May 2023 Book Releases

April was a bit of a bust when it came to book releases with the small number of books I was excited about reading. May though is a whole other story. I found eight books I want to read from all of the May releases. There are two books about ancient gods, a book about an outcast witch coven, a middle-grade book about being kind to yourself, another book about standing up for yourself, a YA about grilled cheese, a book set in a library, and lastly a book set in a museum. Let me know which one catches your eye.

The Isles of the Gods by Amie Kaufman

Release Date: May 2nd, 2023
Selly has salt water in her veins. So when her father leaves her high and dry in the port of Kirkpool, she has no intention of riding out the winter at home while he sails off to adventure. But any plans to follow him are dashed when a handsome stranger with tell-tale magician's marks on his arm commandeers her ship. He is Prince Leander of Alinor  and he needs to cross the Crescent Sea without detection so he can complete a ritual on the sacred Isles of the Gods. Selly has no desire to escort a spoiled prince anywhere, and no time for his entitled demands or his good looks. But what starts as a leisure cruise will lead to acts of treason and sheer terror on the high seas, bringing two countries to the brink of war, two strangers closer than they ever thought possible and stirring two dangerous gods from centuries of slumber...

Pirates of the Caribbean was a thing that I loved as a kid. I don't have many opportunities to explore fictional worlds where the characters are mainly out in the water. Also, the idea of gods waking up and wreaking havoc feels like a Percy Jackson-esque book and I'm here for it.

Release Date: May 2nd, 2023
Every four years, the Twelve Towns gather for a legendary magical tournament--the Golden Frog Games.

With Ravenskill hosting this year's games, all eyes are on Seven Salazar, Valley Pepperhorn and Thorn Laroux: the most famous Spares in the Twelve Towns. Thorn is ready to compete as a fashion champion, but when a forbidden hex is used to turn her fellow champions to stone, suspicion lands on the Witchlings.

As the Witchlings attempt to unravel the mystery of the stonifications, future Uncle Seven is harboring a dangerous secret: While she's supposed to be able to communicate with animals, the voices she hears most clearly belong to monstruos, and one spine-chilling voice is the loudest of all.

Can Seven fix her broken magic and find out who is stonifying the champions . . . before Thorn becomes the next victim?
This is the sequel to The Witchlings that I thoroughly enjoyed reading last year. A group of outcasts witches becoming unlikely friends is a fun time. There were also some serious bits in there that gave the story some depth. I'm interested to see what Ortega does with this one.

Release Date: May 9th, 2023
Natty deals with moving after her mom’s departure by pulling a “Ted Lasso” and starting a pep squad in this standalone middle-grade novel about friendship and toxic positivity by the author of TBH and the Friendship List series.

When Natty’s mom kind of takes a break from her dad and sort of the whole family, Natty and her dad move to his childhood hometown of Miller Creek. Now she’s starting middle school for the second time, this time in Miller Creek—without her mom—or her BFF. But Natty’s doing great! Really. Anything is possible. And what’s the point of dwelling on the stuff that stinks when there’s so much good stuff to think about?

Natty is absolutely, positively sure that she can turn it all around. Like 1,000 percent sure. As long as she stays absolutely positive! She’ll get her dad off the couch, make her tons of new friends, and even convince her mom to come live with them in Miller Creek. First step? Starting a pep squad to spread the good vibes.

But what happens when the leader of the pep squad has no more cheer to give?

From Lisa Greenwald comes a heartfelt and reassuring novel about the pros and cons of always looking on the bright side, the ups and downs of making a fresh start, and the power of friendship.
I'm pretty much the complete opposite of Natty but I get the perfectionism to a fault in some areas of my life. I think this is an important POV that girls with strict parents or in high-pressure situations can relate to so I want to give it a go.

Select by Christie Matheson

Release Date: May 9th, 2023
Twelve-year-old Alex loves playing soccer, and she’s good at it, too. Very good. When her skills land her a free ride to play for Select, an elite soccer club, it feels like a huge opportunity. Joining Select could be the key to a college scholarship and a bright future—one that Alex’s family can’t promise her.

