When it comes to the books AAR staffers are most looking forward to reading in May, there’s a huge consensus of opinion; we can’t wait to read Lucy Parker’s Making Up, the third in her London Celebrities series, and Someone to Care, book four in Mary Balogh’s series of books about the Westcott family. Ms. Parker is a relatively new author – not only is Making Up the third book in a series, it’s her third published work, while Ms. Balogh is – I hope she won’t mind my saying this – a veteran of the genre with something over one hundred novels, novellas and short stories to her credit.

Other favourite authors appearing on this month’s list – Julie Anne Long with the next of her Hellcat Canyon books, Amanda Quick, Jenny Colgan, Sarah J. Mass and the follow-up to Sandhya Menon’s hugely enjoyable When Dimple Met Rishi, From Twinkle with Love.

Making Up by Lucy Parker (28 May)

I loved the first two Lucy Parker books, which are detailed and engaging looks at the London theater scene. I am delighted she has a new book coming out and can’t wait to read it. – Caroline

Lucy Parker is my one and only must-read contemporary romance author, so this one is at the very top of my most anticipated releases for May.  She does a fabulous job in bringing London’s Theatreland to life, and her writing just sparkles with charm, wit and vivacity.  I can’t wait! – Caz

A confession:  I don’t like to go to the theatre, I dislike musicals and I have no desire to see Hamilton on stage.  Go ahead and judge me.  However! I do love the Cirque du Soleil!  So while the theatre settings in Ms. Parker’s first two novels didn’t appeal to me personally, the circus setting of Making Up does.  A circus artist reunites with a childhood friend and sparks fly.  And so does she! I like everything about the set-up of this third novel in the London Celebrities series, and in Ms. Parkers immensely capable hands, it’s sure to be sexy, smart and romantic.  Fingers crossed we revisit her memorable other couples. – Em

It’s Lucy. Freaking. Parker. Obviously I want it. – Hollis

This is my most anticipated book of the year. Both her previous books Act Like It and Pretty Face have made my annual Best Books lists, so this book was a shoe-in for my May reading plan. Her books make me sob with laughter even as I appreciate the maturity of the characterization, the deftly moving prose, and the realistic and restrained emotional reactions of her protagonists. – Keira

Lucy Parker’s reputation precedes her; she’s so very good at presenting us with excellent heroes and heroines worth rooting for.  Excited to read her latest! – Lisa

I think it’s safe to say that many of my romance reader friends are looking forward to Lucy Parker’s upcoming London Celebrities romance! Since Pretty Face, her last release, made my Best of 2017 list, I’m anticipating another great read. The heroine is a circus artist which will be the first time I’ve read a romance with that particular characterization. – Maria Rose

Buy it at: Amazon/Barnes & Noble/iBooks/Kobo

Someone to Care by Mary Balogh (1 May)

I’ve enjoyed all the books so far in the Westcott series, but I’m especially looking forward to this, the story of Viola, the former Countess of Riverdale who discovered she was never a countess at all owing to the fact her ‘husband’ had married her bigamously.  I always enjoy romances featuring more mature protagonists, and I have no doubt that in the hands of Mary Balogh, it’s going to be a very satisfying read.  – Caz

This is the fourth book in Balogh’s Westcott series, a second-chance story for the widowed Countess of Riverdale. These days, I find that I savor stories of older couples who find love after their own children have grown up and moved away. Love is just as magical the second time around. – Keira

Doesn’t matter what the plot is for this latest book in the Westcott series;  I will always read books by this author. – Lee

It’s Balogh and it’s brand-new, which is good enough for me; it’s sure to be an exciting release, and a beautiful love story! – Lisa

Balogh is one of my few remaining auto-buy authors, so this book was on my radar regardless. The fact that I have enjoyed all but one of the Westcott series of books and that this one has an intriguing premise makes it my one and only Eagerly Awaiting for May. – Maggie

There’s something really special about Mary Balogh’s Westcott series, and Someone to Care, book four in the series, promises to be every bit as good as the previous installments. I’ve been intrigued by Viola Kingsley, former Countess of Riverdale, since she was first introduced back in Someone to Love, and I’m excited to watch her finally get the HEA she deserves. – Shannon

Buy it at: Amazon/Barnes & Noble/iBooks/Kobo

The First Time at Firelight Falls by Julie Anne Long (29 May)

I loved the Pennyroyal Green series by Ms. Long.  I loved it. So, just to be contrary, I decided to show my displeasure by refusing to read her contemporary Hellcat Canyon novels.  Long story short, I read them anyway. #sorrynotsorry  They’re great! My favorite – so far – was Dirty Dancing at Devil’s Leap, but really, the whole series is so good.  And funny. And charming. And delightful. This time out, Eden Harwood – flower shop owner, single mom (will we meet the dad??!!) and PTA member, falls hard for the principal at her daughter’s school.  In real life I’m a middle school teacher and folks, I have a hard time imagining anything romantic about my principal falling for one of our PTA moms – but if anyone can convince me, it’s Julie Anne Long.  I certainly hope so! – Em

