Most Anticipated

On My Radar: December 2021

It’s almost upon us… the most magical time of the year. I have no idea how we got here so fast but yet here we are. These are all the books that I have my eye on that come out next month. Some of them I will buy, some I will get through the library, a couple I have ARCs of and others I will just be keeping in mind while out shopping.

December 1

*No synopsis since this is the third book in the series. Or maybe it’s a trilogy?

I believe this was my Amazon First Reads choice

From award-winning author Rachel Lacey comes a playful romance about a Manhattan bookstore owner and a reclusive author who love to hate—and hate to love—each other.

Books are Rosie Taft’s life. And ever since she took over her mother’s beloved Manhattan bookstore, they’ve become her home too. The only thing missing is her own real-life romance like the ones she loves to read about, and Rosie has an idea of who she might like to sweep her off her feet. She’s struck up a flirty online friendship with lesbian romance author Brie, and what could be more romantic than falling in love with her favorite author?

Jane Breslin works hard to keep her professional and personal lives neatly separated. By day, she works for the family property development business. By night, she puts her steamier side on paper under her pen name: Brie. Jane hasn’t had much luck with her own love life, but her online connection with a loyal reader makes Jane wonder if she could be the one.

When Rosie learns that her bookstore’s lease has been terminated by Jane’s company, romance moves to the back burner. Even though they’re at odds, there’s no denying the sparks that fly every time they’re together. When their online identities are revealed, will Jane be able to write her way to a happy ending, or is Rosie’s heart a closed book?

A terrified voice on the phone. The line goes dead. The mystery begins.

During a superstorm, Holly Boswell receives a panicked call from her sister, Vivian: Come get me…There’s somebody coming. But when Holly arrives at a Long Island marina, there’s only her sister’s abandoned car. Vivian is gone.

It’s all eerily familiar. Holly and Vivian used to play hide-and-seek as children. It was a reprieve from the mental abuses of their parents, psychology professors who raised the siblings as if it were research. Decades later, Holly is reminded of their childhood games.

In her relentless search for the answers, Holly is reading between the lines in Vivian’s journals. She’s untangling clues in their mother’s diary and discovering secrets from her sister’s private world that are casting a dangerous shadow. Maybe Vivian has reasons for wanting to disappear from her well-to-do life. Or is it something more sinister? As Holly follows Vivian’s trail, she can’t shake the feeling that someone might be following her.

December 7

Dare Me meets Black Swan and Luckiest Girl Alive in a captivating, voice-driven debut novel about a trio of ballerinas who meet as students at the Paris Opera Ballet School.

Fourteen years ago, Delphine abandoned her prestigious soloist spot at the Paris Opera Ballet for a new life in St. Petersburg––taking with her a secret that could upend the lives of her best friends, fellow dancers Lindsay and Margaux. Now 36 years old, Delphine has returned to her former home and to the legendary Palais Garnier Opera House, to choreograph the ballet that will kickstart the next phase of her career––and, she hopes, finally make things right with her former friends. But Delphine quickly discovers that things have changed while she’s been away…and some secrets can’t stay buried forever. 

Moving between the trio’s adolescent years and the present day, The Ballerinas explores the complexities of female friendship, the dark drive towards physical perfection in the name of artistic expression, the double-edged sword of ambition and passion, and the sublimated rage that so many women hold inside––all culminating in a twist you won’t see coming, with magnetic characters you won’t soon forget.

*No synopsis since this is the third book in the series. Or maybe it’s a trilogy?

Eighteen-year-old, Bronwyn Littleton is in love with a stranger she met on a summer night a year ago.

A stranger who was tall and broad in a way that made her feel safe. He had dark blue eyes that she can’t stop drawing in her sketch book. And he had a deep, soothing voice that she can’t stop hearing in her dreams.

That’s all she knows about him though.

Until she runs into him again. At St. Mary’s School for Troubled Teenagers – an all girls reform school – where she’s trapped because of a little crime she committed in the name of her art.

Now she knows that her dream man has a name: Conrad Thorne.

She knows that his eyes are way bluer and way more beautiful than she thought. And that his face is an artist’s wonderland.

But she also knows that Conrad is her best friend’s older brother. Which means he’s completely off-limits. Not to mention, he’s the new soccer coach, which makes him off-limits times two.

