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.
If everything in your life was based on a lie
Would you risk it all to tell the truth?
At Montverre, an exclusive academy tucked away in the mountains, the best and brightest are trained for excellence in the grand jeu: an arcane and mysterious contest. Léo Martin was once a student there, but lost his passion for the grand jeu following a violent tragedy. Now he returns in disgrace, exiled to his old place of learning with his political career in tatters.
Montverre has changed since he studied there, even allowing a woman, Claire Dryden, to serve in the grand jeu’s highest office of Magister Ludi. When Léo first sees Claire he senses an odd connection with her, though he’s sure they have never met before.
Both Léo and Claire have built their lives on lies. And as the legendary Midsummer Game, the climax of the year, draws closer, secrets are whispering in the walls…
Ellen: The synopsis is kind of confusing and atmospheric and the early reviews seem pretty split which has me very intrigued.
The newest romance from New York Times bestselling, Audie Award winning author Kylie Scott!
He walks the red carpet. She’s more familiar with vacuuming one.
When a scandal tarnishes the reputation of hot as hell A-lister, Patrick Walsh, he needs a reputation rescue, pronto.
Enter waitress Norah Peers–a nobody who’s average with a capital A. She’s available, dependable, and has sworn off men for the rest of her natural born life. In other words: the perfect match for a no-strings fake romance.
For the right amount of money, she can avoid waitressing and play the part of his dependable down-to-earth girlfriend. What she can’t avoid–dammit–is the growing steam between them.
But being hounded by the paparazzi and having her life dissected on social media is a panic attack in the making. And while Patrick might be a charming rogue on screen, in real life he’s a six-foot-two confusing, gorgeous, brooding grump, who keeps her at a distance . . . but also makes her feel like this bond between them might be more than just an act.
Being dumped on cue should be no big deal. Except being fake with Patrick is the realist relationship Norah has ever had. What’s a girl to do, but flip the script, and ask for a re-match made in Hollywood?
Aarya: Count me in for a fake-relationship celebrity romance.
With her debut novel, Thien-Kim Lam serves up a sexy second-chance romance about exes with unfinished business. When working together reignites their passion, will these former flames sizzle or get burned all over again?
Trixie Nguyen is determined to make her sex toy business a success, proving to her traditional Vietnamese parents that she can succeed in a nontraditional career. She’s made a fresh start in Washington DC, and her first pop-up event is going well—until she runs into the ex who dumped her. With a Post-it note.
The last person Andre Walker expected to see in his soul food restaurant was the woman he left behind in New Orleans. Their chemistry is still scorching, but he’s desperately trying to save his family restaurant from gentrifying developers. The solution? Partnering with his ex to turn Mama Hazel’s into a vibrator pop-up shop for hungry and horny clients.
Thanks to their steamy truce, both businesses start to sizzle and their red-hot desire soon reignites deeper feelings. But when Trixie receives an incredible career opportunity, will pride ruin their second chance at happiness?
Elyse: The heroine owns a sex toy company!
Ellen: Lots of tropes I like in contemporary romance here.
In the Ravenous Dark
A pansexual bloodmage reluctantly teams up with an undead spirit to start a rebellion among the living and the dead.
In Thanopolis, those gifted with magic are assigned undead spirits to guard them—and control them. Ever since Rovan’s father died trying to keep her from this fate, she’s hidden her magic. But when she accidentally reveals her powers, she’s bound to a spirit and thrust into a world of palace intrigue and deception.
Desperate to escape, Rovan finds herself falling for two people she can’t fully trust: Lydea, a beguiling, rebellious princess; and Ivrilos, the handsome spirit with the ability to control Rovan, body and soul.
Together, they uncover a secret that will destroy Thanopolis. To save them all, Rovan will have to start a rebellion in both the mortal world and the underworld, and find a way to trust the princess and spirit battling for her heart—if she doesn’t betray them first.
Amanda: Pansexual blood mage. Hello!
Elyse: I second Amanda: Pansexual bloodmage!
Ellen: Queer necromancer love triangle?!
A darkly feminist, modern gothic tale pitched against a haunting backdrop, and populated by an electrifying cast of heroines
For 150 years, high above rocky Scottish cliffs, Caldonbrae Hall has sat untouched, a beacon of excellence in an old ancestral castle. A boarding school for girls, it promises that the young women lucky enough to be admitted will emerge “resilient and ready to serve society.”
