re not the authorized crew, even if Valerie was the one to fully plan the voyage. When their mission is stolen from them, they steal the ship bound for the new planet.

But when things start going wrong on board, Naomi begins to suspect that someone is concealing a terrible secret — and realizes time for life on Earth may be running out faster than they feared . . .

Goldilocks is a bold and thought-provoking new thriller for readers of The Martian and The Handmaid’s Tale.

Ellen: Space opera thriller full of LADIES!

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Impostures

Impostures by al-Ḥarīrī

Author: al-Ḥarīrī
Released: May 5, 2020 by New York University Press
Genre: ,

Fifty rogue’s tales translated fifty ways

An itinerant con man. A gullible eyewitness narrator. Voices spanning continents and centuries. These elements come together in Impostures, a groundbreaking new translation of a celebrated work of Arabic literature.

Impostures follows the roguish Abū Zayd al-Sarūjī in his adventures around the medieval Middle East—we encounter him impersonating a preacher, pretending to be blind, and lying to a judge. In every escapade he shows himself to be a brilliant and persuasive wordsmith, composing poetry, palindromes, and riddles on the spot. Award-winning translator Michael Cooperson transforms Arabic wordplay into English wordplay of his own, using fifty different registers of English, from the distinctive literary styles of authors such as Geoffrey Chaucer, Mark Twain, and Virginia Woolf, to global varieties of English including Cockney rhyming slang, Nigerian English, and Singaporean English.

Featuring picaresque adventures and linguistic acrobatics, Impostures brings the spirit of this masterpiece of Arabic literature into English in a dazzling display of translation.

Sneezy: I’ve been hearing good things about this translation on twitter. The story itself is about a rogue talking himself out of all manner of trouble he gets himself into with the kind of style and panache I have a deep soft spot for.

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Last Girls

Last Girls by Demetra Brodsky

Author: Demetra Brodsky
Released: May 5, 2020 by Tor Teen
Genre:

Demetra Brodsky’s Last Girls is a twisting, suspenseful YA thriller about sisterhood, survival, and family secrets set in the world of doomsday prepping.

No one knows how the world will end.

On a secret compound in the Washington wilderness, Honey Juniper and her sisters are training to hunt, homestead, and protect their own.

Prepare for every situation.

But when danger strikes from within, putting her sisters at risk, training becomes real life, and only one thing is certain:

Nowhere is safe.

Amanda: I’m all for doomsday prepping with badass sisters.

 

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The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea

The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

Author: Maggie Tokuda-Hall
Released: May 5, 2020 by Candlewick Press
Genre: , ,

A desperate orphan turned pirate and a rebellious imperial daughter find a connection on the high seas in a world divided by colonialism and threaded with magic.

Aboard the pirate ship Dove, Flora the girl takes on the identity of Florian the man to earn the respect and protection of the crew. For Flora, former starving urchin, the brutal life of a pirate is about survival: don’t trust, don’t stick out, and don’t feel. But on this voyage, as the pirates prepare to sell their unsuspecting passengers into slavery, Flora is drawn to the Lady Evelyn Hasegawa, who is en route to a dreaded arranged marriage with her own casket in tow. Flora doesn’t expect to be taken under Evelyn’s wing, and Evelyn doesn’t expect to find such a deep bond with the pirate Florian.

Soon the unlikely pair set in motion a wild escape that will free a captured mermaid (coveted for her blood, which causes men to have visions and lose memories) and involve the mysterious Pirate Supreme, an opportunistic witch, and the all-encompassing Sea itself.

Amanda: This adventure sounds just what I need right now. (Full disclosure: My roommate works for the publisher, though she only hooks me up with books I specifically ask for.)

Tara: I just finished reading this last night and I can’t wait for others read this too! You can tell from the title that this book has mermaids and witches, but how about some pirates and magic too? It has girls falling in love, nonbinary people, and the leads are both people of colour. I loved it.

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The Art of Showing Up

The Art of Showing Up by Rachel Wilkerson Miller

Author: Rachel Wilkerson Miller
Released: May 12, 2020 by The Experiment
Genre:

A revolutionary guide to friendship and self-care for those who feel alone

When it comes to adult friendships, we’re woefully inept: We barely manage to show up for our own commitments, let alone maintain our relationships. What’s more, we’re living in an uncharted social landscape with new conventions on how to relate—one where actual phone calls are reserved for Mom (if anyone), “dropping in” is unheard-of, and “flaking out” is routine.

