Lightning Reviews: Libraries & Romantic Suspense

Hey hey, it’s Lightning Reviews time! If you’re new to the site, this is where we run a couple reviews at a time that are on the shorter side at around 500 words or less. Sometimes you read something and there isn’t enough to say to fill up a full review, and that’s okay!

This time, we have nonfiction and romantic suspense!


    Lightning Reviews: Libraries & Romantic Suspense


    author: Laura Griffin

    Miranda is a burnt-out forensic photographer who has escaped to Lost Beach to shoot photographs for a birding calendar. Lost Beach, a small island just off the coast of Texas, has a small police department staffed with capable, if stretched police officers. Joel is one of those detectives. Right off the bat, we know that something happened in San Antonio that made Miranda run, but what is it?

    While out in her canoe shooting photographs at sunrise for the calendar, Miranda sees a canoe stuck in the reeds. Inside, she finds two people, wrapped up in each other’s arms. They are dead. She reports this to the police and in the aftermath, she meets Joel, who is appointed lead detective on the case.

    My perfect romantic suspense has a plot that is strong enough to stand as a mystery on its own, along with some sexy tension between my hero and heroine. Chuck in some serious competence p0rn and you have me signed, sealed and delivered into reading heaven.

    This book delivered. There were enough red herrings that I wasn’t able to guess the killer and did a literal gasp at the reveal. The sexual tension between Joel and Miranda is delicious! And I love love loved how competent all the characters are. Miranda, in particular, is REALLY good at her job even if she has a complicated relationship with her profession.

    There are also three points of view: Joel, Miranda, and Nicole, Joel’s protege and detective-in-training. She’s smart, capable and keeps hitting walls. I expected to be frustrated with the move away from the main characters, but her perspective added depth to the book. She uncovers clues and comes up with some pretty convincing theories to explain that evidence.

    Flight offers readers a terrific romantic suspense with a world of competence, sexual tension, big emotions, and outstanding mystery. I enthusiastically recommend it.



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    Lightning Reviews: Libraries & Romantic Suspense

    The Library Book

    author: Susan Orlean

    The Library Book by Susan Orlean is a gripping piece of nonfiction. Using the 1986 Los Angeles Library Fire as a framing device, Orlean explores the mystery of how and by whom the fire was started as well as the history of the Los Angeles Public Library and how libraries today are changing to meet modern needs.

    Orlean goes into detail about the fire itself, which makes for agonizing, informative, and emotionally gripping reading. The story of the lead suspect, Harry Peal, is also sad, and contains an enormous amount of homophobia (expressed in interviews by Pearl’s family members).

    However, overall the book is inspiring rather than depressing. I loved the stories of LA’s first librarians and their different personalities and visions for the library. The stories and lists from past librarians are funny and often gently baffling, as when Orlean shares some of the questions the Reference Department answered on one day in 1937. Questions included “Burial customs of Hawaii,” “What Romeo looked like,” and “Whether immortality can be perceived in the iris of an eye.” I’m also fond of the unorthodox use of library books as messaging systems, as in this note in a library books from 1914:

    Dear Jennie, Where are you keeping yourself? I have searched three cities for you and advertised in vain. Knowing that you like books, I am writing this appeal in every library book I can get ahold of in hope that it may come to your eyes. Write to me at the old address.

    This book is an interesting look at the Los Angeles Library from its first opening to the present day, with some speculation about the future. I was impressed with the structure, which kept things moving quickly while still imparting information and a gripping story. It’s not a comprehensive look at libraries in general (for that, I recommend Library: An Unquiet History by Matthew Battles) but takes a single location and tracks it through time, which means we get the history of Los Angeles, the history of the people who work at and visit the library, and the history of the actual building. I felt a huge investment in the location by the time I finished the first couple of chapters, despite never having been there.

    This book fell short for me because it included some material that I thought was unnecessary (for instance, Orlean describes setting fire to a book to see what it feels like) but not going in depth as much as I would have liked about other pieces of history. It can also be a frustrating book since it raises some questions that cannot be conclusively answered.

    Overall, it’s an entertaining read. I’ll close with this passage, which describes efforts to rescue books from the library building, which was both burned and soaked with water. If any books were to be saved, then they needed to be removed from the building quickly:

    The volunteers worked for the next three days around the clock. Most were strangers to each other, drawn together unexpectedly, and worked for hours, diligently and peacefully. They formed a human chain, passing books hand over hand from one person to the next, through the smoky building and out the door. It was as if, in this urgent moment, the people of Los Angeles formed a living library. They created, for a short time, a system to protect and pass along shared knowledge, to save what we know for each other, which is what libraries do every day.

    Carrie S

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An Urban Fantasy Set, Erotic Historical, & More

The Leopard King

The Leopard King by Ann Aguirre is $2.99! This is the first book in her paranormal romance series, Ars Numina. Readers loved the emotions the hero and heroine experienced, but some wished there was a bit more information about the world and setting. The next three books in the series are also $2.99 each.

Proud. Imperious. Impassioned.

Until three years ago, those words applied to Dominic Asher, the leader of Ash Valley. His family has ruled the feline branch of the Animari for hundreds of years, guiding the pride through perilous times. Unspeakable loss drove him into seclusion, a feral beast nobody can tame. Now he’s wrecked, a leopard king in exile, and he wants nothing more than to die.

Fierce. Loyal. Determined.

Fortunately for Dom, those words still apply to Pru Bristow, his dead mate’s best friend. She’s had her heart broken too, but she never quits. With the conclave approaching, alliances with the Pine Ridge pack and Burnt Amber clans on the verge of collapse, she’s prepared to do whatever it takes to drag their leader back, before his second can start a war.

At best theirs seems like a desperate alliance, but when their mate bond turns hot and fierce, there’s no end to the questions and the doubts. Neither of them expects to fall in love. But sometimes people don’t know what they’re looking for until they find it.

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You can find ordering info for this book here.




Prisoner of the Crown

Prisoner of the Crown by Jeffe Kennedy is $1.99! This is the first book in The Chronicles of Dasnaria and came out last week. Reviews mention that this is a rather dark fantasy with no romance in this installment. Also, be prepared for it to start slowly. I’m very interested in this! Are you?

She was raised to be beautiful, nothing more. And then the rules changed . . . 
In icy Dasnaria, rival realm to the Twelve Kingdoms, a woman’s role is to give pleasure, produce heirs, and question nothing. But a plot to overthrow the emperor depends on the fate of his eldest daughter. And the treachery at its heart will change more than one carefully limited life . . .
Princess Jenna has been raised in supreme luxury—and ignorance. Within the sweet-scented, golden confines of the palace seraglio, she’s never seen the sun, or a man, or even learned her numbers. But she’s been schooled enough in the paths to a woman’s power. When her betrothal is announced, she’s ready to begin the machinations that her mother promises will take Jenna from ornament to queen.