What makes him off-limits times three however, and this whole scenario an epic tragedy, is that, Conrad, Wyn’s dream man, has a dream girl of his own.

And he’s as much in love with his dream girl as Wyn is in love with him…

NOTE: This is a STANDALONE set in the world of St. Mary’s.

The New York Times bestselling author of The Wicked Deep weaves a richly atmospheric adult debut following three residents of a secluded, seemingly peaceful commune as they investigate the disappearances of two outsiders.

Travis Wren has an unusual talent for locating missing people. Hired by families as a last resort, he requires only a single object to find the person who has vanished. When he takes on the case of Maggie St. James—a well-known author of dark, macabre children’s books—he’s led to a place many believed to be only a legend.

Called Pastoral, this reclusive community was founded in the 1970s by like-minded people searching for a simpler way of life. By all accounts, the commune shouldn’t exist anymore and soon after Travis stumbles upon it…he disappears. Just like Maggie St. James.

Years later, Theo, a lifelong member of Pastoral, discovers Travis’s abandoned truck beyond the border of the community. No one is allowed in or out, not when there’s a risk of bringing a disease—rot—into Pastoral. Unraveling the mystery of what happened reveals secrets that Theo, his wife, Calla, and her sister, Bee, keep from one another. Secrets that prove their perfect, isolated world isn’t as safe as they believed—and that darkness takes many forms.

Hauntingly beautiful, hypnotic, and bewitching, A History of Wild Places is a story about fairy tales, our fear of the dark, and losing yourself within the wilderness of your mind.

Espresso bar owner Lana Lewis returns in Tara Lush’s second Coffee Lover’s mystery, a stimulating read that fans of Cleo Coyle and Laura Childs will savor to the last drop.

It’s a steamy September, and business is brisk at Perkatory, the hottest coffee shop in Devil’s Beach, FL. Much of the clientele pours in from Dante’s Inferno, the hot yoga studio next door. But the bright, sunny Gulf Coast days turn decidedly dark-roast when the body of the studio’s owner turns up in a nearby swamp.

Between running Perkatory and training Stanley, her golden Shih Tzu puppy, reporter-turned-barista Lana Lewis is too busy to go sleuthing. But when the editor of the local paper asks her to write about the murder, Lana’s dreams of getting back into journalism start to percolate.

Lana discovers that the yogi has a nefarious past and her share of mug shots, so grinding her way through the suspect list is a large task. She learns that the victim was fatally beaned by an SUV before she was dumped in the swamp. But was the killer one of her students? An envious yoga teacher? Or a local photographer who seems to know too much?

But no one tells Lana Lewis what to do. Hunting the caf-fiend who killed the yogi puts Lana and Chief Noah’s relationship–and Lana’s life–in very hot coffee.

Librarian Amy Webber dances with death in critically acclaimed author Victoria Gilbert’s sixth Blue Ridge Library mystery.

August in Taylorsford, Virginia finds library director Amy Webber and her new husband, dancer Richard Muir, settling into married life–and a new project. Richard and his dance partner, Karla, are choreographing a suite based on folk music and folk tales, while Amy scours the library’s resources to supply background information on the dance’s source material. But the mellifluous music comes to a jarring halt when an unknown woman’s body turns up in Zelda Shoemaker’s backyard gazebo.

Chief Deputy Brad Tucker puts Zelda at the top of his suspect list, thanks to a blackmail letter he finds in the dead woman’s pocket. Zelda’s best friend, Amy’s aunt Lydia Talbot, begs Amy to use her research skills to clear Zelda’s name. But the task is confounded by Zelda’s very out-of-character refusal to reveal why the victim might have blackmailed her.

Complicating matters further, Amy unearths records of a long-ago tragedy that casts doubt on Zelda’s innocence. She enlists hubby Richard, Aunt Lydia, art dealer Kurt Kendrick, Mayor Sunny Fields, and sundry other quirky townsfolk in a quest to exonerate Zelda. But will revealing the truth end up forcing Zelda to spend the rest of her life behind bars?

Meanwhile, the killer is still out there. Amy had better be fleet on her feet, because death is on her dance card, and her number may be up.

December 9

I’m in love with three men. I’m just not sure if they’re a dream come true or my worst nightmare.

It began with hearing voices – just another step on my steady descent into madness. It was inevitable, considering the whole town hated me and I was the loneliest person on the planet.