The Art of Showing Up offers a roadmap through this morass to true connection with your friends, your family, and yourself. Author Rachel Wilkerson Miller teaches that “showing up” means connecting with others in a way that makes them feel seen and supported. And that begins with showing up for yourself: recognizing your needs, understanding your physical and mental health, and practicing self-compassion. Only then can you better support other people; witness their joy, pain, and true selves; validate their experiences; and help ease their burden.

When “showing up” for others, it’s not the grandest gesture that matters most—it’s how close you come to meeting your loved ones where they really are.

Ellen: I’m interested in what this book has to say about adult friendship as I feel I have let some potentially great friend connections pass me by.

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By the Book

By the Book by Amanda Sellet

Author: Amanda Sellet
Released: May 12, 2020 by HMH Books for Young Readers
Genre: ,

In this clever YA rom-com debut perfect for fans of Kasie West and Ashley Poston, a teen obsessed with nineteenth-century literature tries to cull advice on life and love from her favorite classic heroines to disastrous results—especially when she falls for the school’s resident Lothario.

Mary Porter-Malcolm has prepared for high school in the one way she knows how: an extensive review of classic literature to help navigate the friendships, romantic liaisons, and overall drama she has come to expect from such an “esteemed” institution. When some new friends seem in danger of falling for the same tricks employed since the days of Austen and Tolstoy, Mary swoops in to create the Scoundrel Survival Guide, using archetypes of literature’s debonair bad boys to signal red flags. But despite her best efforts, she soon finds herself unable to listen to her own good advice and falling for a supposed cad—the same one she warned her friends away from. Without a convenient rain-swept moor to flee to, Mary is forced to admit that real life doesn’t follow the same rules as fiction and that if she wants a happy ending, she’s going to have to write it herself.

Amanda: The sounds cute and filled with all sorts of book nerdery. It’s also one of the best illustrated covers I’ve seen.

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Catherine House

Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas

Author: Elisabeth Thomas
Released: May 12, 2020 by Custom House
Genre: ,

A seductive, gothic-infused tale of literary suspense—the debut of a spectacular new voice —about a dangerously curious young undergraduate whose rebelliousness leads her to discover a shocking secret involving an exclusive circle of students . . . and the dark truth beneath her school’s promise of prestige.

You are in the house and the house is in the woods.
You are in the house and the house is in you . . .

Catherine House is a school of higher learning like no other. Hidden deep in the woods of rural Pennsylvania, this crucible of reformist liberal arts study with its experimental curriculum, wildly selective admissions policy, and formidable endowment, has produced some of the world’s best minds: prize-winning authors, artists, inventors, Supreme Court justices, presidents. For those lucky few selected, tuition, room, and board are free. But acceptance comes with a price. Students are required to give the House three years—summers included—completely removed from the outside world. Family, friends, television, music, even their clothing must be left behind. In return, the school promises its graduates a future of sublime power and prestige, and that they can become anything or anyone they desire.

Among this year’s incoming class is Ines, who expects to trade blurry nights of parties, pills, cruel friends, and dangerous men for rigorous intellectual discipline—only to discover an environment of sanctioned revelry. The school’s enigmatic director, Viktória, encourages the students to explore, to expand their minds, to find themselves and their place within the formidable black iron gates of Catherine.

For Ines, Catherine is the closest thing to a home she’s ever had, and her serious, timid roommate, Baby, soon becomes an unlikely friend. Yet the House’s strange protocols make this refuge, with its worn velvet and weathered leather, feel increasingly like a gilded prison. And when Baby’s obsessive desire for acceptance ends in tragedy, Ines begins to suspect that the school—in all its shabby splendor, hallowed history, advanced theories, and controlled decadence—might be hiding a dangerous agenda that is connected to a secretive, tightly knit group of students selected to study its most promising and mysterious curriculum.

Combining the haunting sophistication and dusky, atmospheric style of Sarah Waters with the unsettling isolation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, Catherine House is a devious, deliciously steamy, and suspenseful page-turner with shocking twists and sharp edges that is sure to leave readers breathless.

Elyse: I’m always down for a Gothic thriller.

