Most Anticipated: February 2022
So, I don’t know about you, but so far my 2022 hasn’t lived up to my expectations. It’s like 2020 take three, which also explains why this post is coming out three days into the month. But, hey, at least there’s a ton of great new books to read! Here’s my whopping list of 9 books I’m looking forward in February!
Black Love Matters edited by Jessica Pryde (February 1)
An incisive, intersectional essay anthology that celebrates and examines romance and romantic media through the lens of Black readers, writers, and cultural commentators, edited by Book Riot columnist and librarian Jessica Pryde.
Romantic love has been one of the most essential elements of storytelling for centuries. But for Black people in the United States and across the diaspora, it hasn’t often been easy to find Black romance joyfully showcased in entertainment media. In this collection, revered authors and sparkling newcomers, librarians and academicians, and avid readers and reviewers consider the mirrors and windows into Black love as it is depicted in the novels, television shows, and films that have shaped their own stories. Whether personal reflection or cultural commentary, these essays delve into Black love now and in the past, including topics from the history of Black romance to social justice and the Black community to the meaning of desire and desirability.
Exploring the multifaceted ways love is seen–and the ways it isn’t–this diverse array of Black voices collectively shines a light on the power of crafting happy endings for Black lovers.
Jessica Pryde is joined by Carole V. Bell, Sarah Hannah Gomez, Jasmine Guillory, Da’Shaun Harrison, Margo Hendricks, Adriana Herrera, Piper Huguley, Kosoko Jackson, Nicole M. Jackson, Beverly Jenkins, Christina C. Jones, Julie Moody-Freeman, and Allie Parker in this collection.
WHY?: I look forward to the Book Riot romance newsletter every week, so of course I was excited to see some of my favorite Black authors (and other folks) in this collection edited by that contributor.
Count Your Lucky Stars – Alexandria Bellefleur (February 1)
Following Written in the Stars and Hang the Moon, national bestselling author Alexandria Bellefleur pens another steamy queer rom-com about former best friends who might be each other’s second chance at love…
Margot Cooper doesn’t do relationships. She tried and it blew up in her face, so she’ll stick with casual hookups, thank you very much. But now her entire crew has found “the one” and she’s beginning to feel like a fifth wheel. And then fate (the heartless bitch) intervenes. While touring a wedding venue with her engaged friends, Margot comes face-to-face with Olivia Grant—her childhood friend, her first love, her first… well, everything. It’s been ten years, but the moment they lock eyes, Margot’s cold, dead heart thumps in her chest.
Olivia must be hallucinating. In the decade since she last saw Margot, her life hasn’t gone exactly as planned. At almost thirty, she’s been married… and divorced. However, a wedding planner job in Seattle means a fresh start and a chance to follow her dreams. Never in a million years did she expect her important new client’s Best Woman would be the one that got away.
When a series of unfortunate events leaves Olivia without a place to stay, Margot offers up her spare room because she’s a Very Good Person. Obviously. It has nothing to do with the fact that Olivia is as beautiful as ever and the sparks between them still make Margot tingle. As they spend time in close quarters, Margot starts to question her no-strings stance. Olivia is everything she’s ever wanted, but Margot let her in once and it ended in disaster. Will history repeat itself or should she count her lucky stars that she gets a second chance with her first love?
WHY?: I’ve loved the previous two books in the series for their humor (and steam!) and can’t wait for another sapphic romance from this author!
Hunt the Stars – Jessie Mihalik (February 1)
The critically acclaimed author of Polaris Rising takes readers on an exciting journey with the start of her brand-new series about a female bounty hunter and the man who is her sworn enemy.
Octavia Zarola would do anything to keep her tiny, close-knit bounty hunting crew together—even if it means accepting a job from Torran Fletcher, a ruthless former general and her sworn enemy. When Torran offers her enough credits to not only keep her crew afloat but also hire someone to fix her ship, Tavi knows that she can’t refuse—no matter how much she’d like to.
