May To Be Read List

May is a month filled with a ton of exciting releases. Consequently, this month I will reading, almost exclusively, new releases along with books for book clubs or events I plan to attend.

Newly Published

Chain Gang All-Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

This seems to be on every most anticipated book of 2023 list. I am super excited to dive in simply based upon the synopsis.

Synopsis: Two top women gladiators fight for their freedom within a depraved private prison system not so far-removed from America’s own in this explosive, hotly-anticipated debut novel.

Publication Date: May 2, 2023

The Half Moon by Mary Beth Keane

Although I did not love Ask Again, Yes, I appreciated the writing and have been looking forward to Keane’s next book.

Synopsis: From the bestselling author of Ask Again, Yes, a masterful novel about a couple in a small town who must navigate the complexities of marriage, family, and longing.

Publication Date: May 2, 2023

A History of Burning by Janika Oza

This is one of my most anticipated books of the year, and I am lucky enough to have an ARC to dive into this month!

Synopsis: This epic, sweeping historical novel full of “wondrous complexity” spans continents and a century, and reveals how one act of survival can reverberate through generations.

Publication Date: May 2, 2023

Paper Names by Susan Luo

I am so happy that this is a May Book of the Month selection.

Synopsis: An unexpected act of violence brings together a Chinese-American family and a wealthy white lawyer in this propulsive and sweeping story of family, identity and the American experience—for fans of Jean Kwok, Mary Beth Keane and Naima Coster.

Publication Date: May 2, 2023

Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley

I had an early copy of Firekeeper’s Daughter and shared my love for everyone to hear prior to its release. Needless to say, I have high hopes for its sequel.

Synopsis: Author of Firekeeper’s Daughter Angeline Boulley takes us back to Sugar Island in this high-stakes thriller about the power of discovering your stolen history.

Publication Date: May 2, 2023

Our Migrant Souls: A Meditation on Race and the Meanings and Myths of “Latino” by Héctor Tobar

One of my trusted friends on Bookstagram highly recommended this one, and I was able to snag an audio ARC.

Synopsis: Our Migrant Souls: A Meditation on Race and the Meanings and Myths of “Latino” assembles the Pulitzer Prize winner Héctor Tobar’s personal experiences as the son of Guatemalan immigrants and the stories told to him by his Latinx students to offer a spirited rebuke to racist ideas about Latino people.

Publication Date: May 9, 2023

The Garden of Lost Secrets by Kelly Bowen

Synopsis: Two sisters discover the fairy tales written by their great-grandmother during WWII in this riveting tale of one woman’s secrets lost in the chaos of war.

Publication Date: May 16, 2023

A Renaissance of Our Own: A Memoir & Manifesto on Reimagining by Rachel E. Cargle

Synopsis: From a highly lauded modern voice in feminism and racial justice comes a deeply personal and insightful testament to the power of reimagining to dismantle the frameworks and systems that no longer serve us while building new ones that do.

Publication Date: May 16, 2023

Rogue Justice by Stacey Abrams

Synopsis: The #1 New York Times bestselling author of While Justice Sleeps returns with another riveting and intricately plotted thriller, in which a blackmailed federal judge, a secret court and a brazen murder may lead to an unprecedented national crisis.

Publication Date: May 23, 2023

Drowning: The Rescue of Flight 1621 by T.J. Newman

I cannot express in words my excitement for this one!

Synopsis: An edge-of-your-seat thriller about a commercial jetliner that crashes into the ocean and sinks to the bottom with passengers trapped inside—and the extraordinary rescue operation to save them.

Publication Date: May 30, 2023

The Forgotten Girls: A Memoir of Friendship and Lost Promise in Rural America by Monica Potts

Synopsis: Talented and ambitious, Monica Potts and her best friend, Darci, were both determined to make something of themselves. How did their lives turn out so different?

Publication Date: May 30, 2023

The Long Way Back by Nicole Baart

I think there may be a chance this June release may be a BOTM pick, so I am going to try to read it before the selections are uploaded.

Synopsis: When an Instagram-famous teenager mysteriously disappears, her mother grapples with the revelation of dark secrets in this twisty, atmospheric thriller

Publication Date: June 13, 2023

The Rachel Incident by Caroline O’Donoghue

I think there may be a chance this June release may be a BOTM pick, so I am going to try to read it before the selections are uploaded.

Synopsis: A brilliantly funny novel about friends, lovers, Ireland in chaos, and a young woman desperately trying to manage all three.

Publication Date: June 27, 2023

Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton

The length of this book has prevented me from picking up sooner, but I am determined to do so this month.

