We have a whole new batch of new releases to discuss. And by “batch,” I mean over forty! We also have two books with the same title released this month, which I thought was kind of neat. I think we’ve name-checked all the big releases; I couldn’t think of anything we left off. If we did, please chime in below.
What November books are on your to-read list?
Sasha Holiday is so over the holidays after getting left at the altar last Christmas Eve. But as the marketing maven for Lady Robin’s Intimate Implements, she’s stuck not-so-merrily pitching naughty toys at a romance book club’s Christmas party. Her loathing of the yuletide only intensifies as a snowstorm rolls in and traps her at the Winterberry Inn. Stranded with her is Perry Winters—a hot bearded book club member trimmed in flannel and tattoos.
Perry’s a romantic with an unerring belief in the magic of the season, and he recognizes a Christmas miracle when he sees it. Brave, smart, and confident—Sasha Holiday is a gift. And the gifts keep coming when she suggests they pass the time with some no-strings fun. After all, she has a big bag of toys that would make even Santa want to stay in bed on Christmas Eve.
But the frisky festivities turn complicated as feelings spark between Sasha and Perry. Perry wants to see Sasha once the snow clears, but Sasha is reluctant to take the relationship sleigh ride again. Perry will have to show her that love is more than just a holiday feeling.
Aarya: I read an arc of this Christmas novella and LOVED IT. It features a Christmas-hating bi heroine. She becomes snowbound in an inn after selling sex toys to a romance novel book club (the hero is the innkeeper’s brother). Light kink, lots of sex toys, and so freaking good.
Awaken the Dragon
He’s sworn to protect the very entity she was born to kill…
Next in line for the Drakon throne, Theo Masters is the most powerful half human, half dragon in the world. Royal power is the last thing he wants, however. He lives as a human and runs the Legion Security Company. But his new client—a mysterious, beautiful human from a small African village—and the unknown danger she faces may forever change the quiet life that he’s chosen.
Shola N’Gara exists to kill the dark spirit that is attempting to demolish her people. It’s her purpose and her destiny. The gorgeous protector who taunts her with his sexy voice and body is not—especially after he shifts into a magnificent black dragon with turquoise eyes.
A rise in demon activity and the brutal murders Theo’s agents have been reporting start to add up. Someone is making a play, and it’s big enough to change the course of the world as they know it. Now Shola must choose between her destiny and her heart. And Theo must decide if standing by the woman he’s fallen in love with is worth facing his father in a battle to the death.
Aarya: Uh, dragons plus that awesome cover? I’m in. I always get in a PNR mood post-Halloween.
All Blood Runs Red
Author: Phil Keith
Released: November 5, 2019 by Hanover Square Press
The incredible story of the first African American military pilot, who went on to become a Paris nightclub impresario, a spy in the French Resistance and an American civil rights pioneer
Eugene Bullard lived one of the most fascinating lives of the twentieth century. The son of a former slave and an indigenous Creek woman, Bullard fled home at the age of eleven to escape the racial hostility of his Georgia community. When his journey led him to Europe, he garnered worldwide fame as a boxer, and later as the first African American fighter pilot in history.
After the war, Bullard returned to Paris a celebrated hero. But little did he know that the dramatic, globe-spanning arc of his life had just begun.
All Blood Runs Red is the inspiring untold story of an American hero, a thought-provoking chronicle of the twentieth century and a portrait of a man who came from nothing and by his own courage, determination, gumption, intelligence and luck forged a legendary life.
Sneezy: Chronicles of Eugene Bullard-Boxer, Afro-Indigenous man who did extraordinary things and lived extraordinarily. The sort of person I should have learned about ages ago, but didn’t.
The Bromance Book Club
The first rule of book club:
You don’t talk about book club.
Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him.
Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.
Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.
Sneezy: Second chance love, bolstered by community and romance novels as the hero learns emotional literacy. Fuck. Yes.
Call Down the Hawk
The dreamers walk among us . . . and so do the dreamed. Those who dream cannot stop dreaming – they can only try to control it. Those who are dreamed cannot have their own lives – they will sleep forever if their dreamers die.
And then there are those who are drawn to the dreamers. To use them. To trap them. To kill them before their dreams destroy us all.
Ronan Lynch is a dreamer. He can pull both curiosities and catastrophes out of his dreams and into his compromised reality.
Jordan Hennessy is a thief. The closer she comes to the dream object she is after, the more inextricably she becomes tied to it.
Carmen Farooq-Lane is a hunter. Her brother was a dreamer . . . and a killer. She has seen what dreaming can do to a person. And she has seen the damage that dreamers can do. But that is nothing compared to the destruction that is about to be unleashed. . . .
Charlotte: I loved Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle. I don’t know if this can match the weird epic amazingness of that series but I’m excited to revisit at least some of the characters and see them go someplace new.
Author: Rivers Solomon
Released: November 5, 2019 by Gallery / Saga Press
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
The water-breathing descendants of African slave women tossed overboard have built their own underwater society—and must reclaim the memories of their past to shape their future in this brilliantly imaginative novella inspired by the Hugo Award nominated song “The Deep” from Daveed Diggs’ rap group Clipping.
Yetu holds the memories for her people—water-dwelling descendants of pregnant African slave women thrown overboard by slave owners—who live idyllic lives in the deep. Their past, too traumatic to be remembered regularly, is forgotten by everyone, save one—the historian. This demanding role has been bestowed on Yetu.
Yetu remembers for everyone, and the memories, painful and wonderful, traumatic and terrible and miraculous, are destroying her. And so, she flees to the surface, escaping the memories, the expectations, and the responsibilities—and discovers a world her people left behind long ago.
Yetu will learn more than she ever expected to about her own past—and about the future of her people. If they are all to survive, they’ll need to reclaim the memories, reclaim their identity—and own who they really are.
Inspired by a song produced by the rap group Clipping for the This American Life episode “We Are In The Future,” The Deep is vividly original and uniquely affecting.
