These are some of the most anticipated books for the last month of spring
All bookworms know that familiar feeling of enthusiasm and anticipation when your favourite bookish publication, or bookstore, or frankly, just Goodreads, drops the following month’s new releases. We want to do our own monthly list of recommendations here at Coffee Time Reviews, kicking off with May 2021’s new releases, broken down into 5 popular genres.
It’s the last weeks before summer, the sun is shining (even here, in the windy and indecisive North of England) and people have started roaming the streets. Now the cliche image where you sit outside in a chic coffee shop with an enormous latte, reading a gelato-pink book can finally be put into practice.
After numerous caffeine-driven scrolls through publishers’ websites, Goodreads, and other platforms, to test, sniff, if you will, what the printing presses are working to drop out warm and smelling of fresh ink in a few days in our mailing lists, I noticed a lot of colour, a lot of romance, and a lot of delicious titles. Here they are, broken down by genre.
I could probably make a list of romance-only releases in the month of May alone, as this genre was the hardest to choose from. I might be biased but the first of these recs chose itself, and I am here for it, as I’m sure, many other readers are.
Heartstopper, volume 4, by Alice Oseman
Boy meets boy. Boys become friends. Boys fall in love.
The beautiful, heart-warming, and oh-so-important coming-of-age queer romance between Nick and Charlie is finally coming in print, with its fourth volume, to be released on May 6th by Hodder Children’s Books. Alice Oseman’s webcomic Heartstopper got me into queer romance in the first place, and I am now a dedicated fan (at the minute waiting excitedly to receive a signed poster and the book, and take part in the online release with Waterstones — need I say more?).
This volume covers some of Charlie’s darkest mental health moments, Nick’s struggle to come out to his father, and how the boys find the strength to say I love you. A story all about the beauty and challenges of teenage queer love, with a wonderfully diverse, brave, and supportive set of characters, Heartstopper is a story for everyone, regardless of age, sexuality, or reading taste.
The Soulmate Equation, by Christina Lauren
Jess holds her loved ones close, but working constantly to stay afloat is hard…and lonely. But then Jess hears about GeneticAlly, a buzzy new DNA-based matchmaking company that’s predicted to change dating forever. Finding a soulmate through DNA? The reliability of numbers: This Jess understands.
I picked this book because the synopsis gave me major The Hating Game flashbacks, and that was a 5/5 romance for me. A single mother specialising in data and statistics finds a matchmaking company that does just that: data and statistics, a science she can finally trust. This plot trope sounds original and intriguing, going beyond the whimsical idea that love cannot be quantified, or determined scientifically. The Soulmate Equation is set to release on May 18th by Gallery Books and I am beyond curious to pick it up.
My favourite genre had to be featured, not least that it’s looking very promising with some exciting new additions to drop next month. It was, again, to no one’s surprise, very challenging to pick just two books to recommend, but I’m sure they’ll intrigue you. And, if you’re not a contemporary fan, maybe they can convert you.
Rainy Day Ramen and the Cosmic Pachinko, by Gordon Vanstone
After three years in Japan, Fred Buchanan is broke, unemployed, and engaged in a telepathic turf war with a feral cat behind an Okinawa convenience store.
If the title or the blurb haven’t caught your attention, I don’t know what else will. This book basically promises a weird exploration of Japanese culture of a man with a below-average life who decides he wants more. The synopsis promises magical realism, as Fred tries to find meaning in his ordinary life, and ends up encountering a kite-flyer, a hostess with strange powers, and a jazz musician with missing fingers. Rainy Day Ramen and the Cosmic Pachinko will be released on May 7th by Dollarbird. And I’m already fascinated by the narrative of a lost man foggy-mindedly traveling through Tokyo in search of meaning.
A Special Place for Women, by Laura Hankin
It’s a club like no other. Only the most important women receive an invitation. But one daring young reporter is about to infiltrate this female-run secret society, whose beguiling members are caught up in a dark and treacherous business.
The plot sounds very good for this one. Journalist Jillian Beckley’s career is going downhill so she has decided to investigate a secret women-only club, whose members seem to pull the strings on some of the most serious events in New York City. But once her investigation starts, Jillian realises these elite women are not entirely harmless, nor to be underestimated. Not only am I always on the lookout for a good journalism story, but this sounds much more fascinating than that, and I’m very excited to see what Laura Hankin has done with this narrative. A Special Place for Women will be released on May 11th by Berkley Books.
