ANTICIPATED MAY 2020 RELEASES

Each month, we’ll be putting together a list of our top most anticipated releases; from romance, to sci-fi, to fantasy, and everything in between. These releases might be ones we’re counting down the days for or ones we’ve already read and want you to read (and love!), too.

What you do need to bear in mind is that living on different continents we have different release dates. So as a general rule there might be some repeats from one month to the next.. it’s not that we’re just being weird. Though we can’t dismiss that totally out of turn.


For May, our hotly anticipated titles, in chronological order, are :


NETWORK EFFECT by Martha Wells is the fifth book, but first full-length release, in this series about an AI who calls themselves Murderbot and, somehow, despite how they would rather just watch soap operas, has to constantly save a bunch of humans. Woe. Not much time to catch up in the first four novellas but, being novellas, you can definitely crush them quickly. Then get your hands on Moar Murderbot on May 5, 2020.

AURORA BURNING by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff is the sequel to this duo’s newest series, following AURORA RISING, and the squad of misfits that, somehow, have to save the galaxy. Find out how that goes for them on May 5, 2020.

CLAP WHEN YOU LAND by Elizabeth Acevedo is a story of two girls approaching adulthood, in two different places and cultures. They are brought together by a plane crash and much more that they have in common. With Acevedo’s amazing prose, this is one you cannot miss and it’s out on May 5, 2020.

THE GRAVITY OF US by Phil Stamper is a coming of age YA in the backdrop of two teens who’s parents are involved in a mission to Mars. This LGBTQ+ romance sounds so good and it releases (in the UK) on May 14, 2020.

BEACH READ by Emily Henry, a story about two authors from very different genres struggling with writers block, has been getting so much buzz (and rightly so!). You’ll definitely want to get your hands on this funny, emotional, delightful, romance; and you can do so on May 19, 2020. This is out in July for the UK.

HIDEAWAY by Nora Roberts is a romantic suspense with a main character who is a survivor of a kidnapping. Her adulthood and childhood begin to catch up with each other in this book that sounds absolutely gripping. HIDEAWAY releases on May 30, 2020.


What titles are you looking forward to this month? Let us know in the comments below!

GOLDILOCKS by Laura Lam

The Earth is in environmental collapse. The future of humanity hangs in the balance. But a team of women are preparing to save it. Even if they’ll need to steal a spaceship to do it.

Despite increasing restrictions on the freedoms of women on Earth, Valerie Black is spearheading the first all-female mission to a planet in the Goldilocks Zone, where conditions are just right for human habitation.

The team is humanity’s last hope for survival, and Valerie has gathered the best women for the mission: an ace pilot who is one of the only astronauts ever to have gone to Mars; a brilliant engineer tasked with keeping the ship fully operational; and an experienced doctor to keep the crew alive. And then there’s Naomi Lovelace, Valerie’s surrogate daughter and the ship’s botanist, who has been waiting her whole life for an opportunity to step out of Valerie’s shadow and make a difference.

The problem is that they’re not the authorized crew, even if Valerie was the one to fully plan the voyage. When their mission is stolen from them, they steal the ship bound for the new planet.

But when things start going wrong on board, Naomi begins to suspect that someone is concealing a terrible secret — and realizes time for life on Earth may be running out faster than they feared . . .

Goldilocks is a bold and thought-provoking new thriller for readers of The Martian and The Handmaid’s Tale.


Title : Goldilocks
Author : Laura Lam
Format : eARC
Page Count : 352
Genre : Sci-fi/Thriller
Publisher : Headline
Release Date : April 30, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★.5


Micky’s 4.5 rounding up to 5 star review

GOLDILOCKS is the rare kind of sci-fi that kept pace from beginning to end without any kind of lull or overly descriptive narrative. I have just finished the book on a wow whilst congratulating myself on already having secured an order for a signed hard copy; it was that good.