Susan: This is the story based on Clipping’s (Hugo finalist!) song “The Deep”, which I’ve been hearing about for YEARS. And soon, soon it will be out!
The Family Upstairs
Author: Lisa Jewell
Released: November 5, 2019 by Atria Books
From the New York Times bestselling author and master of “bone-chilling suspense” (People) comes another page-turning look inside one family’s past as buried secrets threaten to come to light.
Gifted musician Clemency Thompson is playing for tourists on the streets of southern France when she receives an urgent text message. Her childhood friend, Lucy, is demanding her immediate return to London.
It’s happening, says the message. The baby is back.
Libby Jones was only six months old when she became an orphan. Now twenty-five, she’s astounded to learn of an inheritance that will change her life. A gorgeous, dilapidated townhouse in one of London’s poshest neighborhoods has been held in a trust for her all these years. Now it’s hers.
As Libby investigates the story of her birth parents and the dark legacy of her new home, Clemency and Lucy are headed her way to uncover, and possibly protect, secrets of their own. What really happened in that rambling Chelsea mansion when they were children? And are they still at risk?
Elyse: This book sounds so deliciously creepy.
Get a Life, Chloe Brown
Talia Hibbert, one of contemporary romance’s brightest new stars, delivers a witty, hilarious romantic comedy about a woman who’s tired of being “boring” and recruits her mysterious, sexy neighbor to help her experience new things—perfect for fans of Sally Thorne, Jasmine Guillory, and Helen Hoang.
Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamourous family’s mansion. The next items?
Enjoy a drunken night out.
Ride a motorcycle.
Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
And…do something bad.
But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.
Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit.
But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…
Shana: I read an ARC of this book and I’m going to call it now, this is my favorite rom-com of 2019.
Sneezy: I’m always down for a goal setter and getter, and everything else sounds catnippy as all fuck. Yessss – want preciousss…
The Great Pretender
Author: Susannah Cahalan
Released: November 5, 2019 by Grand Central Publishing
From “one of America’s most courageous young journalists” (NPR) comes a propulsive narrative history investigating the 50-year-old mystery behind a dramatic experiment that changed the course of modern medicine.
For centuries, doctors have struggled to define mental illness-how do you diagnose it, how do you treat it, how do you even know what it is? In search of an answer, in the 1970s a Stanford psychologist named David Rosenhan and seven other people — sane, normal, well-adjusted members of society — went undercover into asylums around America to test the legitimacy of psychiatry’s labels. Forced to remain inside until they’d “proven” themselves sane, all eight emerged with alarming diagnoses and even more troubling stories of their treatment. Rosenhan’s watershed study broke open the field of psychiatry, closing down institutions and changing mental health diagnosis forever.
But, as Cahalan’s explosive new research shows, very little in this saga is exactly as it seems. What really happened behind those closed asylum doors, and what does it mean for our understanding of mental illness today?
Elyse: I’m very interested in how our understanding of mental illness is shaped and how it’s evolved, so while the book sounds intense, I definitely want to read it.
The Guinevere Deception
From New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White comes a new fantasy series reimagining the Arthurian legend, set in the magical world of Camelot.
There was nothing in the world as magical and terrifying as a girl.
Princess Guinevere has come to Camelot to wed a stranger: the charismatic King Arthur. With magic clawing at the kingdom’s borders, the great wizard Merlin conjured a solution–send in Guinevere to be Arthur’s wife . . . and his protector from those who want to see the young king’s idyllic city fail. The catch? Guinevere’s real name–and her true identity–is a secret. She is a changeling, a girl who has given up everything to protect Camelot.
To keep Arthur safe, Guinevere must navigate a court in which the old–including Arthur’s own family–demand things continue as they have been, and the new–those drawn by the dream of Camelot–fight for a better way to live. And always, in the green hearts of forests and the black depths of lakes, magic lies in wait to reclaim the land. Arthur’s knights believe they are strong enough to face any threat, but Guinevere knows it will take more than swords to keep Camelot free.
Deadly jousts, duplicitous knights, and forbidden romances are nothing compared to the greatest threat of all: the girl with the long black hair, riding on horseback through the dark woods toward Arthur. Because when your whole existence is a lie, how can you trust even yourself?
Amanda: White’s writing is hit or miss for me, but I am very much swayed by a cool cover.
Author: Keisha Blair
Released: November 5, 2019 by Catalyst Books
Build a better, richer life by following thirty-two lessons that lead to happiness.
Imagine a life where you are financially savvy and independent, living with purpose and generosity while inspiring others. Holistic Wealth will teach you to master these tenets of a happy and joyful life, giving you a greater sense of wholeness and resilience in times of difficulty.
By expanding on the teachings shared in her viral article My Husband Died at 34. Here Are 40 Life Lessons I Learned From It, author Keisha Blair presents revolutionary strategies that will help you find balance and success. By following actionable, comprehensive steps from experts in a wide array of fields, this engaging book will guide you on your path to serenity.
Holistic Wealth teaches you how to find prosperity in key aspects of life, from financial stability and physical health to your emotional and spiritual connections with others. Cultivating these strengths will build the mental toughness and grit you need to weather life’s inevitable storms and setbacks.
Sneezy: What is wealth, if you don’t follow capitalism’s definition? Here is one woman’s definition.
Invisible Kingdom, Vol. 1
Hugo and World Fantasy Award-winning author G. Willow Wilson (Ms. Marvel, Wonder Woman) and Eisner winning artist Christian Ward (Black Bolt) team up for this epic new sci-fi saga!
In a small solar system in a far-flung galaxy, two women–one a young religious acolyte and the other, a hard-bitten freighter pilot–uncover a conspiracy between the leaders of the most dominant religion and an all-consuming mega-corporation.
On the run from reprisals on both sides, this unlikely pair must decide where their loyalties lie–and risk plunging the world into anarchy if they reveal the truth.