But the man named as Jenna’s husband is no innocent to be cozened or prince to charm. He’s a monster in human form, and the horrors of life under his thumb are clear within moments of her wedding vows. If Jenna is to live, she must somehow break free—and for one born to a soft prison, the way to cold, hard freedom will be a dangerous path indeed…

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Simply Sexual

Simply Sexual by Kate Pearce is $1.99! I’d like to issue a TRIGGER WARNING as the hero in this erotic romance used to be a sex slave for a period of time. The book also has more of a historical setting than the other romances featured today. Readers frequently commented on the wtf-ery of the book, but most found that to be a good thing. This is also the first book in the House of Pleasure series.

Surrender to page-turning sensuality in the explosive first book in Kate Pearce’s House of Pleasure series. . .

Sexual Satisfaction

Ten years as a sex slave in a Turkish brothel left Lord Valentin Sokorvsky with an insatiable appetite for sex. Now the time has come for him to marry, but finding a woman who can satisfy his lustful desires proves a challenge. . .until he meets Sara and all he can think about is having her lie under his rock-hard body, begging him to taste and touch her. . .

Sensual Seduction

Sara Harrison knows she should be shocked and scandalized by Lord Sokorvsky’s bold advances, but instead she is secretly aroused by this sensual, seductive man. For beneath her calm and composed manner is a wanton woman who longs for a man’s intimate caress. She is most willing to be educated in the art of sensuality, to receive and give pleasure and to succumb to the wild desire that knows no limits. . .

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Kim Harrison Hollows Bundle #1

The Kim Harrison Hollows Bundle #1 is $3.99! This bundle collects books 1-4 in the Hollows urban fantasy series. I remember this one was super popular in the early-ish 2000s along with other similar series from authors like Jeaniene Frost, early Laurell K. Hamilton, & more. Were you a fan?

Get the first four novels in Kim Harrison’s #1 New York Times bestselling Hollows series as one e-book! This bundle includes Dead Witch Walking, The Good, the Bad, and the Undead, Every Which Way But Dead, and A Fistful of Charms. Discover this great series at a special price!

Dead Witch Walking

All the creatures of the night gather in “the Hollows” of Cincinnati, to hide, to prowl, to party … and to feed. Vampires rule the darkness in a predator-eat-predator world rife with dangers beyond imagining — and it’s Rachel Morgan’sjob to keep that world civilized. A bounty hunter and witch with serious sex appeal and an attitude, she’ll bring ’em back alive, dead … or undead.

The Good, the Bad, and the Undead

It’s a tough life for witch Rachel Morgan, sexy, independent bounty hunter, prowling the darkest shadows of downtown Cincinnati for criminal creatures of the night. She can handle the leather-clad vamps and even tangle with a cunning demon or two. But a serial killer who feeds on the experts in the most dangerous kind of black magic is definitely pressing the limits. Confronting an ancient, implacable evil is more than just child’s play — and this time, Rachel will be lucky to escape with her very soul.

Every Which Way But Dead

Rachel Morgan’s back! Bestselling author Kim Harrison returns with a new supernatural adventure that fans of Laurell K. Hamilton and Charlaine Harris won’t want to miss. Some days, you just can’t win. Witch and former bounty hunter Rachel Morgan’s managed to escape her corrupt company, survive living with a vampire, start her own runner service, and face down a vampire master. But her vampire roommate Ivy is off the wagon, her human boyfriend Nick is out of town indefinitely and doesn’t sound like he’s coming back while the far-too-seductive vampire Kisten is looking way too tempting, and there’s a turf war erupting in Cincinnati’s underworld. And there’s a greater evil still. To put the vampire master behind bars and save her family, Rachel made a desperate bargain and now there’s hell to pay—literally. For if Rachel cannot stop him, the archdemon Algaliarept will pull her into the sorcerous ever-after to forfeit her soul as his slave. Forever.

A Fistful of Charms

The evil night things that prowl Cincinnati despise witch and bounty hunter Rachel Morgan. Her new reputation for the dark arts is turning human and undead heads alike with the intent to possess, bed, and kill her — not necessarily in that order. Now a mortal lover who abandoned Rachel has returned, haunted by his secret past. And there are those who covet what Nick possesses — savage beasts willing to destroy the Hollows and everyone in it if necessary. Forced to keep a low profile or eternally suffer the wrath of a vengeful demon, Rachel must nevertheless act quickly. For the pack is gathering for the first time in millennia to ravage and to rule. And suddenly more than Rachel’s soul is at stake.

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Book Beat: Book Club Recs, Shifters, & More

Welcome to Book Beat!

Book Beat aims to highlight other books that we may hear about through friends, social media, or other sources. We could see a gorgeous ad! Or find a new-to-us author on a list of underrated romances! Think of Book Beat as Teen Beat or Tiger Beat, but for books. And no staples to open to get the fold-out poster.

A Reluctant Attraction

A Reluctant Attraction by Rosanna Leo

Author: Rosanna Leo
Released: April 20, 2021 by Totally Bound Publishing
Genre: ,
Series: Handymen #3

He was looking for an escape. In her, he found his home.

Contractor and Handymen host Nick Zorn needs a change. He’s been feeling listless, and when his ex-girlfriend embarrasses him in a viral post by sharing private details of their sex life, he’s downright ready to escape. When an opportunity to reinvent his career arises, Nick takes it, even though it might mean the end of Handymen. However, the team has one more project to tackle together first—a struggling cat sanctuary in dire need of renovation.

When Nick arrives at the shelter and meets its owner, a lovely widow named Claire, his life is once more thrown into disarray. Neither of them is looking for a relationship, but the attraction is fierce. As he helps Claire fix her workplace, he realizes he wants to help her in other ways too. Their flirtation sizzles, flaring into a friends-with-benefits arrangement.

But the more time they spend together, the more reluctant these ‘friends’ become to fight their deepening connection, even though they know their inevitable break will devastate them…

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of cyberbullying and harassment, mentions of animal hoarding, bereavement and mourning. There are also references to male impotence and erectile dysfunction.

Source: @LeoRosanna on Twitter

What caught my attention about Rosanna’s tweet is that the hero has erectile dysfunction, which I don’t see a lot of these days.

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Devilfish by Anna Kensing

Author: Anna Kensing
Released: October 30, 2019 by Kensing Books
Genre: , , ,
Series: Octopian Shifters #1

Prosperous merchant Elliot Bishop has built a safe life in Port Townsend, Washington. The family business is thriving, he’s engaged to be married, and he’s not about to let his rogue stepbrother’s sudden return home disrupt his plans. But when his fiancée disappears under the same mysterious circumstances as his mother did years ago, and his childhood nightmares about octopuses reoccur, Elliot senses someone—or something—took both women, and now it’s after him.

Captain Declan Fitzgerald finally has his own ship and crew, but he’s still governed by his father’s obsession, hunting the thing that took his stepmother, and now Elliot’s fiancée. Declan will protect Elliot from whatever’s calling him from the ocean’s depths, even as doing so reignites his feelings for Elliot.

As Elliot surrenders to the call of the moon and tides, he gives in to Declan, who anchors him while Elliot changes in ways his childhood nightmares never prepared him. Sex with the new Elliot is better than Declan imagined, if a little different than he expected. Declan has always been willing to sacrifice everything for Elliot, but what must Elliot give up to choose Declan?

