26 New Books Hitting the Shelves in May 2021 | Anticipated Reads
A new month means a new list of upcoming releases to crush all of your TBRs. Honestly it’s my favorite time of the month because we all get to share in the collective excitement of new releases… because what is the bookish existence other than crying about all the books we won’t have the time to read?
May is full of so many book releases and this list is packed to the brim – this is the largest Anticipated Reads on Reader Voracious yet! I dare you to reach the end of this post without adding at least one book to your TBRs. (RIP to my bank account on May 4, why are there so many books coming out on this day?!)
Think of the Reader Voracious Anticipated Reads as a list of noteworthy books coming up for publication. These posts focus on books from my preferred genres (fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller in YA & adult) but are by no means a representation of everything being published. There’s no way I will be able to get to all of these books personally, but I think my readers would be interested in them so I want to share and boost.
- Books Released on May 1, 2021
- Books Releasing on May 4, 2021
- Hurricane Summer by Asha Bromfield
- Realm Breaker (Realm Breaker #1) by Victoria Aveyard
- Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee
- Walk Among Us: The Compiled Edition by Genevieve Gornichec, Cassandra Khaw, and Caitlin Starling
- The Wall by Mary Roberts Rinehart, introduction by Otto Penzler
- All Kinds of Other by James Sie
- Firebreak by Nicole Kornher-Stace
- Indivisible by Daniel Aleman
- The Dragon of Jin-Sayeng (Chronicles of Bitch Queen #3) by K.S. Villoso
- When You Get the Chance by Tom Ryan and Robin Stevenson
- The Shadow in the Glass by J.J.A. Harwood
- Master Artificer (The Silent Gods #2) by Justin Travis Call
- Sky Breaker (Night Spinner #2) by Addie Thorley
- Blade of Secrets (Bladesmith #1) by Tricia Levenseller
- Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon
- Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee
- The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He
- Books Releasing on May 11, 2021
- Books Releasing on May 18, 2021
- Books Releasing on May 25, 2021
- Let’s Chat!
Books Released on May 1, 2021
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People of Abandoned Character by Clare Whitfield
Age Range: Adult | Genre: Thriller | Pages: 432
Thomas’s behavior becomes increasingly volatile and violent. He stays out all night, returning home bloodied and full of secrets. The gentle caresses she enjoyed on her wedding night are now just a honeyed memory.
When the first woman is murdered in Whitechapel, Susannah’s interest is piqued. But as she follows the reports of the ongoing hunt for the killer, her mind takes her down the darkest path imaginable. Every time Thomas stays out late, another victim is found dead.
Is it coincidence? Or is her husband the man they call Jack the Ripper?
Books Releasing on May 4, 2021
Hurricane Summer by Asha Bromfield
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Contemporary | Pages: 400
When Tilla’s mother tells her she’ll be spending the summer on the island, Tilla dreads the idea of seeing him again, but longs to discover what life in Jamaica has always held for him.
In an unexpected turn of events, Tilla is forced to face the storm that unravels in her own life as she learns about the dark secrets that lie beyond the veil of paradise—all in the midst of an impending hurricane.
Hurricane Summer is a powerful coming of age story that deals with colorism, classism, young love, the father-daughter dynamic—and what it means to discover your own voice in the center of complete destruction.
✨ You can read an excerpt of Hurricane Summer here!
Realm Breaker (Realm Breaker #1) by Victoria Aveyard
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Fantasy, Epic | Pages: 576
Even Corayne an-Amarat can feel it, tucked away in her small town at the edge of the sea.
She soon discovers the truth: She is the last of an ancient lineage—and the last hope to save the world from destruction. But she won’t be alone. Even as darkness falls, she is joined by a band of unlikely companions:
A squire, forced to choose between home and honor.
An immortal, avenging a broken promise.
An assassin, exiled and bloodthirsty.
An ancient sorceress, whose riddles hide an eerie foresight.
A forger with a secret past.
A bounty hunter with a score to settle.
Together they stand against a vicious opponent, invincible and determined to burn all kingdoms to ash, and an army unlike anything the realm has ever witnessed.
✨ You can read an excerpt of Realm Breaker here!
Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Contemporary, Romance | Pages: 400
Noah Ramirez thinks he’s an expert on romance. He has to be for his popular blog, the Meet Cute Diary, a collection of trans happily ever afters. There’s just one problem—all the stories are fake. What started as the fantasies of a trans boy afraid to step out of the closet has grown into a beacon of hope for trans readers across the globe.
