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.
Sweet on You
All’s fair in love and prank wars
For barista and café owner Sari Tomas, Christmas means parols, family and no-holds-barred karaoke contests. This year, though, a new neighbor is throwing a wrench in all her best-laid plans. The baker next door—“some fancy boy from Manila”—might have cute buns, but when he tries to poach her customers with cheap coffee and cheaper tactics, the competition is officially on.
And Baker Boy better be ready, because Sari never loses.
Foodie extraordinaire Gabriel Capras wants to prove to his dad that his career choice doesn’t make him any less a man. The Laneways might not be Manila, but the close-knit community is the perfect spot to grow his bakery into a thriving business. He wasn’t expecting a gorgeous adversary in the barista next door, but flirting with her makes his heart race, and it’s not just the caffeine.
It’s winner takes all this Christmas. And more than one competitor might just lose their heart for the holidays.
Elyse: A Christmas cafe-bakery romance. I’m hungry already.
Lara: After loving If the Dress Fits, I’m keen to dive into this book.
Catherine: Bakery, Christmas carols, and karaoke? Sign me up!
Maya: I am DEEPLY GRATEFUL that I live near Historic Filipinotown because I already know I’m gonna be craving baked goods after I’m done with this book!
Sneezy: Cozy cafe + fluffy bakery with a good dose of rivalry, all wrapped in Filipino deliciousness. YES. PLEASE.
Author: Megan Rosenbloom
Released: October 20, 2020 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
On bookshelves around the world, surrounded by ordinary books bound in paper and leather, rest other volumes of a distinctly strange and grisly sort: those bound in human skin. Would you know one if you held it in your hand?
In Dark Archives, Megan Rosenbloom seeks out the historic and scientific truths behind anthropodermic bibliopegy–the practice of binding books in this most intimate covering. Dozens of such books live on in the world’s most famous libraries and museums. Dark Archives exhumes their origins and brings to life the doctors, murderers, innocents, and indigents whose lives are sewn together in this disquieting collection. Along the way, Rosenbloom tells the story of how her team of scientists, curators, and librarians test rumored anthropodermic books, untangling the myths around their creation and reckoning with the ethics of their custodianship.
A librarian and journalist, Rosenbloom is a member of The Order of the Good Death and a cofounder of their Death Salon, a community that encourages conversations, scholarship, and art about mortality and mourning. In Dark Archives–captivating and macabre in all the right ways–she has crafted a narrative that is equal parts detective work, academic intrigue, history, and medical curiosity: a book as rare and thrilling as its subject.
Amanda: SPOOKY SEASON IS HERE!
Plain Bad Heroines
The award-winning author of The Miseducation of Cameron Post makes her adult debut with this highly imaginative and original horror-comedy centered around a cursed New England boarding school for girls—a wickedly whimsical celebration of the art of storytelling, sapphic love, and the rebellious female spirit.
Our story begins in 1902, at The Brookhants School for Girls. Flo and Clara, two impressionable students, are obsessed with each other and with a daring young writer named Mary MacLane, the author of a scandalous bestselling memoir. To show their devotion to Mary, the girls establish their own private club and call it The Plain Bad Heroine Society. They meet in secret in a nearby apple orchard, the setting of their wildest happiness and, ultimately, of their macabre deaths. This is where their bodies are later discovered with a copy of Mary’s book splayed beside them, the victims of a swarm of stinging, angry yellow jackets. Less than five years later, The Brookhants School for Girls closes its doors forever—but not before three more people mysteriously die on the property, each in a most troubling way.
Over a century later, the now abandoned and crumbling Brookhants is back in the news when wunderkind writer, Merritt Emmons, publishes a breakout book celebrating the queer, feminist history surrounding the “haunted and cursed” Gilded-Age institution. Her bestselling book inspires a controversial horror film adaptation starring celebrity actor and lesbian it girl Harper Harper playing the ill-fated heroine Flo, opposite B-list actress and former child star Audrey Wells as Clara. But as Brookhants opens its gates once again, and our three modern heroines arrive on set to begin filming, past and present become grimly entangled—or perhaps just grimly exploited—and soon it’s impossible to tell where the curse leaves off and Hollywood begins.
A story within a story within a story and featuring black-and-white period illustrations, Plain Bad Heroines is a devilishly haunting, modern masterwork of metafiction that manages to combine the ghostly sensibility of Sarah Waters with the dark imagination of Marisha Pessl and the sharp humor and incisive social commentary of Curtis Sittenfeld into one laugh-out-loud funny, spellbinding, and wonderfully luxuriant read.
Amanda: I have been salivating over this one for months.
Elyse: This story sounds wonderfully Gothic, has a F/F romance and it’s illustrated!
