Books to Binge On: May 2021

Posted May 6, 2021 by Casee in Features | 2 Comments

Books to Binge On

Our Books to Binge On feature is pretty simple in its purpose. Every month, we put together a monthly new releases list of books that we’re all looking forward to. These are the books that we can’t wait to read and want everyone to add to their monthly binge-reading lists. Here are the books that we plan to binge on in May 2021.


The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren

Single mom Jess Davis is a data and statistics wizard, but no amount of number crunching can convince her to step back into the dating world. Raised by her grandparents–who now help raise her seven-year-old daughter, Juno–Jess has been left behind too often to feel comfortable letting anyone in. After all, her father’s never been around, her hard-partying mother disappeared when she was six, and her ex decided he wasn’t “father material” before Juno was even born. Jess holds her loved ones close, but working constantly to stay afloat is hard…and lonely.

But then Jess hears about GeneticAlly, a buzzy new DNA-based matchmaking company that’s predicted to change dating forever. Finding a soulmate through DNA? The reliability of numbers: This Jess understands. At least she thought she did, until her test shows an unheard-of 98% compatibility with another subject in the database: GeneticAlly’s founder, Dr. River Pena. This is one number she can’t wrap her head around, because she already knows Dr. Pena. The stuck-up, stubborn man is without a doubt not her soulmate. But GeneticAlly has a proposition: Get to know him and we’ll pay you. Jess–who is barely making ends meet–is in no position to turn it down, despite her skepticism about the project and her dislike for River. As the pair are dragged from one event to the next as the “Diamond” pairing that could make GeneticAlly a mint in stock prices, Jess begins to realize that there might be more to the scientist–and the science behind a soulmate–than she thought.

Casee: I’m not a huge fan of rom-coms, but I do love Christina Lauren. Her books are funny without being flighty.

Holly: I’ve only read a couple books by Lauren, but I really enjoyed them. I’m looking forward to this new release.

Rowena: I’ve been a fan of Christina Lauren for a few years now and I’m always excited to see new stuff from them so I’m definitely looking forward to this release.


Fallen Jester (Tin Gypsy #5) by Devney Perry

Leo Winter loves his life. He works when he needs money. He rides when he craves freedom. He frequents the local bar when he wants a good time. The Tin Gypsies might be a memory, but the bachelor life he lived with his motorcycle club still suits him fine. So when a one-night stand surprises him at a family barbecue and claims she’s pregnant with his child, he’s certain he’s died and gone to hell.

Cassandra Cline took one night off from her structured life. One. And now her wild fling with the local bad boy has turned her life sideways. Her dreams and academic career are circling the drain, and none of it would have happened if she’d stayed far, far away from Leo.

Except avoiding him is impossible, especially when she’s forced to move home to Clifton Forge, Montana. And he refuses to leave her side when a series of strange accidents put her and their baby at risk. But are they accidents? Or is she standing in the middle of a battlefield she doesn’t understand?

Her only allies are people she barely knows. And a man who has the potential to steal her heart.

If only he’d stop playing the fool.

Casee: I’m recently discovered Devney Perry. I just adore her stories.


Dream Spinner (Dream Team #3) by Kristen Ashley

Hattie Yates has finally met the man of her dreams. Yet years of abuse from her demanding father have left her petrified of disappointment. She’s already failed to reach her goal of becoming a professional ballerina—she can’t handle the terrible consequences of another dream becoming a nightmare. But when a stalker sets their sights on Hattie, there’s only one man she dares to hope can help . . .

Axl Pantera knows Hattie is the only woman for him. Yet despite the attraction burning between them, Hattie refuses to let him in. The former soldier is determined to woo her into letting down her walls. And when danger comes calling, he’s up against more than her wary and bruised heart. Axl will do anything to prove to Hattie that they’re meant to be, but first, he’ll need to keep her safe.

 
 
Casee: I will read anything this author writes, which I’m sure you have all guessed by now.


Shadow Storm (Shadow Riders #5) by Christine Feehan

A long-simmering feud between two families comes to a head in this gripping novel in Christine Feehan’s New York Times bestselling Shadow Riders series.

