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23 May Releases We're Excited About

And what you can read in the meantime

By Ashly Moore Sheldon • April 16, 2024

Reading ahead

So what if we have to keep expanding our TBR shelves? There are always new books coming out that we want to find space for. From beachy romances to folklore and mythology retellings to the reappearances of beloved characters, May’s most anticipated list is especially packed with must-reads! Here are 23 upcoming releases across a mix of genres. These titles are available for preorder, but in the meantime, peruse our recommendations for similar reads that you can enjoy now.

Contemporary fiction

All Fours by Miranda July (May 14)

In this strange, hilarious, and sexy novel, a forty-something-year-old artist announces her plan to drive across the country. Twenty minutes after saying goodbye to her husband and child, she spontaneously leaves the highway, checks herself into a motel, and embarks on an entirely different kind of journey.

What to read first: The First Bad Man by Miranda July

The Guncle Abroad by Steven Rowley (May 21)

Patrick O'Hara is back! It's been five years since he spent that first summer caring for his niece and nephew after their mother's death. Now Maisie and Grant are moody young teens struggling to accept their dad's upcoming marriage in Italy. Once again, their free-spirited guncle helps them adjust to a new normal.

What to read first: The Guncle by Steven Rowley

Perfume and Pain by Anna Dorn (May 21)

After an incident that leaves her lightly canceled, author (and perfume aficionado) Astrid Dahl is trying to figure out how to revive her career. Meanwhile, she has discovered a few sexy distractions—like Ivy, a grad student researching 1950s lesbian pulp or her new neighbor, Penelope, who smells like patchouli.

What to read first: The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith

Joe Nuthin's Guide to Life by Helen Fisher (May 28)

Joe-Nathan likes his routines. Mean Charlie at work sometimes calls him Joe-Nuthin, but Joe is far from nothing. In this uplifting novel, a neurodivergent young man, following his mother's advice, learns that remarkable things can happen when you leave your comfort zone.

What to read first: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Mystery, thriller, and suspense 

The 24th Hour: Is This the End? by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (May 6)

SFPD Sergeant Lindsay Boxer, Medical Examiner Claire Washburn, Assistant District Attorney Yuki Castellano, and crime writer Cindy Thomas are toasting Cindy's upcoming marriage. Before they can raise their glasses, a woman in the restaurant is assaulted and, of course, The Women's Murder Club is on the case.  

What to read first: 1st to Die by James Patterson

The Return of Ellie Black by Emiko Jean (May 7)

Detective Chelsey Calhoun's life is turned upside down when she gets the call. Ellie Black, a teenager who disappeared two years earlier, has been found alive in the woods of Washington state. But something isn't right. Ellie won't reveal where she's been, and it's up to Chelsey to find the answers.

What to read first: Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica

Think Twice by Harlan Coben (May 14)

Three years ago, sports agent Myron Bolitar gave a eulogy at the funeral of his client, renowned basketball coach Greg Downing. Since then, Myron has made peace and moved on—until now. Two federal agents have walked into his office, demanding to know where Greg Downing is.

What to read first: Deal Breaker by Harlan Coben

Camino Ghosts by John Grisham (May 28)

In the newest Camino Island thriller, bookseller Bruce Cable lets novelist Mercer Mann in on a tale that might be her next novel. A giant resort developer is trying to claim ownership of a nearly deserted island between Florida and Georgia. But the island has a remarkable history. Locals believe it's cursed.

What to read first: Camino Island by John Grisham

First Frost: A Longmire Mystery by Craig Johnson (May 28)

Sheriff Walt Longmire returns in this twentieth installment of the award-winning and bestselling series set in the unspoiled countryside of Wyoming. This time, he is up against a sinister plot that could hurt the people closest to him and forever change the way he sees his beloved Wyoming.

What to read first: The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson

Southern Man by Greg Iles (May 28)

Fifteen years after the events of the Natchez Burning trilogy, Penn Cage is alone. Nearly all his loved ones are dead, his old allies gone, and he carries a mortal secret that separates him from the world. But Penn is drawn out of exile when a brawl at a Mississippi rap festival triggers a bloody mass shooting.

What to read first: The Quiet Game by Greg Iles

Sci-fi, fantasy, and horror

Five Broken Blades by Mai Corland (May 7)

The five most dangerous liars in the land have been summoned together for a single objective: to kill the merciless God King Joon. Each of the five blades has suffered under his rule. But, it’s not enough to forge an alliance. To survive, they’ll have to find a way to trust each other—even though only one can win the crown.

