I felt like this was full of Shakespearean drama, and scheming families, and hot sex, and gorgeous clothes, but also some important things to say about how the world is functioning. There’s a lot going on, though, and the ending a tad rushed.
In the cutthroat world of Sweden’s financial elite, no one knows that better than corporate raider David Hammar. Ruthless. Notorious. Unstoppable. He’s out to hijack the ultimate prize, Investum. After years of planning, all the players are in place; he needs just one member of the aristocratic owning family on his side–Natalia De la Grip.
Elegant, brilliant, driven to succeed in a man’s world, Natalia is curious about David’s unexpected invitation to lunch. Everyone knows that he is rich, dangerous, unethical; she soon discovers he is also deeply scarred.
The attraction between these two is impossible, but the long Swedish nights unfold an affair that will bring to light shocking secrets, forever alter a family, and force both Natalia and David to confront their innermost fears and desires.
Syphon’s Song by Anise Rae is $1.99! This is a paranormal/fantasy romance. The initial description seems a bit confusing, but readers on GoodReads said the writing won them over as they compared it to Patricia Briggs with more initial romance. The second book in this series is also on sale for only 99c.
Legends say a syphon can drain a mage dry. He’ll brave the danger. Will she?
Someone’s playing pranks. The body of the late Casteel patriarch has been stolen and gifted to the family’s enemy, the powerful Rallises. As far as Bronte Casteel is concerned, they can keep it. She hasn’t spoken to her family in thirteen years, not since they exiled her from society for her lack of mage power. But she’s a syphon mage, able drain another mage’s power. Syphons’ destinies are always the same: death by fiery stake. She hides her secret by living among the Nons–powerless humans and the lowest class in the Republic. When her family orders her to go plead for the body’s return, she comes face to face with the one man who knows her secret.
Colonel Vincent Rallis isn’t letting his syphon get away this time. Not when she’s under suspicion of body-napping and aiding anti-mage terrorists. He’ll prove her innocence whether she wants him to or not, and then convince her they belong together…forever.
Vincent’s help comes with a steep price: Bronte must reveal her power. The inevitable ensuing witch-hunt and trial would be bad enough, but even a tough girl might buckle if her prosecutors are her own parents.
The Name of the Game by Jennifer Dawson is 99c! This is a contemporary, opposites attract romance. Readers loved the banter and note some light BDSM element. However, others wished there were more obstacles to the HEA. This is part of the Something New series and you can grab all five books for less than $5!
Some people follow the rules. . .
A professor of forensic anthropology, James Donovan is the reasonable sibling among the passionate, impulsive Donovans. But there’s nothing reasonable about his reaction to baker Gracie Roberts. She’s all wild curls and mouth-watering curves, as deliciously tempting as the sugary treats she’s famous for–and twice as irritating. But before long, James decides that getting a taste of her is one indulgence he can’t pass up. . .
Some people play to win. . .
Independent, smart, and sexy, Gracie’s year-long dry spell has her itching for a man. Responsible, health-obsessed James? Not in a million years! She needs a guy who knows how to let loose! But when James sets out to show her just how satisfying a disciplined man can be when pleasure is at stake, she learns just how sweet–and spicy–he really is.
When Darkness Comes by Alexandra Ivy is $1.99 at Amazon! This is book one in the Guardians of Eternity paranormal romance series. This book was originally published in a PNR heyday in 2007, so it might feel dated or familiar to you, despite the cover redesign. Many of the other books in this series are also on sale.
It’s been a hell of a day for Abby Barlow. In just a few hours, she’s survived an explosion, watched her employer die, had a startling dream, and now she finds herself in a seedy Chicago hotel with the sexy, unearthly Dante, a vampire she both desires and fears.
For 341 years, Dante has stood as guardian to The Chalice, a mortal woman chosen to hold back the darkness. A terrible twist of fate has now made Abby that woman. Three hours ago. Dante would have used all his charms to seduce her. Now she is his to protect. And he will do so until his very death.
