April is quickly coming to a close, and you know what that means–
I can’t help it; I came of age in the *Nsync era
Here’s a sampling of the beauties I can’t wait for coming out next month, along with why they made my list.
Nine Days and Nine Nights, Katie Cotugno
Release Date: May 1
Molly Barlow isn’t that girl anymore. A business major at her college in Boston, she’s reinvented herself after everything that went down a year ago . . . after all the people she hurt and the family she tore apart.
Slowly, life is getting back to normal. Molly has just said “I love you” to her new boyfriend, Ian, and they are off on a romantic European vacation together, starting with scenic London. But there on a Tube platform, the past catches up to her in the form of Gabe, her ex, traveling on his own parallel vacation with new girlfriend Sadie.
After comparing itineraries, Ian ends up extending an invite for Gabe and Sadie to join them on the next leg of their trip, to Ireland. Sadie, who’s dying to go there, jumps at the prospect. And Molly and Gabe can’t bring themselves to tell the truth about who they once were to each other to their new significant others.
Now Molly has to spend nine days and nine nights with the boy she once loved, the boy whose heart she shredded, without Ian knowing. Will she make it through as new, improved Molly, or will everything that happened between her and Gabe come rushing back?
I read the sneak peak first chapter of this one last weekend (here, if you want to torture yourself), and regretted it immediately. Not because it was bad, but because it was SO, SO GOOD and I need the rest of the book like, yesterday. My love for Katie Cotugno’s books is no secret, but it’s well-deserved. Her characters are fully developed and rich from the second you meet them. Example? I never thought I’d like Molly’s new boyfriend. Obviously I want her to end up with Gabe, I adore Gabe, so why are we wasting pages on Ian and prolonging the inevitable?
And then I read chapter one.
Page one of chapter one.
Long story short, I have another book boyfriend now, and I mean, I kind of wonder why we’re wasting pages on Gabe? Katie writes these complicating characters and tricky relationships SO well that it’s hard to know who to root for. (Btw, I started reading 99 Days last night because I always reread before the next book in the series, and my love for Gabe has been restored. What will happen when I binge this next Tuesday? WHO KNOWS?)
A Court of Frost and Starlight, Sarah J. Maas
Release Date: May 1
The Winter Solstice. In a week. I was still new enough to being High Lady that I had no idea what my formal role was to be. If we’d have a High Priestess do some odious ceremony, as lanthe had done the year before. A year. Gods, nearly a year since Rhys had called in his bargain, desperate to get me away from the poison of the Spring Court to save me from my despair. Had he been only a minute later, the Mother knew what would have happened. Where I’d now be. Snow swirled and eddied in the garden, catching in the brown fibers of the burlap covering the shrubs. My mate who had worked so hard and so selflessly, all without hope that I would ever be with him. We had both fought for that love, bled for it. Rhys had died for it.
I love this series, and am so excited for this “novella” bridging the time between the first trilogy and the upcoming new one. I say “novella” because it’s long enough to be published as a book on it’s own, so…it’s a book. There’s an excerpt here if you’re so inclined, but I learned my lesson last weekend so don’t ask me about it.
I can’t wait to get back into this world, but I’m going to spaz if literally anything happens to anyone, and this is always the problem with going back into a series that already ended, and ended spectacularly.
Puddin’, Julie Murphy
Release Date: May 8
It is a companion novel to Dumplin’, which follows supporting characters from the first book in the months after Willowdean’s star turn in the Clover City pageant.
Millie Michalchuk has gone to fat camp every year since she was a girl. Not this year. This year she has new plans to chase her secret dream—and to kiss her crush. Callie Reyes is the pretty girl who is next in line for dance team captain and has the popular boyfriend. But when it comes to other girls, she’s more frenemy than friend. When circumstances bring the girls together over the course of a semester, they will surprise everyone (especially themselves) by realizing they might have more in common than they ever imagined.
I recently reread Dumplin’ after being invited to an advanced screening of the movie (no idea when that’s coming out, but see it when it does. It was amazing). I found Willowdean to be more of a pill than I remembered, but Millie was a delight. I’m amped for her to take center stage in this one. Callie was definitely not as fun, and her and Millie were certainly not friends, but I’m interested to see how they interact and what Callie has to say for herself this time around.