Source: Twitter

Saw this one going around on Twitter. Step brother romance and there are also octopus shifters.

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Queen’s Ransom

Queen’s Ransom by Layla Reyne

Author: Layla Reyne
Released: March 8, 2021
Genre: , , ,
Series: Fog City #4

Everyone leaves.

Love is risky business when you’re an assassin.
Helena Madigan has lost loved ones to the family business before. Now that she’s in charge, she’s determined never to risk her heart again.
Except every time Celia enters the room, she takes Helena’s breath away.

But the one time someone stays…

Celia Perri likes to be helpful.
She just wants to run the family auto shop, raise her kids, and help her brother plan his wedding.
But when a drive-by shooting targets the garage, Celia’s simple life is upended.
Now ensconced within the Madigan family, there’s no escaping Helena, the blonde bombshell she’s been crushing on for months.

It could cost her everything.

As the Madigans investigate, Celia witnesses their love and loyalty up close.
And their business.
Instead of being afraid, she sees a place for herself among them. She could be a confidant and caregiver—if only Helena would stop pushing her away. If only she’d admit their mutual attraction might lead to more.
And if only someone would stop shooting at them long enough to find out.

Queen’s Ransom is the fourth book in the Fog City romantic suspense series. It can be read as a stand-alone but is best enjoyed after reading books one through three of the series.

Source: HEA book club

This was recommended in our latest meeting! A princess and mechanic f/f romance!

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Rescue Me

Rescue Me by Sarra Manning

Author: Sarra Manning
Released: January 21, 2021 by Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: ,

Margot and Will cross paths at the local dog rescue centre where – after a series of misunderstandings and a lot of consternation – they agree to foster Blossom (a staffy with a giant head, soft, floppy ears and kohl-rimmed brown eyes) together: one week on, one week off.

Margot and Will don’t get off to the best of starts: he thinks Margot is demanding and needy and Just So Much. And she thinks Will is emotionally unavailable, slightly brittle and very mistrustful. They’re both right.

But the more they bicker, the worse Blossom behaves, and they realise they have to form some sort of truce in order to dog-parent (or “pawrent” as Margot calls it, to which Will rolls his eyes) her together. It’s almost as if Blossom has plans of her own…

Source: HEA book club

I remember one of our attendees talking about how adorable this one was, especially with the hero and heroine sharing custody of a cute dog!

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Podcast 453, Your Transcript is Ready

Historical Mysteries, Scotland, & More

Silent in the Grave

RECOMMENDED: Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn is $1.99! This book and series has been mentioned quite a bit on the site. Elyse recommended it if you like historical mysteries. Reader StacieH4 mentioned it for those who prefer their romance light on sex, and Reader Tina Chaney said on a podcast that the book has one of her favorite opening lines. Have you read it?

“Let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave.”

These ominous words, slashed from the pages of a book of Psalms, are the last threat that the darling of London society, Sir Edward Grey, receives from his killer. Before he can show them to Nicholas Brisbane, the private inquiry agent he has retained for his protection, Sir Edward collapses and dies at his London home, in the presence of his wife, Julia, and a roomful of dinner guests.

Prepared to accept that Edward’s death was due to a long-standing physical infirmity, Julia is outraged when Brisbane visits and suggests that Sir Edward has been murdered. It is a reaction she comes to regret when she discovers the damning paper for herself, and realizes the truth.

Determined to bring her husband’s murderer to justice, Julia engages the enigmatic Brisbane to help her investigate Edward’s demise. Dismissing his warnings that the investigation will be difficult, if not impossible, Julia presses forward, following a trail of clues that lead her to even more unpleasant truths, and ever closer to a killer who waits expectantly for her arrival.

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You can find ordering info for this book here.




The Earl Next Door

The Earl Next Door by Amelia Grey is $2.99! This historical romance is the first book in the First Comes Love series. Readers loved how the heroine creates a strong friendship with a group of widows, though others thought the romance could have been stronger.

What does a fiercely independent young widow really want? One determined suitor is about to find out. . .

When Adeline, Dowager Countess of Wake, learns of her husband’s sudden death, she realizes she’s free. At last, she can do, go, and be as she pleases. Finally, she can have the life she has always dreamed of. She doesn’t need, or want, to remarry. Especially not the supremely dashing future Marquis of Marksworth, who makes Adeline yearn for his desire. . .

Lord Lyonwood, son of a philandering marquis, will not be like his father. He wants to run his estates and watch them flourish—and find a wife who brings love to his life. When he meets spirited and self-reliant Adeline in a case of near-scandalous mistaken identity, Lyon feels he’s met his match. But Adeline isn’t interested in a marriage proposal. She will only accept becoming his lover—and Lyon finds it hard to refuse. Unless the fire of his passion can melt Adeline’s resolve. . .

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You can find ordering info for this book here.




The Duke’s Disaster

The Duke’s Disaster by Grace Burrowes is $1.99! Readers loved the marriage of convenience element of the plot, though some didn’t like the main characters: the hero was a jerk and the heroine needed a backbone. According to Goodreads and Amazon info, this is the prequel to the True Gentleman series, but is a full-length romance.

Noah Winters, Duke of Anselm, exercises the pragmatism for which he’s infamous when his preferred choice of bride cries off, and her companion, Lady Thea Collins, becomes his next choice for his duchess. Lady Thea’s mature, sensible and even rather attractive-what could possibly go wrong?

As a lady fallen on hard times, Thea doesn’t expect tender sentiments from His Grace, but she does wish Noah had courted her trust, lest her past turn their hastily arranged marriage into a life of shared regrets. Is His Grace courting a convenient wife, or a beautiful disaster?

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You can find ordering info for this book here.




Scotland or Bust

Scotland or Bust by Kira Archer is 99c! While the cover may be cringe, this sounds like a lot of fun and full of catnip. A bit of opposites attract, a meddling village, forced proximity, and a one night stand that turns into “oops, marriage.” I’m super curious about this one!

After dumping her boyfriend, Nicole Franklin impulsively jumps on a plane and heads to Europe. Sure, money and a job would have been nice to line up first. Even a visa, for that matter. So now she has to play tour guide at an Outlander experience for the most obnoxious man on the planet. Until she stumbles into the wrong bed in the middle of the night and wakes up in Harrison’s arms. Now his family thinks they’re engaged, and the entire village is betting on how long before she’ll be running for the hills.

Harrison Troy has a reputation in the town for burning through assistants. And the bubbly new one he’s just hired is likely no different. But his family quickly has them “engaged.” He should be upset, but she’s the perfect buffer for his interfering family. She says she doesn’t need another man in her life–even if he comes with a castle–and that’s fine with him. So why can’t he stop thinking about the woman who is charming everyone in the town, and maybe even him?

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You can find ordering info for this book here.




Netflix Rec: Thunder Force

Thunder Force movie poster with McCarthy and Spencer in their black superhero outfits It is deeply rare that all four of the humans who reside in my home enjoy the same piece of entertainment. I think the last time this happened, we were watching Good Omens.

