August 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 early as the bigger trade houses.

As always, if we missed any books that you’re particularly looking forward to, tell us all about them in the comments. Let’s nerd out about language, especially when it comes to cults and brainwashing.

You’ll Be Fine

Author: Jen Michalski
Released: August 2, 2021 by NineStar Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance, LGBTQIA, Romance

After Alex’s mother dies of an accidental overdose, Alex takes leave from her job as a writer for a lifestyle magazine to return home to Maryland and join her brother Owen, a study in failure to launch, in sorting out their mother’s whimsical, often self-destructive, life.

While home, Alex plans to profile Juliette Sprigg, an Eastern Shore restaurant owner and celebrity chef in the making who Alex secretly dated in high school. And when Alex enlists the help of Carolyn, the editor of the local newspaper, in finding a photographer for the article’s photo shoot, Alex struggles with the deepening, tender relationship that blossoms between them as well.

To complicate matters, Alex and Owen’s “Aunt” Johanna, who has transitioned to a woman, offers to come from Seattle to help with arrangements, and all hell breaks loose when she announces she is actually Alex and Owen’s long-estranged father. Can Alex accept her mother and father for who they are, rather than who she hoped they would be? And can Alex apply the same philosophy to herself?

Sneezy: Lesbians!!! The resilience of striving for happiness even when bad things happen! The courage to move forward instead of letting yourself be stuck on repeat!!! Learning empathy and compassion to accept your loved ones for who they are instead of an idea of them! Doing the same to yourself! And my heart goes SQUEEE!

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A Lesson in Vegeneace

Author: Victoria Lee
Released: August 3, 2021 by Delacorte Press
Genre: LGBTQIA, Mystery/Thriller, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Young Adult

For fans of Wilder Girls and Ninth House, comes a dark, twisty, atmospheric thriller about a boarding school haunted by its history of witchcraft and two girls dangerously close to digging up the past.

Witchcraft is woven into the Dalloway School’s history. The school doesn’t talk about it, but the students do. And most memorable of all is the Dalloway Five–five students who all died mysteriously one after another, who some say were witches.

Before her girlfriend’s tragic death, Felicity Morrow was drawn to the dark. But after a year away from Dalloway’s ivy-covered campus, she’s determined to leave all that behind her, focus on her senior thesis, and graduate. Only it’s hard when Dalloway’s occult history is everywhere. And when the new girl won’t let her forget.

It’s Ellis Haley’s first year at Dalloway, and she’s already amassed a loyal following. A prodigy novelist at seventeen, Ellis is eccentric and brilliant, and Felicity can’t shake the pull she feels to her. So when Ellis asks Felicity for help researching the Dalloway Five for her second book, Felicity can’t say no. Given her history with the arcane, Felicity is the perfect resource. And when history begins to repeat itself, Felicity will have to face the darkness in Dalloway–and in herself.

Aarya: This might be a TOO scary for my taste, but the blurb looks good enough that I’m willing to risk a week’s worth of uninterrupted sleep.

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The Black Intellectual Tradition

Author: Derrick Aldridge
Released: August 3, 2021 by University of Illinois Press
Genre: Nonfiction

Considering the development and ongoing influence of Black thought

From 1900 to the present, people of African descent living in the United States have drawn on homegrown and diasporic minds to create a Black intellectual tradition engaged with ideas on race, racial oppression, and the world. This volume presents essays on the diverse thought behind the fight for racial justice as developed by African American artists and intellectuals; performers and protest activists; institutions and organizations; and educators and religious leaders. By including both women’s and men’s perspectives from the U.S. and the Diaspora, the essays explore the full landscape of the Black intellectual tradition. Throughout, contributors engage with important ideas ranging from the consideration of gender within the tradition, to intellectual products generated outside the intelligentsia, to the ongoing relationship between thought and concrete effort in the quest for liberation. Expansive in scope and interdisciplinary in practice, The Black Intellectual Tradition delves into the ideas that animated a people’s striving for full participation in American life.