A terrifying plan has been set in motion, one that will plunge Dante and Abby into an epic battle between good and evil – and a desperate race to save their love…
There are subscription book boxes, and there are subscription boxes for food, but why not both?
So, this year? We’re butchers, and we have boxes of meat and hot sauce because there is no limit to the number of jokes Amanda and I can make about sausage, nor can we stop coming up (hur) with terrible names for hot sauces.
Want to look back at some of our past April Fool’s editions? Here are a few of my favorites.
It’s time to talk about new books and pray that it doesn’t break our book budget! The books listed below are titles that SBTB HQ is super interested in reading, but here are a couple others coming out:
Meet Cute by Helena Hunting ( A | BN | K | G | AB ) is a standalone romantic comedy, and it has an adorable cover.
J.R. Ward fans are probably anticipating the release of The Savior ( A | BN | K | G | AB ).
Tyrants cut out hearts. Rulers sacrifice their own. Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, but when her beloved father is murdered, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of an unstable kingdom. Determined to find her father’s killer, Hesina does something desperate: she engages the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by death… because in Yan, magic was outlawed centuries ago.
Using the information illicitly provided by the sooth, and uncertain if she can trust even her family, Hesina turns to Akira—a brilliant and alluring investigator who’s also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of her kingdom at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high?
In this shimmering Chinese-inspired fantasy, debut author Joan He introduces a determined and vulnerable young heroine struggling to do right in a world brimming with deception.
Amanda says: The author says she likes to design a story to maximize character pain and that’s the kind of masochism I’m here for.
A thrilling, atmospheric debut with the intensive drive of The Martian and Gravity and the creeping dread of Annihilation, in which a caver on a foreign planet finds herself on a terrifying psychological and emotional journey for survival.
When Gyre Price lied her way into this expedition, she thought she’d be mapping mineral deposits, and that her biggest problems would be cave collapses and gear malfunctions. She also thought that the fat paycheck—enough to get her off-planet and on the trail of her mother—meant she’d get a skilled surface team, monitoring her suit and environment, keeping her safe. Keeping her sane.
Instead, she got Em.
Em sees nothing wrong with controlling Gyre’s body with drugs or withholding critical information to “ensure the smooth operation” of her expedition. Em knows all about Gyre’s falsified credentials, and has no qualms using them as a leash—and a lash. And Em has secrets, too . . .
As Gyre descends, little inconsistencies—missing supplies, unexpected changes in the route, and, worst of all, shifts in Em’s motivations—drive her out of her depths. Lost and disoriented, Gyre finds her sense of control giving way to paranoia and anger. On her own in this mysterious, deadly place, surrounded by darkness and the unknown, Gyre must overcome more than just the dangerous terrain and the Tunneler which calls underground its home if she wants to make it out alive—she must confront the ghosts in her own head.
But how come she can’t shake the feeling she’s being followed?
Hemdeep Singh knows exactly what he wants. With his intelligence and determination, he has what it takes to build his own legacy away from Bharat, Inc. and the empire his father created. But when his brother calls him home, Hem puts his dreams on hold once again to help save the company he walked away from. That’s when he encounters the devastating Mina Kohli in the Bharat boardroom, and he realizes he’s in for more than he had bargained.
Mina will do whatever it takes to recover control of her mother’s law firm, even if it means agreeing to an arranged marriage. Her newest case assignment is to assist Bharat in the midst of a potential takeover. It could be the key to finally achieving her goal while preventing her marriage to a man she doesn’t love—as long as her explosive attraction to Hem doesn’t get in the way.
As Mina and Hem work to save Bharat, they not only uncover secrets that could threaten the existence of the company, but they also learn that in a winner-takes-all game, love always comes out on top.
Amanda says: Sharma wrote My So Called Bollywood Life and I’m excited to read her first adult contemporary romance.
A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.
A prince in danger must decide who to trust.
A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.
Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.
In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy.
Amanda says: I’ve been anticipating this book for so long! And it’s beautiful in person.
