July 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. Let’s nerd out about language, especially when it comes to cults and brainwashing.

Have We Met?

Author: Camille Baker
Released: July 1, 2021 by Lake Union Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romance, Women’s Fiction

What if you already met the soul mate you were destined to be with? And you didn’t even know it?

After losing her best friend to cancer, Corinne’s life is in flux. She has moved back to Chicago, is considering her next career move (or temp job), and has absolutely no time to look for love—until a mysterious dating app called Met suddenly appears on her phone, and with it, an invitation for Corinne to reconnect with four missed connections from her past. One of them, Met says, is her soul mate…

Corinne doesn’t believe the app for a second, but when she very quickly finds herself with back-to-back blasts from the past, she’ll have to consider if maybe she’s wrong about it. The thing is, Corinne’s also been introduced to a really great guy outside the app’s influence. As their feelings for each other grow, Corinne has to wonder: With her apparent true love still out there, should she tap yes to the next match?

With help from a new group of friends, her loving if annoying family, and maybe a touch of fate, can Corinne come to terms with the loss she’s still reeling from, take control of her career, and find love along the way?

Shana: This debut sounds like High Fidelity meets The Right Swipe!

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Capture the Crown

Author: Jennifer Estep
Released: July 6, 2021 by Harper Voyager
Genre: Romance, Science Fiction/Fantasy
Series: Gargoyle Queen #1

Bestselling author Jennifer Estep returns to her Crown of Shards world with an all-new trilogy and a bold new heroine who protects her kingdom from magic, murder, and mayhem by moonlighting as a spy. 

Gemma Ripley has a reputation for being a pampered princess who is more interested in pretty gowns, sparkling jewelry, and other frivolous things than learning how to rule the kingdom of Andvari. But her carefully crafted persona is just an act to hide the fact that Gemma is a powerful mind magier—and a spy.

Gemma is undercover, trying to figure out who is stealing large amounts of tearstone from one of the Ripley royal mines when she encounters Prince Leonidas Morricone of Morta—her mortal enemy. Gemma tries to steer clear of the handsome prince, but when she finds herself behind enemy lines, she reluctantly joins forces with Leo. Also coming to Gemma’s aid is Grimley, her beloved gargoyle.

Despite the fact that Andvari and Morta are old, bitter enemies, a dangerous attraction sparks between Gemma and Leo. Further complicating matters is Leo’s murderous family, especially Queen Maeven Morricone, the mastermind behind the infamous Seven Spire massacre.

The closer Gemma gets to the stolen tearstone, the more deadly plots she uncovers. Everyone is trying to capture the crown, but only one queen can sit on the throne…

Elyse’s pick!

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Death at the Crystal Palace

Author: Jennifer Ashley
Released: July 6, 2021 by Berkley
Genre: Historical: European, Mystery/Thriller
Series: Kat Holloway Mysteries #5

Intrepid cook Kat Holloway puts aside her apron to delve into Victorian London’s high society and catch a killer in this thrilling new mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Murder in the East End.

While attending an exhibition at the Crystal Palace, young cook Kat Holloway is approached by a woman in distress. Lady Covington is a wealthy widow convinced that her entire family is trying to kill her. Kat feels compelled to help, and she escorts the lady home to discover whether she is delusional or in true danger.

It is quickly apparent that the threat is all too real, and Kat promises aid. Her charming confidant Daniel McAdam is busy infiltrating a plot against the Crown, and she worries he will not have time to lend his sleuthing expertise. This might be for the best, as Kat fears her growing emotional entanglement with Daniel can only lead to disaster. But soon, Kat faces a more serious threat when her involvement in both investigations plunges her into peril.

Sarah: A New Kat Holloway! Just in time for extended sunlight reading hours!

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The Ice Swan

Author: J’nell Ciesielski
Released: July 6, 2021 by Thomas Nelson
Genre: Historical: European, Historical: Other, Literary Fiction

Amid the violent last days of the glittering Russian court, a Russian princess on the run finds her heart where she least expects it.

1917, Petrograd. Fleeing the murderous flames of the Russian Revolution, princess Svetlana Dalsky hopes to find safety in Paris with her mother and sister. But the city is buckling under the weight of the Great War, and the Bolsheviks will not rest until they have erased every Russian aristocrat from memory.

Born the second son of a duke, the only title Wynn MacCallan cares for is that of surgeon. Putting his talents with a scalpel to good use in the hospitals in Paris, Wynn pushes the boundaries of medical science to give his patients the best care possible. While treating Svetlana for a minor injury, he is pulled into a world of decaying imperial glitter and underground Russian clubs where drink, culture, and questionable dealings collide on bubbles of vodka.

