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February 2021 New Releases, Part One


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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 Boxer and the Blacksmith

The Boxer and the Blacksmith by Edie Cay

Author: Edie Cay
Released: February 1, 2021 by ScarabSkin Books
Genre: Historical: European, Romance
Series: When the Blood Is Up #2

Can London’s lady champion fight for love?

As London’s undefeated women’s boxer, Bess Abbott has the scars—both inside and out—to prove it. But when one of her boxing students, Violet, needs protection, Bess Abbott’s rock hard heart cracks open. And when a handsome blacksmith comes along, giving her compliments and treating her, well, like a woman, Bess doesn’t know what to do. She’s on the ropes in the face of his affections.

Os Worley was a child when he became an accidental stow-away. He grew up not knowing the family or the island that inflected his accent. His only memory of his mother is a head bent, hands working a stitch, a voice humming a melody. Now that he has his own foundry, and his own apprentice, he’s come to London to find the woman attached to this impression. His heart is already tempered and quenched, focused on his goal—but a lady boxer threatens to recast his love in her own image.

As Os and Bess face off, will they toe the line or retreat to their corners?

Amanda: The heroine is a boxer and I am very intrigued.

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Finlay Donovan Is Killing It

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle Cosimano

Author: Elle Cosimano
Released: February 2, 2021 by Minotaur Books
Genre: Mystery/Thriller

IT’S MURDER BEING A HIT-MOM

“Getting the job done” for one single mom takes on a whole new meaning in Finlay Donovan is Killing It, a deliciously witty adult debut—the first in a brilliant new series from YA Edgar Award nominee Elle Cosimano.

Finlay Donovan is killing it . . . except, she’s really not. She’s a stressed-out single-mom of two and struggling novelist, Finlay’s life is in chaos: the new book she promised her literary agent isn’t written, her ex-husband fired the nanny without telling her, and this morning she had to send her four-year-old to school with hair duct-taped to her head after an incident with scissors.

When Finlay is overheard discussing the plot of her new suspense novel with her agent over lunch, she’s mistaken for a contract killer, and inadvertently accepts an offer to dispose of a problem husband in order to make ends meet . . . Soon, Finlay discovers that crime in real life is a lot more difficult than its fictional counterpart, as she becomes tangled in a real-life murder investigation.

Fast-paced, deliciously witty, and wholeheartedly authentic in depicting the frustrations and triumphs of motherhood in all its messiness, hilarity, and heartfelt moments, Finlay Donovan Is Killing It is the first in a brilliant new series from award-winning author Elle Cosimano.

Amanda: This sounds like it could be really hilarious or I will die of secondhand embarrassment.

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Fat Chance, Charlie Vega

Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado

Author: Crystal Maldonado
Released: February 2, 2021 by Holiday House
Genre: Young Adult

Coming of age as a Fat brown girl in a white Connecticut suburb is hard.
Harder when your whole life is on fire, though.

Charlie Vega is a lot of things. Smart. Funny. Artistic. Ambitious. Fat.

People sometimes have a problem with that last one. Especially her mom. Charlie wants a good relationship with her body, but it’s hard, and her mom leaving a billion weight loss shakes on her dresser doesn’t help. The world and everyone in it have ideas about what she should look like: thinner, lighter, slimmer-faced, straighter-haired. Be smaller. Be whiter. Be quieter.

But there’s one person who’s always in Charlie’s corner: her best friend Amelia. Slim. Popular. Athletic. Totally dope. So when Charlie starts a tentative relationship with cute classmate Brian, the first worthwhile guy to notice her, everything is perfect until she learns one thing–he asked Amelia out first. So is she his second choice or what? Does he even really see her? UGHHH. Everything is now officially a MESS.

A sensitive, funny, and painful coming-of-age story with a wry voice and tons of chisme, Fat Chance, Charlie Vega tackles our relationships to our parents, our bodies, our cultures, and ourselves.

Maya: Another great YA cover!

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Love Is a Revolution

Love Is a Revolution by Renée Watson

Author: Renée Watson
Released: February 2, 2021 by Bloomsbury YA
Genre: Romance, Young Adult

From New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Renée Watson comes a new YA–a love story about not only a romantic relationship but how a girl finds herself and falls in love with who she really is.

When Nala Robertson reluctantly agrees to attend an open mic night for her cousin-sister-friend Imani’s birthday, she finds herself falling in instant love with Tye Brown, the MC. He’s perfect, except . . . Tye is an activist and is spending the summer putting on events for the community when Nala would rather watch movies and try out the new seasonal flavors at the local creamery. In order to impress Tye, Nala tells a few tiny lies to have enough in common with him. As they spend more time together, sharing more of themselves, some of those lies get harder to keep up. As Nala falls deeper into keeping up her lies and into love, she’ll learn all the ways love is hard, and how self-love is revolutionary.

In Love Is a Revolution, plus size girls are beautiful and get the attention of the hot guys, the popular girl clique is not shallow but has strong convictions and substance, and the ultimate love story is not only about romance but about how to show radical love to the people in your life, including to yourself.