Contributors: Derrick P. Alridge, Keisha N. Blain, Cornelius L. Bynum, Jeffrey Lamar Coleman, Pero Gaglo Dagbovie, Stephanie Y. Evans, Aaron David Gresson III, Claudrena N. Harold, Leonard Harris, Maurice J. Hobson, La TaSha B. Levy, Layli Maparyan, Zebulon V. Miletsky, R. Baxter Miller, Edward Onaci, Venetria K. Patton, James B. Stewart, and Nikki M. Taylor

Sneezy: A legacy of resilience and brilliance! Can’t wait to read this!

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Fresh

Author: Margot Wood
Released: August 3, 2021 by Amulet Books
Genre: LGBTQIA, New Adult, Romance

A hilarious and vulnerable coming-of-age story about the thrilling new experience–and missteps–of a girl’s freshman year of college

Some students enter their freshman year of college knowing exactly what they want to do with their lives. Elliot McHugh is not one of those people. But picking a major is the last thing on Elliot’s mind when she’s too busy experiencing all that college has to offer–from dancing all night at off-campus parties, to testing her RA Rose’s patience, to making new friends, to having the best sex one can have on a twin-sized dorm room bed. But she may not be ready for the fallout when reality hits. When the sex she’s having isn’t that great. When finals creep up and smack her right in the face. Or when her roommate’s boyfriend turns out to be the biggest a-hole. Elliot may make epic mistakes, but if she’s honest with herself (and with you, dear reader), she may just find the person she wants to be. And maybe even fall in love in the process . . . Well, maybe.

Aarya: Is freshman-year-in-college technically new adult romance?? Or still YA? I’m so bad at categorizing books.

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I Kissed a Girl

Author: Alexander Jennet
Released: August 3, 2021 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Contemporary Romance, LGBTQIA, Romance

Can an up-and-coming horror actress and the makeup artist for her newest “creature feature” turn on-set chemistry into the romance of a lifetime?

Lilah Silver’s a young actress who dreams of climbing out of B-list stardom. She’s been cast as the lead in what could be her breakout performance…but if she wants to prove herself to everyone who ever doubted her, she’s going to need major help along the way.

Noa Birnbaum may be a brilliant makeup artist and special effects whiz-kid, but cracking into the union is more difficult than she imagined. Keeping everyone happy is a full-time job, and she’s already run ragged. And yet when the beautiful star she’s been secretly crushing on admits to fears of her own, Noa vows to do everything in her power to help Lilah shine like never before.

Long hours? Exhausting work? No problem. Together they can take the world by storm…but can the connection forged over long hours in the makeup chair ever hope to survive the glare of the spotlight?

Aarya: I’m really surprised I haven’t seen more sapphic romances with this title (it’s so good!).

Susan: I love creature-features, I love the mechanics of horror movies, so I am ready for queer women falling in love over making them!

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If the Shoe Fits

Author: Julie Murphy
Released: August 3, 2021 by Hyperion Avenue
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romance
Series: Meant To Be #1

After having just graduated with a degree in shoe design, and trying to get her feet on the ground, Cindy is working for her stepmother, who happens to be the executive producer of America’s favorite reality show, Before Midnight. When a spot on the show needs filling ASAP, Cindy volunteers, hoping it might help jump-start her fashion career, or at least give her something to do while her peers land jobs in the world of high fashion.

Turns out being the only plus size woman on a reality dating competition makes a splash, and soon Cindy becomes a body positivity icon for women everywhere. What she doesn’t expect? That she may just find inspiration—and love—in the process. Ultimately, Cindy learns that if the shoe doesn’t fit, maybe it’s time to design your own.

Elyse: The heroine of this novel is a contestant in a Bachelor-esque TV show.

Shana: A Cinderella retelling with a fat heroine? Yes, please

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Like a Love Song

Author: Gabriela Martins
Released: August 3, 2021 by Underlined
Genre: LGBTQIA, Romance, Young Adult

This debut paperback original romance follows a Latina teen pop star whose image takes a dive after a messy public breakup, until she’s set up with a swoon-worthy fake boyfriend.

Fake boyfriend. Real heartbreak?

Natalie is living her dream: topping the charts and setting records as a Brazilian pop star…until she’s dumped spectacularly on live television. Not only is it humiliating—it could end her career.

Her PR team’s desperate plan? A gorgeous yet oh-so-fake boyfriend. Nati reluctantly agrees, but William is not what she expected. She was hoping for a fierce bad boy—not a soft-hearted British indie film star. While she fights her way back to the top with a sweet and surprisingly swoon-worthy boy on her arm, she starts to fall for William—and realizes that maybe she’s the biggest fake of them all. Can she reclaim her voice and her heart?

Aarya: Celebrity fake dating to save a reputation, say no more!

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So We Meet Again

Author: Suzanne Park
Released: August 3, 2021 by Avon
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romance

When up-and-coming investment banker Jess Kim is passed over for a promotion, laid off in a virtual meeting, and then overhears why (“she’s already being overpaid anyway for a woman” and “Asians are worker bees, not someone who can drum up new deals”) she delivers an “eff you guys” speech and storms out of the building. Not sure what’s next, she moves back home to Tennessee with her domineering Korean mom, who tries to set her up with her pastor’s son Daniel Choi, an M&A lawyer by day and a successful video game streamer by night. Turns out he’s swoony and smart, not the awkward preacher’s kid she remembers. With his help, Jess launches a Korean cooking YouTube channel focused on easy meal prep for busy professionals.

All is going well until her mom walks on the show mid-live recording and argues about cooking technique. While she hates being berated by her mother in front of the world, it actually works in their favor—they go viral!

Soon her cooking channel becomes an actual media company and brand. When a client is suddenly interested in buying Jess out, she finds herself sitting across the table from the very investment firm she quit not so long ago. But there’s just one other problem: Daniel, the guy whose been helping her and that she’s been falling for, is the firm’s new general counsel.

Sneezy: All kinds of messy feels and a childhood acquaintance to friends to enemies to lovers romance!!! What more can you ask for?

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The Wingmaker

Author: Mette Jakobsen
Released: August 3, 2021 by Text Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romance

The crumbling marble angel is Vega’s most ambitious restoration project yet, but she thinks she can manage it, if she could just find somewhere to house the 500-kilo statue while she works. Her father, Vince, has the solution: the abandoned Seafarers’ Hotel, which sits alone at the end of a winding coastal road, offers both the space and quiet Vega craves.

The hotel also holds other surprises, however. The chandeliers are home to dive-bombing canaries, the ballroom occasionally hosts a troupe of tango-dancing farmers, and one of the bedrooms is occupied by an inept handyman who might be even more broken than Vega.

As Vega restores the fragile angel to its former glory, can she also find a way to pick up the pieces of her life and begin anew?

Sneezy: Art restoration! Competence porn! Tango! Gothic setting complete with dive bombing canaries! …wait, it’s not a haunted mansion, is it?

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Lord of the Masquerade

Author: Erica Ridley
Released: August 6, 2021 by WebMotion
Genre: Historical: European, Romance
Series: Rogues to Riches #7

A fun, fast-paced interracial romance full of banter, scandal, and devastating secrets, from a New York Times bestselling author:

Entrepreneur Miss Unity Thorne helped two different men amass their fortunes—only to end up on the street. She’s scraping by at the theatre, but this isn’t the show she plans to star in. The next fortune Unity builds will be hers alone. Her masquerade-themed assembly rooms will rival the ton, but to do so, she’ll have to apprentice the most dangerous rake of all.

The arrogant, sexy-and-he-knows-it Duke of Lambley’s weekly masquerade parties are decadent odes to excess: unlimited food, drink, dancing, romantic gardens, and private pleasure rooms upstairs. Everyone loves his balls, and he likes it that way. He’ll take a wife someday, but it certainly won’t be the pretty termagant who challenges him in the ballroom and the bedroom…

In the Rogues to Riches historical romance series, Cinderella stories aren’t just for princesses!

Shana: Fingers crossed that the hero is not an alphahole.

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At Summer’s End

Author: Courtney Ellis
Released: August 10, 2021 by Berkley
Genre: Historical: European, Literary Fiction

A sparkling debut from a new author we’re all going to want more from.”–Susan Meissner, bestselling author of The Nature of Fragile Things

When an ambitious female artist accepts an unexpected commission at a powerful earl’s country estate in 1920s England, she finds his war-torn family crumbling under the weight of long-kept secrets. From debut author Courtney Ellis comes a captivating novel about finding the courage to heal after the ravages of war.

Alberta Preston accepts the commission of a lifetime when she receives an invitation from the Earl of Wakeford to spend a summer painting at His Lordship’s country home, Castle Braemore. Bertie imagines her residence at the prodigious estate will finally enable her to embark on a professional career and prove her worth as an artist, regardless of her gender.

Upon her arrival, however, Bertie finds the opulent Braemore and its inhabitants diminished by the Great War. The earl has been living in isolation since returning from the trenches, locked away in his rooms and hiding battle scars behind a prosthetic mask. While his younger siblings eagerly welcome Bertie into their world, she soon sees chips in that world’s gilded facade. As she and the earl develop an unexpected bond, Bertie becomes deeply entangled in the pain and secrets she discovers hidden within Castle Braemore and the hearts of its residents.

Threaded with hope, love, and loss, At Summer’s End delivers a portrait of a noble family–and a world–changed forever by the war to end all wars.

Sarah: The description made me superbly curious.

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Cheer Up: Love and Pom Poms

Author: Crystal Frasier
Released: August 11, 2021 by Oni Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Graphic Novel, LGBTQIA, Romance, Young Adult

A sweet, queer teen romance perfect for fans of Fence and Check, Please!

Annie is a smart, antisocial lesbian starting her senior year of high school who’s under pressure to join the cheerleader squad to make friends and round out her college applications. Her former friend BeeBee is a people-pleaser—a trans girl who must keep her parents happy with her grades and social life to keep their support of her transition. Through the rigors of squad training and amped up social pressures (not to mention micro aggressions and other queer youth problems), the two girls rekindle a friendship they thought they’d lost and discover there may be other, sweeter feelings springing up between them.

Susan: This is probably going to be a stressful read because of BeeBee’s parents and their conditional support, but I am so excited for graphic novels about queer cheerleaders!

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It Takes Heart

Author: Tif Marcelo
Released: August 10, 2021 by Montlake
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romance
Series: Heart Resort #1

From romance author Tif Marcelo comes a heartwarming story about taking a second chance on love at a family-owned couples resort.

Heart Resort, a private resort in the Outer Banks, is a romantic getaway for couples but a hotbed of family drama for its proprietors, the Puso family. Brandon Puso, the youngest of the four siblings, prefers life on his own as a licensed contractor in DC after a falling-out with his eldest brother.

After a hurricane plows through the Outer Banks, Brandon has a change of heart. He returns to the resort to help with the grand reopening but encounters his big sister’s best friend, designer Geneva Harris, who’s there to do the same thing. But Geneva and Brandon have a secret. Years ago, they had a secret romance that ended in heartbreak.

With the resort’s future at stake, Brandon and Geneva decide to put the past aside and to keep peace with the family. But as their mutual attraction heats up, they have to decide if history will repeat itself—or if this time, love gets a second chance.

Sneezy: Community! Family! Second chance love! Competence porn! *poses on fainting couch* Slather it on me!

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Just Not That Into Billionaires

Author: Annika Martin
Released: August 10, 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romance
Series: Billionaires of Manhattan #6

Francine is stunned when she discovers she’s been married – for the last ten years! – to Benny, the surly and nerdy frenemy she worked with one summer in Vegas.

How in the world did they end up married? They could hardly stand each other! Though there was that drunken night….

She tracks down Benny, sure he’ll be as shocked about the marriage as she is, sure he’ll be happy to dissolve their union ASAP so she can get the documents she desperately needs.

But Benny is now a cold and wolfish billionaire. And yes, he’ll sign the paperwork…for a price: she has to spend the next three weeks playing his doting wife.

Aarya: This series is wildly addictive. It bears zero semblance to reality, so be warned if you can’t handle bananas storylines or hijinks.

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Miss Lattimore’s Letter

Author: Suzanne Allain
Released: August 10, 2021 by Berkley
Genre: Historical: European, Romance

The woman who never made a match of her own is making matches for everyone else in this hilarious comedy of manners from the author of Mr. Malcolm’s List.

Sophronia Lattimore had her romantic dreams destroyed years ago and is resigned to her role as chaperone for her cousin. Still, she cannot sit idly by when she becomes aware that a gentleman is about to propose to the wrong woman. She sends him an anonymous letter that is soon the talk of the town, particularly when her advice proves to be correct. Her identity is discovered and Sophie, formerly a wallflower, becomes sought after for her “expert” matchmaking skills.

One person who seeks her out is the eligible and attractive Sir Edmund Winslow. As Sophie assists Sir Edmund in his pursuit of a wife, she wishes she could recommend herself as his bride. However, she vows to remain professional and uninvolved while aiding him in his search (especially since the gentleman surely does not return her affections).

Three unexpected arrivals soon show up at Sophie’s door—the man who once broke her heart, a newlywed who is dissatisfied with the match Sophie made for her, and the man madly in love with Sophie’s cousin—all wanting her attention. But when her onetime beau and Sir Edmund both appear to be interested in her, Sophie can’t figure out if she’s headed for another broken heart­­ or for the altar. How can she be expected to help other people sort out their romantic lives when her own is such a disaster?

Claudia: Matchmaking heroine gets entangled herself. I’m here for it.

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Role Model

Author: Rachel Reid
Released: August 10, 2021 by Carina Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance, LGBTQIA, Romance
Series: Game Changers #5

Troy Barrett has been freshly traded to Ottawa after calling out Dallas Kent during a team practice. He wants to be a better person, and the weird, scrappy energy of the struggling Ottawa team seems like the place to…well. It seems like the only place that will have Troy right now.

Fortunately the Ottawa team includes Ilya Rozanov and Wyatt Hayes, and also includes an adorable social media manager, Harris Drover. Harris is the opposite of Troy in every way: friendly, cheerful, chatty, and goofy with a booming voice, a startlingly loud laugh, and Pride pins all over his denim jacket. Definitely not the sort of person Troy would normally associate with, and yet…

Lara: I devoured this book and it MADE ME SO HAPPY.

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When the Reckoning Comes

Author: LaTanya McQueen
Released: August 3, 2021 by Harper Perennial
Genre: Horror, Literary Fiction

A haunting novel about a black woman who returns to her hometown for a plantation wedding and the horror that ensues as she reconnects with the blood-soaked history of the land and the best friends she left behind.

More than a decade ago, Mira fled her small, segregated hometown in the south to forget. With every mile she traveled, she distanced herself from her past: from her best friend Celine, mocked by their town as the only white girl with black friends; from her old neighborhood; from the eerie Woodsman plantation rumored to be haunted by the spirits of slaves; from the terrifying memory of a ghost she saw that terrible day when a dare-gone-wrong almost got Jesse—the boy she secretly loved—arrested for murder.

But now Mira is back in Kipsen to attend Celine’s wedding at the plantation, which has been transformed into a lush vacation resort. Mira hopes to reconnect with her friends, and especially, Jesse, to finally tell him the truth about her feelings and the events of that devastating long-ago day.

But for all its fancy renovations, the Woodsman remains a monument to its oppressive racist history. The bar serves antebellum drinks, entertainments include horrifying reenactments, and the service staff is nearly all black. Yet the darkest elements of the plantation’s past have been carefully erased—rumors that slaves were tortured mercilessly and that ghosts roam the lands, seeking vengeance on the descendants of those who tormented them, which includes most of the wedding guests.

As the weekend unfolds, Mira, Jesse, and Celine are forced to acknowledge their history together, and to save themselves from what is to come.

Amanda: The horror genre is very full of white men and I love seeing new voices to the genre who definitely aren’t that.

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