As the youngest member of the Ferraro family, Emmanuelle has watched each of her brothers find happiness in love while her own heart was shattered by a lover’s betrayal. For two years she’s stayed as far away from Valentino Saldi as possible—until she learns that he’s been shot during a hostile takeover of his family’s territory.

Emme’s first instinct is to call her brother Stefano for help, and soon the entire Ferraro clan arrives to bring Val back from the brink of death and protect the Saldis from further attack. With one choice Emme has re-exposed herself to Val’s intoxicating pull and dragged her family into the Saldis’ private war.

A deadly storm is brewing, and only time will tell who survives…

Casee: This is my favorite book in this series. After everything Emme went through in the previous books, I was so happy that she got her HEA.


Just Last Night by Mhairi McFarlane

Eve, Justin, Susie, and Ed have been friends since they were teenagers. Now in their thirties, the four are as close as ever, Thursday night bar trivia is sacred, and Eve is still secretly in love with Ed. Maybe she should have moved on by now, but she can’t stop thinking about what could have been. And she knows Ed still thinks about it, too.

But then, in an instant, their lives are changed forever.

In the aftermath, Eve’s world is upended. As stunning secrets are revealed, she begins to wonder if she really knew her friends as well as she thought. And when someone from the past comes back into her life, Eve’s future veers in a surprising new direction…

They say every love story starts with a single moment. What if it was just last night?

Holly: This is another author I’ve only read a couple times, but really enjoy. I’m definitely excited to read this.

Rowena: Mhairi McFarlane did it again. She wrote another engaging story that I was invested in from beginning to end. Definitely add this book to your TBR lists. It’s a good one.


The Promised Queen (Forgotten Empires #3) by Jeffe Kennedy

In The Promised Queen, the thrilling finale to Jeffe Kennedy’s Forgotten Empires trilogy, the fate of the world hangs in the balance as Con, Lia, and their allies sacrifice everything in a final bid to destroy the corrupt empire.

Claim the hand that wears the ring, and the empire falls.

Conrí, former Crown Prince of Oriel, claimed the hand that wears the Abiding Ring, but the prophecy remains unfulfilled. Queen Euthalia of Calanthe returned to her island kingdom, but broken in mind and body. With the blood of war unleashing ancient terrors, Calanthe isn’t the haven it once was.

Lia must use her magical bond with Calanthe to save their people while Con fights to hold off the vengeful Emperor Anure and his wizards. Con and Lia will have to trust in each other—and in love—to fend off ultimate disaster.

Holly: Finally! I feel like I’ve been waiting forever for this book. I really enjoyed the first book, but I waited to read the second so I could finish the trilogy out at once. I can’t wait to see how things turn out.


Wild Sign (Alpha & Omega #6) by Patricia Briggs

Mated werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham must discover what could make an entire community disappear—before it’s too late—in this thrilling entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling Alpha and Omega series.

In the wilds of the Northern California mountains, all the inhabitants of a small town have gone missing. It’s as if the people picked up and left everything they owned behind. Fearing something supernatural might be going on, the FBI taps a source they’ve consulted in the past: the werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham. But Charles and Anna soon find a deserted town is the least of the mysteries they face.

Death sings in the forest, and when it calls, Charles and Anna must answer. Something has awakened in the heart of the California mountains, something old and dangerous—and it has met werewolves before.

Holly: I adore Briggs. Charles and Anna are one of my favorite romance couples and I always look forward to new stories featuring them.

Rowena: I’m really loving anything Charles and Anna so this is definitely one that I was looking forward to reading.


Shield-Maiden: Under the Dark Moon (The Road to Valhalla #5) by Melanie Karsak

For Odin’s chosen, all roads lead to Valhalla.
With Gudmund dead, Hervor and Hofund are crowned queen and king of Grund. The pair soon discover that ruling a Viking land is not without difficulty. Enemies from without and within threaten the new rulers. While her dreams are the same, Hervor’s future becomes unclear. The gods have grown silent. Only Skadi whispers to Hervor now, and all her words are warnings. A dark moon is rising. Hervor must learn to rely on her inner strength to protect her family and face the tumultuous path the Norns have woven for her.