This did not feel like a story I’d read before, it was fresh and gripping. The protagonist Naomi was the daughter of a renown scientist and protege of a leading researcher into all things space science. This story was set in the backdrop of a close dystopian patriarchy with an active programme of sidelining women and their rights. Therefore, this story took a matriarchal path into the future on another world.

I could not predict the twists in GOLDILOCKS, nor could I predict many of the character developments. But I knew Naomi, I came to admire her, cheer for her, will her survival. The team she was working in was complex with allegiances unknown. The morality and ethics of the mission had me taking quick in-drawn breaths, thinking…what???

“Success will never be linear. Success is illusive, it’s a mirage. What you learn, what you do, how you react – that’s what matters.”

Success came at a price in this story, this mission and whether the crew were willing the pay that price was the nugget to follow through the story. The ‘baddie’ of the piece came from initially unexpected quarters for me, although later I questioned why I hadn’t been more suspicious.

The science in this story was utterly palatable, readable and not beyond any readers’s comprehension. I liked the botany aspects of the science, I found the futuristic nutritional ideas fascinating. This was an intelligent read and I devoured it front to back.

I am now off to work out if I can turn Alexa into a male voice in my house…you have to read to understand this subtle but creepy suggestion.

Thank you to Headline Books for the early review copy.

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – APRIL 28, 2020

Happy “where’d all my money go?” new release Tuesday, everyone!

As you know, the most exciting day of the week in this community is the day that follows the one we all dread (Mondays for the nope) and today we’re going to highlight some of the new books chipping away at our bank accounts — but each one is so worth it.


Q is the anticipated second book Christina Dalcher and it has a dystopian context like her previous book Vox. The patriarchy is in force in this book too and it’s all about intelligence, IQ, children and their potential. Q releases on April 30th.

GOLDILOCKS by Laura Lam is a fantastic sci-fi thriller standalone, full of adrenaline, inter-stellar journeys and women. This is a gripping tale of finding a new earth but more importantly a group of women trailblazing the journey and technology. Out on April 30th, you won’t regret clicking this one.

WHERE THE LOST WANDER is a beautiful historical read from Amy Harmon. This is the story of families and individuals crossing an epic trail for life out west. It is harrowing, real and compelling. Out on April 28th, this is well worth reading.


Are there any titles out today you’re excited for? Let us know in the comments below!

WHERE THE LOST WANDER by Amy Harmon

In this epic and haunting love story set on the Oregon Trail, a family and their unlikely protector find their way through peril, uncertainty, and loss.

The Overland Trail, 1853: Naomi May never expected to be widowed at twenty. Eager to leave her grief behind, she sets off with her family for a life out West. On the trail, she forms an instant connection with John Lowry, a half-Pawnee man straddling two worlds and a stranger in both.

But life in a wagon train is fraught with hardship, fear, and death. Even as John and Naomi are drawn to each other, the trials of the journey and their disparate pasts work to keep them apart. John’s heritage gains them safe passage through hostile territory only to come between them as they seek to build a life together.

When a horrific tragedy strikes, decimating Naomi’s family and separating her from John, the promises they made are all they have left. Ripped apart, they can’t turn back, they can’t go on, and they can’t let go. Both will have to make terrible sacrifices to find each other, save each other, and eventually…make peace with who they are.


Title : Where The Lost Wander
Author : Amy Harmon
Format : eARC
Page Count : 348
Genre : Historical Fiction
Publisher : Lake Union Publishing
Release Date : April 28, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

It’s been a long time since I’ve read an Amy Harmon book and for some reason, I just decided it was time. I am pulled to historical fiction that I don’t know a lot about and American history hits that box for me. This book felt like a Jojo Moyes and it really gave me The Giver of Stars vibes (that’s a high compliment).

The prologue pulls you in with a bang, and then you spend much of the book learning about how the story got to the point of the prologue, and you get some great story beyond that. This was an epic narrative of emigration across an American trail…thousands of miles of journey and it was a survival story. It was brutal and I didn’t realise how tough this journey was with illness, children, death and conflict. I learnt a lot and it gripped me.

