They say that spring comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. In keeping with the season, these spring debut novels start with rivalry, banter, and sworn hatred, and end with swoonworthy romance!
FOOL ME ONCE by Ashley Winstead
HarperCollins/Graydon House - April 5, 2022
Lee Stone is a twenty-first-century woman: she kicks butt at her job as a communications director at a women-run electric car company (that’s better than Tesla, thank you) and after work she is “Stoner,” drinking guys under the table and never letting any of them get too comfortable in her bed. After four major heartbreaks set her straight, from her father cheating on her mom all the way to Ben Laderman in grad school—who wasn’t actually cheating, but she could have sworn he was, so she reciprocated in kind. Then Ben shows up five years later, working as a policy expert for the most liberal governor in Texas history, just as Lee is trying to get a clean energy bill rolling. Things get complicated—and competitive—as Lee and Ben are forced to work together. Tension builds just as old sparks reignite, fanning the flames for a romantic dustup the size of Texas.
LOVE FROM SCRATCH by Kaitlyn Hill
Delacorte/PRH - April 5, 2022
Reese Camden landed her dream marketing internship at Friends of Flavor, a wildly popular cooking channel in Seattle. The only problem? Benny Beneventi, the relentlessly charming, backwards-baseball-cap-wearing culinary intern--and her main competition for the fall job. Reese's plan to keep work a No Feelings Zone crumbles like a day-old muffin when she and Benny are thrown together for a video shoot that goes viral, making them the internet's newest ship. Soon Reese and Benny are in an all-out food war, churning homemade ice cream, twisting soft pretzels, breaking eggs in an omelet showdown--while hundreds of thousands of viewers watch. But the more their rivalry heats up, the harder it is to keep love on the back burner...
THIS MAY END BADLY by Samantha Markum
Wednesday Books - April 12, 2022
This May End Badly follows Doe, a senior at an all-girls boarding school whose life has revolved around a century-long rivalry with the boy’s school across the street. When she embarks on a fake-dating scheme to get under her worst enemy’s skin, she must contend with the lies she’s told, as well as the future of her beloved school.
LOVE, HATE & CLICKBAIT by Liz Bowery
Harlequin MIRA - April 26, 2022
Cutthroat political consultant Thom Morgan is thriving, working on the governor of California’s presidential campaign. If only he didn’t have to deal with Clay Parker, the infuriatingly smug data analyst who gets under Thom’s skin like it’s his job. In the midst of one of their heated and very public arguments, a journalist snaps a photo, but the image makes it look like they’re kissing. As if that weren’t already worst-nightmare territory, the photo goes viral—and in a bid to secure the liberal vote, the governor asks them to lean into it. But as the loyal staffers push the boundaries of “giving the people what they want,” the animosity between them blooms into something deeper and far more dangerous: desire. Soon their fake relationship is hurtling toward something very real, which could derail the campaign and cost them both their jobs…and their hearts.
CHEF'S KISS by TJ Alexander
Simon & Schuster/Atria - May 3, 2022
Simone Larkspur is a perfectionist pastry expert with a dream job at The Discerning Chef, a venerable cookbook publisher in New York City. But when The Discerning Chef decides to bring their brand into the 21st century by pivoting to video, Simone is thrust into the spotlight and finds herself failing at something for the first time in her life. To make matters worse, Simone has to deal with Ray Lyton, the new test kitchen manager, whose obnoxious cheer and outgoing personality are like oil to Simone’s water. When Ray accidentally becomes a viral YouTube sensation with a series of homebrewing videos, their eccentric editor in chief forces Simone to work alongside the chipper upstart or else risk her beloved job. But the more they work together, the more Simone realizes her heart may be softening like butter for Ray. Things get even more complicated when Ray comes out at work as nonbinary to mixed reactions—and Simone must choose between the career she fought so hard for and the person who just might take the cake (and her heart).
SET ON YOU by Amy Lea
Penguin Random House/Berkley - May 10, 2022
Curvy fitness influencer Crystal Chen built her career shattering gym stereotypes and mostly ignoring the trolls. After her recent breakup, she has little stamina left for men, instead finding solace in the gym - her place of power and positivity. Enter firefighter Scott Ritchie, the smug new gym patron who routinely steals her favorite squat rack. Sparks fly as these ultra-competitive foes battle for gym domination. But after a series of escalating jabs, the last thing they expect is to run into each other at their grandparents' engagement party. In the lead up to their grandparents' wedding, Crystal discovers there's a soft heart under Scott's muscled exterior. Bonding over family, fitness, and cheesy pick-up lines, she just might have found her swolemate. But when a photo of them goes viral, savage internet trolls put their budding relationship to the ultimate test of strength.
THE LAST FEATHER by Shameez Patel Papathanasiou
Flame Tree Press - July 19, 2022
Twenty-two-year-old Cassia's sister is dying, and she doesn't know why. When she's abducted by a dangerous man, Cassia wakes up in another realm to find her missing best friend, Lucas, who knows how to save her sister. Meanwhile, Lucas is part of a community of Reborns, people who were born on earth and after death, were reborn in this realm with magical abilities. The original beings of the realm, the Firsts, rule over them, including the man who abducted her—Lochlan, Crown Prince of the Firsts. But it takes more than a title to scare her, instead, she finds herself more curious than anything else. However, his father, the king of the Firsts, releases a curse to cull the Reborns and keep their numbers manageable. Cassia needs to break the curse before her time runs out and she is trapped there forever.
List curated by: Liz Bowery
Posted to the blog by: Ren Hutchings