Out of money and options, Svetlana is forced into a marriage of convenience with Wynn, who will protect her and pay off her debts. It’s the right thing for a good man to do, but Wynn can’t help hoping the marriage will turn into one of true affection. As the Bolsheviks chase them to different corners of the earth, Wynn and Svetlana begin to see they will never be able to outrun the love they have for one another.

Catherine: A Russian princess in exile and a Scottish doctor meet in Paris during the Great War and honestly I was already reaching for this one before I saw ‘marriage of convenience’. This is such an intriguing setting for a story, I have high hopes.

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Island Queen

Author: Vanessa Riley
Released: July 6, 2021 by William Morrow
Genre: Historical: European, Historical: Other, Literary Fiction

A remarkable, sweeping historical novel based on the incredible true life story of Dorothy Kirwan Thomas, a free woman of color who rose from slavery to become one of the wealthiest and most powerful landowners in the colonial West Indies.

Born into slavery on the tiny Caribbean island of Montserrat, Doll bought her freedom—and that of her sister and her mother—from her Irish planter father and built a legacy of wealth and power as an entrepreneur, merchant, hotelier, and planter that extended from the marketplaces and sugar plantations of Dominica and Barbados to a glittering luxury hotel in Demerara on the South American continent.

Vanessa Riley’s novel brings Doll to vivid life as she rises above the harsh realities of slavery and colonialism by working the system and leveraging the competing attentions of the men in her life: a restless shipping merchant, Joseph Thomas; a wealthy planter hiding a secret, John Coseveldt Cells; and a roguish naval captain who will later become King William IV of England.

From the bustling port cities of the West Indies to the forbidding drawing rooms of London’s elite, Island Queen is a sweeping epic of an adventurer and a survivor who answered to no one but herself as she rose to power and autonomy against all odds, defying rigid eighteenth-century morality and the oppression of women as well as people of color. It is an unforgettable portrait of a true larger-than-life woman who made her mark on history.

Shana: I’m a fan of Riley’s historical world building, but not her heroes. I’m excited to see what she’ll do without a romantic plot.

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The Queen Will Betray You

Author: Sarah Henning
Released: July 6, 2021 by Tor Teen
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy, Young Adult
Series: Kingdoms of Sand and Sky #2

The breathtaking sequel to Sarah Henning’s The Princess Will Save You–a brilliantly-executed YA fantasy homage to The Princess Bride

KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE CROWN…

After a thousand years of political stability, the realm of The Sand and Sky is up for grabs. Four kingdoms, four rulers vying for the ultimate prize, sovereignty over the entire continent: A ruthless old king spinning webs, whose schemes encompass generations. A widowed queen whose only credo is all kings must die. A runaway queen whose unexpected return upends everyone’s plans. And a prince-in-waiting determined to wait no more.

Standing against them are a dispossessed princess and her stable boy love with a surprising claim of his own. Their only hope in the face of unspeakable betrayals, enemies hidden in the shadows, and insurmountable odds is the power of true love…

Catherine: This is the second half of that lovely  Princess Bride-inspired story I read last year. Clearly, I need to know what happens next! Including, of course, if it is a kissing book.

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Rise to the Sun

Author: Leah Johnson
Released: July 6, 2021 by Scholastic Press
Genre: LGBTQIA, New Adult, Romance, Young Adult

Three days. Two girls. One life-changing music festival.

Olivia is an expert at falling in love . . . and at being dumped. But after the fallout from her last breakup has left her an outcast at school and at home, she’s determined to turn over a new leaf. A crush-free weekend at Farmland Music and Arts Festival with her best friend is just what she needs to get her mind off the senior year that awaits her.

Toni is one week away from starting college, and it’s the last place she wants to be. Unsure about who she wants to become and still reeling in the wake of the loss of her musician-turned-roadie father, she’s heading back to the music festival that changed his life in hopes that following in his footsteps will help her find her own way forward.

When the two arrive at Farmland, the last thing they expect is to realize that they’ll need to join forces in order to get what they’re searching for out of the weekend. As they work together, the festival becomes so much more complicated than they bargained for, and Olivia and Toni will find that they need each other, and music, more than they ever could have imagined.

Packed with irresistible romance and irrepressible heart, bestselling author Leah Johnson delivers a stunning and cinematic story about grief, love, and the remarkable power of music to heal and connect us all.

Shana: I’m breaking my YA moratorium because I’m a sucker for stories of grief and music.

Tara: I loved her first book, so I’m looking forward to checking this one out.