The two protagonists were Naomi, a young widow travelling with her parents and brothers and John, a half-Pawnee, half-white man who was taking mules for trade. John was an enigma at first, emotionally inept and he didn’t seem to know where he belonged. John’s growth as a character over this book was vast and that was my favourite part of the story.

He cries like it’s the first time he’s ever cried, like all the pain of all his twenty-odd years is rising up at once.

I can’t and won’t even begin to describe what happened to these characters and families, it’s too big and too spoilery but it was a lot and it was grim. There brothers in this story were favourites and I lived for their chinks of light.

The indigenous people woven throughout this story were a range of tribes and had a range of ways. They were so fundamental to this story, John and Naomi and I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and people depicted. Lost Woman and Hanabi in particular, left an impression on me and Naomi.

WHERE THE LOST WANDER is a historical fiction with romantic elements rather than a historical romance and in that, it worked really well for me. On finishing, I feel like I have also been on a journey and I’m a little ’emotioned-out’. Highly recommended for all fans of historical fiction.

Thank you to Lake Union Publishing for the early review copy.

Q by Christina Dalcher

Elena Fairchild is a teacher at one of the state’s new elite schools. Her daughters are exactly like her: beautiful, ambitious, and perfect. A good thing, since the recent mandate that’s swept the country is all about perfection.
 
Now everyone must undergo routine tests for their quotient, Q, and any children who don’t measure up are placed into new government schools. Instead, teachers can focus on the gifted.
 
Elena tells herself it’s not about eugenics, not really, but when one of her daughters scores lower than expected and is taken away, she intentionally fails her own test to go with her.
 
But what Elena discovers is far more terrifying than she ever imagined…


Title : Q
Author : Christina Dalcher
Format : Paperback
Page Count : 384
Genre : Dystopian
Publisher : HQ
Release Date : April 30, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★


Micky’s 2 star review

It is truly crushing when a book you have anticipated ends up being a disappointment. I really enjoyed Vox, the previous release from this author and I liked her brand of contemporary dystopia; close to current society.

Q started off well, with a family situation, two successful parents and two high-achieving children. However, the mask fell off and a hideous under layer was revealed. This was a story about IQ above every other facet of a person and it drilled down to emotive and polarising topics of elitism, abortion and someone’s personal worth.

The protagonist, Elena, mother of two and wife was an interesting character and I liked her. She taught in an elite school, her children were intelligent and passing their monthly tests until one didn’t. The husband was 100% a b*****d. The first half of the book was strong and I liked where it was going but then it went downhill for me, I’m afraid. I felt like I was pushing through with the narrative. The plot was intangible at times, even considering that it was dystopian. I hated the final direction and found the culmination so unsatisfying.

I’m hugely disappointed but I am grateful to have had an early review copy. Considering how much I liked Vox, I will definitely read Christina Dalcher again.

Thank you to Headline for the review copy.

THE GIRL AND THE STARS by Mark Lawrence

In the ice, east of the Black Rock, there is a hole into which broken children are thrown.

On Abeth the vastness of the ice holds no room for individuals. Survival together is barely possible. No one survives alone.

To resist the cold, to endure the months of night when even the air itself begins to freeze, requires a special breed. Variation is dangerous, difference is fatal. And Yaz is not the same.

Yaz is torn from the only life she’s ever known, away from her family, from the boy she thought she would spend her days with, and has to carve out a new path for herself in a world whose existence she never suspected. A world full of difference and mystery and danger.

Yaz learns that Abeth is older and stranger than she had ever imagined. She learns that her weaknesses are another kind of strength. And she learns to challenge the cruel arithmetic of survival that has always governed her people.

Only when it’s darkest you can see the stars.


Title : The Girl and the Stars
Author : Mark Lawrence
Series : Book of the Ice #1
Format : eARC
Page Count : 480
Genre : Fantasy
Publisher : Harper Voyager
Release Date : April 30, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : DNF/★ ★ 


DNF @55%

What a journey of expectation and difficulty this read has been. I had high hopes with that cover, that synopsis and genre. The story started off incredibly strong, I really liked the world above the ice and felt excited about the storyline ahead. Things changed drastically and the protagonist Yaz, found herself below the ice. Everything following this for the first half of the book gave me Maze runner vibes, just in a different context. I was not thrilled about this, at all.