Maya: What a great cover and am very excited for a story that centers radical self-love!

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The Project

The Project by Courtney Summers

Author: Courtney Summers
Released: February 2, 2021 by Wednesday Books
Genre: Mystery/Thriller, Young Adult

Lo Denham is used to being on her own. After her parents died, Lo’s sister, Bea, joined The Unity Project, leaving Lo in the care of their great aunt. Thanks to its extensive charitable work and community outreach, The Unity Project has won the hearts and minds of most in the Upstate New York region, but Lo knows there’s more to the group than meets the eye. She’s spent the last six years of her life trying—and failing—to prove it.

When a man shows up at the magazine Lo works for claiming The Unity Project killed his son, Lo sees the perfect opportunity to expose the group and reunite with Bea once and for all. When her investigation puts her in the direct path of its leader, Lev Warren and as Lo delves deeper into The Project, the lives of its members it upends everything she thought she knew about her sister, herself, cults, and the world around her—to the point she can no longer tell what’s real or true. Lo never thought she could afford to believe in Lev Warren . . . but now she doesn’t know if she can afford not to.

Amanda: I have been so excited for Summers’ next book since reading Sadie years ago!

Elyse: This thriller about a cult is giving me NXVIM feels and I’m not gonna lie I binged every documentary about that weird cult that I could.

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Winter’s Orbit

Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell

Author: Everina Maxwell
Released: February 2, 2021 by Tor Books
Genre: LGBTQIA, Romance, Science Fiction/Fantasy

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.

Ellen: I need everyone to read this book!!! GAY SPACE POLITICAL MARRIAGE ROMANCE!!!

Aarya: Sci-fi romance is relatively scarce, so I’m doubly excited for this!

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A Lady’s Formula for Love

A Lady’s Formula for Love by Elizabeth Everett

Author: Elizabeth Everett
Released: February 9, 2021 by Berkley
Genre: Historical: European, Romance
Series: The Secret Scientists of London #1

What is a Victorian lady’s formula for love? Mix one brilliant noblewoman and her enigmatic protection officer. Add in a measure of danger and attraction. Heat over the warmth of humor and friendship, and the result is more than simple chemistry–it’s elemental.

Lady Violet is keeping secrets. First, she founded a clandestine sanctuary for England’s most brilliant female scientists. Second, she is using her genius on a confidential mission for the Crown. But the biggest secret of all? Her feelings for protection officer Arthur Kneland.

Solitary and reserved, Arthur learned the hard way to put duty first. But the more time he spends in the company of Violet and the eccentric club members, the more his best intentions go up in flames. Literally.

When a shadowy threat infiltrates Violet’s laboratories, endangering her life and her work, scientist and bodyguard will find all their theories put to the test–and learn that the most important discoveries are those of the heart.

Claudia: Interesting debut novel. Carrie, Catherine and I read and reviewed this one.

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A Pho Love Story

A Pho Love Story by Loan Le

Author: Loan Le
Released: February 9, 2021 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genre: Romance, Young Adult

When Dimple Met Rishi meets Ugly Delicious in this funny, smart romantic comedy, in which two Vietnamese-American teens fall in love and must navigate their newfound relationship amid their families’ age-old feud about their competing, neighboring restaurants.

If Bao Nguyen had to describe himself, he’d say he was a rock. Steady and strong, but not particularly interesting. His grades are average, his social status unremarkable. He works at his parents’ pho restaurant, and even there, he is his parents’ fifth favorite employee. Not ideal.

If Linh Mai had to describe herself, she’d say she was a firecracker. Stable when unlit, but full of potential for joy and spark and fire. She loves art and dreams pursuing a career in it. The only problem? Her parents rely on her in ways they’re not willing to admit, including working practically full-time at her family’s pho restaurant.

For years, the Mais and the Nguyens have been at odds, having owned competing, neighboring phở restaurants. Bao and Linh, who’ve avoided each other for most of their lives, both suspect that the feud stems from feelings much deeper than friendly competition.

But then a chance encounter brings Linh and Bao together despite their best efforts and sparks fly, leading them both to wonder what took so long for them to connect. But then, of course, they immediately remember.

Can Linh and Bao find love in the midst of feuding families and complicated histories?

Aarya: I will never tire of pun titles.

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Detour to Love

Detour to Love by Amanda Radley

Author: Amanda Radley
Released: February 9, 2021 by Bold Strokes Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance, LGBTQIA, Romance

Romance is in the air on this detour to love.

High-flying executive Celia Scott is on her way to Tokyo to accept a prestigious award heavy with emotional baggage. She’ll make the trip, but she doesn’t have to like it, and she certainly doesn’t have to make nice with a stranger on a plane.

Artist Lily Andersen is excited to finally meet her online crush, the only person in the world who truly gets her. She just needs to survive the eleven-hour flight from London to Japan with a testy seatmate who by turns annoys and fascinates her.

Fate, upgrades, and a troupe of travelling clowns bring them together for a journey memorable for all the wrong reasons. Not only do they have nothing in common, they really can’t stand each other. But people are not always as they seem, and Celia and Lily are about to realise, there’s more than one path to love.