With so much money on the line, Torran and his crew insist on joining the hunt. Tavi reluctantly agrees because while the handsome, stoic leader pushes all of her buttons—for both anger and desire—she’s endured worse, and the massive bonus payment he’s promised for a completed job is reason enough to shut up and deal.
But when they uncover a deeper plot that threatens the delicate peace between humans and Valoffs, Tavi suspects that Torran has been using her as the impetus for a new war. With the fate of her crew balanced on a knife’s edge, Tavi must decide where her loyalties lie—with the quiet Valoff who’s been lying to her, or with the human leaders who left her squad to die on the battlefield. And this time, she’s put her heart on the line.
WHY?: I’m going to be honest: I read this ARC practically the second I got it. Jessie Mihalik is one of my favorite authors and this book proves that she’s just getting better. What am I anticipating then? Well, the chance to actually squee about it with other people!
Dead Silence – S.A. Barnes (February 8)
Titanic meets The Shining in S.A. Barnes’ Dead Silence, a SF horror novel in which a woman and her crew board a decades-lost luxury cruiser and find the wreckage of a nightmare that hasn’t yet ended.
A GHOST SHIP.
A SALVAGE CREW.
Claire Kovalik is days away from being unemployed—made obsolete—when her beacon repair crew picks up a strange distress signal. With nothing to lose and no desire to return to Earth, Claire and her team decide to investigate.
What they find at the other end of the signal is a shock: the Aurora, a famous luxury space-liner that vanished on its maiden tour of the solar system more than twenty years ago. A salvage claim like this could set Claire and her crew up for life. But a quick trip through the Aurora reveals something isn’t right.
Whispers in the dark. Flickers of movement. Words scrawled in blood. Claire must fight to hold onto her sanity and find out what really happened on the Aurora, before she and her crew meet the same ghastly fate.
WHY?: “Titanic meets The Shining” um yes, please inject this directly into my eyeballs. I have no idea why I love space horror so much, but my gosh this sounds amazing.
House of Sky and Breath – Sarah J. Maas (February 15)
Bryce Quinlan and Hunt Athalar are trying to get back to normal―they may have saved Crescent City, but with so much upheaval in their lives lately, they mostly want a chance to relax. Slow down. Figure out what the future holds.
The Asteri have kept their word so far, leaving Bryce and Hunt alone. But with the rebels chipping away at the Asteri’s power, the threat the rulers pose is growing. As Bryce, Hunt, and their friends get pulled into the rebels’ plans, the choice becomes clear: stay silent while others are oppressed, or fight for what’s right. And they’ve never been very good at staying silent.
In this sexy, action-packed sequel to the #1 bestseller House of Earth and Blood, Sarah J. Maas weaves a captivating story of a world about to explode―and the people who will do anything to save it.
WHY?: I know, I know, but it’s like watching a train wreck. Is SJM going to pull her usual tricks with the book 1 love interest? Will Hunt get any less annoying? Will we here anything more about magical My Little Pony toys? I can’t wait to find out!
Reclaim the Stars anthology (February 15)
Seventeen fantasy and science fiction short stories from leading voices in the Latin American diaspora!
Reclaim the Stars is a collection of bestselling and acclaimed YA authors that take the Latin American diaspora to places fantastical and out of this world. From princesses warring in space, to the all too-near devastation of climate change, to haunting ghost stories in Argentina, and mermaids off the coast of the Caribbean. This is science fiction and fantasy that breaks borders and realms, and proves that stories are truly universal.
Authors include Daniel José Older, Yamile Saied Méndez, Anna-Marie McLemore, Mark Oshiro, Romina Garber, David Bowles, Lilliam Rivera, Claribel Ortega, Isabel Ibañez, Sara Faring, Maya Motayne, Nina Moreno, Vita Ayala, J.C. Cervantes, Circe Moskowitz, Linda Nieves Pérez, and Zoraida Córdova.