Whether you like to dive into a good dystopian, sci-fi, or straight-up imaginary world with different political systems, creatures, and social rules, these two upcoming releases both open new fantasy series ready for our alternate reality cravings.
The First Sister, by Linden A. Lewis
First Sister has no name and no voice. As a priestess of the Sisterhood, she travels the stars alongside the soldiers of Earth and Mars — the same ones who own the rights to her body and soul.
A fantastical story of love, trust, and loyalty, The First Sister is set on a spaceship, where the nameless female protagonist is trapped and made to spy on the ship’s captain, First Sister learns about the efforts of being involved in a war, and falls in love with a soldier determined to get revenge. The First Sister will be released on May 13th, by Hodder & Stoughton.
Realm Breaker, by Victoria Aveyard
A strange darkness grows in Allward. Even Corayne an-Amarat can feel it, tucked away in her small town at the edge of the sea.
The first book in the Realm Breaker series, this book tells the story of a mixed set of characters with different backgrounds, purposes, and motivations, all fighting against an unknown enemy set to burn their kingdom. In what sounds like a Lord of the Rings-style plot, Realm Breaker will follow a girl of ancient lineage and her allies in a quest to save the world from destruction. It will be released on May 4th, by Orion Publishing.
What’s a sunny day without a good, fast-paced mystery? Although darker and less reminiscent of gelato and the sea, mysteries are some of the most entertaining, easy-to-follow, engaging books. These two upcoming releases are a little different from the who-did-it narrative, while still keeping the mystery element alive.
Six Weeks to Live, by Katherine McKenzie
A gripping psychological suspense novel about a woman diagnosed with cancer who sets out to discover if someone poisoned her before her time is up
Jennifer has just found out her terminal brain cancer has left her with mere weeks to live. But when she suddenly remembers an attempt was made on her life a year earlier, she sets out to uncover who might have wanted her dead, all while juggling her divorce, and the time she wants to spend with her family, while she still can. This mystery sounds heart-pounding, particularly because the protagonist, and main investigator of the near-murder, has a few weeks to uncover the truth. Six Weeks to Live will be released on May 4th, by Atria Books.
The Watcher Girl, by Minka Kent
A woman’s suspicions about her ex-boyfriend become a dangerous obsession in a twisting novel of psychological suspense
Eight years on from breaking up with her boyfriend, Grace decides to make sure he got over it. But a social media search has found he married someone looking exactly like her, named his daughter Grace, and moved to her hometown. In an attempt to understand his decision, Grace moves to the same town and decides to start watching him. The plot sounds very similar to The Girl on the Train, although the premise is different, but when Grace finds out her ex is not how he used to be, she tries to save his wife and daughter. So, for any fans of the mystery classic by Paula Hawkins, this sounds like a similar narrative, and maybe just as gripping. The Watcher Girl will be released on May 1st, by Thomas & Mercer.
And in case you’re up for gathering some knowledge and expanding your areas of expertise, or maybe if you’re the curious, down-to-earth reader who won’t buy fiction easily, these two exciting non-fiction releases might be for you.
The Last Days of New York: A Reporter’s True Tale, by Seth Barron
The story of how a corrupted political system hollowed out New York City, leaving it especially vulnerable, all in the name of equity and “fairness.”
Journalist Seth Barron sets out to investigate the corruption and hidden causes behind New York’s most recent crises, from the Black Lives Matter protests and culminating with its poor handling of the coronavirus pandemic, placing mayor Bill de Blasio as the main factor in the city’s decline. The Last Days of New York will be released on May 4th.
All the Colors Came Out: A Father, a Daughter, and a Lifetime of Lessons, by Kate Fagan
Studded with unforgettable scenes of humor, pain and hope, Kate Fagan has written a book that plumbs the mysteries of the unique gifts fathers gives daughters, ones that resonate across time and circumstance.
In this heart-warming memoir, Kate Fagan shares the love between a father and daughter who share the same passion for basketball, and how their relationship is forged through the game. The book uncovers the challenges of their relationship as Kate got older and the shattering diagnosis of her father that drew her to quit her high-profile job and spend her father’s last year with him, strengthening their bond once again. All the Colors Came Out will be released on May 18th, by Little, Brown, and Company.