But as the team gets better and better, her new coach pushes the players harder and harder, until soccer starts to feel more like punishment than fun. And then there comes a point where enough is enough, and Alex and her teammates must take a stand to find a better way to make their soccer dreams come true.

Powerful and inspiring, Select explores the important difference between positive and negative coaching and celebrates the true spirit of sports.

This is another interesting story about high pressure as well as just standing up to authority when it matters. Girls tend to be more likely to keep the peace and not rock the boat (not all of course) so it's good to show that you should stand up for yourself. 

Release Date: May 9th, 2023
Lady Camembert wants to live life on her own terms, without marriage. Well, without marrying a man, that is. But the law of the land is that women cannot inherit. So when her father passes away, she does the only thing she can: She disguises herself as a man and moves to the capital city of the Kingdom of Fromage to start over as Count Camembert.
But it’s hard to keep a low profile when the beautiful Princess Brie, with her fierce activism and great sense of fashion, catches her attention. Camembert can’t resist getting to know the princess, but as the two grow closer, will she able to keep her secret?
A romantic comedy about mistaken identity, true love, and lots of grilled cheese.

The cover got me. Even though I hate grilled cheese they made it enticing. Plus the pun names and royal characters... I'm thinking this one's going to be a winner. 

Release Date: May 11th, 2023
A boy has lived his whole life trapped within a vast library, older than empires and larger than cities.

A girl has spent hers in a tiny settlement out on the Dust where nightmares stalk and no one goes.

The world has never even noticed them. That's about to change.

Their stories spiral around each other, across worlds and time. This is a tale of truth and lies and hearts, and the blurring of one into another. A journey on which knowledge erodes certainty, and on which, though the pen may be mightier than the sword, blood will be spilled and cities burned.
I think you can guess why I want to read this one. It's set in a library and that's all I really needed to know. There's also magic a foot so that makes everything a little more fun. I've really enjoyed Mark Lawernce's Book of the Ancestor series so it's high time I read another book he's written.

Release Date: May 16th, 2023
Vanessa isn't sure which happened first: finding the abandoned museum or losing her best friend Bailey. She doesn't know what to do with herself now that Bailey has left her behind—but when she stumbles upon an empty, forgotten museum, her purpose becomes clear. Vanessa starts filling the museum with her own artifacts and memories, hoping that perhaps, if she can find the right way to tell the story of her broken friendship, she can figure out how to make it whole again.
As Vanessa's museum grows, it seems like the place might have the answers to other questions, too. Like why a mysterious work of art was left behind. Or how to deal with a military dad who's trying to parent from thousands of miles away. Or why Vanessa's bad habit is getting harder and harder to quit. Or even, maybe, how to set the past to rest and find a way to move forward.

Leila Sales wrote Past Perfect which I really enjoyed as a teenager. I also love this beautiful cover to go with such a unique-sounding premise. I enjoy emotional reads and I'm sure just knowing she's far away from her military dad is going to make me cry.

Threads That Bind by Kika Hatzopoulou

Release Date: May 30th, 2023
In a world where the children of the gods inherit their powers, a descendant of the Greek Fates must solve a series of impossible murders to save her sisters, her soulmate, and her city, for fans of Song of Achilles.

Descendants of the Fates are always born in threes: one to weave, one to draw, and one to cut the threads that connect people to the things they love and to life itself. The Ora sisters are no exception. Io, the youngest, uses her Fate-born abilities as a private investigator in the half-sunken city of Alante.

But her latest job leads her to a horrific discovery: somebody is abducting women, maiming their life-threads, and setting the resulting wraiths loose in the city to kill. To find the culprit, she must work alongside Edei Rhuna, the right hand of the infamous Mob Queen—and the boy with whom she shares a rare fate-thread linking them as soul mates before they’ve even met.

The investigation turns personal when Io's estranged oldest sister shows up on the arm of her best suspect. Amid unveiled secrets from her past and her growing feelings for Edei, Io must follow clues through the city’s darkest corners and unearth a conspiracy that involves some of the city’s most powerful players before destruction comes to her own doorstep.
Come on! If you read that synopsis you know. Young adult books have the coolest concepts. This is another god book but it's about the muses and it's a murder mystery. Enough said.

 Which May books are you looking forward to?