Author: Hallie Rubenhold Released: April 9, 2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Genre:Nonfiction
Miscast in the media for nearly 130 years, the victims of Jack the Ripper finally get their full stories told in this eye-opening and chilling reminder that life for middle-class women in Victorian London could be full of social pitfalls and peril.
The “canonical five” women murdered by Jack the Ripper have always been dismissed as society’s waste, their stories passed down to us wrapped in a package of Victorian assumptions and prejudice. But social historian Hallie Rubenhold sets the record straight in The Five. In reality, only two of the victims were prostitutes, and Rubenhold has uncovered entirely new research about them all–in some cases, material no one has ever seen before.
The Five tells for the first time the true stories of these fascinating women. It delves into the Victorian experience of poverty, homelessness, and alcoholism, but also motherhood, childbirth, sexuality, child-rearing, work, and marriage, all against the fascinating, dark, and quickly changing backdrop of nineteenth-century London. From rural Sweden to the wedding of Queen Victoria, from the London of Charles Dickens to the factories of the Industrial Revolution and the high-class brothels of the West End, these women were not just victims but witnesses to the vagaries and vicissitudes of the Victorian age.
Elyse says: This book focuses on Jack the Ripper’s victims rather than the killer.
A second chance doesn’t guarantee a touchdown in this new contemporary romance from the author of Intercepted.
Single-mother Poppy Patterson moved across the country when she was sixteen and pregnant to find a new normal. After years of hard work, she’s built a life she loves. It may include a job at a nightclub, weekend soccer games, and more stretch marks than she anticipated, but it’s all hers, and nobody can take that away. Well, except for one person.
TK Moore, the starting wide receiver for the Denver Mustangs, dreamt his entire life about being in the NFL. His world is football, parties, and women. Maybe at one point he thought his future would play out with his high school sweetheart by his side, but Poppy is long gone and he’s moved on.
When Poppy and TK cross paths in the most unlikely of places, emotions they’ve suppressed for years come rushing back. But with all the secrets they never told each other lying between them, they’ll need more than a dating playbook to help them navigate their relationship.
Sarah says: While I struggle with football-centered romances – and football generally – I loved Martin’s voice and narration style in the first book, and I have heard the second is really, really fun.
In 1960s Florida, a young Cuban exile will risk her life–and heart–to take back her country in this exhilarating historical novel from the author of Next Year in Havana, a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick.
Beautiful. Daring. Deadly.
The Cuban Revolution took everything from sugar heiress Beatriz Perez–her family, her people, her country. Recruited by the CIA to infiltrate Fidel Castro’s inner circle and pulled into the dangerous world of espionage, Beatriz is consumed by her quest for revenge and her desire to reclaim the life she lost.
As the Cold War swells like a hurricane over the shores of the Florida Strait, Beatriz is caught between the clash of Cuban American politics and the perils of a forbidden affair with a powerful man driven by ambitions of his own. When the ever-changing tides of history threaten everything she has fought for, she must make a choice between her past and future–but the wrong move could cost Beatriz everything–not just the island she loves, but also the man who has stolen her heart…
Sarah says: This book features Beatriz, a character I loved from the first book, Next Year in Havana.
In which experienced West End actress Freddy Carlton takes on an Austen-inspired play, a scandal at a country estate, an enthusiastic search for a passion outside of acting…and the (some people might say icy*) heart of London’s most feared theater critic.
*if those people were being nice
Freddy Carlton knows she should be focusing on her lines for The Austen Playbook, a live-action TV event where viewers choose the outcome of each scene, but her concentration’s been blown. The palatial estate housing the endeavor is now run by the rude (brilliant) critic who’s consistently slammed her performances of late. James “Griff” Ford-Griffin has a penchant for sarcasm, a majestic nose and all the sensitivity of a sledgehammer.
She can’t take her eyes off him.