When a troll exposes the blog as fiction, Noah’s world unravels. The only way to save the Diary is to convince everyone that the stories are true, but he doesn’t have any proof. Then Drew walks into Noah’s life, and the pieces fall into place: Drew is willing to fake-date Noah to save the Diary. But when Noah’s feelings grow beyond their staged romance, he realizes that dating in real life isn’t quite the same as finding love on the page.
In this charming novel by Emery Lee, Noah will have to choose between following his own rules for love or discovering that the most romantic endings are the ones that go off script.
✨ You can read an excerpt of Meet Cute Diary here!
Walk Among Us: The Compiled Edition by Genevieve Gornichec, Cassandra Khaw, and Caitlin Starling
Age Range: Adult | Genre: Urban Fantasy, Novellas | Pages: 448
The subtle horror and infernal politics of the World of Darkness are shown in a new light in Vampire: The Masquerade: Walk Among Us, an audio-first collection of three novellas that show the terror, hunger, and power of the Kindred as you’ve never seen them before.
In Genevieve Gornichec’s A SHEEP AMONG WOLVES, depression and radicalization go hand-in-hand as a young woman finds companionship in the darkness…
In Cassandra Khaw’s FINE PRINT, an arrogant tech bro learns the importance of reading the fine print in the contract for immortality…
And in Caitlin Starling’s THE LAND OF MILK AND HONEY, ideals and ethics bump heads with appetite on a blood farm.
Three very different stories from three amazing, distinct voices, but all with one thing in common: the hunger never stops, and for someone to experience power, many others are going to have to feel pain.
The Wall by Mary Roberts Rinehart, introduction by Otto Penzler
Age Range: Adult | Genre: Classics, Gothic, Mystery | Pages: 312
From “the American Agatha Christie” Mary Roberts Rinehart comes a Golden Age murder mystery inspired by her own hauntingly beautiful coastal northeastern home in Bar Harbor; The Wall is both a love letter to quiet waterfront towns as well as a subtle indictment of a wealthy Old New York family attempting to preserve a bourgeois veneer in the shadow of the Great Depression. But beneath all that lies a timeless tale of a family whose conflicts and passions, long masked by efforts toward respectability, finally rise to the surface with violent results.
Originally serialized in The Saturday Evening Post and published in 1938, this classic small-town cozy was among Rinehart’s most popular titles in her day; reprinted for the first time in over twenty years, its atmospheric setting and memorable characters continue to distinguish it to this day. Includes discussion guide questions for use in book clubs.
All Kinds of Other by James Sie
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Contemporary, LGBT+ | Pages: 416
Two boys are starting at a new school.
Jules is just figuring out what it means to be gay and hasn’t totally decided whether he wants to be out at his new school. His parents and friends have all kinds of opinions, but for his part, Jules just wants to make the basketball team and keep his head down.
Jack is trying to start over after a best friend break-up. He followed his actor father clear across the country to LA, but he’s also totally ready to leave his past behind. Maybe this new school where no one knows him is exactly what he needs.
When the two boys meet, the sparks are undeniable. But then a video surfaces linking Jack to a pair of popular transgender vloggers, and the revelations about Jack’s past thrust both Jack and Jules into the spotlight they’ve been trying to avoid. Suddenly both boys have a choice to make—between lying low where it’s easier or following their hearts.
Firebreak by Nicole Kornher-Stace
Age Range: Adult | Genre: Science Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic | Pages: 416
Until a chance encounter with a SpecOps operative in the game leads Mal to a horrifying discovery: the real-life operatives weren’t created by Stellaxis. They were kids, just like her, who lost everything in the war, and were stolen and augmented and tortured into becoming supersoldiers. The world worships them, but the world believes a lie.
The company controls every part of their lives, and defying them puts everything at risk—her water ration, her livelihood, her connectivity, her friends, her life—but she can’t just sit on the knowledge. She has to do something—even if doing something will bring the wrath of the most powerful company in the world down upon her.
Indivisible by Daniel Aleman
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Contemporary, LGBT+ | Pages: 400
Mateo Garcia and his younger sister, Sophie, have been taught to fear one word for as long as they can remember: deportation. Over the past few years, however, the fear that their undocumented immigrant parents could be sent back to Mexico has started to fade. Ma and Pa have been in the United States for so long, they have American-born children, and they’re hard workers and good neighbors. When Mateo returns from school one day to find that his parents have been taken by ICE, he realizes that his family’s worst nightmare has become a reality. With his parents’ fate and his own future hanging in the balance, Mateo must figure out who he is and what he is capable of, even as he’s forced to question what it means to be an American.
