Romance is definitely in the air this week! The new book releases for February 7, 2023 are heavy on romance, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Two very popular authors, Jojo Moyes and Tessa Bailey have books debuting today. The second book in the Supernatural Singles series, Not Your Ex’s Hexes hits bookstores today. I’m also excited about Lives of the Wives, a biography from Carmela Ciuraru that shares the stories of five literary marriages, exposing the misery behind closed doors. For the readers who are seeking a thrill, The Spite House by Johnny Compton is a terrifying Gothic thriller about grief and death and the depths of a father’s love.
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Someone Else’s Shoes
by Jojo Moyes
Publisher: Penguin Random House
“Very few authors have the power to make you laugh on one page and cry on the next. Moyes is one of them.” —The New York Times
A story of mix-ups, mess-ups and making the most of second chances, this is the new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Jojo Moyes, author of Me Before You and The Giver of Stars
Who are you when you are forced to walk in someone else’s shoes?
Nisha Cantor lives the globetrotting life of the seriously wealthy, until her husband announces a divorce and cuts her off. Nisha is determined to hang onto her glamorous life. But in the meantime, she must scramble to cope–she doesn’t even have the shoes she was, until a moment ago, standing in.
That’s because Sam Kemp – in the bleakest point of her life – has accidentally taken Nisha’s gym bag. But Sam hardly has time to worry about a lost gym bag–she’s struggling to keep herself and her family afloat. When she tries on Nisha’s six-inch high Christian Louboutin red crocodile shoes, the resulting jolt of confidence that makes her realize something must change—and that thing is herself.
Full of Jojo Moyes’ signature humor, brilliant storytelling, and warmth, Someone Else’s Shoes is a story about how just one little thing can suddenly change everything.
Secretly Yours (Vine Mess, 1)
by Tessa Bailey
From Tessa Bailey—#1 New York Times bestselling author, TikTok favorite, and “the Michelangelo of dirty talk” (Entertainment Weekly)—comes a steamy small town rom-com about a starchy professor and the bubbly neighbor he clashes with at every turn…
Hallie Welch fell hard for Julian Vos at fourteen, after they almost kissed in the dark vineyards of his family’s winery. Now the prodigal hottie has returned to Napa Valley and when Hallie is hired to revamp the gardens on the Vos estate, she wonders if she’ll finally get that smooch. But the grumpy professor isn’t the teenager she remembers and their polar opposite personalities clash spectacularly.
One wine-fueled girls’ night later, Hallie can’t shake the sense that she did something reckless—and then she remembers the drunken secret admirer letter she left for Julian. Oh shit.
On sabbatical from his ivy league job, Julian plans to write a novel. But having Hallie gardening right outside his window is the ultimate distraction. She’s eccentric, chronically late, often literally covered in dirt—and so unbelievably beautiful, he can’t focus on anything else. Until he finds an anonymous letter sent by a woman from his past.
Even as Julian wonders about this admirer, he’s sucked further into Hallie’s orbit. Like the flowers she plants all over town, Hallie is a burst of color in Julian’s grayscale life. For a man who irons his socks and runs on tight schedules, her sunny chaotic energy makes zero sense. But there’s something so familiar about her… and her very presence is turning his world upside down.
“Tessa Bailey is the queen of rom-coms. Long may she reign!” — Julie Murphy, #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Merry Little Meet Cute
The Friendship Breakup
by Annie Cathryn
Genre: Humorous Fiction
Publisher: Alcove Press
For fans of Laura Hankin and Jennifer Weiner, this fresh, clever, and complex debut “mom-com” explores the ups and downs of friendship and what happens when those you trust the most leave you high and dry.
A plucky protagonist who’s far from figuring it all out—but powers through with wit and determination—Fallon is a heroine millennial moms will instantly connect with.
Fallon Monroe, mother of one, self-help book junkie, and budding chocolatier, has always relied on her mom friends in the Chicago suburbs to get her through the trials of adulthood. So when her bestie Beatrice inexplicably starts ghosting her and takes all their mutual friends with her, Fallon’s left wondering how everything went so wrong. Pushing down a lifetime of insecurities, Fallon doubles down and decides to win them back. First, she hosts an epic Mexican fiesta that goes epically wrong. Then she joins a friendship app but discovers a disturbing secret about one of her new friends.
