This post contains affiliate links, so I may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on this site at no additional cost to you.
Affiliate links should be underlined when placed within the text. Additionally, book cover images may also contain affiliate links.
Welcome to our guide to the most anticipated May 2023 book releases! With so many exciting titles set to hit the shelves, we’ve compiled a list of the top sixteen releases in four categories: Fiction, Debut Novels, Commercial Fiction, and Nonfiction.
In the Fiction category, we have John Banville’s The Lock-Up, a captivating mystery set in 1950s Dublin. Dave Barry’s Swamp Story takes readers to the Florida Everglades for an unpredictable tale of treasure hunting and viral fame. Emma Cline’s The Guest follows a young woman’s journey through the exclusive landscape of Long Island’s East End. And Luis Alberto Urrea’s Good Night, Irene explores the experiences of the Donut Dollies, a group of women who provided comfort to soldiers on the front lines during WWII.
For Debut Novels, we have Celia Bell’s The Disenchantment, a story of love and intrigue set in 17th-century Paris. Brinda Charry’s The East Indian tells the captivating story of Tony, an indentured servant in early Jamestown. And Tembe Denton-Hurst’s Homebodies follows a young Black writer as she navigates love, scandal, and self-discovery.
In Commercial Fiction, we have Stacey Abrams’ Rogue Justice, a political thriller that explores corruption and conspiracy within America’s secret court system. Danielle Steel’s The Wedding Planner tells the story of New York’s top wedding planner, Faith Ferguson, as she discovers love and happiness while remaining true to herself. And Megan Abbott’s Beware the Woman follows a newlywed couple’s vacation in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where secrets and tensions arise.
Finally, in Nonfiction, we have Ben Smith’s Traffic, a detailed account of the birth of digital news and its unintended consequences. And Jack Curry’s The 1998 Yankees: The Inside Story of the Greatest Baseball Team Ever revisits the legendary 1998 Yankees season, offering insights into the team’s unprecedented success.
May 2023 Book Releases make this one an exciting month for book lovers!
Check out Sing Her Down‘s review, which I will publish on May 22, one day before the book’s release.
Sing Her Down by Ivy Pochoda
In Ivy Pochoda’s latest thriller, Sing Her Down, ex-cellmate Diosmary Sandoval knows that Florence Baum, aka Florida, is not as innocent as she claims. Florida’s crimes are darker than she lets on, and Dios is determined to reveal the truth to her. However, when both women are released, Dios’s obsession with Florida leads to a deadly chase across Arizona and Los Angeles. With its sharp, evocative writing, Sing Her Down is a gripping and immersive thriller that explores the dark sides of women, setting two unforgettable characters on a collision course toward destruction.
The Lock-Up by John Banville
In 1950s Dublin, young history scholar Rosa Jacobs is found dead, prompting renowned pathologist Dr. Quirke and DI St. John Strafford to investigate her murder. Rosa’s sister Molly, a journalist, uncovers a critical lead involving a powerful German family with a mysterious past. As the duo delves deeper, their personal lives risk jeopardizing the case and endangering those close to them. Set across Italy, WWII Bavaria, and Dublin’s gritty streets, The Lock-Up is a captivating mystery by a highly acclaimed author.
Swamp Story by Dave Barry
Jesse Braddock, trapped in an Everglades cabin with her baby and deceptive ex-boyfriend, discovers a long-lost treasure that could change her life. However, dangerous men are also after it. Concurrently, Ken Bortle’s ploy to save his struggling store using Phil, a disguised unemployed journalist, as the “Everglades Melon Monster” goes viral, attracting TikTokers to the swamp. In the ensuing chaos, a presidential candidate’s campaign launch goes awry. In this unpredictable tale, the quintessential Florida setting adds to the mayhem.
The Guest by Emma Cline
As summer ends in the East End of Long Island, Alex finds herself unwelcome after a social misstep. Sent back to the city by the older man she’s been staying with, resourceful but desperate Alex decides to remain on Long Island. She drifts through the exclusive, sun-drenched landscape with a knack for understanding others’ desires. Over the week before Labor Day, Alex moves between various locations, her fluid sense of morality leaving a trail of chaos behind her.
Good Night, Irene by Luis Alberto Urrea
In 1943, Irene Woodward escapes an abusive relationship in New York and joins the Red Cross, heading to Europe. She quickly befriends Dorothy Dunford, a witty and tall Midwestern woman. They form part of the Donut Dollies, a group of women bringing comfort to soldiers on the front lines through Clubmobiles. Following D-Day, Irene and Dorothy experience dangerous situations, including the Battle of the Bulge and Buchenwald’s liberation. Irene’s friendship with Dorothy and her romance with a brave American pilot, Hans, help her learn to trust again. As the war continues, she desperately hopes for their survival.
The Half Moon by Mary Beth Keane
Malcolm Gephardt, a charming bartender at the Half Moon, dreams of owning the bar. When his boss retires, he seizes the opportunity, despite the challenges. His wife Jess, a dedicated lawyer, grapples with the possibility that she may never become a mother, feeling her youth slipping away. Mary Beth Keane’s latest novel unfolds over a week filled with surprising revelations about Jess, a missing bar patron, and a snowstorm trapping the town of Gillam. The story delves into midlife complexities, forgiveness, small-town intricacies, and the essence of family.
The Time Has Come by Will Leitch
Lindbergh’s Pharmacy, a cherished Athens, Georgia, establishment, catches the attention of local teacher Tina Lamm, who suspects sinister activities behind its iconic black door. One evening, her suspicions and intended actions connect her with six employees and customers, including Theo, Daphne, Jason, Karson, David, and Dorothy. Their intertwining fates and encounter with Tina create a story that is humorous, poignant, and suspenseful. In the vein of How Lucky, Will Leitch masterfully portrays contemporary life through the struggles and aspirations of relatable characters.
Yellowface by R. F. Kuang
June Hayward and Athena Liu were once parallel stars in the literary world, but Athena’s cross-genre success overshadowed June’s career. When Athena dies in a bizarre accident, June impulsively steals her unfinished novel about Chinese laborers’ unrecognized contributions during WWI. Rebranding herself as Juniper Song, she enjoys a successful career, but Athena’s shadow and incriminating evidence jeopardize her achievements. R. F. Kuang’s Yellowface explores diversity, racism, and cultural appropriation while addressing the erasure of Asian-American voices and history in Western society.
The Disenchantment by Celia Bell
In 17th-century Paris, secrets abound among nobles, servants, and writers. Baroness Marie Catherine conceals her unhappiness in marriage and her passionate affair with the daring androgynous countess, Victoire Rose de Bourbon. When Victoire’s love leads to a shocking murder, the two must evade Paris’ relentless chief of police. Their journey unveils the city’s darkest corners, filled with lies, mysticism, and individuals willing to kill for their secrets. The story explores love, intrigue, and the lengths one might go to protect the truth.
The East Indian by Brinda Charry
Tony, a curious and empathetic young man, is kidnapped and taken to Jamestown, Virginia, where he becomes an indentured servant working alongside others in tobacco plantations. Despite his initial longing for home, Tony adapts and dreams of becoming a medicine man. Much like Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, his life is filled with peculiarities, comedy, and tragedy. Set in the early days of Jamestown, The East Indian by Charry offers an authentic voice to an overlooked historical figure in a captivating coming-of-age story.
Homebodies by Tembe Denton-Hurst
Homebodies follows Mickey Hayward, a young Black writer who loses her job in media and writes a scathing manifesto about racism in the industry. When her letter receives no response, Mickey’s self-doubt leads her back to her hometown, where she is tempted by her old life and a former flame. As a media scandal brings her letter to the forefront, Mickey must decide if this newfound attention is truly what she wants. Homebodies is an intimate, witty, alluring debut novel about the struggle for recognition and love in a world that resists change
Rogue Justice by Stacey Abrams
Avery Keene returns after exposing a conspiracy that toppled the US President in While Justice Sleeps. Amidst political chaos, a fellow law clerk, Preston Davies shares his suspicions of blackmail involving his late boss, Judge Francesca Whitner. Shockingly, Davies is murdered soon after. Avery discovers a list of FISA Court judges, uncovering a frightening pattern as she investigates further. With dangerous individuals involved, Avery realizes something more sinister may unravel within America’s secret court.
The Wedding Planner by Danielle Steel
New York’s top wedding planner, Faith Ferguson, excels at creating dream weddings despite having no desire to marry herself after two failed engagements. Her life is enriched by her bond with her twin sister, Hope, and by mentoring her assistant, Violet. She forms meaningful connections as she takes on new clients, including her mother’s wedding and Violet’s modest ceremony. However, challenges arise with family scandals, secrets, and unexpected twists. In The Wedding Planner, Danielle Steel weaves a captivating tale of discovering love and happiness while remaining true to oneself.
Beware the Woman by Megan Abbott
Newlyweds Jacy and Jed, expecting their first child, set off for Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to visit Jed’s father, Doctor Ash. On arrival, they find warmth in Doctor Ash, but a mysterious air around his house manager, Mrs. Brandt. A health scare for Jacy alters their vacation plans, and family whispers about Jed’s deceased mother add tension. As the days unfold, Jacy feels increasingly confined and scrutinized within the cottage, with her every move closely watched.
Traffic: Genius, Rivalry, and Delusion in the Billion-Dollar Race to Go Viral by Ben Smith
Traffic, by Ben Smith, delves into the early 2000s era of viral internet media, capturing the rise of Gawker and HuffPost. Set in New York City, it chronicles the birth of digital news and its potential to spread the truth. However, Smith reveals how unintended consequences emerged, with the internet ultimately becoming a driving force for right-wing populism. Traffic is an engaging and insightful account of this transformative period, examining the roles of key players and their impact on today’s media landscape.
The 1998 Yankees: The Inside Story of the Greatest Baseball Team Ever by Jack Curry
In Jack Curry’s book, he revisits the legendary 1998 Yankees season, a team that many consider the best in baseball history. Featuring interviews with over 25 players, coaches, and executives, Curry explores the construction of the team and the factors that contributed to its unprecedented success. The book delves into behind-the-scenes stories and offers insights into the depth and talent of the roster. Twenty-five years later, Curry’s account highlights why this team remains unmatched in baseball history.