Can you believe it’s October? I can’t! But a new month equals new books. Below are a handful of titles that the SBTB crew wants to read, but here are a couple more books that are probably on your TBR piles this month:
- Jasmine Guillory returns with The Proposal ( A | BN | K | G | AB ).
- Shades of Wicked ( A | BN | K | G | AB ) is a new spin-off series by Jeaniene Frost.
- Nalini Singh’s Archangel’s Prophecy ( A | BN | K | G | AB ) releases this month.
- Shadow and Ice by Gena Showalter ( A | BN | K | G | AB ) is the first book in a new paranormal romance series.
Wild on My Mind
Love runs wild at the Sagebrush Flats Zoo, where a motley crew of big-hearted animals helps the most unlikely couples find love.
When Katie Underwood discovers a litter of newborn cougar cubs, the last person she expects to come to the rescue is her former crush―and high school nemesis―Bowie Wilson. The worst part? He doesn’t seem to remember the trouble he caused her.
As a single father and owner of a cash-strapped zoo, Bowie struggles to balance budgets while raising his pre-teen daughter and a host of rascally animals. He considers himself lucky when Katie agrees to lend her talents to a publicity campaign in support of the zoo’s animal rehabilitation programs―until he learns just what she’s planning…
This time, Katie is determined to resist Bowie’s charm. But a lovelorn camel, a matchmaking honey badger, and a nursemaid capybara have different plans. Can they and the rest of the zoo’s menagerie help Bowie break through the barriers surrounding Katie’s heart?
Sarah says: They sent me a honey badger plushie to promote the book, which Orville, my cat, has fallen deeply in love with. Even without the cat/badger lovefest on my desk every day, I’m curious about this book.
The Boneless Mercies
A dark standalone YA fantasy about a band of mercenary girls in search of female glory.
Frey, Ovie, Juniper, and Runa are the Boneless Mercies—girls hired to kill quickly, quietly, and mercifully. But Frey is weary of the death trade and, having been raised on the heroic sagas of her people, dreams of a bigger life.
When she hears of an unstoppable monster ravaging a nearby town, Frey decides this is the Mercies’ one chance out. The fame and fortune of bringing down such a beast would ensure a new future for all the Mercies. In fact, her actions may change the story arc of women everywhere.
Elyse says: A YA gender-bent Beowulf.
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the popular Black Dagger Brotherhood series comes a brand-new novel about arson investigator, Anne Ashburn, who is consumed by her troubled past, her family’s scorched legacy, and her current case: chasing a deadly killer.
Anne Ashburn is a woman consumed…
By her bitter family legacy, by her scorched career as a firefighter, by her obsession with department bad-boy Danny McGuire, and by a new case that pits her against a fiery killer.
Strong-willed Anne was fearless and loved the thrill of fighting fires, pushing herself to be the best. But when one risky decision at a warehouse fire changes her life forever, Anne must reinvent not only her job, but her whole self.
Shattered and demoralized, Anne finds her new career as an arson investigator a pale substitute for the adrenaline-fueled life she left behind. She doesn’t believe she will ever feel that same all-consuming passion for her job again–until she encounters a string of suspicious fires setting her beloved city ablaze.
Danny McGuire is a premiere fireman, best in the county, but in the midst of a personal meltdown. Danny is taking risks like never before and seems to have a death wish until he teams up with Anne to find the fire starter. But Danny may be more than a distraction, and as Anne narrows in on her target, the arsonist begins to target her.
From the creator of the bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood, get ready for a new band of brothers. And a firestorm.
Elyse says: I’m intrigued by Ward’s take on a non-paranormal contemporary, and the heroine is an arson investigator
Seventeen-year-old Anouk envies the human world, where people known as Pretties lavish themselves in fast cars, high fashion, and have the freedom to fall in love. But Anouk can never have those things, because she is not really human. Enchanted from animal to human girl and forbidden to venture beyond her familiar Parisian prison, Anouk is a Beastie: destined for a life surrounded by dust bunnies and cinders serving Mada Vittora, the evil witch who spelled her into existence. That is, until one day she finds her mistress murdered in a pool of blood—and Anouk is accused of the crime.
Now, the world she always dreamed of is rife with danger. Pursued through Paris by the underground magical society known as the Haute, Anouk and her fellow Beasties only have three days to find the real killer before the spell keeping them human fades away. If they fail, they will lose the only lives they’ve ever known…but if they succeed, they could be more powerful than anyone ever bargained for.
