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Happy July! Don’t forget that SBTB Bingo has started!

There are some great books coming out this month. I know I have at least three that I’m eager to crack open on my e-reader. Lots of contemporary romances and fantasy for our picks this week.

What’s on your list for the start of July? Let us know in the comments!

  • Dishonestly Yours

    Dishonestly Yours by Krista Ritchie

    Starting fresh is the only way Phoebe can escape a life of crime, but her best friend’s older brother complicates honest dreams in this gripping new series from the authors of the Addicted series.

    Phoebe Graves grew up in a family where deception and seduction are as commonplace as breathing. The Graves and her best friend Hailey’s family have been on the run their whole lives, but after a high-stakes con job goes south, Phoebe and Hailey decide to run away and start over. The small Connecticut town they settle in seems too good to be true.

    The biggest flaw in their plan is Hailey’s frustratingly handsome brother, Rocky, who insists on coming with them. Living honestly isn’t in his DNA, and his past with Phoebe is downright messy. He’s everything she wants, but nothing she can have.

    Phoebe worries that Rocky will tempt them back into their old ways, where lying is second nature.  She doesn’t want Rocky to mess up the new life she’s begun for herself. The longer she stays in town, the more she realizes what it means to have a reputation—and what a normal life with the man she loves could look like.

    Amanda: I haven’t read a Ritchie book before but I’m a sucker for conwomen heroines.

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  • Just Playing House

    Just Playing House by Farah Heron

    A rising movie star reunites with his high school prom date, now a personal stylist, in this delightful rom-com for fans of forced proximity, second chances, and celebrity romance.

    This has to be a joke. Stylist Marley Kamal has waited years for the chance to be a private shopper for a major celebrity. But finding out that her first big client is the guy she went to prom with—and slept with and was promptly ghosted by—seems like the universe is mocking her. Because Nikhil Shamdasani is back, about to star in a major movie, and is more drop-dead hot than ever . . . at the worst possible time.

    Marley’s only weeks away from an elective double mastectomy and breast reconstruction that’s supposed to save her life. But this surgery is going to change things in more ways than she can possibly imagine. For one, Nik is so eager to have her as his stylist, he’s offered to stay in her home and take care of her while she recovers. Now Marley is about to learn that as the door to her old life closes, something—or rather someone—else will enter . . . if she’s ready to let him in.

    Aarya: We don’t often see heroines getting an elective double mastectomy on page, so I’m very interested to try this.

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  • The Love of My Afterlife

    The Love of My Afterlife by Kirsty Greenwood

    A recently deceased woman meets “the one” in the afterlife waiting room, scoring a second chance at life (and love!) if she can find him on earth before ten days are up…

    If she wasn’t dead already, Delphie would be dying of embarrassment. Not only did she just die by choking on a microwaveable burger, but now she’s standing in her ‘shine like a star’ nightie in front of the hottest man she’s ever seen. And he’s smiling at her.

    As they start to chat, everything else becomes background noise. That is until someone comes running out of a door, yelling something about a huge mistake, and sends the dreamy stranger back down to earth. And here Delphie was thinking her luck might be different in the afterlife.

    When Delphie is offered a deal in which she can return to earth and reconnect with the mysterious man, she jumps at the opportunity to find her possible soulmate and a fresh start. But in a city of millions, Delphie is going to have to listen to her heart, learn to ask for help, and perhaps even see the magic in the life she’s leaving behind…

    Shana: Every time I read the blurb for this I get more excited. It sounds wacky and fun.

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  • Masquerade

    Masquerade by O.O. Sangoyomi

    Set in a wonderfully reimagined 15th century West Africa, Masquerade is a dazzling, lyrical tale exploring the true cost of one woman’s fight for freedom and self-discovery, and the lengths she’ll go to secure her future.

    “A bewitching, thrilling and vibrant novel that had me enthralled with every twist and turn.” —Jennifer Saint, New York Times bestselling author

    Òdòdó’s hometown of Timbuktu has been conquered by the warrior king of Yorùbáland, and living conditions for the women in her blacksmith guild, who were already shunned as social pariahs, grow even worse.

    Then Òdòdó is abducted. She is whisked across the Sahara to the capital city of Ṣàngótẹ̀, where she is shocked to discover that her kidnapper is none other than the vagrant who had visited her guild just days prior. But now that he is swathed in riches rather than rags, Òdòdó realizes he is not a vagrant at all; he is the warrior king, and he has chosen her to be his wife.

    In a sudden change of fortune, Òdòdó soars to the very heights of society. But after a lifetime of subjugation, she finds the power that saturates this world of battle and political savvy too enticing to resist. As tensions with rival states grow, revealing elaborate schemes and enemies hidden in plain sight, Òdòdó must defy the cruel king she has been forced to wed by reforging the shaky loyalties of the court in her favor, or risk losing everything—including her life.