I only discovered this series, and this author, last month after seeing an AAR rec for Dirty Dancing at Devil’s Leap (ps totally second’ing this rec, five easy stars!) but I binged the heck out of the first three Hellcat Canyon novels and I am so excited for single-mom Eden’s story. – Hollis

This series gets better with every book. I do miss historical JAL, but her contemporary work is damn good and very very funny. This is the book I’m most looking forward to in May! – Dabney

Buy it at: Amazon/Barnes & Noble/iBooks/Kobo

The Prince by Katharine Ashe (29 May)

While Ms. Ashe’s The Duke didn’t really work for me, I’m still a big fan of her work and am looking forward to this next instalment in her Devil’s Duke series.  A prince in exile and a woman determined to become a surgeon… colour me intrigued. – Caz

An exiled prince and a woman ahead of her time…Look, I don’t really know that much about this book – I’ve deliberately avoided reading about it so that the story is (mostly) a surprise when I finally start it.  Frankly, if Ms. Ashe writes it, I will read it. And judging by her track record (with me), I’ll love it. The Devil’s Duke series – an offshoot of The Falcon Club series (one of my favorites of all time) – has been a bit uneven.  I thought the first novel was brilliant and the last two merely great; the premise is intriguing and I have my fingers crossed that Ms. Ashe delivers another hit. – Em

Buy it at: Amazon/Barnes & Noble/iBooks/Kobo

We’re also looking forward to…


The Henchmen of Zenda by K.J. Charles (15 May)

K.J. Charles is, quite simply, one of the finest authors of historical romance writing today and any new book from her is an event as far as I’m concerned.  This one made my “most awaited of 2018” list, and I’ve been dying to get my hands on it ever since she announced  it.  The Prisoner of Zenda is a fabulous tale of swashbuckling intrigue and derring-do – and I am willing to bet money that Ms. Charles ‘queered’ version is better than the original!

Buy it at: Amazon/Barnes & Noble/iBooks/Kobo


Royals by Rachel Hawkins (1 May)

We’ve all read the story, either YA or NA or even adult, where the regular girl falls in love with the real-life prince and lives happily ever after. But what ever happened to the rest of the family, the ones caught up in the drama but not part of it? I’m so excited for this release because I love Hawkins’ voice and I love the idea of this twist on the royalty trope.

Buy it at: Amazon/Barnes & Noble/iBooks/Kobo

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson (8 May)

I fell in love with Anderson’s voice in her geeky, snarky, super smart YA debut The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You and I’m really excited to see her take on some fantasy in this new highschool drama infused with amateur witchcraft, diversity, and (I’m guessing!) a good dose of comedy and pop culture references.

Buy it at: Amazon/Barnes & Noble/iBooks/Kobo

Melt for You by J.T. Geissinger (15 May)

This is the second in Geissinger’s Slow Burn series. The first book, which I loved!, had a Beauty and the Beast-esque retelling but with a New Orleans flavour (almost literally) and Melt for You features a playboy meets his match in the wallflower trope, but in a contemporary setting, and I am here for it. Also that cover is muy caliente.

Buy it at: Amazon/Barnes & Noble/iBooks/Kobo


From Twinkle, with Love by Sandhya Menon (May 22)

I really enjoyed Menon’s début book When Dimple Met Rishi. Her book sparkled with a wit and joy that made it a great read, so I’m really looking forward to this book.

Buy it at: Amazon/Barnes & Noble/iBooks/Kobo


Limelight by Amy Poeppel (1 May)

I read Ms. Poeppel’s first novel, Small Admissions, last year so was on the lookout for her next book.  This one is about a woman moving her family from Dallas to NYC and all that entails.  Ms. Poeppel has a wonderful sense of humor.

Buy it at: Amazon/Barnes & Noble/iBooks/Kobo

The Endless Beach by Jenny Colgan (22 May)

This is the continuation of Flora’s story, whom we first met in The Cafe by the Sea.  The story takes place on an island off the northern Scottish coast, so everyone knows everyone’s business.

Buy it at: Amazon/Barnes & Noble/iBooks/Kobo


The Other Lady Vanishes by Amanda Quick (8 May)

Quick’s series of romantic mysteries that revolve around the movie industry, the town of Burning Cove and murder alike has proven to be a delight so far; I’m looking forward to seeing what she’s going to do with her latest hero and heroine.

Buy it at: Amazon/Barnes & Noble/iBooks/Kobo

Heron’s Landing: A Small Town Romance by JoAnn Ross (22 May)

Ross is well-known for writing good, solid cowboy contemps for the Harlequin line; I’m looking forward to seeing how she does with a nice, cozy, small town romance.