One of AV Club’s most anticipated comics of 2019!
Ellen: Since my favorite graphic novel genre is “science fiction about anyone but cis men” I’ve been pumped for this series for months.
The Likeability Trap
Author: Alicia Menendez
Released: November 5, 2019 by HarperBusiness
Women are perceived as either strong and cold or weak and warm. An award-winning journalist and cohost of PBS’s Amanpour and Company examines likability and empowers readers to reject an outdated image of leadership instead of reinventing themselves.
Research shows that the more women succeed, the less likable they become. The minefield is doubly loaded when likability intersects with race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and parental status. Relying on extensive research and interviews, and carefully examined personal experience, The Likeability Trap delivers an essential examination of the pressure put on women to be amiable at work, home, and in the public sphere.
Rather than advising readers to make themselves likeable, Menendez empowers them to examine how they perceive themselves and others, and breaks down how the subjective nature of likability is riddled with cultural biases and how our demands for it hinder everyone’s progress and power.
Written from the perspective of a minority female Millennial, The Likeability Trap proposes surprising, actionable solutions for moving through these cultural patterns holding us back. Ultimately inspiring us to value unique talents and styles instead of muting them, and to remember that even when we are held back for appearing unlikeable, we aren’t broken by it.
Sneezy: The pressure to be likeable is another insidious, nebulous thing that has real consequences for women. The blurb seems to be promising the book will be serving up some intersectional fabulousness, and I really hope it delivers!
Author: E.E. Knight
Released: November 5, 2019 by Ace
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Series: Dragoneer Academy #1
In the first book in an exciting and charming new coming-of-age fantasy series from the author of the Age of Fire series, an impoverished girl enters into a military order of dragonriders, but her path won’t be as easy or as straightforward as she expected.
Fourteen-year-old Ileth grew up in an orphanage, and thanks to her stutter was never thought to be destined for much beyond kitchen work and cleaning. But she’s dreamed of serving with the dragons ever since a childhood meeting with a glittering silver dragon and its female dragoneer. For years she waits, and as soon as she is old enough to join, Ileth runs away to become a novice dragoneer at the ancient human-dragon fortress of the Serpentine.
While most of her fellow apprentices are from rich and influential families, Ileth must fight for her place in the world, even if it includes a duel with her boss at the fish-gutting table. She’s then sent off to the dragon-dancers after a foolish kiss with a famously named boy and given charge of a sickly old dragon with a mysterious past. But she finds those trials were nothing when she has to take the place of a dead dragoneer and care for his imprisoned dragon in enemy lands. . .
Sarah: A sf/f about girl who runs away to dragon academy. What’s not tantalizing about that?
Poppy Redfern and the Midnight Murders
The start of an exciting new World War II historical mystery series featuring charming, quirky Air Raid Warden Poppy Redfern….
Summer 1942. The world has been at war for three long and desperate years. In the remote English village of Little Buffenden, the Redfern family’s house and farmland has been requisitioned by the War Office as a new airfield for the American Air Force.
The village’s Air Raid Warden, twentysomething Poppy Redfern, spends her nights patrolling the village and her days writing a novel of passion. It is a far cry from the experience of the other young women in town: within days, two of the village’s prettiest girls are dating American airmen and Little Buffenden considers the “Friendly Invasion” to be a success.
But less than a week later, Doreen Newcombe, the baker’s daughter; and the popular Ivy Wantage are both found dead. Poppy realizes that her community has been divided by murder, and the mistrust and suspicion of their new American neighbors threatens to tear this town, already grappling with the horrors of war, apart. Poppy decides to start her own investigation, but she soon unearths some unfortunate secrets and long-held grudges. She will have no choice but to lay a trap for a killer so perilously close to home, she might very well become the next victim…
Sarah: The start of a mystery series set in a small English village in 1942, just after the US joined WWII. Review to come!
Someone to Remember
It’s never too late to fall in love in this enchanting new novella in the Westcott series from New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh.
Matilda Westcott has spent her life tending to the needs of her mother, the Dowager Countess of Riverdale, never questioning the life of solitude she has spun for herself. To Matilda, who considers herself the aging spinster daughter, marriage is laughable–love is a game for the young, after all. But her modest, quiet life of order unravels when a dashing gentleman from her past reappears, threatening to charm his way into her heart yet again.
Charles Sawyer, Viscount Dirkson, does not expect to see Matilda Westcott thirty-six years after their failed romance. Moreover, he does not expect decades-old feelings to emerge at the very sight of her. When encountering Matilda at a dinner hosted by the Earl of Riverdale, he finds himself as fascinated by her as he was the first day they met, and wonders if, after all these years, they have a chance at happiness together. Charles is determined to crack the hard exterior Matilda has built for over three decades or risk losing her once again…
Claudia: Older main characters (past 50) and second-chance novella tying some loose ends for a character who had been a bit of a caricature thus far in this series.
Elyse: I’ve found the last couple of books in this series to be a little dry, but I’m super excited for a 56-year-old hero and heroine.
The Starless Sea
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Night Circus, a timeless love story set in a secret underground world–a place of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a starless sea.
Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues–a bee, a key, and a sword–that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to an ancient library, hidden far below the surface of the earth.
What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians–it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also those who are intent on its destruction. Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly-soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose–in both the mysterious book and in his own life.
Lara: I have a deep love for The Night Circus, so I’m left feeling both giddy and terrified at the prospect of reading this book. Please please be as lovely as I hope you are.
Sneezy: After The Night Circus, I’ll let Morgenstern take me anywhere.
Author: C.M. Waggoner
Released: November 5, 2019 by Ace
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
A “brilliant and terrifically fun”* debut novel brings an enchanting new voice to fantasy.