The world under the ice was confusing, the characters were mostly annoying and the different creatures, magic, taints and demons were rather difficult to fathom. Half the time, I didn’t know who was who. I wanted to continue, I wanted to know more about Yaz and her stars in the ice but it felt like drowning in mud. When you’ve tried and tried but that pushing through gets harder, it’s time to throw the towel in. This didn’t work for me, it wasn’t the story for me or the characters to interest me.

If I was pushed to rate it, I would say 2 stars.

Thank you to Harper Voyager for the early review copy.

AN ARTIFICIAL NIGHT by Seanan McGuire

Changeling knight in the court of the Duke of Shadowed Hills, October “Toby” Daye has survived numerous challenges that would destroy fae and mortal alike. Now Toby must take on a nightmarish new assignment. 

Someone is stealing both fae and mortal children—and all signs point to Blind Michael. When the young son of Toby’s closest friends is snatched from their Northern California home, Toby has no choice but to track the villains down, even when there are only three magical roads by which to reach Blind Michael’s realm—home of the legendary Wild Hunt—and no road may be taken more than once. If she cannot escape with all the children before the candle that guides and protects her burns away, Toby herself will fall prey to Blind Michael’s inescapable power.

And it doesn’t bode well for the success of her mission that her own personal Fetch, May Daye—the harbinger of Toby’s own death—has suddenly turned up on her doorstep…


Title : An Artificial Night
Author : Seanan McGuire
Series : October Daye (book three)
Format : eBook
Page Count : 384
Genre : urban fantasy
Publisher : DAW
Release Date : September 7, 2010

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 2 star review

So, book three was better. Was it the kind of greatness I was promised and expected? No. But that’s okay.

This particular installment weaves in the story of Tam Lin and though I love that story, it didn’t make me love the book. The writing, unlike in book two, was much improved. We had a better flow for both the refresher moments and for slipping us into the story itself after the time that has passed since the previous installment. The pacing, everything, it was fine. I was just.. bored.

October is still not winning me over as an MC/heroine. Which is funny because there’s a very similar character named May who I liked a lot. There’s also a sea witch I adore. So the cast isn’t a total loss. And while we had a few glimmering moments between Toby and the character who make up the ship of my choice, even he wasn’t doing it for me in this book. 

Also, we’re really just leaning in hard to the months-for-names thing, huh? October, January, April, May.. and that’s just after three books.

I really want to love this series. Both because of previously mentioned (in other reviews) buddies who adore it and also because this should be everything I love, too. But I’m still waiting. I’m worried if I pause to read something else I won’t come back to this (like my read through of the bajillion JD Robb novels which.. what, did I stop after only two? whoops. we don’t know her) so I’ll likely be spending my weekend a’binge’ing even more. I hear something great awaits in book six. Let’s see if I can make it that far.

A LOCAL HABITATION by Seanan McGuire

October “Toby” Daye is a changeling, the daughter of Amandine of the fae and a mortal man. Like her mother, she is gifted in blood magic, able to read what has happened to a person through a mere taste of blood. Toby is the only changeling who has earned knighthood, and she re-earns that position every day, undertaking assignments for her liege, Sylvester, the Duke of the Shadowed Hills.

Now Sylvester has asked her to go to the County of Tamed Lightning—otherwise known as Fremont, CA—to make sure that all is well with his niece, Countess January O’Leary, whom he has not been able to contact. It seems like a simple enough assignment—but when dealing with the realm of Faerie nothing is ever as simple as it seems. Toby soon discovers that someone has begun murdering people close to January, whose domain is a buffer between Sylvester’s realm and a scheming rival duchy. If Toby can’t find the killer soon, she may well become the next victim.


