There were twelve books in April, and twelve more again this month! While I still haven’t read most of last month’s picks (my TBR is stacked somewhere past Pluto at this point), Love in Color was a definite highlight of my month. And *cough* I may have ended up buying quite a few of the rest.
Here’s my list of twelve books I’m looking forward in May!
The first book in a new culinary cozy series full of sharp humor and delectable dishes—one that might just be killer….
When Lila Macapagal moves back home to recover from a horrible breakup, her life seems to be following all the typical rom-com tropes. She’s tasked with saving her Tita Rosie’s failing restaurant, and she has to deal with a group of matchmaking aunties who shower her with love and judgment. But when a notoriously nasty food critic (who happens to be her ex-boyfriend) drops dead moments after a confrontation with Lila, her life quickly swerves from a Nora Ephron romp to an Agatha Christie case.
With the cops treating her like she’s the one and only suspect, and the shady landlord looking to finally kick the Macapagal family out and resell the storefront, Lila’s left with no choice but to conduct her own investigation. Armed with the nosy auntie network, her barista best bud, and her trusted Dachshund, Longanisa, Lila takes on this tasty, twisted case and soon finds her own neck on the chopping block…
WHY?: I have a soft spot for cozy mysteries, and a definite love for ones where they lean into the tropes. I expect I’ll be verrrry hungry while reading this.
Blade of Secrets – Tricia Levenseller (May 4)
Eighteen-year-old Ziva prefers metal to people. She spends her days tucked away in her forge, safe from society and the anxiety it causes her, using her magical gift to craft unique weapons imbued with power.
Then Ziva receives a commission from a powerful warlord, and the result is a sword capable of stealing its victims’ secrets. A sword that can cut far deeper than the length of its blade. A sword with the strength to topple kingdoms. When Ziva learns of the warlord’s intentions to use the weapon to enslave all the world under her rule, she takes her sister and flees.
Joined by a distractingly handsome mercenary and a young scholar with extensive knowledge of the world’s known magics, Ziva and her sister set out on a quest to keep the sword safe until they can find a worthy wielder or a way to destroy it entirely.
A teenage blacksmith with social anxiety accepts a commission from the wrong person and is forced to go on the run to protect the world from the most powerful magical sword she’s ever made.
WHY?: All the blacksmith women, please. This sounds like a great found family fantasy romp!
A reserved Bangladeshi teenager has twenty-eight days to make the biggest decision of her life after agreeing to fake date her school’s resident bad boy.
How do you make one month last a lifetime?
Karina Ahmed has a plan. Keep her head down, get through high school without a fuss, and follow her parents’ rules—even if it means sacrificing her dreams. When her parents go abroad to Bangladesh for four weeks, Karina expects some peace and quiet. Instead, one simple lie unravels everything.
Karina is my girlfriend.
Tutoring the school’s resident bad boy was already crossing a line. Pretending to date him? Out of the question. But Ace Clyde does everything right—he brings her coffee in the mornings, impresses her friends without trying, and even promises to buy her a dozen books (a week) if she goes along with his fake-dating facade. Though Karina agrees, she can’t help but start counting down the days until her parents come back.
T-minus twenty-eight days until everything returns to normal—but what if Karina no longer wants it to?
WHY?: It’s fake dating between a good girl and the stereotypical “bad” guy with a squishy center. OF COURSE I want to read this!
Project Hail Mary – Andy Weir (May 4)
Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission–and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish.
Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.
All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.
His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, he realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Alone on this tiny ship that’s been cobbled together by every government and space agency on the planet and hurled into the depths of space, it’s up to him to conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.
And thanks to an unexpected ally, he just might have a chance.
Part scientific mystery, part dazzling interstellar journey, Project Hail Mary is a tale of discovery, speculation, and survival to rival The Martian–while taking us to places it never dreamed of going.
WHY?: Like pretty much every other scifi geek out there, I adored The Martian, and I can’t wait to see what sort of geeky MacGyvery / Swiss Family Robinson drama we get this time!
Lady of shadows, keeper of changes, plant the seeds of faith within me, that I might grow and flourish, that I might find my way through danger and uncertainty to the safety of your garden. Let my roots grow strong and my skin grow thick, that I might stand fast against all who would destroy me. Grant to me your favor, grant to me your grace, and when my time is done, grant to me the wisdom to lay my burdens down and rest beside you, one more flower in a sea of blooms, where nothing shall ever trouble me again.
Rose Marshall died when she was sixteen years old and on her way to her high school prom. She hasn’t been resting easy since then—Bobby Cross, the man who killed her, got away clean after running her off the road, and she’s not the kind of girl who can let something like that slide. She’s been looking for a way to stop him since before they put her body in the ground.
But things have changed in the twilight world where the spirits of the restless dead continue their “lives.” The crossroads have been destroyed, and Bobby’s protections are gone. For the first time, it might be possible for Rose to defeat him.
Not alone, though. She’ll need every friend she’s managed to make and every favor she’s managed to add to her account if she wants to stand a chance…and this may be her last chance to be avenged, since what is Bobby Cross without the crossroads?
Everything Rose knows is about to change.
WHY?: It’s Seanan McGuire, full stop. This series is absolutely enthralling – a mix of American folklore and ghost stories and a woman on a mission – and I cannot wait to see what happens with Rose and her motley group of friends.
Black Water Sister – Zen Cho (May 11)
A reluctant medium discovers the ties that bind can unleash a dangerous power in this compelling Malaysian-set contemporary fantasy.
Jessamyn Teoh is closeted, broke and moving back to Malaysia, a country she left when she was a toddler. So when Jess starts hearing voices, she chalks it up to stress. But there’s only one voice in her head, and it claims to be the ghost of her estranged grandmother, Ah Ma. In life Ah Ma was a spirit medium, the avatar of a mysterious deity called the Black Water Sister. Now she’s determined to settle a score against a gang boss who has offended the god–and she’s decided Jess is going to help her do it.
Drawn into a world of gods, ghosts, and family secrets, Jess finds that making deals with capricious spirits is a dangerous business. As Jess fights for retribution for Ah Ma, she’ll also need to regain control of her body and destiny. If she fails, the Black Water Sister may finish her off for good.
WHY?: I loved Sorcerer to the Crown and I’m very interested to see what she does with urban fantasy. Plus – being forced by her grandma to take on a mob boss? Heck yeah.
A Master of Djinn – P. Djèlí Clark (May 11)
INebula, Locus, and Alex Award-winner P. Djèlí Clark returns to his popular alternate Cairo universe for his fantasy novel debut, A Master of Djinn
Cairo, 1912: Though Fatma el-Sha’arawi is the youngest woman working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, she’s certainly not a rookie, especially after preventing the destruction of the universe last summer.
So when someone murders a secret brotherhood dedicated to one of the most famous men in history, al-Jahiz, Agent Fatma is called onto the case. Al-Jahiz transformed the world 50 years ago when he opened up the veil between the magical and mundane realms, before vanishing into the unknown. This murderer claims to be al-Jahiz, returned to condemn the modern age for its social oppressions. His dangerous magical abilities instigate unrest in the streets of Cairo that threaten to spill over onto the global stage.
Alongside her Ministry colleagues and her clever girlfriend Siti, Agent Fatma must unravel the mystery behind this imposter to restore peace to the city – or face the possibility he could be exactly who he seems….
WHY?: Steampunk Cairo and a queer romance? Plus, I’ve heard so many great things about this author, but I’ve never read any of his work before.
Happy Endings – Thien-Kim Lam (May 18)
With her debut novel, Thien-Kim Lam serves up a sexy second-chance romance about exes with unfinished business. When working together reignites their passion, will these former flames sizzle or get burned all over again?
Trixie Nguyen is determined to make her sex toy business a success, proving to her traditional Vietnamese parents that she can succeed in a nontraditional career. She’s made a fresh start in Washington DC, and her first pop-up event is going well—until she runs into the ex who dumped her. With a Post-it note.
The last person Andre Walker expected to see in his soul food restaurant was the woman he left behind in New Orleans. Their chemistry is still scorching, but he’s desperately trying to save his family restaurant from gentrifying developers. The solution? Partnering with his ex to turn Mama Hazel’s into a vibrator pop-up shop for hungry and horny clients.