From New York Times bestselling author Megan Shepherd, Grim Lovelies is an epic and glittering YA fantasy. Prepare to be spellbound by the world of Grim Lovelies, where secrets have been long buried, friends can become enemies, and everything—especially humanity—comes at a price.
Amanda says: Magic and Paris!
They were the first and only all-female gang in the American West. Though the newspapers refuse to give them credit, their exploits don’t go unnoticed. Now, they’ve got a rival male gang on their trail and an old score to settle.
Margaret Parker and Hattie LaCour never intended to turn outlaw.
After being run off their ranch by a greedy cattleman, their family is left destitute. As women alone they have few choices: marriage, lying on their backs for money, or holding a gun. For Margaret and Hattie the choice is simple. With their small makeshift family, the gang pulls off a series of heists across the West.
Though the newspapers refuse to give the female gang credit, their exploits don’t go unnoticed. Pinkertons are on their trail, a rival male gang is determined to destroy them, and secrets among the group threaten to tear them apart. Now, Margaret and Hattie must find a way to protect their family, finish one last job, and avoid the hangman’s noose.
Amanda says: Definitely here for badass outlaw women!
The Hollow of Fear
Charlotte Holmes, Lady Sherlock, returns in the Victorian-set mystery series from the USA Today bestselling author of A Conspiracy in Belgravia and A Study in Scarlet Women, an NPR Best Book of 2016.
Under the cover of “Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective,” Charlotte Holmes puts her extraordinary powers of deduction to good use. Aided by the capable Mrs. Watson, Charlotte draws those in need to her and makes it her business to know what other people don’t. When her dear friend Lord Ingram stands accused of the murder of his estranged wife, Charlotte goes under disguise to help prove his innocence to Scotland Yard.
Sarah says: Book three in Charlotte Holmes’ series? HERE FOR IT.
The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy
In this highly anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestselling The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, Felicity Montague must use all her womanly wits and wiles to achieve her dreams of becoming a doctor—even if she has to scheme her way across Europe to do it. A must-have for fans of Mackenzi Lee’s extraordinary and Stonewall Honor-winning novel.
A year after an accidentally whirlwind grand tour with her brother Monty, Felicity Montague has returned to England with two goals in mind—avoid the marriage proposal of a lovestruck suitor from Edinburgh and enroll in medical school. However, her intellect and passion will never be enough in the eyes of the administrators, who see men as the sole guardians of science.
But then a window of opportunity opens—a doctor she idolizes is marrying an old friend of hers in Germany. Felicity believes if she could meet this man he could change her future, but she has no money of her own to make the trip. Luckily, a mysterious young woman is willing to pay Felicity’s way, so long as she’s allowed to travel with Felicity disguised as her maid.
In spite of her suspicions, Felicity agrees, but once the girl’s true motives are revealed, Felicity becomes part of a perilous quest that leads them from the German countryside to the promenades of Zurich to secrets lurking beneath the Atlantic.
RHG says: The next book in Lee’s series that stared with A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, which was fantastic and I’m excited for the next book.
Shadow of the Fox
Once Every Thousand Years…
Every millennium, one age ends and another age dawns…and whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers holds the power to call the great Kami Dragon from the sea and ask for any one wish. The time is near…and the missing pieces of the scroll will be sought throughout the land of Iwagoto. The holder of the first piece is a humble, unknown peasant girl with a dangerous secret.
Demons have burned the temple Yumeko was raised in to the ground, killing everyone within, including the master who trained her to both use and hide her kitsune shapeshifting powers. Yumeko escapes with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll. Fate thrusts her into the path of a mysterious samurai, Kage Tatsumi of the Shadow Clan. Yumeko knows he seeks what she has…and is under orders to kill anything and anyone who stands between him and the scroll.
A wish will be granted and a new age will dawn.
Amanda says: I’m a sucker for books that use mythology and I love this cover!
The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel
“Marrying forbidden love, devoted friendship, and the supernatural with Palombo’s signature passion for music, storytelling, and heartbreaking choices, The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel enchants with a concoction of love, longing, and loss plucked from the bones of one of our most enduring and haunting legends.” – Erin Lindsay McCabe, USA Todaybestselling author of I Shall Be Near to You
When Ichabod Crane arrives in the spooky little village of Sleepy Hollow as the new schoolmaster, Katrina Van Tassel is instantly drawn to him. Through their shared love of books and music, they form a friendship that quickly develops into romance. Ichabod knows that as an itinerant schoolteacher of little social standing, he has nothing to offer the wealthy Katrina – unlike her childhood friend-turned-enemy, Brom Van Brunt, who is the suitor Katrina’s father favors.
But when romance gives way to passion, Ichabod and Katrina embark on a secret love affair, sneaking away into the woods after dark to be together – all while praying they do not catch sight of Sleepy Hollow’s legendary Headless Horseman. That is, until All Hallows’s Eve, when Ichabod suddenly disappears, leaving Katrina alone and in a perilous position.
Enlisting the help of her friend – and rumored witch – Charlotte Jansen, Katrina seeks the truth of Ichabod Crane’s disappearance, investigating the forest around Sleepy Hollow using unconventional – often magical – means. What they find forces Katrina to question everything she once knew, and to wonder if the Headless Horseman is perhaps more than just a story after all. In Alyssa Palombo’s The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel nothing is as it seems, and love is a thing even death won’t erase.
RHG says: Sleepy Hollow but from Christina Ricci…uh, Katrina’s POV. (Okay, I admit, the bulk of my Sleepy Hollow knowledge is from the Tim Burton movie and the TV show that regrettably only lasted one season.)
The Witch of Willow Hall
“It was the Bishop boy who started it all…”
Boston, 1811: The Salem Witch Trials are over one hundred years in the past, and America is a changed place. Lydia Montrose is a young girl, enraged by the cruel boy who torments her. When she confronts him in the street, she draws a disbelieving crowd, and she cannot quite remember what she’s done.
Ten years later, Lydia finds herself in a carriage bound for the rural New Oldbury, Massachusetts, her family fleeing Boston in the wake of a scandal connected to her older sister, Catherine, her own engagement to a promising young man abruptly broken. The stately Willow Hall, which Mr. Montrose built as a summer retreat for his family, is now the only home the Montroses can have.
Lydia resents that she’s lost everything. But her resentment turns to disquiet when it becomes apparent that Willow Hall hides dark secrets that no one in the Montrose family could have predicted, like the ominous messages Lydia keeps receiving: “You attract them. Prepare.” And Mr. Montrose’s handsome business partner, John Barrett, seems to begrudge that Mr. Montrose has brought his family with him to Willow Hall.
When whatever lurks in the house and its surrounding woods does the unthinkable, Lydia knows she is the only one who can stop it. Summoning powers she barely understands, Lydia must engage the forces around her to keep her family safe, while protecting the blossoming love she has with John—who has secrets of his own.
Elyse says: I love creepy shit! It’s creepy shit season and I am so here for this book and it’s take on the Salem Witch Trials.
Sarah says: I think creepy historical fiction is where Elyse’s tastes and mine overlap.
Death in Paris
A charming series debut featuring two American sleuths in Paris, Death in Paris is a perfect traditional mystery for fans of M. L. Longworth and Juliet Blackwell.
The only thing chillier than a Parisian winter is cold-blooded murder.
When French financier Edgar Bowen drowns in a bowl of soup, his former girlfriend, American Rachel Levis, is alarmed by the unnatural death. Who dies eating a nice vichyssoise? But when she overhears a mourner at his funeral describing the circumstances of his death, something sounds even stranger: a bottle of rosé was on the dining table when he died. The only problem: Edgar loathed rosé. If he wasn’t drinking it, who was?
After the police rule the death accidental, Rachel knows it’s up to her and her best friend Magda to investigate. As the two Americans immerse themselves in Edgar’s upper-class world, the list of suspects grows: Could it have been his son, who inherited his money and lavish apartment? His icy ex-wife? His greedy new girlfriend? His impoverished personal assistant?
But when the suspects start dropping like flies, Rachel and Magda realize the murderer is tying up loose ends. It’ll be up to two amateur sleuths to solve their first case before the murderer decides they’re next…
Sarah says: Two amateur American sleuths in Paris investigate the mysterious death of a former boyfriend. Sign me up!
Fight or Flight
A series of chance encounters leads to a sizzling new romance from the New York Times bestselling author of the On Dublin Street series.
The universe is conspiring against Ava Breevort. As if flying back to Phoenix to bury a childhood friend wasn’t hell enough, a cloud of volcanic ash traveling from overseas delayed her flight back home to Boston. Her last ditch attempt to salvage the trip was thwarted by an arrogant Scotsman, Caleb Scott, who steals a first class seat out from under her. Then over the course of their journey home, their antagonism somehow lands them in bed for the steamiest layover Ava’s ever had. And that’s all it was–until Caleb shows up on her doorstep.
