There are a lot of romances we’re eager to read coming out in May, but there’s one real stand-out that’s sure to make a big splash, Helen Hoang’s follow-up to her hugely successful 2018 début, The Kiss Quotient. In The Bride Test, she takes the arranged marriage trope out for a spin and we’re sure it’s going to be another hit from this incredibly talented author.  Added to that, there are new titles from many of our favourite authors – K.J. Charles, Patricia Briggs, Kelly Bowen, Christina Lauren and Beverly Jenkins to name but a few – plus some intriguing YA, mysteries and romantic suspense novels all lining up for attention;  it looks like May is a bumper month for great books!

Don’t forget to chime in in the comments to tell us what YOU’RE most looking forward to reading over the coming weeks.  Are we missing out on anything good?  Enquiring minds need to know!


The Bride Test by Helen Hoang (7 May)

The Kiss Quotient got a lot of buzz last year, and rightly so. It can be difficult to re-create that sort of magic, but I think the premise for The Bride Test sounds very promising. I can’t wait to see what else Ms. Hoang can bring us! – Alex A.

The sequel to The Kiss Quotient starring the autistic cousin of the hero from that book and the arranged bride his mother brings back from Vietnam. I’m looking forward to more of the realistic characters, truthful depictions of neurodiverse life, and of course the great sex scenes I got from this author’s debut! – Caroline

Like most of Romancelandia, I loved The Kiss Quotient and it made my best of 2018 list.   I love Helen Hoang’s her voice and point of view, and the glimpses she gives us into Vietnamese culture and family ties, and I’m looking forward to reacquainting myself with her unique writing and style, and meeting two new, equally compelling principal characters.  This marriage of convenience sounds anything but – and I can’t wait to see how she makes it work. – Em

The Kiss Quotient was a fabulous book that received great reviews from many places, and I’m really looking forwawd to seeing what the author has in store for us next. – Keira

I was part of the large crowd that was knocked off their feet by The Kiss Quotient so I’m very interested to see if Hoang’s sophomore book lives up to how much I adored her debut. – Haley

On my Kindle now, please. – Kristen

I’m super excited for Helen Hoang’s next one – The Kiss Quotient was eminently readable and this new one sounds delectable. – Lisa

Like many readers, The Kiss Quotient ended up as one of my favorite romances of 2018 with its personal view of autism and an authentic exploration of Vietnamese culture. The Bride Test continues these themes with an arranged marriage to complicate matters in what looks to be another excellent read. – Maria Rose

Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo

Storm-Cursed by Patricia Briggs  (7 May)

I’ve read all the books in this series and have enjoyed them all.I’m excited to see where the next book takes Mercy and her merry band of werewolves.- Maggie

I’ve been in love with the Mercy Thompson series for the past six or seven years. There’s something about Mercy’s spunky, loyal, self-sufficient nature that always makes me smile. Plus, the relationship she has with pack leader Adam is truly beautiful. Needless to say, I’m super excited for the next installment to get here. – Shannon

Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo

Proper English by K.J. Charles (8 May)

Affairs, secrets, betrayals, and blackmail come to light in this Edwardian f/f romantic, murder mystery set in England during a shooting party at a large Country House.  And when a body is discovered with a knife between the shoulderblades, it’s going to take Pat and Fen’s combined talents to prevent the murderer destroying all their lives. – BJ

A country house, a murder and a pair of intrepid lady investigators.  Oh, and it’s by K.J. Charles, which is just about all I need to know. – Caz

I love queer romances, but I haven’t read many featuring women falling love with each other.  I think that’s about to change.  Think of England, the novel that introduced us to Pat and Fen, the principals in Proper English, is my favorite Charles novel.  Everything about it is wonderful – including the fabulous secondary characters.   Proper English promises more of the same – betrayals, blackmails, affairs, secrets, and murders – and more Pat and Fen as they fall in love.  I’m prepared to fall for them – and this book. – Em

Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo

A Rogue by Night by Kelly Bowen (28 May)

Although I wasn’t wild about the previous book in this series, I’m still excited to read Harland, Baron Hayward’s story. He’s been an interesting, but somewhat enigmatic character in the previous instalments, a doctor who may – or not – be involved with a bit of free trading on the side.  Kelly Bowen is one of the best authors of historical romance around, so I’m not going to miss this one! – Caz

Even when she isn’t at her best, Ms. Bowen is better than most historical romance writers these days.  Sir Harland Hayward, a secondary character with memorable scenes in the first two Devils of Dover novels, has remained an enigma to fans of the series.  We know he’s a protective older brother; he clandestinely teaches medicine to women attending Haverhall School for Young Ladies; and he might be involved in a teensy bit of smuggling on the side to help shore up the family finances.  And that’s it.  But it’s just enough for me to want to know more. – Em

A duke with a double life and a virtuous daughter of a smuggling family are set to collide in the fourth book in Bowen’s Devils of Dover series. I expect more of Bowen’s great research and spicy character chemistry! – Lisa

Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren (14 May)

While I enjoyed this author’s early works, I was positively bowled over with love for her/their last book, My Favorite Half-Night Stand. I loved the witty repartee of the group of friends in that story, and am hopeful that this will be just as good. – Alex A.