Onna can write the parameters of a spell faster than any of the young men in her village school. But despite her incredible abilities, she’s denied a place at the nation’s premier arcane academy. Undaunted, she sails to the bustling city-state of Hexos, hoping to find a place at a university where they don’t think there’s anything untoward about providing a woman with a magical education. But as soon as Onna arrives, she’s drawn into the mysterious murder of four trolls.
Tsira is a troll who never quite fit into her clan, despite being the leader’s daughter. She decides to strike out on her own and look for work in a human city, but on her way she stumbles upon the body of a half-dead human soldier in the snow. As she slowly nurses him back to health, an unlikely bond forms between them, one that is tested when an unknown mage makes an attempt on Tsira’s life. Soon, unbeknownst to each other, Onna and Tsira both begin devoting their considerable talents to finding out who is targeting trolls, before their homeland is torn apart…
Ellen: This appears to be a book about feminist lady magicians and also trolls, two things I am very into.
The Witches Are Coming
Author: Lindy West
Released: November 5, 2019 by Hachette Books
The firebrand New York Times columnist and bestselling author of Shrill–soon to be a Hulu series starring Aidy Bryant–provides a brilliant and incisive look at how patriarchy, intolerance, and misogyny have conquered not just politics but American culture itself.
What do Adam Sandler, Donald Trump, and South Park have in common? Why are myths like “reverse sexism” and “political correctness” so seductive? And why do movie classics of yore, from Sixteen Candles to Revenge of the Nerds, make rape look like so much silly fun? With Lindy West’s signature wit and in her uniquely incendiary voice, THE WITCHES ARE COMING lays out a grand theory of America that explains why Trump’s election was, in many ways, a foregone conclusion.
As West reveals through fascinating journeys across the landscapes of pop culture, the lies that fostered the catastrophic resentment that boiled over in the 2016 presidential race did not spring from a vacuum. They have in fact been woven into America’s DNA, cultivated by generations of mediocre white men and fed to the masses with such fury that we have become unable to recognize them as lies at all.
Whether it be the notion overheard since the earliest moments of the #MeToo movement that feminism has gone too far or the insistence that holding someone accountable for his actions amounts to a “witch hunt,” THE WITCHES ARE COMING exposes the lies that many have chosen to believe and the often unexpected figures who have furthered them. Along the way, it unravels the tightening link between culture and politics, identifying in the memes, music, and movies we’ve loved the seeds of the neoreactionary movement now surging through the nation.
Sprawling, funny, scorching, and illuminating, THE WITCHES ARE COMING shows West at the top of her intellectual and comic powers. As much a celebration of America’s potential as a condemnation of our failures, some will call it a witch hunt. To which West would reply, so be it: “I’m a witch and I’m hunting you.”
Elyse: The author of Shrill tackles patriarchy and the 2016 election.
Shana: Lindy West’s essay on men and #metoo was so cathartic, I still remember it two years later. Excited to see her expand it out to a full book
Author: Anna Mocikat
Released: November 7, 2019 by Black Rose Writing
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Los Angeles is an apocalyptic wasteland. The few survivors of a horrific catastrophe live under the constant threat of radiation, mutated creatures, and worse… lurking in the shadows.
In the ruins of the deserted city, the scavengers Jean and Louis come across a nameless stranger and bring him to the only safe zone, once known as Hollywood. What’s left of society is divided among different factions; mistrust, brute force, and anarchy rule every day’s life. If the struggle for survival wasn’t bad enough, the nuclear disaster has shifted realities as we knew them and brought something into our world which threatens to exterminate the human race. Something so dark, that every living being is horrified of it. Something that feeds on suffering and violence.
But humans aren’t alone in this existential fight. Unexpected allies emerge from the shadows and in the final stand, the nameless stranger will decide humanities fate.
Amanda: This is giving me Escape from LA vibes.
Bailey Thorne doesn’t hate Jake the Rake, just despises him. She blames the rumor mill at her school…and, okay, him. His adorable son has only been in preschool, but Jake has already made an impressive dent in dating the unmarried faculty. She’s had to hear of his every exploit from the broken hearts he’s left behind. She was fine to loathe him from afar, but now his son has entered kindergarten–and she’s the teacher. It’s going to be a very long school year.
Jake Polaski was more than fine to avoid Ms. Thorne after it became clear she was not amused by his very existence. But then they get stuck in an elevator for an evening. He finds out that underneath that baleful glare she always gives him, lies a warm, funny and sexy as hell woman. He does his best to not be smitten after every exchange afterward. His son needs him rational, steadfast…and love is the most uncertain thing.
It was the elevator’s fault. Had it worked like it should, Bailey would have gone on with her life without seeing why so many of her co-workers had fallen for the grumpy single dad. (It’s his dry wit, his playful teasing and the drool-worthy cut of his jawline.) And now she’s caught in the way he doles out smiles and the dark depths of his secrets. If nothing else, she knows from rumor there’s a clock ticking on their affair before it implodes because things always do with Jake the Rake, but she can’t seem to walk away first.
Aarya: I love the title. We all love grumpy heroes! Why not advertise it so you can’t miss it?
Love can take root where you least expect it.
Tyson Yang never imagined that one day he’d be the de facto spokesperson for an illegal community garden. But when the once-rat-infested-but-now-thriving Harlem lot goes up for sale, Ty can’t just let all their hard work get plowed under.
Even if he is irresistibly drawn to the lovely but infuriatingly stubborn real estate associate.
Magda Ferrer’s family is already convinced this new job will be yet another flop in her small but growing list of career path failures. But her student debt isn’t going anywhere, and selling her uncle’s historic town house and the lot nearby means a chance to get some breathing room.
Ty is her charming rival, her incorrigible nemesis, the handsome roadblock to her success.
Until one hot Harlem night blurs the hard line drawn between them, and the seeds of possibility in this rocky garden blossom into love…
Shana: I got married in a community garden, so I’m down to read about people falling in love while fighting to save one.