Griff can hardly focus with a contagious joy fairy flitting about near him, especially when Freddy looks at him like that. His only concern right now should be on shutting down his younger brother’s well-intentioned (disastrous) schemes—or at the very least on the production (not this one) that might save his family home from the banks.
Instead all he can think of is soft skin and vibrant curls.
As he’s reluctantly dragged into her quest to rediscover her passion for the stage and Freddy is drawn into his research on a legendary theater star, the adage about appearances being deceiving proves abundantly true. It’s the unlikely start of something enormous…but a single revelation about the past could derail it all.
One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!
Sarah says: Like I’m not going to read this. And the rest of the books in the series. Six times in the next four months. I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS BOOK IT’S FREDDIE AND THERE’S AUSTEN AND I AM ALL OVER THIS.
Author: Melonie Johnson Released: April 30, 2019 by St. Martin's Paperbacks Genre:Romance, Contemporary Romance Series: Sometimes in Love #1
IT’S TIME TO FLIRT WITH A MAN IN A KILT
Cassie Crow, a pop-culture reporter for a TV talk show, is focused on becoming a “serious” journalist. But when she stumbles into a kilted Highlander with a killer accent, Cassie decides that taking one night off from work and spending it with a sexy Scot couldn’t hurt. . .
Logan Reid has built a career on his charm, hosting a series of off-the-wall hijinks on the Web. But when the Scottish prankster meets the all-American, equal parts intelligent and irresistible Cassie, Logan realizes that one night of fun won’t be enough. Could it be that this career-focused, commitment-phobic couple is finally ready to take a chance at true and lasting love?
Sarah says: I mentioned this book previously, and I’m so curious about it. There’s a lot of my catnip in them thar cover copy.
But it’s the host who has him coming back for more…
When Seattle-based blind YouTuber Dovid Rosenstein finds Sam Doyle’s Let’s Play channel, playitagainsam, he’s instantly captivated by the Irish gamer. Everything about Sam is adorable, from his accent to his personality, and Dovid can’t get enough of his content.
Dovid’s glowing shout-out on Don’t Look Now, his own successful channel, sends Sam’s subscriber numbers skyrocketing overnight. He has more comments than he can read. And while the sudden surge in popularity is anxiety inducing, Sam decides it’s only right to dedicate his next episode to Dovid…which soon leads to a heart-pounding exchange of DMs.
They may have never met in person, but Dovid’s never felt this close to anyone before. What they have feels worth exploring—no matter the distance. But is it possible to already be in love with someone who’s half a world away?
Sarah says: This is a romance between two YouTubers that begins over DM and contains a long distance crush and then romance, and one of the characters, Dovid, is blind. His channel? “Don’t Look Now.”
Author: Alice Feeney Released: April 23, 2019 by Flatiron Books Genre:Mystery/Thriller
From the New York Times and international bestselling author of Sometimes I Lie comes a brand new, highly anticipated, dark and twisted thriller: I Know Who You Are.
Meet Aimee Sinclair: the actress everyone thinks they know but can’t remember where from.
Except one person.
Someone knows Aimee very well.
They know who she is and they know what she did.
When Aimee comes home and discovers her husband is missing, she doesn’t seem to know what to do or how to act. The police think she’s hiding something and they’re right, she is—but perhaps not what they thought. Aimee has a secret she’s never shared, and yet, she suspects that someone knows. As she struggles to keep her career and sanity intact, her past comes back to haunt her in ways more dangerous than she could have ever imagined.
In I Know Who You Are, Alice Feeney proves that she is a master of brilliantly complicated plots and killer twists that will keep you guessing until the final page.
Elyse says: A missing person thriller that sounds like Gone Girl.
Author: Rebecca Roanhorse Released: April 23, 2019 by Saga Press Genre:Urban Fantasy Series: The Sixth World #2
Kai and Caleb Goodacre have been kidnapped just as rumors of a cult sweeping across the reservation leads Maggie and Hastiin to investigate an outpost, and what they find there will challenge everything they’ve come to know in this action-packed sequel to Trail of Lightning.