Olive, the unlucky twin, is thrown together with her archnemesis Ethan at her perfect sister’s perfect Hawaiian wedding. I’m hoping this will fill the wedding drama hole left by the conclusion of Jenny Holiday’s Bridesmaids Behaving Badly series. – Caroline

A few hiccups notwithstanding, this writing duo is an auto-buy for me. I’m excited to see what offering they have for us this time. – Kristen

Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo

There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandya Menon (14 May)

I loved, loved, loved Menon’s two earlier books. She has just the right effervescent, witty voice for these YA books. – Keira

Menon’s books have been my jam since From Twinkle With Love became my favorite book of last year. Her next one looks to be as promising! – Lisa

Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo

Nocturna by Maya Motayne (7 May)

Sweeping epic fantasy? First in a trilogy? Debut author? Latinx-inspired world? How could I NOT be dying to read this one? – Alex S.

This YA novel about a girl who is a “faceshifter” intrigues me because it makes me think of Arya Stark and the “faceless man.” But from the description, it seems this book has its own identity. Captured by a criminal, Finnis forced to infiltrate the palace. Meanwhile, Prince Alfie finds himself next in line for the throne after his brother’s murder, and he is tempted by necromancy. – Anne

Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo

The Rogue of Fifth Avenue by Joanna Shupe (28 May)

I’ve really enjoyed Joanna Shupe’s last couple of series set in Gilded Age New York, and am keen to find out more about charming lawyer Frank Tripp, who appeared as a secondary character in the author’s recent Four Hundred series. Here, he’s going to pit his considerable wits against a young woman determined to outwit him… I’m sure the sparks will fly! – Caz

Shupe has always been a marvel; I’m excited about her latest! – Lisa

Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo

Rebel by Beverly Jenkins (28 May)

NEW ORLEANS!!! One of my favorite settings, in the hands of a legend. I will curl up with beignets and cafe-au-lait (or at least I’ll pretend to) for this story of a teacher who moves South during Reconstruction and an architect hero. – Caroline

I am a huge fan of Jenkins’ work and can’t wait to see what she’s going to bring us in this first book of the Women Who Dare series. – Keira

Beverly Jenkins always writes amazing historicals and I’m excited to read her latest! – Lisa

Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo

We’re also looking forward to…

Alex A.

Passion on Park Avenue by Lauren Layne

Working-class girl grows up to be a successful CEO and is ready to finally get the best of her childhood rival. Who happens to be extremely attractive and living next door. And fully of witty remarks, no doubt. If only all our lives were so perfect!

Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo

Alex S.

Westside by W.M. Akers (7 May)

The synopsis throws out enticing descriptive lines such as, “the imaginative power of Neil Gaiman.” I’m hopeful that this debut mystery/fantasy set in a jazzy NYC will make Akers an author to look for.

Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo

Anne:

Inside the Asylum by Mary SanGiovanni (7 May)

The previous book in this series, Beyond the Door, freaked me out. This one sounds even better. Occult detective Kathy Ryan will visit Henry, a patient at the Connecticut-Newlyn Hospital for the Criminally Insane, to find out how much of a threat he is. But this is also the hospital where the brother who tried to kill her is also an inmate. These stories have everything from portals to other dimensions to tulpas.

Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal (14 May)

The heroine disguised as a boy trope is hard to pull off, but fantasy authors often make it work. Zafira dusguises herself as a boy so that she can hunt and thus keep her people alive. Nasir, the sultan’s son, kills his father’s enemies — to avoid becoming a victim himself. Zafira must hide her gender, and Nasir is forced to hide his compassion. Both are drawn toward the same powerful object, with very different goals.

Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo

Caroline:

Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno (14 May)

A YA story about a south Florida girl who might be cursed by the sea, and a boy whose family owns a marina. It’s been recommended by several authors I love, including Gloria Chao and Lily Anderson, so I’m excited to see what they’re raving about.

Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo

The Last Snowfall by Kathleen Gilles Seidel (21 May)

I will never, ever miss a Kathleen Gilles Seidel. Her prose is wonderful and her settings are meticulously realistic, transporting you in contemporaries like other authors do in fantasy. This book features an Olympic snowboarder (retired from injuries) and a physician in rural West Virginia, and I look forward to a depiction of a small town that doesn’t romanticize.

Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo

The Tiger Catcher by Paullina Simons (28 May)

The Bronze Horseman is a legend, so what will Simons do in her new series set in modern LA?

Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo

Caz:

The Dark Bones by Loreth Anne White (21 May)

Loreth Anne White is one of my favourite authors of romantic suspense; her Angie Pallorino series had me gripped from beginning to end! – so I’m excited to read this story of a detective who returns home to investigate her father’s (supposed) suicide. – Caz

Buy it at: Amazon

Orientation by Gregory Ashe (24 May)

After being so thoroughly captivated by Mr. Ashe’s Hazard and Somerset novels, I’m eager to get stuck into his new series about a pair of friends who are private detectives in St. Louis. If the UST between the leads is anything like that in the H&S books, I’m going to need nerves of steel to cope with it!

Buy it at: Amazon

Em:

String Boys by Amy Lane (28 May)

I had a few Amy Lane novels lurking in my TBR I ignored in favor of newer releases…until, on a whim, I decided to read The Locker Room.  I loved it and quickly glommed several highly rated books in her back catalog.  I’m now a big fan of this author and think she does coming of age stories better than most.  String Boys is another coming of age story featuring a young violinist and the childhood friend who helped him follow his dreams.  It feels familiar to The Locker Room, and that’s a great thing.

Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo

Haley:

Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

This book has been getting a ton of buzz, and I admit I am more than intrigued by the notion of a romance between the son of a Texas Democrat woman president and the son of an British monarch. I hope it lives up to the hype because this is just my kind of book!

Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo

Lisa:

Tightrope by Amanda Quick (7 May)

Quick’s Burning Cove series of historical mysteries, all set on in 1930s Hollywood, have been enchanting and well-researched works, and I imagine the third will live up to her standards!

Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo

Attracted to the Earl by Bronwen Evans (28 May)

I loved the first volume of Evans’ Imperfect Lords series, and I’m excited to read Guy and Abigail’s story.

Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo

Maggie:

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff  (6 May)

These authors have written some funny, exciting books before and I’m hoping this one will be as great as the others. The tale of misfits who save the galaxy, it looks like everything I want in a sci-fi YA adventure.

Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo

Maria Rose:

Hot to the Touch by Jaci Burton (7 May)

Jaci Burton has a new series involving firefighters and I am here for this! Having enjoyed several of the author’s Play-by-Play sports romances, I’m excited to see what she has in store for this group of childhood friends.

Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo

Holding Out by Serena Bell (21 May)

I’m delighted to see that Serena Bell has re-released her Returning Home series featuring soldiers who’ve come home with mental and physical injuries, and has a new story to add with Holding Out. It’s got a virgin heroine looking to her sister’s friend to help rid her of her pesky problem complicated by them working together at a veteran’s retreat. To Have and To Hold, book three of the series was on my Best of 2016 list so I’m looking forward to diving into what’s sure to be an emotionally compelling romance.

Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo

Teach Me by Olivia Date (available in print now, ebook release – 30 May)

Olivia Dade writes fun romantic comedies, and several of her Lovestruck Librarian titles have ended up on my keeper shelf. She’s starting a new series, There’s Something about Marysburg, and the first entry, Teach Me is about two high school teachers who have something to learn, and teach, about love. Promo for the book says it’s for readers who like ‘cinnamon roll heroes, ice queen heroines, banter and happy tears’ which sounds like a great combination to me!

Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo

Shannon:

The Last Time I Saw You by Liv Constantine (7 May)

Twisty thrillers are some of my very favorite things to read, so I’m really eager to dive into this one. I read and loved Ms. Constantine’s debut, so I’m hoping for great things.

Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo

The Night Before by Wendy Walker (14 May)

Both Ms. Walker’s previous novels were spectacular, so I was beyond pleased to learn she was coming out with something new. The Night Before promises to be filled with all the spine-tingling suspense I’ve come to expect from this author.

Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo

Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev (7 May)

I’m very, very late to the Sonali Dev party, but I’m determined to remedy the problem by picking this up just as soon as I can. I’ve heard fabulous things about Ms. Dev’s sensitive story-telling, so I can’t wait to learn what all the fuss is about.

Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo


PLEASE NOTE: This is not a comprehensive list of available titles, just a selection made by AAR reviewers according to their personal tastes.  Purchase links are given where available at time of writing.

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