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NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – MAY 10, 2022

Happy “where’d all my money go?” new release Tuesday, everyone!

As you know, the most exciting day of the week in this community is the day that follows the one we all dread (Mondays for the nope) and today we’re going to highlight some of the new books chipping away at our bank accounts — but each one is so worth it.


Set on You by Amy Lea features “a gym nemesis [who] pushes a fitness influencer to the max in Amy Lea’s steamy debut romantic comedy.

Under Fortunate Stars by Ren Hutchings has the tagline of : “Two Ships. One Chance To Save The Future“. Intrigued yet?

Misrule by Heather Walter is the much anticipated sequel for fans of Malice.

House With The Golden Door by Elodie Harper is out on May 12, 2022, in the UK and is the second novel in the author’s Wolf Den Trilogy, which reimagines the lives of women who have long been overlooked.



Are there any titles out today you’re excited for? Let us know in the comments below! 

THE MURDER OF MR. WICKHAM by Claudia Gray

From New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray—a summer house party turns into a thrilling whodunit when Mr. Wickham, one of literature’s most notorious villains, meets a sudden and suspicious end in this brilliantly imagined mystery featuring Jane Austen’s leading literary characters.

The happily married Mr. Knightley and Emma are throwing a house party, bringing together distant relatives and new acquaintances—characters beloved by Jane Austen fans. Definitely not invited is Mr. Wickham, whose latest financial scheme has netted him an even broader array of enemies. As tempers flare and secrets are revealed, it’s clear that everyone would be happier if Mr. Wickham got his comeuppance. Yet they’re all shocked when Wickham turns up murdered—except, of course, for the killer hidden in their midst.

Nearly everyone at the house party is a suspect, so it falls to the party’s two youngest guests to solve the mystery: Juliet Tilney, the smart and resourceful daughter of Catherine and Henry, eager for adventure beyond Northanger Abbey; and Jonathan Darcy, the Darcys’ eldest son, whose adherence to propriety makes his father seem almost relaxed. In a tantalizing fusion of Austen and Christie, the unlikely pair must put aside their own poor first impressions and uncover the guilty party—before an innocent person is sentenced to hang.


Title : The Drowned Woods
Author : Claudia Gray
Format : eARC
Page Count : 320
Genre : historical fiction / mystery
Publisher : Vintage Books
Release Date : May 3, 2022

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 3 star review

I’m sure I’m not alone in wishing a slow painful death for Mr. Wickham, he of Pride and Prejudice and Austen infamy. And while this didn’t quite deliver in that exacting way, he’s still dead! Three cheers for that.

What also drew me to this title, vicious longing for murder aside, was the idea of all of Austen’s famous couples gathered under one roof and subject to, essentially, a locked room mystery. Would they get along? Who would be the first suspect? Who would actually do it.. and why? I mean, we don’t need a why but would there be a why we wouldn’t see coming?

And, overall, this was good fun. I liked that Gray gave each couple very real conflicts, outside of the mystery, that did not seem fabricated and instead were likely issues that had plagued these characters or, due to circumstances, had caused certain issues to come to light. Each couple were in various stages of their HEA; some were long married, with grown children, some had only been married a few years, and others, only months. Each was a different perspective on their “what comes after” and each with their own concerns and issues. I really enjoyed it. Some, of course, more than others because we all have favourites.

Equally, we also see some secondary characters visit. Some we probably weren’t fans of to begin with but, at least, none so loathsome as Wickham.

I never guessed the culprit or the motive, by the way. I was just along for the ride. But it was completely realistic and not remotely out of left field — in case you are worried.

Gray is not a new or untried author to me, I’ve read much of her YA backlist, but this particular venture was a surprise. I have no idea if she’s shifting to adult permanently, or even historical fiction in general, but I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for what comes next.

** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

THE THIEF by Megan Whalen Turner

The king’s scholar, the magus, believes he knows the site of an ancient treasure. To attain it for his king, he needs a skillful thief, and he selects Gen from the king’s prison. The magus is interested only in the thief’s abilities. What Gen is interested in is anyone’s guess. Their journey toward the treasure is both dangerous and difficult, lightened only imperceptibly by the tales they tell of the old gods and goddesses.

