13 New Releases Coming May 2023

13 New Releases Coming May 2023

Hello again everybody! I feel like every more there are more and more great new releases! This month, I've been lucky enough to read two of them as advanced copies and I would recommend checking both of them out! Let's dive in:

1. The Salt Grows Heavy - Cassandra Khaw (May 2)

Synopsis: You may think you know how the fairytale goes: a mermaid comes to shore and weds the prince. But what the fables forget is that mermaids have teeth. And now, her daughters have devoured the kingdom and burned it to ashes.

On the run, the mermaid is joined by a mysterious plague doctor with a darkness of their own. Deep in the eerie, snow-crusted forest, the pair stumble upon a village of ageless children who thirst for blood, and the three 'saints' who control them. The mermaid and her doctor must embrace the cruelest parts of their true nature if they hope to survive.

Why I'm Excited: I'm lucky enough to have received an e-ARC of this book, so I've already read it! Check out my review here .

2. The Ferryman - Justin Cronin (May 2)

Synopsis: Founded by the mysterious genius known as the Designer, the archipelago of Prospera lies hidden from the horrors of a deteriorating outside world. In this island paradise, Prospera's lucky citizens enjoy long, fulfilling lives until the monitors embedded in their forearms, meant to measure their physical health and psychological well-being, fall below 10 percent. Then they retire themselves, embarking on a ferry ride to the island known as the Nursery, where their failing bodies are renewed, their memories are wiped clean, and they are readied to restart life afresh.

Proctor Bennett, of the Department of Social Contracts, has a satisfying career as a ferryman, gently shepherding people through the retirement process--and, when necessary, enforcing it. But all is not well with Proctor. For one thing, he's been dreaming--which is supposed to be impossible in Prospera. For another, his monitor percentage has begun to drop alarmingly fast. And then comes the day he is summoned to retire his own father, who gives him a disturbing and cryptic message before being wrestled onto the ferry.

Meanwhile, something is stirring. The Support Staff, ordinary men and women who provide the labor to keep Prospera running, have begun to question their place in the social order. Unrest is building, and there are rumors spreading of a resistance group--known as "Arrivalists"--who may be fomenting revolution.

Soon Proctor finds himself questioning everything he once believed, entangled with a much bigger cause than he realized--and on a desperate mission to uncover the truth.

Why I'm Excited: I'm lucky enough to have received an e-ARC of this book, so I've already read it! Check out my review here .

3. The Daydreams - Laura Hankin (May 2)

Synopsis: Back in 2004, The Daydreams had it all: a cast of innocent-seeming teenagers acting and singing their hearts out, amazing ratings, and a will-they-or-won’t-they romance that steamed up fan fiction forums. Then, during the live season two finale, it all imploded, leaving everyone scrambling to understand why.

Afterward, the four stars went down very different paths. Kat is now a lawyer in DC. Liana is the bored wife of a famous athlete. Noah, the show’s golden boy, emerged unscathed and is poised to become a household name. And Summer, the object of Noah’s fictional (and maybe real-life) affections, is the cautionary tale.

But then the fans demand a reunion special. The stars all have private reasons to come back: forgiveness, revenge, a second chance with a first love. But as they tentatively rediscover the magic of the original show, old secrets threaten to resurface—including the real reason behind their downfall.

Will this reunion be a chance to make things right? Or will it be the biggest mess the world has ever seen? No matter what, the ratings will be wild.

Why I'm Excited: This synopsis gives me Daisy Jones & The Six vibes, which was one of my favorite reads last year. I love the idea of a post-fallout reunion because I'm honestly just all about that fictional drama.

4. Chain-Gang All-Stars - Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah (May 2)

Synopsis: Loretta Thurwar and Hamara "Hurricane Staxxx" Stacker are the stars of Chain-Gang All-Stars, the cornerstone of CAPE, or Criminal Action Penal Entertainment, a highly-popular, highly-controversial, profit-raising program in America's increasingly dominant private prison industry. It's the return of the gladiators and prisoners are competing for the ultimate prize: their freedom.

