May's Most Anticipated Romances
Some people love books. Some people fall in love. And some people love books about falling in love. Every month our team sorts through the new romance books and sees how early readers are responding based on their Want to Read shelvings and initial reviews. We use this information to curate a list of soon-to-be-beloved favorites.
New in May: Amy Lea introduces a curvy new heroine and her hot firefighter crush in Set on You. Timothy Janovsky presents a boy-meets-boy-again love story in Never Been Kissed. And Akwaeke Emezi provides the year’s best romance title with You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty. Also new this month: Treasure hunters, literature lovers, and demon-summoners.
Add what catches your fancy to your Want to Read shelf and let us know what you're reading and recommending in the comments.
Natives of North Carolina can tell you: It’s a surprisingly romantic place. Veteran romance author Emily Henry (Beach Read) is back with a love story set in the Tar Heel State. (Why Tar Heel? Weird story.) Book Lovers spotlights a blossoming romance between a cutthroat literary agent and a brooding book editor. Doesn’t seem promising, does it? But the vibe changes drastically when Nora Stephens and Charlie Lastra meet up in rural NC. Location, location, location!
Funny story on this one: Under One Roof is a novella initially released on audiobook, now coming out in an e-book edition, which has been popping up on lots of Goodreads’ Want to Read shelves. The gist: Environmental engineer Mara and slick Big Oil lawyer Liam are improbable roommates with a very inconvenient mutual attraction problem. Watch for additional audiobook-first releases in The STEMinist Novellas series from author Ali Hazelwood (The Love Hypothesis).
Let us pause to admire the character name of Duke Wilder, featured here in Christina Lauren’s new romance Something Wilder. Duke—a famous treasure hunter and absentee parent—is the father of protagonist Lily Wilder, who has inherited her dad’s hand-drawn treasure maps. Now a tour guide in the canyons of Utah, Lily finds herself on an adventure with old flame Leo Grady, who is still carrying a torch (possibly an actual torch) for Lily. Bonus trivia: Christina Lauren is the pen name of authors and besties Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings.
This debut romance novel from author Amy Lea follows curvy fitness influencer Crystal Chen as she develops a rivalry-with-benefits with firefighter and fellow gym rat Scott Ritchie. When they’re not arguing over technique, Crystal and Ritchie are stealing glances at each other. A chance meeting at a party presents a golden opportunity. Can these two take things to the next level and become swolemates?
Nigerian writer, video artist, and National Book Award finalist Akwaeke Emezi (The Death of Vivek Oji) shifts gears a bit with this literary love story. Set in the world of tropical islands and elite art exhibits, the story profiles Feyi Adekola, who lost the love of her life five years ago. Now she’s met someone who understands her pain—someone who would be most definitely off-limits in normal circumstances. Emezi rethinks the romance novel from the ground up.
Overworked and underpaid, Isabelle is having second thoughts about her job as an editorial assistant. Third and fourth thoughts, too. Besides being the only Black employee in the entire publishing house, Izzy can’t even make enough money to get her own place. But perspectives start to shift when she meets reclusive writer Beau Towers, who’s just as lost and lonesome as she is. Jasmine Guillory reimagines a classic fairy tale in this second installment of the Disney Meant to Be series.
Fantasy romance is having something of a moment right now, and sub-genre veteran Scarlett St. Clair is here to retell her hit Hades & Persephone series from the God of the Dead's perspective. When Hades refuses to help Hera overthrow Zeus, the Goddess of Women sentences him to perform a series of impossible labors. And if checking "kill mythical monsters" and "locate deadly artifact" off his to-do list weren't trouble enough, Hades also needs to convince his lover Persephone that she can truly rule the Underworld with him. Good luck, Daddy Death.
Expert demon-summoner and indie fashion designer Isidora Avramov headlines the action in From Bad to Cursed, another admirably titled paranormal romance from Lana Harper (Payback’s a Witch). When dark magic injures a member of the rival Thorn family, the Avramov clan falls under suspicion. Issa is forced to team with lawful good drip Rowan Thorn to find the culprit. On the bright side, Issa finds out–the fun way–that sometimes opposites really do attract.
In this first installment of the new Boy Meets Boy series, author Timothy Janovsky introduces young Wren Roland, who is finally making some moves now that he’s out of his closeted teenage years. After an unfortunate late night of drinking-and-texting, Wren has an awkward encounter with former crush Derick Haverford. Handsome Derick Haverford. Wealthy Derick Haverford. And maybe—just maybe—curious Derick Haverford.
Viola Caroll’s authentic life began when she disappeared and was presumed dead at the Battle of Waterloo. Now that’s she’s free to live as herself at last, she hopes to connect once again with her oldest and closest companion, Justin de Vere, the Duke of Gracewood. As it happens, Justin could use some saving right about now. Author Alexis Hall (Boyfriend Material) delivers a queer historical romance with a trans heroine, a deeply felt love story, and a compelling cast of supporting characters.
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