The Lies They Tell, Gillian French
Release Date: May 1
Everyone in Tenney’s Harbor, Maine, has heard of the Garrison tragedy. A mysterious fire. A family of five reduced to one. For people like Pearl Haskins—whose dad was the caretaker of the Garrison property when the house went up in flames—the whispers about that night are more than upsetting. They hurt. With her disgraced father now trying to find steady work in between booze benders, Pearl is stuck waiting tables at the town’s country club where the rich townspeople come in the summer to flaunt their money and gossip about one another.
This year, a group of privileged boys has made a point of sitting in Pearl’s section—throwing careless insults her way while also attempting to flirt. Though she’s repulsed by everything they stand for, she’s drawn to the quiet leader of the pack, Tristan—the last surviving Garrison. He wasn’t home the night a blaze took his entire family, and the sadness coming off him in waves is hard to ignore. Befriending the summer boys might irk her to her core, but inside their fold of elite parties and reckless whims could be answers to what happened the night of the fire. And that’s just what she finds.
Hidden beneath the glittering façade of wealth and luxury, Pearl discovers a dark and twisted web of lies and betrayals that, once untangled, will leave no life in Tenney’s Harbor unchanged. That is…if it doesn’t take Pearl’s first.
To be honest, I haven’t heard much about this one. But it’s a mystery/thriller with what I hope is a romance involved, and not much else makes me happier than a good thriller with a romance. Highly into the sounds of this one.
Love & Luck, Jenna Evans Welch
Release Date: May 8
Addie is visiting Ireland for her aunt’s over-the-top destination wedding, and hoping she can stop thinking about the one horrible thing she did that left her miserable and heartbroken—and threatens her future. But her brother, Ian, isn’t about to let her forget, and his constant needling leads to arguments and even a fistfight between the two once inseparable siblings. Miserable, Addie can’t wait to visit her friend in Italy and leave her brother—and her problems—behind.
So when Addie discovers an unusual guidebook, Ireland for the Heartbroken, hidden in the dusty shelves of the hotel library, she’s able to finally escape her anxious mind and Ian’s criticism.
And then their travel plans change. Suddenly Addie finds herself on a whirlwind tour of the Emerald Isle, trapped in the world’s smallest vehicle with Ian and his admittedly cute, Irish-accented friend Rowan. As the trio journeys over breathtaking green hills, past countless castles, and through a number of fairy-tale forests, Addie hopes her guidebook will heal not only her broken heart, but also her shattered relationship with her brother.
That is if they don’t get completely lost along the way.
Jenna’s debut has been sitting unread on my shelf for months, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to read her newest. Romances set in foreign countries with covers this cute? Sign. Me. Up.
We’ll Fly Away, Bryan Bliss
Release Date: May 8
Uniquely told through letters from death row and third-person narrative, Bryan Bliss’s hard-hitting third novel expertly unravels the string of events that landed a teenager in jail. Luke feels like he’s been looking after Toby his entire life. He patches Toby up when Toby’s father, a drunk and a petty criminal, beats on him, he gives him a place to stay, and he diffuses the situation at school when wise-cracking Toby inevitably gets into fights. Someday, Luke and Toby will leave this small town, riding the tails of Luke’s wrestling scholarship, and never look back.
But during their senior year, they begin to drift apart. Luke is dealing with his unreliable mother and her new boyfriend. And Toby unwittingly begins to get drawn into his father’s world, and falls for an older woman. All their long-held dreams seem to be unraveling. Tense and emotional, this heartbreaking novel explores family, abuse, sex, love, friendship, and the lengths a person will go to protect the people they love. For fans of NPR’s Serial podcast, Jason Reynolds, and Matt de la Peña.