Sneezy: Community garden, gal trying to breathe under capitalism, enemy to lovers, hell to the fuck yes please.
Aarya: I reviewed Playing House for SBTB and really liked the background of NYC real estate. This one has a sexy gardener hero!
A Second Chance Road Trip for Christmas
Greg Wong hates when things don’t go according to plan, so he definitely doesn’t appreciate it when his mother insists he drive Tasha Edwards back to Mosquito Bay for the Christmas holidays. He likes peace and quiet when he’s in the car, and that’s the opposite of what he’ll get with Tasha, his high school sweetheart. The first woman he ever loved.
Not that he has feelings for her now. Of course not. Though while he’s trying not to smile at her laughter and terrible singing, he can’t help noticing how beautiful she is.
And then his plans veer further off course when a snowstorm forces them to spend the night in an unheated motel room with only one bed…
Aarya: This is book #2 of 4 in a holiday novella series about a meddling family trying to matchmake their kids. First book is about Canadian Thanksgiving, and I love how tropey all the titles are. I think Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day are next.
Sneezy: Jackie Lau wrote it.
Back to September
Building a bridge between two worlds can be tricky.
Hannah Shephard likes her life, her job, and her perfectly cozy apartment around the corner from her shop. She’s never been one to take big risks and would much rather stay in on a Friday night with a warm cup of decaf and her favorite mystery novel, so why do her friends insist she needs more? Plus, Hannah has bigger problems to focus on. She’s in trouble. Well, her bookstore is, and if she doesn’t find a way to bring in some more cash, she’ll be closing the doors of A Likely Story for good.
When world famous romance novelist Parker Bristow accepts her request to come in for a signing, Hannah might finally be able to drum up some much-needed attention and save the shop. What she didn’t anticipate was an unexpected evening and a woman she wouldn’t soon forget. A real romance is off the table. Parker is flashy, sought after, and Hannah is just, well, Hannah. But for Parker, it seems like Hannah might be a safe place to fall. The question is, what kind of falling are they doing?
Shana: I will read anything set in a bookstore, but this f/f also has the owner falling for a romance novelist. Yes, please.
Tara: Melissa Brayden is already on my auto-buy list, but a romance novelist + a bookstore owner? That premise would have me hooked, regardless of the author.
Sneezy: BOOKSTORE OWNER and ROMANCE AUTHOR FALLS IN LOVE!!!! It already sounds so cute, I’m going to DIE. And DIE HAPPY!
Cost of Honor
Secret Service Agent Oakes Weaver is in the midst of the biggest assignment of her career—leading the advance team for President Andrew Powell’s impending trip to Philadelphia where everyone expects he will be nominated to run for a second term. The last thing she needs is a tragedy among the president’s inner circle that might not be an accident, or the sudden recruitment of Ari Rostof, a woman who might be a lot more than she seems. But Oakes doesn’t get a say in policy. She only has to secure the president’s safety—at all costs.
First Daughter Blair Powell and her spouse, Cameron Roberts, are among the reelection campaign members accompanying President Andrew Powell to Philadelphia. While the president may be protected by his Secret Service agents, those close to him are literally in the kill zone, and his adversaries will stop at nothing to further their cause—even mass murder.
Tara: This series about the President’s daughter falling for her Secret Service agent has been going on for 14 years. The first book also has an extra special place in my heart because it’s one of the first f/f books I ever read. I can’t wait to catch up with these characters and see where they’re at now.
Crown of Oblivion
Astrid is the surrogate for Princess Renya, which means she bears the physical punishment if Renya steps out of line. Astrid has no choice—she and her family are Outsiders, the lower class of people without magic and without citizenship.
But there is a way out of this life—competing in the deadly Race of Oblivion. To enter the race, an Outsider is administered the drug Oblivion, which wipes their memory clear of their past as they enter a new world with nothing to help them but a slip of paper bearing their name and the first clue. It’s not as simple as solving a puzzle, however—for a majority of the contestants, the race ends in death. But winning would mean not only freedom for Astrid, but citizenship and health care for her entire family. With a dying father to think of, Astrid is desperate to prevail.
From the beginning, the race is filled with twists and turns. One of them is Darius, a fellow racer Astrid meets but isn’t sure she can trust. Though they team up in the race, as Astrid’s memories begin to resurface, she remembers just who he was to her—a scorned foe who may want revenge. Astrid also starts to notice she has powers no Outsider should—which could help her win the race, but also make her a target if anyone finds out. With stakes that couldn’t be higher, Astrid must decide what is more important: risking her life to remember the mysteries of the past, or playing a cutthroat game in order to win her—and her family’s—freedom.
Amanda: This setup sounds terrifying and I’m so ready.
Not Since You
Charlotte Southwick always has a plan. Boarding her honeymoon cruise alone and decidedly unmarried wasn’t her intention. Neither was running into her high school love on board. Lexi looks so confident, and so hot, and so irresistible… How could she have let this woman get away?
Lexi Bronson hasn’t had a permanent address in almost a decade and couldn’t be happier. Life is good bartending for a luxury cruise line—open seas, warm beaches, beautiful women, and no unnecessary anchors—until the woman who broke her heart shows up on her ship, and all those dreams of forever come rushing back.
When passion flares, will the storm that rages shipwreck them both?
Shana: I wish I was on a tropical cruise, but I will be reading this book instead.
Not the Girl You Marry
How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days gets a millennial makeover in this romantic comedy by USA Today bestselling author Andie J. Christopher.
Jack Nolan is a gentleman, a journalist, and unlucky in love. His viral success has pigeon-holed him as the how-to guy for a buzzy, internet media company instead of covering hard-hitting politics. Fed up with his fluffy articles and the app-based dating scene as well, he strikes a deal with his boss to write a final piece de resistance: How to Lose a Girl. Easier said than done when the girl he meets is Hannah Mayfield, and he’s not sure he wants her to dump him.
