Hide Your Wallet

January’s New Releases, Part One

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.

  • Scandal in the VIP Suite

    Scandal in the VIP Suite by Nadine Gonzalez

    Author: Nadine Gonzalez
    Released: January 1, 2021 by Harlequin Desire
    Genre: ,
    Series: Miami Famous #1

    Two strangers. One bed.

    And a kiss as scorching as the Miami heat!

    When Nina Taylor peeks into the luxury hotel suite that should have been hers, she’s caught by the room’s occupant, Julian Knight. The Hollywood bad boy quickly offers a compromise: why not share? Soon, the paparazzi is jumping to scandalous conclusions–and Julian and Nina share an incredible kiss. Good thing they’re only booked for a week…because, boy, is she in trouble!

    From Harlequin Desire: Luxury, scandal, desire–welcome to the lives of the American elite.

    Aarya: I hope “staying in the same hotel suite” means Only One Bed.

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  • Happily Ever Afters

    Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant

    Author: Elise Bryant
    Released: January 5, 2021 by Balzer + Bray
    Genre: ,

    Sixteen-year-old Tessa Johnson has never felt like the protagonist in her own life. She’s rarely seen herself reflected in the pages of the romance novels she loves. The only place she’s a true leading lady is in her own writing—in the swoony love stories she shares only with Caroline, her best friend and #1 devoted reader.

    When Tessa is accepted into the creative writing program of a prestigious art school, she’s excited to finally let her stories shine. But when she goes to her first workshop, the words are just…gone. Fortunately, Caroline has a solution: Tessa just needs to find some inspiration in a real-life love story of her own. And she’s ready with a list of romance novel-inspired steps to a happily ever after. Nico, the brooding artist who looks like he walked out of one of Tessa’s stories, is cast as the perfect Prince Charming.

    But as Tessa checks each item off Caroline’s list, she gets further and further away from herself. She risks losing everything she cares about—including the surprising bond she develops with sweet Sam, who lives across the street. She’s well on her way to having her own real-life love story, but is it the one she wants, after all?

    Maya: Awwwwwwww, this looks cute!!

    Aarya: On one hand, yay romance writer heroine! On the other hand, meta done wrong can irk me. Looks like an adorable YA premise in any case.

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  • Laziness Does Not Exist

    Laziness Does Not Exist by Devon Price

    Author: Devon Price
    Released: January 5, 2021 by Atria Books
    Genre:

    From social psychologist Dr. Devon Price, a fascinating and thorough examination of what they call the “laziness lie”—which falsely tells us we are not working or learning hard enough—filled with practical and accessible advice for overcoming society’s pressure to “do more.”

    Extra-curricular activities. Honors classes. 60-hour work weeks. Side hustles.

    Like many Americans, Dr. Devon Price believed that productivity was the best way to measure his self-worth. Price was an overachiever from the start, graduating from both college and graduate school early, but that success came at a cost. After Price was diagnosed with a severe case of anemia and heart complications from overexertion, they were forced to examine the darker side of all this productivity.

    Laziness Does Not Exist explores the psychological underpinnings of the “laziness lie,” including its origins from the Puritans and how it has continued to proliferate as digital work tools have blurred the boundaries between work and life. Using in-depth research, Price explains that people today do far more work than nearly any other humans in history yet most of us often still feel we are not doing enough.

    Dr. Price offers science-based reassurances that productivity does not determine a person’s worth and suggests that the solution to problems of overwork and stress lie in resisting the pressure to do more and instead learn to embrace doing enough. Featuring interviews with researchers, consultants, and experiences from real people drowning in too much work, Laziness Does Not Exist encourages us to let go of guilt and become more attuned to our own limitations and needs and resist the pressure to meet outdated societal expectations.

    Sneezy: Like many people have this year, I have been questioning what ‘work’ is and gaining deeper understanding of how structural power imbalances has warped the worth of a person’s humanity with what they produce. I’m interested in how this book reframes the idea of ‘laziness.’

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  • One of the Good Ones

    One of the Good Ones by Maika Moulite

    Author: Maika Moulite
    Released: January 5, 2021 by Inkyard Press
    Genre:

    The Hate U Give meets Get Out in this honest and powerful exploration of prejudice in the stunning novel from sister-writer duo Maika and Maritza Moulite, authors of Dear Haiti, Love Alaine.

    ISN’T BEING HUMAN ENOUGH?

    When teen social activist and history buff Kezi Smith is killed under mysterious circumstances after attending a social justice rally, her devastated sister Happi and their family are left reeling in the aftermath. As Kezi becomes another immortalized victim in the fight against police brutality, Happi begins to question the idealized way her sister is remembered. Perfect. Angelic.

    One of the good ones.