Eugenides, the queen’s thief, can steal anything – or so he says. Then his boasting lands him in the king’s prison, and his chances of escape look slim.

So when the king’s magus invites him on a seemingly impossible quest to steal a legendary object and win back his freedom, Gen in no position to refuse.

The magus has plans for his king and his country. Gen has plans of his own . . .

Megan Whalen Turner weaves Gen’s stories and Gen’s story together with style and verve in a novel that is filled with intrigue, adventure, and surprise.


Title : The Thief
Author : Megan Whalen Turner
Series : The Queen’s Thief #1
Format : eARC
Page Count : 236
Genre : YA Fantasy
Publisher : Hodder Books
Release Date : May 5, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ .5


Micky’s 2.5 star review

Headlines:
I hyped this up for myself
Not a lot goes on for the first half
Interesting characters

The Thief is a book I’ve been wanting to read for a few years and it’s finally getting a UK publisher this year. I bit the hand off netgalley and Hodder for this but I think the hype I’d got myself into over it ultimately made me crash and burn.

This is a character-driven, plot light ya fantasy, pitched around a thief (Gen) and his troop of keepers. Basically, for the first half, not a lot happens but there was enough to just about keep me engaged and that was because I really liked Gen. Surprisingly, I came to like his keeper, the Magus.

When things did pick up (a bit) plot-wise, I think I’d got beyond feeling invested. When I look at the other reviews for this book (it’s been released elsewhere for decades), many talk about the slowness of this read but that the investment is worth it for the series. Feeling as I do, I’m unsure whether I will continue.

I’m sad I haven’t nicer thoughts to share, but we can’t always share our book friends’ love for recommendations.

Thank you to Hodder Books for the early review copy. 

BOOK LOVERS by Emily Henry – double review!

Nora is a cut-throat literary agent at the top of her game. Her whole life is books.

Charlie is an editor with a gift for creating bestsellers. And he’s Nora’s work nemesis.

Nora has been through enough break-ups to know she’s the woman men date before they find their happy-ever-after. That’s why Nora’s sister has persuaded her to swap her desk in the city for a month’s holiday in Sunshine Falls, North Carolina. It’s a small town straight out of a romance novel, but instead of meeting sexy lumberjacks, handsome doctors or cute bartenders, Nora keeps bumping into…Charlie.

She’s no heroine. He’s no hero. So can they take a page out of an entirely different book?


Title : Book Lovers
Author : Emily Henry
Format : eARC / paperback
Page Count : 379
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Publisher : Viking Books / Berkley
Release Date : May 3, 2022

Reviewer : Micky / Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ / ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 5 star review

Headlines:
Diverted and captivated
Why yes, you can read almost a whole book with a smile on your face
Samesies, not opposites

We all need that special book that sings to your heart, that takes you on a journey, that has characters with depth, dialogue to get lost in and banter (because who doesn’t need banter). Book Lovers is that book, with a good dollop of chemistry to add into the mix. For me, this is Henry’s best work to date, it is refined, whip-smart and utterly belieavable. It’s going to be in my top crop of books for the year for sure.

Nora the protagonist, was a fierce, almost frosty at first sight kind of woman but the story lets you see underneath immediately to her soft heart and those who are beloved by her. Nevertheless, Nora found herself typecast as heartless because she was so damn good at her job and was a workaholic. Charlie was the yin to her yin, because they were something of a mirror of one another. Who says it has to be opposites attact? We need a new trope of samesies!

His eyes bore into me until there’s smoke lifting off my skin. I’m an ant beneath his sunlit magnifying glass, and then he looks away.

There was a strong sense of family in this book, the literal adventure Nora finds herself on with her sister Libby was mired in past sadness but also smattered with hope. These two and their sisterhood made for such a rich side story to the books and Charlie.

My highlight game was strong reading this book, so many lines, exchanges jumped off the page. I laughed, I even cried and absolutely loved how this book captured my imagination and took me to the places I wanted. It had feels, humour, great writing and dammit, I want to visit this backwater of a small town.

Thank you to Viking Books for the early review copy.