I didn’t really blame them, I guess. Everyone who got close to me ended up in the hospital. I’d be suspicious of me too.

When the three distinct, alluring voices in my head started to appear before my eyes as three distinct, gorgeous men I really started to question everything I thought I knew.

They called themselves Dreamwalkers and told me they were hunting the monster attacking all the people around me.

They won’t leave me alone.

I’m not sure I want them too.

But am I the monster they’re after? Or are we all in worse danger than I ever could’ve imagined?

December 12

A strained mother-daughter bond. An experiment with memory implantation. Someone who doesn’t want them to remember.

New York Times bestselling author of the Pretty Little Liars series Sara Shepard teams up with Ellen Goodlett (author of the Rule duology) for this sci-fi thriller perfect for fans of Inception and Blake Crouch’s Recursion.

December 28

A popular sorority girl. An unsolved murder. A campus podcast with chilling repercussions.

Lucas Vega is obsessed with the death of Candace Swain, who left a sorority party one night and never came back. Her body was found after two weeks, but the case has grown cold. Three years later while interning at the medical examiner’s, Lucas discovers new information, but the police are not interested.

Lucas knows he has several credible pieces of the puzzle. He just isn’t sure how they fit together. So he creates a podcast to revisit Candace’s last hours. Then he encourages listeners to crowdsource what they remember and invites guest lecturer Regan Merritt, a former US marshal, to come on and share her expertise.

New tips come in that convince Lucas and Regan they are onto something. Then shockingly one of the podcast callers turns up dead. Another hints at Candace’s secret life, a much darker picture than Lucas imagined—and one that implicates other sorority sisters. Regan uses her own resources to bolster their theory and learns that Lucas is hiding his own secret. The pressure is on to solve the murder, but first Lucas must come clean about his real motives in pursuing this podcast—before the killer silences him forever.

Bestselling author of DEAR WIFE and THE MARRIAGE LIE, Kimberly Belle returns with her most heart-pounding thriller to date, as a masked home invader reveals the cracks in a marriage.

Everyone is about to know what her husband isn’t telling her…

Jade and Cam Lasky are by all accounts a happily married couple with two adorable kids, a spacious home and a rapidly growing restaurant business. But their world is tipped upside down when Jade is confronted by a masked home invader. As Cam scrambles to gather the ransom money, Jade starts to wonder if they’re as financially secure as their lifestyle suggests, and what other secrets her husband is keeping from her.

Cam may be a good father, a celebrity chef and a darling husband, but there’s another side he’s kept hidden from Jade that has put their family in danger. Unbeknownst to Cam and Jade, the home invader has been watching them and is about to turn their family secrets into a public scandal.

With riveting twists and a breakneck pace, My Darling Husband is an utterly compelling thriller that once again showcases Kimberly Belle’s exceptional talent for domestic suspense.

WHAT A GIRL WANTS

To survive her difficult childhood, Miss Hazel Lively relied on two things:a tough outer shell and a love of books. Now, at the age of twenty-eight, she’s finally realized her life-long dream of opening a school for girls. She’s hoping that the wealthy families who flock to the shore for the summer will entrust their daughters to Bellehaven Academy―and help pay the way for less fortunate students. All Hazel must do is maintain a flawless reputation and raise a good deal of money. It’s a foolproof plan…till a sinfully handsome earl strides into her office.

WHAT AN EARL NEEDS

Gabriel Beckett, Earl of Bladenton, has had a monstrous headache since the day his teenaged niece became his ward. She’s been expelled from two London boarding schools and is doing her damnedest to scare off his potential fiancée. But Blade has a plan of his own―enroll his niece at Bellehaven Academy, where she’ll be out of town and out of his hair. He just needs to convince the buttoned-up headmistress with the soulful brown eyes to take on his niece.

LEAD TO AN IRRESISTIBLE DEAL

When Blade makes a generous offer to the school, it’s impossible for Hazel to refuse. But she has one non-negotiable condition: the earl must visit his niece every other week. Soon, Blade discovers there’s much more to Hazel than meticulous lesson plans. In moonlit seaside coves and candlelit ballrooms, their sparring leads to flirtation…and something altogether deeper. But the passion that flares between them poses a threat to Hazel’s school and Blade’s battered heart. They say a good thing can’t last forever, but true love? Well, it just might…

~Cassie

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