Thunder Force is nothing like Good Omens except that all four of us had a terrific time watching it, and I was as immensely pleased with myself for selecting it for our Friday night pizza and a movie. It is ideal “watch over dinner” television.

Thunder Force occupies the quadrant territory of media that is not objectively brilliant or perfect, but is immensely enjoyable while it’s on. It’s silly, it’s fun, and it’s a familiar set of beats and story points set against characters and actors who don’t always get the silly fun roles.

Octavia Spencer is a tech super genius, as is her daughter, and runs a company with her name on the side of the damn building. She’s invented a genetic modification that will give people superpowers to combat evil superpowered people who are terrible and caused the death of Spencer’s parents when she was younger. Melissa McCarthy is her childhood best friend and personality opposite who have a falling out in high school only to reconnect when it’s (ugh) high school reunion time.

Octavia Spencer has marvelous comic timing, as does Taylor Mosby, who plays her daughter with sunny, intelligent determination. McCarthy is the same in this role as she is in many others, unafraid to make herself the center of a comedy sequence that spins out into ridiculousness (in some cases for a bit too long) but she’s entirely in on the joke the entire time. And the soundtrack and the use of it made me snort laugh, too.

The base level kindness of the story is what sold me and the rest of the family on the silliness. McCarthy and Spencer are a brilliant comic team, and Mosby falls perfectly between them to balance out McCarthy’s bawdy and Spencer’s brains. Everyone chews on the scenery and the best scenes were between the two heroines.

Taylor Mosby as Spencer's teenage daughter holding a tablet wearing a super cute striped cardigan sweater

Jason Bateman has claws for arms and McCarthy has Old Bay in her cleavage. I mean, that might be everything you need to know about this movie.

Then I told everyone on the SBTB review team to watch it, and Tara was like, “ON IT.”

Tara: As we’re in what feels like month 973 of the pandemic, all I want is for movies and TV shows to suck me in and hold my attention. If they can make me laugh? Even better. Because of this, my husband and I have been gravitating towards comedies, whether it’s a TV show like Ted Lasso or films like Thunder Force.

When I asked him if he wanted to watch Thunder Force, he questioned if it would be good. My response? I didn’t care if it was going to be good. I just hoped it would be FUN. Turns out, that’s exactly what it was. There is so much to love about this movie, and Sarah articulated a lot of it already, so I’m going to “Yes, and…” everything she’s already said.

The opening scene, where we see McCarthy (Lydia) and Spencer’s (Emily) characters becoming friends in childhood, utterly charmed me. I hope the kid that plays Lydia gets more work, because she is hilarious and had my heart when she used the concept of subject-verb agreement to make a dig at Emily’s bully. While Lydia might be presented as the one who isn’t smart in their friendship, that opening scene proves that Emily is smarter than people give her credit for and that she has a huge heart.

Sarah: TARA. OMG. I just learned that Lydia at 12 is played by Melissa McCarthy’s daughter Vivian Falcone!!!

No wonder she was perfect and looked so much like a younger Melissa McCarthy.

Tara: That makes me love this movie EVEN MORE.

Emily’s grandmother (Marcella Lowry) was another favourite character of mine. Although she doesn’t have many scenes, one in particular had me in stitches. I won’t get into specifics, but her suspicion for why Emily and Lydia wanted to talk to her is perfect. Part of why I love her and that scene so much is related to why my heart was warmed every time Lydia interacts with Emily’s daughter: these people are family and love each other deeply, even when they’re acting like idiots. They all help each other be their best selves and it made me smile over and over.

Sarah: That was one of my favorite scenes, too.

Tara: The one problem I had with Thunder Force was that it seemed confused about who its audience is or what its rating should be. My husband said that, in some ways, its tone reminded him of the Spy Kids movies, but the content isn’t aimed at kids. It feels like the punch was pulled on some of the jokes and most of the swearing. We even pondered whether it was pitched as an R-rated film and then got scaled back to PG-13. We still enjoyed the film very much, but wonder if it might have been even more fun if it could have had that R.

Melissa McCarthy holding a pickle in a bag in a convenience store while Spencer looks over her shoulder
Imagine the joke potential…

Sarah: It’s funny you should say that, as we were saying the same thing, that it was like a slightly bawdier Spy Kids. Every time McCarthy stepped over a line, Spencer’s character would pull her back. (“Language….”)

Tara: Yes! The blooper real even shows the actors trying to keep it clean.

Blooper reel? BLOOPER REEL

If you’re wondering which other Melissa McCarthy films Thunder Force is most like, I’d say either Superintelligence or Life of the Party. Those were also two wonderful surprises that we watched during the quarantimes that weren’t perfect, but made us laugh and smile. This movie won’t change your life, but it’ll distract you from it, and that’s more than enough these days.

Also, I guarantee you won’t look at Old Bay or butter the same ever again.

Sarah: Yes, I completely agree. I enjoyed every bit of it. Especially the parts where me, my husband, and our two teenage boys laugh-screamed at the same moment.

The way I see it, there are umpty billion silly, slapstick adventure hero comedies featuring endlessly interchangeable White character actors who splash around in plots that are as familiar as the taste of Doritos and the smell of microwave popcorn.

It’s very silly that I have to say how refreshing it is to have silly, corny adventure buddy comedies with 50+ year old women with real and familiar bodies as the heroes, but it is. It’s refreshing and delightful and as much as I could point out where the film could have been a solid 15 minutes shorter, Thunder Force does exactly what it says it’s going to do. We happily recommend for your pizza-and-a-movie nights.

453. Uzma Jalaluddin and Hana Khan Carries On – with Bonus COVID Vaccine Info with Dr. Jen Gunter

Hana Khan Carries On
A | BN | K | AB
Uzma Jalaluddin joins Amanda and me to talk about Hana Khan Carries On, which caused one of us some Bad Decisions Book Club membership. We discuss the book (no spoilers, don’t worry!) and the fabulous podcasting heroine, Hana, who’s got a You’ve Got Mail kind of relationship with the owner of a rival Halal restaurant. We cover representation, gorgeous cover art, and writing about characters finding and using their voices. It’s so much fun – Uzma is a wonderful guest.

But first! We have a special health bulletin of sorts. This week I interviewed Dr. Jen Gunter for her upcoming book The Menopause Manifesto. Her book is out in June, and our interview will be released in May, but because of new information about how the COVID vaccines may be affecting menstrual cycles, I asked her about the information available now. That brief conversation starts the episode as I know many of you may be scheduling appointments for yourselves and others. The upshot: the vaccine may affect your menstrual cycle and cause irregularities, and it’s important to know so you’re prepared. You can read more in Dr Gunter’s latest newsletter, and you can find out more about Dr. Kate Clancy’s study, too.


Listen to the podcast →
Read the transcript →

Here are the books we discuss in this podcast:

You can find Uzma Jalaluddin at her website,

We also mentioned:

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Contemporary Romances & Historical Fiction

The Arctic Fury

RECOMMENDED: The Arctic Fury by Greer Macallister is $1.99! Carrie gave this historical mystery a B+. It’s also a KDD!