Tara: I like the forced proximity premise of the leads being on a long-haul flight.

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The Duke Heist

The Duke Heist by Erica Ridley

Author: Erica Ridley
Released: February 9, 2021 by Forever
Genre: Historical: European, Romance
Series: The Wild Wynchesters #1

NYT bestselling author kicks off a new Regency series of “irresistible romance and a family of delightful scoundrels” as a woman looking to recover a stolen painting accidentally kidnaps a duke instead. (Eloisa James)

Chloe Wynchester is completely forgettable—a curse that gives her the ability to blend into any crowd. When the only father she’s ever known makes a dying wish for his adopted family of orphans to recover a missing painting, she’s the first one her siblings turn to for stealing it back. No one expects that in doing so, she’ll also abduct a handsome duke.

Lawrence Gosling, the Duke of Faircliffe, is tortured by his father’s mistakes. To repair his estate’s ruined reputation, he must wed a highborn heiress. Yet when he finds himself in a carriage being driven hell-for-leather down the cobblestone streets of London by a beautiful woman who refuses to heed his commands, he fears his heart is hers. But how can he sacrifice his family’s legacy to follow true love?

Elyse: I adore a heist story so this is right up my alley. Plus the heroine has a kitten trained to create chaos. All my catnip.

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Fireheart Tiger

Fireheart Tiger by Aliette de Bodard

Author: Aliette de Bodard
Released: February 9, 2021 by Tor.com
Genre: LGBTQIA, Novella, Romance, Science Fiction/Fantasy

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?

Ellen: When the description shouts out Howl’s Moving Castle, I’m there.

Aarya: Loving the tiger folklore in Asian fantasy novellas recently.

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The Gilded Ones

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

Author: Namina Forna
Released: February 9, 2021 by Delacorte Press
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy, Young Adult
Series: Deathless #1

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.

Maya: Such a pretty cover!!

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Masquerade

Masquerade by Anne Shade

Author: Anne Shade
Released: February 9, 2021 by Bold Strokes Books
Genre: Historical: American, LGBTQIA, Romance

Harlem, New York, 1925 is a mecca of cultural and creative freedom, where masquerade drag balls are all the rage and the music, dancing, and loose prohibition laws unite people from all walks of life.

Dinah Hampton came to Harlem for better opportunities for her family but ends up working as a nightclub chorus girl to help make ends meet. Among the nightlife and danger, she finds love in the most unexpected way.

When a scandal rocks Celine Montre’s family and sends them fleeing from New Orleans to Harlem, the gorgeous Dinah Hampton helps her to discover that there’s more to life, and love, than she ever thought possible.

When a notorious gangster sets her sights set on seducing Celine, Dinah and Celine are forced to risk their hearts, and lives, for love.

Tara: I haven’t been clicking as much with contemporary romance lately, so 1925 Harlem and New Orleans is calling me.

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Wild Rain

Wild Rain by Beverly Jenkins

Author: Beverly Jenkins
Released: February 9, 2021 by Avon
Genre: Historical: American, Romance
Series: Women Who Dare #2

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?

Sarah: I have heard from three separate people how much they enjoyed this book, and especially the heroine. I cannot wait.

Claudia: Looking forward to this one and eager to see the city man, country woman pairing. Plus the cover is gorgeous.

Aarya: It’s Beverly Jenkins!

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The Witch’s Heart

The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec

Author: Genevieve Gornichec
Released: February 9, 2021 by Ace
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy

When a banished witch falls in love with the legendary trickster Loki, she risks the wrath of the gods in this moving, subversive debut novel that reimagines Norse mythology.

Angrboda’s story begins where most witches’ tales end: with a burning. A punishment from Odin for refusing to provide him with knowledge of the future, the fire leaves Angrboda injured and powerless, and she flees into the farthest reaches of a remote forest. There she is found by a man who reveals himself to be Loki, and her initial distrust of him transforms into a deep and abiding love.

Their union produces three unusual children, each with a secret destiny, who Angrboda is keen to raise at the edge of the world, safely hidden from Odin’s all-seeing eye. But as Angrboda slowly recovers her prophetic powers, she learns that her blissful life—and possibly all of existence—is in danger.

With help from the fierce huntress Skadi, with whom she shares a growing bond, Angrboda must choose whether she’ll accept the fate that she’s foreseen for her beloved family…or rise to remake their future. From the most ancient of tales this novel forges a story of love, loss, and hope for the modern age.

Elyse: This is the story of a witch who falls in love with the Norse god Loki. I’m intrigued by the element of Norse legend and by a heroine who sounds badass.

Maya: Looking to have some fun with Norse mythology!

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Wonderstruck

Wonderstruck by Allie Therin

Author: Allie Therin
Released: February 9, 2021 by Carina Press
Genre: Historical: American, LGBTQIA, Romance
Series: Magic in Manhattan #3

on’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.

Aarya: Loved the first book, did not love the second book, cautious about this one.

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