Hollis’ 5 star review

Surprising no one, I don’t often pick up five star reads (or maybe, rather, I don’t award them, because hey it’s all opinion, right?). Rarer still when I do find those elusive five stars do I know it early on. Because so often it can just be a case of a good-read drought that has you feeling pumped or rounding up. But for Book Lovers? I had that five star feeling well before the final page. And here we are.

Beach Read was one of my top ten faves of 2020 and so naturally I felt the stakes were extra high for Henry’s sophomore adult release. Which I did really like but don’t know if I loved (I need to reread to be sure, I might’ve been in a weird place for that one). So maybe my expectations were more conservative (though still high) for this one. But it’s also just that damn good. 

Book Lovers is witty and sharp and delicious and delightful and just fun (seriously, my highlights are out of control). Once again Henry is letting her characters live and play in a very book-focused sandbox by having them be book editor and book agent, respectively, and the sheer entertainment of all the trope-talk was just.. well, sheer entertainment. But beyond the fun of the topics there were also the characters and I loved them all so damn much. And the romance? Hoo boy. The chemistry was palpable and all the false starts were agonizing — in the best way.

Outside the romance (and even sort’ve within it) we have some good emotional beats, too. The sisterly dynamic was one I both loved and was a little frustrated by but only because it felt so authentic. There were complications and false notes between them, from their history, but how it all unfurled in the end was a surprise not only to our MC but also to me. And I really loved it. And yes, I cried; maybe two or three times. But the third was directly related to our book lovers.

I could hardly tear myself away from this read. I absolutely adored it. I don’t want to say it tops my love for Beach Read but.. maybe it does? Sorta? Possibly? It’s just that good. Cannot recommend enough.

** I received a finished copy from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

I KISSED SHARA WHEELER by Casey McQuiston – double review!

Chloe Green is so close to winning. After her moms moved her from SoCal to Alabama for high school, she’s spent the past four years dodging gossipy classmates and a puritanical administration at Willowgrove Christian Academy. The thing that’s kept her going: winning valedictorian. Her only rival: prom queen Shara Wheeler, the principal’s perfect progeny.

But a month before graduation, Shara kisses Chloe and vanishes.

On a furious hunt for answers, Chloe discovers she’s not the only one Shara kissed. There’s also Smith, Shara’s longtime quarterback sweetheart, and Rory, Shara’s bad boy neighbor with a crush. The three have nothing in common except Shara and the annoyingly cryptic notes she left behind, but together they must untangle Shara’s trail of clues and find her. It’ll be worth it, if Chloe can drag Shara back before graduation to beat her fair-and-square.

Thrown into an unlikely alliance, chasing a ghost through parties, break-ins, puzzles, and secrets revealed on monogrammed stationery, Chloe starts to suspect there might be more to this small town than she thought. And maybe—probably not, but maybe—more to Shara, too.


Title : I Kissed Shara Wheeler
Author : Casey McQuiston
Format : ARC / eARC
Page Count : 320
Genre : YA LGBTQIAP+ contemporary romance
Publisher : St. Martin’s Press/MacMillan Kids
Release Date : May 3, 2022/May 12, 2022

Reviewer : Hollis / Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ .5 / ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4.5 star review

This book is really making me reconsider my rounded up “3.5 star feels” for One Last Stop. Because I Kissed Shara Wheeler gave me the queer ensemble of my dreams whilst also having an electric and fun and unexpected plot without any of the lulls found in the author’s sophomore release. Infact, this made me incredibly nostalgic for their debut because I’m left with that same sparkly feeling — minus the hangover from some of the more intense emotional moments.

God, why is he still here? What is he doing? There’s no way his job is that hard. All he des is cut the arts budget and misinterpret the Bible. How many hours can that possibly take?

Because, yes, I Kissed Shara Wheeler? Fantastic. I knew by the end of chapter one I was going to be a goner for this book and only something absolutely terrible could ruin it. And, spoiler, nothing did.

While she does like boys, she generally finds the traits of a compelling villain — arrogance, malice, an angry backstory — tedious in a man. Like, what do hot guys with long dark hair have to be that upset about? Get a clarifying shampoo and suck it up, Kylo Ren.