I loved this book. It kept me in suspense and when it was over I wanted to read it again. It sent me down many Google rabbit holes, which is my favorite kind of book. I recommend this for people who aren’t averse to ambiguity, who like stories of adventure and exploration as well as intersectional examinations of women’s lives, and to people who like mystery/thrillers.

A dozen women join a secret 1850s Arctic expedition—and a sensational murder trial unfolds when some of them don’t come back.

Eccentric Lady Jane Franklin makes an outlandish offer to adventurer Virginia Reeve: take a dozen women, trek into the Arctic, and find her husband’s lost expedition. Four parties have failed to find him, and Lady Franklin wants a radical new approach: put the women in charge.

A year later, Virginia stands trial for murder. Survivors of the expedition willing to publicly support her sit in the front row. There are only five. What happened out there on the ice?

Set against the unforgiving backgdrop of one of the world’s most inhospitable locations, USA Today bestsellng author Greer Macallister uses the true story of Lady Jane Franklin’s tireless attempts to find her husband’s lost expedition as a jumping-off point to spin a tale of bravely, intrigue, perseverance and hope.

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You can find ordering info for this book here.




Act Your Age

Act Your Age by Eve Dangerfield is $2.99! I love Dangerfield’s hot contemporary romances and I believe this one has an age difference/daddy kink in it. Probably one of the few I haven’t read. I know she’s taken an extended hiatus from writing, though I’m hoping on day she’ll finish the Silver Daughters Ink series.

Just because Kate ‘Middleton’ McGrath, wants a man to call ‘daddy’ in bed doesn’t mean—
Oh, you stopped reading. Cool.

Kate gets it. Kinks aren’t for everyone. Hell, they’re probably not for Mr Henderson, her grumpaholic boss. She really shouldn’t have crush on him, but the man is just so goddamn stern. Sure, a lot of that comes down to ‘being her boss,’ but still, it feels like there might be something there.

Tyler Henderson is a golden boy who’s lost his shine. He’s old, his dream career is over, his fiancée’s left him. Now all the former firefighter can do is try and bury his troubles in paperwork and hard liquor. He says ‘try’ because he can’t get Middleton out of his head long enough to wallow properly. He’s not going anywhere near the girl. HR issues aside, he’s done with sweetness and things don’t come sweeter than a cupcake-baking engineer who knits her own hats.

A case of mistaken identity causes Kate and Ty’s attraction to give way to blistering sex. They have more in common—and more to lose—than either of them realized. When it comes to unreasonable attraction you can rarely change your mind but can you act your age?

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You can find ordering info for this book here.




Love Lettering

RECOMMENDED: Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn is $2.99! There’s also another Clayborn on sale for today’s KDDs. If you were curious, this was our most sold book this year! Aarya gave this one an A:

Love Lettering is a special book that I’ll hold close to my heart for a long time. It’s a quiet romance with quiet protagonists, but sometimes it’s the quiet moments that echo the loudest.

In this warm and witty romance from acclaimed author Kate Clayborn, one little word puts a woman’s business—and her heart—in jeopardy . . .
Meg Mackworth’s hand-lettering skill has made her famous as the Planner of Park Slope, designing custom journals for her New York City clientele. She has another skill too: reading signs that other people miss. Knowing the upcoming marriage of Reid Sutherland and his polished fiancée was doomed to fail is one thing, but weaving a secret word of warning into their wedding program is another. Meg may have thought no one would spot it, but she hadn’t counted on sharp-eyed, pattern-obsessed Reid.
A year later, Reid has tracked Meg down to find out how she knew that his meticulously planned future was about to implode. But with a looming deadline and a bad case of creative block, Meg doesn’t have time for Reid’s questions—unless he can help her find her missing inspiration. As they gradually open up to each other, both try to ignore a deepening connection between them. But the signs are there—irresistible, indisputable, urging Meg to heed the messages Reid is sending her, before it’s too late . . .

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You can find ordering info for this book here.




Sleepless in Manhattan

Sleepless in Manhattan by Sarah Morgan is $1.99! This is the first book in the From Manhattan with Love series and readers loved how fun it was and note there’s some pretty great female friendships. However, others mention slow pacing and the lackluster chemistry between the hero and heroine.

USA TODAY bestselling author Sarah Morgan introduces a sizzling new trilogy about three best friends embracing life—and love—in Manhattan 

Cool, calm and competent, events planner Paige Walker loves a challenge. After a childhood spent in and out of hospitals, she’s now determined to prove herself—and where better to take the world by storm than in the exhilarating bustle of Manhattan? But when Paige is let go from the job she loves, she must face her biggest challenge of all—going it alone.

Except launching her own events company is nothing compared to hiding her outrageous crush on Jake Romano—her brother’s best friend, New York’s most in-demand date, and the only man to break her heart. When Jake offers Paige’s fledgling company a big chance, their still-sizzling chemistry starts giving her sleepless nights. But can she convince the man who trusts no one to take a chance on forever?

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You can find ordering info for this book here.




April 2021 New Releases, Part Two

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. 

The Companion

The Companion by E.E. Ottoman

Author: E.E. Ottoman
Released: April 16, 2021 by EE Ottoman
Genre: , ,

New York, 1949

After years of trying to break into New York City’s literary scene, Madeline Slaughter is emotionally and physically exhausted. When a friend offers her a safe haven as the live-in companion to reclusive, bestselling novelist Victor Hallowell she jumps at the chance to escape the city.

Madeline expects to find rest and quiet in the forests of Upstate New York. Instead, she finds Victor, handsome and intensely passionate, and Audrey Coffin, Victor’s mysterious and beautiful neighbor.

When Victor offers her a kiss and the promise of more Madeline allows herself to become entangled even as Audrey is also claiming her heart. The only problem is that Audrey and Victor are ex-lovers with plenty of baggage between them. As Madeline finds herself opening up and falling in love with both she starts to wonder, can there be a future for all three?

Aarya: I’ve enjoyed Ottoman’s voice in the past and I’m very excited for this upcoming historical (in case you can’t tell from the blurb: I believe this is a poly romance with three trans MCs).

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Cinnamon Roll

Cinnamon Roll by Anna Zabo

Author: Anna Zabo
Released: April 20, 2021
Genre: , ,
Series: Bold Brew #6

This cinnamon roll has plenty of bite!

Maxime Demers has had an eye on Tom Cedric for a while, watching him flit from one awful man to another. So when Tom pins an ad to the community cork board at Bold Brew, Max can’t resist reading it. Tom’s looking for a play partner—someone who’s not a jerk—and Max knows he could give Tom what he needs. But first he’ll have to get the man to talk to him.

Tom Cedric thinks Max is way out of his league. He’s handsome, intelligent, speaks a billion languages, and can make a person kneel with a single look—too damn good for someone like Tom. But he can’t resist the temptation to talk to the man he’s had a crush on since the moment he laid eyes on him.

The connection between them is immediate, hot, and tempting, and when Max needs a replacement helper for an impact demo he’s giving, Tom jumps at the chance. A demo should be safe, right? A few hours. Clothing on. No stakes. Neither man is prepared when that spark ignites, and Tom is absolutely unprepared to discover the sweet man behind those dominating looks.

Cinnamon Roll is a stand-alone novel in the Bold Brew shared universe, centered around an inclusive coffee shop in a fictional small city. Each steaming hot coffee shop romance can be enjoyed alone, but collect all ten for the most fun!

This twist on a second-chance romance is 90,000-word cup of steaming hot scenes, a dusting of angst, plenty of fluff, and a guaranteed happy ending!

Aarya: This is part of a self-published, multi-author series centering around a coffee shop. I’ve heard complaints that the series worldbuilding isn’t totally consistent across the books, but this blurb looks great.

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The Devil Comes Courting

The Devil Comes Courting by Courtney Milan

Author: Courtney Milan
Released: February 9, 2021
Genre: ,
Series: The Worth Saga #3

Captain Grayson Hunter knows the battle to complete the first worldwide telegraphic network will be fierce, and he intends to win it by any means necessary. When he hears about a reclusive genius who has figured out how to slash the cost of telegraphic transmissions, he vows to do whatever it takes to get the man in his employ.

Except the reclusive genius is not a man, and she’s not looking for employment.

Amelia Smith was born in Shanghai, and taken in by English missionaries. She’s not interested in Captain Hunter’s promises or his ambitions. But the harder he tries to convince her, the more she realizes that there is something she wants from him: She wants everything. And she’ll have to crack the frozen shell he’s made of his heart to get it.

Shana: Hello, did someone say there’s a new Courtney Milan book?

Catherine’s pick!

Sneezy: Hurray more Courtney Milan!!!

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The Forest of Stolen Girls

The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur

Author: June Hur
Released: April 20, 2021 by Feiwel & Friends
Genre: , ,

Suspenseful and richly atmospheric, June Hur’s The Forest of Stolen Girls is a haunting historical mystery sure to keep readers guessing until the last page.

1426, Joseon (Korea). Hwani’s family has never been the same since she and her younger sister went missing and were later found unconscious in the forest near a gruesome crime scene.

Years later, Detective Min—Hwani’s father—learns that thirteen girls have recently disappeared from the same forest that nearly stole his daughters. He travels to their hometown on the island of Jeju to investigate… only to vanish as well.

Determined to find her father and solve the case that tore their family apart, Hwani returns home to pick up the trail. As she digs into the secrets of the small village—and collides with her now estranged sister, Maewol—Hwani comes to realize that the answer could lie within her own buried memories of what happened in the forest all those years ago.

Ellen: Hur wrote my favorite 2020 book, The Silence of Bones, so I’m very excited for her next creepy historical mystery!

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The Galaxy, and the Ground Within

The Galaxy, and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers

Author: Becky Chambers
Released: April 20, 2021 by Harper Voyager
Genre: ,
Series: Wayfarers #4

With no water, no air, and no native life, the planet Gora is unremarkable. The only thing it has going for it is a chance proximity to more popular worlds, making it a decent stopover for ships traveling between the wormholes that keep the Galactic Commons connected. If deep space is a highway, Gora is just your average truck stop.

At the Five-Hop One-Stop, long-haul spacers can stretch their legs (if they have legs, that is), and get fuel, transit permits, and assorted supplies. The Five-Hop is run by an enterprising alien and her sometimes helpful child, who work hard to provide a little piece of home to everyone passing through.

When a freak technological failure halts all traffic to and from Gora, three strangers—all different species with different aims—are thrown together at the Five-Hop. Grounded, with nothing to do but wait, the trio—an exiled artist with an appointment to keep, a cargo runner at a personal crossroads, and a mysterious individual doing her best to help those on the fringes—are compelled to confront where they’ve been, where they might go, and what they are, or could be, to each other.

Shana: Just when we need it, the most comforting sci-fi series in the universe is back!

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The Kindred Spirits Supper Club

The Kindred Spirits Supper Club by Amy Reichert

Author: Amy Reichert
Released: April 20, 2021 by Berkley
Genre: ,

Jobless and forced home to Wisconsin, journalist Sabrina Monroe can tolerate reunions with frenemies and kisses from old boyfriends, but not the literal ghosts that greet her in this heartwarming tale of the power of love and connection from acclaimed author Amy E. Reichert.

For Sabrina Monroe, moving back home to the Wisconsin Dells–the self-described Waterpark Capital of the World–means returning to the Monroe family curse: the women in her family can see spirits who come to them for help with unfinished business. But Sabrina’s always redirected the needy spirits to her mom, who’s much better suited for the job. The one exception has always been Molly, a bubbly rom-com loving ghost, who stuck by Sabrina’s side all through her lonely childhood.

Her personal life starts looking up when Ray, the new local restaurateur, invites Sabrina to his supper club, where he flirts with her over his famous Brandy Old-Fashioneds. He’s charming and handsome, but Sabrina tells herself she doesn’t have time for romance–she needs to focus on finding a job. Except the longer she’s in the Dells, the harder it is to resist her feelings for Ray. Who can turn down a cute guy with a fondness for rescue dogs and an obsession with perfecting his fried cheese curds recipe?

When the Dells starts to feel like home for the first time and with Ray in her corner, Sabrina begins to realize that she can make a difference and help others wherever she is.

Elyse: This book is set in a part of Wisconsin I know and love!

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These Feathered Flames

These Feathered Flames by Alexandra Overy

Author: Alexandra Overy
Released: April 20, 2021 by Inkyard Press
Genre: , ,
Series: These Feathered Flames #1

Three Dark Crowns meets Wicked Saints in this queer #ownvoices retelling of “The Firebird,” a Russian folktale, by debut author Alexandra Overy.

When twin heirs are born in Tourin, their fates are decided at a young age. While Izaveta remained at court to learn the skills she’d need as the future queen, Asya was taken away to train with her aunt, the mysterious Firebird, who ensured magic remained balanced in the realm.

But before Asya’s training is completed, the ancient power blooms inside her, which can mean only one thing: the queen is dead, and a new ruler must be crowned.

As the princesses come to understand everything their roles entail, they’ll discover who they can trust, who they can love—and who killed their mother.

Tara: I am in the mood for badass girls burning things down and this sounds like it will deliver.

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The Warlord

The Warlord by Gena Showalter

Author: Gena Showalter
Released: April 20, 2021 by HQN Books
Genre: ,
Series: Rise of the Warlords #1

He plans to wed his virgin bride—and sacrifice her to his god. A duty he has never hesitated to to. Until now.

For centuries, Taliyah Skyhawk has prepared to become Harpy General, leader of the deadliest female army in existence. One of the requirements? Remain a virgin. But, for a chance to save her people, she must wed the fearless leader of the Astra Planeta, Alaroc Phaethon.

The time has come for Roc to sacrifice another virgin bride to his god. There has never been a woman alluring enough to tempt him from his path. No warrioress powerful enough to overcome his incredible strength. No enchantress desirable enough to make him burn beyond reason. Until now.

With the clock ticking, war between husband and wife ignites. Except Taliyah never expected the merciless king to challenge the future she once envisioned. She certainly never anticipated the thrill of their battles turning into games… The problem is, only one spouse can survive.

Amanda: A new Showalter series. I’ve taken a long break from PNR and Showalter’s books in general, but this one has made me curious.

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The Jaguar Knight

The Jaguar Knight by Ann Aguirre

Author: Ann Aguirre
Released: April 22, 2021
Genre: ,
Series: Ars Numina #6

Forsaken. Foresworn. Ferocious.

Ambrose “Slay” Slater never thought he’d end up this way. The love of his life left him for his best friend and then while he was distracted, grieving that loss, the Gols captured him, dragged him off to their infernal underground city, where he’s been a prisoner ever since. At first he imagined Ash Valley would immediately mount a rescue, but he might rot in this dungeon before that happens. If need be, he’ll reduce Golgerra to rubble himself because he’s got anger to burn.

Resilient. Regal. Risen.
Rowena has no last name, though she dubbed herself Van Alastor, bound by her promise to the prince who saved her from the pits and earned her loyalty. Born of a forced union between an Eldritch prisoner and a Golgoth guard, she is the only winged Golgoth, unique among her kind. She knew little more than the dungeons and torment until Alastor bought her freedom and added her to his retinue. She was willing to fight for him. Die for him. She never expected to return to the city that tried to destroy her in chains.

Knight, meet queen. He is fury. She is vengeance.

They will bury Tycho Vega in the rubble, but with both their hearts aching from loss, they never, ever expected to fall in love…

Aarya: I’m several books behind on this series, but I really enjoyed the first few! This hero was sorta an asshole from what I remember, so let’s hope for a redemption arc.

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An Earl, the Girl, and a Toddler

An Earl, the Girl, and a Toddler by Vanessa Riley

Author: Vanessa Riley
Released: April 27, 2021 by Zebra Books
Genre: ,
Series: Rogues and Remarkable Women #2

A witty and moving story from the acclaimed author of A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby, about the lengths to which a woman will go for the love of her child…and the love of a man who knows her worth. Breaking with traditional Regency rules and customs, Vanessa Riley pens an unforgettable story perfect for fans of Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton, Evie Dunmore, and Eloisa James looking for something fresh and stirring!

Masterminded by the ton’s most clever countess, the secret society The Widow’s Grace helps ill-treated widows regain their reputations, their families, and even find true love again–or perhaps for the very first time…

Surviving a shipwreck en route to London from Jamaica was just the start of personal maid Jemina St. Maur’s nightmare. Suffering from amnesia, she was separated from anyone who might know her and imprisoned in Bedlam. She was freed only because barrister Daniel Thackery, Lord Ashbrook, was convinced to betray the one thing he holds dear: the law. Desperate to unearth her true identity, Jemina’s only option is to work outside the law–which means staying steps ahead of the formidable Daniel, no matter how strongly she is drawn to him…

Married only by proxy, now widowed by shipwreck, Daniel is determined to protect his little stepdaughter, Charlotte, from his family’s scandalous reputation. That’s why he has dedicated himself not just to the law, but to remaining as proper and upstanding–and boring–as can be. But the closer he becomes to the mysterious, alluring Jemina, the more Daniel is tempted to break the very rules to which he’s dedicated his life. As ruthless adversaries close in, will the truth require him and Jemina to sacrifice their one chance at happiness?

Sarah: A secret society of widows? Hello!

Claudia: The heroine in this book was in the first book in this series and was great, so I’m very curious!

Catherine: I have to admit, it was the cover that grabbed me first, but this looks like an interesting use of the amnesia trope.

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Anchored Hearts

Anchored Hearts by Priscilla Oliveras

Author: Priscilla Oliveras
Released: April 27, 2021 by Zebra Books
Genre: ,
Series: Keys to Love #2

Key West is the ideal backdrop for the summer read you need! Perfect for fans of Abby Jimenez, Jasmine Guillory, and Jen DeLuca, this gorgeous and stirring new love story from the author of Island Affair will touch your heart…

Award-winning photographer Alejandro Miranda hasn’t been home to Key West in years–not since he left to explore broader horizons with his papi’s warning echoing in his ears. He wouldn’t be heading there now if it wasn’t for an injury requiring months of recuperation. The drama of a prodigal son returning to his familia is bad enough, but coming home to the island paradise also means coming face to face with the girl he left behind–the one who was supposed to be by his side all along…

Anamaría Navarro was shattered when Alejandro took off without her. Traveling the world was their plan, not just his. But after her father’s heart attack, there was no way she could leave–not even for the man she loved. Now ensconced in the family trade as a firefighter and paramedic, with a side hustle as a personal trainer, Anamaría is dismayed that just the sight of Alejandro is enough to rekindle the flame she’s worked years to put out. And as motherly meddling pushes them together, the heat of their attraction only climbs higher. Can they learn to trust again, before the Key West sun sets on their chance at happiness?

Aarya: I didn’t love the first book in the series, but I did like what I saw of the Anchored Hearts heroine. I’ve enjoyed Oliveras’s voice in the past so I hope Anchored Hearts is a better fit for me!

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Dial A for Aunties

Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Sutanto

Author: Jesse Sutanto
Released: April 27, 2021 by Berkley
Genre: , ,

A hilariously quirky novel that is equal parts murder mystery, rom-com, and a celebration of mothers and daughters as well as a deep dive into Chinese-Indonesian culture, by debut author Jesse Q Sutanto.

1 (accidental) murder
2 thousand wedding guests
3 (maybe) cursed generations
4 meddling Asian aunties to the rescue!

When Meddelin Chan ends up accidentally killing her blind date, her meddlesome mother calls for her even more meddlesome aunties to help get rid of the body. Unfortunately, a dead body proves to be a lot more challenging to dispose of than one might anticipate, especially when it is accidentally shipped in a cake cooler to the over-the-top billionaire wedding Meddy, her Ma, and aunties are working, at an island resort on the California coastline. It’s the biggest job yet for their family wedding business—“Don’t leave your big day to chance, leave it to the Chans!”—and nothing, not even an unsavory corpse, will get in the way of her auntie’s perfect buttercream cake flowers.

But things go from inconvenient to downright torturous when Meddy’s great college love—and biggest heartbreak—makes a surprise appearance amid the wedding chaos. Is it possible to escape murder charges, charm her ex back into her life, and pull off a stunning wedding all in one weekend?

Amanda: So excited for this! And I’ve put together an event with Jesse and Uzma Jalaluddin at the end of the month.

Shana: I’ve been salivating over this book for what feels like FOREVER.

Sneezy: Meddling aunties are always hilarious (as long as the meddling is happening to someone else.)

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The End of Men

The End of Men by Christina Sweeney-Baird

Author: Christina Sweeney-Baird
Released: April 27, 2021 by G.P. Putnam's Sons

Set in a world where a virus stalks our male population, The End of Men is an electrifying and unforgettable debut from a remarkable new talent that asks: what would our world truly look like without men?

Only men carry the virus. Only women can save us all.

The year is 2025, and a mysterious virus has broken out in Scotland–a lethal illness that seems to affect only men. When Dr. Amanda MacLean reports this phenomenon, she is dismissed as hysterical. By the time her warning is heeded, it is too late. The virus becomes a global pandemic–and a political one. The victims are all men. The world becomes alien–a women’s world.

What follows is the immersive account of the women who have been left to deal with the virus’s consequences, told through first-person narratives. Dr. MacLean; Catherine, a social historian determined to document the human stories behind the “male plague”; intelligence analyst Dawn, tasked with helping the government forge a new society; and Elizabeth, one of many scientists desperately working to develop a vaccine. Through these women and others, we see the uncountable ways the absence of men has changed society, from the personal–the loss of husbands and sons–to the political–the changes in the workforce, fertility, and the meaning of family.

In The End of Men, Christina Sweeney-Baird turns the unimaginable into the unforgettable.

Shana: I’m hoping this has a World War Z + Ammonite feel.

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Fugitive Telemetry

Fugitive Telemetry by Martha Wells

Author: Martha Wells
Released: April 27, 2021 by
Genre: ,
Series: The Murderbot Diaries #6

No, I didn’t kill the dead human. If I had, I wouldn’t dump the body in the station mall.

When Murderbot discovers a dead body on Preservation Station, it knows it is going to have to assist station security to determine who the body is (was), how they were killed (that should be relatively straightforward, at least), and why (because apparently that matters to a lot of people—who knew?)

Yes, the unthinkable is about to happen: Murderbot must voluntarily speak to humans!


Sarah: New Murderbot new Murderbot new Murderbot! It’s expensive for a novella but if you’d like more Murderbot to read and re-read, more mystery solving, and more development of Murderbot figuring out how to deal with humans (and ugh, feelings) you’ll be very pleased with this one.

Shana: Honestly, I’m still a book behind in the Murderbot series, but that won’t keep me from making grabby hands at the new installment

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Heiress in Red Silk

Heiress in Red Silk by Madeline Hunter

Author: Madeline Hunter
Released: April 27, 2021 by Zebra Books
Genre: ,
Series: Duke's Heiress #2

A sparkling new love story from a historical romance legend, perfect for Bridgerton fans and readers of Sabrina Jeffries, Eloisa James, and Grace Burrowes.

In one life-changing windfall, Rosamund Jameson goes from struggling shopkeeper to heiress—and co-owner of a new business. Not only will her sudden fortune allow her to move her millinery shop to fashionable London, but Rosamund will be able to provide her younger sister with a proper entry into society. The only hitch for resourceful Rosamund is her arrogant, infuriatingly handsome business partner…

Kevin Radnor is shocked that his late uncle, the Duke of Hollinburgh, bequeathed half his company to a total stranger—worse, a beguiling beauty who can only hinder his enterprise. But Rosamund insists on an active, equal partnership, so Kevin embarks on a plan: a seduction that will lead to a marriage of convenience, giving Rosamund the social status she needs, and guaranteeing him the silent partner he desires. Yet as this charismatic gentleman sets his flirtation in motion, he begins to wonder who is seducing whom—and if he can learn to share himself body and mind, without losing his heart . . .

Catherine: I liked Heiress for Hire, and am intrigued about the overarching mystery in this series.

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It Takes a Thief

It Takes a Thief by Sloane Steele

Author: Sloane Steele
Released: April 27, 2021 by Carina Press
Genre: ,
Series: Counterfeit Capers #1

When catching a thief requires becoming one.

Jared Towers has skills. One of them is being able to talk his way out of—or into—anything.

Audrey Abbott has skills, too. Need something hacked and only the best will do? She’s your girl.

He’s charming.

She’s reclusive.

They have absolutely nothing in common—except for a driving desire to take care of those who need it the most.

For Jared, that means assembling a team of thieves to steal back what rightfully belongs to the victims of a crime perpetrated by his own father. For Audrey, it means doing whatever she can to make sure her grandma never has to worry again.

And now they have something else in common: the art heist of the century.

It was supposed to be all business. Get in and get out, then move on to the next target. But when Jared finds himself falling for Audrey, artwork isn’t the only thing at risk of being stolen…

Sarah: Heist!

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Something About You

Something About You by Reese Ryan

Author: Reese Ryan
Released: April 27, 2021 by Rose Gold Press LLC.
Genre: ,

There is just something about sexy, confident Lita Woods that commands Trey Hampton’s attention the moment he encounters her. Until he discovers his son plans to marry her daughter and they’re both about to become grandparents.

Lita’s knee-jerk reaction to the news drives her daughter away. She’s left with no choice but to team up with the charming, handsome grandfather-to-be on their common goal of stopping this wedding. When Trey invites Lita to join him and the kids at his beach house for the summer, their connection is too powerful to deny. And as they conspire to prevent their college-age children from derailing their futures-the way they once did-they find themselves falling in love.

Aarya: I’m always excited when I discover a romance with older protagonists (it’s just a bonus that I like Reese’s work in category romance!).

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The Nightborn

The Nightborn by Isabel Cooper

Author: Isabel Cooper
Released: April 27, 2021 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: ,
Series: Stormbringer #2

Raised from childhood to be weapons, Sentinels spend their lives fighting the monsters that prey upon humanity. Their hands will shape the world, and their swords will seal its fate.

As war looms, Sentinel Branwyn seeks military aid from the High Council, attracting interest from its youngest member, Zelen Varengir. He’s intrigued by Branwyn but can’t risk helping her cause. Instead, he must learn all he can about the intriguing newcomer—especially who’s behind framing her for the murder of the High Lord and threatening to tear apart the world as they know it…

Ellen: I enjoyed the first book in this series and I was intrigued by Branwyn. Also very excited to see more of the fantasy post-apocalyptic world Cooper has created for this series.

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Links: The Nanny, Britney Spears, & More

Workspace with computer, journal, books, coffee, and glasses.Hey hey! It’s Wednesday!

How have you all been? The last couple weeks have been an absolute blur. Not sure why. The weather has been stupidly nice here and, so far, not an allergy to be had.

Fingers crossed they’ve flown the coop for good! Let’s get ready for links!

I know we’ve talked about The Nanny and fashion before in Wednesday Links, which is why I went nuts for this interview with the show’s costume designer. Lots of surprising picks on how the designer ranked their top ten outfits, but I loved the behind the scenes details. Tempted to give the show a rewatch!

Thanks to Janice for sending us this link, which is definitely in our house of wheels. I now present to you the 30,000 year history of the dildo. Yes, there are pictures, if you need to be careful about what’s up on your screen.

Sarah: I have a link I found via Tumblr that I’m going to watch the next tie I give myself a manicure. It’s a cartoon from 1975 in Russia. This has been obscure stuff with your host, me.

I hope this little terror finds a home!

Enjoy this mashup of Britney Spears songs from one of my favorite YouTube duos, Pamplamoose.

Don’t forget to share what super cool things you’ve seen, read, or listened to this week! And if you have anything you think we’d like to post on a future Wednesday Links, send it my way!