May is a month for living, being outside, enjoying nature, and, of course, reading books! This May looks to be especially good for that last one with a ton of fun and interesting releases.
Firebreak is on my must-read list as it’s been hailed as a mix of Ready Player One, Black Mirror, and cyberpunk. That one sounds really neat. There is also a new book from Andy Weir coming out this month called Project Hail Mary. I must’ve read The Martian three times by now and I’m excited to see what he does with another “man alone in space” story.
The latest from Mia P. Manansala, Arsenic and Adobo, is right at the top of my list this month. A cozy culinary mystery about a chef and a dead food critic with a unique twist, I love it already. Emily Henry also has a great romance book coming out this month called People We Meet on Vacation about two best friends giving it one last shot. I can’t wait to get my hands on that one!
This month also sees P. Djèlí Clark making his long-awaited fantasy novel debut with A Master of Djinn. Other highlights this month include Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon, the latest in The Loop series, Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake by Alexis Hall, and much more. Keep on reading for my list of the best upcoming books for May 2021.
Best Upcoming Cozy Mystery Books: May 2021
Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala: The first book in a new series by Mia P. Manansala is one of the most anticipated mystery novels of the year thus far. The story sees a woman named Lila moving home to recover from a breakup while also trying to save Tita Rosie’s failing restaurant. When a nasty food critic, and Lila’s ex-boyfriend, drops dead after a confrontation with Lila, she finds herself as the top suspect in the case. She’ll will have to clear her own name if she hopes to stay out of jail and save the restaurant.
See Something by Carol J. Perry: Carol J. Perry’s latest Witch City Mystery sees Lee take a distraught woman into her home. She doesn’t know much about this mystery woman, but when a body washes up in a harbor cove, she can’t but wonder if she is harboring a killer.
The Ghost and the Haunted Portrait by Cleo Coyle: Bookshop owner Penelope Thornton-McClure and her team are on the case of a madwoman’s self-portrait that is causing accidents among those around it in the seventh entry in the Haunted Bookshop Mystery series.
Murder in the Mews by Celina Grace: Miss Hart and Miss Hunter return to 1835 London to investigate a servant who has been accused of murdering their employer. They are friends with the servant, but are finding it hard to help when she was the only one in the house with her employer at the time of crime.
For Batter or Worse by Jenn McKinlay: This will be the 13th entry in the Cupcake Bakery Mystery series. This book sees Joe and Mel planning their wedding. They plan to have it at the resort where their friend Oz works. Things get tricky when the head chef insults Mel’s bakery and later turns up dead, leaving Oz is the prime suspect. The couple will work to clear their friend’s name.
Best Upcoming Fantasy/Sci-Fi Books: May 2021
We Are Satellites by Sarah Pinsker: Pinsker’s new novel tells the story of one family and how technology divides them. Pilot is a new technology, a brain implant that helps with learning, and everyone wants one. Val and Julie question it, but their son David wants one so they reluctantly agree. Then Julie feels pressure at work to get one while their daughter Sophie is vehemently against it. The Pilot ends up becoming popular and those without find themselves left behind. This leads Sophie starting an anti-Pilot movement which will put her against the people she loves the most.
The Block by Ben Oliver: The Loop came out in April of 2020 of last year and the follow-up comes out this month, just over a year later. The story follows teens caught in The Loop, a long repetitive purgatory for teens sentenced to death row where they have scientific and medical experiments performed on them. The Block picks up where that book left off with Luka now trapped in a fate worse than death.
Blade of Secrets by Tricia Levenseller : The first in a new series from Tricia Levenseller that sees a teenage blacksmith forced to go on a run to protect the world from a powerful magical sword.
Firebreak by Nicole Kornher-Stace: In the future, the United States has been replaced by two corporations: Stellaxis Innovations and Greenleaf. There are nine supercities with only New Liberty City split between the two corporations. That leaves New Liberty City in a perpetual state of civil war. Mallory lives in New Liberty City, but spends most of her time logged into BestLifew where she streams Stellaxis’s wargame SecOps. Mal has an encounter with one of the game’s rare super-soldiers which leads her to a bit of online fame and to her uncovering deadly secrets about BestLife’s developer.
A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark: Djèlí Clark has won Nebula, Locus, and Alex awards for his novellas, but this will be his fantasy novel debut. The book takes place in his alternate Cairo universe where Fatma el-Sha’arawi, the youngest woman working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, is called upon to investigate the murderer who claims to be al-Jahiz who opened the veil between the magical and mundane realms forty years ago before disappearing.