Just when she’s about to throw in the towel on the whole friendship mess, Fallon reads a recently unearthed letter she’d refused to deal with decades earlier—and reading it forces her to finally face the deep-seated fears she’d desperately tried to bury. Now, looking at her friendships through fresh eyes, she must decide between hanging on and letting go.
Fallon is an instantly likeable heroine—as vulnerable as she is determined—and she’ll have readers eagerly turning the pages as they join her on an emotional journey into the hopes and fears of adulthood.
by Jen Beagin
Genre: Humorous Fiction
A brilliantly original and funny novel about a sex therapist’s transcriptionist who falls in love with a client while listening to her sessions. When they accidentally meet in real life, an explosive affair ensues.
Greta lives with her friend Sabine in an ancient Dutch farmhouse in Hudson, New York. The house, built in 1737, is unrenovated, uninsulated, and full of bees. Greta spends her days transcribing therapy sessions for a sex coach who calls himself Om. She becomes infatuated with his newest client, a repressed married woman she affectionately refers to as Big Swiss, since she’s tall, stoic, and originally from Switzerland. Greta is fascinated by Big Swiss’s refreshing attitude toward trauma. They both have dark histories, but Big Swiss chooses to remain unattached to her suffering while Greta continues to be tortured by her past.
One day, Greta recognizes Big Swiss’s voice at the dog park. In a panic, she introduces herself with a fake name and they quickly become enmeshed. Although Big Swiss is unaware of Greta’s true identity, Greta has never been more herself with anyone. Her attraction to Big Swiss overrides her guilt, and she’ll do anything to sustain the relationship…
Bold, outlandish, and filled with irresistible characters, Big Swiss is both a love story and also a deft examination of infidelity, mental health, sexual stereotypes, and more—from an amazingly talented, one-of-a-kind voice in contemporary fiction.
Not Your Ex’s Hexes (Supernatural Singles, 2)
by April Asher
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
In April Asher’s next Supernatural Singles novel, Not Your Ex’s Hexes, a one-night-stand between a willful witch and a broody half-demon conjures an adventure that wouldn’t be complete without several magical mishaps.
For her entire life, Rose Maxwell trained to become the next Prima on the Supernatural Council. Now that she’s stepped down, it’s time for this witch to focus on herself. And not think about her impulsive one-night stand with Damian Adams, a half-Demon Veterinarian who she can’t get out of her head. Neither of them is looking for a relationship. But when Rose is sentenced to community service at Damian’s animal sanctuary it becomes impossible for them to ignore their sparking attraction. A friends-with-benefits, no feelings, no strings arrangement works perfectly for them both.
After a sequence of dead-end jobs, it’s not until Rose tangos with two snarly demons that she thinks she’s finally found her path. However, this puts Damian back on the periphery of a world he thought he left behind. He doesn’t approve of Rose becoming a Hunter, but if there’s one thing he’s learned about the stubborn witch, it was telling her not to do something was one sure-fire way to make sure she did.
Working―and sleeping―together awakens feelings Damian never knew he had…and shouldn’t have. Because thanks to his ex’s hex, if he falls in love, he’ll not only lose his heart―but his humanity.
Lives of the Wives: Five Literary Marriages
by Carmela Ciuraru
A witty, provocative look inside the tumultuous marriages of five writers, illuminating the creative process as well as the role of money, power, and fame in these complex and fascinating relationships.
“With an ego the size of a small nation, the literary lion is powerful on the page, but a helpless kitten in daily life—dependent on his wife to fold an umbrella, answer the phone, or lick a stamp.”
The history of wives is largely one of silence, resilience, and forbearance. Toss in celebrity, male privilege, ruthless ambition, narcissism, misogyny, infidelity, alcoholism, and a mood disorder or two, and it’s easy to understand why the marriages of so many famous writers have been stormy, short-lived, and mutually destructive. “It’s been my experience,” as the critic and novelist Elizabeth Hardwick once wrote, “that nobody holds a man’s brutality to his wife against him.” Literary wives are a unique breed, requiring a particular kind of fortitude.