It’s been four weeks since the bloody showdown at Black Mesa, and Maggie Hoskie, Diné monster hunter, is trying to make the best of things. Only her latest bounty hunt has gone sideways, she’s lost her only friend, Kai Arviso, and she’s somehow found herself responsible for a girl with a strange clan power.
Then the Goodacre twins show up at Maggie’s door with the news that Kai and the youngest Goodacre, Caleb, have fallen in with a mysterious cult, led by a figure out of Navajo legend called the White Locust. The Goodacres are convinced that Kai’s a true believer, but Maggie suspects there’s more to Kai’s new faith than meets the eye. She vows to track down the White Locust, then rescue Kai and make things right between them.
Her search leads her beyond the Walls of Dinétah and straight into the horrors of the Big Water world outside. With the aid of a motley collection of allies, Maggie must battle body harvesters, newborn casino gods and, ultimately, the White Locust himself. But the cult leader is nothing like she suspected, and Kai might not need rescuing after all. When the full scope of the White Locust’s plans are revealed, Maggie’s burgeoning trust in her friends, and herself, will be pushed to the breaking point, and not everyone will survive.
Amanda says: I loved the first one and as soon as I finished, I had this one preordered.
Self-made man Aidan Iverson has seen more closed doors in his thirty years than he’s ever cared to count. As a member of the elite Duke’s Den, he has all the money he could possibly need but the one thing he can’t purchase is true power. If roguish Aidan can’t buy his way into society’s hallowed halls, he’ll resort to a more extreme measure: marriage.
Brought up to be a proper lady, the only thing Diana Ashby desires is to be left alone to the creation of her own devices. But when her dreams are crushed, she must find another way to secure the future of her invention. Knowing his desire to enter her world, Diana strikes a deal to arrange Aidan’s marriage to the perfect lady—as long as that lady isn’t her. She doesn’t need any distractions from her work, particularly of the sinfully handsome variety.
As Diana and Aidan set out to find him an aristocratic match, neither are prepared for the passion that ignites between them or the love they can’t ignore.
In the Duke’s Den, can happiness ever be a winning prospect?
Elyse says: The heroine is acting as matchmaker for the hero in this one.
Author: May McGoldrick Released: April 30, 2019 by St. Martin's Paperbacks Genre:Romance, Historical: European Series: Royal Highlander #1
Perched on the North Sea, this port town―by turns legendary and mythological―is a place where Highland rebels and English authorities clash in a mortal struggle for survival and dominance. Among the fray is a lovely young widow who possesses rare and special gifts.
WANTED: Isabella Drummond
A true beauty and trained physician, Isabella has inspired longing and mystery―and fury―in a great many men. Hunted by both the British government and Scottish rebels, she came to the Highlands in search of survival. But a dying ship’s captain will steer her fate into even stormier waters. . .and her heart into flames.
FOUND: Cinaed Mackintosh
Cast from his home as a child, Cinaed is a fierce soul whose allegiance is only to himself. . .until Isabella saved his life―and added more risk to her own. Now, the only way Cinaed can keep her safe to seek refuge at Dalmigavie Castle, the Mackintosh family seat. But when the scandalous truth of his past comes out, any chance of Cinaed having a bright future with Isabella is thrown into complete darkness. What will these two ill-fated lovers have to sacrifice to be together…for eternity?
Elyse says: This book was pitched as something fans of Outlander would enjoy.
Author: Melanie Golding Released: April 30, 2019 by Crooked Lane Books Genre:Mystery/Thriller
SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE
“Mother knows best” takes on a sinister new meaning in this unsettling thriller perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman, Grimms’ Fairy Tales, and Aimee Molloy’s The Perfect Mother.
Everyone says Lauren Tranter is exhausted, that she needs rest. And they’re right; with newborn twins, Morgan and Riley, she’s never been more tired in her life. But she knows what she saw: that night, in her hospital room, a woman tried to take her babies and replace them with her own…creatures. Yet when the police arrived, they saw no one. Everyone, from her doctor to her husband, thinks she’s imagining things.