In CAPE, prisoners travel as Links in Chain-Gangs, competing in death-matches for packed arenas with righteous protestors at the gates. Thurwar and Staxxx, both teammates and lovers, are the fan favorites. And if all goes well, Thurwar will be free in just a few matches, a fact she carries as heavily as her lethal hammer. As she prepares to leave her fellow Links, she considers how she might help preserve their humanity, in defiance of these so-called games, but CAPE's corporate owners will stop at nothing to protect their status quo and the obstacles they lay in Thurwar's path have devastating consequences.

Why I'm Excited: This is easily one of my most anticipatedreads of the year. I love the concept, I can't wait to read commentary on the private prison system, there's LGBTQ+ rep, what more could I possibly want???

5. Fourth Wing - Rebecca Yarros (May 2)

Synopsis: Twenty-year-old Violet Sorrengail was supposed to enter the Scribe Quadrant, living a quiet life among books and history. Now, the commanding general—also known as her tough-as-talons mother—has ordered Violet to join the hundreds of candidates striving to become the elite of Navarre: dragon riders .

But when you’re smaller than everyone else and your body is brittle, death is only a heartbeat away...because dragons don’t bond to “fragile” humans. They incinerate them.

With fewer dragons willing to bond than cadets, most would kill Violet to better their own chances of success. The rest would kill her just for being her mother’s daughter—like Xaden Riorson, the most powerful and ruthless wingleader in the Riders Quadrant.

She’ll need every edge her wits can give her just to see the next sunrise. Yet, with every day that passes, the war outside grows more deadly, the kingdom's protective wards are failing, and the death toll continues to rise. Even worse, Violet begins to suspect leadership is hiding a terrible secret.

Why I'm Excited: I'm surprisingly putting a lot of series-starters on this list, which isn't something I normally do. But come on, a war college for dragon riders? I feel like I haven't read a dragon book in forever and that's what I want right now. I've picked this one up at Barnes & Noble already and the limited edition with the sprayed edges is GORGEOUS.

6. The Book That Wouldn't Burn - Mark Lawrence (May 9)

Synopsis: A boy has lived his whole life trapped within a vast library, older than empires and larger than cities. A girl has spent hers in a tiny settlement out on the Dust where nightmares stalk and no one goes. The world has never even noticed them. That's about to change.

Their stories spiral around each other, across worlds and time. This is a tale of truth and lies and hearts, and the blurring of one into another. A journey on which knowledge erodes certainty, and on which, though the pen may be mightier than the sword, blood will be spilled and cities burned.

Why I'm Excited: I LOVE a good book about books. And that cover is stunning! This is the first in a trilogy (I like when I know how many books to expect), and while the synopsis is a little vague, I'm still excited to see what's in store.

7. Our Hideous Progeny - C.E. McGill (May 9)

Synopsis: It's 1853 London. Ex-medical student Victor Frankenstein has been missing for years now. Frankenstein's great niece Mary Sutherland and her husband, Henry, are trying to follow in his scientific footsteps and become renowned paleontologists. They have the brains and the ambition; the only thing they lack is the reputation. Mary is a woman with a sharp mind but a fierce tongue and Henry is an unemployed gambling addict: none of this earning appeal with their peers.

But after finding clues to her great uncle's disappearance, Mary's luck may just change. She constructs a plan that will force the scientific community to take her and her husband seriously; no one will be able to ignore them after they learn to create life. Once they have successfully constructed their Creature, Henry's ambition soars, but Mary finds herself asking deeper, more important questions than she's ever confronted before. As Henry's desire for fame grows, Mary must decide how far she is willing to go to protect the Creature she has grown to love.

Why I'm Excited: Historical fiction Gothic horror is really all you have to say. Not only is this book my official Sleeper Pick of the Month, I've had this book on my TBR since December, so I'm like, extra hipster in that regard. I wasn't the biggest fan of Frankenstein in high school, but this is a retelling I can get behind.

8. Yellowface - R.F. Kuang (May 16)

Synopsis: Authors June Hayward and Athena Liu were supposed to be twin rising stars: same year at Yale, same debut year in publishing. But Athena's a cross-genre literary darling, and June didn't even get a paperback release. Nobody wants stories about basic white girls, June thinks.

