Wondering what to read now? Here are all the hot new May 2023 book releases for you. I’ll let you know what I’ve read, what I can’t wait to read, and what’s getting all the attention this month.
In case you’re new to Booklist Queen, every month I cover all the hottest new book releases. I try to read as many new book releases as I can to give you an honest perspective on what to read and what to skip.
However, I realize that my to-read list might not exactly match yours. That’s why I’ve also included some of the most popular May 2023 book releases from your favorite authors.
Enough from me. Let’s get on to the May 2023 book releases so you can fill up your to-read list.
Top May 2023 Book Releases
R. F. Kuang
Although June and Athena went to school together, Athena has found major success as an Asian-American novelist while June struggles to get a foot in the door, probably because she’s just another basic white girl. When June witnesses Athena’s death in a freak accident, she impetuously snatches up Athena’s unfinished work. Publishing it as her own, June rebrands herself as a racially ambiguous Juniper Song and becomes an instant bestseller. Yet as the truth threatens to come out, June must decide how far she is willing to go to keep her secret.
Mary Beth Keane
When his boss retires, longtime bartender Malcolm jumps at the chance to buy The Half Moon. But Malcolm quickly learns that turning a profit is harder than he anticipated. Meanwhile, his wife Jess’s long battle with infertility has her reassessing her life dreams. Three months after Jess walked out, Malcolm learns a secret about her, a bar patron goes missing, and a blizzard strikes in this tale of a marriage in crisis.
Having loved Keane’s last novel, Ask Again, Yes, I found myself disappointed while reading The Half Moon. Keane’s novel takes place over a week, but the excess of long flashbacks of their complicated marriage interrupted the flow of the story. The emotional draw just wasn’t there; I didn’t really feel for any of the characters. I’m not even sure what message the book was trying to convey.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Scribner through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Perry Firekeeper-Birch’s laid-back summer hits a snag when she crashes her car and is forced to work at her indigenous tribe’s summer internship program. Soon, Perry becomes fascinated with the federal law about the return of ancestral remains and sacred items but is caught between the glacially slow pace of diplomacy and working within the law and the desperate desire to take action into her own hands. When Native women start disappearing and her family is caught in the middle of a high-profile murder investigation, Perry plans a heist to save her ancestors and her tribe members before all is lost.
Warrior Girl Unearthed is not exactly a sequel to Firekeeper’s Daughter. Set 10 years later, it can be read as a standalone, but reading Firekeeper’s Daughter first will help you understand the side characters better. Like her previous book, Warrior Girl Unearthed is a fun Young Adult novel, conveying a deeper message along with its high-action plot. Although I felt like I learned a lot, the story felt a bit forced and over-the-top.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Henry Holt and Co. through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Two years after their spouses are killed tragically, DC philanthropist Sloane Chase is ready to settle down with Senator Whit Montgomery. When Sloane needs a routine hip replacement, they hire Athena as a home health aide. Instead of getting better, Sloane gets sicker and she begins to suspect Athena might be there to replace her.
Liv Constantine’s domestic thriller was a good, but not quite great, read. The narrative keeps you constantly on edge as things get worse and worse for Sloane. To the point where you honestly don’t think there is any way out of it for poor Sloane. This slow-burn mystery required too much suspension of disbelief for me to fully enjoy, but did have some fun twists and turns.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Ballantine Books through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Just before graduation, an apartment of students at Berkley is shocked when their roommate Alec overdoses. Gathering together, they make a pact that when they are in desperate need, they can each request a living “funeral” – a gathering where they are reminded that life is still worthwhile. They’ve been there through Marielle’s divorce, Naomi’s parents’ death, and Craig’s art fraud conviction. But now Jordan’s diagnosis has him and his husband facing a living funeral that might precede an actual funeral.
I wanted to like The Celebrants more than I did. I liked the idea of the book – the examination of life’s struggles and our need for deeper connections. Yet, the characters fell flat for me and the friendships didn’t seem genuine. In Rowley’s last book, The Guncle, I felt drawn to every single character but in The Celebrants, none of the characters evoked any emotion in me. The funeral format of the plot resulted in a lot of telling about the characters instead of showing details of their lives. In all, The Celebrants was a heartfelt story that missed the mark for me.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from G.P. Putnam’s Sons through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
In her early twenties, Fern Brookbanks and Will Baxter spent one perfect day together exploring the city. But when they promise to meet at the lake the next day, Fern shows up and Will doesn’t. Years later, Fern finds herself running her mom’s lakeside resort when Will shows up with an offer to help.
In 2004, The Daydreams was the most popular teen show on the air, until it all exploded during the live season two finale. Each star went there one way – Kat, a DC lawyer; Liana, a bored celebrity wife; Summer, the cautionary tale, and Noah, the golden boy who rose to even larger fame. With a reunion special looming, old secrets come alive and the truth will out in what is sure to be a ratings hit.