    Even as the phrase rings wrong in her mind—why are only certain people deemed worthy to be missed?—Happi and her sister Genny embark on a journey to honor Kezi in their own way, using an heirloom copy of The Negro Motorist Green Book as their guide. But there’s a twist to Kezi’s story that no one could’ve ever expected—one that will change everything all over again.

    Maya: As a person that used to live in a city where hundreds of people were killed annually by gun violence and was endlessly frustrated with the narrative about who did and did not “deserve” to die, I’m looking forward to a story that really digs into the prejudices underlying how we talk about the people we lose to violence.

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  • Outlawed

    Outlawed by Anna North

    Author: Anna North
    Released: January 5, 2021 by Bloomsbury Publishing
    Genre: , ,

    The Crucible meets True Grit in this riveting adventure story of a fugitive girl, a mysterious gang of robbers, and their dangerous mission to transform the Wild West.

    In the year of our Lord 1894, I became an outlaw.

    The day of her wedding, 17 year old Ada’s life looks good; she loves her husband, and she loves working as an apprentice to her mother, a respected midwife. But after a year of marriage and no pregnancy, in a town where barren women are routinely hanged as witches, her survival depends on leaving behind everything she knows.

    She joins up with the notorious Hole in the Wall Gang, a band of outlaws led by a preacher-turned-robber known to all as the Kid. Charismatic, grandiose, and mercurial, the Kid is determined to create a safe haven for outcast women. But to make this dream a reality, the Gang hatches a treacherous plan that may get them all killed. And Ada must decide whether she’s willing to risk her life for the possibility of a new kind of future for them all.

    Featuring an irresistibly no-nonsense, courageous, and determined heroine, Outlawed dusts off the myth of the old West and reignites the glimmering promise of the frontier with an entirely new set of feminist stakes. Anna North has crafted a pulse-racing, page-turning saga about the search for hope in the wake of death, and for truth in a climate of small-mindedness and fear.

    Tara: Oh, hello old West girl gang. I don’t typically read westerns, but this has me very interested.

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  • Persephone Station

    Persephone Station by Stina Leicht

    Author: Stina Leicht
    Released: January 5, 2021 by Gallery / Saga Press
    Genre: ,

    Hugo award–nominated author Stina Leicht has created a take on space opera for fans of The Mandalorian and Cowboy Bebop in this high-stakes adventure.

    Persephone Station, a seemingly backwater planet that has largely been ignored by the United Republic of Worlds becomes the focus for the Serrao-Orlov Corporation as the planet has a few secrets the corporation tenaciously wants to exploit.

    Rosie–owner of Monk’s Bar, in the corporate town of West Brynner, caters to wannabe criminals and rich Earther tourists, of a sort, at the front bar. However, exactly two types of people drank at Monk’s back bar: members of a rather exclusive criminal class and those who sought to employ them.

    Angel–ex-marine and head of a semi-organized band of beneficent criminals, wayward assassins, and washed up mercenaries with a penchant for doing the honorable thing is asked to perform a job for Rosie. What this job reveals will effect Persephone and put Angel and her squad up against an army. Despite the odds, they are rearing for a fight with the Serrao-Orlov Corporation. For Angel, she knows that once honor is lost, there is no regaining it. That doesn’t mean she can’t damned well try.

    Amanda: The cover copy mentions my favorite anime of all time: Cowboy Bebop.

    Ellen: LOVE space opera and the cover is gorgeous.

    Tara: The cover is so freaking cool and I’ve been having fun reading sci fi lately, so I’m ready for more!

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  • White Feminism

    White Feminism by Koa Beck

    Author: Koa Beck
    Released: January 5, 2021 by Atria Books
    Genre:

    A timely and impassioned exploration of how our society has commodified feminism and continues to systemically shut out women of color—perfect for fans of White Fragility and Good and Mad .

    Join the important conversation about race, empowerment, and inclusion in the United States with this powerful new feminist classic and rousing call for change. Koa Beck, writer and former editor-in-chief of Jezebel, boldly examines the history of feminism, from the true mission of the suffragettes to the rise of corporate feminism with clear-eyed scrutiny and meticulous detail. She also examines overlooked communities—including Native American, Muslim, transgender, and more—and their difficult and ongoing struggles for social change.

    In these pages she meticulously documents how elitism and racial prejudice has driven the narrative of feminist discourse. She blends pop culture, primary historical research, and first-hand storytelling to show us how we have shut women out of the movement, and what we can do to course correct for a new generation—perfect for women of color looking for a more inclusive way to fight for women’s rights.

    Combining a scholar’s understanding with hard data and razor-sharp cultural commentary, White Feminism is a witty, whip-smart, and profoundly eye-opening book that challenges long-accepted conventions and completely upends the way we understand the struggle for women’s equality.