So when June witnesses Athena's death in a freak accident, she acts on impulse: she steals Athena's just-finished masterpiece, an experimental novel about the unsung contributions of Chinese laborers to the British and French war efforts during World War I.

So what if June edits Athena's novel and sends it to her agent as her own work? So what if she lets her new publisher rebrand her as Juniper Song--complete with an ambiguously ethnic author photo? Doesn't this piece of history deserve to be told, whoever the teller? That's what June claims, and the New York Times bestseller list seems to agree.

But June can't get away from Athena's shadow, and emerging evidence threatens to bring June's (stolen) success down around her. As June races to protect her secret, she discovers exactly how far she will go to keep what she thinks she deserves.

Why I'm Excited: It is so embarrassingto admit that Iown all of R.F. Kuang's books and haven't read any of them yet, but I have no qualms about snagging this one to add to the shelf. I'm really interested in the plot and theme commentary, and as the shortest of Kuang's works yet, this might be my first of hers to read.

9. On the Nature of Magic - Marian Womack (May 23)

Synopsis: 1902. Helena Walton-Cisneros, known for finding answers to the impossible, has started her own detective agency. She takes on two new uncanny cases, both located in Paris – which itself is too much of a coincidence to ignore. In the first case, two English women claim to have seen the ghost of Marie Antoinette in the gardens of Versailles. The second case is the murder of a young woman working at the mysterious Méliès Star Films studio outside Paris.

As Helena and her colleague Eliza investigate, they hear whispers of vanishings at Méliès Star Films, strange lights, spies, actors flying without ropes and connections to the occult.

What is George Méliès practising at his secretive film studio? And is it connected to the haunting in Versailles? Helena and Eliza will only find the answers if they accept the natural world is darker, stranger than they could ever have imagined…

Why I'm Excited: I am one of 124 people who have this book shelved, so this is probably my actual sleeper pick, but that would be too easy. How do I come across books like this? Anyways, the plot is intriguing and I fell head over heels for this cover. I love a good Gothic historical fiction (see above), so I'll be sure to let you know how this one is if I ever manage to get my hands on it.

10. The Will of the Many - James Islington (May 23)

Synopsis: The Catenan Republic – the Hierarchy – may rule the world now, but they do not know everything.

I tell them my name is Vis Telimus. I tell them I was orphaned after a tragic accident three years ago, and that good fortune alone has led to my acceptance into their most prestigious school. I tell them that once I graduate, I will gladly join the rest of civilised society in allowing my strength, my drive and my focus – what they call Will – to be leeched away and added to the power of those above me, as millions already do. As all must eventually do.

I tell them that I belong, and they believe me. But the truth is that I have been sent to the Academy to find answers. To solve a murder. To search for an ancient weapon. To uncover secrets that may tear the Republic apart. And that I will never, ever cede my Will to the empire that executed my family.

To survive, though, I will still have to rise through the Academy’s ranks. I will have to smile, and make friends, and pretend to be one of them and win. Because if I cannot, then those who want to control me, who know my real name, will no longer have any use for me. And if the Hierarchy finds out who I truly am, they will kill me.

Why I'm Excited: I absolutely need this to be the high fantasy dark academia I want it to be. I have another book by Islington on my shelves that, surprise to no one, I haven't read yet. Oh my gosh I just saw that this book is 700 pages. Anyways, won't be getting around to this one anytime soon, but it sounds real good!

11. When the World Didn't End: A Memoir - Guinevere Turner (May 23)

Synopsis: On January 5, 1975, the world was supposed to end. Under strict instructions from her Family Leader, seven-year-old Guinevere Turner put on her best dress, grabbed her favorite toy, and waited for her salvation--a spaceship that would take her and her peers to live on Venus. But the spaceship never came.

