Wondering what to read now? If you’re looking for book suggestions, look no further! Here all the hot new May 2019 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.
With spring flowers everywhere and summer right around the corner, 2019 seems to be slipping away too fast. But one thing seems to remain constant throughout the year: each month brings stacks of new book releases. Among the May 2019 book releases we are highlighting, we have a few popular authors, some debut novels and a highly anticipated series ending. The highlights of the month:
- One of my favorite books of the year
- The last book in a popular young adult series
- Two nonfiction offerings from super popular authors
- Several beautiful historical fiction novels
Have I got you interested? Then keep scrolling to see our picks for the best of the May 2019 book releases.
May 2019 Book Releases – Advance Review Copies
I received a complimentary Advanced Review Copy of the following books from the publisher, author, and/or NetGalley. Opinions expressed in these reviews are completely my own.
If you happened to listen to our podcast interview on Sarah’s Bookshelves Live, you’ll know that I was extremely excited to read Mary Beth Keane’s May 2019 book release. Just listen to this premise: NYPD cops Francis and Brian happen to move next door to each other in the suburbs. Though their children Kate and Peter become the best of friends, Francis and his wife have learned to keep their distance from Brian’s wife due to her precarious mental health. When tragedy strikes between the two families, Brian’s family moves away in shame. But when Kate and Peter fall in love, the two families must learn to confront the tragedy that ties them together. A story of love and forgiveness, Ask Again, Yes serves up the perfect blend of family drama and character study to win it all the stars in my opinion. Read more →
One of the May 2019 book releases I was able to read in advance was Nadine’ Brandes’ latest young adult novel. Taking a different view on the Russian princess Anastasia, Brandes begins the story with the Romanov family already dethroned and exiled. Weaving in just a hint of magic into the account of their imprisonment was enchanting and felt so realistic. As the story progresses, I was riveted to see how she would handle their eventual deaths. And spoiler alert, she uses magic. Once the magic aspect of the story came full force, I completely lost interest. It was just too large of a break from reality for me to handle and ruined the rest of the book for me.
Surprisingly, I hadn’t ever read anything by Swedish author Fredrik Backman, though his books like A Man Called Ove and Beartown get rave reviews. Thus, I was excited to pick up his new book release for May 2019 – a collection of essays about life written to his young son. I so wanted it to be perfect – charming, interesting and funny. But, it just wasn’t. While Backman has some amusing anecdotes, overall I felt I was just forcing myself to get through the essays. I think it’s sweet that he wrote this for his son, but if you plan to read it, be sure to lower your expectations quite a bit.
A single mother desperate for work, Jane is ecstatic to be accepted as a host at the Farm – a surrogacy center for extremely wealthy individuals. For more money than she ever dreamed of earning, Jane leaves her young daughter with family and agrees to a hyper-controlled life as a surrogate. In her novel, Joanne Ramos forces you to ponder the ethics of such businesses like these. Are they preying on immigrants like Jane or giving them a life-changing opportunity? And where does the ethical boundary lie when there is a conflict between what is best for the client and what is best for the host? The Farm was one of the May 2019 book releases I was lucky enough to review in advance, and I found the story solid. I don’t see it being anyone’s favorite book, but it was a respectable 3 stars from me.
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Book of the Month – May 2019 Book Releases
I just joined The Book of the Month Club this year, and I’m so excited to start getting books every month. Here’s how it works – each month, they pick 5 books and you get to choose one book. 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.
Join Book of the Month and get your first book for $5!
Last year, The Kiss Quotient made waves winning a Goodreads Choice Award and being picked by Book of the Month Club. In the next book of her romance series, you meet Khai Diep who struggles to feel emotions because of his autism. So his mother sends for Esme Tran, a mail-order bride from Vietnam. Reviews on Goodreads have mentioned this book is not quite as good and less steamy than The Kiss Quotient, but still very much a romance. Although romance is not our genre and we won’t be reading this one, we wanted to mention this May 2019 book release for all of our readers who loved Helen Hoang’s previous book.