Daniel Aleman’s Indivisible is a remarkable story — both powerful in its explorations of immigration in America and deeply intimate in its portrait of a teen boy driven by his fierce, protective love for his parents and his sister.
The Dragon of Jin-Sayeng (Chronicles of Bitch Queen #3) by K.S. Villoso
Age Range: Adult | Genre: Fantasy, Epic | Pages: 640
Queen Talyien is finally home, but dangers she never imagined await her in the shadowed halls of her father’s castle.
War is on the horizon. Her son has been stolen from her, her warlords despise her, and across the sea, a cursed prince threatens her nation with invasion in order to win her hand.
Worse yet, her father’s ancient secrets are dangerous enough to bring Jin Sayeng to ruin. Dark magic tears rifts in the sky, preparing to rain down madness, chaos, and the possibility of setting her nation aflame.
Bearing the brunt of the past and uncertain about her future, Talyien will need to decide between fleeing her shadows or embracing them before the whole world becomes an inferno.
The Chronicles of the Bitch Queen
The Wolf of Oren-yaro
The Ikessar Falcon
The Dragon of Jin-Sayeng
When You Get the Chance by Tom Ryan and Robin Stevenson
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Contemporary, LGBT+ | Pages: 272
As kids, Mark and his cousin Talia spent many happy summers together at the family cottage in Ontario, but a fight between their parents put an end to the annual event. Living on opposite coasts — Mark in Halifax and Talia in Victoria — they haven’t seen each other in years. When their grandfather dies unexpectedly, Mark and Talia find themselves reunited at the cottage once again, cleaning it out while the family decides what to do with it.
Mark and Talia are both queer, but they soon realize that’s about all they have in common, other than the fact that they’d both prefer to be in Toronto. Talia is desperate to see her high school sweetheart Erin, who’s barely been in touch since leaving to spend the summer working at a coffee shop in the Gay Village. Mark, on the other hand, is just looking for some fun, and Toronto Pride seems like the perfect place to find it.
When a series of complications throws everything up in the air, Mark and Talia — with Mark’s little sister Paige in tow — decide to hit the road for Toronto. With a bit of luck, and some help from a series of unexpected new friends, they might just make it to the big city and find what they’re looking for. That is, if they can figure out how to start seeing things through each other’s eyes.
The Shadow in the Glass by J.J.A. Harwood
Age Range: Adult | Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy | Pages: 416
Now forced to work hard under the unforgiving, lecherous gaze of the man she once called stepfather, Ella’s only refuge is in the books she reads by candlelight, secreted away in the library she isn’t permitted to enter.
One night, among her beloved books of far-off lands, Ella’s wishes are answered. At the stroke of midnight, a fairy godmother makes her an offer that will change her life: seven wishes, hers to make as she pleases. But each wish comes at a price and Ella must to decide whether it’s one she’s willing to pay it.
A smouldering, terrifying new spin on Cinderella – perfect for fans of Laura Purcell and Erin Morgenstern.
Master Artificer (The Silent Gods #2) by Justin Travis Call
Age Range: Adult | Genre: Fantasy | Pages: 866
Annev has avoided one fate. But a darker path may still claim him . . .
After surviving the destruction of Chaenbalu, new mysteries and greater threats await Annev and his friends in the capital city of Luqura. As they navigate the city’s perilous streets, Annev searches for a way to control his nascent magic and remove the cursed artifact now fused to his body.
But what might removing it cost him?
As Annev grapples with his magic, Fyn joins forces with old enemies and new allies, waging a secret war against Luqura’s corrupt guilds in the hopes of forging his own criminal empire. Deep in the Brakewood, Myjun is learning new skills of her own as apprentice to Oyru, the shadow assassin who attacked the village of Chaenbalu – but the power of revenge comes at a daunting price. And back in Chaenbalu itself, left for dead in the Academy’s ruins, Kenton seeks salvation in the only place he can: the power hoarded in the Vault of Damnation . . .
Sky Breaker (Night Spinner #2) by Addie Thorley
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Dark Fantasy | Pages: 432
Meanwhile, Zemyan forces have stormed the Ashkarian capital. Imperial Army Commander Ghoa throws all of her power into a last-ditch effort to save her king, only to be abandoned by her fellow warriors. Held captive in a prison forged of magic and tortured by the zealous sorcerer Kartok, Ghoa learns his true ambitions lie far beyond the warring countries—he wants vengeance on the gods themselves.
The war between Ashkar and Zemya began centuries ago as a feud amongst the gods. Now it’s up to the two most hated people on the continent—the monstrous outcast, Enebish, and the notorious war criminal, Ghoa—to heal that spiritual divide before Kartok brings the skies crashing down on all of them.