Synopsis: A gripping psychological thriller from the Booker Prize–winning author of The Luminaries in which a landslide has closed the Korowai Pass on New Zealand’s South Island, cutting off the town of Thorndike and leaving a sizable farm abandoned. The disaster presents an opportunity for Birnam Wood, an undeclared, unregulated, sometimes-criminal, sometimes-philanthropic guerrilla gardening collective that plants crops wherever no one will notice. 

Publication Date: March 7, 2023

Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson

Synopsis: A deliciously funny, sharply observed debut of family, love, and class, this zeitgeisty novel follows three women in one wealthy Brooklyn clan.

Publication Date: March 7, 2023

A Living Remedy by Nicole Chung

This memoir has received quite a bit of attention. It is not in my usual wheelhouse, but we will see!

Synopsis: From the bestselling author of All You Can Ever Know comes a searing memoir of family, class and grief—a daughter’s search to understand the lives her adoptive parents led, the life she forged as an adult, and the lives she’s lost.

Publication Date: April 4, 2023

The Soulmate by Sally Hepworth

I discovered Sally Hepworth a few years and have been reading every book she has published since.

Synopsis: Gabe and Pippa’s dream home on a cliff in a sleepy coastal town. But their perfect house hides something sinister. The tall cliffs have become a popular spot for people to end their lives. Night after night Gabe comes to their rescue, literally talking them off the ledge. Until he doesn’t. When Pippa discovers Gabe knew the victim, the questions spiral… Did the victim jump? Was she pushed?

Publication Date: April 4, 2023

Books Based on Events

This month, I am planning on attending a number of literary events, including the World Voices Festival hosted by PEN America. I would love to read some related books prior to the events.

Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee

Synopsis: In this “mesmerizing” novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Pachinko, the Korean-American daughter of first-generation immigrants strives to join Manhattan’s inner circle.

Publication Date: May 7, 2007

Poverty, By America by Matthew Desmond

Synopsis: The Pulitzer Prize–winning, bestselling author of Evicted reimagines the debate on poverty, making a new and bracing argument about why it persists in America: because the rest of us benefit from it. In this landmark book, acclaimed sociologist Matthew Desmond draws on history, research, and original reporting to show how affluent Americans knowingly and unknowingly keep poor people poor.

Publication Date: March 21, 2023

Women Talking by Miriam Toews

Synopsis: One evening, eight Mennonite women climb into a hay loft to conduct a secret meeting. For the past two years, each of these women, and more than a hundred other girls in their colony, has been repeatedly violated in the night by demons coming to punish them for their sins. Now that the women have learned they were in fact drugged and attacked by a group of men from their own community, they are determined to protect themselves and their daughters from future harm.

Publication Date: August 21, 2018

Book Club Picks

Stone Cold Fox by Rachel Koller Croft

Synopsis: A perfectly wicked debut thriller about an ambitious woman who, after a lifetime of conning alongside her mother, wants to leave her dark past behind and marry the heir to one of the country’s wealthiest families.

Publication Date: February 14, 2023

I Have Some Questions For You by Rebecca Makkai

Synopsis: The riveting new novel — “part true-crime page-turner, part campus coming-of-age” (San Francisco Chronicle) — from the author of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist The Great Believers.

Publication Date: February 21, 2023

Happy Place by Emily Henry

My book club choosing this has cemented that I will actually read it.

Synopsis: A couple who broke up months ago pretend to still be together for their annual weeklong vacation with their best friends in this glittering and wise new novel.

Publication Date: April 25, 2023

Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

I have been intending to read this for a year now. Hopefully, this will be the month I finally do.

Synopsis: For fans of A Man Called Ove, a charming, witty and compulsively readable exploration of friendship, reckoning, and hope that traces a widow’s unlikely connection with a giant Pacific octopus.

Publication Date: May 3, 2022

Backlist Books

True Raiders: The Untold Story of the 1909 Expedition to Find the Legendary Ark of the Covenant by Brad Ricca

This is another book off of my NetGalley backlist.

Synopsis: This book tells the untold true story of Monty Parker, a rogue British nobleman who, after being dared to do so by Ava Astor, the so-called “most beautiful woman in the world,” headed a secret 1909 expedition to find the fabled Ark of the Covenant.

Publication Date: September 21, 2021

While Justice Sleeps by Stacey Abrams

This month, the second book in this series will be published, and it is long past time I picked this book up.

Synopsis: A gripping, complexly plotted thriller set within the halls of the U.S. Supreme Court, where a young law clerk finds herself embroiled in a shocking mystery crafted by one of the most preeminent judges in America

Publication Date: May 11, 2021

What book are you most excited to read this month?

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