Dive into the thrilling final chapter of the Road to Valhalla series! Fans of Vikings and The Last Kingdom will love the Shield-Maiden: Under the Dark Moon by New York Times bestseller Melanie Karsak.

Holly: I discovered this series last month and binge-read the first three books. I took a break before continuing, but I’m looking forward to seeing where things go for Hervor and Hofund. I highly recommend this series for fans of Vikings.


The One We’re Meant to Find by Joan He

One of the most twisty, surprising, engaging page-turner YAs you’ll read this year—We Were Liars meets Black Mirror, with a dash of Studio Ghibli.

Cee has been trapped on an abandoned island for three years without any recollection of how she arrived, or memories from her life prior. All she knows is that somewhere out there, beyond the horizon, she has a sister named Kay. Determined to find her, Cee devotes her days to building a boat from junk parts scavenged inland, doing everything in her power to survive until the day she gets off the island and reunites with her sister.

In a world apart, 16-year-old STEM prodigy Kasey Mizuhara is also living a life of isolation. The eco-city she calls home is one of eight levitating around the world, built for people who protected the planet―and now need protecting from it. With natural disasters on the rise due to climate change, eco-cities provide clean air, water, and shelter. Their residents, in exchange, must spend at least a third of their time in stasis pods, conducting business virtually whenever possible to reduce their environmental footprint. While Kasey, an introvert and loner, doesn’t mind the lifestyle, her sister Celia hated it. Popular and lovable, Celia much preferred the outside world. But no one could have predicted that Celia would take a boat out to sea, never to return.

Now it’s been three months since Celia’s disappearance, and Kasey has given up hope. Logic says that her sister must be dead. But as the public decries her stance, she starts to second guess herself and decides to retrace Celia’s last steps. Where they’ll lead her, she does not know. Her sister was full of secrets. But Kasey has a secret of her own.

Rowena: I came across this book while browsing Goodreads and it looked like something I was in the mood for so on my list it went.


Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean

Izumi Tanaka has never really felt like she fit in—it isn’t easy being Japanese American in her small, mostly white, northern California town. Raised by a single mother, it’s always been Izumi—or Izzy, because “It’s easier this way”—and her mom against the world. But then Izzy discovers a clue to her previously unknown father’s identity… and he’s none other than the Crown Prince of Japan. Which means outspoken, irreverent Izzy is literally a princess.

In a whirlwind, Izzy travels to Japan to meet the father she never knew and discover the country she always dreamed of. But being a princess isn’t all ball gowns and tiaras. There are conniving cousins, a hungry press, a scowling but handsome bodyguard who just might be her soulmate, and thousands of years of tradition and customs to learn practically overnight.

Izzy soon finds herself caught between worlds, and between versions of herself—back home, she was never “American” enough, and in Japan, she must prove she’s “Japanese” enough. Will Izumi crumble under the weight of the crown, or will she live out her fairytale, happily ever after?

Rowena: I’m really into these kinds of stories where characters are of mixed heritage and they’re not enough of this or not enough of that and seeing them fumble their way into their own is something that I connect with as I’ve gone through those same things in my life so I understand and love seeing other people find their way. This is one of those kinds of stories and I’m looking forward to reading this one for myself.


Rosaline Palmer Takes a Cake by Alexis Hall

Following the recipe is the key to a successful bake. Rosaline Palmer has always lived by those rules—well, except for when she dropped out of college to raise her daughter, Amelie. Now, with a paycheck as useful as greaseproof paper and a house crumbling faster than biscuits in tea, she’s teetering on the edge of financial disaster. But where there’s a whisk there’s a way . . . and Rosaline has just landed a spot on the nation’s most beloved baking show.

Winning the prize money would give her daughter the life she deserves—and Rosaline is determined to stick to the instructions. However, more than collapsing trifles stand between Rosaline and sweet, sweet victory. Suave, well-educated, and parent-approved Alain Pope knows all the right moves to sweep her off her feet, but it’s shy electrician Harry Dobson who makes Rosaline question her long-held beliefs—about herself, her family, and her desires.

Rosaline fears falling for Harry is a guaranteed recipe for disaster. Yet as the competition—and the ovens—heat up, Rosaline starts to realize the most delicious bakes come from the heart.

Rowena: I’m all about baker featured romances and this one looks like a good one so count me in! I’m mighty curious about this determined single Mom baker and I’m already rooting for her to win so yeah, this one is on my list.


Heart and Seoul by Jen Frederick

From USA Today bestselling author Jen Frederick comes a heart-wrenching yet hopeful romance that shows that the price of belonging is often steeper than expected.

As a Korean adoptee, Hara Wilson doesn’t need anyone telling her she looks different from her white parents. She knows. Every time Hara looks in the mirror, she’s reminded that she doesn’t look like anyone else in her family—not her loving mother, Ellen; not her jerk of a father, Pat; and certainly not like Pat’s new wife and new “real” son.

At the age of twenty-five, she thought she had come to terms with it all, but when her father suddenly dies, an offhand comment at his funeral triggers an identity crisis that has her running off to Seoul in search of her roots.

What Hara finds there has all the makings of a classic K-drama: a tall, mysterious stranger who greets her at the airport, spontaneous adventures across the city, and a mess of familial ties, along with a red string of destiny that winds its way around her heart and soul. Hara goes to Korea looking for answers, but what she gets instead is love—a forbidden love that will either welcome Hara home…or destroy her chance of finding one.

Rowena: I enjoy Jen Frederick’s books and when I first learned about this book, I read the blurb and immediately needed to read it. Add this one to your wish lists, guys!


From Little Tokyo with Love by Sarah Kuhn

Celebrated author Sarah Kuhn reinvents the modern fairy tale in this intensely personal yet hilarious novel of a girl whose search for a storybook ending takes her to unexpected places in both her beloved LA neighborhood and her own guarded heart.

If Rika’s life seems like the beginning of a familiar fairy tale–being an orphan with two bossy cousins and working away in her aunts’ business–she would be the first to reject that foolish notion. After all, she loves her family (even if her cousins were named after Disney characters), and with her biracial background, amazing judo skills and red-hot temper, she doesn’t quite fit the princess mold.

All that changes the instant she locks eyes with Grace Kimura, America’s reigning rom-com sweetheart, during the Nikkei Week Festival. From there, Rika embarks on a madcap adventure of hope and happiness–searching for clues about her long-lost mother, exploring Little Tokyo’s hidden treasures with a cute actor, and maybe…finally finding a sense of belonging.

But fairy tales are fiction and the real world isn’t so kind. Rika knows she’s setting herself up for disappointment because happy endings don’t happen to girls like her. Should she walk away before she gets in even deeper, or let herself be swept away?

Rowena: Yeah, that sounds like something I can really dig into and enjoy so it’s on my list for sure. I’d love to read about the Nikkei Week Festival since I’m familiar with the festival and have enjoyed myself at them as well.


Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney

Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by debut author Joya Goffney is the story of an overly enthusiastic list maker who is blackmailed into completing a to-do list of all her worst fears. It’s a heartfelt, tortured, contemporary YA high school romance with epistolary elements. Fans of Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and Kristina Forest’s debut I Wanna Be Where You Are will love the juicy secrets, leap-off-the-page sexual tension and the enemy-to-lover romantic arc.

Quinn keeps lists of everything—from the days she’s ugly cried, to “Things That I Would Never Admit Out Loud,” to all the boys she’d like to kiss. Her lists keep her sane. By writing her fears on paper, she never has to face them in real life. That is, until her journal goes missing…

An anonymous account posts one of her lists on Instagram for the whole school to see and blackmails her into facing seven of her greatest fears, or else her entire journal will go public. Quinn doesn’t know who to trust. Desperate, she teams up with Carter Bennett—the last known person to have her journal—in a race against time to track down the blackmailer.

Together, they journey through everything Quinn’s been too afraid to face, and along the way, Quinn finds the courage to be honest, to live in the moment, and to fall in love.

Rowena: As a fan of Jenny Han’s To all the Boys series and this kind of sounds like a similar premise and it sounds cute but embarrassing and like something I’m in the mood for so I’m adding this one to my list for sure.

What books are you looking forward to reading this month? Share in the comments!


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2 responses to “Books to Binge On: May 2021

  1. DiscoDollyDeb

    Lots of good books coming in May—my book budget is wrecked already!

    The first of the month is when Harlequin drops ebooks for Harlequin Presents and Dare. So on May 1 I downloaded three of them:

    Jackie Ashenden’s Dare release, WITH THE LIGHTS ON, companion to her IN THE DARK from earlier this year (the heroes of the two books are friends). WITH THE LIGHTS ON has a hero who is gradually losing his sight and a heroine who works for an escort agency—which should be interesting as I’m not sure I’ve read any Harlequins with sex worker heroines. (I’ve now read it and it’s very good. It’s a shame Harlequin is discontinuing the Dare line because WITH THE LIGHTS ON shows how much potential was there for the line.)

    Also Caitlin Crews’s latest HP, HER DEAL WITH THE GREEK DEVIL (companion to Crews’s earlier THE SECRET THAT CANNOT BE HIDDEN—the heroes of the two books are brothers) which promises to be all sorts of angsty goodness with a Greek billionaire pursuing a supermodel who was briefly his step-sister a decade before. (I’ve now read this and it was extremely good but about as dark as I’ve ever seen an HP with an almost irredeemable hero. HER DEAL WITH THE GREEK DEVIL made my list of Favorite Reads of 2021, but the plot and hero could have been appropriated wholesale from a dark/mafia romance.)

    Finally, Clare Connelly’s HP, CINDERELLA’S NIGHT IN VENICE. Quiet, shy heroine who works for a PR firm must attend a Venetian ball with her company’s biggest client—a Greek billionaire (natch!).

    On May 6, Rina Kent releases the third and final book of her Deception trilogy and I can then read all three books (VOW OF DECEPTION, TEMPTED BY DECEPTION, and CONSUMED BY DECEPTION) in this dark mafia romance about a woman who agrees to impersonate a crime boss’s late wife. (I started VOW OF DECEPTION this morning and it’s a very intriguing story so far.)

    Leonie Mack wrote MY CHRISTMAS NUMBER ONE (one of my favorite books of 2020), so I’m interested in her next book, ITALY EVER AFTER, arriving May 11.

    May 18 brings the third and final book in another trilogy I’ve been waiting to read: Natasha Knight’s & A. Zavarelli’s The Society Trilogy (REQUIEM OF THE SOUL, REPARATION OF SIN, and RESURRECTION OF THE HEART). This is a dark romance with a forced/revenge marriage and a very damaged hero. (I do try to wait until all books in a trilogy are released before reading the entire set, but this is a custom often observed more in the breach—for example, see the next entry.)

    May 18 also brings Skye Warren’s STRICT CONFIDENCE, the second book in her Rochester trilogy, a modern retelling of JANE EYRE. This is obviously a case where I did not wait for all three books to be published before I started reading! The first book, PRIVATE PROPERTY, ended on a cliffhanger, so I’m expecting STRICT CONFIDENCE to pick up the action right where the earlier one left off.

    Sybil Bartel begins a new series called Alpha Elite with ALPHA, dropping on May 24. The hero of ALPHA runs a private security firm; the heroine is someone from his past. I love Bartel’s romantic suspense books full of former-military alpha heroes who meet their match in tough heroines who refuse to be compliant doormats. Let the games begin!

    On May 25, Ruth Cardello releases HE SAID ALWAYS, the first book in her new Lost Corisis series about attempts to locate distant relatives after the previous generation’s family members were estranged. Does the past always have to influence the future? Also, I’m assuming the hero & heroine in the book are not related—even distantly, lol.

    I loved Katie Golding’s relationship-in-trouble romance FEARLESS, published last year, so I’m eagerly anticipating WRECKLESS, the next book in her Moto Grand Prix series. It arrives on May 25 and promises all sorts of yummy antagonists-to-lovers goodness between a couple who have a decade of professional sparring behind them.

    Another book arriving May 25 is Angelina M. Lopez drops SERVING SIN, about a couple who reconnect 13 years after he rescued her from kidnappers. He now runs an elite security service and she’s the CEO of a major company in Mexico. He’s trying to keep her safe…but will their hearts be safe? All kinds of catnip in this one!

  2. Kareni

    Lots of tempting choices above! I read Wild Signs last month and enjoyed it. A book not on your list that I’m looking forward to is Andy Weir’s Project Hail Mary.

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