    Sneezy: The summary of the book promises to do a deep dive on the harms of White feminism from various perspectives, and I hope to learn lots.

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  • The Wife Upstairs

    The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

    Author: Rachel Hawkins
    Released: January 5, 2021 by St. Martin's Press
    Genre: ,

    A delicious twist on a Gothic classic, The Wife Upstairs pairs Southern charm with atmospheric domestic suspense, perfect for fans of B.A. Paris and Megan Miranda.

    Meet Jane. Newly arrived to Birmingham, Alabama, Jane is a broke dog-walker in Thornfield Estates––a gated community full of McMansions, shiny SUVs, and bored housewives. The kind of place where no one will notice if Jane lifts the discarded tchotchkes and jewelry off the side tables of her well-heeled clients. Where no one will think to ask if Jane is her real name.

    But her luck changes when she meets Eddie­ Rochester. Recently widowed, Eddie is Thornfield Estates’ most mysterious resident. His wife, Bea, drowned in a boating accident with her best friend, their bodies lost to the deep. Jane can’t help but see an opportunity in Eddie––not only is he rich, brooding, and handsome, he could also offer her the kind of protection she’s always yearned for.

    Yet as Jane and Eddie fall for each other, Jane is increasingly haunted by the legend of Bea, an ambitious beauty with a rags-to-riches origin story, who launched a wildly successful southern lifestyle brand. How can she, plain Jane, ever measure up? And can she win Eddie’s heart before her past––or his––catches up to her?

    With delicious suspense, incisive wit, and a fresh, feminist sensibility, The Wife Upstairs flips the script on a timeless tale of forbidden romance, ill-advised attraction, and a wife who just won’t stay buried. In this vivid reimagining of one of literature’s most twisted love triangles, which Mrs. Rochester will get her happy ending?

    Elyse: A contemporary Southern retelling of Jane Eyre.

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  • Pushing Up Posies

    Pushing Up Posies by Eve Langlais

    Author: Eve Langlais
    Released: January 7, 2021
    Genre: ,
    Series: Grim Dating #1

    Netflix and Chill takes on a whole new meaning when Posie starts dating the Reaper.

    Poor Brody. As reaper leader for the Canadian guild, he and his crew don’t get as much work as other countries until the Dark Lord gives them a new mandate: Establish a dating service on Earth that will facilitate the meeting between citizens of Hell and humans with the end goal being babies.

    It’s a cruel demotion for a reaper who just wanted to guide souls to their final destination. He is dying to return to Hell, until he meets the stubborn woman living across the hall.

    The Devil wants Posie mated, but she is resisting all attempts. What will it take to make her see the light?

    And how will she react when she finally discovers that death has been knocking at her door?

    Amanda: I’ve enjoyed Langlais’ books in the past and I’m all for grim reapers and new paranormal romance.

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  • Blood Heir

    Blood Heir by Ilona Andrews

    Author: Ilona Andrews
    Released: January 12, 2021 by NYLA
    Genre: ,
    Series: Aurelia Ryder #1

    From award-winning author, Ilona Andrews, an all-new novel set in the New York Times #1 bestselling Kate Daniels World and featuring Julie Lennart-Olsen, Kate and Curran’s ward.

    Atlanta was always a dangerous city. Now, as waves of magic and technology compete for supremacy, it’s a place caught in a slow apocalypse, where monsters spawn among the crumbling skyscrapers and supernatural factions struggle for power and survival.

    Eight years ago, Julie Lennart left Atlanta to find out who she was. Now she’s back with a new face, a new magic, and a new name—Aurelia Ryder—drawn by the urgent need to protect the family she left behind. An ancient power is stalking her adopted mother, Kate Daniels, an enemy unlike any other, and a string of horrifying murders is its opening gambit.

    If Aurelia’s true identity is discovered, those closest to her will die. So her plan is simple: get in, solve the murders, prevent the prophecy from being fulfilled, and get out without being recognized. She expected danger, but she never anticipated that the only man she’d ever loved could threaten everything.

    One small misstep could lead to disaster. But for Aurelia, facing disaster is easy; it’s relationships that are hard.

    Aarya: JULIE AND DEREK AHHHHH! Team Metal Rose for the win! Not sure if this is a good starting point in the Kate Daniels world, though.

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  • The Brass Queen

    The Brass Queen by Elizabeth Chatsworth

    Author: Elizabeth Chatsworth
    Released: January 12, 2021 by CamCat Books
    Genre: ,

    She knows a liar when she sees one.
    He knows a fraud when he meets one.