Ellen: Very Gothic, Very Gay, Very Me™.
Author: Lindy West
Released: October 20, 2020 by Hachette Books
**Your Favorite Movies, Re-Watched**
New York Times opinion writer and bestselling author Lindy West was once the in-house movie critic for Seattle’s alternative newsweekly The Stranger, where she covered film with brutal honesty and giddy irreverence. In Shit, Actually, Lindy West returns to those roots, re-examining beloved and iconic movies from the past 40 years with an eye toward the big questions of our time: Is Twilight the horniest movie in history? Why do the zebras in The Lion King trust Mufasa–who is a lion–to look out for their best interests? Why did anyone bother making any more movies after The Fugitive achieved perfection? And, my god, why don’t any of the women in Love, Actually ever fucking talk?!
From Forrest Gump, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, and Bad Boys II, to Face/Off, Top Gun, and The Notebook, West combines her razor-sharp wit and trademark humor with a genuine adoration for nostalgic trash to shed new critical light on some of our defining cultural touchstones–the stories we’ve long been telling ourselves about who we are.
At once outrageously funny and piercingly incisive, Shit, Actually reminds us to pause and ask, “How does this movie hold up?”, all while teaching us how to laugh at the things we love without ever letting them or ourselves off the hook. Shit, Actually is a love letter and a break-up note all in one: to the films that shaped us and the ones that ruined us. More often than not, West finds, they’re one and the same.
Tara: I savoured the ARC for this one, deliberately taking my time as I read it. It made me laugh out loud more times than I can count and it is the perfect balm for 2020.
The Duke Effect
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Sophie Jordan continues her bestselling Rogue Files series with this captivating romance that will thrill her many fans.
She doesn’t care about love…
Despite being surrounded by her happily wed sisters, Nora Langley prefers botany to ballrooms and would rather spend a lifetime in her laboratory than consider affairs of the heart. An expert herbalist, Nora has been masquerading as her late physician father for years, dispensing invaluable medical advice. She corresponds with people all over the world, including an old army colonel. But when the man shows up on her doorstep, he is nothing like she expected—he is a young, handsome heir to a dukedom who suddenly threatens everything she holds dear.
He only cares about duty…
Constantine Sinclair arrives on the Langley doorstep in a desperate bid to save the woman who raised him, the Duchess of Birchwood … only to discover that the venerable doctor he expected is a bold and lovely charlatan. Furious at the deception, he vows to reveal her secrets. Determined to prove her skills, Nora promises to save the duchess in exchange for Con keeping her secret. Con reluctantly agrees… and soon Nora’s brilliant, headstrong ways are throwing his carefully controlled life into chaos. What happens when the rigid soldier begins to lose his grip on his heart?
Elyse: This series has been hit and miss for me but I’ve been waiting for Nora’s book.
His Grumpy Childhood Friend
It’s been five years since Charlotte Tam had to endure a public proposal at a baseball game—literally the stuff of her nightmares—and realized her ex never really knew her. She hasn’t dated since, afraid that no man will understand her cranky, introverted, coffee-obsessed self, but she wants to try again. Her friend suggests she ask a guy to ease her into the dating game and give her some lessons.
That night at the cider bar, Charlotte runs into Mike Guo, her childhood best friend who lived in the house next door twenty years ago. Surely easygoing Mike, who is now surprisingly handsome, must do well in the world of love. He’s the perfect candidate for this.
But as they go on practice dates around Toronto and even have kissing lessons, Charlotte starts to fall for Mike, and that was never part of the plan. He’s too different from her, just like her ex—how could it work? And she suspects Mike has secrets of his own…
Can their childhood friendship really become love?
Aarya: This book reportedly has practice kissing, a particular weakness of mine.
Sneezy: I very much respect a woman who only fucks with pants when it’s a Big Fucking Deal.
If the Boot Fits
From award-winning author Rebekah Weatherspoon comes a thoroughly modern take on the timeless tale of a struggling Cinderella who finds her prince charming at the eleventh hour—and the adventure that ensues the morning after . . .
Working as the personal assistant to one of Hollywood’s cruelest divas has left Amanda Queen more determined than ever to sell her screenplay and gain her independence. In the meantime, she’ll settle for a temporary escape. When her employer is felled by the flu on Hollywood’s biggest night of the year, Amanda gets her glam on, struts out the door, and parties with the glitterati. But she never expects to come face to face—and closer than close—with one of the hottest stars in the game . . .
Following up his first Oscar win with a steamy after-hours romp with an enigmatic woman seems like the perfect way for actor Sam Pleasant to celebrate—until she suddenly disappears. Worse, she’s vanished with the wrong swag bag: the one containing his Oscar statue, leaving Sam even more intrigued about the beauty’s identity—and wondering if a repeat performance of their amazing night is in the stars. And when a second chance encounter happens, only a trip to Sam’s family ranch—and revealing the whole, not-always-glamorous, truth about themselves—will give them a chance to turn one magical night into forever . . .