As usual my brain is stalling out a little on what to say but like. This has that competitive academic rivals tension. It has a kiss-fuelled scavenger hunt. It has unlikely allies who become true friends. It’s about self-discovery. It’s about quiet rebellions that lead to louder ones. It’s about old friends become new again. It’s about found family. And so much more.

Chloe, we’re gay. We can’t do math.
Okay, well, next time I’ll come and make a spreadsheet.
This is why we need you. Once in a generation, there is born a bisexual who can do math. You’re the chosen one.”

It’s not all easy or fun or just non-stop queer shenanigans, though. With the setting of this book, both in a little town in Alabama and at a Christian school to boot, you know there’s going to be some issues to tackle. But those issues never overwhelmed the story. But neither were they too minor to not play a part. It was the perfect balance.

Your mama and I decided long before you were both that we would let you be whoever you are, no matter who that is.
And if who you are is a snarling little Pomeranian with eyes like fire, than that’s who you are, darling.”

If YA is all McQuiston plans to ever write again (this is not confirmed, I’m just saying), I would honestly only be a tiny bit upset to lose adult content from them. Because it really was that good. I know I will be rereading this and, likely, loving it even more.

Highly recommend.

** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **


Micky’s 3 star review

Headlines:
YA contemporary comedy mystery
Dramatics
Bigatory

There’s lots to recommend this read, it’s beautifully queer, a fun romp but somehow, it just didn’t hit the notes for me. There’s an eclectic band of friends thrown together in this story and that was the element I became most fond of.

Shara was missing and I struggled with Shara as a character for much of the story, and maybe I was supposed to. She seemed manipulative and they way she had all these peers pitched against one another initially, really wound me up. There was space for redemption but overall I didn’t like her. Shara however, wasn’t really the main character even if the whole story was centred on her, Chloe was the MC and I did like her mostly. Chloe had some epic moms which I appreciated.

The themes were welcome in this book and they included exploring identity, sexuality and rebelling against bigatory. These important themes were well handled but it felt alongside a fair bit of dramarama. I think the drama and manipulative characteristics of Shara were what kept me from connecting with the characters sadly. I didn’t feel any chemistry in the romantic moments either.

I am disappointed I didn’t enjoy this more but I can see that so far from a ratings perspective, I am in the minority.

Thank you MacMillan Kids for the early review copy.

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – MAY 3, 2022

Happy “where’d all my money go?” new release Tuesday, everyone!

As you know, the most exciting day of the week in this community is the day that follows the one we all dread (Mondays for the nope) and today we’re going to highlight some of the new books chipping away at our bank accounts — but each one is so worth it.


Book of Night by Holly Black is quote, “a modern dark fantasy of shadowy thieves and secrert societies”.

I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston is a YA mystery story with full on LGBTQIAP+ characters.

Book Lovers by Emily Henry is likely to be a smash of summer romance read (this is co-signed by Micky and Hollis). Think books, vacations, editors and connections.

Under One Roof by Ali Hazelwood makes it’s transition from audio to other formats today and we are ready for another women in STEM romance!

Inheritance by Elizabeth Acevedo is a visual short poem read about black and afro-latinidad hair.

Confessions of an Alleged Good Girl by Joya Gaffney is about “preacher’s daughter in small-town Texas and her journey toward loving herself and her body, filled with heart, humor, family drama, and a dynamic love triangle.



Are there any titles out today you’re excited for? Let us know in the comments below! 

BOOK OF NIGHT by Holly Black – double review!

In Charlie Hall’s world, shadows can be altered, for entertainment and cosmetic preferences—but also to increase power and influence. You can alter someone’s feelings—and memories—but manipulating shadows has a cost, with the potential to take hours or days from your life. Your shadow holds all the parts of you that you want to keep hidden—a second self, standing just to your left, walking behind you into lit rooms. And sometimes, it has a life of its own.

