We’ve almost survived January! I feel like this is the point where I should fess up and admit I’ve only read 3 of the 9 books that were on my Most Anticipated list for January and they were all ARCs. I refuse to admit how many of them I bought, though!
So here is a list of twelve (!!!) books I’m looking forward in February!
Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell (February 2)
Ancillary Justice meets Red, White & Royal Blue in Everina Maxwell’s exciting debut.
While the Iskat Empire has long dominated the system through treaties and political alliances, several planets, including Thea, have begun to chafe under Iskat’s rule. When tragedy befalls Imperial Prince Taam, his Thean widower, Jainan, is rushed into an arranged marriage with Taam’s cousin, the disreputable Kiem, in a bid to keep the rising hostilities between the two worlds under control.
But when it comes to light that Prince Taam’s death may not have been an accident, and that Jainan himself may be a suspect, the unlikely pair must overcome their misgivings and learn to trust one another as they navigate the perils of the Iskat court, try to solve a murder, and prevent an interplanetary war… all while dealing with their growing feelings for each other.
WHY?: LOOK AT THAT COVER! Plus, arranged marriage AO3-ish tropey scifi romance goodness! Seriously one of my most anticipated books this year.
The Devil Comes Courting by Courtney Milan (February 9)
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.
WHY?: I will literally read anything Courtney Milan writes. ANYTHING. But, this is the third book in the Worth Saga, which I have absolutely loved to pieces, so I am super hyped about this book.
Fireheart Tiger by Aliette de Bodard (February 9)
Award-winning author Aliette de Bodard returns with a powerful romantic fantasy that reads like The Goblin Emperor meets Howl’s Moving Castle in a pre-colonial Vietnamese-esque world.
Fire burns bright and has a long memory….
Quiet, thoughtful princess Thanh was sent away as a hostage to the powerful faraway country of Ephteria as a child. Now she’s returned to her mother’s imperial court, haunted not only by memories of her first romance, but by worrying magical echoes of a fire that devastated Ephteria’s royal palace.
Thanh’s new role as a diplomat places her once again in the path of her first love, the powerful and magnetic Eldris of Ephteria, who knows exactly what she wants: romance from Thanh and much more from Thanh’s home. Eldris won’t take no for an answer, on either front. But the fire that burned down one palace is tempting Thanh with the possibility of making her own dangerous decisions.
Can Thanh find the freedom to shape her country’s fate—and her own?
WHY?: Aliette de Bodard excels at twisty political fanatics that still manage to be deeply romantic.
The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna (February 9)
Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.
But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.
Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat.
Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.
WHY?: This is the month for cover love apparently. The hype around this has been amazing, and I am always here for Black girl magic.
Second Chances anthology (February 9)
Second chances–are they always deserved? This collection of contemporary romance stories explores the different ways women can be messy and still find a happy ending.
“Out for Delivery” by Leigh Landry
“Your Mess Is Mine” by Dee Holloway
“The (Virtual) Bodyguard” by Chace Verity
“The Best Places” by Candace Harper
WHY?: OK, confession time, I’ve actually already read this anthology. I mean, second chances is one of my favorite tropes, and WLW second chances is just… *chef’s kiss* While some of the four stories worked better for me than others, I thoroughly enjoyed all of them.
Wild Rain by Beverly Jenkins (February 9)
The second novel in USA Today bestselling author Beverly Jenkins’ compelling new Women Who Dare series follows a female rancher in Wyoming after the Civil War.
A reporter has come to Wyoming to do a story on doctors for his Black newspaper back east. He thinks Colton Lee will be an interesting subject…until he meets Colton’s sister, Spring. She runs her own ranch, wears denim pants instead of dresses, and is the most fascinating woman he’s ever met.
But Spring, who has overcome a raucous and scandalous past, isn’t looking for, nor does she want, love. As their attraction grows, will their differences come between them or unite them for an everlasting love?
WHY?: It’s Queen Bev, enough said.
Wonderstruck by Allie Therin (February 9)
Don’t miss the stunning conclusion to Allie Therin’s Magic in Manhattan series!
New York, 1925
Arthur Kenzie is on a mission: to destroy the powerful supernatural relic that threatens Manhattan—and all the nonmagical minds in the world. So far his search has been fruitless. All it has done is keep him from the man he loves. But he’ll do anything to keep Rory safe and free, even if that means leaving him behind.
Psychometric Rory Brodigan knows his uncontrolled magic is a liability, but he’s determined to gain power over it. He can take care of himself—and maybe even Arthur, too, if Arthur will let him. An auction at the Paris world’s fair offers the perfect opportunity to destroy the relic, if a group of power-hungry supernaturals don’t destroy Rory and Arthur first.
As the magical world converges on Paris, Arthur and Rory have to decide who they can trust. Guessing wrong could spell destruction for their bond—and for the world as they know it.
WHY?: I’ve enjoyed the previous two books in this series, and while I’ll be sad to say goodbye to prickly-hedgehog-in-a-newsboy-cap Rory and cinnamon-roll-rich-dude Arthur, I can’t wait to figure out what’s going to happen!
(Trust) Falling For You by Charish Reid (February 19)
Yolanda Watson is the “fun professor.”
She makes literature exciting, she brings students donuts for Finals Week, and her colleagues love her. The only thing that will make teaching better is if she can learn how to write a grant and skip those boring committee meetings. In short, a History professor is her problem. He stole her grant and he chairs the most boring committee on campus.
Sure, he’s cute… but he can afford to loosen up.
Samuel Morris is a work-horse.