Book of the Month – May 2023
Receiving my blue box from Book of the Month Club is a highlight of every month.
Here’s how it works – each month, they pick 5 books and you get to choose one book or skip until the next month. If you want to add any extra books, then you get them at a discounted price.
Each month is usually a mix of new releases and advance copies of unreleased books. If you are interested in joining, right now you can use my Book of the Month Club affiliate link to get your first book for $5!
The May Book of the Month selections are:
See the Complete List of Upcoming Releases!
Read with Jenna May 2023 Book Club Pick
Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
In a dystopian America, the private prison system runs a gladiator-style entertainment system and Thurwar and Staxxx are the all-stars. Competing in death matches in front of packed arenas, the two lovers are Links together in a Chain-Gang. With only a few matches until she gains her freedom, Thurwar seeks for ways to defy the system that will stop at nothing to maintain the status quo.
GMA May 2023 Book Club Pick
Nicole Oruwari has a seemingly perfect life, exchanging the gloom of London for a glittering mansion in Nigeria. Until Nicole disappears. Nicole’s Auntie Claudine refuses to accept the police’s lack of progress. Flying to Nigeria, she is determined to find her niece, but instead finds shocking secrets that hint at her own dark past.
Reese’s Book Club May 2023 Pick
Crystal Smith Paul
When legendary white actress Kitty Karr Tate leaves her entire estate to the St. John sisters, three wealthy Black women, the media has lots of questions. As Elise St. John sorts through Kitty’s journals, she finds something that will change her world. For Kitty’s rise to fame from a segregated Southern town is a tale of unexpected family, sacrifices, and crimes that could ruin the St. John family.
Oprah’s Book Club May 2023 Pick
Oprah’s Book Club May 2023 At the turn of the century, a twelve-year-old girl grieving her father is sent by boat to meet her 40-year-old husband. Eventually she becomes to be known as Big Ammachi, the matriarch of a family particularly cursed to have one member of each generation die by drowning. From 1900-1977, Big Ammachi sees unimaginable changes to her Christian community on South India’s Malabar coast.
The Most Anticipated May 2023 Book Releases
Bestselling romance writer Fizzy Chen realizes that she’s never actually been in love herself. Forced to make a reality tv show, documentary filmmaker Connor Prince decided that Fizzy would be the perfect romantic lead. Casting all the contestants as romantic stereotypes, Fizzy agrees. Yet, will Fizzy learn that true love actually lies behind the camera?
Prospera is an island utopia where citizens live long fulfilling lives monitored by implants embedded in their arms. When their health lives fall below 10%, citizens are ferried over to a neighboring island, to have their bodies renewed and their minds reset. When his father dies, Proctor, the ferryman, begins to realize that all is not right in utopia. As rumors of unrest begin to spread and Proctor’s health lives begin falling, he must discover the deepest secrets of the perfect society.
In 2234, the crew of the Adamura discovers the Anamoly on Talos VII, a circular pit 50 kilometers wide. As they travel on foot across the surface, they find the ghosts of their pasts dragging them down. Coming from different colonies, each crewmember struggles with the mission. For some it’s a dream come true; for others, it’s not worth the risk; and for one, it’s a last desperate attempt to find meaning.
Iconic American actor Tom Hanks pens his debut novel about a humble comic book that inspires a multi-million dollar superhero action film. In 1947, a five-year-old boy meets his uncle who is newly returned from the war. Then in 1970, the boy reconnects with his uncle and illustrates a comic book about his uncle as a WWII hero. Now, the boy’s comic has been picked as the inspiration for an action film with an eccentric cast of characters behind and on the screen.
When a traumatic event rocks her world, Alice pens a stunning debut novel. No Two Persons follows Alice’s novels as it changes the lives of nine different readers. From a homeless teen to a bookseller looking for love, Alice’s book touches the life of each reader individually, showcasing the power of books in our lives.
Ever since her kindergarten teacher dropped dead at school, Clover Brooks has felt a strong connection to the dying. Working as a death doula in New York City, Clover spends so much of her time easing the final days of the dying that she has forgotten how to live. Until a fiesty old woman’s dying request sends Clover on a cross-country trip that forces her to navigate friendship and love in the realm of the living.
Amy T. Matthews
Shy anxious Jodie Boyd is nothing like her older sister Bree, a globetrotting Instagram influencer. But when Bree suddenly dies of leukemia, she leaves behind a mountain of medical debt and one last wish. Bree wants Jodie to finish Bree’s bucket list and record it for Instagram. If Jodie carries through, a corporate sponsor will pay off Bree’s debt, and hopefully, along the way, Jodie will finally learn how to really live.
Popular May Upcoming Releases
What May 2023 Book Releases are You Most Excited to Read?
What books can you not wait to get your hands on this month? Did I miss any May 2023 book releases that you are anticipating? As always, let me know in the comments!
More New Book Releases: