Books We Think You'll Love: May 2013

4 years ago

Deciding what book should hit the top of your To Be Read list can be overwhelming and the one question I get asked all the time is, "What should I read next?" Each month as I look at all the books that are about to be released, I am boggled by the number of fabulous books that are being published. I have no trouble understanding why people have a problem deciding what book to pick up next. We're going to try to make that process a bit easier for you. Each month I'll be sharing a selection of books that are hot off the presses and that we think you'll love. Some will be big releases you can expect to see hit the bestsellers lists. Other selections will be a bit more niche and may otherwise fly under your radar. We hope you enjoy these May 2013 selections. Happy reading!

Image: Dennis Skley

And The Mountains Echoed

Khaled Hosseini is the #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. His new novel, And the Mountains Echoed will be released on May 21 and I'm expecting him to shoot to the top of those bestseller lists once again. Teresa at Lovely Treez Reads snagged a review copy of the novel and had this to say:

"The final section of the novel, set in the US, was the pièce de résistance for me. I won’t give away any spoilers but, suffice to say, Hosseini expertly captures the effects of age with quiet, understated but supremely powerful writing – a quiet domestic scene between siblings can be as, if not more, effective than all the battle scenes one can conjure."

The Fifth Wave

People may know Rick Yancey best for his acclaimed young adult horror novel, The Monstrumologist. Are you ready for the alien apocalypse? In Yancey's new novel, The Fifth Wave, aliens have invaded Earth. The first wave brings darkness. The lucky survive during the second. The unlucky survive the third. Now it's the dawn of the fifth wave and Cassie is on the run from Them.

My social media streams have been full of raves for this book. This is what April at Good Books and Good Wine had to say about The Fifth Wave:

"I think if you are looking to be blown away by a science fiction book but have been apprehensive about trying them, give The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey a shot. It is exciting. It is emotional. It is compelling. It is smart."

We Need New Names

I love when I come across a novel that sounds like it's going to be fabulous and then discover that it's a debut novel. We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo started receiving attention back in 2011 when the first chapter was published as a short story and won the 2011 Caine Prize, which is sometimes called the African Booker. If you read literary fiction, this is a novel you'll want to add to your reading list. The Relentless Reader calls it an amazing debut novel and says it is "rich, honest, and stirring. Bulawayo is an author to watch."


If you were a fan of M.J. Rose's The Book of Lost Fragrances you will want to grab a copy of Seduction: A Novel of Suspense. The gothic novel mixes past and present as mythologist Jac L'Etoile tries to distract herself from her own grief by throwing herself into her work. She finds herself pulled into the world Victor Hugo and his séances. While it was thought that all of his journals regarding the séances he conducted on the Isle of Wright had been found, it turns out there may be more. Will L'Etoile be putting her own life at stake as she tries to unravel Hugo's mysteries?

The Lit Bitch says:

"The Isle of Jersey with all its Celtic ruins, hidden caves, and foggy nights was the perfect location for a ghost story!

When I read this book, I really got the sense that I was reading something different and unique."

Apocalypse Cow

When I saw the listing for Michael Logan's Apocalypse Cow I knew I couldn't resist it. After an experiment with a biological weapon goes horribly wrong, Scotland finds itself at the mercy of a horde of cows -- zombie cows! They are on a rampage against humanity. "Forget the cud! They want blood!" I don't know about you but I'm already giggling. Moo!

Even if you aren't normally a fan of zombies novels, you may like this one. Suzanne Johnson at Paranormal Unbound did. She discusses how humor can be hard to get right and why it worked for her in this Apocalypse Cow.

"The humor is dry as Scottish Highland dust and subtle as a flying mallet, but if you’re a fan of one of my favorite urban fantasy authors, Simon R. Green, you might want to give it a try."

Housewife Superstar!

Over the last few years we've witnessed an increasing interest in improving our domestic skills. Whether it's information on making our own cleaning supplies, or the proper way to fold a fitted sheet, many of us are looking for a little bit of help. Enter, Danielle Wood's Housewife Superstar!: Advice (and Much More) from a Nonagenarian Domestic Goddess.

Marjorie Bligh is a 95-year-old domestic goddess and a cross between Martha Stewart and Dame Edna. The first time she entered her town's food and craft contests, she won 78 categories. She can tell you how to help a goldfish suffering from constipation and how to protect the plants in your garden with bras. Admit it, you really want to know that bra trick!

Nine Years Under

Fans of Mary Roach's Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers and Tom Jokinen's Curtains: Adventures of an Undertaker-In-Training, I've got a book for you! Nine Years Under: Coming of Age in an Inner-City Funeral Home is Sheri Booker's story of working at Wylie Funeral Home in West Baltimore. Publishers Weekly says, "Booker’s coming-of-age story set against the business of death is filled with both tragedy and humor, and is wholly compelling in its humanity."


Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm is is already out in hardcover but will be released in paperback later this month. This book didn't get quite as much attention last year as another book on the same topic, Bomb: The Race to Build -- and Steal -- the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin. Both books are non-fiction and rely on graphics to help tell the history of the atomic bomb.

Trinity goes a bit heavier in the technical details than Bomb but don't let that scare you off. Naomi Bates praises the way Trinity combines text and graphics to make the details understandable in a way that had escaped her in the past.

"Uranium, plutonium and isotopes. While I read, my mind absorbed all of these facts, and they made sense! The reason behind this? Fetter-Vorm uses analogies that made it more understandable, but more than that, it was the illustrations that made science (at least for me) really gel and stand out. I've sat through lectures about atomic numbers but all it took was two pages on this graphic novel for it to truly click. That's the power of great writing and powerful images."

The Last Camellia

When BlogHer's Family Editor Jenna Hatfield interviewed Sarah Jio in the summer of 2012 the author was just plotting out the details for The Last Camellia. In her new novel, Jio weaves together the past and present against the backdrop of an English garden, where the last surviving specimen of a camellia plant known as the Middlebury Pink resides.

Flora's story takes place just before WWII. She's hired by a band of flower thieves to infiltrate Livingston Manor and find a way to steal the Middlebury Pink. Allison's story takes place in the present and her husband's family now owns the manor. Allison hopes that she can hide from her past when they take up residence at Livingston Manor, but the past has a pesky way of following us when we try to hide. As she reads the former gardner's journal, she realizes it's not just her own past that she can't hide from. Is the danger that Flora faced one that Allison must as well?

Books Section Editor Karen Ballum also blogs at Sassymonkey and Sassymonkey Reads.

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