    Loosely based on the myth of Persephone, O.O. Sangoyomi’s Masquerade takes you on a journey of epic power struggles and political intrigue which turn an entire region on its head.

    Elyse: A retelling of Persephone set in 15th Century West Africa.

    Shana: This looks like it will live up to its gorgeous cover.

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  • Midnight Rooms

    Midnight Rooms by Donyae Coles

    Set in a foreboding Gothic mansion and infused with the heightened paranoia and creeping horror of novels like Catherine House and Crimson Peak, a spine-chilling debut historical thriller from a fresh voice in the genre that will leave you questioning who, or what, you can trust . . . including your own sanity.

    England, 1840. Orabella Mumthrope spies an unexpected visitor in her uncle’s parlor. Scruffy in appearance yet claiming to be the scion of a fabulously wealthy family, Elias Blakersby declares a deep desire to make Orabella his wife. The orphaned daughter of a white man and a Black woman—an outsider with no fortune or connections—Orabella never expected to marry. But her uncle has many debts, and Orabella, curious about the seeming devotion Elias bestows upon her, agrees.

    The new bride is quickly whisked away to Korringhill Manor, the Blakersby family estate, and far from everything she knows. Expecting splendor, Orabella is shocked to find decay, skittish servants, and curt elders. But her kind new husband’s loving touch, promises of a happy life together, and his assurances she’ll never want for anything soothe her concerns.

    Yet there is a darkness deep within this house. Rooms are locked or hidden away, and the walls seem to thrum with secrets. Orabella can never venture outside unattended; she spends her days having tea with a catatonic sister-in-law and evenings at Elias’s side, dutifully hosting lavish dinners. The darkness soon begins to engulf her, too. Becoming dizzy and drowsy after dinner, she falls into a fitful sleep filled with macabre dreams, and is awakened by blood-curdling screams in the night. In the morning she rises from her bed covered in mysterious bruises. Confused and terrified, she begins to question where her dreams end and reality begins. The longer Orabella stays in this place, the more she loses parts of herself . . . how long until she no longer exists?

    Midnight Rooms is a sweeping saga with supernatural undertones set in Victorian England. Vibrating with tension, richly atmospheric—haunted by ghosts, guilt, and familial bonds—it is an electrifying story that will linger in your dreams.

    Shana: You say Gothic, I say Yes!

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  • The Night Ends with Fire

    The Night Ends with Fire by K.X. Song

    Infused with magic and romance, this sweeping fantasy adventure inspired by the legend of Mulan follows a young woman determined to choose her own destiny—even if that means going against everyone she loves.

    The Three Kingdoms are at war, but Meilin’s father refuses to answer the imperial draft. Trapped by his opium addiction, he plans to sell Meilin for her dowry. But when Meilin discovers her husband-to-be is another violent, ill-tempered man, she realizes that nothing will change for her unless she takes matters into her own hands.

    The very next day, she disguises herself as a boy and enlists in her father’s place.

    In the army, Meilin’s relentless hard work brings her recognition, friendship—and a growing closeness with Sky, a prince turned training partner. But has she simply exchanged one prison for another? As her kingdom barrels toward destruction, Meilin begins to have visions of a sea dragon spirit that offers her true power and freedom, but with a deadly price.

    With the future of the Three Kingdoms hanging in the balance, Meilin will need to decide whom to trust—Sky, who inspires her loyalty and love; the sea dragon spirit, who has his own murky agenda; or an infuriating enemy prince who makes her question everything she once knew—about her kingdom and about her own heart.

    Amanda: Mulan is one of my favorite Disney movies so I’m very excited for this one.

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  • The Undermining of Twyla and Frank

    The Undermining of Twyla and Frank by Megan Bannen
    From the author of The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy comes a heartwarming fantasy with a best friends-to-lovers rom com twist set in the delightful demigod and donut-filled world of Tanria.

    The entire town of Eternity was shocked when widowed, middle-aged Twyla Banneker partnered up with her neighbor and best friend, Frank Ellis, to join the Tanrian Marshals. Eight years later, Twyla’s rewarding career patrolling the strange land of Tanria remains a welcome change from the domestic grind of mom life, despite the misgivings of her grown children.

    Fortunately (or unfortunately) a recent decrease in on-the-job peril has made Twyla and Frank’s job a lot safer … and a lot less exciting. So when they discover the body of one of their fellow marshals near an enormous footprint—and Frank finds himself the inadvertent foster dad to a baby dragon—they are grateful to be back in action.

    Soon, the friends wind up ensnared in a nefarious plot that goes far deeper than any lucrative Tanrian mineshaft. But as danger closes in and Twyla and Frank’s investigation becomes more complicated, so does their easy friendship. And Twyla starts to realize that her true soul mate might be the person who has lived next door all along…

    We loved the start to this series on the site!

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