Into its illustrious midst steps Rose Christie: a 26-year-old Classics teacher, Caldonbrae’s new head of the department, and the first hire for the school in over a decade. At first, Rose is overwhelmed to be invited into this institution, whose prestige is unrivaled. But she quickly discovers that behind the school’s elitist veneer lies an impenetrable, starkly traditional culture that she struggles to reconcile with her modernist beliefs—not to mention her commitment to educating “girls for the future.”
It also doesn’t take long for Rose to suspect that there’s more to the secret circumstances surrounding the abrupt departure of her predecessor—a woman whose ghost lingers everywhere—than anyone is willing to let on. In her search for this mysterious former teacher, Rose instead uncovers the darkness that beats at the heart of Caldonbrae, forcing her to confront the true extent of the school’s nefarious purpose, and her own role in perpetuating it.
A darkly feminist tale pitched against a haunting backdrop, and populated by an electrifying cast of heroines, Madam will keep readers engrossed until the breathtaking conclusion.
Elyse: This Gothic thriller is described as dark and feminist which is my jam.
Off the Record
The behind-the-scenes access of Almost Famous meets the searing revelations of #metoo in this story of a teen journalist who uncovers the scandal of the decade.
Ever since seventeen-year-old Josie Wright can remember, writing has been her identity, the thing that grounds her when everything else is a garbage fire. So when she wins a contest to write a celebrity profile for Deep Focus magazine, she’s equal parts excited and scared, but also ready. She’s got this.
Soon Josie is jetting off on a multi-city tour, rubbing elbows with sparkly celebrities, frenetic handlers, stone-faced producers, and eccentric stylists. She even finds herself catching feelings for the subject of her profile, dazzling young newcomer Marius Canet. Josie’s world is expanding so rapidly, she doesn’t know whether she’s flying or falling. But when a young actress lets her in on a terrible secret, the answer is clear: she’s in over her head.
One woman’s account leads to another and another. Josie wants to expose the man responsible, but she’s reluctant to speak up, unsure if this is her story to tell. What if she lets down the women who have entrusted her with their stories? What if this ends her writing career before it even begins? There are so many reasons not to go ahead, but if Josie doesn’t step up, who will?
From the author of Full Disclosure, this is a moving testament to the #MeToo movement, and all the ways women stand up for each other.
Shana: I loved the angtsy romance and girl power in Garrett’s first book, so I’m curious what she’ll do with this
One Weekend in Aspen
Fresh out of a ten-year relationship, Emily Brookstone wants to let loose. But she’s not exactly the let-loose type. When she gets invited to spend a no- strings-attached weekend in Aspen with eight other women, the words “good for you” come to mind. Maybe a fling with a charming stranger is just what she needs.
Alex Murphy travels the world for her job. She has no trouble getting dates wherever she lands and life is full of short-term escapades and fantasy weekends. Yet finding someone to share life with feels impossible. Until she meets Emily.
What happens on one snowy weekend in Aspen could change everything. But is a gamble on love worth all the risk?
Tara: I don’t typically reach for wintery books in May, but I love vacation romances and this sounds fluffy and fun.
Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake
Fans of Casey McQuiston, Christina Lauren, and Abby Jimenez will love this scrumptious and sweet romantic comedy from the “dizzyingly talented writer” of Boyfriend Material (Entertainment Weekly)!
Following the recipe is the key to a successful bake. Rosaline Palmer has always lived by those rules—well, except for when she dropped out of college to raise her daughter, Amelie. Now, with a paycheck as useful as greaseproof paper and a house crumbling faster than biscuits in tea, she’s teetering on the edge of financial disaster. But where there’s a whisk there’s a way . . . and Rosaline has just landed a spot on the nation’s most beloved baking show.
Winning the prize money would give her daughter the life she deserves—and Rosaline is determined to stick to the instructions. However, more than collapsing trifles stand between Rosaline and sweet, sweet victory. Suave, well-educated, and parent-approved Alain Pope knows all the right moves to sweep her off her feet, but it’s shy electrician Harry Dobson who makes Rosaline question her long-held beliefs—about herself, her family, and her desires.
Rosaline fears falling for Harry is a guaranteed recipe for disaster. Yet as the competition—and the ovens—heat up, Rosaline starts to realize the most delicious bakes come from the heart.
Aarya: FYI: I’ve heard that this has a love triangle and is primarily women’s fiction (the plot is more about Rosaline’s journey, not her romance with the endgame love interest). So if you love Alexis Hall’s work, go in with the correct expectations!
Shana: A bisexual heroine! And baking!
The Goode Girl
When I first got the invitation, I thought it was a sick joke from some creep at the grocery store, but the offer is legitimate. The Auction wants me, and for half of the final bid, I just have to spend a night with the highest bidder.