    In a steam-powered world, Miss Constance Haltwhistle is the last in a line of blue-blooded rogues. Selling firearms under her alias, the “Brass Queen,” she has kept her baronial estate’s coffers full. But when US spy J. F. Trusdale saves her from assassins, she’s pulled into a search for a scientist with an invisibility serum. As royal foes create an invisible army to start a global war, Constance and Trusdale must learn to trust each other. If they don’t, the world as they know it will disappear before their eyes.

    If you like the Parasol Protectorate or the Invisible Library series, you’ll love this gaslamp fantasy—a rambunctious romantic romp that will have you both laughing out loud and wishing you owned all of Miss Haltwhistle’s armaments.

    Amanda: The heroine is a steampunkish arms dealer!

    Ellen: This sounds like a lot of fun and LORD knows we need some fun in 2021.

    Catherine: Spies and steampunk and secret identities and invisibility serum and then the blurb goes comparing it to Gail Carriger? Sign me up!

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  • The Captive

    The Captive by Fiona King Foster

    Author: Fiona King Foster
    Released: January 12, 2021 by Ecco
    Genre:

    A rural noir about a woman on a pulse-pounding expedition to deliver a fugitive—and forced to confront her own past on the journey

    In a secessionist rural state that has cut itself off completely from urban centers, where living is hardscrabble and poor but “free,” Brooke Holland runs a farm with her husband, Milo, and two daughters. Their life at the fringes of modern society is tenuous—they make barely enough from each harvest to keep going—yet Brooke cherishes the loving, peaceful life they have carved out for themselves. She has even begun to believe she is free from the violent history she has kept a secret from her family.

    When escaped criminal Stephen Cawley attacks at the farm, Brooke’s buried talents surface, and she manages to quickly and harshly subdue him. She is convinced that he has come in retribution for the blood feud she thought she escaped years ago. Brooke sets out to bring Cawley to justice, planning to use the bounty on his head to hide her family far from danger. Fearing that other members of Cawley’s infamous family will soon descend, Brooke insists Milo and the girls flee with her, travelling miles on foot across an unforgiving landscape to reach the nearest marshal. Their journey, started at the onset of winter with little preparation, brings already strained family dynamics to the breaking point. As Brooke’s ghosts—both real and imagined—close in, the ruthlessness that let her survive her past may become the biggest threat to her hopes for a different future. What follows is a harrowing exploration of family loyalty, trauma, and resilience.

    As haunting and propulsive as it is powerfully written, The Captive is a thrilling debut novel about the impossible choices we make to survive and protect the ones we love.

    Amanda: I’m getting some major Long Kiss Goodnight vibes here (god bless Geena Davis).

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  • The Dangers of Smoking in Bed

    The Dangers of Smoking in Bed by Mariana Enriquez

    Author: Mariana Enriquez
    Released: January 12, 2021 by Hogarth
    Genre: ,

    Following the “propulsive and mesmerizing” (New York Times Book Review) Things We Lost in the Fire comes a new collection of singularly unsettling stories, by an Argentine author who has earned comparisons to Shirley Jackson and Jorge Luis Borges.

    Mariana Enriquez has been critically lauded for her unconventional and sociopolitical stories of the macabre: populated by unruly teenagers, crooked witches, homeless ghosts, and hungry women, they walk the uneasy line between urban realism and horror. The stories in her next collection are as terrifying as they are socially conscious, and press into being the unspoken — fetish, illness, the female body, the darkness of human history — with unsettling urgency. A woman is sexually obsessed with the human heart; a lost, rotting baby crawls out of a backyard and into a bedroom; a pair of teenage girls can’t let go of their idol; an entire neighborhood is cursed to death by a question of morality they fail to answer correctly.

    Written against the backdrop of contemporary Argentina, and with resounding tenderness towards those in pain, in fear, and in limbo, this new collection from one of Argentina’s most exciting writers finds Enriquez at her most sophisticated, and most chilling.

    Maya: I’m not the bravest of readers when it comes to horror, but this looks really interesting!

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  • Drug Use for Grown-Ups

    Drug Use for Grown-Ups by Dr. Carl Hart

    Author: Dr. Carl Hart
    Released: January 12, 2021 by Penguin Press
    Genre:

    From one of the world’s foremost experts on the effects of recreational drugs on the mind and body, a powerful argument that the greatest dangers from drugs flow from their being illegal, and a testament to how they can be part of a responsible and happy life.

    Dr. Carl Hart, Ziff Professor at Columbia University and former Chair of the Department of Psychology, is one of the world’s preeminent experts on the effects of so-called recreational drugs on the human mind and body. Dr. Hart also is open about the fact that he uses drugs himself, in a happy balance with the rest of his full and productive life as a colleague, husband, father and friend. In Drug Use for Grown-Ups, he draws on both decades of research and his own personal experience to argue definitively that the criminalization and demonization of drug use is itself far and away the greatest scourge drugs inflict on America.