After years covering China for The New Yorker, Peter Hessler decided to move to Cairo, Egypt, with his wife and twin daughters. Hoping to learn Arabic, explore Cairo, and visit nearby archaeological sites, Hessler got more than he was planning for when the Egyptian Arab Spring threw the country into chaos. Through his travels to archaeological sites and interactions with the locals around him, Hessler gives a portrait of contemporary Egypt that Book of the Month picked among its May 2019 book selections.
Billed as the male version of Elanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, Richard Roper’s debut novel was among those chosen for Book of the Month club in May. Somehow Andrew’s white lie has taken on epic proportions. His coworkers think he’s happily married with kids; but what he really is is lonely, until a new coworker breezes into his life. Now Andrew must decide if he should let her in and admit the truth, even if that could mean losing her.
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Hot New May 2019 Book Releases
Every single David McCullough book I’ve ever read has been out-of-the-park incredible, so I was giddy with joy to discover him among the May 2019 book releases. After covering such historical figures as Truman, John Adams and The Wright Brothers, McCullough decided to chronicle the lives of rarely heard of settlers in the Ohio Valley. Among the pioneers willing to brave the newly opened Northwest Territory spanning from present-day Ohio to Wisconsin, Manasseh Cutter and General Rufus Putnam felt lured forth by the promise of freedom of religion, universal free education and the prohibition of slavery. McCullough’s unique voice always makes history come alive, so I’m thrilled to hear his treatment on the settlement of our home state. Read more →
If you want a clean-cut and fun young adult fantasy/romance series, Stephanie Garber’s Caraval series is the perfect read. Coming on the heels of Caraval and Legendary is the final book in the series. Now that the characters have made it through two different Caravals – magical carnival festivals where the players get to interact with a league of actors to solve puzzles and win a fantastical prize – they face their toughest challenges yet. Donatella is determined to stop the coronation of Legend while Scarlet pits Julian against her former fiance. But their mother’s past will come back to haunt them in the conclusion of this light-hearted YA series. Honestly, I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.
Covering three generations of a wealthy American family, Sarah Blake’s sweeping family saga shows how the past can come to haunt the present. In 1936, Kitty and Ogden Milton seem to have it all. When tragedy strikes, Ogden buys his wife an island in Maine, where Kitty eventually makes a fateful decision that will haunt her. In 1959, the family meets Len Levy, a Jewish man, and his black best friend, Reg Pauling, both of whom will profoundly affect the Milton family’s future. Finally, in the present-day, Kitty’s granddaughter, forced to consider selling the island, dives into the past to find what secrets lay buried in the family’s history. The synopsis has me dying to know what exactly Kitty did that would haunt generations to come. With a discussion on morality and race, I’m excited to see if this May 2019 book release can deliver as much as it promises. Read more →
I love when historical fiction shows me the history of a different culture, so I’m excited to try Jing-Jing Lee’s new book release. A multilayered account of the effects of the Second World War in Singapore, How We Disappeared centers on Wang Di, who was taken as a teenager and forced into a Japanese brothel as a “comfort woman.” Later she marries “The Old One,” a widower equally traumatized by his own experiences during the war. On her deathbed, Wang Di accidentally reveals a secret to her grandson Kevin who is determined to find the truth. Bouncing between Wang Di’s experience in 1942, her search for the truth of her husband’s past, and Kevin’s search for the truth, Jing-Jing Lee weaves together a painful account of history – partly based on her own family’s experiences. Since it is drawing comparisons to Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko, I am intrigued enough to add this May 2019 book release to my to-read list.
In her debut novel, Juliet Grames has a new family saga about two Italian sisters who immigrate to America. Growing up, Stella Fortuna is either extremely lucky or just plain cursed. Over the years, she is constantly facing life-threatening scenarios and surviving them. She uses her toughness to shield her baby sister from danger. Told over 100 years, Juliet Grames mixes in the story of the sisters with just a dash of magical realism to create an original new May 2019 book release, though with less than an original title.
Which May 2019 book releases are you most interested in reading?