Thanks to their steamy truce, both businesses start to sizzle and their red-hot desire soon reignites deeper feelings. But when Trixie receives an incredible career opportunity, will pride ruin their second chance at happiness?
WHY?: Second chance is my complete catnip, and I’m familiar with the author from her Bawdy Bookworms Box. Plus… soul food and vibrators? Sounds like my kind of date night!
Aetherbound – E.K. Johnston (May 25)
A thought-provoking new YA space adventure from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Ahsoka.
Set on a family-run interstellar freighter called the Harland and a mysterious remote space station, E. K. Johnston’s latest is story of survival and self-determination.
Pendt Harland’s family sees her as a waste of food on their long-haul space cruiser when her genes reveal an undesirable mutation. But if she plays her cards right she might have a chance to do much more than survive. During a space-station layover, Pendt escapes and forms a lucky bond with the Brannick twins, the teenage heirs of the powerful family that owns the station. Against all odds, the trio hatches a long-shot scheme to take over the station and thwart the destinies they never wished for.
WHY?: Who doesn’t love a tale about an underdog who tries to take over an entire space station?
In a delightful follow-up to Written in the Stars, Alexandria Bellefleur delivers another #ownvoices queer rom-com about a hopeless romantic who vows to show his childhood crush that romance isn’t dead by recreating iconic dates from his favorite films…
Brendon Lowell loves love. It’s why he created a dating app to help people find their one true pairing and why he’s convinced “the one” is out there, even if he hasn’t met her yet. Or… has he? When his sister’s best friend turns up in Seattle unexpectedly, Brendon jumps at the chance to hang out with her. He’s crushed on Annie since they were kids, and the stars have finally aligned, putting them in the same city at the same time.
Annie booked a spur-of-the-moment trip to Seattle to spend time with friends before moving across the globe. She’s not looking for love, especially with her best friend’s brother. Annie remembers Brendon as a sweet, dorky kid. Except, the 6-foot-4 man who shows up at her door is a certified Hot Nerd and Annie… wants him? Oh yes.
Getting involved would be a terrible idea—her stay is temporary and he wants forever—but when Brendon learns Annie has given up on dating, he’s determined to prove that romance is real. Taking cues from his favorite rom-coms, Brendon plans to woo her with elaborate dates straight out of Nora Ephron’s playbook. The clock is ticking on Annie’s time in Seattle, and Brendon’s starting to realize romance isn’t just flowers and chocolate. But maybe real love doesn’t need to be as perfect as the movies… as long as you think your partner hung the moon.
WHY?: Written in the Stars was absolutely delightful (and trust me, it would take something pretty special to get me googling various astrology terms) and I’m hoping for the same from this sophomore work! Sister’s best friend + childhood crush is usually a good combo for me.
Everyone likes Humaira “Hani” Khan—she’s easy going and one of the most popular girls at school. But when she comes out to her friends as bisexual, they invalidate her identity, saying she can’t be bi if she’s only dated guys. Panicked, Hani blurts out that she’s in a relationship…with a girl her friends absolutely hate—Ishita “Ishu” Dey. Ishu is the complete opposite of Hani. She’s an academic overachiever who hopes that becoming head girl will set her on the right track for college. But Ishita agrees to help Hani, if Hani will help her become more popular so that she stands a chance of being elected head girl.
Despite their mutually beneficial pact, they start developing real feelings for each other. But relationships are complicated, and some people will do anything to stop two Bengali girls from achieving happily ever after.
WHY?: Young adult. Opposites attract. Sapphic. Fake relationship. Yeeeeeeees.
Hard Reboot – Django Wexler (May 25)
Django Wexler’s Hard Reboot features giant mech arena battles and intergalactic diplomacy. When did academia get to be so complicated?
Kas is a junior researcher on a fact-finding mission to old Earth. But when a con-artist tricks her into wagering a large sum of money belonging to her university on the outcome of a manned robot arena battle she becomes drawn into the seedy underworld of old Earth politics and state-sponsored battle-droid prizefights.
Is it time to get back to the books, yet?
WHY?: You had me at battle droid prize fights. Also, this is apparently sapphic and stars what sounds like a bookish researcher.
And that’s my list for the month. What books are you looking forward to?