What to read first: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

When Among Crows by Veronica Roth (May 14)

This slim action-packed urban fairy tale centers on the unlikely alliance between Dymittr and Ala, each struggling with very different burdens. One fateful night in Chicago, Dymitr comes to Ala with a proposal that could help them both. Desperate, and unaware of what Dymitr really is, Ala agrees.

What to read first: Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh

You Like It Darker by Stephen King (May 21)

"You like it darker? Fine, so do I," writes the King of Horror in the afterword to his new collection delving into the darker part of life. Exploring themes of fate, mortality, luck, and the folds in reality where anything can happen, each of these iconic stories holds its own thrills, joys, and mysteries.

What to read first: Night Shift by Stephen King

Goddess of the River by Vaishnavi Patel (May 21)

A mother and a son. A goddess and a prince. A curse and an oath. A river whose course will change the fate of the world. This is a powerful reimagining of the story of Ganga, goddess of  the river, and her doomed mortal son. It's a tragic tale about the power of destiny and the strength of the maternal bond.

What to read first: Circe by Madeline Miller

Historical fiction 

Long Island by Colm Tóibín (May 7)

This novel returns to the complex and enigmatic heroine of Brooklyn. Now in her forties, Irish immigrant Eilis Lacey is married to Tony Fiorello and living amidst his sprawling Italian family on Long Island. One day when Tony is at work, an Irishman comes to her door and tells her that his wife is pregnant with Tony's child.

What to read first: Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín

The Hazelbourne Ladies Motorcycle and Flying Club by Helen Simonson (May 7)

1919, England: Now that the men have returned from the front, Constance Haverhill is among many women being asked to give up freedoms they gained during the war. Refreshing as a summer breeze and bracing as the British seaside, this charming novel offers a portrait of a nation on the brink of change. 

What to read first: The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson

This Strange Eventful History by Claire Messud (May 14)

This sprawling family saga, told with historical sweep, is the story of an Algerian-born French family over seven decades from 1940 to 2010. Separated in the chaos of World War II and running from a complicated colonial homeland, they navigate personal and political upheaval.

What to read first: A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende

The Goddess of Warsaw by Lisa Barr (May 28)

an enthralling tale of a legendary Hollywood screen goddess with a dark secret about her life in the Warsaw Ghetto. When the famous actress is threatened by someone from her past, she must put her skills into play to protect herself, her illustrious career, and those she loves, then and now.

What to read first: Woman on Fire by Lisa Barr


This Summer Will Be Different by Carley Fortune (May 7)

As a tourist on Prince Edward Island, Lucy meets Felix, a local who shows her a very good time. The only problem? He turns out to be her best friend's younger brother. Awkward! Lucy and Felix's chemistry is unreal, but they vow to never repeat that electric night again. It's easier said than done.

What to read first: Every Summer After by Carley Fortune

Summers at the Saint by Mary Kay Andrews (May 7)

Traci Eddings is the recently widowed owner of the St. Cecilia, a landmark hotel on the coast of Georgia, that's seen better days. Facing staff shortages, financial woes, and scheming in-laws Traci has one summer season to turn things around. And maybe even to find a new romance along the way.

What to read first: The Hotel Nantucket by Elin Hilderbrand

The Paradise Problem by Christina Lauren (May 14)

Anna is a free-spirited artist. Liam is the buttoned-up heir of a grocery fortune. A fake marriage benefits them both. Anna gets access to affordable housing. And Liam satisfies the conditions of his inheritance. But when Liam's one-percenter parents demand to meet his mysterious spouse, Liam worries that the gig is up.

What to read first: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Mind Games by Nora Roberts (May 21)

Twelve-year-old Thea isn't with her parents when they are murdered after dropping her off for a summer with her Grandma Lucy. But the psychic gift she shares with Lucy allows her to ensure that the killer is found and punished. This novel combines romance with suspense and a touch of the paranormal.

What to read first: Carolina Moon by Nora Roberts

Flock by Kate Stewart (May 21)

When Cecilia Horner arrives in the small town of Triple Falls, the plan is simple: she’ll keep her head down, work at her estranged father's factory and leave a year later with money for college and to help her mother. But when she meets sexy local Sean, he draws her into a new world of seduction, lies, and alliances.

What to read first: Credence by Penelope Douglas

Hopefully there’s something here that you want to add to your TBR list! Let us know which new books you’re most excited about this month.

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