Best Upcoming Horror Books: May 2021
Screams from the Void by Anne Tibbets: The Demeter freighter is in deep space, collecting botanical life from other planets. It is tedious work and a lesson in patience. Raina has about had enough of it because the ship is also home to her abusive ex and her overbearing boss. When a foreign biological creature sneaks aboard and wreaks havoc, Raina must find her grit if she wishes to survive.
Goblin by Josh Malerman: Josh Malerman’s book is a novel that is split into six different novellas. Goblin refers to the name of the seemingly normal town that the stories take place in. However, there are secrets hiding behind the doors of the town. Goblin is home to your darkest fears and desires.
Black Water Sister by Zen Cho: Jessamyn Teoh has started to hear a voice in her head, but she assumes that it is just the stress of moving back to Malaysia with her parents. However, she soon learns that the voice isn’t hers, but that of the ghost of her estranged grandmother who was the avatar of a mysterious deity called the Black Water Sister. Her grandmother is out to settle a score who has offended the god and decides to use Jess to help her do it, whether Jess wants to or not.
Prom House by Chelsea Mueller: This looks like a fun YA horror novel about a group of ten who decide to share a prom house on the New Jersey shore. When people start dying, panic ensues and the guest start to wonder: is someone’s date a killer?
Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon: A pregnant Vern looks to escape the strict religious compound where she was raised. She heads to the woods where she gives birth to twins and makes plans to raise them away from the influence of the outside world. However, the community she fled is not willing to let her go and seeks her out. Vern ends up unleashing some incredible brutality on her pursuers which leaves her body changed in uncanny ways. Vern looks to understand her metamorphosis by facing her past and her future.
Best Upcoming Mystery/Thriller Books: May 2021
The Decagon House Murders by Yukito Ayatsuji: This translated Japanese mystery is purported to have one of the most satisfying conclusions you’ll ever read. The story sees the members of a university mystery club visiting an island which was the site of an unsolved multiple murder the year before. However, before they can get too deep into the old case there is a murder as it turns out the mystery club is being targeted.
21st Birthday by by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro: The latest entry in the long-running Women’s Murder Club series sees Detective Lindsay Boxer protecting a young woman from a serial killer.
While Justice Sleeps by Stacey Abrams: Avery Keene is a law clerk for the legendary Justice Howard Wynn who has just become his legal guardians as he has slipped into a coma. She finds that her boss had been researching a controversial court case and a conspiracy that goes to the highest powers in Washington. Avery will have to try to figure out the clues left behind by the judge, clues that could lead her directly into danger.
The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz: Jacob Finch Bonner was once a promising young novelist, but now finds himself struggling to maintain his self-respect. He hasn’t written in years and is now teaching at a third-rate MFA program. One day, one of his students announces that he doesn’t need his teacher’s help because his novel is a sure thing. Worst of all, he’s right and Jacob knows it. He waits for the book to become a major hit, but it never does because the student has died. So Jake steals it and gets all of that success. Until, at the height of his fame, he gets an email calling him a thief.
Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir: Andy Weir rose to fame with The Martian and his latest looks like another space-based hit. While this is definitely a science-fiction book, I put it here because it looks like a pure edge-of-your-seat thriller as one man is left alone in space to stop an extinction-level threat to humanity.
Best Upcoming Romance Books: May 2021
People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry: For ten summers, Alex and Poppy have taken a vacation together. They couldn’t be more different, but their friendship has made for some great trips over the years…until the last one. That was two years ago and they haven’t spoken since. However, Poppy realizes that was the last time she was truly happy and convinces Alex to make one last trip, and one last shot at a relationship.
The Invisible Husband of Frick Island by Colleen Oakley: Piper has a nearly perfect life except for one thing: her husband is dead. Instead of mourning, she simply goes on living as if he is still there and the people of the town play along. When an ambitious young journalist sees her while in town covering a story, he starts working on another story about Piper and her husband. A story that will change everything.
Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake by Alexis Hall: Rosaline has always lived her life by the rule that following the recipe is the key to a successful bake. Her life hasn’t quite turned out how she planned, but a spot on a beloved baking TV show could change everything for her.
Dream Spinner by Kristen Ashley: The third book in the steamy Dream Team series sees Hattie Yates, a woman afraid of disappointment, who finds herself the victim of a stalker. There is only one man she can turn to, Axl Pantera. Axl knows that she is the only woman for him, if she’ll just give him a chance, but he’ll first have to get his hands dirty to keep her safe.
The Insiders by Tijan: This will be the first in a new romance trilogy by Tijan. The story begins when Bailey’s life is upended as she finds out her real father is billionaire tech genius Peter Francis. She finds this out when she meets Kash, an associate of her father’s, who has been sent to protect her.
That’s my reading list for May. What’s on yours? Share what you’re reading below so I can add to my list!