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A Touch of Jen

Author: Beth Morgan
Released: July 13, 2021 by Little, Brown and Company
Genre: Horror, Literary Fiction

A young couple’s toxic Instagram crush spins out of control and unleashes a sinister creature in this twisted, viciously funny, “bananas good” debut. (Carmen Maria Machado)

“Um, holy shit…This novel will be the most fun you’ll have this summer.” —Emily Temple, Literary Hub

Remy and Alicia, a couple of insecure  service workers, are not particularly happy together. But they are bound by a shared obsession with Jen, a beautiful former co-worker of Remy’s who now seems to be following her bliss as a globe-trotting jewelry designer. In and outside the bedroom, Remy and Alicia’s entire relationship revolves around fantasies of Jen, whose every Instagram caption, outfit, and new age mantra they know by heart.

Imagine their confused excitement when they run into Jen, in the flesh, and she invites them on a surfing trip to the Hamptons with her wealthy boyfriend and their group. Once there, Remy and Alicia try (a little too hard) to fit into Jen’s exalted social circle, but violent desire and class resentment bubble beneath the surface of this beachside paradise, threatening to erupt. As small disturbances escalate into outright horror, we find ourselves tumbling with Remy and Alicia into an uncanny alternate reality, one shaped by their most unspeakable, deviant, and intoxicating fantasies.  Is this what “self-actualization” looks like?

Part millennial social comedy, part psychedelic horror, and all wildly entertaining, A Touch of Jen is a sly, unflinching examination of the hidden drives that lurk just outside the frame of our carefully curated selves.

Amanda: This sounds so damn weird and I’m here for it.

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Covenant

Author: Ann McMan
Released: July 13, 2021 by Bywater Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance, LGBTQIA, Romance
Series: Jericho #4

Covenant continues the beloved saga of the residents of Jericho, a sleepy town in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, where life and love have as many twists and turns as a winding mountain road.

Six weeks have passed since the fateful unfolding of events at the town fourth of July celebration. Questions swirl about the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the town nemesis, Gerald Watson. Was it an accident, or was Watson murdered? As the scorching summer gives way to an early fall, suspects in the potential homicide abound, and everyone seems to be keeping secrets.

Throughout it all, bonds of love and fealty are stretched and tested as the endearing and quirky residents of this once-idyllic community weigh the covenants they keep against the secrets that threaten to tear them apart. Join Syd, Maddie, David, Michael, Henry, Celine, and the irrepressible Roma Jean Freemantle as they band together to navigate the minefields of their ever-changing world in this newest Jericho novel.

Tara: I have been waiting for FOUR YEARS for this book! It’s part of a series and I’m not sure if it will stand alone. I’m expecting brilliant writing, difficult themes balanced with humour, and reuniting with some of my favourite quirky characters.

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The Final Girl Support Group

Author: Grady Hendrix
Released: July 13, 2021 by Berkley
Genre: Horror

A fast-paced, thrilling horror novel that follows a group of heroines to die for, from the brilliant New York Times bestselling author of The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires.

In horror movies, the final girl is the one who’s left standing when the credits roll. The one who fought back, defeated the killer, and avenged her friends. The one who emerges bloodied but victorious. But after the sirens fade and the audience moves on, what happens to her?

Lynnette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre twenty-two years ago, and it has defined every day of her life since. And she’s not alone. For more than a decade she’s been meeting with five other actual final girls and their therapist in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable, putting their lives back together, piece by piece. That is until one of the women misses a meeting and Lynnette’s worst fears are realized—someone knows about the group and is determined to take their lives apart again, piece by piece.

But the thing about these final girls is that they have each other now, and no matter how bad the odds, how dark the night, how sharp the knife, they will never, ever give up.

Amanda: Hendrix always does interesting things with horror!

Susan: I’ve been on a bit of a horror kick since summer started, so a story entirely about Final Girls is perfect for my mood.

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How Sweet It Is

Author: Dylan Newton
Released: July 13, 2021 by Forever
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romance

Opposites attract in this charming debut romantic comedy, perfect for fans of Beach Read.

Kate Sweet is famous for creating the perfect happily-ever-after moment for her clients’ dream weddings. So how is it that her best friend has roped her into planning a bestselling horror writer’s book launch?

Drake Matthews is tired of the spotlight, tired of his reputation as the King of Nightmares. He’s really a nice guy! More than anything, the next book he wants to write is a romance based on his grandparents. But to get that chance, this event has to be successful. And the reticent writer will have to work with the adorably bubbly Kate Sweet.

But just as the two are learning to trust each other, secrets come out that could take down the launch, their relationship, and both their careers. Can Kate find a way to save their jobs and their chance at true love?

Amanda: I’ve been hearing such great things about this and I’m very curious in the horror writer hero.