Title : A Local Habitation
Author : Seanan McGuire
Series : October Daye (book two)
Format : eBook
Page Count : 390
Genre : urban fantasy
Publisher : DAW
Release Date : March 2, 2010

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ .5


Hollis’ 1.5 star review

S t r u g g l e b u s.

That’s what this whole read was. It’s a good thing I was warned in advance that this book would not be a favourite and would require some pushing through because oh boy was that accurate. So I’m paying it forward and passing along that warning.

Some of what I expressed as my main issue with book one was definitely present in book two. More romantic entanglements (because why not), more making things complicated with the existing ones (because why not), and combined with a mystery that I felt was just dragged out (because.. you get it), made worse by so much information being kept away from the MC and her investigative buddy (..), and compounded by an element I’m sure was supposed to be a surprise regarding a certain character, but wasn’t because duh it’s obvious and I’ve seen it before, just.. overall? Not a good time.

Don’t even get me started on the appearance of a certain line that is iconic for the Kate Daniels world showing up in this one. Multiple times. Sure, it’s not owned by IA, nor is it an unusual thing to say, but still. Grr arg. I was even trying not to compare anymore and then that happened. Not my fault.

October as an MC failed to impress me, I wasn’t loving the romance (as mentioned above and also because this didn’t further my ship), the mystery was annoying, and this is also the second book where October is being blamed for things that have nothing to do with her? This better not be a trend. One of the characters kidnapped in book one literaly blames October for it, even though she didn’t do the act, and was also disappeated for over a decade because she was trying to help, and in this one? Same thing. Suspicion, blame, distrust, like.. constantly. So annoying.

Also annoying? October tells everyone to pair up, no one should be alone, due to killer on the loose. Right after, everyone spends at least some time on their own; when confronted by the fact that they aren’t following orders, and they explain why, even though all the reasons are dumb, October accepts it. Then October is alone multiple times. Other people are alone. Again. She bitches them out. Then suddenly she’s alone again and only then realizes she’s a hypocrite. Eye twitch. And this was only one example of just some of the dumb ridiculous trudgery. 

Another being.. why was there so much crying? 

I’m no stranger to McGuire’s books, though obviously not this series, and I’m surprised how.. not great the writing is? Was this her first few books? I should look into that.

So, yes, not a favourite, though not surprised due to advance warning (even though, yes, surprised by just how much I disliked it), and holding out hope book three lives up to all the hype it was getting in my group chat. Thanks, again, buddies for the support. I really needed it for this book. If this had been book one, this would’ve been as far as I went. Probably, maybe. It would’ve been a “might pick this up again later..” aka never situation. But we shall push on.

SUPERMAN DAWNBREAKER by Matt de la Pena

When the dawn breaks, a hero rises.

His power is beyond imagining.

Clark Kent has always been faster, stronger–better–than everyone around him. But he wasn’t raised to show off, and drawing attention to himself could be dangerous. Plus, it’s not like he’s earned his powers . . . yet.

But power comes with a price.

Lately it’s difficult to hold back and keep his heroics in the shadows. When Clark follows the sound of a girl crying, he comes across Gloria Alvarez and discovers a dark secret lurking in Smallville. Turns out, Clark’s not the only one hiding something. Teaming up with his best friend, Lana Lang, he throws himself into the pursuit of the truth. What evil lies below the surface of his small town? And what will it cost Clark to learn about his past as he steps into the light to become the future Man of Steel? Because before he can save the world, he must save Smallville.


Title : Superman Dawnbreaker
Author : Matt de le Pena
Series : DC Icons #4
Format : Hardback
Page Count : 288
Genre : YA fantasy
Publisher : Penguin
Release Date : March 7, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 3-3.5 star review

There were few surprises for me going into SUPERMAN DAWNBREAKER, what with two sets of films and a series or two under my belt. That said, I liked the YA age of Clark Kent in the context of Smallville and his friends Lana and Gloria. I would have liked to have seen more of Clark’s parents.

