[Ed. note: Remember that you can order these titles and others at our online store via bookshop.org. The link is on the right sidebar.]
Since we know you're twiddling your thumbs and trying not to peek under the towel at that new sourdough starter you began last week, here are some new books this week to distract you. Because, as you know, much like pots and curve flattening rates, checking and rechecking does not make things happen faster. Water will boil, sourdough will start, the curve will flatten.
Meanwhile, Nora Roberts wins the Most Timely Title Award this week with Shelter in Place. Yes, this originally came out in hardcover two years ago, but whatever. When we opened up the box this week and saw it, we were overcome with slightly hysterical giggles. Nora, however, is working with the active shooter definition of "shelter in place," and in this book, she traces the aftermath of a terrible tragedy at a small town shopping mall. Everyone needs some time and space to heal, and as we are drawn into the lives of these characters and how they manage to heal and overcome their grief, we learn the danger from that fateful day has not entirely passed. Someone has unfinished business . . .
And speaking of agendas, it must be Cowboy Appreciation Week, because hoo dilly, there are a lot of sexy looking cowboys on book covers this week. What is publishing trying to tell us?
First up, we have Soraya Lane's My One True Cowboy. What does this one have? Oooh. Our heroine is returning home to Texas, having lost everything in a bad business deal in LA. Who does she run into when she gets home? Why, her old childhood chum who has grown up to be a big, hunky ex-military man. He's got a Stetson, a retired military dog sidekick, and secrets of his own.
So many sexy sexy secrets.
In Victoria James's Cowboy For Hire, our plucky heroine unexpectedly inherits the family ranch. She quickly realizes she's in over her head, and she puts out a call for a ranch foreman. She gets a hunky fellow, naturally, and as much as she tries to focus on the hauling and bailing and feeding, she's got hot thoughts about her new hire. He, of course, has secrets. Secrets that could destroy everything between them. Stupid secrets.
Meanwhile, Lindsay McKenna's Wind River Undercover, we know the secrets up front: our dynamic protagonists are government agents who are POSING as ranch owner and wrangler, respectively, because they're trying to bust a deadly cartel. Naturally, their secret get discovered, and everything becomes six hundred times more high-stakes, which makes their chemistry even hotter. That's how science works, right?
And speaking of spicy science, what do you get when you combine cowboys and firefighters? We have no idea, but boy, it is warm in here.
We're just going to quote the first line of the marketing copy on Kim Redford's Cowboy Firefighter Heat, because, frankly, it says it all: "She's back and hotter than every. Good thing this firefighting cowboy can handle the sparks."
We're sure this firefighting cowboy also finds time to foster rescue dogs.
And finally, the cover for Carly Bloom's Cowboy Come Home highlights the most critical concern all readers have, which is that, yes, their shirts come unbuttoned all the time, and they are ripped as you hope they are.
There's a thing in the book industry where booksellers can "strip" covers off books that they return. It's a terrible waste, but it makes a certain amount of sense when you think about shipping and returns and bla bla bla. We only mention this because we see this state on any title. However, when we look at the hunky heartbreaker on Bloom's book and notice the "strippable" option is turned on, we think: "Of course he is. Duh."
All right, since we are talking about cowboys and it is the last week of the month (sort of), that means William W. Johnstone has new books out. The first is A Hill of Beans, which we snarked about a few weeks ago. You may now enjoy the latest adventure of Dewey "Mac" McKenzie, wanted man and chuckwagon cook, as he tries to do right in a lawless frontier.
And there's Killer Take All as well, wherein Duff MacCallister (Scotsman-turned-cowboy, because Johnstone's not above using the go-to tropes) herds a bunch of weak-kneed townsfolk into a crack squad against a greedy railroad tycoon who is hell-bent on wrecking the peaceful town of Chugwater.
Chugwater. Because all the good names were taken, apparently.
Speaking of unlikely names, J. A. Jance's Ali Reynolds is back this week in Fatal Error. Reynolds is courted by an old friend to investigate the disappearance of her fiancé. It turns out that Richard Lowensdale is not who he purports to be on the Internet (shocker!), and when Richard (not his real name, surely) turns up dead, police turn to Reynolds's pal, and it's up to Ali and her crack squad of cyber-detectives to figure out who this man really is. Naturally, their investigation stirs up a nest of online intrigue.
And speaking of intrigue, Alafair Burke has a new thriller out. Titled The Better Sister, it's the story of buried family secrets, dead bodies, and morally ambiguous motivations that, uh, yeah . . . Can you be complicit in terrible things just by reading about them? We're not sure. Burke, as always, delivers a precisely calculated thriller that keeps us guessing and leaves us wondering how we got into this twisted situation where there are no good answers.
Meanwhile, Alex Erickson has a new cosy mystery with The Pomeranian Always Barks Twice. You do know goofy pun titles are a requirement for cosy mysteries, in much the same way that shirtless cowboys are required for ranching romances. Out on the ranch, there's no time for wordplay, it's all horse play.
Anyway, in The Pomeranian Always Barks Twice, we've got helpful neighbors, frisky small dogs, and a dead man with a knife in his back! How this did this happen? Old man Fuller was so nice to everyone, and his tiny dog, Stewie, is so cuddly. Who would want Fuller dead? Does the dog know anything? Will an innocent boy pay the price for this dastardly deed?
And speaking of friendly animals, here's Pete the Cat's Groovy Guide to Kindness. Because if you do have to leave your sanctuary and venture out into the world, it's good to remember that kindness still wins. Pete the Cat's Groovy Guide to Kindness is a collection of the groovy cat's favorite aphorisms about being nice to one another, about sharing, and about having compassion. Yes, please.
In the meantime, carry on with the blanket forts and the shuffling of To Be Read piles. We'll be here, sharing books and making piles of our own. Remember our online shop at bookshop.org (here's this week's LIST LINK), as well as our affiliate link for audiobooks at Libro.fm.
You can continue to reach us through Facebook Messenger and via the phone. We'll get back to you as soon as we can, but please be patient.