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The Henna Wars

The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar

Author: Adiba Jaigirdar
Released: May 12, 2020 by Page Street Books
Genre: , ,

Nishat doesn’t want to lose her family, but she also doesn’t want to hide who she is, and it only gets harder once a childhood friend walks back into her life. Flávia is beautiful and charismatic, and Nishat falls for her instantly. But when a school competition invites students to create their own businesses, both Flávia and Nishat decide to showcase their talent as henna artists. In a fight to prove who is the best, their lives become more tangled—but Nishat can’t quite get rid of her crush, especially since Flávia seems to like her back.

As the competition heats up, Nishat has a decision to make: stay in the closet for her family, or put aside her differences with Flávia and give their relationship a chance.

Aarya: Rival henna businesses between former friends! I needed this yesterday.

Maya: SUCH A FAN OF THIS COVER. Two brown girls, so much longing!!

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He’s Come Undone

He’s Come Undone by Adriana Herrera

Author: Adriana Herrera
Released: May 12, 2020
Genre: , , ,

For him, control is everything…until it shatters, and now he’s come undone.

“Appassionata” by Emma Barry
Piano technician Brennan Connelly lives to control details: the tension on a piano string or the compression of hammer felt. But he’s never faced demands like those heaped on him by Kristy Kwong, the diva who’s haunted his dreams for two decades. Kristy’s got her own secrets–the debilitating stage fright that’s kept her from performing publicly for years to start–and this concert is the last chance to save her career. But can he locate her lost passion without losing his precious control?

“Unraveled” by Olivia Dade
Math teacher Simon Burnham–cool, calm, controlled–can’t abide problems with no good solution. Which makes his current work assignment, mentoring art teacher Poppy Wick, nothing short of torture. She’s warm but sharp. Chaotic but meticulous. Simultaneously the most frustrating and most alluring woman he’s ever known. And in her free time, she makes murder dioramas. Murder dioramas, for heaven’s sake. But the more tightly wound a man is, the faster he unravels–and despite his best efforts, he soon finds himself attempting to solve three separate mysteries: a murder in miniature, the unexplained disappearance of a colleague…and the unexpected theft of his cold, cold heart.

“Caught Looking” by Adriana Herrera
When best friends Yariel and Hatuey’s gaming night turns into an unexpected and intense hook up, Hatuey can’t wait to do it again. Yariel is less certain–the major leaguer might seem to all the world like he has a heart of stone, but he’s been carrying a torch for his friend for years, and worries this will ruin the most important relationship in his life. That means Hatuey has to do all the work, and he’s planning to give it all he’s got. Yariel may be the one hitting home runs on the field…but Hatuey is playing a game of seduction, and he knows exactly how to make Yariel crumble.

“Yes, And…” by Ruby Lang
When rheumatologist Darren Zhang accidentally sits in on acting teacher Joan Lacy’s improv class, he’s unprepared for the attraction that hits him–and he’s a man who likes to be prepared. Joan is caring for her ailing mother and barely has time to keep up her art, let alone date. But as the pair play out an unlikely relationship during stolen moments, they both find themselves wanting to say yes, and… much more.

“Tommy Cabot Was Here” by Cat Sebastian
Massachusetts, 1959: Some people might accuse mathematician Everett Sloane of being stuffy, but really he just prefers things a certain way: predictable, quiet, and far away from Tommy Cabot–his former best friend, chaos incarnate, and the man who broke his heart. The youngest son of a prominent political family, Tommy threw away his future by coming out to his powerful brothers. When he runs into Everett, who fifteen years ago walked away from Tommy without an explanation or a backward glance, his old friend’s chilliness is just another reminder of how bad a mess Tommy has made of his life. When Everett realizes that his polite formality is hurting Tommy, he needs to decide whether he can unbend enough to let Tommy get close but without letting himself get hurt the way he was all those years ago.

Aarya: Anthologies are risky when I’m not familiar with all the authors, but this is the rare lineup where I’ve enjoyed all the participants before. I’m not sure what the overarching theme is, though.

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House of Dragons

House of Dragons by Jessica Cluess

Author: Jessica Cluess
Released: May 12, 2020 by Random House Books for Young Readers
Genre: ,
Series: House of Dragons #1

Five royal houses will hear the call to compete in the Trial for the dragon throne. A liar, a soldier, a servant, a thief, and a murderer will answer it. Who will win? Think THREE DARK CROWNS meets THE BREAKFAST CLUB with DRAGONS.