It’s enough to change my life. My fiancé Dylan’s life. Money like that would get us out of his gambling debt, and I could finally breathe without feeling like there’s a group of thugs waiting to strike at any moment. Money like that would mean freedom for the both of us.
It’s wrong. God, I know it’s wrong, but I’m not just doing this for me. I’m doing this for us.
And it’s only for one night.
At least, it was before Alessio Morrone won the bid.
Aarya: I’ve never read this author before, but there’s been enough social media buzz and recs to make me wanna try this.
Hang the Moon
In a delightful follow-up to Written in the Stars, Alexandria Bellefleur delivers another #ownvoices queer rom-com about a hopeless romantic who vows to show his childhood crush that romance isn’t dead by recreating iconic dates from his favorite films…
Brendon Lowell loves love. It’s why he created a dating app to help people find their one true pairing and why he’s convinced “the one” is out there, even if he hasn’t met her yet. Or… has he? When his sister’s best friend turns up in Seattle unexpectedly, Brendon jumps at the chance to hang out with her. He’s crushed on Annie since they were kids, and the stars have finally aligned, putting them in the same city at the same time.
Annie booked a spur-of-the-moment trip to Seattle to spend time with friends before moving across the globe. She’s not looking for love, especially with her best friend’s brother. Annie remembers Brendon as a sweet, dorky kid. Except, the 6-foot-4 man who shows up at her door is a certified Hot Nerd and Annie… wants him? Oh yes.
Getting involved would be a terrible idea—her stay is temporary and he wants forever—but when Brendon learns Annie has given up on dating, he’s determined to prove that romance is real. Taking cues from his favorite rom-coms, Brendon plans to woo her with elaborate dates straight out of Nora Ephron’s playbook. The clock is ticking on Annie’s time in Seattle, and Brendon’s starting to realize romance isn’t just flowers and chocolate. But maybe real love doesn’t need to be as perfect as the movies… as long as you think your partner hung the moon.
Tara: Can you believe it?! I’m finally anticipating an m/f romance! How could I not, when the two leads were really lovely side characters in Written in the Stars?
Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating
Everyone likes Humaira “Hani” Khan—she’s easy going and one of the most popular girls at school. But when she comes out to her friends as bisexual, they invalidate her identity, saying she can’t be bi if she’s only dated guys. Panicked, Hani blurts out that she’s in a relationship…with a girl her friends absolutely hate—Ishita “Ishu” Dey. Ishu is the complete opposite of Hani. She’s an academic overachiever who hopes that becoming head girl will set her on the right track for college. But Ishita agrees to help Hani, if Hani will help her become more popular so that she stands a chance of being elected head girl.
Despite their mutually beneficial pact, they start developing real feelings for each other. But relationships are complicated, and some people will do anything to stop two Bengali girls from achieving happily ever after.
Tara: Fake relationship stories get me every time and this one sounds adorable.
Aarya: Dying to read this after enjoying The Henna Wars last year!
One night wasn’t enough.
Danny Yip walks into every boardroom with a plan. His plan for struggling tech company WesTec is to acquire it, shut it down, and squeeze the last remaining revenue out of it for his Jade Harbour Capital portfolio. But he didn’t expect his best friend’s younger brother—the hottest one-night stand he ever had—to be there.
Tobin Lok has always thought the world of Danny. He’s funny, warm, attractive—and totally out of Tobin’s league. Now, pitted against Danny at work, Tobin might finally get a chance to prove he’s more than just Wei’s little brother.
It takes a lot to get under Danny’s skin, but Tobin is all grown up in a way Danny can’t ignore. Now, with a promising patent on the line and the stakes higher than ever, all he can think about is getting Tobin back into his bed—and into his life for good.
If only explaining their relationship to Wei could be so easy…
Aarya: Early reviews indicate dark themes (not sure if it’s a dark romance), but make sure to check out content warnings if necessary.
How to Find a Princess
New York Times and USA Today bestseller Alyssa Cole’s second Runaway Royals novel is a queer Anastasia retelling, featuring a long-lost princess who finds love with the female investigator tasked with tracking her down.
Makeda Hicks has lost her job and her girlfriend in one fell swoop. The last thing she’s in the mood for is to rehash the story of her grandmother’s infamous summer fling with a runaway prince from Ibarania, or the investigator from the World Federation of Monarchies tasked with searching for Ibarania’s missing heir.
Yet when Beznaria Chetchevaliere crashes into her life, the sleek and sexy investigator exudes exactly the kind of chaos that organized and efficient Makeda finds irresistible, even if Bez is determined to drag her into a world of royal duty Makeda wants nothing to do with.
When a threat to her grandmother’s livelihood pushes Makeda to agree to return to Ibarania, Bez takes her on a transatlantic adventure with a crew of lovable weirdos, a fake marriage, and one-bed hijinks on the high seas. When they finally make it to Ibarania, they realize there’s more at stake than just cash and crown, and Makeda must learn what it means to fight for what she desires and not what she feels bound to by duty.
Tara: Oh, hello there, f/f Anastasia reinterpretation! Take my money already!
Thirteen years ago, decorated former-Army Ranger Roman Sheppard rescued Mexican heiress Cenobia Trujillo from a shocking kidnapping that riveted the world.
In the years since, Roman’s risen from his humble Texas roots: He is now the head of an elite security firm and the reluctant half-prince of a glamorous wine-growing Spanish kingdom.
And today, Cenobia–“Cen”–is finally in the CEO role she’s trained for her whole life. But serious, growing threats against her are derailing a product launch that will change the Mexican industrial landscape forever. She’s done the hard work to recover from her kidnapping, but therapy has’t changed the fact that Roman Sheppard will forever represent safety in her mind.
He’s the only one she can trust.
And his coming to Mexico will allow Cenobia to finally figure out if what she feels is a teenager’s daydream or a grown woman’s reality…
But there’s a reason Roman has stayed a continent away. His mission is to save people. And nothing–not duty to family, not the mistakes of his past, and certainly not love–is going to get in his way.
He’ll go to Mexico. He’ll help Cen. He’ll keep her safe.
What he won’t allow himself to do?
Desire Cenobia Trujillo. He won’t allow her to become his sweet Cen.
Sarah: Bodyguard, Unrequited Love, May-December (older man/younger woman), Royalty? This is not 100% my catnip but it’s close – I am very intrigued.
Summer in the City
Each connected novella in this fun, fresh Rom-Com anthology follows a different woman from a group of NYC friends whose plans to escape the summer heat with a fabulous girls-only weekend suddenly lose steam when an unexpected blackout cuts off power to all of Manhattan. But while the lights are out, enemies become lovers, acquaintances find they have more in common than a pack of matches, and the city really heats up!
There’s nothing like summer in Manhattan. The days are long and the nights are even longer. But when the lights go out in the city, fireworks explode…
Night at the Museum by Lori Wilde
Art restorer Ria Preston knows a thing or two about beauty. And when she discovers her neighborhood crush, gregarious Wall Street advisor Vic Albright, is stuck overnight in the Metropolitan Museum of Art with her, she can’t resist taking him on a very private tour…
Lights Out by Priscilla Oliveras
Back in high school, Vanessa Rios and Mateo Garza were theater troupe rivals. Now Mateo’s a rising Broadway star and Vanessa is his most scathing critic. Cue a plot twist straight out of central casting: the two end up alone in his NYC apartment during the blackout, setting the stage for what could be their second act romance…
Mind Games by Sarah Skilton
What happens in college stays in college–unless you never get over it. In fact, Alison has been waiting to take her revenge on Nick, once the hottest guy on campus, now the hottest guy on the rising magician’s circuit. But her plans to sabotage his first show are upended by the power outage. That’s when the real magic happens…
Sarah: Priscilla Oliveras told Amanda and me about her story in this anthology – a Broadway romance novella with an actor and critic trapped by a blackout in his apartment.
Tokyo Ever After
The Princess Diaries meets Crazy Rich Asians in Emiko Jean’s Tokyo Ever After, the irresistible story of an ordinary Japanese-American girl who discovers that her father is the Crown Prince of Japan!
Izumi Tanaka has never really felt like she fit in—it isn’t easy being Japanese American in her small, mostly white, northern California town. Raised by a single mother, it’s always been Izumi—or Izzy, because “It’s easier this way”—and her mom against the world. But then Izumi discovers a clue to her previously unknown father’s identity…and he’s none other than the Crown Prince of Japan. Which means outspoken, irreverent Izzy is literally a princess.
In a whirlwind, Izumi travels to Japan to meet the father she never knew and discover the country she always dreamed of. But being a princess isn’t all ball gowns and tiaras. There are conniving cousins, a hungry press, a scowling but handsome bodyguard who just might be her soulmate, and thousands of years of tradition and customs to learn practically overnight.
Izumi soon finds herself caught between worlds, and between versions of herself—back home, she was never “American” enough, and in Japan, she must prove she’s “Japanese” enough. Will Izumi crumble under the weight of the crown, or will she live out her fairy tale, happily ever after?
Amanda: The Princess Diaries are a favorite of mine and this sounds so fun and fluffy!
Shana: I never tire of princess fantasies.
Bridgerton fans and readers of Madeline Hunter, Eloisa James, and Lisa Kleypas won’t want to miss this humorous and clever new love story from the historical romance legend.
Along with his stepsiblings, Sheridan Wolfe, Duke of Armitage, is determined to finally solve the mysteries behind the suspicious deaths of their mother’s three husbands. Tasked with investigating a possible suspect, Sheridan finds himself in dangerous proximity to her captivating daughter, Vanessa Pryde. But still haunted by a tragically lost love, the duke is resolved to resist the attraction—and avoid any “scheming” husband-hunters. Besides, lovely Miss Pryde seems utterly smitten with a roguish London playwright…
Vanessa thinks a little scheming may be in order—for it’s Sheridan she truly has her sights, and her heart, set on. Her theatrical flirtation is intended only to break through his business-like demeanor and guarded emotions. And as Sheridan’s jealousy becomes aroused, the two soon find themselves propelled into a scheme of an altogether different kind, involving a pretend engagement, a secret inquiry—and a perhaps not-so-secret leap into true love…
Catherine: The premise of this series is very, very silly, but I don’t care, because Sabrina Jeffries is an autobuy for me. She is very reliable fun! Also, I think this might be the book where we finally get to resolve the mystery that started in the first book?
A down-on-her-luck city girl searches for new purpose among the shelves of a failing bookstore in the quaint town of Pine Ridge, New York–until a forbidden love tempts her to go off-book.
When life sets fire to your happily ever after, you ditch your cheating boyfriend, trade in the city life for the off-the-grid seclusion of your mother’s bookstore in the mountains…and try to resist your attraction to the brooding town mechanic you accidentally got into a fender bender with outside the local bar. Sydney Walsh might be falling head over heels for the romance novels she’s stocking up to rebuild The Loving Page, but she has no delusions about actually starring in one. That chapter has closed.
Beneath Sam Kirkland’s gruff mountain-man exterior lies a gentle heart and a burning desire for the woman he knows he can’t have. He’s made promises that anchor him to the past, making romance off-limits. And he accepted that–until Sydney came crashing into his life.
Sam can’t do a relationship right now. Sydney doesn’t have the wherewithal to believe in one. But when you meet the right person, the wrong circumstances don’t matter. Even when the world seems to be doing its best to keep them apart, their real, one-of-a-kind love is worth fighting for.
Amanda: I’m really loving this opposites attract setup.
Young lawyer Alexa Humphries’s one true love is her precious duvet, yet she is torn from its comforting embrace every morning while the foxes are still scavenging the bins outside and doesn’t get back until long after most normal people are already asleep. Worn down by the endless demands of her suspicious boss and her competitive, high-flying housemate and fellow lawyer, Zara, Alexa barely recognises herself anymore. This wasn’t how life was supposed to be.
But today is different. Today, Alexa just cannot get out of bed to face the world. Everyone deserves a duvet day, don’t they?
But what starts as a mini-rebellion against the tyranny of her job soon sees her locked out of the flat wearing nothing but a unicorn onesie and what’s left of her dignity. Desperate to track down a spare set of keys before her back-stabbing housemate finds out she’s pulled a sickie, Alexa sets off on a wild goose chase across London. Before long, she’s being blackmailed by an annoyingly handsome photo-journalist, forcing her to trail after him while the hours before she has to get home tick down.
As Alexa’s dreams of Netflix and self-care turn into the duvet day from hell, what’s starting to feel a lot like the beginning of a breakdown might actually be the making of her. Will she get home in time to keep her job … and does she even want to?
Catherine: Is it bad if the reason I want to read this book is because I just am so tired right now and really want a doona day? Because that’s why I want to read this book.
The Sprite and the Gardener
“A delightful flower-scented tale of community and harmony with nature.” — K. O’Neill, creator of The Tea Dragon Society series
Long, long ago, sprites were the caretakers of gardens. Every flower was grown by their hand. But when humans appeared and began growing their own gardens, the sprites’ magical talents soon became a thing of the past. When Wisteria, an ambitious, kind-hearted sprite, starts to ask questions about the way things used to be, she’ll begin to unearth her long-lost talent of gardening. But her newly honed skills might not be the welcome surprise she intends them to be.
The Sprite and the Gardener, the debut graphic novel by Joe Whitt and Rii Abrego, is bursting with whimsical art and vibrant characters. Join our neighborhood of sprites in this beautiful, gentle fantasy where both gardens and friendships begin to blossom.
Ellen: This looks very cute and springy!!