Buy it at: Amazon/Barnes & Noble/iBooks/Kobo

Maria Rose

Hooked on You by Kate Meader (7 May)

The third story in the Chicago Rebels series is the romance for sister #3, Violet. It’s got a hockey playing recovering alcoholic hero who is also a single dad, and sounds like a sexy, sparks flying kind of romance which is definitely Kate Meader’s specialty. I’m also looking forward to seeing how the Rebels do in the chase for the Stanley Cup! (Yes, I know it’s a fictional team, but that just gives them better odds!).

Buy it at: Amazon/Barnes & Noble/iBooks/Kobo

An Honorable Seduction by Brenda Jackson (8 May)

I love books with Navy SEALS and this one, with a hero set to seduce the heroine as part of his mission who then finds himself hooked looks intriguing (and also has a hot cover!). It’s part of Brenda Jackson’s Westmoreland series which I’ve heard good things about (and conveniently, my library recently picked up so I can catch up on all the back stories).

Buy it at: Amazon/Barnes & Noble/iBooks/Kobo

Blind Trust by Lynda Aicher (14 May)

Lynda Aicher writes wickedly sexy BDSM Club romances and The Boardroom series takes the reader on a wild ride indeed. CEOs who play out their fantasies with willing participants, the combination of business and pleasure is taken up a notch when paralegal Brie gets to explore her own desires and is recognized by a co-worker who also frequents the unique club that has meetings in various executive boardrooms across the city. Anonymity and confidentiality are the backbone of the club, so what happens when those things are broken by chance? I’m ready to find out!

Buy it at: Amazon/Barnes & Noble/iBooks/Kobo

Shadow Keeper by Christine Feehan (29 May)

I’ve never read this author before so I’m hoping the third story in her Shadows series works well as a standalone for a new reader. The plot of the story is what drew me to it (a bad boy nightclub owner who moonlights as a shadow rider and ends up as a protector for one of his employees). I hope it’s as good as it sounds!

Buy it at: Amazon/Barnes & Noble/iBooks/Kobo


Lennon Reborn by Scarlett Cole (1 May)

Scarlett Cole isn’t afraid to go deep and tackle tough, complex issues, and the three previous stand-alone books are emotional and thought-provoking romances. Lennon Reborn features a broody, tortured rock star who falls for an ambitious neurosurgeon.

Buy it at: Amazon/Barnes & Noble/iBooks/Kobo

I Flipping Love You by Helena Hunting (29 May)

Helena Hunting is one of my favorite authors of romantic comedy, and I love the first two stand-alone books in this series, Shacking Up and Hooking Up. I Flipping Love You is an enemies-to-lovers romance that will likely be full of laugh-out-loud banter, swoon-worthy romance and sexy times.

Buy it at: Amazon/Barnes & Noble/iBooks/Kobo

Marek by Sawyer Bennett (May 22)

A second-chance romance with a professional hockey player and a secret baby written by Sawyer Bennett? Sign me up! I adore Bennett’s Cold Fury Hokey series, and Marek is the eleventh(!), stand-alone book.

Buy it at: Amazon/Barnes & Noble/iBooks/Kobo


Harvest Song by Yasmine Galenorn (25 May)

Yasmine Galenorn’s Otherworld is one of my very favorite long-running urban fantasy series. Over the years, the characters have come to feel like friends to me, and I’m always eager for a chance to reconnect with them. Harvest Song is the second to last book in the series, and I’m both sad and excited to read it. I want to see how things turn out for the characters, but I absolutely hate the idea of being one book closer to the end of such a phenomenal group of books.

Buy it at: Amazon/Barnes & Noble/iBooks/Kobo

A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas (1 May 2018)

I’m a huge fan of Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses books, so it’s only natural that A Court of Frost and Starlight has been on my radar for months and months. I’m super excited to spend more time in the magical, mysterious world the author has created. Release day can’t come soon enough!

Buy it at: Amazon/Barnes & Noble/iBooks/Kobo

War Storm by Victoria Aveyard (15 May)

I’m on pins and needles for War Storm, the final book in Victoria Aveyard’s fabulous Red Queen series. There are a lot of loose ends to be tied up in this final installment, and I can’t wait to see how the author chooses to end this wildly addictive story.

Buy it at: Amazon/Barnes & Noble/iBooks/Kobo

Those are the books we’re most eager to snap up as and when they appear – what are YOU looking forward to reading in May?

Please note: this isn’t an exhaustive list of new and forthcoming releases; these are the books AAR staffers are particularly looking forward to reading in the weeks ahead.

Links to online bookstores are given where available at time of writing.

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Queer romance, romantic suspense and historicals - romance, mysteries, fiction -  are my genres of choice these days, and when I haven't got my nose in a book, I’ve got my ears in one.  I’m a huge fan of audiobooks and am rarely to be found without my earbuds in.