WHY?: I think my love of anthologies is well known by now, and diverse anthologies? Even better. There are some big names (and a gorgeous cover!) so I can’t wait to see where this anthology takes me!
Delilah Green Doesn’t Care – Ashley Herring Blake (February 22)
A clever and steamy queer romantic comedy about taking chances and accepting love—with all its complications—by debut author Ashley Herring Blake.
Delilah Green swore she would never go back to Bright Falls—nothing is there for her but memories of a lonely childhood where she was little more than a burden to her cold and distant stepfamily. Her life is in New York, with her photography career finally gaining steam and her bed never empty. Sure, it’s a different woman every night, but that’s just fine with her.
When Delilah’s estranged stepsister, Astrid, pressures her into photographing her wedding with a guilt trip and a five-figure check, Delilah finds herself back in the godforsaken town that she used to call home. She plans to breeze in and out, but then she sees Claire Sutherland, one of Astrid’s stuck-up besties, and decides that maybe there’s some fun (and a little retribution) to be had in Bright Falls, after all.
Having raised her eleven-year-old daughter mostly on her own while dealing with her unreliable ex and running a bookstore, Claire Sutherland depends upon a life without surprises. And Delilah Green is an unwelcome surprise…at first. Though they’ve known each other for years, they don’t really know each other—so Claire is unsettled when Delilah figures out exactly what buttons to push. When they’re forced together during a gauntlet of wedding preparations—including a plot to save Astrid from her horrible fiancé—Claire isn’t sure she has the strength to resist Delilah’s charms. Even worse, she’s starting to think she doesn’t want to…
WHY?: Blurb? What blurb? I’ve been salivating over this cover since I first saw it, and I cannot wait to read this! Plus, a bookstore owner single parent plus wedding shenanigans plus hometown feels? In my eyeballs, please.
Legends & Lattes – Travis Baldree (February 22)
High Fantasy with a double-shot of self-reinvention
Worn out after decades of packing steel and raising hell, Viv the orc barbarian cashes out of the warrior’s life with one final score. A forgotten legend, a fabled artifact, and an unreasonable amount of hope lead her to the streets of Thune, where she plans to open the first coffee shop the city has ever seen.
However, her dreams of a fresh start pulling shots instead of swinging swords are hardly a sure bet. Old frenemies and Thune’s shady underbelly may just upset her plans. To finally build something that will last, Viv will need some new partners and a different kind of resolve.
A hot cup of fantasy slice-of-life with a dollop of romantic froth.
WHY?: I’ve never heard of this author before, but between the tagline and the adorable cover (and my love of coffeeshop AUs), I’m sold!
Only a Monster – Vanessa Len (February 22)
With the sweeping romance of Passenger and the dark fantasy edge of This Savage Song, this standout YA contemporary fantasy debut from Vanessa Len, is the first in a planned trilogy.
It should have been the perfect summer. Sent to stay with her late mother’s eccentric family in London, sixteen-year-old Joan is determined to enjoy herself. She loves her nerdy job at the historic Holland House, and when her super cute co-worker Nick asks her on a date, it feels like everything is falling into place.
But she soon learns the truth. Her family aren’t just eccentric: they’re monsters, with terrifying, hidden powers. And Nick isn’t just a cute boy: he’s a legendary monster slayer, who will do anything to bring them down.
As she battles Nick, Joan is forced to work with the beautiful and ruthless Aaron Oliver, heir to a monster family that hates her own. She’ll have to embrace her own monstrousness if she is to save herself, and her family. Because in this story . . .
. . . she is not the hero.
WHY?: This hits all my anti-hero, enemies-to-lovers buttons.
And that’s my list for the month. What books are you looking forward to?
I have so much love for Jessie Mihalik so I am thrilled to see her on this list here.
Isn’t she the best? Have you read the book yet? It’s SO GOOD and I’m so excited the next one comes out in July!