When pure chance pulls Ava back into Caleb’s orbit, he proposes they enjoy their physical connection while he’s stranded in Boston. Ava agrees, knowing her heart’s in no danger since a) she barely likes Caleb and b) his existence in her life is temporary. Not long thereafter Ava realizes she’s made a terrible error because as it turns out Caleb Scott isn’t quite so unlikeable after all. When his stay in Boston becomes permanent, Ava must decide whether to fight her feelings for him or give into them. But even if she does decide to risk her heart on Caleb, there is no guarantee her stubborn Scot will want to risk his heart on her…
Amanda says: I’ve read this one and really enjoyed it, but man…airports really bring out the worst in people.
New York Times best-selling author Cynthia Leitich Smith turns to realistic fiction with the thoughtful story of a Native teen navigating the complicated, confusing waters of high school — and first love.
When Louise Wolfe’s first real boyfriend mocks and disrespects Native people in front of her, she breaks things off and dumps him over e-mail. It’s her senior year, anyway, and she’d rather spend her time with her family and friends and working on the school newspaper. The editors pair her up with Joey Kairouz, the ambitious new photojournalist, and in no time the paper’s staff find themselves with a major story to cover: the school musical director’s inclusive approach to casting The Wizard of Oz has been provoking backlash in their mostly white, middle-class Kansas town. From the newly formed Parents Against Revisionist Theater to anonymous threats, long-held prejudices are being laid bare and hostilities are spreading against teachers, parents, and students — especially the cast members at the center of the controversy, including Lou’s little brother, who’s playing the Tin Man. As tensions mount at school, so does a romance between Lou and Joey — but as she’s learned, “dating while Native” can be difficult. In trying to protect her own heart, will Lou break Joey’s?
Amanda says: I love the cover and I’m all for senior year YA books!
The Royal Runaway
For fans of The Princess Diaries and The Royal We comes a fun and daring novel about a modern-day princess who teams up with a spy to find out what happened to the fiancé who left her at the altar—and who just might get her own fairytale in the process.
Princess Theodora Isabella Victoria of Drieden of the Royal House Laurent is so over this princess thing.
After her fiancé jilted her on their wedding day, she’s finally back home after spending four months in exile—aka it’s back to press conferences, public appearances, and putting on a show for the Driedish nation as the perfect princess they expect her to be. But Thea’s sick of duty. After all, that’s what got her into this mess in the first place.
So when she sneaks out of the palace and meets a sexy Scot named Nick in a local bar, she relishes the chance to be a normal woman for a change. But just as she thinks she’s found her Prince Charming for the night, he reveals his intentions are less than honorable: he’s the brother of her former fiancé, a British spy, and he’s not above blackmail. As Thea reluctantly joins forces with Nick to find out what happened the day her fiancé disappeared, together they discover a secret that could destroy a centuries-old monarchy and change life as they know it.
Funny, fast-paced, and full of more twists and turns than the castle Thea lives in, The Royal Runaway is a fresh romantic comedy that will leave you cheering for the modern-day royal who chucks the rulebook aside to create her own happily-ever-after.
Elyse says: I’m still getting over my royal wedding fever, so this book is definitely on my TBR.
Sarah says: From the cover copy: “…a novel about a modern-day princess who teams up with a spy to find out what happened to the fiancé who left her at the altar.” Come on now. How am I supposed to resist that?!
Author: M.J. Scott
Released: October 9, 2018 by emscott enterprises
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: TechWitch #1
My mother was a wicked witch. And all her spells ever brought was trouble. Since her death, with no power of my own, I’ve stayed far, far away from magic . . .
In a San Francisco struggling to recover from earthquakes and rising seas, and where technology can do things that are close enough to magic anyway, Maggie Lachlan is a computer whisperer. The one they call when no one else can find the elusive bug bringing a complex system to its knees. They call her the Techwitch. But she knows there’s nothing magical about what she does. It’s just hard-earned skill.
So when Damon Riley, owner of the world’s biggest virtual reality gaming company comes calling with a problem that his entire empire of geeks can’t fix, Maggie leaps at the job. Riley Arts is the kind of place she feels at home. Wall-to-wall tech. No magic. Except, perhaps, for the unsettling chemistry she has with the man in charge.
But she never imagined stepping into one of Damon’s games would reveal her mother lied about Maggie’s magic. Or that technology could break a spell she never knew she was under.
Now she has a demon hunting her and a whole world she knows nothing about to navigate. To save herself—and the world—she needs to learn fast.
Because, when it comes to magic, too many games are wicked. And if you lose, the price can be very, very high . . .
