Hi there! It’s time for another Spell the Month in Books. This was originally created by Reviews from the Stacks, and the idea is to spell the month using the first letter of book titles.
This month, I’m doing a mixture of books I read and books I want to read. The first two and the last one are the books I haven’t read yet, though I have copies of all three. I’ve read all of the others. Let’s check them out!
S: Shield Maiden
Author: Sharon Emmerichs
Page Length: 416
Publication Date: Oct. 3, 2023
Synopsis: Both epic and intimate, Shield Maiden is the brilliantly imagined retelling of Beowulf from the perspective of a fierce young woman reclaiming her power.
All her life, Fryda has longed to be a shield maiden, an honor reserved for Geatland’s mightiest warriors. When a childhood accident leaves her tragically injured and unfit for the battlefield, her dreams are dashed—or so she thinks. But a strange, unfathomable power is awakening within her, a power that will soon be put to the test.
For when foreign lords and chieftains descend upon Fryda’s home to celebrate her uncle King Beowulf’s fifty-year reign, she realizes not all their guests come with good intentions. Treachery is afoot, and Fryda must gather her courage to fight for her people…as a queen should—as a shield maiden would—and as only Fryda can.
But as Fryda’s power grows stronger, something ancient hears its call. For buried deep in her gilded lair, a dragon awakens…and Fryda must prove herself once and for all.
E: Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries
Author: Heather Fawcett
Series: Emily Wilde #1
Page Length: 336
Publication Date: January 19, 223
Synopsis: A curmudgeonly professor journeys to a small town in the far north to study faerie folklore and discovers dark fae magic, friendship, and love in the start of a heartwarming and enchanting new fantasy series.
Cambridge professor Emily Wilde is good at many things: She is the foremost expert on the study of faeries. She is a genius scholar and a meticulous researcher who is writing the world’s first encyclopaedia of faerie lore. But Emily Wilde is not good at people. She could never make small talk at a party–or even get invited to one. And she prefers the company of her books, her dog, Shadow, and the Fair Folk to other people.
So when she arrives in the hardscrabble village of Hrafnsvik, Emily has no intention of befriending the gruff townsfolk. Nor does she care to spend time with another new arrival: her dashing and insufferably handsome academic rival Wendell Bambleby, who manages to charm the townsfolk, get in the middle of Emily’s research, and utterly confound and frustrate her.
But as Emily gets closer and closer to uncovering the secrets of the Hidden Ones–the most elusive of all faeries–lurking in the shadowy forest outside the town, she also finds herself on the trail of another mystery: Who is Wendell Bambleby, and what does he really want? To find the answer, she’ll have to unlock the greatest mystery of all–her own heart.
P: The Phoenix King
Author: Aparna Verma
Series: The Ravence Trilogy #1
Page Length: 601
Publication Date: Aug. 31, 2023
Synopsis: In a kingdom where flames hold magic and the desert hides secrets, an ancient prophecy comes for an assassin, a princess, and a king. But none are ready to face destiny—and the choices they make could burn the world.
“If we carry the burdens of our fathers, we’ll never know what it means to be free.”
For Elena Aadya Ravence, fire is yearning. She longs to feel worthy of her Phoenix god, of her ancestors who transformed the barren dunes of Sayon into a thriving kingdom. But though she knows the ways and wiles of the desert better than she knows her own skin, the secrets of the Eternal Flame elude her. And without them, she’ll never be accepted as queen.
For Leo Malhari Ravence, fire is control. He is not ready to give up his crown—there’s still too much work to be done to ensure his legacy remains untarnished, his family protected. But power comes with a price, and he’ll wage war with the heavens themselves to keep from paying it.
For Yassen Knight, fire is redemption. He dreams of shedding his past as one of Sayon’s most deadly assassins, of laying to rest the ghosts of those he has lost. If joining the court of flame and serving the royal Ravence family—the very people he once swore to eliminate—will earn him that, he’ll do it no matter what they ask of him.
But the Phoenix watches over all and the fire has a will of its own. It will come for all three, will come for Sayon itself….and they must either find a way to withstand the blaze or burn to ash.
T: To Escape a Wonderland
Title: To Escape a Wonderland
Author: Cece Louise
Publication Date: Oct. 10, 2023
Publisher: Jabberwocky Tales
Synopsis: What if Alice was trapped in Wonderland?
Alice once fell in love with the wrong man and paid a devastating price. Now she hides a dark secret and will stop at nothing to discover what happened to the sister she left behind. Bayne, a former knight, only wants a fresh start after his service almost cost him his life—and his mind. He certainly isn’t expecting a run-in with a thieving maidservant from his prior kingdom to change everything.
When the two are captured by outlaws and forced to partake in a traitorous plot, they end up lost in a perilous enchanted land with no way out. They must learn to trust each other—and themselves—if they hope to be freed from a twisted world where nothing is what it seems.
But the clock is ticking and some riddles have no answer. Can they escape before it’s too late, or will they be trapped in a land of madness forever?
E: Exes and O’s
Title: Exes and O’s
Author: Amy Lea
Page Length: 400
Publication Date: Jan. 10, 2023
Publisher: Berkley Books
Synopsis: A romance novel–obsessed social media influencer revisits her exes on her hunt for true love in this romantic comedy from the author of Set On You.