Hannah is an extremely successful event planner who’s focused on climbing the career ladder. Her firm is one of the most prestigious in the city, and she’s determined to secure her next promotion. But Hannah has a bit of an image problem. She needs to show her boss that she has range, including planning dreaded, romantic weddings. Enter Jack. He’s the perfect man to date for a couple weeks to prove to her boss that she’s not scared of feelings.
Before Jack and Hannah know it, their fake relationship starts to feel all too real—and neither of them can stand to lose each other.
Aarya: How to Lose A Guy In Ten Days is not my favorite rom-com, but this gender-swapped take does look intriguing.
Not Your Average Love Spell
The Knights of Flame need to move their army across the country to defeat a brutal enemy. Tricky, as the knights have outlawed magic. They hire a researcher, Camille, to fix the problem and assign the dashing Major Sydney to help. If Camille and Sydney can keep their hands off each other long enough, they can surely come up with a solution.
Rowena the Hawk is a witch of great power and stubbornness equal to that of an entire phalanx of knights. Exiled from home, she has only her construct Ember for company until the most beautiful woman she’s ever seen dares her to save the world.
Wanting to cuddle one moment and strangle each other the next, the four women are the kingdom’s only hope. Everyone’s probably doomed…
Sneezy: Two lesbian couples. Magic. A kingdom to save. Cuddles and BOOM. All the fun aside, the story apparently starts with magic banished. I’m hoping secretly hoping Wright uses this as a vehicle to examine a whole host of things.
Realm of Ash
Author: Tasha Suri
Released: November 12, 2019 by Orbit
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Series: The Books of Ambha #2
The fate of an empire rests in the hands of a young woman with magical blood and nothing left to lose, and an outcast prince determined to save his family at any cost, in this “dark, melodious, and memorable” new fantasy (Library Journal, starred review) from the author of the award-winning Empire of Sand.
The Ambhan Empire is crumbling. A terrible war of succession hovers on the horizon. The only hope for peace lies in the mysterious realm of ash, where mortals can find what they seek in the echoes of their ancestors’ dreams. But to walk there requires a steep price.
Arwa is determined to make the journey. Widowed by a brutal massacre, she’s pledged service to the royal family and will see that pledge through to the end. She never expected to be joined by Zahir, the disgraced, illegitimate prince who has turned to forbidden magic in a desperate bid to save those he loves.
Together, they’ll walk the bloody path of their shared past. And it will call into question everything they’ve ever believed…including whether the Empire is worth saving at all.
Aarya: THE PREVIOUS BOOK EMPIRE OF SAND IS SO GOOD; GO READ IT, I WILL STOP SCREAMING NOW. They’re standalone fantasy novels with complete (and very important) romantic HEA arcs within each book. Slow-burn, freaking amazing, and Mughal-based worldbuilding.
Author: Rebecca Roanhorse
Released: November 5, 2019 by Del Rey
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Series: Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker #1
In this pivotal prequel to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the heroes of the Resistance—Poe Dameron, General Leia Organa, Rey, and Finn—must fight back from the edge of oblivion.
The Resistance is in ruins. In the wake of their harrowing escape from Crait, what was once an army has been reduced to a handful of wounded heroes. Finn, Poe, Rey, Rose, Chewbacca, Leia Organa—their names are famous among the oppressed worlds they fight to liberate. But names can only get you so far, and Leia’s last desperate call for aid has gone unanswered.
From the jungles of Ryloth to the shipyards of Corellia, the shadow of the First Order looms large, and those with the bravery to face the darkness are scattered and isolated. If hope is to survive, the Resistance must journey throughout the galaxy, seeking out more leaders—including those who, in days gone by, helped a nascent rebellion topple an empire. Battles will be fought, alliances will be forged, and the Resistance will be reborn.
Charlotte: I never had an interest in Star Wars novels but I will read anything Rebecca Roanhorse puts on paper.
Three for All
Geoff Robinson has no reason to feel insecure in his marriage to Patrick Walsh, even with Patrick’s polyamorous past and Geoff’s own inexperience. When Geoff starts fantasizing about bringing a woman into their bed, he has to admit that he’s trying to appease his own curiosity, and not Patrick’s. Threesomes are exciting, and surely one night of fun won’t cause any problems.
With the ink still fresh on her PhD, Lori Clark is finally ready to move to a bigger city and pursue her dream job. Her time in small-town Mapleton has an expiration date, so there seems to be little harm in a fling, even a fling with her sexy coworker and his husband. One night is never enough, though, and their chemistry together hints at the possibility of more than just an affair. The excitement of a new relationship makes Geoff and Patrick wonder if they’re just infatuated or destined for non-monogamy, but Lori’s future plans are pulling her away from both of them. Can a marriage survive when two people in love… both fall in love with someone else?
Aarya: Elia Winters writes some of the sexiest erotic romance around. She just won the 2019 RITA Award for Best Erotic Romance.
A Convenient Marriage
It was the perfect marriage… until they fell in love.
Chaya is a young woman torn between her duty to family and her life in the UK. While her traditional Sri Lankan parents want her to settle down into marriage, what they don’t know is that Chaya has turned away the one true love of her life, Noah, terrified of their disapproval.
Gimhana is hiding his sexuality from his family. It’s easy enough to pretend he’s straight when he lives half a world away in the UK. But it’s getting harder and harder to turn down the potential brides his parents keep finding for him.
When Chaya and Gimhana meet, a marriage of convenience seems like the perfect solution to their problems. Together they have everything – friendship, stability and their parents’ approval. But when both Chaya and Gimhana find themselves falling in love outside of their marriage, they’re left with an impossible decision – risk everything they’ve built together, or finally follow their heart?
Will they choose love, or carry on living a lie?
Sneezy: A gay man and a straight woman marry, thinking it’s the perfect solution appease their Sri Lankan families and be happy, and it was, until they find love. I haven’t read it yet, and I’m already biting my nails for them!