Wicked Saints meets the Grishaverse in this stunning and relentless conclusion to the Night Spinner duology.
Blade of Secrets (Bladesmith #1) by Tricia Levenseller
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Fantasy | Pages: 336
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.
Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon
Age Range: Adult | Genre: Science Fiction, LGBT+ | Pages: 368
But even in the forest, Vern is a hunted woman. Forced to fight back against the community that refuses to let her go, she unleashes incredible brutality far beyond what a person should be capable of, her body wracked by inexplicable and uncanny changes.
To understand her metamorphosis and to protect her small family, Vern has to face the past, and more troublingly, the future – outside the woods. Finding the truth will mean uncovering the secrets of the compound she fled but also the violent history in America that produced it.
Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Historical Fiction | Pages: 384
Southampton, 1912: Seventeen-year-old British-Chinese Valora Luck has quit her job and smuggled herself aboard the Titanic with two goals in mind: to reunite with her twin brother Jamie–her only family now that both their parents are dead–and to convince a part-owner of the Ringling Brothers Circus to take the twins on as acrobats. Quick-thinking Val talks her way into opulent firstclass accommodations and finds Jamie with a group of fellow Chinese laborers in third class. But in the rigidly stratified world of the luxury liner, Val’s ruse can only last so long, and after two long years apart, it’s unclear if Jamie even wants the life Val proposes. Then, one moonless night in the North Atlantic, the unthinkable happens–the supposedly unsinkable ship is dealt a fatal blow–and Val and her companions suddenly find themselves in a race to survive.
Stacey Lee, master of historical fiction, brings a fresh perspective to an infamous tragedy, loosely inspired by the recently uncovered account of six Titanic survivors of Chinese descent.
✨ You can read an excerpt of Luck of the Titanic here!
The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Science Fiction | Pages: 384
Cee has been trapped on an abandoned island for three years without any recollection of how she arrived, or memories from her life prior. All she knows is that somewhere out there, beyond the horizon, she has a sister named Kay. Determined to find her, Cee devotes her days to building a boat from junk parts scavenged inland, doing everything in her power to survive until the day she gets off the island and reunites with her sister.
In a world apart, 16-year-old STEM prodigy Kasey Mizuhara is also living a life of isolation. The eco-city she calls home is one of eight levitating around the world, built for people who protected the planet―and now need protecting from it. With natural disasters on the rise due to climate change, eco-cities provide clean air, water, and shelter. Their residents, in exchange, must spend at least a third of their time in stasis pods, conducting business virtually whenever possible to reduce their environmental footprint. While Kasey, an introvert and loner, doesn’t mind the lifestyle, her sister Celia hated it. Popular and lovable, Celia much preferred the outside world. But no one could have predicted that Celia would take a boat out to sea, never to return.
Now it’s been three months since Celia’s disappearance, and Kasey has given up hope. Logic says that her sister must be dead. But as the public decries her stance, she starts to second guess herself and decides to retrace Celia’s last steps. Where they’ll lead her, she does not know. Her sister was full of secrets. But Kasey has a secret of her own.
Books Releasing on May 11, 2021
A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark
Age Range: Adult | Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy | Pages: 400
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….
✨ You can read an excerpt of A Master of Djinn here!
Son of the Storm (The Nameless Republic #1) by Suyi Davies Okungbowa
Age Range: Adult | Genre: Fantasy | Pages: 496
“Everything I love in a fantasy novel. Damn good stuff!” —Jenn Lyons, author of The Ruin of Kings
In the ancient city of Bassa, Danso is a clever scholar on the cusp of achieving greatness—only he doesn’t want it. Instead, he prefers to chase forbidden stories about what lies outside the city walls. The Bassai elite claim there is nothing of interest. The city’s immigrants are sworn to secrecy.
But when Danso stumbles across a warrior wielding magic that shouldn’t exist, he’s put on a collision course with Bassa’s darkest secrets. Drawn into the city’s hidden history, he sets out on a journey beyond its borders. And the chaos left in the wake of his discovery threatens to destroy the empire.
✨ You can read an excerpt of Son of the Storm here!
Illusionary (Hollow Crown #2) by Zoraida Córdova
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Fantasy, Epic | Pages: 368
With the king’s forces on their heels at every turn, their quest across Puerto Leones and beyond leaves little room for mistakes. But the greatest danger is within Ren. The Gray, her fortress of stolen memories, has begun to crumble, threatening her grip on reality. She’ll have to control her magics–and her mind–to unlock her power and protect the Moria people once and for all.
For years, she was wielded as weapon. Now it’s her time to fight back.