Romance-novel connoisseur Tara Chen has had her heart broken ten times by ten different men–all of whom dumped her because of her “stage-five clinger” tendencies. Nevertheless, Tara is determined to find The One. The only problem? Classic meet-cutes are dead thanks to modern dating apps. So Tara decides to revisit her exes in hopes of securing her very own trope-worthy second-chance romance.
Boston firefighter Trevor Metcalfe will be the first to rush into a burning building but the last to rush into a relationship. Love just isn’t his thing. When his new roommate Tara enlists him to help her reconnect with her exes, he reluctantly agrees. But Tara’s journey is leading him to discover his own new chapter.
The more time they spend together, the more Tara realizes Trevor seems to be the only one who appreciates her authentic, dramatic self. To claim their happily-ever-after, can Tara and Trevor read between the lines of their growing connection?
M: Maybe Once, Maybe Twice
Author: Allison Rose Greenberg
Page Length: 336
Publication Date: Oct. 3, 2023
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Synopsis: You know that old saying, “if we are still single when we’re 35, we should get married?” Well, Maggie Vine made that vow with two different people, at two very different stages of her life.
And they both showed up.
Maggie Vine’s life is going extra-medium. At 35 she’s pursuing her dreams of being a singer and being a mother―though neither is successfully panning out. So when Garrett Scholl―stifled hedge fund manager by day but electrifying aspiring rock singer by night―comes to her 35th birthday party with the intention to kiss Maggie senseless, it feels like one piece might click into place. Except he’s engaged to someone else, and Maggie knows she won’t fit into the cookie-cutter life he’s building for himself.
Enter Asher Reyes. Her first boyfriend from summer camp, turned into heartthrob actor, he’s lived a successful yet private life ever since he got famous. When a career-changing opportunity is presented to Maggie after her reconnection with Asher, it feels like everything―music, love, family―will fall into place. But her past won’t let her move on without a fight.
B: Bright Lights, Big Christmas
Author: Mary Kay Andrews
Page Length: 288
Publication Date: Sept. 26, 2023
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Synopsis: It’s a long way from a Christmas tree farm in the mountains of North Carolina to a certain street corner in Greenwich Village, but Kerry Tolliver, newly unemployed and romantically unattached, reluctantly agrees to make the trek, and live in a tiny vintage camper with her gruff older brother (and his dog Queenie) out of family loyalty. Selling Christmas trees at the family’s stand in on the sidewalks of New York, Kerry is startled to find herself beginning to feel at home in this quirky little corner of the city, and succumbing to the charms of Patrick, a single dad and his adorable, dragon-loving son Austin. When a secretive elderly neighbor goes missing with the holidays fast approaching, Kerry discovers her new friends have become family . . . and maybe more . . .
Surrounded by warm childhood memories, sparkling possibility, and the magic of
Christmas, will this small-town girl surrender her heart to the bright lights of the big city?
Author: Heather Frost
Series: Esperance Trilogy #1
Publication Date: Nov. 18, 2022
Synopsis: Twelve strangers. Six marriages. One year in Esperance.
Amryn has many reasons to hate the empire. Her latest is her forced marriage to General Carver Vincetti, also known as the Butcher. If he learns even one of her secrets, he will kill her. And Amryn has many secrets. Not only is she an empath with forbidden magic, she’s also a newly recruited rebel intent on destroying the empire—starting at Esperance.
Carver knows the rebels have infiltrated the remote temple of Esperance. His job is to find them before they can wreck the emperor’s new peace. Despite the demons that haunt him, Carver thinks he’s ready for this new mission—but he’s not prepared for Amryn. From her fiery red hair to her surprising wit, his new wife has captured his attention. Now he just has to determine if she’s the enemy.
When the newly married couples become targets in a violent game, Esperance becomes more dangerous than anyone anticipated. Carver and Amryn are about to discover that no one is exactly who they appear to be—especially each other.
R: Raiders of the Lost Heart
Author: Jo Segura
Page Length: 368
Publication Date: Dec. 5, 2023
Synopsis: Rival archaeologists must team up on a secret Aztec expedition, or it could leave their careers—and hearts—in ruins.
Archaeologist Dr. Socorro “Corrie” Mejía has a bone to pick. Literally.
It’s been Corrie’s life goal to lead an expedition deep into the Mexican jungle in search of the long-lost remains of her ancestor, Chimalli, an ancient warrior of the Aztec empire. But when she is invited to join an all-expenses-paid dig to do just that, Corrie is sure it’s too good to be true…and she’s right.
As the world-renowned expert on Chimalli, by rights Corrie should be leading the expedition, not sharing the glory with her disgustingly handsome nemesis. But Dr. Ford Matthews has been finding new ways to best her since they were in grad school. Ford certainly isn’t thrilled either—with his life in shambles, the last thing he needs is a reminder of their rocky past.
But as the dig begins, it becomes clear they’ll need to work together when they realize a thief is lurking around their campsite, forcing the pair to keep their discoveries—and lingering attraction—under wraps. With money-hungry artifact smugglers, the Mexican authorities, and the lies between them closing in, there’s only one way this all ends—explosively.