Shana: Black cowboys are my JAM, and the hero in this book was one of my fave characters from an earlier book. I need this blue state horse-riding dude in my life immediately
Maya: Can’t wait for this one!
Kingdom of the Wicked
Kerri Maniscalco introduces her next series, a dark tale of a beautiful young witch, a troubled demon, and their epic romance, set against a 19th century Italian backdrop.
Emilia and her twin sister Victoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Victoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin…desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to discover who did this, and to seek vengeance at any cost—even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.
Then Emilia meets Wrath, the outlier among the seven demon brethren, always choosing duty over pleasure. He’s been tasked by his master with investigating a series of women’s murders on the island. When Emilia and Wrath’s fates collide, it’s clear this disturbing mystery will take a bewitching turn…
Amanda: The romantic elements seem right up my alley.
Let’s Talk About Your Wall
Author: Carmen Boullosa
Released: October 27, 2020 by The New Press
Major writers from Mexico weigh in on U.S. immigration policy, from harrowing migrant journeys to immigrant detention to the life beyond the wall.
Despite the extensive coverage in the U.S. media of the southern border and Donald Trump’s proposed wall, most English speakers have had little access to the multitude of perspectives from Mexico on the ongoing crisis. Celebrated novelist Carmen Boullosa (author of Texas and Before) and Alberto Quintero redress this imbalance with this collection of essays—translated into English for the first time—drawing on writing by journalists, novelists, and documentary-makers who are Mexican or based in Mexico. Contributors include the award-winning author Valeria Luiselli, whose Tell Me How It Ends is the go-to book on the child migrant crisis, and the novelist Yuri Herrera, author of the highly acclaimed Signs Preceding the End of the World.
Let’s Talk About Your Wall uses Trump’s wall as a starting point to discuss important questions, including the history of U.S.-Mexican relations, and questions of sovereignty, citizenship, and borders. An essential resource for anyone seeking to form a well-grounded opinion on one of the central issues of our day, Let’s Talk About Your Wall provides a fierce and compelling counterpoint to the racist bigotry and irrational fear that consumes the debate over immigration, and a powerful symbol of opposition to exclusion and hate.
Sneezy: A collective of Mexican authors come together to share their thoughts about the US-Mexican border and the fuckery that goes on around it. I hope lots of people read this book.
Love Is a Rogue
Once upon a time in Mayfair, a group of wallflowers formed a secret society with goals that had absolutely nothing to do with matrimony. Their most troublesome obstacle? Rogues!
They call her Beastly Beatrice.
Wallflower Lady Beatrice Bentley longs to remain in the wilds of Cornwall to complete her etymological dictionary. Too bad her brother’s Gothic mansion is under renovation. How can she work with an annoyingly arrogant and too-handsome rogue swinging a hammer nearby?
Rogue. Scoundrel. Call him anything you like as long as you pay him.
Navy man Stamford Wright is leaving England soon, and renovating Thornhill House is just a job. It’s not about the duke’s bookish sister or her fiery copper hair. Or the etymology lessons the prim-yet-alluring lady insists on giving him. Or the forbidden things he’d love to teach her.
They say never mix business with pleasure. But when Beatrice and Ford aren’t arguing, they’re kissing.
Sometimes, temptation proves too strong to resist…even if the cost is a heart.
Amanda: The hero is helping the heroine’s brother renovate their “Gothic mansion.”
My Last Duchess
New York Times bestselling author Eloisa James returns to the Wildes series with a prequel about the Wilde children’s parents, Hugo, Duke of Lindow, and Ophelia, Lady Astley.
Every Duke needs a Duchess…
Hugo Wilde, the Duke of Lindow, has a drafty castle, eight naughty children—and no wife. Ophelia, Lady Astley, has a fine house, one well-behaved daughter—and no husband.
Hugo takes one look at Ophelia and loses his heart, but she doesn’t want more children or a castle. She takes one look at him and heads for her carriage.
Desperate to find a duchess, Hugo identifies an appropriate lady to woo. Yet when he meets Ophelia again, the duke realizes that he will marry her, or no one.
Now he faces the greatest challenge of his life.
He must convince Ophelia that their blazing sensuality, his exquisite castle, and his eight charming children add up to a match made in heaven.
When duke finds his duchess, can he win her heart?
A Wildes series prequel about the Wilde children’s parents, Hugo, Duke of Lindow, and Ophelia, Lady Astley.
Catherine: Eloisa James is such a reliable comfort read for me, and I’m definitely in the mood for that right now!
Ellen: Eloisa James is my go-to author for light quasi-historical escapism and she has not failed me yet.
The Secret Ingredient
Two amazing chefs. Two very different restaurants. One recipe for love.
For single mom Adah Campbell, the executive chef job at a posh restaurant in quaint South Bay, Maine is a dream come true—and the perfect opportunity to start over, far away from a home that’s never felt entirely hers. But fitting in has never been easy, and between a new town, a new boss, and the unexpectedly attractive owner of a rival café, things get off to a rocky start.
Never did free-spirited Beth Summers think she’d still be in Maine. Travel the world gathering delicious recipes and finding friends and lovers? Absolutely. Step in to run her family’s small-town café? Not so much. However, once Beth commits to something, that’s it. Soon, The Yellow House is the hottest spot in town, but Beth’s out of energy—and out of ideas for moving forward.
Until Adah Campbell walks into her life. As sparks fly, both chefs have to decide if they are willing to make sacrifices…or if it’s really too many cooks in the kitchen.
Tara: Two chefs falling in love! Put it in my eyeballs!
The Virgin Who Ruined Lord Gray
Behind the doors of the Clifford Charity School for Wayward Girls, there lies a secret society of brilliant, fearless women who are bringing justice to London’s most corrupt aristocrats, one nobleman at a time…
Other young ladies might occupy their spare time with drawing or needlework, but Sophia Monmouth spends hers scaling rooftops and shadowing suspicious characters. Her objective: to gain information that will free a friend wrongly accused of murder. She hasn’t bargained on being spotted and followed back to the Clifford School by a mysterious earl who holds almost as many secrets as she does.
Tristan Stratford, Lord Gray, earned the nickname the Ghost of Bow Street because no man has ever escaped him. Sophia—all soft curves beneath her disguise—is a unique challenge. Determined to learn the truth about the Clifford School, he joins Sophia in a scheme that leads from Newgate’s cells to the pinnacle of power. But when desire is at odds with justice, succumbing to temptation may lead them both into the heart of danger…
Black Witch Magic
Librarian by day, cursed witch by night:
Selene Blackstone spends her days camped out in library corners with her nose glued to books. In a town like Brimrock, where she’s an outcast, she prefers her book friends to her real-life enemies. They’re a lot less judgmental. The rest of town believes she descends from a family of witches—including her evil witch grandma, Luna. In this case, the truth is stranger than fiction. She is a witch, and she’s cursed for all of eternity. Good thing her to-be-read list is pretty long…
Prickly Paranormal Investigator Aiden O’Hare speaks two languages: sarcasm and more sarcasm. He travels the country—and sometimes even the world—investigating strange phenomena with his best friend, Eddie. Their investigations bring them to a cozy New England town called Brimrock, home to fabled evil witch Luna Blackstone. Armed with his dry wit, his bibliophilic love for books, and far too much free time, he’s determined to find out just what happened to Luna…
When Aiden meets Selene, he decides he must get to know her. When Selene learns Aiden is in town investigating her grandma, she knows she must stop him. He’s out to expose the truth. She’s out to keep it a secret. Neither expects to fall under each other’s spell, but sometimes love is supernatural.
Aarya: I have never read this author before, but I’m always in the mood for witches around Halloween.
Amarrah Brewer is desperate and grief-stricken.
For ages, the town of Bitterburn has sent tribute to the Keep at the End of the World, but a harsh winter leaves them unable to pay the toll that keeps the Beast at bay. Amarrah volunteers to brave what no one has before—to end the threat or die trying.
The Beast of Bitterburn has lost all hope.
One way or another, Njål has been a prisoner for his entire life. Monstrous evil has left him trapped and lonely, and he believes that will never change. There is only darkness in his endless exile, never light. Never warmth. Until she arrives.
It’s a tale as old as time… where Beauty goes to confront the Beast and falls in love instead.
Aarya: Hello, yes, I will read a million Beauty and the Beast retellings in fantasy romance.
Ellen: More gothic goodness!!! Truly the October Gods have blessed me
Seven of Infinities
Vân is a scholar from a poor background, eking out a living in the orbitals of the Scattered Pearls Belt as a tutor to a rich family, while hiding the illegal artificial mem-implant she manufactured as a student.
Sunless Woods is a mindship—and not just any mindship, but a notorious thief and a master of disguise. She’s come to the Belt to retire, but is drawn to Vân’s resolute integrity.
When a mysterious corpse is found in the quarters of Vân’s student, Vân and Sunless Woods find themselves following a trail of greed and murder that will lead them from teahouses and ascetic havens to the wreck of a mindship–and to the devastating secrets they’ve kept from each other.
Aarya: Aliette de Bodard’s worldbuilding is amazing and I want more people to read her!