I’ve read one book by this author before and didn’t really enjoy it, though I could recognize that it was a solid story that just wasn’t for me. But I believe in second chances, and this one looks SO GOOD! This is the second upcoming book description I’ve seen lately that uses the Serial podcast in the description (Sadie by Courtney Summers is the other), and I could not get enough of season 1 of Serial. I’ve listened to it like ten times. I’m listening to episode 8 again right now, in fact. So any books that claims a comparison is going to be on my radar, and I’m going to read it.
And, superficially, I really like that cover.
War Storm, by Victoria Aveyard
Release Date: May 15
VICTORY COMES AT A PRICE.
Mare Barrow learned this all too well when Cal’s betrayal nearly destroyed her. Now determined to protect her heart—and secure freedom for Reds and newbloods like her—Mare resolves to overthrow the kingdom of Norta once and for all… starting with the crown on Maven’s head.
But no battle is won alone, and before the Reds may rise as one, Mare must side with the boy who broke her heart in order to defeat the boy who almost broke her. Cal’s powerful Silver allies, alongside Mare and the Scarlet Guard, prove a formidable force. But Maven is driven by an obsession so deep, he will stop at nothing to have Mare as his own again, even if it means demolishing everything—and everyone—in his path.
War is coming, and all Mare has fought for hangs in the balance. Will victory be enough to topple the Silver kingdoms? Or will the little lightning girl be forever silenced?
In the epic conclusion to Victoria Aveyard’s stunning series, Mare must embrace her fate and summon all her power… for all will be tested, but not all will survive.
Confession: I have only read the first book in this series, and then I lost interest. But now that the final book is coming out, I might have to pick them all up. It’s clearly done well enough to warrant 4 books and several novellas, and seriously. Just look at those covers. I don’t know if I’m capable of ignoring such beautiful books.
Girl Made of Stars, Ashley Herring Black
Release Date: May 15
“I need Owen to explain this. Because yes, I do know that Owen would never do that, but I also know Hannah would never lie about something like that.”
Mara and Owen are about as close as twins can get. So when Mara’s friend Hannah accuses Owen of rape, Mara doesn’t know what to think. Can the brother she loves really be guilty of such a violent crime? Torn between the family she loves and her own sense of right and wrong, Mara is feeling lost, and it doesn’t help that things have been strained with her ex and best friend since childhood, Charlie.
As Mara, Hannah, and Charlie navigate this new terrain, Mara must face a trauma from her own past and decide where Charlie fits in her future. With sensitivity and openness, this timely novel confronts the difficult questions surrounding consent, victim blaming, and sexual assault.
Again, I’ve read one book by this author and wasn’t into it, but rape culture and the way we treat victims is something super important to me. I volunteer at a crisis line, and talking to girls who have been raped and believe it’s their own fault is heartbreaking. I also have a family member who was sexually assaulted and the way she was called a liar because people “couldn’t believe the guy would do that” was awful. A concept: Believe the girls. It is so, so, so rare for someone to lie about sexual assault and rape. It’s so much more important to believe girls, to empower and trust what they’re saying, than it is to believe we have to make 100% certain that the boy is at fault first. We vilify assault victims and ask them to prove something unprovable, and–ahem. Stepping down off my soapbox now…
Anyway, this book is going to be hard and I know will make me mad and make me cry and make me hurt, but I have to read it.
Furyborn, Claire Legrand
Release Date: May 22
Follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world…or doom it.
When assassins ambush her best friend, the crown prince, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing her ability to perform all seven kinds of elemental magic. The only people who should possess this extraordinary power are a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light and salvation and a queen of blood and destruction. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven trials to test her magic. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first.
A thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a mere fairy tale to bounty hunter Eliana Ferracora. When the Undying Empire conquered her kingdom, she embraced violence to keep her family alive. Now, she believes herself untouchable–until her mother vanishes without a trace, along with countless other women in their city. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain on a dangerous mission and discovers that the evil at the heart of the empire is more terrible than she ever imagined.
As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world–and of each other.
I’ve been super excited about this one, but some recent not-so-stellar reviews have somewhat dampened my enthusiasm. I’ll probably give it a try anyway, because the concept is so good.
SO what did I miss? What are you excited for? Have you read any of these? Let me know in the comments!