Ten Things My Cat Hates About You
This funny, warm-hearted rom com is perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella, Lindsey Kelk and Mhairi McFarlane!
‘The sweetest tale…crammed with joy’ Sunday Times bestseller Milly Johnson
Not everyone gets nine lives…
So he better be the love of a lifetime!
When Clara’s ginger cat Casper chases yet another romantic prospect out the door she’s ready to give up on love altogether. But then the fussy feline causes two meet cutes in the space of a day and suddenly Clara has two gorgeous men driving her to distraction.
But who is in control of happy ever after? Clara, fate…or the cat who started it all?
Elyse: A cat who chases away unworthy boyfriends and arranges meet-cutes? Yes purrlease.
The Firefighter’s Cinderella
What’s a Cinderella to do when she’s accidentally kicked her Prince Charming in the face and broken his nose? Hold an audition, of course.
Harper Bailey is desperate to keep her family’s amusement park business up and running, but her employees keep quitting, and the man playing prince to her Cinderella in the company’s mainstage show is just the latest casualty. When sexy firefighter Rafferty Bradford, the most eligible bachelor in their small town, offers to step in, Harper agrees–reluctantly. After all, she and Rafferty are ex-best friends with a ton of past history. Surely they’ll have zero chemistry onstage.
Rafferty has his own reasons for agreeing to play Prince Charming, and none of them are good. If Harper finds out the truth, it’ll just reinforce every rumor she’s believed over the years about Rafferty’s bad rep. But when their chemistry explodes both onstage and off, he’ll have to choose between happily-ever-after for himself…or the Cinderella he’s fallen for.
Shana: I‘m hoping this includes some Disney Princess backstage shenanigans.
Heaven has been in love with her boyfriend Calvin since the day they met. The amateur boxer is perfect; kind, supportive and loving, the body of a god and sex so good she’s willing to follow him any and everywhere. That’s how they end up in a new town, renting half a duplex and ready to start their lives together.
Their new apartment is perfect. Big enough to lay down roots, a backyard studio for her to work on her art, and a neighbor who inspires the naughtiest fantasies.
Tasha and Stephen have a great life. They go to work, they come home, Stephen cooks and Tasha does the dishes. It’s domestic bliss. And if there’s something better than bliss, it’s whatever Tasha feels the first time she lays eyes on her new tenant next door and the way Stephen’s eyes glaze over in lust when she shares her fantasies.
What are two taken women to do when the attraction is mutual, the wall between their bedrooms seems paper thin, and the men they love only want them to be happy?
Aarya: I’m such a sucker for erotic romance featuring neighbors.
The Princess Plan
Princes have pomp and glory—not crushes on commoners.
Nothing gets the tongues of London’s high society wagging like a good scandal. And when the personal secretary of the visiting Prince Sebastian of Alucia is found murdered, it’s all anyone can talk about, including Eliza Tricklebank. Her unapologetic gossip gazette has benefited from an anonymous tip about the crime, prompting Sebastian to take an interest in playing detective—and an even greater interest in Eliza.
With a trade deal on the line and mounting pressure to secure a noble bride, there’s nothing more salacious than a prince dallying with a commoner. Sebastian finds Eliza’s contrary manner as frustrating as it is seductive, but they’ll have to work together if they’re going to catch the culprit. And when things heat up behind closed doors, it’s the prince who’ll have to decide what comes first—his country or his heart.
Susan: I can take or leave the whole prince thing, but I am very here for historical romances about journalists solving crime.
The Queen of Nothing
The finale to the New York Times bestselling Folk of Air trilogy, that started with The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King, from award-winning author Holly Black.
After being pronounced Queen of Faerie and then abruptly exiled by the Wicked King Cardan, Jude finds herself unmoored, the queen of nothing. She spends her time with Vivi and Oak, watches her fair share of reality television, and does the odd job or two, including trying to convince a cannibalistic faerie from hunting her own in the mortal world.
When her twin sister Taryn shows up asking of a favor, Jude jumps at the chance to return to the Faerie world, even if it means facing Cardan, who she loves despite his betrayal.
When a dark curse is unveiled, Jude must become the first mortal Queen of Faerie and uncover how to break the curse, or risk upsetting the balance of the whole Faerie world.
Charlotte: I found the first book in this series almost excruciating to read – the cruelty of the fae in this series has a nasty twist in that a lot of it is social in nature and horribly realistic. It’s like if the worst bully in your high school had magic powers. It’s a little bit hard for me to see a happy ending here, but I love Black and hope she can pull it off.
Aarya: This is one of those odd trilogies where I dislike all the characters and yet I can’t stop. The writing is compelling and I need to know what happens next. So yes, I will be reading this (but not before reading ALL the spoilers because I do not trust YA fantasy trilogies to end well).
Wall Street Titan
A billionaire who wants a perfect wife…
At thirty-five, Marcus Carelli has it all: wealth, power, and the kind of looks that leave women breathless. A self-made billionaire, he heads one of the largest hedge funds on Wall Street and can take down major corporations with a single word. The only thing he’s missing? A wife who’d be as big of an achievement as the billions in his bank account.
A cat lady who needs a date…
Twenty-six-year-old bookstore clerk Emma Walsh has it on good authority that she’s a cat lady. She doesn’t necessarily agree with that assessment, but it’s hard to argue with the facts. Raggedy clothes covered with cat hair? Check. Last professional haircut? Over a year ago. Oh, and three cats in a tiny Brooklyn studio? Yep, she’s got those.
And yes, fine, she hasn’t had a date since… well, she can’t recall. But that part is fixable. Isn’t that what the dating sites are for?
A case of mistaken identity…
One high-end matchmaker, one dating app, one mix-up that changes everything… Opposites may attract, but can this last?
Amanda: A case of mistaken identity leads a billionaire to fall head over heels in love with a book-loving cat lady. Very much wish fulfillment for me.