Although the surprises were few, the familiarity was good. Clark slowly came into his powers in this book and I was glued to the page at those moments, I don’t think that’s ever been explored in the films or series before.

The first half of the book was good, enjoyable reading with a good pace. The second half seemed to be on sprint speed and the plot developed at a rate that was rushed with lots of predictability and neat wrapping up. I wanted the pace to slow and more pages to to tease out the plot and friendships.

This was the last read of the series, so that’s a box ticked and although this wasn’t my favourite (CATWOMAN and WONDER WOMAN WARBRINGER are), it has finished the series on a solid point; I would have preferred a high!

TIME OF OUR LIVES by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka

A boy desperate to hold on, a girl ready to let go.

Fitz Holton waits in fear for the day his single mother’s early-onset Alzheimer’s starts stealing her memory. He’s vowed to stay close to home to care for her in the years to come–never mind the ridiculous college tour she’s forcing him on to visit schools where he knows he’ll never go. Juniper Ramirez is counting down the days until she can leave home, a home crowded with five younger siblings and zero privacy. Against the wishes of her tight-knit family, Juniper plans her own college tour of the East Coast with one goal: get out.

When Fitz and Juniper cross paths on their first college tour in Boston, they’re at odds from the moment they meet– while Juniper’s dying to start a new life apart for her family, Fitz faces the sacrifices he must make for his. Their relationship sparks a deep connection–in each other’s eyes, they glimpse alternate possibilities regarding the first big decision of their adult lives. 

Time of Our Lives is a story of home and away, of the wonder and weight of memory, of outgrowing fears and growing into the future.


Title : Time of Our Lives
Author : Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka
Format : ARC
Page Count : 384
Genre : YA contemporary
Publisher : Viking Books for Young Readers
Release Date : April 21, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 3 star review

I totally respect what this book is trying to do. And what, I imagine, it will successfully do for many readers. It just didn’t quite work for me.

This is such a great representation of the mixed emotions young people (I was young once!) feel going into the next stage (ie, post-high school) of their lives. The momentum that pushes them forward to escape their current situation (overbearing family, no room to be yourself, too much responsibility at too young an age, etc) and the reluctance to go too far afield (family obligations, health, anxiety, worry, etc). These characters were perfect representations of those, often conflicting though sometimes singular, feelings. I felt it.

I already know what the future holds. It’s right now that has the potential to be extraordinary.”

Where this book failed for me, I think, was I didn’t quite love the characters. I didn’t love what followed their initial meeting and connection, and how that all came about, and I was hard pressed to believe how quickly they just “got” each other. Thankfully this relationship wasn’t smooth sailing, I appreciated the arguments, the speed bumps, but overall it did kind of stretch my belief. Maybe if I had liked them more, I would’ve bought it? I don’t know. Part of me had hoped this had gone a different way, been a story that connected these characters but didn’t quite overlap.. she says, vaguely.

There’s a claustrophobia in comfort. The threads become a web, confining the person I want to be to the person I was.

There are definitely emotional elements to this story, with some suffocating but reassuring (for the character) familial roles (honestly, the first few chapters dealing with Juniper’s family made me want to break out in hives, but that’s just me) and some heartbreaking health issues when it comes to a parent. Again, like before, I could feel it. But..

But overall, no matter how great the writing, how stunning some of the turns of phrase, this was a story very character-focused, and I just couldn’t love them. The characters. Also, a certain cameo from IF I’M BEING HONEST made me so mad initially.. but that was redeemed. Had it not? I would’ve been devastated.

So this was a mixed bag, but also a strong read. These authors are definitely talented, and not writing the same story in each release (thank goodness for that), but this was also not what I got from IF I’M BEING HONEST and maybe, in part, that’s also contributing to some disappointment. Even though I said different things are great. And they are. If you’ve enjoyed this duo before, I think you’ll like this, too. Maybe not as much, maybe more. Who is to say. What I can say, though, is even though I didn’t love it, I’ll continue to read whatever they put out.

** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **