Heading into April, AAR staffers are taking a look at the books they’re most looking forward to reading over the next few weeks. By the looks of it, there’s a bumper crop of historicals coming up – there are new titles coming from Anne Gracie, Theresa Romain, Joanna Shupe and Cat Sebastian – plus a couple of long-awaited sequels to books by Kate Claybourn and Ainslie Paton which were chosen as among the Best of 2017. Claybourn’s The Luck of the Draw and Paton’s The Love Coupon are among our most anticipated reads this month; and we’ve got an eclectic mix of mysteries, contemporaries, inspies and YA for you to browse through.
Marry in Scandal by Anne Gracie (3 Apr)
It’s no secret that the marriage of convenience is pretty much my favourite trope in historical romance, so this should be right up my alley. I loved the previous book in this series (Marry in Haste – it was a DIK) and am eager to jump into book two. – Caz
A marriage of convenience plot is my favorite trope in historical romance, and every book of Anne Gracie’s that I have picked up has been lovely, so this promises to be a good story. – Keira
I always enjoy Ms. Gracie’s books. She has a nice way with Regency stories and the heroes and heroines are always willing to help others. – Lee
A shy heiress teams with a well-known rake in a marriage fostered by scandal in this lovely-sounding new one from Ms. Gracie. – Lisa
Luck of the Draw by Kate Claybourn (24 Apr)
Ms. Clayborn’s debut, Beginner’s Luck, was phenomenal. Smart, romantic, sexy… it was one of my favorite novels of 2017. I love the set-up for this trilogy – three best friends win the lottery and split their winnings – and the teaser for Luck of the Draw sucked me right in. Zoe is the friend who seemed to have it all – before she won millions of dollars. But I think we’re in for a surprise when her story unfolds and I can’t wait to learn her secrets. Fingers crossed that book two is as good or better than its predecessor. – Em
Claybourn burst onto the romance scene last fall with the first book from A Chance of a Lifetime series. The popularity of that book makes this second book a slam-dunk for me. – Keira
Kate Clayborn’s debut romance, Beginner’s Luck ended up on my top ten list in 2017. With three best friends who share a lottery jackpot as the series theme, I’ve been anxiously awaiting the next in the series and it’s finally here! Luck of the Draw is about Zoe, a cutthroat corporate attorney trying to make amends for past mistakes, even if it means playing the fake fiancée of a man who hates her for what she did to his family. Talk about angst! It’s definitely going to be interesting to see how these two end up in love. – Maria Rose
A Scandalous Deal by Joanna Shupe (24 Apr)
I’ve been enjoying Joanna Shupe’s Gilded Age historical romances and am looking forward to the next in her Four Hundred series, which sees a young woman with dreams of becoming an architect being swept off her feet by a mysterious stranger… who (naturally – this is a romance novel after all!) turns out to be her new employer!- Caz
Shupe is an auto-read for me. I love her historical context – no ton! no Almacks! – and her woman are always ass-kickers. – Dabney
An architect heroine in a historical! Or that’s what Eva wishes to be. She’s had the misfortune to bury three previous fiancés, so when the chance to work on an important building in America arises she runs off to grab it. She doesn’t intend to have an affair with the man who’s hired her to work on his building… – Lisa
Why Kill the Innocent by C.S. Harris (3 Apr)
I admit I’ve already read this one, and I came away from it breathless with awe at the way Ms. Harris has so skilfully interwoven fact and fiction in her story. Sebastian St. Cyr’s wife, Hero, literally stumbles across a dead body in the street when returning home from a charitable visit, and this discovery starts the ball rolling on a complex and gripping story involving some of the highest in the land. This series gets better and better with each subsequent book. – Caz
When it’s a Sebastian St. Cyr Regency mystery novel by C.S. Harris, I don’t need to know anything more about the story. I will be diving into it on release day. I have been faithfully following her series, year after year, since the first book, and I consider it one of the best historical series around. – Keira
House of Cads by Elizabeth Kingston (26 Apr)
I’m a big fan of this author’s work, and was delighted when I heard there was a sequel to her regency romance, A Fallen Lady on the way. In House of Cads, Helen’s friend and companion, the scandalous Marie-Anne de Vauteuil meets her match in an American gossip columnist (sort of) – I’m really, really looking forward to it! – Caz
Elizabeth Kingston has become one of my favorite historical romance authors, for her Welsh Blades series. House of Cads is a follow up to A Fallen Lady, with secondary character Marie-Anne, a Frenchwoman with a soiled reputation, meeting a wealthy American whose business thrives on scandal. I have high expectations for this one! – Maria Rose
The Love Coupon by Ainslie Paton (9 Apr)
This is book two of the Stubborn Hearts series. The first book made a huge splash last fall, so I’m looking forward to discovering Paton’s magic for myself. – Keira
The Love Experiment by Ainslie Paton was in my top twenty reads of 2017 so there was no question that I would pick up the second book in her Stubborn Hearts series, The Love Coupon. With the plot featuring a forced proximity romance between a ‘messy, noisy, full of energy’ heroine and a ‘big, repressed, anti-social ogre’ hero who become temporary roommates, there’s no doubt it’s going to be an enjoyable and entertaining read. – Maria Rose
Lady Rogue by Theresa Romain (24 Apr)
I’m a big fan of Theresa Romain’s wonderfully character-driven historical romances, and am intrigued by the synopsis for this one, in which a young widow joins forces with a Bow Street Runner (and former lover) to investigate a string of art forgeries. – Caz
A second-chance love story written by one of my favorite historical romance writers. It’s a slam dunk folks. – Em
Unmasked by the Marquess by Cat Sebastian (17 Apr)
Cat Sebastian has very quickly become one of my favourite historical romance authors, and I’ll take a punt on anything she writes. Her latest book, Unmasked by the Marquess seems, on the face of it, to be a bit of a departure for her, featuring as it does an m/f pairing – but with an interesting twist. – Caz
Ms. Sebastian is one of my favorite historical romance writers. I look forward to each of her releases, but Unmasked by the Marquess represents a departure from her usual m/m stories. This time out, her principal characters are a man and woman… who’s lived the past six years as a man. The blurb is cleverly vague and intriguing. I’m very excited for this start to her latest series.
Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian (24 Apr)
This YA fantasy novel sounds like Cinderella meets Red Queen. When she was six years old, Theodosia saw her mother murdered when their country was invaded. Theodosia survives by pretending to be empty-headed, until a brutal act pushes her into plotting revenge — and difficult choices. Be warned that there is a love triangle! – Anne
I read a ton of young adult fantasy these days, and I’ve been looking forward to Ash Princess for months now. It’s said to be perfect for fans of Red Queen and An Ember In the Ashes, two of my favorite series, so I’m really hoping for great things. – Shannon
We’re also looking forward to:
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland (3 Apr)
Imagine what our history would have been like if the soldiers killed during the Civil War had started coming back to life? In this alternate history, the Native and Negro Reeducation Act forces some children (you can guess which ones) to learn how to fight the dead. In other words, this book is about way more than killing zombies — and the deadliest creatures prove to be the living ones. The biracial heroine Jane sounds like kickbutt narrator. Also, instead of a romance, readers will be treated to a strong friendship between Jane and Katherine, who is resented by other trainees because her lighter skin enables her to pass as white.
The Beloveds by Maureen Lindley (3 Apr)
This psychological thriller has been compared to Rebecca. It’s about a sister, Betty, who becomes resentful when her charming younger sister Gloria inherits the family property, Pipits. The crumbling house Betty expected to inherit. This sounds like one of those eerie slow burn books, a disturbing character study about a character who descends into madness and revenge.
Head On by John Scalzi (19 Apr)
I’ve been waiting for this ever since I finished Lock In, the first book in the series. In this near future SF series, a large number of people have Haden’s Syndrome. This means their bodies have something similar to “lock in syndrome,” so they chiefly interact with the outside world through robot-like bodies called threeps that they control through their brains. FBI agents Chris Shane (a well-known Haden) and Leslie Vann are tasked with solving crimes related to Haden’s Syndrome. In this one, they investigate a death that occurs in a game called Hilketa – where Haden-controlled threeps attack each other brutally on the field – without actually hurting anyone. When a player dies on the field, Chris and Leslie are called in to investigate.
Hard Line by Sidney Bell (2 Apr)
The author might only have two books out (!) so far, but her romantic m/m suspense debut Bad Judgment had me convinced this was an author to watch; and so far she’s lived up to that promise. This is book two in The Woodbury Boys series, also m/m, and if the first is anything to go by, I expect we’ll see a great emotional connection between the main characters, some violence, and – as spoiled by the summary – some kink.
Defy the Worlds by Claudia Gray (3 Apr)
There has been such a huge surge in popularity for YA sci-fi in the last few years and if you haven’t yet read Defy the Stars, this is the perfect time to get caught up before book two! Book one was an easy, no brainer, five stars for me and I’m so looking forward to more adventures with Noemi and Abel.
Squared Away by Annabeth Albert (16 Apr)
I can’t get enough of this author. Whether she’s writing stories that are coffee shop-centric, feature geeky boys, military grunts, or progressive men battling small town prejudices, it doesn’t matter. Albert has penned some of my favourite queer romances and I seriously doubt I will ever stop being excited for one of her releases.
The Weaver’s Daughter by Sarah E. Ladd
Ms. Ladd writes inspirational historicals which aren’t super heavy on the preaching so are quite enjoyable.
Hot Response by Shannon Stacey (24 Apr)
It doesn’t take much to convince me to read a firefighter romance, particularly when the author is contemporary romance writer Shannon Stacey. Ladder 37’s youngest man on the crew, Gavin, clashes with EMT Cait, in a battle of wills that leads to something more.
On the Line by Liz Lincoln (17 Apr)
What happens when the hot guy you meet in the grocery store and start a sexting relationship with turns out to be your new boss? That’s what faces Carrie when she shows up for her first day on the job! Hired to be his live-in nanny, this is a single parent romance and first in a new football romances series by new to me author Liz Lincoln. I’m excited to give her books a try.
The Thief by J.R. Ward (10 Apr)
I’ve been waiting for what seems like forever for Assail’s story, and it’s finally coming out. Plus, the Brotherhood is facing a new threat, one more dangerous than any they’ve previously faced. I’m totally on board for all of this.
Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence (3 Apr)
The premise of Mark Lawrence’s Book of the Ancestor series, a dark fantasy about an order of convent-trained assassins, has intrigued me since the first book came out last year. Needless to say, I’m eager to get my hands on the follow-up.
The Magnificent Esme Wells by Adrienne Sharp (10 Apr)
I love a good historical novel, and this one looks to be right up my alley. It’s the coming of age story of Esme, the daughter of a gangster and a show girl, and it moves between Hollywood and Las Vegas during the first half of the twentieth century. April 10th can’t come soon enough!
These are the books we’re most eager to get our hands on and our noses into in April, but what about you? Are you chomping at the bit to read any of these or are you looking forward to something else? Let us know in the comments.