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It Happened One Summer

Author: Tessa Bailey
Released: July 13, 2021 by Avon
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romance
Series: It Happened One Summer #1

Tessa Bailey is back with a Schitt’s Creek-inspired rom-com about a Hollywood “It Girl” who’s cut off from her wealthy family and exiled to a small Pacific Northwest beach town… where she butts heads with a surly, sexy local who thinks she doesn’t belong. 

Piper Bellinger is fashionable, influential, and her reputation as a wild child means the paparazzi are constantly on her heels. When too much champagne and an out-of-control rooftop party lands Piper in the slammer, her stepfather decides enough is enough. So he cuts her off, and sends Piper and her sister to learn some responsibility running their late father’s dive bar… in Washington.

Piper hasn’t even been in Westport for five minutes when she meets big, bearded sea captain Brendan, who thinks she won’t last a week outside of Beverly Hills. So what if Piper can’t do math, and the idea of sleeping in a shabby apartment with bunk beds gives her hives. How bad could it really be? She’s determined to show her stepfather—and the hot, grumpy local—that she’s more than a pretty face.

Except it’s a small town and everywhere she turns, she bumps into Brendan. The fun-loving socialite and the gruff fisherman are polar opposites, but there’s an undeniable attraction simmering between them. Piper doesn’t want any distractions, especially feelings for a man who sails off into the sunset for weeks at a time. Yet as she reconnects with her past and begins to feel at home in Westport, Piper starts to wonder if the cold, glamorous life she knew is what she truly wants. LA is calling her name, but Brendan—and this town full of memories—may have already caught her heart.

Amanda: I wasn’t a huge fan of Bailey’s previous series, but I’m ready to get back in the saddle.

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The Lost and Found Necklace

Author: Louisa Leaman
Released: July 13, 2021 by Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romance, Women’s Fiction

After a spate of terrible boyfriends, Jess is sure she’s found her perfect man in dependable – but occasionally dull – Tim. But when her grandmother, tasks her with retrieving a family heirloom from a local auction she finds herself face to face with a charming stranger, Guy.

Guy has already bought her grandmother’s precious necklace and whilst Jess desperately tries to buy it back from him, he somehow convinces her to go out on a date instead.

Ridiculous. But Guy has the necklace and Jess’s grandmother’s health is declining rapidly. Jess has no choice but to indulge Guy and go on a date with – if only to get the necklace back.

But when she and Guy hit it off on their date Jess’s dependable happily-ever-after is thrown off track…

Sarah: I’m curious about this one because the copy teased jewelry history and possibly some magic, too.

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Seasons for Change

Author: K.C. Richardson
Released: July 13, 2021 by Bold Strokes Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance, LGBTQIA, Romance

In the majestic mountains of Lake Tahoe, true love might be right next door.

Shawn spent much of her adult life running her diner, giving all her passion to the great outdoors, and bedding the occasional tourist. But loneliness has crept up on her, and suddenly in her late thirties, she’s turning over a new leaf and looking for more than transient passion.

Following a bad breakup with her good-for-nothing cheating ex, Morgan escapes to Lake Tahoe to heal her heart. Her temporary neighbor, Shawn, is ruggedly handsome in all the right ways, but Morgan is determined not to notice and risk her heart again.

Shawn helps Morgan to slow down and appreciate the moment but finds it increasingly difficult to deny her attraction. Morgan’s definitely not staying, and the last thing Shawn needs is to fall in love with a tourist.

Tara: I have vacation time coming up in July and this seems like the perfect, low-stress read that I’ve been looking for.

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While We Were Dating

Author: Jasmine Guillory
Released: July 13, 2021 by Berkley
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romance

Two people realize that it’s no longer an act when they veer off-script in this sizzling romantic comedy by New York Times bestselling author Jasmine Guillory.

Ben Stephens has never bothered with serious relationships. He has plenty of casual dates to keep him busy, family drama he’s trying to ignore and his advertising job to focus on. When Ben lands a huge ad campaign featuring movie star Anna Gardiner, however, it’s hard to keep it purely professional. Anna is not just gorgeous and sexy, she’s also down to earth and considerate, and he can’t help flirting a little…

Anna Gardiner is on a mission: to make herself a household name, and this ad campaign will be a great distraction while she waits to hear if she’s booked her next movie. However, she didn’t expect Ben Stephens to be her biggest distraction. She knows mixing business with pleasure never works out, but why not indulge in a harmless flirtation?

But their lighthearted banter takes a turn for the serious when Ben helps Anna in a family emergency, and they reveal truths about themselves to each other, truths they’ve barely shared with those closest to them.

When the opportunity comes to turn their real-life fling into something more for the Hollywood spotlight, will Ben be content to play the background role in Anna’s life and leave when the cameras stop rolling? Or could he be the leading man she needs to craft their own Hollywood ending?

Shana: New Jasmine Guillory! I’ve already preordered it.

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