Charlie is a low-level con artist, working as a bartender while trying to distance herself from the powerful and dangerous underground world of shadow trading. She gets by doing odd jobs for her patrons and the naive new money in her town at the edge of the Berkshires. But when a terrible figure from her past returns, Charlie’s present life is thrown into chaos, and her future seems at best, unclear—and at worst, non-existent. Determined to survive, Charlie throws herself into a maelstrom of secrets and murder, setting her against a cast of doppelgangers, mercurial billionaires, shadow thieves, and her own sister—all desperate to control the magic of the shadows.

With sharp angles and prose, and a sinister bent, Holly Black is a master of shadow and story stitching. Remember while you read, light isn’t playing tricks in Book of Night, the people are.


Title : Book of Night
Author : Holly Black
Format : eARC
Page Count : 320
Genre : urban fantasy / paranormal
Publisher : Tor Books / DelReyUK
Release Date : May 3, 2022

Reviewer : Hollis / Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ / ★ ★ ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 3 star review

I think even the mightiest of Black stans might lose it over that ending, hoo boy. I loved it but I also kinda hated it.

So here’s the thing. If this is a standalone, I’m a lot less happy than a three star. Okay, fine, maybe it’s just docked half a point. But if this is a series opener.. yeah, maybe I could bump it a half point. As it is, there’s a lot of good in this adult debut from this beloved author but there’s also an equal amount of stuff I could’ve lived without.

I do think most people will come out of this book loving our MC, Charlie. She is unflinchingly herself and herself is messy. She’s a twenty-eight year old ex-con artist and thief who is painfully aware of her baggage cart full of faults, failed relationships, and rather questionable childhood. She’s trying to turn a new leaf, one that is away from the sketchier aspects of her skillset and focus on being somewhat of a law abiding citizen as well as guide her sister towards school and a future (a bit I never quite understood considering her sister’s age and lack of interest and also, side note, did anyone else assume her sister was like sixteen? she did not act her age). Having a boyfriend who, for once, is not a scumbag, though maybe a little weird, helps, too.

In this world, which I’ll admit I still find somewhat hard to grasp, there are people who can work magic through shadows. That’s basically the simplest way to describe it. And while that’s a main event in this world, the story itself focuses more on both mystery and heist and the overlords who rule the underworld. Does that sound dramatic? It kind of is.

While Charlie’s world was dark and violent and gritty, the details didn’t always interest me. Much like how I was invested in about half the characters and the rest could go hang. There was a sweet spot that kept me invested but on the whole there were parts that left much to be desired. Which, again, if this is a series.. I could see myself being swayed if we got more depth or detail. If not, well. It’ll be halfway memorable.

I would absolutely read on and I so hope we continue to get more adult releases from our favourites in the YA genre, particularly when they go dark side. This didn’t quite ease the sting of the long wait for the next Alex Stern novel but I’m not mad at it for distracting me for a few hours, either. You’ll either pick this one up or you won’t and I doubt this review will sway you otherwise. Having said that, I can’t wait to see more reviews and how this works (or doesn’t) for other readers.

** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **


Micky’s 4 star review

Headlines:
Morally dark-grey goodness
Darkness and shady shadows
Corruption

I loved so much about this fantasy offering from Holly Black. There was an absolutely fantastic female MC in Charlie Hall. She was shady, she didn’t give a s***, she took risks like it was a daily snack but she had a big heart for the few she loved. Her childhood was a complete mess of exploitation of her supposed magical abilities and she wasn’t protected as she should have been. Thus was the adult Charlie as a result.

The story brought a couple I really wanted to cheer for, or did it, maybe, I hope. Vince was difficult to fathom but I got a sense of true connection and love, even if it lacked verbal expression. The plot around Vince was deep and led into some places you wanted it not to but truly, it was incredibly clever and delicious to read.

The other characters of the piece outside the sister Posey, were honestly a nasty bunch. None more than Salt, he was heinous but I also loved to hate Adeline. You’ve got to pay attention to this plot, it definitely became exponentially more complex and the use of past/present was both helpful while being a little pacey at times. That ending 100% worked for me, knowing this is going to be a series; I love a messy ending on those terms.

Black has announced her entrance into adult fantasy with a slickness of characterisation and a wholly adult feel to the piece. I am a fan and ball of anticipation for the next book.

Thank you to Delrey UK for the gorgeous proof to review early.