A Beastly Kind of Earl
An outcast fighting for her future…
Thea Knight loves a spot of mischief. She especially loves her current mischief: masquerading as her sister, while finalizing her scheme to expose the dastardly knaves whose lies ruined her life.
Then Lord Luxborough, big, bad-tempered, and scarred, upends her game by maneuvering her into marriage. But her sister’s name is on the license, so the marriage won’t be valid. Thea’s idea? Keep pretending to be her sister until she can run away.
A recluse haunted by his past…
Rafe Landcross, Earl of Luxborough, has no love for mischief. Or marriage. Or people, for that matter. The last thing he wants is a wife—but if he marries, he’ll receive a large sum of much-needed money.
Then he learns that Thea Knight is using a false name. Rafe’s idea? Pretend he doesn’t know her true identity, marry her, and send her packing once the money is his.
A compelling attraction that changes their lives…
But as passion ignites and secrets emerge, the mutual deception turns tricky fast. Rafe and Thea face irresistible temptations, unsettling revelations, and a countdown to the day when Thea must leave…
Fun, tender, and steamy, this Gothic-flavored historical romance tells of a fake marriage between a grumpy, scarred hero and a trickster heroine who reminds him how to play.
Claudia: This author showed a lot of promise with her first book, and I am very curious to see whether she’ll manage to put a different spin on the fake relationship trope. Also, I’m a sucker for scarred, grumpy hero.
Aarya: Vincy’s debut A Wicked Kind of Husband was terrific and had A+ banter. Can’t wait to see what’s next.
The Beast of Beswick
The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare meets Taming of the Shrew in the start to a new Regency series from award-winning author Amalie Howard.
Lord Nathaniel Harte, the disagreeable Duke of Beswick, spends his days smashing porcelain, antagonizing his servants, and snarling at anyone who gets too close. With a ruined face like his, it’s hard to like much about the world. Especially smart-mouthed harpies―with lips better suited to kissing than speaking―who brave his castle with indecent proposals.
But Lady Astrid Everleigh will stop at nothing to see her younger sister safe from a notorious scoundrel, even if it means offering herself up on a silver platter to the forbidding Beast of Beswick himself. And by offer, she means what no highborn lady of sound and sensible mind would ever dream of―a tender of marriage with her as his bride.
Ellen: I have a real soft spot for Taming of the Shrew (which is name-checked in the blurb) since I directed a production of Kiss Me, Kate in college, plus the cover is beautiful.
The Bridal Suite
Bestselling author Rochelle Alers’ returns to romantic New Orleans in this uplifting series featuring four very different friends embarking on the dream of a lifetime . . .
With her besties in the Big Easy, Nydia Santiago is second-guessing staying behind in New York City. So when Jasmine Washington calls with the exciting news that she’s getting married, Nydia happily rushes to New Orleans to be her maid of honor. Once she visits the lovely Garden District estate her friends are transforming into a luxury inn, she’s wistful to join them in their venture. Then she meets the sexy engineer in charge of the renovation. With his seductive Southern drawl, Lamar Pierce could make her believe in love again . . .
Lamar is confident, responsible, and settled—everything her ex, an aspiring Latin music singer, wasn’t. But Lamar is also a widowed father to a pre-teen girl in need of a mother, something Nydia’s not ready to be. When her ex makes a very public proposal, suddenly Nydia is running from the paparazzi—straight into Lamar’s arms. But is she ready to take the leap from singlehood to wife and mother?. . .
Sneezy: O hai! Crazy sauce in New Orleans plus substantial relationship questions. *wiggles closer to snuggle*
Eight Will Fall
In a land where magic is outlawed, eight criminals led by seventeen-year-old Larkin are sent on a mission to kill an ancient evil that plagues their kingdom. Descending into an underground realm full of unspeakable horrors, Larkin and her party must use their forbidden magic to survive what lies in wait, teeth sharp and jaws deadly.
As she fights for her life, Larkin finds a light in Amias, a fellow outlaw with a notorious past. Soon Larkin and Amias realize their fates are entwined. The eight of them were chosen for a reason.
But as the dangers multiply and her band of felons are picked off one by one, Larkin must confront a terrible truth: They were never meant to return.
Sarah Harian crafts a thrilling, high-octane fantasy adventure that explores the often-thin line between light and darkness, good and evil.
Amanda: I’ve been in the mood for an adventure fantasy.
Susan: Trashy survival horror/sff movies like Doom and Resident Evil are my favourite thing to watch while I’m knitting, and Eight Will Fall sounds like the prose equivalent of those!
My Fake Rake
In the first book in Eva Leigh’s new Union of the Rakes series, a bluestocking hires a faux suitor to help her land an ideal husband only to be blindsided by real desire…
Lady Grace Wyatt is content as a wallflower, focusing on scientific pursuits rather than the complications of society matches. But when a handsome, celebrated naturalist returns from abroad, Grace wishes, for once, to be noticed. Her solution: to “build” the perfect man, who will court her publicly and help her catch his eye. Grace’s colleague, anthropologist Sebastian Holloway, is just the blank slate she requires.
In exchange for funding his passage on an expedition leaving London in a few months, Sebastian allows Grace to transform him from a bespectacled, bookish academic into a dashing—albeit fake—rake. Between secret lessons on how to be a rogue and exaggerated public flirtations, Grace’s feelings for Sebastian grow from friendship into undeniable, inconvenient, real attraction. If only she hadn’t hired him to help her marry someone else…
Sebastian is in love with brilliant, beautiful Grace, but their bargain is complete, and she desires another. Yet when he’s faced with losing her forever, Sebastian will do whatever it takes to tell her the truth, even if it means risking his own future—and his heart.
Ellen: Eva Leigh is an auto-buy author for me and I LOVE a “let’s makeover a hot nerd oh oops wait now I’m in love with him” story!