    Carl Hart did not always have this view, to put it mildly. He came of age in one of Miami’s most troubled neighborhoods at a time when many ills were being laid at the door of crack cocaine. His initial work as a researcher was aimed at proving that drug use caused predominantly bad outcomes. But one problem kept cropping up: the evidence from his research did not support his hypothesis. And indeed, no one else’s evidence did either. From the inside of the massively well-funded research side of the American war on drugs, he saw how the inconvenient truth that the facts didn’t support the ideology was dismissed, denied and distorted in order to keep fear and outrage stoked, the funds rolling in, and black and brown bodies behind bars.

    Drug Use for Grown-Ups will be controversial, to be sure: it challenges head-on some of our strongest moral reflexes about drugs and citizenship. The propaganda war, Hart argues, has been tremendously effective. Imagine if the only subject of any conversation about driving automobiles was fatal car crashes. We regulate driving, just as we regulate alcohol. During Prohibition, fatalities from alcohol use skyrocketed, because people didn’t know what they were drinking, and hundreds of thousands were inadvertently poisoned. So it is with the opioid epidemic, response has been driven by a mass panic that in many respects reminds Hart of the crack cocaine panic of the 1980’s. Drug Use for Grown-Ups offers a radically different vision: of how, when used responsibly, drugs can powerfully enrich and enhance our lives.

    The nexus of special interests that benefit from drug criminalization and demonization, Hart shows us, has kept this country in a terrible place, but change is beginning to come. Ultimately this is about education: the facts are clear. In every country with a more permissive and humane drug regime, all human outcomes are better, from mortality to addiction to overall quality of life, and the countries with the most permissive regimes, like Portugal and Switzerland, have the best outcomes. We have a long way to go, but the vital conversation this book will generate is an extraordinarily important step.

    Sneezy: The analysis and synthesization of data aside, I’m always very interested to hear people’s journeys as they break away from white supremacist programming.

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  • Ever After Always

    Ever After Always by Chloe Liese

    Author: Chloe Liese
    Released: January 12, 2021
    Genre: ,
    Series: Bergman Brothers #3

    Buckle up for an emotional journey of hijinks, heartache, and a hot slow-burn in this marriage-in-crisis romance about going the distance to make love last.

    Aiden

    I’ve spent twelve years loving Freya Bergman and twelve lifetimes won’t be enough to give her everything she deserves. She’s my passionate, tender-hearted wife, my best friend, and all I want is to make her happy. But the one thing that will make her happiest is the one thing I’m not sure I can give her: a baby.

    With the pressure of providing and planning for a family, my anxiety’s at an all-time high, and I find myself pulling away, terrified to tell my wife how I’m struggling. But when Freya kicks me out, I realize that pulling back has turned into pushing too far. Now it’s the fight of a lifetime to save our marriage.

    Freya

    I love my cautious, hard-working husband. He’s my partner and best friend, the person I know I can count on most. Until one day I realize the man I married is nowhere to be found. Now Aiden is quiet and withdrawn, and as the months wear on, the pain of our growing distance becomes too much.

    As if weathering marriage counseling wasn’t enough, we’re thrown together for an island getaway to celebrate my parents’ many years of perfect marriage while ours is on the brink of collapse. Despite my meddling siblings and a week in each other’s constant company, this trip somehow gets us working through the trouble in paradise. I just can’t help worrying, when we leave paradise and return to the real world, will trouble find us again?

    Ever After Always is a marriage-in-crisis, opposites-attract romance about a sensitive, fierce-loving woman and her resilient husband who has anxiety disorder. Complete with island vacation antics, a sibling prank gone wrong, and a steamy slow burn, this standalone is the third in a series of novels about a Swedish-American family of five brothers, two sisters, and their wild adventures as they each find happily ever after.

    Aarya: My friends ADORE Chloe Liese and I can’t wait to read this. Really loving all the marriage-in-trouble contemporaries lately!

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  • The Frozen Crown

    The Frozen Crown by Greta Kelly

    Author: Greta Kelly
    Released: January 12, 2021 by Harper Voyager
    Genre:
    Series: The Frozen Crown #1

    “Propulsive and intricate, Greta Kelly has constructed a world of twisting politics and thrilling magic following a heroine who is both clever and uncompromising, but ultimately, has heart. A stellar read that I thoroughly enjoyed.” — Emily Duncan, New York Times bestselling author of Wicked Saints 

    A princess with a powerful and dangerous secret must find a way to save her country from ruthless invaders in this exciting debut fantasy, the first novel in a thrilling duology packed with heroism, treachery, magic, and war.

    Askia became heir to the Frozen Crown of Seravesh because of her devotion to her people. But her realm is facing a threat she cannot defeat by sheer will alone. The mad emperor of the Roven Empire has unleashed a horde of invading soldiers to enslave her lands. For months, her warriors have waged a valiant, stealth battle, yet they cannot stop the enemy’s advancement. Running out of time, she sets sail for sun-drenched Vishir, the neighboring land to the south, to seek help from its ruler, Emperor Armaan.

    A young woman raised in army camps, Askia is ill-equipped to navigate Vishir’s labyrinthine political games. Her every move sinks her deeper into court intrigues which bewilder and repel her, leaving her vulnerable not only to enemies gathering at Vishir’s gates, but to those behind the palace walls.

    And in this glittering court, where secrets are worth more than gold, Askia fears that one false step will expose her true nature. For Askia is a witch gifted with magical abilities—knowledge that could destroy not only her life but her people. As her adversaries draw closer, Askia is forced to make an impossible choice—and no matter what she decides, it may not be enough to prevent Seravesh’s fall.

    Amanda: A witch queen of sorts trying to take down the one who stole her kingdom.

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  • The Mandolin Lunch

    The Mandolin Lunch by Missouri Vaun

    Author: Missouri Vaun
    Released: January 12, 2021 by Bold Strokes Books
    Genre: , ,

    Children’s book illustrator Garet Allen has just escaped her most recent, ill-fated relationship and accepts a temporary teaching position at a rural public school. After all, how hard can teaching kids about art really be? Apparently, pretty hard, because her first day on the job is a complete disaster, and that has nothing at all to do with the fact that Tess Hill, the captivating and overly conscientious music teacher, shares the same classroom.

    Tess, a dedicated teacher and single mother focused on creating a stable life for her daughter, is immediately attracted to the handsome, cavalier Garet for all the wrong reasons. Everything about Garet says short-term, and Tess refuses to consider anything less than forever. She’s not about to give her heart away to someone she can’t count on.

    Can Garet and Tess survive three months sharing the same classroom without killing each other…or falling in love?

    Tara: I’m expecting this one to be a gentle, sweet read and I’m into it.

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  • Roommate

    Roommate by Sarina Bowen

    Author: Sarina Bowen
    Released: January 12, 2021 by Tuxbury Publishing LLC
    Genre: , ,

    Wanted: One roommate to share a 3-bedroom house, split the rent, and ideally not be the guy I can’t stop thinking about.

    I’m a man with too many secrets, so the last thing I need is a new roommate with a sexy smile and blue eyes that see right through me. Eight years ago, Roderick left town after high school. We’re not friends. I owe him nothing. But back then, I let one of my secrets slip, and he’s the only one who noticed.

    Part of me knows I should run far, far away. But the other part wants him to come upstairs and spend the night. But if I let him in, I could lose everything.

    Seeking: A room to rent in town. I’m tidy, have no pets, and I will feed you homemade bread.

    I should probably add: Gay AF, and has no filter. It’s no wonder my new landlord is so wary of me.

    A smarter man would ignore those hot glances from Kieran Shipley. The broody lumberjack wants more from me than another homemade pretzel, but if I push my luck, I’ll end up back on the street.

    Too bad I’ve never been smart with my heart …

    Elyse’s pick!

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  • The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry

    The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry by C.M. Waggoner

    Author: C.M. Waggoner
    Released: January 12, 2021 by Ace
    Genre: ,

    Sparks fly in this enchanting fantasy novel from the author of Unnatural Magic when a down-and-out fire witch and a young gentlewoman join forces against a deadly conspiracy.
     
    Dellaria Wells, petty con artist, occasional thief, and partly educated fire witch, is behind on her rent in the city of Leiscourt—again. Then she sees the “wanted” sign, seeking Female Persons, of Martial or Magical ability, to guard a Lady of some Importance, prior to the celebration of her Marriage. Delly fast-talks her way into the job and joins a team of highly peculiar women tasked with protecting their wealthy charge from unknown assassins.

    Delly quickly sets her sights on one of her companions, the confident and well-bred Winn Cynallum. The job looks like nothing but romance and easy money until things take a deadly (and undead) turn. With the help of a bird-loving necromancer, a shapeshifting schoolgirl, and an ill-tempered reanimated mouse named Buttons, Delly and Winn are determined to get the best of an adversary who wields a twisted magic and has friends in the highest of places.

    Sarah: A witch with a drinking problem and a money problem sweet-talks her way into becoming a bodyguard for a lady, and ends up defending said lady against real peril while also falling for another of the body guards. There are so many trope keywords in that sentence. Holy crows.

    Maya: Hello, hi, yes I am interested in a story about a “team of highly peculiar women”.

    Sneezy: There is magic. And there is romance. That’s a Sneezy Trap if there ever was one.

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  • Stolen Hearts

    Stolen Hearts by M. O'Keefe

    Author: M. O'Keefe
    Released: January 12, 2021 by Dangerous Press
    Genre: ,

    The flare of a cigarette and the handsome Irishman in the shadows–I wanted it all, but I wasn’t allowed to want.

    Ronan was danger and beauty, murder and mercy. To me, he was a mystery, but he was also the only man who ever knew me.

    In that single stolen moment before I had to give my life to someone else, I imagined myself with him, the man with scars and bruises. The one who knew what hurting meant far more than I did at that time.

    Instead I was given to another man, one who broke my soul right along with my bones.

    Through it all, there was always that memory of the man in the shadows, the one who said–not in words–that I was strong, that I could endure, that I was more than just a princess in a ballgown.

    Now Ronan is the only man who could keep me safe from two warring families that wanted my blood. The spark that started two years ago burned brighter with each touch, each glance, each kiss. He woke me from the nightmare, giving me life with soft touches and sharp words.

    Two years ago, Ronan gave me strength, but he took something in return. I never gave him my heart, but hearts like mine are made to be stolen.

    Aarya: Molly O’Keefe has been so consistently good, from category romance to erotic romance to women’s fiction and more. The blurb doesn’t tell me much, but I’m still excited.

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  • You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey

    You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey by Amber Ruffin

    Author: Amber Ruffin
    Released: January 12, 2021 by Grand Central Publishing
    Genre: ,


    Writer and performer on Late Night with Seth Meyers Amber Ruffin writes with her sister Lacey Lamar with humor and heart to share absurd anecdotes about everyday experiences of racism.

    Now a writer and performer on Late Night with Seth Meyers and host of The Amber Ruffin Show, Amber Ruffin lives in New York, where she is no one’s First Black Friend and everyone is, as she puts it, “stark raving normal.” But Amber’s sister Lacey? She’s still living in their home state of Nebraska, and trust us, you’ll never believe what happened to Lacey.

    From racist donut shops to strangers putting their whole hand in her hair, from being mistaken for a prostitute to being mistaken for Harriet Tubman, Lacey is a lightning rod for hilariously ridiculous yet all-too-real anecdotes. She’s the perfect mix of polite, beautiful, petite, and Black that apparently makes people think “I can say whatever I want to this woman.” And now, Amber and Lacey share these entertainingly horrifying stories through their laugh-out-loud sisterly banter. Painfully relatable or shockingly eye-opening (depending on how often you have personally been followed by security at department stores), this book tackles modern-day racism with the perfect balance of levity and gravity.

    Maya: Amber Ruffin is a DELIGHT and I can’t wait to read this!!

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Add Your Comment →

  1. 1
    DiscoDollyDeb says:
    +9

    Happy New Year, everyone!

    The pickings are relatively slim for me this January. In part because one of the books I was eagerly anticipating—CD Reiss’s TAKE ME, which had been scheduled for January 12 (and, based on the sample that was included at the end of Reiss’s CROWNE RULES, is going to be incredibly dark)—has been moved…all the way to December 25, 2021!

    January 1 brings the latest from Caitlin Crews, my favorite HP author. This one is a sheikh romance, CHOSEN FOR HIS DESERT THRONE.

    Katee Robert begins a new series, Sabine Valley, with ABEL, which drops on January 5. Like Robert’s Wicked Villains series, Sabine Valley seems to be a mashup of contemporary romance tropes along with historical, mythic, and pop-culture elements—not to mention lots of hot-hot-hot sexytimes. In the Sabine Valley series, seven brothers return to the place where they were once betrayed (I’m assuming they’ll be a book for each brother). ABEL features the oldest brother and includes an MMF romance. I’m really looking forward to this one because Robert did MMF exceptionally well in her Twisted Hearts series and, especially, in THE BEAST.

    Maisey Yates, despite a backlist of well over 100 books, was one of my “discoveries” of 2020. Her characters have common sense and maturity, even when they find themselves tangled in angsty emotional situations. Yates’s latest book for Harlequin Desire, THE RANCHER’S WAGER, arrives on January 12. It’s an antagonists-to-lovers story about rival ranch owners and what happens when one wins the services of the other as a “ranch hand” in a poker game. Oh, does that sound like pure DiscoDollyDeb catnip!

    Molly O’Keefe’s STOLEN HEARTS also arrives January 12. This appears to be either a standalone or the first of a new series. O’Keefe—one of my angsty favorites—is using the name “M. O’Keefe” for this book, which tells me it’s probably on the darker side.

    The next book in Zoe York’s Kinkaids of Pine Harbour series, FIERCE AT HEART, drops on January 26. This features a marriage of convenience between two military veterans—the twist being the heroine (who is older than the hero) was once the hero’s commanding officer. That should be all kinds of sexy fun!

  2. 2
    LN says:
    +19

    I am so looking forward to Blood Heir.
    I always liked Julie and Derek. I read the partial first draft posted in weekly instalments by Ilona and Gordon on their blog but they took it down after a while because they felt it needed reworking so I am looking forward to seeing what they have changed and of course how it ends!

  3. 3
    Lisa F says:
    +5

    Man, most of these are on my TBR pile! January’s a great month for books this year.

  4. 4
    LML says:
    +11

    Happy & Healthy New Year to all my SBTB kindred spirits!

  5. 5
    HeatherS says:
    +22

    Am I the only one who gets annoyed with how f/f romances always seem to have one heroine with an androgynous or masculine-sounding name? Why can’t they both have traditionally feminine names?

  6. 6
    Penny says:
    +12

    “The Ladies Guide to…” title trend was fun at first, now I’m finding myself getting a little tired of it…. that being said, still gonna read the book!

  7. 7
    Darlynne says:
    +12

    Three of the blurbs used “propulsive” to describe the books, something I see way too often. Genre doesn’t appear to matter, everything readable is propelled forward these days.

    So I looked up propulsive and found this, which tickled me:

    The adjective propulsive describes something that has the power to drive something forward. You would not want a propulsive jet engine on your model airplane — it’s just too much power for something that should stay in the basement.

    I agree! Powerful things should stay in my basement, if I had one. With this definition and so many books to look forward to, 2021 is a-okay so far.

  8. 8
    Susan says:
    +11

    @Darlynne: I came down here to say that “propulsive” seems to be the new buzzword, and I’m already sick of it.

    Also, I’ve been a huge Ilona Andrews fan in the past, but am a little hesitant about Blood Heir. It seems that most readers of the Kate Daniels series really liked Julie, but I found her bratty and annoying. She started to redeem herself in later works, but too often played the Pack Princess role in earlier books. The authors do have a knack for pulling off the impossible (*cough* Hugh), tho, so I’ll wait for some reader reviews before making a decision. And, I have to admit, that cover is amazing.

  9. 9
    Kareni says:
    +9

    Wishing all who see this a happy and healthy new year plus plenty of good books and the time to read them!

  10. 10
    Taylor says:
    +7

    Spoiler warning for below re Blood Heir. From the content on the website, I’m interested to see how much they change in the published version. I didn’t love the language of how magic changed Julie’s face and body to resemble Kate and her grandmother. I found it tone-deaf, in the context of her being adopted. That being said, I love pretty much everything IA write, so hopefully that bit has been edited.

  11. 11
    Arijo says:
    +8

    @Susan you’re not alone in your anti Julie feeling. Ilona Andrews had a sql scheduled for Julie, but they received so much Julie Hate Mail, they lost their motivation for the project. That was some years ago. Then they posted a tidbit earlier this year where a grown up Julie meets Ascanio on the bridge, and of course everyone asked for more…

    Without hating her, I didn’t really like Julie, until recently. But I’m mostly glad for Derek 🙂 I want Derek to have a happy ending!

  12. 12
    denise says:
    +6

    The Wife Upstairs sounds like a great read–love the modern Jane Eyre twist!

  13. 13
    Star says:
    +6

    @DiscoDollyDeb – Thanks for mentioning the Zoe York! That’s such an interesting and unusual premise. I don’t think I’ve read any of her books before but will have to check that out. The previous book (dude and teenage daughter’s midwife) also sounds interesting and unusual, so maybe I’ll check that out too.

  14. 14
    DiscoDollyDeb says:
    +5

    @Star: York is one of my go-to favorites. She has written several series, one set in the town of Wardham, another set in the town of Pine Harbour (the Kinkaids of Pine Harbour is her new series, an off-shoot of the earlier Pine Harbour series). She’s also published a series of novellas featuring Navy SEALS. Most of her books can be read as stand-alones, although I do think the reading experience is richer if you read the series and see how characters interact and recur through the books. York also publishes under the name Ainsley Booth—and those books are also very good, but quite different in tone, generally far more erotic than the York books, with more of a romantic-suspense vibe.

  15. 15
    Emily A says:
    +7

    I’m late to the party, because I’m going through a rough time.
    Sophia Sasson Singh has a new book out called “Running Away From the Bride.”
    It’s a sequel to “Marriage by Arrangement”, which I’m reading now and it’s really good.
    Both books are Harlequin Desires. The series centers around an Indian family from India.

  16. 16
    Judy says:
    +3

    So excited to see Mariana Enriquez on this list. Her other collection, Things We Lost in the Fire, is so beautiful and perfect. I only wish more of her work was translated in English.

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