The intriguing start to a new dark and sexy Urban Fantasy series from M.J. Scott, RITA® Award nominated author of The Four Arts series and the Half-Light City series.
Amanda says: The series is called TechWitch, so I’m obviously going to read it.
The Witch Elm
Author: Tana French
Released: October 9, 2018 by Viking
Toby is a happy-go-lucky charmer who’s dodged a scrape at work and is celebrating with friends when the night takes a turn that will change his life – he surprises two burglars who beat him and leave him for dead. Struggling to recover from his injuries, beginning to understand that he might never be the same man again, he takes refuge at his family’s ancestral home to care for his dying uncle Hugo. Then a skull is found in the trunk of an elm tree in the garden – and as detectives close in, Toby is forced to face the possibility that his past may not be what he has always believed.
A spellbinding standalone from one of the best suspense writers working today, The Witch Elm asks what we become, and what we’re capable of, when we no longer know who we are.
Elyse says: I really like French’s Dublin Murder series, so I’m excited for this standalone
The Christmas Company
She’s out to save the town
from a real-life Scrooge…
The small town of Miller’s Point is known across the country for their annual Dickensian Christmas festival. When the festival is threatened by Clark Woodward, a miserly, big-city businessman, Kate Buckner steps up to save her hometown, their traditions, and her favorite holiday. But, along the way, she realizes that the man she’s trying to protect her town from might need some rescuing of his own.
With a lot of heart and a little Christmas magic, Kate is convinced she can teach Clark to love her favorite holiday. But can such different people learn to open up and love each other?
Sarah says: This is a contemporary Christmas Carol retelling, and I’m curious, though, again, Christmas romances often lose me in the first few chapters. And yet, I keep trying. I’m very strange, I know.
The Butterfly Bride
Frederica Burghley wants to be married by Yuletide. Or else her father will set her up with one of his friends. The bonbon-loving illegitimate daughter of the duke wants to choose her own husband. Advertising in the newspaper seems like the way to go. But a sinister response, with threats against her life, leads her to enlist the help of her very handsome, dear friend Jasper Fitzwilliam, Lord Hartwell.
A father and widower, Jasper is not only tasked with keeping Frederica safe but also with helping his vibrant friend choose a suitable husband. The more he tries to keep the ever-surprising woman alive and find her a good match, the more Jasper realizes he cares for her. The two friends risk their lives for each other, so they should be able to risk their feelings for a chance at a deep and true love together. But he’s not looking for marriage and she’s not looking for convenience.
Elyse says: This is friends-to-lovers and looks like it might be Christmas-y as well.
First Earl I See Tonight
An heiress with a daring proposal. An earl who’s determined to resist her. And a love that just might be written in the stars…
Recently jilted by his fiancée, David Gray, Earl of Ravenport is not in the market for a wife. Even if Gray didn’t have his hands full renovating his crumbling country house, it would take more than a bold marriage proposal from a headstrong young beauty to thaw his frozen heart. Gray is confident that spending a week at his ramshackle estate will change her mind about marriage, but every passionate moment he spends with her tempts him to change his…
A talented artist, Miss Fiona Hartley desperately needs her dowry money to pay off a blackmailer set on ruining her sister. The handsome earl seems a sensible choice for a husband…if only she can convince him that romance will play no part. But marrying in name only may prove difficult for Fiona. Gray can’t help but be dazzled by her genuine warmth. Yet as their feelings deepen, Fiona’s deadline looms. Will her secrets destroy them, or is true love their final destiny?
RHG says: “I don’t want a wife!” “I don’t want a husband but I need one because the patriarchy blows!” “FINE” “FINE” I loved this. It was charming.
The Runaway Princess
English orphan Miss Evangeline Scoffield has spent her life contenting herself with dreams. But with an unforseen inheritance, she can afford one perfect summer–a summer she will spend the rest of her life remembering. She buys herself expensive clothes, travels abroad, and presents herself as a lady of mystery.
But she quickly discovers her mistake, for a darkly handsome man appears at her bedroom door, claiming to be a Crown Prince–and her fiance.
Or the Ever After of Her Dreams?
One look into her eyes, and the prince recognizes her. She is his betrothed, the runaway Princess of Serephinia. All her denials cannot change that, or alter the passion that burgeons between them. To fullfil their destinies, the prince will do anything–abduct her, coerce her, or, best of all seduce his reluctant bride into his royal world of peril, promise and passion.
RHG says: Re-release of a 1999 book, where an orphan gets an inheritance, and ends up with fiance. Re-releases can be dicey, so it’ll be interesting to see which direction this goes in.
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