Author Carmela Ciuraru shares the stories of five literary marriages, exposing the misery behind closed doors. The legendary British theatre critic Kenneth Tynan encouraged his American wife, Elaine Dundy, to write, then watched in a jealous rage as she became a bestselling author and critical success. In the early years of their marriage, Roald Dahl enjoyed basking in the glow of his glamorous movie star wife, Patricia Neal, until he detested her for being the breadwinner, and being more famous than he was. Elizabeth Jane Howard had to divorce Kingsley Amis to escape his suffocating needs and devote herself to her own writing. (“I really couldn’t write very much when I was married to him,” she once recalled, “because I had a very large household to keep up and Kingsley wasn’t one to boil an egg, if you know what I mean.”) Surprisingly, the most traditional partnership in Lives of the Wives is a lesbian couple, Una Troubridge and Radclyffe Hall, both of whom were socially and politically conservative and unapologetic snobs.
As this erudite and entertaining work shows, each marriage is a unique story, filled with struggles and triumphs and the negotiation of power. The Italian novelists Elsa Morante and Alberto Moravia were never sexually compatible, and it was Morante who often behaved abusively toward her cool, detached husband, even as he unwaveringly admired his wife’s talents and championed her work. Theirs was an unhappy union, yet it fueled them creatively and enabled both to become two of Italy’s most important postwar writers.
These are stories of vulnerability, loneliness, infidelity, envy, sorrow, abandonment, heartbreak, and forgiveness. Above all, Lives of the Wives honors the women who have played the role of muses, agents, editors, proofreaders, housekeepers, gatekeepers, amanuenses, confidantes, and cheerleaders to literary trailblazers throughout history. In revisiting the lives of famous writers, it is time in our #MeToo era to highlight the achievements of their wives—and the price these women paid for recognition and freedom.
Lives of the Wives is an insightful, humorous, and poignant exploration of the intersection of life and art and creativity and love.
The House of Eve
by Sadeqa Johnson
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
From the award-winning author of Yellow Wife, a daring and redemptive novel set in 1950s Philadelphia and Washington, DC, that explores what it means to be a woman and a mother, and how much one is willing to sacrifice to achieve her greatest goal.
1950s Philadelphia: fifteen-year-old Ruby Pearsall is on track to becoming the first in her family to attend college, in spite of having a mother more interested in keeping a man than raising a daughter. But a taboo love affair threatens to pull her back down into the poverty and desperation that has been passed on to her like a birthright.
Eleanor Quarles arrives in Washington, DC, with ambition and secrets. When she meets the handsome William Pride at Howard University, they fall madly in love. But William hails from one of DC’s elite wealthy Black families, and his parents don’t let just anyone into their fold. Eleanor hopes that a baby will make her finally feel at home in William’s family and grant her the life she’s been searching for. But having a baby—and fitting in—is easier said than done.
With their stories colliding in the most unexpected of ways, Ruby and Eleanor will both make decisions that shape the trajectory of their lives.
Maureen: A Harold Fry Novel
by Rachel Joyce
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: Dial Press Trade Paperback
“A touching tale about heartbreak and healing . . . If you loved The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fryand The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy, make time to read this finale to the trilogy.”—Good Housekeeping
Ten years ago, Harold Fry set off on a six-hundred-mile walk to save a friend. But the story doesn’t end there. Now his wife, Maureen, has her own pilgrimage to make.
Only she can finish the journey her husband started.
Maureen and Harold Fry have settled into a quiet life, but when an unexpected message from the North disturbs their peaceful equilibrium, Maureen realizes that it’s now her turn to make a journey. But she is not like her affable, easygoing husband. By turns outspoken, then vulnerable, she struggles to form bonds with the people she meets—and the landscape she crosses has radically changed. Maureen has no sense of what she will find at the end of the road. All she knows is that she has to get there.
A deeply felt, lyrical, and powerful novel, Maureen explores love, loss, and how we come to terms with the past in order to understand ourselves a little better.While this book stands alone, it is also the extraordinarily moving finale to a trilogy that began with the phenomenal bestseller The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and continued in The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy. Like those beloved books, Maureen has all the power and weight of a classic.
The Spite House
by Johnny Compton
Publisher: Tor Nightfire
A terrifying Gothic thriller about grief and death and the depths of a father’s love, Johnny Compton’s The Spite House is a stunning debut by a horror master in the making―The Babadook meets A Head Full of Ghosts in Texas Hill Country.
Eric Ross is on the run from a mysterious past with his two daughters in tow. Having left his wife, his house, his whole life behind in Maryland, he’s desperate for money―it’s not easy to find steady, safe work when you can’t provide references, you can’t stay in one place for long, and you’re paranoid that your past is creeping back up on you.
When he comes across the strange ad for the Masson House in Degener, Texas, Eric thinks they may have finally caught a lucky break. The Masson property, notorious for being one of the most haunted places in Texas, needs a caretaker of sorts. The owner is looking for proof of paranormal activity. All they need to do is stay in the house and keep a detailed record of everything that happens there. Provided the house’s horrors don’t drive them all mad, like the caretakers before them.
The job calls to Eric, not just because there’s a huge payout if they can make it through, but because he wants to explore the secrets of the spite house. If it is indeed haunted, maybe it’ll help him understand the uncanny power that clings to his family, driving them from town to town, making them afraid to stop running.
by Natalie Haynes
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fairy Tale
“Haynes is master of her trade . . . She succeeds in breathing warm life into some of our oldest stories.”—Telegraph (UK)
The national bestselling author of A Thousand Ships and Pandora’s Jar returns with a fresh and stunningly perceptive take on the story of Medusa, the original monstered woman.
They will fear you and flee you and call you a monster.
The only mortal in a family of gods, Medusa is the youngest of the Gorgon sisters. Unlike her siblings, Medusa grows older, experiences change, feels weakness. Her mortal lifespan gives her an urgency that her family will never know.
When the sea god Poseidon assaults Medusa in Athene’s temple, the goddess is enraged. Furious by the violation of her sacred space, Athene takes revenge—on the young woman. Punished for Poseidon’s actions, Medusa is forever transformed. Writhing snakes replace her hair and her gaze will turn any living creature to stone. Cursed with the power to destroy all she loves with one look, Medusa condemns herself to a life of solitude.
Until Perseus embarks upon a fateful quest to fetch the head of a Gorgon . . .
In Stone Blind, classicist and comedian Natalie Haynes turns our understanding of this legendary myth on its head, bringing empathy and nuance to one of the earliest stories in which a woman—injured by a powerful man—is blamed, punished, and monstered for the assault. Delving into the origins of this mythic tale, Haynes revitalizes and reconstructs Medusa’s story with her passion and fierce wit, offering a timely retelling of this classic myth that speaks to us today.
by Sara Farizan
Genre: 8 – 12 years, Coming of Age
Publisher: Scholastic Press
For fans of Barakah Beats and Wendy Mass comes a funny friendship story from Lambda Literary Award winner Sara Farizan that’s sure to be a lucky charm.
Lila is trying to find her way in the world―to figure out her thing. Her talented sister, Parisa, and athletic best friend, Melanie, both seem to have found theirs… and Lila can’t help feeling left behind.
But just when she thinks she might have it in her school’s new band program, the floor falls out from beneath Lila. The program may have its funding cut!
Lila visits her local bank in an attempt to secure a loan for the band program. While she’s there, she’s shoved by a passing stranger. Before she can even complain, however, the man leaves the bank and disappears. At her feet, Lila sees a strange box. Inside rests an old key, with a message carved into the box: A simple clue for you who holds the key. Remember to unlock the door for Opportunity.
It turns out the key is magical! After falling asleep with it in her room, Lila is awoken by the appearance of a strange glowing door, which knocks three times from the other side. Upon opening it, Lila is met with the strangest sight. A girl her age waltzes into her room and claims to be Lila’s lucky day. The girl says she’s been called by many names: Providence, Fortuna, Lady Luck, Opportunity… but Lila can call her Felise. Felise will stay with Lila for seven serendipitous days, during which Lila will be the luckiest person in the world!
But the man who lost the key has not forgotten about it―or Lila. Having spent a fortune procuring the Key to Opportunity, he’ll do everything in his power to get it back.