Guinevere did not understand her family was a cult. She spent most of her days on a compound in Kansas, living with dozens of other children who worked in the sorghum fields and roved freely through the surrounding pastures, eating mulberries and tending to farm animals. But there was a dark side to this bucolic existence: When selected girls in her community turned twelve or thirteen, they were "given" to older men on the compound as wives in training. Turner was part of the Lyman Family, a cult spearheaded by Mel Lyman, a self-proclaimed "world savior," committed to isolation from a world he declared had lost its way. When Guinevere caught the attention of Jessie, the "queen" of the Family, her status was elevated and suddenly she was traveling in the inner-circle caravan between communities in Los Angeles, Boston, and Martha's Vineyard.

Then, at age eleven, Guinevere's world as she had known it ended. Her mother, from whom she had been separated since age three, left the Family with a disgraced member, and Guinevere and her four-year-old sister were forced to go with her. Traveling outside the bounds of her cloistered existence, Guinevere was thrust into public school for the first time, a stranger in a strange world with homemade clothes, clueless to social codes. Now, in the World she'd been raised to believe was evil, she faced challenges and horrors she couldn't have imagined.

Why I'm Excited: I think I'm going to try and grab this as an audiobook from my library, especiallybecause the author is narrating it. I have a great interest in reading memoirs from people who have had interesting and cult-y upbringings (Educated, Unorthodox, etc.), and because I don't know a lot about the Lyman Family cult, I'm itching to get my hands on this one.

12. Perilous Times - Thomas D. Lee (May 23)

Synopsis: An immortal Knight of the Round Table faces his greatest challenge yet—saving the politically polarized, rapidly warming world from itself—in this slyly funny contemporary take on Arthurian legend.

Legends don’t always live up to reality. Being reborn as an immortal defender of the realm gets awfully tiring over the years—or at least that’s what Sir Kay’s thinking as he claws his way up from beneath the earth yet again.

Kay once rode alongside his brother, King Arthur, as a Knight of the Round Table. Since then, he has fought at Hastings and at Waterloo and in both World Wars. But now he finds himself in a strange new world where oceans have risen, the army’s been privatized, and half of Britain’s been sold to foreign powers. The dragon that’s running amok—that he can handle. The rest? He’s not so sure.

Mariam’s spent her life fighting what’s wrong with her country. But she’s just one ordinary person, up against a hopelessly broken system. So when she meets Kay, she dares to hope that the world has finally found the savior it needs.

Yet as the two travel through this bizarre and dangerous land, they discover that a magical plot of apocalyptic proportions is underway. And Kay’s too busy hunting dragons—and exchanging blows with his old enemy Lancelot—to figure out what to do about it. In perilous times like these, the realm doesn’t just need a knight. It needs a true leader. Luckily, Excalibur lies within reach. But who will be fit to wield it?

Why I'm Excited: I haven't read a single book based on King Arthur or the Knights of the Round Table and frankly I think that's a crime that should be amended ASAP.Plus immortality and dragons and a threatening apocalypse? Just seems like an all-around good time.

13. Hey, Hun: Sales, Sisterhood, Supremacy, and the Other Lies Behind Multilevel Marketing - Emily Lynn Paulson (May 30)

Synopsis: Hey, Hun: Sales, Sisterhood, Supremacy, and the Other Lies Behind Multilevel Marketing is the eye-opening, funny, and dangerous personal story of author Emily Lynn Paulson rising to the top of the pyramid in the multilevel marketing (MLM) world only to realize that its culture and business practices went beyond a trendy marketing scheme and into the heart of white supremacy in America. A significant polemic on how MLMs operate, Hey, Hun expertly lays out their role in the cultural epidemic of isolation and the cult-like ideologies that course through their trainings, marketing, and one-on-one interactions. Equally entertaining and smart, Paulson’s first-person accounts, acerbic wit, and biting commentary will leave you with a new perspective on those “Hey Hun” messages flooding your inbox.

Why I'm Excited: The absolute chokehold that anti-MLM YouTube videos have on me cannot be overstated. Plus I just mentioned that I love learning about cults and this is 1000% a cult. Sign me up, hun, but not for your downline.


Hope you all have a wonderful monthand are enjoying the springtime! Our book club read for April isTheInvisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab, so grab or borrow a copy and feel free to join us!

Let me know if there are any books you're looking forward to in the comments!

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