Hooray, it’s May–and with it come my birthday and a new selection of my most anticipated book releases!
Even if you haven’t enjoyed all this pollen we’ve suffered for the May flowers everywhere (at least where I am), this month has so many good books in store to make up for it.
Including a new series by two of my favorite duo authors:
The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…
A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering
And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.
They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.
Why I Want to Read This: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff were born to write stories together. I fell head over heels for the Illuminae Files, so I screamed when I saw they were doing Aurora Rising together. This time with more traditional storytelling featuring a colorful ensemble cast. I was going to try to predict who my favorite character is going to be, but I don’t think I can. They all sound so amazing, and I cannot wait to get to know them all (and suffer alongside them). Yeah, I know how these authors do. I’m already trying to connect the dots between the title, the Aurora Academy, and this girl Aurora that’s coming out of two centuries’ worth of cryo-sleep. What are y’all up to???
Welcome, welcome to Caraval…all games must come to an end.
It’s been two months since the last Caraval concluded, two months since the Fates have been freed from an enchanted deck of cards, two months since Tella has seen Legend, and two months since Legend claimed the empire’s throne as his own. Now, Legend is preparing for his official coronation and Tella is determined to stop it. She believes her own mother, who still remains in an enchanted sleep, is the rightful heir to the throne.
Meanwhile, Scarlett has started a game of her own. She’s challenged Julian and her former fiancé, Count Nicolas d’Arcy, to a competition where the winner will receive her hand in marriage. Finally, Scarlett feels as if she is in complete control over her life and future. She is unaware that her mother’s past has put her in the greatest danger of all.
Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun―with lives, empires, and hearts all at stake. There are no spectators this time: only those who will win…and those who will lose everything. . .
Why I Want to Read This: I’ll be brutally honest. The reason I’m excited for Finale is for one reason: The Prince of Hearts. Here’s hoping Jacks comes along to dominate and ruin everything. I am looking forward to what the Fates and Tella are going to do, but Legendary actually made me fall out of love with Legend because of who he wound up being. I was disappointed, but maybe he’ll show me something this time? I honestly thought that Scarlett’s part in this story was over, so I’m already not a fan of this game she’s forcing Julian and the Count into, like… who cares? So, c’mon, Jacks, wreck this whole thing.
Fatima lives in the city of Noor, a thriving stop along the Silk Road. There the music of myriad languages fills the air, and people of all faiths weave their lives together. However, the city bears scars of its recent past, when the chaotic tribe of Shayateen djinn slaughtered its entire population — except for Fatima and two other humans. Now ruled by a new maharajah, Noor is protected from the Shayateen by the Ifrit, djinn of order and reason, and by their commander, Zulfikar.
But when one of the most potent of the Ifrit dies, Fatima is changed in ways she cannot fathom, ways that scare even those who love her. Oud in hand, Fatima is drawn into the intrigues of the maharajah and his sister, the affairs of Zulfikar and the djinn, and the dangers of a magical battlefield.
Nafiza Azad weaves an immersive tale of magic and the importance of names; fiercely independent women; and, perhaps most importantly, the work for harmony within a city of a thousand cultures and cadences.
Why I Want to Read This: DJINN DJINN DJINN!!! Not only that but warring djinn, with humans trapped in the middle! The Candle and the Flame sounds like what I’d desperately wanted The City of Brass to be, while also offering a compelling female character in Fatima and some good, old-fashioned political intrigue. How is Fatima going to change by these events, and how is she going to use her oud to navigate this dangerous ground? And just how attracted am I going to be to Zulfikar? More at 11.
The history books say I died.
They don’t know the half of it.
Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them . . . and he’s hunted Romanov before.
Nastya’s only chances of survival are to either release the spell, and deal with the consequences, or enlist help from Zash, the handsome soldier who doesn’t act like the average Bolshevik. Nastya’s never dabbled in magic before, but it doesn’t frighten her as much as her growing attraction for Zash. She likes him. She thinks he might even like her . . .
That is, until she’s on one side of a firing squad . . . and he’s on the other.
Why I Want to Read This: I am a simple woman. I see an Anastasia retelling, I slap that book onto my TBR list. Romanov speaks to me because of this dabbling of magic it’s doing as well as this obvious fleeing princess/Bolshevik soldier romance, but what really ensnared me were the last lines: “She likes him. She thinks he might even like her . . . That is, until she’s on one side of a firing squad . . . and he’s on the other.” POETIC CINEMA!
Meet Roger. Skilled with words, languages come easily to him. He instinctively understands how the world works through the power of story.
Meet Dodger, his twin. Numbers are her world, her obsession, her everything. All she understands, she does so through the power of math.
Roger and Dodger aren’t exactly human, though they don’t realise it. They aren’t exactly gods, either. Not entirely. Not yet.
Meet Reed, skilled in the alchemical arts like his progenitor before him. Reed created Dodger and her brother. He’s not their father. Not quite. But he has a plan: to raise the twins to the highest power, to ascend with them and claim their authority as his own.
Godhood is attainable. Pray it isn’t attained.
Why I Want to Read This: I’ve been seeing Seanan McGuire’s name floating around a lot lately, but Middlegame is what has grabbed my attention and won’t let go. This book sounds creepy and fascinating, a true marriage of magic and divinity gone wrong. It’s like an inverted creation myth, where the creator isn’t a god but that’s what he’s trying to create. I already feel like I’m going to love seeing how these characters interact with each other, and I’m very intrigued with Roger and Dodger’s differing skill sets and how their skill sets and their very names will become significant.