A month passes. And one bright summer morning, the babies disappear from Lauren’s side in a park. But when they’re found, something is different about them. The infants look like Morgan and Riley—to everyone else. But to Lauren, something is off. As everyone around her celebrates their return, Lauren begins to scream, These are not my babies.
Determined to bring her true infant sons home, Lauren will risk the unthinkable. But if she’s wrong about what she saw…she’ll be making the biggest mistake of her life.
Compulsive, creepy, and inspired by some our darkest fairy tales, Little Darlings will have you checking—and rechecking—your own little ones. Just to be sure. Just to be safe.
Elyse says: This thriller has a fairy tale feel to it and plays on the theme of changelings.
The Reluctant Royals series returns with a good girl searching for the life that’s not too big, and not too small, and the bad boy prince who might be just right for her…
Nya Jerami fled Thesolo for the glitz and glamour of NYC but discovered that her Prince Charming only exists in her virtual dating games. When Nya returns home for a royal wedding, she accidentally finds herself up close and personal—in bed—with the real-life celebrity prince who she loves to hate.
For Johan von Braustein, the red-headed step-prince of Liechtienbourg, acting as paparazzi bait is a ruse that protects his brother—the heir to the throne—and his own heart. When a royal referendum threatens his brother’s future, a fake engagement is the perfect way to keep the cameras on him.
Nya and Johan both have good reasons to avoid love, but as desires are laid bare behind palace doors, they must decide if their fake romance will lead to a happily-ever-after.
From the number one New York Times bestselling author of the Thoughtless series comes a sweet, thoughtful romance set high in the Alaskan wilderness.
Mallory Reynolds is a driven woman fueled by her passion for photographing wild animals in remote locations. Every year she makes a trek deep into Alaska, but this time the unthinkable happens: she crash-lands after her plane stalls out in a storm. Injured, vulnerable, and threatened by the very creatures she loves, Mallory fears the worst—until she’s rescued by Michael Bradley, a mysterious mountain man living in self-imposed exile.
Mallory is grateful for Michael’s help but desperate to return home to let her family know she’s alive. Unfortunately, neither of them can leave Michael’s secluded cabin until spring. Mallory’s stuck with a stranger for months.
As Mallory recovers, a deep bond begins to form between the pair. Mallory is convinced that fate brought them together, but Michael is buried in his past, unable to move forward. Undaunted, Mallory tends to Michael’s heart as tenderly as he cared for her wounds—but will her love be enough to heal him?
Amanda says: Survival against the elements! Forced proximity!
It’s about that time for some Cover Awe. This is the opposite of Cover Snark; we talk about covers we like and why we like them!
Amanda: The movement is fantastic. Also…it’s “Project Runway meets Mulan.” I love both of those things!
Carrie: The movement, and also I love the balanced composition with the wing and the flag, and just in general the unique imagery!
Amanda: I don’t know what it is about this cover. But the fact that the shirtless hero is surrounded by a bunch of soft, delicate flowers has my attention.
Elyse: Feel the need for Benadryl maybe?
Amanda: Oh, I’ll smell those roses all day long.
Carrie: Are flowers in? All of a sudden we have a lot of flower covers. Which is great!
Sarah: Ok. His expression is a little awkward, but they have clothing on, she’s got a great waistcoat and jacket going on, and they’re not half naked and o-facing at each other.
Sarah: The previous two in the series are also photographed like that and I don’t know how I missed them.
Usually photography covers on historical bug me but I like these.
Amanda: I had to look up the other covers and here’s the first book in the series. I think this one is my favorite because you can see the butt of a rifle in the heroine’s hand. And the hero is looking at her like, “Go head, honey. Give ‘em what for.”
Sent in by K. Schmidt. Thanks so much!
Amanda: It’s a very tender cover.
Sarah: What beautiful restraint with the color palette, too.