When the Emperor dies, the five royal houses of Etrusia attend the Call, where one of their own will be selected to compete for the throne. It is always the oldest child, the one who has been preparing for years to compete in the Trial. But this year is different. This year these five outcasts will answer the call. . . .

THE LIAR: Emilia must hide her dark magic or be put to death.

THE SOLDIER: Lucian is a warrior who has sworn to never lift a sword again.

THE SERVANT: Vespir is a dragon trainer whose skills alone will keep her in the game.

THE THIEF: Ajax knows that nothing is free–he must take what he wants.

THE MURDERER: Hyperia was born to rule and will stop at nothing to take her throne.

Amanda: The cover gives me Sailor Moon/Power Ranger vibes, but with dragons and swords.

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The Road Home

The Road Home by Erin Zak

Author: Erin Zak
Released: May 12, 2020 by Bold Strokes Books
Genre: , ,

When she’s passed over for the role of a lifetime, Hollywood actress Gwendolyn Carter is absolutely crushed. That’s when things go from bad to worse. Home to celebrate her dad’s birthday, Gwen discovers her mom is sick and might not have much time left. She stays to help and to repair the emotional rift that has kept them apart for so long. That’s easier said than done, though, because oh-so-perfect Lila Machowicz has all but replaced Gwen as Carol Carter’s surrogate daughter.

Gwen and Lila are forced to work together to support the woman they both care about, even though they’re rivals for a place in Carol’s life. The last thing either expects is an attraction as undeniable as it is inconvenient. When Lila helps Gwen rebuild trust with her mom, Gwen’s heart begins to thaw. But every family has a closet full of skeletons, and when she discovers the family secret, will she ever be able to trust Lila again?

Tara: Erin Zak writes a good angsty f/f romance, especially when family dynamics are part of the story.

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The Trouble with Hating You

The Trouble with Hating You by Sajni Patel

Author: Sajni Patel
Released: May 12, 2020 by Forever
Genre: ,

A laugh-out-loud romantic comedy debut about first impressions, second chances, and finding the love of your life in the most unexpected way.

Liya Thakkar is a successful biochemical engineer, takeout enthusiast, and happily single woman. The moment she realizes her parents’ latest dinner party is a setup with the man they want her to marry, she’s out the back door in a flash. Imagine her surprise when the same guy shows up at her office a week later — the new lawyer hired to save her struggling company. What’s not surprising: he’s not too thrilled to see her either after that humiliating fiasco.

Jay Shah looks good on paper…and off. Especially if you like that whole gorgeous, charming lawyer-in-a-good-suit thing. He’s also arrogant and infuriating. As their witty office banter turns into late night chats, Liya starts to think he might be the one man who truly accepts her. But falling for each other means exposing their painful pasts. Will Liya keep running, or will she finally give love a real chance?

Aarya: Everything in the blurb screams Aarya catnip.

Shana: I love the idea of a parental setup, turning into reluctant feeling. I’m hoping that’ll mean family hijinks.

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Slippery Creatures

Slippery Creatures by K.J. Charles

Author: K.J. Charles
Released: May 13, 2020 by KJC Books
Genre: , ,
Series: The Will Darling Adventures #1

Will Darling came back from the Great War with a few scars, a lot of medals, and no idea what to do next. Inheriting his uncle’s chaotic second-hand bookshop is a blessing…until strange visitors start making threats. First a criminal gang, then the War Office, both telling Will to give them the information they want, or else.

Will has no idea what that information is, and nobody to turn to, until Kim Secretan—charming, cultured, oddly attractive—steps in to offer help. As Kim and Will try to find answers and outrun trouble, mutual desire grows along with the danger.

And then Will discovers the truth about Kim. His identity, his past, his real intentions. Enraged and betrayed, Will never wants to see him again.

But Will possesses knowledge that could cost thousands of lives. Enemies are closing in on him from all sides—and Kim is the only man who can help.

A 1920s m/m romance trilogy in the spirit of Golden Age pulp fiction.

Aarya: KJ Charles is such a reliable/terrific author and I can’t wait to read this post-WWI romantic trilogy (I believe the HEA will only occur after the end of book three).

Claudia: A book about a bookseller and a spy? Sign me up immediately!

Shana: Ooh, this sounds like perfect pandemic reading!

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