In a world divided by meddlesome gods and treacherous oceans, only the Maarin possess the knowledge to cross the Endless Seas. But they have one mandate: East must never meet West.
A PIRATE WITH A WILL OF IRON
Teriana is the second mate of the Quincense and heir to the Maarin Triumvirate. Her people are born of the seas and the keepers of its secrets, but when her closest friend is forced into an unwanted betrothal, Teriana breaks her people’s mandate so her friend might escape—a choice with devastating consequences.
A SOLDIER WITH A SECRET
Marcus is the commander of the Thirty-Seventh, the notorious legion that has led the Celendor Empire to conquer the entire East. The legion is his family, but even they don’t know the truth he’s been hiding since childhood. It’s a secret he’ll do anything to protect, no matter how much it costs him – and the world.
A DANGEROUS QUEST
When an Empire senator discovers the existence of the Dark Shores, he captures Teriana’s crew and threatens to reveal Marcus’s secret unless they sail in pursuit of conquest, forcing the two into an unlikely—and unwilling—alliance. They unite for the sake of their families, but both must decide how far they are willing to go, and how much they are willing to sacrifice.
Why I Want to Read This: Dark Shores had me at meddlesome gods, but lady pirates and a commander with a deadly secret can only sweeten the pot. And then you have an Imperial senator who are able to blackmail them into working together, heading towards something they are definitely not supposed to conquer? Delicious. Especially when the main characters care about their chosen families so much. This is going to be a wild ride.
People lived because she killed.
People died because he lived.
Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways.
Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.
War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.
Set in a richly detailed world inspired by ancient Arabia, We Hunt the Flame is a gripping debut of discovery, conquering fear, and taking identity into your own hands.
Why I Want to Read This: I already love Zafira because of the “disguised as a man” trope, but she’s doing it to feed her people. What a legend. And Nasir, the Prince of Death, an assassin? Yes, please. Totally down with him having compassion, but I hope there is some real struggle with this, please. Especially once Zafira and Nasir are on a collision course for the same artifact, and Nasir is expected to kill her. Obviously, he won’t, but give me all that drama in the meantime! Also, big fan of evil, moving forests, me. We Hunt the Flame sounds amazing!
Set in a Latinx-inspired world, a face-changing thief and a risk-taking prince must team up to defeat a powerful evil they accidentally unleashed.
To Finn Voy, magic is two things: a knife to hold under the chin of anyone who crosses her…and a disguise she shrugs on as easily as others pull on cloaks.
As a talented faceshifter, it’s been years since Finn has seen her own face, and that’s exactly how she likes it. But when Finn gets caught by a powerful mobster, she’s forced into an impossible mission: steal a legendary treasure from Castallan’s royal palace or be stripped of her magic forever.
After the murder of his older brother, Prince Alfehr is first in line for the Castallan throne. But Alfie can’t help but feel that he will never live up to his brother’s legacy. Riddled with grief, Alfie is obsessed with finding a way to bring his brother back, even if it means dabbling in forbidden magic.
But when Finn and Alfie’s fates collide, they accidentally unlock a terrible, ancient power—which, if not contained, will devour the world. And with Castallan’s fate in their hands, Alfie and Finn must race to vanquish what they have unleashed, even if it means facing the deepest darkness in their pasts.
Why I Want to Read This: Finn sounds like an utter boss, and that’s even without her faceshifting abilities. What an incredibly cool character! I’m all about Nocturna with its Latinx-inspired world full of magic, mobsters, royal families, and ancient power. With Finn and Prince Alfehr screwing up their respective missions at the get-go, this sounds like an incredibly entertaining read, especially if it means forcing them to face their own darknesses.
Welcome to the Kingdom… where ‘Happily Ever After’ isn’t just a promise, but a rule.
Glimmering like a jewel behind its gateway, The Kingdom(TM) is an immersive fantasy theme park where guests soar on virtual dragons, castles loom like giants, and bioengineered species–formerly extinct–roam free.
Ana is one of seven Fantasists, beautiful “princesses” engineered to make dreams come true. When she meets park employee Owen, Ana begins to experience emotions beyond her programming including, for the first time… love.
But the fairytale becomes a nightmare when Ana is accused of murdering Owen, igniting the trial of the century. Through courtroom testimony, interviews, and Ana’s memories of Owen, emerges a tale of love, lies, and cruelty–and what it truly means to be human.
Why I Want to Read This: I almost passed The Kingdom by until I fully read and appreciated the synopsis. Let’s see, a corporately-owned, Happily Ever After-enforced theme park; Ana, an engineered princess who must ensure that dreams come true and absolutely is not supposed to experience her own dreams and feelings; a fairytale turning into a nightmare with a robot seemingly killing a human and going to trial over it. Yeah, sounds like we’ve got a winner here. Looks like it’s also going to be told in non-traditional mediums, and if I’m not a sucker for those.
That’s all for this month! I would’ve also put War by Laura Thalassa on this list, but since it doesn’t have a concrete May release date, I’m going to guess it’s not going to come out this month. Maybe June will be the time?
Regardless, there are so many books here to keep me busy. May 7th is especially going to try me, huh? *weeps* My poor wallet…
What books are coming out in May that have caught your eye? Any on my list you’re excited for? Let me know!