Books Releasing on May 18, 2021
Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Contemporary, Romance | Pages: 336
In a whirlwind, Izzy travels to Japan to meet the father she never knew and discover the country she always dreamed of. But being a princess isn’t all ball gowns and tiaras. There are conniving cousins, a hungry press, a scowling but handsome bodyguard who just might be her soulmate, and thousands of years of tradition and customs to learn practically overnight.
Izzy soon finds herself caught between worlds, and between versions of herself—back home, she was never “American” enough, and in Japan, she must prove she’s “Japanese” enough. Will Izumi crumble under the weight of the crown, or will she live out her fairytale, happily ever after?
It Goes Like This by Miel Moreland
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Contemporary, LGBT+ | Pages: 352
Eva, Celeste, Gina, and Steph used to think their friendship was unbreakable. After all, they’ve been though a lot together, including the astronomical rise of Moonlight Overthrow, the world-famous queer pop band they formed in middle school, never expecting to headline anything bigger than the county fair.
But after a sudden falling out leads to the dissolution of the teens’ band, their friendship, and Eva and Celeste’s starry-eyed romance, nothing is the same. Gina and Celeste step further into the spotlight, Steph disappears completely, and Eva, heartbroken, takes refuge as a songwriter and secret online fangirl…of her own band. That is, until a storm devastates their hometown, bringing the four ex-best-friends back together. As they prepare for one last show, they’ll discover whether growing up always means growing apart.
In The Ravenous Dark by A.M. Strickland
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Dark Fantasy, LGBT+ | Pages: 400
In Thanopolis, those gifted with magic are assigned undead spirits to guard them—and control them. Ever since Rovan’s father died trying to keep her from this fate, she’s hidden her magic. But when she accidentally reveals her powers, she’s bound to a spirit and thrust into a world of palace intrigue and deception.
Desperate to escape, Rovan finds herself falling for two people she can’t fully trust: Lydea, a beguiling, rebellious princess; and Ivrilos, the handsome spirit with the ability to control Rovan, body and soul.
Together, they uncover a secret that will destroy Thanopolis. To save them all, Rovan will have to start a rebellion in both the mortal world and the underworld, and find a way to trust the princess and spirit battling for her heart—if she doesn’t betray them first.
✨ You can read an excerpt of In the Ravenous Dark here!
Books Releasing on May 25, 2021
The Kingdoms by Natasha Pulley
Age Range: Adult | Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction | Pages: 448
Joe Tournier has a bad case of amnesia. His first memory is of stepping off a train in the nineteenth-century French colony of England. The only clue Joe has about his identity is a century-old postcard of a Scottish lighthouse that arrives in London the same month he does. Written in illegal English—instead of French—the postcard is signed only with the letter “M,” but Joe is certain whoever wrote it knows him far better than he currently knows himself, and he’s determined to find the writer. The search for M, though, will drive Joe from French-ruled London to rebel-owned Scotland and finally onto the battle ships of a lost empire’s Royal Navy. In the process, Joe will remake history, and himself.
From bestselling author Natasha Pulley, The Kingdoms is an epic, wildly original novel that bends genre as easily as it twists time.
The Lights of Prague by Nicole Jarvis
Age Range: Adult | Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction | Pages: 416
In the quiet streets of Prague all manner of otherworldly creatures lurk in the shadows. Unbeknownst to its citizens, their only hope against the tide of predators are the dauntless lamplighters – a secret elite of monster hunters whose light staves off the darkness each night. Domek Myska leads a life teeming with fraught encounters with the worst kind of evil: pijavice, bloodthirsty and soulless vampiric creatures. Despite this, Domek find solace in his moments spent in the company of his friend, the clever and beautiful Lady Ora Fischerová– a widow with secrets of her own.
When Domek finds himself stalked by the spirit of the White Lady – a ghost who haunts the baroque halls of Prague castle – he stumbles across the sentient essence of a will-o’-the-wisp, a mischievous spirit known to lead lost travellers to their death, but who, once captured, are bound to serve the desires of their owners.
After discovering a conspiracy amongst the pijavice that could see them unleash terror on the daylight world, Domek finds himself in a race against those who aim to twist alchemical science for their own dangerous gain.
✨ You can read an excerpt of The Lights of Prague here!
The publishing industry is always focused on the new and shiny releases, typically ceasing promotion within a week of the book birthday. I hope that this list brought some new books to your attention and I hope you are able to support the ones you’re interested in!
Which books coming out in May are you excited about? What have you read and would recommend? Let’s talk in the comments!
Let’s go on another adventure together!