He puts his head down and proves his worth at Franklin University. That means no inane chit-chat with colleagues, no treating students like friends, and no shenanigans during the Assessment Committee. But a certain English professor happens to be full of shenanigans. She’s late, loud, and disorganized.
Sure, she’s sexy… but she can afford to tighten up.
They’ll both have to compromise.
A university team-building retreat to the woods of Wisconsin will ensure that. After a lodging mix-up, the opposites are forced to share the same cabin for six nights. As Team-Building Buddies, they will: sleep together, eat together, and play embarrassing bonding games together. One of them will have to budge. The sexual tension will get harder to ignore, especially when one Buddy requires rescuing from spiders, grasshoppers, and bears. Oh my…
WHY?: Forced proximity opposites-attract? Do I even detect a bit of “the grumpy one is soft for the sunshine one”? Yeeeees.
Best Laid Plans by Roan Parrish (February 23)
A man who’s been moving his whole life finally finds a reason to stay put.
Charlie Matheson has spent his life taking care of things. When his parents died two days before his eighteenth birthday, he took care of his younger brother, even though that meant putting his own dreams on hold. He took care of his father’s hardware store, building it into something known several towns over. He took care of the cat he found in the woods…so now he has a cat.
When a stranger with epic tattoos and a glare to match starts coming into Matheson’s Hardware, buying things seemingly at random and lugging them off in a car so beat-up Charlie feels bad for it, his instinct is to help. When the man comes in for the fifth time in a week, Charlie can’t resist intervening.
Rye Janssen has spent his life breaking things. Promises. His parents’ hearts. Leases. He isn’t used to people wanting to put things back together—not the crumbling house he just inherited, not his future and certainly not him. But the longer he stays in Garnet Run, the more he can see himself belonging there. And the more time he spends with Charlie, the more he can see himself falling asleep in Charlie’s arms…and waking up in them.
Is this what it feels like to have a home—and someone to share it with?
WHY?: Better Than People was a giant warm hug of a book, so I’m very much looking forward to this book about the MC’s grumpy carpenter brother.
Love at First by Kate Clayborn (February 23)
Sixteen years ago, a teenaged Will Sterling saw–or rather, heard–the girl of his dreams. Standing beneath an apartment building balcony, he shared a perfect moment with a lovely, warm-voiced stranger. It’s a memory that’s never faded, though he’s put so much of his past behind him. Now an unexpected inheritance has brought Will back to that same address, where he plans to offload his new property and get back to his regular life as an overworked doctor. Instead, he encounters a woman, two balconies above, who’s uncannily familiar…
No matter how surprised Nora Clarke is by her reaction to handsome, curious Will, or the whispered pre-dawn conversations they share, she won’t let his plans ruin her quirky, close-knit building. Bound by her loyalty to her adored grandmother, she sets out to foil his efforts with a little light sabotage. But beneath the surface of their feud is an undeniable connection. A balcony, a star-crossed couple, a fateful meeting–maybe it’s the kind of story that can’t work out in the end. Or maybe, it’s the perfect second chance.
From Kate Clayborn, the acclaimed author of Love Lettering, comes a sparkling, tender novel about bickering neighbors, surprise reunions, and the mysterious power of love.
WHY?: Because Kate Clayborn is an amazing writer and Love Lettering was the perfect first book of 2020 for me… you know, before everything else went sideways.
Make It Sweet by Kristen Callihan (February 23)
From New York Times bestselling author Kristen Callihan comes a charming, emotional romance about redefining dreams and discovering unlikely love along the way.
Life for Emma isn’t good. The world knows her as Princess Anya on Dark Castle, but then her character gets the axe—literally. The cherry on top is finding her boyfriend in bed with another woman. She needs a break, and sanctuary comes in the form of Rosemont, a gorgeous estate in California promising rest and relaxation.
Then she meets the owner’s equally gorgeous grandson, ex–hockey player and current recluse Lucian Osmond, and she sees her own pain and yearning reflected in his eyes.
He’s charming when he wants to be but also secretive and gruff, with protective walls as thick as Emma’s own. Despite a growing attraction, they avoid each other.
But then there’s an impromptu nighttime skinny-dip, and Lucian’s luscious homemade tarts and cream cakes start arriving at Emma’s door, tempting her to taste life again…
In trying to stay apart, they only grow closer—and their broken pieces just might fit together and make them whole.
WHY?: I love Kristen Callihan’s books, and this one involves a hockey player who apparently bakes?!?!
Quiet in Her Bones by Nalini Singh (February 23)
My mother vanished ten years ago.
So did a quarter of a million dollars in cash.
Thief. Bitch. Criminal.
Now, she’s back.
Her bones clothed in scarlet silk.
When socialite Nina Rai disappeared without a trace, everyone wrote it off as another trophy wife tired of her wealthy husband.
But now her bones have turned up in the shadowed green of the forest that surrounds her elite neighborhood, a haven of privilege and secrets that’s housed the same influential families for decades.
The rich live here, along with those whose job it is to make their lives easier. And somebody knows what happened to Nina one rainy night ten years ago.
Her son Aarav heard a chilling scream that night, and he’s determined to uncover the ugly truth that lives beneath the moneyed elegance…but no one is ready for the murderous secrets about to crawl out of the dark.
Even the dead aren’t allowed to break the rules in this cul-de-sac.
WHY?: Uh, because it’s Nalini Singh, y’all, duh. I liked her last suspense book, and I’m very much looking forward to this one, also set in New Zealand.
And that’s my list for the month. What books are you looking forward to?